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time miscarried, yet, at the present time, the congregation might not unreasonably have entertained hopes of obtaining this end. It therefore, as the church is the property of the War Department, and is at present made use of as a corn-magazine, betook itself again directly to His Majesty the Emperor with a most humble petition, wherein, after explaining the defective nature of their present chapel and referring to the gracious favour shewn by the grant of complete religious freedom, it prayed that the old church, formerly belonging to its ancestors in the faith, the Bohemian Brethren, might either be graciously granted to it, or its purchase for a moderate price permitted.

This petition was so far vouchsafed gracious consideration that, after the lapse of three weeks, a military commission was charged by supreme command with the investigation of the matter. The result was favourable, the commission reporting as its opinion that, as our present chapel could be furnished and used as a magazine, the old church was not indispensable, and its greater value might be equalized by a corresponding sum of money. On the whole the military authorities were favourable, and other influential persons in high positions made zealous applications in our favour. But, unfortunately, the exertions of the Roman Catholic clergy and their party were also very great and did essential damage to the cause. The Dean of Lysá called forth great excitement in the community by adjuring the town authorities at a public session, to which the only Protestant member thereof was purposely left unsummoned, by their salvation, not to allow the old church to come into the hands of the Protestants, threatening them that he would never again hold any solemn procession, as he should be obliged to go round the Protestant church in doing so. At his urgent entreaty, the town authorities allowed themselves to be induced to send a deputation to the patroness of the church, Princess Rohan, with the request, that she would go to Vienna and there oppose the project of the Evangelical Church on the spot. This she did, and it may be easily supposed that such a measure was not advantageous to the cause of the Protestant congregation. The upper Catholic clergy also, as well as the Dean, exhibited considerable zeal against the project. That clergy is still too habituated to the monopoly of the dominant Catholic Church in Austria to get easily accustomed to the equality of another Church, which had previously been so long oppressed ; and it continues to oppose an obstinate resistance to the progress of the Protestants, especially in many places into which true enlightenment and education have not yet made their way. On the part of the citizens of Lysá this opposition was grounded on the ordinary feeling of jealousy, lest the Protestant congregation, which had hitherto been stowed away, as it were, in a corner, with its inconspicuous chapel lying between houses and gardens, should henceforth come more into publicity and possess a fitting temple. Such an equality of position with their own church appeared intolerable to them, and this weakness exhibited itself in an extraordinary manner even in the case of the so-called educated classes, nay even in that of persons who had received a superior education. Many of them declared quite naively that they should not have a word to say against it, if the Protestants had as many as ten churches in the town, if they were but in other places and not just in the middle of the town where the Catholic church stands. After further official inquiries, which were set on foot in consequence of the opposition, the Protestant congregation received the following decisive rejection of their petition through the Imperial Engineering Department at Prague :

“ The extensive inquiries made in consequence of the petition presented by the Worshipful Evangelical Congregation at Lysá, under date January 6th, 1863, respecting the giving over to them of the Barbara ex-church at Lysá, in concert with the Imperial Ministry for the Home Department, have shewn that, on the one hand, an irrefutable necessity for extension of the Evangelical chapel is not proved, and, on the other hand, that, if such an extension should nevertheless be desired, it might be easily carried into execution at the present chapel; and that the means thereto also stand at the command of the congregation, as it declared itself ready to purchase the Barbara church or to bear the expenses, which should arise through the adaptation of the existing chapel for a military magazine.

“In this state of affairs, the Ministry at War does not find itself in a condition to grant this petition, which has not been deemed suitable to receive the supreme signature,

“ The worshipful authorities of the congregation are informed hereof in pursuance of the decree of the Ministry at War of Sept. 26th, 1863.

Prague, Oct. 2nd, 1863."

This is the result of the exertions of the congregation to obtain a more suitable church worthy of the progress of the times, and thereby actually to pass from the times of Toleration into the new age of religious freedom. What happened seventyseven years previously has again occurred, viz., that the striving of this congregation after progress has been wrecked mainly on the opposition of the Catholic patron and the local authorities of the town. A faithful picture, in truth, of the progress of the higher circles in this empire in point of Christian forbearance and enlightenment.

How depressing an effect this ill-success must have on the minds of the congregation, every experienced and honest Protestant can easily imagine. Many weaker spirits feel themselves, as it were, thrust back again out of their newly excited hopes into the old times of bare toleration, and it requires all the power and persuasive energy of their clergyman to prevent the courage of his congregation from sinking still lower. It has not, however, entirely as yet got courage, but in firm trust in God and in generous Christian help will continue to strive after improvement. For the present, it will content itself with its existing chapel, and direct all its energies to the foundation of a school, since, unfortunately, it does not as yet possess one. But, in this respect, it stands greatly in need of the help and support of its brethren in the faith. It contains only about 850 souls, half of whom are widely dispersed, and therefore can contribute but little towards the erection of school buildings or the support of a schoolmaster. The portion living within reach of a school, on the other hand, is for the most part poor, and in Lysá itself the members are mostly only poor mechanics. The congregation unites therefore, with this truthful representation of facts, the most earnest and urgent entreaty to all brethren in the faith, to have compassion on the head of its younger members, who have hitherto been obliged to attend none but Catholic schools, and there often listen to scorn and insult to their confession on the part of fanatical priests and schoolmasters, and by offering gifts of Christian love, to afford it assistance towards the foundation of an Evangelical school. In this way it believes it will not entreat in vain, but hopes firmly and confidently that the Lord, whose counsel is wonderful, and whose ways are unsearchable, will open hearts and hands to it, which will again verify the saying of His Son our Saviour : “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you."


(From a pamphlet by the Rev. Josef Procházka, Protestant clergyman of Lysá.)




PUNISHMENT. The tendencies of modern society are apparently working, for the present, towards the total disuse of capital punishments. It is and has long been universally admitted that, save in the case of murder, the heaviest penalties of civil law should stop short of the criminal's life; but now it is held by many, that even this last solitary exception ought to be swept away, as only a remnant of the opinion and practice of barbarous times. The object of punishment, it is said, is the good of the community, and not the mere gratification of revenge on the criminal; and that, therefore, it should, like domestic corrections, assume in all cases a reformatory character, as aiming to restore the offender to his place in society, and, when that proves wholly impracticable, at least to make him in some way useful to it, instead of cutting him off from the body like a gangrened limb. Or again, it is argued, that as the infliction of death has evidently no effect in diminishing crime, there is demanded a more exact adaptation of means to this end; in which it is pleasantly assumed, that the alleged failure is due to a want of adaptation which it is in our power to supply.

But another question is entitled to a careful consideration before we finally change a system which bears the sanction of the venerable past, and this is,- What is the will of God, the supreme ruler of the nations ? Much, indeed, may be urged against the proposed change on the ground even of expediency. It may even be doubted whether we are competent to decide so vast a question on general à priori principles at all

, much less alone; and, if not, whether the consequences involved are not too momentous to be submitted to the decision of experiment. To determine how the abolition of capital punishments would work, over a vast political area, under endless modifications of circumstances and for all future times, is, it may be well said, a problem only for Him to whose view all things, present and future, are "naked and open.” But at all events the will of God must always concur with the truest and largest expediency; and to ascertain that will, whenever it has been clearly revealed, is for us in all cases the shortest and surest road to it. If there is any real deliverance of the divine mind on the subject before us, raised above all limitations of circumstances and times, it cannot fairly be regarded as less than decisive of the whole question.

Now assuming that the Holy Scriptures not only contain, but are the Word of God, there is one passage to which we wish to call especial attention, as being entitled to more consideration in this


question than perhaps it has ever received. Of course it has always been cited on one side of the controversy ; but on the other side objections have been, and still are, very commonly made to it, which evince a total misconception of its nature and evident design. The passage is :-"Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God made he man” (Genesis ix. 6).

Here we have a majestic expression of the supreme will, conveyed in terms so sublimely simple and comprehensive, as at once to invest it with the character of a universal law of nations. This feature of generalness and simplicity, which has sometimes been strangely made a ground of objection, really constitutes one of its best claims to occupy the lofty pre-eminence on which we feel ourselves bound to place it. The language has been complained of as vague and indefinite. But, on the contrary, no terms can well be more precise as the expression of a worldembracing principle of legislation, all details of administration being precluded by its very nature, which, had they been attempted, would, by their necessary incompleteness, have constituted a far graver objection. It was no part of the divine intention to interfere with the free development of national institutions, or to descend into the endless variety of possible modes in which his will herein might be carried into effect. We might as well object to the divine command in verse 7,—to "multiply and bring forth abundantly in the earth, -as too vague, because nothing is said about marriage-rites and settlements. Free from all such minutiæ as could safely be left to the arrangements of civil government, and would but have marred its simplicity and contracted its range, the sentence before us shines out as a sublime declaration by the sovereign ruler of nations, that henceforth, and everywhere on the earth, the crime of murder shall be visited with the penalty of death.

It may, however, be urged with some show of reason, that the expression, “whoso sheddeth man's blood,” is sufficiently general to cover every case of homicide, whether wilful or merely accidental, and that thus the passage proves too much. But a moment's attention to the context will convince any unprejudiced reader, that the words are intended to express a wilful act of slaying. It would be scarcely less reasonable to affirm that the clause following, "by man shall his blood be shed,” may relate to accidental deaths. The truth is, the phrase in question, viewed in connection with the common usage of Hebrew writers, has all the precision which the case demands. Whenever this or similar expressions occur in the Old Testament, without any modifying clause, they always denote wilful killing. Indeed, as

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