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the power of the demons was a pri- known His will by the Urim and vilege rather than a right, it would Thummim, and to reveal future events seem to have been almost universally in dreams, visions and prophecies. enjoyed. Its withdrawment would To have recourse to evil spirits, in seem to have been an exception order to obtain this knowledge, was rather than a rule.
rebellion and treason against the The possession of such power by God of Heaven, and therefore Satan would not weaken the evidence punished by death. When Satan to the truth of Christianity which is devised mischief against mankind, drawn from miracles. Their evidence he either directly accomplished his depends as much upon their character own purposes, or when men were and aim as their external appearance. his agents, they accomplished his Men would be led astray by Satan's purposes by the exercise of their miracles only when their moral sense natural powers. When the elements was perverted. There is that in man were his instruments, he himself which recognizes truth, although it excited them without the intermecannot discover it. The miracles of diate
of man. We read God, and Jesus, and his Apostles, are nothing in the Scriptures about spells not immoral, ridiculous, nor result- and incantations. We find in them less. They do not produce talking no accounts of withered hags gadogs of brass or weeping pictures; thered round a boiling cauldron with but they are sensible, and adapted their frightful dance and hellish to the circumstances of the case, and screams. We read nothing about to the various economies of the the aid of toads and lizards and world.
poisonous entrails in bringing demons It must not be supposed that there into subjection, and thereby obtaining is any connection between the miracu- their fearful assistance. We find no lous powers referred to as possessed mention of witches who could raise by demons, and the witchcraft of later a storm, foment divisions, render times--a belief in which is held by women barren or their offspring desome even in the present day. There formed ;-of the evil eye, under the is nothing analogous to modern witch- blighting influence of which human craft in the sacred Scriptures. The beings languish and decay;-or of the witchcraft there mentioned is merely mewing of cats or whining of pigs as divination or fortelling future events. exciting an influence over the forThe witch of the Scriptures was a tunes, health, or destiny of men. prophetess, whose predictions were The witches of English history are the result of intercourse with evil not the witches of the Bible, but the spirits. Such was the witch of Endor, offspring
of superstition and ignoto whom reference will be made in rance. The only case mentioned in the next paper. We nowhere in the
We nowhere in the Scripture which furnishes the slightest Bible find ascribed to witches powers foundation for belief in the power of similar to those which modern witches one man to injure another, by enare supposed to possess. The witches, chantments or
or curses, is that of whose executions stain the pages of Balaam; and from this nothing can English and Scottish history, are as be argued. Balaam is sent for by far remote from the witches of Holy Balak to curse the children of Scripture as can be conceived. The Israel. He says he cannot go without crime of witches among the Jews permission from God; God permits was consulting demons instead of him to go, but not to curse. He God. God was then wont to make employs him as His prophet, and his language is, “How can I curse whom posed to be in league with the evil God hath not cursed ?”
one. Any woman that happened to Simon is said to have “bewitched" be more ugly than her neighbours, or many by his sorceries. But the more decrepit, or wrinkled with age word translated bewitched means or infirmity, was esteemed a witch; astonished, and is so employed in a and it often gratified her vanity and subsequent verse: “He remained with suited her interest to be thus esPhilip, and wondered, beholding the teemed. The belief in the existence miracles and signs which were done." of witches was therefore universal, Acts viii. 13.
and scepticism on this point was There is then no real connection deemed impiety. Hence sprung the between the witchcraft referred to in enactments on witchcraft, which disthe Bible, and that which was the grace the annals of the nations of object of universal belief in the middle Europe, and of which thousands of ages, although that belief may have innocent men and women were the been strengthened by an unintelligent fatal victims. Under these laws the reference to scriptural evidence. The accused could scarcely escape. One source of that belief may be traced mode of trial was throwing them to the love of the marvellous common bound into a pond. If they were in man, and the extreme ignorance drowned, their innocence was proved, then prevalent. During many ages
During many ages when too late. If they swam, their learning was almost exclusively con- guilt was thereby evidenced, and fined to the monks and priests. Skill they were put to death. The accused in warlike exercises satisfied the never stood any chance of acquittal. knight; embroidery was the honor- Judges were always disposed to able employ of the ladies. The mass condemn them, and any evidence of the people were in a condition of against them was accepted. At length profound ignorance. A belief in the persecution and punishment of spirits has always existed. Of these witches ceased, and witchcraft became spirits only crude conceptions were almost unknown. formed. Any persons possessed of The subject of the next, which will superior knowledge, or skilful in the be the concluding paper of this series, healing or any other art, was sup- will be divination.
IMPOSITION OF CHURCH-RATES IN NEW CHURCHES.
THE Bill introduced during the pre- our readers will not object to have sent session by the Attorney-General, the salient points of this question, for the amendment of Church Build- and the general bearing of the new ing and new Parish Acts, has happily phase it has assumed, briefly placed been withdrawn, chiefly through the before them. remonstrances of the Nonconformist The Statute-book contains twelve supporters of the Ministry. In all "principle Acts,” providing for the probability, however, it will be re- creation of new districts and the vived in the next session, possibly erection of new churches. They under a Tory administration, and give belong to three consecutive moverise to an internecine contest. In ments. The first embraces the the mean time we are confident that parishes erected in 1818, under a Parliamentary grant of a million was referred struck out the churchsterling; and as these were created by rate clause. When the bill
, thus the funds of the nation, so they were amended, came before a Committee endowed with the right of levying of the whole House, Lord Blandford church-rates, but at the same time stated in reply to Sir W. Clay that saddled with the additional burden the parishes he proposed to create of contributing a rate also to the would, to all intents and purposes, mother Church, for a period of twenty resemble those formed by Sir Robert years. The new parishioners were Peel's Act, under which, as was well thus taxed for services from which known, no church-rates could be they derived no benefit, and, finding levied. At the same time, however, themselves in the same predicament the 15th clause enacted that the reas the Dissenters, they did as the sident inhabitants of every new Dissenters have done, and in numer- parish, whether constituted under the ous instances refused to make any Peel or Blandford Acts, “should for rate at all.
all ecclesiastical purposes, be paTen years after, the Catholic dis- rishioners thereof, and of no other abilities were removed, the Test and parish; and such new parish should, Corporation Acts were repealed, the for the like purpose, have and possess House of Commons ceased to be all the same rights and privileges, composed exclusively of members of and be affected with such and the the Established Church, and it be- same liabilities, as are incident and came necessary to indent on the belong to a district and separate voluntary principle for the erection church.” To this clause these words of the Churches which the exigencies were added by the Committee :of the times required. In the second "and to no other liabilities; provided period of legislation, therefore, the also, that nothing herein contained new parishes, created under Sir shall be taken to affect the legal liaRobert Peel's Act, were left to pro- bilities of any parish regulated by a vide for the maintenance of the fabric local Act of Parliament, or the secuand the ministrations of religion from rity for any loan of money legally the same source to which they had borrowed under any Act of Parliament been indebted for the Church itself. or otherwise." This important fact, although con
These various Acts were found to troverted, was fully admitted by the be so prolix and confused as to defy Attorney-General, who "agreed that all comprehension, and all imitation, the general impression was that the and the Government has been emeffect of Sir Robert Peel's legislation ployed for more than a twelvemonth in 1843, differed from that of the in an attempt to consolidate and earlier Act, and that it would not amend them. Yet so inveterately allow church-rates to be levied in complicated are the interests created what were called Peel parishes." by the connexion of Church and The
next movement was made by State, that the new and simplified Lord Blandford in 1856. His bill Act is divided into seventeen parts, was intended “to promote the crea- and contains 321 sections. tion of parishes in districts where But, although it was clearly and there were churches already," and distinctly understood by Churchmen, as originally drafted, it provided for as well as by Dissenters, and by the the levying of church-rates, but only public in general, that no churchfor the services of the new district. rate could be levied in the new The Select Committee to whom it districts, the whole question has
been opened, and involved in dark
purposes, as much an amendment ness and uncertainty by the exercise as a Consolidation Act. If, thereof legal ingenuity. The subject was fore, any amendment whatever was recently brought under the cognizance to be made, what could be more of Dr. Lushington in a case from reasonable than the proposal of Mr. Shrewsbury, and, as Sir Roundell Mills to omit the clause which the Palmer asserted, "he fastened upon ecclesiastical lawyers-always the the term ecclesiastical purposes,' most backward in Church reformwhich, in his opinion, must mean all had “fastened upon,” to wrest the ecclesiastical purposes, and he held law from its original design, and to that church-rates were ecclesiastical impose rates contrary to the intenpurposes.” This decision, it is said, tion, if not to the engagement, of is to be appealed to the Privy those who propounded it. Council, and thus the question of In the course of the debate, Lord imposing church-rates on all the John Manners manifested great mornew churches which have been tification that the Bill was witherected, which are computed at drawn in compliance with the desire 1600, turns upon the definition of of the insatiable "political Dissenttwo words; and if Dr. Lushington's ers," whom he advised the Governcomprehensive interpretation of
them ment to defy. Why the crime of is to stand, we shall have constructive being a Dissenter should be consichurch-rates, scarcely less odious than dered to be so intensely aggravated constructive treasons.
by his having any political opinions The new Consolidation Bill was in this free country, and that by a referred to a Select Committee, and party which, within the last month, Mr. Mills, the member for Wycombe, has maintained that no man could contended, and not without good be a good Churchman unless he was reason, that the re-enactment of the also a Conservative, it is difficult to clause upon which the dispute had divine, upon any principle of conarisen, would have the effect of sistency. But it has become manigiving it additional force, and open fest, from this debate, that the Tory the door for the introduction of members are anxious to endow all church-rates into hundreds of pa- new parishes with church-rates, and rishes where they had hitherto been will not part with the disputed clause unknown. Sir Roundell Palmer, while there is any chance that the however, urged that the Govern- Law Courts may interpret it in their ment had undertaken simply to
favour. consolidate the existing laws, and These proceedings are greatly to not to settle any disputed point. be deplored. It is a matter of reLord Palmerston gave the same gret that an Act which was intended reply to the members of the depu- to be a boon to the Church, should tation who waited upon him, and have been so constructed as to berefused to omit the clause on the
come a scourge to the Dissenters. plea that it would be tantamount to Whatever might be the eventual an alteration of the law. The argu- issue of the struggle to get rid of ment has the merit of plausibility, church-rates in the old established but loses all its force when it is re- parishes, it is to be regretted that membered that the new Bill is by this auspicious occasion was not no means scrupulously limited to improved, to limit the sphere of the object of condensing the old contention; and that those who had laws, but is, to all intents and repeatedly voted church-rates
nuisance, did not think it worth can arise only from a determination their while to prevent its extension to depress and humiliate the Dis. to 1600 new parishes. Their past senters by in posing on them contrivotes have evidently been dictated butions to a Church to which they do more by the calculations of diplo- not belong. Neither in this instance macy than by the impulse of con- can the resistance which the Disscience. But the worst effect of senters have offered to this measure this attempt at legislation, is the be attributed, as usual, to the malefeeling of increased animosity which volent feelings they are said to enterhas been kindled by the peculiar tain towards the Church, and their circumstances of the case, and which anxiety to pull it down. They are is likely to be intensely inflamed acting purely on the defensive. It
the revival of the subject. is the Church party who are the agDuring the discussions of the last gressors. And the Dissenters would twenty years, one of the strongest be unworthy of the name of Angloarguments for continuing church- Saxons, if they did not resent the rates has been, that without them it ignominyof thus being made hewers of would be impossible to maintain wood and drawers of waterto a Church the services of religion in poor and which treats them with the same rural parishes; and the argument contumely which the Pekin cabinet was not without some weight. But exhibits towards the outside barbain the case of these new parishes, rians, and the Mahomedan to a Kafir, there is not even the shadow of and the Brahmin to a Pariah. They such a plea for the rates. These constitute nearly one half of the rechurches, as they have been erected ligious community in England, and by private liberality without any they are fully alive to the duty of aid from the State, so have they contributing their share to the rebeen maintained in undiminished lief of its spiritual destitution by prosperity by voluntary contribu- the erection of new Chapels and tions. The flourishing condition the collection of new congregations. which they exhibit, shows that, in With what feeling of justice and their case at least, there has been no equity, with what show of common necessity for compulsory rates to decency, then, can they be compelled ring the bells, or play the organ, or
to subscribe likewise towards the pay the sexton, or maintain the expenses of worship, and the repair fabric. The anxiety manifested to of the fabric of every new church, endow them with the power of which the piety and liberality of making rates cannot be dictated by churchmen may erect in any part of any regard for their interests, and England ?