Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

Church, and how perfectly free they are from its control. What a matter of wonder it would be to us if such a circumstance were to happen in Ireland—that Bibles should not only be received but bought, throughout a whole Catholic village, and that a Protestant minister should not only be heard by crowds, but invited to preach every fortnight. At present one of the principal members of the Church at Lyons is about to depart for Vienne, a town about seven leagues distant, to see what can be done in that place for the establishment of a Scriptural worship. All this is very encouraging. The reception which the visiters—the deacons, elders, and chief members of the little Churches-meet with in prisons, hospitals, and private houses, is no less so. They are for the most part well received, often coldly, but hardly ever offensively. They are generally listened to with attention and kindliness. A wife will often call her husband, or a husband his wife, to hear what the visiter may have to say. There is, in fact, as far as I have been able to observe or to learn, a feeling of benevolence in individuals—which will often be found in company with a still more general sentiment of hostility and forced scorn--toward the persons and characters of the new evangelizers. On the whole, their labors have been attended with surprising results, and seem to promise, with adequate means, a very extensive success to their philanthropic and Christian exertions.

I must now give some account of the pecuniary resources of the Church at Lyons. This Church subsists entirely upon occasional gifts made by individuals. It receives no support either from the Continental Society or Geneva, and its own congregation is much too poor to meet the one tithe of its necessities. To exhibit this part of my subject in its true light, I cannot do better than extract the following touching passage from Monsieur Monod's Appeal to Christians. "The Lord,' says he, 'gave me so clear a view of his leadings in all that had happened to us, and a conviction so firm that the work was prepared and approved of by him, that I undertook to carry it on without having (far from it) the funds that were necessary. By faith, I entered into engagements for the chapel, for the school, &c., following the principle that a single sous should not be spent without necessity, but that no doubt should be entertained that money for indispensable expenses would arrive. My expectation was not a vain one. I had hardly concluded my arrangements relative to the chapel, when an English lady, whose aid I had not solicited, and whom I merely knew by name, sent to tell me that if I wanted money she would send me £50. This was nearly sufficient to meet the hire and furnishing of the chapel. A little after, another Christian of the same country, whose name I only learned by his first letter, put at my disposition £150, payable in the course of the year. The same person sent to our poor a few hundred francs, which reached us just at the time when we had appointed our deacon. Nearly about the same time, a French Christian sent us nine hundred francs. Some other friends in France and Switzerland came also to our aid. We received likewise two loans, of which one amounted to one thousand francs, from an American friend. It is thus that God enables us to advance, awaiting from him, day by day, the funds necessary for his work, and receiving them in the moment of want. His fidelity is great. As for myself, while I might desire, if God should permit it, both for his Church and for my own family, more regular and certain resources, I shall bless God all my life for this exercise of faith, often painful and humiliating, but very salutary, by which we receive from him, in answer to prayer, and as from day to day, our daily bread. I must add to this touching and simple exposition of the material means of this most interesting Church, that its precarious mode of existence is the more to be regretted, as, from its position, it is calculated to be a centre for the diffusion of Gospel truth over all the south. It attracts attention; it excites curiosity; awakens sympathy; provokes hostility; and derives importance from its very locality ; and it seems, in all human probability, that the movement abroad will either spread, acquiring the force of combination from the prosperity of its central reservoir of life, or with it languish and die away in isolated spots. The Church of Lyons should therefore be made strong, not so much for its own sake as for the sake of the little detached Churches of the surrounding departments, which have sprung up so numerously of late years, and have remained as yet separate and single-each struggling for itself alone, and deriving from each other no mutual stay and support, because they possess no metropolis, as it were, for general reference, consultation, and direction. This Lyons might be made to them.

I shall say but little of the Church at St. Etienne, because almost all that I have said of that at Lyons may be applied to it. The pastor of the national temple of that place was expelled from his ministry in a like manner, and for the same cause, that Monsieur Monod was. The only difference between the two cases is, that those members of the consistory of St. Etienne who were most active in the expulsion of their pastor, were precisely those who never went to church at all, and that, with the ejected minister, almost the whole congregation seceded from the established worship, and have since formed a separate assembly, which continues to prosper and to increase.

I cannot close this paper without dwelling, as upon the most pleasurable part of my subject, on the manner in which the members of the new Churches above mentioned live together. We judge of, and interest ourselves in, men much more on account of their individual and social characters, than on account of their outward denomination and position, or even the doctrines they proclaim. The living expression of principles it is that captivates the beholder, not principles themselves, which, devoid of this expression, are mere objects of assent or dissent. It is true, that where the truths of the Gospel are widely diffused and received, the expression I allude to in the demeanor of those who embrace them, loses something of its pristine charm, and is mingled with a workday worldly aspect, which shades from sight its full beauty. But when a few pious men are surrounded by a great, a universal multitude of the impious, their separation from the latter is so distinct and marked, and is kept thereby so pure from all mixture, that one is immediately struck by the genuine distinctive impress which the Gospel stamps upon, the heart, upon the face, and upon the life.

This is an observation I have made since I came to Lyons, and I have made it in the mixed societies of the members of its new Church. “Without love,' says Lord Bacon, an assemblage of men is but a gallery of pictures. I can assure my readers, there is no gallery of pictures to be seen in any of these societies, and more especially, there is none in the pastor's house, where almost every evening a company of from six to a dozen persons meet to take tea—that English habit having been adopted in Monsieur Monod's English family. While passing some of the most happy hours there I ever passed in my life, an involuntary comparison has often forced itself upon me, between these hours and those I have usually devoted to social recreation, even in the most really select companies; and I find, that though the latter have excited me, the only solid gain they have brought, after all, has been a relief from, or rather suspension of, the petty toils and troubles of the day; whereas, in the modest soirées I have been lately enjoying, I have experienced an absolute restauration to make use of the word in a French sense and with French spelling) of my inward mind. It is not so much what is said, as what is felt in these little meetings, that constitutes their charm and their edification. The affections, rather than the intellect, are entertained, though the latter wants not its part in the feast. Compared to the radiant calm I have been sensible of in these homely unpretending parties, all other emotions caused by other conversations seem to me but an unmeaning jingle of sentiments without depth and without reality.

I must be permitted to return for a few minutes, ere I conclude, to the principal subject of this paper. From all that I have above written, it results that there is a negative disposition, that is, no indisposition, to say the least, to receive the Gospel throughout many wide-extended tracts of the south of France. If zeal in a few could meet this favorable state of mind, great things would be done. But one man cannot do the work of twenty, and there is therefore a feeling of hopelessness in the midst of passive circumstances the most hopeful. The national Church, even if it were as zealous generally as it is in some particular places, is not, from the limited number of its localities, and from other features of its organization, so constituted as to spread; and the Churches which have been broken off from it, wanting neither in zeal nor in devotion, can scarcely subsist themselves, and instead of extending their operations, are obliged to contract them from an absolute want of funds. A multitude of spots there are where a Scriptural worship might be established, which are at present only retained in their adherence to Popery by the slight fragile hold of a disenchanted habit. A breath might break this hold, provided another breath inspired other affections. Our religious societies at home are certainly actively and beneficially employed in all quarters of the globe, and can, therefore, perhaps, according to their present views, spare but little aid to France. It appears to me, however, that that country has been considered by them but as a secondary object, whereas it ought to be regarded as the first, and should, as it were, concentre all their zeal upon itself. Here is a land, the heart, in many senses, of the civilized world, where Popery is falling off, as a

snake changes its skin; where philosophy is wearied out, wherein are all the agitations and convulsions of a period of transition, and where the Gospel, adorned by professors who recall the primitive times of Christianity, is essaying, through the dim eclipse of centuries, to break brightly out of its dense envelopements, and yet its little Churches are left to struggle in all the mire of pecuniary difficulties and want. Our zealous men at home seem to me not to be at all sensible of the importance of this subject, or they would perceive that to propagate the movement for which a field is opening in the south of France, would do more to promote the general diffusion of Christian truth than all their other labors put together. Well may an infidel government, in the present state of things, proclaim religious liberty; well may a Popish hierarchy boast of its tolerance in suffering what it cannot prevent; they know, both the one and the other, that this liberty, and this tolerance, can produce no effect, but on the most limited scale, as long as material means are wanting for the propagation of the Gospel. Well may the puny efforts of Christians provoke, among enemies, laughter and scorn, and a chuckle of malicious joy, as long as these efforts are crippled and rendered almost abortive, as they are now. The priests may well console themselves that they have lost their power over the people, since they perceive, that this power, remaining at least in abeyance, has not yet gone over from the ministers of the Popedom to the ministers of Christ; and that it never can do so while the exertions of the latter are shut up in the narrowest circles, by reason of their paltry resources. I feel persuaded that there is hardly a village, in many departments of the south of France, where the Gospel would not be received with wel. come; that there is hardly a town or city in which it might not plant a firm foot, provided there were funds to give effect to a zeal, already prepared, waiting, and full of alacrity. Something more, at least, might be done than has been done hitherto. This consideration is of such immense importance, that it is not, I am sure, merely to the sympathies of religious societies, already overtasked, but to the sympathies of all who value the pure doctrines of Christianity, that an appeal should be made. Such sympathies exist, I am convinced, in every nook and corner of our happy land. It has always been the great glory of Englishmen that they have brought prompt succor of heart, hand, and purse, to their oppressed brethren in the faith on foreign shores; and these, also, have ever acknowledged the benefit-for, as the Jews of old, when captives at Babylon, turned their faces in their prayers toward the temple at Jerusalem, so do distressed Christians, in all parts of the world, look with hope, in their hour of weakness, toward our favored island, as to the great citadel of their earthly help and strength. Would that aid might thence be plentifully administered to the little Churches of the south of France ! and that thus they might be endowed with an efficiency, at least somewhat more commensurate to the work which is before them to be accomplished.

From the Foreign Quarterly Review, for July, 1835.
JOURNEY TO MOUNT ARARAT.

BY DR. F. PARROT. [The Scriptures inform us that when the waters of the deluge subsided, the ark of Noah rested upon the mountains of Ararat. There is a great chain of mountains called by this name. Jerome places mount Ararat, on which the ark rested, toward the middle of Armenia, near the river Araxes, about 280 miles north-east of Al. Judi, where the Emperor Heraclius is said to have seen the place of the ark. The opinion of Jerome is the most generally received, and, undoubtedly, the most correct one. It is called by the Armenians Mount Massis, from Amasia, the founder of their nation, whom tradition makes an early descendant of Japhet. Such narratives are interesting from their connection with sacred history, and the tendency they have to lead the mind to a consideration of those important events in the order of the Divine administration which are calculated to display the righteous judgments of God to man.]

Though this visit to Mount Ararat was undertaken nearly six years ago, and some particulars of the results have at different times transpired, the full account of it contained in the work before us, was published but a few months since at Berlin.

Twenty years ago Professor Parrot, being on the summit of the mountain Kasbeg, in the Caucasus, beheld in the distant horizon a lofty, isolated, snow-capped summit, which he presumed to be the silvery head of Ararat. From that time he had constantly cherished the wish to undertake a scientific expedition to this mountain, and if possible to reach its summit, which had from time immemorial been deemed inaccessible. But the difficulties of such an undertaking might be considered as nearly insuperable, so long as Ararat was on the frontiers of the two great powers, both inimical to Christianity. An important and unexpected change had, however, taken place. The peace of Turkmaschai, between Russia and Persia, was concluded in 1828, the dominion of Christianity extended beyond the Araxes, and Ararat became the boundary of Russia toward Persia and Turkey ; but the predatory Koords still invested the country toward the north and south, when war broke out between Russia and the Porte. T'he Russian troops crossed the Araxes, and occupied the pashalik of Bayazeed, by which the roving tribes of banditti were driven away; and this favorable opportunity revived the professor's desire to realize his long-cherished plan. Passing over all the preliminary details, we merely premise that it was arranged that the professor should be accompanied by Mr. Behagel, a pupil of Professor Engelhardt's, as mineralogist; Messrs. Hehn and Schiemann, two medical students of the university of Moscow; and a young astronomer, Mr.

VOL. VII.-April, 1836. 21

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »