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Answers to Correspondents.
in a manner the most complimentary to the magistracy of the country, who, he thinks, could not be induced to live on their estates, and undergo the labour of administering justice to their neighbours, if it were not for the pleasure of hunting and shooting; the connexion of which with the office of a justice of the peace we cannot imagine, unless it be that poachers are a species of game which country gentlemen think they can harry the better by becoming magistrates. Nor are we surprised that Judge Best thinks very lightly of Schools for the Poor, and seems to estimate the increase of crime by the increase of education; in direct opposition, we may add, to the most clear and palpable facts on the subject; in opposition also to his own doctrine, that
and that when men want food, as, with "wages are the barometer of crime, often the case, they resort, in his lordour vast increase of population, is too ship's curious phrase, to the law of nature" that is, they pilfer, or rob, or murder, as the occasion may require. This delightful "law of nature," by which angry men fight and needy men steal, is so contrary to all that is taught in our Daily and Sunday Schools, that, notwithstanding his lordship's disparage they bid fair to do more towards setting ment of those institutions, we still think aside that barbarous law, and putting the law of Christianity, of doing to others as we would that others should do to us, that laws can devise or judges enforce. in its place, than all the punishments
ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS.
A COUNTRY VICAR; J. B.; PAULINUS; F. C.; 2; OXONIENSES; J. M. W.; F. S.; J. D. L.; R. F. D.; and an INTOLERANT ABOLITIONIST, are under consideration.
ALBERT is mistaken in supposing that a self-murderer is now interred with those barbarous and disgusting ceremonies to which he alludes. We are as anxious as our correspondent to prevent the awful crime of suicide; but we cannot think that the cross-road, the stake, and the mallet, which punished the mourning survivors only, and not the deceased, were the best instruments for that purpose. We are happy, however, to inform him, in reply to his Rubrical query, that, though the body of a **"felo-de-se" may now be privately deposited in a burial ground, the clergyman is legally exempted from reading over it that solemn service which was intended for those only who, in the judgment of charity, "die in the Lord."
The paper alluded to by S. B. was inserted in consequence of the discussion to which it referred having been renewed.
We are much obliged to E. E. for his truly "courteous" and Christian communication. He may be assured that we keep a strict check over the advertisements I on our covers, with a view, as he justly expresses it," not to admit any thing inconsistent with religion or morality;" but Clerical advertisements are so much matters of course, that our Publisher never suspected that the one to which E. E. alludes required a special sanction.-Had we seen that which contains so much of questionable statement with respect to the Bible Society, before its publication, we should probably have greatly curtailed it. hicle of slander, either against individuals or societies. We are not willing to be made the ve
SEPTEMBER, 1827. [No. 9. Vol. XXVII."
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.
memoir of Martin
Bos, the Protestant Catholic, which I think will greatly interest many of your readers. The life of Bos has been written by Gossner, who, like him, has suffered much persecution for the cause of Christ. It contains a number of letters written at different periods of his life; and it well merits to be translated into English. Gossner has it also in contemplation to publish a volume of Bos's sermons. The following narrative is translated from an account
of Bos which has since appeared in a French Protestant publication, the "Archives du Christianisme." There may possibly be in it a few expressions which may appear to some readers open to the charge of mysticism, or at least of not being altogether clear or judicious; but the whole narrative is replete with interest, and every true Christian, every Protestant especially, must rejoice to find in the very precincts of the Church of Rome such powerful attestations to the great Scripture doctrines of the corruption and spiritual inability of man, of free justification solely by faith in Christ, and of the necessity of the converting and sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit.
MEMOIR OF MARTIN BOS.
Germany is, perhaps, that country in which, of all others, Roman Catholic Christians are most engaged in religious discussion. There is at present amongst them a spirit, CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 309.
widely in operation, which has for its object to free religion from all alloy, and to restore it to that primitive purity which it once enjoyed. Numerous conversions to Protestantism have in some places attested this spirit of religious inquiry; but there are a much greater number of places in which the necessity of modifying external forms has not been felt, and where the fruit of true piety has been developed without having burst the outward shell in which it was concealed. External forms are more or less favourable, more or less contrary to truth and piety. The necessity of changing them, and of giving to interior sentiments or articles of faith a new visible expression, may in some instances be irresistible; yet it is also conceivable, that there may be persons, and even many persons, in a country where the dominion of the imagination is so extensive as in Germany, who, though they be already arrived at the true liberty of the children of God, do nevertheless consent to submit to ancient practices and usages, which they have learnt to spiritualize, and to make harmonize with their convictions and religious temparament; in a word, to restore them to that emblematical signification which they perhaps were in most instances intended to convey, before they had become, by gross errors, mournful and insignificant ceremonies, which reduce the service of God to exterior and corporeal observances, and in which those faculties of the soul the most calculated to glorify the Almighty have no part. It is not the object of the present remarks 3 X
to discuss whether it would not be better entirely and openly to reject all this fabric of pretended acts of devotion; but merely to establish one fact-namely, that there exists in Germany a multitude of Christians, of the Roman Catholic persuasion, who are distinguished from others of the same communion, not only by this tendency to spiritualize the ceremonies of their church, but also by a profound acquaintance with the Gospel, and a sincere attachment to the fundamental doctrines of Christianity.
It is more particularly in Bavaria that persons of his description are most numerous. This may perhaps be caused by the circumstance, that a religious awakening has not only taken place amongst the members of the flocks, but also amongst their pastors. It was there, that, forty years ago, Feneburg and Winkelhofer taught; it is there that Bishop Sailer teaches at present; and there, in a less elevated station, many priests, his disciples, preach, whom the fear of being deprived of the means of doing good sometimes forces to avoid great publicity, but who never depart in their instructions from that truth which they desire to spread *. From Bavaria sprang Lindl, Gossner, and Bosthose three faithful witnesses, who were driven by persecution from place to place; and who, wherever they turned their steps, did not hesitate to proclaim that Gospel which had caused them to be proscribed. They were not proscribed for having taught particular doctrines; but for having declared, in all their force, the fundamental truths of Christianity, the natural corruption of the heart of man, the impossibility of salvation by works, and the free grace obtained for sinners by the expiatory death of Jesus Christ. Nor let us be astonished at this: it has been so for
In 1824, there were thirty-seven priests who were persecuted in Bavaria on account of the testimony which they had given for the Gospel.
eighteen centuries, and it is so in our own days; the same cause produces martyrs in the visible churches of all denominations. This is proved, with regard to Protestantism, by the deplorable events in a neighbouring country [alluding to the persecutions in Switzerland]. The whole life of Martin Bos has been an exemplification of this, with regard to Popery. Having been persecuted for more than forty years, because, like St. Paul, he would not know any thing but Jesus Christ, and him crucified, he may be considered, in a religious view, as one of the most remarkable men
of the present century.
Martin Bos was born on the 25th December 1762, at Huttenried, in Bavaria. He lost both his parents when he was but four years of age, at an interval of a fortnight only from each other. They had had sixteen children, of whom Martin was one of the youngest. An uncle, who was an ecclesiastical counsellor at Augsburg, received him, and took charge of his education. At the expiration of a few years he would have had him learn some trade; but the young man expressed a desire to devote himself to the ministry; and as the tutor who had given him elementary instructions declared him to be the best of his three hundred pupils, his guardian consented to his pursuing his studies. He entered first the college of St. Saviour, which was under the direction of the ancient Jesuits, near the Lyceum at Augsburg: from thence he was to have gone to Dillingen, in order to study theology exclusively; but when the professors of his college became acquainted with his plan, they endeavoured to detain him; and it was with extreme regret that they furnished him with the certificates which he required. They were opposed to the university of Dillingen, on account of the sentiments of the professors. Sailer, Zimmer, and Weber, were amongst the most ob
noxious, as their evangelical doctrines were in opposition to those which they had endeavoured hitherto to inculcate upon Bos. It does not appear that the lessons of these new masters had any immediate influence on his mind. It is possible that he became acquainted with the nature of true Christianity through them, without having himself practically adopted it. At the end of six years he was ordained priest, and was shortly afterwards appointed curate at Unterthingau, a large town in the province of Kempten.
Before he was appointed to this office, he had begun to feel within him the germ of that seed of eternal life which he was to plant and to water in others. The following is an account of the manner in which he was first led to observe the influence of faith upon the heart. He went, in 1788 or 1789, to visit a woman distinguished by her humility and piety, who was dangerously ill. "I do not doubt," said he, endeavouring to prepare her for death, "that you die calmly and happily." And why?" said the woman. "Because," replied he, "your life has been a continued chain of good actions." The woman smiled, and said; "If I were to die relying for my salvation on the works which you mention, I am certain that I should be condemned; but that which makes me calm at this awful moment is, that I rely on Jesus Christ my Saviour." "These few words," says Bos, "in the mouth of a dying woman, who was looked upon as a saint, opened my eyes for the first time. I understood the meaning of Christ for us: like Abraham, I saw his day. From that time I announced to others that Saviour whom I had learned to know, and there were many who rejoiced with me." Thus did this woman, whom he wished to prepare for death, prepare him for life eternal. The impressions which he had received, were never effaced; and
his soul, thus prepared, was enabled to put in practice those lessons which he had received from the pious professors of his college for the development of his faith and spiritual life. Thus was he initiated into that doctrine for which he was afterwards so severely to suffer.
Bos had been curate at Unterthingau for nearly two years, when he was called to Kempten, and from thence to Groennbach, in the office of a canon. As he was younger than his colleagues, his functions were nearly the same as those he had hitherto fulfilled; they consisted in preaching, and the other duties of the ministry. The zeal which he manifested in the pulpit and in the confessional, the seriousness with which he sought his own salvation and that of his hearers, soon gained him general confidence. To him resorted, in preference, those who wanted consolation, or who desired instruction. This popularity excited the jealousy of the other canons; and matters arrived at such a point that they would no longer admit him among them, and arbitrarily deprived him of his office: but they could not take from him his stipend, which they were obliged to pay to the period when he emigrated.
Driven away from Groennbach, he left it, without knowing which way he should direct his steps. Being arrived at some distance from the town, he stopped to take some repose, and was led to pray with more fervour than he had ever done before and the Lord was pleased to answer him, by manifesting himself to his spirit with great clearness as his Mediator and Saviour. He felt himself consoled, and again in the possession of peace and joy. Taking into consideration what he should do, he resolved upon going to Saeg, to the pastor Feneburg, who received him as his curate. In the society of this friend his ideas on the importance of the ministry became infinitely more serious. He
felt that his whole conduct should be consistent with his sacred office; and he acquired habits of retirement and meditation. He was accustomed to say, "that a priest ought to shew himself to the people only in the exercise of his functions: an envoy of the Lord ought to be seen only when he comes with a message from the Lord."
The injustice of the proceedings against him at Groennbach did not remain long undiscovered, and the Prince-Abbot of Kempten, in order in some measure to afford a remedy, recalled him, and appointed him, in 1795, curate of the church of Wiggensbach. In this parish his labours began to be blessed in an extraordinary manner. He felt deeply his own insufficiency, and sought, in continual prayer to God and the assiduous perusal of the Holy Scriptures, the assistance which he needed. As often as he was to enter the pulpit, to visit a sick person, or to instruct a sinner, he poured out his soul before God, to ask of him that which he was afterwards to communicate to others. The year in which he entered into his office was the year of the Catholic jubilee; and, accordingly, many persons from the neighbourhood came to him to make general confessions. Bos shewed them the true source of justification, and the only road to life, in teaching them the manner in which absolution and the pardon of sins are granted to faith. Great numbers were converted with their whole heart to the Lord; and these were mostly from among those just and pious men, according to the opinion of the world, who, after having in vain sought repose in the observance of religious forms, in a multiplicity of confessions and pilgrimages, felt themselves relieved from a heavy burden, when they found the pardon of their sins through Him who freely gives it to those who will receive it at his hands. These men, thus renewed in the spirit of their minds, immediately
shewed their faith by their works and the amendment of their lives; and the world, as it generally happens, instead of rejoicing at their conversion, viewed it with alarm. But the word of God produces fruits even by means of those who have themselves but recently received it. They communicated to others their sentiments, which were embraced also by a priest, who till that time had been only remarkable for his scepticism and unedifying conduct. After having embraced the truth, he became the instrument of a revival of religion, which spread with astonishing rapidity. We might name several other ecclesiastics, who, being placed in connexion with Bos about this period, through circumstances apparently indifferent, owed to him a knowledge of the Gospel, and openly confessed that there is salvation in Jesus Christ alone. One may conceive the spiritual benefit it must have been of to the country, where these blessed tidings resounded in almost every direction. Bos acted principally through preaching; and his sermons made an astonishing impression. He knew how difficult is the office of an evangelist." We must dig very deeply," said he, "to discover the treasure; and it is when we feel our weakness and misery most, that we dig the best; for those are not the best sermons which we have laboured over with difficulty, but those which we have, as it were, supplicated from the Lord with tears and prayers." The sermon which he preached at Wiggensbach on the 1st of January 1797, was no doubt one of this latter kind. He was doubtful whether he should deliver it or not; he even endeavoured to compose another; but the feeling of duty prevailed, and he frankly proclaimed to his parishioners the whole counsel of God. His sermon comprehended the four following divisions: First, Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand; Second, Believe that Jesus