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relentless in working out its principles, but otherwise friendly to the Church.”
It is too soon to speak of the consequences of this measure. Already, however, some precious fruits have made their appearance. The altered position of the Church is accepted, and the spirit of priestly assumption on the part of the bishops has disappeared. The position of the laity as members of the Church is recognised, their assistance and co-operation cordially welcomed, and a spirit of conciliation and charity appears to prevail. Increased liberty of action, freer and fuller intercourse with each other, efforts to arrive at the wisest and best modes of external order, and greater dependence of the clergy on the laity, can scarcely fail to promote greater freedom of thought, combined with closer inquiry into the standards of faith and their agreement with the written Word of God, and may, therefore, in the end lead to reform of doctrine as well as discipline. That such will be the case we cannot doubt, though the time may be yet distant.
IRISH CHURCH. The great question of ecclesiastical polity which has for some time past occupied the attention ofthe country and of Parliament is the disestablishmentand the disendowment of the Irish branch of the Church of England. We have not thought it necessary, nor desirable, to occupy our pages with any notices of the hot discussions which have preceded the passing of this measure. Its accomplishment places the Episcopal Church in Ireland in the position of all the other churches. It is no longer the State Church, and in the end will not possess, except to a limited extent, the large revenues previously in her possession. The change will affect the social position of the clergy, who will become more dependent on their congregations. That it will impair the efficiency and usefulness of the Church is strongly asserted by some, and as earnestly denied by others. The ground on which it has been mainly advocated, is that of justice to Ireland, which, as a Catholic country, not unreasonably complained of having imposed upon it the Church of the minority as the established religion. This plea is admitted by the Guardian, which, in its issue of July 28, writes : “Let us say frankly that we record the settlement of this great question with sincere satisfaction, by no means unalloyed with pain. To us the bill has not been what it is to a multitude of persons whose judgment we respect, and with whom we generally agree-á wicked and sacrilegious piece of spoliation, not only dangerous to property, but certain to be injurious to far higher and more sacred interests; if it were, we should not be reconciled to it by anything that has been either done or attempted in the House of Lords. We have seen, and see, in it a measure directed to remove a real grievance, to put an end to a state of things which has always seemed to us incapable of defence, and to do what (had it been done in another country, had the Church disestablished been Roman Catholic, and the population Protestant) every one would have welcomed as a great act of justice-a measure honestly and carefully framed,
RELIGIOUS OPINION IN GERMANY.
A fearful crime has given marked attention to the present condition of Protestant Germany. On Sunday the 8th of August, as the officiating priest in the Cathedral Church of Berlin repeated the words, “I believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost," a young man rising from a front seat exclaimed, “You lie ?" and immediately fired a pistol at the head of the clergyman. The perpetrator of the crime was arrested on the spot, and in answer to the questions of his examination, stated that he had been partly educated for the ministry of the Established Church, but had renounced the idea of the ministry from a perception of the falsehood of the creed, and his disgust when he perceived that many of those who professed to believe it were liars at heart, while others listened with contemptuous indifference. A morbid imagination had led him to the conclusion that some striking deed was indispensable to rouse the public mind from its apathy; and he deter
mined to seize the first favourable exploded by the moral, historical and opportunity that offered for shooting a scientific criticisms of the day, they clergyman while in the act of uttering have begun to doubt whether any what he regarded as his perjuries. teaching on transcendental subjects can
The clergyman providentially escaped be required to promote virtue. Most, the ball of the assassin, but the circum- indeed, profess to believe in God and stance has formed the occasion of a immortality,” though with confused letter, on the general state of religious notions of the relations between the opinion in Germany, by the correspon- Creator and His creation. Others, dent of the Times.
“go the length of questioning the “The event,” says the writer, “throws possibility of God's interfering with the a light upon the sad state of religion self-supporting machinery of the world, in this country.
I am afraid the and look upon prayer as a pagan rite, prisoner was right in supposing that and sometimes become so irrational as many will appreciate his motive, though to consider the very existence of God they will abhor the deed. I have pre- as problematical. By the side of these viously stated in these columns that cultivated infidels the masses vegetate three-fourths of all educated men in in traditional attachment to the forms Germany are estranged from the dog. of Christianity without any warm inmatic teaching of the Christian creed terest for or against the dogma." estranged from it to the extent of dis- And what now are the prospects of believing the sincerity of many of the deliverance from this sad condition of clergy. Only a small fraction of the society? “A small fraction of educated nation attends Divine service; the men view with sorrow the absence of educated men, more especially, you definite religious convictions in the meet in church on a Sunday are few people.
endorse and far between." As an example of the notions of the majority respecting the few who attend Divine service, the the obligation of the ancient creeds ; writer gives an example of a public but they are persuaded that the human service at Wildbad, where, out of reason suffices to establish the small eighteen hundred visitors, five men number of religious axioms they supand twenty women were all who at- pose to be required for the safe guidtended. “It is true," continues this ance of our career on earth. They concorrespondent, there is a sprinkling of sider it a grave duty to make this faithful believers left in every part of loftiest use of our reasoning faculties, the country, and “there are whole dis
and expect that some great tricts in which Protestant or Catholic man will arise or some committee of orthodoxy may be said to prevail to excellent individuals be formed, to
But these are exceptions. take the initiative in the presumed ... In whatever section of society sacred work.' “They believe in God, you may happen to move, there is hope for immortality, and acknowledge the undeniable fact that the dogma- our inability to form by human reason tism of St. Athanasius and the statutes alone an estimate touching our condiof the Council of Nice have entirely tion in a future state. They are not ceased to be a living power. Scholars agreed on the questions of personal have begun to denominate Christianity responsibility and the power of prayer;" as an Asiatic religion, and the public, and they regard Christ, not as a person proud of their vaunted European en- of the Trinity but “as the most sublime lightenment, accept the degrading phenomenon in the history of manname.
kind.” In the midst of this rejection of the This letter, as was to be expected, prevalent forms of Christian belief there has given rise to considerable corresis no religious movement going on to pondence and comment. Mr. Ernest restore society to a healthful Christian de Bunsen, a son of the late Baron faith. “The majority of the educated Bunsen, denies the accuracy of the in their insidious march towards ra- picture, but his admissions weaken the tionalism, have advanced beyond ac- force of his denial, and he agrees with knowledging the necessity of any creed. the Times' correspondent, that the Not content with rejecting the Bible, majority of Germans have ceased to be whose dogmas they regard as entirely Protestants in Luther's sense, or in the
sense attached to the term by any Pro- primary judicial body of each congregatestant creed whatever. Orthodox pro- tion. The accused contented themselves fessors, according to both these authori- with protesting against the right of the ties, are agreed with moderate Latitud- session to institute such an inquiry. inarians and Rationalists. The Rev. The session referred for instructions to Charles Wright of Boulogne, formerly the presbytery, which directed them to British chaplain at Dresden, contends proceed. The matter was not allowed, that faith is on the increase. The however, to remain with the Church. clergy, he says, are returning to ortho- Writers in the public press entered into doxy, but it will be the work of many the conflict, and opened up the quesyears to lead back the people. The tion as to how far the members of the German correspondents of the Eng- Church are bound to hold in absolute lish Independent and Nonconformist, strictness the doctrines of the authorized who look at this question from creeds. The creeds thus came under the standpoint of English Dissenters, review, and in a leader on this conboth agree in the correctness of the troversy the Pall Mall Gazette says, general delineation of the subject, though “The Standards' of the Free Church in some of its features they think it contain propositions, laid down in the less dark than the truth demands. most absolute and unflinching words, Both these writers give very startling from which clergymen and laymen nowfacts in support of their assertions. a-days almost unanimously recoil. Of
Such then is the end to 'which mis- the thirty-three chapters of which the taken systems of faith and erroneous Confession consists, there is hardly one modes of biblical exposition have led that could be now accepted in its primithe nation. A widespread Naturalismi tive sense. Who among modern divines is the result of the setting up of three and laymen would like to stand up and distinct objects of Christian worship, say that in the plain sense of the word instead of adoring the Father in the he believes that God created or made Son. A destructive Rationalism has of nothing the world and all things resulted from the separation of the therein in six days ;' that by the spirit from the letter of the Word ; and decree of God for the manifestation of a night of spiritual darkness has set- His glory some men and angels were tled upon the Church. What can remove fore-ordained to everlasting death ;' this sad and fearful condition? Only that after providing for the redemption the confession of the Lord as God, and of the elect, the rest of mankind God the restoration of the Word in its spirit was pleased, according to the unsearchand its power to its distinct authority able counsel of His own will, whereby in the Church.
He extendeth or withholdeth mercy as
He pleaseth, for the glory of His sove. HERESY IN SCOTLAND.
reign powerover His creatures, to pass by The progress of religious inquiry has and to ordain them to dishonour and affected the Church of Scotland quite as wrath for their sins, to the praise of powerfully as that of England. The His glorious justice;' that the officers minds of the teachers and the taught oscil- of the Church have the keys of the late between the new and the old. The kingdom of Heaven, by virtue whereof creeds remain, but they no longer ex- they have power to retain and to remit press the intellectual thought of the sins, and to shut the kingdom against more intelligent classes of either the the impenitent;' that by the fall of clergy or the laity. Occasionally a Adam and Eve their descendants 'belittle extra zeal is manifested to ferret came wholly defiled in all faculties and out heresy, which only ends in making parts of soul and body, that the guilt manifest the extent of divergent opinion of this sin was imparted, and the same in the Church. An example of this death in sin and corrupted nature conkind has occurred at Coupar-Angus. veyed to all their posterity ;' that Two of the lay members of the Free .elect infants dying in infancy are reChurch congregation at this place were generated and saved '—a tolerably suspected of holding erroneous opinions broad damnation of unelect infants, or on the questions of predestination, that the doctrine is to be detested' eternal punishment, &c., and were cited which pretends that 'men not professto appear before the kirk-session, the ing the Christian religion can be saved
by any other way whatever, be they decreed that every member of a Scottish ever so diligent to frame their lives Church must believe what the Westaccording to the light of nature and the minster Confession sets forth, there will law of that religion they do profess?' be such a disruption as has never yet Nor are these shocking propositions been seen even in that country. And more set aside tacitly than such other beyond such a disruption, who can say practical injunctions as those which what lies ? Nor, even if the Church direct that the whole of Sunday is to courts find means to stop the perilous be spent in the public and private examination into the obligatory charexercise of devotion, and in works of acter of their creeds, before a positive necessity and mercy, or that the civil decision is compelled, is it possible that power is bound to suppress all heresies, the thinking portion of the people, now or that such as profess the true re- roused to consider what it is that they formed religion should not marry with and their teachers are understood to infidels, Papists, or other idolaters.' profess, should not feel driven to decide In short, it may be asserted that the for themselves, whether they will allow Calvinism of the seventeenth century is their liberty to be circumscribed, even not that of the nineteenth, and that in form and theory within the limits of the Church of Scotland would as little doctrines which in their consciences enact now-a-days the Westminster Con- they repudiate ?" fession as the Church of England would ordain the Athanasian Creed. But in MELBOURNE, VICTORIA.—The Society both cases there is the creed, and what of the New Church in Melbourne, Vicis to be done with it is the difficulty.” toria, has now been in existence for
Here, indeed, is the difficulty, and fifteen years, during which period it has here also is the question of the day- fully experienced the trials incident to What is to be done with it? The a new country, and ever-changing state Church is in a transitional state, old of the population, with which all rethings are slowly, but surely passing ligious parties here have had to contend; away. The creeds of the past no longer but at the same time has maintained satisfy the demands of the present. the ordinances of worship regularly, Neither priests nor people can be bound in decency and order. The enrolled to their narrow and unscriptural teach- members at the present time number ings. Yet all are still required to about thirty persons, but this must not accept these worn out symbols of their be regarded as indicating the number of faith. They may be signed with mental those who are receivers of, or friendly reservation,” or with “reasonable con- to the doctrines of the New Church in struction to the words,” but they are Melbourne, and the colony generally, there as a serious bar to upright and very many such keeping aloof from tender consciences, and an impediment external profession on the ground of the to the intellectual and moral progress of Society not possessing the advantage of the Church. An influential and growing an ordained minister; and it is felt that party in the Church of Scotland, at the without this great benefit, not only will head of which is Principal Tulloch, re- our number not be likely to increase, commend e rejection as as possible but that as a Society we cannot hope to of all positive enunciations of doctrine progress in spiritual knowledge and on theological questions. On this theory edification in divine things, or to the words of the writer in the Pall Mail exercise such
use as we ought in the Gazette are worthy serious attention- community. But though feeling pain“How a Church is to be constituted fully our want in this respect, our without some form of agreement, and numerical weakness and depressed cirhow such form is to be expressed is in- cumstances render it impracticable for deed a matter of the very gravest us to give, as we would desire, a definite difficulty: Men everywhere shrink invitation to a minister of the Church from it, but sooner or later it must be to come and take the pastoral oversight faced. It will not be strange if the of our Society. crisis should first come in Scotland, But we feel satisfied that if, in the where the fetter of creeds is at present good providence of the Lord, such a riveted most firmly. At least it seems shepherd was to come amongst us, certain that if it be authoritatively though the beginning might be small,
there would soon be a large increase. parts of the States and one from Canada. He would find the nucleus of a Church, The assembly was presided over by the the members of which would lovingly venerable Dr. Worcester, assisted by unite to the extent of their ability in Mr. Scammon as vice-president. sustaining, and the circumstances of larger portion of time is given by the the place justify the hope that the cause Convention to religious exercises than would, by the Divine blessing, very in England, and this circumstance is soon become self-supporting.
not improbably one source of attraction It would be impossible, perhaps, to to the visitors who frequent its assem. find a sphere more eminently fitted for blies. In addition to the opening of a New Church minister, with a mis- the Convention each day by the reading sionary spirit and ability, to set forth of the Word and prayer, at noon a recess the doctrines of the Church in their is held, and a sermon preached by one scriptural character, to do so with of the ministers in attendance. At this greater hope of success. There are here service also the sacrament of baptism representatives of well-nigh every phase is administered—an opportunity being of religious profession, exercising to- thus afforded of public admission into wards each other a degree of catholicity the Church in presence of her assembled and mutual respect, to be looked for in members from all parts of the States. vain in the cities of the old world ; and The Convention has originated, and there are, both within the religious actively superintends by its several communities and outside their pale, committees a great variety of important very many of an inquiring spirit who,
These provide for the wants, and perhaps at present inclining towards aim to build up the Church in every scepticism, would willingly, it is be- part of their extensive country. Their lieved, listen to any views of truth missionary labours are actively prowhich would harmonize the statements secuted by several ministers, who devote of Divine revelation with the inductions their whole time, and others who give of modern science and the dictates of portions of their time to the work, enlightened reason.
and who combine with this labour the While, therefore, our Society would duties of colporteur. These labours not mislead by taking the responsibility have been directed both to the English of inviting a minister or leader, it is and German portions of the population, yet deemed by the committee a duty and have extended to the several States to place this plain statement before the of Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Church in England and America, with Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Misthe view of affording information, that souri, Tennesee, Georgia, South Caro. in this day, when many are
lina, Delaware, Connecticut, Massachuand fro," and thereby “knowledge is setts (where three ordained missionaries increased,” should any gentleman of are employed), New Hampshire, and suitable ability be led to think of com- Maine. The committee which has ing to these shores, he may understand had the superintendence of these ex. the circumstances of our position, and tended labours, say, in concluding their the reasons which would induce us to report, “Your Committee must express hope that his coming might not be in the belief that never has there been a
ALEX. MILLER, Treas. time when there was more need of
C. F. HENRY, Sec. missionaries, or when the promise of an MELBOURNE, July 1869.
abundant harvest was greater. We
believe that more minds have been GENERAL CONVENTION OF THE NEW called to become acquainted with the JERUSALEM IN THE UNITED STATES OF
writings of Swedenborg, and to attain AMERICA.-- The fiftieth Annual Session
some knowledge of the doctrines of of this Convention was held in the the New Church, than in any previous house of worship of the New York New
More of the works of the Church Church Society from the 16th to the have been spread through our com20th of June. Ten Associations were mon country by means of the press represented by one hundred and thirty- than in any previous year ; more have four ministers and delegates. In ad- been read ; and thus we believe that dition to these, members of the Church the public mind is gradually coinwere present as visitors from different
ing into a state of preparation to receive