« EdellinenJatka »
separatist may have continually upon his lips, The Bible, and nothing but the Bible;' and yet, blinded all the while by a mere fallacy, he may be unreservedly deferring his opinion to Calvin or Arminius, to Whitfield or Wesley, or to some living teacher. The Wesleyans, for instance, openly profess to take John Wesley's expository writings as their standard of interpretation; and what is this, but to follow the tradition of a teacher of the eighteenth century?
It would be well if all who clamour so loudly for independence, would lay these things to heart; and it would be well, also, if they would consider how forcibly the tendency of such opinions has been exposed by one, who well understood the working of the human mind, and who must always be placed among the most profound, as well as the most eloquent, of modern statesmen.
'I would have a system of religious laws,' said Edmund Burke, in his memorable speech delivered in 1772, on a petition from certain of the clergy, in favour of this so-called religious liberty: I would have a system of religious laws, that would remain fixed and permanent, like our civil constitution, and that would preserve the body Ecclesiastical from tyranny and despotism, as much, at least, as our code of common and statute law does the people in general. For I am convinced that the liberty of conscience, contended for by the petitioners, would be the forerunner of religious slavery!'
But I have already engrossed too large a share of your correspondence. I must therefore content myself with having thus endeavoured to point out, by the selection of one particular instance, the danger of calling things by their wrong names: and I will only call your attention, in conclusion, to the following passages, in the Preface to our Book of Common Prayer, as serving to show that true religious freedom has nothing whatever in common with that proud spirit of independence, which has so often and so injuriously usurped its name.
'Although the keeping or omitting of a ceremony, in itself considered, is but a small thing; yet the wilful and contemptuous transgression and breaking of a common order and discipline, is no small offence before God. "Let all things be done among you," saith St. Paul, "in a seemly and due order :" the appointment of which "order" pertaineth not to private men; therefore no man ought to take in hand, nor presume to appoint or alter any public or common "order" in Christ's Church, except he be lawfully called and authorised thereunto. *** And if men will grant that some ceremonies are convenient to be used, then surely, when the old may be well used, they cannot reasonably reprove the old only for their age, without bewraying of their own folly. For, in such a case, they ought rather to have reverence unto them for their antiquity, if they will declare themselves to be more studious of unity and concord, than of innovation, and new-fangleness, which, (as much as may be with true setting forth of Christ's religion,) is always to be eschewed.'
I am, Dear Sir,
A SHEPHERD OF THE SOUTH.
RELIGIOUS DESTITUTION IN NEW SOUTH WALES. SIR,-Considerable notice has lately been turned to New South Wales, in consequence of the publication of Mr. Justice Burton's work on the State of Religion and Education in that Colony. The statements made in that work, and substantiated as well by the high personal authority of Mr. Burton as by authentic documents and public papers, have excited
a strong interest amongst the religious community in this country; and members of the Church of England have begun to ask themselves the question, "How shall the pressing wants of our Australian brethren be supplied, and the neglect of above half a century atoned for?" Mr. Justice Burton has already answered that question in the powerful appeal which he has made to "the Friends of the Church of England on behalf of their Brethren in Australia;"-he has pointed out the objects which require most immediate assistance ;-and he has solicited the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, to receive contributions on account of New South Wales; the sum thus raised being placed at the disposal of the bishop. Mr. Justice Burton's earnestness and zeal are beyond praise. He has pleaded the cause of the colony, to which he is about to return, most eloquently before the two great Church Societies, for Promoting Christian Knowledge, and Propagating the Gospel in Foreign Parts; and at much personal sacrifice has laboured to advance its spiritual welfare. Every true churchman must heartily wish him success: so good a cause, and so ably and disinterestedly advocated, cannot fail, by God's blessing, of being brought to a favourable issue.
The colony of New South Wales has indeed been cruelly treated as to its religious culture. In the first stages of its existence little was done for the reformation of the convicts, or for the maintenance of the religious habits and recollections of the free emigrants; and latterly, every obstacle has been thrown in the way of the ministers and ministrations of the established church, and every encouragement afforded to popery and dissent. Even the property, which, by royal charter, had been exclusively devoted to the support of the church, has been wrested from her; and she has been left to receive, in common with Roman catholic priests and sectarian teachers, a pitiful allowance, annually and grudgingly doled out to her from the colonial chest. Most painful is the position of the church in New South Wales at this moment. Anticipations of impending persecution (for it can be called by no other name) come thick and fast upon her. Already has the governor publicly declared in a speech to the legislative council, that "all the evils of England are to be traced to the predominance in the national councils of the members of an established church, and that he hopes those evils may be averted from New South, Wales;" already has he written to Lord John Russell, that "no more clergymen are required;" and already has Lord John, acting upon his report, intimated to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, that "no more will, at present, be sent at the government expense;"-already have these and similar indications appeared, of the intention to withdraw, ere long, the government pittance, and to leave the church to her own resources, a sect among sects; and this, at a moment when, if we may believe Mr. Justice Burton,-and the truth of his statements has not been contradicted," there are thousands of persons who have been for years, and still are, denied the means of access to a place of worship;" when "churches are needed in every part of the colony;" when, "in the lands which lie beyond the limits of location, there dwells a large and increasing population altogether precluded from access to the ordinary ministrations of religion;" and when, "for the
religious instruction of the numerous convicts confined in gaols and iron-gangs, and for the military in attendance upon them, the only provision which exists (except in one instance, and that merely temporary, viz., the iron gangs in the neighbourhood of Sydney) is that which is supplied by the labours of clergymen who are over-burthened by other duties, so that the due administration of the ordinances of the church takes place amongst them only at uncertain, and frequently very distant periods!" In the face of such a statement as this, and in utter carelessness of the great moral wilderness which has in consequence sprung up, and which is daily increasing,"-when hundreds and thousands are every week leaving England, and thus adding to the demand for religious instruction,- does the colonial secretary, acting upon the report of Sir George Gipps, coolly declare that "no more clergymen are needed in New South Wales, and that no more will be sent." Well may it make one tremble lest the blessing of God should be withdrawn from our country, when the highest of all human concerns,--the relations of man with his Maker,-are treated with such indifference. The intention manifestly is to establish the Voluntary Principle in New South Wales. Canada has been the precedent, and the example will be duly carried out in Australia. The clergy reserves, in the one case, have been "equitably" divided among those who, by Act of Parliament, were expressly excluded from all share in them;—the church and school corporation property, in the other, augmented by gifts of members of the church, will likewise be "EQUITABLY" divided among Roman catholics and dissenters; the church will be pillaged, despoiled, insulted, and then told she must depend wholly upon herself for support. . . . A ray of light, however, does break in upon all this "darkness that may be felt." Individual efforts are doing much; the societies, before named, are doing much; the pious and zealous bishop of Australia is doing much, to prepare against the evil day. Funds are being raised for the purpose of building churches and endowing them,-building schools and maintaining them, and founding a college for the education of the Australian youth in the sound principles of the church. In more instances than one, have large sums been given, and permanent endowments provided for institutions connected with the church; and the time is propitious (while there is so much unoccupied land in the colony which may be bought at a moderate price, and which will daily increase in value) for making a strong effort to establish the Church of England in such a manner that she may permanently exist, whether abandoned by the government or not. Much indeed there is to be done; and every nerve must, for a time, be strained by every true churchman in this country. Let a few years pass by, and exertion may,-nay, must be ineffectual. We quote the words of Mr. Justice Burton :-"The field is extensive, and the means required for its occupation proportionate; but neither does the former, I am persuaded, exceed the power of the church to fill, nor the latter the ability of its members to provide. And the time at which this appeal is made, I most unequivocally declare my full and firm conviction to be 'the day' in which it is given them 'to work;' and if they do not now take advantage of it, 'a night cometh, in which no man can work.' In other words, this is the time in which the Protestant Reformed Church of England and Ireland must be firmly
established in its means of support, as I am thankful to say it is in the hearts of a great majority of the people in New South Wales; and, if lost, the opportunity for doing so will pass away, perhaps, for ever."
These almost prophetic words were addressed by Mr. Burton to the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge only six months ago: in that short space of time the opportunity has been lost of sending out more clergymen under the sanction, and at the expense of the government. Who can tell what further opportunity-perhaps the whole which remains-shall be lost in the six months which are to succeed, unless, meanwhile, the members of the church in England are forward in "redeeming the time?" B. C. R.
ON ADMINISTERING THE LORD'S SUPPER ON GOOD FRIDAY. SIR,-Your correspondent, an Inquirer after Truth, in p. 166, of your March number, "believes that in the Roman and Greek churches, the feast of the Holy Communion is never celebrated on the solemn fast of Good Friday." I beg leave to refer him to the Roman Missal for proof to the contrary, as to the Romanist practice; and to our own Common Prayer for authority, as to our Anglican custom; neither rubric, canon, tradition, nor usage, forbidding the celebration of the Holy Communion on that day.
The absence of a proper preface only shows, that the Church did not regard it as a high feast day, but the fact of there being a communion service, is sufficient to warrant a full communion on that solemn occasion, notwithstanding the omission of the prefatory anthem—nothing being said about a cœna sicca-an anomaly which the Church does not seem to contemplate in theory-however she may put up with it in practice. Permit me to inquire, likewise, whence your correspondent G. P. (p. 167 of the same number,) derives his information respecting the unapostolicity of the Swedish episcopate, if episcopate that can be called which has lost (according to G. P.) the succession. It is a most interesting subject, and not less involved than interesting; one, if I remember rightly, left by Mr. Palmer, in his Treatise on the Church, unanswered; and upon which the information that I have myself received, from sources apparently well worthy of credit, has been conflicting and contradictory in the extreme.
J. W. G.
I have certainly always fancied that Swedish episcopacy came under the same category with that of the Moravian community, still there were some points connected with the Archbishopric of Upsal, which gave room for a little hesitation.
PERSECUTION OF THE JEWS AT DAMASCUS.
SIR,-May I request your insertion of a short record of the persecution of the Jews at Damascus, which, I am persuaded, cannot fail to be interesting to your readers at a time when the public mind is so much excited on the subject.
For some years past, it seemed as if the last dregs of the cup of Jewish sorrow had been exhausted, and that a people, wonderful from
their beginning hitherto, were about to commence a new and more pleasing period of their history. The events, which have lately occurred at Damascus and Rhodes, bring us back again to the calumnies and the horrors of the dark ages. The Padre Thomas, superior of the Spanish convent at Damascus, together with his servant, suddenly disThe Jews were suspected, and the Jewish appeared from that city. barber being bastinadoed, confessed that he had seen the Padre in company with seven respectable Jews, whom he named. They were arrested, but denied all knowledge of the matter. The barber himself confessed that pain alone had induced him to accuse his brethren. He was then put to the torture; but, as the Smyrna journal says, "scarcely had the screw pressed his head before his eyes stood out from their sockets, his beard became grey from the pain, and his tongue hung out of his mouth. When the cord was placed, he pronounced with pain, three several times, Mercy,' and promised to tell the truth," that is, to accuse his brethren again. They were also tortured, and some confessed. Sixtyfour Jewish children were seized and put in prison on mere suspicion ; and cruelties have been committed the most disgusting and horrifying. Some of the unhappy victims have died. The worst feature in this barbarous tragedy is, that Europeans, persons professing to be Christians, were present, consenting to these most inhuman atrocities. It History will not is unnecessary at present to mention their names. suffer them to escape from the infamy which they so richly merit; and, it is to be hoped, that the European governments, with which they are connected, will deprive them of all power of assisting at such barbarities for the future. It is dreadful to think of the sufferings of the victims, but it must be some consolation to the Jewish people to know that an interest has thereby been excited in their behalf, such as was never known before; and that large and respectable bodies of Christians have thus been induced to avow their disbelief of the monstrous charge now revived, a charge based in profound ignorance of Judaism and the Jewish people. It is well known that Rabbinism is a religion of intolerance; but it is equally certain that the use of human blood is as revolting to Jewish prejudice and feeling as it is contrary to the express dictates of the Rabbies. The Jews of London have raised large sums for the relief of the sufferers, and one noble-minded member of their body has undertaken a journey to Alexandria and Damascus to obtain justice. It is only to be regretted that the enlightened Jews of Europe had not publicly renounced that system which is the cause of all their misfortunes. The intolerance of the Talmud is the only plausible evidence that ever was brought to sustain this charge, and at this moment the Pacha of Damascus is procuring translations of that work. Let the Talmud be once renounced by the Jewish people, and this charge will cease for ever.
ON MARRIAGES WITHIN THE PROHIBITED DEGREES.
SIR,-In your observations on the subject of marrying a deceased wife's sister you have overlooked entirely Lev. xviii. 16, and xx. 21, on which (applied conversely) the prohibition really rests, and noticed only Lev. xviii. 18, on which it would indeed have been strange to
VOL. XXII. NO. VIII.