« VorigeDoorgaan »
such results as justice, religion, and the ence should be made to his authority as permanence of the Establishment demand. the original of all law, the fountain of all
The storm will, however, we trust and honour, and the source of all strength; believe, still blow over. The rejection by whom nations flourish, and kings reign, of the Reform Bill by the Lords was suc- and princes decree justice. And happy ceeded by a resolution of the Commons, . is it both for monarch and people, when expressive of confidence in ministers; that reference is extended beyond the sowhich has been followed by numerous lemnity of a single oath, and of one day's addresses from all parts of the country, religious service, and made the whole entreating them not to resign, and be- tenor of their mutual relation, and the seeching the king to create, if necessary, principle of government, and the bond of a sufficient number of new peers to carry social life. If the word of God be true, the bill next session. It were a far bet- and if the history of the past be not deter alternative that the opposing lords, ceitful, evil will sooner or later befal that baving done all that was in their power nation which loses sight of the sovereignty to prevent the passing of the bill, should of Jehovah, and substitutes other founcome to such an understanding with Go- dations for the duties of public society, vernment as would prevent this extreme than those which have been everlastingly
Ministers pledge' themselves laid by himself. Evil will befal that nato stand or fall by their bill; and have tion where the maxims of a temporising stated their intention of bringing in ano- and secular expediency are permitted to ther not less efficient next session; which is supersede the motives and rules which to commence as soon as the exhaustion of are drawn from the fountain of eternal the members of both houses and the ne- truth, and where the ruling providence of cessary preliminary arrangements will God, and the supremacy of the Gospel, permit. The King, in proroguing parlia- if they be not in terms denied, are not ment, has expressed his unaltered desire recognized as influencing the councils of to promote such a constitutional reform princes, nor as affecting the welfare of in the Commons' House of Parliament
It is, we would fain believe, raas will secure to the people the full ther to be attributed to the fastidious reenjoyment of their rights of representa- finement of modern society than to a real tion.
decay of religious principle among us; We have not space to dwell on the that even in our own country, so remarkother topics of the speech. His Majesty ably favoured and protected by the Most expresses his sincere satisfaction in the High, his providence is less frequently measures for the amendment of the game referred to, and his glory less ostensibly laws, the reduction of taxes, and the sought in our public acts and measures improvement of the laws of bankruptcy. than it was wont to be. We fear it can All these are salutary enactments, as hardly be said of us as a nation, that we well as the church bills, and, we may acknowledge God in all our ways, or give add, the new vestry act, though we are unto the Son the glory due to his name. not satisfied with some of its provisions, “ Yet it is not enough for the ends wbich, had the act passed before discussion of national piety that religion is merely became so warm, might have been modi- tolerated, or permitted to enjoy the prified.
vileges which she inherits from antiquity, We lament to read another King's and left to diffuse, as best she may, her Speech as destitute of any allusion to salutary influences through the mass of God or Providence, as if we were a na- the community : it is necessary that she tion of atheists. The duke of Welling- · should be recognized and honoured in pubton's cabinet first began, either thought- lic acts, by those who frame and those who lessly or systematically, to omit all such administer the laws.” allusions in these national documents, We earnestly recommend these solemn and the present ministers have continued considerations to the reflections of every the irreligious practice. Had the cabinet lover of his country, and every man who 80 soon forgotten the excellent admoni- desires to promote the honour of God. tions of the Bishop of London, in his Whether it be from fastidiousness, as his sermon at the coronation ? We will copy lordship would charitably believe, or from the passage, with its context, as the whole impiety, certain it is, that our public doof it is highly important, and has not pro- cuments have not of late years borne bably
met the eye of our readers. strong witness that we are a nation pro“ The duties of righteous government fessedly in covenant with God; and in on one side, and of allegiance and fealty truth this very fastidiousness, this notion on the other, do not depend upon any of its being in bad taste to speak and act outward ceremonies, nor any formal de- as becomes Christians, is itself melanclarations, but are of intrinsic and neces- choly proof of the declension. sary obligation.
Yet since that obliga- The formidable disease known by the tion depends upon the will of God, as name of the Cholera Morbus, having adinferred from the constitution of human vanced westward as far as Hamburgh, nature, and as declared in his word, it is ex- our Government are taking every precaupedient and profitable that a direct refer- tion to prevent its reaching this country. They strongly urge the formation of local of the newspapers, and is every where associations throughout the kingdom, es- procurable. Hitherto our country has pecially on the sea coast, to act as may be escaped the slightest symptom of the necessary, in case of danger. The great- disease; but who shall say that it may not est apprehension seems to be from the be permitted by an Almighty Providence intercourse of smugglers, who will be to visit our shores; and that its ravages tempted to unwonted activity and arti- among our dense population may not befice in their unlawful occupation, in con- come so formidable, that every man shall sequence of the impediments to legiti- seem from day to day to carry his life in mate commerce with the infected places. his hand. Surely such a scourge, or the Government strongly warn the inhabit
very threate of its possibility, should ants of maritime districts to do their ut- call us as a nation, and as individuals to most to prevent this illegal intercourse. humble ourselves under the mighty hand No specific remedies for the disease of God, and to beseech him, for his have been discovered ; and little direc- mercies' sake, to avert his sore judgtion can at present be given in case of ments from us. Especially ought it to its breaking out, except the suggestions call on the true servants of Christ of contained in the Report of the Medical every name to unite together in peace Board appointed by Government to exa- and love ; forgetting minor differmine into the subject. These are such ences, and only studying how in the moas cleanliness, ventilation, wholesome ment of public alarm and danger, they diet, and abstinence from ardent spirits ; may best turn the visitation to salutary promptly separating infected persons account, and urge men amidst the uncerfrom others; and at the first attack of tainty of human life always uncertain, the disorder, giving the patient such pro- but doubly felt in such times to be sobable remedies as experience may war- to build their hopes upon a rock which
We need not copy the Report, cannot be shaken by the storms of a temwhich is long, as it has appeared in most pestuous world.
ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS.
R. C.; D. M. P.; J. B.; A FRIEND; D. D.; J. R.; 0. B.; T. G. I.; BETA;
A. R. C.; A.; C. D.; J. G. M.; Viator EccLESIASTICUS; LYSIAS; J. O. ; A VERY CONSTANT READER ; several CONSTANT READERS; and ÁN AF
FECTIONATELY ATTACHED READER; are under consideration. We could not make out the theology of some of H. A.'s lines; as, for instance, the
last two of the first stanza. A THIRD SCRUTINEER reminds his predecessors that it was Bunyan (see his Life, by
Southey, p. 74) who made the remark they allude to; and observes, that, considering the times and persons, there was nothing to call for censure in it; the honest preacher merely intending to express his feeling when he found that the opinions of his congregation corresponded with some emotions of self-satisfaction after the delivery of an impressive sermon. We think it unnecessary to insert A. B.'s “more last words on Miss Fancourt's
cure;" for though it was "only yesterday” that he met with the case, it has been before the readers of the Christian Observer to satiety, and his solution of it has been long ago suggested by Mr. Newnham and others. Some parts of his paper
might also be considered as a medical advertisement. If TRINITARIUS will get the Sackville-Street Committee, or the Naval and Military
Bible Society Committee, to acknowledge his paper as speaking their sentiments, we will insert it. As it is, we sincerely think they would consider it as injuring, not furthering their object. For Trinitarius speaks plainly, and to the point : he trusts that this proposal of separating one class of persons from our Bible Societies will eventually be the means of removing by degrees other unchristian characters also ;" he considers—so we understand him—that his Sackville-Street friends cannot conscientiously unite in distributing Bibles with any person of known immoral character, or unscriptural sentiment; and he states, that the Edinburgh Bible Society has already begun with excluding Roman Catholics. Now this is precisely what every person who calmly considered the matter saw from the first must be the result; for if any test is demanded, another and another must continue to be applied, till we have a whole code of doctrine like the Athanasian Creed, or our Thirty-nine Articles, or rather as many codes as there are sects, and almost individuals. Thus, instead of a charitable society, for a specific object, fixed and unalterable, and in which all professed Christians can conscientiously concur, we shall have so many new churches with suitable tests of membership. We have, ourselves, long been members of such a society—the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge ; but this is a Tract Society, and was a School and Missionary Society, and may need tests, which a Bible Society does not; but even this has not always kept out unworthy or heterodox members. Trinitarius is right: the plan once commenced must go much farther than is at present avowed ; and where it is to stop no man can predict. The whole error comes of laying down any other test than that of a man's professing to believe the word of God, and being willing to contribute towards its distribution. Trinitarius carries the views of the Naval and Military Bible-Society Committee much farther than they do themselves; at least, we have never heard of its being their wish to put away all known irreligious and immoral persons from their Society; If they will express their intention to do this wherever it is practicable, we shall think their conduct consistent: and having begun to lay down a test they ought on the principles of Trinitarius to do this, and to make the test so strict as to keep out some of their own officers and subscribers. We only ask for a plan, simple, scriptural, and consistent; but no such plan have we seen : nay, we find several of the most active members of the Sackville-street Committee, signers of their protest, and the very individuals who have been loudest in their denunciation of unhallowed amalgamations, corresponding as officers of the Western Irish Relief Committee, with the DruryLane Theatre Ball Committee, and offering to take charge of the moneys thus sinfully collected, and to apply them to the sacred purposes of Christian charity; and this notwithstanding the Western Committee professed to be set up from religious motives, in opposition to the Cornhill Committee; it being alleged that the way in which secular committees managed such matters promoted the influence of the Roman-Catholic priests, by allowing them to assist in distributing their bounty. In all this there is no consistency:
What can Socinians and Irish priests say to these things ?
Is all the contamination in one quarter? Is there none in a ball at a theatre ? Why was there no protest against taking these wages of iniquity? The proposal of A. F. which he suggests would settle the Bible Society question,
-(namely, to add after the word “Christians,” in the society's ninth regulation, the folìowing definition: “ That is, all who believe in the Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Trinity of persons in the Godhead,") would only unsettle it still more: for if once we begin defining, few men will be contented with their neighbour's definition. We should not ourselves be contented with A. F's. Why does he pass over the Divinity of the Holy Ghost, when he mentions that of our Lord Jesus Christ? or if he includes it in the second head, where is the need of the first ? And does he mean to say, that all are Christians in a spiritual sense who subscribe to this brief creed? Or does he abandon the spiritual sense, and use the word only statistically; then we see not how he can exclude any who profess to be baptized into the name of Christ, as even the Socinians do. We should not, however, object to the insertion of the word “professed” before the word " Christians” in the society's rule, if that will relieve any person who thinks that the word without an epithet is objectionable: but we really see no reason for it. The Bible Society gives no opinion, as to who are, and who are not, true servants of Christ ; in rejecting Captain Gordon's motion, it did that and no more ; the declining to receive an objectionable or
unnecessary amendment, not being meant for an exposition of faith. We respectfully submit to “ A Lover of Peace" the following passage from one of
the sermons of the late Dr. Middleton, Bishop of Calcutta. There are errors on both sides. “ Let me caution you against the easy mistake, that you are standing fast in one spirit, if in truth you are sunk into indifference. Men are apt to believe that they agree in religion, and even take credit to themselves for the agreement, when the subject does not sufficiently interest them to afford any cause of discussion. Unity is indeed precious in the sight of God, and lovely in the eyes of men: but remember that religious unity supposes that we are really religious; in no other case does it deserve the name : and in candour I must admit, that better are differences when all are in earnest, than the mere semblance of Christian agreement
when the great and vital doctrines of the Gospel are little regarded." Some passages of wild fanaticism have been sent us, purporting to be extracts from
discourses preached by an Irish clergyman of the name of Arinstrong; and, also, some communications relative to certain alleged scenes at Mr. Irving's church. We know nothing of the matters to which our correspondents advert, except what has been detailed, truly or falsely, in the newspapers. We incline to let the matter alone, to cure itself, as eventually it must. If either Scripture or common sense had been listened to, such excesses would never have occurred; and we fear that it would be useless to attempt to oppose such extravagances by argument. We can only remind our correspondents of what we said last March, in reply to Mr. M`Neile ; “ To appeal to the ignorant fanatics of Port-Glasgow were vain ; but we do even yet hope that those persons of understanding and education who have, directly or indirectly, encouraged such delusions, will pause before it be too late, and return to the good old paths of scriptural sobriety and truth. Let them look at the declivity which is before them, and oppose these new extravagances with the same zeal with which they opposed the delusions of Brothers or Joanna Southcot. No opinion which Mr. M'Neile has taken up seems to us to tend to so much practical evil as this of modern miracles.” “ If once indulged, the evils are inevitable ; in proof of which we need only remind Mr. M`Neile of the whole page of history, with most earnest warnings and exhortations to him not to give countenance to a delusion the results of which he may be among the foremost to lament when it is too late to controul them.”
SUPPLEMENT TO RELIGIOUS INTELLIGENCE.
BRITISH AND FOREIGN BIBLE SOCIETY. We know not when we have seen a Number of the Monthly Extracts which contains
more encouraging proofs than the present, from various parts of the world, of the blessing of God upon the labours of this invaluable institution. The testimonies in favour of the principles on which it is formed are accumulating on every side ; and many of the resolutions and addresses of Auxiliary Societies are drawn up with so much piety and wisdom, and in so truly Christian a spirit, that we feel persuaded the issue will be for good, and tend greatly to enlarge the bounds of the Society, and to attach its members by new ties of affection and a more intelligent under. standing of the excellence of its constitution. These results have invariably followed in the case of all the attacks which have been made upon this much calumniated, but we believe invulnerable, institution ;-invulnerable, we mean, not in the vain confidence of human strength, but in the armour of God, its aim being simply to distribute his holy word without any addition of man's ignorance or wisdom.
ANTI-SLAVERY REPORTER (No. 89). The present Number of the Reporter contains a large portion of the two-fold species
of proof of the atrocious character of slavery; namely, individual cases of constantly occurring cruelty, and that large induction of statistical fact which, if no single instance of misery ever met the public eye, would be demonstrative of the aggregate horrors of the system. There is one hopeful symptom amidst the gloom; namely, that the colonists begin to think that the British Government are in earnest on the question. To the sample of their extraordinary language given in the Reporter, we might add the resolutions passed at other meetings, and ordered to be advertised in the London newspapers, in which the whole blame of this alleged “revolutionary” notion of abolishing slavery is laid to the great body of moral and religious persons in this country: Government, it seems, “ truckling to that mad and irresponsible party called saints,", "a fanatical party," "an interested faction," who make “ false, scandalous, and defamatory assertions ;” which assertions, however, the advocates of slavery have not been able to disprove. It is easy for the Christian Remembrancer and British Critic to join Blackwood and John Bull, in crying out that the Anti-Slavery Reporter is a mass of falsehoods; but why not detect a few of them, by way of sample ? why not confute some of its many facts, its statistics, its reprints of parliamentary documents and official correspondence ? No; these are prudently withheld, and a general notice is given in their place, that they are mere fábrications. The conduct of the Christian Remembrancer, in particular, in this matter is disgraceful to a publication professing moral probity, to say nothing of humanity and religion. We can only in charity conclude that the conductors, knowing nothing of the matter, unwittingly allow some person interested in it to abuse their pages to his own purpose.
HIBERNIAN SOCIETY. The peculiar circumstances of Ireland at this moment, and the intention of government
to withdraw its aid from the Kildare Place Schools, render the annexed appeal of the Hibernian Society peculiarly seasonable and important; and we shall greatly rejoice if we can further the Society's object. If the whole population of Ireland are to be educated, as proposed by Government, in conformity with the Reports of the Commissioners, upon a neutral plan during so many days in the week, leaving the parents, or the priest, and Protestant minister, to add such religious instructions on the other days as the parties may respectively approve, it will be doubly incumbent upon the friends of scriptural education to increase their exertions.
REFORMATION SOCIETY. We append the Monthly Extracts of this Society for last July. The Society has a
difficult and delicate task to discharge; and we earnestly pray that its friends may be enabled to conduct their exertions in such a temper of Christian meekness and wisdom as may, by the blessing of God, render them most effectual for opening the eyes and softening the hearts of those for whose conversion and salvation they conscientiously labour. Great responsibility will be involved in their choice of suitable agents, who ought to be men of tried spirit, of sober mind and sound doctrine, of great gentleness and patience, and who can well distinguish between the curious fancies of individuals, and those grand fundamental scriptural doctrines which are the basis of Protestantism, and the preaching of which ushered in the Reformation.
the importance of clerical meet- and all matters of civil orecclesiastical ings for conference and mutual edifi- policy, and strictly conform to that cation ; and have received at various salutary canon which forbids private times numerous inquiries relative to meetings of the clergy for impeachthe most profitable manner of con- ing the doctrines, government, or ducting them, the best subjects for discipline of the church. Their obdiscussion, and similar topics. It is ject is mutual advice, instruction, of great importance that they be and encouragement; personal ediconstituted upon a plan simple, use- fication, the drawing more closely the ful, and incapable of misconstruction. ties of brotherly regard, and the spiriThey should be friendly social meet- tual benefit of their respective flocks. ings : the number of members should Much of the advantages to be denot be inconveniently large (from rived from such meetings will depend ten to twenty may be a good upon the nature of the questions disaverage): the members should be cussed at them; for we take it for persons who in the main agree in granted that a regular question for their views of the great principles consideration will be announced at and precepts of Christian truth; dif- the previous meeting,—any member fering, it may be, in education, talent, being at liberty to propose a quesattainment, age, and standing in the tion, subject to the approbation of church, but united in one common his brethren. It will be desirable, desire to glorify God, to edify his for the purpose of order, that there church, to discharge their solemn should be a chairman, the members office with wisdom, faithfulness, and taking that office in rotation; and, to affection, as servants of Christ and prevent desultory conversation, that ambassadors for God; prepared to each should deliver his sentiments in counsel each other in matters of doubt his turn, the whole meeting taking ordifficulty,and to bear with each other minutes of the substance of the conin regard to those differences of opi- versation. The chairman will of nion which may honestly exist among course enter upon the book the the true disciples of the same com- names of the members present, the mon Master. But while of necessity subject of discussion, and any incithey must be persons agreeing in their dental memorandum. Beyond this general views of religious truth, they simple machinery, little or nothing must shun party-spirit, and give no will be requisite to secure the incause for offence or jealousy on the tended object. It will, of course, be CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 359.