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one hand, nor, thank God, upon the fingers of one dozen hands, that our faithful preachers may now be numbered. I shall not venture to give cyphers, for two reasons. First, I am not one of those who think that man may judge the heart of man,— 'the Lord knoweth those who are His;' and, therefore, I always shrink from those lists where conversion and non-conversion are pointed out in two columns, as if infallibility itself had drawn the line ;* and
sure which, in spite of its many shortcomings, was the beginning of Church and State relations between France and Protestantism. Our fathers thought so too, and they accepted even those very imperfect grounds of union. Were they wrong? Let facts answer;-they are stubborn things. Had they not before them the condition of Protestantism in all countries, when it had been deprived of the support of the State? What had become of Italian Protestantism?-secondly, if judgment by the delicate eviDead. What of Spanish Protestantism?Dead. What of Belgian Protestantism? Dead. Crushed everywhere under the despotic powers, obeying then the cruel hatred of the Romish court. Would it have been wise, therefore, at the first dawning of better days, to reject a helping, although unskilful hand? Was the fate of Protestantism, extinguished under persecution, to be preferred to Protestantism flourishing under protection? Our fathers surely knew, as well as we do, that God does not absolutely want the help of any man, or any power, to accomplish his decrees; neither does He want food to sustain the human frame. He could undoubtedly cause man to live without nourishment, and yet He is pleased to use the means which He has Himself chosen; thus finding in the connection with the State, the Providential reasons of a prosperity which had been granted to sister-churches of other nations, and, in the absence of that connection, the manifest explanation of the misfortunes, and final overthrow of Protestantism. They accepted the connection in spite of its many imperfections, and with wellgrounded hopes of future improvement.
I have alluded to the prospect of flourishing under protection; and here I must postpone the analysis of our Concordat, to give facts, plain facts, as the best proofs.
dences of life, piety, inward experiences, is difficult everywhere, and with all, judgment by the doctrine is not less difficult with us. I should, for my part, decidedly object to recognizing, as a true servant of God, many an indolent mind and lazy heart, that conceals himself under the usurped title of orthodox, and that would, for the sake of a quiet enjoyment of a given position, accept even a great deal more than orthodoxy requires. The number of those who feel as I do on this subject, is increasing daily,- not in France alone, but in every country. On the contrary, we reckon in our church a number of men, whose life savours so highly of Christian principles, and proves so honourable to God, and useful to man, that we conscientiously look upon them as instruments of much good amongst us, in spite of their nice scruples upon this, or that point, of to us essential orthodoxy.
But, although we do not feel equal to the task of giving even approximate numbers, we may shew the fruits of labours, which evidently manifest the power of God. There is such a contrast between the French Reformed Church before, and the same Church after the adoption of the organic law, that it is really impossible not to recognize the transaction itself as a blessing. In fact, the revival both of vital personal piety, and of church action An old minister has told me, that in France, is to be traced to the organizat! when he began his labours, forty years tion, however imperfect, of our disseminago, the miserable state of our scattered ated congregations-the rebuilding of temand oppressed flocks could be understood, ples-the appointment of two Divinity from the fact, that all the truly or- Colleges, Strasbourg and Montaubanthodox preachers throughout the whole the salary of pastors by the State,-and, in country, could be numbered upon one hand's fact, the formal recognition of the refingers, Now, if we look upon the accep- formed faith, together with all the advantation of the Concordat, with all its faults, tages connected with it. Surely we need as an absolute evil for the Reformed not repudiate the glorious work of our Church of France, surely it must have ancestors, who, deprived of the same priproved the death-blow to this weakened vileges, could nevertheless enjoy rich efand dying Church. Was it really the case? fusions of the Holy Spirit upon their laLet us see. It is not upon the fingers of bours. But, let it be recollected also,
Dr. Baird of New York, who is, perhaps, better acquainted with the state of religion in every part of the Continent, than any man living, says, There are about 230 colporteurs, and 200 evangelists; and, besides these, 200 ministers con
nected with the Protestant Established Church, who preach Christ crucified. Others there are, who, though they do not preach the Gospel clearly, are coming more and more to the knowledge of the truth."-[EDITOR.]
that in spite of their constancy and zeal, their final defeat, and the extinction of Protestantism, was, humanly speaking, as likely to take place in France, as in the rest of Romish Europe, had not the providence of God brought about that protecting connection, under which we began to breathe, after the long and violent assaults of our adversaries.
The situation of our churches ever since the promulgation of the organic law, in 1802, may be described in two words, constant improvement. In doctrine, in piety, in zeal, in the creation of the divers means of doing good, the contrast with the preceding period is so striking, that it may be called the resurrection of Protestantism.
Copies of the Holy Book had become very scarce; and families,, who had kept the name and recollection of their ancestors' religion, rather than the real knowledge of it, were reduced to traditional teaching, from the scarcity of New Testaments, or even catechisms. Owing to the legal situation of Protestantism in the land, influential men soon founded a Bible Society, whose meetings and labours, being henceforth tolerated, were abundantly blessed for the revival of scriptural Christianity; another Bible Society, founded upon motives that will eventually come under our consideration, has also been established since, and also blessed for the diffusion of God's word amongst Roman Catholics.
The printing of tracts and larger standard works of sound divinity, so impracticable before that they were often
published out of the territory, has taken a new impulse; and an evangelical French literature is rapidly forming.
However straightened in their own necessities, our churches no sooner began to enjoy a measure of peace and security, than they became alive to the sense of missionary obligations; and an efficient institution, training qualified young Christians for the noble task, has sent, and continues to send, heralds of salvation to perishing heathens.
Of the Societé Evangelique and the Societé Centrale, I must not speak here, having hereafter to give minute strictures upon both. But I may mention the admirable institution of les Diaconesses, or Protestant sisters of charity, which, under the pious and intelligent direction of its founder, Pastor Vermeil, has done much good, and has likewise so much added to the good name of Protestantism. I do not mean to describe, or even to mention all the branches of Christian instrumentality, in this kind of introduction to the letters which you have desired; but without encroaching upon what is to be said more at large, it was perhaps necessary to allude cursorily to the real state of things; and then, in connection with the main line of argument pursued here, can your conscience, dear friend, admit, that our fathers were wrong to accept the union with the State, and that their children ought to give it up easily?
I may now return to our ecclesiastical and civil constitution, properly speaking; and it will be the subject of my next letter.
The Benefits of Christ's Death, &c., origi nally written in Italian, by AONIO PALEARIO, &c., with an introduction, by the Rev. John Ayre, A.M. Religious Tract Society, (price 1s. 6d.)
THERE is a very singular history connected with this work. The author was a distinguished Italian. He was born in 1500. After passing many years at Rome, he was appointed professor of Greek and Latin, and lecturer on philosophy and rhetoric, in the city of Sienna. By a diligent study of the Scriptures, and the writing of the German Reformers, he became a decided Christian. In 1543, he published this little work on the Benefits of Christ's Death. It soon attracted
general attention, and was eagerly read by the people: 40,000 copies were sold in six years. It was said, that Cardinal Pole circulated it. The wrath of the Italian clergy, and the zeal of the Inquisition, were roused against the author. In spite of many friends high in power, Aonio was seized and cast into the dungeons of the Inquisition. One of the accusations against him was, that "he ascribed justification solely to faith in the mercy of God forgiving our sins through Jesus Christ." After remaining in prison for three years, he was sentenced to be suspended on a gibbet, and his body to be committed to the flames,-though, according to some authorities, he was burned alive.
In a letter written to his wife before his, execution, he says, "The hour is now come when I pass from this life to my Lord, and Father, and God. I depart as joyfully as if I were going to the nuptials of the Son of the Great King; which I have always prayed my Lord to grant me through his goodness and infinite mercy." He entered into his rest about the year 1570. Aonio's work was translated into several languages. But so successful were the attempts of the Romish clergy and inquisitors to suppress it everywhere, that as late as the year 1840, the following curious notice of it, by Mr. Macaulay, occurs in the Edinburgh Review. Writing on "the revolutions of the papacy," he says,-"It was not on moral influence alone that the Catholic Church relied. In Spain and Italy, the civil power was unsparingly employed in her support. The inquisition was armed with new powers, and inspired with a new energy. If Protestantism, or the semblance of Protestantism shewed itself in any quarter, it was instantly met, not by party-teasing persecution, but that sort which tears down and crushes all but a very few select spirits. Whoever was suspected of heresy, whatever his rank, his learning, or reputation, was to purge himself to the satisfaction of a severe and vigilant tribunal, or to die by fire. Heretical books were sought out, and destroyed with unsparing rigour. Works which were once in every house, were so effectually suppressed, that no copy of them is now to be found in the most extensive libraries. One book, in particular, entitled 'the Benefits of the Death of Christ,' had this fate. It was written in Tuscan, was many times reprinted, and was eagerly read in every part of Italy. But the inquisitors detected in it the Lutheran doctrine of justification by faith alone. They proscribed it; and it is now as utterly lost, as the second decade of Livy."
But this precious seed was not lost; but only for a time buried until a spring should come. That spring seems to have now come for Italy, inasmuch as liberty of conscience has been obtained, and the Church of Christ is free to publish every
where, and in any form, the everlasting Gospel. An English copy of Aonio's work was discovered three years ago, and has been published by the Religious Tract Society. No Italian copy has yet been found. But we understand, that a translation into Italian is being made; and thus, in the wonderful providence of God, the long buried seed may grow again in Italy, and bring forth much fruit to God; and Aonio may again be honoured to make known upon earth "the benefits of Christ's death," which, we doubt not, he himself experiences in glory now.
We can afford space for one extract only, upon
FAITH AND WORKS.
"By faith are we justified and saved; and therefore St. Paul doth, in a manner, always call those saints whom we now call Christians; who, if they have not Christ's spirit, are none of Christ's; and, consequently, no Christians at all. But if they have the spirit of Jesus Christ to rule and govern them, we must not doubt, but that although they know well that they be made righteous through faith only, yet for all that they will become never the more slothful to do good works. For Christ's Spirit is the spirit of love; and love cannot be idle, nor cease from the doing of good works. But good works, except he know himself to be if we will say the truth, a man can do no become righteous by faith; for before he knoweth that, his doing of good works is rather to make himself righteous, than for the love and glory of God; for he defileth all his works with self-love, for the love of himself and his own profit. But he who knoweth himself to become righteous by the merits and righteousness of Christ, (which he maketh his own by faith,) laboureth happily, and doth good works all day, for the love and glory of make himself righteous. And therefore Christ, and not for love of himself, or to it cometh, that the true Christian (that is, to wit, he who accounteth himself righteous by reason of Christ's righteousness) asketh not, whether good works be moved and favoured with a certain virtue recommended or not; but being wholly of godly love, he offereth himself willingly to do all the works that are holy and Christian-like, and never ceaseth to do
Those beings only are fit for solitude who are like nobody, who like nobody, and are liked by nobody.-Zimmerman,
"Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification."-ROM. XV. 2.
A POOR working-man is apt to think that he is of very little importance in the world. I do not wonder at this. He hears the rich, the great, the eloquent, and the powerful, much spoken of; and he perceives of what importance they are; but as for himself, he is hardly known, even by name, to his nearest neighbours. Whether he is happy or sorrowful, welldoing or ill-doing, alive or dead, what matters it to them! how much less to the town, or to the parish in which he lives-nothing at all to the great world! He thus fancies himself to be like a leaf in the forest, unnoticed while it grows, and never missed when it withers and dies. He feels himself a small, valueless fraction, in the immense mass of mankind, whose presence does not sensibly increase, or whose absence does not sensibly diminish the great whole. Such
thoughts as these often produce a careless, selfish spirit; and if they do not stir up a wicked and unloving feeling towards God, (as if even He did not know, or care for us!) they frequently give rise to unkindness towards our fellowmen. For I have more than once heard a working-man ask, in the bitterness of his soul, "What am I to others, and what are others to me?" I have known many, under the influence of such feelings, "hide themselves from their own flesh;" and nothing is more common than to hear people say, and that, too, with pride and self-satisfaction, "We don't meddle with our neighbours, and we do not wish our neighbours to meddle with us." "We keep ourselves to ourselves." Now, I am sure you will admit, that wherever this spirit exists, it is not the spirit which is breathed in this beautiful command:-" Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification;" nor is it the Spirit of Him by whose example the command is enforced, for even Christ pleased not Himself!"
But yet no two errors are more common
in daily life, than supposing, either that others are of no importance to us; or that we are of no importance to others. These errors stand and fall together. The moment we discover how much our state is affected by others, that moment we also discover how much the state of others is affected by our own. Now, when you ask, "What are others to me?"
as if they really were nothing to you!is impossible that you seriously believe this to be true, or that you can imagine yourself to be so separated from your kind as to be beyond the reach of their influence. Let us consider the matter calmly. If you were in deep family affliction-if you had lost a beloved wife or child, and your heart was breaking beside your lonely fireside-and if a neighbour, who was hitherto almost a stranger to you, entered your house, and spoke kind and sympathizing words to you-shed his tears with yours, and convinced you by his whole manner, that he felt for you with a brother's heart,-could you say then, "My neighbour is nothing to me?" If you and your family were confined to beds of sickness, with little in the house to support you, and everything going to wreck and ruin; and if this man or woman visited you, cheered you up with words of hope, shared their food gladly with you and your children, and with ready hand performed those little domestic duties to your household, which restored a look of comfort and neatness to your dwelling,-would such neighbours be nothing to you? If you were in spiritual difficulties and soul distresses; if in your hour of darkness, when temptations were overcoming you, when you were backsliding from God, or when you had fallen into sin, and were, by your own carelessness and godlessness, becoming separated from your best friends; yea, if when you were seeking to live without God in the world, a Christian neighbour came to you-not in the spirit of anger, to upbraid you, or
in the spirit of pride to trample you down-but, in the spirit of meekness and of love, to carry your heavy burden, making it his own; grieving over your misery; helping to restore you to God, and to restore you to yourself; if he affectionately warned you, encouraged you, read God's Word to you, and earnestly prayed with you,-tell me, would such a neighbour as this be nothing to you? I will not multiply the various ways in which a neighbour might please you for your good. And I need not ask, if such brotherly kindness would touch your heart. I know it would. Deeds far less considerate then these excite your gratitude; you feel that such neighbours would make the world look to you far brighter than it now does, and that life, in spite of its sorrows, would be a very sunshine. After such experience of good will from your fellow men, you would never again say, “My neighbour is nothing to me;" but you would rather confess with thankfulness: " my neighbour is everything to me; he is my help, my counsellor, my friend. I know not what I would have done without him." Ah! then, you cannot choose, but see what an effect such neighbours would have upon your good and happiness. And why? Is it because they were rich? No! for they are poor working people like yourself. Have they learning? not what the world calls learning. They can read God's Word, to be sure; and may be, have gathered no small share of wisdom from Bunyan, and Howe, and Henry, and Flavel, and Baxter, and Willison,-those holy companions of many a Scottish home. Are your neighbours much spoken about, then? Does the world know or care for them? No! they are humble unknown men and women; poor and unknown, as were Jesus Christ and His parents for many a day. What have they, then, which has made them of such importance to you? They have hearts, hearts touched with the Love of God and man. Silver and gold they had none; but what they had they gave to you,-tender sympathy, willing aid, sincere prayers, sweet and tender charity; and this, thank God, the poor can give the poor;
and upon the giving of this, depends the world's good and happiness, more than on aught else beside! Your neighbour has learned this grand lesson from His master,-not to please himself, but to please you for your good; he has trampled under foot the selfish and unchristian saying, "I keep myself to myself;" and he has put in its place one more worthy of a follower of Christ, "I give myself to thee." And though this poor neighbour is of little importance to the big, noisy world, he is of great importance to you. He is like the candle or the food in your house,-if the one was extinguished, and the other removed, neither would be missed by the world; but they would be greatly missed by yourself and by your family.
But if you now see clearly how others may tell upon your good and happiness, I hope you also see how, in the very same way, you may tell upon the good and happiness of others. What does any neighbour do to you which you may not do to others? He commenced this kind intercourse. Until he entered your door, you had no idea there was so much love in the world,-you had hard thoughts of men; but this kind brotherly dealing gives you a new view of things. You begin to think, that such Bible texts as these,-"Be kindly affectioned one towards another, in honour prefering one another;" "Bear ye one anothers' burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ;" "Consider one another, and provoke to love and to good words;" "Love seeketh not her own ;"- -are not heard from the pulpit or read in a book merely; but are seen in living epistles, and are read in the lives of Christian men. Nay, that Christian neighbour has brought out of your own heart, feelings of gratitude, kindness, and sympathy, which you thought were dead; but which were only sleeping there; and, by so doing, he has made you better,-he has made you happier. Well, then, what He has been to you, you may be to others. Go thou and do likewise. Some of your neighbours have hard, or indifferent thoughts of you, as you once had of the world. Go and change them! Some are saying, "We have heard of Christianity,