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5. We do not think it any great achievement, or any exalted triumph of the Spirit for these brethren to meet Baptists and talk kindly and friendly on a few points in which they and Baptists agree, nor that Baptists return a kind and friendly reply. They must have placed a very low estimate on themselves, their temper and spirit, to think all they did any achievement, and an equally low estimate on Baptists to think their reply any great achievement. What less could have been expected of Christians on either side ? especially when moving so cautiously, guardedly, and on their
very best behaviour, with a clear understanding that the whole would go into print? We think they conducted themselves pretty well, quite kindly and friendly. We have no fault to find in this regard, and yet, there was nothing even in this better than we had reason to expect. Indeed, we should have been surprised if they had not done as well. It is certainly not astonishing for highly cultivated preachers of the gospel and religious editors to act kindly and politely towards each other. If it is, we have fallen upon sad times. Suffice it to say, then, that in all these respects their conduct in the correspondence, so far as we see, was faultless.
6. The statements made of points of agreement, so far as they go, are in the main good and worthy of consideration. We rejoice that these points of agreement exist, and hope that their importance will rise up into the minds of all, and that the importance of an agreement throughout—of being of the same mind and of the same judgment-perfectly joined together and having no division, may appear to all.
7. This correspondence in no goodly degree grasps the subject of union, or the evil of division, or the grounds of union, or the method of obviating division. It submits nothing tangible, practical, or intelligible, touching the union, of the two bodies involved, and so far amounts to nothing only a friendly correspondence and interview, with some indefinite references and allusions to union. We shall be happy if some good results shall follow.
But in the Report presented to the Synod of Cincinnati, on Christian Union, presented by Mr. W.C. McCune, from a special committee appointed last year, which appeared in our columns last week, the reader will find the ground of union described by a master hand and defended with great boldness and manly ability. We had a brief correspondence with Mr. McCune on this subject several years ago, and not only esteemed him as a kind and good man, a fair and honourable man in investigation, but one who, in a higher degree than most men who talk on the subject, comprehended the situation. We see now that he has grasped the subject more fully, completely overcome some difficulties he had then, and handles the whole subject with a master hand. The fact, too that the Synod commended the subject of Christian Union to the consideration of all her people, advising them diligently and prayerfully to search the Scriptures concerning this matter; requested all the ministers to preach on the subject during the Synodical year, appointed a committee to memorialize the subject of Christian Union, and ordered the Report to be printed, show that the Report was well received—that it was not an empty formality, but a theme of deep interest. In this report the union of Christians is treated as a matter of divine authority,and not a matter of human expediency or policy. Mr. McCune is a man of faith. He believes and reverences the Bible, and the Lord Jesus the Christ. He has gone back and lifted up his eyes to the great Head of the Church-Head over all and blessed forever and ever, and searched His teaching, for His ground, of union with determina
Observer, Max. 1,71.
tion to take it and stand on it. We cannot see how a mind of such justness, such clearness, and under the influence of such full assurance of faith, with the clear light now in it, can fail to work its way out of the narrow limits of sectarianism, not into “Liberal Christianity,” which means anything or nothing, faith or unbelief, but into the full and clear light and liberties of the children of God; free from all that is human, and bound by all that is divine.
There is one idea running through this Report, that we think incorrect and an embarrassment to the argument from first to last, and that is the idea of an organic union of churches, or the confederation of churches into an organized body. The kingdom of God is not an organized body with a visible head on earth, nor cap there be such an organization without a class of officers and many terms not found in Scripture. We get this idea of confederation, or organizing churches into a general body, from the Pope. He is the highest authority we have for that kind of confederation or union. That is not the union that Jesus prayed for. John xvii. 20, 21. He prayed that we might be one us He and his Father are one. They are not one in that sense-in a confederation of churches--- in an ecclesiastical organization. In what sense are they one ? They are one in mind, in spirit, in the scheme to save men, or, as it is sometimes expressed, one in " the plan of redemption "—one in the gospel-of one mind in the entire work of recovering man. They work in all matters unitedly, in harmony and together. They never work in antagonism. So the Saints should be one in the faith, in the gospel, in the church, of the same mind and the same judgment; work together in union and harmony; worship together in the unity of the Spirit and bond of peace, in the same communion; act together in the same good works, spreading the gospel and building up the kingdom of God. They should preach the same gospel, believe the same and practice the same. In the one body, the one Spirit and the one hope, the one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all above all, and through all, and in all, is “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace," and not in a general organization or confederation of churches. The attempts at such confederations, the despotic rule in them, their oppressions and the efforts to break them off and free men from them, have been most fruitful sources of division. They are the machinery for the schismatic to rive churches asunder. The Lord did not create them. His kingdom is on a much simpler plan than that, and his arrangement for the accomplishment of every good word and work is much more effective. There is no waste in his divine and glorious system of means in making and running expensive machinery, or literally, in supporting ecclesiastical dignitaries, or great organizations, more fruitful in rending the body asunder than in any good work. The Lord has arranged so that all the means and men can be applied directly to the work without any waste or squandering of means. There is not an evidence of the existence of any combination, or confederation, beyond a single congregation in an organized body. And even in the single congregation the whole affair was simple, not having an officer except the overseers and deacons. Any co-operation beyond this was a voluntary thing for uniting their efforts to assist their poor brethren at a distance, or evangelize the world, and was simply a temporary arrangement for an exigency, and no perpetual organization.
We feel a deep interest in this matter, and specially in Mr. McCune, the chief mover in it, and unite with him in saying, “Let us all frankly and fully confess our obligation to submit to Christ's authority in this
Observer, Mar. 1, "71.
matter of Church organization as in all else pertaining to our holy religion, and as His apostles organized (established) but one church, let us cheerfully and implicitly follow their inspired example and obey their inspired precepts in the organization (establishment) of this church, which He has purchased with His own blood.” This is union talk that means something, and that can be understood. We have simply space to add, that all turned to the Lord-made Christians, are united with the Father and his Son Jesus the Christ, and really made one with, or united with, the holy family in heaven and on earth, and ought from the time of their conversion look on every child of God as a fellow disciple. “Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing but a new creature.” When a man is born of God, he is born into the heavenly family, and is in union by right with every other child in the family, or when “born of water and of the Spirit,” or naturalized into the kingdom of God, he is a fellow-citizen with all the other citizens of the kingdom. When he enters the Union by complying with the law of induction, he is legally in the Union, and one with all in that Union.
The great matter is to get men to set the kingdom of God before their minds, the Church of God, or the body of Christ, and put the idea of party or the building of a party, out of their minds. Then simply labour to turn men to the Lord, to make them Christians, members of the body of Christ, and nothing else. This is one work and those engaged in it are one; not in some opinions, theories or speculations of men, nor in a human organization that becomes a bar in the way of union, but they are one in the Father, in the Son and in the Holy Spirit-one in the same kingdom, under the same law—the same Supreme Head, the Lord Jesus the Anointed, full of grace and truth--the way, the truth and the life; one with him in all he says and requires, to love him, adore and honour him. It is not union in the opinions of men, but the person of the Lord Messiah, whom God has lifted up to draw all men to Him. The true union is union under Him, in His kingdom, His body—the church, under His name, which is adored by all the heavenly hosts. God commanded all the angels to worship Him. Make His cause our cause, His work, our work, His will our will ; let Him lead us to the fountains of living water. He will lead us to glory and honour. Blessed be His name foreever and ever.
American Christian Review.
SECULARISM—WHAT CAN IT DO FOR MAN THAT CHRIS
TIANITY CANNOT? A REPORT OF A DiscussION BETWEEN D. KING, AND C. BRADLAUGH, IN BURY, OOTOBER 25, 26, 1870.
We have already noticed the first and second questions of this debate of six evenings. This last topic afforded opportunity to take down the shutters and allow outsiders to peep into the abode of Secularism, very much to the chagrin of its President and Champion. Such revelations Mr. Bradlaugh does not admire, and over them he became frantic with rage, at least, so the reader will conclude as he goes over the report. The sort of handling he met with will be seen by the following quotations. Mr. King said
“We then proceeded to consider the moral basis of Secularism ; taking Mr. Holyoake's statement of the case—that there is in human nature guarantees of morality in utility and intelligence. I argued that if there were in human nature guarantees of morality we could not have immorality. I asked Mr. Bradlaugh how immorality came and whence it came? He could not attribute it to God, because he does not believe in the existence of Deity. He could not attribute it to the devil
, because he does not believe in the existence of a devil. Where did it come from, then? It can only have come from human nature, and if it thus came of course there can be no guarantees against it in that human nature from which it comes. Then as to Mr. Bradlaugh's code of morals. I did, perhaps, an imprudent thing last night when I ventured to turn prophet, because I am neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet; but I ventured to predict that he would not give us his moral code last night. But I have nothing, as yet, to regret in regard to the prophecy, because it has been fulfilled. (Laughter.) Well, then, having been thus far successful, I venture the assertion that he will not, during this debate, produce his moral code. As I have not been able to get his code of morals, and having only received, in its place, a statement as to the results
of morality, I must proceed to look a little into that demoralizing literature which has so largely gone forth, in consequence of the recommendations of Mr. Bradlaugh and the assistance of the National Reformer. Of course I fully join with Mr. Holyoake iu regard to this matter. He does not only denounce what Mr. Bradlaugh recommends, but even goes the length of intimating, that any superstition-and he is not a lover of superstition, is preferable to this Sexual Religion. It was then objected, on the other side, that I am not right in attributing these things to Mr. Bradlaugh. But why am I abused? In fact I have simply given you Mr. Holyoake's statement, as sustained by that of Mr. Barker, and if wrong is chargeablo on any one it must be on Mr. Holyoake. Mr. Bradlaugh's storm of abuse against me is most inconsistent, seeing I did but repeat what Mr. Holyoake aflirmed. (Ăpplause.) Let him deal with Mr. Holyoake like a man. Why insist upon treating his sayings as though they were harmless, and abuse me for merely repeating them. (Hear, hear,) Well, then, in reference to the literature so denounced by Mr. Holyoake and others—the literature, as it has been called, of the “Unbounded License party, -I proceed to note, that about the old Socialist movement there was one thing, in this particular, which recommended itself to me; it was open, frank, and manly; its statemerts were put forth on public platforms and printed with the names of the men who wrote them, and, therefore, they could be got at and grappled with. And I believe, as the result of that openness, Socialism came to a close. It failed and was crumpled up and done with so soon as the public came to understand its morality and when its Sexual Religion was fully understood. On the 64th page of the debate between Mr. Bradlaugh and Mr. Hutchings I read thus, as from R. Owen: 'For people to be trained to say my house, my wife, my estate, my children, or my husband, our estate, and our children; or my parents, my brothers, my sisters, and our house and property, is most ignorant and selfish, and that wives, children, &c., should all be as common as in a flock of sheep or in a herd of swine.' Now, you are not to think I imply that Mr. Hutchịngs quoted this and that Mr Bradlaugh acknowledged the sentiment. Nothing of the kind. "I do not attribute it to Mr. Bradlaugh. I give it as an illustration of the kind of thing put forth by the old Socialist movement;
and I insist that if anything in that direction is to be advocated in connection with the Secularism of to-day, it ought to come in an open way and not in an underground manner. (Hear, hear.) I complain of the kind of advocacy, against which Mr. Holyoake protests, which has not been characterized by ordinary manliness. Now, the literature against which I speak, and against which Mr. J. G. Holyoake inveighs, gains its circulation very largely through the medium of the National Reformer. Mr. Austin Holyoake has a good deal to do with matters connected with that paper, and bas used the National Reformer frequently, if not constantly, for advertising certain papers and pamphlets adapted to pioneer the way of the work denounced by his brother, J. G. Holyoake. The National Reformer, then, is the agency by which his small pamphlets, (designed to promote the circulation of the larger work) are brought into circulation. For instance, in his ‘Large or Small Families,' on the first page he gives a list of books tending in this direction and finishing with the one in question-about which Mr. Austin Holyoake says, -'it has had the honour of reviving a subject which had become dormant from the close of the Socialistic agitation of 1844. By the bye, you may note here that Mr. Austin Holyoake says that the Socialistic movement closed in 1844. Movements of that kind usually close from one of two causes-either because they have gained their end or have failed. Now, certainly, the end proposed by Mr. Owen's Socialism has not been gained. He proposed to produce a New Moral World, and the old immoral one is still here. Yet it closed, and, therefore, it failed, which, however, Mr. Bradlaugh denied last night. But I leave him to settle that with
Observer, Mar. 1, 71
Mr. Austin Holyoake. But to return to the pamphlets. On the first page of this little paper of Austin Holyoake's, and on the last page he recommends for further information, in reference to this matter, another penny tract. That tract on its first pages, on its last, and in the middle, largely quotes and recommends the same abominable book in the highest possible terms. Then in another penny book by the author of the · Elements' (therein recommended), we read, That about one third of the births in Paris are illegitimate. This is not in itself a proof of licentiousness, it is only a proof that the institution of indissoluble marriage is held in far less estimation in France than in this country.' (Shame, shame). Now I ask what is the moralizing, or rather demoralizing effect of that teaching? We now turn to the National Reformer of August 28th, and we find another book reviewed by Mr. Bradlaugh. It is a book by one Richard Harte. Mr. Bradlaugh comments upon it thus: With Mr. Harte's view as to what ought to be essential in the inception, duration, and termination of the marriage contract we cordially concur.' So then I take it that, in this particular, we are enabled at once to ascertain Mr. Bradlaugh's views in reference to the inception, duration, and termination of the marriage contract. We shall, therefore, refer to Mr. Harte on this point. He defines marriage thus— That union of the sexes which is most in accordance with the moral and physical necessities of human beings; and which harmonises best with their other relations in life.' Now that is one of those Secularistic definitions which leaves the subject undefined and the hearer no wiser than he was before. It compells us to reply, 'Oh yes, but what kind of sexual union is that which is thus concordant with men's best moral and physical necessities ?' There is sexual union in the farm yard and in the pig stye. Is it that? If not, is it in any way or measure approached in that direction? The definition given by Mr. Harte does not define any, thing, but leaves the entire question open for such enquiries as we have just suggested. But let us hear Mr. Harte further. Turning to page 26 we read — Love is a combination of three sympathies—the moral, the intellectual, and the physical. And since it is impossible to develop these sympathies, or even to be certain that they actually exist without the experience of intimate association, it is imperative that marriage should be, to a certain extent, a matter of experiment. Not only are human beings exceedingly liable to judge wrongly in matters of love, but moreover they are liable to develop in character unequally and in different directions; therefore the dissolution of marriago should be as free and honourable a transaction as its formation. That is, that two persons live together as man and wife for some time to know whether they suit each other. (Laughter, and shame). Then again Mr. Harte writes—The dissolution of marriage should be as FREE and as honourable a transaction as its formation.' Well then, any person would be at liberty to enter into a marriage contract to-day, and equally at liberty to revoke the contract to-morrow. That is the result as I understand it. If not accurately interpreted, I shall be glad to be corrected. On page 47 of the same book we read (of course I understand I am now reading Mr. Bradlaugh's sentiments) thus— Far from making all women prostitutes, the effects of freedom to dissolve the marriage contract at will,' (that is whenever you please), · would, by reason of the pecuniary and social independence it presupposes, make prostitution impossible.' I only quote this to show that the theory is, that marriage should be dissolved at will—that we should be free to marry one day, and as free
to dissolve the union on any subsequent day. (Hear, bear from Mr. Bradluugh). My opponent says 'Hear, hear' so that I presume I do not misunderstand him and that we are going on so far all right. Then turn to page 66, and read 'Finally there can be little doubt that much of that a priori contempt and hatred for free love which has hitherto been a fruitful scource of want of self-respect in the classes deemed disreputable, and consequently of their degradation, is disappearing from the philosophy of our time. Here then you have free love coming into vogue. On the next page we read' And we may conclude that, even if the effect of the changes I have advocated be to cause all women to become little better than prostitutes ; that, at all events, they will also have the effect of putting all women into a much better position than wives.' Now, I confess I do not understand what this means, unless it is that now the position of the wife is worse than the position of the prostitute. Thus, then, we have what this book sets forth in reference to marriage, which Mr. Bradlaugh heartily endorses. Now, it is only fair to state that Mr. Bradlaugh is not responsible for what this book contains beyond this one topic-marriage. It was only on this point that he endorsed it. Mr. Bradlaugh warmed up very considerably last night when I read Mr. Holyoake's statement that the Elements of Social Science seemed, in the estimation of some people, to imply that seduction is a sort of physiological virtue, and in a very violent way he designated it a lie in my teeth, whatever that may mean. from Mr. Bradlaugh.) But I was simply reading Mr. Holyoake's statement, therefore if there be any lie about it the lie is Mr. Holyoake's not mine. (Applause.)