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and New Jerusalem Magazine and the Juvenile Magazine, though increasing, is far below what we might reasonably hope. We cannot but think that a little effort on the part of our readers might considerably increase the number of our subscribers; and as the Confer. ence and Sunday School Union, of which these magazines are the organs, have always manifested a disposition to apply any increased funds to their improvement, this extension of their sale would be certainly followed by an improvement in their appearance and quality. With the present volume we enter upon some new arrangements, from which the conductors hope to reap advantages to the work itself, and we may, therefore, confidently appeal to our readers to help us in the work in which we are engaged.
SPAIN. One of the most marked political events is the revolution in Spain. The utter depravity of the Queen, combined with the tyranny of her Government, has at length so completely outraged the people, that they have risen against her authority, and banished her from her throne and country. A transitional Government has been formed, and, at the time we write, the future is involved in no small obscurity. Meantime there are certain features in this movement which it may be interesting and useful for members of the New Church to carefully note.
Spain has been pre-eminently distinguished for its attachment to the Romish Church. It has been the stronghold of the Papacy. Its catholic unity, secured by the terrible persecu. tions of the Inquisition and the fearful tyrannies of the secular Government, has been its glory and its boast. Here, if anywhere, we may look, therefore, for the natural fruits of this system of priestly assumption and ecclesiastical ascendency. Here it has had uninterrupted sway. Italy has rebelled ; Spain has been quiet. Italy has allowed the introduction of the Bible and the open teaching of Protestant pastors; Spain has set her face as flint against every movement which could disturb her quiet or infringe her catholic unity. With all her efforts, she has not entirely
succeeded. She has been more successful, however, in producing infidelity than Protestant aspirations—aspirations towards intellectual freedom and Christian faith and love. Nothing can be more disheartening, says the correspondent of one of our leading journals, than the religious question in Spain :
“Ask any man you meet whether he is a Catholic; his answer is, 'I am a Spaniard.' The religion, the abuse of which has been the ruin of his country, is with him, if a believer, a subject of national pride ; if a sceptic or arrant infidel, a kind of irresistible fatality. 'I am a Spaniard'—that is, a being doomed to be a Catholic or nothing *For other people there may be, on religious subjects, inquiry, intellectual development, rational emancipation ; for us, in Spain, there is no mid-way between the sheer unbelief which befits a man and the grovelling superstition which is good for a woman.' Strange enough, the priests are aware of, and thoroughly acquiesce in this arrangement. Tell a priest boldly in his face you are an infidel, and he has done with you. As he can no longer burn you, he rather looks upon you as an auxiliary; for, he reasons, 'if all religions are the same to you, perhaps you will have no objection to your wife fol. lowing her religion rather than any other. Perhaps you will find one religion in Spain a lesser evil than that confusion of creeds reigning in Eng. land.' Be it borne in mind that it is unbelief, and not belief, that stands in the way of religious freedom in Spain. Could you abstract professed or secret deists and atheists, could you freely address yourself to the mass of churchgoers, to the frequenters of the confessional, to those who are most assiduous in their observance of the precepts of the Church, you would only be astonished at the narrow limits within which the belief of these people reduces itself. Ask any of the ladies who have signed the Madrid, Seville, or Valladolid peti. tion what are her particular objections to Protestantism. “Call you that a religion ?' she will answer. “Why, their priests marry, and have children like other men,' and she will giggle at the notion. What else does she know about other people's religion or her own? Roman Catholicism south of the Alps or the Pyrenees is a thoroughly dumb show ; it never argues or discusses; it never addresses the under standing ; never countenances inquiry or controversy."
Such is the fearful night of mental and religious darkness to which this system of priestcraft has reduced the national mind.
“The influence of the clergy,” says the same writer, “is to loosen all moral restraint. The charity they inculcate is encouragement to idleness. Their aspirations to a future life resolve themselves into a disregard of the duties of the present. Their own example sup plies the best apology for idleness and indulgence.”
No power of external authority can permanently bind the minds of the people. Liberty of thought is secured by a higher influence than earth. All the agencies of Divine providence are active to secure the regeneration of nations, the setting up of a purer wor. ship, and the promulgation of a truer faith. Protestantism in many of its features is not in harmony with the wants of the present or the hopes of the future. Nevertheless, its mental freedom and open promulgation of the word of God, present to the nation the means of progress and of religious enlightenment. And these agencies are already at work. Public Protestant worship has been organized in Madrid by a congregation of French, Swiss, English, and German Protestants, the latter of whom are very numerous. The correspondent of the Post thus describes the opening Protestant service :
“Don Antonio Carrasso, who shared the dungeon and the dungeon food with the Spanish Protestant martyr, Señor Matamoros, performed the Protestant service in the Spanish language before a numerous congregation, who expressed the utmost astonishment that Protestants believed in the principles of Christianity-for Spanish Catholics are taught from their childhood the most monstrous of fables concerning the creed of those whom they are taught to loathe as heretics. The pastor' preached a very judicious sermon, perfectly adapted to his auditory of imaginative children of the south. In stead of fiercely denouncing Roman Catholic dogmas, like that indiscreet enthusiast who narrowly escaped being
torn to pieces the other day at Cartha. gena, for ridiculing the Immaculate Conception, he expounded, in words that proved his perfect knowledge of the Spanish language, from the text, 'Simon Peter, lovest thou Me. Feed My lambs.' He announced that Father Ruet, an ex-catholic priest, would officiate occasionally, but that he would go to preach the pure faith in the provinces. The committee intend to build a Pro. testant church without delay. A London committee has also taken in hand the building of a Protestant church. A Spanish Protestant journal has been started, the prospectus of which announces that the editor, Cordova y Lopez, and other democrats, accept and proclaim the Reformation of Martin Luther.”
As was to be expected, the British and Foreign Bible Society are availing themselves of the opening thus made to introduce the Word in the Spanish language in large numbers. The way is thus opened for the promulgation of truth. Much that passes under this name may not be in harmony with the teachings of the New Church. It is immeasurably superior, however, to the degrading superstition and scarcely concealed atheism so extensively prevalent. So far also as it opens the mind, and gives increased activity to thought, it is preparing the way of the Lord, and hastening the progress of the latter-day glory of the Church.
PUBLIC MEETINGS OF THE SO.
CIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRIS-
So many and so varied are the evidences of improved feeling and sentiment among intelligent Christians, that we are sometimes led to suppose that a more rapid progress has been effected than has really taken place. This feeling is often interrupted, however, by some outbreak of the old spirit of narrow exclusiveness, which reminds us that old things have not entirely passed away. Some church meetings which have been recently held have manifested some of the worst features of clerical intolerance. At a meeting of the Society for the Diffusion of Christian Knowledge, held on the 6th of October, on the motion of Mr. E. A. Fitzroy, a motion was carried,
granting the sum of £2000 to the Dean of Pieter Maritzburg and the Church Committee in the diocese of Natal. This resolution set aside the Bishop (Dr. Colenso), and recognised a rival and hostile establishment. The friends of the motion, however, were in the ascendant, and all opposition was put down by the most disorderly and vio lent means. A writer in the Spectator, who had attended a meeting of trades unions in Leeds, where some two or three thousand working-men were present, says, “I am obliged to confess, with shame and regret, that their sense of order, their manliness and gentlemanliness of feeling, were miles above anything that I could find in the clergy and excited young laymen who flocked to Lincoln's Inn Fields this afternoon. Interruptions, shouts, a clamorous refusal to listen to any one on the other side, the most entire absence of any recognition of the ordinary rules of a public meeting, broken windows, and vehement gesticulations, —these were the features of the venerable society. It was simply a tumult like that at Ephesus; and there was no
town clerk’ in the chair, with power to appease' and courage to dismiss' the assembly.” A clergyman writing to the same paper gives a similar ac. count of this turbulent and disorderly assembly, citing some special examples of unfeeling and unchristian conduct. The purpose, however, of the promoters of the resolution was accomplished, but followed by notice of motion to repeal the resolution at a subsequent meeting This meeting was held on the 8th of December at the Freemason's Tavern. This large room was quite inadequate to accommodate the excited crowd of members who flocked to the meeting All the avenues of approach were blocked up, and the room so crowded that it was found necessary to close the doors, and thus forcibly prevent any further admissions. The remarks of the public press on the disorders, the partizan zeal, and the intolerance of the former meeting, it was reasonably supposed would exercise some restraint on this assembly. The Archbishop of York, who was in the chair, appealed to the meeting as 66 an assembly consisting so largely of men who, like himself, were ministers of the gospel of our blessed Lord, to conduct its business in a spirit of charity
and fairness, and with a desire to do justice to all.” The appeal was in vain. The same turbulence as at the former meeting seems to have prevailed. Clergymen of high standing were refused a hearing. Others spoke amid the most unseemly interruptions, and the business of the meeting was transacted in the midst of angry altercation, confusion, and uproar. In the end a resolution affirming the grant of £2000 for the promotion of Christian knowledge in the colony of Natal, but leaving its expenditure in the hands of the Committee, was carried by a majority of 91. It is painful to witness proceedings so utterly at variance with the commonest elements of Christian decorum, and which manifest such a total disregard of the commonest teachings of Christian truth. It is important, however, to note such conduct and if possible to discover its cause. Principles will always sooner or later work out their effects. What is in the mind of man is certain, at some time or other, and in some form or other, to be manifested in his words and actions. The cause of these disorders is to be found in the false position of those who have taken part in them. The gratuitous assumption of their own superiority, combined with a mistaken life's training of uncontradicted ascendency in their parishes, renders the bulk of our parochial clergy impatient of contradiction, fills their minds with the pride of spiritual despotism, and renders them oblivious of what is due to the feelings and sentiments of others. The great want of the church is a higher and truer Christian dogma, and a more cordial blending of all her members, both lay and clerical, in the ordinary business of their several congregations. The assumed superiority of the clergy, and their exclusive management of everything belonging to the worship and services of their churches, tend more to the development of the natural selfwill than to the maturing of brotherly kindness and Christian charity. Until the Church is delivered, however, from its narrowing doctrine of faith only, and possesses a genuine doctrine of charity, and realizes its vital importance in the formation of Christian character, it is hopeless to expect any. thing like a general and real manifestation of Christian courtesy and love.
ITALY.—A correspondent of the Lon don Guardian of November 18th writes:
_“Italy is in every sense a new country now to one who remembers it before Majenta and Solferino, when Italy was, as Prince Metternich used to say, only 'a geographical expression.' It is not only that the demarcations of the map are effaced, the petty sovereignty of grand dukes and titular princes abolished, and Florence itself, as the capital of Italy, no longer an inexpensive residence for our countrymen. The change of political relations affects the national life in its every aspect. Instead of the swarms of friars and monks which the traveller met everywhere, it is a rare thing now to see the picturesque garb of the monastic orders. What would Torquemada and his myrmidons think of a book-stall in the great piazza at Milan, close to the very walls of 'Il Duomo,' with New Testaments in the vernacular freely displayed for sale to the passers-by ?”
Into the quickened life of this great nation, awaking from the slumbers of ages, and slowly shaking itself free from the nightmare of the papacy, the merciful Providence which is over all the nations of the earth is preparing to insert the glorious and soul-reviving truths of His second advent. The following letter of the Rev. Mr. Ford, the minister of a small society of the New Church at Florence, is extracted from the Messenger of November 11th, and will be read with interest. We offer no apology for its insertion at length.
FLORENCE, Oct. 15, 1868. While I was passing the hot season at the Baths of Recoaro, in the Italian Tyrol, I received a letter dated Lau. sanne, August 4, 1868, and signed “Loreto Scocia, Minister of the Italian Evangelical Church,” in which the writer stated that he had been for some time desirous of learning something about the doctrines of the New Church, but had only the previous day heard of the existence of a New Church at Florence from an English gentleman, who gave him my address. He therefore applied to me to know how he should obtain the information he desired. To this I replied by giving him a list of some of Swedenborg's works, beginning with H. & H. and D. P., to be ordered from Paris. I said, among
other things, that I wrote a little in the dark, not knowing whether he was moved to investigate the doctrines of the New Church by mere theological curiosity, or whether, having conceived à favourable impression of them, he wished to know more about them, “ seeking the truth for the truth's sake, and conscious of a purpose to leave all in order to acquire it and profess it.”
To this Signor Scocia replied in a letter dated Lausanne, September 1st, 1868, from which I make the following extracts :
“ These words of yours (referring to those just given), my dear sir, make it my duty to give you some explanations. Have the kindness, then, to pardon me if I shall speak a little about myself. My first profession was not that of theology, but of law, in which I have received the degree of doctor. In 1860, being then in France, I was converted from Roman Catholicism to Wesleyan Methodism, through the instrumentality of men who deserved and still deserve my esteem and affection. Believing that I had found the truth, I gave up everything to profess it, and for seven years I devoted myself to it entirely.
“Having completed the studies preparatory to the ministry in France, I returned to Italy, and commenced my mission in Parma. In this city there gathered . about me several · hundred persons, and in the short period of a year I had the satisfaction of seeing the establishment of a church of full five hundred members. I was then called to evangelize in other cities, Milan, Monza, Varese, Pavia, Savona, and in 1864, in Bergamo. This last is one of the strongholds of Popery, and had already, more than once, with resort to violence, driven off a Waldensian missionary and a Plymouthist. I send you by the same mail with this two numbers of the ‘Pungolo' of Milan. In that of the 13th of December 1864, an article marked on the first page will inform you of the serious danger to which I was exposed in Bergamo. In the other, of the 1st January, 1865, an 'article similarly marked will serve to show you the complete triumph gained by the evangelical truths in that city. I was subsequently recalled to the churches of Milan and Pavia, and finally sent to Vicenza, there to initiate a missionary movement.
“But at this period there was going on within me a complete spiritual revolution. Mon.
an excellent friend of mine, opened my eyes to the absurdities of the doctrines self-styled orthodox, based, almost all of them, on material and ignorant interpretations of the sacred Scriptures. In consequence, perceiving that I was in a Church which not only does not possess the truth, but what is worse, oppresses by its heavy organization, by its method ism, all spirit, intelligence, and evangelical liberty, I could not hesitate, and at the first opportunity I offered my resignation to the Methodist Church.
"I came last May to Lausanne, where the relations of my wife reside, for the benefit of her suffering health, and am here seeking the truth, because I feel that I must not be wanting to my vocation, and desire with all my soul to return at the right time to preach the gospel in my dear native land.
"I had already some general ideas of the doctrines of the eminent philosopher Swedenborg, and was desirous of investigating the beliefs of the New Church which professes his doctrines; but up to the last month I never knew to whom to apply, when, as I wrote you the first time, Mr. Dixon, an English gentleman of my acquaintance, spoke to me about you, and gave me your address.
“I am expecting from Paris the works you have recommended to me. I shall study them seriously, and since you so kindly offer me your aid, I promise that I will have recourse to it frankly whenever I may need it, whether to overcome some difficulty or to clear up some doubtful point. What. ever may be the result of my investigations into the works of Swedenborg, I shall always be glad of having under. taken it, since it has put me in correspondence with you."
The next letter of Signor Scocia shows the impression made on hinn by his first acquaintance with Swedenborg :
To I am happy to inform you that I have read the work on Heaven and Hell, and that on the Divine Providence. What sublime philosophy, what deep knowledges, pyschological, physiologi
usichological, physiologi. cal, anatomical, physical, and natural ? 6. I venture to send you a short
more of my reading, and of the deen impression it has made upon me,
with the hope of some suggestions from you in reply.
[Here follows an excellent summary of the doctrines of the New Church, which we omit for want of room. EDS. MESS.]
“Thus you see, my dear sir, thanks to these writings, that my mind has entered upon a new horizon-a horizon immense and elevated. It is not, however, I will tell you frankly, one entirely pure and serene. Certain obscure and cloudy vapours prevent me from sending my sight abroad when it would fain contemplate the wonderful beauties of Swedenborg's doctrines.”
His difficulties have respect to justi. fication by faith alone, and predestination, which he finds. as he supposes, explicitly taught in the writings of the Apostle Paul, and he cites several passages which seem to teach these doctrines. Perceiving in these doubts an illustration of what Swedenborg tells us, that truths ought not to be received all at once, and that therefore things which make against them are usually suggested, I contented mysell, using very little argument against these dog. mas, with saying that he would find occasion, in his further investigations, to see that the Epistles of the New Testament formed no part of the Divine Word. The following is his reply, being the last letter which I have received from him :
“LAUSANNE, Oct. 1, 1868. “You can well imagine, my dear brother, my happiness in being able to write you -as I can your satisfaction in learning it—the good news, that the Lord has wonderfully fulfilled my long cherished desires. The happy prognostications expressed in your last letter have been completely realizedrealized even beyond all that could have been expected.
“But to show this it is necessary that I should tell you of the wonderful success which I have received from the Divine Providence. First of all, however, I must premise that when your welcome letter reached me, I hadojust finished reading the precious book of Swedenborg, entitled the True Christian Religion, which gave me clear and precise ideas about the doctrines of the New Church, and of the logical and harmonious connection existing through.