« 上一頁繼續 »
copal Board, requesting all the information which he possessed on the subject. To this Dr. Anderson replied as courteously, giving a correct version of what he had said, but declining to impart farther information, as follows: “You will perceive, dear sir, that mere newspaper reports can not make it proper for us, as a missionary society, to go into a formal inculpation to your society of one of its missionaries, because, in the progress of our discussions, it was necessary for us to say somewhat to his disadvantage. We regretted the necessity, as much as it is possible for any one to do, while we believed in its existence.” When the news of this affair reached Constantinople, with the letters between the secretaries of the two Boards, Mr. Southgate addressed a letter to the missionaries, which resulted in some farther correspondence between them. Soon aster, he published “a Letter to the members of the Protestant Episcopal Church, &c.” with an appendix, which was extensively circulated as the “Vindication of the Rev. H. Southgate.” “The letter,” besides the vindication, was occupied with grave charges upon the Board and the missionaries. The letter, without the appendix, was sent forthwith to Constantinople by the overland mail. To the charge against themselves the missionaries replied, in a letter to the Secretary. This letter was published at Boston, in November, 1844, and, at the request of the missionaries, was accompanied by extracts from their previous correspondence. To this “Reply of the Missionaries” Mr. Southgate has replied in “A letter to a friend, &c., by the Right Reverend Horatio Southgate.” We do not propose to go into all the details of this controversy. Those who would sift the whole of it, can do it for themselves. There are however, certain grave questions connected with it, which we deem it
needful to examine. Some of them are startling questions, and may well make a man look about him. They give a fearful aspect to the prospects of our missions. They place the Episcopal church before us, and its missionary movements in an alarming attitude. To the right understanding and settlement of these questions, the history which we have given was thought to be necessary.
1. Has Mr. Southgate vindicated himself from the charges which lie against him This we think an important question. It is more than a question concerning the strifes of individual men. The missionaries at Constantinople have hitherto had the confidence of the churches which support them. They have been honored and loved in no common degree. That they should continue thus to be honored, an intelligent and fair conclusion must be attained, as to the uprightness and truth with which they have dealt with one counted as an opponent. It is inportant for us to raise the question just stated, because, though these pamphlets give ample materials for a right conclusion, there are those who will not study them for this end—but will conclude, that it is aways safe (for their own reputed sagacity) to suppose that there have been faults on both sides, and will propound this as the proof of their own wisdom, which is only the confession of their own shallowness. There are others, “who like to fly against the wind”—that think it argues a special elevation above sectarian narrowness and popular prejudice not to be strongly moved, especially against so respectable a body of men as the Episcopal church, and so set down to the credit of their liberality, what belongs to an ignoble indifference to truth. There are others who conclude that out of three pamphlets, two against one, there must be some material from which to construct so long a defense, being utterly unconscious of the fact, that the truest story is clearly and quickly told, and needs not to be repeated, while the evasive and distorted one is always long, and needs to be explained and mended. To decide this question we must go to Constantinople. Unless we go there, the acts alleged can not be understood. He that reasons about these actions without seeing them in the place and circumstances where they were done, reasons as wrongly as a man standing at New York, where the shadows are all northward, might discourse of the landscape at Cape Town, where at noon they all point southward. It may be a very harmless thing to throw a fire-brand into a keg of powdered charcoal, and not so much so, to apply even a spark to a keg of gunpowder. To judge of the act, one must first know what the keg contains. Let us go then to Constantinople. There are the Armenians and Mr. Southgate, (we will forget that Mr. Badger is in his family,) and the “Congregational” missionaries as Mr. Southgate calls them. Who are the Armenians ? As men they are intelligent, shrewd and gentlemanly —but what are they as Christians ? To the Armenian, Christianity is the church, the Armenian church. Its patriarch, its bishops, its priests, its deacons, its fasts, its feasts, its rites of worship—these all are to him the Gospel. He not only holds with Bishop Doane, to the Gospel in the church, but he holds that the Gospel is the church, the Armenian church. Religion is a matter of form and rites, not of the heart and the life. Salvation is attained by a faithful compliance with certain external requisitions; to which the Savior and judge of all has attached the supreme importance. He contends with the Papist and the Greek, as to what these things are—and which is the church ; being utterly ignorant, for all practical purposes utterly ig
norant, that the worship of the heart is the end and purpose of the temple. To his church he is thus wedded, because he thinks it will save him. All the influences of education, of custom, perhaps of suffering for his faith, perhaps even of power and of place, combine to make him cleave to it as to his life. Among these men is a family of Christian teachers, who avow it as their highest and sole object, to teach them what religion is—what all churches were designed to promote ; what true worship is ; what all rites were intended to illustrate and secure ; in fine, whose business it is, to do what Christ and his Apostles did, to explain that Pharisaism is not the way of salvation. To accomplish this object, they do not attack the Armenian church or ceremonies, but they appeal to what that very church in its standards teaches of pardon by faith, and of the need of inward renovation. They converse with individuals as they meet them. They reiterate and enforce the simple elements of the religion of the heart. The conscience responds, the intellectis convinced, the contest between prejudice and conviction is slow but progressive. Light breaks in, but it is as the rising of a gray and broken morning. The tidings of these things spread far and near. It is the first fermenting of the leaven. Those who hear are prejudiced. The ecclesiastics are bitter and jealous. If these things are true, they must alter and remodel the convictions, the feelings and the lives of the nation, and perhaps destroy their church. To those who know of no way of propagating religion, except by teaching notions about ceremonies and metaphysical dogmas; who hold that there is but one true church, i. e. the Armenian, these men are subtle emissaries, whose only design is to divide the church, to “change the customs which Moses hath delivered.” They attempt to put the movement down. They vex and banish one and another of the friends of these strangers. But they are seen to be so simple in purpose, so strong in their appeals to their own standards and the higher standard, the New Testament, that they can find little to urge against them. They feel too that this new faith is every where advancing; quietly but surely advancing in its progress. At the request of certain Armenians, Mr. Dwight uses an hour on Sunday to meet those who are inclined to unite with him in prayer, in the study of the Scriptures, and the preaching of the Gospel; not at the hour of the Armenian service, nor to intersere with any ceremonial of the church. This is viewed with new prejudice. It will certainly lead to schism. In a free communication with their friends at home, these teachers give account of the suggestion of a priest, that there ought to be a secession from the church, and a new sect formed. Upon this they give their own comments. What they wrote is entirely consistent with the instructions of the Board, with what was known of their plans by the merest schoolboy in America that reads the Herald; and gives no evidence of any new plan recently hatched, or any old plot to promote schism, now first brought to light. It is however, just what false witnesses would find most convenient to give color to their testimony; “we have heard him say that this Jesus shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us.” This passage Mr. Southgate confesses that he translated to an Armenian, and that it was the occasion of an excitement, in which Mr. Dwight's service was suspended. This then is a fact. The question in regard to it is, has he vindicated himself from all blame in the matter? Let us take his own account of it; of the occasion, the circumstances, his own motives and feel
ings. He says, that he accidentally met with the passage, but that he read it with “mingled grief and astonishment;” with “astonishment,” as he explains himself, that the missionaries should prove themselves at last, so untrue to their oft repeated protestations, that they did not design a schism, and so untrue to the instructions of the Prudential Committee,_* with grief” that they should contemplate a result, which in his view “would be the most severe blow to the interests of real piety, to the good of the Armenian church, and the welfare of souls, which could be devised.” “I believed and still believe that if such a sect were formed, it would not be the most “evangelical,” but the most idle, the most useless, and the most unstable spirits which would enlist under its banners,” &c. Having these feelings himself, might he not infer what would be those of the Armenians ? If these plans filled him with “grief and astonishment,” how much more would they offend the bigoted and prejudiced Orientals. If Mr. Southgate had been a stranger in Constantinople, he might know how they would view an avowal, which was so offensive to himself. But he was not a stranger. He had lived in that city more than two years, had known not by conjecture, but by fact, how jealous they were upon this very point. What then is a fair inference even from his own words 2 What is a fair inference 2 The same which we draw when a man applies a match to any explosive mixture, that he does it intending that it shall explode, or at least, not caring if it does. But he tells us he read it to but one. Who does not know that one in such a case, is the same as a thousand, and a thousand the same as one A man might as well say, who fires a train that leads to a magazine, that he but applied one spark to but one kernel: to only one kernel of powder. But this man “still professed to be kindly disposed towards the missionaries, though disapproving the meeting.” What more perfect definition can be given of a possible traitor 2 “Professed to be kindly disposed, though disapproving the meeting !” Common sense would tell any man, that an Armenian, even if he were their bosom friend, was not to be approached by such a development of their secret plans, as Mr. Southgate thought this was, and on a point on which they would be most sensitive. Common sense, it would seem, should have taught Mr. S. not to venture on the patience even of his own church, by talking about revealing such a matter to one who merely “professed to be their friend, though he disapproved of the meeting.” The man is excited. He asks leave to mention it to another. Consent is at last reluctantly given. And why is all this 2 What reason does Mr. S. give to do away with the one conclusion that suggests itself as quick as thought that the design could not be innocent? Why it was, that this man might tell him if this were the design of the missionaries. Ask an Armenian what was the secret plan of the missionaries in respect to a matter which the Board had committed themselves to the public by an open and solemn disavowall Expect that he should know of himself, or by asking from the missionaries, a thing in regard to which they would be most reserved !! Oh, rara simplicitas—which freely translated is, “To expect this to be believed, surpasses the average simplicity of bishops.” Take too his own account of the manner in which he sought to repair the mischief. He went to these three Armenians concerned, and to induce them to make allowance for the article, mentioned the circumstances under which it was written, and conveyed to them the solemn declarations of the missionaries, that their intentions were innocent. They
faithfully promised to believe this declaration of their intentions, and not to make the article the basis of any proceedings in regard to the meeting. But added they, the meeting must be put down. To this Mr. S. replies, that this was no business of his—that all that he had to do was to protest against their basing their action on this information. While reading this, Mr. S.'s own story, we could not but be reminded of Iago—and turning to our Shakspeare, we read the following: Iago—I am to pray you, not to strain my speech To grosser issues, nor to larger reach Than to suspicion. Othello—I will not. Iago—Should you do so, my lord, My speech should fall into such tile success As my thoughts aim not at. Cassio's my worThy FRIEND." Such is Mr. Southgate's own story, and such the obvious inferences to which it would lead any unbiased man. We shrink from the conclusions to which he himself would lead us, but we are bound in truth to say, that if Mr. S. had killed a man, and should tell such a story as this to show that his intentions did not go in a line with his action, the story itself would hang him. He might be innocent, but all the principles of evidence are a mockery, if he were not convicted. When we turn from Mr. S.'s own story, we learn that Mr. Badger was all this while at Mr. S.'s house, employed abroad in active influences against the missions, and at home, as is reasonable to suppose, in conversations with Mr. S., in respect to the present and future evils which would result from their labors. The Jacobite bishop of Mosul is in their family. One day in the bazaar, he is seen in company with a Frank, who addresses an Armenian thus— “There are some Americans who have come here and opened a meeting for the Armenians and are going to divide the Armenian church; why don't you rise up and drive them out of the country f" [Of this Bishop S. says, in his last, “It was not I.” We do not understand the missionaries to imply that it was.] If now, such a man as Mr. B. was at Mr. S.'s house—that house must have been full of talk like this, in regard to these unauthorized teachers and promoters of schism. Mr. S. says, that he accidentally met with the Herald. If he did, it would not greatly alter the case, as we have seen. But the missionaries say that this very passage had been the subject of complaint, by Dr. Robertson, on the ground of its inconsistency with their professions, at a conference called for, by Dr. R. and Mr. S., at which Mr. S. was present, and that it had been the matter of conversation in his hearing. They say, also, that it had been referred to, in a letter of Mr. Vaughan, which Mr. S. must have seen. Of this, Mr. S. says, (Reply, p. 36,) that the missionaries forget to add, that he distinctly stated in their presence at the conference held during the excitement, that he did not believe it, and certainly was not listening if it were read. In an unpublished letter, of October 10, 1844, it is again stated, as distinctly remembered by all who were present, that it was the subject of complaint and conversation. The missionaries say that it is the general impression of the Armenians, that Mr. Southgate is hostile to them, (the missionaries,) and has been the cause of these prejudices among their former friends. This impression did not originate with them. It is not confined to their friends, but comes from the mere lookers on. Mr. S. may say, and does say, they are credulous, and
*Mr. [Bishop) Southgate, in his second pamhlet, asks why, if his intentions were evil, e did not show the pamphlet to the heads of the Armenian church, and thus obstruct and overthrow the missions. To this we reply, by asking—why did not lago go to Othello with the open and direct charge against Cassio ! He wished the thing done, but did not dare himself to appear to do it.
indiscriminating, in trusting the natives. But surely, if long residence and much experience, and wariness taught by repeated imposition, and the fact that there are many to advise and assist each other, can not enable them to judge aright whom to believe and whom to distrust, then Mr. S. can not correct them for credulous trust. The judgment of seven on such a point, is at least as good as that of one. They say too, that he translated disjointed extracts, and gave a false impression to the Armenians. This he denies. It is certain that false impressions were received, and were corrected by a reading of the article as it was written. Whether he gave an incorrect impression of it in Turkish, or not; one thing is certain, that he has done so in English. He represents them to say, (Wind. p. 29,) that such a separation would be “a desirable consummation;” whereas, it was written at a time of active persecution, and at a time when it was likely to continue; when such a separation might well be called “ desirable.” They say, also, that the two Armenians who, as he says, had been so opposed to the meeting for fear of “schism,” had left for fear of “persecution,” and to avoid “persecution” had been most urgent to commit the “schism” of seeking Frank protection; that all this talk
* “The true explanation of the passage was given him at the time as follows. It was written after there had been a most unjust and outrageous persecution of innocent persons in the Armenian church, sor no other crime than that of desiring to follow the Scriptures alone, as the guide of faith and practice. The Bible in a lan: guage intelligible to the people, was still a prohibited book, and condemned to the flames, and all who should read it, or have any intercourse with those who had come to teach it, were threatened with excommunication and severe bodily punishment. If this state of things should continue, would not a separation from such a church be a most desirable consummation 3'
Letter of Oct. 10.