Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

singing and prayer, Mr. Councillor after which very eloquent and practical Marsden, of Bolton, was called upon addresses were delivered by the Revs. to preside, who, in a short speech, T. T. Rushworth, F. Jewell, T. Rudge, expressed his pleasure in being present, J. Pott, and Messrs. J. Alcock and W. and was glad to find so many assembled Kemp. to aid in their first Missionary Meet- Our choir also rendered good service ing. He had great sympathy with to the meeting by singing a number of the Mission enterprise as a whole, and anthems and choruses in a very creditwith the Home Mission work in par- able manner, so that by all who were ticular. He then introduced the Rev. present, this meeting will be long B. Baker to read the report, which remembered as one of the best they showed that the infant church at ever attended. The cost of painting Blackburn had seventeen members, the chapel, &c., is £100, towards which fifty Sunday scholars, eight teachers, is raised by the re-opening services, from thirty to forty sittings let in the tea-meeting, and donations, upwards preaching room, and from forty to of £60, and the remaining balance will seventy adults as the average Sunday shortly be paid. Our Tunstall friends evening congregation. Their friends may now congratulate themselves upon had liberally subscribed towards the having, though not the largest yet support of the cause, and had also certainly one of the most beautiful raised nearly £20 towards a harmo- chapels in the Staffordshire Potteries. nium, value £30, which had recently And now that they have so beautified been introduced. The meeting was the sanctuary of their God, our earnest also addressed by the Revs. E. J. prayer is that they may realize the Baxter, of Bolton ; E. Heath ; C. J. fulllment of his precious promise, Donald (deputation), and R. Cameron; “I will glorify the house of my glory, Messrs. Councillor Beaty and R. H. and I will make the place of my feet Clayton. A collection was made at glorious."

T. RUDGE. the close of each service, which, in- March 15th, 1867. cluding the sum raised by the scholars, presented for the first Missionary

THORNE JUBILEE. services in Blackburn the sum of

Our friends at Thorne celebrated their £6 173.- Blackburn Times.

jubilee (this being the fiftieth year since TUNSTALL,

their chapel was built) by a tea-festival

on Shrove Tuesday, in the school-room, BURSLEM CIRCUIT.

which had been thoroughly cleaned, EARLY in December of last year, our

painted, and tastefully decorated with Tunstall chapel was closed for repairs,

evergreens and monograms for the cleaning and painting, and was re- occasion. It was filled in every part, opened for Divine worship January 27th, and a second sitting down to tea bad 1867, when two sermons were preached

to take place. The following ladies by the Rev. J. Leach, of Fenton, and

gratuitously provided the tea and preon the following Sabbath by Mr. C.

sided at the trays-namely, Mrs. Shaw, of Lees. The congregations on

Ruckledge, Mrs. Morris, Mrs. Lillboth Sabbaths were good, and the col

ford, Mrs. Thorley, Mrs. Rollitt, Mrs. lections amounted to £36 10s. 6d.

Roberts, Mrs. Cox, and Miss Jackson. Also on Monday, February 25th, a public

Aster tea, a public meeting was held tea-meeting was held in the schcol

in the chapel; Mr. Charles Thorpe rooms, and 400 persons sat down to an

presided. Interesting and suitable adexcellent tea, which was gratuitously

dresses were delivered by the chair. provided by the ladies of the congre- man, the Revs. J. Argue, J. P. Goodgation. After tea, the friends re-assem

win (ministers of the circuit), R. W. bled in the chapel, where a very Starr (Wesleyan), J. Hall (Primitive), interesting meeting was held. It was and Mr. W. Methley:

Votes of commenced by singing that most thanks were given to the chairman, beautiful and appropriate hymn- and to the ladies who so liberally pro“ How pleasant, how divinely fair, vided the trays. Altogether the meetO Lord of Hosts, Thy dwellings are !"

ing was a very happy and successful After prayer by the Rev. F. Jewell, one. A treat was given to about fifty the chair was taken by Jos. Clement- old and other friends, and also a tea to son, Esq., J.P., of Hanley, who gave us the chapel choir on the following a characteristic and reminiscential evening. Above £8 was cleared by speech of great interest and profit; the effort.

G. MOBBIS.

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

BY WILLIAM CARPENTER, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”—CARIST. The history of Christendom, if read with an eye to the Christian system, will present to the devout reader many circumstances of a very striking character, not only exciting his gratitude to the great Head of the Church, whose “ways are not as our ways,” and whose " thoughts are not as our thoughts,” but impressing him with something of the Apostle's feeling of wonder and admiration, when he exclaimed, “O) the depth of the riches of both the wisdom and the knowledge of God : how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out !"

In thus perusing the page of history, it cannot fail to impress us, as a marvellous proof of the Lord's constant and especial watchfulness over and care of his Church, that, from the beginning, no evil has ever menaced or assailed it-heresies within or persecutions without —that has not been made, in His hand, the means of strengthening and making more apparent the evidences that attest the Divine workmanship of the basis on which it rests—“the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone.”

In these days, the Church is happily free from the persecutions to which it was for many ages exposed. Nor is it shackled by any of those striking and formally proclaimed aberrations from the cardinal truths of the Gospel, amongst large bodies of professors, pastors, and teachers that were witnessed in the earlier ages of its

history.

The Church has its trials and its dangers, nevertheless-trials and dangers scarcely less potent, and certainly not less to be watched and fought against, than those of former times. We have this thought to cheer and to sustain us, however-a thought which is so plainly suggested that we can scarcely miss it, as we trace the working of God's providence and grace in the Church's history, in all past time—that our trials and dangers, like those of the exceeding great multitude who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, in whose name and strength they conquered, are intended to counteract that tendency to lukewarmness, unwatchfulness, and inactivity, that seems, in our present state, to be incident to a condition of uninterrupted tranquillity and enjoyment;

a

S

and to call forth those activities of the intellect in some, and of the affections in others, by which the great Head of the Church preserves its purity and extends its conquests.

It is obvious, however, that to guard against the perils to which we are exposed, to get out of them or through them all the good they may be capable of affording, we must be alive to their real character—to their workings and tendencies—and use all such means as we can avail ourselves of, to avert the results they would otherwise bring about.

It is plain enough to those who take note of the intellectual characteristics of the age, that the science and philosophy which have made such advances and conquests during the last half century are of an undeniably materialistic tendency. Geology, archæology, astronomy, anthropology, ethnology, physics, and other branches of natural science, are all used by their most eminent professorswhether knowingly or not—to exclude the Almighty from the government of the universe, and to place it under the exclusive government of what are called the “ laws of nature,” or the “laws of matter,” which have sufficed, it is alleged, to produce myriads of worlds and all that is therein, out of numberless monads that were, some how orother, floating about in infinite space, and to gradually develop and improve them up to their present condition. The Almighty having thus left everything to itself, or to something called law, when He first created the matter out of which all things have been subsequently formed—if, indeed, He ever did create it, which is left doubtful-He retired into his own awful and sublime solitude without “humbling himself" to notice-or, if to notice, only as a matter of purposeless observation—the working of the mighty and all but infinite and omnipotent agencies that produce the wonderful effects that are ever being eliminated from the masses of matter of which all things are composed.

Towards this godless conclusion, the philosophy which teaches the nebulous origin of worlds, the spontaneous production of life, the gradual development of animals, the pre-Adamite existence of man, the geological transformations of the crust of the earth, and other plausible theories, necessarily tends, if it is not purposely directed to it. Science is usurping the throne of God—is profanely substituting for His sustentation and government of the universe an imaginary aggregation of powers and forces, acting independently of Him, and is furnishing another melancholy illustration of the humiliating truth, that the world by wisdom knows not God.

Such is the real character of the philosophy that is now achieving its conquests amongst us. It is taught from the professor's chair; it is accepted in the universities; it is propounded in a popular form, interlarded with music and singing, on a Sunday evening; and it is insinuating itself into the current literature. There is another sect, indeed—for sects are not found in the religious world only, but in the philosophical world also—which has an irreconcilable difference with the one we have noticed, as to the very existence of matterthe external world—itself. They have gone backwards, and picked up and refurbished the doctrine of the old Indian philosophers, that all we see, and feel, and believe of the external world is Maia, or delusion; that the

space
without

us, if there be space, is filled only with imaginary forms, the creations of our own senses ; that man moves about in a world of his own invention, or rather dreams his dream of motion-for that he really moves, or has anything in his mode of existence so real as motion, cannot safely be predicated of him. According to this, the sun, and the stars, and the earth, instead of being real things existing in space-things whose mode of existence we set ourselves to learn-things that existed before man came to look at them-are mere sensations, or thoughts of sensations, the product of our own senses; and when we attempt to think of suns, or worlds, or atoms existing, except as sensations of our own, we are led into mere delusion! The ablest and most eloquent exponent and defender of this subtle doctrine is one whom the voice of the country places at the head of its living philosophers—the lover of fact, the despiser of means, John Stuart Mill, one of the members in Parliament for the metropolitan city of Westminster, whose recently published examination of Sir William Hamilton's philosophy shows the perplexities into which even great and vigorous minds are thrown when they cut their bark adrift from the ark of revelation.

How greatly and essentially both these schools or sects differ from the philosophy of the Bible need not be particularly noted. They are the very antipodes of the Divine teaching on the works and ways of God; and the best antidote to them, perhaps, will be found in the devout and intelligent study of the exhibitions of God's providence in the history of the Church, from the first Divine promise in the garden of Eden to the last Divine revelation in the isle of Patmos, and thence down to our own days; and in connection with this study of the sacred story, that of the plain, unmistakable, and impressive teaching of the Saviour upon the presence and providence of God, who permits not even a sparrow to fall to the ground without Him, who clothes the lilies of the field, and who much more cares and provides for us, who are the objects of His especial goodness and mercy.

It should not be overlooked, however, that there is no avowed hostility to the Bible in the professors and disciples of this materialistic philosophy. Their duty, they tell us, is to push the investigations of science to their utmost limits, regardless of all consequences.

The facts alleged to be discovered or the conclusions deduced from them, may conflict with the revelations of the Book, or with the interpretation of those revelations at present accepted ; but it is the business of the theologian, and not that of the philosopher, to bring science and revelation into harmony. They leave the Bible, as they say, to take care of itself; they do not either impugn its statements or contravene its Divine origin and inspiration.

But if the spirit of infidelity do not show itself openly and with brazen face in the coteries of science, it is not less active than it was in the world, and, alas ! that we should have to add, in the Church also. It has donned a new dress and assumed a new character, however. It does not openly assail and blaspheme the Bible, as it did half a century ago. “It sometimes, indeed, assumes a religious attitude, and makes a profession of Christianity itself. While it manifests the bitterest hostility to the Christian faith and the precious

be pre

records of the Divine revelation, it asserts its admiration of the
teaching, and purity, and dignity of its great Founder. It is promul-
gating a creed which is a singular compound of all religions, philo-
sophies, and infidelities, put together on no known principle of reason
or taste ; and its disciples have been not unjustly described as shocking
the world by a public embrace of God and Belial, as divinities of
equal authority and power—as lauding in general terms the character
of Christ, and ridiculing in detail each one of his pretensions; and
so denouncing and praising alternately the revelations of the Bible
and the attributes of the Godhead, as with dreadful ingenuity to
combine the means of blasphemy and unbelief. It is its motley
character that renders the infidelity of the present day pre-eminently
dangerous. It talks in Christian phrase, and expatiates with a
seeming unction of pious fervour, of the spirituality of true religion-
of the love of God shed abroad in the heart by the Spirit-of peace
and communion with God—of a faith that overcomes the world, and
of the permanent union of the believing soul with God; but it is
all hollow pretence as to any respect and reverence it may
sumed, from its language, to have for the Christian system. If any
simple-hearted believer, imposed upon by its religious cant, should
claim a hearing for the doctrines, miracles, and divinity of Christ, it
would throw back its head in scorn, and beg to be considered as
possessing common sense and rational ideas; but if permitted to pass
on unchallenged or unquestioned, it fulfils its mission, and at the
same time maintains the semblance of a devout Christian.

If the disbelievers of the present day speak respectfully, and reverentially of the Bible, it is only as the record of individual experiences, and of the praiseworthy efforts of good men-themselves very imperfectly instructed—to leave the world better than they found it. And they moreover-some of them—import the consecrated phraseology of the New Testament into such a system of theology as that we have spoken of, and which has nothing of Christ in it, while others of them remain within the pale of orthodoxy, and avail themselves of the opportunities that affords them of divesting the Bible of all claims to a Divine origin and a special inspiration, by an adroit and dexterous handling of such literary, historical, and scientific difficulties as a little skill and industry cannot fail to discover in so old and multifarious a collection of writings as the Bible is.

a A good deal of alarm and some indignation was excited when a bishop of the Anglican Church was found to have allied himself to the sect whose mission is said to be the overthrow of “ Bibliolatry," by bringing God's Book down to the level of other good and useful books, which are to be accepted for what they are worth, and to be read with judgment and discrimination, so that the evil may be separated from the good. To effect this object, the Bible is carefully searched for difficulties—for supposed contradictions to history and science-for apparent discrepancies, for seeming impossibilities, for everything that can be made to appear antagonistic to the idea of its being the work of inspiration, whose real Author is God, and whose distinguishing characteristic is TRUTH. The records of the Mosaic dispensation--the Pentateuch-upon which all the rest of the Bible stands, is divested of its historical character, and is alleged to

[ocr errors][merged small]
« AnteriorContinuar »