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Messrs. C. S. Francis & Co. of New York have published in a very neat form the volume of Sermons by John James Tayler of Manchester, England, entitled “ Christian Aspects of Faith and Duty,” which we noticed in our last number.
Our readers who wish to be well informed from month to month concerning the productions of the press at home and abroad, will do well to procure the Literary Advertiser, which is published in the middle of each month by Mr. C. B. Norton of New York, on an elegant sheet, at the price of one dollar a year.
Under the title of “ Arvine's Cyclopædia of Anecdotes of Liter. ature and the Fine Arts," have appeared iwo numbers of a serial work, published by Messrs. Gould & Lincoln. A rich variety of interesting and instructive matter is offered in these pages, illustrated with engravings. We commend the undertaking as de. serving of patronage, though we must say that the engravings are no addition to its attractions.
Sermons on the Railroad Jubilee. The great Railroad Jubilee in Boston, on September 17th, 18th, and 19th, called out, as do all occasions now which represent our great political, social, civil, and commercial interests, appropriate sermons from many pulpits. These, being for the most part written only to meet the passing excitement of the hour, never reach the press, but remain in manuscript. A few such occasional sermons, however, are printed, and often become valu. able years afterwards, as records of the age which produced them. Of the sermons called forth by the recent festival, we have seen in print the following:- A Discourse preached by Rev. Dr. Gannett of this city, on the Sunday before the Jubilee, appeared during the same week in the columns of the Boston Daily Transcript. In the Religious Magazine for October we have the sermon preached by Rev. F. D. Huntington, the editor of that monthly. The two discourses delivered in Hollis Street meeting-house, by the pastor, Rev. T. S. King, appear in the most elegant style of art from the press of John Wilson & Son. From the same press we have two discourses delivered in the First Congregational Meeting-House in Canton, Sept. 21 and 28, by the pastor, Robert P. Rogers. All these sermons are examples of the freedom of range allowed to the modern pulpit. The freedom is used to edification, and the views presented in them will help to prove that the enterprise and material prosperity of the age are by no means necessarily injurious in their influ. ence upon moral and religious interests, but may be consecrated to the best good of us all.
RELIGIOUS INTELLIGENCE. The London District Unitarian Society on Ministerial Exchanyes.We have heretofore informed our readers of the existence and the purposes of a society, composed of ministers and laymen of the Unitarian denomination in and around London, formed for mutual improvement and the advancement of our cause. We always peruse the accounts of its meetings with interest. There is but the simplest kind of organization recognized in it; just enough to secure an orderly conduct of its meetings. Free fraternal discussions, social occasions, and courses of doctrinal lectures, have thus far proved its efficacy to answer the ends for which it was designed. At the fifth quarterly meeting of the society, held in London, August 20, the subject under discussion was, “ Whether a more extended interchange of the pulpit services of ministers, in and about London, is desirable ?”
Our brethren, and the members of our congregations in New England, who have been accustomed to very frequent pulpit exchanges, may not, perhaps, be aware how different, in this respect, is the custom that has prevailed among the Unitarians abroad. Here, our ministers in town and country have been in the habit of exchanging pulpit services on from one third to one half of the occasions of public worship. Our own opinion, in which, however, many brethren whose judgment we respect differ with us, is, that we have carried, and do carry, this business of “ exchanges" too far. The tendency among us now is to curtail the number, and to compress the range of our "exchanges,” and we think this tendency is, on the whole, in the right direction.
Nothing like our system of exchanges" has ever prevailed in Engand. The exceptions have been rare in which the minister failed to be in his own chapel, and to conduct the services. Year after year, some ministers, as we have been told, have stood in their places without looking for relief, and if they have found it at all, it has been through the chance presence of a ministerial friend, or upon some extra service for an especial occasion. Nor has this usage prevailed in England because of the distances between the localities of Unitarian chapels, or the time or expense which would have been involved in making an “exchange." We should think nothing of such distances as those which divide even the extreme limits of England. Boston and New York are several miles wider apart than are London and Paris even, but our brethren in New York or Brooklyn do not think that they are making any very exorbitant demand, when they ask an “exchange" with a brother in Boston. But the English Unitarians have been accustomed to look for the regular appearance of each minister in his own pulpit, and have eschewed that love of variety which a system of “exchanges” would imply. The English ministers who have visited us have carried home with them a report of our custom in this particular, and we have noticed, of late, many references to the matter in their periodicals. As the subject had been under discussion at a meeting of the Unitarian ministers, the London District Society thought there was no impropriety in the laymen taking a part in it.
The chairman of the meeting, James Yates, Esq., formerly a minister in Glasgow, referred to the usage among the Protestant ministers in Germany and France, by which a perfect system of ministerial exchanges was established; the arrangement being formally announced on printed cards, giving the place and the date where and when each of the associated pastors would preach. He approved of some such arrangement, or of the spirit of it, in England.
The Rev. J. O. Squier read a paper on the subject, written for a Ministers' Conversation Meeting, in which he advocated a regular system of exchanges, and gave his reasons for it. The Independents (Calvinistic Dissenters) had such a system in effect in their practice. Wesley laid so much stress upon ministerial exchanges, that he imposed the role by which the ministers in his connection were limited to a three years' occupancy of one pulpit. Mr. Squier suggested a plan, which admitted of an exchange by each minister on one Sunday in a month. The Rev. D. Davison objected strongly to any plan in the case. Mr. Preston, a layman, favored the plan. He thought it would greatly help to relieve three evils from which the Unitarians suffered in their best interests. It would tend to prevent that isolation and extreme independency among the societies, which were unfavorable to their prosperity ; it would lead them to think less of the mere instruction, and more of the worship, in the sanctuary; and it would repress some of that hypercriticism by which pulpit discourses were judged.
Several other speakers who took part in the discussion gave reasons for and against the measure proposed. The arguments on either side are too obvious to need rehearsal. As might be supposed, the general conclusion was, that, while it would be wholly impracticable to attempt any specific plan for regular ministerial exchanges, a certain number of them would be desirable and of good tendency. We notice that at a meeting held at Birkenhead, near Liverpool, on occasion of the completion of a new chapel there, in which the Rev. R. L. Carpenter is to minister, remarks were made upon the same subject. The Rev. James Martineau of Liverpool gave as a reason why he could not yield to his own desire for exchanges, that he had a lecture during the hour preceding his morning service, and a class of young women to instruct after it; labors which he could not well commit to another. It would appear from this statement that he is one of the most laborious of ministers, as well as one of the most gifted writers, in Great Britain.
The Catholic Defence Association. — The passage of the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill in the English Parliament, by which the assumption of a territorial title by any other than a dignitary of the English Church is rendered a penal offence, has excited both the indignation and the open contempt of large numbers of the Roman Catholics of Ireland. A meeting was held in Dublin on the 19th of August, at which the “Catholic Defence Association ” was formed, and some warm speeches were uttered. The Irish primate, Dr. Cullen, presided, but it was evident that he was not prepared to run the risk of much boastfulness. Irish rebellions, as experience has heretofore proved, are not much to be dreaded on the score of the heroism which they may call forth, when the time comes for exchanging bluster and plotting for deeds and blows. And lawsuits against Irish rebels have also proved, that whatever evasion and timidity and the eating of one's own words can avail towards averting the legal penalty will always be fully tasked, at the expense of true manliness. Cardinal Wiseman was too wise, as were also some other of the Roman priests and prelates of England and Ireland, to give their presence to the aforesaid meeting, though his Eminence sent a letter, which means little or nothing, according as it is interpreted. Our last accounts mentioned, as a matter of rumor, that prosecutions would at once be instituted under the new bill, and that the penalty for its infraction would be unflinchingly inflicted.
Dr. Cullen enlarged most plaintively upon the English oppression of Ireland, but he forgot to mention the fifty millions of dollars which Protestant England gave, in charity, to relieve the distress of Papal Ireland. Dr. Ullathorne, who, we believe, was the only Romanist bishop from England that attended the meeting, had an eye towards an easy way of paying the penalty of £ 100 for taking his territorial title. He said he was prepared to go to gaol, but that he had come to the conclusion that it would not be right for him to use the purse which had been confided to him for the support of religion. But if his spiritual children in Birmingham felt the want of their pastor, it would be no acquiescence in the penal act, but a strong protest against it, for them to raise a fund, by a penny subscription, for his liberation. A shrewd suggestion. The Rev. Dr. Cahill, who writes from the Catholic College at Londonderry, thus utters himself:
“ But, fellow-countrymen, England shall not have every thing her own way. We are now forming a society such as has never been seen in Ireland before. It will be a society fairly embodying the mind and the heart and the service of every man, woman, and child in the kingdom, and we shall live and die in defence of the decision of this new and glorious, and, with the blessing of God, successful association. Depend upon it, that England has sapped her own foundations. Depend upon it, that France is not settled, and that France owes England a grudge which never will or can be forgiven. There is not one Frenchman, or one French woman, or French child, who would not dance with frantic joy at the glorious idea of having an opportunity, before they die, of burying their eager swords, and plunging their crimsoned French steel, in the inmost heart of every man bearing the hated name of Englishman. Therefore keep up your courage, and wait your opportunity in a strictly legal attitude, and England will very soon be in your power. We shall now demand perfect equality with our oppressors, we shall demand the complete annihilation of the temporalities of the Protestant Church, and I tell you we shall have all England at our back; we shall have the moral support of Europe, and of the civilized world."
These atrocious sentiments, boldly uttered, may be allowed to pass for what they will be worth in the minds of all calm observers of what appears to be a very threatening strife. Dr. Cahill seems, at least, to rely on a remarkable shortness of memory on the part of the Irish, as to the efficiency of the French aid afforded in the Irish Rebellion, when France had not so much business of her own to attend to as she has now.
Christianity in India. — A meeting of a very interesting character had been held in Calcutta, just before the date of our last advices. As it is one in a series of incidents, which, within the last two or three years, have recognized the presence of Christianity in heathen lands, and its active antagonism with other religions, to much more purpose than all similar facts of two score years previously, we have thought it worthy of peculiar notice. The occasion was no less than that of a convention of orthodox Hindoos, held in Calcutta, the object of which was to devise some means for resisting the steadily advancing encroachments of Christian missionaries. The meeting was freely opened to all who wished to attend. Reporters were present, and were allowed to take down the resolutions and the speeches. These were printed, in full, in the English newspapers in India, and the debates, with the various comments of the different journals upon the subject, have been reprinted in a pamphlet. The main point under discussion was, whether the existing severe conditions, on which alone an apostate Hindoo, or convert to Christianity by baptism, could be restored to his former religion and fellowship, might be relaxed. The present mode of purification requires, for the restoration of the apostate, that he should wander as an ascetic for forty-eight years, and submit to other hard conditions, the severity of which is such as virtually to forbid any real restoration. We do not know, indeed, whether any one ever undertook to comply with these terms. They operate equally well for Hindoism and Christianity.
The chairman of the meeting – which was under the control of the most rigid and anti-liberal party was Raja Radhakunta Deb. He opened the proceedings by inquiring into the objects of the party which had summoned them together. The spokesman of the party announced, that they had been greatly troubled by the recent conversions to Christianity, and that it was evident that a strong and zealous movement must be made to resist the progress of the work of conversion through the missionaries. The only practical expedient that occurred was, to mollify the terms of purification, and thus to win back the converts. In the course of his remarks, he ventured to abuse the missionaries, and was rebuked by the chairman, who said that they were acting only under a sense of duty. A discussion then ensued, as to an attempt to prevent the young from learning English, and it was agreed by all that this would be absurd and useless. One speaker said that it would be better to do without English knowledge, than to risk the orthodoxy of their families. But he was answered, that, “ if English did not lead io heaven, it did to wealth.”
The question to be submitted to the Pundits was then read aloud, as follows: -“If a Hindoo forfeits the privileges of his caste and religion, by partaking of forbidden food, and frequenting places and observing practices in contravention of the injunctions of the Shasters, knowingly and deliberately; and if he afterwards express his contrition, and prays to be restored to his privileges, can he not be entitled to perform the ceremony of absolution, and thereby procure redemption ?" A very large majority of the assembled Pundits at once answered in the affirmative. But the final decision does not rest with them. The question must be submitted to the most learned men in different parts of the country. The chairman announced that the Maharajah of Nuddea, the oracle of Bengal, was in favor of that decision. The milder form of absolution proposed requires “the presentation of some hundred kine, and some kahuns of cowries, to the Brahmins.” The cows may be compounded for at their ancient trifling value “ in the golden age, before the beef-eating English conquered the country.” The money fine is small, and is to be graduated by the rank of the re-convert.
The Bombay Guardian doubts whether the resolutions adopted at Calcutta will be approved by the Brahmins in the other presidencies. The same paper suggests that this liberal Hindoo measure may favor hypocrisy; as some professed converts may now be induced nominally to adopt Christianity, without feeling that they sever themselves eternally from their old faith, and, after having sold themselves to the missiona