Page images
PDF
EPUB

very slightly and cautiously, and On entering the cottage, a large oven, sums up his statistical sketches built of brick, from six to eight feet with the following appropriate square, five feet high, and level on the comment.

top, is always seen occupying a promi

nent part in the dwelling. Part of the The present state of the Russian empire

family always sleep upon the top of it in affords rich materials for those who study

the winter season; for regular bedsteads the reciprocal interests of the European

are not yet in general use among them. States. Russia has not yet reached the

They spread down their mats and sheepmaturity of her strength : remain sta

skin coats in any place that best suits tionary she cannot: and who is able to

them, in summer very frequently in an predict her future greatness, or to tell out-house or in the open air. A common how far her limits may yet extend? Had fir-table, near to the small glazed or unRussia a revenue equal to that of England,

glazed window; benches placed along the her armies, under an enterprising spirit

sides of the apartment; a few earthen like Peter the Great, might soon overrun

pots, in which the food is cooked in the a great part of Europe. How desirable

oven (for they have no other fire-place is it, therefore, that education and the

for cooking); some wooden trenchers; pure principles of the Gospel should ex.

a salt-box, and sp made of the same tend their influence among the nations material; a wooden vessel or two, for of that mighty empire; so that this co

holding water; a trough cut out of the lossal power, raised up by the Almighty

trunk of a tree, in which to wash their in these latter days to fulfil His inscru.

linen; with a chest to hold their clothestable decrees-raised up from the de

these simple articles compose the whole scendants of those very tribes that once

amount of the furniture of a Russian izba overturned the Roman empire in the

or cottage. The poorest hut, however, is meridian of its civilization, and which

always supplied with one or more small has now assumed such a commanding

pictures of their tutelary saints: someposition on the frontiers of the nations

times, also, among the more wealthy, oné of Europe and Asia-may become the

observes the pictures of the Saviour and minister of peace and happiness, and not the Virgin ; and not a few possess a repreof desolation and thraldom, to the human

sentation of the Holy Trinity--the Father race!

appearing seated on a throne as the AnBut what, it may be said, is the

cient of Days, the Son on the one side, moral and religious state of this

and the Holy Spirit, in the form of a mighty empire? and this inquiry

dove, on the other. These small pictures

are hung up in the corner of the hut, naturally leads to impressions of a

facing the door; so that they catch the very varied and opposite charac

eye of every one who enters, and remind ter. In some parts of the empire him of his duty. The stranger having Paganism or Mohammedanism

passed the threshold, and shut the door exist; in others a corrupted and behind him, stands mute, bows before superstitious Christianity prevails, them, crosses himself several times, rewhile in some, though we fear, com- peats a few words of ejaculation, and paratively speaking, few places, then, and not till then, turns to the inspiritual and vital religion is found. habitants of the hut, with the salutation It is to inform our readers on these

of “ Peace be with you!" “Jesus Christ importarit inquiries, that the fol

be with you !” and after this, he states lowing extracts from Dr. Pi's

the errand on which he comes. work have been selected.

In the huts of the common people, the

sacred corner, which is considered the The villages of the peasantry are all family ar, and where, on a small shelf built of block-wood, and covered with before the pictures, the Bible, in many of shingles or straw: they are nearly in the them, of late years, has found a place, is same style in every part of Russia, the the only part of the dwelling in which any gable end always turned to the road. symptoms of the arts of civilization are to Each hut has its own gate: leading into be discovered; namely, in the pictures of a court, from which is the entrance into the saints, neatly framed, and sometimes the dwelling.

plated with silver and gilt: for there is

1

scarcely another article to be observed in contains a very interesting comthe hut, but such as belong to the manu.. parison between the doctrines of facture of the very rudest state of human the Greek and Romish churches, society: and how lamentable it is to find that this sacred corner, this family altar, laret, the present Metropolitan of

with remarks from the pen of Phishould so often, to the rude and ignorant Moscow, which affords a gratifying peasantry, few of whom are able to read,

view of the freedom of the Greek be little better than a temple of idols!

church from many of the most perAlas! they know no better. But when I had the gratification of beholding the Bible

nicious doctrines of the Romish on the wooden support in the presence of

apostacy; especially the distinct the group of painted figures, and found recognition by the Greek church the inmates anxiously inquiring after its of the authority of the Holy Scripcontents, with one in their number who tures as the rule of faith in opposicould read, I considered that the true tion to the Romish dogmas of traantidote to the evil was provided.- dition-on the corruption of human Pp. 23—26.

nature, the satisfaction of Christ, I went to see the Cathedral Church of

Justification by faith, &c. which St. Sophia, in the Kremlin; where I

very much accord with the lanfound the archbishop officiating, amidst

guage of our own formularies. Dr. a crowd of worshippers, on occasion of

P. indeed disclaims the idea of the annual procession of one of their

insinuating that the body of the sacred pictures, denominated “The Virgin of Pestchera" (the Virgin of the

Russian people, or even many of Cave).

the lower Clergy, possess such After the mass was over, the whole

distinct views of the leading docclergy, except the archbishop, with a great trines of the gospel as are exhibited concourse of the inhabitants dressed in in this comparison ; and states that their best clothes, carried the sacred picture the people in general are illiterate, above mentioned, in solemn procession, and sunk in ignorance and superamidst loud psalmody and the ringing of stition to a degree which would bells, around the outer wall of the city. scarcely be credited: he however It was a truly humbling spectacle, to well observes, that ;behold thousands of the ignorant and

The church that permits every one of superstitious inhabitants of this city and

its members to read the Holy Scriptures neighbourhood crossing and prostrating themselves before a black ugly female

in a language which he understands, and portrait, as it passed by, decked out with

acknowledges this word as the highest

tribunal in matters of faith on earth, is gold and gems! What but the light of divine revelation can dispel this heathenish

still possessed of the best reformer of all

superstition ;-a reformation which will darkness, and point out to the inhabitants of modern Plescovia the only object of

no doubt take place with the increase of worship, and the only Mediator betwixt

learning and Scriptural knowledge, both

in Russia and Greece. And surely it is God and man! This image of the Virgin

matter of joyful hope to the lovers of is very old ; and is here 'on a visit for a few days,' as they express it, collecting

truth, that a system, in so many respects

evangelical as the above presented to us money for the monastry to which she

by the present Metropolitan of Moscow, belongs. The lower orders of the clergy were

is still professed by the most enlightened

of the prelates and clergy in Russia, and seen among the crowd, pleading for ‘alms

is taught in the spiritual academies and to the Queen of Heaven !!' Of what vast

seminaries of that great empire to upimportance is it, then, to put the Bible

wards of thirty thousand young men preinto the hands of a people like this ! for

paring for the sacred profession, that they, where it is unknown, or little known,

in their turn, may preach the same to the spectacles like these must prevail : such

people. has been the tendency of human nature, in all nations, and in all ages.

The different views entertained

by the Greek and Romish churches Dr. Pinkerton's third chapter with reference to the Holy Scrip

causes.

tures, constitute the grand distinc- never easy and ingenuous. To what, I tion in favour of the former, and have sometimes asked myself, can this will we doubt not eventually pro

marked difference of character in the clergy duce very important results. The

of the Eastern and Western churches be influence indeed of the Romish

attributed ?-principally, I believe, to two

First. The Greek Church has party in Russia is considerable, and to this must in great measure be

never been a persecuting community, and ascribed the suppression of the

its dogmas are nearer to the principles of

the Reformation than to those of the Russian Bible Society in 1826,

Western church. Secondly. That prepos. and the difficulties which still in

terous principle of the Church of Rome, various respects impede the circu- which condemns to everlasting woe all lation of the Holy Scriptures in the who are without the pale of her commumodern Russ. On these points,

nion, a principle as much abhorred by much interesting information is the Greek as by the Protestant clergy, contained in the volume before us, places an insurmountable obstacle in the which we

are reluctantly com- way of Christian intercourse between the pelled to pass over. In speaking

votaries of Rome, and the adherents of

Protestantism. Before ever the Roman of Telsh, Dr. P. observes

Catholic can have Christian feeling towTo the Mayor of the place, who is a ards his Protestant fellow Christian, this Russian, I presented my letters of intro

principle must be given up. Nevertheduction ; and at once found a most hearty less, no member of the Greek Church is welcome for the object I had at heart

permitted to join any other Christian comthe circulation of the word of God. The munion, so that in this respect there is no Poles are so ignorant on this subject, and liberty of conscience : and when a marbeing Roman Catholics, so prejudiced riage takes place between one of its memagainst the reading of the Scriptures, that bers and a person of another profession, it was only after reasoning and persuasion the children must all be baptized into the that could get even the better classes dominant faith. As the regular clergy of of them to allow that the object I was Russia have all the spiritual schools and travelling to promote was a benevolent seminaries in their hands, together with and good one. The prejudices of the

the government of the Church, their time Russians, on the contrary, were in favour is occupied in active duties. After they of the cause of Scripture distribution ; have finished theirown studies, they spend and they found no scruples of conscience, a great part of their lives as teachers in created and nourished by their priests, the seminaries, and then as egoumens and unfavourable to the principle, that it is the archimandrites the monasteries, duty and privilege of every Christian to

where they not unfrequently continue the peruse the sacred volume for himself.

same duties of teachers until they become In treating of the Russian clergy,

bishops : and as bishops, such is the who are said to amount to 215,000

extent of their dioceses, and the numbers persons, Dr. P. introduces the fol

of the secular clergy under them, that

though they have the assistance of a conlowing passage :

sistory, yet their time and talents are The Russian clergy, taken as a body, fully occupied until old age : 'so that the are tolerant in their principles towards Russian clergy of all ranks lead laborious other confessions of faith, especially to- lives, if they conscientiously apply to the wards Protestants. In my intercourse with duties of their station. The bishops offithe Greek patriarchs and prelates, the ciate and preach in the cathedrals on all Russian metropolitans, bishops, and ar- the principal festivals, and some of them chimandrites, I have almost uniformly on other days also; and when they do been treated with an open, fraternal cor- not, their place is taken by the archiman. diality. Very different has been my expe- drite or other subordinate ecclesiastic. rience in my intercourse with the Roman Their sermons are, in general, simple Catholic legates, archbishops, bishops, homiletical compositions, such as the canons, and clergy : there seemed always bearded boors before them, in their sheepa kind of shyness and distrust expressed skin coats and sandals made of the rind in their features, while their manner was of the linden-tree, can well understand.

over

The published discourses of others display In this immense empire there are specimens of energetic and pathetic writ- many who strenuously employ ing, not unworthy of men who are proud their time and talents in the proof having learnt eloquence in the school motion of true Christianity. Among of Chrysostom. I have found among these the Princess Sophia Mestthem persons of genuine piety, learning. chersky holds a conspicuous place. and benevolence ; abstemious in their habits, and exemplary in their lives; dis

This pious lady was the first who tinguished for candour, modesty, and a

encouraged in 1811, the formation truly primitive simplicity of manners, As

of a Bible Society at Moscow, and to the secular or parochial clergy, they

who has procured the translation form a kind of distinct tribe, like that of

and circulation in the modern Rusthe Levites of old ; because none but the

sian language, of a number of Relisons of the clergy are educated for the gious and Moral Treatises, of which church; nor is there one instance in a above 400,000 have been distrithousand of any person entering the sacred buted chiefly at her own expence; profession from the other classes of society. among these are Walker's Sermons, The regular clergy, on the contrary, Buchanan's Christian Researches, though often sons of priests, not unfre- Legh Richmond's Tracts, a Selecquently receive additions to their num

tion from Hannah More's Tracts, bers from among the nobles and other

&c. most of which were sanctioned classes; and all the higher stations in the

by the Russian spiritual canons, church are still filled up from their ranks.

and to the circulation of which the -Pp.248–250.

late Emperor Alexander contriIn speaking of the peasantry,

buted 12,000 roubles. Dr. P. observes :

This volume contains some high

ly interesting information concernIn general, the Russian, of whatever ing the late Emperor; among class, never undertakes any work of which is a letter of the Princess importance until he has crossed himself,

Mestchersky, from which we exand sought the divine protection. And

tract as follows: before undertaking a journey, it is customary for the rich merchants, and many View the Emperor Alexander, sovereign among the nobles, to go to church, and to of an immense empire, at the head of a have a special service for imploring that formidable army, proud of bis power, full the divine blessing may go with them : of the fire of youth, and ambitious of the the Emperor does the same. Others glory of this world! He neglects, he again invite the priest, with his deacon misunderstands the source of all his blessand psalmodists, to their own houses, ings; and, trusting to an arm of flesh, he where prayers are offered up, in the midst beholds victory and triumph before him, of the domestic circle, before the image forgetting that no king is saved by the of the tutelary saint of the family; domes multitude of a host-a mighty man is not tics, children, and friends attending. I delivered by much strength.” He is still do not mean to say that prayers are

totally destitute of true faith. Buonadirectly offered to the saints on this occa. parte, like a thunderbolt, smites his troops sion, any more than on any other; but in all quarters—they flee before this that, as it is the general custom of the genius of evil, this messenger of wrath ; Russians never to pray unless they have a and, in a short time, the Emperor beholds crucifix, or the picture of the Saviour, of a part of his empire devastated, the the Virgin, or of some saint of the Kalen- ancient capital of his dominion delivered dar before them, so, on this occasion also, to the flames, his people flying from city the prayers are offered up before the to city, his troops scattered in disorder, family obraz, (sacred picture). At the and without supplies : all around reigns commencement of a battle, it is the custom desolation, and blood flows on every side. of the Russian soldiers not merely to offer In this state of distress, the Lord yet up prayers for mercy and deliverance, but supports bim, but without revealing Himalso, whenever circumstances admit, to self to him: He inspires bim with courage receive absolution and the holy sacrament.

and firmness: then He approaches nearer,

and darts on his soul a ray of His grace, read, and he found every word suitable to by the following means :

himself; and ever after, until his last About the middle of the year 1812, the breath, he carried this Psalm about his Emperor, about to quit St. Petersburg, person, learned it by heart, and evening and having already taken leave of his and morning recited it at his devotions. august family, had retired into his cabinet, Now the bruised heart of the monarch reand, quite alone, was employed in arrang- ceived this light-beam with joy; and from ing some affairs before his departure. All the moment that the new creature was born, at once he beheld a female enter, whom, he applied himself incessantly to the study at first, he did not recognise, there being of the Divine word, which he never put little light in the room. Astonished at from him. He now came to know his this apparition--for never was a woman weakness; he cried unto God; and, withpermitted to enter his cabinet without out compulsion, or the instrumentality of leave, not even of his own family, and any one, he fell at the feet of the Lord : above all at this unseasonable hour-he, and the Lord armed him, like David, with however, arose, went to meet her, and faith and experience; whereupon, behold! perceived it to be the Countess Tolstoi ; a new Goliah falls beneath the strokes of who, excusing herself for the liberty she him, whom, but a short time before, he had taken from a desire to wish him a expected to vanquish. happy journey, presented him at the same We will not, however, attempt to follow time with a paper. The Emperor, at all this Christian hero in the brilliant career times condescending, and sensible of the of his victories ; but merely remark, that least proof of attachment, thanked her, he himself spoke of them in the following and bade her adieu. The paper he supposed terms:-'I felt myself,' said he, like a to contain a petition for something, and child; experience had taught me my intherefore put it into his pocket; and, when sufficiency; faith made me commit myself she was gone, resumed his former employ- entirely to Him, who had spoken to me in ment. Soon after, he took his departure, the Psalm, and had inspired me with a sewithout thinking more about it.

curity and a force altogether new to me. At the first night's quarters, fatigued At every fresh difficulty to be overcome, at with cares, and alone, he wished to ease every decision to be taken, or question to his thoughts by turning them to some be solved, I went, if I had an opportunity, specific object: he took out the paper from and threw myself at the feet of my Father his pocket, opened it, and saw with sur- who is in heaven-or, recollecting myself prise that it contained the Ninety-first for a few moments, I cried to Him from Psalm. He read it with pleasure, and its the bottom of my heart—and all was divine contents calmed his troubled spirit; smoothed, decided, and executed marveland his heart said in secret-Oh! that lously; all difficulties fled before the Lord, these words were addressed to me!' As who marched before me. Without ceasing, this thought passed through his mind, I read His word. I remember, that one some one entered the room and interrupted day, on entering a small town on the fronhim: he again set off, and all was for- tier of France, the name of which town I gotten.

have forgotten, sitting in my calash, I was A considerable time after this, he found reading in the New Testament about the himself in Moscow, in one of the most eunuch of Queen Candace reading the critical periods of his life-(who can be Prophet Isaiah, and desiring some one to ignorant of the terrible events of the explain to him what he read I then memorable year 1812 ?) Alone in his thought within myself—'Oh! that God cabinet, he was arranging some books on would also send me some one to help me a table, one of which caused a volume of rightly to understand His holy will.' And the Bible to fall down (it was De Sacy's at the very time I was desiring this in my version, in 4to.): in falling, it opened, heart, Madame Krudner sent, asking perand the Emperor, on taking it up, happen- mission to see me. For a short time I to cast his eye upon the page, and beheld believed that it was she whom God intend. again the Psalm which had once comforted ed to employ for this purpose ; but very him!-At this time he recognized the voice soon I perceived that this light was nothing which called him; and he replied and more than an ignis fatuus.'-- These are his said: “ Here I

am,

Lord ! speak to thy own words. servant !” He read, he applied what he And, truly, it was the will of God that

« EelmineJätka »