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none of the churches now termed Basilicæ, are edifices which originally bore that name, though a great number of heathen temples, now exist as places of Roman Catholic worship. The term Basilica now implies simply a metropolitan or cathedral church. The number of these cathedrals, I believe, has some reference to the seven golden candlesticks; these edifices enjoy certain high privileges which no others in Rome possess. Among these, is the power of granting, on certain conditions, six thousand years indulgence! They are rich in sacred relics, are among the most magnificent buildings in Rome, and the most important and pompous ceremonies take place within their walls. I was present, a few days ago, at a service which took place at St. John Lateran's, in connexion with an anniversary festival. The bishop and other functionaries of the place were pre sent, and a sermon was preached by a Franciscan friar. The contrast between the preacher and his audience, was singularly striking. The bishop and his satellites sat at the extremity of the tribune, his reverend eminence in the centre, on a raised throne. The monk ascended the pulpit on the outside of the tribune, and having bowed reverently to the large crucifix attached to the edge of the pulpit, he made an inclination to the bishop, and began his discourse. The bishop was decked out in all the splendour of his canonicals,—a white dress; white silk stockings and satin shoes ; an embroidered apron laid across his knees ; his head covered with a white mitre; and his hands with white gloves, ornamented with jewels, rested on the arms of his chair, from whence they were never once moved, from the beginning to the end of the sermon. The monk, on the other hand, habited in his ordinary brown frock and cord; without shirt or stockings; wooden sandals on his feet; and his head closely shorn; was addressing the gaudy bishop, and the crowd surrounding the pulpit, with all the fire and animation of language, and all the vehemence of gesture, which characterize all the Italian orators. His subject was the Condescension of the Saviour, which, he depicted with great eloquence, and then called on his audience to imitate, by devoting themselves to works of charity and self-denial.
The good people of Rome having conducted themselves very well of late, their holy father intends to gratify them this year, by allowing the carnival to take place. For some years past, the fear of political disturbances, has prevented the government from granting permission for the usual fooleries which take place at this season. This year, however, the Pope has issued his bull, a copy of which is now lying on my table, with the papal arms, the tiara and crosskeys, stamped thereon; announcing the regulations to be observed. The Romans are in high glee, and active preparations are making for the various amusements. The city is already very full, but English and other foreigners, are daily flocking in from Naples and Florence, to witness the approaching gaieties. Lent commences, as soon as the carnival is closed, and no public amusements take place after this until Easter.
; Your's, very truly,
MR. BEVERLEY CORRECTED RESPECTING THE MARRIAGES
OF DISSENTERS. In the perusal of Mr. Beverley's book, “ On the visible State of the Church of Christ," I perceive a contrast strongly made on the part of the author between the people called Quakers and other Dissenters, which I conceive to be not quite in accordance with truth. " We have heard much," says the writer, “of the Dissenters' grievances, and the article of marriage is the most prominent on the list, while the Quakers, with a rare exhibition of Christian courage, trusted to the head of the church to protect them in the struggle for the glory of his name in that blessed union which he has made holy and indissoluble : not one instance, no, not one has been recorded of a Baptist or Independent venturing on matrimony without bowing the knce to a priest of the dominant seet.”
Now with deference to Mr. Beverley's assumption, I beg leave to submit the two following documents in reference to the subject alluded to. In the General Baptist Magazine, vol. i. page 453, there is an account of the marriage of the late Rev. Francis Smith with Elizabeth Toone.
The marriage covenant of Francis and Elizabeth Smith (it is engrossed on parchment, stamped with a five shilling stamp.)
"Marriage Covenant. “It having been publicly declared in three several meetings of a congregation of Protestant Dissenters, called Independents, in their licensed meeting-house at Melbourn, in the county of Derby, that there is a marriage intended between Francis Smith, of the parish of Melbourn, and in the county of Derby, batchelor, and Elizabeth Toone, of the parish and county aforesaid, spinster; which publication being agreeable (not only to the just and holy law of God, but also) to the good and wholesome laws of the land, in order that every one concerned may have the opportunity of making all suitable enquiry for his satisfaction, and that nothing may be done clandestinely. And upon due enquiry and deliberate consideration thereof, by the said congregation, it is by them allowed, there being no reason for objection, they both appearing clear of all others, and having also free consent of all persons, whether relations or others.
"Now these are to certify all whom it may concern, that for the accomplishing of their said marriage, they the said Francis Smith and Elizabeth Toone, did this 20th day of August, one thousand seven hundred and fifty three, appear in a public assembly of the aforesaid congregation and others, met together for that purpose, in their meeting house aforesaid; and in a solemn manner, he the said Francis Smith standing up and taking the said Elizabeth Toone by the hand, she also standing up, did publicly declare as follows, viz. Brethren and Sisters, in the fear of the Lord and in the presence of this assembly, whom I desire to be my witnesses, that I Francis Smith, take this our dear sister Elizabeth Toone to be my lawful wife, promising through divine assistance to be unto her a faithful and loving husband, till it shall please the Lord by death to separate us. And then and there in the said assembly, she the said Elizabeth Toone, in like manner taking the said Francis Smith by the hand, did likewise publicly declare as followeth, viz. Brethren and Sisters, in the fear of the Lord and in the presence of this assembly, whom I desire to be my witnesses, that I Elizabeth Toone, take this our dear brother Francis Smith to be my lawful husband, promising through divine assistance to be unto him a loving and faithful wife, until it shall please the Lord by death to separate us.
“ And the said Francis Smith and Elizabeth Toone, as a further confirmation thereof, and in testimony thereunto did then and there set their hands and seals.
Elizabeth Smith. “We whose names are hereunto subscribed (being present among others) at the solemnization of the above marriage, and subscription, in the manner aforesaid, as witnesses thereunto, have also to these presents subscribed our names, the day and year above written. Samuel Harrison. John Alvey.
William Kendrick. Thomas Hutchinson. Nathaniel Pickering. John Whyatt. Abraham Booth, Henry Morley.
Samuel Deacon. Ralph Burrows. Jos. Donisthorpe, Jun. Joseph Donisthorpe. Joseph Fellows. Robert Gregory.
Thomas Robinson. Robert Cheslyn. Thomas Thomson.. Thomas Toone. James Mitchell. Joseph Hollingworth. Robert Brown.
William Kap." The marriage engagement of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, appears to have been entered into on the 20th day of August, 1753. The Marriage Act commenced operations from the 25th day of March, 1754. Had this statute, however, never been enacted, their covenant, it is presumed, it would still have been invalid (so far at least as the civil privileges of the parties were concerned) according to the case of Haydon and Gould, determined in the 9th year of the reign of Queen Anne. There it appeared that Haydon and Rebecca his wife, being Sabbatarians, were married by one of their ministers in a sabbatarian congregation, the form in the prayer book was used, except the ceremony of the ring ; they lived together as husband and wife for seven years, and then Rebecca died. The court held the marriage to be void, and administration of Rebecca's effects was granted by the ecclesiastical court to her next of kin in preference to her reputed husband. And it was observed, that if the same advantages attended marriages, solemnized by Dissenters, as those celebrated by the Established Church, there would then be no occasion for licence or banns, for giving security that there were no legal impediments, but every one who should get himself introduced into a Dissenting Congregation might do what was right in his own eyes. Sidhold's Reports, Page 119.
These instances may be sufficient to show, that Mr. Beverley has been too hasty in his assertions on this subject. Your correspondent wishes he could say as much, respecting his animadversions on the deputies to America. For his castigation of the Wesleyan Missionaries to South Africa, for countenancing (in the affair of the Caffre war,) one of the most flagitious acts of consummate villany, robbery, and murder, that has been heard of in modern times, he is entitled to the thanks of all who duly estimate the eternal principles of Justice, Mercy and Piety.
I am, Sir, Your's respectfully, An EPISCOPALIAN. SOME CAUSES OF THE LIMITED SUCCESS OF CONGREGA
TIONAL CHURCHES.* Those who know the dissenting body must be aware that there are wide districts in which the smallness of our congregations excites much surprise and regret. Unhappily some who murmur at the evil do nothing to remove it, and certainly if all who make the voice of complaint to be heard, would do what they could to mend our affairs, they would soon put on a better aspect. Most unfortunately these complaints are carried to quarters where, instead of doing good, they rather operate to increase the evil. A laborious and faithful pastor is frequently enfeebled and cast down by the comments of his desponding hearers upon their “ thin congregations"-sufficiently distressing without these notes of admiration. The effect is that he goes throngh his work with a heavy heart. His depression precludes the possibility of animation in the pulpit. Those of the public who steal in to hear him are sensible of a dulness about the service which repels further approaches; and at length neighbouring churches hear of a separation, or what is worse, an acknowledgment of its necessity without the means of its being honourably effected. One of the main causes for this unhappy condition of affairs was, that the people forgot one of their first duties to their pastor, viz, to “ encourage him.” So long as he remained faithful, it was theirs to have smoothed every disappointment, and gilded the scene around him with whatever was possible of pleasantness and hope. Had he neglected any thing undonbtedly conducive to usefulness it should have been kindly named; but it is a cruel thoughtlessness for one and another to be ever communicating to him their chagrin, and relieving their dissatisfaction by pouring it into a heart already sufficiently oppressed.
There are other ways of misdirecting these complaints; as when they are obtruded on persons belonging to other denominations of Christians, or of the same body in other towns. In the former case, inferences are most naturally, though perhaps silently, drawn in favour of systems which we believe to be unscriptural; and in the latter a similar dissatisfaction is spread through previously sound parts of the denomination. By both means a notion gets currency, in certain districts, that Independency is declining, and that to join it is to embark in a sinking cause. It is obvious that a system so represented cannot have a due share of public interest and favour. The maxim of the world is, to favour the prosperous, and to side with the strong.
Dissatisfaction is in some districts awakened against the ministry amongst us, because it appears less attractive than that of the Clergy or Methodists. But have we forgotten that there are reasons for the popularity of these bodies, altogether independent of the talent with which their respective pulpits may be occupied ? And assuming
* Without pledging himself to an approval of every statement in the following paper, the Editor thinks it expedient to bring it under the notice of his readers.
that we have the better of both Churchmen and Methodists in argument, what does this avail with the unthinking multitude ? The inducements men are generally in a condition to appreciate are almost entirely on the side of these rival systems. It sufficiently influences the generality that the Church is the religion of their forefathers. It suffices the proud and worldly that it is a government institution, patronized by all the title and fashion, and the larger part of the respectability and wealth of the country. The imposing structures that mark its dominion over the land, the pomp and ceremony of its worship, the absence of any inconvenient scrutiny into the character of its communicants, tell most powerfully with all who think godliness a form, and as such too trivial to merit a sacrifice of interest or ease. Go to church, and the world will commend your prudence. It is not supposed you have troubled yourself further than to obey the law, and follow the fashion. This is the ne quid nimis. Here “ the offence of the cross" ceases. And now between this institution, which has struck its roots so deeply into the soil of prejudice and of interest, what competition for public favour can be maintained by some humble meeting-house, scarcely perhaps a generation old, probably in debt, bearing in part the character of a private edifice, and reputed to be the property of certain families, who have taken an odd fancy of worshipping apart from the community ? Let us suppose that a churchman enters the building. He is struck, perhaps, with the talents of the preacher; he is compelled to respect the men who appear to be its leading supporters ; but may not the service appear to him meagre and unimpressive ? The awe with which he has been impressed beneath the aisles of his old parish church is wanting-there is no organ—the preacher appears in an every day dress—the congregation submit to no uniformity of worshipping posture-and it chances perhaps that some worthy veteran Noncon. walks in, bearing his testimony against the notion of consecrated walls, by wearing his hat till he is within his pew-or some younger and less excusable practitioner in the art of making all things common, asserts the liberty of vehement coughing and similar indecorums. · The rational Independent knows, indeed, that the faults of dissenting worship are trivial compared with its advantages; still more so, weighed against the serious exceptions we take against the liturgical service of the church. But we must not expect our Churchman to view these little matters as indulgently as if he knew the great principles for which we contend. He has not read Graham, or Conder, or Scales, or Redford, or James on Dissent. The case must be viewed as in the absence of any knowledge of these excellent writers, or even a disposition to consult them. And instead of censuring his preference for his own modes of worship, might we not do well to inquire, whether a more reverent and dignified style of service might not be advantageously studied by some of our congregations? Is it scriptural to shock men's prejudices needlessly? Devoted to apostolic models, have we gone as far as we lawfully might, in becoming to the Jew, as a Jew, and to them that are under the law, as under the law? Or in point of strict obligation, have we obeyed the command, that all things be done decently and in order ?