Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

invited and threatened, warned and promised, prayed and wept --but to no purpose. I have set before you, all that is awful and all that is amiable, all that is alarming and all that is alluring, but without effect. I havo sounded the brazen trumpet of the law, but you have not mourned. I have blown the silver trumpet of the gospel, but you have not rejoiced. Other and more able ministers have also addressed you. You have, from this pulpit, heard, at different times, cogent reasoners, eloquent speakers, and impressive, persuasive preachers, endeavoring to prevail with you to embrace the gospel. But all has been vain, and with respect to many of you, I fear, worse than in vain. My labors have now apparently less effect upon many of you than ever. Where they once made some impression, they now pass like water over a rock; where they once convinced, they now only irritate; where I was once received with affection, I am now considered as an enemy, because I tell yoa the truth. My friends—if, to labor, and watch, and pray for your salvation, with a heart broken with apprehension and tortured with anxiety, lest you should fail of it; if, to goad on a worn out body and jaded mind to exertions in your behalf, under which nature sinks, and life becomes a burden; if, to desire your conversion more than riches, more than reputation, more than health, more than life,-if these things are marks of an enemy, then I am your enemy,

and such an enemy, I trust, I shall continue to be to my last breath. In fact, if I except the tempter and the world, you have no enemies but yourselves. God, and Christ, and his servants, are your friends, or would be, if you would permit them; but, alas, you will not. Often would they have gathered you, but ye would not. A deep rooted, unconquerable aversion to what you think the strictness of Christ's regulations, frustrates all the endeavors of your friends to save you. You know that religion is important, you are convinced that it should be attended to; but you

have no heart to it, you have no love for it, and, therefore, as you sometimes confess, you cannot give your minds to it. My friends, what will be the end of this? You have seen its end in the Jews. You know how terribly they were destroyed for neglecting Christ; and if they escaped not, who refused him, when he spake on earth, much more shall not ye escape, if ye turn from him who addresses you from heaven. Once more, then, we conjure you by every thing sacred and every thing dear, by every thing dreadful and every thing desirable, to renounce your unreasonable opposition, and yield yourselves the willing servants of Christ. pp. 200-202.

In this connection, we are permitted to lay before our readers, an original letter which he addressed to two of his flock, who in their absence from home, were to receive, with this letter, the afflicting intelligence of the death of their only child.

My dear brother and sister in Christ, and now brother and sister in affiction, the letters which accompany this will inform you why I write. ! see and share in the poignant grief which those letters occasion, nor would I rudely interrupt it. I will sit down and weep with you in silence for a while; and when the first gush of wounded affection is past ; when the tribute, which nature demands, and which religion does not forbid, has. been paid to the memory of your dear departed babe, I will attempt to whisper a word of consolation. May the * God of all consolation" make it such. Were I writing to parents who know nothing of religion, I should indeed despair of affording you any consolation. My task would be difficult indeed, por should I know what to say. I could only tell them of a God whom they had never known,--of a Savior with whom they had formVOL. II.

13

ed no acquaintance, of a Comforter whose consoling power they had never experienced, of a bible from whose rich treasures they had never been taught to derive support. But in writing to you, my only difficulty is of a very different kind." It consists in selecting from the innumerable topics of consolation contained in the scriptures, those which are best adapted to your peculiar situation. So numerous are they that I know not which to mention or which to omit. May God guide my choice and direct my pen. It is needless in writing to christian parents, to you, to enlarge on the common topics of consolation. I need not tell you who has done this,—who it is that gives and takes away. I need not tell you that “ whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” I need not tell you of the great duties of resignation and submission, for you have long been learning them in a painful but salutary school. And need I tell you that he who inflicts your sufferings, knows their number and weight, knows all the pain you feel, and sympathizes with you even as you once sympathized with your dear babe, ---for as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. O think of this; the pity, the parental pity of a God. Who would not willingly be afflicted to be thus pitied. Go then, my dear brother and sister, and lean with sweet confiding love upon the bosom of this pitying, sympathizing friend; there deposit all your sorrows and hear him saying, the cup which I give you, my children, will you not drink it. Remember he knows all its bitterness. He himself mentions the grief of parents mourning for a first born and only child, as exceedingly great. Remember too, that taking this bitter cup with cheerfulness from your Father's hand, will be considered by him as an unequivocal token of your filial affection. “ Now I know that thou lovest me," said he to Abraham,“ seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.” It requires the same kind of grace, if not the same degree of grace, to resign a child willingly to God, as to sacrifice it on the altar; and if you are enabled thus to resign your babe, God will say to you, now I know that ye love me, seeing ye withheld not your child, your only child, from me. If at times, when “all the parent rises in your bosoms,” these consolations should prove insufficient to quiet your sorrows, think on what is the situation and employment of your dear departed child. She is doubtless praising God, and next to the gift of Christ, she probably praises him for giving her parents who prayed for her and dedicated her to God. She now knows all that you did for her, and loves and thanks you for it, and will love and thank you forever; for though natural ties are dissolved by death, yet those spiritual ties which unite you and your child, will last long as eternity. She has performed all the work, and done all the good, for which she was sent to us, and thus fulfilled the end of her earthly existence; and if you have been the means of bringing into being a little immortal, who had just lighted on these shores and then took her fight to heaven, you have reason to be thankful, for it is an honor, and a favor. Neither your existence nor your union have been in vain, since you have been the instruments of adding one more blest voice to the choirs above. But I must close. May God bless you, support and restore you to us in safety, is the prayer of your affectionate friend and pastor,

EDWARD Payson.

But he is gone, and that affectionate heart can no longer mingle its sympathies with the sorrows of the afflicted. May his family, who will long continue to feel their bereavement, ever have that consolation which he imparted to others! His sun went down at noon, but not before its radiance had cheered the souls of many on their pilgrimage to heaven. He counted not his life dear unto himself, that he might finish his course with joy, and the ministry he had received of the Lord Jesus. He walked with God while on earth, and then God took him to himself, to place him in a higher sphere-that he might shine as a star forever in the constellation of New-England's departed worthies.

ART. VII.-PERSECUTIONS IN SWITZERLAND.

Von den religiosen Partheyungen oder Absonderungen unter uns. Predigt

ueber 1 Cor. 1: 10-12, gehalten in grossen Munster zu Bern, am 19 Okto

ber, 1828. Von CARL Wyss, Prof. der Theol. Bern, 1829 : pp. 24. On the religious parties or divisions among us, A sermon from i Cor. 1:

10–12: preached in the great Cathedral of Berne, Oct. 19, 1828. By

CHARLES Wyss, Prof. of Theology. Evangelische Kirchen Zeitung Berlin. (Evangelical Church Gazette of Bers

lin.) Mai und Oktober, 1829.

SCARCELY any country of Continental Europe, has excited so deep an interest in the minds of Americans, as Switzerland. Its valleys and lakes, its streams and cataracts, its lofty mountains and the seas of ice and deserts of snow which crown their summits, have been the Ultima Thule of the traveler, from whatever land. But we have dwelt upon them from our very days of boyhood, with an interest belonging to scarcely any thing earthly, because we regarded all this magnificent and beautiful display, as the mere scenery and decoration of the stage, on which an important act in the great drama of liberty, was exhibited. In the christian, these magnificent objects awaken emotions perhaps less tumultuous, but deeper and more elevating; for it is here that another scene of that great drama was early opened, involving interests incomparably more valuable, and a struggle far more deadly, not for the civil liberty of Switzerland, but to free the world from a tyranny, in comparison with which, that of Austrian Dukes was paternal kindness,-a despotism that held the soul itself chained to the papal throne, and assumed the triple crown of heaven and earth and hell, which its representative still wears. To the christian, the names of Tell and Winkelreid, sink into insignificance beside those of Zuingle and Calvin ; and the war of Swiss independence scarcely deserves a thought, in comparison with that struggle for the moral reformation of the world, in which these men were such distinguished actors, and to whose influence we ourselves owe that religious liberty, which is the most precious part of our birthright.

But it is a humbling reflection, that the palladium of liberty could not be kept inviolate, even in the fastnesses of the Alps.

ance.

A few years only have elapsed, since some of the fairest portions of this “land of the free,” were held as conquered tributaries by other cantons, and were governed by a bailiff residing in his castle, and exercising a power like that of a feudal baron. A considerable portion of Switzerland is still subject to an aristocracy, as absolute in its sway, and as much opposed to the extension of light and liberty, as any other branch of the holy alli

The press is, in many cantons, under severe restrictions; and industry and enterprise are checked by the regulations of the incorporated trades, which place the rod of oppression in the hands of ignorance and self-interest; and which bring home its influence to the work-bench of the mechanic, and too often paralyze the arm of laborious poverty. Within ten years, and in one of the most enlightened cantons, men and women have been arrested, and fined, and imprisoned, in the most cruel manner, for assembling to read the word of God; have even been banished under pain of death, and without any passport to secure them from imprisonment as vagrants in the neighboring countries, merely for preaching and hearing the gospel, out of the established church. In the documents which stand at the head of this article, we are presented with another example of religious persecution, which occurred in the canton of Berne only the last year, and which is still continued: and, as if providence designed to show, that no principles of indifference or toleration, will render it safe to intrust man with unlimited power, infidelity has been most forward in imposing restraints on free inquiry, and even “liberal christianity, ” as it is termed, has forbidden all discussion on three of the most essential points of theology, in one of the great centers of light in Switzerland. These facts will astonish those who have contemplated that country only as it is found in history and poetry; and perhaps even some of those who have traveled through it, and unacquainted with its language, have only bounded over its Alps, and reveled on the luxuries of its enchanting scenery, or drank in health and vigor from its mountain breezes. Very different would be their impressions if they could enter into the details of its social and political condition. It has been our lot to observe one portion of it, till the heart sickened and the breathing was oppressed; and we felt that unutterable longing for our native atmosphere of freedom, which taught us the truth of an observation made by an intelligent Swiss to some of his countrymen, after a year's visit to the United States, “The Americans have another sense of which we know nothing—the sense of liberty.

Before proceeding to our immediate subject, we therefore deem some preliminary statements necessary, to enable an American to explain the facts which we have to contemplate. One source of error on this subject arises from our habit of considering Switzerland as

a single country. No impression can be more unfounded. No diversities of character and state, are greater than those which exist in this Confederation. It comprises people of three distinct nations, speaking three of the prominent languages of Europe—the Germans in the east-the French in the west and the Italians in the south-together with a fourth, resembling the Italians, in the south-east. Îhey are divided into twenty-two independent States, each of which has a dress and manners in some degree peculiar to itself, and a dialect often scarcely intelligible to those around it. The forms of government vary from the purest democracy, in which every male in the canton above the age of seventeen, is a member of the body which makes the laws, to the most rigid aristocracy, in which the offices are confined almost entirely to the families of patricians. The nature of the confederation is not such, as to impress a uniform character upon elements so discordant. Their Diet is a mere convention of embassadors from independent States; who only treat with each other according to the strict tenor of their instructions, and who cannot vote for a law, without first obtaining the consent of the government which sends them. Nor is there any thing in the religious state of Switzerland, adapted to produce cordial union among its component parts. The only churches known and tolerated by law, are the catholic and the established reformed churches. The Swiss who changes his religion in whatever mode, forfeits his rights of citizenship; and if we may rely on the most recent account of Switzerland, published by a catholic writer of the Italian canton of Tessino, it is the influence of the protestant canton of Berne, which prevents the repeal of this law, which makes the rights of a citizen depend on his adopting without examination, the sentiments of his fathers. Of the twenty-two cantons, nine are exclusively catholic, and do not tolerate protestant worship except in particular cases. exclusively, or almost exclusively, reformed, and do not generally permit the erection of catholic churches. Seven cantons are divided almost equally in regard to religion. On the whole, two fifths of the population of Switzerland, belong to the church of Rome, and three fifths to the reformed church. The cantons exclusively catholic, are scarcely more enlightened on religious subjects than Italy itself, with the exception of Lucerne. The vicinity of protestantism seems to render them, if possible, more devoted to their church. Friburg compelled the excellent father Gerard to abandon the schools which he had established with so much christian zeal, and conducted with such gratifying success; and forbade all use of the methods of mutual instruction. They have recently erected a splendid building for the reception of the Jesuits expelled from France, in which three or four hundred French youth are now receiving instruction from the fraternity of

Six are

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »