« 上一頁繼續 »
younger girls assist in the work of drawing water. Each girl has, however, a jar proportioned to her age and size, diminishing in capacity through various gradations to the size of a large jug; and I was amused by seeing one tiny mite of a child who carried a black bottle as her load. Some of the smaller jars borne upon the palm of the hand, with the wrist bent back, gave the
bearers an exceedingly grace-, ful aspect, such as one only sees among Eastern women.
Leaving Cana, we soon came in sight of Mount Carmel in its whole length of seventeen miles, and stretching away to the sea; and passing by the Christian village of Er-Reineh, we presently arrive at a crest where the Mediterranean bursts upon our view. But hardly has the sight of the sea attracted our notice, when we reach a brow commanding a magnificent view, which for interest I soon learned to look upon as second to no prospect in all the Holy Land; and resting at the foot of the steep declivity of the hill on which we stood was the town of Nazareth, the dwelling-place of the Carpenter—the boyhood's home of our Lord. But of Nazareth and its wonderful view I must speak in my next paper.
(To be continued.)
PROTESTANTISM IN PARIS.
An Englishman is always struck with the unostentatious and altogether unobtrusive character of French Protestantism. Revivalism, as witnessed in some of the largest sections of the Methodist Church, seems unknown among our vivacious friends on the other side of the Channel—perhaps because they are vivacious, and are unable to appreciate that phase of religion in which a vale of tears seems the necessary precursor of a short-lived joy, or a state of feeling which requires to be revived by a succession of changes as rapid as those of our own proverbially fickle climate. For climate has much more to do with the physical and the moral and intellectual temperament of nations than we are at first sight apt to imagine. Take, for instance, the domain of music. Sir George Bowyer argues, with great plausi
, bility, that flexible throats are the rule rather than the exception in southern countries of Europe ; that Italy is the land of song, because its air has a balmy softness which lubricates the throat and attunes the ear; and that only by some happy freak of nature and the accident of a dry soil can a Santley or a Sims Reeves spring up in these islands. One curious fact to be noted in support of this view is that music, according to Dr. Hans von Bülow, can only be successfully cultivated in lands where the sun shines and the grape ripens in luscious wealth and grandeur; so true is it, even in a physical sense, that“wine makes glad the heart of man.' One would naturally expect to find, there
fore, a more cheerful temperament among French Protestants, distinguished as they certainly are from their English neighbours by an absence of that aggressive zeal which, in assailing the power of the devil, also assails individual liberty, than among many of the sects of Great Britain. And so it is. In France you seldom meet with that lachrymose spirit of religion working on the morose feelings of human nature and reducing all others to its level as the sine qua non of salvation.
Another circumstance to be noted is, even in the most fashionable of Protestant temples, is that the congregation enters the sanctuary with a quiet and humble devotion far more consonant with that great object of religion—the real brotherhood of man in the common worship of the common Father of us all—than the dignified airs, born as it were of “proprietary rights," with which, in too many churches and chapels in England, the leading members of the community walk to their accustomed pews. I do
not speak so much of personal disposition as of the system to which the airs described must to a very large extent be attributed, a system which has wellnigh made the house of God the house of man, partitioned and parcelled out, as it is, into so many lots, representing so many pounds, shillings, and pence. I know, too, that in a comparison of English and French modes of life, we must make dųe allowance for that instinctive love of privacy which seems inseparable from the true Briton. In Paris, and elsewhere on the Continent, you dine and, in fact, live in common with every one else. Numerous branches of business are conducted under one and the same roof; and neither in his domestic nor in his commercial arrangements can the Frenchman shut himself up and, like his English compeer, declare himself “king of his own castle.” No doubt these insular prejudices or predilections, the slow growth of ages, gave rise to the system to which I refer; and hence I should be sorry to condemn any one on the ground of habit and custom, too frequently and erroneously covered up under the guise of " circumstances over which we have no control.”
In Paris, perhaps more than anywhere else, we see the strong effect of usage and tradition. Protestants, like their Roman Catholic neighbours, are far less rigid than their English brethren in their mode of Sunday observance. It is notorious that the wealthy members of the Reformed and Lutheran Churches often absent themselves from their respective places of worship at night in order to attend receptions and evening parties at the dictate of social custom or convenience. Others, belonging to the middle class, have followed their example, and the result is that the religious services have had to give way. The clergy have thus been compelled to close their churches at night, and hold a petit service du soir, generally in the vestry or schoolroom. The attendance is meagre in the extreme, and chiefly confined to elderly men and women and children too young as yet to adorn the social circle.
The first Protestant community in France was founded at Meaux,
but the Reformed faith was first proclaimed by a professor named Lefèvre d'Etaples, at the College of Cardinal Le Moine, Paris, in some notes on the Epistle of Paul, in which he maintained the dogma of justification by faith. This was as early as 1512, five years before Luther set up his creed at Wittemberg. Briçonnet, abbé of St. Germain des Prés, supported the tenet in question, and on becoming Bishop of Meaux gave Lefèvre the post of high rector at his cathedral, and received into his diocese several priests who sympathized with the new movement, including Gérard Roussel and Michel d'Arande. The „Protestant doctrines, when once established at Meaux, made rapid progress, accompanied nevertheless with much long-suffering and persecution, followed by a momentary phase of tolerance which, disarming suspicion, facilitated the work achieved with such terrible success on the night of St. Bartholomew, 1572. By an edict of July 1573 Protestant worship was allowed in three towns ouly–La Rochelle, Montauban, and Nîmes. Protestants elsewhere were forbidden to assemble in greater numbers than ten, and at Paris they were compelled to go two leagues beyond the city walls. The Protestants living in the capital met at Noisy-le-Sec, where a small street still bears the name of Rue du Temple. Three years later twelve of their adherents were massacred in that street, but the Church nevertheless continued to meet in secret. At Easter, in 1576, one of their meetings was broken up and fourteen persons put to the sword. The spirit of persecution increased for some time, and in 1585 Henry III. issued an edict compelling the Huguenots to abjure their faith or to leave the kingdom within a fortnight. How some of the most intelligent workers in art manufacture and various other industries carried their labour and skill into England, to the great advantage of our own nation, has been the subject of narrative for all time. Enough to add that the last sad end of those who remained behind—and among
them was the illustrious Bernard Palissy, who died of want and misery at the Bastille at the age of eighty-extinguished the feeble hopes of the Church at Paris, for nothing more is heard of its members for several years afterwards. Then came the Edict of Nantes, in 1598, affording a temporary but very inadequate relief until 1685, when its Revocation was the signal for renewed persecutions, and the scattering of many a little flock wandering without a recognised fold or shepherd. Malzac, Giraud, and Givry, who successively endeavoured to revive the Reformed Church at the capital, were imprisoned in 1692 and afterwards transported to one of the colonies. Those who were still traditionally attached to the despised creed were simply allowed to claim the assistance of the chaplains attached to the foreign embassies for the services connected with the rites of baptism and marriage. It was not until November 1787 that Louis XVI. promulgated certain edicts of tolerance, restoring their civil rights and permitting them to meet for private worship. The persecution of a cruel Church was followed by that of a heartless State. Although the Constituent Assembly proclaimed “liberty of conscience” in 1789, all forms of worship were shortly afterwards suppressed. After this long category of sufferings, is it to be wondered at if religion assumes a more subdued form in France, and if its apostles are less anxious to proclaim it on the house-tops and in the market-places, than in freedomloving England ?
We shall next consider the recognition of the Protestant Church by the State, and its constitution and work.
SCRAPS OF CHURCH HISTORY.
NO. VI. THE BASILIDEANS. The Basilideans derive their name from one Basilides, a native of Alexandria, who in the early part of the second century set up a school in Egypt for the promulgation of a peculiar form of Gnosticism.
One of the features of his system was a belief in a series of 365 heavens, inhabited by intelligences of different degrees. From the Supreme Being was born Nous (Intelligence); from Nous, Logos (the Word); from Logos, Phronesis (Prudence), and so on down to the creation of angels. From the first creation of angels the first or highest heaven came into existence, and from each successive grade of angels corresponding heavens were formed to the number of 365. The angels of this 365th heaven formed this world and divided it among themselves.
The God of the Jews was the chief of these angels.
Basilides sought to connect his system with Christianity (according to Irenæus) by teaching that the Supreme Being being anxious to deliver the people of this world from the contest between the God of the Jews and the angels of the 365th heaven, who watched over the nations, sent down His Son (Nous) to redeem the world from the
power of the God of the Jews. According to Irenæus, Basilides further taught that the Nous did not Himself suffer death on the cross, but that Simon the Cyrenian was crucified in His stead, Simon being transformed into the image of Christ, and Christ taking the form of Simon. Other writers, however, incline to the opinion that this latter view was a corruption of the system evolved by the Basilideans after the death of their leader, and that Basilides himself taught a doctrine very similar to that propounded by Cerinthus in relation to the death upon the cross.
In order to account for the conflict between human reason and human passions, Basilides propounded the theory that a man possesses two souls. He also believed in the metempsychosis, or the passage of each soul through various human and animal bodies according to its deserts ; this passage being regarded (1) as a punishment for past sins, (2) as a means of purification, and (3) for the purpose of gradually effecting a development of spiritual life.
Basilides rejected the Scriptures of the Old Testament as the work of the chief angel of the lowest heaven, the God of the Jews, who was the chief enemy of the Nous. He professed to recognise the authority of the New Testament Scriptures, and it is said that he himself wrote a Gospel, which is however not now extant.
It is said that Basilides was a believer in magic or enchantment, and that he invented as a symbol or talisman the famous word ABRAXAS. This word is formed of the letters which make up the number 365, the number of the heavens and of the days of the year, the number declared by Basilides to be most agreeable to the Deity (the Supreme Being). This word ABRAXAS was regarded as the symbol of the sect of the Basilideans, pretty much in the same way that the cross is serenaded by Romanists of the present day; it was frequently engraved, together with an image of the sun, on jewels and ornaments which were worn as amulets or charms. This device of the Sun and Abraxas was in those days regarded as quite as efficacious for the protection of the soul from the power of the God of the Jews, as a horse-shoe nailed upon the door of a house has been regarded in later times.
Basilides died in the year 130, leaving many disciples, of whom the most famous was Marcion, who added the heresies of Cerdon to those of Basilides, and obtained a large following in Italy, Egypt, Palestine, Arabia, and other places.
In the theories of Basilides we have much that is suggestive of many phases of more modern thought. The theory of antagonism between the God of the Jews and Jesus finds a counterpart in the orthodox doctrine of the Atonement as preached by the Revivalists. We have also the idea that angels were created as such ; and the further idea that in some way or another there is an incompatibility between the teaching of the Old Testament and that of the New.
On these points we would yield the palm of logicalness to the views of the heresiarch rather than to those of modern orthodoxy. Certainly if the orthodox view of the Atonement is the true one, we would rather believe that Jesus is superior to Jehovah (as did Basilides) than regard Jehovah as the Supreme Deity. The moral tone set forth in the life of Jesus Christ is so superior to the attitude'attributed by orthodoxy to the Father, that if we are to make a choice between one and the other, we must regard the Saviour (the Nous) as our Friend, and the other being as our Enemy.
Again, Basilides did not regard angels as “the spirits of just men made perfect," but as being created in the angelic world and state, as a superior order of beings. In this we believe he was decidedly in the
wrong But he was logical even in his error, and gave to his superior creatures a power commensurate with their higher dignity and estate. Again, Basilides recognised an incompatibility between the demands and claims of the law of the Old Testament and the demands and claims of the law of the New Testament. Modern orthodoxy holds pretty much the same idea, believing that the Saviour