« AnteriorContinuar »
remain firm in this day of trial, not ing we give as a specimen, to be having sought with sufficient ardour followed by others, of the implacthe aid of Him who “giveth to all able spirit with which adherents men liberally, and upbraideth not;" of the Protestant faith were hunted, and who suffereth no temptation to both dead and alive. befall his children, “but will also, M. De Chevenix, the persecuted Inwith the temptation, make a way of valid.—Many striking proofs of peniescape." Yet there was a blessed tence were furnished after abjuration number strong in faith, who walked of their faith by Protestants, and some manfully on in the path allotted to of the most remarkable were often them. Multitudes bore testimony to exhibited in the sick chambers of the the truth of their religion, resisting new Catholics, as they were called. unto death every attempt to turn From their dying beds, they often them aside from the true faith. made the most affecting protestations Many were the martyred saints who to the Catholic priests, who came to expired during this period on the offer them the sacraments of the seaffold and at the stake, and many church, and (if possible) to compel more in hidden dungeons, where the them to receive them. In these awwrath of man worketh in secret, that ful moments, on the point of appearwhich no earthly eye may behold; ing before the Judge of quick and but which He who seeth from his dead, those who until then had conthrone in heaven, and from whom no cealed their opinions, often felt themsecrets are hid, will one day reveal selves obliged to raise the mask, and to an assembled world. In that day, confess their real sentiments, giving how shall the persecutors tremble! glory to God, and testifying their faith and oh! how many unrecorded vic- in Jesus as their only Saviour. tims of their fury shall then be seen, Alarmed at these instances of defec“clothed in white robes, and having tion among their forced converts, their palms in their hands," ascribing persecutors now obtained the enacthonour and praise unto Him who ment of a law, decreeing, that those hath brought them through great who relapsed into the Protestant faith, tribulations to their glorious rest! should be condemned to the amende Even among those who had fallen honorable, and to banishment with into the snares of their oppressors, confiscation of property. For the and had been prevailed on to abjure sick who should refuse the sacraments, their religion, great numbers after- and declare they desired to die in the wards sincerely and bitterly repented Protestant religion, in case they retheir conduct, and sought the earliest covered from their sickness, they opportunity to confess their fault to
were to be subjected to the same law, their brethren. Many had the cour- with this addition, that banishment age to declare openly to their ene- should be exchanged for labour in the mies, that they had signed against galleys for the men, and confinement their consciences, that they repented in cloisters for the women.
If they it as a crime, and that they were died in these dispositions, the same resolved to live and die in their first decree ordained, that their bodies and purest faith.
should be drawn on a hurdle, and The following are some of the most then thrown on the highway, and memorable instances taken from re- their property confiscated. cords handed down to us of these Among the penitents whose names days of persecution.* The follow. have descended to us, and whose dying
* And information is chiefly drawn from Bion's Narrative of the Sufferings of the following works :
Gilly's Waldensian Researches.
confessions have not been without creed by the new law. The seneschal their earthly record, is M. de Chevenix, commanded that the dead body should a venerable man, fourscore years of be carried to prison, and condemned age, one of the oldest counsellors of the it to be drawn on the hurdle, and afterparliament of Metz. When the soldiers wards thrown on the highway. To of the king had invested the town, and prevent a circumstance so distressing pursued their barbarous system of to the feelings of his surviving friends, conversion by means of every cruelty an appeal was made from the decree they could devise, the aged senator, of the seneschal to the parliament of overcome by their persecutions, had, Metz. The senators, though Catholics, with many others, signed the abjur- were struck with horror at the idea ation, in order to be relieved from the of confirming such a sentence against presence of their oppressors. A short the body of one of their colleagues. time after he fell sick, and during his They addressed themselves without illness, which lasted about two months, delay to the court, to obtain permission he gave many proofs of his repen- to reverse the decree: but they retance for that act of sinful weakness. ceived immediately an order from the As soon as this was known, a number king, commanding them to execute it of priests hastened to the chamber of in its fullest rigour. They were then the sick man, to set before him the obliged to confirm the sentence of the danger of relapsing into his former seneschal, and to deliver the body to heresy, and, if possible, to confirm the executioner, to perform the rest him in the Romish faith. Even the of the revolting decree. bishop laboured to secure the con- Contrary to the hopes and wishes stancy of the new convert. Nor was of the Catholic party, this severity it priests alone who came to disturb against so important and respected an the quiet and repose so necessary to inhabitant of the place, instead of inan invalid. The governor and the timidating the Protestants, tended to principal members of the council like- rouse their spirits, and determined wise gathered round his bed, harass- them to declare their sentiments with ing him with arguments, and pressing more boldness. As the body was on him the superstitions of their drawn through the streets, many teschurch. But his hour of weakness tified their indignation at the sight. was past. Though he had fallen, he “Behold a man of God!” exclaimed was strengthened to rise again; so that some. “He is in his car of triumph," the enemy could not finally triumph said others. The melancholy specover him. He was enabled to resist tacle passed on, and others were heard all their arguments and entreaties to say, “ His body is in the hands of with the greatest firmness. A short the executioner, but his soul is with his time before his death, the curé of the God.” Others said, “ His body is deplace came to offer him the sacraments filed with dust, but his soul is washed as a final trial of his faith. He thanked in the blood of Jesus Christ.” The him mildly, but said he was not dis- soldiers, who accompanied the execuposed to receive them. The priest tioner to support him in his duty, in withdrew, but it was to carry the vain endeavoured to keep the people complaint of his contumacy to the silent; the powerful feeling which had proper court. Life was now rapidly been excited, could not be suppressed waning, and the sick man expired in an instant. When the executioner before any further measures could be had performed his part, and ended by taken. It was too late to inflict per- throwing the lifeless body on the sonal suffering on the relapsed heretic; highway, the people of Metz had the but there was still time to expose his courage to carry it away and inter it lifeless remains to the indignities de honourably. It was not the Protes
tants only who testified their abhor- of Jerusalem in such affecting strains, rence of this act; even the Catholic saying, amongst otherthings peculiarly inhabitants were incensed at this appropriate to the present case, “ The treatment of one of the most respected dead bodies of thy servants have they of their citizens. They wrapped the given to be meat unto the fowls of body in a cloth, and bore it into a heaven, the flesh of thy saints unto garden, where a grave was prepared the beasts of the earth." to receive it. Many persons attended Instances without number might to assist in performing the last offices; be adduced of far severer treatment and it is said more than four hundred than that of M. De Chevenix; but we women were present. While the body do not wish to shock the feelings by was lowered into the grave, they sung a detail of too many of the horrible with a loud voice the 79th Psalm, excesses of the persecution. where the prophet deplores the ruin
A FEW COUNSELS TO SABBATH SCHOOL TEACHERS.
Your position as Sabbath School let me entreat you to be attentive to teachers is one of the most honour
your own personal religion. I trust that able you can hold on earth. You there is not one of you who are are engaged not merely in exercis- teachers, who have not yourselves ing the intellectual powers of the drunk of the sincere milk of the word ; young-in inculcating an outward that there are none who are professrespect for religion---but you con- ing to instruct others, who are ignotemplate a much higher and holier rant themselves of the first principles object. Your aim is to produce such of the oracles of God; that there are impressions, and communicate such none who are professing to care for instructions as will, by the blessing of the souls of others, whilst they heaven, lead them to Jesus, and thus are neglecting the
great salvasecure their eternal salvation. You tion. We can assure you, brethren,
fellow-labourers with Christ;" that we who are ministers, and ye you are occupying a chief place in who are Sabbath School teachers, are the great contest betwixt truth and very apt to deceive ourselves with a error, betwixt Christ and Satan; and kind of official piety ; to mistake the when the deeds of the worldly great form of godliness for the power; to shall have passed into oblivion, and content ourselves with a mere methe “hero of an hundred fights” shall chanical excitement for true grace. have ceased to be remembered, ye Forget not, then, that ye are interwho have been the teachers of ested in the truths which you are “babes,” ye who have laboured to teaching; that you likewise have souls turn their young hearts to the Saviour, to be saved; and that the same holiness shall not only be remembered but of heart and life, which you
inculcate graciously rewarded.
Yes, your upon them as necessary for their salwitness is in heaven, and your re- vation, is as necessary in your case if ward is on high.” They " that be wise you would inherit the kingdom. Culshall shine as the brightness of the tivate, we beseech you, personal piety. firmament; and they that turn many Again, in prosecuting your importo righteousness, as the stars for ever tant labours, let it be your study to and ever.
interest the scholars in the various In discharging the duties of your exercises in which they are engaged. honourable and momentous office, To do so with any thing like success,
you must present before their young den, nor detain them in school so minds the truths of religion in an at- long as that they shall be heard to tractive form ; you must speak to them say, Oh, what a weariness is it, with all simplicity, and must see that when will it be over?” There will you are not using language which is be differences of scholarship and atabove their comprehension. From tainments among them; and whilst what Iknow of Sabbath School teach- you inculcate diligence and persevering, I am persuaded that there are ance in the acquisition of knowledge, many teachers who labour to little give occasion to none of them to supadvantage, just because they adopt a pose that you are demanding too method of instruction which is beyond much at their hands. Give them the capacity of their pupils. They short lessons, and see that they are seem to forget that they are teaching accurately and intelligibly prepared. children; that they are speaking to Let what they do commit to memory persons who are in a great measure be committed thoroughly, and repeatignorant of the very expressions ed to you correctly and distinctly; which they are using—and, therefore, especially see to it that they undertheir zeal, and diligence, and fluency stand both what they read and what of speech avail but little. Teachers, they are required to learn. Let the therefore, should strive to communi- intellect, the judgment, be exercised cate instruction in as interesting and as well as the memory. Teach them intelligible a manner as possible, and habits of reflection to think for they should leave no lesson—they themselves ; and by doing so you will should pass on to no other topic till have the satisfaction of seeing your they have the satisfaction of knowing labours crowned with success. that what they have said has been Let me counsel you to study regufully understood. Unless this be larity of attendance on the evenings attended to, the earnestness, the of the Sabbath, and punctuality as to piety, the learning, the eloquence of the hour of meeting and the hour of disthe teacher are of little advantage. mission—to be present every evening They labour, they teach in vain. is doubtless a sacrifice ; for there will They are giving an 66 uncertain be seasons in which you would wish to sound”--they are speaking into the be otherwise employed. And as you air. By all means, therefore, let it receive neither fee nor reward for be your constant endeavour to sim- your instructions, as it is on your plify the various lessons which come part a labour of love, you may someunder examination, and the remarks times be inclined to prefer another which you feel it necessary to make meeting or another service to the in the consideration of the same, so Sabbath school. But though you feel that the youngest and the dullest of it to be a sacrifice to attend the class, your scholars may thoroughly under- nevertheless make the sacrifice. stand the truths which you are seek- Remember the importance of the ing to impress on their youthful work in which you are engagedminds.
that you are 6 workers together with And in order to render these Sab- Christ”—that you are training the bath exercises interesting to the young for the kingdom of heaven. young committed to your charge, Recollect that frequent or even occanever tax their memories with too sional absence will be hurtful to yourlong tasks, nor their attention with selves, and also to the scholars; that too lengthened remarks. Never re- on your part it will produce apathy, quire from any of them so much of and on their part such an indifference a psalm, or hymn, or passage
as will require a very small excuse to ture, as will make it to them a bur absent themselves altogether. For
your own sakes therefore, as well as watereth, but God that giveth the intheirs, let no trifling reason prevent crease ; “ that the treasure is put into you from giving your regular atten- earthen vessels, that the excellency dance. And study, at the same time, of the power might be of God and not the greatest punctuality as to the of man.” Suppose not that you will be time of meeting. Fix an hour, and the means of communicating one keep it.
Let no paltry excuse, no serious thought, of producing one want of arrangement on your part, good impression, of converting a keep you behind the appointed time single child, of saving a single soul, of assembling. Be in your place; for without the blessing which cometh from rest assured that if you are in the habit above. And, knowing this, believing of being late, the scholars will soon imi- in the efficacy of prayer, believing it tate your example. Besides, lateness to be the key which unlocks the disturbs the other teachers and class- treasures of the eternal, the electric es meeting with you, and is attended wand which brings down to earth with results most hurtful to the the blessing of heaven ;-let there be success of Sabbath School instruction. amongst you much fervent, humble, Study, then, regularity and punctu- confiding prayer. Let your request ality of attendance.
be that of the saints of old, “Let thy Lastly, let me counsel you to ear- work appear unto thy servants, and nest, united, believing prayer. You thy glory unto their children. And require not to be told, that your fit- let the beauty of the Lord our God ness for the work, and your success in be upon us; and establish thou the it, are from the Lord. Nor do you work of our hands, yea, the work of need to be informed, that you can ex- our hands establish thou it.” And then pect neither the one nor the other may you expect to see good resulting unless you ask the same in prayer. from your instructions; then “shall For these he will be enquired of, and your sons be as plants grown up in these will not be withheld if asked in their youth, and your daughters as sincerity—if asked in faith. Ask, corner-stones polished after the similithen, assistance from on high. Be- tude of a palace.” seech him to qualify you for the im- But we must conclude these brief portant work to which you have given counsels, and in doing so let me again yourselves ; to give you that spiritual remind you that your office is honourknowledge, that discretion, that en- able, that your work is all-important. ergy, that “aptness to teach,” that See, then, that ye are diligent, earlove for souls, which are necessary to nest, and persevering. Let nothing the right discharge of the duties of cool your zeal, or damp your activity. your station. Ask these things for Let not the coldness of professors, or yourselves. Ask them for your fel- the taunts of worldly men, lead you low-teachers. Ask them for all whom to abandon the post of duty. Let you know to be thus engaged; yea,
not the dulness or chilliness of your ask them for those who have not pupils dispirit you ; the most thoughtgiven themselves to the work, so that less and the most deficient may yet the band of teachers may be augment- be eminent saints in the church of ed, so that a still greater number of God. Let not the smallness of your children may be brought within the class discourage you; the Saviour influence of religious instruction. himself preached to one individual at And seek not merely the requisite fit- the well of Samaria, and he has proness; entreat him earnestly and unit- mised his presence and blessing to edly to accompany your labours with the few as well as to the many. Let success. Remember, that neither is he not the want of present fruit distress that planteth any thing, nor he that you ; for yours is a “work of faith” as