Page images
PDF
EPUB

mercies which it hath pleased the giver of "every good and perfect gift” to bestow upon us, during that period, have been great and numerous. While many congregations have been weakened by division, and withered by strife, scarcely a wbisper of momentary discord has ever been heard amongst us.

Some who were once careless, have become attentive to religion; and, in several instances, the men of the world have been turned to the Lord, by the power of his word. “To the praise of the glory of divine grace," let it be, therefore, thankfully acknowledged, that we have been thus united, happy, and prosperous; and that, with regard to the future, we have equal encouragement to go forward.

Now, “ I beseech you, Brethren, suffer the word of ex. hortation.” If I were to affirm, that nothing remained to be corrected or improved, I sbould be guilty, both of flattery and falsehood. In common with congregations in general, there are, doubtless, many persons among us that require admonition, and of whose conversation we dare not say, that it is such "as becometh the Gospel of Christ.” I advert nct to the fact in the tone of reproach, but solicitude, desiring that you would guard against every thing that might be likely to weaken the cause of religion in the world, and become a local obstacle to its advancement. If there be one thing that lies nearer my heart than another, as your Minister, it is-next to the con. version of souls—the consistency of your lives with your profession. If these do not harmonize, your friends may overlook the discrepancy, or cover it with the mantle of charity; but the world will be more discerning, and less candid. You may pass with one another as sincere, though imperfect Christians; but if consistency be wanting, the world, who are always pleased to find spots in the character of the religious, will scarcely give you credit for any thing more than hypocrisy. While, therefore, we are not to “seek to please men,” by the sacrifice of the truth, or a good conscience, we owe it both to our Lord, and to the world, to endeavour to weaken all prejudices against the Gospel, by personal holiness, and unblemisbed integrity in every situation and condition of life. Where. fore, my Brethren, receive this pastoral advice :

Have no unnecessary association with men of irreligious habits-guard against all vain and foolish conversationbe punctual in your engagements, both secular and religious—" forsake not the assembling of yourselves to. gether (in the sanctuary,) as the manner of some is" let your attendance on the ministry of the word be steady, serious, and as often as possible, both on the Sabbath, and at other times-erect an altar to God in all your families, and bow before it daily-support the cause of religion, both at home and abroad, cheerfully, liberally, to the utmost of your means, and from love to Him, “who gave himself for you”-study each others' welfare, and endeavour to promote it-uphold the hands of your Minister, and aim at promoting his usefulness, by holy example, fraternal intercouse, enlightened and prudent zeal, fervent prayer, and Christian love ;-and finally, strive to preserve the flame of personal religion bright and vigorous in your own souls, for this will be the most effectual method of demonstrating to the world, that the Gospel of Christ is a "doctrine according to godliness." Oh, my dear Brethren, let the edification of one another in love, which the apostle enjoins, be your unwearied concern, and the object of your earnest prayer.

“And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue (or courage;) and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter i. 5-8. But there are

some among you of whom I stand in doubl,” and over whom the eye of pastoral tenderness may bitterly weep. I refer to such as “ halt between two opinions," who have sat under the word many years, have passed through heavy trials, and frequently“ had the sentence of death in themselves;” but are, I fear, unconverted still! If this be the case with any, how fear. fal is their condition! I make no apology for saying, * It will be more tolerable in the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for them.” I will speak, however, the language of encouragement, as well as fidelity; and therefore entreat you to seek the Lord while he may be found, and call upon him while he is near.”. Remember, in a few fleeting years, this vain world, with all its concerns, will be nothing to you. Young and old, child and parent, servant and master, have often disappeared from four ranks, and descended to "the bouse appointed for all living." And “we also must needs follow.” Be persuaded, therefore, ye youth, ye parents, ye aged, to receive in faith, the glorious proclamation of everlasting love. Suffer not the world to cheat you of heaven, nor the perishing bubbles of earth to divert you from the pursuit of the imperishable riches of eternity. Do you still hesitate ? And still linger? And is the soul to be thus bartered for the vanities of the world! Eternal God, prevent it by thy grace, and turn the hearts of the people to thyself, that they may live with thee for ever.

That this may be your unspeakable felicity, is the sincere and fervent prayer of your faithful Friend and Pastor.

S. SIMPSON. DUBLIN, May, 1831.

THE IDOLATROUS CEREMONIES OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC AND GREEK CHURCHES AT MALTA, CORFU, AND ZANTE.

[In the Reasons for a Day of Humiliation, lately published by the

General Synod, mention was made of the shameful practices of compelling British Protestant Officers to take a part in the idolatrous and superstitious ceremonies of the Church of Rome. Two British Officers have already been robbed (we cannot use a gentler term) of their commissions and rank, because they had principle enough to beg to be excused. To these honourable Christian men no compensation rohatever has been granted by the Government. We publish some important documents, illustrative of this subject. We believe that only one town in Ireland (Coleraine) has had sufficient Protestant feeling to petition Parliament on the subject.-EDIT.)

Chief Secretary's Office, Malta, May 27, 1823. Sir,—The CHAPTER of the Con Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, in Valetta, having applied to Government for the attendance of the troops and for salutes on the Festival of Corpus Domini,* I 'am directed by his Honour the Lieutenant-Governor, to require that the same may

be complied with, as last year.

“RICHARD PLASKET, Civil Secretary to Government.”

* These salutes form part of the Romish ceremonies of worship to the wafer, as God, at its alleged transubstantiation, and wlien it is carried in procession to be worshipped in the streets, as described in the following part of this letter.

“Chief Secretary's Office, Valetta, Dec. 12, 1823. “Sir,--Application having been made to Government by the Procurator of the confraternity of the Immaculate Conception* of Valetta, for salutes on Sunday next, the · 14th instant, at half-past eleven o'clock, A. M., and in the evening during the procession, I am directed by his Honour the Lieutenant-Governor to request the same may be complied with as customary."

“Chief Secretary's Office, Valetta, July 14, 1823, Application having been made to Government for salates on Wednesday next, the 16th instant, being the Festival of the Madonna del Carmine, at three-quarters past eleven, A. M., DURING Mass, and in the evening during the procession, I am directed by his honour the LieutenantGovernor to request that the necessary orders my be given for carrying the same into effect as usual. I have the honour to be, &c."

“Chief Secretary's Office, Valetta, Aug. 4, 1823. “Sir, I have the honour to acquaint you, that application has been made to Government for salutes from Castle St. Angelo, being the eve and anniversary of St. Lorenzo the tutelar Saint of Vittorioso.

“His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor has been pleased to grant salutes, on the 9th instant, at noon, and on the day following at half-past ten o'clock, and in the evening, during the procession from Castle St. Angelo, accompanied by the 'tolling of the Castle bell, which his Honour requests you will order to be carried into effect;

* These ceremonies are for the especial worship of the VIRGIN and HER IMAGE; and the reality of this worship will be judged of from the following extract from a Proclamation issued by the Pope on December 2, 1826 :

“The most Reverend Chapter of St. Peter's, at Rome, is aceustomed to distribute every year crowns of gold to decorate the brows of those images of the blessed Virgin, the most celebrated for their antiquity, their wondrous works, or for their popularity, in order to increase even more and more the WORSHIP of such images, and to excite the piety and devotion of the Faithful towards the great Mother of God. Now the above-mentioned Chapter, having listened to the claims urged in favour of the IMAGE of the Immaculate Conception which is ADORED in the. church of Gesu Vecchi at Naples, and having found these claims sup. ported by satisfactory evidence, do award,” &c.

The Pope also “grants ” an abundant portion of grace and indul. gence to all who shall assist in the ceremony, or be present in the church on that great day.

but the situation of St. Michael's Tower being in the vicinity of the naval arsenal, bis Honour cannot allow any salutes being fired from that place.*

Malta, Brigade-Major's Office, Oct. 31, 1823. A guard of honour of the E0th Regiment (the Staffordshire Volunteers,) consisting of one captain, three subalterns, and one hundred rank and file, the band, and King's color of that corps, will parade to-morrow morning, at St. John's Cathedral, at half-past eight o'clock.

“The Royal Artillery will furnish for the above guard two field pieces, to be placed in the same manner as they were on the 23d September last.

A royal salute will be fired from the saluting battery, upon a signal, wbich will be made from a steeple of St. John's Cathedral, of a white handkerchief." Extract from the Malta Government Gazette, Nov. 4, 1823.

During the celebration of Mass a guard of honour at. tended at the church, consisting of a detachment from the Soth Regiment, with the band and colors, two field-pieces, and a competent proportion of artillery-men. The soldiers were stationed in two lines, in the centre of the church, and the guns placed at the portal. DURING the CHANTING OF THE Te Deum a royal salute of twenty-one guns was fired from the saluting battery of Fort St. Angelo, and also from the batteries of Citta Notabile.”

The salutes are as follows:- Thirty patteraroes are fired at the alleged transubstantiation of the wafer, when it is elevated at mass to be worshipped as the body, soul, blood, and DIVINITY of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It is necessary to state, that during Mass, the priest elevates a wafer over his head, when the people in the cathedral fall on their knees and worship it ; at wbich moment Roman Catholic troops present their arms and bow their colors to the ground, as their military form of worship When the attendance of Protestant troops is obtained, they are drawn up close to the grand altar, in two lines, down the whole length of the church, with a space between them, and thus form the most prominent object in the church next to the priests at the altar. In this situation they are also made to present arms and drop their colors to the Host, the same as if they were Roman

• It was for seeking to be excused from this service, that one of the Protestant Officers was dismissed the service.

« PreviousContinue »