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• sciences or the religious opinions of any person, or to enter ! into any theological discussions :' and yet, it charges the Mómiers (adopting the calumnious by-word which denotes hypocrites) with teaching and preaching doctrines which are described as destroying the morality of actions, and subverting social order; with having actually set up, in some places, • public and regular worship (un véritable culte public et regu. • lièr);' and, in fine, seeking to make proselytes.
Another Edict, not less admirable as an emanation of wisdom and a specimen of legislation, was issued on the 20th of May following. It explains and applies the former, so that the prohibition shall include, as an unlawful assembly, even the daily domestic worship, if any person not belonging to the family be present; it points the sword of law more directly against what it calls acts of proselytism or seduction ;' and it specifies the penalties to be a fine not exceeding 600 « francs (£25), prohibition from a particular commune,-con. • finement within the boundaries of a commune for a period • not exceeding one year,-imprisonment with due discipline • for a period not exceeding one year,-or banishment from the · Canton for a term.not exceeding three years.
Our readers are probably well acquainted with the fact, that the doctrines which aroused the horror of the Landamman and the Council of State, were no other than those of the very Confession of Faith which, since 1566, has been the legal formulary of their own National Church. We have before us an Address, which we wish our limits would allow us to insert at length, to those • Most Honourable Gentlemen,' from three of the Ministers who were shortly afterwards prosecuted and banished. It was presented only two or three days before the issuing of the first Edict just mentioned. We can extract but a paragraph or two.
• Our fathers having been brought to a true knowledge of the gospel and faith in it, deemed it their duty, both for the information of the other Reformed Churches of Europe, and as a means of preventing the return of false doctrines among themselves, to draw up declarations of their belief. The Helvetic Confession of Faith was then published, and was approved by the Churches of France, England, Holland, Poland, Scotland, Hungary, and Germany. That Confession remains in the midst of us, an inestimable monument of the true and solid piety of our ancestors in general, and particularly of their spiritual guides; of their undisguised and sincere adoration of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit ; and of their submission to his word. Happy should we bé, if we could say that this is the expression of the faith and practice of the pastors and people in our days. But, on the contrary, by little and little, we have Vol. XXVII.
entirely departed from the gospel. Our confession of faith, the plain and faithful exposition of truths which bring salvation to every one who believeth, is preserved in form, but set aside in substance. Our liturgies and catechisms have been changed, and have become, in more respects than one, contrary to the word of God; and church discipline has been completely annihilated.
Moreover, since the Eternal God has vouchsafed to impart anew to our country the spiritual blessings which in former times he poured out on our faihers, and which he is now dispensing to almost all the nations of the world; since he has favoured us to know and preach the gospel of truth, and thus to be really in harmony with the con. fession of faith which is still professed to be that of the Church of our Canton; we have been looked upon by almost all our countrymen, both clergy and people, as the teachers of a new and hitherto unknown doctrine; we have been censured and reproached in various ways, while our reasonable remonstrances have been refused a hear. ing ; we and our brethren bave been made the objects of threats and actual injuries; we are denied redress, and cast out from protection.?
These admirable men then proceed to state their principles and conduct, in their way of preaching, worship, and discipline, and in their unimpeachable obedience to the civil laws of their country; and also frankly, but most respectfully, to avow, that they cannot recede from the attempt to carry into effect their conscientious convictions, and that there is no earthly sacrifice which they are not ready to make in order to the peaceful exercise of this their duty. They then go on :
• We likewise hope, Most Honourable Sirs, that we may call upon you, our beloved Magistrates, with respectful freedom and sincere esteem, that, to us and our brethren, your fellow-citizens and disciples of Christ, you would grant the same toleration and legal protection which you do to the members of the Church of England and to Roman Catholics. .
But the heads and hearts of the Lausanne Council are not penetrable to appeals such as this. Not the voice of reason, not the reclamations of their own public interest, no feeling of honour, no sense of shame, could deter them from urging their mad course. They have sent into banishment, gentlemen and scholars, ministers of the first order for talents and character, men who were the glory of their land. Other persons, retained 'within their Canton, they have endeavoured'to wear out with tines and imprisonments, harassments and injuries of various kinds : and upon many families in the lower classes of society, who are the most easily made to suffer, and have the least power of resistance to oppression, they have inflicted great distress. The obstinacy of infatuation still possesses these wise and righteous rulers. The cry of astonishment and indignation
has been uttered in vain from other parts of Switzerland, from France, Germany, and Great Britain. They still maintain themselves in the same position of public hostility to reason and religion, to humanity and their country's welfare. . .
The case of M. Henri Juvet, minister at L'Isle, merits particular attention. His diligence and usefulness, his piety and humility, his mild and peaceable character, had endeared him in the circle of his friends and his flock. But he was one of the three who signed the declaration of dissent above mentioned. He was arrested, not in a quiet manner by a civil officer, but by a detachment of soldiers who broke in the doors of the house, threatened to knock out his brains with the butt-ends of their muskets, led him through the streets, amidst insults and injuries, as if he had been a savage despes rado, of whom every body was afraid. He was not detained in a decent room, as is usual for respectable prisoners, but thrown into a dungeon with an iron grated opening instead of a window, without a bed,-a blanket sent by a friend was not allowed to be given hin,-in severely cold weather,-and when he was known to be in very feeble health and of a consumptive tendency. While a furious mob, raised for the occasion, were lavishing opprobrious words on the patient sufferer, a magistrate cried out, · Give him more of it; we have borne too • long; we must give them up to the populace, and have them • all exterminated.'*
This young clergymnan was condemned to three years' banishment. His health had suffered dreadfully; and he therefore removed, with his afflicted wife and two children, (for a tbird just looked on life in the depth of its parents' sorrows, and passed on to the tomb,) to almost the nearest resting: place, barely within the French frontier, Ferney, the celebrated residence of Voltaire. As the last hope for recovery from his illness, his physician directed him to the South of France. With difficulty he made the journey to Nismes ;-NISMES, eleven years ago the seat of the well-known persecutions. There, the Protestant pastors received him with brotherly love.. He languished a few weeks, enjoying the kindest at'tentions from those respectable men, among whom M. Gardes was especially beneficent and active. M. Juvet's last days were a lesson of Christian holiness and joy. From, many of his expressions preserved by M. Gardes, we select a few. M. G. turned the conversation to his persecutors, but the dying
.* We have derived these particulars from a periodical work pub. lished at Faris, the Archives du Christianisme, February, 1826.
saint rejoined : "Say rather, that by them God has done me o much good. I have forgotten all. I love them, I bless them; . I wish I could tell them so, and give them proof of it. When • all was prosperous with me in the midst of my ministry, I preached the counsel of God as but a lukewarm servant: my
devotedness consisted only in the declaration of the doctrine. • I did not then sufficiently feel, that there are two kinds of • preaching, our own and that of the Holy Spirit. Without
the latter, the former can hardly force a few blossoms which • fall off fruitless. How gracious to me is my Saviour God! • He allows me indeed no more to preach to others, but he • himself preaches to me. Death is a comfort to me; it is 'one mercy more. Why should I not rejoice? I am going to • him who hath so loved us, and who has come to us : and at • this very moment, he is certainly not far from us. Real
conversion consists not in names, forms, or ceremonies. A 'work of God, it is quite within ; it has its focus in the heart; • there alone lies the true unity, the true communion formed
by the Holy Spirit. Any other conversion may be vaunted • of on this side or on that, but it is nothing in God's sight. • A cowardly soldier may change his arms, his colours, his 'captain, his uniform, his regiment; but he is the same man
still. My strength sinks, my dislodging draws nigh; I bow 'to it with gratitude; but I wish I could return to Ferney. • There I should die in peace: but, if I die here, what will ! become of my wife and children ?-His last words, fixing his eyes on his wife and on his friend, were, · The conflict is • ended : we shall meet again : farewell.
The Protestants of Nismes did not neglect the widow and orphans, and they, shortly afterwards, joined M. Gardes in the Protest mentioned at the head of this article. .
In the spring of 1825, the Dissenting Ministers of London held a public meeting on this melancholy subject, to express their abhorrence of the persecution and their sympathy with the persecuted. Among other appropriate Resolutions which they passed, we find the following:
That it is with astonishment and sorrow that this Body has received, from different and credible sources, the information, that in Switzerland, which used to be regarded as an asylum of those who fled from persecution, and particularly in the Canton of Vaud, under a Protestant Government and a Presbyterian Church, a severe per. secution has been for more than a year exercised upon peaceable citizens, of spotless moral and political character, for no alleged crime, but the fact of their thinking it their duty to dissent from the Church Establishment of that country, and their attempting accord. ingly to hold assemblies for religious worship, in the way which to
them appears most agreeable to the Holy Scriptures, and most con. ducive to their own moral improvement. This persecution has consisted in the disturbance of religious, meetings, in affording counte. nance to assaults and cruelties inflicted by savage mobs upon innocent individuals, in the refusal of protection from such injuries when formal application has been made to the magistracy, in acts of the Government denouncing severe penalties upon all persons who may hold religious assemblies, however small, excepting those of the Established Communion, and in the infliction of those penalties, by fine, imprisonment, and banishment, upon various respectable pero sons, among whom are ministers of unquestioned character for piety, learning, and usefulness.
• That we invite our fellow-Christians, and especially our brethren in the holy ministry, of every denomination, to implore, in their private and public supplications at the throne of grace, the bestowment of present consolation and speedy relief upon all who, for conscience towards God, are enduring unmerited sufferings, from cruel mockings, bonds, and imprisonment, spoliation, destitution, and exile.' · It is time to return to the “ Declaration” of M. Gardes and twenty-one other Pastors of Nismes and the neighbourhood, published in July, 1826. A few paragraphs, though broken off from their connexion, will convey some idea of its sentiments and spirit. We wish we could spare room for more.
An inexhaustible variety of opinions and sentiments divides the minds and hearts of men. To reduce them all to unity, is above human power. God only, were it his will, can work this moral miracle. All the powers on earth united would be baffled by a single upright conscience. Men would be of all creatures the most miserable, if they could not live in peace together, without professing the same religious opinions. Not that, in the affairs of religion, opinion is a thing of indifference : not even a single sentiment is so: on the contrary, every thing in religion is of the very highest importance, for every thing is connected with God, the soul, and eternity. But it is precisely for this very reason, that all violence should be forbidden. The duty of a legislator is not to ask, Where are errors ? Where are schisms? He is to look for principles common to all parties, and which all have an equal interest in admitting, and an incontestible right to require. Every person's duty is to serve God according to his conscience : and that which is a duty, becomes, by that very circumstance, a right dependent upon no one, and which no one can lawfully either usurp or surrender. If this correlative duty and right be not maintained, religion, morality, and the dearest interests of society are stabbed to the heart. Not only are liberty and conviction thus destroyed, but hypocrisy is introduced, and soon infidelity. To serve God according to a man's own conscience, and even to change his religious denomination, is the first right in a free country, and the