Billeder på siden
[blocks in formation]


nity with water to wash their clothes, without soap or other alkalis. Those who are fastidious about smells or odour will not, however, adopt such an expedient. Gambling is here as much the pastime and folly of the visitors as it is at other watering places; but as the town is within the Prussian dominions, the Government employés are stricted from indulging the bewitching passion, and the gains of those who farm the tables are curtailed by an appropriation clause in their lease, which contemplates the improvement of the town!

Aix-la-Chapelle at one time contained a numerous population ; but the amount of inhabitants now does not exceed more than 40,000 who are residents. Often, however, the pilgrimages, which Romish superstition trades upon, convene more than four times its usual numbers. So many as 150,000 pilgrims have assembled; and, even in 1839, 60,000 resorted to witness the ceremony of exhibiting the grand reliques between the 15th and 27th of July. Charlemagne obtained them from the Patriarch of Jerusalem, and from Haroun, king of Persia ; and they are now secured as his gift to the chapel, deposited in a rich shrine of silver gilt, the production of the ninth century. It may be instructive to enumerate a few of these valued treasures, the lessons of Rome's wisdom to her ignorant people :The robe worn by Mary at the birth of Christ, of cotton, five feet long; the swaddling-clothes, of yellow cloth, as coarse as sacking; the cloth on which the head of John the Baptist was laid ; the scarf worn by the Saviour at his crucifixion, bearing stains of blood! They also exhibit a locket of the Virgin's hair ; a piece of the true cross; the leathern girdle of Christ; a nail of the cross; the sponge which was filled with vinegar; the cord which bound the rod with which he was scourged; the arm of Simeon, on which the infant Jesus was laid ; some of the blood and bones of St. Stephen ; some manna from the wilderness; and some bits of Aaron's rod! I did not ascertain whether the rod budded, or the manna was fit to be eaten ; but these were as likely as is the veritable existence of the relics which are said to be deposited, along with the skull and hunting-horn of Charlemagne, in the sacristy of the Dom Kirche or Cathedral, which now occupies the site of the chapel of Charlemagne. This and the Rathhouse of Aachen would afford scope in which the architectural antiquary might expand, describing their beauties, their ancient grandeur, and unique styles or mixture of orders: while these, and the antique remains of palaces or streets, whether Gothic, Saxon, or Byzantine, might supply much that would interest, had we space and ability to describe or appreciate their beauties.

Aix-la-Chapelle finds employment for its industrious classes in trades and manufactures, similar to those of Verviers. They compete with the British trader in woollens, in the manufacture of machinery, in cotton spinning, and weaving; twelve thousand in and around the city find occupation by such means, and three thousand derive support from the work of needle-making. I fear I have now exhausted the time during which I could crave your indulgence, and I do not think it expedient to detain you longer. If you regard these sketches and descriptions connected with the present manufactories of Belgium, the present state of the religion of the people of that country, and the comparison with their historical state in times of old, as deserving of your attention, and designed to increase your acquaintance with the condition, and interest in means for promoting the welfare, of your fellow men, and likely to excite curiosity and inquiry regarding the places and communities which I may deem worthy of being examined and visited, I shall be happy to receive again the pleasure of your company next Monday evening; when I shall proceed to the description of Cologne, of Bonn, of the Drachenfels, of Coblentz, of Treves, the Moselle, and the lower parts of the Rhine.


101 Let me pause, in approaching a conclusion, to remind you, that my object is not merely to acquaint you with the ancient scenes or historical recollections, or with the modern cities of Germany; but it is also to bring before you the state of the people of those lands. In all the regions that I have now traversed, nothing but gross Popery prevails. There are no ministers of revealed truth, such as you and I should wish our fellow men to appreciate, as the instructors of the people, but those whose spheres and offices I have specified. From the borders of Belgium to the further territorial confines of the French and Dutch, the people, with but few exceptions, are left to the forms and observances of the Roman Catholic church. I do not say but, in that church, there may be individuals who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, and truly believe in his atoning merits and justifying grace, as their Redeemer; who exercise charity toward their fellow men ; who fear their God; and who, living according to the precepts of divine authority, are the heirs of a better world, of a richer inheritance than can be enjoyed here: but I do say, that when those called priests and teachers of religion in that church can sit down and indite prayers to the Virgin Mary; can represent her to the whole nation as the Mother of God, as having more power in heaven than Jesus Christ, and as deserving of more prayers on earth than the Deity himself;—when they can thus act, and prostitute an office deemed sacred as between God and men, and their religious influence, to the forms of idolatry, it is only the exceptional cases that I can look to for anything like an enlightened religious influence. It is only here and there, a stranger to his own creed under the forms of the church of Rome, that I can expect to recognise as a servant of God, as a child of heaven. I fear that idolatry serves even as an opiate to soothe and lull to sleep; as an extinguisher rather than a veil to exclude the light, and as a bandage to shut up the eyes of the mind,-and that its influence is characterized by all that debases and demoralizes; that unfits for the best acts of man towards his fellow man, and of the creature towards his God. And I do not expect the overthrow of so baneful a system till Britons, or Christians of other lands, those that feel the truth and love the truth, shall arise and avail themselves of the liberty of teaching and the liberty of association, which we find in Belgium ; till Christian associations shall arise and go forth with all the pity that has been expended upon Tahiti, and the other islands of the South. Tahiti, with its 10,000 inhabitants, has had twenty times the number of missionaries sent to it that we have sent to Belgium, with its 4,000,000 of people.

While we have in Belgium the liberty of teaching and of association, we pass over the ignorant and perishing multitudes that are near, who, when themselves enlightened and converted, might work with us in efforts of Christian benevolence; who might expend and consecrate energies and sanctified resources in promoting the same work, and in diffusing the blessings of Christian fellowship amidst the inhabitants of neighbouring lands. Instead of thus concentrating and accumulating our power to do good, we almost neglect the fields of proximate lands, and range the wide extremes of the world, casting our corn in handfuls upon comparatively barren rocks. I would say nothing to disparage missionary work, but I would undertake missionary work at home as well as abroad; I would take missionary work amongst the millions of continental nations as I would take missionary work amongst the hundreds of the islands of the Southern Seas. It is the duty of Christians to seize the best means of extending their religion ; and I say, let them extend it amongst the countries that are near them, with zeal and energy proportionate to their efforts amongst the countries that are more remote.


Prussian liberty—the Rhine- Travellers’ descriptions— Towns of

the Lower Rhine — Feudal grandeur – Cologne - Antiquarian architecture.

I think you will agree with me, that there is a sufficiently strong inducement to endeavour to interest one another in the condition of the people of Prussia when I explain two or three circumstances which have recently come under my own observation. Since I closed my last lecture, and during the week, a young man of extraordinary talent, of great attainments, zealously devoted and conscientious, with the desire of being employed as a minister of the gospel, made application to the Lancashire Independent College, that, as a student, he might be admitted to its literary and theological advantages. He was examined, and admitted, after giving abundant satisfaction by evidences of his piety and superior ability. He is a native of Prussia. He has studied at several of the universities of that country-and was so distinguished by classical knowledge and acquaintance with philosophy and literature, while residing in Paris, that he was employed as the tutor of a Russian nobleman, and removed in the discharge of his duties to St. Petersburg. Lucrative prospects and distinctions, perhaps the highest official employment, seemed within the reach of his ambition, when he was brought under the conviction that it was his duty to devote himself to the ministry of the gospel. But the circumstance to which I refer, is the obstacle which impeded and threatened

« ForrigeFortsæt »