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We trust that the increasing interest which the public are beginning to take in the proceedings of this venerable institution will induce those who conduct its concerns to redouble their vigilance to render their missions and schools really effective. We need advert only to the island of Newfoundland, to prove that there has been ample scope for the exercise of strict supervision; but we forbear to enlarge upon this topic, as we have reason to suppose it has been, or will be, brought in detail before the society; and that some of the leading friends of the institution have expressed their conviction of the necessity of a thorough investigation into the state of certain of its missions. We trust, that this venerable corporation will continue increasingly to attract the patronage of the British public, and become, by the blessing of God, more and more "a praise in all the earth.”
UNITED STATES EPISCOPAL
The Triennial General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church, in the United States, was recently convened at Philadelphia. All the bishops were present except Bishop Moore. There were clerical and lay deputies from fifteen States. The subject which almost exclusively occupied the two first days of the session, was a proposal from South Carolina, to receive under the patronage of the Convention, an association for the purpose of printing and disseminating standard theological books. This proposal was rejected by a majority. A proposal from the bishops, to introduce alterations in relation to the portions of Scripture, and Psalter, in the daily services, in the office of confirmation, &c., with a rubric to enforce the use of the anti-communion service, after several most animated discussions was adopted by the vote of a large majority; but remains to be finally accepted or rejected by the next General Convention, after it has been made known to the State Conventions. The remaining objects of attention were the reports on the General
A typographical error occurs in our last Number, in speaking of the society's Report, which we exceedingly regret, as we would not willingly exaggerate the faults of that document. Instead of "the style of the Report is most wretched, and in most places almost unintelligible," read "some places." The charitable reader must have anticipated that this "most" cacophonous charge originated in an error of the press.
CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 302.
Theological Seminary, at New York, and the Foreign and Domestic Missionary Society, both of which institutions are eminently useful and prosperous; and the Report on the general state of the Church with reference to the various dioceses, and chiefly to the Pastoral Letter from the bishops.
SUNDAY-SCHOOLS IN WYOMING, UNITED STATES.
The interesting valley of Wyoming has been celebrated in history and in song. Of its first settlers nearly all fell victims to the cruelty of the Indians. These early misfortunes, together with civil discords, caused by the clashing of titles given for the land by two different States, have impeded the progress of cultivation. There had been some few Sunday-schools of early date; but until within the last eighteen months little has been done in this respect: but by means, chiefly of the efforts of two young ladies, a great change has been rapidly effected. The first school opened was soon attended by nearly one hundred scholars, who came joyfully from the woods, a distance of five or six miles around. As there was no house sufficiently large for their accommodation, a spacious barn was fitted up for their reception. The second school was opened in a richer and more populous settlement, principally of Germans. In this place no convenient house presented itself, except a commodious tavern, which was notorious for its irregularities, particularly as a haunt for the vicious and profane on the Lord's day. The teachers expected an immediate repulse, upon application for a part of this house; but, to their astonishment, all the upper apartments were thrown open to them, and were immediately crowded by one hundred and fifty children. A report was raised, that the attendance of the teachers was only mercenary; "they were paid from the county school fund, and, to avoid the loss of secular time, they devoted the Sabbath to these exertions." They however persevered in “ their work of faith and labour of love," with untiring assiduity, and, by the blessing of God, with great success. Before the school was opened, religious meetings were rarely known, and but a few persons attended when preaching was first introduced. But soon such a multitude assembled to hear the word of God, that the place for worship could not receive them, and for many Sabbaths they were obliged to retire to an adjoining grove.
After the lapse of some months, another
school was instituted in an immoral and neglected portion of the country, where a barn was again found to be the only convenient place for assembling the scholars. The good effects of religious instruction were immediately visible. The families adjacent are now accustomed to attend the school every Sabbath, and to listen to a portion of Scripture and a tract. Since the commencement of the first school, more than thirty others, in various parts of the country, have been opened and are crowded with attentive and well ordered children.
The above description is illustrative of the beneficial effects which are witnessed wherever Sunday schools are in active operation, and is well calculated to encourage the zealous and disinterested agents in this work of mercy, in their valuable labours of Christian benevolence.
PROGRESS OF PROTESTANTISM IN IRELAND.
It must be well known to all our readers that a spirit of religious inquiry has for a considerable time begun to extend itself in Ireland, and that within a recent period some hundreds of Roman Catholics, chiefly in the county of Cavan, have conformed to the Protestant faith. We shall not in the present paper discuss the various causes which may have led to this result: some of them are obviously connected with the very peculiar situation in which the Irish peasantry are placed; though others have, as we trust, originated in the wide diffusion of scriptural information and a spirit of conscientious inquiry. The exact proportion of these distinct inducements we shall not now attempt to ascertain, our immediate object being to lay before our readers some interesting passages from a recent speech of Lord Farnham, at the formation of a society in Ireland for protecting and encouraging conformists from Popery to Protestantism, in which his lordship details the origin and progress of this spirit of inquiry as it presented itself under his own observation, and justly points out the great importance of promoting education and the reading of the Scriptures among his countrymen. We need not add how cordially we agree with his lordship in this last benevolent and enlightened suggestion, which we trust will ever be kept widely distinct from all considerations of sectional prepossession or political party.
"To explain more correctly the design of our coming together this day, it may be of service to detail in their order the principal circumstances which have led to that important work of reformation which is
going on around us. Until very lately I was of opinion that the superstitious attachment of the Roman-Catholic people to their priests was so strong, and the sway of the clergy over the minds of their flocks so absolute, that any idea of the possibility of detaching the people from them appeared to me to be visionary. A fair and full experiment has now been made; and the result most satisfactorily proves that this opinion was founded in ignorance of the actual state of Ireland, and that the conversion of thousands of its inhabitants to Protestantism is no matter of Utopian speculation.
"In the month of September last, three schoolmasters, of the Roman-Catholic persuasion, who, in their respective schools, had read and taught the Bible, came to Farnham. They inquired for my chaplain, the Rev. Mr. M'Creight, and informed him that, from reading the holy Scriptures, they were convinced of the errors of the creed which they had hitherto professed, and were desirous of conforming to the Established Church; and only wanted the countenance and protection of Protestants in order to fix their determination. They were told to consider well what they were about to do, and not to form any expectation of deriving the least temporal advantage from a change of religion; and that all they were to look to was countenance and protection, if they evinced by their conduct the sincerity and purity of their motives. They were discouraged from reading a public recantation-but were admonished to attend regularly at their parish church, and diligently to seek all other means of grace. A Bible, a prayerbook, and a few tracts were given to each of them, and they were sent away to their respective homes. In about three weeks they returned, repeating their wish to read a public recantation, as the best means of putting an end to the importunities of friends who still entertained hopes of bringing them back. I had heard that a few Roman Catholics, in the parish of Ballymachugh, had long secretly wished to renounce the errors of their church, and were only waiting for a favourable opportunity of doing so. This was now presented, and they declared their anxiety to come forward. The sixth of October was appointed for assembling at Farnham, in order that inquiries might be made as to their character, motives, and information. The result being perfectly satisfactory, on the eighth of October seventeen persons formally renounced the errors of Popery in the church at Cavan.
"Such was the commencement of this
great work. A circumstance so novel and interesting, of course created a great sensation through the country, and became a topic of general conversation. On the next Sunday, however, no persons presented themselves for the purpose of conforming; but, on the following, twenty read their recantation: and it is but repeating what is personally known to a vast number present, that every succeeding Sunday, down to this day, has brought an accession, on an average, of about thirty, to the Established Church. In other neighbouring churches, a similar spirit has manifested itself; so that, in the short space of four months, about four hundred and fifty Roman Catholics have come within the pale of our church, in the county of Cavan. The converts who have hitherto joined us are in various ranks of life. Some tradesmen, farmers, and mechanics; others of an inferior class, such as labourers, servants, &c. Many of them, it is true, are poor; but, surely their humble situation should not exclude them from our community-nor their poverty from the enjoyment of the Gospel. We should reject no man from the blessings of true religion who is willing to renounce his errors. Their state of information is just as various. Some were well educated, others tolerably well educated; many totally illiterate; a considerable number were well versed in Scripture, either by reading it themselves, or hearing it read by their neighbours; and it is a pleasing fact, that several, who, on their first conformity, did not know a letter, are, by attending at Sunday and evening schools, which have been provided for them, now able to read the word of God themselves. The greatest attention has been paid to prevent any persons but such as bear irreproachable characters, from coming forward; and a very considerable number, amounting to nearly one hundred, have been discouraged from reading their recantation, on account of their having neglected, or not having been able, to produce sufficiently favourable testimonials of good conduct from the neighbourhood from whence they came. You have some acquaintance with me, and I pledge to you my veracity, that no temporal or pecuniary advantages have, in any instance, been offered to induce conformity. The enemies of the Gospel and of our excellent establishment, have not failed to assign corrupt motives to the conformists, and unworthy conduct to those who have been instrumental to the reformation. But I do not hesitate to
defy the utmost ingenuity of malice to make good these charges, either as they affect me or the general body of the converts. And as I find it has been pretty generally assumed that this great work has been chiefly effected by territorial influence, it may not be amiss to state, that of the four hundred and fifty persons who have conformed in this county, not one fourth live on my estate, and not one tenth are my immediate tenants,-and that, out of upwards of one hundred and forty labourers and artificers, who depend on me for their daily support, not more than five have left the Roman-Catholic church; and if persecution or undue influence had been used, this would not have been the case. I now resume my narrative. Our care over the converts does not end with their bare recantation of error. The bishop of this diocese, in the zealous discharge of his pastoral office, after receiving them himself into the church, sends weekly a list of the conformists to the ministers of their respective parishes, recommending them in the strongest terms to their care for religious instruction, encouragement, protection, and close inspection into their future life and manners. And I am happy to add, from authentic reports, which I have made it my business to obtain, that the conduct of the conformists has, in general, been most exemplary. From different parishes we learn, that they have been constant frequenters of the church on Sunday, and that on Christmas day, forty in one, twenty in another, ten and fifteen in others, received the sacrament of the Lord's Supper according to the established ritual; and this, too, in a most solemn and becoming manner.
"Permit me to detain you a little longer, while I state from information I have carefully collected from the clergy and other persons engaged in this interesting work, those causes which have principally led to the great change now in progress.
"The first, then, in my apprehension, is the increasing knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. Notwithstanding all the efforts of the Romish priesthood to keep the Bible a sealed book to the people, the light of the Gospel has broken forth and shone over this benighted land in despite of their exertions. The thirst for scriptural information is so great, and has already been indulged to such an extent, that those whose duty it is to examine the conformists have expressed their astonishment at the progress in the knowledge of Divine truth displayed by
persons who laboured under such peculiar disadvantages.
"The second cause may be traced to the opposition given by the Romish priests to every system of moral and religious education. This operates most injuriously on the temporal as well as the spiritual interests of the peasantry. It brings them into an an actual and open contest with the priest. Feeling in themselves the want of instruction, and the loss they have sustained in every sense from the deprivation of it, they are anxious that their children should not labour under similar disadvantages, and being determined that their offspring shall not be kept in debasing ignorance to gratify the unreasonable prejudices of their clergy, many of them fly from their authority; and in resisting their power in one case, they learn to assert the liberty of thinking and acting independently in all others. Hitherto the opposition of the Romish clergy has been but too successful; and to this we may in a great measure attribute the permanence of an erroneous faith. But the spell is broken-the mists are clearing away-and with increasing knowledge, the light of the reformation is advancing.
"A third cause may be found in the pecuniary exactions of the priests. These are extremely heavyon an impoverished people. Nothing is to be had without payment; every rite of the church has its price, which is rigidly exacted. To this may be added he modern system of taxation-the new Catholic rent-the old Catholic rent-the freeholders' fund, &c. All these things operating strongly on the temporal interests of the people, led them to inquire whether salvation could not be obtained elsewhere-and finding that they might 'purchase' the Gospel without money and without price,' they were naturally inclined to adopt it. The conduct of the Roman-Catholic priests, also, at the late general election, has greatly tended to impair their authority with the people.
"There is a spirit of inquiry gone abroad still more powerful than any checks, and which nothing can extinguish. Every new convert who walks abroad in safety, is an additional proof of the impotence of the priests, and a fresh encouragement to the fearful. Every challenge refused by the clergy, is likewise received as the proof of an untenable cause; and the people, deserted by their pastors in the most interesting object of their inquiry, are obliged to resort to private discus sions, either to defend their faith or satisfy their scruples. Nothing can be more
amicable than the manner in which such discussions are carried on: their result is always favourable to the cause of truth; and where the people have not been able to satisfy themselves upon certain points, they refer to the established clergy, or some competent Scripture reader, 'in secresy. At nightfall, they assemble, invite the reader to each other's houses, and receive the Bible with the utmost avidity. Thus is the influence of the priest undermined, and wherever the Bible has been freely circulated, the majority hang very loosely to the system of Popery."
The number of persons who have conformed in Cavan, since last October, amounts to more than five hundred.
POOR PIOUS CLERGY SOCIETY. The following are among the cases of distress relieved by this highly useful institution during the last year. The society justly grounds its appeal to the liberality of the public upon the great and substantial good which it is enabled to perform, and at a very moderate expense, considering the magnitude of its objects. It is impossible for any charitable institution to be conducted upon principles of more strict economy. The only charge for management upon an income of 3000. is a small poundage to the collector, and 60%. for the assistant secretary's salary, the use of a committee room, and stationary.
1.—"My greatest salary for officiating at three churches, for thirty-seven years, was forty-five pounds a year; though I had a wife and eight children: only three of them are now living. The utmost I can make of my present curacies is scarcely ninety pounds. My daughter died and left six fatherless children, totally unprovided for! At her death she gave the charge of the children to me, and I promised to do all I could for them. This I have continued to do ever since. We are therefore now eight in family to provide for. I will add no more of my grievances and difficulties. I am able by Divine assistance to serve my churches in all weathers. I have my health well, though entering on the seventy-first year of my age. Pray for me, that I may finish my course with joy. I have been in the church 48 years."
2.-"The total of my income derived from clerical sources is not more than one hundred pounds per annum; and I have no income from any other source, and have received no gratuity from any charitable fund this year. I have four children -two dependent upon me for their clothes during the term of their apprenticeships;
and I have yet a part of the apprentice fees to pay. My engagement is for only one service on Sunday; but I have gratuitously engaged in a second service ever since I came to the curacy. The afternoon congregation averages between three and four hundred in fine weather. There is a Sunday school in the parish-the Rector pays the master."
3.-"It is very painful to obtrude myself again on the notice of the society Only the most pressing necessity would induce me to do so. Anxiety for the comfort of my dear family and to maintain my credit, compel me to set aside my own personal feelings. With a wife and seven children, and a servant dependent on me for support, and being in a place where house rent is very high, and every necessary of life dear, I could hardly hope to pass through the world without encountering much difficulty and poverty, however favoured by Providence in regard to health. My total income is about 1357. I perform two services every Sabbath, and in summer often three. Average congregation fron 700 to 800-communicants monthly about 50. There is a National and a Sunday school; the former
contains about 150, and the latter 300 scholars and several other useful societies."
4.-"May I ask the favour of you to lay this humble petition before the Committee? I am ashamed to think I am again forced to knock at their door; but the number of my family being nine, my income only sixty pounds, and the advancement of all kinds of provisions in these parts, urge me, in spite of every modest feeling, to look forward to where the truly necessitous are succoured. The hardships I have lately endured would perhaps be too pitiable a tale for the Committee to read. But blessed be my Divine Master, and ever merciful God, who hath prevented me from falling a prey to any of them."
5.-" Having a large family (eight children) and a contracted income, I am embarrassed to answer the demands of the baker and others, whose patience grows weaker by my unavoidable delay of payment. This is destructive of peace.'
6.-"I received your favour containing a bill, value ——, for which I return the committee my sincere thanks. Indeed the kindness of the Lord to me in every respect is wonderful. By this assistance I am enabled to pay all my bills, find great relief to my mind, and I trust I shall be able to go on with double diligence in
the discharge of every duty. When I opened your letter and saw its contents, no words could express my feelings-I could not help hoping that I was the Lord's, finding indeed that when I had cast my burthen upon him, He thus cared for me, and supplied my wants."
7.-" Every other resource having failed, and having a still further increase to my family, which has also been much visited by sickness, I trust will justify this application. The whole actual income of the applicant is only one hundred pounds per annum. He has a wife and seven children to support; with himself and a female servant, ten in number."
8." My total income from every source is fifty pounds. I am a single old man in a debilitated state of health. Na
tural affection induces me to support my two dear single sisters in their advanced age."
9. "I humbly hope your benevolent society will be so kind as to give me some aid this year. My wife and two children are at the sea-side (a few miles off) very ill; and last Christmas-day I was taken very ill myself, and for some weeks I was scarcely rational. Thanks be to God, I am now in perfect health. My whole income is seventy pounds per annum; and I have seven children, all dependent on me for support. I preach twice on the Sabbath, and my congregation is as large as the church will hold. The sacrament is administered once a month."
consisting of about 4,000 inhabitants, 16.-"...... The parish I serve is— mostly poor manufacturers. My total in
dred pounds per aunum, and about three come from clerical services is one hunpounds in addition. I have two daughters, both dependent on me for support. We have two full services, morning and afternoon, The congregation from 800 to 1000, with from 80 to 100 communicants.
village to ascertain the want of Bibles and I have gone through the whole prayer-books, and have supplied every want from the Christian Knowledge Sohas been very indifferent, and consequentciety. My wife's health for a long time ly has increased our expenses considerably: nevertheless, through God's blessabove-mentioned income, kept out of debt. ing with strict economy I have, with the find I cannot place my daughter where One reason of this application is, that I she can in a few years support herself, without paying a premium of 30%. to 50%, which it may be readily conceived, is more than I can accomplish."
is my own church, the