Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

say that the magistracy ordered these Church in his country as in a lapsed works to be seized, and that the state; one of the proofs which he author, convicted as a calumniator by adduced was a discourse lately proone of the tribunals of the city, was nounced in the Consistory, to many sentenced to lose his civil rights, and parts of which he attributed a sense to be incarcerated eighteen months in directly opposed to that of the author. the common gaol. Death saved him He professed that the pastors had froin this punishment; his family, soine object, some secret which if composed of respectable persons, made revealed ut a certain epoch would an appeal on occasion of his decease; have ercited indignation ; insinuating here the affair ended. We sce with that the pastors had conceived some what kind of succours the enemies of mysterious and guilty project; whereas' the Genevan Clergy reinforced their this phrase, purposely detached from ranks.

its context, related merely to the Thirdly : about this time the pas- suppressing of confessions of faith, tors learned that they were to reckon resolved on in 1705, and kept secret amongst their professed adversaries during twenty years at the request of two men who were very different from the Government. M. A. Bost spared the Counsellor Grenus-two pastors, neither his masters nor professors ; who were going to reprint the Hel- he endeavoured to convince the peovetic Confession of 1566, with a Pre. ple that they were led astray, and he face explanatory of their inotives and extolled what he denominates the new religious principles. Ja vain the clergy church--that is, a few dozens of persent a deputation to the elder and sons who separated themselves from more gentle of the two, to represent the national church in 1817, and who to him that the publication of such a are headed by Messrs. Guers and Emwork might excite fresh disturbances, paytar. The passages on which he. and that if Christians saw their teach- founded his appeal to the separatists ers cpposing each other, and exhi- shewed at least his incapacity as a biting the Holy Scripture as self-con- critic; he blamed every thing which tradictory, it would produce mistrust proceeded from the pastors, and apand be injurious to their faith and proved every thing, even to the wripiety; that the pastors, therefore, tings of Grenus, which was inimical haring warned these two brethren of to them; he contemned as broken the danger to which they exposed re- cisterns, knowledge, improvement, ligion if they persisted in their under- reason, science and virtue. taking, threw all the responsibility on Beware! This new Omar, in the height themselves of the unhappy effects of his zeal, is for burning every thing. which might follow.

Fifthly. The heads of the New M. Cellerier, Sen. and M. Gaussen, Church, as they are pleased to term were not deterred from publishing it, put out several pieces all written their Confession of Faith and their with the same intention. However Preface; and what was the time indecorous and blameable the conduct chosen for the publication? That at of these persons has been, we must which the pastors were unjustly as- acknowledge, that in seceding, in the sailed, and at which silence was en- first instance, from the Church of joined by the civil authority. Neither Geneva, and boldly declaring themthe Confession nor the Preface pro- selves its opposers, they have given duced the impression anticipated by an example of integrity which ought these gentlemen ; they even brought to have been followed by inany of upon them the wrath of the Romish their disciples, who remained at first, priests, by speaking incorrectly of the and still remain, apparently attached worship of images. But I refrain to their National Church only for the from saying more on this subject, purpose of wounding that Church from the respect always felt for M. inore deeply. Cellerier, and more especially from Sixthly. We may number amongst the cousideration due to his son. the antagonists of the Genevan Clergy

Fourthly, M. Ami Bost published, the Pastors of Lauzanne, who broke in 1819, a work intitled Genève Re- off all communication with them ; at ligieuse, in which he represented the their head was Dean Curtat, who took every opportunity of speaking and Paris, and at Montauban ; 'amongst writing against the Genevans with all others, in an eulogium on Professor his wonted violence. He laughed at Encontre, the attacks on his neighbours, which Tenthly. M. Méjanel, who, in 1818, he beheld from the height of his or- wrote against the Pastors, and since thodoxy as from an impregnable fort; that time, employed by the Continenhe was ill able to conceal his joy when tal Missionary Society, has gone from he saw them insulted, nor did he slew place to place doing mischief. He was much repugnance to insulting them condemned some months ago to fine, himself; but he no longer laughed and imprisonment by a French tribuwhen the Methodists and young ec- nal, for having in various places set clesiastics, who had caught their fana- parishioners against their pastors, and ticism, inveighed against his faith and turned them to Methodism. his public instructions in the terms In the eleventh place. A little regiwhich he had considered so appro- ment of middle-aged ladies, who have priate to those of the clergy of Ge- just exchanged one passion for anoneva; he now lost his temper, his ther, or relieved the void of the heart indignation was roused, with a voice by adopting one; they have talked of thunder he cried shame on his ag- much against the Pastors of Geneva; gressors, and he had recourse to mea- armed with a small Bible, they have sures against them of inuch greater employed themselves as itinerant theseverity than those employed by the ologians in visiting artisans, rustics pastors of Geneva, which he had spo- and indigent persons, to convince them ken of with disapprobation. This of predestination, irresistible grace, man, otherwise intelligent, well-in- the inutility of good works, and the formed and full of zeal, is violently heresy of their pastors. We must, prejudiced against Geneva; he would say, however, that their erudition, speak of that city in the spirit of the their zeal, their eloquence, and even words formerly used, “ Can any good their alms, were generally incapable thing come out of Nazareth ?” of bafiling the unostentatious good

Seventhly. The Editor of the British sense of their countrymen. Critic, who, in his Number for July Twelfthly. A host of Methodists, of 1819, whilst affecting great care to both sexes, who cherish the prejudices hold the balance of judginent with an they bring hither by associating at even hand, shews his prepossession, Geneva with none but the enemies of and his partiality to the Thirty-nine the clergy, and who travel about, reArticles.

peating the accounts they have heard Eighthly. The Christian Observer, in the enemy's camp, without having which gives in June, July and August made the slightest effort to hear both 1820, meagre analyses of some ser parties. mons by M. Cellerier, Senior, and In the thirteenth place, and, above takes that opportunity to strike at all, (for he would be very much of, Ģeneva. According to the writer, it fended if he were passed by in silence) is a country in which a spirit of false M. Malan, who, by his own pamphlets and worldly philosophy teaches con- and those of his friends, and by his tempt for the great work of redemp- journeys and his preaching, moved tion. In his opinion, M, Cellerier is earth, and almost represented heaven the only individual who maintains as uttering an audible voice, to con his standing anongst a fallen clergy, vince men that Christianity and infal, &c. I did the Editor the honour to libility in Geneva were with him and believe that he was under a mistake; his partisans alone. I wrote to beg that he would correct the false statements, by which he Testimonies of Esteem and Confidence might unwillingly injure us; but he

given to the Clergy. proved that he was not unwilling to In the beginning of this contest injure us, by utterly disregarding my some adherents of the Pastors, with remonstrance, and neglecting to insert out giving their names to the public, my letter in his publication.

exerted themselves in the cause : the Ninthly. The Archives du Christi- first published two Letters to a Friend, anisme, in several articles written at the style of which was generally cena

sured as light and satirical ; the other,

No, I. a mild homily addressed to a friend of Gentlemen! religion. A young student and an “ The indignation excited by the inhabitant of Jura, likewise published recently renewed efforts to deprive some considerations in favour of the our pastors of the confidence of their clergy; after that, the press was not flock has been universal, although employed in their defence. At a productive of various impressions. By later period, when the most scurrilous some, these manoeuvres are regarded attacks were multiplied, the pastors, as too contemptible to deserve the reduced to silence by their magistrates attention of worthy men. Others and incapable of making their voice consider it imperative on the clergy to beard amid the clamours of their ad- repel in an energetic manner the atversaries, received from their flock tacks which have during some time highly gratifying testimonies of appro- been made upon them, to the great bation, which, added to the conscious- detriment of Protestantism and of ness of having performed their duty, all religion. Lastly, others, without mingled some sweetness with their forming any opinion on the conduct affliction, and administered some con- to be observed by the pastors under solation amidst their sufferings under these circumstances, feel anxious to this crusade of superstition and fa- testify, in an address to that effect, naticism.

the confidence, gratitude and attachOn the 12th of September, 1818, ment cherished in the bosoms of all they received the following letter from their people, and redoubled by the the Government: “ The Council of existing circumstances. This address, State, deliberating on the fresh at- in seventeen sheets, containing several tacks directed against the clergy, have hundred signatures, we have the horesolved to declare to them their nour of transmitting, with the inforopinion that the interests of religion, mation that other addresses will be the peace of the church and the dig- presented to you.” » The signatures aity of its ministers require that the follow. pastors should still refrain from the

No. II. controversies which have arisen on theological doctrines. The Council

Gentlemen and much-honoured Pasof State acknowledge the important

tors. services rendered to religion and mo " Finding our days of communion rality by the clergy; and feel a lively and of fasting a second time disturbed interest in the afflictions endured by by the efforts of fanaticism and the that venerable body, and entirely ap- libels of calumny, we have felt it our prove the wisdom and piety evinced duty to express to you the sentiments by them under auch difficult circum- universally excited by these fresh atstances. Whilst the Council of State tempts upon our religion and our are offering this testimony of full con- country. Whilst you, animated by fidence, inspired by the manner in the spirit of our Lord and Saviour which the pastors perform their func- Jesus Christ, are providing with so tions, they urgently

renew the request, much affection and zeal for the spithat the clergy will abstain from re- ritual wants of your flock, shall the pelling the charges against them, objects of your care remain silent and otherwise than by continuing to af- unmoved when the spirit of evil is ford an example of those virtues by called up to cast its venom on your which they have hitherto been so bo- ministry, and to rob you of the conDourably distinguished.

fidence you merit? No, if your *"* Signed, De Roches, Secretary of wounded bosons need consolation, it State."

is in the hearts of the faithful, that

you ought to find it, and that consolaThe clergy at the same period re- tion, thanks be to God! we are able ceived various addresses with many to offer. hundreds of signatures, in which their “ With whatever art hypocrisy has people manifested strong displeasure woven her web, how daringly soever against the machinations of the sec- .she has exposed it to sight, the church taries.

has discovered, and shuddered to dis

[blocks in formation]

cover, the snare which was laid for gard with calmness, but 'firmly to reher; in short, she beholds the perse- pel, thuse andacious attempts. Concution, the animosities, the number- tinue by your pastoral cares and your less evils that await her, if ever the affecting sermons, to lead us, as you spirit which directs the machinations have ever done, in the path of reliwe now witness should become tri- gion and virtue, and to shew us the umphant.

purity of your doctrine by the holiness “We could not be sensible of the of your lives; thus you will unceasperil which menaced us without turn- ingly instruct and improve those who ing to you, our honoured pastors, are under your care, and who are and acknowledging with more perfect worthy of pastors like yourselves. conviction the entire conformity of your Geneva, Sept. 17, 1818.” instructions, of your consolations and

No. IV. of your example with the doctrine and the spirit of our Divine Master.

The Theological Students to the “ We entreat you then, respected

Pastors. pastors, in the first place, to dismiss “ From the moment the Theologifrom your minds any anxiety respect- cal Students were made acquainted ing the effect that might have been with the fresh assaults on the veneproduced on your flock, either as to rable pastors, they were aniinated by their faith or the sentiments with the most powerful sentiment of indigwhich they regard their instructors, nation. Convinced that adversaries by the misrepresentations and calum- like yours deserved to be passed by nies lately propagated amongst us; in silence, and assured that you were and secondly, we entreat you never perfectly acquainted with the sentito depart from that system of wisdom, ments of the students towards you, charity and firmness which you have they resolved to take no active meachitherto pursued, and for which we sures on this occasion; but having now offer you our most sincere and learned that their conduct has by grateful acknowledgments,

some been misrepresented, they now “Our fervent prayers ascend to offer this expression of their attachthe Almighty for the success of your inent, and at the same time declare ministry and for your happiness even that they are animated by the same in this life, &c. &c.

spirit which actuates you, being per“ Geneva, Sept. 9, 1818.” suaded that the principle of the ReThe signatures follow.

formation is full and entire liberty of

examination and judgment. Having No. III.

before their eyes the example of wis"To the Rev. Pastors of the Church doin, firmness, kindness and charity, of Geneva.

given by you to all the Reformed

Church, they will walk in the path Gentlemen and much-honoured Pas- which your instructions and your contors.

duct point out as the way of truth; “ The members of your church and they implore the Almighty to would not have considered the daring pour his choicest blessings on your attacks on you in recent publications ministry and on their studies. deserving of their notice, if they had “ Be pleased, Gentlemen, to accept regarded merely the impotence of the these feeble expressions of the sentihands by which you are assailed, or ments of the Theological Students ; the power of truth by which you are who will ever remain your respectful, defended; but their indignation is &c.-Sept. 1818. In the name of all aroused by this unexpected renewal the rest,

Le Préteur." of the efforts of hypocrisy, by those cries of fanaticism which strike terror Churches of Switzerland, almost una

At the same period the Evangelical into the heart of true piety, by the nimously, addressed letters to the clerfire-brands of discord hurled into the gy amply denoting their affection and bosom of religious peace.

Devoted

confidence. to the duties of your office, and surrounded with our love and veneration,

(To be continued.] be pleased, respected pastors, to re

SIR,

may safely infer froin the pertinacity, Y attention having lately been with which the most gross corruptions superstitions of Pagan Idolatry, I have ages, and are still retained, by the been led into a train of reflection great majority of its professors. And which, if it may at all contribute to one thing appears certain, that unless illustrate the evidences of Christianity, a theology, which should have taken. will not be regarded as unprofitable. strong hold of the feelings, had been The question which arose in my mind substituted for that which had been was this, whether there be reason to displaced, the supposed subversion of think that without a divine interpo- idolatry would have been followed by sition these superstitions could have a period of general scepticism and irbeen banished from the world, and religion. But where was this theology a purer religion substituted in their to be found, or whence was it to be place. In considering this question sought? The boasted philosophy of the natural inquiry is, by what the ancients supplies no system which means, exclusive of Divine interfer- could have been brought hoine to the enee, such a revolution must have minds of men with sufficient authobeen effected, if effected at all. And rity to supply the place of opinions. the only means on which the imagina- rendered venerable by their antiquity, tion can fix are these, that men of and confirmed by every thing that can superior talents, who should have seen strengthen the impression of that the folly of the popular worship, would which men deem sacred. Indeed, the have endeavoured to enlighten the philosophers scarcely differed more more intelligent of their countrymen, from the vulgar in their opinions than and that as knowledge descends from from each other, and had they all the wise to the ignorant, the illumi- agreed, their arguments were too subnation would at length have reached tle, and their conclusions too uncerthe lower orders of society, till none tain, for general acceptance and utility. should have been left to believe what Nor could they have possessed any men of sense had universally rejected. influence which might have ensured And when the absurd theology which the admission of their doctrines, while had been received by inheritance had their arguments were not understood. been shewn to be as groundless as it Some, perhaps, will say that idolatry was irrational, it may be supposed having been once dismissed, the relithat juster views of religion would gion of nature must of necessity have easily have found their way into minds prevailed, or rather that the religion no longer occupied by prejudices of nature must ultimately, by its own which might prevent their reception. evidence, have banished idolatry from But he who knows any thing of human the world. Of the religion of nature nature, he who is aware of the force of much has been said both by Christians religious prejudice, and who also con- and Unbelievers, and if we are to besiders how little of the knowledge lieve what we are sometimes told conwhich enlightens the more intelligent cerning it, its truths are emblazoned members of a community ever makes in the heavens in characters which all its way to the vulgar, will see reason can read and which none can misunto doubt whether superstitions so derstand. This religion is said to deeply rooted as those of ancient Pa- teach with the utmost clearness the ganism could have been eradicated by unity and perfections of God, the docthe means supposed. To have effected trine of a universal providence, and such a work, must have required a the future existence and immortality long succession of intelligeni and re- of man. I believe that the world is flecting men, who should have em- wiser than in days of yore, and that ployed their labour upon the under- juster modes of thinking have been taking, and who should not have suf- adopted in modern, than what prefered themselves to be discouraged by vailed in ancient, times. But I do the opposition which they would have not believe that it is owing to this encountered, or by the slow progress advancement in wisdom that men of of the reformation which they were talents, not greatly above the common endeavouring to effect. For that its level, can now with a single glance of progress must have been slow, we the intellect clearly see the evidence

« VorigeDoorgaan »