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VIEW OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS.
PRESIDENT Jackson's first message to congress is a long and interesting document, very friendly to this country, but a little warlike towards France for not having paid its debts contracted under the late Government. There is, however, one part of the message which gives us much pain; we allude to the remarks upon the native Indians. The president has glossed over the matter very speciously, and we admit that the case presents some difficulties; but disguise the matter as he may, nothing can be more grossly unjust and cruel than the measure urged by General Jackson, of transporting the Indians against their consent, from territories acknowledged by treaty to be their own, to a distant locality which it suits the convenience of their White neighbours to allot them. The friends of morality and religion in America are justly indignant at the contemplated outrage.
The French chambers are not to meet till March; the present ministers not appearing to be very anxious to measure their cause against public opinion.
For the last three or four years we have urged the formation of societies for promoting temperance; or rather, complete abstinence from the use of ardent spirits. We rejoice to learn that such institutions are at length rising up among us. Their necessity is proclaimed by the enormous sale of the cheaper kinds of inebriating potions, and the unblushing scenes of drunkenness which disgrace our streets; and we cannot doubt of their utility. In the United States they have already achieved a most beneficial moral triumph; and why should they be less effective in Great Britain? They begin at the right end; they exhibit the sinfulness and the evils of spirit-drinking, and engage persons to break through the practice: whereas merely raising the price by heavy duties, does not enlighten the ignorance, or call forth the moral energies, of the besotted victim. The drunkard is a drunkard still, though he cannot afford so often to indulge his vice. We heartily wish the best success to these timely institutions.
Connected with the last subject may be mentioned the various meetings which have taken place for procuring a diminution of the high duties on malt and hops. These duties are far too heavy, and they press chiefly on the labouring classes: besides which they impede the agriculturist, cause the adulteration of what used to be the national beverage, and drive the poor to the gin-shop for a cheaper potion.
We wish that some benevolent member of parliament would procure the repeal of that cruel and impolitic tax the hawker's license. As a measure of finance, the duty is a trifle; but it presses severely and
injuriously upon many honest and industrious poor persons. A man, described in the newspapers as respectable in his appearance, was lately dragged handcuffed before the magistrates, fined 101. and committed to the House of Correction, because rather than see his wife and children starve, and neither choosing to beg nor steal, he had sought to earn a trifle in selling books in the streets and from house to house, not being able to purchase a license, which costs several pounds. Surely it is neither policy nor humanity to prevent a poor man's maintaining his family by an honest traffic in commodities fairly purchased and fairly sold, where, when, or how he pleases. Some families are at this moment living, or rather starving, idly on the parish rates, because the father and sons, accustomed to carry their wares from one end of the kingdom to the other, were not able to save up against the licensing time the large sum required to procure them this privilege of living by their own industry.
A lamentable and fatal duel lately took place at Battersea, between a Mr. Clayton and a Mr. Limbrecht, arising out of a dispute on the by-gone Catholic question. Limbrecht gave the offence, by calling his opponent a hypocrite; and Clayton declined being reconciled unless Limbrecht would give not only a verbal but a written apology. This Limbrecht declined; upon which Clayton challenged him, and was mortally wounded in the duel. What makes the circumstances the more afflicting and appalling is, that Mr. Clayton is stated to have been a manof decorous habits, who, according to his own statement, had not for many years risen in the morning without offering his prayers to God, till the fatal day of the duel, when he durst not ask to be forgiven his trespasses, as he did not forgive him that trespassed against him. It is a horrible infatuation that can plunge persons of this description into the aggravated crime of murder! Yet how many thousands live habitually prepared to commit this sin, should the temptation happen to be presented. We would lay it down as a test, that no man is really a Christian who cannot say, "By the help of God, no circumstance shall ever induce me to fight a duel, even should I be posted a coward at the corner of every street in London."
The prosecutions of last month against the Morning Journal, and other newspapers, have given great offence to the majority of the writers of our daily and weekly press; but we must say that never were libels more unfounded, or, so far as their impotency allowed, malignant. The license of our newspapers, in reference to private character, is disgraceful to the
country. No man, however honourable his character, or unimpeachable his motives, is safe. Nor is the evil confined to publications of this class; for even into some professedly religious works a similar spirit is spreading. An attack upon a Bible or Missionary Society, or a question about the Apocrypha or unfulfilled Prophecy, is made a vehicle for personal attacks in the very style of our Morning Journals and John Bulls; truth and decency being equally discarded, to indulge spleen and party spirit. And is this Christian? is it
becoming those who call themselvers the disciples of a meek and lowly Redeemer? For our part, when we hear of persons calling their brethren infidels and blasphemers for the most trivial causes, and traducing all that is good and righteous around them that happens not to be "hammered on their anvil," we think of John Bull, the Age, the Morning Journal, and are comforted ;-comforted we mean, in reflecting how little weight well-judging men will attach to such impotent libels.
ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS.
T. O.; W. J.; AN ANTI-PEDOBAPTIST;
7; A COUNTRY CURATE; X.; CLERICUS SP.; ALPHA; W. C.; W. M.; A SUBSCRIBER FROM THE COMMENCEMENT; D. M. P.: and G. S.; are under consideration.
We cordially concur with AMICUS, that the Missionary Register deserves the zealous support of all who are anxious for the spiritual welfare of the heathen. It has done extensive good; and we should much regret to learn that so interesting and valuable a publication was not more warmly cherished than ever in the new circumstances under which it is placed.
A LAYMAN and A COUNTRY CLERGYMAN will find that the practices to which they allude have been often animadverted upon in our pages.
Our publishers would readily forward Advertisers' letters left to their care, but often find it impracticable, for want of their address. Two letters for R. N. lie unclaimed.
SUPPLEMENT TO RELIGIOUS INTELLIGENCE.
BRITISH AND FOREIGN BIBLE SOCIETY.
THE first two articles shew that the home operations of the society are still required and still in progress. The associations of Cornwall are doubled; more are expected; and in the North nineteen new societies have been formed by Mr. Dudley in the course of one tour. When the reader has gazed on the overwhelming magnitude of the American Bible Society's operations, with its six hundred and forty-five auxiliaries, he may turn to Mr. Wray's account of a poor slave to see the blessed effects which by the mercy of God one single copy of the sacred word may be commissioned to produce.
The religious intelligence from the West Indies, we cannot say is of a very cheering character, as respects the actual amount of good done or doing among the slaves. The most hopeful feature is the conviction which begins to be forced upon the minds of the cis-Atlantic conductors of these operations, of the almost total frustration of their own honest hopes and promises. This may, and must before long, lead them to search for the root of the evil. The archbishops, bishops, clergymen, and benevolent laymen, who superintend at home the affairs of the Codrington estates, must soon be induced seriously to ask, Why is it, that with the utmost wish to benefit our slaves we are frustrated in every attempt to do so; that after so many generations we cannot even elevate them to the rank of the basest heathen, but are obliged to confirm them and admit them to the Lord's Supper, while herding together like brute beasts spurning the marriage tie? Why is it that, moral considerations being lost upon them, we have been induced to offer them bribes to be married; thus proving them to be more brutalized after their education upon Christian ground, than were their fathers whom our predecessors purchased of the man-stealer from their native wilds? The answer is plain: We keep them in the chains of slavery; we refuse to let the oppressed go free; we exact their labours with stocks and imprisonment, and make them" reap down our fields" without paying them wages for their work; and God does not, will not, bless our labours among them. The first, the very first, step is to send over, in the true spirit of the Gospel, an order that every slave shall be forthwith restored to his just and inalienable rights; be a free labourer, working for honest wages, and not under the impulse of terror; and then we may hope that the Gospel will be efficiently propagated among them.
LAST DAYS OF P. JOLIN, LATELY EXECUTED FOR PARRICIDE.
(Concluded from p. 11.)
UT to return to Jolin's history: In this visit he was again led to a consideration of the only sacrifice for sin, particularly as exhibited in the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah. In this portion of Scripture he learnt more exactly the cause for which Jesus Christ came on the earth, became a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; the object for which he suffered and died: "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows." "He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray: we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." Other passages of Scripture, connected with this subject, were also explained to him, and fixed on his attention; as Rom. v. 8, which points out the wonderful love of God towards us, in that, "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." The death of Christ was, therefore, in no wise the purchase of our own merit, but of his own unbounded grace; and this led him to do and suffer all that he did for our sakes. Again in connexion with this, Ephes. ii. 4, 5. The asCHRIST. OBSERV. No. 338.
sured promise, also, contained in Rom. viii. 1, "That there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit," was explained to him. The being in Christ Jesus, and the nature of faith, by which alone he could apply the merits and sufferings of the Saviour, were now, as they were continually, dwelt upon.
The faith of the Gospel, he was more particularly taught, was such a reception of the promises of God made to us in the Scripture, and more especially of the engagement of God to pardon every sinner who came to him in Christ Jesus, as led not only to an entire dependence upon Christ, but to a complete submission to his will, and an inward change in our own nature. It was not merely the knowledge of the doctrine of faith, or the acceptance of it as true, which was the test of its reality, but the creation in the heart of a new and animated feeling of trust in the Redeemer. The reception of faith in the soul was like the benefit of food which we eat to the body; it imparted a spiritual essence, which gives nourishment and vigour, and which works by love, not only to the Saviour himself, but to all around us. Faith, therefore, to be a living principle must be felt by ourselves, and must be seen by others: and of both these points the faith of this young
man gave ample proof. It gave confidence to his own mind: it even gladdened his heart; it made the Bible a new book to him; it cheered the solitude of his prison, and the prospect of death; it made him go with a firm step to his last conflict. And as it produced this effect on his own heart, so it made him mindful of every duty which he owed to his fellow-creatures; for, in the observation of all around him, he did what in him lay to warn the unruly, and to lead those to whom he spoke to that same rest and peace and joy to which he had himself attained. His faith, therefore, was not merely notional, but it filled his whole soul, gave a new direction to all his hopes and fears, and made him completely a new creature. The doctrine of the new birth, as contained in John iii. 3-7, was also unfolded to him: that there must be a total change in every man's nature, and the same sensible practical living and growing state produced in the heart, as in an infant born into the world; else the man, whatever might be his outward privileges or circumstances, could never enter into the kingdom of heaven. It was not necessary to go into any refinements, as to the necessity and the extent of this change, in talking with Jolin; for he knew the two states by his own experience; only there might be some danger lest he should not see the practical bearing of the doctrine, and lest he should fail to search and try his own heart. But his conduct, as witnessed by all about him, is the best testimony of the power of Divine grace by which he was influenced; and this shall speak for itself. It was at this time, I think, that he made a confession, which served to explain his previous state of mind, and to shew how remarkably his attention was fixed on one point. "How extraordinary, sir," said he, "it is that for these last two days I have been able to give my mind only to one subject: the thought of my crime and of my death have been
taken from me, and I have scarcely been able to give my attention to either." The one subject which occupied all his attention, and shut out every other, was the love of his Saviour, who had given himself for his sins. This, as he said, “filled his heart." It may be questioned by some whether this was a right experience for one who had been guilty of so enormous a crime, and whose offence ought so continually to have pressed upon him. But I have said before, that great as was this young man's offence, it had all passed before him as a dream, and was really no more in its influence on his imagination and memory, than the other numberless quarrels which he had had with his father. At the same time, his state of mind served to shew the absorbing nature of the Divine principle when it is fully implanted in the soul. It is difficult at all times to think much of God, and to think of any thing else. In his mind, that one subject seemed to swallow up every other. And as David, in the fifty-first Psalm, appears to have comparatively lost sight of his sin againt his country, the family of Uriah, and of all the consequences of it, in the depth of the feeling which he had of his sin against God; so the love of Christ took possession of Jolin's mind, and in its length, and breadth, and depth, and height, filled his whole thoughts, and absorbed his whole soul.
It will be manifest, that, in the explanation of all these subjects, there was a constant repetition of points before explained, and reference to texts which are not noticed. Jolin did not talk much; and indeed it was chiefly in answer to a question, that he made any observation at all. When a passage of Scripture was read to him, he would often take the Bible and read it over slowly to himself, then observe carefully whether the register was placed so that he might find it again, and return the book with some slight expression of his feelings. In
this way did he seem to lay in portions of the Divine word, upon which he might reflect in his solitary hours. His manner was always calm and self-possessed; and his answers to questions were such as shewed that he clearly understood the principles upon which the answer was to be made. He was never beside the mark in a reply, if he yet was not fully able to make it. But it was quite evident that all the lessons which were taught him, having the warrant of scriptural authority, sunk into his heart, and met with no obstruction there; for he immediately found that they tallied with his own experience. Thus every word of God seemed to be sent directly with instruction to his soul, and the Holy Spirit made him willing to receive it.
The next day, the 26th, he was visited by Mr. Dallas, one of the chaplains of the Bishop of Winchester, and by Mr. Durell, the rector of St. Saviour's parish. These two clergymen have each given public and repeated testimony to the state of mind in which they found Jolin. The visit of Mr. Dallas was chiefly occupied in an endeavour to search out the reality of the foundation upon which the hope of the penitent rested, and he viewed it as most satisfactory. Mr. Durell visited Jolin at the request of the Dean of Jersey, in whose parish the prison is situated. "I came," he says, "to perform a difficult and unpleasant duty, which, indeed, I could not refuse.' "I mention this indifference," he adds, "to shew, that when I first repaired to this poor man's dungeon, there must have been something very powerful to have affected me to such a degree." Mr. Durell at first brought Dodd's Prison Thoughts with him to read to Jolin; but, on the suggestion of a friend, he changed this book for the Bible. He visited Jolin many times: and he has published an account of his visits. His remarks are candid, kind, and very clear as to his belief
of the real change in Jolin's character. The facts which he narrates are some of them in the highest degree interesting. "I have sympathised," he says, " in Jolin's cell, in all the horrors of his situation. I have shuddered at his nefarious parricide; I have rejoiced in his unfeigned repentance; and I have been soothed by his delightful anticipations of a blessed immortality." He adds, on one occasion, "I never saw a man more free from enthusiasm. All his religion centred in the atonement of Christ." On another, "I never heard him complain of the evidence against him, nor of his sentence; never did an expression of murmur or of invective escape from him." He says again, "This visit lasted three hours; than which none ever made a deeper impression on me, or will perhaps be more conducive to my own spiritual improvement." adds again, "It may, perhaps, be supposed, that it was the dread of death which had excited his religious fervour: on the contrary, those apprehensions ceased from the moment that holy principle originated in his heart: neither was it that instinctive fear of dying that drove him into religious inquiries and self-examination. That fear may, indeed, have caused a wicked man to be sorry for his sin; but the growth in knowledge, in grace, and in so many gifts of the Spirit, was so extraordinary and so unprecedented, that I cannot account for it as having been the result of natural causes operating on an ardent and distracted mind. I am not only impartial, but am conscious that I am as free from superstition and enthusiasm as any man yet I feel inwardly convinced, that Jolin's conversion had something in it more than human ; and that Providence assisted him with an imperceptible, though equally miraculous, working of the Holy Spirit; to the end that his edifying repentance might operate like a distinguished example to open the