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dation of the terms of the Gospel we regard as a very great evil, but it is characteristic of the whole school of Continental reformers. It is much to be desired that in the solitude of Caprera, that noble warrior may learn to understand more profoundly the genius of Christianity, and to believe that a small band of thoroughly renewed Christians is a greater safeguard to any spiritual Sodom than a vast multitude of persons attributing to themselves a fallacious regeneration through national revolution.
That this national revolution has important bearings, however, on the preparation of the people for true Christianity, it is impossible to doubt. A nation of triflers, who had been trained for centuries to devote themselves wholly to amusements more or less vicious, and to a sloth which rendered every grand enterprise a chimera, can be prepared for the Lord' only by the severe discipline of serious trouble. Viewed from this point, the statesmen who have incited the Italians to take an active part in European policy, and to organize a war of independence from the Alps to the Adriatic, must be regarded as the most efficient educators of the people. The campaign in Lombardy was the commencement of a process of instruction which may require to be carried much further before the population is reduced to the seriousness which befits freemen. 'The merry England of yore was an England in political and ecclesiastical slavery. When liberty took up her abode among us, men became sad and thoughtful in their struggles in her service, and this sadness has proved a soil in which every tree in the garden of God has flourished. Italy may be yet called to a prolonged combat with Austria, and such a conflict although demoralizing in some respects, will stir the national mind to its very depths, and greatly facilitate its spiritual renovation.
The ancient Waldensian church has entered with much zeal into the work of Italian evangelization. This community, principally agricultural, shut up in their mountains and valleys, extracts a scanty subsistence from a barren soil. The people are obliged to climb the precipitous sides of mountains in search of produce, and the industrious labourers are often seen clinging to rocks, where they appear like specks, a thousand feet above the valley, keeping their hold by the crampons on their feet; the bulk of these people retain the faith of their fathers, and are determined, according to their ability, to carry the Gospel into Italy. Their constitution is Presbyterian. Their country is divided into fifteen ecclesiastica districts. A synod is held annually in May, when an election is made of a moderator and four other members, two ecclesiastics and two laymen, who constitute THE TABLE, and to this Table is com mitted the management of affairs throughout the year ensuing Their places of worship are mostly very unpretending structures but in 1844, a large Temple' was opened at La Tour, the conse
cration of which was graced by the presence of their King, Charles Albert.
Through the exertions of the late Dr. Gilly, a college was also founded at La Tour, containing nearly a hundred students and scholars. Near the college is a girls' school, and a school for poor children, somewhat resembling our ragged schools. There is also a hospital, through which three hundred sick have passed in a single year.
To prepare the Waldensians for conducting the missionary work in Italy, it was considered necessary to move their theological college from La Tour to Florence, which was accomplished principally through the liberality of American friends. The Salviati palace was purchased, and it is expected that the students will there acquire a knowledge of the language, such as could not have been gained at La Tour. Under the able superintendence of Professor Revel and the Pastor Geymonat, we may expect that a great blessing will be conferred on Italy by this school of the prophets. The language of the Waldenses is French ; but since they consider themselves Italian, they desire to address themselves to their compatriots in the language of the country. The present state of the Waldensian mission in Italy is as follows :-At Pignerol a new church was opened in 1860. It has two young ministers. The number of hearers is 150 ; of Sunday scholars, fifty; of day scholars, twenty. At Turin one minister, with several assistants, conducts the whole mission. The congregation consists of 400 hearers — all come out of Roman Catholicism. Two hundred persons-half of them adults-attend the Sunday school. There is also a bible and tract depôt, and a printing press. At Casale there is one minister, who has fifty hearers. He always goes to Alexandria, where there are soldiers ready to hear the word of God, and evangelizes the surrounding villages. Courmageur has a church of fifty faithful members. They have recently distributed in their neighbourhood a grant of 1,000 New Testaments and 500 Bibles. Genoa has two evangelists' schools and a book depôt, one hundred communicants, and thirty-five children in the Sundayschool. Nice is now annexed to France. Palermo has been fixed upon as a new station. The Waldensian evangelist has gathered around him a knot of twenty or thirty Italians, who regularly attend his ministry. At Aosta another new station has been opened. At Milan an evangelist has been occupied for some months, who goes to preach at Bergamo every evening, visits the soldiers at Pavia, and goes once a month to Brescia. Brescia has been fixed upon as a station.
'One of the colporteurs sent out from Turin not only sold a great number of bibles there, but formed small reunions. A room was hired for the purpose, and about fifty people attended regularly. The enmity of the priests raised an
uproar against the evangelicals, which even caused the effusion of blood, when persons were found suspected of Protestantism. They would have killed the colporteur, but happily could not get hold of him. Representations were made to the Government, vigorous measures were taken, and the said colporteur is now assistant to the evangelists of Milan, at this interesting station which he may be said to have created.' Owen, p. 96.
At Leghorn, one of the most promising stations, a room holding 200 is found too small. At Pisa there has been dissension, ending in disruption. Florence is the centre of operations. There are six public services in connection with the various missions; and this city is the starting point of a system of colportage which radiates over the whole of Tuscany.
A second spiritual movement in Italy, quite distinct in form, though not in spirit, from that of the Waldenses above described, is that which has resulted in the existence of the so-called Free Churches of Italy. There is reason to think that, though their present leaders disclaim ecclesiastical unity with the Plymouth Brethren, these societies originated directly or indirectly through the labours of Mr. Darby and his friend Count Guicciardini. The Plymouth Brethren, we suspect, are the spiritual Mazzinians of Italy, the real fathers of the religious movement, but the proscribed exiles of the hour of triumph. We honour the zeal which first made an entrance for the Gospel, but cannot affect to regret the rejection of the peculiar principles of Brethrenism by those who have followed them in the enterprise. The members of these free churches are nearly all, says Mr. Dunn, 'poor peasants, day labourers, mechanics, small shopkeepers, or servants. With rery few exceptions, the middle and upper classes are not yet prepared to sacrifice anything for the love of truth.' The principal leader among these churches is Signor Mazzarella. Formerly an advocate in the kingdom of Naples, he was condemned to death in 1849 on account of his liberal tendencies. Escaping to Corfu, he earned his livelihood by giving lessons in classics and mathematics. In 1851 he went to Turin. Poverty and misfortune had produced in his mind infidelity and hatred of all religion. In this state he entered one day the newly opened Vaudois Church at Turin, for the purpose of collecting arguments for a book which he was about to publish against Christianity. He came again and again, and there the Lord met with him, and commenced a struggle in his soul, which ended, after a severe illness, in decided faith and hope. After a few months he became the coadjutator of the pastor who converted him in teaching the young, and even in preaching, to which he was admitted on account of his wonderful eloquence. He then gained his livelihood as a clerk in a small business. When the cholera broke out in 1854, he appeared in the meanest cottages of the sick and dying as an angel of mercy; he prayed with them, rubbed their limbs, held them in his arms in the agony of death,
he covered the sick with his coat, or gave them his own shirt, for the purpose of changing thier linen. He continued afterwards ministering to the churches of Turin, Alexandria, and Asti. At length a remarkable book, a critique in science, attracted the notice of Victor Emmanuel, who appointed him, after the War of Liberation in 1860, Professor of Mental Philosophy in the University of Bologna. He was, soon after, chosen member of the Italian Parliament, and now occupies a most distinguished position in the face of Europe. At the recent meeting of the Evangelical Alliance at Geneva, be proclaimed that the free churches were not Darbyites, but admitted a fixed and settled ministry of spiritual men, to be supported by the faithful. At the same time he expressed the most noble and brotherly feelings towards the Vaudois pastors and churches, and the Plymouth brethren.
It is very difficult to form an idea of the extent to which this form of evangelical religion has spread in Italy. All we know is, that it is extending every day, and that the result of the wide diffusion of scriptures and of good books is to strengthen this free Italian Church, which is “neither Roman Catholic, nor Protestant, nor Vaudois, nor Darbyite. On the whole, we regard this result as the most healthy and hopeful that could have been desired.
In the great work of Italian evangelization, Gavazzi appears to occupy a sphere of his own; yet, we presume, that he is ecclesiastically in communion with De Sanctis and Mazzarella. Those who remember this extraordinary personage some years since in London, when he figured on platforms as lecturer against the Popedom, presenting a singular mixture of characters as philosopher, rabid exile, mountebank, eloquent orator, comic actor, and earnest apostle, will be pleased to learn that time and the grace of God, operating through the influence of holier men, have wonderfully improved his tone and mission. Mr. Owen's book furnishes abundant evidence that Gavazzi has become a sincere, and we need not add a most powerful, preacher of the Gospel in all gravity and seriousness. He retains all his old power over the multitude, but wields it with a view to spiritual effect and personal regeneration. The latter portion of Mr. Owen's book is devoted to a full account of Gavazzi's recent history, and we will not trespass on the author's rights by anticipating the pleasure which awaits the readers of this section of his little volume. Let it suffice to say, that those who obtain it will be abundantly rewarded by this part of Mr. Owen's industrious labour.
The key-note of Gavazzi's ministry is the destruction of Rome, root and branch. He says, “as a lecturer I never forget to declare solemnly that I am no Protestant, for I have nothing to protest against. My aim, I speak not as a leader but as a simple individual, 18 not to protest against Rome, but to destroy the whole system root and branch. There is nothing to reform in the Church of
Rome, which is an abuse from beginning to end. Thus, the mission which I along with others, have undertaken, is to annihilate Romanism. To embrace any Protestant denomination would destroy my hopes of the future evangelization of Italy.'
We have now to recount in brief the labours of the colporteurs in the diffusion of the Bible. Now, as of old, the word of the Spirit' has proved the most effective weapon in encountering the formidable opposition of the Papal priesthood. Bibles and Testaments found their way in considerable numbers into Italy in the great year of resolution 1848. They were eagerly read, and awakened the desire for a larger supply. In 1856, 4,000 Bibles and Testaments were sold in Genoa, and above 2,000 at Nice at the depository of the Madiai ; and in the following year more than 20,000 Italians were diligently reading the Word of God. When we consider what one Bible can effect when it comes in contact with a prepared spirit, it is easy to divine how mighty a force was generated by those issues of the Scriptures. At this moment 23,000,000 of Italians have acquired a legal right to possess and read the Bible.
The British Bible Society has vigorously availed itself of this providential opening. In May, 1860, the number of colporteurs employed by that society was twenty, and the sales of the Scripture during the first quarter of the year had been 5,000 in the North of Italy, and 3,000 in Tuscany. The whole number sold in Italy during the year had been 24,000 copies. In 1861, the society employed thirty colporteurs, and the sales were proportionately increased.
The Edinburgh Bible Society have had eight colporteurs in service for several years past, selling Bibles at the rate of 1,000 per month.
Besides these effects the Waldensians and the Italian Christians both employ the similar agency of colporteurs. The Vaudois pastor of Turin bas ten under his control. In connection with the depôt at Genoa there are nine. During the year 1861, 8,000 copies have been issued at Florence, through the labour of seven hawkers. At the close of 1860, 4,438 copies had been sold in Naples, and the demand still continued. The general result is, that at least 60,000 Bibles and Testaments had been circulated in Italy during the year that has just closed. A net-work of evangelical agencies extends over the whole Peninsula, and every month witnesses the increase of Gospel light among a people sitting in darkness.
Those who wish to learn in what methods they may assist the Italian Christians without seeming to intrude an unwelcome foreign influence, may learn it from the closing chapters of Mr. Owen's useful volume. It is well deserving the attention of book-clubs and reading societies.