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should not exist. Hitherto French rity and direction—but not otherwise. Protestants have been accustomed to The object, it may be seen at a glance, meet for the purposes of worship in of this exorbitantly strange article is private houses, in public schoolrooms, twofold: first, to parry any demand and often in barns, where no temple for an additional pastor that may be has been in their neighbourhood. M. so imperatively urgent and reasonable Teste would put a stop to this prac: that no decent pretext can be found tice ; and, lest its reasonableness and for refusing it; and second, to work urgency should sometimes induce con- out a claim for the exercise of a legissistories to demand, and préfets to grant, lative power over the unsalaried or the license he would make requisite, Dissenting congregations. As to the he throws out another obstruction,- first object, should the ordinance be No one is to officiate, he would lay it acted on, it would b: easily compassed. down, in these places of worship but a Let us suppose a demand of the kind pastor of the National Temple. Gen. we have described, or even one open erally, however, pastors are too fully to objections-it would not much sigoccupied by their immediate duties to nify which-made. Being received be able to travel on the Sabbath, or with entire complacency and granted, other days, many leagues to attend on the Council of State has but 10 saythese scattered congregations. They Now, find your funds and install your have been in the habit, therefore, of pastor-and the whole project, in appointing a layman to act on such ninety-nine cases out of one hundred, occasions for them. Not only the law, would fall to the ground. The difficul. but the fundamental regulations of ties of collecting any considerable sum their own church-discipline, permitand by subscription in France, are next to enjoin this. To abolish the practice insurmountable. The collections which would be to abolish the Reformed creed, are made by a few religious societies in as much as it consists in, and is up- in that country come in great part, if held by outward observances, over not chiefly, from foreign contributors, many widespaces: to restrictit, perhaps, and from various denominations of to within the half of its present limits. Christians, who would certainly not We must observe, also, that this article feel the slightest disposition to aid in a excludes, as it were by a cordon sani. work of a very uncertain complexion taire, Dissenters from the circum. in one point of view, and extremely scribed consistorial field ; that is, ma- unjust and injurious in another. With nifests a genuine anxiety that the field respect to the second purpose aimed should remain barren, as from them, at, the Government might, should the or at least from those who act on their ordinance be executed, urge their auplan of independent spontaneous la- thority over pastors of the National bour, which the ordinance forbids, its Temple unsalaried by the state as an fructification can alone come.
argument, justifying their enforcement We beg our readers now to give a of the like authority over other pastors second perusal to the 26th article. This who belong not to the National is the most extraordinary, indeed we Temple, simply by the fact that they may say astonishing, of them all. The
receive no alaries from the public national establishment of the two treasury. There is no other original Protestant confessions in France is legal distinction between the two orsuch, solely on the condition, express- ders of pastors than that of which the ed in repeated laws, but most solemnly pecuniary support of the state is not in the 6th article of the Charte, that the foundation and condition. Take the state shall support that establish this distinction away, and the Nationment. When the support stops, of alists and Dissenters of the French course the establishment stops. But Reformed churches fall under the same M. Teste says-No. We may not, category; and the dealing which the he says, be able to allow you Protesta one might experience, might, by a paants any more money ; but state to us rity of proceeding, be dealt out upon your wants and desires, and if they the other. Thus, by the article in meet with our approbation, why, then, question, Protestantism in general in take the money out of your own pockets France would be affected: the
Reformed to provide for wants which we ac- establishment would be first assailed, knowledge to be such, and you shall and through the establishment the have our gracious permission to em- Dissenting, or, as they merely call ploy it to this end, under our autho. themselves at present, the unsalaried
Churehes, would be hooked into a de- Council, the son of the late Minister pendence on the legislature from of Finance, and himself a rising poliwhich they are at present free.
tical character from whom much is It musť here be observed, that the expected, has published a very able French Government arrogates to it- pamphlet on the ordinance of M. self an authority, with reference to the Teste, in which he takes the same Protestant Church, which it does not view of that document that we have pretend to possess over that of Rome, done. This fact of itself tends to dewith which, nevertheless, it has much monstrate that Protestantism is com. closer affinities, interests and sympa- ing into notice among the influential thies much more homogeneous. To classes in France. legislate for Romanism, as the ordi- Having now exemplified, by two nance presumes to do for Protestant- striking instances, the spirit that aniism, would be regarded by any French mates the French civil authorities with Cabinet as preposterous, and would, if regard to the diffusion of the Reformed attempted, raise an outcry against the faith, it may be well to say a word as to proceeding from one end of Europe the motives by which they are, with to the other. The pretext for acting reference to this subject, actuated. so differently towards the two estab- We do not then attribute to them lishments is, that the one is represented any decided hostility to Protestants ; by a hierarchy, and that the other we trace their conduct in this particuhas no representative before the nation. lar to another and still more malign But this is a hollow pretext: for, ac. source, viz. to general incredulity. cording to the legal constitution of the There is no unbigoted Frenchman, National Temple, synods may be as- we are convinced, with a very small sembled at the will of the minister of number of exceptions, who conceives public worship, and these synods would for a moment that essential and absorepresent legally the Protestant lute truth resides in Christianity at all; Established Church of France. No that there are truths every where he synod, however, has ever been con- admits, even in Pagan and Eastern voked since Richelieu broke down the idolatries, in philosophy, in poetry, in power and influence of the Reforma- all things ; but that there is to be found tion in that land; and in all probability any where a purely true religion, which such a convocation will never in future contains the essence of scattered veri. take place.
ties, which sums them up, gives them Many of the consistories have ob- their last expression, which reveals jected in very strong terms to the pro- their meaning and the bourne at which posed regulations of the ordinance, they point, he has no notion. Hence and that of Orleans has formally de- religious questions are with him ques. clared its incompetence to take it at tions merely of political convenience. all into consideration, pointing out at As an individual, he may prefer the same time the propriety and neces. Catholicism, or he may prefer Protessity of convening, to consult on the tantism ; yet, even should he give his matter, synods, which, according to preference to the latter, he will always, the law of the 18th Germinal, are alone as a citizen, lend his main support and competent “ to regulate their ecclesias. encouragement to the former, because tical affairs.” Most of the consisto- Catholicism, being already widely ries, however, may be supposed to be established, can be more readily more compliant to the will of any brought into operation on the popular Ministry. They have hitherto, for mind than Protestantism. The consethe most part, distinguished themselves quences, even the temporal and social by their opposition to the propagation consequences, which, flowing severally of their creed, and by their servility to from the two sources, are so widely men in power. Thus they are regard different, he takes not at all into coned by those who would pound Pro- sideration. And the reason of this is, testantism within narrow and still that he looks for a ruling influence narrowing circuits as allies rather than over the intellect and heart of his as adversaries ; and on them the Go. country from another quarter-from vernment mainly relies in all its ma politics. Religion having thus, acchinations against the Church to cording to this idea, but a subordiwhich they externally adhere.
nate under work to accomplish, it We must not omit to mention that becomes of very small moment what M. Gasparin, ą member of the State may be her doctrines and what may
be her effects, since they are to be count sufficiently for the obstructions controlled and directed by a superior which French legislators and lawpower.
givers throw so sedulously in the way The shallowness of this reasoning of what they call, to use the form of suggests to us an observation we have M. Dupin, the proselytism of convenoften made :--that Popery and Infide- ticles, by which is meant the promullity alike abjure a moral profundity of gation of the Gospel. No doubt, a thought. In eloquence they may ex- desire to please the Romish priestcel; in the discovery of scientific hood, and to protect Popery (towards truths they may have much to boast which, for many reasons, they enterof; but on all moral subjects, on all tain much quiet good-will) from the subjects which prominently possess aggressions of Protestant zeal, has moral aspects and affivities, they exhi- great influence with them. This bit an extreme superficiality of judg- desire may constitute the ruling motive ment. And this is easily accounted of their proceedings towards the Profor. Morality, all ethical knowledge, testants of France; but whether it does inheres in religion ; and where reli. or not, of this we feel convinced, that gion exists not, or in proportion as it we have stated correctly their general is false, vague, received passively upon sentiments respecting religion, and trust, not excogitated, or is not a these alone would lead them to regard personal and individual conviction, any thing like a successful religious moral reflections must needs be ex- propagandism as fantastic mischievous ceedingly slender, for they seem to be folly, which should be promptly put derived, in such cases, from conven- down. tionalities, if we may coin a word, not How, then, are the French Reformed from realities. The religious realities, churches, whether connected with the nevertheless, out of which they grow, state or not, effectually to confront are existent, though neither discerned and counteract this temper in those nor recognized; and they rise up infal- who have power to act up to it, as we libly, in due time, to frustrate, abolish, have seen, after à very masterful and destroy all the conclusions and fashion ? To this question the only schemes which are built upon other answer, not temporizing and equivofoundations, or rather upon baseless cating, is-by the acquisition of poliseemings.
tical importance. The Reformed popuOn these seemings the Government lation of France amounts to a million and authorities of France are now and a half or two millions of indiviacting with the utmost vigour. Reli duals; and if this body of men possessgion seems to them to be requisite for ed their due political weight, no cabinet, the people, whilst it seems quite unne. no law-court would dare to treat them cessary to distinguish between religi- as they have been treated. But till ous truth and falsehood—between the they do possess this sort of influence, injurious or beneficial results which their rights will be put aside, waved different creeds, even politically, bring gracefully away, as they have been forth. The re-establishment of Catho. by the Court of Cassation, with a licism, some degree of strength, fourish of trumpets about an abstract, seems to be more wise than the encou- impracticable, religious liberty, and ragement of Protestantism; both seem with a pitying, unhearing, ineffable to be but the weaker elements of social contempt and politeness. Those reliorder, and in every higher sense, in gionists may notwithstanding assert, all which discriminates them from and justly, that their rights, despite what is called natural religion, to be the arbitrary illegalities by which unimportant or mere artificial helps to they have been and may be put aside, the infirmities of the human intelli. remain to them in full force. ASgence; and it seems to them that a suredly they do, just as the title deeds state dominancy can rule over the of an estate may be held by the legiti. intellectual and spiritual thoughts of mate owner, whilst the estate itself is men, can revive the power of Popery sequestered perpetually, or enjoyed, and restrain its encroachments, and or ravaged and wasted by another. thereby bring the vagrant and rebel But it is time that French Protestants mind of the country under its subjec. should take full possession—that they tion.
should eject intruders ; that is, that All these hoļlow assumptions aca they should assyme a very determined
attitude of strength, throw themselves we must seek to carry out the agency boldly into the ring of active life, and of revelation on human affairs, or this come front to front with their adver- agency will wax, or rather wane, saries on their own ground-the poli- fainter and fainter, till Paganism, tical arena. Hitherto, or till lately under a new guise, that is, irreligion we should rather perhaps say, they combined with a feeblo contemned have courted insignificance ; in the superstition, again rules mankind. words of M. Gasparin's pamphlet, they To uphold Christianity, therefore, we have made themselves little,” (“s se sont must gain for it a hold over the domifaits petits;") they have seemed to feel nant political passions, in which even an extreme complacency in avowing philosophy is actually merged. But their weakness and helplessness. But to do this, there is only one means ; they have now, we hope, begun to viz. frequent periodical publications, awaken to a sense of the immense not addressed to the weaker portion of responsibilities of their social and na- communities to religious circles tional, as well as their more strictly solely, but chiefly to the stronger religious position. They are gradu- portion, to the great active mass who ally taking their place on the stage of care little or nothing at all about re. public affairs. The proof of this is, ligion. The Gospel has, it is true, that they have established a news- a “ still small voice ;" yet its echoes paper which treats directly of politics. have resounded through the universe; At the pre
age, where there is a and this reverberation of sound has newspaper there is power; where there only come from its hitting and startis no newspaper there is no power. We ling the world. In Goshen, in the look therefore upon the establislıment heart of the individual, its voice is of the journal to which we refer, which still and small always; but, in prois called “ L'Esperance,” to be a more portion as its echoes die away, even decided symptom of the progress of this voice itself must subside into siProtestantism in France than any of lence. To awaken the echoes afresh, the facts we have above dilated on. to hit the world anew, should then, if So very momentous, indeed, do we this paramount reason alone could be regard the subject of religious journal- urged, be the object of every Chris. ism to be so great do we think its tian; and this can only be accomcapabilities of good, if conducted on plished by bringing Christianity into principles altogether different from close contact and collision with the any that have hitherto prevailed, ascendant spirit of the age ; for which that we shall beg leave to add a few purpose there is no instrumentality observations on this point, which will equal to that of a newspaper. be found applicable to England as And let no one imagine that we well as to France.
have taken a profane view of the work We assert then, that, as in past which all whole-hearted believers times, subsequent to the promulgation have, especially at this critical period, of Christianity, political society moved when new theories on all moral and on the axis of religion ; that is, the social subjects are propounded, to religious movement gave its charac- perform. It might be shown that the ter to the social movement: so at pre- Gospel, on its first publication, far sent, religion in its external worldly from considering the spirit of the age operations moves on the axis of poli- as out of its sphere of action, stamped tics; that is, the political movement its impress upon that spirit; that it is working out, as the instrument of did the same at the Reformation ; major force, those spiritual results and that it has never made any prowhich ought to be religious. In gress, that it has achieved no conother words, to give emphasis to our quests whenever it has been repreassertion by repetition, religion, at sented as too fine and Pharisaical, too former periods, being the moving delicate and transcendental, to measure power of society, all the leading itself with society at large-- to enter as changes of the world carried their re- a champion for God into the lists of ligious signification manifestly with ungodly men, and, in the chosen them. But now this order of things arena of their prowess, to put its suiis reversed. Politics bave decidedly periority to the test. Politics, how every where the predominance over ever, occupy actually the same place religion. By polítics, consequently in the popular heart that the disputes
of the Pagan schools did eighteen convulsions, from the close pent-up hundred years ago-that sacerdotal atmosphere in which they breathe learning and the gorgeous dominion till they enlarge their conceptionsof Rome did in the sixteenth century; till they let the air, which is blowing and as the Gospel has triumphed over freely over the carth, in upon themheathen philosophy and the delusions till they measure the virtue of their of Popery, so she may, with equal principles with all the wrestling ele. certainty, master and beat down the ments of society. Exerting no influ. falsities of political speculation at ence over the popular mind, proclaimthe present day. But, in order to ing their incapacity to exert this this, she must turn her face upon her influence, they virtually abdicate. enemies, as she did in past times ; she By acknowledging the existence of a
; must set her face fully upon them, “ spirit of the age,” of a “march of “ For stronger truth does grow,
intellect"- the new terms to express And falsehood feebler, gazing on herfoe.” human wilfulness, with which they
are unable to cope, they show that By a half-averted visage, by the Par. they totally misunderstand their thian arrows of flight, she can effect mission, which is precisely to do that nothing except the victory of her an. which they shrink even from attempt. tagonists, and her own down-tramp- ing as out of the legitimate field of ling in the mire.
their exertion ; viz. to grapple with Now we are aware that the view and subdue this spirit, whatever may we have taken of the mundane pur. be its character, into subserviency if poses of Christianity may displease a not obedience to Christianity. very devoted class of persons, for It is only by seizing on and directwhom we entertain a very high re- ing the master mental bias of the age spect. We will therefore explain that the Gospel can conquer. This ourselves more fully. These persons bias may be emphatically called, the are accustomed to confine their atten- World—the enemy; and as long as tion to the choicest ultimate effects of it is ascendant, rebuking away the religion—to its spiritual operations Christian faith from its presence, so within the unseen man. They are long will that faith be dwindling apt, in consequence, to discard from away with rapid decline into powertheir consideration, or at least great- lessness. The task of Christianity is, ly to undervalue, its broad external we repeat, to overcome, not to shun activities, and to overlook the depen- her foes; and exactly in the same dence which the two sorts of results degree as she reduces them to infehave upon each other, We would riority, (history affords the most unremark, then, that we may put our equivocal proof of this assertion,) does selves right with this zealous body her select and more precious work of Christians, that the experience of in the recesses of human bosoms history has proved that the attention thrive. Those, then, who would proof nations must be evoked to the doc- mote this work must not neglect the trines of Christ, for the purpose of other; for God has made them depenenlarging his Church scattered in the dent each on each. The world and midst of the nations ; that the world the Church are correlatives. There is must be provoked to feel an interest no way of ministering to the Church in the subjects of revelation, with an without confronting the world; and express view to the growth of that whilst there is any tendency in the Church; that it is only by recom- intellect of any nation to tower above mending Christian truth to mankind the religion of Christ, and that reli.. at large, that its power can be brought gion does not out-tower this tendency, fairly into action ; that the increase plucking away its arms and beating it of true believers depends upon the with its own weapons, the Gospel increase of professing believers, and must be at a dead lock, unable to adthat of both on the religious agitation vance a single step: of the outward community. Those It is necessary, therefore, for those churches, therefore, whether national who would promote the cause of the or sectarian, must, in our opinion, Saviour, to attack the world. To do ever languish and fall into merited this, one must enter into close quarters contempt and impotency; or, what with it. One must discern the style is worse, into sick, fantastic, feverish of thinking which popularly, among dreams-ipto nightmare horrors and the high and among the low, prevails.