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TRANSACTIONS OF THE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCHES
AT HOME AND ABROAD. GENERAL CONVENTION OF CONGREGATIONAL AND PRESBYTERIAN
MINISTERS IN THE STATE OF VERMONT, N. A. This Convention comprises 12 Associations, and 198 churches. The number of church members is 21,585, being a net increase, during the past year, of 1316 persons. This important body held its annual meeting at Castletown, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 1836. The meeting was opened with an able sermon by the Rev. Mr. Buckham, from 2 Cor. iv. 5. The Rev. Charles Walton, of Brattleborough, was chosen moderator; and Messrs. Seldon and Hodges appointed scribes. There was a larger number of delegates present than had been known for many years, and an unusual proportion of the most able ministers in the state of Vermont.
We are particular in making these statements to our readers, that they may appreciate the importance of the proceedings of the Convention on the anxious question of American Slavery. A letter from The Congregational Union of Scotland was read, accompanied by the Resolutions which were proposed by Dr. Wardlaw at the last annual meeting of that body in Edinburgh.* These documents were referred to a Committee of the Convention, consisting of the Rev. Professor Wheeler, D.D., Rev. J. F. Goodhere, and the Hon. William Slade, who subsequently presented the following Report on Slavery :
« The Committee, to whom was referred the communication from the Congregational Union of Scotland on the subject of slavery, beg leave to report as follows:
" That while we would reciprocate the kind and Christian feelings expressed in their letter to the Congregational Churches of Vermont, we would say, that slavery, as a subject of legislation, is not within the jurisdiction of the state government under which we live, nor of the national government, with the exception of the district of Columbia and the territories of the United States. In relation to the district of Columbia, the citizens of our state have long been desirous, and have often expressed that desire in petitions, that the national government would abolish slavery and the slave trade within its bounds.
" The evil and the wickedness pertaining to the system of slavery in any of our states seem to us enormous, and as such, calls for the most solemn consideration of the wisest statesmen and the most devoted philanthropists. We cannot regard it in any other light than as the most portentous evil that threatens our country, and as such we earnestly recommend to all a consideration of the subject in the light of our Saviour, that in all things we should do unto others as we would that they should do unto us; and also in the light of the historical certainty, that the institution, as it now exists, will (under the government of God), work out for all who tolerate it in principle, not only individual injustice, impurity, and crime, but national wretchedness, and final ruin.
“ In accordance with the wishes expressed in the communication from Scotland, we would make known the feeling of our transatlantic brethren to our churches, by requesting a publication of their communication in the columns of the Vermont Chronicle.
“ Resolved, that a copy of the foregoing be communicated by the register to the Congregational Union of Scotland. All which is respectfully submitted.
J. WHEELER, for the Committee." The adoption of this Report was moved by the Rev. Thos. A. Merrill, and seconded by the Rev. W. C. Burnap, which was supported by an able speech of the Hon. William Slade, which we regret we have not room to insert. “After a few verbal corrections, the Report was adopted unanimously, affording one proof, amongst many that it is in our power to produce, that our Christian brethren in America are not so apathetical on the question of slavery as some persons have represented.
* Inserted in the Congregational Magazine for June, 1836, p. 389. N. S. VOL. I.
CORRESPONDENCE WITH THE EVANGELICAL CHURCHES ON THE
CONTINENT. As it is one object of The Congregational Union of England and Wales "lo establish fraternal correspondence with Congregational churches and other bodies of Christians throughout the world," the Committee were for a long time anxious to obtain some appropriate method of communication with their beloved brethren in France, Switzerland, Germany, and Holland. Having ascertained that their valued brother, the Rev. Joseph Turnbull, B. A. of Brighton, intended to visit those countries during the past summer, they gladly availed themselves of his gratuitous services to circulate amongst foreign Protestant ministers the “ Declaration of Faith and Church Order," and the other publications of “the Union,” and to convey to them the assurances of our affectionate sympathy and constant prayers.
How effectively Mr. Turnbull has fulfilled that commission, will be seen from the letters which he has addressed to the Secretaries ; the first of which we are now happy to lay before our readers.
“ Brighton, 17th August, 1836. "To the Secretaries of the Congregational Union of England and Wales. " Dear BRETHREN,
“ Having, by the protecting providence of God, accomplished the continental tour which I contemplated, I proceed to inform the Committee of the Union the result of my inquiries and arrangements on their behalf.
“ The objects which I endeavoured to keep constantly in view, were two :first, to ascertain the existence and state of true Christians in France, Switzerland, Germany, and Holland : secondly, to make some preliminary arrangements for the establishment of a fraternal relation with them, in connexion with the Union.
“It afforded me much pleasure to learn, that I had lately been preceded in my course by brethren from England, Scotland, and America, * having similar objects in view.
" On my arrival in Paris, I was much disappointed to find that my old friend and school-fellow, the Rev. Mark Wilks, was in England. His return being daily expected, I remained in Paris several days beyond the period which I had allotted for that place; but as he did not arrive, I was reluctantly compelled to proceed. It was my privilege, however, to have several communications with Mr. Mackenzie, who represented Mr. Wilks, and with whom I deposited some copies of the Declaration and the Addresses of the Union, for circulation in Paris and other parts of France. Mr. Mackenzie, like Mr. Wilks, has taken up bis residence in Paris, that he may employ his time and talents in promoting works of charity and piety among the French people. Mr. Mackenzie is, at present, engaged in composing a Concordance to the French Bible, a work which is a great desideratum in that country. He entered very cordially into the objects and plan of the Union, and promised to co-operate with Mr. Wilks and others in any arrangements which might be considered useful for carrying into effect the purposes of the Union with respect to France.
« As the annual meetings of the Paris Bible Society, Missionary and Tract Societies, and of the Société Evangélique de France, take place in the month of April, that would be the proper time of the year for the commencement of any systematic correspondence. If the Committee should appoint some member of the Union to meet our brethren of France assembled on those anniversaries at Paris, some arrangement for the future would probably be established. The Evangelical among French Protestants are almost all represented on that occasion, and especially in the meeting of the Société Evangélique de France ; and,
# Viz. the Rev. Dr. Sprague, of Albany, Rev. David King, of Glasgow, and Captain Hall, of Plymouth.
although that is not strictly an ecclesiastical society, yet nearly all its members are in church-communion, and, as far as I can judge, it seems the only existing medium in France for holding that general fellowship with the churches and pastors there which the Union desires : beside, it is the Home Missionary Society of France, and is more naturally allied in its character to our institution.
"All the Evangelical meetings of Paris are now held in the Chapel of the Rue Taitbout, which may be considered as the concentration of all the Protestant Evangelical Institutions of France. The chapel is situated near the most frequented part of the Boulevards, and was formerly a theatre. It will contain upwards of five hundred persons, and the morning service, held in the French language, is attended by about half that number. The afternoon service is in English, when, of course, the congregation is much less numerous. Messrs. Audebez and Grand-Pierre have the pastoral care of the morning congregation, and Mr. Wilks has the charge of that in the afternoon, Communications on the business of the Union may be addressed officially to M. Audebez, Pasteur.
“ From all that I have heard of M. Frederic Monod, one of the pastors of the Reformed Church of the Oratoire, in Paris, I should think that he would prove to be a cordial friend to our Union, and an able auxiliary. I called upon him, but found he was absent from home,
** During the two Sabbaths which I spent in Paris, I endeavoured to attend as many religious services as possible, both Catholic and Protestant. Among others, I heard the Rev. Mr. Newstead, a Wesleyan minister, who has two rooms in the Rue d'Anjou, Faubourg St. Honoré, and who preaches morning and evening in English to a congregation of about a hundred persons.
“ The chapel at the Marboeuf, erected by Mr. Lewis Way, is now occupied by the Rev. W. Lovett, an Episcopal and Evangelical minister from England, and, as I understand, is well attended. The church of the Oratoire is not filled. At the morning service which I attended, there were not more than three hundred persons. These were mostly females. Such, however, was the case in all the places of worship in Paris which I visited. I should think five or six women for one man. This is very striking in the principal Catholic churches; but in them it is easily accounted for, as every thing which art can devise is employed to operate on the senses and the passions. The whole is dramatic. The deep tragedy of the Crucifixion is performed with all the aids of appropriate scenery, the most exquisite and soul-thrilling music, and wellpractised actors. The men are to be found on the Sabbath morning at the cafés, billiard-tables, and such places, and in the latter part of the day at the theatres, and public gardens, which open as soon as the churches and the shops are closed. So that the day is entirely devoted either to business or to pleasure. Infidelity is here undisguised. There can be no mistake. It is impossible to doubt that there is as much reason for a christian mission to Paris as to Calcutta.
“ After a residence of ten days in Paris, I proceeded immediately to Lyons, passing by steam down the beautiful river Saône from Chalons. I arrived, after å fatiguing journey of four days, in time to spend the Sabbath with my friend the Rev. Adolphe Monod ; son of the late M. Monod, president of the Consistory of the Reformed at Paris, and brother of the Rev. Fred. Monod, beforementioned. Having held some previous correspondence with M. Monod on the subject of his church affairs, and his lady being English and a particular friend of my own, I was at once at home. I had long felt extremely interested in the peculiar situation of M. Monod, and earnestly desired to converse with him and see exactly how he was proceeding. This desire was fully gratified during a visit of six days, on every one of which I enjoyed the pleasure of his interesting company. He is, surely, a light shining in a dark place, and I am happy to say, that many are rejoicing in his light.
« Lyons, the city of Irenæus and the martyrs, is now one of the strong holds of Romanism in its most inveterate forms, and which maintains an extensive sway over a great portion of the female population. I had the opportunity of visiting nearly all the principal churches of this busy and populous city, during the Sabbath services, which commence so early as five in the morning, and continue without intermission until the same hour in the evening; and I happened to witness one of those splendid and imposing processions, which the priests, in opposition to the law of France, have renewed of late in this city. At first, the procession was confined to the interior of the church; then it crept out meekly and softly into the adjoining street, and finding that the authorities did not interpose, it then stepped out boldly into the public square, where I saw it passing on the Sabbath afternoon, in all the pomp and circumstance' of its prototype at Rome. It was in honour of St. Peter himself, and therefore the whole establishment of the church and convent was put into requisition-girls and boys in white, chanting hymns-youths in white, tossing censers—the choir in gorgeous suits like the heralds' tabards, with instruments of music—the priests in their robes, bearing tapers, banners, crucifixes of massive silver and last, but not least, the little pope himself, clothed in golden apparel, under a splendid canopy borne by attendant priests.
“A multitude of men, women, and children, formed in lines, seemed much interested in the spectacle, and there were certainly more men to witness it, than had attended in all the churches of the city throughout the day. As a specimen I may quote the attendance at St. Just, one of the finest churches in Lyons, which consisted of about 650 women and girls, 30 men, and 50 boys. Here you see in abundance those objets de devotion which are but little known in Paris, little waxen models of arms, legs, heads, and other parts of the body, placed before the shrine of our Lady, or some favourite suintess, to indicate the devout acknowledgment of the worshipper for some miraculous cure. The old women drive a good trade in beads, crucifixes, arms, legs, and little candles; and the priests have a tarif for indulgences and offices of religion, which makes it somewhat expensive to go to heaven by their road. They have, as it were, in triumph over the whole subjugated city, placed an inscription over the door of the church at Fourvieres, the highest and most conspicuous point of the whole city, ascribing its preservation from the cholera to the intercession of the Virgin. It runs thus:
" ( A. N. D. Fourvieres. “ • Lyon reconnaissant d'avoir été par son intercession préservé du cholera en
MDCCCXXXII et MDcccxxxv.' " In professed opposition to this stream of superstition there is one protestant temple, situated in the centre of the city, having three pastors for the congregation, which is inconsiderable in numbers, though possessing some of the most wealthy merchants of the place. This branch of the reformed churches of France is, however, but dry and little profitable; the pastors are opposed to evangelical religion; and, as they make no efforts against Romanism, so Romanism has no quarrel with them.
“ It is against Adolphe Monod that both parties have a pique; and not without cause. M. Monod was for many years one of the pastors of the reformed church at Lyons, and for some time president of the consistory. His faithful evangelical ministry was the means of awakening considerable attention to the truths of the gospel, and of the conversion of many, both Catholics and Protestants, so called. On this account, a systematic opposition arose to his ministry from both quarters. The consistory, at length, took occasion from his public declaration, that he would not administer the Lord's Supper to persons of immoral life, to deprive him of his station; and, after considerable delay, the government ratified their decision. On this event, M. Monod had the offer of the theological chair at Geneva, among the unestablished reformed, and also a call from a protestant church at Lausanne. But the most disinterested and conscientious motives determined his stay at Lyons, to feed the flock' which the Great Shepherd had placed under his spiritual care. The history of his privations, trials, and sacrifices for the truth of Christ in Lyons, is in perfect accordance with that of the primitive preachers and pastors of the church. His