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infinence, naturally seeks to strengthen itself in irresponsible lordship in spiritual things, by alliance with the civil rulers, and by then exaggerating the authority of the powers on which it thus leans. On the other hand its dignitaries, persuaded that salva tion depends on submission to their authority, and acceptance of the ordinances as dispensed by them, readily conclude that the magistrate cannot exercise his authority more properly, than in constraining men to come within the fold, and accept the grace that flows from the imposition of a bishop's hands; and that mercy itself may require that souls be snatched from perdition, even though at the expense of tortures to their bodies, and the erection of the stake for the destruction of the finally contumacious, and the warning of others. And this especially, as those who refuse to conform, are not only chargeable with treason to their own souls, the souls of others, the Church and her Head ; but also with insubordination to the laws and the powers that be.
Independency originating in instincts of self preservation, and looking no farther than the safety of the village congregation, withdraws from the unity of the Church, as well as from contact with the State, and seeks in solitude the enjoyment of an unlimited freedom. If heresy enter a neighbor congregation it is ber own concern. If it threaten to cut off, in detail, the great body of the churches and impregnate all fountains with the waters of death; the evil may be lamented, but it is without remedy; the sister churches may not interfere; their sphere is their own fold. If the cry of distress comes up from the heathen world, relief may be provided, and the Gospel given them through other channels and by other agencies; the churches have no provision for such a case; and their principles forbid them to interfere.
Of Presbyterianism, the normal condition is that of enterprizing activity, alike unaided and untrammeled by State alliance; devoted to the vigorous prosecution of measures for the conquest of the world to the sceptre of Immanuel. Her republican institutions and inflexible temper disqualify her for winning the smiles of royalty; whilst her recognition of the people as the source of power, indisposes her to set a high value upon them; and her doctrine of faith which worketh by love, and alone justifies the ungodly, can expect no advantage to souls from the arguments of the civil power which appeal only to fear. Cherishing with peculiar prominence and affection the doctrine of the kingship of Christ, and his title to the dominion of the entire world; and in connexion with this holding to the catholicity of the Church, her commission to preach the Gospel to every creature, and to recall the world to its rightful subjection to Immanuel's crown; and her endowment, by Christ, with all the prerogatives and powers which are requisite to that end; there hence arises, and is cherished an expansive and aggressive tendency, the true spirit of evangelic activity and spring of the missionary enterprize.
Hierarchical organizations have existed without alliance with the State, and in republican lands; Independent congregations have been consociated, established, and endowed; and Presbyterian churches have been allied to the throne and wrapped in inactivity and sloth. But these have been accidental and anomalous positions, at variance with the native adaptations and tendencies of the several systems; and so far as influential, their bearing has been to restrain and modify their native dispositions and normal action.
We have thus sketched the outlines of Presbyterian polity, broadly marked as they are in themselves, and still more clearly as compared with the two contrasted systems. Popularly known as Presbyterian, its more appropriate title is that primitive name by which the early disciples loved to call the bride of Christ, “the Catholic church,”—a designation intended to signalize her organic unity, and her universality; and by which her polity, tracing all authority and prerogative to that unity as its source, is descriptively distinguished from hierarchy on the one hand and independency on the other. Of this Catholic constitution the annals of the Presbyterian church in the United States exhibit the appropriate results. Excluded by fine and imprisonment from the goodly shores of New England; planted on the peninsula of Maryland at a time when the unbroken forest still waved in native majesty over the breadth of the continent; compelled to struggle in infancy against the arrogant pretensions and oppressions of an established hierarchy; subsequently a conspicuous victim to the calamities of the war of the revolution, and in later years, harrassed and betrayed by the intrigues of "false brethren, come in at unawares ;" —successfully resisting the interposition of the State clothed in the allurements of endowment and honor; and from first to last knowing no other resource, but in the free and normal operation of her principles, and the approving presence of her Head :-her history presents a theme and unfolds results which her children may contemplate with pleasure and thankfulness, and others may study with intense interest and advantage.
ART. II.-CHRISTIAN MISSIONS AND AFRICAN COLONIZATION.
Western Africa: its History, Condition, and Prospects. By the Rev. J. LEIGHTON Wilson, eighteen years a Missionary in Africa, and now one of the Secretaries of the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions. With numerous Engravings. New York:
Harper & Brothers, Franklin Square. 1856. If the Chinese had sent out missionaries of their faith into all parts of the Christian world, into Russia, Germany, Great Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Austria, and also the United States, together with every other part of both North and South America ; if all the chief points were occupied by small but active detachments of this pagan irruption, so that they had as it were invested Christendom; if they had mastered all its various languages, and were preaching the doctrines of Confucius, both publicly and also from house to house; if they had also translated their sacred books into all these languages, and were printing, and publishing, and circulating them everywhere in Europe and America; if they had established schools in all the chief cities and towns, and were actually getting under their influence the whole education of Christendom; if, everywhere, they were gaining disciples, even a few disciples, but usually the youthful, the intelligent, the energetic, and were associating these individuals into bands, all affiliated together; if all this bad been accomplished by them in but a single half century, and if it had been accomplished without any political power backing them up; if it had been accomplished by moral means entirely, and in the face of danger always, and frequently of persecution ; if, looking abroad through Christendoin, there were to be seen such a thing as we have supposed, would he be considered a fair or wise man who should ridicule the movement as an utter and contemptible failure ?
In estimating the results of such a movement on the part of the disciples of Confucius, would it not be necessary to consider the extent and the strength of that social, political, and religious system built up by Christianity in all these countries ; how its ramifications penetrate the whole fabric of society amongst them; how it constitutes, indeed, the very life of these different peoples; and how, accordingly, the whole being of every one of them must vibrate if a foreign hand be stretched out to assail any portion of that system?
That the first shock to the religious sensibilities of these Christian nations had not caused the absolute and immediate sweeping away of these assailants; that they had been tolerated
in their assault at all ; nay, that their presence had begun to be a familiar thing, and they were fairly at work in pulling down Christianity and building up another religion; would not these circumstances, as we compared the two parties, give some respectability to the assault ?
But suppose that it were the whole world, instead of Christendom alone, that the Chinese were thus investing by their moral forces, would not their enterprise then deserve to be considered as truly a sublime one? Would the grandeur of their undertaking be at all diminished by the fact, if it were a fact, that amongst these Chinese propagandists there were differences of opivion on minor points of their common faith, and that accordingly they were divided to some extent among themselves ? insomuch that occasional sharp contentions arose amongst them, which, however, did not cause them to abandon their common leader or their common cause.
What we have been supposing true of the Chinese, is the actual picture of Protestant Christian missions. And in all
paganism there is nothing like it. “This perpetual spirit of aggression characterizes Christianity in its whole history, and lives even in its most corrupt forms. We do not see anything like it in other religions." The author of the Eclipse of Faith may well construct out of this difference between Christianity and all other religions an argument for its divine character. “Till we see Mollabs from Ispahan, Bramins from Benares, Bonzes from China, preaching their systems of religion in London, Paris, and Berlin, supported year after year by an enormous expenditure on the part of their zealous compatriots; till the sacred books of other religions can boast of at least an hundredth part of the same efforts to translate and diffuse them which have been concentrated on the Bible ; till these books bave given to an equal number of human communities a written language, the germ of all art, science, and civilization ; till it can be shown that another religion to an equal extent has propagated itself without force amongst totally different races, and in the most distant countries, and has survived equal revolutions of thought, and opinion, and manners, and laws, amongst those who have embraced it; until then, it cannot be said that Christianity is simply like any other religion."
The great systems of religious error which divide amongst them the whole world outside of Christendom, are thus making no organized efforts of aggression. They lie slumbering like so many enormous whales, and the keen harpoon of Christian truth shall shortly wake them up to fruitless efforts to prolong their feeble life. Even Islam, once so vigorous, now seems for the most part as sick as does its chief political support, the Turkish empire. In the meanwhile, what of infidelity, that were negation of Christianity? It stands amidst this scene of life, and hope, and effort, on the one hand, and of sluggish torpor on every other hand, it stands mocking, as the son of the Egyptian bondwoman stood mocking on that day when the father of the faithful made a feast for his son of promise. It lifts its skeleton arm that has no blood in it, and points its bony finger in scorn of what God is doing in the world by means of Christianity. From the metropolis of England, through all the literary world, its slanderous reproaches go forth again, and its accusations against men that have gone to live and die preaching to the Gentiles, are repeated to readers, many of whom do not know or have forgotten how triumphantly they were answered once and again years ago. But what is it doing, or what has it ever done for humanity? Why do its advocates never go and seek to penetrate with their flickering torches the darkness of paganism? Miserable men ! they know their light could never dissipate that darkness; it is for the gospel alone to accomplish this task. School after school of unbelievers rises up and boasts and babbles wherever Christianity has quickened the common intellect, but no one school lives long enough to convert a single nation; and never since the world began did any set of infidels organize themselves and go on laboriously and perseveringly to propagate their opinions among the ignorant and savage heathen. Ånd who would venture to speculate about the probable results of such missionary efforts, supposing them undertaken and persevered in? How long would infidelity take to civilize and enlighten such a group of barbarous islands in the South Seas as Christianity has regenerated in some forty years ? Nay, rather let us ask, what kind of a monster would be produced by crossing paganism with infidelity f*
The work, whose title we have placed at the head of this article, is a compilation, of course, in respect to the history of Portuguese discoveries in Western Africa, and of English, French, and Dutch exploits in that country; but it is an original work in
“They have ever been boastful and loud-tongued, but have done nothing; there are no great social efforts, no organization, no practical projects, whether successful or futile, to which they can point. The old book-faiths' which you venture to ridicule, have been something at all events; and, in truth, I can find no other .faith' than what is somehow or other attached to a 'book,' which has been anything influential. The Vedas, the Koran, the Old Testament Scriptures—those of the New-over how many millions have these all reigned! Whether their supremacy be right or wrong, their doctrine true or false, is another question ; but your faith, which has been book-faith, and lip-service par excellence, has done nothing that I can discover. One after another of your infidel reformers passes away, and leaves no trace behind, exce a quantity of crumbling 'book-faith.' You have always been just on the eve of extinguishing supernatural fables, dogmas, and superstitions, and then regenerating the world! Alas ! the meanest superstition that crawls, laughs at you ; and, false as it nay be, is still stronger than you."--Eclipse of Faith, pp. 48, 9.