Imatges de pÓgina
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tion of the same Being who governs the world by his providence, it may be safely intrusted to him for security. Besides, man has been often called a religious animal, which implies either the adaptation of religion to his nature and condition, or a certain pre-disposition in his mind to connect himself with its concerns; so that, as soon as he becomes convinced of its impor

dable the opposition, when it is made sufficiently palpable to the interests of the people, it must secure a rational triumph. With the warmest wishes for so useful a consummation, I now take my leave of the subject.

W. W.

Viewing the present state of public feeling, it is scarcely to be expected that the dissolution of National Church Establishments is very near at hand; but the progressive improvements that are taking place in society, by means of education and the circulation of knowledge, give us reason to expect that much may be done towards their amelioration. The Church of England, supported as it is by legal sanctions, in addition to the force of prescription, and defended by a numerous body of well-paid advocates, will always be opposed to the reformation of abuses either in Church or State. But the Church is dependent on the civil power, and the latter must be guided upon so important a subject by public opinion. It must be the wish, therefore, of every enlightened friend to religion and liberty, to see such a system of instruction brought forward as would be less objectionable in its construction, and more efficient in its result. In furtherance of this object, it is in the power of every one to contribute his inite; and however formi

Bristol, July 7, 1823.

SIR,

OU

tance, he will require no compulsion You will, I am sure, give me full

credit for

from the State enforce its observances. A political religion is equally inefficient as the guardian of public morals. For the proof of this, a reference may be made to the state of society, high and low, in large towns and cities, and also in country vil lages. In numberless parishes, there is no resident minister to inspect the conduct of the people, who see nothing of their legal instructor but when he visits them to collect his tithes. It is notorious that the tolerated sects, which are no expense to the public, are the most efficient instruments in reforming the manners of the common people, and that this is effected solely by the arts of persuasion. With the higher orders they have nothing to do, but whatever excesses are committed by them, these lie at the door of the Established Clergy.

when I say, that no one who is acquainted with our valuable Missionary, Mr. Wright, and with his many excellent and useful works, can hold either him or them in a higher degree of estimation than myself: and such is my opinion of his candour, that I think he will be far from disapproving my wish of telling him, through the medium of your pages, that I have always been disposed to view the character of the Elder Brother, in the beautiful parable of the Prodigal Son, in a light directly opposite to that in which it is represented in No. 46, the last publication of the Christian Tract Society.

Taking the parable as a plain relation of facts, simply as they are told, are not the feelings and conduct of the Elder Brother such as might naturally have been expected from a correct and virtuous character? Returning from the field, where, we may presume, he had been employed in overlooking and directing the concerns of his father's farm, he hears music and dancing, and calling one of the servants, inquires what these things meant. He is informed that his brother, that brother who, after having demanded his full share of the family possessions, departed into a distant country, and there wasted it in riotous living, was returned home, and that his father had killed the fatted calf, because he had received him safe and sound.

Observe here, that no mention was made of the deeply-humbled and penitent state in which he came back, therefore the rejoicing which he heard, and the feast which he finds is preparing to celebrate the return of a profligate young man, might well excite a degree of virtuous indignation in his breast-might well cause him to be angry, and refuse to go in. Then came the father out and entreated him; but before he could explain the grounds upon which alone his conduct

could be justified, with the impetuosity which in youth frequently attends the worthiest characters, the son thus gives vent to the strong feelings of his heart: "Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither at any time transgressed I thy commandment, and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends; but as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf."

What now is the reply of the good and wise father? What is the displeasure that he expresses in return for this hasty remonstrance? "Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine!" Can language convey a more decided testimony of entire approbation? "All that I have is thine!" Does it not say, thou shalt thyself apportion the share that is bestowed upon this deeply humbled penitent ? 46 All that I have is thine;" but "it is meet that we should make merry and be glad; for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again, and was lost, and is found."

The whole of this relation appears to me beautifully to display the kind and merciful disposition of the father, without throwing the slightest imputation of blame upon the son, who had never departed from the path of rectitude, never transgressed his father's commandment; and to represent it in any other light, seems to encourage the false, dangerous and demoralizing opinion which is already too prevalent with many of our orthodox brethren, that a returning sinner is more acceptable, more precious in the sight of the benevolent Father of all, than the man who, as far as our frail nature will permit, has from his youth up, been perfect and holy before him.

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If, as is most apparent, our great Teacher intends to represent the Almighty under the character of the father in the parable, can the son, who never at any time transgressed his commandment," be other than the most excellent of human beings? "Therefore," says our Lord," therefore doth my Father love me, because I do always such things as please him." To obey the commands of God, we must be well aware, not only includes an abstinence from every kind of evil, but the regular practice of all that is

good and excellent; and the heavenly Parent, the Searcher of hearts, could not have been deceived by outward appearances, nor is a shadow of suspicion respecting the sincerity of the elder brother even hinted at. Indeed, the father's address to him, upon which I must still further dwell, precludes all possibility of hypocrisy in his character. "The hope of the hypocrite shall perish," but the Lord of heaven and earth says to the man who transgresseth not his commandments, "All that I have is thine," "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."

With respect to the Jews and Gentiles being figured by the two brothers, I cannot perceive the most distant ground of affinity between them. The Jews were throughout their whole course "a rebellious and stiff-necked people"-a people whose hearts no blessings could melt and soften into grateful obedience; into whose unfeeling bosoms, a series of the most astonishing miracles wrought before their eyes, and for their immediate benefit, could inspire no steady faith, no abiding confidence, in the mighty arm so manifestly stretched out for their guidance and protection. What point of resemblance can be found between this people and the elder son in the parable? Nor can I discover more between the Gentiles and his younger brother. The prodigal is supposed to have shared equally with his elder son in all the advantages which a wise and good father naturally bestows upon his children. But were the Gentiles favoured with a revelation inferior only to the Christian; and did they despise and throw it from them? And, afterwards, when in consequence of this rejection they were reduced to the lowest state of misery, repent and return to God? No shadow of likeness appears, and surely none can have been intended.

The plain and single object of the parable seems to me to be a just and beautiful display of the feelings of the Almighty Maker towards his creatures, and of his gracious dealings with them. To those "who seek him early," who 'keep innocency and take heed unto the thing that is right," who like "Noah, Daniel and Job," have been perfect and upright before him, he gives the glorious fiat of his full ap

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probation" Son, thou art ever with me," hast never departed from the way of my commandments, and "all that I have is thine." But, "it was meet that we should make merry and be glad, for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again, and was lost, and is found." There is much and just cause for gladness; this thy brother, who was dead in sin, is become alive unto righteousness. He who was lost in the profligacy of vicious transgression, in the regenerated state which humble and sincere repentance has brought about, is found again, and joyfully

received into favour.

MARY HUGHES.

P.S. I should scarcely have courage to offer this paper for insertion, differing widely as it does from what I esteem high authority, were I not well assured, that should it call forth any reply, it will be dictated in the true spirit of Christian meekness; and were I not well convinced that the author of the tract before adverted to, is as truly desirous as I can be, that the parables of our heavenly Teacher should be examined in every possible light, that we may be enabled with more certainty to ascertain their true meaning.

Extract from a Letter, written by an Inhabitant of the Isle of Cyprus, who had escaped the Massacre of

the Christians.

(Translated from the French, for the Monthly Repository.)

distinguished excellencies of the holy father Cyprian, the archbishop of our island, the government of which devolved upon him in virtue of a privilege attached to our archiepiscopal

see.

His disinterested generosity, his genius, his ardent pursuit of every species of virtue, the austerity with which he exacted of himself the fulfilment of his duties, and the condescending sweetness of his manners, had rendered this extraordinary man an object not only of respect and veneration to the Christians, but of esteem and affection to the Mussulmans themselves; for to them he had rendered important services, having even saved the lives of many who had incurred the resentment of their rulers. He enjoyed, as far as it was possible in our unhappy country, the reward of his wise conduct; and the terrible events which had successively taken place in the capital of the empire, had failed to disturb the tranquillity of our island, in consequence either of the pacific temper of the people, or of the vigilant superintendence of the archbishop. Suddenly, however, the Muhassil (Turkish governor) presented himself to the holy father, and on the authority of the Sultan's firman, required that he should cause all the Christians to deliver up their arms. requisite orders for their delivery; and, The archbishop immediately gave the to prevent alarm and confusion, he sent his own officers to accompany the Turkish officers who were appointed to search the houses of the inhabitants. A change of conduct was visible as soon as the Muhassil was possessed of the Christians' arms: assuming an air of authority, he deprived the Archbishop of his power. The Turks, excited by him, began to invent the most atrocious calumnies against the Christians; accusing them, for instance, of having mixed the flesh of swine with other provisions in dinners of which they had invited them to partake five years before; of having had intercourse with the wives of the Turks; and of other crimes of a similar nature. On the strength of these chimerical charges, a considerable number of Christians, many of them ecclesiastics, were imprisoned. The Archbishop expostulated with the Muhassil, and demanded the enlargement of the prisoners. The Muhassil replied, that the greater part of them had been

OUR

UR beloved country is stained with the innocent blood of our Christian brethren, shed by the hands of barbarians! It is the duty of such of us as have been suffered, through the interposition of Divine Providence, to elude the tyrant's grasp, to consecrate the memory of those illustrious warriors, and to expose to the world the inhumanity which has doomed them to destruction. Every country of Europe, every nation of the earth which still cherishes heartfelt religion, which has not utterly renounced the venerable attribute of reason, must shudder whilst listening to a recital of the horrible calamities that have befallen the inhabitants of our island. Not the tender and pitiful alone, but the hardest heart must surely melt at scenes of such overwhelming misery. You are well acquainted with the

executed, and that those who remained had with difficulty obtained the promise of their lives on condition of paying a large sum of money. Although the raising of this sum compelled the relations of the imprisoned to make an extraordinary effort, they presented it immediately; but they found that the promise of the perfidious governor had been given merely to extort their money, for as soon as he had received it, he gave orders for the massacre of his unhappy prisoners. The Archbishop beheld with indignation this union of fraud and cruelty, but far from obtaining satisfaction, he was fated to see his Archdeacon loaded with irons, and a horrid persecution commenced against his nephew, Cyprian Theseus. The latter, however, by making immense sacrifices, obtained means to flee from his persecutors, and thus escaped the destruction with which he was menaced. The fury of the execrable tyrant then burst on the head of Leondius, the secretary of the late Grand Vicar, his father, who was put to the torture nine days successively, to compel him to discover the retreat of Cyprian Theseus; and after nine days of martyrdom the venerable ecclesiastic died in the most dreadful torment. The Archbishop, agonized at the miseries to which his beloved children were continually exposed, remonstrated against the conduct of the Muhassil, who considered himself sufficiently excused by protesting that, under the present circumstances, it had been impossible to avoid falling into some errors respecting the unfortunate sufferers and that Cyprian Theseus had been pursued only for the purpose of making him relinquish some arms of great value, which he was said to have retained when the others were delivered up. He now set at liberty the Archdeacon, after having extorted from him a present of 15,000 piastres. Moreover, he gave the Archbishop a solemn promise that the Christians of the island should thenceforth enjoy perfect tranquillity, adding, that he would personally guarantee the performance of all that had been promised. He, however, required of the Archbishop an assurance to the government, that the Christians should make no insurrectionary movements against the Turks; and that they were ready to pledge themselves to the

;

most scrupulous obedience to them. The Archbishop answered, that he should ever continue to inculcate on his children the sentiments which he had invariably taught them. This declaration did not satisfy the Governor; he gave the Archbishop to understand that he must offer some guarantee for his own political conduct: with strong feeling the venerable man replied, that the esteem in which he had always been held by the people, and even by the Porte, who had entrusted to him the superintendence of the whole island, as well as the incontestable proofs which he had repeatedly given of attachment to the Sultan, sufficiently attested his loyalty and firmness; nevertheless, to prevent any pretext for suspicion, he disdained not to offer in favour of his own conduct the testimony of all the Mussulman authorities of the island; these, from the Mufti down to the lowest class of public functionaries, eagerly came forward to add weight to the protestations of the Archbishop. The Muhassil professed to be satisfied, and declared that, on his part, he would never violate his promises; but to reward him for undertaking to render an account to the government of Constantinople of the good conduct of the Christians of Cyprus, he exacted the moderate sum of 100,000 piastres; and this demand could not be refused at so critical a moment. He then augmented with his own soldiers the number of the Archbishop's guards, under the pretence of more firmly establishing the public tranquillity: thus this monster was preparing to execute his villanous design. A few days after, he requested the Archbishop to convoke all the clergy, who were the principal persons of the country, saying, that he had orders from the Sultan to communicate to them, and affairs of the highest political importance to consult them upon. All who were convened well knew the perfidy of the barbarian, and suspected the horrid act of treachery which he meditated; but how was it possible for them to escape, since he had placed in every port considerable bodies of troops, brought into Syria from St. Jean d'Acre? Still they might hope, by means of further sacrifices, to allay the storm which was gathering over them; especially as they were convinced that the Turks must be satis

fied with the blameless conduct of the superiors of the place: on the following day, therefore, all the clergy assembled, according to the orders of the Muhassil, who, having placed a large number of foot-guards on all the stairs of the palace in which they had met, gave the command for a general massacre, even in the presence of the holy father. That venerable man, full of the courage resulting from hopeless misfortune and from the hatred of tyranny, addressed the impious governor in these terms :"Of what crime can you accuse the hapless victims whose blood you seek to shed? If after obtaining from us unlimited sacrifices; if after reducing us to the most distressing indigence; if after stripping our temples of their most precious ornaments; if after compelling me to contribute to all the necessities of the government, by heavy exactions from my poor children, your fury is still insatiable, on me let your wrath be turned, on my head alone let your vengeance fall, and spare, oh! spare the blood of these innocent men! Forget not," continued he, "that there exists a God who beholds the actions of man, and who judges with rigid equity !”— The barbarian, interrupting him, replied, "Never has my heart been more engaged in a work appointed for me; and I lament, profane wretch, that I cannot in this place, and at this moment, before your eyes, subject every Christian to the same fate. I trust, at least, that not one of these

After the murder of his innocent children, the holy father himself was led away to be sacrificed, whilst resigning his soul into the hands of his Creator. This horrid crime caused the most profound grief in every Christian breast. In the mean time, the Turks abandoned themselves to all sorts of debauchery, and committed the most detestable crimes. The Christians who had escaped the carnage and taken refuge in their churches, found not their altars that inviolable asylum which religion, even amongst the least civilized of the human race, has always made them: those altars, so often sanctified by the most august mysteries, were defiled by every act of the most brutal obscenity. Small is the number of those who escaped the fury of the barbarians; even the European Consuls were obliged to take refuge on board their ships.

Such were the scenes which passed in our isle on that fatal day; and such the scenes daily passing in some part of our country. The memory of our calamities will descend to the latest times, inspiring just and implacable hatred of the cursed race of Mussulmans; and all the Christian world will pay the tribute of commiseration to those illustrious victims who fell in the cause of their religion and their country.

These fearful events took place on the 9th of July, 1821.

SIR,

that are will me."

York, July 4, 1823. correspondent Mr. Luc

The massacre then began, and the YOUR CO. 286-292] has taken sainted hierarch stood, with paternal tenderness, commending his beloved sons to the mercy of the Eternal.

Various questions were afterwards addressed to the Archbishop, which he disdained to answer; but he declared that he had been guilty of no fault except a too invariable fidelity to the Sultan, whom too late he appreciated, and who had never merited the homage he had paid him. Then with deep anxiety for the salvation of those over whom he had watched, he humbly implored for them the mercy of God; and he prayed earnestly that the history of these calamitous events might rightly impress the heart of every monarch who worshiped the true God.

occasion, from a remarkable incident in Mrs. Cappe's Memoirs, to present your readers with some observations on what has been called a particular Providence ;-a subject on which he thinks the amiable and excellent author had formed very erroneous opinions. The same passage has suggested a similar train of thought to a writer in another valuable periodical work, the "Inquirer," whose remarks upon it closely resemble those of your correspondent. As it appears to me, notwithstanding the objections which have been urged with such minuteness and variety of detail by these writers, that Mrs. Cappe's argument is correct and philosophical, and her application

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