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well said that whenever Rome has the power she treats the people as the Philistines treated Samson: she puts out their eyes and sends them to grind in the prison-house.
In speaking of the early history of the Bible, the Dean said that those who tried to put down Christianity (as, for instance, Julian the Apostate) had always endeavoured to do so by destroying the Word of God; but all such efforts had been unsuccessful. The Bible had raised England to her elevated position among the nations. Spain stamped out the Reformation and banished the Bible, and she has become a withered, miserable nation, about whose opinion no one cared anything. There were 17,500,000 in Spain, 12,500,000 of these can neither read nor write; of the other 5,000,000 some can read and some can read and write. Was the Church of Rome in favour of education he asked? If she were, then she might have educated Spain and Portugal when she had no heretics to interfere with her and had the wealth of the country in her hands. But in these places where the reflex benefits of Protestantism exist, the Roman Church appears to be very anxious about education. And speaking of his own country, once known as the island of saints and scholars (Insula Sanctorum et discipulorum), and her people a people famous in the Word of God, he would say that it was not the race or the soil, or the climate or English laws which caused the trouble, it was the
religion: Protestantism made men-Romanism made slaves. Wherever the Scriptures were kept from the people, darkness, error, and superstition prevailed. But thank God, by the efforts of Christian men and women, that darkness was being dispelled and the Word of God was beginning to shine in every part of the earth by the labours of the British & Foreign Bible Society and other organisations now sending the Word in over 300 languages and dialects to all the nations of the earth, by which men were being turned from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God.
Its wakening smiles have broke the gloom of
The Word has reached the distant isles; God's
Already from the dust of death, man in His
Once more he draws immortal breath and
He hoped great good was yet in store for Ireland. The meetings of this Society at that time he had no doubt would do great good. They would tell of the love which existed among Christian people and would encourage them to go on labouring for the advancement of the Master's cause, and the extension of His Kingdom.
(From our own Correspondent.)
PARIS, December 14, 1893. THE French Evangelisation Society is constituted, and its first step forward for the season has been an acknowledged success. The Taitbout Chapel (Free Church) has been cheerfully placed at its disposal for the four Advent Sundays at 4 p.m. The lectures (conferences) are understood to be simply Christian, avoiding any denominational peculiarity. Father Hyacinthe had been advertised as speaker, and it brought so numerous a rush of hearers, that, like old times long past, there was not standing room. Pastors were there, and Pastor Mettetal introduced the eloquent lecturer. "We are, above all things," said he, "Frenchmen and Christians. We have not come to found a new Church, there are plenty of Churches. We are come to try to make known the Gospel to our people, persuaded that it alone can raise our beloved France." "The Church outside the Church" was the subject. In France it had been calculated that out of 36,000,000 Roman Catholics, 30,000,000 live outside of their Church, merely calling in the priest when they require some special ceremonybaptism or marriage for instance, or when about to die. Among Protestants it is the same, though in smaller proportion. Why? The man of to-day is consumed with feverish labour, the passion of gold or the ardour of pleasure. The clergy follow the routine and monotony of Church ceremonies; the antagonism, foolishly imagined between science and religion; and the want of union of Christians with each other. Such are some of the causes which turn many souls away from religious truth. He probed the conscience-the hearers hung upon his words when he called for some Elijah, some new prophet, to raise our wretched people! but, he added, "each of us should be a prophet to prepare a new era of purity and brotherhood in the Spirit of Christ!"
Something is needed! The powers of darkness are fearfully at work, and deeper and deeper descends the gloom over the world, threatening to cloud and stifle all that is pure, elevating, and noble. The present wrangle is whether another abominable ball with nude attitudinising "models" is to be or not to be. At the same time hideous blasphemies pass current in daily papers, and futile questions, the very ones long ago sifted and answered, but which turn up whenever revolution threatens, are arising again-mire cast at the Gospel, by giving false interpretation to the words of Christ.
The Archbishop and Clergy of Paris performed, this year, the curious ceremony of purifying the Church of Notre Dame from the revolutionary profanation in 1793, when an actress was enthroned on the altar and worshipped as the goddess of wisdom. The centenary occurred in November last.
The Pope has surprised the uninitiated with a bull advising the study of Scripture; but it is so well understood in practice that they are not be read without the interpretation of the Church, that it is found far easier to go to the priest direct than to read first and be obliged, under pain of excommunication, to give an unreal sense to what one has read, and bewilder one's brain in the attempt to believe black is white! The bull is but dust thrown in the air, hoping to blind certain Protestant eyes. An open Bible Rome endures not. The study of the Scriptures is the accepting the Church's interpretation of the text.
The Lutherans have celebrated the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Church of the Redemption in Paris. We were present at the opening service in 1843, and well remember the graceful Duchess of Orleans in deep mourning for her husband, moving slowly along the gallery, and, with her suite, occupying the seats prepared for them. That service was solemn and hopeful. We had been told that it was by the King Louis Philippe's desire that the building in the Rue Chauchat should be appropriated to the Protestant form of worship his daughter-in-law was accustomed to, the Billettes Church, surrounded with narrow streets and alleys, being less accessible. Many hopes have been blighted since then, but the Lutheran Church in Paris has battled on, ridding itself of heterodoxy and rationalism, and preserves its character as then described by Pastor President Cuvier-" a spirit of energetic protest against any human authority in matters of faith; of profound reverence for the Divine authority of the Word of God, agreeing perfectly with the love of study and science; of liberty, and of repulsion to every kind of constraint put upon the conscience, and of a faith which alone seeks its life in Jesus and rests on Jesus alone its hope of salvation. The jubilee service was solemn and interesting.
The Evangelical Alliance meeting held annually in Lyons, met in the new Lutheran Church this year. In the Menilmontant Hall in Paris, a most encouraging meeting was held, the right people coming to hear the right thing, the hall crowded, and no disturbance. Pastors treated the subjects-"The Battle against Evil," "Preservation," "Reparation," "Conquest." The centenary of the death of Rabaut Saint Etienne has been celebrated in the Church of the Oratoire.
There is an undoubted readiness to hear and to approve what is true, just and good, among our population of all classes, but the grand point is to bring them to decision for God. It is the personal pressing of this point that is distasteful, and requires dauntless personal conviction that it is the way appointed of God. All have not yet arrived at this conviction, and so the prey escapes. Rough treatment is imminent where Gospel work is genuine and souls are saved. Some few years back when Evangelists met with brickbats and noisy opposition, extinguishers were immediately put upon their zeal by their various committees. But now things are improving, though caution and prudence are impressed on daring evangelists as the better part of valour. The erroneous idea is not yet obsolete that the arousing of the enemy to action is destructive to the work. Better let the strong man armed keep his goods in peace.
We lately had occasion to pass through Geneva, in going from one part of France to another, and were witnesses of the very apparent increasing enmity to purity and salvation. A lady who has no peculiar garb, finds it necessary to wear a substantial, though unconspicuous, pad under her bonnet to avoid the effect of blows on the head she often receives from rough men, as she goes in and out to save the lost. We were witnesses to the groaning and roaring of street boys, and the impish dance
of gentlemanly-dressed lads around the ladies who wore Salvationist bonnets, and who, in our presence, had to submit to the grossest blasphemy from the railway official who was receiving their luggage-money, holding the pence up to scorn, and inquiring if it had been blessed by God the Father, God the Son, or God the Holy Ghost, &c.? On our asking the lads in another place how they dare treat French ladies, foreigners, in such an improper manner, one of the little "gentlemen" looked up at us, surprised, and said, "Why, sir, they are Salvationists!" "A fearful harvest is growing up for us in the young generation!" was the cogent remark of a Swiss gentleman in the tramcar, around which the impish dance had been performed.
In days of yore, in Savoy, now belonging to France, the sainted Madame Guyon and her daughter were stormed in their little house in Thonon. In the present day, some English ladies meet somewhat the same treatment, who are carrying on, in the same French town on the Leman, a genuine undenominational Gospel and philanthropic work unattached to any society, write the following: "Again this year we have been annoyed by the stoning of the house, the middle of the night being the chosen time for the attack. It continued for over three months. We sent several times to the Commissary of Police, but with no result. Being obliged one day to have the doctor, we told him how continually our much-needed rest was destroyed by this disturbance. He fetched the Commissary, and henceforward a guard was put on to patrol during nights, and we have so far been left in peace."
Ignorant superstition is rife in the departments of Savoie and Haute Savoie; take the following account as a sample :
A poor woman was suffering from double pneumonia; at the request of her mother we nursed her in her own home, staying with her in turn, and giving her nourishment every few minutes. The doctor thought that she would pull through. But a relation brought a priest and the poor half unconscious creature was pulled and shaken, and screamed at in their efforts to make her tell whether or not she had confessed. It was a pitiable sight, and we, of course, left the room as he proceeded to give her "the last rites of the Church." The moment he was gone, we returned, to find our poor patient fearfully exhausted, but on our continuing the treatment, she gradually rallied. The next day the same thing was resumed by the Father from the Capucin monastery, as they said she had not swallowed the bon Dieu. That evening the Superior from one of the many convents arrived, telling us there was no longer any necessity for our being there, as she would undertake the case. On asking whether we should send beef tea, &c., her reply was she will take nothing more; we shall now prepare her for death, as she cannot swallow. It was no good saying, “she swallows perfectly, and has only this minute finished a cup of strong beef tea"; the only reply was, she will now be prepared for death." To reason was useless. In our agony of helplessness, we started off for the doctor; he only said, "Ladies, it is a great boucherie, and that pauvre lête has been doomed to death, that is all. I see it every day of my life and can do nothing." On our return from his house we heard the sound of the passing bell telling us that Rome could number yet another to the victims of her cruelty.
This year Annemasse (Haute Savoie) has built and consecrated a church to Protestant worship. It is reached by tramway from Geneva. Above 500 Protestants dispersed in the neighbourhood can be tended by their own Pastor, furnished by the French Société Centrale.
During the year a remarkable Synod of the Reformed Church of France was held in Annecy, in the same Department. Twenty-four Churches were represented by 19 pastors and 19 lay members. A stimulus was thus given to the work of preservation as well as evangelisation. It was in this part of France-then belonging to the House of Savoy-that the dragonades crushed the Reformation, and after sword and fire had done their tremendous work, François de Sales wrote Heresy is for ever extirpated from the Chablais" (the name of those parts at that time). Full liberty of worship was obtained only since 1848, from Charles Albert. But Rome stills holds the great mass of the population in her chains of ignorance and superstition. To judge of France and her needs by Paris and cities where communication is facilitated by railways, is very insufficient. And it is an open question, to which some of our religious journals have opened their columns: "How to Evangelise?" each part of France offering its own obstacles, and also its own facilities. The most evident need is to be convinced of the necessity of every awakened Christian, man and woman, living to save their neighbours, and so shake off the dull slothfulness of leaving all to their pastors.
The note of hopefulness with which the New Year seems to open is given by
the meetings of united Christians in divers French cities, to seek a fresh endowment from God of the Spirit of Holiness and the "tongue of fire."
There is now a branch of the Evangelical Alliance among the English-speaking Christians of Paris, and another visit by the British Secretary (Mr. Arnold) has strengthened and consolidated this auxiliary. Dr. D. E. Anderson has been the prime mover in the matter, and it is gratifying to record the success which has attended his efforts to unite the various English-speaking Christians. The Rev. Dr. Noyes, the English chaplain, is the president of the Branch, and it was refreshing to see him presiding over a largely attended drawing-room meeting, when ministers and representatives of all denominations were present to hear Mr. Arnold's address. The British Secretary also took three pulpit services on the Sunday.
(From our own Correspondent.)
BERLIN, December 16, 1893.
THE new Day of Repentance was celebrated for the first time on the 22nd of last month. It had been feared that the new day would not easily enter into the habits of the people, and that the attendance at church would be small; but these fears were groundless. The churches were crowded as at the great festivals. The charm of novelty can hardly be given as an explanation-it is rather a satisfactory proof that the measure was a wise step.
The German Parliament was chiefly occupied with the commercial treaties during the first four weeks of the session, but the Ultramontanes were quickly at hand with their proposition to recall the Jesuits. As private prcpositions are discussed after the order in which they were brought in, this motion had to be discussed first. Friday, December 1, was occupied with a long debate on this subject. The Conservatives, the Free Conservatives, and the National Liberals did not enter materially into the discussion. In order not to increase the bad feeling between the Protestants and the Roman Catholics they limited themselves to short declarations, that they were unable to vote for the Bill. The Ultramontanes on their part made strong speeches in favour of the Jesuits, and wonderfully enough the motion was carried. This has little practical consequence, as the Government will not assent, but it always gives many Protestants a feeling of shame that such a majority was possible in the German Parliament.
Your readers may remember that when Mr. Stöcker left his post as Court Chaplain his friends started a collection for building a large hall in which he could preach. This hall, with places for about 2,000 persons, will be opened to-morrow, and henceforth Mr. Stöcker will preach there every Sunday. In our city where churches are so few, this additional place for presenting the Gospel will be a great help.
When I wrote my last letter, the death of Baron Oertzen at Hamburg was only just known by telegraph. The funeral service was attended by so many people that many had to remain outside the church. The attendance of many religious societies and of a great number of young men was a testimony to his zealous work, especially also among the Young Men's Christian Associations. His loss will especially be felt at Hamburg, where nobody is there to take his place, at least as far as human eyes can see just now. His work in Schleswig-Holstein is also bereaved. A few hours before his death he especially recommended to a friend the cause of the Evangelical Alliance and the work of evangelisation. When his coffin was put into the train the members of the Y.M.C.A. sang a hymn at the station. The burial took place at his brother's country seat in Mecklenburg, near the grave of his parents. The inscription on his own grave is to be, after his own wish, "He was also with Jesus of Nazareth." In the funeral service Mr. Witt, a friend and fellow worker of his, stated that Baron Oertzen had only wished to be saved by the precious blood of Christ, and that, though a poor sinner by himself, he thanked God that he had been a redeemed sinner. On November 30 a memorial meeting was held at Hamburg in the large hall, where Baron Oertzen had himself made his last public speech. When this hall (which it was his greatest desire to see for a number of years) was opened
on October 24, our deceased friend rose with difficulty from his bed of suffering to drive to the meeting. They were his last words for Christ.
I must add to my short notice about the evangelistic meetings of Pastor Paul, held here in November, that they proved a real success under God's signal blessing. The hall was more crowded every night, and not only by church-going people. It was a pity that Mr. Paul had to return to his parish after a fortnight, but we trust that he may soon return for another evangelistic campaign.
When we now look on the large number of Sunday-schools in Germany, and in our metropolis, we wonder how it was possible that 30 years ago only four children's services existed here. Some of these have since adopted the Sunday-school system, by adding the class teaching of voluntary helpers. The children's service at Trinity Church has remained on the old principle, and has just celebrated its anniversary.
If October 31 was a grand day last year through the celebration at Wittenberg, the reports on the laying of the foundation stone of the new German Church at Jerusalem show that this year the anniversary of the Reformation was also a memorable day. President Parkhausen was present at the ceremony as representative of the Emperor, who had besides ordered a member of the German Embassy at Constantinople to assist. All the other Protestant churches, including, of course, the English bishop of Jerusalem, joined in the ceremony. Not only the German congregation, but the whole population of Jerusalem show a lively interest. The document, signed by the Emperor, which was laid with the foundation stone, was a new testimony to the value the Emperor attaches to preserve to his people the blessings of the Reformation. Here, also, the eyes are more drawn towards the Holy Land, and their new church will, we trust, contribute to it still more.
(From our own Correspondent.)
BERNE, December 1893. RELIGIOUS liberty is guaranteed in the Federal Constitution, yet the Government of the Canton of Bâle-Campagne has published an ordinance in which it is denied to the Salvation Army to issue public invitations to its meetings. In this worthy Republic the publicans are allowed to open their houses for drinking, gambling, and dancing on Sundays, but the Salvation Army is not allowed to have any meetings later than nine o'clock in the evening, and the members are not permitted to play any musical instruments. The Salvation Army had chapels at Liestal, at Brierfelden, and at Sissach, but is now prevented using them as she thinks best. As most of the working men are obliged to remain till eight o'clock at the manufactories, the meetings must be held from eight o'clock till half-past nine, if opportunity shall be given to them to hear the Gospel at all. At Liestal the Salvationists were forbidden to have their doors and windows open. Of course, it is very unwholesome to remain in such a close atmosphere. As they had their windows open and had meetings till after nine o'clock, the members of the Salvation Army were punished. Nevertheless, they went on as before, and, as might be expected, the number of members went on increasing. In some villages, where they had no chapels, they were invited to hold open-air meetings. As no disorder took place, in several villages the Common Council permitted the use of the parish common for the meetings.
Ten young men, members of the Salvation Army, were playing musical instruments and singing in the open air; of course, they were punished with imprisonment from ten to twenty-one days. Eleven "officers" of the Army were also punished one of them was imprisoned for ten days because he marched with a small group of Salvationists by ranks from Liestal to Sissach. Another was imprisoned for 16 days because he had permitted the tambourin to be played on the march. And still another was imprisoned for eight days because he had held an open-air meeting with the permission of the owner of the ground. Although the Federal Council at Berne had ordered the prisoner to be released at once, the police of the Canton kept him in prison till the last day. Now, three "officers,”—one of them a young girl