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RECENT DEATHS.

Died March 11th, 1843, in the 78th year of his age, the Rev. Robert McAll, the venerated father of the late Dr. McAll, of Manchester, and the Rev. Samuel McAll, of Doncaster. He was educated for the ministry in the Countess of Hantingdon's Col. lege, Trevercca, and, we believe, continued to be a minister in her connexion through. out his long and honourable course. He was one of the first supplies at the chapel her ladyship built at Swansea, in 1789 ; and we find his name connected with the congregations first at St. Ives’, then at Gloucester, and afterwards at Zion Chapel, Whitechapel, London. We do not profess to give a history of his life, but we cannot allow a man so honoured with length of days, ministerial consistency, and pastoral usefulness, to drop into the grave without a brief record in our pages.

The Rev. Joan CLEGHORN died March 14th, 1843. He was for many years a pastor of the Congregational church assembling at Argyle Street Chapel, Edinburgh. Educated as a student in connexion with the Burgher Secession body, he became an Independent, on the rise of the Congregational controversy in Scotland, and was we believe, ordained at Gosport by Dr. Bogue. He was first sent to Wick, Caithness, but of his subsequent movements till he was settled in Edinburgh, we have no knowledge.

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Rev. Drs. Clunie and Hoppus.

Rev. G. Taylor.–J. K. Foster.—A. E. Lord.—John Alexander.-G. B. Johnson. -G. Wood.-J. C. Brown.-R. Littler.-A. Wells.-B. Parsons.-M. Wilks.Gilbert Wardlaw.-George Pillgrem.-Robert Chamberlain.—Thomas Mann.

Also from W. Stroud, Esq., M.D., whose communication we hope to insert in our next.

We have received several communications on Acts xiii. 48 ; but our critical friends must be aware that it would not accord with the general character of our magazine to crowd its pages exclusively with articles of that order. At the same time we are gratified with the attention which the subject has awakened, and will do our best to insert these articles as early as possible.

Although we give in this number sixteen additional pages, yet we are compelled to omit our Brief Notes on Passing Events, and other articles of intelligence.

THE

CONGREGATIONAL MAGAZINE.

MAY, 1843.

CHEERFULNESS AND SERIOUS RELIGION.

Romanist writers are in the habit of representing gloom as a characteristic feature of the Protestant mind, and claiming cheerfulness as an element peculiarly belonging to their own communion, the offspring of their system.* To many this statement will, perhaps, be new, and it may occasion some surprise. It has, however, been repeatedly advanced, and there are those who have assented to it, who are separatists from the Church of Rome.t Much stress has been laid, in favour of this idea, upon a tone of sadness pervading the sentimental poetry of Protestantism, and upon a severity of manner distinguishing a Protestant population, to a greater extent than is the case with the poetry and manners of Catholic countries. There is some truth in the distinction here observed. Blair's “Grave" is certainly grave enough. Many of the “ Night Thoughts” of Young are overspread with shadows that are pitchy dark. Gray's celebrated " Elegy,” like a piece of exquisite sculpture, is beautiful, but cold and drear. It chills as much as it charms. We admire as we read, but it makes one's heart ache. The sun might never have shone in his "Churchyard,” or the awakening of the dead in the prophet's vision been heard of. Many of the national songs of Scotland, as the “Banks o' Doon” and “ Auld Lang Syne," and the ballads of Germany, as“ Sagt, wo gint die Vatchen hin?” “Say, where is the violet fled ?” have a tinge of melancholy which offers a striking contrast to the hilarity of the popular minstrelsy beyond the Swiss and Tyrolean Alps. The spirit of Dante indeed appears solemn and severe, beneath the bright sky of Florence, but the general tone of profane song in Catholic Italy and Spain is light and lively. Physical causes will account for this. The geographical position of the two

* Catholic Year Book, 288, 293.
"Gaiety and lightness of heart are not Protestant."-Sir Harry Nicholas.

2 T

N. S. VOL. VII.

great divisions of European Christendom sufficiently explains the discordance. Protestantism obtained possession of the north of Europe at the Reformation, while the south remained true to the Vatican. The former acquired the mastery over nations of less elastic and more sombre temperament than those over which Popery kept sway. It may be admitted, therefore, that a buoyancy of spirit marks the national mind, in regions exclusively Catholic, to a greater degree than in the reformed countries. But this is purely a constitutional feeling, entirely referrible to a more genial physical condition, a condition which, while it fosters a vivacious temper, affords facilities for its open development. A balmy climate invites the peasantry of the Gaudalquiver, the Garonne, and the Po, to luxuriate on the green sward in hours of relaxation ; an indulgence which the northerns can only rarely enjoy, owing to a rigorous and changeful atmosphere. Thus far, an advantage must be

nceded to the pope over Luther,--the possession of a territory where there is less reason to cry out, with the boys of ancient Greece, on a cloudy day, "Εξεχ ώ φιλήλιε ! Come forth, O beloved Sun !"* and a people more constitutionally inclined to the gay and sanguine. But with the devotional poetry of the two classes, which may

be regarded as a true expression of the religious feelings induced by the two systems, the case is precisely the reverse. The Protestant spirit of sacred song is no Rachel weeping and refusing to be comforted ; she wears no widow's weeds, nor sits in sackcloth and ashes ;

but is clad in saintly attire, as one ready to go in to the marriage supper

of the Lamb. Her hymns are richly imbued with the emotions of faith, hope, and joy, and eloquently tell of the bitter having been made sweet by a healing process. Those of popery, on the contrary, are seldom of the experimental class, and against the few that are, a general charge of sterility may be advanced, as to soothed, satisfied, and happy feeling. The awful note of the Dies Iræ is their usual tone. No breviary has any strain kindred to Watts' song of triumphant confidence in God;

"My God, the spring of all my joys ;" or to Oliver's pæan of assured hope ;

“ He by himself hath sworn,

I on his oath depend,
I shall, on eagle's wings upborne,

To heaven ascend :
I shall behold his face,

I shall his power adore,
And sing the wonders of his grace,

For evermore ;"

* " Then the God listened to the shouting boys,
When they exclaimed, Come forth, beloved Sun !'”

Strattis, Fragment of Phænisse.

or to the sweet domestic hymn in Wesley's collection, which breathes the peace of the heaven-descended dove ;

“When quiet in my house I sit,
Thy book be my companion still,
My joy thy sayings to repeat,
Talk o'er the records of thy will,
And search the oracles divine,
Till every heart-felt word be mine.
Oft as I lay me down to rest,
Oh may the reconciling word
Sweetly compose my weary breast,
While on the bosom of my Lord
I sink in blissful dreams away,

And visions of eternal day." The tendency of Protestant doctrine is to give present rest to the heart of man, by a present settling of the gravest affair of human existence, the acceptance of the soul with God, through the merits of a crucified Redeemer. Popery places this afar off, and takes no cog. nizance of it, but as one of the determinations of eternity, only to be reached by her approved sons, even when the scene of life is over, through a fiery purgatorial ordeal. The discipline of Protestantism, derived from the inspired rule of life, is the right government of the affections and thoughts, a foundation for true happiness to be enjoyed, independent of external circumstances, on the "thorny bed of pain," in the prison of the captive, and the poor man's home. But the discipline upon which popery lays stress is chiefly outward and bodily, while those who do not like it, may cheaply obtain a dispensation from it, and an indulgence for the most grievous errors of the flesh and of the spirit. The consequence is, that just as either of those phases suits the temper of an individual, life becomes a revel or a martyrdom -a scene of godless gratification, or of religious misery. Rome has no middle path, where may be found

“The soul's calm sunshine, and the heart-felt joy." The principles of popery, fairly worked out, lead to the carnival, or to the cloisters—to the bull-fight, or the scourge--and tend to produce either a luxurious Leo, or an attenuated Elphege.

A similar charge of gloom has been brought by one party of Protestants against another, who have laid claim to the cheerfulness which the others have been supposed to lack. Mr. Southey has put into the mouth of his Spanish papist the sentiment, evidently his own opinion, that “it is peculiarly the character of Calvinism to divest piety of all cheerfulness, and cheerfulness of all piety, as if they could not coexist, and to introduce a joyless and graceless system of manners.” The remark occurs in the “ Letters of Espriatta,” but he lived to write afterwards the “Life of Wesley,” and to find that a stanch Arminian had little sympathy with the Spanish viola and dance, and was as stern a foe to ringlets, flounces, and “to trip it merrily,” in the world's sense, as ever the most rigid Genevan is or has been. “ What is the scene,” observes the latter writer, “in England at this time? All public amusements are prohibited by the demon of Calvinism-Yonder goes a crowd to the Tabernacle, as dismally as if they were going to a funeral.”'*

The impression that gloom is a component part of Calvinism, originated with the severe spirit of the Puritans, who were almost all of them of that creed. Now, while I cannot adopt the Puritan theology as a whole, and have less taste for some of the Puritan manners, I see no difficulty in thinking both vastly preferable to the creed and spirit of their impugners. I find nothing malum in se in gymnastics, can draw refreshment from Jubal's lyre and Miriam's voice, and am in favour of many of those personal adornments which the religionists of a former age pronounced idle vanities. I cannot frown upon a frolic, because it is one, or feel any guilt in partaking amusement, time and place being suitable, and have no sympathy with those of old who shrunk from an embroidered garment as an emblem of pride, and deemed it pious to wear garters with godly mottoes. To spend a few moments snatched from the heavy burdens of life in joyous pastime, betrays a happy natural disposition, and is quite in harmony with the genius of religion. When the love of recreation is directed to proper objects, and so duly tempered that its indulgence has a subordinate place in human occupations, it is not only innocent but useful, because it ministers to a return with increased energy to the graver labours of

* Since the above was written, Mr. Southey has finished his earthly course. The places that once knew him, Walla Crag, Skiddaw, Thralkeld Tarn, and Derwent. water, know him no more. On many accounts he deserves to be spoken of with great kindness and respect. His fine mind, his literary labours, his personal virtues, and his domestic character, should lead us to deal tenderly with his memory. Alive we may be to his errors, and to his prejudices against ourselves, but, alas ! if we have much to forgive, we have all much to be forgiven. Though trammelled by his party, he was far ahead of it. Many a man has been better than his creed, and I see reason to hope that he was more of an experimentalist in religion, than might be inferred from those passages of his writings which proceeded from the partizan. His last work, according to common belief, the five volumes of the “Doctor," which perhaps no other man in the world besides himself had literature enough to write, with all its oddities, has many displays of a healthy spirit.

It would be easy to find candid admissions from unlikely quarters, which savour largely of the uncheerfulness which Southey assigned to Calvinism. Paley remarks that “the world, even in its innocent pursuits and pleasures, has a tendency unfa. vourable to the religious element.” I do not agree with Paley; but perhaps we should differ in what are or are not “innocent pursuits and pleasures.” No blame to the water, if a man goes into it, gets out of his depth, and is drowned. If he who can swim will use caution, he may find refreshment, and not death in the stream.

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