Imatges de pÓgina
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vey notions of purgatory. In the time of Gregory the Great—the latter end of the sixth century—the belief in a purgating process, in the invisible state, was seriously inculcated. It was enforced in the eleventh century, and was made an article of faith in the sixteenth. It was then decreed by the Council of Trent, and the decree is still in force, that “ there is a purgatory, and that the souls there detained are assisted by the suffrages of the faithful, but especially by the ac. ceptable sacrifice of the altar. Let the bishops take care that the suffrages of faithful men, to wit, the sacrifices of masses, prayers, almsgivings, and other works of piety, which have been accustomed to be made by the faithful for the faithful departed, according to the ordinances of the Church, be piously and devoutly performed,” &c.

We need not lengthen this article. by extending our remarks to the other impieties and absurdities of Romanism—such as works of supererogation, penances, indulgences, monasticism, Jesuitism, miracles, holy water, lights, bells, &c.—which are all of heathen origin, and calculated to set aside the work of Christ, and substitute for it the work of the priest—to take the glory that belongs to God, and give it to man, his sinful and dependent creature. Enough has been advanced to show the Pagan and godless nature of all the corruptions of the Gospel, which constitute the peculiar characteristics of Popery, and to make it a matter of wonder how, in an age of light and liberty, there can be such subjection of the soul in any country, to so enslaving, degrading, and miserable a state of things. But the wonder becomes greater still, when we find such a system favoured, defended, and armed with so many means of forcing its way in such a country as our own, by those in place and power, and by those of rank, and those of reputed learning amongst us, who ought, in honour, principle, and consistency, to set before us a better example. But the wonder still grows in magnitude, when we see that those who have professed to be the most zealous advocates of political freedom, and have denounced in the strongest terms of indignation, every degree and form of slavery, are the most forward and determined asserters of the right of Popery to be placed, in all respects, on an equal footing with the directly opposite system of Protestantism, in these realms. How any friend of liberty, who knows any thing at all of the spirit and history of Popery, and how utterly irreconcilable it is with Protestant principles, and Protestant privileges, should so far forget his consistency as to maintain, that it should have equal means of working its way, and equal advantages, in any respect whatever, with a system which has carried along with it, all the blessings of freedom, civilization, and prosperity, wherever it has been allowed to put forth its powers, is a most melancholy exhibition of human weakness. It is another of the strange and humiliating anomalies, that we meet with in life, that also men professing godliness, and even zealous in the cause of it, should be found so warped with state politics, so entangled with private associations, and so blinded by habit,--so influenced by some cause or other, that they can overlook, for a moment, the heathenism, the impiety, the daring blasphemy, of such a mass of iniquity, and can think and speak softly of it, and even make concessions to it, and plead for it, and all on the ground, that by thus heaping coals of fire on its head, they will soften and reform it. Other weapons than these are the only death-shafts that can be successfully aimed at the vitals of this hydra, viz. the power of truth, the sword of the Spirit, the whole armour of God. These will do more, in the hands of God's firm and fearless servants, to destroy its hundred heads, and to deliver even Ireland from the millions of evils which its mischievous breath spreads as mildew over that accursed land, than all the repealing of statutes, the granting of rights of equality, and the never-ending and never-successful state-devices of such politicians as look not to “ the wisdom that is from above," but are guided only by expediency, utilitarianism, free trade, and the other teeming theories of the demagogues and orators of the age, that spring up and pass away as the mushrooms of a day. Were all those, at the helm of affairs, thus to stand by the "old land-marks,” and give reality and power to the idea of “ a state-conscience," working for God and truth, and not for “ place and pension," the time would come when the best feelings of our heart would no more be afflicted by the blasphemous aphorism of the poor blinded Papist of the Green Isle—“ My Priest is my God,” but when we would have cause to mark the liberating, enlightening, and gladdening effects of Protestant principles, and be able to say with exultation and gratitude

—“ Behold a land which God has blessed, and rescued from the grasp of sin and Satan, to be his own."

LITERARY NOTICES.

Lectures on Medical Missions : delivered at the instance of the Edinburgh

Medical Missionary Society. Edinburgh : Sutherland and Knox. 1849.

We do not know of any work better calculated than this, to impress the student of medicine with a sense of the sacredness and responsibility of the profession on which he seeks to enter; and there is much to be gathered from it, that medical men of long standing can hardly fail to appropriate as fitted for them.

There is a Prefatory Essay by Dr. Alison, in which he conveys well this important truth ; "that the view of human nature and of the divine nature, which presents itself to the candid and well-instructed scientific enquirer, is quite in accordance with that which is presented in the Gospel."

We give the following quotation from this valuable Essay :

“ But it may be said, that although the conclusions of the ablest men of science have been in perfect harmony with the elementary principles of religion, yet in going farther into religious doctrine, there has been, and still is, much difference of opinion among men of science, and particularly among medical men. It may be asked, in reply, whether there are not many differences of opinion among others, all of whom are, nevertheless, equally earnest and sincere christians ? But these differences do not relate to the belief, that the only Atonement which can avail for our salvation has been granted to us as a free gift from heaven,--nor to the essential

parts of the conduct by which we can conform to the Divine standard and rule of life. There is no difference of opinion among Christians as to the inefficacy of human works for the salvation of the human soul ; nor as to the duty required of us all, to 'do justly, and love mercy, and walk humbly with God ;' nor as to the obligation on us all (however imperfectly it may be fulfilled) to look up with love and gratitude to one Father in heavento do to all men whatsoever we would that they should do to us'—and to acknowledge in our daily prayer, willing submission to that eternal rule of divine justice, that we can hope for forgiveness of our own trespasses, only inasmuch as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.' It may surely be asked, whether agreement on these points is not enough for human life, to keep our hearts together;' and whether most of the differences which nevertheless subsist among us, have not proceeded from an over-anxious desire to possess, and to proclaim the possession of, precise and definite knowledge on subjects, which it is one of the conditions of our present existence that we should see' as through a glass, darkly; since it has not pleased God, in this probationary stage of our being, to communicate to us, or perhaps to make us capable of comprehending, any such precise information ?

“But, on one point of practical importance, quite sufficient to justify our associating together on the present occasion, there is not only no difference of opinion among Christians, but there can hardly be any among any intelligent observers of the history of mankind. It cannot be denied that Christianity has attended the highest attainments of the human mind, in literature and science, in civilization and refinement, in power over Nature, and in the disposition to a beneficent use of that power; and it is equally certain, that in the experienced power of Christianity over human nature, we have a security, such as no other human acquisition can afford, for the permanence of these blessings.”

The object aimed at in the delivery of the Lectures, is thus stated in the first one, by the Professor of Surgery in Edinburgh University.

" It is to explain the nature of Medical Missions ; to show how we may profitably blend the healing of the sick with the teaching of the Gospel, the cure of the body with the care of the soul. It is to exhibit the advantages which a Medical man, by reason of his craft, possesses as a Missionary of Christ ; to illustrate how the heathen lie peculiarly accessible to his influence, when, in such a twofold capacity, he offers to their acceptance twin gifts of goodliest price--for Time and for Eternity. It is to narrate what has been already done in this hopeful direction, and with what success God's liberal hand has crowned the labours of the workmen already in the field—at once so large and so ‘white unto the harvest.' It is to arouse the Christian compassion of our countrymen for the unhappy people of other lands, that sit in darkness and in the shadow of a double death, by directing attention to their every way perishing and lost estate ; and to point to the adoption of those remedial means, by which both soul and body may be renovated and saved. It is to acquaint with these things the mind of our youth who dedicate themselves to the Medical profession ; to quicken their hearts, as that of one man, to sympathy with the wretched, and to contribution in their cause; and, by God's blessing, to awaken some generous and energetic spirits to devote themselves, with Christian chivalry, solemnly and for life, to this great and noble apostleship."

We cannot infer clearly from the Lectures, whether it is intended that the Medical Missionary shall be licensed both to practise medicine and to preach the Gospel; and we are inclined to think that such a combination of the professions, is neither for the good of the Missionary, nor for that of those to whom he is sent. But we cordially agree with almost all the views delivered in the Lectures with the apparent spirit that animates them, and with the excellent purpose they are meant to serve.

We think that in our own country, as well as in distant and strange territories, the medical practitioner has many, various, and remarkably great facilities, for imitating Him, who went about continually doing good to the bodies and to the souls of men. There are medical men who are fully impressed with the responsibility of their position, in this respect; and who know when and how they may express their sense of the sacredness of their profession; but many are inexcusably ignorant and heedless of all that leads in this direction.

There is an admirable lecture on this subject, by George Wilson, M.D., from which we select the following passage :

“ If you enter on the profession of medicine, you must take it with all its responsibilites, and all its opportunities for serving God and man.

No alternative is allowed you. You may be disposed to say this is hard. 'I choose a lawful calling, as a creditable and honest means of livelihood, and a congenial occupation. I am attentive to my patients, solicitous for their interests, skilful in my profession, and do wrong to no one, and now I am made responsible for their souls as well as their bodies, and am called to an awful account because I do not seek their salvation! Ah, gentlemen ! this is exactly the answer which the servant who buried his talent in the ground gave to his master when called to a reckoning for turning it to no account. He justified himself to his Lord on the plea, “Thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow.' Thou askest me, the physician, to do what only the clergyman can do. And what is the Lord's reply? He does not disavow the character imputed to him, or vindicate his austerity. He could have done so if he had deemed it needful. He had put into his servant's hands the seed to sow; and if the servant had not the skill to sow it, he had but to apply to his Lord, who would have given him all the directions requisite. He was master, and the servant knew he was austere, and what his expectations from his servants were. Out of his own mouth, accordingly, the slothful man was judged: and all who adopt his plea will be dealt with in the same way. You are occupying the places which otherwise Christian physicians might be filling. You have a thousand opportunities of enlightening the ignorant, warning the dying, reproving the sinful, comforting the despairing, turning souls from darkness to light. You are improving none of those opportunities, even where your religious ministrations would be gratefully welcomed. For all this you will be called to account. If you entertain any doubts as to the Bible being a special Revelation from God, or stumble at any of its doctrines, or are perplexed with any of its difficulties, do not forget that the nature of your professional duties, demands that nothing be wanting on your part towards settling questions so momentous for practical physicians. You cannot shake yourselves free of your religious responsibilities as medical men. They will meet you in every sick-room, haunt every dying pillow you are near, and reproach you from every dead man's face. If you believe in a God, in a life beyond the grave, and a judgment to come, you cannot too quickly choose between these alternatives; the fulfilment, with God's help, of every responsibility of your profession, or the abandonment of it altogether. May the former be your choice! There is no profession to be found on this earth which does not involve greater responsibilities than man, trusting only in his own strength, is able to fulfil.

This last sentence involves a truth, or at least implies one,

which affords

the proper point of view from which to look at the individual duty of men in every occupation and profession whatsoever, as regards the Christian Faith which they profess. Every man, be he professional man or labourer, is bound to be, in one sense, a Missionary for Christ. Whether he seek a foreign land, or live and die on the spot and within the circle of the scenery, where his fathers lived and died; it is his part, by word and deed, to honour the Master whose disciple he claims to be. The truth seems common-place; but owing to many causes, it is not understood. Because ministers are the appointed instructors and guides in religion, it is imagined that all the responsibility of teaching, by precept and by example, may be left to them. But those are grossly ignorant, and far from their duty, who think and act on such an imagination as this. It is not needful that the lawyer, or the physician, or the merchant, or the hard-working tradesman, whether at home or abroad, should at times lay aside the practice of his ordinary duties, and assume the exact functions of the preacher; for this last calling requires a peculiarly long and careful, and undivided attention ; but it is in the power of all, in their every-day life, to do much for Christianity at home; and in no slight degree to sustain the character of Missionaries abroad.

The Medical man has incalculable means and opportunities for aiding the spread of the Gospel in foreign lands, and for strengthening the hands of the appointed Heralds of the Cross, who labour beside them, there. Even as at home, the pastor has often had to thank the pious physician, for much good work unassumingly done ;-and with the understanding previously expressed as to the unsuitableness of'actually combining the two professions of Medicine and Divinity, we feel the strongest inclination to advocate the cause so energetically contended for, in the Lectures before us.

We think this work might do much good, indirectly, if circulated among Students of Medicine. It is the testimony of a few of the most intelligent and exemplary in their own profession, as well as otherwise learned ; the testimonies of men who are glad to testify, and without any fear of being called fanatics or enthusiasts, in behalf of a cause to which some of their body would be almost ashamed to refer.

The Settler's New Home; or the Emigrant's Location. BY SIDNEY Smith.

London : John Kendrick. This closely printed and uncommonly cheap little work-for its contents in a small but clear and neat type and on excellent paper, might by the exercise of a little printer craft, have been spread over the pages of a sizeable octavo, price half a guinea-is one which we can most heartily recommend either to intending emigrants, or to those who intend to stay at home, as at once a book full of information and of amusement. Mr. Sidney Smith is a writer rich in all the statistical knowledge which his subject demands, and in a great deal of other knowledge useful for a writer on any subject, and he writes on emigration in the spirit of a politician and a poet combined. In the “ motives for emigrating,” and the “ advantages of emigration," he positively excites an enthusiasm in the reader in behalf of labour in the Backwoods, as the reading of Defoe's famous romance inspires all school-boys of the least heroism with the passion for being shipwrecked on a desolate island. The life and labours of settler in the forest with his wife and family, are described with the pen of an original writer-and they are described in a style which must fascinate him who seeks in the sweat of his face, for health, independence and happiness. The subject handled by so able a writer is deeply interesting, as by a law of providence the stream of population is gradually rolling towards those vast forests and

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