Imágenes de página

upon his own dwelling, instead of the present small wooden garrets, in which he may keep school himself. But I most earnestly wish, that we might be enabled to assist him in building a proper school-house, and engaging a regular master. I therefore mention this to you, and hope you will kindly take it to heart, and recommend the case to some of your benevolent friends. The English delight in works of charity; they subscribe to the wants of the poor Greeks, the Waldenses, the Heathen, and other necessitous persons. May we not hope that a few crumbs from their table might be afforded to the poor Protestants of Hermanseiffen, who, under present circumstances, and but for so zealous a minister, might relapse into total ignorance. The Lord will surely reward those who contribute to so charitable a work, and promote His cause in a land of darkness. Notwithstanding all opposition, we hope to get Bibles and Testaments introduced among them. My heart bleeds, when I consider the blindness and ignorance prevailing in that country."

of them did, speaking together, clapping their hands in unison, in their singular exercises. Then they were amused by following the motions of their principal mistress, who imitated those used in different employments: This is the way we sow the corn,' or 'This is the way we wash the clothes.' The children too young to learn were put upon a carpet, to sleep or play as they pleased. Connected with this school was another for children more than seven years of age, containing somewhere about two hundred."



A respectable New-York religious publication, in alluding to the modified opinion which we have expressed respecting the blended good and evil of what are called "Revivals," adds,-" For the editors of the Christian Observer, as men and as Christians, we entertain the highest respect: and we are happy to learn that there is a prospect of their obtaining, ere long, from the pen of one of their own countrymen, information relative to American revivals, which will remove many of their prejudices, and prepare them to rejoice in what, we doubt not, causes joy in heaven, as it surely does on

Donations towards the relief of this poor Protestant congregation will be thankfully received by the Rev. C. I. La Trobe, 19 Bartlett's Buildings, Holborn; also by the Rev. Dr. Steinkopff, Savoy; and faith-earth." fully transmitted to the benevolent Countess Von Reden.

INFANT SCHOOLS. Professor Norton, of Cambridge College, Massachusetts, who has been travelling in Europe, paid a visit to an infant school in Liverpool, an account of which he has thus given in a letter to one of his friends:

"We attended, a few days since, an infant school, which has given me quite new views and feelings on the subject. I have seldom been more affected-it is not too strong a word-than in seeing, as we did, a hundred little creatures, some of them not more than two years old, thus collected together. I had no conception of the possibility of preserving so much order and stillness among such young children, (all under eight years of age,) as we found to exist, apparently without harshness or unpleasant restraint. They were called upon to repeat the pence table, the multiplication table, to tell the number of seconds in a minute, of minutes in an hour, with the names of the months, to answer in their catechism, and to repeat the Commandments abbreviated; all which a majority

No such communication has reached us. We have, however, heard of various indications of an unsettled spirit, which unless carefully watched, may be very injurious to the cause of pure and undefiled religion. For example, in a farewell discourse, recently delivered by the Rev. Dr. Lee, on his dismissal from the pastoral charge of the Congregational Church, at Colebrook, Connecticut, occur the following statements :

"Shun as you would the pestilence, that restless spirit of innovation and charge of enthusiasm and blind zeal, which is now spreading through our country, separating pastors from their churches, and laying waste some of the fairest fields of Zion. It is an unprecedented and alarming fact, which ought to be known and seriously weighed, that in this little State, this land of steady habits, long famed for the order, wisdom, and stability of its institutions,-no less than eighteen settled ministers, pastors of churches have, within as many months, been dismissed from their respective flocks. There are thirty-nine vacant parishes in the State; most of which have become so by the dismission of their ministers. Should this work continue in

its present progress, for six years, onc half the settled ministers of the state will be dismissed from their charges. Would this be a desirable event-a consummation devoutly to be wished? Let every one pause, and seriously inquire, what are the springs from which this mischief flows?"

Our transatlantic friends may be able to explain these matters satisfactorily; but they cannot wonder that to us, at a distance, they appear somewhat startling. We rejoice to learn such facts as that to the churches of three denominations in a single State, twenty-five thousand members were added in the short space of a year; and to one denomination in another State, seven thousand: but still we cannot but rejoice with trembling.

NEW CHURCHES. We know of no circumstance more truly gratifying and hopeful to the mind of a Christian spectator than the erection of the numerous churches which are springing up among us. A very few years since, who could have expected so soon to witness this glorious spectacle? It was with extreme difficulty, at an enormous expense, and only by means of a special act of parliament, after conciliating all the various and discordant interests and prejudices concerned, that a single church or chapel could be consecrated in the most populous and destitute places; whereas we now see on every side these sacred edifices arising among us, not indeed in equal extent to the wants of the public, but with a zeal and rapidity far beyond the anticipations of the most sanguine. We could wish that some of these edifices were planned in better taste, certain of them not being very creditable to the architectural science of the age; but far more do we wish that in all of them, as happily in very many of them, were to be found a faithful and affectionate pastor, zealously devoted to the spiritual welfare of his flock: yet even in this respect we have reason to bless God for far more than we could have anticipated, considering the lax views which are currently entertained of the duties attached to ecclesiastical patronage. But it is not in reference to the immediate effect, momentous as it is, of these new churches, that we feel most thankful for them; but rather for their value to generations yet unborn, that the children and youth of our country-so many of whose fathers had neither the wish nor perhaps the opportunity to attend a church--may find accommodation prepared for them, in sequence

to what infant schools, Sunday schools, and national schools had so hopefully commenced. May this work of pious munificence prosper, under the blessing of the Great Head of the Church, till every destitute district in the kingdom shall be supplied with a temple consecrated to his glory, and with a resident and efficient minister of Christ, anxious for the spiritual and eternal welfare of the people of his charge.

It would be tedious to trouble our readers with lists of the names and details respecting all these new churches, or to give an account of the customary solemnities at opening them, which, being in the main the same all over the kingdom, are of local rather than general interest. We may, however, without invidious selection, notice the parish of Islington, as affording, perhaps, the most remarkable instance of munificent promptitude in the erection of new churches of any parish in the kingdom. It is, we believe, only about five years since that the present vicar, the Rev. Daniel Wilson, came to the incumbency. At that period, the parish may be supposed to have been rather inclined to rest with complacency upon its recent exertion in building a chapel, than to contemplate the immediate erection of several new ones; and the depressed state of health of the incumbent seemed scarcely to allow of his speedily exciting them to any great effort. Yet with these and other difficulties, within the short period of about four years have been built and consecrated no fewer than three new churches, the last of which has been this month dedicated to the service of God by the Bishop of London. The expense has been borne partly by his Majesty's Commissioners, and partly by the parish; and it is due to the several parties concerned, and especially to the zealous and indefatigable vicar, to state, that the elegance, commo. diousness and good taste of these structures; the economy with which they have been planned and executed, the whole cost of the three being only, we have heard, about 30,000.; and the zeal, unanimity and celerity which have attended their progress, render them a pattern worthy of imitation in other parishes where new churches are required to meet the pressing wants of our growing population. The appointments to these churches, we have understood, have been as honourable to the disinterested piety of the reverend patron, as the erection of them was to his Christian zeal and enterprize. We will only add, that no clergyman, who is

anxious for the erection of a church in his parish, and who will apply his efforts with prudence and vigour to effect the object,

ought to despair after the gratifying success which has attended the pious labours of Mr. Wilson.


IN our last Number we penned a few remarks with reference to the general principles of the important question now before the legislature; the particulars of the intended enactments not having then been disclosed. Those particulars have since been laid before parliament and the country; and the disclosure is far from having allayed those conflicting agitations of opinion which had been excited by the very announcement of the intention of government, to endeavour to remove the disabilities which affect his Majesty's Roman-Catholic subjects, and to place them upon a civil equality with their Protestant fellow countrymen. Considering the great importance of this difficult question, these heats on either side are not a subject for surprise; nor would we speak too severely of the intemperance of honest zeal, where conscience and principle, though perhaps misguided, are its ground: work; but we would entreat those of our readers who wish to form a right judgment upon the subject, to abstract their minds from temporary animosities and partial representations, and to view the matter, so far as they are able, in the simple light of truth, being guided in their researches by those plain maxims of public and private duty which the Scriptures unfold for our direction. Entering upon the inquiry in this spirit, whatever may be the result of the investigation, mutual charity at least will not be allowed to be wounded by exasperations and animosities, which only weaken and disgrace any cause, however good in itself, in the service of which they are employed.

It will not be compatible with our limits to enter at large into the wide field of inquiry which has been opened to us by the pending discussions; our chief object, at least in the present Number, will be to furnish a brief notice of a few events of the month, as connected with this allabsorbing topic.

When the concluding sheet of our last Number went to press, a contest was in progress at Oxford, which was looked to with much anxiety as a test of the opinion of the members of that learned body in reference to the Catholic question. Mr. Peel, in consequence of his change of policy respecting that measure, had, with highly honourable feelings, resigned his seat; and his much-respected opponent, Sir Robert Inglis, offered him

self as a candidate, expressly on the ground of his attachment to that course of policy which Mr. Peel considered himself driven by necessity to abandon. The election was contested with great zeal, though with the characteristic urbanity of University contests and its progress and results reflect much credit on all the parties concerned; on Mr. Peel, as having resigned himself into the hands of his constituents at a moment of much temporary unpopu larity among the majority of them; to Sir R. H. Inglis, as the object of the choice of this learned and dignified body; and to the University itself, who, having rejected Mr. Canning on this very question, and having also just sent in a petition to parliament on the subject, maintained their consistency by disinterestedly preferring a gentleman in private life to another high in office, whose influence and patronage they might reasonably have coveted. The result of the poll, 609 to 755, proves, however, that the number of those electors of the University who are favourable to the removal of Catholic disabilities is larger than had perhaps been generally calculated upon, especially when it is considered for how many years almost the whole of the patronage of the church has been directed into the opposite channel. The election, as we have just remarked, turned almost wholly on the Catholic question; for apart from this, not a few of the voters would have changed sides; and some, we are persuaded, who voted in the minority on the general ground that Mr. Peel had done nothing to deserve the loss of public confidence, or to obliterate the memory of his great services in the melioration of the criminal code and other objects of national welfare, will have been among the first to congratulate both the University and the favoured candidate, that the choice should have fallen upon a gentleman so well deserving of it; and who is particularly endeared to not a few among his countryman, as well by his private virtues, as by his zealous public services in every cause of piety and humanity.

Mr. Peel, on his failure at Oxford, being returned for the private borough of Westbury, Wilts, proceeded on the fifth of the month, to bring in his important bills. Popular petitions had, by this time, rapidly flowed in against the projected measures; serious alarm was also excited

among great numbers of the clergy, whose general opinions were however inferred perhaps too broadly, from the fact of Mr. Peel's rejection at Oxford; and, not least, the king himself is stated to have imbibed serious scruples, in consequence of strong private representations which had been made to him; though, as is understood, he at length gave the fullest pledge of his determination to yield to the decision of parliament. Under these various circumstances, an opinion had gone abroad, that less decisive measures than those originally intended, would be introduced; an opinion which has not been borne out by the fact; for be the measures right or wrong, popular or unpopular, they are at least of a most decisive character. And this we are disposed, upon the whole, to think is true wisdom on this difficult question; for if any thing is to be done, it ought to be done effectually half measures would only confer power without allaying irritation, and more would in the end be won by instalments, than is now offered generously and

at once.

The intended enactments, as we stated in our last Number, were to consist of a measure of grace, and of others of restriction and security. The measure of grace is most ample; it opens all offices to his Majesty's Roman-Catholic subjects, with the exception of the Chancellorship of England, and the Chancellorship and Lord Lieutenancy of Ireland. To this large grant of eligibility we should certainly strongly object, if we could believe that it is contrary to the injunctions of Scripture, inimical to the cause of Protestantism, or likely to add to the extension of the papal superstition; but not being convinced on any of these points, believing rather the contrary, and feeling deeply impressed with the various considerations which we briefly specified in our last Number, we by no means participate in the alarm with which many of our fellow-Protestants view this ample enfranchisement. The subject deserves, however, to be discussed at considerable length, as a religious, as well as a merely political question, and we are prepared to undertake such a discussion; but, for the present, we must be contented with referring our readers to a valuable communication in a future page of this Number, from the pen of the Rev. Daniel Wilson, who having been strongly animadverted upon in various quarters, for the part which he felt it his duty to take in the Oxford election, in favour of Mr. Peel, has considered it not unworthy of his office and character, nay a duty which he owes to those who, from the most laudable mo, tives, may have felt interested in learning the grounds of his opinion, to state freely, and with Christian simplicity, the long struggle which had been passing in his own mind, in reference to this momentous question, and the arguments which eventually influenced his decision. This doCHRIST. OBSERV. No. 327.

cument affords an edifying exhibition of a powerful and ingenuous mind, under the guidance of true piety and an enlightened judgment, reversing some of its most long cherished sentiments; and we readily open our pages to our highly respected friend's fearless and manly avowal, which, at a moment of much public excitement, we would hope will have a beneficial and healing effect, in the minds of many who have long esteemed Mr. Wilson as a faithful servant and minister of Christ, even though they should not be altogether convinced by his arguments.

Turning, then, for the present from the enactment of grace to those of necessary restriction and precaution, we feel humbly thankful to God, that we find nothing in them which abets or even recognises the Church of Rome. Not more strongly did we ourselves object by anticipation in our last Number, to vetos, concordats, and, above all, to paying the Roman-Catholic priesthood, than did Mr. Peel in the speech with which he introduced his measure. The Roman Catholic is to be placed upon the general footing of other Dissenters, as respects civil privileges; and this being the case, it must inevitably follow before long, that the public grant to Maynooth will be withdrawn, for the payment of which there will now be no more reason, even of a merely political kind, than for a parliamentary support of the Dissenting academies of Homerton or Cheshunt. We have not space at present for an analysis of the various clauses of the bill: and, as some of them may possibly be altered in their progress through parliament, we the more readily defer our abstract of them to a future Number. Among other particulars, they prescribe a new oath to be taken instead of the rescinded oaths and the declaration against transubstantiation; they make full exceptions to the admission of office and the enjoyment of privilege, as respects the church and the universities; the assumption of English and Irish episcopal titles is prohibited; the insignia of office are not to be taken to any place of worship, but those of the Established Church; public displays of Roman-Catholic ceremonies are forbidden; persons under monastic vows, now in the kingdom, are to be registered, and no such persons are in future to be admitted. And, with a view to prevent the evils which may result from the present state of the elective franchise in Ireland, by another bill the qualification is to be raised from 21. to 10., a measure which is argued to be desirable on general grounds, as well as with reference to the removal of the present disabilities.

Into the nature and efficiency of these precautions we cannot at present enter; and indeed, as we have before stated, we augur little benefit from oaths, restrictions, or other securities upon paper or parch ment. The only effectual security for the

2 C

peace of a nation, under the blessing of God, are wise and equitable laws, and the impartial administration of justice. The Roman Catholics are but a minority in the country; and they have, therefore, no right to be the dominant party; nor have we the least apprehension that they are likely to become so. The supposition is quite irrational. We need not, however, say what an imperative duty lies upon their Protestant fellow-subjects to endeavour, with all affection and zeal, to bring them to a more scriptural knowledge, and holier faith; a subject upon which we purpose, before long, to expatiate, as its importance deserves; and which, in the mean time, we earnestly recommend to the serious consideration of all our readers. We conceive, also, that the government and legislature have important duties to perform, in this respect, which we trust will not be forgotten or neglected. But we must defer this topic also.

The introduction of these measures has produced long and earnest debates; the result of which has been, on the first division, 348 for, and 160 against the bill; on the second, 353 for, and 173 against; and in the progress of the bill through the committee, proportionable majorities. There is, therefore, no doubt of the whole measure passing the house of commons in nearly its original form; and scarcely any greater doubt of its passing the upper house, perhaps with a few modifications, and receiving the Royal assent. Under these circumstances we quite feel with all our fellow-Protestants, that the present is truly an eventful crisis; and although we do not perceive the same causes of alarm with many of them, we fully concur with them that it is a period which calls for earnest prayer to the Giver of every good and perfect gift, that he would direct all things to his own glory, and the peace, welfare, and salvation of mankind. The duties incumbent upon Protestants, under the intended new order of civil relations, we hope, as before-mentioned, to dwell upon hereafter. There are, however,

one or two points which we ought, if possible, yet to notice; but we must first introduce Mr. Wilson's communication, which is as follows.

To the Editor of the Christian Observer.

Islington, March 23, 1829. MR. EDITOR,-You Your opinions on the great question which now agitates the country so nearly coincide with those which I am strongly disposed to entertain, that I solicit your permission to state some of the reasons by which I am swayed in adopting them. Such a statement, at a moment like the present, may possibly satisfy the minds of some who are in difficulties similar to those I once felt myself; or, at the least, may convince them that more may be said, than they have hitherto

imagined, in favour of the measures now proposed by his Majesty's ministers.

I was once, like the warmest of my anti-relief friends, a strong opposer of all measures of concession to the Roman Catholics. I thought that the truth of the Protestant, and the deep corruption of the Roman-Catholic, Church, alike compelled me to uncompromising resistance. I even thought that the Divine Prophecies forbad any measures of conciliation. I imagined that legislative enactments must involve some approbation of the Roman Church, and might bring on the ruin of the Protestant. For nearly twenty years I viewed the Catholic question in this light. I was anxious not to be convinced. Convinced, however, I have been-or rather brought to a stand-led to doubt the certainty of my former conclusions-and to leave to the wisdom of the legislature the determination of the point concerning the Catholic disabilities.

It is nine or ten years since this change in my sentiments began to take place. What first struck me, was the broad fact of the miserable state of Ireland-the sad progress of the Catholic religion-its firmer hold on the minds of the people-the animosity and division, the disorder and turbulence-the general bad state of things as to all the great foundations of morals and piety, of civil subjection and mutual security and peace. There seemed to me to be no approach to that ordinary condition of an important member of a great empire, which the position and external advantages of Ireland might otherwise have ensured.

I next began to reflect, that almost all our greatest statesmen, in my own day, of all parties, who differed on nearly every other subject, agreed upon this, that our exclusive laws have been a prominent cause of these deplorable evils. These statesmen, I said to myself, must know much more of the operation of disabling laws on large classes of men, than I can pretend to do. They must be also much better acquainted with the actual circumstances of Ireland. I cannot, for a moment, doubt the powers of mind, the constitutional and historical knowledge, and the attachment to the Protestant Establishment, of such statesmen as Pitt, Burke, Wyndham, and Grenville. When I see such men agree with their most determined political opponents on a dry point of legislation, I ought surely to pause. And when I add to these authorities, the opinions of others, who, uniting the deepest piety with similar talents and information as statesmen, seem best entitled to my confidence; when I see such names as Wilberforce, H. Thornton, Buxton, Babington, Lord Harrowby, the Calthorpes, the Grants*, Sir T. Baring, Sir T. D. Ac

One of the last things which the late venerated and most excellent Mr. Charles Grant said to me, was, that he was con

« AnteriorContinuar »