THE BAPTIST MAGAZINE FOR 1835.
THE PROFITS ARISING FROM THE SALE OF THIS WORK ARE GIVEN TO THE WIDOWS OF BAPTIST MINISTERS, AT THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE CONTRIBUTORS.
VOL. XXVII. (VOL. X. THIRD SERIES.)
SPEAKING THE TRUTH IN LOVE.—Eph. iv. 15.
LONDON: PUBLISHED BY GEORGE WIGHTMAN, 24, PATERNOSTER ROW. 1835.
LONDON: J. HADDON, PRINTER, CASTLE STREET, FINSBURY.
Conducted by Divine Providence to the close of another annual period of their anxious labours, the Editors of the BAPTIST MAGAZINE would devoutly embrace the favourable opportunity thus afforded, for the purpose of brief retrospect, and the exercise of sincere thankfulness.
During the months of the past year, they have been earnestly desirous that the pages of each succeeding number of their work should supply such a portion of religious instruction and denominational information as, from its design and extent, their most considerate readers would be led to expect; and, though fully sensible that they have not attained the standard of their own wishes, yet they deem it incumbent to acknowledge, that they have been strengthened in their progress by perceiving that their efforts have been candidly appreciated, and in many instances kindly commended.
In prefacing the TWENTY-SEVENTH VOLUME of this publication, it is gratifying to be able to announce that, notwithstanding the frequent introduction of new and attractive periodicals, the Baptist Magazine continues to obtain an encouraging share of public patronage; and were it to derive from literary contributions, and an extended circulation, such support as the denomination to whose service it is principally devoted might easily afford, the satisfaction of this announcement would be greatly augmented.
If, in addition to the many excellent communications now received, others were occasionally forwarded by writers to whom preparing such an article might prove an agreeable relaxation from the pursuit of severer studies, both the value of the work, and the interest of the writer in its prosperity, would be considerably increased.
Before concluding these remarks, the Editors have much pleasure in distinctly and gratefully adverting to the assistance with which they have been favoured in bringing this volume through the press; in connexion with which the usual exercise of benevolence to the Widows of many of our departed brethren has been continued; and to perpetuate, and, if possible, increase which, the conductors of the Baptist Magazine have been invariably, and still remain, solicitous.
THE BAPTIST MAGAZINE.
MEMOIR OF THE LATE MRS. PEGGY WAUGH.
Recollections of departed excellence are always pleasant, often deeply interesting, and sometimes productive of the happiest effects. The delight we feel in tracing the successive stages of that pilgrimage by which the saints of the Most High have "passed into the skies," is neither a faint nor fruitless emotion, but a healthful exercise of the moral sympathies. It purifies, while it elicits; the affections of the heart. As we trace the formation of their character, we are insensibly forming our own; and the observation by which we mark the development of their Christian virtues, is among the most efficient means by which we are provoked to their imitation.
Hence the inspired volume is not more a book of doctrines than a record of the piety of ancient believers. That Holy Spirit, under whose inspiration it was written, knew how to touch the springs of human conduct, and therefore incites us to the highest attainments of character by the influence of example. The names of the righteous are enrolled in its imperishable leaves, and their memory, after the lapse of ages, is still fragrant as the breath of the morning.
After the example of the sacred writers, every age of the church has preserved memorials of the wisdom and holiness of its own times. In some instances a service has thus been performed of inestimable value. Patterns of faith, of patience, of zeal, have been rescued from oblivion to be a stimulus to Christians in all succeeding periods of time. And in other instances benefits, though not equally extensive, yet substantial, have resulted from recording, in a brief memoir, the characters and actions of those who, not called to occupy prominent stations, have shed a sweet influence of piety upon the more retired walks of ordinary life.
The following pages are intended to preserve some short account of a Christian lady, who from youth to old age "walked in the truth;" and having become at length alike venerable in years and in piety, departed this present life with the glorious hope of a better.
Mrs. Peggy Waugh was born at Wallingford, A. D. 1747. At an early period of life her mind was brought under a divine influence; not, however, by the ordinary means of grace, nor by any solemn providence, but in a manner illustrating the force of scripture, and the sovereignty of that gracious Spirit by whom it was originally inspired, and is still savingly applied. Being present at a party where the evening was spent in festivity and worldly mirth, she was invited to join in the dance. This she had often done, for she was of a lively disposition, and her parents were gratified by her mixing in the gaieties of life; but in the present instance she felt herself unable to maintain the hilarity of her spirits. The cause of her dejection none imagined, and she was perhaps ashamed to acknowledge. While all was merriment around her, she became suddenly pensive. A passage of the word of God, pointedly in contrast with the spirit of the scene, had come with irresistible power to her recollection. It fastened upon her conscience:—it reached her heart. The music and dancing lost their charms; she sat in solitariness, though surrounded with company; the world's fascinations appeared in a light in which she had never before seen them, and the salutary impressions of that evening remained unerased from her mind through all her subsequent life.
While she was yet young, her parents removed to Reading. Shortly after they had fixed their residence in that town, she was taken by a friend to the Baptist Meeting, where she heard the Rev. Mr. Davis. She was much interested in his discourse, and sought for opportunities to attend frequently on his ministry. Under the able instructions of that excellent man, her religious views became clearer and more definite, her principles more firm and decided, and it was evident that the spiritual change which had already commenced in her soul, was rapidly advancing to its completion.
It was now that her trials began. The determinate and consistent form which her renewed character had assumed, was far from exciting any complacent feelings in the minds of her parents; and it became the more obnoxious to them from the preference she manifested for the preaching of Mr. Davis. They had brought up their family to the established church, and it distressed them exceedingly to see their daughter becoming a dissenter. But she had counted the cost, and was prepared to make any sacrifice, and to endure any hardship, rather than forego the privileges she now enjoyed in the house of God. Hardships she had indeed to endure: such was the severity with which she was treated, that it was no uncommon thing, when she returned from the sanctuary, to find her father's door locked against her; and often has she walked in the fields without food during the intervals of public worship, rather than incur the displeasure that awaited her at home. This was a season of trial, and she came forth from it like refined gold. Her filial attentions were not less respectful or affectionate than formerly; on the contrary, she watched both her temper and her conduct with more than wonted carefulness, and endeavoured to show them that she could bear with meekness the wrongs she suffered in so good a cause. Nor did she wholly withdraw herself from the established church. Reading was at that time favoured with the ministry of the Rev. Mr. Talbot, the Hon. and Rev. Mr. Cadogan, and the Rev. Mr. Eyre, his curate at St. Giles's. The preaching of these faithful servants of the Lord was distinguished by its truly evangelical character, and she found much benefit in occasionally hearing them. At their Thursday evening lecture she was a constant attendant, both at this period and after she had joined the Baptist church. Her new principles had not contracted, but on the contrary enlarged, her mind. Her views with regard to the ordinance of baptism, and on some other subjects connected with those parts of divine truth on which a difference of sentiment prevails, were conscientiously embraced; but they were held in the spirit of Christian charity. As much as she could, without a sacrifice of conscience, she endeavoured to conciliate the prejudices of her parents; and at length her efforts were blessed beyond her most sanguine hope.
It will a little anticipate the order of the narrative, but it may properly be added here, that she had the satisfaction, at a subsequent period, to know that her pious conversation and deportment had, under God, been the principal means of producing a saving change in her father, in her mother, and in two of her brothers. Her parents, at an advanced age, departed in the faith, leaving no doubt on the minds of surviving friends that they had fallen asleep in Jesus.
It was the happiness of Mrs. Waugh to be united in marriage with a person of decided piety, whose sentiments on religious subjects were similar to her own. Shortly after their marriage, they were both baptized, and thus commenced together that public and good profession which they ever afterwards maintained by the integrity, and adorned with the graces, of the Christian life. On the morning of her baptism, a passage from the prophecies of Isaiah, evidently suggested by the difficulties which had environed her early religious course, forcibly impressed her mind, and afforded her much encouragement: "I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight; I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron." "These words," she writes, "came sweetly to me, and my soul was on the wing for heaven and heavenly things."
The duties of domestic life began now to demand her attention. In the relations of a wife, a mother, and a mistress, the excellence of those principles on which her character was formed, was habitually exemplified. For her children, she was supremely anxious to bring them in early life under the influence of divine truth, and to lead them into the love of God. It is in their recollection still, with what maternal affection she would take them into her chamber, and converse with them on those subjects, and then present them, in the exercise of faith and devotion, to the care of that tender Shepherd who "gathers the lambs in his arms, and carries them in his bosom." Indeed her deep interest in all young persons obliged her to press upon such as came within her reach a care for their everlasting happiness; with several, the result was most satisfactory, and they retain an affectionate remembrance of her solicitude on their behalf. With her servants also she would seize opportunities to speak of the value of their souls, and the improvement of their religious advantages; and sometimes she used to pray in secret with them. The afflictions which are inseparable from the lot of humanity, and those which parents only know, she endured with a meek and confiding resignation. Her cup had its bitter infusions, and some of her trials were more than commonly severe; but under every mysterious and painful dispensation, she stayed herself upon her God, and in patience possessed her soul.
By those who enjoyed her friendship, her pious conversation and correspondence were highly valued. She was no stranger in the habitation of the widow and the fatherless, or beside the dying bed. Her sympathy in such scenes was a mitigation of sorrow, and her offices of Christian love endeared her in the hour of distress. She gratified the benevolence of her heart by relieving the distresses of many; and some of her poor neighbours were pensioners on her bounty as long as they lived. Her attendance on public ordinances, it need scarcely be said, was regular and devout; and by her consistent and blameless life, combined with her affectionate and peaceful walk among her fellow-members, she was a comfort to her pastor, and an honour to the church. Thus for many years she moved in her orbit, as the celestial luminaries move in theirs; with a regular, uniform, and constant progression; deriving all their radiance from the sun, and reflecting his beams without noise or ostentation.
But a severe trial awaited her. The conjugal relation was at length broken. By the death of Mr. Waugh she was deprived of the staff of her age, and left to travel alone through the last stages of her pilgrimage. She had however the unspeakable satisfaction of reflecting that he had walked with her in the ways of righteousness, and that although he had outstripped her in the course, and arrived first at the sepulchre, she should follow him into the world of reunion and eternal love. His decease was also eminently happy. He was favoured during his illness with much spirituality and elevation of mind, and departed in the "full assurance of hope." On being asked by one of his daughters, whether, if it were the will of God, he would like to return again into the world? "What," he exclaimed, "when Christ bids me 'come up hither!'" It was the privilege of his faithful wife (for such she deemed it) to be with him through all his illness, and to witness the final scene. She would not delegate to other hands the discharge of any duty which she could perform herself; but the conflict being over, she retired from the chamber of death, and was found some time after, by her children, who had missed her, in her closet, and on her knees. The throne of grace was her refuge. To that hiding-place she was accustomed to flee, in every "cloudy and dark day;" and sweetly was the promise fulfilled in her experience, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee." She felt deeply the stroke which had made her a widow; but, possessing an uncommon degree of self-command, it was a comfort to her children to observe her great calmness of spirit, and to hear the expressions of her confidence in God. Her natural fortitude was sustained by divine grace, and her whole carriage under this bereavement afforded an edifying instance of the manner in which a Christian both bends before the storm, and rises above it.
About two years after this event, she left the neighbourhood of Reading, to reside in the family of one of her daughters at Tottenham. By this circumstance she was necessarily brought into new scenes both of domestic and social life; and they served still further to elicit the graces of her matured and now venerable character. For to the visitors, of all ranks, she recommended the religion of the Bible; but with such propriety, that she never gave offence; and most tenderly and intimately did she participate in the diversified feelings of her grandchildren, evincing her affection for them, by her earnest and ardently expressed longing that Christ might be formed in their hearts, the hope of glory. It was about this time, that the writer of this brief tribute to her memory had the happiness to form her acquaintance; and he well remembers the impression of respectful admiration which that first interview produced on his mind. She was now "well stricken in years." Time had mellowed the naturally sweet expression of her countenance, without much impairing its vivacity. Her silvery locks shaded a brow imprinted with the wrinkles of age, but intelligent and serene. Her eyes were yet bright, and glanced upon her friends with benevolent complacency. Her form was unbending and about the middle stature; her manners dignified, yet free; her conversation cheerful, affectionate, and eminently spiritual; her memory richly replenished with the word of God, and with hymns, which she recited with much emphasis and appropriate application; and her whole appearance and deportment that of a venerable Christian lady.
Some time before this period she had become very deaf; but though she felt it to be a great trial, it made scarcely any perceptible abatement of her cheerfulness; nor did she allow it to prevent her attendance upon the house of God. In proportion as she was shut out from the pleasures of conversation, she seemed to find an increasing delight in secret devotion. "Let us call those our golden hours," she says in a letter to a friend, "that are spent with God. May we be found much in that excellent duty of self-examination." And at a subsequent date she writes in her diary, "My hearing is in some measure restored; of which I can give no account from natural causes or medicinal art. O Lord, my healer, thou canst do every thing. O the riches of immortal grace! If I outlive my senses, I cannot outlive my graces. O how beautiful, how honourable, how durable! I earnestly plead with God for his church and ministers, in faith and hope, for what I am not likely to live to see. Dear Lord, let me depart and join the holy society above. Amen!"
It is often observed, that as Christians draw near to heaven, their desire increases to enter upon its holy joys. They present a delightful contrast, in this respect, to those unhappy persons whose old age is chilled with the infirmities of decaying nature, and never warmed into the glow of celestial aspirations by the presages of a blessed immortality. The natural desire of life is felt by both, and the uneradicated remains of our ancient and inveterate depravity will sometimes, even in aged Christians, repress the risings of the soul towards her native skies. But the prevailing tendency of the desires will be upwards. "To live is indeed Christ; but to die is gain." Hence their conversation will take its complexion and character, rather from the things which are eternal, than from the transactions or interests of this present world. Such was eminently the case with the subject of this memoir. She seemed to live much, in the secret exercises of her mind, upon the invisible glories of that region of blessedness towards which she was fast approaching. Never was her countenance lighted up with a more cheerful beam of piety, than when, after she had been occupied awhile in silent musings, she would break forth in the joyful exclamation of the patriarch Job, "I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though, after my skin, worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God; whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me." This was indeed a very favourite passage with her, and was selected by herself for her funeral text. But "the word of Christ dwelt in her richly;" and it was sometimes equally astonishing and delightful to hear with what copiousness, accuracy, and animated expression, at more than 80 years of age, she would pour forth, like a sparkling stream, a long series of beautiful quotations, her feelings at the same time kindling into celestial rapture, and the whole perhaps finished with that ecstatic verse of Dr. Watts.
"Haste, my beloved, fetch my soul Up to thy bless'd abode; Fly, for my spirit longs to see My Saviour and my God."
She had outlived nearly all her contemporaries. Most of her friends had preceded her to their rest, and sometimes she would chide herself for still lingering in her upward flight, among the chilling clouds of these lower regions, when she thought her wings should have borne her more rapidly onward to join the company of the blessed. Thus she expresses herself in one of her memorandums: "O Lord, when I look around me, and feel I am bereaved of human joys, and behold the ravages which thou hast made among my dear, beloved friends and kindred in the flesh, I am astonished at the strength of that depravity, which leads me still to cling to this dying world. Why, oh, why do I not rest my weary soul on the unchangeable realities of heaven? There shall I meet those very dear ones who sleep in Jesus. Animating hope! Oh, then, let me march boldly on, nor faint in the day of rebuke; but may I be enabled to yield up all my earthly comforts when Jesus calls and demands, that I may find my all in him."
It was her privilege often to climb to the summit of Pisgah; and when she descended again into the plain, how delightfully would she talk, and as in the very dialect of the country, of that land of fair and beauteous prospect which lies beyond the Jordan. There were seasons when no other subject seemed welcome to her thoughts. She would sit at such times watching the countenances of her friends, and at a break in the conversation, which she could not hear, drop a short sentence full of the love and joy of heaven. She seemed to have an inward and divine light which shone through her soul, and made it a region of pure and celestial thoughts; no doubts were permitted to disturb the composure of her mind, no temptation to trouble and overcast the serenity of her cloudless sky. Her days moved on in tranquil succession, each renewing and passing forward to the next, the sunshine of its predecessor. Only, indeed, as her orb descended to the horizon, the light seemed more to concentrate and to soften; just as the evening sun gathers back into himself the radiance with which he had illuminated the world, and sets amidst the chastened splendours of his own accumulated glory.
Her tabernacle, which had been often shaken, was at length taken down. No fierce disease was commissioned to inflict the final stroke. Till the last week she was permitted to continue in the society of her children. Two of them reside at Camberwell; and they reflect, with grateful pleasure, that some of her last days were spent with them. She left them on the Monday, after having passed the whole of the preceding month in their company. It was not then apprehended that her end was so near, but her conversation was sweetly tinctured by a vein of ardent and elevated devotion. Her mind was eminently spiritual; she seemed to be living in an element of prayer and love. It was the happiness of the writer to spend a short time with her during the last week; and in her pocket-book she has noted the comfort she derived from the devotional exercises in which they then engaged. The Sabbath day was a season of great delight. She did not know that on the following her translation was to take place; but had she foreseen it, scarcely could she have passed the day in communications more fitted to her near approximation to eternal joy.
The next day she returned to Tottenham, not so well as she had been, yet there seemed no cause for immediate alarm; but in her last words, as she was taking leave of her daughters, there was something almost prophetic of the event which was soon to take place. Clasping the hand of one of them, as she was about to step into the carriage, she turned to her, and said, "I shall soon mount on eagles' wings; I shall run and not be weary, I shall walk and not faint." On Wednesday, her indisposition considerably increased, and her strength began rapidly to decline. It soon became impossible to hold any conversation with her beyond a few short and detached sentences at intervals. In reply to inquiries, she still expressed her faith in the Lamb of God, and spoke of his preciousness to her soul. But the power of articulation failed, and this circumstance, joined with her deafness, precluded the further interchange of sentiment with the departing saint. She continued to lodge on the banks of the Jordan a day or two longer, till about noon on Lord's day, June 30, 1833; when she passed through the river with a gentle and quiet motion, and was lost to the sight of surrounding attendants, amidst the distant groves of Eden, on the opposite shore.
"No pain she suffered, nor expired with noise; Her soul was whispered out with God's still voice: So softly death succeeded life in her, She did but dream of heaven, and she was there."
Camberwell. E. STEANE
SLAVERY IN AMERICA.
A LETTER FROM THE BAPTIST BOARD OF FOREIGN MISSIONS IN AMERICA, IN ANSWER TO ONE FROM THE BOARD OF BAPTIST MINISTERS IN AND NEAR LONDON, DATED DECEMBER 31, 1833.
(See our last Number, p. 534.)
Baptist Missionary Rooms, Boston, Sept. 1, 1834.
Your communication, dated London, December 31, 1833, was received some time since, by one of the officers of the Baptist General Convention; but as the Convention, to which it was chiefly addressed, will not convene till April, 1835, the communication was, after some delay, presented to the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions, as the executive organ of the Convention. The board referred it to a Committee, and we now communicate to you a copy of their Report, and of the Resolutions adopted by the board.[A] We commend them to your candour, with a confident belief that you will do justice to the views and feelings of the board, encompassed as they are by difficulties which cannot be fully understood by persons in other countries.
[A] The Committee, to whom was referred a communication from "the Members of the Board of Baptist Ministers in and near London," directed to "The Rev. Spencer H. Cone, President; the Board of Managers; and the Delegates of the Baptist Triennial Convention, United States, North America;" and addressed to "The Pastors and Ministers of the Baptist denomination throughout the United States of America;" the principal object of which communication is, to express the views of the writers "respecting the character of negro slavery, and as to the course enjoined by religious principle on the household of faith;" present the following report:—
That they have examined the communication with much care, and have been gratified by the spirit of Christian affection, respect, and candour, which it breathes. They receive it as a pleasing omen of a more intimate correspondence and a more endeared fellowship with our Baptist brethren in Great Britain. The Committee, however, are unanimously of opinion that as a Board, and as members of the General Convention, associated for the exclusive purpose of sending the gospel to the heathen, and to other benighted men not belonging to our own country, we are precluded by our constitution from taking any part in the discussion of the subject proposed in the said communication. They, therefore, recommend the adoption of the following resolutions:—
Resolved. That the Board reciprocate, with great pleasure, the assurances of respect and affection which our brethren, "the members of the Board of Baptist Ministers, in and near London," have uttered in their communication.
Resolved. That the Board earnestly desire a closer intimacy with their Baptist brethren in England, believing that the cause of truth in both countries, and throughout the world, would be promoted, by a more cordial union and co-operation of the two great branches of the Baptist family.
Resolved. That the Board have viewed, with grief and anxiety, the calamities which have befallen the Baptist Mission in Jamaica; and they rejoice that the Mission has been resumed, with cheering prospects of success.
Resolved. That while, as they trust, their love of freedom, and their desire for the happiness of all men, are not less strong and sincere than those of their British brethren, they cannot, as a Board, interfere with a subject that is not among the objects for which the Convention and the Board were formed.
Resolved. That the preceding Resolutions be communicated to the "Board of Baptist Ministers, in and near London," together with the subjoined letter, to be signed by the acting President, and the corresponding Secretary of the Board.
(Signed) DANIEL SHARP, First Vice-President of the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions in the United States. LUCIUS BOLLES, Cor. Sec.
It may assist you to form a more correct opinion of the whole subject, if we allude to a few of the circumstances which make slavery, in this country, a matter of peculiar difficulty, and which, consequently, require those who would promote the real welfare of the coloured race, to act with great caution.
In the first place, the political organization of the United States is widely different from that of England; and this difference makes it impossible to adopt here a course similar to that which the British Parliament have adopted in reference to slavery in the West Indies. This country is not one State, with an unrestricted Legislature, but a confederacy of States, united by a Constitution, in which certain powers are granted to the National Government; and all other powers are reserved by the States. Among these reserved powers is the regulation of slavery. Congress have no power to interfere with the slaves in the respective States; and an Act of Congress to emancipate the slaves in those States would be as wholly null and void, as an Act of the British Parliament for the same purpose. The Legislatures of the respective States cannot interfere with the legislation of each other. In some of the States, where laws forbidding emancipation exist, the minority cannot, if disposed, give freedom to their slaves. You perceive, then, that the National Government, and the people of the Northern States, have no power, nor right, to adopt any direct measures, in reference to the emancipation of the slaves in the Southern States. The slave-holders themselves are the only men who can act definitively on this subject; and the only proper and useful influence which the friends of emancipation in other States can use, consists in argument and entreaty. The existence of our union, and its manifold blessings, depends on a faithful adherence to the principles and spirit of our constitution, on this and on all other points.
This view of the case exonerates the nation, as such, and the States in which no slaves are found, from the charge of upholding slavery. It is due, moreover, to the republic, to remember, that slavery was introduced into this country long before the colonies became independent States. The slave trade was encouraged by the Government of Great Britain, and slaves were brought into the colonies against the wishes of the colonists, and the repeated Acts of some of the Colonial Legislatures. These Acts were negatived by the King of England; and in the Declaration of Independence, as originally drawn by Mr. Jefferson, it was stated, among the grievances which produced the Revolution, that the King of England had steadily resisted the efforts of the colonists to prevent the introduction of slaves. Soon after the Revolution, several of the States took measures to free themselves from slavery. In 1787, Congress adopted an Act, by which it was provided, that slavery should never be permitted in any of the States to be formed in the immense territory north-west of the Ohio; in which territory, the great States of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, have since been formed. There are now thirteen out of the twenty-four States, in which slavery may be said to be extinct. Maryland is taking measures to free herself from slavery. Kentucky and Virginia will, it is believed, follow the example. We state these facts to show, that the republic did not originate slavery here; and that she has done much to remove it altogether from her bosom. She took measures earlier than any other country for the suppression of the slave trade, and she is now zealously labouring to accomplish the entire extinction of that abominable traffic.
Since then, from the character of our political institutions, the emancipation of the slaves is impossible, except with the free consent of the masters; it is necessary to approach them with calm and affectionate argument. They claim to be better acquainted with the real condition and the true interests of the negro, than other persons can be. Multitudes among them freely acknowledge and lament the evils of slavery, and earnestly desire their removal, in some way consistent with the welfare of the slave himself, and with the safety of the whites. Some persons among them, it is true, are not convinced that slavery is wrong in principle; just as many good men in England, half a century since, believed the slave-trade to be just and right. Such individuals must be convinced, before they will act.
In the next place, the number and character of the slaves form an appalling difficulty. It is not believed by many of the sincere friends of the slaves, that their immediate emancipation would be conducive to their own real welfare, or consistent with the safety of the whites. To let them loose, without any provision for the young, the feeble, and the aged, would be inhuman cruelty. Slaves, who have regarded labour as an irksome task, can have little idea of liberty, except as an exemption from toil. To liberate them, without some arrangement for their subsistence, would produce starvation, or impel them to acts of lawless violence. Emancipation must, therefore, as those friends of the slaves contend, be gradual and prospective. The British Parliament have not decreed an immediate emancipation, in the West Indies; thus recognizing the principle, that the slaves must be prepared for freedom by moral and intellectual culture. But this preparation must be commenced and conducted by the masters; and they must, of course, become the willing and zealous friends of emancipation, before it can be accomplished.
We have thus shown, that the slaves in this country cannot be emancipated, except by the free consent of the masters; and that they cannot be prepared for freedom, without the voluntary and energetic co-operation of the masters. For both these reasons, it is necessary to adopt a kind and conciliating course of conduct towards the slave-holders. The British Parliament might assume a peremptory tone towards the slave-holders in the West Indies; because the power of Parliament is not restricted like that of the American Congress; and because the situation of the slaves in the West Indies renders the preliminary preparation less necessary to the safety of the white population. In the British West Indies, the slaves are dispersed among eighteen or twenty islands, where the military and naval power of the mother country might be easily applied to quell insurrections. In the United States, there are above two millions of slaves, spread over a part only of the surface of the Union, with no large military force to overawe them, and no obstacle to a rapid combination of insurgents. We presume, that the people in England would feel somewhat differently on the subject of emancipation, if the slaves were among themselves, and the perils of this moral volcano were constantly impending over their own heads.
Besides these general considerations, there is one which affects the duty of the Baptist General Convention. There is now a pleasing degree of union among the multiplying thousands of Baptists throughout the land. Brethren, from all parts of the country, unite in our General Convention, and co-operate in sending the gospel to the heathen. Our southern brethren are liberal and zealous in the promotion of every holy enterprise for the extension of the gospel. They are, generally, both minister and people, slave-holders; not because they all think slavery right, but because it was firmly rooted long before they were born, and because they believe that slavery cannot be instantly abolished. We are confident, that a great portion of our brethren at the south would rejoice to see any practicable scheme devised for relieving the country from slavery.
We have the best evidence, that our slave-holding brethren are Christians, sincere followers of the Lord Jesus. In every other part of their conduct, they adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour. We cannot, therefore, feel that it is right to use language or adopt measures which might tend to break the ties that unite them to us in our General Convention, and in numerous other benevolent societies; and to array brother against brother, church against church, and association against association, in a contest about slavery.
We have presented these considerations, dear brethren, as among the reasons which compel us to believe, that it is not the duty of the Baptist General Convention, or of the Board of Missions, to interfere with the subject of slavery. It ought, indeed, to be discussed at all proper times, and in all suitable modes. We believe, that the progress of public opinion in reference to slavery, is very rapid; and we are quite sure, that it cannot be accelerated by any interference, which our southern brethren would regard as an invasion of their political rights, or as an impeachment of their Christian character.
Most earnestly praying that the Father of Lights will illuminate our path, and guide us all to the adoption of such measures as shall advance His glory, and secure the temporal and eternal happiness of all men, we are, dear brethren, your affectionate fellow-servants.
LUCIUS BOLLES, Cor. Sec.
LEGISLATIVE ENACTMENTS CONCERNING THE SABBATH.
To the Editor of the Baptist Magazine.
It is some time since the Christian public has heard of any measure intended to be proposed to the Legislature in reference to the violation of the Sabbath, and it is time, as it appears to me, that those who have such a measure at heart should be awake, and setting about their great work in earnest. Whether the measure of which Sir Andrew Agnew gave notice in the last session, be the same as his last bill or not, is at present unknown; but I trust, if it be not the same, it will be founded on the same principle, and equally comprehensive in its provisions. It is true, that upon this subject, the opinions, even of good men, are much divided; and there are not a few individuals, of undoubted piety, who think that a legislative remedy should extend to a part only of the acknowledged mischiefs at first; whilst others prefer making the different provisions of the whole measure the subject of several bills, to be simultaneously brought forward.
The advocates of the former plan insist, that there is no chance of carrying the whole measure at once, while the attempt to do so is calculated to produce hostility; improvements in this, as well as in other matters, requiring to be gradual:—that the sense of the majority of the population is against the measure as a whole, to which popular sense, deference must be paid:—and, that Sir Andrew's former bills were lost entirely from their being too sweeping and comprehensive.
To the first objection, which is nearly identical with the third, it may be answered: Supposing it to be true, that there is no chance of carrying the whole measure at once, this is no reason why the whole should not be proposed at once. If of the whole measure so proposed only a part should be carried, the carrying of that part would be a subject of thankfulness and rejoicing, just as much as if that part only had been proposed. Those members of the Legislature who would exhibit hostility to the bill to the extent of rejecting it altogether, would doubtless exhibit hostility to any portion of its provisions if brought forward as a distinct bill; because hostility to the whole of a measure acknowledged in some part to be good and necessary, must arise from an evil principle. There is much difference between hostility to the whole of the bill, and opposition to some, nay, even the majority, of its provisions. Those who would be hostile to the whole of the bill, must necessarily be so to any detached part; whereas many might oppose even the larger part of its provisions, who would approve the rest; and it is conceived such would vote for the bill going into Committee, where they might distinguish between the provisions they approved and those they condemned. That this would be the case appears from the experience of the last session, when members who were not prepared to support any clause of the bill, nevertheless voted for its second reading. It is true, that many who voted against it alleged its comprehensiveness as the ground of their opposition; but when actually limited measures were brought forward, they were either crushed at once by the very same persons, or first reduced to nothing—and, indeed made worse than nothing, by repealing the provisions of existing statutes for protection of the Sabbath, substituting nothing for them—and then ignominiously rejected. This answer may also be given to the allegation, that Sir Andrew's bills were lost from their comprehensiveness.
As to the second allegation, that the sense of the majority of the population is against the measure brought forward by Sir Andrew's Bill as a whole, it may be replied:
In the first place, that this is an assertion which is incapable of proof.
In the second place, it is not merely a numerical majority of the whole population of the country to which the advocates of the measure ought to defer; but it is to a majority of that class of persons who are well informed upon, and have wisely considered, the whole subject, in connexion with all its consequences and results.
In the third place, it is apprehended, that if the sense of the majority of such class were taken upon the several provisions of the bill, although it may be within the limits of possibility that the majority might be against the bill as a whole, yet there is scarcely a provision in it which the majority of such class would be found to reject; for in point of fact there is not one single clause in the bill which has not been the subject of petitions numerously signed in its favour.
But even attaching some degree of weight to the above objections, which are, I believe, the whole that have been brought forward by those whose opinions are worth regarding, it is to be considered, whether there may not be set against these objections considerations which will operate so as greatly to turn the scale in favour of bringing in the whole measure at once, such as the following:—
1. It recognizes one simple principle, on which every measure proposed to Government for the remedy of existing abuses, in reference to the observance of the Lord's day, must be based; and therefore, judging from the way in which the provisions of the bill have been already met, in and out of parliament, it is clear, that if one part only out of the system of measures were brought forward at first, the objection would be, that the propounder of the measure, to be consistent with himself, should have extended it to other matters within its principle, and directed it against other evils requiring to be remedied by it. For instance, were a bill brought forward to restrain what is usually called trade in the necessaries of life, it might be urged that it would be inconsistent, while that which is equally a trade, the supplying of post horses, should be permitted: just as it has been insisted, in a determined spirit of hostility to the bill, that it was unfair to restrain labour in the field and permit it in the house; to prohibit the day-labourer from prosecuting his calling, and to allow the domestic servant to pursue hers. Now an argument, which imputes inconsistency and unfairness to the propounder of a prohibitory measure, is one which it would be exceedingly difficult, and perhaps impossible, satisfactorily to answer.
2. The whole of the grievances, pertaining to every part of the subject, were fully entered into, in that comprehensive inquiry which took place in the Select Committee of the House of Commons, previously to the introduction of Sir Andrew Agnew's first bill, which elicited so much and such important and valuable information; and it follows as a consequence, that every mischief which was within the scope of the inquiry, should be within the scope of the enactment to be grounded upon the result of such inquiry.
3. It is difficult to guard against the inference to be drawn from the prohibition of one evil, and the leaving another unprohibited, that such latter evil is intended to be tolerated and sanctioned.
4. It is extremely probable, that if, under existing circumstances, the advocates of the proposed measure were to bring forward one of limited extent, it would be considered that they had no ulterior object, and that the limited measure, if conceded, should be taken in full of every thing to be expected from the Legislature. This would be disingenuous. It is the most fair and honest mode of dealing, on the part of those who are of opinion that the exigency of the case calls for a comprehensive measure, to declare at once what is the utmost extent of the objects they have in view, and what is the exact amount of the measure with which they would be satisfied; and it is considered that such a course is the most likely to attract the approbation and good opinion of right-thinking individuals, and, which is an infinitely higher consideration, to draw down the blessing of Almighty God.
5. The different provisions of the measure are so connected, that it is very difficult to separate them. For instance, how could the provisions against trade be separated from the provisions against travelling, when travelling necessarily supposes the exercise of a species of trade?
6. With respect to the suggestion, that the whole measure should be the subject of several and distinct bills, the simple answer is, that every such bill must, in passing through the necessary stages, be exposed to a distinct ordeal, and that the difficulty of working the bill (to use a technical expression) would be at least multiplied to the extent of the number of bills proposed to be substituted for one simple and comprehensive enactment.
THEOSIBES. London, Dec. 10th, 1834.
LIQUIDATION OF DEBTS ON CHAPELS.
To the Editor of the Baptist Magazine.
Having seen an article some months since in your Magazine on the above subject, signed Murus, and thinking the following plan an improvement upon Murus's, I shall feel much obliged by your giving it insertion in your valuable and extensively circulated periodical. And I hope I shall not be too presuming in stating that, if it is put into operation in every county, in a very few years it will entirely liquidate all the debts now existing on chapels, without any increased exertions on the part of the friends. The plan, if entered into, which I humbly trust it will be, will do away entirely with begging cases, will not require the minister to leave his church, will lessen the calls on his people, will enable them to raise their ministers' incomes, and eventually confer much happiness on the churches, and relieve them from pressing difficulties; whereas the systems now adopted are very inefficient, and will take three times as long to get rid of the existing burdens. I would also suggest, for the prevention of debts being again accumulated, that no chapel be allowed to be erected without advancing half the money required for building it, nor be allowed to partake of the privileges arising from this plan until the whole of the present churches are out of debt. I would also recommend the churches who adopt this plan, to give no countenance to any church begging, as the same system can be adopted in every county with certain success. There is a difficulty in Murus's plan in that of increased exertions, whereas in this, none are required.
Prop. 1. That all the churches make an annual collection, which shall be brought to the Association, and that the total amount shall be applied to the liquidation of the debt on one chapel, as shall be then and there agreed.
Prop. 2. That the chapel whose debt is so paid off shall contribute the interest of its debt every year, till it amounts to half the sum paid off, when it shall not be required to pay its interest money, for so I will call it.
Prop. 3. That, in addition to the interest money of the chapel so paid off, it shall not contribute less than ten shillings for every L100. of debt, till the whole of the debts are paid off the chapels in the county; by which means the deficiency of ten shillings in the pound will be made up without distressing the churches.
Prop. 4. That any church whose lot it may fall to, at the Association, to have its debt paid, who shall the next year pay the half of its debt, shall be considered to have fulfilled its agreement, and shall be liable only to its small contribution at the rate of ten shillings for every L100 debt so redeemed.
Prop. 5. That every church whose debt shall be paid off, shall bring forward sufficient and satisfactory security for the fulfilment of its contract, which may be done by four or five persons joining together for that purpose.
Suppose the debt of a chapel which is paid off to be L600; the responsible agents above referred to shall contribute annually, till it arrives to L300, half the debt, when they will have fulfilled their agreement. But they must, from the first payment of interest till all the chapels are out of debt, contribute ten shillings for every L100 of debt, which sum, with the united exertions of the churches, will liquidate the other ten shillings in the pound. For instance: Suppose the churches in one county to be thirty, an annual contribution of three pounds from each will produce L90; this, added to the interest of the chapel so cleared, will make L120, to pay off the debt of another chapel, which shall also contribute to its interests, and small annual contribution; and so on, till all the churches are out of debt. This plan is similar to lending money without interest, as the interest paid clears the principal, and the principal they will only have to pay at ten shillings in the pound, the small annual contributions making up the deficiency. A list of the churches and their debts should be placed every year in the Magazines, with an account of the debts so reduced.
A BAPTIST. Nov. 12, 1834.
P.S. Since writing the above, I have seen an article in the Magazine for this month, which only confirms my opinion that something must be done, and that speedily, to effect this great and desirable object.
REMARKS ON A PAPER, ENTITLED "ON THE USE AND ABUSE OF THE TERM MORAL."
To the Editor of the Baptist Magazine.
The paper of W. N. in your November number, whilst it contains some very valuable remarks on the abuse of the term moral, appears to aim at overthrowing one particular instance of a very general abuse, and to strike at the branch, whilst it leaves the root to flourish with the same vigour as before. The expression "moral approbation and disapprobation" cannot be deemed an unnecessary application of the term moral, because approbation and disapprobation are frequently excited in the mind by physical agents; and although Dr. Wardlaw, in the passage quoted above by W. N., refers the approbation and disapprobation to "moral agents," yet the phrase in question precedes that application, and therefore the term "moral" renders the sentence more clear than it would be, were it needful for the reader to employ the conclusion of the sentence to explain the commencement. The instance quoted from the Quarterly Review is so gross an abuse of language, that little apprehension need be entertained of its repetition. The passage stands like the topmast of a ship-wrecked vessel, to warn others of the shoal on which she was stranded. All the other instances used as illustrations in W. N.'s paper are examples of the evil attendant upon a departure from one principle, viz.: That a simile should never be explained. Of course, this principle presupposes another: That a simile should never require explanation. In the two first instances adduced—"The Lord God is a sun and shield," and "Jesus said, I am the door"—the beauty of the similes would be entirely destroyed by the use of the adjective moral, and the only reason why the fourth instance, "A moral blight," is not so glaring an abuse of language as the two former is, that the term blight is so frequently used in a figurative sense, that, when it is so used, we are liable to forget that the expression is figurative. But for this circumstance, the ridiculous character of the phrase would be quite as obvious as the absurdity of speaking of a moral apple, or moral plum. Another instance of the inelegance of explaining a simile is met with in the prayers of those who quote from the Liturgy the passage "We have done that which we ought not to have done, and have left undone that which we ought to have done, and there is no health in us;" but distort the original to "there is no spiritual health in us;" thus destroying at once the strength and harmony of one of the finest specimens of forcible and beautiful composition which decorates English literature. In this case also, as in that of "moral blight," health is so often used in a figurative sense, that we are apt to forget that the expression is a simile; or the phrase "spiritual health" would sound as disagreeably as the commencement of the same portion of the Liturgy, were it altered to "We have erred and strayed from thy spiritual ways, like lost spiritual sheep." All these inaccuracies in composition proceed from attempts to explain similes, an attempt which ought to be cautiously avoided; because a simile is an endeavour to explain or illustrate a subject by means of some analogy subsisting between it and another subject; and it is evident, that an explanation or illustration which requires a further explanation to make it intelligible, is much better omitted; and that an explanation of that which is already clear, is a glaring instance of tautology, and, therefore, a gross defect in style.
A. November 20th, 1834
THE DEPARTURE OF ANOTHER YEAR.
To the Editor of the Baptist Magazine.
Another year is gone! How solemn the reflection! How replete with instruction! Times and seasons are passing away in rapid succession; and amid the cares and avocations of the present, we seem in a great measure insensible of our near approach to an eternal world. But we are assured that "The day of the Lord will come." The purpose for which the world was created, and made the theatre of such mysterious and benevolent transactions, will be accomplished; the reign of grace, in the salvation of men, will terminate; the influences of the Holy Spirit in their regeneration will be no longer necessary; the preaching of the gospel, as the ordained means of conversion, shall for ever cease. Then all mankind, that have lived from the beginning of the world, will enter on a state of endless and unchangeable existence: some, in the presence of God, will enjoy the most exquisite pleasures, and obtain "an eternal weight of glory;" while others will have their abode among unbelievers, and "suffer the vengeance of eternal fire." "Seeing, then, that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness!"
Reader! the close of another year has brought you so much nearer the end of your probation on earth. In the space of a few months how many have perished under the stroke of death! Young and old, rich and poor, small and great, have gone down to the grave, where "they rest together, and the servant is free from his master." Before the close of 1835, what multitudes, now in the prime of life, in the pursuit of pleasure, in the possession of riches, in the road to preferment, or having secured the object of worldly ambition, will have passed into the unseen state, and rendered their account to God. The flight of time calls upon the careless and undecided to consider their ways, and turn unto the Lord.
The Christian, too, should testify his gratitude to God for his continued goodness, and "lift up his head, for his redemption draweth nigh." With what seriousness and devotion should we attend to the duties of religion, so that "whether we live, we may live to the Lord; or whether we die, we may die to the Lord; that whether we live, or die, we may be the Lord's!" Let not this day come upon us unawares, and find us in a state of carnal security; but may our loins be girded, our lamps burning, and ourselves like servants waiting for their Lord's return,—"looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ." "Wherefore, beloved, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless."
NEW YEAR'S DAY.
Time, the mundane sphere revolving, Brings another New Year's Day; Orb of light, 'mid lengthened shadows, Glance one soft and lingering ray, As we muse on Days receding fast away.
Pledge of joys that may await us In our future pilgrimage, Or of heavenly consolation That may coming griefs assuage, To believers Promised in the sacred page.
Many trials now are ended; Many painful conflicts o'er; Chequered scenes withdrawn for ever That can please nor vex us more; Memory only Can the faded past restore.
Many dearest forms are sleeping In the lone forsaken grave; How we wept when them consigning To the hand outstretched to save, As they struggled Through death's dark and gelid wave!
Many days of grace are ended, How improved has been the past? Time's rich grains are softly falling, Soon may drop for us the last. Changing seasons Warn us that we change as fast.
O for happy preparation For the joys that never fade! For the everlasting mansion Death and sin can ne'er invade! In the likeness Of our Lord we would be made.
As each new successive period Hastes that last mysterious one, Do we shudder, so much dreading Things invisible, unknown? Faith reposes On the Saviour's cross alone.
Sweet to meet our friends in glory, Tears for ever wiped away By the guardian hand that leads us Up the steep and narrow way, Time's short circles Lost in one eternal day!
"And I heard a voice from heaven."—REV. xiv. 13.
A voice was heard; a voice was heard; It sounded from heaven's high throne; And the murmuring air breathed along the swift word Till on earth its dark import was known. Though it thrill'd not the ears that were list'ning around, Nor was heard by the spirits bereaved, It conducted the soul from the region of death, To receive, through the Saviour, the conqueror's wreath, From its sin-woven fetters relieved.
A voice was heard; a voice was heard; The spirit its summons obeyed; And to sorrowing Friendship still echoes the word While she weeps o'er the mouldering dead. Not a tear can e'er start from those eyelids again; Not a sigh can e'er heave from that breast:— But reposing awhile on a pillow of clay, It will waken renew'd, and then, bounding away, Will ascend to the realms of the blest.
A voice was heard; a voice was heard; A whisper,—a whisper from God; And the soul caught with rapture the welcoming word As it enter'd its blissful abode. That voice that awoke from the death-sleep of sin, And whisper'd, "Thou too art forgiven," Stole again on the ear in the accents of love, Reassur'd of a home with its Father above, And then wafted the spirit to heaven.
Russia: or Miscellaneous Observations on the Past and Present State of that Country and its Inhabitants. Compiled from Notes made on the Spot, during Travels at different times in the Service of the Bible Society, and a Residence of many Years in that Country. By ROBERT PINKERTON, D.D., Author of "The Present State of the Greek Church in Russia," and Foreign Agent to the British and Foreign Bible Society.—Seeley and Sons; Hatchard and Son.
A traveller, like a witness in court, should be competent and unexceptionable. Both these qualifications are indispensable to secure the confidence of his reader, and the success of his work.
Dr. Pinkerton has very strong claims on the attention of the British public. He resided in Russia many years. He lived in Moscow "the greater part of the years 1810 and 1811, and left that city only forty-eight hours before the French entered it in 1812." He is the author of "The Present State of the Greek Church in Russia." His travels in the service of the British and Foreign Bible Society have been extensive at different times. His being Foreign Agent to that Society, has given him facilities of intercourse with the higher as well as the lower orders of the inhabitants. He is personally well known to many of the clergy and of the nobility, and his intimate acquaintance with the language has enabled him to converse with people of all ranks. The work before us has been compiled from notes made on the spot. Of his competency, therefore, no one can entertain a doubt; and his high Christian character renders him an unexceptionable witness. We anticipate for this volume a cordial welcome, especially among the friends of the Bible Society. The information Dr. P. has given is clear, copious, and important. We shall transcribe a few extracts which cannot fail to gratify our readers.
The territory of this vast empire has increased within the last 364 years nearly twenty-fold. According to the last statistical accounts, the population is upwards of fifty-four millions, of whom about thirty-six millions are native Russians, speaking the same language, and belonging to the national or oriental church. The military forces have also increased nearly ten-fold within the last hundred years; and at the present time are estimated at about 900,000.
The spiritual academies and seminaries contain upwards of 30,000 young men preparing for the sacred profession. Dr. P. says:—
"It is much to be regretted that those young men have so little time and opportunity, after finishing their academical course, for making further progress in studies suited to their profession. The cares of a family (for marriage must indispensably precede ordination in the Russian church), their labours among their flocks, the scanty support which most of them receive, together with their isolated situation in country villages, where few traces of education and civilized life have yet entered, render this almost impracticable."
The Jesuits were finally expelled from the empire in 1820. At that time their number amounted to 674.
"On their reaching the frontiers of the empire, the emperor Alexander ordered them to be supplied with from thirty to forty ducats each, to bear their expenses to some other place of residence. But though this mighty force of papal agency was removed from the Russian territories by one stroke of the autocratic pen, yet the influence which they had acquired was not so easily to be annihilated; and there is no doubt, that in the succeeding intrigues which were played off so successfully against the Russian Bible Society, their powerful friends in the capital took a part." p. 62.
Drunkenness. On this painful topic, the author has given most melancholy information:—
"Instead of restraining the use of brandy, the government, even of the present day, affords every facility to the people to obtain it, in order to enhance the gain derived from this iniquitous source; which amounts to nearly one-fourth of the whole revenue of the empire."
From his calculation, it appears that there is "the enormous quantity of eighty-one millions of gallons of brandy alone drunk every year by the peasantry of this empire." pp. 75-77.
Baptism. Dr. P. says:—
"The cathedral church at Odessa is a noble building, in the Grecian style, with domes and crosses. One day I entered it, when the protopope, or dean, was baptizing an infant. The day was excessively cold, there being upwards of ten degrees of frost, and the water in the font almost freezing. After the ceremony was over, I expressed to the priest my surprise that they did not use tepid water, seeing the infant had to be three times immersed over head and ears in the icy bath. He smiled at my compassion, and exclaimed—'Ah, there is no danger: the child is a Russian.' Indeed, such are the superstitious opinions of the people, that were the chill taken off the water, they would probably doubt the validity of the ordinance." p. 153.
"In Great Russia, the child is baptized usually in the church, or in a private house; and the prayers, exorcisms, and ceremonies attending this ordinance, are long and complicated. The Greeks and Russians always use the trine immersion; the first, in the name of the Father—the second, in that of the Son—and the third in that of the Holy Ghost. When a priest cannot be obtained, they permit lay-baptism; and they never rebaptize on any account whatever."
The Duchobortzi sect has excited great attention:—
"They make the sacraments consist only in a spiritual reception of them, and therefore reject infant-baptism. Their origin is to be sought for among the Anabaptists, or Quakers."
It appears, however, that
"In the Ukraine, or Little Russia, it is customary also to baptize by sprinkling or pouring water upon the body. This change the Little Russians, many of whom are Uniats, adopted from the Roman Catholics, when they were under the power of the Polish government. However, in cases of necessity, even in Great Russia, baptism by sprinkling or pouring water on the body is practised, and held to be valid."
In a note, Dr. P. tells us he witnessed the baptism of an adult, in the case of the Mongolian chief, Badma, who died in 1822. He was lying in bed, in a very weak state. Prince Galitzin was godfather. Instead of immersion, water was poured on his head three times. Immediately after baptism, he received the other sacrament: bread and wine, soaked together in a cup, and given with a spoon. The pious prince evidently felt much; and when the dying man partook of the holy communion, he shed many tears. He died on the third day after his baptism.—p. 157.
Proverbs. We can select only a few for the entertainment and instruction of the reader.
Sin requires no teaching.
Thieves are not abroad every night; yet every night make fast.
Praise not thyself, nor dispraise.
Thou wilt not see all the world by looking out at thy own window.
A fool can cast a stone where seven wise men cannot find it.
Two hares at once, and you catch neither.
His wealth is not on the barn-floor; it is in his brains.
At home, as I like it; in company, as others will have it.
They gave a naked man a shirt, and he says, 'How coarse it is!'
Hast thou a pie? Thou wilt soon have a friend at table.
The largest ass will not make an elephant.
'Freedom,' says the bird, 'though the cage be a golden one.'
Every soldier would be general—every sailor, admiral.
In travelling, and at their sports, men show what they are.
A Greek speaks truth once in the year.
The cow has a long tongue, but she is not allowed to speak.
A golden bed will not relieve the sick.
Russian Bible Society. Dr. P. speaks in the highest terms of the Princess Sophia Mestchersky, who was among the first to encourage him to attempt, in 1811, the formation of a Bible Society in Moscow; which in two years was realized.
"From this commencement in 1813 till my leaving Russia, the princess had published ninety-three different pieces, amounting to upwards of 400,000 copies, on religious and moral subjects, which together form eight volumes, 8vo., and which were gratuitously distributed, or sold at low prices."
Among these are the principal publications of the London Religious Tract Society.
A very favourable account of the religious character of the late emperor Alexander is given, chiefly from the communications of the illustrious princess above mentioned, and written by her at the time of his death.
The Russian Bible Society was founded in St. Petersburg, on the 23rd of January, 1813, and continued in full activity about twelve years under the patronage of Alexander. During the last three years of his reign, he was powerfully counteracted by a strong party formed among the principal nobility and clergy. There were, too, conspirators forming diabolical plans against the peace of the empire, who misrepresented to the government the character and labours of the friends of religion and of Bible Institutions, to turn away attention from themselves, and their own wicked revolutionary designs. But the mind of Alexander was not changed.
When Nicholas his brother came to the throne, the plots of the party above referred to were happily overthrown. But unhappily Seraphim, the metropolitan, with several other prelates, and one or two fanatical monks, had for some years entertained unfriendly feelings towards the Institution. The new emperor's Ukaz was published in 1826.
It is gratifying, however, to find that on the 14th of March, 1831, a new Bible Society, exclusively for the Protestants in the Russian empire, was formed at St. Petersburg, with the sanction of the present emperor; and that the president is Prince Lieven, the minister for public instruction,
"A protestant nobleman of true piety, who laboured in the cause with indefatigable zeal, during the whole period of the existence of the national institution."
We have been surprised and delighted to observe Dr. P. speaking of the present emperor as
"Wise, energetic, and humane," "who has begun a reform in the courts of justice;" "a man of penetration, energy, and benevolence; who has already given many pleasing proofs of his sincere desire to advance the spiritual interests of the Russian people;" "the determined courage and wise management of the young emperor," &c.—pp. 348, 389, 392.
Surely, then, we may hope the national Bible Society will yet be restored.
The appendix contains seven sermons, as specimens of the style of preaching among the Russian clergy; and the plates, illustrative of the dress and amusements of the people, are from a collection of lithographic costumes which the author brought with him from Russia.
1. An Examination of the Practice of Infant Baptism, designed to prove that it is inconsistent with the Principles of the New Testament: respectfully proposed for the consideration of all those who are desirous of a Scriptural Reformation of the Church; and who are prepared to follow Truth wherever it may lead. By a MEMBER OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND. pp. 123.—Hatchard.
2. A Sermon on the Nature and Subjects of Christian Baptism. By ADONIRAM JUDSON, D.D., Burmah, p. 84.—Wightman.
Before assent is yielded to the result of any "examination," it is important, besides cautiously considering the nature and amount of evidence which has been adduced in its favour, to reflect on the relative position which, as it respects the particular subject of investigation, the examiner has occupied in pursuing the object of his inquiry, and in relation to which he has now arrived to a conclusion he is anxious—on account (as he believes) of its accordance with divine truth—should influence the conduct of others. If it be undoubted that his education, his tastes, his connexions, and even his prejudices, were all on the side of that conviction which he professes to have derived from patient and persevering research, it seems not unreasonable to require a copiousness and strength of argument, in its support, which, were all the circumstances affecting his relation to it decidedly unfavourable, would, perhaps, scarcely be deemed necessary.
When, however, we witness the comparatively rare occurrence of an individual, surrounded with almost every description of temptation to stifle conviction, and, by his silence at least, to perpetuate a corruption in the Christian church, which for ages has been protected by legislative authority, popular favour, and implicit faith, not only nobly triumphing over every inducement to compromise the interests of truth by refusing to surrender himself to its acknowledged claims, but venturing forth, and assailing error in its most splendid fastness, and pursuing it to its final retreat; and that to, by the employment of arguments whose overwhelming force is partly derived from the peculiar suavity with which they are urged, we are unable to resist such an occasion for exclaiming, "This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes."
The publications which have occasioned these reflections, whose titles are placed at the head of this article, appear to us to present more than ordinary claims to public consideration. The perspicuity of their style, the force of their arguments, and especially the thoroughly Christian temper which pervades them throughout, cannot fail, if they be read, to secure commendation, even where they fail to convince. We can easily suppose it possible to find persons who may affect to despise what is thus, with every circumstance adapted to excite respect, urged upon their attention; but that any well-constituted mind, whatever be its ultimate conclusion on the subject, can treat these pamphlets with indifference, as though that to which they relate were unimportant, or that they were defective in truth and candour, is what we are extremely unwilling to believe. At the same time, we most frankly acknowledge that, owing to certain inconveniences, and, perhaps, even consequences, which we conceive might arise, in some instances at least, from a thorough and an impartial investigation of the evidence adduced by these respective and respectable writers in support of their principles, we are not altogether without apprehension, that by something approaching to a profound silence in certain quarters, or it may be by something even more beneath the dignity of Christian criticism, the powerful, though eminently temperate, appeals of these luminous pages may obtain a perusal far less extensive than is consistent either with the interests of truth, or the merits of its advocates.
Deprecating such a result of these distinguished efforts, we enter upon a more particular notice of the first of these publications. The author designates himself "a member of the Church of England;" and his design is "to prove that it is inconsistent with the principles of the New Testament" to baptize unconscious infants. The work is divided into ten sections, prefaced by a most respectful but spirit-stirring letter "to the Editor of the Christian Observer." From this admirable appeal we extract as follows:—
"This work is the result of many reflections, excited at different times, through a long series of years, by the reading of many articles and discussions in the Christian Observer. The practice of admitting infants to the sacrament of baptism, I apprehend, must appear to almost all reflecting persons, at some times, to be of a very dubious character; and if it shall appear that the fair tendency of those parts of your work which I refer to, is to render it still more so, then I am persuaded that you will allow that the publication is, without impropriety, thus offered to your notice."
"The question respecting the propriety of admitting infants to the sacrament of baptism must, I conceive, before long, become a subject of grave discussion within the church. Then the real importance of the question will become manifest, and it will be found necessary that it should be more comprehensively considered in all its bearings, than it has hitherto been. With regard to the question, as it stands between the church and the Antipaedobaptist party, excepting the question—whether it is the duty of Christian governors to promote Christianity—this, respecting infant baptism, is of more real importance than all others in dispute between the church and orthodox dissenters.
"The reading of the papers in an early volume of your work, on Dr. Taylor's Key to the Apostolical Writings, first excited the reflections which led to my determination to offer, for the consideration of the Christian public, some thoughts on the subject of infant baptism."
Again, in this introductory letter, we read:—
"Never before, in any way, were so large a number of persons, so competent to the task, brought together for its consideration. In your volumes, men of the deepest piety, of fine talents, and with minds every way prepared for the consideration of the subject, have laboured to produce the scriptural elucidation of the baptismal grace. I am persuaded that I should not exaggerate, if I were to say that if all the divines in Christendom had been assembled at the commencement of the present century, and had held as many sessions as the council of Trent, for the purpose of settling this question, the controversy would not have been so happily conducted as it has been in your pages, nor pursued to a more satisfactory result. But what is the result? Notwithstanding that nothing is so manifest as the effects of the operation of divine grace, for wheresoever it does operate the effects are 'known and read of all men,' yet in answer to the inquiry, 'What are the nature and consequences of the grace communicated by the Holy Spirit in baptism?' the Christian Observer, with all its voices united, declares, 'We cannot tell.' This issue of the matter is virtually avowed by yourself incidentally in a short sentence in the number for October, 1833, where you say, 'The Church of England certainly assumes far more than the nudum signum, though it does not go to the length of the opus operatum.' Within these boundaries, then, it is admitted that the proper place of rest is not yet discovered."
And yet once more:
"I now, Sir, with great humility, beg to submit that the church has made its utmost efforts in this inquiry—that every thing respecting it has been concentrated in your volumes; that the best Christian talents have been bestowed upon it in vain, up to the conclusion of the first third part of the nineteenth century, and to the commencement of the fourth century of the Reformation, and that, therefore, it is a fair conclusion that further inquiry is quite hopeless, the imagined baptismal grace for unconscious infants being manifestly an undiscoverable, non-existent thing. I wish here to add, that a reference to obvious facts leads inevitably to the same conclusion. In the all-wise providence of the great Head of the church, the matter has been brought to the test of experiment, which has been going on upon a sufficiently large scale for more than two centuries in this country. Two Christian parties have conscientiously refrained from having their children baptized; so that, if the baptizing of infants were accompanied with any measure of the Holy Spirit's influence, the effects would have been rendered quite evident by the contrast. But what do facts declare! What spiritual advantages do baptized children discover themselves to be possessed of which unbaptized children do not possess, in cases where all other things are equal! Surely all fair Christian observers of the dispensations of the King of grace in his church, must be constrained to allow that the advantages are undiscernible, and therefore can have no existence."
There is still another passage in this sensible and truly Christian letter, which we must be allowed to present to our readers.
"It may be assumed that I have come to a wrong conclusion; but, I presume, it will be admitted to be desirable that the question I have considered should be more satisfactorily settled than it is at present, and if, as I trust it will appear, that I have examined it under no influence but the love of truth, it may be allowed that the work may be useful in assisting others to come to a right conclusion. Every man who treats a subject honestly, does something to put it in a right point of view. I confess, I cannot now hope that, if I am wrong, I shall live to be convinced of it; but truly I feel no interest in error, and I take no pleasure in differing from ministers and brethren in Christ; so that, if I were convinced of being wrong, I could renounce my present opinions with more ease than I can now divest myself of a garment."
Whether the able writer to whom these respectful and impressive appeals are made, will so far resist their influence as to make no reply, and attempt no vindication from the charge of a destructive error, so distinctly brought against the church of which he is a member, remains to be seen; yet, after reading the powerful pages to which the preceding extracts are prefixed, if it be expected that the Scriptures exclusively are to be admitted as evidence in repelling the accusation, we must confess ourselves utterly at a loss to conceive how it is possible that any satisfactory answer should be given. But if our author cannot be answered, let him at least be heard. He says:—
"In the present day, no intelligent evangelical writer would think of advancing such things as Hooker and some other eminent and good men have said on the subject of baptism. Men of reflection and genuine Christian character now perceive themselves here to be but in cloudy regions, where mighty minds have strangely bewildered themselves, and refrain from venturing distinct speculations and positive assertions. They do not come forward with anything like the confidence of their predecessors. They speak strongly against the opus operatum of Papists, and papistical Protestants; and though they would not be thought to deny that grace is, in some way, connected with baptism in the case of infants, yet they frequently make it evident that they would rather escape from close discussion. There is a remarkable instance of this in the Bampton Lectures of the late Dr. Heber, Bishop of Calcutta. He says: 'Both grace and comfort, if they are not necessarily inherent in the washing of regeneration, and the eucharistic bread and wine, may at least be attained by a proper use of those means.' Surely this obscure and doubtful passage, on a subject simple and apprehensible enough in Holy Scripture, is something different to what ought to be expected from a profoundly learned ruler of the church. What Christian ever thought of denying that grace and comfort might be attained by a proper use of these ordinances? On the other hand, are we to be driven to the mortification of supposing that, in the present day, others beside Papists can be induced to suppose that grace and comfort can be necessarily inherent in any thing material? Upon the whole, I think it is evident to an observer, that there is some hesitation and want of confidence among thinking members of the church with regard to this view of baptism: yet the idea of a mysterious connexion between the materiel (if I may use the word) of the ordinances and divine grace, has by no means lost its hold of the mind; which is in a great measure owing to the magic influence of imaginary sacred words. Such terms as 'elements,' 'holy mysteries,' have a strange effect in causing men to feel as though it would be sacrilegious and presumptuous to open their eyes, and view those divine institutions in the light of Scripture.
"But the imagination, that the application of the ordinance of baptism to unconscious infants is a divinely appointed medium of grace to them, is so incompatible with real facts, that a philanthropic Christian, who looks around, and has his heart affected by the real state of society, even in this country, if he could at that moment be brought closely to reconsider this opinion, which, at other moments, when facts are forgotten, raise delightful feelings in his mind, could not but have his eyes open to the fallacy:—the illusion would vanish at once. If baptism were a divinely appointed medium of spiritual good to the minds of infants, then its beneficial tendency must appear in the development of children in Christian countries. If this manifestly appeared to be the case, all controversy would be at an end. But do the instructors of youth discover it? Has the warmest advocate for the practice of baptizing children ever ventured such an assertion? And if infants grow up, believe, and are baptized, is it conceivable that their heavenly lot will be at all worse than that of those who were baptized in their infancy; or that, if they die unbaptized, without any fault of their own, they will in any wise suffer for the omission? Now if all these questions be answered in the negative, as undoubtedly they must, what becomes of the imaginary paradise of blessings and privileges to which baptism is to introduce the millions of our infants? Why should the holy Lord God, our Saviour, be represented as mocking his church by promises of mysterious, pompous nothings?" pp. 65-69.
Thus it is that this author remonstrates with the members of his own communion. But does he neglect to extend the application of the argument to other Paedobaptists? The reader shall be put in possession of the means of judging.
"But if the Church of England rests this practice on such insufficient grounds, how do the Paedobaptist Congregationalists support the practice? They appear to me to have scarcely any ground at all which they can acknowledge, consistently with their fundamental principles as Congregationalists. They are supported in the practice wholly by clinging to custom, and by borrowing the arguments of the advocates of national churches just for an occasion. It is quite inconsistent with their principles to acknowledge such a visible church as infants are professedly introduced to by baptism. They recognise no such church, except on the occasion of baptizing their children. They admit of no officers, and allow no government, for such a church. They consider all apparently unconnected persons as belonging only to the world, and admit their own children to become members of their churches exactly in the same way as they would a stranger coming from a country not professing Christianity; except that, in their case, they are saved the ceremony of baptizing, which is the divinely appointed way of admission into a visible church. National ecclesiastical establishments, which yet unavoidably resulted from the practice of infant baptism, they hold to be altogether anti-scriptural, and founded upon an anti-christian union of church and state. They have, therefore, no reasonable pretence for arguing for the practice from the appointment of circumcision, which can with consistency be used only by those who think that Christianity was designed to have a secular, external character. Some of them, indeed, seem ashamed of this obvious inconsistency, and have recourse to an imaginary distinction between the covenant of redemption and the covenant of grace; and instead of professing that by baptism they make their children members of the visible church, they assert that by doing so they place them visibly within the one covenant, though not within the other. But a serious refutation of such a notion can hardly be necessary; it may be classed with other unintelligible and unauthorized imaginations.
"The members of the church, retaining their veneration for the notions respecting the sacraments established as catholic in the primitive ages, have some specious ground of hope that the administration of the ordinance to their infants will be accompanied with a communication of grace, in consequence of the imagined occult connexion between the 'elements' and the grace of the ordinance, they have, with something like a pretence of reason, expected that their children might thereby be made members of Christ, children of God, and heirs of the kingdom of heaven. They are persuaded that it is consistent with truth to speak of baptism for infants as 'the washing of regeneration,' the laver of regeneration—the well-spring of divine life, &c., &c., and that in this matter they rightly exercise Christian submission in following 'the sacramental host of God's elect.' But the Independents have no pretence of the kind for this application of a holy ordinance to infants. They expect their children to derive no benefit from it, other than what they would derive through their prayers, and from the blessing of God in bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. They renounce all deference to catholic authority in matters of religion and conscience, and profess to believe that all the light which the case requires is to be found in the Scriptures, and that it is dangerous to follow any other. They have also no more right to use the argument drawn from the baptism of households, than they have that drawn from circumcision: they are both founded on the same principle—an assumption that the doors of the Christian visible church have been opened by our Lord himself to the unconscious and unconverted, in diametrical opposition to the principles on which they found their opposition to the established church. Surely it cannot be, that wise master-builders should much longer employ themselves in daubing this papal wall with untempered mortar." p. 39-92.
We are decidedly of opinion that whoever may take upon himself to reply seriously to these statements, will find the undertaking to be neither quite easy nor very agreeable. It may not be improper to state that this is a new and somewhat enlarged edition of a work, published several years ago, by the same author.
Dr. Judson's sermon, which is also a reprint, is perspicuous, elaborate, and irrefragable.
1. The Management of Bees, with a Description of the Ladies' Safety Hive: with Forty Illustrative Engravings. By SAMUEL BAGSTER, JUN., pp. 244. Bagster.
2. Spiritual Honey from Natural Hives; or Meditations and Observations on the Natural History and Habits of Bees: first introduced to public notice in 1657. By SAMUEL PURCHASE, M.A. pp. 176.—Bagster.
The worthy editor of these volumes has, we think, exercised a sound discretion in publishing them separately. To the initiated in apiarian research, "The Management of Bees" cannot fail to be highly interesting. For our own part, we must confess that, if certain minute descriptions which may possibly offend a refined moral sensibility, could have been omitted, we should have considered the work more valuable on that account. Perhaps our hint may prove available for a future edition. With this exception, we would most cordially recommend this production to the perusal of our readers generally; and to those who are engaged in the study of that part of natural history to which it refers, especially. The engravings are exceedingly creditable to the talent of the artist.
As to the "Meditations" contained in the other volume, they are altogether above our praise. They are eminently instructive and pious, admirably calculated to secure the attention even of the thoughtless, and to promote, in a very high degree, the pleasure and the profit of the considerate. In confirmation, we present our readers with the following specimen:
"If the bee lights upon a flower where there is no honey (being wasted or gathered before), she quickly gets off, and flies away to another that will furnish her. Let us not lose ourselves and forget our errand: our father, Adam, lost our happiness, and we are sent to seek it; seek it where it is, and go handsomely to work; say, I am not for riches, they are made for me; I am not for creatures, they are made for me, and I am their master; therefore these cannot make me happy: I am made for eternity, for everlasting life and happiness; therefore, let me study that; mind that end beyond inferior ends. Why do men seek wealth, but to be happy? Why pleasures, why honours, but because they would be happy? If these things cannot bless and enhappy me, why should I burn daylight? why should I not off them, as the bee gets off the plants that yield her no honey, and once, at last, see where my happiness lies, in pursuing happiness, and where my happiness lies, in God's ways; the first step whereof is poverty of spirit?" p. 22.
We hope these valuable reflections will be often reprinted.
Poems on Sacred Subjects. By MARIA GRACE SAFFERY. Hamilton and Co.; Darton and Harvey.
These poems are from the pen of the widow of the late Rev. John Saffery, of Salisbury, whose name is still fragrant there, and in many other places; whose zealous labours of love in our Bengal Mission, and in the propagation of the gospel in Ireland, will long be remembered.
Rich in Scripture knowledge and in Christian experience, with a lively imagination and a great command of language, the writer has poured out her melodious strains from the fulness of her heart.
Most of the subjects are taken from the Old Testament or the New, and the versification embraces a great variety of metres, with the ease and sweetness almost peculiar to female writers. The whole book of Jonah is finely illustrated in a series of poems which cannot fail to please.
This little volume is introduced by a modest preface, and a "Sonnet inscribed to the memory of the Rev. J. Saffery," which is worth transcribing:—
"Thou hadst a soul for melody to greet, When thou wert here, among the weary-hearted; And thoughts of thee are like sweet sounds departed, That visit time with echoes,—and repeat Strains that were breath'd beside my pilgrim feet; As if I heard the voice of my past years, And thou wert singing in this vale of tears. But 'tis not in the desert we shall meet— And who would wish thee where the world is weeping? Thou hast a blessed minstrelsy on high. The lyre of praise, o'er which thy song is sweeping, Hath not a pause like mine—a pause to sigh. Harps strung for holiest themes to both are given; But mine is tun'd on earth—and thine, in heaven."
Many others are exquisitely sweet. We have been particularly pleased with one on Jonathan's friendship, which concludes thus:—
"O chieftain! in thy life was seen That friendship in immortal mould, To which ambition's hope is mean, And woman's kindest thought is cold.
"Gilboa! let thy mountain-heath Like Jesse's gentle harp complain; There Israel's beauty bow'd in death, There Jonathan, the friend, was slain!"
The work is very neatly got up, and we are glad to observe that the subscribers' names are numerous, and highly respectable.
AN APPEAL TO CHRISTIAN LADIES, IN BEHALF OF FEMALE EDUCATION IN CHINA, INDIA, AND THE EAST.
From the last census taken by the Chinese government in 1813, it appears that the population of that empire was then 362,447,183; a population more than twenty times as great as that of Greenland, Labrador, the Canadas, the West Indies, the South Sea Islands, the Cape, Madagascar, Greece, Egypt, Abyssinia, and Ceylon,—i.e., more than twenty times as large as nearly the whole field of Christian missions, India and the East being excepted.