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private passage, and seated themselves around and near an organ. Below, within the chancel, entered first the young ladies of the school, connected with the nunnery, two and two, paired according to their size, first bowing toward the high altar, and then seating themselves facing it;—then followed the nuns. They were all neatly dressed and had heavenly countenances beaming with cheer. fulness and devotion. Indeed, it was evident that a habitual frame of mind of this kind had produced a permanent effect upon the features of the face, and the expression of the countenance. The services commenced—they consisted chiefly of music from the voices of the nuns and from the organ. And such an organ! and such voices ! The organ seemed to have been constructed on purpose to symphonize with the sweet voices of the sisters ;. and sweet were those voices ! sweet was that organ! The music was rather of a lively, cheerful cast, and was set to a hymn or song of praise, which, to the number of some twelve verses, I should think, was performed and sung on the occasion. I cannot describe it, much less can I describe the effect on my own feelings. It was not so overwhelming as the Tenebræ at St. Peter's, but it seemed to trickle down into the sentient chambers of the soul, and there diffuse itself to the extremities through all the conducters of feeling, until the whole system was exhilarated and enchanted. To this hour, whenever my mind reverts to the Church of the Trinity, I seem to hear those rayishing notes anew," like the memory of joys that are past, pleasant and mournful to the soul.” Never, perhaps, before or since, have I felt so much devotion in a Catholic church, as on that occasion. The benediction was pronounced, and I reluctantly retired from a spot that had afforded me delight as unexpected as it was refined.
While on the subject of music, I will add, that the common music in Italy fell far short of my expectations. I had supposed that in that musical country there would be much interest in the music of the streets and of the peasantry of the country. On the contrary, it is absolutely horrible: the braying of an ass is 'scarcely more repulsive. You will hear, especially in the evening, companies of young men walking the streets and singing-you will hear songs in the country, and your vetturino will sing to you perhaps from morning till night, but it is all utterly destitute of music. The same may be said of much of the music of the churches. As I did not attend the operas, of course I cannot speak of the music there. Doubtless it is of the most scientific kind. But so far as my opportunities of observing go, much of the music of Italy is bad. I heard one amateur in a private party in Naples, whose singing was admirable ; and on a few public occasions, such as that at St. Peter's, and this at the Trinity, and some others, the music was splendid. Farther than this I cannot commend. Neither can I account for it that the popular airs and common singing are so bad, when those of other countries are often so superior. Switzerland, and Wales, and Scotland are not celebrated for their scientific music, and yet their native airs are the very melody of nature, and the singing of their peasantry is absolutely enchanting. Italy, on the other hand, is celebrated for music the most scientific and most refined, and yet the singing of her peasantry is rivalled by the braying
of her donkies. The inference seems to be, that the greatest refinements in scientific music avail to destroy the simplicity of nature in all classes ; but as it is possible for none but a few to become successful, scientific performers, the great whole are left unskilled in the melody of sweet sounds.
Illumination and Fireworks. These usually conclude the exhibitions of the splendid festivities of the Passion Week—and if I had seen them I might describe them. Unfortunately for us, however, the exhibition did not take place this year. The disappointment was felt the more because it was given out that it would take place; the fixtures were all placed upon the dome of St. Peter's; the rockets and other preparatives were all made for the fireworks; and the time appointed for the exhibition. The first night was rainy, and it was postponed-another excuse was given at another time, and thus the subject was delayed and suspended, till at length the report was circulated that the whole was indefinitely postponed, and that the money which it would have cost would be given to the poor. Whether the poor ever got the money I cannot say—I can only say, we lost a fee, which we paid in part, in advance, for our window, where we were to witness the exhibition ; as doubtless did many others. For it is usual on these occasions for all who have houses advantageously situated, to rent their windows for the night, for from five to perhaps twenty, or even fifty dollars each, according to their situation and accommodations. Some of them have balconies and curtains over head. For a number of days the windows in the neighborhood were dressed and curtained, waiting for an exhibition which was finally suspended. The reason for the disappointment we could never learn. If there was any good reason it ought to have been announced, for as it was, there was much of surmising and hard sayings against the Romans and against his holiness. By holding out the expectation and postponing it, day after day, many persons were induced not only to rent their stands for the night, but to postpone their departure from Rome, some of them a week or ten days, waiting for the great sight, and were finally disappointed. Thus thousands of dollars were spent in the city by travellers, which would not otherwise have been spent; and some expressed their conviction that there might be some design in all this. For myself, however, I would not readily give credit to such an imputation, but I confess there was a kind of injustice in the procedure, which nothing but an important reason could excuse. If such a reason had existed, one would think it would have been made public. As to the plea, that the money would be given to the poor, that was worse than nothing—the situation of the poor was known before any such expectation was raised ; and much more might have been saved for the poor, if no arrangements had been made for the exhibition. There is a great difficulty, however, not only in Rome, but throughout all Italy, of getting before the public the desired information on subjects of general interest. Instead of numerous periodicals and public newspapers, as in this country, they have nothing scarcely that deserves the name of a public periodical press. They have in Rome one or two little papers, published
perhaps weekly, about twice the size of a man's hand, containing some account of the functions and ceremonies of the cathedrals, the movements of the cardinals, &c., together with some of the leading events of Europe, provided these events do not savor too much of liberalism-and that is the extent, I believe, of Roman newspapers. It is, in fact, the most difficult thing to get information on subjects of public interest; and this may serve in past, perhaps, as an apology for the Roman court, for leaving the public in the dark in this instance, in respect to the reasons for the course adopted.
It may not be amiss to give a general idea of the proposed exhibition, such as it has usually been, and such as it was indeed this year, at the festival of St. Peter, which took place since we left Rome. Heretofore it has been usual to have this exhibition both on, or rather immediately after, Passion Week, and also at the festival just mentioned.
The illumination is on the dome and other parts of the outside of St. Peter's. It is effected by lamps, flambeaux, and various combustible matter, so arranged that every part of the church, to the very summit of the cross, over the dome, appears in a blaze. The fore part of the illumination is mild, and gleams like the light of the moon; but at seven o'clock it changes suddenly into a universal blaze, as if by magic; and it is said, nothing scarcely can be conceived of more splendor than this transition, and the brilliant spectacle which follows. There are between four and five thousand lanterns used in this illumination, and seven or eight hundred flambeaux. The lighting is effected by men on the outside, suspended by ropes, who are moved with pullies by men within; and so hazardous is the enterprise that the performers receive the sacrament before they commence, that they may be prepared for sudden death.
At eight o'clock the fireworks commence at the castle of St. Angelo, formerly Adrian's Mausoleum. The commencement is an explosion called the Girandola, which is effected by such an arrangement and discharge of four or five thousand rockets as to be, it is said, a very good representation of an eruption of a volcano. This is followed by various other modifications of pyrotechnical display, grand and beautiful; and the whole is closed by another magnificent Girandola.
I have thus just sketched this grand exhibition for the sake of those of your readers who may not have been made acquainted with its character, although we did not" witness it. The pope himself gave us an animated description of it in an interview we had with him, but I should have abundantly preferred that he had let us see it. But fearing it might be contrary to court etiquette to question the sovereign pontiff on this subject, I did not inquire his reasons for disappointing us.
Religious Processions. In describing the ceremonies of this festive occasion at Rome, it might be well to notice that religious processions were at this time unusually frequent. Companies of ecclesiastics and various religious orders marched through the streets, chanting religious services, and bearing a crucified Christ, or the image of some saint, before
which the multitudes bowed. This is more or less common, in fact, at all seasons, throughout Italy.
The consecrated host also, especially the day after Easter, was borne in procession through the streets in various parts of the city. The object, we were told, was to convey it to the sick, for their sanctification and comfort. Whenever it passed the people prostrated themselves; and why should they not? For this material substance, thus supported like any other portion of matter, was believed to be verily and truly God!
Holy Staircase. I may not have a better opportunity than the present to mention the religious ceremony or penance of the holy staircase. This is not peculiar to holy week, although it happened more particularly to strike our attention at this time; and perhaps on account of the many strangers present at this festival, there may have been more votaries engaged in this penance than on other or common occasions.
This staircase is called "holy,” because it is that up which, if we may believe the tradition, the Saviour passed, pending his trial at Pilate's bar. How it was preserved at the destruction of Jerusalem, especially as the Christians, who alone would be intrusted in its preservation, had previously left the city-or why even Christians should be solicitous to preserve a staircase belonging to the palace of a weak and wicked ruler, who gave sentence against their Lord, are matters which neither I nor, I presume, any one else can satisfactorily account for. However, it is believed to be that very staircase, and as such is not only an object of veneration, but is made meritorious in the forgiveness of sins—up it no one is allowed to pass, except upon his knees : and every time any one thus ascends it, he has remitted to him two hundred years from the fires of purgatory! This of course makes its ascent an object of great interest; insomuch that the marble steps have been so worn away by penitential friction as to make it necessary to cover them anew, to save them from complete destruction. Almost any time of day you may see more or less of these poor deluded votaries climbing up these steps, some of them upon their bare knees—the females dividing their attention between their devotions and the decent adjustment of their apparel; and all kissing the steps and muttering their prayers as they ascend !
When I first approached these round steps, not knowing their sanctity, I started to ascend them, to see what there was above-the ciceroni pulled me back with horror-and informed me of its character. Not choosing to ascend on our knees, we went up an adjoining flight of stairs and surveyed them above and below, with no other emotion than that of astonishment and disgust, at this new illustration of the deep-rooted and all-pervading superstitions and idolatries of the Roman Catholic Church.
HISTORICAL VIEW OF THE CALVINISTIC THEOLOGY OF NEW.
Of the New-England Conference. TO TRUTH all men attach a valid importance. That which relates to religion is especially important, because it is at the foundation of our best interests-our rational hope of immortality, and all the present consolations which such a hope is calculated to inspire. The interest men feel to know the truth is sufficiently exemplified in the history of their untiring researches—their noonday toils and midnight lucubrations-all aiming at a satisfactory answer to this one important question," What is truth ?" A history of the exercises and efforts of the minds of men in this pursuit, could they be truly and faithfully written, would be far more interesting than record of all the splendid achievements of physical force since the beginning of the world, by as much as our intellectual is more noble and interesting than our animal nature. But such a chronicle of thought does not exist. There are fragments, however, in given cases where thought exerts its energies for the accomplishment of particular objects, which may be seized and safely adopted as sure indications of the true character of the more hidden source whence they emanated. Hence it is that in the philosophical, political, and religious theories of men, and the changes which those theories from time to time undergo, we trace the workings of those minds which first brought them into being, as well as those which afterward modify and mould them into different shapes.
In the following sheets an attempt is made to trace the history of that theory which is, by common consent, denominated Calvinism, as it has existed and now exists in New-England. This work is not without its difficulties, and it may have its advantages.
As the subject of this essay is the Calvinism of New England especially, little is required to be said of the origin and existence of it in Europe. It may be proper to observe, however, that it was formed out of the unorganized elements of the theology of St. Augustine, by the plastic hand of that eminent divine, John Calvin, whose name it bears. Simultaneously with the Reformation, it was spread over a large portion of Europe, and was adopted as the basis of the creeds of many of the resormed Churches, and the subject matter of the preaching of many of the clergy.
When our Puritan fathers cruised for an asylum where they might enjoy religious freedom, they brought with them to the rock of Plymouth the strong prejudices they had imbibed for the Calvinistic creed, from which they never swerved. Under the instructions of the first religious teachers of New-England, the principles of Calvinism became more deeply rooted in the minds of the people, and were interwoven in all their habits of thinking and forms of expression. Though there were a few who were branded as heretics, not many had the courage to doubt of the infallibility of Calvinistic theology, and by far the greater portion were sincere Calvinists of the purest order.