صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

famine, to which, for extent of suffering, no dearth in European countries can be compared. These famines are not unfrequent, and are thought, at times, to have caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of persons. The different tribes are often in a state of warfare.

The Asiatic cholera, never wholly extinguished, from time to time destroys its millions; yet all these causes of diminution have not sufficed to keep down the population of those regions, which, in the local cultivated parts, is wonderfully dense.

IRELAND.—The poverty of the country and the prevalence of distress cause a constant emigration of all who can find the means to leave it. Every year numbers ship themselves for the United States, or for the British settlements in America. Greater numbers still cross the Irish Sea to the West of England and Scotland, and making their way to the metropolis and to the great towns, continue there as labourers. Numbers enter the army, and many the navy. In Ireland itself, constantly recurring scarcities of the potatoe crop, attended with the malignant fevers which ever accompany dearth, thin for a time whole districts. Civil wars and oppressions have also done much to keep down the numbers of this unfortunate race. . . . Yet has this miserable population gone on rapidly increasing, and making more and more rapid head against all these apparent causes of diminution and extermination.

FRANCE.—In the poorer departments the population is considerable. In the rich departments it is low. At these results M. Malte Brun, who is one of those writers who constantly regard a dense and redundant population as evidence of the wealth and industry of the country where it exists, without adverting to its causes, is sorely scandalized. He rates the inhabitants of the south of France for their dearth of children, which he terms "poverty," though he admits that the country is rich and fertile beyond description; and not content with this, even is inclined to blame the government; though, as to the means by which a government could cure such an evil as this is, he affords no clue.--Doubleday's True Law of Population."

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]



PERHAPS you have never heard the name of this important city, yet there is much about it very interesting to an Englishman. It is called Mentz, Maynz, and Mayence, by different nations, and stands in a level but beautiful and healthy country, on the western bank of the great river Rhine, just. opposite where the river Maine (called Mine by the Germans) falls in. The Rhine is clear and lovely, but the Maine is rather muddy, and their waters do not at once mix, but seem to keep each his own side of the channel for some miles. Although Mentz is 350 miles up the river from the sea, its quay is busy with steamers and small shipping, some of which go at least 200 miles higher up the river. The bridge is nearly 1700 feet long, not made of stone, but of 56 large barges firmly anchored in their places, with planks laid from one to another, which can be quickly removed when ships want to pass. A little below Mentz the river is 2000 feet wide, just twice the breadth of the Thames at London, though London is not nearly 100 miles up the river.

Mentz is a beautifully clean town, about the size of Exeter, full of fine buildings, and venerable churches, and fortified, that is, surrounded with strong walls, large banks of earth, and deep wide ditches. It is in the dominions of the Prince of Hesse-Darmstadt; but as he has few soldiers, and this is an important pass between France and Germany, it is guarded, even in peace, by 4000 Austrians and as many Prussians. By day or night you are always meeting parties of them marching from gate to gate, on their garrison duty: and the handsome white uniforms of the Austrians, the deep Prussian blue of the others, and the orderly soldierlike behaviour of both, make the streets very lively and agreeable. There are 32,000 inhabitants, of whom 3000 are Protestants, 2000 Jews, and the rest Roman Catholics. The people seen contented, sober, and obliging. But here, as in most countries abroad (whether Protestant or Romanist), Sunday is a day of mirth, festivity, and pleasure : the shops are open most of the day; the churches full indeed in the



morning, but the playhouses and tea-gardens in the evening. How can there be real religion or true happiness where Sunday is thus profaned, since God bids us honour Him by not doing our own ways, nor finding our own pleasure, nor speaking our own words, on his holy day. (Isaiah lviii. 13.)

Mentz was at first only a strong castle built by a Roman general named Drusus, who was killed accidentally, nine years before the birth of Christ. A mouldering tower, said to be his monument, still remains. The great river Rhine was of old the boundary for nearly 700 miles between the Romans and the savage nations of Germany: and this was one of the many castles built to guard the Roman side, round which towns and cities sprang up.

Christianity was very early preached here, perhaps even in the Apostles' days: and Martin, Bishop of Mentz, attended a large meeting of clergy in France, in the year 314, where also the Bishops of London, York, and Lincoln were present. When the barbarians forced their way across the Rhine, and seized the Roman countries for themselves, the Christians on its banks were slain or scattered away, or else cruelly put down and persecuted. Yet they were as a seed of Christianity among their new masters, the Franks, who gradually became Christian, and in time sent armies across the Rhine again to conquer their ancient countrymen, and also did all they could (too often in a cruel and unchristianlike manner) to convert them to Christianity. In those days, also, hundreds of earnest zealous missionaries were sent forth from England, Scotland, and Ireland, to preach the gospel among the heathen Germans along and beyond the Rhine, just as they now are sent from us to the Hindoos, Africans, and New Zealanders. For instance, between the years 600 and 700, among many English and French who might be mentioned, Gall and his companions went to Switzerland, Wasnulf to Belgium, Willibrod to Holland, and Kiliaw, Colman, and Totman, were martyred together in Bavaria.

One in particular, as connected with Mentz, we will speak of, named Winifred, but who, when made Bishop in after years, received the new name of Boniface, or doer of good. As an ordained minister and missionary of the Church of England he is still known among us: the day of his death (5th June) is marked in the Prayer book calendar, and several churches are dedicated to him, such as Branscomb, near Sidmouth, in his native county, Devonshire, where he is known by his own name; and Bunbury, near Chester, Brixworth, near Northampton, and Bonchurch, in the Isle of Wight, where he is called Boniface.

He was born at Crediton (of old called Kirton), in Devonshire, about the year 680, and brought up in the diocese of Winchester, in Nutcell Abbey, which was destroyed 900 years ago by the heathen Danes, and never rebuilt. Being taught in all the learning of those times, he was ordained priest at the age of 30, and soon went forth with others as a missionary to help Willibrod, who was still preaching to the Frisian heathen in Holland. The wars there forced him back again in two years; and when his old master the Abbot of Nutcell died, his fellow monks wished to make him their Abbot or head minister. But he refused the rich honour, for his heart yearned to be among the heathen; and he went to Rome in 719, to obtain from the Pope authority as a missionary among the wild Germans beyond the Rhine, where a few scattered Christian spots settled by earlier missionaries were all that broke the gloom over that vast country. By having the Pope's authority, he also gained the protection and help of the king of the Franks, over whom the Pope had great influence, and whose armies were then in Germany.

He planted or spread the gospel throughout Bavaria, Franconia, Thuringia, and Upper Saxony, founding churches, which are now great cities. Perhaps you scarcely know these names, but Cobourg and Gotha are names well known to you, as connected with Prince Albert, and Boniface first preached there. He is still called the Apostle of Germany. When he went to Rome again, the Pope consecrated him Bishop, to oversee the churches he had planted, and to ordain ministers for them, and many English missionaries still came over to help him. But his diocese grew far too large, and the Pope, in 732, made him Archbishop, and then he conse

« السابقةمتابعة »