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as closely as possible. Permission must be asked for open ing chapels and other places of public worship. If this be refused by the Mayors, it must be asked of the Prefect of the department. If refused by him, it must be asked of the Minister of the Interior. If refused by him, the attempt must be abandoned. But as each case will be examined on its own merits, a refusal may be less frequent than our readers would at first suppose. We cannot, for a moment, attribute to the Government the settled purpose to allow no further extension of the Protestant religion. It knows full well, that there are thousands of Protestants in France who cannot hear the gospel from ministers of their own faith. They are to be found in every department, and in almost every commune. It will hardly deny to these the liberty of worshipping God as their fathers did. Besides, flagrant cases of refusal by magistrates may be carried to the tribunals with hope of success,
And last of all, the subject must be discussed in the journals ; and when the proper time comes, it must be carried, by petitions, to the Chambers, and legislative action invoked. Sooner or later it must come to this ; nor will there be permanent and universal redress found anywhere, save in a favorable enactment of the legislative body:
We close this notice-protracted much beyond our original design, with three or four general remarks :
1. It is surprising to see how little progress Religious Liberty has made in France during the last forty years. Indeed nothing has been gained since 1802. Arbitrary and tyrannical as were the Organic Articles, and subversive as they were of the discipline of the Protestant churches, it is a mournful fact that they have nothing better at the present day. And, as if this were not enough, Arts. 291 and 294 of the Code made during the imperial domination in 1810, must be added to restrict and fetter their movements! The distressing conviction is forced upon us, that the Protestants of France, as to the enjoyment of their rights-we will not say, their privileges and favors-are just where they were under the despotism of Napoleon, and the bigotry of Louis XVIII. and Charles X. The revolution of July 1830 has done nothing for them. The liberty, promised in the Charter is the sheerest illusion, that ever mocked the expectations of wronged and suffering humanity.
2. It must be confessed that the Government has no easy task to perform. First of all, there is the influence of intidelity, and that total indifference to religion which prevails, to a great degree, among those who figure in and about the Government, and who regard with jealousy every effort made by the friends of Christianity to promote its extension. Next, there is the great and increasing power of the Catholics,-comprising the vast majority of those who take any interest in religion,-whose favor the Ministry naturally desire to secure. That the Government is still greatly subject to this influence, unconscious perhaps of its extent, is to us most certain. We will give a few extracts, bearing on this point, from an article which recently appeared in the Courrier Français. “ We have seen the Government, ever since the Revolution of 1830, shut up the churches of Dissenters, deliver their founders to the tribunals, and cause them to be condemned to penalties more or less severe. In vain was it declared, during the discussion of the law against associations (in 1834) in the name of the Government, in the two Chambers, that the liberty of worship would suffer no damage from it; that the law would not be applied to meetings for worship: the contrary has happened.
“ Some orators had made some reserves, relative to religious congregations and monastic orders, suppressed by the Organic Laws. These congregations, these orders, have multiplied; their chiefs have publicly unfurled their banners, retaken their titles, and resumed costumes which the laws of our Legislatures had abolished. If nothing more than their toleration had been granted, it would, perhaps, have been a homage to the principles of liberty; although the result would have been to augment the influence of a hierarchy, already sustained by immense privileges. But the Government has done more to please the clergy, (Catholic,) whose political support it courts; grants have been made to many at the public expense; they have been exempted from imposts; many of them have been authorized, simply by an ordonnance,* to become teachers of youth, to receive gifts and legacies, as public establishments.
* There is a vast difference between a law and an ordonnance. A law is an enactment of the two Chambers, approved by the
“ The political interests of the moment have triumphed; the advice of the Council of State has not only been rejected by the Ministerial power, but all publicity has been refused to it, for fear of alarming the powerful hierarchy which sustains the abuses. And the partiality was rendered more evident by the prosecutions, the fines and the condemnation to corporeal punishment, by which it was attempted to break down those who believed the promises of the Charter. Not that we approve the efforts to introduce, within the last few years, new sorts of religious worship into the kingdom; but it ought to be left to public opinion to do justice to them. It is only necessary to look after any thing in these new doctrines, which may attack public and religious morality, the sacredness of marriage, the proprieties and the foundations of society.
“ The Government has turned against the weak; this result might have been foreseen. Instead of endeavouring to recover its independence, by retrenching abuses which may render formidable the opposition of the Catholic clergy, and substituting the liberty of worship for the system of Concordats—which has introduced into the State a power spiritual and moral in appearance, but political and secret in reality, and rivalling the national sovereignty-it contents itself with regulating the Jewish and Protestant worship !"
3. It is striking to observe, how far political freedom is in advance of religious liberty. This fact is illustrated not only in the history of France. Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Prussia, and several of the smaller states of Germany-Protestant countries, and some of them possessing considerable political liberty-have no real religious liberty: A man may be a Protestant, and enjoy the right of worship fully in the established churches; but if he undertake to hold meetings, for the edification of himself and such as choose to attend them, he will soon find insuperable obstacles in his way, and it will be well if he escapes imprisonment. Belgium, since the Revolution of 1830, has more religious liberty than any other country on the Continent. This is owing to the influ
King. An ordonnance is an executive order, in the name of the King. Unfortunately, the latter have become too frequent of late,
ence of De Potter and some others, in forming the Constitution. In opening a place for public worship, all that is there required is, that notice of the fact be given to the municipal authorities, that they may prevent disturbances. With few exceptions, religious liberty is wholly unknown in the Republics of South America. Even in England, Dissenters are not free from all embarrassments. It is only in the United States, and we may now add Texas, that real religious liberty exists—where the Government protects all in their right to worship God according to the dictates of conscience, without let, hinderance or distinction of any sort.*
4. It is really astonishing to see how little the subject of religious liberty is understood on the Continent of Europe. The people are so accustomed to have the Government med. dle with every thing, and the Government are so fearful of allowing the people to do any thing, save through their condescending grace and permission, that they are incapable of comprehending the simplest elements of religious freedom. We know that there are difficulties attending this question, grave certainly, but not insuperable. It is not necessary that the established churches should be overthrown. We are no advocates for sudden and violent measures. Let establishments be maintained for those who prefer them and are willing to be taxed for their support. But let those who prefer a church having no connection with the State, and are also willing to bear the expense, enjoy their preference.
Only think, sir," said one in Holland, where, we are sorry to say, the Government has treated most cruelly some zealous, good, but injudicious Dissenters within the last few years; "only think, sir, that in the meetings of these Methodists they sometimes sing and pray very loud, and sometimes they cry out. dear Jesus,' in their prayers! Is that to be tolerated ?” “But do these people disturb their neighbours ?" "No, that cannot be affirmed.” “Are they immoral
* It is hardly necessary to say, that the religious liberty which we advocate is a full and equal liberty for all, whether Protestants or Catholics. We abhor, with our whole hearts, the disabilities and oppressions which the Catholics suffer in some Protestant countries; where bigotry rules in place of justice, and where might usurps the prerogative of right.
in their conduct ?" "No, they are good citizens."
66 Then let them sing praises and pray as much as they please ; and when your police want something to do, let them look after your dram-shops, and the noisy, drunken rabble that collect about them.” But this Hollander is not alone in wondering how people can be allowed to assemble in prayer-meetings whenever they please, and cry out, as he expressed it, “O cher Jesus! O cher Jesus !"
TO AN ANONYMOUS
6 EssAY ON CAUSE AND EFFECT,” AND TO THE QUESTIONS OF INQUIRER."- Am. Bib. Repos. for April, 1840.
By Leonard w
oods, D. D. Prof. of Theol., Theol. Sem. Andover, Mass.
[Continued from page 242.]
The essay referred to treats of various topics which deserve a serious consideration, but which have not yet been noticed in my remarks, At present only one of these will be introduced, namely: the question, whether self-love is the spring of all voluntary action.
This question is suggested by the following passage in the essay,* (p: 387.) “According to the doctrine of free agency, the mind of man is endowed with a constitutional desire for happiness, which is the steady, abiding feeling of the mind, and is the mainspring of all the mental activity included in volition." I know not that the author would seriously advocate the principle which seems to be implied in this passage. Be that as it may, the inquiry is an important one ; whether all our choices and voluntary actions proceed from self-love, or a desire for our own happiness.
If it is, as the anonymous writer seems to hold, then
* The essay here referred to was published in the Repository
for October 1839, p. 381. seq.