網頁圖片
PDF

tial. They are found every where in the dominions of the Sultan, extending along the great lines of travel and commerce, and planted in all the important cities. They constitute the life-blood that slowly circulates in the body of this once frightful and furious giant. Two hundred thousand of this people reside at Constantinople, including the most wealthy and influential of the race. Here are found the political, the commercial, the ecclesiastical and the social influences that move and regulate the entire nation. This field was occupied by the American Board of Foreign Missions in 1831. The presence of those influences of preparation, which are full of promise to the Christian missionary, were soon discerned. There had been desires for a purer Christianity, and gropings after light, which were encouraged by the teacher of the High School of the nation. In 1830, two young men, with the Gospel in their hands had consecrated “their bodies, themselves, their ideas, and every thing pertaining to them, to the Lord Jesus Christ,” not knowing that there were any in the wide world, who had such views of Christianity. At one of their secret and stolen interviews, the question was raised, “will it ever be that twenty or thirty individuals will know the Gospel, and will be of one heart and one soul—all being one in Christ, and being always found in him and he in us P” Some months afterwards they heard of the American missionaries, made their acquaintance, and found to their joy that they were such Christians as they sought for. This was the beginning of the religious awakening at Constantinople, which has steadily advanced from that time to the present. From the metropolis it has been transmitted to other important points through the empire. Nor is this all. About the time that Constantinople was occupied, an exploring mission was des

patched to the ancient Armenia, and as the result, the Nestorians of Persia were uncovered to the Christian world. Soon afterwards the plain of Oróomiah was occupied,with what promise of successful issue we need not say. Later, the mountains of the Independent Nestorians were traversed by that gallant adventurer who is so well known to American Christians. The occupation of these fields was ordered by Christian sagacity ; and our most sanguine hopes and ardent prayers, have seemed more and more likely to be answered ; to be answered with power, and to be answered soon. The eyes of the most intelligent Christians were beginning to be fastened on these eastern churches, with a breathless interest, and they looked for the sudden breaking forth of the morning. The Armenian church revived, was to be the hope and joy of the East, an example of light and beauty in the eyes of the Turk, who had so long despised the name of Christ in the persons of his degenerate disciples; while from the plains of Orôomiah and the mountains west, were again as of old, to issue new missionary bands for the conversion of the tribes of central Asia. It was expected, that to this good work there would be opposition. The ecclesiastical authorities would of course array themselves against these movements. Perhaps they might arouse the old fury of the mosque, or at least unsheathe the Turkish sword, under color of protecting the peace and order of those recognized as theirchristian subjects. It was certainly known that the Pope would be in the field, by his emissaries, for it has ever been his favorite scheme to gain over the heads of these eastern communions, to his more comprehensive and suf. ficient Catholicity. The power of France too, to further its political game, has never been backward to use itself for the protection of these neophytes to the Catholic faith. But it was not expected that the new zeal for Catholicity that has been so active in England and America, would transport itself to these scenes and become so exceedingly mad against these noiseless efforts for the truth. In this we have been disappointed. For a few years we have been grieved and alarmed to hear that unkind interference of this sort has been experienced by our missionaries, and the general notoriety of the matter, with the appearance of the pamphlets, the titles of which we have given, have invested this subject with the gravest interest. Before we look at the particulars of the case, it seems necessary to say a word in respect to the situation of the Armenian church, and the policy which has been pursued by our missionaries. The papal and oriental churches, that are subject to the Sultan, are represented each by their patriarch, under the old law of the Mohammedan faith, of toleration to the Christian, on the two conditions of subjection and tribute. The patriarch is accountable to the government for the good behavior of his Christian subjects. The government is pledged to the patriarch to preserve the peace and enforce the discipline of the church. If an individual leaves one of the recognized or tolerated churches for another, it is all the same with the government.” But if he is a disorderly member of one of these churches, if he is refractory to his ecclesiastical superiors, or a schismatic, he need only to be presented to the civil power as such, by his constituted masters, and he is fined, imprisoned, or banished. This engine of discipline has often been attempted to be used against the most active of the evangelical Armenians,

* A firman was issued against such a change a few years since, but has not been executed.

and with partial success. The fear

of it has been a test of their sincer

ity and zeal. For the missionaries

to have attempted at the outset to

set up a separate communion, would

have been to proclaim themselves

enemies of the civil order of the empire. To convert an Armenian from his church, in the eye of Turkish law, would be the same as to convert a Mohammedan from the mosque, and would bring down upon the converter and the converted the extremest wrath of the law. . That this law would not now be executed, is probable, and perhaps certain. That it would have been in all cases fifteen years since, is as certain. In such circumstances, it is a sound rule of Christian ethics, which only religious and political abstractionists fail to see, that if you can not do all the good which you would, it is your duty to do all that you can. Admitting that it was desirable to organize a new sect, it could not be done. But it has never been admitted, that it was desirable by the Board and its missionaries, and no effort has been made to bring this to pass. But it has been esteemed by them their great and sufficient work to preach the Gospel, as Christ our Righteousness and Sanctification, and to gain the hearts of these ceremonial Christians to the knowledge and love of the Gospel, as spiritual truth. Questions concerning the church, its government, the order of worship, and the lawfulness of particular ceremonies, have not been made prominent. These have been thought to be of less consequence than the proclamation of vital truth. The vanity of all ceremonies, compared with the realities which they symbolize, has been faithfully urged. The success of this policy has been a testimony to its correctness. Its analogy to the course pursued by Christ and his apostles with the converts who were still members of the synagogue, has well nigh given it a divine sanction. Who could say,

that in this way the little life that was faintly beating in the shriveled heart of these old churches, might not rally in full strength, and the heart begin to beat with natural force, and life and health go out through the entire body ? If a new sect were desirable and necessary, it would arise of itself, in the providence of God, and the schism attending it would, as in the Reformation, lie at the door of the churches who should thrust out the faithful. We have spoken of the success of this mission. It has been great and wonderful. Its actual results are occasion for gratitude. Its future promise opened wide the most glorious prospects. True, it has not been without opposition. The higher ecclesiastics have watched its movements and felt its power. They have been alive to its progress, and have more than once sought to arrest and turn it back. That they have not succeeded, has been owing in part, under God, to the weakness of the Turkish arm, and its entire subjection to European influence. But not to this alone. A conviction has pervaded many of the nation from the first, that the missionaries were good and true men, that their designs were honest, and that their object was not to divide their church, but to save their souls, and that the Gospel, as they preached it, was indeed the truth. Such was the state of the Armenian mission when the Episcopal interference commenced. Such has it been during its progress. We have described it, in order that the status in quo might be distinctly known by our readers. It is only as these peculiar circumstances are clearly and freshly seen, that justice can be done to the parties, and the true enormity of this intermeddling can be realized. With this view of the case, imperfect because it is brief, we now introduce Mr. Badger and Bishop Southgate, as the principal actors in this matter.

Who then is Mr. Southgate His parents were Congregationalists. He was baptized by Dr. Payson in Portland, and ratified his baptismal consecration by joining a Congregational church. While at the Theological Seminary at Andover, his thoughts were directed to the Episcopal church, as the scene of his future labors, for the alledged reason, as many bear testimony, of carrying into it more of an evangelical and missionary spirit.” After receiving deacon's orders, he went to Turkey in 1836, and returned in 1838, making, the meanwhile, an exploring tour in Armenia, &c., of which he published a narrative.

He went to Turkey again in 1840, as a missionary to the Greeks, and resided in Constantinople most of the time, till his return to this country in May, 1844. Not long before his return, a proposal was agitated by his Board of Missions, to remove him to Mesopotamia, and abandon Constantinople as a missionary field. Rumor says that an order to this effect reached Mr. Southgate, at which he was so chagrined as to offer himself to the service of the English “Society for the Propagation of the Gospel,” of which more anon ; but he was not accepted. Upon his return, he strongly urged the continuance of the mission at Constantinople, the concentration of the whole Turkish mission there, and the enlargement of it, so as to include all the oriental churches, and last, though not least, the appointment of a missionary bishop.

These suggestions were sanctioned by the Foreign Committee, in their report to the Episcopal Board, except the last. Of this they say, “The committee can not feel themselves justified in proposing any action on their part favorable to such a measure.” Of several good reasons for this opinion, they give “the apprehension, that, if appointed, a bishop could not exercise within his appointed sphere, any of the functions peculiar to the episcopal of. fice.” The Board of Missions, it would seem, were likely to be of the same opinion. Forthwith we trace the occurrence of the following facts. First, a report of the committee appointed to investigate the conduct of the mission at Constantinople, which was favorable. Of this committee fBishop Whittingham was chairman. Then the delivery of three lectures by Mr. Southgate upon the state of the oriental churches. On motion of the Bishop of Ohio, it was moved and carried, that it be recommended to appoint missionary bishops to China and Af. rica only. The next day it was moved to amend the report concerning missionary bishops, so as to include the recommendation of a bishop for Constantinople, and it is gravely recorded that “this subject being under consideration, the Rev. Mr. Southgate, by request of the Board, gave his views in relation to the proposed measure.” The next day, the fBishop of New Jersey, (better known as George the Lord Bishop,) moved in form the recommendation, with pecuniary provision for the establishment and for two assistants. The next day it was taken up, the ayes and noes were called for, and it was carried by a vote of 22 to 17. The House of Bishops recommended the Rev. Mr. Southgate to this office. He was chosen and consecrated in due form, and is now “written down” as “Right Reverend Horatio Southgate, Missionary Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States, to the dominions and dependencies of the Sultan of Turkey.”

* The fact here referred to, if taken in connection with Mr. Southgate's career, and with the present prospect of his usefulness within and without the Episcopal church, may serve as an illustration of the wisdom of that sort of policy, in young men, and of the sagacity of that style of teaching in regard to ecclesiastical questions, which converts poor Congregationalists into worse Episcopalians.

Who is Mr. Badger ? He was well known at Malta, as a zealous Wesleyan Methodist. He was af. terwards in the service of the American Board in Syria, as a printer. He is now under a commission from the Bishop of London to the Eastern churches. In the summer of 1842, he came to Constantinople on this business, resided in the family of Mr. Southgate several months, and in the autumn went to Mosul. He was ignorant of the language of the Armenians, and yet communicated with them freely. Who was his interpreter An assistant is not alledged; but he was in Mr. Southgate's family, and it was while he was there, that Mr. S. read to an Armenian certain passages from the Missionary Herald. The immediate consequences of that act were most alarming, and the remoter results of it are not yet developed. While at Mr. Southgate's, Mr. Badger “show. ed himself determined to have no fellowship” with the missionaries, “ not even social intercourse.” He remarked publicly, that “a blow is preparing for the American missionaries, which shall cause them to repent of having ever come out here to disturb the peace of these churches.” He said also that the American bishops ought to unite with the English bishops “in making such representations to the heads of these Eastern churches, as would lead them to drive all the missionaries out of the country.” “Then the Christians here could say to them, Your own people bear testimony against you, proving you to be bad men.” His hostility to all dissenting missionaries is notorious at the East. Mr. Southgate himself most freely allows and confirms it. All these missionaries, in his view, teach without the authority of Christ, and against his will. To put them down is to do Christ service. Their labors tend to schism, to the rending of the seamless robe of his church; es which they would divide, should arise in his name, and call to their aid the Turkish sword, and drive them from the land. In the autumn, this representative of my Lord of London went to Mosul. While there, he showed to our brethren the same insolent contempt which he had exhibited at Constantinople. Among the native Christians he used active influences to the prejudice of the missionaries. In February, 1843, he went very suddenly into the mountains, just as the brethren destined to the Independent Nestorians were expecting to set off. He had, as is supposed, letters and presents to the Nestorian patriarch, from the dignitaries of the Church of England. The last that was heard of Mr. Badger was, that he was to occupy Mr. Southgate's house in Constantinople, during that gentleman's absence in this country. [He has since gone to Malta.] In October, 1842, the missionaries at Constantinople found themselves suddenly in the midst of opposition. So violent and searful was it, that a public service held by Mr. Dwight for many months was suspended, and the whole missionary community was filled with fear and alarm. Certain Armenians, in whom they had confided as brethren, were arrayed against them as violent opposers, and their firmest friends, though they did not forsake them, were appalled by the storm. No one could tell what would be the issue ; for in the Levant, especially at Constantinople, no one can predict what may result from any outbreak of the kind. The open hostility of the Armenian ecclesiastics; the fanatical bigotry of their Turkish lords, repressed but not extinguished ; the uncertain influence, and the more uncertain good-will of the three great powers of Europe, all combine to add to the present perplexity of such a scene, the most absolute incapacity to predict the Wol. III. 32

therefore the heads of these church

[graphic][graphic]

result. We have before us extracts from letters of the missionaries, written in the midst of the outbreak, and before it subsided, which show how serious they thought it to be, and that they feared the most disastrous results to the mission. This outbreak occurred just before Mr. Badger left Constantinople and the family of Mr. Southgate—just at the time when he had been occupied as we have described. Its immediate occasion was Mr. Southgate's translating to a certain Armenian, from the Missionary Herald, part of a communication from one of the missionaries, in which were some free remarks as to whether a division in the Armenian church were or were not practicable and desirable. The excitement soon subsided, and its immediate consequences were not long alarming. Its remote results are yet to be seen. In the Annual Report of the Prudential Committee, presented in September, 1843, this occurrence was noticed as follows. “In October of last year, it was deemed advisable to suspend the service a few Sabbaths, in consequence of a violent and threatening opposition on the part of some Armenians formerly reckoned as brethren. The unexpected and painful change of views, feelings and conduct in these persons, was owing to their forming an acquaintance with individuals who had imbibed errors which now threaten the peace and unity of the Episcopal churches of England and America.”—(Rep. p. 94.) In answer to inquiries as to who these individuals were, and what they had done, one of the secretaries named Mr. Badger and Mr. Southgate, and referred to the latter, as the immediate occasion of the suspension of Mr. Dwight's service. His replies were variously reported in the religious newspapers. Soon after, Dr. Anderson received a very courteous note from Rev. P. P. Irving,

the Foreign Secretary of the Epis

« 上一頁繼續 »