« 上一頁繼續 »
Moreover, in these United States, men, not Romanists, are asking, in serious and thoughtful mood, whether, when the state, assuming to be the instructor of its subjects, establishes schools and puts Protestant Bibles, or any other, or none, into them, by law, we have not, so far forth, religion or irreligion, Protestantism, Papacy, or infidelity, by law established—whether, but for such establishment, citizens, native or foreign, could quarrel, much less shed each other's blood, over the question of Protestant or Popish or no Bible in the public schools—and whether there be any other true and safe position, but that the state restrict itself to its proper work as a ministry of justice, leaving secular instruction where it does religious, to its own spontaneous resources and its own chosen ministry. To this complexion, we doubt not, it will come at last ; and thanks, we say, to Roman bigotry, that, by assaying to drive the Bible from the schools, is helping us to this result; and, with equal reason, we give equal thanks to the equal bigotry of a liberal and deistical naturalism, that, under the plea of no sectarianism, is equally striving to banish from them all substantive evangelical teaching—and most of all, that of the saving righteousness and regal supremacy of Christ, the Lord.”
It is needless to say more. It is enough, that every where, as it has done for ages before, the human mind is waking to the specific and well apprehended question of no alliance between religion and the state—no copartnership of the religious and the civil power. And 6. More than all, in many cases the same parties, which in other days and circumstances have loved and sought this alliance, are now spurning and rejecting it. It is extensively so with Presbyterianism in Scotland, and with many of all names in other parts of Great Britain, who have heretofore been most ready to stand upon the regium-donum pension list. But stranger still, it is so now with the 8,000,000 of Catholic Ireland, with their whole Catholic hierarchy at their head. Following the slaughters consequent on “the rising” of 1798, Lord Castlereagh was authorized to make the preliminary inquiries and arrangements upon which some measure might be grounded for the endowment of the Irish Catholic clergy; and so early as 1799, he was able to lay before the British government a document signed by ten of the Irish prelates, to the following ef. fect:—
* The author desires to call attention particularly to the subject of these remarks. Having given it some examination, he believes there is no subject at the present time, more deserving the profound attention and the deep solicitude of all Christian men. It will doubtless be thought strange to say, that the systems of public common school education, now existing, and sought to be established throughout our country, may yet, while Christians sleep, become one of the greatest, if not the greatest antagonism in the land to all evangelical instruction and piety. But how long before they will be so, when they shall have once become the mere creatures of the state, and under the plea of no sectarianism, mere naturalism shall be the substance of all the religious, and the basis of all the secular
teaching which they shall give And let it not be forgotten, that strong currents of influence, in all parts of the country, acting in no chance concert, are doing their utmost to bring about just this result. The evidence of this is within the reach of such as choose to inquire diligently and observe carefully. It will doubtless reveal itself more and more, as time moves on. Meanwhile, we ask, What has become of the open infidelity of a few years since 2. Where are its visible organizations and direct assaults upon Christianity and her institutions In what positions in life and what spheres of action are some of its former champions now prominent and active: Is that infidelity dead 2 . Have its champions and friends yielded the contest and embraced the truth 2 Or does it still live, and is it still valiant against the truth, having only changed its policy from the open and direct, to the secret, and undermining, and its champions and friends having given themselves to the work of modeling the educational, penal, and other arrangements of society on its basis, so endeavoring, at length, to bring the influence of social life and general education and state authority to bear against the truth? If these hints stimulate inquiry and awaken :* they will have served their end.
“At a meeting of the Roman Catholic prelates, held in Dublin, the 17th, 18th and 191h of January, 1799, to deliberate on a proposal from Government, for an independent provision for the Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland, under certain regulations not incompatible with their doctrines, opio, or just influence,— it was admitted,—
“That a provision, through Government, for the Roman Catholic . of this kingdom, competent and secured, ought to be thankfully accepted.
“That in the appointment of the prelates of the Roman Catholic religion to vacant sees, within the kingdom, such interference of Government as may enable it to be satisfied of the loyalty of the person appointed, is just and ought to be agreed to."
The document then proceeded to specific regulations “to give this principle operation.” It is not important to note the motive or the time of the change. It is enough that “at a general meeting of the Archbishops and Bishops of Ireland” in January, 1837, it was proposed and resolved:—
“That alarmed at the report that an attempt is likely to be made during the approaching session of Parliament, to make a STATE PRovision for the Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland, we deem it our imperative duty not to separate without recording the expression of our strongest reprobation of any such attempt, and of our unalterable determination to resist, by every means in our power, A MEA sure so Frau Ght with Misch iE F to the inDEPENDENc E AND PURuty of The CATHolic REligion in IRELANd.”
The measure was spoken of in the “general meeting,” of 1841, as “the odious and alarming scheme of a State provision ;” and at the same meeting of the same body, on the 15th of November, 1843, it was “unanimously resolved:”—
“That the preceding resolutions be now republished, in order to make known to our faithful clergy and people, and to all others concerned, that our firm determination on this subject remains un
changed; and that we unanimously pledge ourselves to resist, by every influence we possess, every attempt that may be made to make any State provision for the Catholic clergy, in whatever shape or form it may be offered.”
Now it matters not that Romanism is sinister in all this, and violative of its own admitted principles and practice. Be it so. The fact is still before the world, that in Ireland, as in her clamors against King James' Bible here, she is in the midst of a struggle for what she calls Religious Freedom ; and that by this, she means the right to worship and to teach in her own way, subject therein to no civil prescriptions to the contrary, and liable to no civil penalties therefor. These, therefore, are her testimony, given if you will, and therefore all the stronger, against long ages and broad lands of her past and present self, that religious freedom and purity, and state alliance and provision can not live together, and that to attempt the latter is an “odious and alarming scheme,” worthy only to be resisted, by every influence, to the last.
Already then a voice is being heard from heaven, saying, “Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues; for her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” The notes of preparation are being struck, and the signs of promise are appearing. Amer. ican Christians of every name ought to bear a great and manly part in the coming conflict. And among them, in the providence of God, American Baptists seem to have been called to lead the van. In the report on the subject of Euro: pean missions, which was adopted at the last meeting of the General Convention, in Philadelphia, American Baptists have put this testimony on record:—
“In Greece, the great practical value of our principle, to recognize no national
church, but to build up churches of spiritual Christians, that shall be independent of the State, and independent of each other, has been early and signally manifested. To attempt to reform, by fraternization, the corrupt national churches of the East, is, we beliere, a FRU it less EFForr. We act on another principle. A church, composed only of hopeful concerts, independent, and as far as man governs it, self-governed, is our riew of the New Testament polity, AND our sche ME For MoD ERN Missions.” That is the American Baptists' stand. Be it theirs to maintain it every where, in good faith and entire. In doing so, let them by prayer, sympathy and succor stand by their persecuted brethren in Germany and Denmark; let them encourage and uphold their suffering brethren in France, and if “Protestant evangelists and colporteurs,” sustained, perchance, by American funds, make common cause with high-church “Nationals,” in multiplying their afflictions and upholding the doctrine of state alliance and control, let them tell the story, as in the last report of their Board of Missions,” to all the churches, and they will see that American Christians of other names will not send funds across the Atlantic, to help the vengeful bond-woman to beget abortions, or to strangle at the birth the free babes of the free-woman ; just when her Lord, too, is saying, “Rejoice thou barren, that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not; for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.” Let them, in the same spirit, bid their brethren in Greece, be of good courage and fear not, both to preach and to bap
tize in the name of the Lord Jesus;” and if those good brethren dare not do so, let American Baptists unite with the weak, and timid, and prudent of other faiths, and call home all Protestant missionaries from the East, “to stay in Jericho till their beards be grown,” or other men are found, who, like Paul, will carry the Gospel there, and bear themselves, in its propagation, in respect to civil relations and authorities, worthily of the gospel of Christ; or, like Christ, will be ready to obey unto death in the maintenance therein of his supremacy over all authorities, whether of heaven, earth or hell. Let it not be said that the general principles maintained in this discussion are wild and extreme, or that action upon them, at home and abroad, would only be rash and destructive of its own ends. Nothing can be farther from the truth. When Dr. Wisner, on behalf of the Prudential Committee of the American Board, gave instructions, in 1834, to the present Dr. Parker, of China, as he was about to embark for that field, his language was— “The Christian missionary is not to expect, and he is not to seek, the sanctions of heathen governments to his efforts to extend the Gospel; but he is to go with
* The fact here intimated in respect to some “Protestant evangelists and colportenrs,” is distinctly asserted in the report named. Whether any who thus conduct, are aided with funds, sent by the Foreign Evangelical Society, from this country, is not said, and probably is not known. Still it may be so, and whether it be, we presume will be a subject of early and thorough inquiry by the directors of that society, and of prompt and effective remonstrance, if it be.
its heavenly message directly to the people, wherever he can find them; and he
* The present law of Greece, allows all the free exercise of their own religion, whatever it be, but at the same time forbids any one “to proselyte” from the Greek church. Our Baptist brethren preach freely, as did the missionaries of our own Board while there. They reject the idea of seeking to reform those eastern communions, on the principle of fraternization, and adopt the policy of planting distinct and independent churches of their own, and therein act on a different policy from our missionaries—a policy somewhat bolder, and we believe more effective. But as it would be proselyting to baptize a convert from the Greek church, such converts, we learn, are wont to go to Corfu, or to some point out of Greece, sor their baptism, and then to return—an evasion of the law, which savors little, we fear, of the honest, open, primitive Christian courage.
is to proclaim its requirements and sanctions to them as individuals having souls, for the salvation or loss of which they are themselves responsible, and who must hear and obey the Gospel each for himself, expecting that if the truth is ever to reach and influence the government under which he labors, it will be by its being first diffused through the community, extending its light and its reforming power through all ranks, till it rises to those who occupy the highest places in the State. And if he finds a people willing to receive him, he is to persevere in proclaiming to them the message of salvation, though laws and magistrates forbid, and eren at the expense of liberty and of life. He is not indeed to court persecution. If persecuted in one city he may flee to another. But a people willing to receive the Gospel are not to be abandoned, though all the enactments and power of their rulers should be arrayed against their instruction. In such a case, they and their rulers must see that an embassador of Jesus Christ does not account even his life dear unto himself, so that he may “testify the GosÉ. of the grace of God.' The probaility is, altogether, that the government of China will sooner or later array itself against the propagation, within its dominions, of Protestant, as it has of Roman Catholic Christianity. . . . And if not from the government, it may come from popular superstition and prejudice, excited to struggle with desperation for their malignant empire over the souls of a third of the human race. But come how and when it will, the worthy embassador of Jesus Christ will not be deterred from his work by persecution. Knowing that ‘the blood of martyrs is the seed of the church,' he will be ready to scatter even that seed, if called to it by the command and providence of his Savior.”
This is in entire harmony with the views presented in the preceding remarks. It is, we maintain, the only true and scriptural basis for the propagation and support of Christianity, either at home or abroad— as applicable to South Carolina as to China; to nominally Christian as to “heathen governments.” In the annunciation of it, on the occasion named, the wise and devoted Wisner “being dead, yet speaketh.” We believe, moreover, that just when and where the servants and church of God have most fully acted on this basis, making Christ and his promises proportionally their only strength and hope, they have
always had, along with persecution, their highest and most substantial success. It was for fidelity in this direction and on this basis, that God gave Daniel a deliverance and a kingdom. It was here and on this ground, that a long line of Hebrew worthies “subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, realized promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.” It was here and in this, that primitive Christianity had its persecutions, it is true, but equally its strength and victory. In fact, the great papal apostasy was but the full grown result of departure from this ground, and from that living faith of which this is the natural and appropriate expression. And when, after long ages of degeneracy and darkness, the Reformation broke upon the world, it had its highest confidence, spirituality and power, as well as persecutions and successes, in the same direction and standing on the same ground. And grateful as was the help received, and flattering as seemed the prospects opened and opening, when the civil power came to its aid and took it into alliance with itself, experience has proved that that was the hour of its real decline, and that the element of formalisms and corruptions, little better than those from which it broke away, and whose state-entrenched existence and support have only given hot-bed growth to all forms of rationalistic unbelief, and left its own great work to be substantially done over again. So true is it, that whenever Christ's people have stood and acted upon the ground now indicated, they have had, notwithstanding persecution, their highest success and glory. Thus it will always be. His people may be as sure of it, as that he is on the throne, and wields all powo,
and is as able, if they will trust him, to lead captivity captive and give gifts to men as he ever was. Indeed, it was in this way that, by the agency of our own missionaries, and their supporters and friends, India was first opened to modern missions. When Hall and Nott landed in India, government—a British government, too—threw itself between them and the people to whom they bore the message of salvation. At length, after many difficulties, they were on the point of being driven from the country. At that moment they addressed a letter of remonstrance “to the Right Honorable Sir Evan Nepean, Governor, &c. &c.” They said:
“That exercise ofcivil authority which, in a manner so conspicuous and determined, is about to prohibit two ministers of Christ from preaching his gospel in India, can be of no ordinary consequence; especially at the |...}. moment, when the Christian public in England and Ame. rica, are waiting with pious solicitude to hear how the religion of the Bible is welcomed and encouraged among the pagans of this country. + + * + “We would solemnly appeal to your Excellency’s conscience, and ask: Does not your Excellency believe that it is the will of Christ that his gospel should be reached to these heathens? Do you not elieve that we have given a creditable testimony that we are ministers of Christ, and have come to this country to preach his Gospel and would not prohibiting us from preaching to the heathen here be a known resistance to his will 2 If your Excellency finally exerts civil authority to compel us from this heathen land, what can it be but a decided opposition to the spread of the Gospel among those immortal beings whom God has placed under your Excellency's government?, What can it be but a fresh instance of that persecution against the church of Christ, and that opposition to the prevalence of true religion, which have so often provoked the indignation of God, and stamped with sin and guilt the history of every age 2 Can you, Right Honorable Sir, make it appear to be otherwise to your own conscience—to that Christian public who must be judges in this case—but, especially, can you justify such an exercise of power to our God and final judge 2 “Your Excellency has been pleased to say that it is your duty to send us to England, because you have received positive
Vol. III. 52
orders from the supreme government to do so. But, Right Honorable Sir, is not this advancing a principle which, if correct, would reprieve on the long-recorded decision of Heaven, all the sani. persecutors who executed the orrid decrees of Herod, Nero and Trajan,—who made themselves drunk with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus, and who, as God has declared, shall have blood to drink, for they are worthy These §. destroyed the saints of the ost High ; they were positively ordered to do so by superior authority; but for doing so, have they not been sentenced to eternal death 2 * * + * ... Your Excellency, knows perfectly well, that whenever human commands run counter to the divine commands they cease to be obligatory; and that no man can aid in the execution or support of such counter commands, without aiming violence at the authority of Heaven. Can your Excellency, or any other man, deny the truth of this 2 * + + + “It is our ardent wish that your Excellency would compare, most seriously, such an exercise of civil authority upon us with the general spirit and tenor of our Savior's commands. We most earnestly entreat you not to send us away from these heathens. We entreat you by the high probability that an official permission from the supreme government for us to remain here, will shortly be received; and that something more general, and to the same effect, will soon arrive from England. We entreat you by the time and money already expended on our mission, and by the Christian hopes and prayer attending it, not utterly to defeat its pious W. by sending us from the country. e entreat you by the spiritual miseries of the heathen, who are daily perishing before your eyes and under your Excellency's government, not to W. us from preaching Christ to them. e entreat you by the blood of Jesus, which he shed to redeem them. As ministers of Him who has all power in heaven and on earth, and who with his farewell and ascending voice, commanded his ministers to go and teach all nations, we entreat you not to prohibit us from teaching these heathens. By all the principles of our holy religion, by which you hope to be '". we entreat you not to hinder us from o the same religion to these perishing idolaters. By all the solemnities of the judgment day, when your Excellency must meet your heathen subjects before God's tribunal, we entreat you not to hinder us from preaching to them that Gospel which is able to prepare them as well as you for that awful day. “By all the dread of being sound on the catalogue of those who persecute the church of God, and resist the salvation of