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a sight which is not seen on this side the Channel. The respectable Romanists themselves seem quite ashamed of this. I remember a Frenchman, on one occasion, (it was the first exhibition of this sort I had ever seen), being much annoyed at the notice I took of this sight; he endeavoured over and over again to impress on my mind the fact, that all these suspended articles had been hung up previous to the Revolution, perhaps a century ago ; but gave me to understand, that the good Catholics of the present day were too enightened any longer to follow such a practice. Another most absurd custom abroad is, that not only are there crosses erected, and numerous little shrines, along the road side, about the size of a sentry-box, containing a mimic altar, with its doll, unlighted candles, and artificial flowers; but that against nearly all the churches in French Flanders, in a recess facing the road, is displayed an enormous crucifix; from the side issues a large rod, painted red to imitate blood; this rod terminates in a large cup, to which a little flying cherub is appended, as if holding it to catch the sacred stream. Any thing more outré than the whole affair, or more horribly disgusting, can scarcely be conceived. How skilfully wise in their generation are the English Papists in removing from public notice all these foreign absurdities of their religion! The great mass even of themselves would probably not endure such absurdities ; at any rate the progress of conversion would go on much slower. The sight of the tawdry and dirty dolls which the stupid Belgian peasantry worship for the Virgin, would most likely save any Englishman, who had a hankering after Popery, from entering within its pale.
At St. Gudule, at Brussels, I was present on the fête-day of the patroness saint. The priest and officiants, shut up within the choir, were at Mass at the high altar ; the excluded crowds were in the surrounding chapels and aisles, trying to catch a distant sight or sound from within; but not a word of the Mass could be heard : the voices of the choristers, the military band, and the grounding of the arms of the soldiers upon the marble pavement, with the tinkling of the sacring bell, was all that could be heard at the appropriate intervals. From the situation I had obtained, I had a tolerably good view of the high altar, which, however, few else could have ; on one side stood a priest, near a sort of portable
shrine, being a box covered with drapery, and handsomely adorned with bows of ribbon; this, I believe, was afterwards borne about the town in the grand procession which followed. This good-tempered, fatlooking old gentleman employed himself solely, during the whole of the latter part of the Mass, with adjusting and puffing out the bows of ribbon. Altogether, the grounding of the arms, the military band, the soldiers with their heads covered, as if not in a sacred edifice, and the apparent absence of all devotion from the officiants, were calculated to excite, in spite of the pomp of the spectacle, far other feelings than those of solemnity. It is singular that they permit the person who answers to our beadle, or perhaps sexton, as well as the military, to remain covered in the churches; and yet the same people will not permit any persons, not even a husband and wife, to enter or walk within the | sacred edifices arm-in-arm.
The most singular phenomenon regarding Popery, is the attempts which are beginning to be made in various places to modity and reform it.
None seemed so likely to become of importance as those of the Abbé Chatel ; he had three churches at least in Paris, some four years ago ; and the one which I attended was very large and quite crowded. There was but one altar; the Mass was said in French; a very eloquent young preacher filled the pulpit; but he dwelt far too much on the * beau ideal of civilization," and declaimed rather more than was necessary to a French congregation-most of whom were in no danger of falling into superstition of any kind—on the baneful effects of persecution and superstition, &c. A very remarkable feature of the congregation was, that it consisted for the most part of men, from the age of twenty to fifty; another feature was, the appearance of the priests; the French clergy generally are very sour, ill-bred, vulgar, and singularly disagreeable-looking beings; Chatel's priests had the appearance of gentlemen, and bore the marks of education and superior intelligence in their countenances ; some of them were decidedly very handsome men. The principles of this, which they called “ The French Catholic Church,” were a rejection of all Papal and foreign jurisdiction; of confession, except previous to confirmation, and in extremis; of many of the more superstitious rites and ceremonies of Romanism ; of an unknown tongue, and all persecution in religious matters; and with all this they are permitted the marriage of the clergy. I must confess that I had great hopes of this new French Catholic Church, and thought I was justified in those hopes by the alarm it seemed to have excited in the Established clergy. "A clergyman of our own Church, who had means of knowing much about them, told me not to be very sanguine about them; that they would not succeed; and he thought they did not deserve success, nor would that success be desirable. They had ris out of “ the three glorious days," and were strongly tinctured with republican notions, and altogether might be looked on rather as a political than a religious society. I fear this prophecy has proved a true one ; and although perhaps this reformation is not extinct, it has declined, and no longer is regarded of any importance. Good as far as it went, politics seem to have been the mainspring of this reformation; and not being sustained by Christian principles and higher motives, like every reformation which has human reason and intellect for its basis, it could not stand. I should be sorry to do wrong to one who was so great a favourite with me, as M. l'Abbé Chatel, bút truth compels me to acknowledge that, although he preserved all the doctrines of the Gospel, he boastingly styled the French Catholic Church, “ The Religion of Reason ;" this, to say the least, looked very ominous ! · Shortly after Chatel commenced his reformation, another reformer, also an abbé, started up in Belgium. I forget his name. His success was, I believe, never very great. Perhaps your correspondent, who has lately favoured your readers with his interesting Letters on Foreign Churches, could tell us what is become of him. At the present moment a similar attempt is making in Ireland; the Messieurs Crotty, lately Romish priests of Birr, Mayhow, are attempting a reformed modification of Romanism. The letters of Mr. Croly, the numerous secessions of the ministers of that Church, with these efforts of the above-named gentlemen, show that a spirit is excited in Ireland, from which very important consequences may arise. In reforming the ritual of the Mass, the Messieurs Crotty have gone much further than Chatel; they repres sent in their letters, the peasantry as saying, “ We never heard a Mass till now; what a shame in the priests to have kept such good words all along to themselves !" Several noblemen have aided these gentlemen with funds, and in various ways; and if they are the instrumerits of rescuing any part of the Irish peasantry from the more than Cimmerian darkness and degradation, both of body and mind, in which they are plunged, their names will go down to posterity with honour, when those of the pseudo-patriots of Ireland shall be consigned to everlasting infamy.
It may not be amiss to mention, that during the latter period of the seventeenth century, some celebrated Jansenists established a Church on similar principles in Holland; where, I believe, it continued till the French Revolution. That Church, however, with the single exception of the rejection of the Papal authority, and perhaps a strong bias towards the notions of Augustine, as explained by Jansenius, the bishop of Ypres, differed little fro the Romanism of the old Church of France. I believe it no longer is in existence. These repeated attempts of late years to reform the Romish Church, are, we may hope, the forerunners of a still more extensive change. I forgot to mention also, that a similar attempt was made in Saxony, and with apparent prospects of success, about two years since ; how it has sped} I know not; but perhaps some of the readers of the REMEMBRANCER may have the means of information within their reach.
MR. Editor,—If I am not mistaken, there are amongst your readers many who take an interest in the welfare of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, as well as some who are acquainted with the history and the actual position of that Church, with reference to the number of its members, and its general efficiency. I have lately read some statements and remarks respecting it, in " Reed and Matheson's Visit to the American Churches,” which are generally of an unfavourable character. I am aware that that work is to be taken, of course, with a recollection that the authors went out, probably, with strong prejudices, and to their statements have given little or no reference to authorities, to their opinions no proofs, or at least very few. But at the same time it would be satisfactory, I think, to have the subject investigated, and the real state of the case established by some one competent to the work. I subjoin the extracts from the publication which I refer to, and beg you will make what use you please of them. I am yours, faithfully,
AN EPISCOPALIAN. “ The Episcopal Church is by far the least of the five leading denominations. It numbers 650 ministers; its attendants are 244,125, and its communicants are considerably lower, I believe, than is usual in the other divisions of the Church. Its forms are those of the Church of England, with trifling variations ; but it has undergone essential alterations in the principles of government. The people have a voice
in the appointment of their pastors; and the Bishops are elected in a convention of the pastors and lay delegates. They are, therefore, mostly men of approved character, and of much pastoral experience. Some are known to you as persons of exemplary piety.
“The Episcopal Church, like the Congregational, has been tried here as an Establishment, and, like it, has failed. It was established in Virginia ; and it became slothful and impure under its exclusive priviJeges, so as to have made itself despised by the people. It was years, after a change was made, before they could overcome the recollections of the past, and once more indulge their old aristocratic tastes. The Church has now revived on the voluntary principle, and is blessed with a pious Clergy, and a thriving community. I shall recur to this, if I have time, hereafter.
“ This Church, like its prototype, is divided within itself, into two parts; they are here denominated the Low Church and the ligh Church. To be favourable to evangelical truth and liberal principles, is to be Low Church ; and to oppose them, is to be High Church. This difference seems to have come amongst them, from their disposition to sympathize with the Mother Church so entirely, as that they must reflect all her features, whether they are in or out of a fair and lovely proportion.
“ The High Church, of course, is very high. It has little communion with the other branch of itself, except under the pressure of circumstances, and it has less communion with others. It stands on its forms and prescriptions; and, not making spiritual regeneration a term and test of Christian character, it has considerable accessions from the worldly and fashionable. The cherished recollections of the mother country, too, as well as the recoil which many have from the plain, and sometimes indiscreet, dealing to which they may have been exposed elsewhere, contribute to the number of her followers.
" The Low Church is in the situation of a suspected party; and though they have every reason to sympathize with those who hold evangelical opinions, are often slow to do so. There are, however, many who brave the hazard, and seek the fellowship. They are a considerable proportion of the entire body; and are so increasing, as to carry a beneficial influence over the whole. That branch which is located in New York, is, by endowment and the sale of improved lands, rich; and its funds are Jaudably employed in aiding the juvenile efforts of congregations contending with the first difficulties of life and action. This portion of the Clergy, with which I had the best means of becoming acquainted, appears to be intelligent, painstaking, and devoted ; some of them I have reason to regard with high esteem and admiration. As a minority, they are similarly circumstanced with those of their class here; and professionally, their character and points of excellence have strong resemblance; they are formed on the school of Scott: the other portion of the body is formed on that of Tillotson and Blair.
“ Whatever may be the spirit of liberality which breathes in many of the Presbyters and Bishops of this Church, the spirit of the ecclesiastical system is still exclusive and anti-Protestant. Placed in temporal and civil advantages on a level with every other religious body, it stands on the ground of Divine right of episcopal ordination and apostolic VOL. XVIII. NO. X.
succession. Now, it is certainly somewhat bold in the parent Church to denounce some eight thousand ministers, at least equal to her own in pastoral ability and success, as in “ pretended holy orders,"* that is, in a surreptitious use of the ininistry ; yet there is something of pomp, and privilege, and numbers, to uphold these pretensions. But really, for such lofty pretensions to be insisted on by a Church so situated as is that in America, and at this time of day, is painfully ridiculous. What! of the twelve thousand ministers who have laboured for the regeneration of their country, and with eminent success, are the six hundred who have had the hand of the Bishop on them only to be deemed the true ministers of Christ ? Are the ten thousand men who have been employed mainly in settling and sustaining the Church in that land, to be denounced by an insignificant section of that Church as falsely pretending to a character to which they have no lawful claim? Is there nothing in "the laying on of the hands of the presbytery;"* nothing in the calling and approving testimony of a “congregation of faithful men ;” nothing in the undoubted testimony of Heaven itself? Must these holy and useful men, who, above all things, have sought the will of God; who have thought that they were acting under it ; who would have trembled to commit themselves to such a ministry uncalled ; and who have the seal of Heaven on their labours, in the renewal of thousands and myriads of men; be told that they have run unsent, have held their offices surreptitiously, and are worthy, not of praise, but condemnation ? And by whom?
" The only way in which this may be lamented, is as it affects that portion of the Church which incorporates in its system such assumptions. It wars against the spirit of union, and interferes greatly with its efficiency and success. It prevents the exchange and intercommunity of services; it is hostile to fraternal charity, since brethren can hardly associate with pleasure except on equal ground; and it places, by its exclusiveness, the Episcopal portion of the Church at disadvantage, in all the great general movements of the times. Surely the intelligent and holy liberal should look to this. Let them prefer Episcopal ordination if they will; but let them not condemn and unchurch those who think they have found a more excellent way. There must be something wrong in this. Dying men have often strong and vivid impressions of the right. Legh Richmond, in his last illness, said to a friend, and pastor of a dissenting church, " I esteem you as a minister of Christ, and you regard me as such, and yet I cannot preach for you, and you cannot preach for me. My brother, there must be something wrong in this !"--Vol. II. pp. 99-104.
“You are aware that our fathers, when they braved the Atlantic, and sought a settlement in the New World, did so for conscience sake. But although they fled from the face of persecution, and certainly would have recoiled from the act of direct persecution, nevertheless, they understood so little the nature of religious liberty, that they established a system which would, under a change of circumstances,
Where in her formularies does the Church do this? If the above, which is placed in inverted commas, be, as it is thuis made to appear to be, a quotation, where is it taken from? Why is no reference given?