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last week, for the facts of this revolting case. There it will be seen how the unfortunate nuns writhed in the grasp of the Superior and the Bishop before they could be brought to sign the deed which would, as it was supposed, deprive their own family of property and give it to strangers. No matter what their representations or their feelings were, “holy obedience” was the mot d'ordre. Had they not bound their souls by an oath never to have any will but that of their Superiors? The Abbess, or whatever the style might be, could not, as it would appear, succeed in carrying out the little scheme of the confederates. Despite all the admonitions to “sweet docility,” and the invocations of “holy obedience,” the nuns would not be deluded into executing the assignments. Spiritual terrors and bodily flagellations had failed of effect, then the Bishop was called in. Walter Scott is the only English writer who could have done justice to the scene of mixed pathos and buffoonery which .. These poor creatures are introduced into his awful presence, worn out with solicitations and persecution, and under influences they had been taught to consider as most sacred. “Holy obedience” was still the string harped upon. “This little bit of property is too good a thing to let go by the convent,” and the Right Reverend Gentleman pointed, no doubt, to a crucifix, in order to add zest to his admonition. “By virtue of holy obedience I command you to sign these papers.” The poor girls trembled, and muttered something about law. “What's that you say about law? I've got lawyers in my family too. Take the pen, I say, and sign by virtue of your vow of holy obedience!” Now, it must be considered that these words were not addressed to men of strong nerve and knowledge of the world, who would have laughed the impudent imposition to scorn; but to two poor cowering women, who had been carefully trained to attach a mystic meaning to the words. They retreat from the terrible presence of the Bishop, and are consigned again to their own cells, to undergo a fresh round of studied persecutions. Books are thrown in their way, descriptive of the punishment of disobedient nuns,—to be immured in solitary cells in this life, and eternal perdition beyond the grave, and all this that the convent might get “the little bit of property that was too good a thing
to let go by.” It is not often, even in the records of the assizes and the police courts, that so hideous a story as this comes to light. The facts will be found reported in the numbers of this journal we have indicated above. It must be remembered that the Irish Chancellor tendered the convent an issue before a jury to try the question of whether or no the signatures had been obtained under compulsion. Before a jury the convent refused to go. We shudder at the thought of what the fate of these two unfortunate young women will now be. The ...is caused by the disclosure of the way they have been practised upon, will, no doubt, be reckoned to them as a mortal sin, and as a mortal sin it will be punished. Was the book descriptive of the fate of the disobedient nuns thrown in their way for nothing? We will not say that in the middle of the nineteenth century, even on the Black Rock of St. Ursula, two women will not be absolutely subjected to the fate with which they have been very significantly threatened by their superiors, has not the Bishop lawyers in his family What is, perhaps, worst of all is, that we cannot avoid the conclusion that the case of the M’Carthys is one of ordinary occurrence, although the public remain in ignorance of the sufferings of persons in this calamitous situation.
(From the “Examiner.”)
These are very curious and instructive glimpses into the interior of the Ursuline Convent at Black Rock; and we cannot regret the circumstance which has dragged such facts to light at this time. It . not the splendid pageantry of Dr. Wiseman's recent displays at the new cathedral in Southwark, to convince the public that the more daring and energetic leaders of the Roman Catholic clergy in this country are now earnestly jin a systematic struggle to extend the power and influence of their order. The disposition they evince, the efforts they for some years have been making to resuscitate such views of the Roman Catholic faith, and such assumptions of its priests, as have been rebuked and discountenanced by all intelligent laymen of that communion, and by the most spiritually-minded of its clergy for more than a century, find many sympathizers, even in the Reformed Church. A shallow sentimentalism is widely and busily at work to give ascendancy and preference to those views of religion which would substitute impressive ceremonials, and specious works of benevolence, emanating from perverted views of human nature and duties, in the place of purer and more spiritual habits of devotion, and of that obedience to rules of conduct wherein right reason and human feelings are reconciled. It is no mere sectarian question as to the preponderance of the Romish or the Reformed Church that is at issue. Whether common sense and the rights of humanity, or mere Fo pretences and jugglery are to
e established, is the real controversy. The sincere and pious Roman Catholic has the same interest in a right decision as the member of any other Church. To the Roman Catholics themselves, therefore, the appeal will have sooner or later to be made, whether, without resistance, they are prepared to submit to the game which the more designing and unscrupulous of their clergy are playing, more at their expense than at that of any other portion of the community. Throughout the proceedings we have been passing in review, not a whisper, se far as we know, has been uttered against the piety or the orthodoxy of Mr. M'Carthy's family; yet an attempt is unblushingly persevered in to rob them of their property under legal forms, by setting factitious duties in array against natural affection,--by representing a vow as binding, to acts of which the parties swearing were not forewarned, and could not suspect would be exacted from them, —by unfeeling continuous appeals to the fears entertained by timid women, both of spiritual and bodily suffering, and, it may be, by practices yet more secret and compulsory, which it could not be expected that these proceedings should bring to light. However imposing in external deportment, and whatever amount of accidental good may sometimes proceed from it, such a system is necessarily degrading and demoralizing. And who can say how much of the nefarious machinery brought into play in the humble provincial establishment at Black Rock, may not already have been worked successfully to rear those seminaries and cathedrals which are springing up in all parts of the land? We invoke no legislative assistance to defeat this wide-spread and unscrupulous conspiracy against human virtue and human happiness. All that Government or the Legislature can do in such cases is to take care that no imperfections of the law, enabling legal chicane
to lend its aid to the plot, be allowed to continue unreformed. The weapons by which priestly abuse of the religious element in human nature is to be combated, are publicity and fair argument. The very success of such machinations, when known, defeats their own object. The publicity given to the facts of the Black Rock case is a severer blow to the Wisemans and Newmans of the day than a thousand statutes; and it will be long before the Ursuline Convent at Black Rock, so piously vowed to poverty and self-denial, will recover the effect of this greedy attempt to clutch at other people's wealth.
Encouragements to PRAYER.—It is a considerable encouragement unto the duty of prayer, that we cannot come to God therein too oft. We cannot (to speak so) fash him ; nay, the oftener we come, the welcomer will He make us, for He calleth us to “pray evermore,” or “without ceasing.” #. would have us always in a praying frame, standing and begging at his door, and at his door only. Is not this a great encouragement, that howmuchsoever He hath granted us to-day, we will not fare the worse if we go again to-morrow; nay, every hour he will make us welcome. He will take twenty suits off our hand in one hour. Oh! who would not then take pleasure in prayer? We may weary men, and trouble the best of our friends too oft, and be a burden unto them; and the oftener a poor beggar cometh to one man's door, he is not the better served, but rather the worse. . But God's beggars have a happy life; they will never get that answer from Him, “You were answered lately, and you must not be answered always;” but the contrary. He will say unto them, “Got ye your alms lately, and are you come again for a new alms ? well, you shall not be said nay; the oftener you come to me, the welcomer shall you be.”—John Brown, of Wamphray.
CHARITY cover ETH Faults.-Love is like the climbing ivy, firmly clasping in its embrace the oak of the forest, concealing the many scars which the ravages of time have worn into his royal sides. Where love existeth all scandal is unheard, and whatever tendeth to lessen the character of the object loved is covered with a veil.
men, but is even more valuable on account of the varied selections which are made with much judgment, and with a view to practical benefit as well as interesting reading.
Lectures Illustrating the Contrast between true Christianity and various other Systems. By W. B. SPRAgue, D.D., of New York.
This is one of Collins' cheap publications, and is a very acceptable addition to the series. It is a great matter to have foreign theological works, such as Dr. Sprague's Lectures and Vinet's Discourses, brought within reach of every English reader. American and Continental writers describe old subjects from new and different points of view, and there is thus a freshness and originality in their way of treating them. Dr. Sprague's Lectures are powerful and masterly defences of the Christian system, as contrasted with Atheism, Deism, Unitarianism, Romanism, Islamism, Formalism, and other false systems.
Lowe's Edinburgh Magazine for September. Lowe's continues to be an able and popular monthly periodical. The September number contains most interesting articles on “The Niger Expedition,” “The Council of Trent,” “Religious character of general Literature,” together with the usual summary of the literature and science for the month.
Rest in Christ; or, the Crucifta, and the Cross. By J. J. Guillaume, London.
A simple narrative of the experience of some tender spirit who in vain sought rest in the Č. of Rome, but . Was brought at length to the knowledge of Christ, “the solution of all perplexities, the remedy for all diseases, the rest from all conflicts.”
The Eighth King of Babylon the Great. By John B. Knight. Ziegler, Edinburgh.
Of this tract we can give no account, but recommend it to the notice of those who are curious on the subject of prophecy, as containing somestriking remarks on a mysterious topic.
CIVIL AND SPIRITUAL POWER.
—Besides to know Both spiritual power and civil, what each means, What severs each, thou hast learn'd, which few have done: The bounds of either sword to thee we owe : Therefore on thy firm hand religion leans In peace, and reckons thee her eldest son. These lines, from Milton's sonnet to Sir Henry Vane the younger, were quoted and applied very happily by Dr. H. Grey, as Moderator of the Free Church Assembly, in addressing Dr. Chalmers, and giving to him the thanks of the House for some public service.
READY to DEPART.-Some are desirous, others at least content, to quit the world upon very insufficient considerations. There are who desire it, merely to be out of the way of present troubles, whereof they have either too impatient a sense, or an unworthy and impotent fear. Many times the urgency or anguish of trouble impresses such a sense, and utters itself in such language as that, “Now, O Lord, take, I beseech thee, my life from me, for it is better for me to die than live.” “My soul chooseth strangling and death rather than life.” The very fear of troubles, that are yet but threatening, makes some wish the grave a sanctuary, and renders the clods of the valley sweet to their thoughts. But “we are no more to die to ourselves, than to live to ourselves.” Our Lord Jesus hath purchased to himself a dominion over both states of the living and dead, and whether “we live, we must live to him, or whether we die, we must die to him.” It is the glory of a Christian to live so much above the world, that nothing in it may make him either fond of life or weary of it.—Howe.
SETTLE this great truth in your hearts, that no trouble befals the Church but by the permission of Zion's God; and he permits nothing, out of which he will not bring much good at last, to his people. There is truly a principle of quietness in the o as in the commanding hand of God. See it in David, “Let him alone, it may be God hath bidden him " (2 Sam. xvi. 10); and in Christ,-" Thou couldest have no power over me, except it were given thee from above.”—Flavel.
As charity requireth forgetfulness of evil deeds, so patience requireth forgetfulness of evil accidents. I will remember evils past, to humble me, not to vex me.—Bishop Hall.
There is a congeniality betwixt the new nature of a believer and the holy law of God which makes it as his meat and drink to be doing the will of his Father in heaven. He is not dragged like a slave to his task, for the love of Christ constraineth him thus to judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead, and that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them and rose again. He therefore feels obedience to be not only a duty, but a delightful duty. He loves the law of the Lord because it is congenial to his renewed moral constitution, and his chief happiness is derived from yielding himself up a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. He feels, indeed, the movements of a law in his members warring against the law in his mind, and this, makes him cry out with the apostle, “Oh wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” But, on the other hand, when he experiences that enlargement of soul, for which the Psalmist prayed, in virtue of which he is enabled to run with ardour and alacrity in the way of the commandments, he enjoys the purest and most ecstatic pleasure which is felt on this side of time. He has a heaven upon earth; a sacred foretaste of that celestial blessedness which awaits him in a better world. In these circumstances he is ready to say with Peter on the Mount of Transfiguration, “Lord, it is good to be here,” and could he retain for ever this pure and holy frame of mind, he would not cast one wishful look on any earthly object or breathe, one covetous desire after any terrestrial enjoyment, finding a full and satisfying fruition in the pursuit and the cultivation of moral rectitude. But the golden hours in which he enjoys this celestial elevation are often few and far between. Still, however, it is sufficient to prove the congeniality of his mind with the holy law of God that it is his constant tendency to press towards perfection in holiness, and vigorously to resist the encroachments of a body of sin and death. He is in his element when he can serve God with all his heart and soul and strength, , when he can pray with the greatest fervency of devotion, and praise Him with the profoundest sense of gratitude, and love Him with the deepest intensity of affection. And though
perfect holiness be unattainable on earth and perfect happiness be therefore impossible here, there is a begun blessedness proportionate to the begun purity and holiness of believers on earth. The know by sweet experience that wisdom's ways are ways of pleasantness, and that all her paths are peace. They have a joy with which a stranger doth not intermeddle, and however imperfect in its degree, it is the same in kind with that joy which thrills the spirits of angels and just men made perfect, who serve God in the beauty of unsullied holiness. They have not yet arrived in heaven, and yet their heaven is begun. They have the righteousness and the peace o appertain to the kingdom of heaven already established in . hearts. They have communion with the invisible and triumphant Church, because engaged in a work which is essentially the same as theirs, and possessed of pleasures which are essentially the same. They have thus already come unto Mount Zion, and unto the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, and to the spirits of just men made perfect. And the effect of righteousness, or of doing the commandments, is found by them to be peace, and the end quietness and assurance for ever.—The Rev. D. Munro, North Sunderland, Northumberland.
THE TRUTH OF THE BIBLE CORROBORATED.
The title of this paper may possibly remind some of the curt and testy remark of George III, when told that Bishop Watson had published an apology for the Bible. “An apology for the Bible ! I thought that was the last book that required one.” Great weight, however, has always attached to evidences establishing the truth of the Bible and Christianity which are furnished from an indirect source. By a species of perversity, into the causes of which it is needless here to inquire, the attestation of miracles, the credibility of witnesses, whose testimony exposed them to obloquy and persecution and death, are less appreciated than the casual corroboration of some portion of sacred history by a profane author. Thus much account is made of the fact that Tacitus narrates that Christ was con
demned and crucified by Pontius Pilate
while Governor of Judea; that Porphyry, Hierocles, and Julian, admit many miraculous cures to have been performed by Christ; and that Phlegon records his having foretold many things that came to pass. The census ordered by Augustus Caesar (Luke ii. 1), the coincidence of which caused the fulfilment of a prophecy as to our Saviour's birthplace, is mentioned by three profane writers, Tacitus, Suetonius, and Dion Cassius. Chalcidicus notices the appearance of the new star. The slaughter of “the young children " is mentioned by Macrobius, and that Christ had been in Egypt by Celsus. Indirect evidences of a most convincing kind are also furnished from natural and monumental sources. Few events in Old Testament history make a clearer and deeper impression than the conflict between David, the stripling, and Goliath, the giant. (1 Sam. xvii.) The weary traveller, as he journeys from Bethlehem to Jaffa, still pauses in the valley of Elah to refresh himself from the brook that still runneth in the way, and which once divided the hostile armies of the Israelites and the Philistines.—“Its present appearance,” says a traveller, “answers exactly to the description given in Scripture, the two hills on which the armies stood entirely confining it on the right and left. The valley is not above half a-mile broad. Tradition was not required to identify this spot. Nature has stamped it with everlasting features of truth. The brook still flows through it in a winding course, from which David took the smooth stones.” Another instance of the same kind of evidence must here suffice. It is the rock in Horeb, which Moses smote, and whence issued the miraculous stream of water to supply the fainting Israelites. It is thus described by the author of “Letters from the East:”—“We came to the celebrated rock of Meribah. It still bears striking evidence of the miracle about it, and it is quite isolated in the midst of a narrow valley, which is here about 200 yards broad. There are four or five fissures, one above the other, on the face of the rock, each of them about a foot-and-a-half long, and a few inches deep. What is remarkable, they run along the breadth of the rock and are not rent downwards; they are more than a foot asunder, and there is a channel worn between them by the gushing of the waters. The Arabs still reverence this rock.” Thus it is that the book of nature is in perfect harmony