« السابقةمتابعة »
Lay me by its flow'ry brim,
The Greek Church. A Sketch. London: Darling.
The precise object of this little work does not evidently appear. It gives us no complete idea of the history of the ecclesiastical community to which it refers—nor does it describe its present state. It is apparently part of a series bearing upon some peculiar idea of Christian union present to the althor's mind. The other portions of the series have not reached us; and judging from this fragment merely, the matter appears somewhat dark and enigmatical. We are led to infer that the author belongs to that body (increasing perhaps), who desire the revival of the Houses of Convocation, (p. 69.) He seems to adopt an almost apologetic, or at least beseeching tone, when he treats of the separation of England from the Komish Church, and the Papal authority; though we must do him the justice of stating, that he admits the existing corruptions of the Romish hierarchy to be a barrier in the way of such a consummation; yet his language is not that of one who perceives the vast importance and vital consequence of the doctrines of the Reformation. The Church of Rome, it seems, has her "priceless gifts;" but the writer does not tell us what these are ; and he speaks in terms as vague of a “true Socialism.” Surely these notions are like the reveries of a dreamer and the book itself seems calculated to subserve scarcely any useful purpose in the case of those who have access to larger and more satisfactory records of the history of the Church. It treats but of & small part of them; and the treatment of that part is not to our mind. We quote the following as a specimen of the writer's manner :
“ Dark and threatening were the signs of the times as the third century passed away. An order of the Cæsar Galerius had just come out, commanding all soldiers to join in the Pagan sacrificial rites ; many, in consequence gave in their commissions ; soldiers of all ranks, from the highest to the lowest, preferred to quit their service rather than to forsake or compromise their faith. The worst forebodings were realized when, in 303, the perseeuting arm of Diocletian spread terror and desolation. Nicomedia, where Diocletian kept his court, contained a magnificent church, erected and adorned by the pious munificence of Christians of rank and influence in the imperial household. The hallowed services of prayer and praise had been accustomed to prevent the night-watches. On the 22d of February, at the first dawn of day, the church was surrounded by troops ; the doors, which had been hastily barricaded, were broken down; the copies of the Bible found were burnt, and the whole edifice abandoned to plunder and destruction. The next day an edict was published to the following effect :
All assemblies of Christians for religious worship are forbidden ; Christian churches are to be demolished to their foundations; all sacred writings are to be burnt; those who hold places of honour or profit must either renounce their faith or be degraded. In judicial proceedings the torture may be used to Christians of whatever rank. Plebeians are to be deprived of their municipal privileges as citizens and free men, Christian slaves are incapable of receiving their freedom. This edict was so timed as to aggravate its severity. It became known in many provinces near the Easter festival, and in several instances on Easter Day. Numbers yielded and gave up copies of the Scriptures. These were afterwards termed in reproach, traditores, whence traitors. Numbers more resisted at the cost of their property, and often their lives; and for the honour of human nature it may be added, that not a few were saved either alternative by the consideration and humanity of the heathen magistrates.
* Take an instance or two. Mensurius, bishop of Carthage, removed all manuscripts of the Bible from the church to his own house, leaving behind only the writings of heretics. The search-officers came and carried these off, asking no questions. Certain senators of Carthage told the proconsul of the matter, but the edict said," sacred writings,' without specifying which, orthodox, or heterodox; and since the edict had been executed, the proconsul declined to interfere. When Secundus, a Numidian bishop, refused to surrender the Scriptures, the officers of police asked him to give them some useless fragments,--anything he pleased. So the question of the Prætorian prefeet to Felix, an African bishop, Why do you not surrender your sacred writings-or perhaps you have none ?' In 304 an edict still more rigorous was published. Proclamation was made in the streets of the cities and towns, that men, women, and children, should all repair to the temples. Every one was summoned by name from lists previously made out, and the recusants condemned at once. At Alexandria, and the instance was not singular, Pagan citizens concealed the persecuted Christians in their houses, and protected them at the hazard of their own lives. These barbarous proeeedings, while they inflicted the most serious injury on the best interests of the empire, effected nothing towards the end designed, the extinction of Christianity. In 308 there was a lull, Christians condemned to work in the mines were better treated; within less than a year another desperate effort was made. An order was addressed to all civil and military functionaries, commanding that the heathen temples which had fallen into ruins should be rebuilt; that all free men and women, all slaves, and even little children, should sacrifice and partake of what was offered on heathen altars. By a refinement of cruelty, all provisions in the market were to be sprinkled with the water or the wine which had been used in these sacrifices.
“ The efficacy of this and similar edicts may be judged by the remarkable counter-declaration issued by Galerius in 311. • As the majority of the Christians, in spite of every prohibition, persevere in their opinions, and it has now become evident that they cannot worship their own Deity, and at the same time pay due homage to the gods;
the Emperors have resolved to extend to them their wonted clemency. They may once more be Christians, and will be allowed to hold their assemblies, provided only they do nothing contrary to the good order of the Roman State.'
“ The space between toleration and ascendancy was soon spanned. The movement now was under the direction of Constantine. The guiding hand of this sagacious prince, guarded against the evils which might else have arisen from over-confident zeal and rash precipitation. His earlier proclamations placed all religious sects on a level, to stand or fall by their own merits; every person was permitted to be of what religion he pleased. A leaning towards the Christians was only observable in a clause which by name specified Christianity as one of the religions which all persons might freely profess. Shortly after the churches, landed estates, and other endowments, confiscated by Diocletian, were ordered to be restored ; nor was the decree marred by injustice, since it contained a provision for equitable compensation to those who had bought the forfeited estates, or to whom they had been granted. As Constantine, thus cautiously feeling his way, saw no appearance of any concerted or dangerous opposition from the adherents of the old religion, 'the obselete superstition, as he scornfully termed it, his intentions were more fully disclosed, and edicts and laws in favour of the Christians multiplied.”
The Queen's Attendance on Presbyterian Worship. Extracts from the
“ John Bull” Newspaper, and Letters in Reply to the Aspersions therein cast on the Queen and the Church of Scotland, in reference to Her Majesty's Attendance at the Parish Church of Crathie, Balmoral. By A MODERATE PRESBYTERIAN, BUT NO PURITAN. Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd.
This is a most absurd controversy, arising out of certain leading articles in the John Bull newspaper, reflecting upon her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria, for attending Divine Service in the Parish Church of Cra. thie. The writer of the Pamphlet under review, in a letter to the John Bull, informs that worthy, that at her Majesty's accession to the crown, she swore and subscribed the declaration appointed by the treaty of Union, binding her inviolably to “main and preserve," and consequently to countenance and cherish (not to contemn and despise) “ the Presbyterian Church Establishment, with its government, worship, discipline, rights and
privileges ; which by the energy of our ancestors, were made a fundamental and unalterable condition of the Union."
The Editor of the John Bull attempts a reply and fails, and is beaten through the columns of his own paper, which he eventually closes to the " Presbyterian,” while he admits the Letter of another correspondent in support of his own views. Hence this brochure. The “ Moderate Presbyterian" has defended the Church in an able and straightforward manner, and has triumphantly repelled the aspersions cast both upon the Queen and the Church of Scotland. The Editor of the John Bull with a narrowminded bigotry, which we doubt not will astonish Presbyterians, tbus introduces the subject to his readers in an Editorial article, dated September 21st, 1850.
"We wonder who the scribe can be, who at present furnishes information for the Court Circular. Among other absurd and incredible records, which he chronicles, is the attendance of her Majesty and Prince Albert at the Parish Church of Crathie.' The Court Circulars in formant does not appear to be aware that the Queen is a member of the Episcopal Church of England and Ireland, and that the Parish Church of Crathie' is a Presbyterian place of worship. Common sense might have taught him that Her Majesty, who views Episcopacy as a Divine ordinance, and has received her solemn consecration to the kingly office, at the hands of the Archbishop of Canterbury, is not likely to attend the worship of a Body whose distinctive tenet is, that Episcopacy is 'a rag of Popery.' Besides, if he was not utterly uninformed, he would know that her Majesty, when in England, scarcely ever attends the public worship of her own Church, which makes it all the less credible that she should attend the public worship of a Communion whose creed is an insult to her faith. Really the Lord Chamberlain ought to see to this, and to take care that Her Majesty's subjects are not misled and offended by misrepresentations of so palpable a character.”
The sapient Editor of the John Bull appears not to know, that in point of constitutional law, the Episcopal Church has no superiority over the Church of Scotland, and that as such she is as entitled to the countenance of the Sovereign of these realms, as her sister Establishment of England. It certainly would be considered by the people of Scotland as a slight were Her Majesty, when she honours her northern kingdom once a year with her presence, to worship nowhere but in the Meeting House of Scottish Episcopacy, (for Episcopalians are in every sense of the word Dissenters,) to the disparagement of the national Church, which she is sworn to uphold and to defend.
The Practice in the Several Judicatories of the Church of Scotland. By
ALEXANDER Hill, D.D. Edinburgh : William Blackwood &
This valuable little work has now reached its Fifth Edition, and embraces the managemeut of the Poor by Kirk Sessions, which was not comprehended in any of the previous editions. The observation of Forms is absolutely necessary, and it would be impossible to proceed without them. This little manual has all the elements of enduring popularity. The style is succinct and perspicuous, all the Acts of Assembly referred to are embodied in the Appendix; and the Index is both comprehensive and accurate.
ECCLESIASTICAL INTELLIGENCE. Induction at Renfrew.—On Thursday week Arthur, Dr. Napier of the College Charch the Presbytery of Paisley met at Renfrew for preached on the occasion. The call being the purpose of inducting the Rev. Mr. Alex- read, was respectably signed and sustained. ander, late of Wishaw, to the pastoral charge Moderator of next Assemhly- It is said of that Parish, vacant by the deposition of that the Rev. Dr. John Macleod of Morven Mr. Wood. The settlement of this able and will be proposed as Moderator of the next popular minister in this important parish, General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. has given satisfaction to all concerned, -and Dysart Ordination. At a full meeting of we cannot but anticipate the happiest results the Presbytery of Kirkaldy, held here on from Mr. Alexander's labours.
Thursday the 5th ult., the Rev. John WilPresentation.—Mrs. D. C. Durham of son, M.A., was ordained to the Office of the Largo has presented the Rev. Mr. Davidson holy ministry, and the second Pastoral charge of Cockpen to the Church and Parish of of this Church and Parish. Largo, vacant by the resignation of the Rev. We understand that the Rev. Dr. Brown J. T. Goodsir.
late of Buenos Ayres, has been presented by Springburn Church.—The Presbytery of the Crown to the Church and Parish of CaGlasgow met on Friday in this Church, to meron, vacant by the translation of the Rer. moderate in a call in favour of the Rev. James William Milligan to Kilconquhar.
WILLIAN MACTHAIL, PRINTEX, 2 GREENSIDE PLACE, EDINBURON.