diffused over other regions, and is now shining with a progressive effulgence over Europe, although, it may be, with varying power in particular places. This, in fact, is characteristic of Christianity itself, whose glory has forsaken the localities of the seven primitive churches of Asia, while it is displaying itself in numberless quarters then in a state of pagan darkness. We shall not at present enter upon an inquiry into what, in the wisdom of the divine economy, may be the reasons of this course of things; but only remark that it receives a fresh illustration from the rise and depression of the Protestantism of France.

It is a common, and doubtless a correct adage, that the blood 6 of the martyrs is the seed of the church. The exhibition which has been made of the mighty principles of Christianity, in the hour of peril or of martyrdom, has tended to the multiplication of converts, and the consequent diffusion of its influence, which the infuriated persecutor in vain attempted to prevent; so that hostility itself has become one of the chief instruments-unwittingly indeed, but really—of its propagation. Still the beneficial effect of persecution is not always to be traced, and in many cases not at all, in an increase of the numbers of Christians; and perhaps it might even be said, that the superficial extension of religion is the least satisfactory, in itself considered, of all the evidences of its power—though in point of fact, it is generally the most regarded. We look for increase and diffusion—we naturally and properly, too, hail its progressand by the reports of missionary or other agencies, we are gladdened with the prospects of that predicted era of which we see or fancy the commencement, when a nation shall be born in a day:' but let it not be forgotten that there must be depth as well as breadth-the power as well as the prevalence of the gospel, to constitute its sublimest triumph, and to awaken our highest congratulations. We are sometimes apt to consider it as strange and mysterious that Christianity should dwindle where it was once strong and flourishing, and that providence should have permitted so much success to attend the efforts of its foes. In some instances the sword has slain and the fires have consumed the thousands and tens of thousands of the saints ; inquisitors' decrees appear to have answered their purpose; and error, superstition, and vice have grown into vigor amidst a thinned population and a diminished church. It would, then, seem as if the adage were contradicted, as if even prophecy were unfulfilled, and as if God had forsaken his people. But there is another view to be taken of the case. The Christianity that does survive has frequently been of a higher character than before; the contraction of the outward limits has imparted moral strength and vitality; what has been lost in extension has been gained in purity. The details of a volume like that which is lying before us, furnish




Jameson on the Reformation in France. indubitable evidence of this result; and we derive important lessons from the teachings of biographical narrative, which are either utterly lost or imperfectly perceived in the records of general history.

There is yet another page, however, in the book of providence, which it becomes us to read, obscure as it is, without despondency; and well may we do so amidst recollections of those great movements in human affairs, especially in those of the church, which have relation not to a few years but to many ages. It sometimes pleases God to allow the deep prostration and almost extinction of his real church, in consequence of the hatred of its enemies, for a long, and dreary, and uncalculated period, till the day of revival—till the times of refreshing come. Yet even then do we find upon minute inquiry, that the seed has not entirely perished, and that the moral vegetation is going on in individual minds or in small communities, which is destined to spring up into a revived vegetation, and unfold itself under genial circumstances into a glorious harvest. This affords us encouragement while contemplating the former Protestant history of France in connexion with its present condition.

The last chapter of this little work,—and we refer to it first in order because it affords an illustration of these remarks-contains a view of the tyrannical treatment of the Protestants by Louis the Fourteenth, their overthrow and present state. The facts are briefly as follow.

The reign of Louis the Fourteenth began, like that of his predecessor, with assurances of favor and privilege; but what ensued soon falsified all these pretensions. The Catholic authorities admit the destructive intentions from the first of these monarchs -intentions which of course they justify on the ground of doing God service. The assurances made to the Protestants by Cardinal Mazarine, in the name of the king, encouraged them to erect schools and temples, but the authority of different royal agents and the real influence of the king destroyed their plans. The Romish hierarchy in 1650, appealed to the government against the proceedings of the Protestants in educating their children, and building churches, and supporting their ministers to sustain their heretical worship. It was not expedient, however, to be too hasty till, in 1684, the Treaty of Ratisbon, securing peace to the state, gave a better opportunity. An ordinance was then passed to prohibit any reformed minister from continuing in one place more than three years. The reformed ministers were also interdicted from conducting worship within twenty leagues of the place vacated, and from returning to it till after twelve years had expired. A retired minister could not live within six leagues of his former scene of labor. In September, authority closed all private Protestant chapels. In January, 1685, an interdict was

laid on all public chapels. In the following July, Protestants were forbidden to become either printers or booksellers; nor was the government wanting in the imposition of other vexatious and ruinous restrictions. Bearn and the western parts of France experienced the full measure of vengeance. In 1684, Marshal Boufflers was sent thither with a large force, who lived on the Protestants at their discretion, while proclamations were made exempting all who would conform to Catholicism from the severity. Multitudes yielded, and at Pau public rejoicings were ordered for the event. The 22nd of October, 1685, is signalised as the day of the revocation of the edict of Nantes, when only fifteen days were allowed for conformity to the Roman Catholic church, or the infliction of penalties for recusancy. The alternative was in reality the loss of liberty and life or the abandonment of religion. Fugitives were pursued in all directions--no quarter given—and a fine of 3000 francs imposed on captains or owners of vessels for every sheltered Protestant. Two millions, according to the authority of a medal struck on the occasion, were reclaimed to the church. At the period in question nearly three hundred Protestant places of worship existed in the province of Bearn. Many parts of Navarre must have been without regular buildings for worship, the places of assembly being dens and caves of the earth; but as the number of known places equalled those of the Roman Catholics, it is fairly inferred that two thirds of the Bearnoise population were Protestant. Probably there were 150,000 there who suffered by the edict of 1685.

At present there are 5000 nominal Protestants in the district; but they have sunk into a lukewarm state. The French, as our author justly remarks, are not disposed to be sectarian in its humbler sense of separation and inferiority. The hubbub of concourse, or exterior distinction, is requisite to engage them. The reformed church in France is divided into sixteen synodal districts, having eighty-five consistories, and two hundred and eighty places of worship. There are also thirty-one consistories and two hundred and eight churches of the Confession of Augsburg or Lutherans. Fourteen settled ministers and eight missionaries belong to the Societé Evangelique de France : and other bodies there, with the Continental Society of London, are attempting much for their spiritual amelioration. The estimated number of Protestants in France at present, is about a million and a half.

The author invites more strenuous and extended efforts of a missionary kind, particularly with regard to that interesting district of country about which he writes, and we feel quite prepared to second his recommendations. Where despotism sustained by incorrigible bigotry has planted its iron foot, and trodden down the fruits of piety, we should be happy to see another seed time

improved, that a richer harvest may yet be secured. The times are now auspicious; let the sowers go forth, and let all unite in imploring showers of blessing from on high.

Having begun our notice of this volume with the closing chapter, if the reader will pardon the inversion, we will end with the introduction; giving some extracts as indicative of the nature of the book and of the manner of its execution. We will say of it in general, that it is pleasingly written; and contains many records of individuals, especially of Marguerite de Valois et D'Alençon, Queen of Navarre, and Jeanne D'Albret, worthy of preservation. It traces the varying fortunes of Protestantism at the time and in the country mentioned, in a manner very

creditable to the writer, and calculated to interest the reader in the fate of Navarre. We now hasten to let the author introduee his own volume.

« The south-west of France presents many attractions to the traveller and the invalid, from the varied character of the scenery and the mild nature of the climate. The superb city of Bordeaux, and the vine-covered banks of the Garonne, lie on the northern frontier of this tract ; the dreary waste of the Landes occupies its centre; while along the southern limit, the magnificent range of the Pyrenees, with their numerous valleys, present landscapes and climates to suit all tastes and constitutions. These latter portions comprise what was formerly known as the province of Bèarn, the principal of the several small states or counties which formed the

ancient kingdom of Navarre. The capital of this little monarchy was Pau, a town now possessing fourteen thousand inhabitants, situated on a promontory fronting the south, whose abrupt cliff overlooks a broad, straggling, but unnavigable river (the Gave de Pau), and a series of hills tufted with chateaux and vine yards, above which rise, with stupendous grandeur, the snowy tops the Pyrenees. On the highest point of this promontory stands the Chateau đ Henri quatre.

“As I proposed making some little stay at Pau, I was led to look around me with more steady inquiry than mere passers-by either do or

I turned to the left, and the ancient pile on the verge of the cliff was before me. It was the Chateau where Marguerite de Valois had discussed points of faith with Calvin and Beza, and acquired the then rare knowledge of the truth : it was the palace where Jeanne d'Albret (the good Queen Bess of these regions) had reigned—(Jeanne d'Albret, by the bye, is worthy of a much higher cognomen.-Rev.) after the model of King Josiah, who did that which was right in the sight of the Lord ;' it was the castle where Henri Quatre was born, who-but I shall speak of him hereafter. my shame be it spoken, though I was intimately acquainted with Henri, I was not quite so familiar with his mother. I had admired her spirited conduct at Rochelle, and reverenced her as the mother of a hero ; but I was less conversant with her history at home, in this her little kingdom, than I ought to have been, before I visited her roman

can do.

Now, to

tic capital. Here she had fought the good fight of faith,' with eminent success; here she had planted the standard of truth, which for half a century, had waved in these sunny realms, “ lifted upon the high mountains." Might not the little leaven of those days have leavened the whole lump of society ? Might not the inoculation of truth in the Bearnoise of the sixteenth century, have caused their descendants of the nineteenth to take the common cure of our nature more kindly? The icterest excited by these ideas, induced me to extend my knowledge of the local history of this ex-kingdom, and for this purpose I obtained an introduction to the Rev. Dr. Don Juan de Herrando, the principal librarian of the extensive collection belonging to the town, preserved in the ancient monastery of the Cordeliers.

If biography is history speaking by examples,' history illustrates biography by manifesting the principles which guided those examples ; and it is the knowledge of the motives of human action which it is most desirable to attain. For this purpose I have drawn up a few notices' of the religious history of Bearn, in reference to the struggle between the Romanists and Protestants. The conduct of the Romish church, in its invariable persecution of those who differ from it, has been recorded by numerous examples in history, The more numerous those examples, the more certain will be the deduction of the principles which guided that conduct.'

Art. VI. 1. A Bill for the Registration of Parliamentary Electors.

By LORD John RUSSELL. 1840. 2. Debates on Lord Stanley's Irish Registration Bill. 1840. . 3. Blackwood's Magazine. Art. Fictitious Voters, March, 1837. . THE subject of this article is one of the very highest political

importance. Under a homely garb and technical disguise, interests the most momentous lie concealed. The question of REGISTRATION has never been sufficiently appreciated by the great mass of the people; and to this fact the present enfeebled state of the Reform party in the legislature is in no small measure to be attributed. Presenting no dazzling allurements to the imagination, and affording no opportunity for rhetorical display, registration is a matter of fact; a matter of detail it is true, but still of practical value. It demands the exercise of patient industry, of precautionary forethought, and of steady, systematic perseverance. There are many who are ready to come forward in aid of enlightened freedom when any thing bold is to be said or done; but how few are there to throw the force of their exertions to the point where exertions can be of the greatest utility. Yet the cause of progressive amelioration and religious liberty

« ForrigeFortsett »