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is but too true, as M. Gaussen reminded them, that it is not in the nature of things to keep strictly to the forms of a Presbyterian government, its authority, its tribunals, and its censures, and yet allow entire liberty of thought. The independence of thought for which they have been for a century nobly striving, is consistent only with independence of churches; a truth so well understood in this country, that it has been a favorite object with those here who dread the former, to destroy the latter, and by new combinations essentially to change the character which our lauded fathers gave to their congregations. But surely it is not for such, or for any advocates of establishments and tribunals, to hold up to obloquy as guilty of intolerance and persecution, a body which has used its power with the moderation evinced in the affair we are considering We may express dissatisfaction, for we disapprove the whole system of external compulsion and management which is inherent in a national establishment, and are persuaded that on the principles of Congregationalism or of Independency no such troubles could have arisen as have disturbed the peace of Geneva. But when the advocates of church governments condemn, let them, for consistency's sake, own that they have nothing to find fault with except the doctrines of those who hold the power, no fault, except as pertaining to the law of their God.' that M. Gaussen ought to have been left to take his own way; and that it would have been better quietly to return the offensive epistle, than to risk another disobedience and a final rupture, by commanding the sensitive writer to withdraw it. But they can consistently hold no such language ; and every one perceives, when they make such an outcry, that it is not from any objection they can reasonably make to this proceeding in itself
, but simply because M. Gaussen is a Calvinist, and the Company of Pastors is liberal.
As for the manner in which these proceedings have been received in Geneva, they of course have created no small excitement, and have given rise to very different opinions according as individuals were disposed to favor the Company or the minister. The great majority of the people approved the doings of the Company, and there was a general feeling that its measures had been taken with exemplary moderation and leniency. There were advocates in the Company and in the community for much severer proceedings. The advocates of
We may say M. Gaussen have, of course, erected him into a martyr, and have seized the occasion to excite to the utmost possible extent a feeling unfavorable to the Pastors, and to extend the influence of Orthodox sentiments. M. Gaussen has published a pamphlet in vindication of himself, and in further assault on the authority and character of the Pastors. He has also made himself active in the establishment of the Evangelical Society of Geneva,' the object of which seems to be, by every active means, to revolutionize religious opinion in that city, and restore the fallen empire of Calvinism. In order to this, they do not withdraw from the national church, for doing which M. Malan has been blamed as guilty of a piece of ill policy; but, maintaining, with M. Gaussen, that the present Company is exercising an illegal and usurped authority, and that the true power can belong only to those who abide by the ancient ordinances and the catechism of Calvin, they propose to erect a new church in the bosom of the old, and when in time it shall have become sufficiently strong, eject the present holders of power, and raise up again all the fallen honors of the ancient régime.
These occurrences must have naturally had the effect to draw unwonted attention to the doctrines which in fact lie at the bottom of the dispute. It is well known to have been the liberal policy of this church, to discourage, as much as possible, all polemic controversy, and to confine the attention of the religious community to the great and undisputed points of divine revelation. Hence doctrinal discussion has hardly occurred in the city; and the peculiarities of different sects are almost unknown. Probably very little interest has been felt in them. It would seem probable, however, that this state of things can no longer continue. The long peace must be broken and contention must follow. Those
who have heretofore been discontented with the prevailing quietness, and who have thought that duty to truth demanded the agitation of doctrinal questions, will now have an opportunity to speak. Of these, is Chenevière, the learned professor and eloquent preacher, who has been preparing a series of Essays on the doctrines of the gospel. Their publication at this moment is particularly opportune, and will draw to them an attention greater than under other circumstances they would probably have received. The first two of these, on the Trinity and on Original Sin, are now lying on our table, and may call for a particular notice at some future time. Other writers are also understood to have appeared; and it has been proposed to establish a theological journal, which should be suited to the emergencies of the day. What will be the effect of this agitation it is not easy precisely to foretell. That it will in many respects be unhappy, exciting bad passions, producing alienations, and giving opportunities for that unfairness, abusiveness, and slander, to which Geneva has been hitherto a stranger, but which grow up like weeds in the rank soil of theological warfare, there can be no doubt. But it is the province of Him who is over all to bring good out of evil; and we have a devout trust that, when the rain shall have descended, and the floods come, and the winds blown, and beat upon that house, it will be found to stand firm and immovable, founded on that Rock against which the gates of hell and the perverseness of man never shall prevail. Meantime, may the friends of truth and liberty feel their responsibility and duty; and while they contend for the faith once delivered to the saints, earnestly, strenuously, perseveringly, may they do it in meekness and forbearance; showing by their temper and decency that they have learned of Jesus, and have felt the holy power of the truth which they advocate.
ART. VII. - Lectures on Witchcraft, comprising a History
of the Delusion in Salem in 1692. By CHARLES W. UPHAM, Junior Pastor of the First Church in Salem. Boston. Carter, Hendee, & Babcock. '18mo. pp. 280. We are indebted to Mr. Upham, in these Lectures, for the clearest, most impartial, and satisfactory account of this memorable delusion, which as yet, we believe, has been given to the public. They were first delivered in substance before the Salem Lyceum, and afterwards repeated to some similar institutions in the vicinity. They will be numbered with the most valuable productions, which these excellent associations have called forth. The origin of this infatuation, perhaps the most remarkable in the history of man ; its wide extent and antiquity, not limited, as some may have imagined, to Salem, to New-England, or to the age in which in this country it chiefly appeared, but pervading various countries, at different periods, both in the ancient and modern world ; affecting not the illiterate and the vulgar only, usually most susceptible to the marvellous, but some of the wisest and best of the land; the tremendous consequences it produced upon the reputation, fortunes, domestic and social comfort of multitudes, and the sacrifice of life to not a few, are all described, though briefly, yet accurately and impartially. It has been my object, says the writer, 'to present only those facts, which are necessary to give a correct and adequate view of the transaction. And it has been my determination to set down nought in malice and to keep back nothing from partiality.' We count it no small part of the value of these Lectures, that this object has been faithfully kept in view ; so that the curious or the youthful inquirer, who has yet to learn the history of the Salem Witchcraft, may find it here exhibited, not with the loathsome and revolting details, which have found a place in the Magnalia’ and some of the earlier records, but with historic truth, and especially with a just, philosophical, and charitable estimate of the various causes to which it may be ascribed; the consideration of which, embracing, as in the second Lecture, the existence and influence of the same delusion from the beginning of the Christian era to the period in question, is essential to every one, who would avoid the injustice of a blind and indiscriminate condemnation of our fathers.
The causes, which produced and favored this delusion, are traced in general to the desponding state of the affairs of New England at the time of its commencement in 1692, and to the influence of certain theological sentiments, which pervaded the people. Of the former, the author particularly mentions the depression of commerce, the depredations of privateers upon the coast; the exposure of the colony to the cruel hostility of the Indians; the severe burden of taxes pressing upon the whole community, far exceeding in their proportion the burdens of the present day, and producing political jealousies and discontents ; and, finally, the loss by death and other causes of inany of the leading citizens, especially of the patriarchs of Salem,' to whom the inhabitants had long been accustomed to look for wisdom and a salutary influ
While, of the latter causes, a sober and general belief,
that the evil being himself was in a special manner let loose, and permitted to descend upon them with unexampled fury, was sufficient, independently of every external cause, to dispose men to the miserable superstitions and barbarities, that followed.
We must refer our readers to Mr. Upham's own pages for the narrative of this disgraceful, or rather let us say, this melancholy history. And even within the small compass of his book, we find ourselves anticipated in most of the reflexions, to which it might naturally give occasion. Notwithstanding, however, the multitude of absurd stories, that have been told of Witchcraft, and the familiar use of the terms employed in them, it is more than possible that some of our readers may be at a loss as to what is really intended by a Witch ; nothing being more common than the use of words without any distinct idea attached to them. Mr. Upham, therefore, before entering upon the history, very properly explains what is meant, when it was said that people were bewitched.
There are several words and expressions, that are sometimes used synonymously with witch, although they are not strictly synonymous. The following for instance, diviner, enchanter, charmer, conjurer, necromancer, fortune-teller, augur, soothsayer, and sorcerer. None of these words conveys the same idea our ancestors attached to the word witch.
Witch was sometimes specially used to signify a female, while wizard was exclusively applied to a male. The distinction was not often, however, attempted to be made, – the former title was prevailingly applied to either sex. A witch was regarded by our fathers, as a person who had made an actual, deliberate, and formal compact with Satan, by which compact it was agreed that she should become his faithful subject, and do what she could in promoting his cause, and, in consideration of this allegiance and service, he on his part agreed to exercise his supernatural powers in her favor, and communicate to her a portion of those powers. Thus a witch was considered in the light of a person who had transferred allegiance and worship from God to the Devil.
“The existence of this compact was supposed to confer great additional power on the Devil as well as on his new subject; for the doctrine seems to have prevailed, that for him to act with effect upon men, the intervention and instrumentality of human cooperation was necessary, and almost unlimited power was ascribed the combined exertions of Satan, and those of the human species in league with him. A witch was believed to