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BELOVED READERS,- WE feel it a great privilege once more to be permitted to set up our Ebenezer, and, at the close of another volume of the Gospel Magazine, to add to our many previous testimonies the “ Hitherto hath the Lord helped us ;" yea, up to this moment, notwithstanding all lets and all hinderances, still, still our God has proved Himself to be all-sufficient and a
very present help in trouble;" blessed, and praised, and adored be His great and glorious name!
There is something, beloved, unspeakably blessed in proving the Lord, in testing the Lord. It is one of His own sweet counsels, “ Prove me now herewith ;” and again, “Thou shalt see now whether these things come to pass or not.” Now this is just what the Lord loves His people to do. He delights in their putting His word, and His power, and His love, and His faithfulness, to the proof; and the result is by no means doubtful. The issue is always one and the same. The testimony is uniform. There is no exception-no deviation-no qualifications; but one and all of the great cloud of witnesses declare as with one voice, that He is a kind and gracious and all-sufficient God. Moreover, whatever the depths through which they may have been called to pass; however great their privations, or intense their sufferings ; still, still the cry universally and uniformly is, “ He hath done all things well.” Another mercy is that, likewise, of the dear children of God-namely, the absolute necessity (and their sooner or later discovering that necessity, too) of every lesson which their gracious God and Father is pleased to teach them. Such lessons prove to be invaluable, indispensable, and most salutary. To whatever privations such lessons may have subjected them, they feel that the lack of that lesson would have been the greatest privation of all.
Now thus it is that the Lord teaches His children so wisely and so effectually; thus it is that He leads them to acknowledge and to admire Him, in the openings out of His wisdom, and love, and power. So it is that, sooner or later, He brings each and all of His own to say of every temptation and of every trial,
« That all was most needful,
Not one was in vain."
We do feel it a privilege, then, beloved, once more to add this our humble testimony to the love, and faithfulness, and power, of our covenant Jehovah, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
At the closing up of another editorial year, cheerfully do we sing, with the sainted TOPLADY
“ This God is the God we adore,
Our faithfnl, unchangeable Friend;
And neither knows measure nor end.
Whose Spirit shall guide us safe home;
And trust Him for all that's to come.”
-Beloved, though we have been wont for so many years to bring these considerations before you, yet we feel it incumbent upon us to “stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance.” The signs of the times are such, that, were we silent, we feel we should be guilty of a grievous sin. and years, you know, we have endeavoured to sound the alarm, and to urge upon the people of God to stand upon their watch-tower. We have, moreover, besought them to seek for grace that they might “not fall out by the way,” but to “ endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” We have sought to show the necessity for this. There were times coming, we have said, in which the children of God would not only regret their little party distinctions and their little petty disputations, but when they would be glad to combine and unite hand in hand, and heart to heart. When they found what vantage ground the enemy had obtained, and that very much through their previous disunion, with what deep regret would
regard their folly!
Now solemn-deeply solemn as is the present aspect of the times—and from our hearts we believe the aspect was never more solemn-we do rejoice in the spirit which is abroad, not to compromise truth ; but, as far as in us lies, to unite in one common cause before one common Lord and with one common object. We do rejoice in those meetings for prayer which are now spreading through the length and breadth of the land. We have more faith in those prayer-meetings than in all the warlike preparations which are making, wise and prudent as those preparations may be. We have far more faith in the various prayer-corps than in all the rifle-corps, however good, and however glad we may be to see young men come forth with true nobility of heart in defence of their Queen and their country. The 18th chapter of Genesis was never dearer to our hearts that it is at the present time. We feel that the many tens righteous which are to be found within the boundaries of dear old England are our great national bulwark. We feel that our God will not-cannot—be indifferent to the many cries which are momentarily being poured into His ears by His many sons and daughters. We feel that, guilty as is the land, and deserving as it may be of sorest chastisement, still so much of the precious salt of the earth is to be found within these realms, and so little of that salt in comparison on the part of our opposers, that our God will either take His people home; marvellously preserve them in the midst of coming calamities; or else significantly deliver us from those calamities.
Readers, we have had but one opinion since the closing up of the Crimean war—that it was an understanding and a guilty connivance between France and Russia against England. We believe, moreover, that the Emperor of the French appeased his people, upon his recent return from Italy, after the fearful sacrifice of human life, and little if any better than defeat there, with the promise of a retaliation upon England for her victories at Waterloo. Be his words or professions whatever they may, we have not the slightest shadow of a shade of confidence in that man. He is, we doubt not, in combination with Russia, at least preparing for a most desperate onslaught upon
But even this we should not deem so formidable a prospect if there were not other—and perhaps far more serious—considerations. These were well put forth in Blackwood's Magazine for January of the present year. A writer there says :
“A nation may be effectually though very slowly brought under the yoke of foreign enemies, without an open invasion by armed hosts. This is being done in England, and every inch of ground is made sure. The Court of Rome, which is indeed a mere political superstition, has its hostile agents judiciously spread over the country ; every Romish priest
-and there are many Italian ones, the most depraved men of the most depraved people in Europe—is busy sapping and mining, not only under our Protestant religion, but under our free civil institutions. Hordes of desperate and destitute foreigners are also spread over the country, the rank and file of the invaders, who pick up a miserable living as wanderers and mendicants, ready to obey orders, and burn or murder, as directed by their superior officers. Some get into employment variously in families, where they act as spies, and are ready,
should it appear useful to the masters they serve, to poison obnoxious people. They will soon make their way into the Court and Palace, if they be not there already. It is quite natural that all this should be approved and connived at by the European despotic Catholic governments, who regard our free laws and free press with aversion, England must be to them a standing nuisance, an example their dissatisfied subjects desire to imitate. While England remains as it is, there will be-can be-no peace for them. To destroy our civil and religious liberties, and to subjugate us as a nation to foreign political and religious tyranny, by open warfare, has never yet succeeded, and it is too dangerous to attempt until the country is internally we kened and divided against itself by the Romish priests and Jesuits. Every Roman Catholic, be he Irish, Scotch, or English, must be the enemy of this country, and he is bound by hope of heaven to join in ANY MEANS that his priestly officers command to bring us under subjection to the see of Rome; and, should the means be Austrian or French bayonets, he must aid in their crusade.
“ The Japanese, some centuries ago, were fast siuking under the encroachments of the Jesuits. Converts were made by the hundred of thousand, but alarm was taken in time. The long-tongued folly of a Spanish officer raised the warning voice; the Japanese took wise advantage; and, on the instant, they exterminated Popery, by the same cruel and bloody means that were so successfully employed by Philip II. in Spain to exterminate Protestantism. A Japanese minister asked, How is it your King has managed to possess himself of half the world -He sends priests to win the people, his troops are then sent to join the native Christians, and the conquest is easy.”—(Blackwood, January, 1859.)
Again, with reference to the recent strenuous efforts to obtain a footing for Roman Catholic Chaplains in our different poor-houses, the very important Monthly Letter, for November, of the Protestant Alliance, quotes as follows from the Romish Tablet :
“Now is the time to test the Catholic spirit. Its power has been proved; and in the clergy we have the true stuff, sterling and unflinching. Will the laity back the clergy ? Let us not dispute about means, whether it is best to work by local effort or by central effort. Whatever we can do, we are bound to do; and the rule here, as everywhere, is the long and the strong pull, and the pull altogether. The agitation is alive again. Our claims are challenged resolutely and impudently. There are parishes in which we have little to ask, and in which, thanks to the manly conscientiousness of the Poor Law Directors, we have only to ask and to have. Bnt for the bigots who refuse us even the small concession of the Poor Law Board there is but one answer: “You dare us to a trial of strength, and we take up your gage !'"- October 8.
“We will not say, 'English principles are on their trial,' they have been tried long ago, and found wanting. We say, Up, Catholics! You are men, and you have rights. Stand by your rights! You are at least as good as the infidels and assassins of Italy !"
But, O Ireland ! and O, you Irish Members of Parliament ! What, in the name of Heaven, are you doing? It is for the Irish orphan that your aid is asked in vain.”October 15.
This new order is only a small instalment of our claim, but it will deserve to be made known as extensively as possible, and to be used as often as possible.”-October 29.
Again, speaking of Romanists and their allegiance, the same Monthly Letter (quoting the Times) says :
People did indeed argue, in all the generous simplicity which distinguished the advocates of the Roman Catholic Relief Bill, that the members of that faith knew well how to distinguish between things temporal and things spiritual, and that, while they venerated the Pope as the head of their Church, they knew equally what was due to their Sovereign as the chief magistrate of the country of which they were citizens. Had this not only been
sserted, no English Parliament would have been found to assent to the emancipation of the Roman Catholies. It was asserted, it was believed, it was acted upon ; and yet every day's experience teaches us only the more plainly that it is untrue. Whatever be the case with the more enlightened of the laity, we cannot for a moment doubt that the great mass of the priesthood and of their followers are under the control of a foreign potentate, and that if there be not that divided allegiance that was apprehended, it is because---the whole having been given to the Pope-nothing has been left for the Queen,”- Times, Nov. 10, 1859.
Moreover, from the same source, we gather the Tablet's opinion of the present condition of the English Church and Popery. The Tablet of Oct. 29 states that
“Our excellent contemporary, The Union, continues to afford evidence of the progress and earnestness of the (Roman) Catholic movement in the Anglican Church. The last number contains one of a series of articles in favour of prayers and celebrations for the dead; and it is sufficiently evident that its earnest contributors sympathise' with (Roman) Catholies in almost every point of their faith and practice. Except that they hope their peculiar circumstances will be regarded as a sufficient excuse for their non-communion with the Holy See, there is probably not a single doctrine or practice upon which they would express any divergence from the (Roman) Catholic Church. The immaculate conception: has been defended in its pages, while its clerical correspondents avow their readiness to administer Extreme Unction."
Again, in proof of the disposition to countenance Popery, upon the part of our Government, the Record and other papers say :
"We learn from a morning journal that the priest, a zealous and enthusiastic pervert (Father Hathaway), has been holding special services' in the building used as a place of worship, in the camp at Aldershott, alike by Protestants and Romanists. The writer complains that, while these liberties are allowed to the priest, obstructions are placed in the way of Protestant effort, and gives the following example: 'Some months ago, a committee was formed, and it consisted of some of the best and bravest officers and staff in Aldershott camp, with chaplains and clergy, Two Scripture readers were set apart to read and visit among the men quartered there. A deputation waited on the General in command for his sanction and approval of these Scripture-readers. Time was taken to consider, and in the interim the Roman Catholic priest was summoned to head-quarters, and asked if he had any objection to such agents working in the camp! Of course the holy father declared that he had, and very speedily spread abroad the interview and its object. A long time elapsed before the readers had license to go into camp; and now they dare not enter a hut, a barrack-room, or an hospital-not even to read the Bible, because they have no official per mission, and lest they should offend the priesthood! These men must skulk up and down the lines, looking out for some hopeful batch of soldiers to speak and read to ; and if it poprs with rain, and is ever so inclement, they are in peril of a provost ”if they enter a hat.'”
Had space permitted, we had intended to have quoted from a most striking review of several works on prophecy, which appeared in the Times of November 3, wherein they (the Times reviewers) do not attempt to disguise their conviction that we are upon the eve of a most momentous crisis. By sundry singular collateral facts, which they glean from their correspondents in various parts of the globe, they admit that there is a remarkable analogy between those facts and the prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse. They acknowledge, moreover, that the belief of some great crisis being near is widespread, and that “ men's hearts are (literally) failing them from fear, and for looking on those things which are coming upon the earth ;" the more so as we are rapidly approaching the year 1866 or 7, a date so long foreshown, and arrived at in various ways by the different students of prophecy. To say
the least, it is remarkable that the Times should thus express themselves, and that at this juncture such sentiments should have a worldwide dissemination. We hope that it may not be without its use, and that God, of His great mercy, may grant it shall prove a means of stirring up men's minds, and lead to reflection and inquiry.