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disgraced the church of Rome. St. Dominic, the founder and patron of the numerous order of the Dominicans, was the inventor of the terrible Inquisition ; a court, the most cruel and infernal in its character, of any that ever disgraced the earth. And, as the Inquisition was originated by Dominic, so its bloody machinery was worked chiefly by his followers; who, in this way, made themselves drunk with the blood of saints and martyrs, during a long succession of years.
When a crusade was to be got up for the destruction of the poor Albigenses, the Cistercian monks were the principal agents in promoting it. In the persecutions of the Lollards, both in England and Germany, the Mendicants were every where the instigators. It was through the influence of the Jesuits, that Louis XIV was induced to revoke the edict of Nantes, and enter on an exterminating persecution of the Huguenots, one of the noblest races of men that ever lived. In short, in that great day, when the Lord shall appear to make inquisition for blood, it will be found that no small part of the righteous blood which has been spilt upon the earth, will be required at the hands of the different monastic orders. I do not charge upon them the whole of this detestable work; but they have been foremost in it, and have suffered no opportunities to escape them of afflicting and persecuting those, who rejected their idolatrous superstitions, and refused submission to their great master at Rome.
I have thus passed cursorily over an extended subject; a subject too extended to be adequately treated in a single paper. I have presented a succinct history of the monastic institutions, and have briefly noticed both the causes which led to them, and the consequences which have resulted from them. Throughout, I have endeavored to treat the subject with fairness and candor, giving credit, where credit was due, and censuring, in even milder terms than justice would warrant, what I have regarded as reprehensible. I have avoided altogether some of the more disgusting details of monastic vice. Indeed, they could not be inserted in a respectable periodical publication.
In view of the whole, we see the importance of the grand, fundamental principle of Protestantism: The Bible, and the Bible alone, as a standard of faith, and a rule of life. The Bible, fairly interpreted, could never have originated or sustained the monastic institutions. Other rules and standards must be superadded ;—the teachings of philosophy, the ravings of fanatics, the traditions of the elders, the canons of the church.
There is danger of departing from the proper scriptural standard, in two ways; and first, in falling short of it. We do not believe so much as the Bible teaches. We do not practise all that it commands. And, probably, this is our greatest danger, at the present time. But there is danger, also, on the other extreme ;-danger of believing more than the Bible teaches; and of endeavoring to practise more than it requires. There is danger of depreciating, undervaluing the Bible, and of attempting to become holier, better than the rule which God has given us.
This was the πρωτον ψευδος, , the prime error of the early ascetics and monastics, and the source to which all their subsequent errors and corruptions may
be traced. And in them we see how naturally, necessarily, extremes sometimes meet. They undertook to soar high above the Bible; and they sunk directly, and, I had almost said, infinitely below it. They set out to practise more than the Bible enjoins; and they soon fell into such intolerable corruptions, that the earth itself could scarcely endure them.
Let reformers in our own times,—who think that the Bible is not all that it should be, is not quite up to the mark, and who undertake to improve it by modifications and additions, or to set it aside for something else,-beware how they tamper with this venerable book. Better let it stand as it is, and endeavor to square our morality by it, than run the hazard of any substitutions or modifications, which we, in our wisdom, or our folly, shall be likely to make.
We learn, also, the value of that full, unrestricted religious freedom, which it is our privilege, in this age and country, to enjoy. Our English ancestors saw different times, when a dissenter from popish, monkish superstition was contemptuously said to "smell of the frying pan;" and when the fires at Smithfield were so numerous and terrific, as actually to raise the price of wood in the surrounding country. They saw different times, too, in the days of the High Commission, and the Star Chamber, when the color of a priest's garment, or the cut of his cap, was matter of grave indictment, and of relentless persecution.
Driven out by intolerance from their native land, our pilgrim forefathers came to this country, that they might secure an asylum for their consciences, and a spiritual asylum for their children. And though they did not themselves learn, at once, the whole great lesson of religious freedom, they infused a spirit into their descendants, and their institutions, which ere-long evolved the grand result.
The precious legacy of liberty, civil and religious, they have left to us. It is a legacy more precious than any other they could leave us. It becomes us to guard it with a sleepless vigilance. We should guard against any encroachment on it from within, as well as from without; from our own spirits, as well as from any other quarter. From whatever other portions of our globe the eagle of liberty may be compelled to fly, we should see to it that there is ever provided for him a sure abode, a quiet resting-place here.
MISSIONARY MEMOIRS. Memoir of Mrs. Harriet L. Winslow, thirteen years a mem
ber of the American Mission in Ceylon. By Rev. MIRON Winslow. Published by the American Tract Society. pp. 480. 12mo.
The memoirs of missionaries have a value peculiar to themselves. They are not only the fruit of the missionary cause, but also the seed of missionary spirit. They are the germs of that which is to wave in future harvests. The histories of the life and labors of pioneers in the cause have done much to arouse the energies of youthful disciples. They are destined to do still more. In them is, and has been realized, the proverb,—“the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” Zion has not sent abroad her sons and daughters to no purpose. A few, indeed, have been arrested by an early death. They have been prevented from the performance of evangelical labors among the heathen. But for every one that has been removed, many have risen up.
The tidings of their removal have not sounded in vain across
They have vibrated upon kindred hearts. They have thrilled through souls, strung to the same high purpose, and nerved to the same enterprise. Vhen one soldier has fallen, two have rushed forward to occupy his perilous, but honorable position. The history of many of those who are now laboring in foreign climes would furnish a series of interesting illustrations of the methods of providence, by means of which God has called his servants into the fields of their toil. Every individual who embarks in this work leaves at home a circle of friends, over whom his character and example exert an influence. His spirit lives among them, after the ocean has separated him from them. For his sake, they feel themselves pledged, as it were, to the cause. Others, also, to whom he was personally unknown, being imbued with the same spirit, claim kindredship with him. Thus, in the voluntary exile and labors of the proto-martyrs in the field of missions, the foundation has been laid for a continued succession of those, who will devote themselves to the same service, until the gospel shall have been preached to every nation under heaven. The history of those who have already received their celestial crowns, like a secret but efficient elemental influence, is constantly operating among us, and moulding plastic minds for the work to which God has called them. This is the instrument through which the Spirit is accomplishing his purposes.
We have, in this fact, an example of the manner in which God secures the production of great results, by creating, progressively, the means of production in a rapidly accumulating ratio; so that what began in the most silent and unpromising manner, before it attains its completion, assumes a force and glory, marking it, too plainly to be mistaken, as the work of his Almighty hand. The earliest missionaries from this country were able to derive neither incitement nor encouragement from the example of any who had gone before them. Their incitement was in their knowledge of the condition of the heathen, and in the benevolent spirit of the religion which they had espoused. Their encouragement was in the promises of God. The romantic anticipations, which, in later periods, we fear, have been too often cherished by young candidates for missionary service, were then overruled by the stern prospects of self-denial, and suffering, discouragement,
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and toil. And scarcely a beacon was set up in the experience of modern times, to guide them in the trackless path of evangelical effort among heathen idolaters. The journals of the English Baptist Missionary Society, of the Moravians, and of the London Missionary Society, rarely found their way into the hands of the common people. Without religious newspapers, or other periodicals widely diffused, there was no way in which such intelligence might be communicated to the ranks of society, out of which the mess
essengers of the cross to heathen nations might be expected to come.
Even at a much later period, after the seeds of missionary feeling had begun to germinate, the principal books to be obtained were Buchanan's “Star in the East," the “Life of Pearce," and Horne's “Letters on Missions.” It is not to be wondered at, therefore, that a great sensation was produced in the community by the appearance of the “Life of Harriet Newell;” nor that a new impulse was given, by that and kindred causes, to the missionary feeling of the Christian church. Nor should we hear with surprise the remark, so often made, that this early adventurer in the field “ did more by her death, than she could have done by her life."* We know not what peculiar qualities of mind she might have possessed, adapting her to the service of Christ among the heathen. We know not what characteristics the toils incident to her undertaking might have developed. But she was never permitted actually to enter upon the work. She opened, as it were, the pathway for others, and immediately received her crown. But, being dead, she has spoken to many a heart. Her memoir is, doubtless, among the elementary causes, which have aroused and encouraged many timid spirits to undertake the self-denials and toils of a voluntary expatriation for the sake of the heathen. We hail, therefore, every similar addition to our stock of religious biography.
Of the missionary memoirs with which we have been favored within a few years past, each has its peculiar characteristics; and those characteristics are, in most of them, strongly marked. None of them are without merit. Each has excellences of its own. Minds differently constituted and educated, or regarding the several biographies from a different
* It is a remarkable fact, that, although Samuel J. Mills and Mrs. Newell'have exerted 80 wide an influence in behalf of the cause of missions, neither of them was permilled to engage in direct labors for the heathen.