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brother Henry, King of Poland. This building was subsequently demolished during the extension works at the Louvre, and another handed over to the Reformed Church in its stead, viz. the Church of the Oratoire, built in 1622, and noticed in French annals as the spiritual home of such men as Hénault, Dumarsais, Malebranche, Mascaron, and Massillon. The Reformed Church still holds its services there ; and it now has upwards of twenty churches and meeting-houses in the Paris district alone. It is governed by a consistory, including a Presbyterian Council of twenty-four members, twelve being pastors who sit ex officio, and twelve laymen, six retiring every three years and being re-eligible, and fifteen ministers and lay representatives. The work of this Church in Paris is divided into seven parishes. The members, however, are free to attend any church they please, and to select any of the ministers for the religious instruction of their children. According to the official returns published in 1876 there were twenty-four Sunday-schools in Paris and its vicinity, containing 2748 scholars and 277 teachers. The electoral list, for the purposes of voting to the Presbyterian Council, contains the names of those only who are able to declare themselves thirty years of age or upwards, to have resided within the district for two years, or, in the case of strangers, three years at least; prove their admission into the Church by producing a certificate of their first communion; declare that they attend worship according to the Reformed rite; in case of marriage that they received the nuptial benediction within the Protestant pale; that they bring up their children in the same religion; and that they are sincerely and heartily attached to the Reformed Church of France. And no one is allowed to vote, either for the council or the consistory, whose name has not been inscribed prior to the 1st of January of the year in which the election takes place. With these restrictions the number of electors, as far as the register for Paris and its neighbourhood is concerned, is considerably under 2000. The ministers, assisted by lay visitors, attend the colleges, lyceums, hospitals, and prisons, having equal rights with the clergy of the Roman Catholic Church.

In studying the work of the French Reformed Church, I have been struck with the admirable system of relief prevalent in France as compared with that of our own country. As the general reader is aware, there is no Poor Law in France. The absence of any ultimate refuge such as the workhouse for the indigent or the recklessly prodigal, is a very strong incentive to sobriety, temperance, and thrift; and that the French working classes are conspicuous for these virtues cannot be denied. We find, then, that whilst all recognised religions are estab

lished by the State, and maintained by an annual vote from the Budget, the Church in France-whatever form she may assume in creed or ritual-is constituted the Church of the poor. She is bound to exercise proper supervision over their wants, spiritual and temporal alike, and in this way a bond of union is established between all classes which may subserve a high and noble purpose if the Church is but true to her mission, zealous unto all good works. We note, in the first place, that the alms thus distributed are the freewill-offerings of the Lord's people. In the second place, the members add a blessing to the gift by personally supervising its distribution, instead of employing extensive and costly, nay, wastefully extravagant machinery for that purpose, as in England. The Diaconat, or Council of Deacons attached to the Reformed Church, is, at Paris, divided into ten local relief committees, each representing a church. These deacons number a hundred and twenty-six. They are nominated by the pastors and elected by the Presbyterian Council. Each relief committee meets once a week at the church to which it is attached, the pastor occupying the chair, for the purpose of hearing applications for assistance, whether in the form of money, medicine, bread, or clothing. No poor person is entitled to relief unless at the recommendation of the visiting deacons, a report being submitted week by week with that object; and an annual sum is allotted to each committee for relief purposes by the general assembly of deacons, according to the requirements of each parish. The functions of this assembly are of a purely administrative character, and no modification of its constitution can be introduced without the sanction of the Presbyterian Council. I may add that about one-half of the money thus contributed is raised by a weekly offertory at the doors of the church, the remainder being received from collections made at baptisms, marriages, and burials, and from legacies and special gifts. These frequently take the form of food and clothing sent direct to the committee on the occasion of its assembling for the weekly distribution. Many free schools are supported by the Reformed Church for the children of the indigent classes belonging to her pale, and are under the regular inspection of committees, each consisting of six gentlemen in respect to the boys' schools, and of six ladies for the girls'.

It will be seen that the principle of the relief system described is somewhat similar to that of the Elberfeldt plan, by which a number of the better class residents, appointed for that purpose, take charge of the poor relief in the several districts into which the place is divided, and such persons themselves visit the cases. A report on the system was published a few years ago by Mr. Tufnell, one of the inspectors of the Local Government Board.

I may here mention the Reformed Church Orphanage, or boarding school for girls. This institution is maintained by an annual subscription, and supported by grants from the State or the Municipal Council, and from the consistory of the Church itself. The children are taught a plain elementary education, including religious instruction, and learn needlework and domestic duties, "comme dans une famille bien réglée.” They must all be upwards of seven years of age, and have been vaccinated prior to admission into the pensionnat. The entrance fee for each girl is fifty francs, and the subsequent board twenty francs per month.

Much good is also done in providing retreats for the aged or infirm members of each community.

During a three months' stay in Paris last year I asked a member of the congregation of the Oratoire, whether, in his opinion, the time would ever come for altering the existing relations of Church and State whether the voluntary principle might not be successfully applied to all objects of religion. He replied, most emphatically, that in France any other system than that of concurrent endowment would be a failure, not because French Protestants, or, indeed, the members of other denominations, are less earnest than their brethren in other countries, or less willing to support their own ministers, but simply because they have to provide for the wants of the poor. added that the voluntary principle-a Free Church in a Free State -had been put on its trial in Paris by the Liberal section of the Reformed Church, but (with a shrug of the shoulders) they were now in a languishing condition.


In addition to the ordinary means of relief by the local committees, there is the Euvre des Familles, known also as Dizaines, from the fact that ten persons form themselves into a group for charitable objects, each contributing an equal sum per month. Onefifth of the amount thus raised is deposited in a central fund for extraordinary purposes. The remainder is distributed to one or two families taken under the special care of each committee as being in unusually needy and deserving circumstances. This system of

private benevolence was founded in 1850, and has worked with very admirable results, each of the Dizaines setting apart one-fifth of its receipts to the general fund already mentioned, and thus being brought into contact with all its co-workers in the city.

Besides the orphanages I have mentioned there are several others for rescuing young girls from the temptations to which they would otherwise be exposed in a great city, and for enabling them, when they are old enough, to go into service in respectable families. There

are also mothers' meetings and schools, established as early as 1862, some in the east of Paris, and others among the ragpickers of Clichy -the latter by Mme. Paris, a devoted Christian woman who, during the Commune which followed the Franco-Prussian war, was killed by a stray cannon-ball in her own house at Batignolles, her brother, who was sitting with her, sharing the same fate. Quite a history attaches to the work, carried on in a dilapidated and unhealthy quarter by Mme. Paris and her Bible-women, and it is fully as interesting as that connected with the more recent mission conducted under the personal supervision of Miss Leigh amongst a large floating population of Englishwomen, who, if compelled to live like the Parisians, would have been deprived of all the comforts which make up the real happiness of an English home.

Among other societies whose work might well be emulated by ourselves is the "Euvre du Patronage des Jeunes Apprentis," founded in 1853 under the auspices of the Presbyterian Council of the Reformed Church by MM. Pierre Thierry and De Triqueti, for the purpose of 'assisting families in the choice of masters, and for supervising the conditions inserted in apprentices' contracts," besides watching the general interests of the apprentices themselves from a moral and religious point of view. H. W. R.

(To be continued.)



THE Valentinian heresy was very similar to that of Basilides, and is described as "the most systematic of all the Alexandrian Gnostic theories."

Valentinus was an Egyptian who in the early part of his career was regarded as an orthodox member of the Church. But being disappointed in his efforts to obtain a bishopric, he became a dissenter, and began to incorporate many of the Gnostic heresies in his teaching. He founded a distinct sect of Gnostics in Egypt about the year 141, and obtained a large following in that country. He went to Rome in the year 142, but was not nearly so successful as he had been in his native country. It is said that he was formally excommunicated in the year 143, and shortly afterwards returned to Egypt, where he taught until his death, which took place in 161. After the death of

Valentinus, doctrines of a similar character were promulgated by Heracleon, Ptolemæus, Secundus, Marcus, and Bardesanes, each of whom introduced some improvement or extension into the system of their leader and secured a following.

This heresy flourished so extensively that Irenæus, in his "Refutation of Knowledge," generally called "A Treatise against Heretics," written about 180, devoted a considerable space to the refutation of these tenets.

Valentinus seems to have laboured to combine the theories of Plato and Pythagoras with the truths of Christianity. He maintained the fundamental Gnostic view of the existence of the Pleroma, which he held to comprise thirty attributes, or Æons, half-male and half-females. He gave to the Supreme Being the name of Bathos (depth unfathomable by human understanding). From the union of Bathos with Sige came Nous, Monogenes, and Aletheia (truth). From these sprang Logos (the Word) and Zoe (life); from these` Anthropos (man) and Ecclesia (the Church), and so on. Ultimately the last of the Eons, Sophia (the wise one), in an effort to penetrate the mystery of the Bathos, ventured beyond her powers and position, and was in danger of destruction. She was rescued from her peril by Horos (boundary), who forced her to return, and thus preserved the harmony of the Pleroma.

Here comes in the connecting-link between Platonism and Christianity. The wild efforts of Sophia called for the creation of new Eons. Christ and the Holy Ghost were now born to Nous. These two gave to the other ons such explanations concerning the Essential Nature of the Supreme Being as led them to unite to produce another Eon, Jesus.

Meanwhile Sophia had given birth to Demiurgos, the Creator of the World. This Demiurgos was the creative animal or psychical substance who produced mankind. The Saviour or Christ came into the world to save man from the corruption inherent in his material organism, and therefore Christ suffered only in His material and not in His mental or spiritual nature.

Another theory propounded by Valentinus had reference to the connection between the Fall and the Atonement. In the first man, Adam, the three essences of substance and existence (the material, hylic; the animal, psychic; and the spiritual, pneumatic) were all present. Sin brought about the disunion of these three essences, and in his children they were separated-Cain inheriting the material; Abel, the animal; and Seth, the spiritual.

In the development of this theory we have the first prominent attempt to unite Fatalistic Predestination to Christianity. Valentinus

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