number that are weak and sickly, and not a few that are ready to die.' We speak it in sincerity, although in much sorrow, that we have no reason to look upon ourselves as in a more satisfactory condition than our sister-coinmunities, while, at the same time, we have no cause to conclude that we are worse.”—(471.)

The great Wesleyan Conference reports the net increase of that body for the year, to be 3,180 upon an aggregate of 337,598. The Editor observes,

"This, however, is far from a satisfactory state of things in so important a community. This sum, divided by the number of the Societies, would give a very small result as the increase of each. Again, let it be remembered that this is the ascertained fruit of the labours of no fewer than 1685 holy and faithful men, all, with the insignificant exception of the supernumeraries, highly efficient, and most laborious. Again, dividing the converts by the ministers, we have a result of only two and a fraction to each: Poor work this for Methodism! But there is the noble army of local preachers; have they no claim to any share of this fruit? Again, there is a countless host of class leaders; are they to be allowed nothing ? Lastly, there is the mighty machine of the Wesleyan Sunday-schools ; is it to be considered wholly unproductive? In a word, considering the stupendous agency employed, the result is most lamentable!”—(p. 479.)

He then concludes in the following terms“Such, then, is an unvarnished statement of facts. But who can contemplate them without dismay? To what quarter shall the man of God look for comfort? Will he find it in the Established Church? No, verily! There is the utmost reason to believe that the power of God, to a fearful extent, has ceased to accompany the ministrations of the state-church clergy. Indeed, the stream of pure evangelism which formerly fertilized many a barren corner of our land, is now being rapidly lost in the Dead Sea of Puseyism. The evangelical clergy, as a class, are fast passing away. This fact exceedingly enhances the importance of Evangelical Dissent; if that shall fail, all is lost. The conclusion, then, to which we are led is, that the present state of things is painful and alarming in the extreme. Whether we look at our own land or at heathen climes, the fact is equally distressing. Small increase to the numbers of the saved is bad; the simple maintenance of our ground is worse ; but to be driven from it, absolutely to decrease in numbers, is worst of all! At this rate when shall the world be converted to God? Or rather, how long would it require till the churches should have died away, and the kingdom of Christ once more have given place to the kingdom of Satan, the god of this world? Under such circumstances the extension of the gospel whether at home or abroad, ceases to be a question. The streams must ever share the fate of the fountain. When the trunk dies, woe to the branches! The ark of the Lord is in jeopardy? Something must be done. What shall it be? Where lies the spring of the evil? Is it with the ministry! Or with the people? Or with both? Or with neither? It must be somewhere. Where is it?'"(p. 472.)

Now we can easily imagine many good people exclaiming,"Ah! this is the result of political dissent! This comes of their furious Anti-church agitation. They have grown more zealous for the pulling down of establishments, than for the saving of men's souls, and now we see the natural consequence !"

Some hesitation might be felt, as to this hypothesis, when we observe that the Wesleyans, who have taken little part in the 1845.

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warfare against the Church, seem to be equally affected by the general drought. But a glance across the Atlantic destroys the supposition altogether. For we there find churches who have known nothing of the Anti-State-Church agitation, mourning under a similar state of barrenness and declension.

The same number of the Christian Witness, from which we have already borrowed, enters into a controversy with another journal, which had asserted that“ religion was steadily advancing” in the United States. And it adduces a great mass of evidence, to establish an opposite conclusion. For instance,

"Mr. Stow, of Boston, writing to the Baptist Union of England in the spring of the present year, describes the condition of this church, of which he is a minister, in the following terms ;— The revival influences which have for so many years distinguished our American Zion have, to a great extent, subsided, and a general declension has ensued, accompanied by a languor and an inactivity that are truly deplorable. In all departments of Christian action the churches have seemed to be affected by a moral paralysis, that interferes vitally with both their comfort and their usefulness."-(p. 486.)

At the late meeting of the General Association of Massachusetts, Dr. Humphrey, late President of Amherst College, said,

“Although great harmony and general prosperity seemed to prevail in the churches, yet he thought the state of things was alarming. He had not heard such reports given in for a quarter of a century. The whole number of remorals far exceeded the whole number of additions. He thought if the gospel had its full effect there would be far less harmony than there is now. In the 200 churches of Vermont there were only three revivals! In the 240 churches of Connecticut there were reported only eight revivals! In the nearly 400 churches of Massachusetts, only ten revivals! And in other States the number was proportionably small. Every part of the land is consuming with the spiritual drought. Nothing can be so terrible as the withdrawing of the Spirit. No destructive fires in cities, no commercial disasters, no political disturbances, were so much to be deplored as this spiritual death. What shall we do? Are we to sit still? He thought if ministers would sound the alarm and blow the trumpet, such mournful reports would never again be presented to this Association.”—(p. 486.)

Of the Episcopal Methodist Churches of America, the True Wesleyan says,

“There has been a great falling off in the Methodist Episcopal Church throughout the country the past year. The total decrease (to say nothing of the recent division) is 31,540. The increase of local preachers is but fourteen in the whole Connexion. Last year it was 586. And the total increase last year was over 155,000. Had the increase been the same this year as last, in proportion to the capital, it would have amounted to about 175,000! whereas there is an actual falling off of over 30,000! This makes a difference of more than 200,000 compared with last year. A loss on the capital greater than the whole Methodist Episcopal Church was forty years, from the time the first Methodist preachers commenced in America."-(p. 486.)

The Editor of the Christian Witness adds, “Since writing the above, we have received the New York Observer of August 16th, 1845, which contains the following :-It appears by statistics recently reported, that in the Orthodox Congregational Churches of Massachusetts, the dismissions, deaths, and excommunications, during the last year,

exceed the admissions by 325. The Puritan says that in this result the churches of Woburn, Essex North, and Suffolk South, Associations are not included. Their statistics will probably increase the number to 400 or more.

"The statistics given at the meeting of the General Conference of Maine, report 212 churches connected with the Conference, 140 of which are supplied with pastors. In the churches there are 18,173 members. Additions the last year, 137. The net loss in the churches by dismission, excommunication and deaths, the last year, is 171.-Chr. Obs.

"A writer in the Christian Advocate and Journal states that the decrease has been more than 36,000 the last year. Surely all the churches need a revival.-Chr. Int.' “Thus, then, our latest intelligence sadly confirms all that went before. These, then, these are the proofs that religion is steadily advancing !' Surely, it is time for the Church of Christ in all her sections, both British and America,' to seek the Lord.'”—(p. 488.)

Is there not matter here for anxious and thoughtful enquiry ? We have felt doubts as to the state of things in our own Church, but no means of accurate knowledge existed. As far as we could see, there was much external activity, much distracting controversy, but nothing of that evident advance in spiritual life and vigour which was chiefly to be desired. But the confession, on all hands, of the existence of drought and deadness of soul, furnishes a fresh cause for alarm. Let it not be said, that declensions among the Methodists or the Baptists prove nothing as to the state of the Church of England. They do prove much. The Spirit of God is not hampered by our sectional partitions. Mr. Gladstone has already shewn, in his last work, that the period of famine of God's word which so deplorably marked the opening of the last century, was a season of sleep and almost death alike among Churchmen and Dissenters. Both slumbered together, and together both were awakened. Hence we may fairly argue, that the facts which seem established in the various quotations we have given above, are facts which ought to be alarming to all Christians without distinction. They seem to shew the conjunction of two things, which, taken in union, are exceedingly alarming,-namely, that a moment of peculiar and almost unprecedented danger, from without, is also a moment of enchanted or almost death-like slumber, within. We are almost reminded of a strange parallel. And she said, The Philistines are upon thee, Samson! And he awoke out of his

sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and "shake myself. But he wist not that the Lord was departed ' from him.

Our part is done, when we have indicated the danger. There are children of Issachar among us, who have “undertanding of " the times, to know what Israel ought to do.” The best,—nay, almost the only hopeful-symptom that we have recently seen, was visible at Liverpool, in the recent meeting for Christian Union.

Our hopes were faint, as to the result of that meeting ; but the unanimous testimony of those who attended it, is, that “God was with them of a truth.” And the presence of the Divine Spirit is not only everything as to the immediate matter in hand, - but it affords ground for hope, as to the whole Church. We are not yet brought into that fearful state, to say with Saul, “ I am sore dis“ tressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is “ departed from me, and answereth me no more !”

But in what way, collectively, and beyond individually calling upon God, the Church of Christ is to strive against these two perils, it would be rash, and almost presumptuous, in us, to attempt to point out. We shall merely, in conclusion, briefly recapitulate the peculiar dangers which appear to environ the Church at the present moment. There are

1. A vast movement, on the part of Rome, supported by great funds, collected both at home and abroad; by which Romish churches and monasteries are now erecting in more than thirty important positions in England; in the avowed hope of winning the nation back into “the Roman obedience."

2. A conspiracy, simultaneously proceeding, on a plan agreed upon at Rome more than ten years since,—by which one of our universities has been extensively leavened with Romish superstitions; and great numbers of its students already converted to Popery.

3. Increasing worldliness in the evangelical congregations, both in the Church, and out of it.

4. A perceptible withdrawal of Divine influence ; forcing various bodies and societies to confess, that days of darkness and declension are come upon

them. If these four circumstances, all occurring at one period, do not constitute a time of unusual peril and extremity, it must be difficult to imagine what would do so!


RECANTATION; or THE CONFESSIONS OF A CONVERT TO ROMANISM; a Tale, written during a residence in Tuscany and the Papal States. London : Rivingtons, 1845.


THE pages

of this little volume “ were penned,” it seems, “ from notes taken during a residence of upwards of two years in Tuscany and the Papal States: during which the writer had opportunities, that rarely fall to the lot of the casual traveller, of personally witnessing the scenes, and many of the conversations which she describes. Influenced by the humble hope that they may be the means of awakening the attention of her countrywomen to the danger of contracting marriages with members of a foreign creed and country, she ventures to offer this little volume to the public.”

Such is the bearing of the writer's brief preface, dated " Cheltenham, April 26, 1815.”

Moreover, the tale itself thus opens :.“. It has been a long received axiom, that the life of even the humblest individual would, if written with honest purpose and singleness of heart, present passages which might prove beneficial to mankind. However painful the records, and humiliating the details of my short career, I pen these recollections in the humble hope that the consideration of my early levities, and the bitter punishment they have entailed upon me, will prove a warning to some young and gentle traveller in the outset of life, who, in the sunny pathway which lies before her, sees not the deadly venom which too often lurks beneath its fairest flowers.

“I write to the young-for not long since I was young myself-young alike in thought and feeling; to the innocent-for I can still remember the pure and holy happiness which a guileless heart can give; and to the beautiful for, alas! I have known the dangerous triumph of personal attractions. I have drunk deep of the intoxicating draught of flattery, and revelled in the poisonous atmosphere of general admiration.

“I fear almost that my young readers will turn from these pages with disgust, and anticipating a homily where alone they sought for entertainment, will bardly care to continue their perusal. But do not let me be thus misinterpreted it is of myself that I am about to write--of my own sinfulness and folly-without disguise or palliation : and if the perusai of my mournful tale should but deter one of my young country women from following my example, alas! now too widely spread;—if these confessions could but secure our England one daughter more, and bestow on Italy one victim less, I shall not have written them in vain.”-(pp. 1, 2.)

Now all this, we conceive, looks very like what is called a true story, and the further we proceed, the more the impression is confirmed. It is throughout à personal confession, and has none of the attributes of a tale or fiction, properly so called. It reads from first to last as a veritable narrative, and had the word tale been omitted, with, perhaps, a few pages towards the close, we know not that a thought to the contrary would have disturbed

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