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The New Zealand Evangelist

Religious Intelligence

Religious Intelligence.

Popish Delusion.

The Pope has just issued a letter to his subjects, which he concludes in the following terms:—“In fulfilment of our duty, as the Supreme Pontiff, we humbly and devoutly invoke the great Mother of Mercy, that, through her intercession, the whole City and State of Rome may be saved from the wrath of the Omnipotent God.” It would not be easy to carry the infatuation of error much further! God—the eternal triune God—is represented as a God of wrath; Mary, as the only Mediator, and the great source of mercy; the only refuge to which the poor old man has recourse in his distress. Can we wonder at his humiliations and sufferings, who loses sight of the fact that God is love; that the Incarnate Word is the only Mediator between God and man; and that page 56 there is no authority for believing that Mary is any more than a sinner saved by grace!

Endowmet [sic: Endowment] of the Irish Priesthood.—

A gentleman in London, to whom we have been repeatedly indebted for early and important intelligence, writes us as follows:—“An accurate man, who knows the fact, tells me the Popish Establishment Bill is already prepared. Its principle, I have reason to believe, is taking from the Protestants to give the Catholics.”

Dissenting Colleges, London.—

Some time ago a movement was made among the Professors of the Dissenting Colleges in London, to unite their various small societies into one respectable college. A practical shape has just been given to this movement by notices having been given of an intention to apply next session for an Act of Parliament to unite the colleges of Homerton and Highbury, with power for any other college to join in the contemplated union.

The West Riding.

The West Riding of Yorkshire has again been the field on which a great principle—not Reform or Free Trade, but Protestantism, or rather Evangelism—has been contended for. The avowed intention of the present Government to endow Popery in Ireland, and the unequivocal desires that the leading men of both the great parties in the state have repeatedly shown, to go to Rome for help in their difficulties with the Irish, have roused up to great activity the protestant feeling of the Empire, but not so much the political as the evangelical protestantism of the country. At almost every recent election the strength of parties has been tried on this question.

The death of the Earl of Carlisle, and the elevation of his son, Lord Morpeth, to the peerage, caused page 57 a vacancy in the West Riding. The Whig party brought forward Mr. Fitzwilliam, third son of Earl Fitzwilliam; but from this gentleman's youth, and his indecision upon the endowment of Popery, his friends soon saw that there was no prospect of his being returned, and he withdrew. The Religious or Evangelical party brought forward Sir Culling E. Eardley, the President of the Evangelical Alliance, and the Treasurer of the London Missionary Society; a man of unquestioned piety, and thoroughly conversant with the Popish controversy. The secular political parties, Whig and Tory, coalesced, and brought forward Mr. Denison, a moderate conservative, highly respected as a legislator, and who formerly represented the county, but was ousted at last election by Mr. Cobden. Against this powerful combination of secular interests, the simply religious principle appeared to have little chance in the struggle. At the close of a keen contest the parties stood thus, in round numbers; Mr. Denison, 15,000 votes; Sir Culling Eardley, 12,000. But although Sir Culling was defeated, Protestantism was triumphant; Mr. Denison, in order to secure his return, pledged himself, in the strongest manner, to oppose the endowment of Popery in Ireland.

In watching the progress of events, nothing appears more evident, than that religion, true and false, is becoming every year more earnest, and a more important and tangible element in society—that the party or statesman, who overlooks it, is counting without his host—and that the church or the christian, that is indifferent, will soon disappear from the contest. Constituencies are becoming more and more alive to the importance of securing “good men,” as much as “good measures.” They are becoming more and more convinced of the value of sound religious principles and high moral character —and that these qualities, so generally prized in domestic servants, are still more valuable in the servants of the state. Other things being equal, the best men will always make the best patriots.

page 58

Secession of the Hon. Rev. Baptist W. Noel.

No event that has occurred for a considerable time has excited so much interest among all denominations of Christians as the secession from the English Establishment of the Hon. and Rev. Baptist W. Noel, of the proprietory Chapel St. John's, Bedford Row, London, which took place in December last. The following are the leading particulars connected with this deeply interesting event. We are told it was not Mr. Noel's intention to leave the Church until Midsummer next, in order that due time might have been allowed his people to choose a successor, and make the necessary arrangements for carrying on the schools and the various religious and charitable institutions maintained by his congregation, but the Bishop of London sent for the hon and rev. gentleman, and after ascertaining from him that the reports of his intention to secede from the Church were true, at once intimated to him that he would be prohibited from preaching again in any church or chapel within the diocese of London. Mr. Noel, on receiving this intimation, said, in the most respectful manner, that he could not consent to act in accordance with the prohibition, as he had not yet spoken to his congregation in their collective capacity on the subject of his intended secession. The bishop said he was determined to enforce the prohibition. It was eventually agreed that Mr. Noel should be permitted to preach on the next Sabbath, in his chapel, on the understanding that he was no longer to officiate as a minister of the Church of England. Severe reflections have been made by the public press upon the Bishop of Loudon, for the indecent haste with which he precipitated this separation. When Puseyite clergymen in scores are hastening to Rome, all lenity and every indulgence are shewn them; and they quit the Establishment at their own convenience. page 59 But when an Evangelical clergyman proposes to leave it in an opposite direction, he is scarcely permitted to take a formal farewell of his flock.

On Sabbath the 3rd of December, Mr. Noel preached his farewell sermons to his congregation. As was to be expected, the chapel was crowded to excess during both the morning and evening services. At the close of one of his discourses the rev. gentleman addressed the following very striking remarks to those whom curiosity might have brought that day, and said, “What do you come here to see? You come here to see the separation of a pastor and his flock, between a minister and his people, who have loved one another, and been long united. Have you asked yourselves why they are to be separated? There is but one answer—it is because there is such a thing as truth; because truth is supreme; because we owe to it an undivided homage and allegiance. It is because there is such a thing as conscience, which sits in judgment on truth, and, therefore, pronounces what we are to do in accordance with truth. It is this which has produced separation between those who have long loved one another and acted together; and, if you live in the world capable of discerning the truth, but without consciences to embrace it, having come here this day to see the spectacle of a separation, grievious ou many accounts, which conscience has enforced, go back, I beg of you, to your homes, and ask yourselves, ought you not to be men of conscience, soldiers of truth, and righteous servants of the Most High?”

Before the end of the month Mr. Noel's reasons for seceeding were published, in the form of an “Essay on the Union of Church and State,” being an octavo volume of 600 pages. Its publication has produced an immense sensation. It has furnished occasion for a vast display of excited feelings on all sides.

The Watchman says:—

This gentleman's book has come down, like a tornado upon our page 60 religious literature. Notices, reviews, extracts, wholesale citations, flood, and almost swamp, the columns of the organs of all parties and churches,—Free, Presbyterian, Independent, and Established. To be quite silent about it is scarcely within the power of any public journalist. Yet the Record tells us, that it is compacted of “one enormous fallacy;” and if an irreligious judge may be thought the most impartial, here is the estimate of a writer who may obviously lay claim to that character:—

“Mr Noel is the John Bunyan of the present day, without the stern will, the excursive imagination, the vigorous conception, the masculine style of the old Puritan. But he is equally pious, almost equally ignorant of everything beyond the text of the sacred volume; equally incapable of seeing anything beyond a small cluster of dogmas; equally determined to stick to the baldest literal translation which the words will allow; equally unconscious of any large purpose which Christianity has to accomplish, Christianity with him means nothing more than the preaching of the doctrine of justification by faith to a select few, within the four walls of a chapel, It has nothing to do with the civilisation of the world, the emancipation of the intellect, the happiness of the race upon earth.”

We give this paragraph form, the Daily News, without mutilation; because it is just what the Record took care to leave out in quoting the judgement of the London liberal press upon Mr. Noel. It displayed too openly the animus of the writer as a religious critic; it sneered too daringly at the doctrine of justification by faith; and (without considering the injustice done to John Bunyan) too offensively misrepresented the religious manifestations, and well known universal Christian sympathies of one of the most catholic-spirited minds of our age.

Mr. Noels's book is written under the influence of warm and fresh feeling, and consequently in a spirited and telling style. Its illustrations, and some of its statistics, are new and modern; but the argumentation, as we last week stated, can seldom partake of the same characteristics; and the mere controversy is not greatly furthered. The question then is, how has it come to arouse such excited feeling on both sides, till all the welkin resounds with belligerents? Much must, undoutedly, be attributed to Mr. Noel's talents, piety, and eminent standing in the Church, and to the influence which he wielded within, and especially without, her pale. But more, probably, is due to the singularity of his position. Here is an ordained son of the Anglican Church who, having retired from her ranks, on this vital quarrel, has raised the hand, which had distributed the sacred elements to one fold of her flock, against her organisation and her national supremacy.

The British Banner says:—

The appearonce [sic: appearance] of the volume will, probably, be an era in the history of the Church; for no such book ever before came from the hands of an English Churchman. It was worth while to be born, to submit to the toils of intellectual culture, and the acquisition page 61 of experimental wisdom, and to live in this atmosphere of siu and misery for some fifty years, to produce such a volume; and the man who has done this, should he do no more, has proved himself an incalculable benefactor to his country, his race, and the Church of the living God.

The Church and State Gazette says:—

To Republicans, to Dissenters, to Non-conformists of every shape, colour, and denomination, this book will impart a species of frantic gladness. The word to use it, as a means of assailing the Constitution as in Church and State established, has already been given in the enemy's quarters. The Anti-Church-and-Throne agitators have been already recommended to employ it as an engine of offence against our sacred and social institutions by their most rabid organ—a journal for ever execrable.”

The Non-Conformist says:—

All the circumstances connected with its publication serve to enhance its interest and value. The writer is well known to fame. His aristocratic descent—his position for a quarter of a century as a clergyman of the Establishment—his unquestioned and eminent piety—his rare candour—his gentleness of temper—his eatholicity of spirit, and his devotednens to all the high ends of his calling, have always secured for the effusions of his pen a large amount of public attention. From that elevated post which he had so long occupied with unblemished and growing reputation, we have seen him voluntarily descend, in simple obedience to the dictates of his conscience, renounce his connexion with the Establishment, and retire, for a season, into the seclusion of private life. There cannot be a doubt that such a step has cost such a man many a pang. He must have parted with much that he loved —he must have looked forward to much which he would have wished to avoid—and the noiseless, modest, single-hearted mode in which he has made so great a sacrifice must have cut him off from many of those supports which, in similar cases, the Old Adam within us is glad to enjoy. The convictions which have impelled him, therefore, must needs be deep and powerful. What are they? Whence do they spring? By what views, arguments, modes of reasoning, intellectual and spiritual tendencies, are they produced? To these questions the book before us supplies a copious answer.

Different readers and different parties have formed, and will form, different opinions respecting the merits of the question, the force of the writer's argumentation, and the prudence of the step that Mr. Noel has taken. We think, however, that there can be only one opinion among all christians at least, of the truly catholic spirit in which the book is written. Let the following extracts from the Preface and conclusion serve as specimens:—

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“Still more anxious am I to do justice to my beloved and honoured brethren, the evangelical members of the establishment.— Having acted with them for many years, I can speak of their principles with confidence, Numbers of them, whose names I should rejoice to mention here with honour, are as sincere in adhering to the Establishment as I wish to be in quitting it. Of many of them I am convinced that they surpass me in devotedness to Christ, worthy successors of Romaine and John Venn, of Newton, Cecil, and Thomas Scott, of Robinson, and of Simeon. I hope that, remaining conscientiously in the Establishment, they will have the respect and affection of all good men. May they enjoy increasing comfort and usefulness to the end of their ministry!—While I condemn a State prelacy freely, I honour each pious prelate: while I mourn the relation of godly pastors to the State, I no less rejoice in their godliness.

Since many will hold back from even an examination of truths which entail momentous consequences to themselves, each disciple of Christ who ascertains the separation of the Churches from the State to be his Master's will, must count it an honour to serve him singly, if need be, in this conflict. Great events in history have waited on the actions of a few intrepid men. Hampden by his resolute resistance to an act of tyranny, awoke in his countrymen the spirit which secured our liberties. The gallantry of Clive saved our Indian empire. Luther long thought and laboured almost alone. The extensive revival of the last century was owing, under God, to Wesley and Whitfieeld, with very few companions. Let each member of the Establishment, therefore, who comprehends this duty, determine that he will, without waiting for the decision of others, do his utmost in the name of Christ to secure the freedom of the Anglican Churches from the shackles of the State. Members of congregations, who already maintain your ministers in connection with the Union, by which your own functions are abandoned and your own sacred rights, by declaring that you will be free. A few such instances in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, and Birmingham, would awaken the whole nation to their duty.

With greater confidence I address my brethren of the Free Churches. There should be no longer disunion or sloth. Independents and Baptists, Wesleyans, and members of the Free Church of Scotland, let us all, with united voices, from Caithness to Cornwall, claim, in the name of Christ, the Christian liberty of the British Churches; and this generation may yet see accomplished a second Reformation more spiritual and not less extensive than the first.

Above all, let us take care to fulfil this duty in a Christian spirit. No religious cause requires irreligious means for its advancement. Let us disgrace ourselves by no railing, condemn all personal invective, and be guilty of no exaggeration, for these are the weapons of the weak and unprincipled; but uniting with all those who love the Redeemer, let us recognise with gratitude every work of the Spirit within the Establishment as well as without it. And page 63 with much prayer, with constant dependence on the Holy Spirit, with a supreme desire to glorify God, and with an abundant exercise of faith, hope, and love, which are our appropriate armour in every conflict, let us persevere in our efforts, till the blessing of God renders our triumph a decisive step towards the evangelisation of the whole world.

Working Men's Sabbath Essays.

On Wednesday, Dec. 27, a meeting very numerously attenched, was held in the large rooms, Exeter Hall, for the announcement of the adjudication and distribution of prizes to the successful competitors for the best essays, by working men, on the temporal advantages of the Sabbath to the labouring classes. Lord Ashley presided. The Report stated that there were three prizes of £26, £15, and £10, the gift of John Henderson of Glasgow; and about seventy-seven prizes of £6. For these 1015 competitors appeared, and, amongst them, a labourer's daughter, who wrote the “Pearl of Days,” of which 16,000 copies have been sold. By the terms of the preliminary announcement, however, she could not receive a prize. The Report stated, that the essays generally displayed much theological knowledge, elevated moral sentiment, and considerable scientific attainments.

The Rev. E. Bickersteth moved the first resolution:—

“That the Report of the adjudicators, affords a very gratifying view of the results of the attempt which had been made to call forth the energies and exertions of the labouring classes in defence of their Sabbath rights and privileges; and that these results are evidences the most hopeful for promoting the better observance of the Lord's day than have yet been made.”

In the course of his remarks, the Rev. gentleman said, that he attributed the freedom from anarchy which this country enjoyed, as compared with the nations of the Continent, to the better observance on the part of the people of the Lord's day. The Government were now the only licensed traders in the country on the Lord's day. It was true that the money order business of the Post Office had been given up, but they wanted a Post Office Sabbath throughout the whole world.

The Rev. A. Thomson, B.A., of Edinburgh, on seconding the Resolution, said, I learn from my excellent friend, who has read the Report, that among the competitors for prizes, no fewer than 800 out of the total number of 1045, who have competed, have been Englishmen; and thus from England, and from workingmen of English birth, has started forth an eloquent claim for the observance of the Sabbath day as at once Heaven's gift and Englishmen's right. The Scottish Sabbath! You might as well call the Bible the Scottish Bible, or the Sun the Scottish Sun, as the Sabbath the Scottish Sabbath. The Sabbath is of all times and of all climes; it is a thing for all ages and conditions of men; it is like page 64 the blue firmament above us, encircling all and embracing all, and pouring down refreshing showers and noiseless dews upon every land. It is not the antiquated custom of some particular nation; but it is God's holy charter to the whole earth.

Dr. Cunningham, of Edinburgh, in a long and eloquent speech moved the second resolution.

The Rev. J. A. James seconded the resolution, which was carried unanimously. He believed that the Sabbath was the main prop of Christianity in every country. He believed that no other country in the world could have produced the same amount of religious mind. This was the result of their Sunday-school teaching, of their Tract and Bible Societies. Those were the true friends of the working classes, who endeavoured to preserve the Sabbath for them, and they were their traitors and destroyers who would take away from them, under any pretext whatever, the Lord's day.

Whatever may be the views or fears of some, there is certainly more intelligence, more education, and more piety among the working classes, than we had been accustomed to suppose. There is another fact, that neither intellect nor religion are sectarian, that both the intellect and piety refuse denominational distinctions, refuse to be called church of England, Methodist or Dissenting. In these papers there are writers of all denominations. As twenty of them belong to Birmingham, I know something of their circumstances also. Only think of a lad crying “Hot rolls,” before breakfast, and earning a few shillings a week in that occupation, then laying down, his basket, eating one of his unsold wares for his breakfast, and then sitting down to write an Essay on the Sabbath, a delightful novelty indeed!

A prayer was then offered up by the Rev. Dr. Steane, after which the Rev. J. Jordan announced that the first prize of £25 was awarded to John Allan Quinton, compositor, of Ipswich; the second to John Younge, shoemaker, of St. Boswell's, Roxburgshire; the third to David Farquhar, mechanic, of Dundee. Amongst the successful £5 prizemen were two or three labourers and an old sailor, who was at present in the Union Work House, Cambridge.

In delivering Prince Albert's ten prizes, the chairman said, he was directed by His Royal Highness Prince Albert to deliver his ten prizes, and at the same time to express the deep satisfaction he felt, and he (Lord Ashley) might add the extreme satisfaction of Her Most Gracious Majesty, on witnessing this movement which had taken place amongst the working classes. He was also commanded to express the deep interest they felt in the temporal and religious welfare of these worthy men.

His Lordship said that this was essentially a movement for limiting the hours of labour. He had heard doubts thrown out whether these essays were the productions of the working classes. He had now, for the last eighteen years, been brought into such close contact—he might say in such close intimacy—with many page 65 of the working classes, that his experience enabled him to establish this, that many of the working men were intellectually, morally, and spiritually capable of producing those admirable—he would not hesitate to say, marvellous—productions. Whilst in other countries thrones and aristocracies were crumbling, and the foundations of society itself were shaken, this was a most happy circumstance in the history of this country, and it led him to believe that this Protestant country was yet reserved by God for higher purposes of mercy in the history of mankind. It filled him with consolation, and gave him comfort in many dark moments of life, when he saw so many of the working classes of this country who represent still larger masses, coming forward with zeal, love, knowledge, and fervour, in the assertion of this high and holy purpose.

Peace Society.

Congress At Brussells.—Deputation to Lord John Russell.

On the 20th and 21st of September, a Congress of delegates from various parts of Europe and America, assembled at Brussells for the purpose of discussing and developing some rational practices and efficient substitute for war, in the settlements of disputes between nations. At the last sitting of that conference, it was resolved that the bureau should be charged with the preparation, first, of an address to the governments of Christendom, and, second, an address to the people of Europe and America. In carrying out this object, a special deputation waited upon Lord John Russell, by appointment, on Monday last, (Oct. 30.) at one o'clock.

M. Visschers read the address in French, to which his lordship listened with extreme attention, occasionally interpolating an observation.

Mr. Elihu Burritt stated to his lordship the efforts that were being made by the friends of peace in the United States to indoctrinate the public mind with peace sentiments, and the policy of kindness and friendship, which were gradually but surely increasing in intensity towards the parent country.

Lord J. Russell, who received the deputation with his usual courtesy, expressed the deep interest which he, in common with every member of the British government, felt in the preservation of peace, and his ready belief that such meetings as those recently held at Brussells might be well calculated to produce a temper of moderation and kindness amongst the various nations of the world. His lordship then adverted at considerable length to the several propositions adopted by the Congress, entering into certain of them with great energy. Whilst to the full extent he admitted to the desirability of universal peace, his lordship appeared to doubt whither, in the present circumstances of nations, and whilst men's pas-page 66sions remained as they were, such an end would be easily attainable.

The deputation then withdrew, much gratified with the character of the interview.

Great Meeting At Exeter Hall.

The public meeting to receive the President and Vice-Presidents of the late Congress at Brussells, and to hear a report of the proceedings at that Congress, was held on Tuesday night, in the great room, Exeter Hall. The body of the hall, galleries, and platform were densely crowded, and the utmost enthusiasm prevailed.

The Chair was taken at six o'clock by C. Hindley, Esq., M.P.

The Chairman said, the objects of the Society by which this meeting was convened were based on the scriptural principle “Peace on earth and good will to men.” Let those laugh who would, he was quite certain this principle would prevail; and, while the laughers and scoffers would hereafter be in derision, the friends of peace would be triumphant. They were now assembled to receive the President and Vice-Presidents of the Brussells Congress, and to hear from them a report of its proceedings. Before those gentlemen addressed them, however, Mr. Scoble would give the meeting some information as to the arrangements and proceedings of the Congress.

Mr. Scoble said that, in complying with the request of the chairman, he would not dwell on the various preliminary arrangements which were made previously to the Brussels Congress. The original intention had been to hold the Congress at Paris, but circumstances to which it was unnecessary for him further to allude prevented that intention from being carried out. An application was then made to the Belgian Government to allow the Congress to be held in Brussels. The reply of the Belgian Minister was, “It is written in the constitution of Belgium that public meetings are open not only to its citizens but to foreigners;” and the Belgian Government afforded every facility in their power to promote the comfort and convenience of the members of the Congress. There were present at the Congress 130 gentlemen from England, who were accompanied by about 40 English ladies; and 170 gentlemen from Belgium, France, Germany, and Italy. The Congress sat for two days, and held four sittings, at which resolutions were, with one or two exceptions, unanimously adopted.

Mr. Elihu Burritt said.—“There seems to be a sentiment abroad, a latent thought permeating slowly the minds of the most depressed of the world's population—a thought that whispers its bright promise in the ears of the dejected labourer, and sometimes even giving to the slave a song in the burning hours of his unrequited toil—a thought that was helping the millions of the poor to bear the pressure of their poverty, and even to sing beneath its burden —“there's a good time coming.” And while this is the hope of the masses of the people, there is in every page 67 Christian community, an impression strong in faith, that we are approaching one of the grand realities in the destiny of humanity, predicted by ancient prophets and poets who were blessed in the dark sea of their lives with the clear perspective of these latter years. The youngest of the listening thousands present may not live to enter on the fruition of that reality, but when it shall come, they who shall see it will attest that it was not a fortuitous condition into which humanity stumbled, in the progress of its genius, but a condition prepared for mankind before the nations of the earth were formed. Whatever that glorious day might bring to the future ages of the race, they who should possess its goodly realities would confess that they were all embraced in the condition described by the prophets, “Nation should not lift up sword against nation,” when “their officers should be peace and their exactors righteousness.” The advent of that day was not a new-born illusion of modern fancy; it was secured to the world by the unwavering verities of the word of God, and there were before us principles which secured it—principles of great antiquity, principles that had lasted the years of God—“If thine enemy hunger, feed him;” “resist not evil, but overcome evil with good;” “love your enemies;” they that take the sword, shall perish by the sword.” These principles, though long “foolishness to the Greek,” were mighty, and would prevail; the principalities of earth should yet how to the power of those principles. The truth that “God hath made of one blood all nations of men,” should yet be written upon all the standards of popular progress, and before it the bestial emblems of nationality should hang their heads for shame. Was it, in the middle of the nineteenth century, too early to issue from the verge of Waterloo, as the Congress did, an appeal to mankind to raise from the dust that principle which had been trampled down by the demon of war? What fitter place could be chosen than the neighbourhood of that spot on which was perpetrated the most stupendous fratricide that ever filled the world with lamentation and woe. One could almost fancy, when the Congress was deliberating, that there were plaintive voices coming up from that field, as from a world of moaning spirits, sighing in the midst, “God hath made of one blood all nations of men,” and pleading trumpet-tongued to have that great truth preached abroad over the earth.”

The next Congress is to be held in Paris in August 1849.