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not moral certainty, that, upon the com- Many considerations show that it has plexion of the next Parliament, the been long enough suspended, and, among decision will turn, whether the present others, the fact that our inaction is subEstablishment in Ireland shall be with-jecting us to unworthy imputationsdrawn or reduced, or whether, in order to our motives, it seems, being sadly missecure it, the co-establishment of other apprehended. We should think, too, churches shall be effected, it is incum- there is now the fairest prospect of vobent upon all electors holding the prin- luntaries obtaining a more favourable ciples of this Association, to adopt such hearing than before. The public mind means as may appear to them inost has made a great advance towards efficient for insuring a competent and liberalism during the last ten years. faithful representation of them in Par- Multitudes, on whom our sentiments liament.
were formerly thrust, perhaps too roughly, “ 3. That as it is uncertain how soon and by whom, for that very reason, they the présent Parliament may be dissolved, were repelled, have, doubtless, during and that as early preparation is the best the interval of quietness, perceived the guarantee for ultimate success, the Exe- soundness of our arguments, and have cutive Committee recommend the im- insensibly and unconfessedly become mediate formation of Electoral Com- converts to our principles. The dismittees, organisation of voters, and ruption in the Establishment, and the selection and introduction, wherever formation of the Free Church, likewise practicable, of suitable candidates, with afford us an unspeakable advantage; the express view of asserting Anti- and, perhaps more than all, the avowed State-Church principles, both at the desire of governinent for endowing the hustings and at the poll.”
Roman Catholic church in Ireland, will To these resolutions, we humbly con- turn to our account. May we be exceive, a fourth might have been advan cused for expressing a hope also (and tageously added, viz. that electors should that as at the confessional), that the determine, and proclaim their determina. next Voluntary discussion will be sometion, that whatever may be the conse- what differently conducted. The League quence, they will in no case vote for a set us an example which it would be candidate who does not give the most shameful and sinful not to imitate. Let explicit assurances that he will oppose our movement be, as they not unjustly all further endowments, direct or indirect, maintained, that theirs was, “educato any religious party whatsoever. We tional," rather than controversial. Our fondly hope that all dissenting electors object is clearly to form public opinion, throughout the three kingdoms, will and that is to be accomplished, not by adopt and adhere to this resolution, and prostrating and humiliating opponents, if so, one of the worst evils apprehended but by gaining friends and allies. Such for our country at the hands of next a course will harmonise with the resoluParliament will be effectually prevented. tions of the Evangelical Alliance, and, · It may be interesting to our readers what is infinitely more, with the spirit to know that the Committee have also and requirements of that mild and be“resolved upon sending a deputation into nignant religion we are professedly lasome of the more important towns of bouring to promote. Scotland, before the close of the present year, to awaken attention to the objects PRIVATE CHARACTER OF JOHN BRIGHT, and claims of the Association, and to the
ESQ., M.P. importance of diffusing, as widely as pos- Almost all our readers must have adsible, a knowledge of its principles, in pro- mired this person, as one of the most spect of the probable movements of the straight-forward, energetic, and efficient legislature in favour of a modified ex- of the Leaguers. Their admiration of tension of church establishments.” We him, we are sure, will be enhanced when trust that the deputation will meet with a they peruse the following extract from cordial reception, and that happy conse- Douglas Jerrold's Weekly Newspaper, quences will result from the reciproca- being the conclusion of a sketch of his tion of Scotch and English sentiments life and character. We are aware of on what is every day becoming more what may be said about exposing the and more the “ question of questions.” privacies of public men. It certainly is Indeed, we are glad to understand that, with their public conduct that the comindependently of this welcome impulse munity is chiefly concerned; but we from the south, the Voluntary discussion concur with the writer, that on grounds is likely to be revived amongst us. of public utility, such excellence and loveliness' as those of John Brights reading-room supplied with an abun. and his family, demand the most exten- dance of magazines and newspapers, the sive publicity. It will be disgraceful to latter not selected even as to party poliany liberal constituency in the kingdom, tics (such is the faith that Mr Bright has to reject such a man on the score that, in the good sense of his work people and like all consistent Quakers and free- in the force of truth); a library ; lectures traders, he is a decided Voluntary on scientific and moral subjects by pro
“Having glanced rapidly at a few, fessional men, paid for the purpose; the and only a very few, of Mr Bright's pub- use of the globes, aicroscope, and scienlic services, let us take one other glance tific instruments, to blend amusement at matters which we doubt not he and with instruction. And we shall hear, his family would rather hide from the and be gratified to hear it, though it is public eye. Yet they are matters which, only what we might expect, that the for the sake of example, if for nothing more education, and the higher the else, the world should not remain igno- range of education, the better is the rant of; the town of Rochdale knows social condition of its subjects; the better them, so it is not for it we writc. workers are they, and the better fathers,
“We cannot be long in that town sons, and daughters; and so convinced until we hear somebody talk of Mr are John Bright and Brothers of this, Bright, his brothers, and sisters, no that they are now concerting measures matter what kind of company we may to carry their educational department fall into. If it be in the houses of the higher than it has yet reached. humblest in the lowliest streets, we shall “The number of their work people is hear of them; hear how John Bright, in 700; they have three factories, as alearlier days, before he left Rochdale to ready said, one of them newly built, and live in London, used to visit the dark containing all those improvements in entrances, lowest cellars, and highest convenience, healthfulness, and comfort, garrets of the poor, in search of un- now distinctive of the new factories. schooled children, to whom books were Much more might be said, should be given for school, fees paid for teaching, said, but we have not room for more.”. but always money to get food first, it food were wanting. We shall hear that CONGREGATIONAL LECTURE. now a missionary is kept solely at the The twelfth annual series of this Lecexpense of John Bright and Brothers ture is at present in course of delivery, (at a salary of L.100 per annum, we be- at the Congregational Library, London, liere), to visit the sick and the poor in by the Rev. Richard Winter Hamilton, the town, and relieve them with money LL.D.,D.D., Leeds; the subject, “The to buy food and necessary clothing when Revealed Doctrine of Rewards and Punsuch are wanting; to write an order for ishments.” From the syllabus, which we medical attendance for them; to send have seen, it appears that the learned them, free of expense, and keep thein prelector is to embrace a very wide range there, to some distant watering place, of topics, many of them at once exceedfor change of air and medical treatinent; ingly interesting and not a little abstruse. then, when such ministrations have been A well executed work in this department performed for the wants of the body, to of theology will be hailed as a valuable give moral and religious counsel to them, boon. The author enjoys the reputation if such should be needed. We shall of being equal to his task. We are glad find that no boundary is drawn as to to observe that he is to uphold the orwhere these recipients of help may work thodox view of the duration of the punor may have worked ; nor of what creed ishment of the finally impenitent. The they are; nor even is the boundary of vindication of this appalling, but clearly the borongh of Rochdale set as the limit scriptural truth, is not uncalled for at to the ministering servant of this bene- present, especially in England, and volent family.
among non-conformists, where we be* If we go further, and search the lieve the published sentiments of Foster, dwelling places of the work people of and some recent treatises, in favour, not John Bright and Brothers, we discover of the restoration of the wicked to holiwhat previous information led us to ex- ness and heaven, but of their complete pect-schools for the young; schools for annihilation after a long but limited persons of advanced age, who are in- period, are going far to unsettle the faith clined to improve their education; as of some.
MURRAY AND GIBB, PRINTERS, EDINBURGH.
UNITED SECESSION MAGAZINE
FOR DECEMBER, 1846.
THE BOHEMIAN REFORMATION.
Having in a previous article given a brief account of the labours and sufferings of John Huss, and Jerome of Prague, we now proceed to. trace the progress of the reformation which these servants of Christ were honoured to begin in Bohemia. It has been sometimes alleged that the Bohemian reformation was meagre in actual results, that it was commenced without any leading principle, and terminated without lasting fruits. Now it is at once admitted that it was a day of small things compared with the great reformation in the following century. But to assert that it was on that account insignificant in its immediate results and in its ultimate influence, is to discover a forgetfulness of facts, and to close the eyes to the use which God made of the former, in effecting the latter reformation under Luther.
The fruits of the great religious movement which John Huss had begun by preaching the truth of Christ in the capital of Bohemia may be viewed from two positions from Constance, where the council sat who condemned the martyr to the stake- and from Prague, where he had preached the gospel of God. The council of Constance had assembled, as we have seen, for the twofold purpose of uniting and reforming the Church. Previous to this the reformer had declared to thousands the truth as it is in Jesus. In the presence of the council, he defended his doctrines, exposing at the same time papal abuses ; and it cannot be questioned that the testimony he gave exercised, though unacknowledged by the assembly, a mighty influence on their decisions. The truth he maintained, led captive the hearts of some; the exposures he made of corruptions in the Church, awakened the fears of others; and the commotions he caused in men's minds, stirred up the desires of all, to do as much as they could to have quiet restored. These diversified feelings were soon apparent in the council. So long as they had a common cause to pursue in persecuting the disciples of Christ who held fast his truth, they maintained internal concord. But as soon as the martyrs had fallen the victims of their thirst for the blood of saints, NO. XII, VOL. III.
mutual jealousy aņd dissensions tore the assembly into violent factions. The emperor, thě pope, the cardinals, the Gallican doctors, and the temporal princes had all conflicting interests to secure ; and in seeking to realise them, they formed opposing parties around them, each zealous for their own party ends. The emperor Sigismund strove earnestly to carry the reforms demanded in the Church before a new pope was elected, knowing that few abuses will be removed by his hand who profits chiefly by their existence; but the prelates urged that a head must be chosen before any attempt could be made to heal the diseased members of the body. The latter reasonings prevailed, and Martin V. was elected Pope amid the plaudits of the priesthood. A plan of reform was subsequently agreed on by a college appointed for the purpose. But this proposed less than the people desired; the Pope promised less than the college proposed, and he granted less still than he promised ; so that the long continued and earnest efforts of the reformers within the church ended in utter disappointment.
The council of Constance closed its sittings in April 1418, after continuing its deliberations for three years and a half. Insignificant in the extreme were the reforms effected by this famous assembly, compared with the great expectations formed by many regarding it, and the untiring efforts they put forth to accomplish, by means of it, beneficial results. The illustrious Gerson, Chancellor of the University of Paris, one of those who had looked forward to it with most sanguine hopes, and thrown into it the whole energy of his great talents, retired from it at its close, disappointed and desolate in heart; and driven into exile by the civil commotions of France, he ended his life in a strange land, weeping over the prostrate cause of truth, which it is hoped he humbly received in his last days. Yet, though this celebrated council failed in uniting and reforming the Church, it did two things for which its name is imperishable. By the influence and eloquence of the Gallican doctors headed by Gerson, it passed the famous decree, declaring that “the pope is subject to the judgment of every universal council in all matters relating to faith, to the extinction of schism, and general reformation,”—a maxim taught in France from time immemorial, but now confirmed in a solemn council, and forming the basis of the dearest liberties of the reformed church in the following centuries. Besides this, the council of Constance condemned John Huss and his disciple Jerome to the stake, an act which will secure for it an everlasting remembrance in the indignation of the great and good. The tidings of the death of these martyrs flew over Europe ; and knowing that the faithful Huss had been treacherously cut off, in violation of the solemn pledge of the emperor to protect him, men began to tremble for their lives and their liberties if the priesthood should tyrannise as now. The noble stand, too, which was seen to be made by the confessors for the truth in the presence of the council, emboldened others to demand their rights without fear. Hence it was, perhaps, that the Gallican doctors were inspired with fresh courage in demanding the condemnation of John Petit the infamous apologist of the assassina. tion of the Duke of Orleans; and hence, too, it was probably, that Valadimir, rector of the University of Cracow, derived his example fearlessly to lodge his indignant protest against the protection thrown
by the council over the execrable John de Falkenberg, the libeller of the King of Poland. These had seen the council dared and appealed from before by two solitary confessors, and why might not they do the same? Thus the authority of the Church was undermined at the very assembly convened to maintain it.
But it is in Bohemia we must look for the fruits of the reformation, which Huss had commenced in its ancient capital. When the news of his death reached the ears of the people, the city was filled, at first with consternation and weeping over the loss of a spiritual father ; and then the populace gave way to indignation and rage against his cruel persecutors. The commotion was increased still more by the decrees issued from the council against the doctrines and disciples of Huss, condemning to the stake all who should favour his righteous cause. To allay the storm, the emperor wrote an irritating letter, reproving the Bohemians for their insubordination. This was adding insult to injury, and the nobles joining with the people, replied with becoming spirit, reminding the emperor of his treachery in violating his word by delivering over Huss, an ornament of their country, to his relentless foes. By a decree of the University, the communion was now established in both kinds, and a solemn fast-day was set apart to commemorate the martyrdom of Huss and Jerome. The insane measures adopted by the council, meanwhile, hastened on the end. Articles were passed at Constance annulling the decrees of the University of Prague, citing to Rome the most distinguished of the Hussite pastors, ordering the nobles to restore the property of the Church, and commanding the people to abjure, under pain of excommunication, the doctrines of Wycliff and Huss. Thus was a blow aimed at every class of the community; and in all quarters determined hands grasped their swords to defend their altars and their homes. All, for a moment, hung in suspense. The nobles were divided between a gloomy irritation and a resolution to strike; the people, deeply wounded at the death of their renowned teachers, and the thrust now made at their spiritual privileges, waited only a slight impulse more to burst forth like an angry sea.
It is at this crisis that a man appears on the field of history who gives much of its tone and character to the Bohemian reformation. This man is John Ziska ;-of middle stature and dark complexion, with broad shoulders and lofty forehead, stands up in the assembly of nobles, where first we meet him, speaking words which must be great either for good or ill. Possessing extraordinary genius as a warrior in ordering a battle, endowed with indomitable energy of body and of mind, and often appealing to the religious feelings to inspire with courage the Bohemians whose hearts he won, Ziska has been compared to our own Cromwell. And the two generals, doubtless, possessed many points in common, but they differed entirely as appears to us, in the essential element of all character-religion. With the Bohemian we greatly fear, religion was an object with whose claims he sympathised only as far as they are allied to civil liberty, and whose arguments he learned to use as the nearest way to the noble hearts of the best of his troops. Whereas, we are convinced, Cromwell, with all his imperfections, possessed religion as the great principle of life within him, inspiring him with his mighty energy in the field, and moving him in