A Short History of the Reformed Episcopal Churches of Spain and Portugal, from 1868 to the Present Time.
Chapter VII. The Lusitanian Church.
I HAVE so far described the work of the Reformed Spanish Church in its principal centres, and have traced the events which culminated in the consecration of its first Bishop. I hope presently to give further interesting information respecting the work of the Spanish Reformers in other parts of Spain. But before so doing I deem it well to change the scene from Spain, and tell somewhat as to the scarcely less remarkable movement which has taken place of late years in Portugal.
In the year 1875 a desire was manifested on the part of certain Reformed Christians in Portugal to join the movement in Spain. The facts, briefly told, are these. There had been in Lisbon for some years previously, a Spanish Evangelical Church. It was established under the following circumstances. In 1867 Lisbon was visited by the Rev. Angel Herreros de Mora, an ex-priest of Spain, a Reformer of twenty years' standing, who had some time previously been received into the American Episcopal Church. He was a man of talent and piety, and his name still lives in the Lusitanian Church.
Upon his arrival Señor Mora began to preach the Gospel to the Portuguese, whenever opportunity offered, and his teaching met with acceptance from many.
Friends gathered round him, and at length, after some persecution, and even mob violence, a large room or store was rented in a suitable part of the town and Divine service commenced. In the year 1870 a portaria [117/118] or decree was issued by the Portuguese Government recognising the existence and sanctioning the continuance of this Spanish Evangelical Church. It was called Spanish because Señor Mora being a Spaniard, his sermons were in Spanish, and part of the service was read in Spanish. The church, while open to all, was, in fact, supposed to be intended especially for the Spanish residents in Lisbon. Accordingly the then Spanish Minister at the Court of Lisbon took the Church under his protection, and the result was the "portaria" referred to above. Marriages solemnised at this church were recognised by law, and its ministers were allowed to read our burial service over the dead in the Portuguese Public Cemetery at Lisbon. Divine service was held in the room before mentioned twice on Sundays, and on Thursday evening. Night schools and Sunday schools were opened and well attended. A small school was also organised, and service held every Sunday at Rio de Mouro, a village twelve miles from Lisbon. At this time the movement was considerable, the members numbering nearly five hundred, including six priests. Of the latter the three who first joined naturalised themselves as Spaniards before doing so. They took this step because while the National Char permits every Portuguese subject to profess any religion he pleases as long as he does not speak evil of the State religion, a clause in the penal code declares that every Portuguese priest who abandons the Roman Church shall be. banished. Of these six priests one took up his abode at Rio de Mouro and conducted the services there. This priest had been formerly curate of the parish, and was much respected by the people.
The congregation at Lisbon was at this time large, and the room being too small, application was made for
the use of the reading-room for English sailors, which was readily granted.
The doctrines taught by the leaders of this little Church were on the lines of the Church of England. They accepted our Thirty-nine Articles, and a translation of our liturgy was used in all their services. They were strongly attached to the idea of an episcopal Church, feeling that a national reformation could only be brought about by adhesion to the same principles as those laid down by our own English Reformers. The temporal affairs of the Church were managed at this time by a Committee elected by themselves, and vigorous efforts were made at self-support, but the difficulties were great, as the congregation was chiefly composed of small shopkeepers, soldiers, and water-carriers, whose means were very scanty.
This movement had been closely watched by the Rev. Godfrey P. Pope, British chaplain at Lisbon, and believing that the time had come, he wrote to Mr. Tugwell suggesting that it should be fostered by the Society which was then aiding the work of reform in Spain. Mr. Pope writes:--"These people are not yet able to walk alone, and until they become so, English help and guidance will be most valuable. The present is an excellent opportunity for us to show them our good-will. They are now in a most critical position, and upon the steps now taken the success or failure of the movement will greatly depend. . . . I ought not to conclude without mentioning that in May last the Committee of this Church in Lisbon, feeling the need of a head, and of showing publicly that they desired to follow our Church not only in her doctrine, but also in her form of Government, held a meeting and unanimously chose Señor Mora as their Bishop-elect. They held the election, being at [119/120] the time quite aware that years might elapse before the actual consecration. I may mention that when consulted by them as to the expediency of such a step, I strongly advised them against it, as I consider the time has not come for such a step.
"Señor Mora is now becoming old, and it is time he were freed from the parochial work he has so long carried on, and be enabled to devote himself to the quiet teaching and training of others, who in their turn will preach the unscarchable riches of the Gospel of Christ. He has begun the work: he has opened the way; he has in various places inquirers among priests and laity who correspond with him. Let your Society take up this good work thus commenced, and help to spread the knowledge. of the Saviour through the length and breadth of benighted Portugal."
At the earnest request of Mr. Pope, the Rev. L. S. Tugwell, at the end of this year (1875), paid a visit to Portugal to see for himself the reality of this movement, and in the report which he subsequently published, he says, "After a few days' residence in Lisbon I was more than convinced of the truth of the statement in Mr. Pope's letter to me, dated October 27th, 1875." After much prayer and consideration it was determined to employ four reformed Portuguese priests who for a considerable time had been personally known to Mr. Pope and his friends as missionary clergymen. Three of them were appointed to work in Portugal, and the fourth, the Rev. Henrique Riberio, to Seville, to take charge of the Church of the Ascension in that city.
Thus the work was placed on a firmer footing in Portugal, and the Society in London promised to give it all the aid in its power. For the next year or two the progress was very marked, and much blessing [120/121] attended the ministry of the Word, Soon the attention of the authorities was called to the movement, and articles appeared in the public press--some favourable, but many the reverse. As an important testimony of the reality and progress of the movement at this time, I will give the translation of an article from the Commercio do Porto, written by a member of the Cortes, in April, 1876. He writes: "One of the questions which should most occupy the attention of our public men, and which demands the special study of the Opposition, which is preparing shortly to set forth its programme of ideas, principles, and doctrines, is without doubt the religious question. The question is in these days the universal question which is debated in all countries, and which will disturb those unthinking and unprepared Governments which have not remembered in time that a day must come in which the principle of liberty of conscience will be the motto of all advanced parties. The day has now come, and do what they will, the principle must surely triumph. Those in authority now, and for the future, must take all possible care to direct matters in suchwise that this triumph may not be at the expense of disturbances and contests. A remarkable thing is going on among us, which is, however, little known because the press generally has not taken it up. I allude to the progress which the propaganda of the Reformed Church is making. Until the proclamation of the Republic in Spain it might be said that there were no Portuguese Protestants in Portugal. Now it is no longer so. At the present time there are several churches of this religion in Lisbon, the congregations are increasing every day, the services are well attended, and the number of the scholars in the day and night schools [121/122] increases. We have here in the capital the Spanish Evangelical Church in the Rua da Conceicuo, in the Placa da Flores, the minister for which is the Rev. A. H. de Mora, American subject. This Church has a mixed congregation of Portuguese and Spaniards. There are also schools. It was into this Church, established by the Rev. J. J. da Costa D'Almeida, that the Rev. H. Ribeiro and A. F. de Miranda were received on their leaving the Church of Rome, who, as well as the Rev. J. J. Costa, are naturalised Spaniards. The first priest who made his renunciation there, without giving up his nationality, was the Rev. M. A. Pereira, of Villa do Conde. This distinguished priest established the Evangelical Church in the Beceo das Campainhas, near the Mint. This Church, known as that of S. Paulo, is the only thoroughly Portuguese one, its head having retained his nationality. This Church has a free day school for boys and girls, attended by sixty scholars; also night schools for adults. Nearly forty have entered. On Sundays two services are held--one at eleven and the other at seven; and on Thursdays an evening service at seven. The place of. worship is a large room capable of containing 50o people. At one end of the room is a kind of altar covered with red velvet, in the front of the altar two desks and kneeling-stools, and on one side the pulpit. Joining this room are the school-rooms, quite big enough even for the large number of scholars which, although the school has been only open three months, belong to it. In St. José do Ribamur (suburbs of Lisbon), in the Quinta da Piedade, there is another Reformed Church, the minister of which is the Rev. A. F. Miranda, a naturalised Spaniard. Here are also schools for. both sexes; the day school attended by upwards of forty children, and the night schools by fifty adults; who [122/123] come there to be taught from neighbouring villages. This church has two services on Sundays and one on Thursdays. At Rio de Mouro, on the Cintra Road, there is another Reformed Church, of which the Rev. Padre Costa is minister. There are seventy children in., the school. It should be observed that these three churches were opened in January of this year, and that notwithstanding the fact that the last two are under the care of clergymen who have naturalised themselves as Spaniards, they bear the national character, and may be considered, in spite of their independence, sisters of the Church of St. Paulo (which is under the care of the Rev. A. Pereira), the form of worship, the doctrine, and the discipline of which they adopt and follow. On the 2nd of this month the priest, J. M. Chaves, was received into the Church of St. Paulo; he was formerly Chaplain of the Loretto Church. He also did not change his nationality. Another church is shortly to be opened, of which the same Rev. J. Chaves is to be minister. This will also have day and night schools for children and adults:
"From what has been said it will be seen that the propaganda of the Reformed Church in Portugal is making notable progress, and the public authorities of our country ought to be ready for the consequences which this new state of things must necessarily produce in families. Some marriages have already been made in this new religion, and if there is no difficulty in the question of inheritance for the children of naturalised parents because they are subject to the laws of the countries to which they belong, the same is not the case with the children of parents who do not belong to the Catholic Apostolic Roman religion, which is the religion of the State."
Surely this is remarkable testimony from an outsider, [123/124] and most useful as an evidence of the importance of the movement even at this early stage.
Soon after this Señor Mora had an attack of paralysis which somewhat impaired his mind, though it was little thought that his labours were nearly ended. But, alas! it proved to be so, for he got an attack of inflammation of the lungs which ended fatally. He was much respected in Lisbon. The Rev. G. Pope wrote of his funeral, "We all went to it; there were about 250 people present, and much real grief was shown. I never saw such feeling at a Portuguese funeral before."
Senhor Mello, an ex-priest, who was Señor Mora's assistant, was appointed to take charge of the congregation.
In March, 1876, Senhor Chaves, who was assistant priest in the Loretto Church in Lisbon, gave notice of his intention to join the Reformers. He had been a diligent Bible student, and from his reading had become convinced of the errors of the Church of Rome. His father was a good man, a doctor in Algarve, who was assassinated. The last remembrance Chaves had of him was sitting on his knee one day after dinner and hearing him say with reference to the then Miguelite trouble. "Take no thought for your life," etc. An hour after a horde of Miguclitcs broke into the house, and, to the cry of "Viva a nossa santa religino!" assassinated the father. Mr. Pope gives the following account of Senhor Chaves' reception of the truth at a Conference held at the house of Mr. Pope, where the subject was good works and justification, and on which occasion he seemed first to really grasp the meaning of the Gospel plan.
"The thought of God's simple way of salvation appeared to give him quite a start" (wrote Mr. Pope), "and as I showed him Scripture after Scripture the poor [124/125] fellow burst into tears, and kept repeating, 'Yes, yes, I see it now. How good is God! How undeserved is such mercy from the Saviour to me a poor sinner!' As far as I can judge he really left the Church of Rome because he could find no rest for his soul in it. Since he realised the doctrine of justification by faith, all his questions and talk continually converge to the sinner's need of a Saviour, personal acceptance and comfort in believing."
On a Sunday in April following, Senhor Chaves was admitted into the Reformed Church. There was morning prayer and litany, then a hymn; then Senhor Pereira standing at one side of the Communion table, and Senhor de Costa at the other, Senhor Chaves was presented at the rails. Senhor Pereira put to him the several questions, and he replied, reading his renunciation of the errors of the Church of Rome very clearly and solemnly. Prayer was then offered for him, and after a hymn Senhor Pereira preached a sermon suitable to the occasion.
There were ninety-seven persons present at the service, amongst whom were three members of the Cortes and a Portuguese Count.
This year a threatened prosecution greatly agitated the little band of Reformers at Rio de Mouro. The general congregation there was between sixty and seventy at this time. The parish priest was the mover in the matter, desiring to close the school and stop the work. An advocate at Cintra, not very far from Rio de Mouro, got to know that the idea of prosecuting Costa and his wife was being pushed on; and that the Cintra Delegado, or public prosecutor, had gone up to Lisbon for an order for a detachment of troops to march from Cintra on the Tuesday, surround Costa's house in the night, seize him and his wife the next [125/126] morning, and march them on foot to Cintra in the middle of the soldiers, where they would be put into prison without the option of bail. Knowing this the advocate friend sent word privately of the danger telling Costa to come up to Lisbon at once, "as an hour's delay might be fatal." They did so, and for the moment the danger was past. Rev. G. Pope and a doctor who was friendly, went to the judge at Cintra, and after a great deal of trouble arranged the matter for the present. This is, however, but one of many trials and persecutions that Costa and his devoted wife had to undergo for the Gospel's sake. When they went back to Rio de Mouro, the people gave them quite a triumphal welcome, waving their hands and calling out, "Welcome back! we will send our children to the school to-morrow." It turned out that when the Regedor of Rio de Mouro was first ordered to arrest Costa, he replied, "He is so popular that I cannot promise that my policemen will arrest him; you must do so yourselves." It was then the order was procured for troops.
The work in Portugal at the end of 1876 consisted of the two churches in Lisbon and the one in Rio de Mouro, as follows:
San Paulo: Rev. M. A. Pereira.
San Marcal: Rev. J. M. Chaves.
Rio de Mouro: Rev. J. de Costa Almeida. [All of these ex-Roman Catholic priests]
There were six persons besides employed in the schools, as masters and mistresses.
The Rev. Godfrey Pope received applications from several priests to join the movement, but was unable to entertain them owing to lack of funds. An English lady, Mrs. Portugal, at this time gave great assistance [126/127] in the work. Having lived many years in the country, and being able to speak the language fluently, she held Bible classes and visited much among the poor. Her name and work are not forgotten.
As an instance of the care taken in receiving those who wished to join the Reformers, I may mention here the precautions used. Two register books were kept in each congregation, the one for inquirers, the other for Church members. When a person evinced a desire to join, the minister noted his name, address, etc., in the inquirers' book and then met him as often as he deemed necessary, for instruction in the Scriptures. After three months' probation, the minister, if satisfied with the knowledge and life of the inquirer, entered his name in the register book, and thenceforward he was admitted to the Holy Communion. Provision was made for the rejection of unworthy communicants.
All--rich and poor, those who had subscribed or who had not--could become Church members. In every way the work was becoming more consolidated; the power of the Holy Ghost was amongst them, and hopes were cherished for a widespread reform.
The next important event was the petition to the Lambeth Conference of 1878, of which we have spoken elsewhere.
The ex-priest, the Rev. J. J. Costa Almeida, gave this year a free gift of a piece of land for a school church at Rio de Mouro. A building was erected upon it and in front above the door was placed an inscription over an open Bible, "Search the Scriptures." The church was quite full at the opening service. The work at Rio de Mouro costs the Society very little, as Senhor Almeida has private means which he devotes to the cause.
 An important step was taken in Portugal in 1879 in the direction of religious liberty. For more than twelve years the civil registration of the births, marriages, and deaths of Protestants was the law of the land, but, as no officials had ever been appointed to carry out this law, Protestants were obliged to be married in their own churches alone, and used then to register the act before a public notary. From January 1st, 1879, however, this was altered. The proper officials were appointed, and now Protestants all over the kingdom find duly-appointed Government officials to register their births and deaths, and perform civil marriage for them. As regards education, too, the law provided that "those children who belong to a different religion shall not be required to attend the exercises in Christian (viz. Roman Catholic) doctrine."
The Military Code, moreover, allowed a soldier condemned to death to be attended by the "ministers of his religion," whoever they might be. No Portuguese (the Constitutional Charter states) may be persecuted on account of his religion--a law difficult to get enforced in country places. With large liberty to the press, it will be seen that Portugal was at this time in advance of Spain in the direction of full religious liberty.
Upon the visit of Bishop Riley, in pursuance of the resolution of the Lambeth Conference of 1878, the three existing congregations adopted a set of regulations as a basis for the future organisation of the Church. The body of Reformers henceforth took the name of the "Lusitanian Church"; regulations for a General Synod, a Standing Committee, and a Diocesan Synod were passed. Bishop Riley ordained Senhor Candido Joaquim de Souza as deacon during his visit.
 At the end of the year 1880 two congregations, with their schools, applied to be received into the Lusitanian Church, one of the most gratifying features of this movement being that it was quite spontaneous, and in no way suggested or urged by the Episcopal Reformers themselves. One of these, known as the Prma das Flores Church, was formerly under the direction of Señor Mora. The congregation had always been episcopal and liturgical, and though considering itself one with the Lusitanian Church, had not hitherto come under its rules. This congregation then numbered 212 registered members, and had fifty-six children on the books of its school.
The other congregation that joined was founded by the excellent Wesleyan mission at Oporto, in a suburb of that town--Villa Nova de Gaya. The congregation met in a public meeting, and, with only one dissentient voice, voted for joining with the Lusitanian Church. This congregation was under the care of Mr. James Cassels, an English merchant, who has since become naturalised as a Portuguese, and it was by his generosity and exertion that a small church and schoolroom had been built. The children in the schools at this time numbered 120 in daily attendance, and there were between sixty and seventy communicants, mostly men. A shortened form of prayer from our Prayerbook had always been used in the services of this congregation, which now definitely joined the Lusitanian Church.
The Lusitanian Church thus numbered five congregations--three in Lisbon; one at Oporto, and one at Rio de Mouro--and became the largest Protestant body in Portugal. The accession of the Villa Nova congregation was [129/130] most important, the work being a very flourishing one, but at present the minister (Mr. Cassels) was a layman, and it was necessary to send a clergyman from Lisbon from time to time to administer the sacraments, at no little inconvenience and expense. It was my privilege to celebrate the Holy Communion at Villa Nova during this time, and I shall not soon forget the difficulty in making up sufficient Portuguese on the previous days to enable me to do so, or the kindness of Mr. and Mrs. Cassels in enabling me to read up the service.
The Rev. G. Pope writes, in February, 1881, of the work in Villa Nova. He says: "Divine service is held here twice on Sundays and once each Tuesday evening, and the number attending is very good. The total number of the congregation may be calculated at 200 persons. Three classes are held each week for the study of the Bible, mutual edification, and prayer. . . . These classes are attended by the majority of the members of the Church."
In 1882 there was again an important extension of the work to the City of Oporto itself. It came about under the following circumstances. The Rev. Señor D. Diaz, an ex-Roman Catholic priest, had for the previous six years been working in connection with the Wesleyan mission in Oporto, but now resigned his position in order to apply for admission to the Lusitanian Church. He stated that he took this step of his own free and independent will, and for the reason that ever since the Church had been formed, he had felt the strongest sympathy with it. His application came before the Standing Committee, and he was unanimously admitted.
 Señor Diaz was well known in the north of Spain as an earnest, eloquent man, with a full and accurate knowledge of the holy Scriptures. He is the author of several small works, and, at the time of which I speak, editor of a little fortnightly paper, the Reformer. His advent, as an ordained man, supplied a want in the work, and while no word would have been said to influence him, he was heartily welcomed when he had made the decision.
Thus the little Church was making progress, and was full of hope for the future. There were drawbacks in the failure of friends and opposition of foes--it was ever thus. The history of the Primitive Church is constantly repeated in the march of the ages. The little Church at Rio de Mouro was especially singled out for attack. The clergyman there, the Rev. J. Costa Almeida, had been three times formally excommunicated; two actions had been brought against him in the civil courts; and now he was excommunicated for the fourth time, and yet he survives! It may interest my readers to give a translation of this last excommunication.
"Don Antonio José de Feritas Honorato, by the grace of God, and of the Holy Apostolic See, Archbishop of Mitylene, Doctor in Sacred Theology in the University of Coimbra, member of the council of his most faithful Majesty, President of the Relaco and Curia Patriarchal, Provisor and Vicar-General of the Most Eminent and Most Reverend Senhor Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon, and failing his Eminence, the Most Reverend Governor of the patriarchate. To the clergy and faithful of the patriarchate, health and peace in Jesus Christ our Saviour.
"We make known that by the sentence below [131/132] transcribed, passed by the ecclesiastical court of this patriarchate on the 29th day of August last, the Presbyter Joas Joaquim da Costa Almeida and his pretended wife, Maria do Rosario, both residing in the place and parish of Rio de Mouro, in the district of Cintra, of this patriarchate, were solemnly declared heretics, and as such condemned with the legal formalities. The crime of these unhappy persons is horrible; as the sentence says It is the awful sin of public heresy, manifested externally, with all the anti-Catholic demonstrations which the ferocious fanaticism of error can inspire against the truth; the public teaching of Protestantism, carried on by the heretical school founded in Rio de Mouro, at the expense of the dreadful Protestant propaganda; the circulation of Bibles and pamphlets, where attacks are made upon Catholic dogma, upon the worship (culto) of the sacred images, not to mention the pious homage which we pay to the Mother of God and our Lady, the lofty patroness of the Portuguese, the denial of the various sacraments, and the scandalous imitation of the most venerable rites of our holy faith. All that the Catholic loves, believes, and respects, and the Holy Church by its sacred canons bids us venerate, has been the object of the ridicule of these two unhappy instruments of the Devil, the common enemy of God and man. But what above measure aggravates the situation of these unhappy persons is the consideration that they have abjured our faith, renounced the promises they made at baptism in order to throw themselves into the abyss of error, flying from Catholic truth to the heresy of Protestantism.
"Concupiscence blinded them, and hurried along by it, the male criminal forgets that he has been baptised [132/133] and anointed as a minister and priest of the New Covenant, apostatising as he does from religion and from the priesthood of the Church, which had constituted him a fellow-worker with Christ in the great work of the salvation of souls, His ambassador before the greatest potentates of the earth; and more to be lamented than Esau, he sells for disgrace (filth) the most precious jewels of grace to serve Satan in the work of the perversion of our beloved Portugal. The crime, therefore, committed by the apostate priest Joas Joaquim da Costa Almeida, and by his female accomplice in the sin of concupiscence and in the propagation of Protestantism in Rio de Mouro, is very great. That crime could not remain unpunished. The Holy Church fulminates it with the penalty of anathema, or greater excommunication. And therefore the sentence has done no more than inflict that penalty upon him, after all the circumstances of aggravation in the case of the condemned criminals had been proved. Fly from them, Christians! You must avoid them as persons struck with pestilence, because the Gospel and the Church command you to do so.
"Hold no intercourse of any kind with them; you may only approach them in case of extreme spiritual or bodily need. More than this is not permitted, because they are excommunicated persons to be avoided. Despise them in public, but pray for them in private, that they may be converted, and, like the prodigal son, may return to the house of God, to the Holy Church which they are now attacking and ridiculing.
"At present there presses upon them the justice of God, who punishes them with the thunderbolts of the anathema. Afterwards light will come and enlighten [133/134] these blind persons so that they may see that which at present they do not wish to see: Protestantism decomposing, becoming reduced to the filth of error, and all its members in whom a sincere desire to know the truth exists reconciling themselves to the Church of Rome, and sheltering under the shadow of that portentous moral force which governs the world. Let this our provision, with the sentence below transcribed, after being registered in the 'Camara Patriarchal,' be sent to all the reverend parish priests of the patriarchate, to be read at the time of High Mass, on the first feast day which may occur after it has been received. Given in Sao Vicente de Porn, under our seal, and the stamp of the arms of his Eminence on the 23rd of November, 1882.
"Archbishop of Mitylene."
Then follows the lengthy sentence.
It is curious reading this at the close of the nineteenth century' And yet the Rev. J. J. Costa Almeida still lives and his work prospers!
Some of the more ignorant thought that some calamity would immediately follow--e.g. it was said by some they would turn black! But when it was found that nothing followed, and the work still prospered, they changed their mind about the whole circumstance, and more good than harm was the result.
Sunday, April 14th, 1883, marks an important epoch in the history of reform in Portugal, as on this day a new. church was opened in the flourishing city of Oporto. The church is built a few yards off the Rua do Heroisma, one of the largest and broadest streets in the city, and one that forms the artery between the centre [134/135] of the town and the termini for the new railways. The new church is a neat little building of oblong form, capable of holding about 300 people.
At the east end stands the holy table on a raised platform, with rails in front. The pulpit and readingdesk are on either side. Against the wall is printed the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments. At the west end is a small vestry and cloak-room; the pews are plain, comfortable seats; and the whole interior has a decent, airy, and not too severely plain appearance, and will suit both people and climate well. For the opening services the building was literally crammed full. The Rev. G. Diaz, who took charge of the congregation, wrote thus of the services," Both at morning and evening prayer the congregation was extraordinarily large. All the seats were occupied, and almost as many persons remained standing in the aisles and near the entrance. All behaved in the most orderly manner, and showed the most devout respect. At the morning service the congregation was composed of the better classes, and there were present journalists, lawyers, merchants, and even some members of the Catholic Association, and a Roman priest. May God our Father be pleased to sanctify that new church, and may He grant that whenever His people meet there they may feel the truth of His promise, 'Lo! I am with you always, even to the end of the world."'
The next day an Oporto paper, having the curious name The Tenth of March, had an article about the opening, by no means unfriendly. After a full description of the building, and of the pastor, the Rev. G. Diaz, the writer says, "We were profoundly impressed by the fact that all the faithful, adults and children of both sexes, [135/136] chanted the canticles, etc., out of their own proper books, and found out the prayers and verses which the pastor gave out in a clear voice. When the psalms, hymns, etc., of the first portion of the service were concluded, the Rev. G. Diaz ascended the pulpit and preached an excellent sermon upon the text of the Gospel 'Go ye into all the world,' etc. The temple was literally full. The opening of the chapel was simple without any ostentation of ornament."
The building was named "The Church of the Redeemer at St. Lazaro," the quarter of the city where it stands.
In striking contrast to this, two days afterwards there appeared in another paper an account of an extraordinary act of bigotry. The curate of the parish of Bomfein, in the city of Oporto, refusing to pass the new Evangelical Lusitanian Chapel with the consecrated Host, was the cause of a tumult which brought him into considerable danger. The case was as follows. The priest had been called to a sick person in a certain street, and went with the Holy Wafer in a procession. There is a superstition in Portugal against returning by the same route, as then it is thought the sick one will surely die. But the only other route would pass the Lusitanian Church. The curate refused to go, and hence a great tumult, and he was with difficulty rescued by the police from the fury of the mob. The article concluded in these words. "How many followers may not the Lusitanian Church have gained yesterday! By the gross misconduct of the Roman Catholic priests she is being assisted in her propaganda."
It was about this time that Mr. James Cassels, the devoted and valued lay minister at Villa Nova [136/137] de Gaya, finally decided to offer himself as a candidate for deacon's orders in the Lusitanian Church.
All the necessary steps were taken, the documents laid before the Synod, and solemnly approved. The Synod could, of course, proceed no further than this, but the earnest hope was expressed that one who had been so devoted and self-sacrificing in the cause of the Church, would ere long be ordained. It should be mentioned that, besides his lay-ministerial work, Mr. Cassels has been most energetic in the matter of education, and children from the schools under his superintendence had passed the Government examinations with much credit.
At length, on a date well remembered in Oporto--March 9th, 1884--the Most Rev. Lord Plunket, then Bishop of Meath, went on a visit to the city for the purpose of performing there episcopal functions which at present the Reformers were unable to do for themselves. Lord Plunket was accompanied by Rev. J. B. Cabrera, Bishop-elect, and the first confirmation and first ordination were held in this part of the Peninsula. It was a day of great spiritual joy. The font, pulpit, and desk of the little church at Villa Nova were simply and tastefully decorated with white camellias in honour of the occasion.
The confirmation service was held at 9.30 in the morning. The Bishop gave an address explanatory of the rite, which was interpreted by Rev. J. B. Cabrera. Then the candidates, fourteen boys and girls, made their public profession of faith before God, and a large congregation; and answered all the questions put to them according to the ritual of the Lusitanian Church, [137/138] after which the Bishop solemnly administered the rite of confirmation.
Subsequently the ordination service was held. It was a wet day--the rain fell in torrents--but notwithstanding, the church was crowded, and many were glad to stand in the adjoining school-room, where they were able to hear. The congregation consisted of members and occasional attendants. The service was read by the Rev. G. Diaz, and the sermon preached by the Rev. J. B. Cabrera. He concluded by addressing some earnest words to Mr. Cassels, about to be ordained. Then followed the ordination, and afterwards the Holy Communion services, the number approaching the holy table being over seventy.
On the following Thursday Lord Plunket consecrated the new Church of St. Lazaro, in the city of Oporto. The church was crowded to excess. The greater part of the congregation. on this occasion were Romanists, who had come to see and hear. An attempt was made to disturb the service by some students, but they soon left. The Bishop-elect preached the sermon, and although in Spanish, was perfectly understood by the majority of the congregation. Most of the daily papers mentioned the visit of the Bishop, and some spoke favourably of the services. The Church was much strengthened and encouraged by this visit of sympathy, and the advantage was great to the Villa Nova congregation, who had now the pastor of their choice in holy orders. It may be repeated here that Mr. Cassels, though of English descent, was born in Portugal, and has become naturalised as a Portuguese, so as to be in full sympathy with the Church in which he ministers. He speaks the language fluently.
 Towards the end of August, 1884, a new chapel was opened at the village of Candal, about two miles distant from Villa Nova, by Mr. Andrew Cassels (a brother of Mr. James Cassels). He had, at his own expense, provided the buildings, which consisted of two large rooms, one a girls' school-room and chapel, Sand the other a boys' school. Divine service was held every Sunday, and on Wednesday evenings. Mr. Cassels and his wife (since taken to her rest) were devoted in their work amongst the poor. Mr. Cassels ministered as lay evangelist to the congregation. Several of the daily papers noticed the opening of these school-rooms. I will give one extract from the Diario Portuensa:--"Some days ago two schools were opened at Candal, one for boys, the other for girls, which were greatly needed, so as to curb the children who wandered about the streets there, given up to ignorance, and who, without this restraint, would turn out in the future to be monsters. These schools, which are superintended by twocompetent masters, are already attended by 150 children. The school-rooms are very large and well ventilated, but without ornamentation or needless show. Adjoining is the dwelling-house of the porter, and a large yard for a playground--all this done at the expense of Mr. A. Cassels, a merchant who has resided for years at Candal. All praise to this supporter of popular instruction!" At present this work was entirely under the direction of Mr. A. Cassels, and not definitely connected with the Lusitanian Church.
I referred above to the interest that Mr. James Cassels has always taken in elementary education in his neighbourhood. So successful has he been that his services have received on several occasions public [139/140] recognition. At the end of the year 1884 a series of conferences of Government and other schoolmasters was held in Oporto. They were largely attended, and discussion took place which proved of great utility. The recognition of Mr. J. Cassels and his work is given in the report published in the Commercio do Porto of October 9th, 1884. It is as follows:--"Mr. James Cassels eulogised the Government primary schoolmasters, both on account of the services which they had rendered to society, and also on account of the progress they had lately made--a progress which he was enabled to realise and appreciate at the conferences held this year. He declared himself in favour of the study of chorography, even in elementary schools, and mentioned that he had established in the Gaya district a school for infants from three to six years old, managed, not by a properly certificated teacher, since that was impossible, but by a good, sensible woman, who taught the children the first rudiments.
"The President said he had much pleasure in introducing to the conference Mr. Janes Cassels, who had rendered valuable service to the cause of education, and maintained in the Gaya district a primary school for boys and girls, a night school for adults, and infant school. After speaking of Mr. Cassels in terms of just and high eulogy for his eminent services to the cause of education, the President proposed that a vote of profound gratitude to this excellent gentleman should be recorded in the minutes of the meeting. The proposal was voted unanimously. Mr. Cassels in reply thanked the meeting for this manifestation of feeling, and begged that the vote should not be recorded. The meeting, however, decided that their [140/141] gratitude to Mr. Cassels should be recorded in the minutes."
On the same evening a banquet was given to Señor A. S. Lopez, the Government Inspector. Sixty-eight were present, and the health of Mr. Cassels was drunk in recognition of his services in the cause of education. A Roman Catholic priest who was present also spoke highly of Mr. Cassels' work. Next day a very favourable article appeared in the Commercio, giving an account of the meeting. This incident is an example of the way in which the Lusitanian Church was advancing in public favour, and thus gaining opportunities for the propagation of the truth. The records of those who came seeking information at this time, and the details of work done are deeply interesting. They have been published in Light and Truth, the organ of the Spanish and Portuguese Church-Aid Society.
The next two years mark a very important progress in the work in Lisbon. The work had grown, and there had been many tokens of spiritual blessing. This had been viewed with great interest and gratitude by all concerned. Among others an English resident in Lisbon, Mr. John Cleife, had taken notice of it, and had determined to encourage it by providing a church in Lisbon. This want had been long felt, and Sunday, January Toth, 1886, was a day of great rejoicing, when the opening services were held. The Rev. Godfrey Pope gave the following account of this generous gift and of the opening: "A little more than two years ago I received a note from Mr. Cleife asking me to call at. his house. I did so, not knowing the reason why he wished to see me; and he then said he had watched with much interest the progress of the congregations--[141/142] of one, that of St. Peter, especially--and desired to build a church for it. He asked me what amount I thought was needed to buy ground and build a good, well-finished, church-like church. I said I thought we could do it with ease for from £1,000 to £1,200. 'The money is yours,' he said, 'and if you need more I will gladly give it.' Upon my thanking him heartily he said, 'I am only doing what is my duty. God has prospered me, and it is my duty and my pleasure to do what I can for the spread of the Gospel.'
"We at once began to look out for ground in a suitable situation, and for nearly a year and a half found none. I was determined not to spend more than £500 on a site. All our Portuguese friends said, 'You will never get a site for that money'; but I knew we should if we waited, and wait we did, until at last an admirable site was found and purchased. The building, the plan of which had previously been submitted fo the Municipal Chamber of Lisbon for approval, was commenced last April and was concluded during the first week of January of the present year.
"On the piece of ground are constructed the church, a vestry adjoining, and a house for the guard. The west end of the church faces the street, and the rest of the ground. is enclosed by a battlemented wall with three doors: one leads from the street to the guard's house and vestry, the other two into a yard adjoining the church. In the yard stands the church porch, through which the congregation enter the building. The edifice itself is oblong in shape and lighted by six windows--three at the east and three at the west end.
"A small chancel occupies the whole width of the building at the east end, and is separated from the body [142/143] of the church by three arches--a large central one and two smaller ones, one on each side of the large one. A series of plaster mouldings, of Gothic design, runs round the whole building. These are white, and the intervals between them are in coloured green in the chancel and red in the body of the church. Over the chancel arch is an illuminated text, 'Thou art Peter, and on this Rock I will build my Church'; while along both sides of the building runs an ornamented ribbon, having in coloured letters the two following verses,--'There is one God, and one Mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus'; and 'By grace ye are saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.' The furniture is all of varnished pine wood. The Lord's table is placed well forward from the east wail so that the minister who celebrates the Lord's Supper may, in accordance with old Catholic custom, stand between the table and the wall, thus facing the people during the Communion service.
"As the Lusitanian Church does not possess a Bishop of her own, we could not, of course, have a consecration service at the opening of the new building; but the Archbishop of Dublin, whose services to the Reformation in the Peninsula have been of priceless value, was kind enough, in his capacity as senior member of our House of Bishops, to authorise me (Rev. G. Pope), as chairman of the local Synod, to read a service of Benediction on the occasion. A meeting of the Synod was held, Rev. Candido de Souza, the minister of the old church, was formally appointed incumbent of the new chapel; a Benediction service, previously drawn up, was sanctioned and ordered to be printed; and I formally, in Synod, named Senhor Candido to direct the service in question.
 "The service was printed, January 10th fixed for the opening day, and duly advertised. The Rev. G. Diaz came down from Porto to preach the inaugural sermons. The Rev. J. Costa and Mrs. Costa came up from Rio de Mouro with a waggon-load of their school children; and at noon on the appointed day the service commenced. The building, which easily holds 300 people, was crammed; the aisles filled with people who could find no sitting room; and numbers had to go away, being quite unable to get in at all.
The Revs. Candido, Chaves, Costa, and Diaz took part in the service, assisted by Señor Torres, our duly licensed lay preacher. The utmost order prevailed, and the respect shown, as well as the quietness in so crowded an assembly, were really wonderful.
In the evening, when the usual service was read, the church was equally full, and the respect and interest equally remarkable. Señor Diaz preached two admirable sermons, and put Christ before the large congregation very plainly and eloquently as the one and only Saviour. The singing was thoroughly congregational, and, as at the opening service, all present had copies of the whole service handed to them on entrance. The responses were very hearty and general. The newspapers--although we had taken no pains to secure their goodwill, not having invited the representatives of the press--were yet very kind and civil in their accounts of the opening."
The congregation at St. Peter's Church has continued very good, and the church is often crowded. Nor are the audiences confined to the poor. People of all classes come--lawyers, doctors, merchants, officers, and even some of the nobility have been present, a most important and encouraging fact.
 The reports received at this time from the other congregations in Portugal were most encouraging. There was, indeed, opposition and some intolerance, especially in the country places, but on the whole steady progress. One feature--which always indicates health in any Church--was the regular increase in self-support. The whole grants to the Lusitanian Church for the year 1886-87 were less than £600; and the congregation in Oporto had collected money to build a small school-house on the ground belonging to the Church, "and it is now being built."
At Villa Nova de Gaya sermons were preached for the Tract Society and for foreign missions in the same year; and although the collections were not large, the number of coins received showed that most, if not all, of the congregation had given something. It is surely encouraging to find these struggling Christians interesting themselves in work in other lands. A large amount of evangelistic work has always been done in the neighbourhood of these churches which will doubtless bear fruit in the future. The testimony of the Rev. G. Pope, in his Report for the year, is very important. He writes: "It is by no means easy to give the friends of our Society a detailed account of the work of our little Lusitanian Church, and the reason is a twofold one. In the first place, since the definite organisation of this little body, its work has tended more and more to assume a regular shape, and the work of each congregation much resembles that of one of our own parishes at home, the minister having to deal with the spiritual needs of his own people, and having, in addition, to be ever on the watch, seeking for new openings where the good seed of the Word may be [145/146] sown. In fact the machine, so to speak, has now become self-working, and its various parts are thus systematically doing each its own appointed task. There is not thus the same need of constant supervision by me as was formerly the case, and I therefore am necessarily unable to give your readers those interesting special cases, which do so much to stir up, at home, sympathy for a work like this . . . . but my inability during the past two years to take the same active part in the superintendence as formerly has served to bring out into brighter and clearer light the real prudence and trustworthiness of the native workers, whom, when I unexpectedly drop in upon them, I always find conscientiously active, and ready and eager to do service to Christ. The various vestries duly meet in the different congregations, and I am thankful to say that perfect harmony appears to exist between them and their ministers."
Passing on to the year 1889, we find the Lusitanian Church passing through a fiery trial. One of several works published by the Rev. Señor Diaz is entitled "What is the Mass?" a little book which is very bold and uncompromising in its assertion of evangelical truth, and which attacks the doctrine of the Church of Rome on her tenderest point. It had been published some eight months, when "The Catholic Association" called a meeting to discuss it, and decided to prosecute Señor Diaz.
A storm was raised in the press, the Liberal papers condemning the "Association" for their action. A leading lawyer called upon the Pastor and offered to defend him without cost; and letters of sympathy were received from friends and strangers, Roman Catholics and Reformers in all parts of the country. A leading [146/147] Portuguese paper took up the question and wrote as follows--the Democracia Commercial, of March 18th, 1889: "The religious question is coming more and more prominently to the front. For our part we are resolved to maintain that the Roman Church is heretical in the face of Christianity and false in the face of the Gospels and the teaching of the Apostles. Following the example of some of the Bishops, the Catholic Association in this city has risen up in wrath against the book 'What is the Mass?' of the ex-priest G. Diaz, heaping the greatest insults upon him, and accusing the book of containing heretical matter. Now this book contains matter which is thoroughly Christian, as it is found in the canonical books of the New Testament. Are the Bishops and the Catholic Association (who say they are founded on Christ) consistent when they attack a work which they ought to applaud as genuinely Christian, and at the same time do nothing against works which are being circulated, and are saturated with materialism and atheism? 'He who is not with Me is against Me,' said Christ, and therefore the Bishops and the Catholic Association, in attacking a book which is founded on Christ, are against Christ The only thing of Christ's they possess is His cloak, and this they use to deceive the people who believe in their good faith. And as Christ is a whip which lashes them both, they rise up in a rage against all that is of Christ. And really the book 'What is the Mass?' has the great merit of deserving their wrath, for it is a Christian book." This extract shows that the opinion was not all one-sided, and that the "Association" had raised a storm which was not easy to allay. We are not surprised to find that under the circumstances the tactics [147/148] were changed, and, after a complaint to the Public Prosecutor, the matter was dropped.
A parting shot, however, was given in the following circular, which was scattered by thousands: "Protestant Bibles. We warn all members of the Holy Roman Church neither to read or accept any Protestant books, the reading of which is prohibited and condemned by the Church. These books are a genuine moral pestilence, which the people ought to avoid. And let them not buy or accept any of the improper books of the apostate Priest, G. Diaz, whose soul, ldng since sold to Satan, is already burning in hell."
This year his Grace the Archbishop of Dublin paid another visit to the Churches to convey to them certain resolutions passed by the Irish episcopate with reference to their request for the consecration of a Bishop. It was on this occasion that in the chapel of San Pedro, Lisbon, the Rev. A. F. Torres, who had hitherto been a licensed Evangelist, received the order of Deacon. His Grace brought back a good report of the Lusitanian Church, as continuing to make progress. A gratifying feature of that progress was the increase in self-support. Some figures this year are worth quoting. The contributions from four churches in Lisbon and Oporto for the church expenses and poor, were--St. Paulo, Lisbon, £20 12s. 0d.; Church of Jesus, Lisbon, £17 15s. 0d.; San Pedro, Lisbon, £96 6s. 7d.; and Villa Nova de Gaya, £90 10s. 5d.--a gratifying record for this infant Church.
The beginning of the year 1890 marks another and important addition to the congregations of the Lusitanian Church, viz. that of the Good Shepherd at Candal, near Oporto. A short history of this congregation is [148/149] necessary for the completeness of our story. In the year 1882, Mr. Andrew Cassels, a Christian merchant in Oporto, and brother of the clergyman at Villa Nova, felt himself called of God to undertake spiritual work among the large population resident at Candal. Accordingly, assisted by some friends, he opened a Sunday and day school there for children of both sexes, and also commenced holding services on Sundays and Wednesdays. The attendance proved so encouraging that in a very short time Mr. Cassels decided to have two schools, one for boys and one for girls. In the year 1884, Mr. Cassels purchased a large and well-situated piece of ground, and built upon it two school-houses. These schools, from the time of their opening, were called the "Schools of the Good Shepherd," and Sunday and week-day services were held there from 1884 to 1888. The church in which the congregation now meets was opened for divine service on January 6th, 1889. I visited the church some years after, and found a building with an ecclesiastical appearance, nicely arranged, and capable of holding 200 to 250 people. Ever since the opening, the services have been well attended and the Gospel has been faithfully preached to a large number of inquirers, not a few of whom have, by the mercy of God, been brought to a real faith in Christ. Mr. Andrew Cassels, who up to the time of which I speak had acted as lay minister, was now duly licensed, and he and his lay representatives admitted as members of the Synod. Since the schools have been opened, over 1,300 children have been educated in them. These schools had, up to this time, been maintained by the generosity of Mr. Cassels and his friends, and the children, besides receiving the usual secular education, had been carefully [149/150] taught in the holy Scriptures. But this congregation had from the beginning been independent, so that by its adhesion to the Lusitanian Church, after mature deliberation, no other body was deprived of a congregation--an important fact, as the Reformers seek to carry the Gospel to their countrymen rather than to proselytise from other bodies of Protestant Christians.
I must not omit to mention a very important work commenced by Mr. Herbert Cassels, the third of this noble band of brothers who have done so much for their adopted country. I refer to the illustrated Bible in Portuguese, which at the time I write is completed and on sale. The idea was suggested by the success of an illustrated Bible in Italy. It was thought wise, in view of the great prejudice against the people reading the Scriptures, to publish an "authorised Portuguese text," with the Latin or Vulgate printed below. Published in numbers at a cheap rate, it met with a ready sale. The Ultramontanes, of course, opposed it, and in the clerical paper Palavra, spoke of it as a "trick" on the part of Mr. H. Cassels, whom they called a wolf in sheep's clothing. The people were urged not to subscribe, but the work has gone on and prospered, and a beautiful family Bible is now to be found in many a Portuguese home.
In 1891, the new congregation at Candal was much cheered by the news that his Grace the Archbishop of Dublin, discharging episcopal functions for the Reformed Churches, had admitted in Ireland the Rev. Andrew Cassels to the holy office of a Deacon. Two of the brothers were, therefore, now in holy orders.
The ordination being held in Ireland raised some opposition from extreme men. A long controversy [150/151] ensued in the Church papers, and "gravamena" were even introduced into the Lower Houses of Convocation in both provinces. The present Dean (Farrar) of Canterbury defended his Grace in the Review of the Churches in the following words: "In the Southern House, regarding the resolution as ultra vires and ultra crepidam, I did my best to oppose it. The Dean of Windsor moved, and I seconded, as an amendment 'the previous question,' and the same amendment was moved in the Northern House by Canon Tristram and the Bishop of Hull.
"This, as might have been expected beforehand, was defeated in both Houses. In the Southern House, however, the gravamen, which was really due, as the debate proved, to dislike of the Reformers, was reduced to very small and comparatively innocuous proportions. It appealed to the Upper House to protect the Church of England from the wholly imaginary, and in any case entirely microscopical and infinitesimal danger of some Spanish Reformer being admitted to an English benefice. The mountain laboured, and there came forth this ridiculous little mouse. It is difficult to conceive that anyone who voted for this eviscerated gravamen really supposed that any such danger was imminent.
"In the first place, it is most doubtful whether the ordination of a Deacon in and for the Spanish Church, could be regarded as valid for admission into an English benefice. But even if it were, no English Bishop would or could introduce such a Spanish Deacon unless he gave satisfactory proofs that his ordination was perfectly regular and his views were those of the English Church. The insinuation of the gravamen in the Northern House, that the Archbishop had not been loyal to the decision [151/152] of the Lambeth Conference, was entirely baseless, as was the assertion, so completely disproved in the Southern House, that the Spanish Reformers 'had not shown themselves to be in accord with certain Catholic doctrines dear to the Church of England.' In the Canterbury Convocation, at any rate, some sympathy was shown with these poor Reformers, who have faced social ostracism and bitter persecution in order to obey their consciences and to shake themselves free from the trammels of the most stagnant Church in the world.
"These poor and persecuted Reformers, who in obedience to their consciences have done exactly what we and our fathers have done in refusing allegiance to what our article calls 'blasphemous fables and dangerous deceits,' ought not to be treated as heretical schismatics.
"The attitude taken to the Archbishop of Dublin by the advanced High Church party in both houses will do him no sort of harm. It was a gratuitious interference with the action of a large-minded and loving prelate, against whom neither Bishop nor Synod in his own Church has breathed one word of censure. It has caused excusable irritation in the Irish Church, which is not. in the least amenable to any fault-finding or heresy-hunting censures of English presbyters. It has, indeed, had the natural result of strengthening the Archbishop's hands, for it has evoked the following declaration signed by the large majority of the Irish Bishops.
"(1) That we express hereby our sympathy with the Reformers of Spain and Portugal, who, under many exceptional difficulties, are struggling to free themselves from the burden of unlawful terms of communion.
"(2) That regarding their case as having become one of extreme necessity, and recognising the rights of [152/153] Bishops of the Catholic Church to interpose in such cases, we do not feel called upon to protest against the action contemplated by his Grace the Archbishop of Dublin, who has announced his purpose of holding ordinations on behalf of the Reformers of Spain and Portugal in the course of the ensuing year.
"(3) That we have received with satisfaction his Grace's assurance that, when carrying that purpose into effect he will confine his ministration within the limits of those countries, and use during the laying on of hands the words enjoined in the services of our own Church.
"C. P. MEATH; C. LIMERICK; M. E. CASHEL; R. S. CORK; W. P. OSSORY; W. B. KILLALOE; S. KILMORE; C. M. CLOGHER; J. TUAM.'
"The needless gravamen has thus defeated itself in two ways. It has given the Archbishop the sympathy and support which was most grateful to his heart, and it has led to the conclusive proof that the Spanish Reformers not only accept the three Catholic Creeds of Christendom, and our own Thirty-nine Articles, but that their doctrines do not differ in any demonstrable effect from those maintained in the English Prayer-book."
The remarkable way in which the Bible has been used both in Spain and Portugal without the aid of a living teacher is illustrated by the case of a working man who at this time was admitted as a member of the Lusitanian Church. He gave the following account of the way in which he learned the truth: "Six months ago I found on the ground of the wine-store where I am employed this little book--the Gospel according to St. Matthew. I picked it up, and asked my mates to whom it belonged, but none of them claimed it, and several said they would not dare to have [153/154] it in their possession, as it was a false book and attacked the doctrines of the true Church. As nobody claimed the little book, the foreman said I might have it if I liked; but advised me to tear it up and burn it, as it was a bad Protestant book. In the dinner-hour I began reading it, and the following Sunday I stayed at home the whole day reading it, and, much to my delight, found it was a narrative of the life and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. I knew it was true, the reading gave comfort to my soul; I had at length found what I had been seeking for, and I would not part with this little book for anything in the world. Three or four months ago I summoned up courage to attend divine service at the Evangelical Church in Villa Nova, and then found that what I had been told of its teaching was most incorrect, and from that day I have regularly attended the services."
I mentioned above that Mr. Herbert Cassels was at this time engaged in the publication of his illustrated Bible, and as an illustration of the unscrupulous opposition to this work, although the Vulgate was printed with it, I will give here an extract from the Ordem, a clerical newspaper published in the University town of Coimbra. The writer says: "The Biblia Sagrada Illustrada is a Protestant edition for the reasons already adduced notwithstanding the bravadoes of the sect, and, as Protestant, is false, is lying, is condemned by the Church, and cannot be read by the faithful without incurring grave penalties, because Protestantism is the most nefarious, the most false, the most lying of all the sects that hell has vomited forth for the scourge of humanity"! Comment is needless upon such an article.
The Church at Candal this year (1892) suffered an [154/155] almost irreparable loss in the death of Mrs. Andrew Cassels, the wife of the devoted pastor. Eternity alone will show all that was done by the instrumentality of this good woman, who for ten years had been a devoted worker in this part of the Lord's vineyard. It was chiefly by her encouragement that her husband was led to take up the work, and her kind visits and earnest testimony had been the means of winning many to the knowledge of Christ. It may truly be said she died in harness, working up to the very last. The members of the congregation, wishing to show their regard for her, subscribed and placed in the church a handsome marble font with a silver plate affixed--a loving token of their appreciation of her work.
Another pleasing testimony of goodwill, though happily in this case to a living worker, was given at this time. We have already spoken of Rev. J. J. da Costa Almeida and his work in Rio de Mouro. This year (1892) a factory in the parish was sold owing to the death of its owner, and purchased by two Portuguese gentlemen, Roman Catholics, who inaugurated the new regime by a lunch, and festivities at the factory. Señor Almeida was invited and given a place of honour. The Commercio de Portugal gave an account of the proceedings in a long article, the closing words of which are as follows:" We cannot deny ourselves the pleasure of publishing the name of a meritorious and ignored man, the Rev. J. J. da Costa Almeida, who for twenty-two years has given gratuitous instruction to a large number of children who attend the school at Rio de Mouro to which we have lately referred, and who has by his influence obtained contributions towards the maintenance of the school which gives to the pupils, whom this [155/156] venerable ancient calls 'his children,' all that is requisite for their education. The Rev. Costa Almeida acknowledged with deep feeling the very appropriate terms in which Señor Nogueira Pinto, one of the new owners, proposed his health, and begged the new proprietors of the factory to extend their goodwill to his school, 'his one joy during the remainder of his days, his one engrossing interest till his death,' for thus he expressed himself." The Seculo, a daily paper with a very large circulation, also gave a very favourable report.
I have referred several times to the good work being done at Villa Nova Church, Oporto, under the ministry of the Rev. James Cassels; indeed, the history of this congregation is that of a steady progress. In the early part of 1893 it was found that the church was getting altogether too small for the congregation. The accommodation was for 200, and the register now showed 250, and 200 children in addition. Mr. Cassels determined to try and meet the difficulty, and purchased a piece of land adjoining the existing church at a cost of £200. With some help from the Society in London, a handsome church and schools have been built, which at present quite meet the needs of the congregation. Much is due to the energy and generosity of the Rev. James Cassels, of whose work in this congregation too much can hardly be said.
The next year (1894) marked progress in the city of Oporto itself. A new school for girls was opened in connection with the Chapel of St. Lazaro. On the opening day twenty-three attended, and before the week closed the number was thirty-six. The boys' school had already an attendance of seventy. Sunday [156/157] schools were also started, which from the first were largely attended.
On the 15th of April this year the new Church (built by Mr. J. Cassels) of St. John the Evangelist was opened at Villa Nova de Gaya. The weather was stormy, and the political elections were in progress, but, notwithstanding, the attendance was very large both morning and evening. The chapel, with pulpit, font, benches, and reredos, was made according to plans kindly drawn up by the Rev. G. Pope, President of the Synod. The accommodation is for 400 persons. A special form of prayer was used at the opening services asking the blessing of God upon all those who would receive baptism, confirmation, the Lord's Supper, or be joined in holy matrimony in this place, and also upon the preaching of God's holy Word. Several favourable notices appeared in the daily papers. Shortly afterwards a harvest thanksgiving service was held, and over 400 persons were present.
As an instance of the growing toleration in Portugal, I may mention that the Corporation of Villa Nova set apart a portion of the public cemetery for the burial of non-Romanists, and that the clergy of the Reformed Church were permitted to read the service from the Lusitanian Prayer-book.
I cannot do better than close this chapter by a short general statement of the present condition of the Lusitanian Church in 1896, gathered from the General Report of the Rev. G. Pope:--
"The devoted workers at Rio de Mouro, the Rev. J. J. da Costa and his wife, are as earnest as ever, full of zeal and faith and joy, and anxious only, now that increasing age presses upon them, that someone may [157/158] in due time be forthcoming to take up their work when they are called to rest. Our two clergy in Lisbon have their hands full, having the charge of three congregations, and also of the one at Setubal, and while one manages the editorial work of the Evangelista (the organ of the Lusitanian Church), the other attends to the financial part--the collecting of subscriptions, etc. In Oporto the Rev. James Cassels is now building, at his own expense, upon ground belonging to his church, a nice parsonage house for the use of the incumbent. Into this he intends himself to move, so as to be always close to the church and schools. It is only another evidence of his zeal for the Gospel. The girls' new school-house at the Church of the Redeemer, in Oporto, is now completed, and the attendance is very good. But Mr. Flower, our most earnest lay minister, states that while the contractor has been paid in full, a debt is still due to friends who advanced money--a debt which it is hoped will soon be paid off. At Candal the Rev. Andrew Cassels has been extending his work, services now being held not only at his church and at the Mario, where he has bought ground for a chapel in the future, but also in another direction, near the suspension bridge over the river. All these are well attended, and the services at the new place near the suspension bridge have been especially so. Altogether we have seven organised congregations, three missions, three boys' schools, three girls' schools, three mixed schools, and three infant schools. There are five ordained clergy, one lay minister, and one licensed preacher. We have four school-masters and ten school-mistresses; and altogether our children in the schools number over 700."
The school work is a prominent feature in the [158/159] Reformed Lusitanian Church, and one that gives great promise for the future. As one thinks of the short time this work has been in existence, and of the difficulties that have been encountered, one may indeed thankfully say, "What hath God wrought!"