Imágenes de páginas

word : there are some of your children here, and they want a bit of bread.' This appeal, made by those whom he had 'begotten through the gospel.' and who were anxious for the bread of life, was rarely made in vain,never, indeed, when time and prudence gave their suffrage."

He commenced the new year, 1800, with a solemn dedication of himself to God, and earnest prayer for a revival of religion ; he increased his labours for Christ, till ere long, nine other neighbouring places were included in the already large circle of his itinerancy. “He found his own horse, paid his own tolls, and supported the whole of the wear and tear of the road.” Lest it should be thought by this that his temporal circumstances were prosperous, we must here mention that the farm required all the industry and energy of himself and the other members of the family to make it pay, and he never was able to save a penny, while his stewardship at this time only brought him in fifteen shillings per week, and until just prior to the time we are writing of, his pay was but twelve shillings. The time approached for his acceptance or nonacceptance, by the Conference, as an itinerant preacher. Many obstacles of a domestic character stood in his way. He was just about arranging his affairs satisfactorily to his family, and was accepted by the Conference, when, through circumstances which we have not space to enter upon in this short sketeh, he felt it was the will of God that he “should relinquish all thoughts of going out to travel,” and continue in his stewardship and farm for the sake of those dependant upon him.

Hearers and converts continued to multiply in his own neighbourhood; his labours were greatly blessed at Leeds also, where he frequently preached. Indeed, year after year his circle of admirers enlarged, and he was in constant request for special services where collections were needed. “His power over the passions, and his tact for improving funeral occasions, continued to augment his engagements.”

At this time, great exertions were making by the Baptists and the agents of the London Missionary Society on behalf of the heathen. Mr. Dawson was present on one occasion when Andrew Fuller was pleading the cause of missions; he had been expatiating on the great good that had been effected by Dr. Carey and others, and asked, in his energetic way,—“Where will it end?” “In heaven,” responded Mr. Dawson, in a tone sufficiently loud to be heard, with his face beaming with emotions. The Methodists soon entered heartily into this glorious work, and Mr. Dawson was invited to take part in their first public missionary meeting at Leeds. This was his first appearance as à platform speaker, in which branch of service he soon achieved remarkable success, so much so, that his help seemed to be a necessity. When, on the above occasion, he was told that a resolution would be committed to his care, he said, “Me take a resolution ! I know not what to do with it. I shall be blundering over it, like one of our senators, who had to take the sacrament to qualify him for his seat.” “How was that?” was asked. He replied, “He was an irreligious man; and being as ignorant of religion, as he was personally indifferent to it, he went to church-supposing his appearance within its walls sufficient-when a female was returning thanks, and was thus churched with her;" repeating, “I shall be sure to blunder.” But he did not blunder, for his speech was like a fire, enkindling in his auditory such a fervent spirit for the cause of missions, that invitations poured in upon him thenceforward. Nor did he in any instance disappoint the expectations of those who sought his help on the platform; for unusually large and liberal collections always bore witness to the power of his addresses, which were generally carefully prepared beforehand, as appears from the number of manuscripts of this kind found among his papers. He did not, however, depend upon his paper ; indeed, we did not find that he used notes either in the pulpit or on the platform ; and that he could not endure the reading of sermons or speeches is clear from the following incident:

" One of the speakers at a missionary meeting, appearing on the platform with a bundle of papers in his hand, Mr. Dawson, suspicious of an attempt to inflict punishment on the patience of the people, enquired• What are you going to do with all them papers ?' *To read them, to be sure,' was the reply. What, the whole of them?' 'Yes,' returned the intended reader, subjoining, Such documents constitute the life-blood of a speech. “Let me tell you, then,' said Mr. Dawson, who looked upon reading on a platform as producing the same effect upon a congregation that the dam per produces when put into the oven; and who knew well the difference between the exercise of the intellect upon written documents and matter bubbling up from the heart - Let me tell you that your speech will die of apoplexy ; for the blood has all gone up to the head.'”

“From 1821 to 1824 he was frequently engaged in the Metropolis, Bristol, the large towns in Cornwall, the Southern, Western, and Northern Counties, and there were few places of magnitude from which he had not letters of invitation. He very often had to turn out of the different places of worship and preach in the open air to accommodate persons who could not gain access to the chapels; and the chapels themselves could only be endured from the intense eagerness the people felt to hear him. A person came up to him at Cullingworth, nearly breathless, wiping the perspiration off his face, and saying, by way of showing his hardships and exciting pity, I have had to stand all the time!' “So have I, returned Mr. Dawson, when silence was instantly imposed, the person perceiving that Mr. Dawson had the fatigue of the pulpit added to it.” In this connection there are numerous instances given of the Herculean toil of the “ travelling LOCAL preacher,” as he once facetiously designated himself, one of which we insert as a sample : “During six days, aided only by the regular heavy coaches, he travelled three hundred and forty miles, preached ten sermons, was only three nights in bed; the time allowed for repose occupied only a space of ten hours, not averaging quite three hours and a half.” We must bear in mind that most of his journeys were performed on horseback, or by coach, for at this part of his career he had not the travelling advantages of the “iron way;" but he had an iron will, and proved the truth of the adage, “Where there's a will there's a way.”

From such labours it is reasonable to suppose that great spiritual results would follow, and that records of multitudes of conversions would find a place in such a biography; but the singular position of the labourer will, upon a moment's reflection, account for the absence of any means of forming, even roughly, such an estimate. Had Mr. Dawson been the pastor of a church, the instances of his usefulness in conversion coming under the notice of himself and of his friends in ones and twos would, we believe, have been multiplied a thousandfold; for, says his biographer, “at this period Mr. Dawson was not merely popular, nor was the feeling which accompanied his labours evanescent; he did not take the work away with him to the next place, but left a savour of hallowed feeling behind : he drew the people to God, not to himself.”

(To be continued).

The Religion of Rome.

W E welcome the publication of a volume entitled “ The Religion of

y Rome.” It consists of letters published in a Roman Journal, which have been translated from the Italian, by Mr. William Howitt. In these times, when liberality is the only popular virtue, and zeal for truth the cardinal sin, it is worth much to let the public know assuredly that Popery is not the angel of light it professes to be. “Distance lends enchantment to the view;” but, to the rightminded, to see Romanism is to abhor it. It is a system which is as dangerous to human society, as it is hostile to true religion. We would by no means abridge the civil rights of a Catholic, or a Mormonite, but whether in any community the confessional or polygamy ought to be endured is not a question with us. The system of confession to priests is the sum of all villanies. Murphy was martyred for speaking the truth about the confessional, and in his person the liberty of public speech received a serious blow. The day will come in which that man's name and fate will be looked upon in a different light, and many will regret that he was given over as a victim to Romish bigotry, when they feel that bigotry burdening themselves. We have seen with our own eyes that which would make the blood of any decent man boil within him. In the confessional boxes in Germany and Italy, anybody may see for himself, exhibited in the compartment allotted to the priest, a list of the sins concerning which the confessor is to enquire; these include crimes which we will not pollute our paper by mentioning ; he must be a hardened profligate who would dare allude to them in the presence of a young girl. Not in the pages of a folio reserved for studious eyes did we read the degrading memoranda of which we speak, but in the confessional itself, where every passer-by may see them if he will. True, the document is in Latin; but, unfortunately, such words as abortio, sodomia, and the like, need no translation. But we dare not trust our hand to write more,—the superstition of Rome is the worst of all the evils which have befallen our race; may the Lord arise, and sweep it down to the hell from whence it arose.

Mr. Howitt has seen Old Giant Pope at home, and marked for himself the monster's baleful influence, even in times when advancing light tends to mitigate the evils of his reign. To his testimony we can add our own corroborating witness, and so, we believe, can every sojourner in Italy. He says—“Well may the people of Italy rejoice over the fall of this incubus of the ages! If anyone would satisfy himself of what Popery is at its centre; what it does where it has had its fullest sway, let him make a little tour, as we have lately done, into the mountains in the vicinity of Rome, and see in a country extremely beautiful by nature, what is the condition of an extremely industrious population. In the rock towns of the Alban, Sabine, and Volscian hills, you find a swarming throng of men, women, and children, asses, pigs, and hens, all grovelling in inconceivable filth, squalor, and poverty. Filth in the streets, in the houses, everywhere; fleas, fever, and smallpox, and the densest ignorance darkening minds of singular natural cleverness. A people brilliant in intellect, totally uneducated, and steeped in the grossest superstition.

These dens of dirt, disease, and, till lately, of brigandage, are the evidences of a thousand years of priestly government! They, and the country around them, are chiefly the property of the great princely and ducal families which sprung out of the papal nepotism of Rome, and have by successive popes, their founders, been loaded with the wealth of the nation. The pope-originated aristocratic families live in Rome, in their great palaces, amidst every luxury and splendour, surrounded by the finest works of art, and leave their tenants and dependants without any attention from them. Some steward or middleman screws the last soldo from them for rent; and when crops fail, as they did last year from drought, lifts not a finger to alleviate their misery.

And the Papal Government, tooma government pretendedly based on the direct ordination of Him who went about doing good—what has it done for them ? Nothing but debauch their minds with idle ceremonies and unscriptural dogmas, lying legends, priests, monks, and beggary! The whole land is a land of beggars, made so by inculcated notions of a spurious charity. Every countrywoman, many men, and every child, boy or girl, are literally beggars—beggars importunate, unappeasable, irrepressible! What a condition of mind for a naturally noble and capable people to be reduced to by—a religion !

And is this the religion which so many of our educated countrymen and countrywomen, and still more signally the clergy, are so anxious to give us in exchange for the freedom and intelligence of Protestantism ? What a stupid blunder, to say the least of it!”

The letters which are translated for us in this volume, touch upon a wide range of subjects, and are written with great vigour and vivacity. It is a remarkable sign of the times that they should have appeared in a daily paper in the Eternal City itself, Here is a paragraph upon “Kissing the foot of the Pope”:

“Why does the pope cause his foot, or rather his slipper, to be kissed ? When did this custom begin? We will give our readers a brief answer to these queries.

Theophilus Rainaldo and the Bollandist fathers, as well as other Roman Catholic authors, tell us a gallant story of Pope St. Leo I., called the Great, which, if it were true, might show the origin of the practice. They say that a young and very bandsome devotee was admitted on Easter day, to kiss the hand of Pope St. Leo after the mass. The pope felt himself very much excited by this kiss, and remembering the words of the Saviour, . If thy hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee' (Matt. v. 30), he at once cut oft his band. But as he was unable to perform mass with only one hand, the people were in a great rage. The pope therefore prayed to God to restore his hand, and God complied: his hand was again united to the stump. And to avoid such dilemmas in future, Leo ordered that thereafter no one should kiss his hand; but only his foot. A very little common sense is sufficient to make us understand that such was not the origin of this custom

The first who invented this degrading act of kissing feet was that monster in buman form, the Emperor Caligula. He, in his quality of Pontifex Maximus, ordered the people to kiss his foot. The other emperors refused such an act of base slavery. But Heliogabalus, as emperor and Pontifex Maximus, again introduced it. After that impious wretch, Heliogabalus, the custom fell into disuse; but the Christian emperors retaining some of the wicked fables given to the pagan emperors, permitted the kissing of the foot as a compliment on the presentation of petitions. We may cite a few instances. The Acts of the Council of Chalcedon say that Fazius, Bishop of Tyre, in his petition to the emperor, said, I supplicate, prostrate, at your immaculate divine feet.' Bassianus, Bishop of Ephesus, says, “I prostrate myself at your feet.' Eubomius, Bishop of Nicomedia, says, “I prostrate myself before the footsteps of your power.' The Abbot Saba, says, “I have come to adore the footsteps of your piety. Procopius, in his · History of Mysteries,' says that the Emperor Justinian, at the instigation of the proud Theodora, his wife, was the first amongst the Christian Emperors who ordered prostrations before himself and his wife, and the kissing of their feet.

The ecclesiastics, the bishops, and, finally, the popes, were not exempt from paying this homage to the emperors. The prelates of Syria held this language to the Emperor Justinian :-The pope of holy memory, and the archbishop of ancient Rome, has come to your pious conversation, and has been honoured by your holy feet.' Pope Gregory I., writing to Theodorus, the physician of the Emperor Mauritius, in the year A.D. 593, said, 'My tongue cannot sufficiently express the great benefits that I have received from God Almighty, and from our great emperor, for which I can only love him and kiss his feet. In the year A.D. 681, Pope Agathon, sending his legates to the sixth council, writes to the Emperor Constantine Pogonatus :- As prostrate in your presence, and embracing your feet, I implore you,' etc. In the seventh century, therefore, not only did the popes not have their feet kissed, but they themselves were obliged to kiss those of the emperor. Becoming sovereigns of Rome, they soon began to adopt the same custom. Pope Eugenius II., who died in 827, was the first who made it the law to kiss the papal foot. From that time it was necessary to kneel before the popes. Gregory VII. ordered all princes to submit to this practice.

From what we have said, it is clear that the origin of feet kissing was entirely pagan and idolatrous. That this system is in total contradiction to the precepts of the Gospel would be a waste of words to assert. Jesus Christ was so far from desiring people to kiss his feet, that he set himself on one occasion to wash the feet of his disciples. These are the words of the Gospel : · He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel and girded himself. After that he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.'

This act of Jesus Christ is in perfect keeping (John xiii. 4, 5) with all his precepts, with his inculcations of modesty, equality, humility, and with his condemnation of those who set themselves above others. Who would have said that a day would come in which those claiming to be his vicars should cause people to kiss their feet? How thoroughly has Catholicism borrowed from paganism its idolatries? And with all this, with this so flagrant a violation of the religion of Christ, a herd of people go and press their lips on the slipper of the pope, as was done formerly to the Roman emperors, the pontifices maximi, that is to say, the priests of Jove. The comparison is sufficiently eloquent."

« AnteriorContinuar »