Page images
PDF
EPUB

Anoint and cheer our soiled face
With the abundance of thy grace ;
Keep far our foes, give peace at home:

Where thou art guide no ill can come, &c. “ Then the archbishop and bishops present shall lay their hands upon the head of the eleeted bishop, who kneels before them, the archbishop saying, • Receive the Holy Ghost, for the office and work of a bishop in the Church of God, now committed unto thee by the imposition of our hands, in the name of the Father, &c., and remember that thou stir up the grace of God which is given thee by this imposition of our hands : for God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and soberness. The bishop being thus consecrated, does in his turn convey the Holy Ghost to the priests, whom he ordains in the following words : Receive the Holy Ghost for the office and work of a priest in the Church of God, now committed unto thee by the imposition of our hands. Whose sins thou dost forgive they are forgiven ; and whose sins thou dost retain, they are retained. And be thou a faithful dispenser of the word of God, and of the holy sacraments; in the name of the Father, &c.'”

Thus do they perpetuate the “ apostolical succession” in the Church of England; and to these inexpressible scandals of impiety do all the evangelical clergy submit without murmur or reluctance!

“ANNALS OF THE PROPAGATION OF THE FAITH.

MAY, 1839.-Vol. II. No. 9.” LABOURS OF ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARIES AMONG THE DRUSES AND IN COREA.

OBSTACLES THUS CREATED TO THE SUCCESS OF PROTESTANT MISSIONS. “ LET both grow together until the harvest," was the decision of " the householder” (Matt. xiii. 30), on the reported discovery among the wheat of tares, sown by an enemy, and growing up in all the delusive resemblance to good grain, possessed by the eastern Sičávia, “ And in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them ; but gather the wheat into my barn.”

Eighteen centuries have passed away; and whereabouts are we now in the condition of the Lord's harvest field ? Christian reader, let the answer to this enquiry be sought for by us, not in the spirit of presumptuous speculation; not according to the traditions or the opinions of the passing age, but in prayer and simple dependence on Him who gives wisdom liberally, and without upbraiding. Let us not rest contented if we lack discernment; but remember that it was the uunt of wisdom which called forth the rebuke of our blessed Lord : “ Ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time ?"

We remember well that “ of the times and seasons knoweth no man :” and we are not intending to enter on any calculations, which must consequently be vain ; but to offer one or two observations on the moral uspect of the Lord's field, “ the world.” Of this, at least, we are not intended to be ignorant.

Our blessed Lord, after the mind of Israel had manifested itself in utter hostility to his teaching, began to speak to them in parables, which he explained privately to his disciples; because, as he said, “ It is given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.” But is there not great need to recall the attention of many of the disciples of our Lord to the plain and evident instructions of Him who taught as never man taught. - Hear ye therefore," surely much needs to be repeated to us; for where do we find the full import of these parables in the xiii. chapter of Matthew understood ? Let us contemplate for a moment the one to which we have been referring. What is its import, as explained by our Lord himself? “He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man : the field is the world: the good seed are the children of the kingdom ; but the tares are the children of the wicked one: the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world (Toû aivvoç, age); and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world (Toữ aiūvoç Toúrov). The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall guther out of his kingdom all things that offend (rà oxárdala), and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shull the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”

Place this lucid and beautiful discourse of our Lord by the side of the account of the just-about-to-be-effected “conversion of the world,” from the speeches at the May meetings in Exeter Hall, and no one could fail to be struck with a strange contrast, not in the style and manner only, but if possible yet more in the thing spoken of

Place this account of the Lord's “field,” on the other hand, in juxta-position with what cannot fail to force itself on our attention in “ the world,” and how beautiful, how exact is the prophecy! Not one feature of the picture, as far as it has yet been developed to our view, fails in resemblance. The wheat-the elect church of God, begotten by the Word of Truth, having the Spirit of adoption, complete in Christ, and ripening for glory. The tares—not idolators, not avowed infidels ; but “having a form of godliness,” professing Christians—so like the wheat as only to be distinguished when they come into the ear; and these growing commingled with the wheat, and destined not only to erist in some neglected corner of the field, but to grow and flourish and increuse logither (ouvavšáveodai) with the wheat until the harvest.

What then is the prospect before us ? Are we to expect the tares to change their nature, and to become wheat, and so the world to become a general assembly of those chosen out of the world ? Are we to think that the broad gate and the wide way now are beginning to lead to life, and the many entering in thereat are on the road to blessedness? Or are we to seek to assume to ourselves the powers of this world, and feeling sensibly and acutely the counteraction of all our designs for “ the conversion of the world” by the “ sowing” of the enemy, are we to attempt, by Acts of Parliament and worldly measures, to root up these tares ? Neither the one nor the other. The prospect before us is simply THE HARVEST !

But if in all calmness we speak of this as our deliberate conviction from the word of God, we are immediately reminded that this is a heresy not to be tolerated by the men of the platform. What! not admit that all our labours will issue in our bringing about the glorious prophetic era, when “ the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea ?” Then arises the multitudinous din of accusation against such as thus read the word of God, mingled with pity and selfcomplacent scorn for such weakness and folly; and away those who expect the conversion of the world run to the prophecies of the Old Testament, quoting and applying texts which speak of the latter day glory as though they could thus triumphantly indicate the quod erat demonstrundum

by mutilated

texts, taken apart from the context, and in a sense most evidently foreign to the legitimate meaning. For what is the burden of Old Testament prophecy, in relation to the blessings which are assuredly to come upon the whole earth, under the government of the true Solomon, the Prince of Peace. Are they not of this character, through whatever prophet given forth :- 1. Abounding evil, succeeded by overwhelming judgment. 2. The world, prepared by this means for the righteous rule of Messiah, “ the first dominion” being restored to God's chosen people of old ; Israel brought back into blessing, and beginning to blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit. 3. The new dispensation thus introduced under the reign of the King “sitting on the throne of David” characterised by totally distinct features from those of the intervening gospel church, into which we, who through grace have believed, are introduced—one among these contrasted features being universality, in contradistinction to election.

These, we hesitate not to say, are some broad lineaments of the portrait of the coming future, painted for us in the Old Testament, through Isaiah, Jeremiah, or David, or Zechariah, or whatever other prophets have spoken ; and in all this we find that which harmonises entirely with the language of our Lord, who in the delineation of the harvest describes not the end of this present material world, as the mere English reader might suppose, but simply of the age (aiớv), to be succeeded by “the righteous shining forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father ;" the reign of Christ with his glorified saints over a renovated world, of which times of restitution God has spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.

But if the Old Testament be appealed to, for the purpose of shewing that both “ do not grow together till the harvest,” let us hear what it does say in any given instance. Take the last words of David” as an illustration :

“ The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God, and he shall be as the light of the morning when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds...... But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands: but the man that shall touch them must be fenced with iron and the staff of a spear; and they shall utterly burned with fire in the same place.”

If this prophecy be allowed to mean anything at all, it surely implies that the excision of the wicked is a part, an essential part of righteous rule, that rule which shall be as the sun rising after a dark night. From this our Protestant feelings revolt, and consequently we constantly find similar passages, though placed iu juxtaposition with those which are favourites at our public meetings, conveniently slid over, and sentenced to utter oblivion. This is not the way men would treat a common deed conveying the right to a worldly estate; but people like to be cheated with delusive hopes as to the “interests of religion.” In these respects, as to consistency of application, the Romanist writers, when they handle the Old Testament prophecy, have greatly the advantage of Protestants, as they do not hesitate to take the context with the text, and to apply to their church passages over which any Protestant must stumble. We speak merely of consistency in error; for it is most obvious to us not only that these prophecies are woefully misapplied, but also that the Church of the elect of God, the Bride of Christ, has nothing to do with the power or glory of the world while treading, in the steps of her Lord, a path of humiliation through this present evil world. Her reign is future, in resurrection-glory: “Know ye not that we shall judge the world ?" “We shall reign on the earth." Now, on the contrary, the disciple is not above his Master; “ If we suffer, we shall also reign with him ;” and all the world's power in government which any members of the church exercise, we believe that they exercise not as saints, but that they are departing in the very attempt from the principles laid down for their government in the New Testament. We therefore most sincerely deprecate all the efforts which Christians make to endeavour to arm themselves with the powers of the legislature, for the purpose of rooting out spiritual evil. What is gained by all the efforts of spiritual men in this way against Romanism, but the evident injury of the Christian feelings of the assailants, without any abatement of the evil sought to be removed ?

And yet if the world is to be converted by our means, these evils must be removed. Here then is the strange dilemma, in which those Protestants who expect this result are placed. All history, and we might say all Scripture, shew that there can be no general reformation effected without the destruction of opposing powers ; and yet by their very apprehension (and a true apprehension it is) of their position, as disciples of the Lord, they are forbidden to take the sword of persecution, or even to call down fire from heaven! We wonder that under these circumstances the attention of many more is not turned to the consideration whether their expectations of a general result in this dispensation be, after all, in accordance with the word of God.

We take the following instances, selected, with the exception of Mr. Laing's, by the Catholic Magazine, of the mode in which Protestant missions are obstructed by the zeal and success of the emissaries of Rome.

“ J. Mc Kenny, writing from Sydney, on the 11th October, 1838, says, in allusion to missionary efforts : This is not a question of mere pounds, shillings, and pence; for it now assumes this form, Shall Australia be a Protestant or a Popish colony?

The number of priests who are being sent out is quite frightful; lately eight arrived in one vessel, and received from the home government £150 each, for their passage and outfit.”

Mr. Laing, superintendent of the Scotch Mission in Australia, thus writes in his letter to Lord Durham concerning New Zealand :

“ There has also been a French Roman Catholic Mission recently formed on the Hokianga River, of which the native population is still very considerable. It is conducted by M. Pompallier, Bishop of Maronée in partibus, a French ecclesiastic of superior education, polished manners, and acknowledged zeal; and as five Roman Catholic Priests have recently been ordained at Lyons to act under his orders in different parts of the island, and are now probably on their way for that purpose to New South Wales, it is evident not only that the Church of England's Mission in New Zealand will have a formidable rival in the Romish New Zealand Mission, but that the friends of Protestant Christianity in the southern hemisphere generally, have good reason to strengthen their posts, and to stand upon their guard.

The New Zealanders, as I have already observed, are by no means predisposed to idolatry; and their universal idea of a Great, Pervading, Invisible Spirit, who cannot be represented by any image, nor confined within any temple made with hands, refers us at once for their origin and mythology, in common with those of their evident congeners, the Indians of America, to those times of remotest antiquity, when the primitive and heaven-taught theology of mankind had not yet been degraded into what Mr. Gibbon calls - the elegant mythology of the Greeks.” At the same time there is something in the Romish religion so universally congenial to the feelings and affections of unregenerate humanity, that I would not attempt to conceal my own serious apprehensions of M. Pompallier's success; for, considering the paralysing influence which that religion uniformly exerts on its votaries, I have no hesitation in acknowledging that I should regard the success of a Romish Mission in New Zealand in no other light than as a serious calamity to the southern hemisphere. Yes, my Lord, it is not merely the prevalence of the French race, but the paralysing influence of the Romish religion that has left Lower Canada in all the darkness and inertness of the middle ages, in the midst of a whole continent of enlightened and energetic freemen. Your Lordship will doubtless recollect that in the reign of Louis XIII., the single Protestant town of Rochelle possessed a commercial navy nearly equal to that of all France besides; and if Protestantism had not then and shortly thereafter been well-nigh extirpated from that kingdom by the strong hand of tyranny, guided by the fiendish spirit of intolerance, there is reason to doubt whether Great Britain, our own beloved country, would have stood so conspicuous among the nations as she now does, or maintained so long the empire of the seas. It is on the prevalence of Protestant Christianity, under the glorious flag of England, in the southern hemisphere, that the hopes of millions and millions more in that hemisphere undoubtedly depend.

“One of the means of conversion to the Roman Catholic faith which M. Pompallier employs, in his intercourse with the New Zealanders at Hokianga, is the distribution of little brass trinkets in the form of crucifixes, and brazen images of the Virgin Mary, bearing the Latin inscription Mater Dolorosa. These the New Zealanders suspend to their ears, as they are in the habit of doing with anything else, and especially anything foreign, which they conceive ornamental. I have seen the buckle of an English saddle-girth suspended in the same way, the tooth of a shark, the wing of a bird enclosing a native herb which affords an agreeable perfume, and an ornament of greenstone. Occasionally, however, the New Zealanders suspend the crucifixes and the brazen images of the Romish goddess to the necks of their dogs!

“Of the European population on the Hokianga River, a considerable proportion consists of Irish Roman Catholics, who have originally been convicts in New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land, and who are now employed as labourers, sawyers, &c. on the different establishments for cutting timber for exportation on that river. And as most of these depraved individuals are living in concubinage with native women, some of them even with the daughters of native chiefs, they doubtless afford a ready access to the natives to the Romish missionary, and a powerful means of influence on the native mind. In short, the accommodating spirit of the Romish system, which allows the veriest reprobates, on the one hand, to consider themselves religious characters, on their merely complying with the prescribed observances of their church, and which easily engrafts itself on the other, upon any system of heathenism whatever, must afford it a prodigious advantage in such circumstances as these.”

“ Jonathan Crowder, a Wesleyan Missionary, writing from Madras, 16th March, 1839, says, ' The Papists, with the reinforcement which came out in December, of an extra bishop and ten students, are making a considerable impression at Madras.' W. S. Fox, a brother missionary, under date of 14th March, from Madras, writes thus : Our fears have been not a little excited of late by the arrival and subsequent active operations of a Roman Catholic Bishop, accompanied by several associates. That the Papists are exerting themselves in this country, is an alarming

fact : and if we may judge from the peculiar power of adaptation which distinguishes popery, they are likely to form a numerous church.'

*D. Griffith, another Wesleyite preacher, writing from Negapatam, October 31, 1838, observes : Vellangany, though a secluded village on the sea coast, south of Negapatam, is much celebrated for its Romish Church ; so much so, that at the last annual festival connected with it, there were assembled upwards of twenty thousand people, some of whom had travelled between two and three hundred miles to it...... Popery, in this country, shews out, what it has long been suspected of, namely, that so essentially is it hostile to Christianity, it will accommodate and ally itself to any evil power, so that hostility might be upheld. In England and on the Continent it is allied with libertinism and infidelity against Christ and his church, In India it is allied with heathenism. So subtle, so seductive is it, that it has its processions, and fireworks, tomtoms and trumpets, and swamies and others of the empty, but to a native, imposing accompaniments to idolatry. Popery, thus constructed, offers the most formidable obstacles to the spread of the gospel. By pre-occupying the minds of the natives (for so slight are the differences between it and heathenism, that such pre-occupancy is easily effected), their conversion to our faith is not only prolonged, but made substantially more difficult. Those natives, who may be disposed to forsake heathenism, will naturally embrace that form of religion which, having somewhat higher pretensions, possesses the fewest differences from it.”

On this the Catholic Magazine remarks :

“What a poor ninny this D. Griffith must be. If he knew anything at all of the history of Christianity, he would have known, that it was precisely by acting as the Catholic missionaries now do, and have always done, that Christianity was propagated. As the divine wisdom acts through human agency, that agency must accommodate itself to circumstances [!] (was not St. Paul all things to all men ?) and provided the principles of Christianity be not compromised, it is perfectly lawful to attempt to win over idolatrous nations to the faith of Christ by such innocent displays as may abate their prejudices."

In the opinion of the reviewer, then, it seems “the divine Wisdom” must be the servant of circumstances. This is quite the old story: " Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself;" it is an error shared by many a Protestant, and one in which infidelity and popery can completely accord. For example, the editor of Le Cernéen, an avowedly infidel, but leading paper in the Mauritius, remarks: “ The best way to make your dogma (Christianity] revive again, is to deprive it of its rigour; and it is thus that the Romish Church has skilfully proceeded, by surrounding with perfumes and with music its ravished votaries. Thus catholicism is less christian than protestantism; and in as far as it exercises less restriction on human nature (which you say, merits all your respect), it has more chance of dominion than the reformed churches.” Such are the accommodating principles of the woman “ that sitteth upon many waters !"

In the historical assertion that it was in the way of such 6 innocent': compromise that Christianity was propagated," there is certainly much truth. But does not the very recollection of the details which church history brings before us on this subject, tend to illustrate another of our Lord's parables in Matthew xiii., that of the leaven hid in three measures of meal-leaven being always elsewhere used in a bad sense in Scripture, and fitly representing a corrupt Christianity, assimilating to its own nature that with which it was brought into contact. “The privilege of converting nations,” the Cutlulic Magazine asserts, belongs exclusively to the Roman Catholic Church, she being the Church that has, up to the present time, brought every nation to the knowledge of the true faith.

Be it so; though this is manifestly not true when we turn our eyes to the islands of the Pacific. Still we say, Be it so; for while we wish God speed to every labourer in the vineyard, whatever be his name or denomination, who really brings souls to depend on the blood of Jesus for acceptance, and therefore rejoice in the labours of our Protestant missionaries, we nevertheless covet not in the least for them the “privilege of converting nations." We know quite enough of the working of “national Christianity” to wish them to steer a wide course to avoid this reef so perilous to the real success of their voyage.

Converting nations ?" No! we will leave that to the Romanists. They suc

66

66

« EelmineJätka »