Зображення сторінки

appear—arising from belonging to a they were generally worsted, but in persecuted party, were about to be which lost. Their isolation was about to “Though conquered, they could argue still,” disappear. Liberalism in politics

the Calvinists began of themselves to was about to abolish the grievances divest their system of its most unof Nonconformity, and the advances

sightly enormities. Reprobation, as of enlightenment and charity were

a dogma which no humane or reabout to soften, if not remove, the spectable man could feel at home opposition of their theological adver

with, went overboard first. Personal saries. The Corporation and Test

election speedily fell from the rank Acts were repealed, and the Munici

of a divine decree into the shape of pal Reform Bill was passed. All

a metaphysical cavil as to the philosocial distinctions, all local positions

sophical freedom or necessity of the of dignity (outside the Church) were human will. Final perseverance was thrown freely open to Dissenters.

only thought absolutely true after It was soon considered, even by

the event. In a word, Calvinism, as Churchmen, “a shame to speak of a theological system, gradually and those things which were done of genteelly, but without open proclathem formerly," of which a few years mation of surrender, utterly colago they boasted, and which they lapsed ; and now there is no place strenuously maintained, both by fair

in England where a man is so little means and foul. An important factor

likely to hear of it as in a Particular in the new relation of parties was the

Baptist pulpit.* All this sounds circumstance that those grand evan

like victory. But is not “Othello's gelical truths for which Dissenters

occupation gone had so long been contending were We said at the commencement, at last recognized by the Church.

the specific complexion of General Simeon began to preach the same

Baptist theology was that of intense doctrines of personal responsibility, Protestantism ; and that vented in guilt and danger, as Wesley. The

two directions, viz., against Sacerdosingular sight was soon presented talism and against Calvinism. We of Churchmen becoming religious. have seen how by two large portions Vital Christianity made rapid strides of the religious world, the Low Church within its communion. From perse

party and the evangelical Nonconcuting Dissenters they changed their

formists, these two opposing elements course, and began to imitate them.

have been demolished. But while They adopted their methods of use

these theories have been abandoned, fulness, and established Sunday

the forces by whom they were mainschools ; their pastors left their tained have not succumbed. They tavern-meetings and card-tables, and

have, as wise men, consoled thembegan to visit the sick; they formed selves for the loss of what was no organizations and societies on the

longer tenable by cherishing warmly voluntary principle, which a few

the truths they have received in place years ago they had represented as

of bygone errors, and applying themfatal both to social order and reli- selves with assiduity to carry out gion; and in a quarter of a century

their practical tendencies. Churchdisputed the palm of evangelical

men have become voluntary religionactivity and success with the Non

ists (however inconsistently they conformists themselves. In the other direction, that of their Calvinistic * This is true of the Midland and General Bap. co-nonconformist friends, the wind

tist regions in which “Old Mortality dwells, but

assuredly in the south of England it is hardly was taken out of their sails in pre

true yet. There are counties where,

rightly informed, nearly every second Particular "isely the same manner. After ten Baptist pulpit out-Calvins Calvin; and in the housand controversies, in which

northern villages and towns “Othello” may yet find an abundance of occupation if he will.-D.

we are


retain the principle of State Esta- ism." Meanwhile, the world outside, blishment) as truly as the Calvinists though not opposed to this amiable have become believers in a free gos- rapprochement, reasoned in a somepel. This may be disputed by some what different manner. They obof my readers from mere fondness served that all the different varieties for old association. Just as in the of religious belief, with all their early part of our history the sublime antagonisms and contradictions as conception of a moral unity was represented by sectarian combinahidden from view by the scaffolding tions, each furnished examples of and machinery necessary for con- equal moral excellence. This specstructing separate unities of ecclesi- tacle, repeatedly exhibited, led first astical organization, so these friends to an honest doubt, and at length do not like to leave the dear little to disbelief in the theory that the old island where they were born to creed was the cause of the excellence. be poured at large into the broad They fully admitted that all men continent of the Christian world. ought to be conscientiously anxious Still, the loss of our monopoly is un about truth, every atom of it; but if fait accompli, and we may as well some of the atoms were so infinitely acknowledge it. The cheveaux de frise minute as to produce no appreciais gone, the partition is broken down, ble effect upon character, then, pro and we now have to rub shoulder to tanto, the conscientious or moral shoulder with the average Christian status of the man would be the of other communities. We cannot same if he was indifferent. now stand on our doctrines, except That representation well explained by insisting upon distinctions where the insignificance of trifling diversithere are no differences of any serious ties of religious opinion. But how if importance.

your Unitarian and your Papist, your Another event, of much greater Quaker and your High Churchman, moment in itself and to the world, your Baptist and your Swedenbornow began to underlie the change in gian, exhibited the same moral excelmen's minds in reference to minute lencies, and generally in about the points of religious faith. I refer to same degree ? Are those differences the birth of the philosophical system

" essentials” or “non-essentials ?” of utility.* The decline of the sense And how if some who totally reject of importance attached to dogma as all dogmatic theology, and the numcompared with life went gradually ber of them be increasing, exhibit on, producing the mutual approach without ambiguity the same spirit, and sympathy of different communi- and an equal degree of attainment ties, and even in some cases their in it ? The conclusion was, that fusion; and the phenomenon excited the connection between the creed and no alarm, but was rather hailed as a the character was not invariable, proof of the growth of mutual cha- perhaps not necessary, perhaps only rity. Leading organizations adopted accidental. The thing certain was as their motto, “ In essentials, unity; that the thing of paramount value in non-essentials, liberty ; in all was the character itself. things, charity.” Even while under I do not believe that this concluthis banner, each of the sects kept

sion was reached by following any screaming out at the top of its voice process of reasoning specially comits anathemas against “indifferent

menced for the purpose of solving the problem.

I believe it came * The chiefs of this school of thought now lead about in the same way in which so the intellect of Europe: Mill, Huxley, Lubbock, Spencer, Arnold, Darwin, &c. They are at the

many other things come about, which head of its scientific discoveries, its philosophical people either never feel any curiosity, discussions, its most able criticisms, its newest systems.

or have not the industry, to account

for ; namely, by the collateral in- tion before religious equality, sinfluence of a perfectly innumerable cerely accepted and impartially apmultitude of thoughts and ideas on plied. that and all other subjects, having This general tone of reflection one general complexion or tendency, entered religious communities. The and the consensus of all ending in former and then still well-established making the standard of the impor- | obstinacy on fine points of belief and tance of all dogmatic opinions to church order, not being openly repudepend on their moral effects, in diated, people began to be occupied other words, on their utility. The with the efficiency and prosperity world had begun to be heaved and of their religious instrumentalities moulded from side to side by new rather than with the motes of theoloforces, the result of whose action gical peculiarity in the eyes of their was gigantic as compared with what neighbours. They became busy in they had been accustomed to witness. enlarging, organizing, and improving Railways conveyed passengers at a their Sunday schools, in establishing rate perfectly fabulous to the people their Foreign Missions, in educating of a former generation; newspapers their ministers, in rebuilding their were printed by tons; a census of chapels, in establishing tract socieelaborate extent and nicety was taken ties, benevolent societies, sewing in a day; men of continents thou- societies, and temperance societies. sands of miles apart conversed with And as the mention of this last subease; pain could be subdued at will; ject suggests to me the names of two government was only permitted on men of very considerable note in the plea that it existed for the good their day, of very remarkable characof all. The same principle of utility ter, and whose character stood in a began to be applied as the measure strong representative relation to this of value to every invention, to every change which was now beginning to enterprise, to every doctrine. As in prevail, I will venture to allude almost every other instance, the somewhat more largely to them. If practical exemplifications of this my reference should call up any principle had


before its scienti- pleasing reminiscences of them on fic demonstration : the practice pre- the part of their surviving friends, I ceded the theory; the art preceded shall the less regret the digression. the science; trade triumphed before

OLD MORTALITY. political economy; and legal tolera


I HAVE waited for His coming

Through many weary years,
I have listened for His footsteps,

I have cried to Him with tears:
“Why does Thy chariot linger?

Why do its wheels delay?
Oh, when shall be the breaking

Of Thy eternal day?”

The eternal day is breaking,

Calm peace in place of strife;
The eternal sun is rising

At the eventide of life.
As shadows flee the dawning,

As snow-flakes melt away,
When they lay them down so softly

In their ocean-bed of spray,

And my vigil now is ended,

I lay my body down;
I can see no more earth's treasures,

But an unfading crown;
For my eyes in death’s dim twilight,

Which darkens mortal things,
Discern the radiant glory

Of the great King of kings.

So care and pain and sorrow

Are banished from my soul,
As I pass the golden portal

And reach the promised goal;
For in His glorious beauty

I see the King at last.
My time of weary watching
Is now for ever past.


We have received the following letter The distinction amongst Nonupon a subject in which we feel the conformists between clerical' and liveliest possible interest; and inas- 'lay' is far more nominal than real. much as it brings several oft-men- Moreover, I think it is time we tioned and oft-disputed topics to the sought to put what we call our 'lay' front, we append a few brief“notes.” preachers upon a proper footing in

the denomination. There is, I be“Dear Sir, I only express the feeling of a large number of your

lieve, in existence a ‘Lay Preachers'

Association, composed of certain readers when I say that I read with

preachers in Leicestershire and Notgreat pleasure the suggestion of Dr.

tinghamshire. I have never belonged Burns as to the establishment of a

to it because I do not believe in it. library for lay preachers, and the

Why does not the denomination take magnanimous offer to contribute 250

up the question and recognize the volumes himself. The suggestion is

lay preachers as a body, and give good and the offer is noble.

them some proper and authoritative With every vord of the letter

standing in it? Why leave them to as to the necessity of lay preachers

form associations in this irregular 'keeping abreast of the intelligence

way? Why are they not represented of the age' I entirely agree; but

at the Association ? I ask, why should our lay preachers be in such a humiliating position as

I am, yours faithfully,

JARVIS READ." to have to depend upon others to supply them with books ? It is true I. As to the names “lay” and many of our lay preachers are poor, “clerical,” we may dismiss them in a but in my judgment there must bé line; merely remarking that though something radically wrong in the the distinction is used by some indiideas of the churches which cannot viduals, we do not as a body recogsupply the men who serve them with nize it. Our ministers are

not the means by which (if they have "clerics,” but“ pastors and teachers.” the ability to preach at all) they can We have, strictly speaking, no “lay stand creditably in their pulpits. men;" no “lay preachers.” The name

There is something in human at the head of this paper, whilst not nature—and especially in the nature altogether unobjectionable, is yet the of an Englishman-which revolts most convenient, and is the only one against charity, and particularly authorized by our Year-book. when charity is not needed; and if II. But the subject of the "repreour lay brethren, as Dr. Burns most sentation of local preachers in the truly observed, have to serve the Association,” and “giving them some churches for nothing,' then more proper and authoritative standing shame to the churches. If they can- in it,” seems hardly so easy to deal not pay for a stated ministry, let with. It must be remembered that them pay for as good a ministry as our Association is one of churches, they can get. If I have read my New and not of the officers of churches, Testament aright, it is the duty of nor of ministers. The only status all Christian churches to pay for their the minister has is that of ex-officio ministry, whatever that ministry may delegate, which in ninety-nine cases be, to the extent of their ability. out of a hundred-and there are only When this is done, lay preachers will one hundred and nine cases altonever be so poor as to need a library gether-is worth nothing, because founding for them on charity, and the church which has chosen any especially out of the clearings of one as pastor is sure to send him as regular ministers' libraries.

its representative. Local preachers

[ocr errors]

peculiar interest, for besides the usual water gurgling out of a narrow-necked English relish for a difficulty, Mr. Long- bottle. As he became more interested ford possessed a strong and ruling desire in his theme his sentences seemed like for usefulness of the most solid and en- chips of stone flung out as if meant to during kind; and often said “that, as far hit hard and impress durably; but when as his own enjoyment was concerned, he he fairly “warmed to” his subject he would rather remove onestumbling-stone could speak with a crisp energy and a out of the way of a young wayfarer, and quiet beauty that pleased every listener. help to perfectly develop his spiritual life, But his intense and soul-pervading than teach the mere alphabet of Chris- religiousness, and his large fund of tianity to a dozen.” He himself had common sense, formed his strength. He struggled into the light. It was not a would look at things for himself; and sudden flash of glory that discovered to this, added to an observant eye and a him the kingdom of heaven, but a painful devout spirit, made him always ready wearisome, toilsome search for the truth with practical illustrations, convincing of God, with deviations into the paths arguments, and sympathetic counsels. of error, that brought him at last face In a word, he was just the man, as Marto face with God in Christ. For more garet Mostyn's quick wit had told her, than three years he was in a state of to deal tenderly and wisely with her utter confusion about his spiritual con- brother's religious difficulties. dition, and did not know whether he At the time arranged Mr. Longford was or was not a Christian, had no real

arrived at Prince Arthur's Road; and as peace and therefore no real power all Mr. and Mrs. Mostyn understood well that time, seemingly made no progress enough what was going on, and were whatever, was often racked almost be.

prayerfully anxious as to the result, yond bearing with tormenting fears, and

every arrangement was made so that sometimes felt a dread of death that

George, Maggie, and their visitor, might emptied the cup of life of all its joy. have everything their own way. Soon, But all this rough and severe treatment and without much preface, Mr. Longford had left him with so firm and clear a

approached the subject of the evening's faith, and such a feeling of thankful- talk; and getting a little excited with ness, that he had a certain degree of his painstaking and suffering pupil, said satisfaction in finding others going

at lengththrough a similar experience, because

" Then we clearly understand do we, he felt he could certainly anticipate for them a similar result, and might, per

George, that your chief difficulty is at haps, have the privilege of contributing

present about 'saving faith ?! to its realization. Like Thomas, he was

It is, sir.” naturally a doubting, hesitating, cautious

“But since that is a very wide field, man; always looking twice, and often and we might wander about it a long half a dozen times, before he leaped;

time before finding just where the and occasionally he “looked” so long stumbling-stone is, try and tell if that either the chance of leaping was you can, whereabouts it is that you gone, or the need for it removed. He

trip up. had very little go” in him ; but “Well, it seems like this—I have been what he lacked in “dash” he made up told, ever since I could remember anyin steady plodding power. Never com- thing about religion, that if I believe in mitting himself very readily to any- the Lord Jesus Christ I shall be saved. thing, he could always be relied upon to I have heard it at home from my father, carry out to the last stone any enterprise mother, and Maggie. I have heard it at that he had undertaken. He seemed to chapel, in the Sunday school, and at the have no impulse. Some thought him corners of the streets. I have read it in cold as an iceberg, and in their self- books and tracts. And yet, as far as I flattery judged him lacking in piety ; know and can gather in any way, I do others imagined him shy as a blushing believe in the Lord Jesus; that He is girl; not a few were surprised that he God's Son, and the Saviour of the world; had friends at all: and yet it was well that He came into the world to save known that his few friends, who were all sinners; and I know and feel that I amongst young men, never forgot him, cannot be saved apart from Him; and I always loved him warmly, and were do hope only in Him for salvation; but amongst some of the most reliable, and I cannot say that I am saved, that I am useful, and promising members of the a Christian; nor do I love and live like church and school. Like Moses, he was Maggie, or like others that I know. So slow of speech. At first his style was I must be wrong somewhere. Where jerky and uncomfortable, and much like is it?"

[ocr errors]


« НазадПродовжити »