Obrazy na stronie

prisoner of Matamoros is preaching the Gospel. There is also a congregation in Grenada, and another in Valencia, presided over by an exRoman Catholic priest. In Malaga there has been a Christian community ever since the days of Matamoros, and, while Queen Isabella was still on the throne, an edition of the New Testament was secretly printed in a cellar, bound, and distributed. There is a chapel here containing

four hundred persons, which is well filled. There are also two schools. In another part of the town an ex-monk preaches from his balcony to a crowd below in the court. Although religious liberty is now established in Spain, there is no knowing how soon revolution might again break out, and what turn it would take. I trust that the efforts made in Spain will be vigorously seconded by Christian friends in this country, and that my ministerial brethren will bring the matter before their congregations.

Passing Ebents.- Monthly Note.

ANOTHER instance of Roman Catholic cruelty and wickedness has just been brought to light. In a convent at Cracow a nun was found who had been kept imprisoned under circumstances of the most revolting barbarity, for twenty-one years. The civil authorities were informed of the case by an anonymous letter in a woman's handwriting; and the vicepresident of the Criminal court deputed a magistrate to visit the convent, which he did, in company with several officials. When he arrived at the convent, he informed the nun who received him that he had come to see and to speak with an inmate named Barbara Ubryk, but she shrunk back and replied that it was not possible. She would then have hastily retired with another sister, but the magistrate prevented her, ordering her in the name of the law not to move. Accompanied, then, by the nuns, the commissioners ascended to the upper corridor, where betwixt the diningroom and the cloaca they were shown the cell of the nun, with its stronglyfastened double door. On entering the cell, a spectacle met them scarcely to be described, and yet it ought to be told, for it shows what fearful wrongs may be perpetrated if individuals are handed over to the tender mercies of Rome. The cell was some 7 ft. in length by 6 ft. in breadth. The window was walled up, and only through a narrow chink a ray of sunlight could penetrate. There were no tables nor chairs, and no stove to furnish heat in the inclement winter. The stench of the cell was hardly supportable. In a corner, lying on rotten, stinking straw, lay the poor crouching creature, half human, half a brute, half savage, half mad, utterly naked, her body filthy; for she had not been washed for years. Her lean bones hanging loose, her cheeks sunken, her hair dishevelled and dirty—a fearful being, whom even Dante, with his amazing imaginative force, could not have portrayed. This poor skeleton of a woman at the sight of her visitors shook herself up, and folding her hands, and bitterly weeping, said, “I am hungry, have pity on me, give me food, and I will be obedient." Here, in this den, the inhuman sisters, who call themselves women, spiritual wives, the brides of heaven, had kept her in close confinement for twenty-one years since 1848. The magistrate instantly ordered the nun to be clothed, and went himself for Bishop Galecki. The bishop was deeply moved, and, turning to the assembled nuns, he vehemently reproached them for their inhumanity. “Is this,” he said, “what you call love of your neighbour? Furies, not women, that you are, is it thus that you purpose to enter the kingdom of heaven ?” The nuns ventured to excuse their conduct, but the bishop would not hear them. "Silence, you wretches!” he exclaimed; "away, out of my sight, you who disgrace religion.” The Father Confessor of the cloister ventured to say that the immuring of the nun had been known by the Church authorities, but the Bishop indignantly denied this as an utter falsehood, and suspended both him and the abbess at once from their offices. When the unhappy nun was led away, she asked anxiously whether she would be brought back to her grave, and, when asked why she had been imprisoned, she answered; "I have broken the vow of chastity, but," pointing with a fearfully wild gesture, and in great excitement to the sisters, “they are not angels.” In the evening the poor creature became wilder, and it was settled to move her next day to the madhouse. On Friday, therefore, the 23rd, the Commissioners came again to take her away. On seeing the sunlight and green grass of the convent garden, she was convulsed with extreme joy, and when one of the Sisters who accompanied her to the gate ran out (whilst the others turned back), embraced and kissed her, she was so touched with the strange sympathy that she implored the exhibitor of it to come away with her, and incessantly called for her afterwards on the road. The fresh air was too much for her, and during the journey she fainted. In her new home Sister Barbara was provided with everything comfortable; but at first she kept frequently rising from her bed to lie on the bare floor, as she had been used. Since being properly washed and dressed the wildness had quieted down, and the doctors have hopes of eventually restoring her to her senses. An investigation has commenced. The lady superior declared that Barbara Ubryk was kept in close confinement since 1848 by order of the physician, because of her unsound mind. But this physician died in 1848, and the present physician, Dr. Babrzynski, who has been practising in the convent for the last seven years, has never seen Barbara Ubryk. Such treatment, in the opinion of the doctors, is sufficient to drive a person mad. On account of the importance of the case, the Attorney-General has taken the matter in hand. The people are greatly exasperated, and according to the latest accounts, their excitement increases rather than diminishes. It is stated that the bishop intends to dissolve the convent, and that it is very probable that the case may lead to a complete change of the law respecting such establishments throughout the whole of the Austrian dominions. Such are the “tender mercies” of Popery. This case is only one out of several which have lately been brought to light. May there not be a special design in their being discovered at such a time as the present ? " Whilst we as a nation are perpetually fostering and encouraging Popery, may there not be given to us thus a gentle reminder of the dangers which we are incurring? How many similar cases too may be entirely hidden; how many poor wretched beings may even now be lingering in hopeless misery in convent cells, whose cases may never be known until the last great day; how many a cry of anguish may ascend to heaven-perhaps even in our own land, which the world outside will never hear. It is monstrous that in a free land like England such establishments should be

allowed not only still to exist, but to exist exempt from all inspection. Ten thousand nuns (it is calculated) are incarcerated amongst us under the same accursed system, and yet we have no means of ascertaining what cruelties are practised upon them.

At a recent public meeting of Orangemen in the North of Ireland, at

[ocr errors]

which it is said that some 30,000 persons were present, the president said, That one law existed for Protestants and another for Roman Catholics. In many respects this seems to be only too true: e.g., in the House of Commons the other day an application was made for a return of the Roman Catholic charitable and religious gifts and emoluments enrolled under a special act of Parliament; but the application was refused on tho plea of "equality.” A return of all other charities has recently been enforced by Parliament, but Roman Catholic charities must not thus be publicly made known. An act was passed for the express purpose of ensuring the publicity of this species of gifts and bequests, and enabling tenants and other interested persons to know to whom the property in which they are concerned has been transferred, and who is responsible for its management and liable to defray their claims upon it. This act, it seems, like several other acts such as the Ecclesiastical Titles and Lotteries Act—is repeatedly and systematically evaded by the Romanists, and consequently it altogether fails in their case to effect its purpose. Now, if a Protestant sect acted thus, how speedily would their delinquency be brought forward and punished; but on the plea of “equality” the Romanists are allowed to do this with impunity, and even an inquiry which might perhaps show how far they have transgressed is refused. We believe that they have good reason to fear such an inquiry, and that such a law is very obnoxious to them. It serves their purpose at the

. present time to appear poor; they are thus enabled the more easily to amass riches. Much has been said lately about the poverty of the Romish Church in Ireland, and the wealth of the Protestant; but it ought to be remembered that the truth is not fully known, if it were it is not at all unlikely that the very reverse would be found to be the case that the Romish Church compared to the Protestant is immensely rich, and that the Protestant (even with all the revenues which she so recently possessed) is comparatively poor. Intelligent Roman Catholics and converted priests acknowledge this, and any one who is conversant with the way in which the priests bring money out of the pockets of their deluded flocks may quite think it probable. The credulity and the patience of the people are wonderful. Witness the two following cases, one of which we heard stated by an Irish clergyman who was personally acquainted with the facts, and vouches for their accuracy; the other is related by Mr. Charley, M.P. At Roman Catholic marriages in Ireland, it is customary not only for the bridegroom to pay a considerable fee, but during the marriage feast for a collection to be made amongst the assembled guests on behalf of the priest. On one occasion, the priest himself made the collection, and in passing round came to a farmer, who contributed, as most people would suppose, in proportion to his means, most liberally. The priest, however, did not think so, and having begged for a larger sum to no purpose, he snatched a heavy brass candlestick from the table, and felled the poor man bleeding and senseless to the floor. So much in awe, however, were the people, that they did not even dare to remonstrate with the priest, much less punish him for his cruelty. “A lottery, on an extensive scale, was held a very few years ago in a certain town in Ireland, for the purpose of raising funds to build a new chapel. Two of the largest prizes, amounting to more than one thousand pounds, fell to the lot of a small tradesman in the town. The man was overjoyed at his good fortune, and impatient to grasp his newly-found treasure. The priests suggested that he should give, in honour of the event, a banquet. The banquet


[ocr errors]


proved a great success. His health was drunk with all the honours. Still the prizes were not forthcoming. At length he demanded them, and, irritated by the delay, threatened to take the law' of the priests, who laughingly replied, “You have no remedy at law; the whole proceeding was illegal. We want the money for the chapel. You will have the satisfaction of seeing it well spent, and we have to thank you for a very good dinner.'"

The Irish Church question is for the present, at least, set at rest. Mr. Gladstone's bill has become law; the Church is for ever separated from the State, and despoiled of half her property, with the prospect of a loss of great part of the remainder unless great care and caution are exercised. The enemies of the Church and of Protestantism have so far triumphed, and loud are their rejoicings. But what do they triumph over ?—the temporary exaltation and aggrandizement of their political party—the humiliation of a Church, which, whatever were her faults, to say the least, encouraged liberty of conscience, education, and progress, whilst her bitter opponent, whose cause they have aided, does just the reverse. They triumph in a great robbery performed by a great nation; but respecting which we cannot but believe that the solemn words of holy writ are applicable: “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me

in tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse; for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.” But they can triumph in nothing

We believe that many of the promoters of this measure really expected great things from it. They distinctly affirmed so. It was completely to pacify Ireland; it was to put an end to Fenianism, and to satisfy the Romanists. Alas, for these sanguine dreamers! During the very progress of the bill they were forced to change their language; they saw from the very reception of the measure in Ireland that it would do nothing of the sort; and now, thoroughly disappointed, they have to point to something else—the Protestant Üniversity of Dublin must next be assailed, and the whole land arrangements of Ireland must be transformed, before that which it was expected and intended that this bill would do can possibly be done. The observations of the Roman Catholic papers on the subject are remarkable. The Irishman says: “Between Lords and Commons the interests of Ireland fall to the ground. The Disestablishment Bill robs Ireland of £100,000 annually. That sum is now paid into Ireland, through the Maynooth grant and Regium Donum. But this is not to be so. The imperial fund

is to be freed from further payment, and Ireland alone must support the burthen! England and Scotland shift it on the shoulders of Ireland. This is a monstrous piece of robbery, but it is done so audaciously that no Irish member lifts his voice against it.” Such is Romish gratitude! The same paper also calls for the disestablishment of landlordism, and rages against Mr. Fortescue's suggestion of employing detectives for the discovery of agrarian assassins, declaring that in such a case, “no man's home will be safe. A miscreant may be set by every Irishman's hearth to swear away his life at any chance. Blood-money will taint the pure domestic life of the country.” “Up for the land!' (says the Weekly News) " is the cry that should echo over mountain and valley. Give us the land, and we shall soon make this island what God intended it to be, rich, prosperous, and independent. There is a great stake to be played for, and the people must be prepared to act their part. In ascendancy we have levelled a greater and more powerful foe than landlordism.” And the



Flag of Ireland, another Nationalist organ, says,

"Since 1829 our countrymen have learned many a political lesson, for which, it is true, they have paid very highly. They cannot now be persuaded that Ireland will ever prosper

while she is but the province of a foreign power. Nothing short of complete independence will improve the wretched condition of Ireland.” Such is the “ satisfying" effect of this iniquitous measure.

It has highly incensed the faithful Protestants, and wounded their feelings deeply; and it has encouraged the outrageous demands of the priests and their followers, without reconciling them in the slightest degree.

Meanwhile the Protestant Church in Ireland especially needs our sympathies and prayers. She is passing through a serious crisis. Many dangers threaten her. Some few traitors may be found within her, and multitudes of enemies hover around her. In the hour of her weakness they may do her serious harm. But the Lord reigneth. May He graciously avert this. May He give wisdom to her rulers, and grace to all her members, so that when once more launched on her heavenly mission, she may be more thoroughly fitted for her work. Impoverished in worldly goods, may she be rich in the divine favour; and, being purified by her heavy trial, may she shine more brightly than ever.



Sydney, June 16th, 1869. MY DEAR BROTHER, --Through your son and the Earthen Vessel you will have been informed of the death of my dear wife, twenty-three days before our arrival in Sydney.

Oh, what a trial it was to me! and, while my heart was almost broken, I was then called to Geelong, to see my dear daughter Sarah, aged 26, who is now with her dear mother in glory.

Although I am very wretched and desolate, yet grace reigns, and I am upheld by that loving hand that heals as well as wounds; but I have written fully upon the subject, which will doubtless appear in the Earthen Vessel, and my log-book you will likewise obtain, giving some account of our God, who is the safe Harbour of refuge in all storms. You will excuse my not writing you a full letter at this time.

The enclosed is copy of an address presented to me by our people; they are kind to me, but I very much fear I shall never be able to settle down here. The change is so great, my nest is not only stirred up, but broken to pieces; my wife and daughter are now in glory ; Esther is in the Fiji Island, and Jemima in Queensland. I have no one to keep house for me. Oh, how I need wisdom and the Lord to guide me with His counsel, for all is dark with me as to the future! Nevertheless, I am most graciously upheld by the Lord, and, with the shoes of iron and brass, I am enabled to walk in the stormy way, and shall, through the Rock of Ages, stand, and outlive all the surging billows and death-threatening hurricanes in my Give my love to your dear wife and family.

I remain, my dear brother,

Yours in tribulation,


way home.

« PoprzedniaDalej »