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Observer, Jan. 1, '71.
anxiety for the public welfare, these men thought of nothing, talked of nothing, but glebes and endowments, a larger percentage on commutations, the allowances of rectors and bell-ringers, deductions for curates, and cravings for curtilages—a small slice here and a bigger slice there of the national property, so as to leave as little as possible for the sacrilegious use of the nation itself! Oh, it is a sad thing when ministers of religion —or men who should be such—become hucksters in the market of earthly interest, and pedlars in the strife of Parliamentary faction!" Protestants are reminded that nine prelates voted for, and only five against, the Duke of Cleveland's scheme for endowing the Roman Catholic priesthood, and seven for Earl Stanhope's, including the two archbishops; and the writer concludes: "It is not a fitting thing that a position of so much dignity and influence should be given to Anglican bishops, who have no relations or sympathy with the far larger part of the population of the Empire, and who have so clearly shown that they are either ignorant or careless of the sentiments held by the members of their own Communion on a point of vital concern to the policy of the State."
Among the significant indications of the growth of opinion on this question, not the least is the fact that the Bill to relieve bishops from Parliamentary duties is demanded by Churchmen themselves in the interests of the Church of England. Mr. Beaumont, who brought forward the measure, is a member of that Church. The pamphlet alluded to contains a list of quotations from Churchmen and the Church press of all shades of opinion, who look forward with confidence to the speedy disestablishment of the lords spiritual, and hail the prospect as one fraught with blessing. A fifty years' member of the Church declares that "the retirement of the bishops from the House of Lords would be followed by the happiest results; by the sweeping away of various abuses which at present limit the Church's usefulness, and impede its progress in the nation; by an increased activity and a greater purity in religious matters, and a firmer and deeper hold by the Church on the affections of the people. And I also believe that the bishops themselves would be among the first to benefit by the change." The Church Review, in a leading article, says: "The bishops are secularised by their seats in Parliament," and adds, “Our great grievance is the way in which our Episcopal appointments are made," and "the first step to a better state of things will be when bishops no longer have seats in the House of Lords." The late Lord Henley (brother-in-law of Sir Robert Peel), in a pamphlet published many years ago expressed the opinion that the retirement of the bishops from the House of Lords would be the most important and effective step towards the removal of abuses in the Church that had been made since the Reformation. Thus the work is being taken out of the hands of the Liberation Society, and the promoters of the Bill cannot fairly be charged as animated by sectarian jealousy. Justice to other religious communities, of course, demands the proposed change. Religious equality, and every consideration of numbers, wealth, and usefulness, give the President of the Wesleyan Denomination as much claim to a seat in the House of Lords as a "Lord" Bishop."
The Bill will again be brought forward in the approaching Session of Parliament, and we trust Churches will bring their influence to bear upon the representatives in their respective districts, by letters and petitions in support of it. It may be thought by some that public opinion is not yet ripe for the proposed change, but a few more instances of obstruction to measures of public welfare will hasten the popular conviction of the
Observer, Jan 1, '71.
inexpediency of retaining bishops in the House of Lords. Meanwhile, the
DISCIPLES OF CHRIST AND BAPTISTS.
IN OHIO, U.S. of America, those believers in Jesus who take no denominational name, but call themselves by those names only which in the New Testament are applied to the followers of Christ, have deemed it desirable to address a message to the Baptist Convention of that State, assembled at Columbus. The deputed Disciples were received most cordially, having been called upon by the President and leading members of the Convention so soon as it became known that they were in the city. The following address was presented :
MR. PRESDIENT, AND BRETHREN OF THE OHIO BAPTIST CONVENTION :At the last Annual Meeting of the Ohio Christian Missionary Society, held at Mansfield in May, 1870, the following resolution was passed :"Resolved-That the Convention appoint a committee of five, who shall visit the Baptist Convention of the State of Ohio, to convene at Columbus the coming October, and bear from us words of Christian greeting and fraternal sympathy."
In obedience to this resolution we are here to-day, and take great pleasure in fulfilling the wishes of the Society which we have the honour to represent.
It is proper to say that the Ohio Christian Missionary Society is composed of delegates and members from all parts of the State, and that they represent a membership of about 30,000. This membership is distributed into 350 churches. These churches have in their service 170 preachers, engaged either in pastoral work or in active service as evangelists. This, however, but partially represents our pastoral force, as, in most of our churches we have a plurality of elders, not known as preachers, yet many of them active and efficient in pastoral work.
We have a State Missionary Society, which forms part of a general missionary schéme, embracing all the churches in the United States; and, subordinate to the State society, we have twenty-four district societies. When this plan shall be perfected, we hope to unite all our missionary forces in one general system, reaching every church, and every member of every church, so as to give entire unity to the enterprize, and realize, in a thorough co-operation of churches, the true idea of missionary work. This State society was organized in 1852, and during the 18 years of its existence, 37,000 days have been spent in missionary labour; 100,000 dol. have been raised for missionary purposes; 16,000 accessions to the churches have been gained, and 103 churches have been organized.
Of Sunday Schools we have but a partial report. We have about 270 Sunday Schools, and about 15,000 scholars.
Observer, Jan. 1, '71.
We have in the State two colleges, in both of which young men, preparing for the ministry, are educated free of charge.
We have two weekly papers, and one quarterly, published in Cincinnati. Our increase, year by year, is large, but not seen in any rapid increase of our numbers in the annual reports, as there is a constant drain from churches in a westward emigration; and, as we are feeble in the East, we have no compensatory immigration from that quarter.
We are very glad to say to our Baptist brethren, that the resolution. under which we are acting was passed with the heartiest unanimity, without hurry, yet without one word of discussion; and may be regarded as a spontaneous expression of a universal sentiment. We are authorized to say to you that the language of the resolution is the language of our entire brotherhood in this State; and that it has the moral support of our brotherhood in all the States we have right to infer from the fact that, although the resolution has been published far and wide since last May, no voice of opposition or of objection has any where been raised.
Had the resolution proposed a union with the Baptists, we are frank in saying, that it could not have passed-for that proposition would have involved consequences too grave and difficulties too great, to have warranted an action so speedy and so nearly spontaneous. But as an expression of friendly greeting and of cordial sympathy with the work which the Baptists as a religious body, are doing for Christ, it is, we repeat, the legitimate expression of the settled feeling and sentiment of the Disciples in the State of Ohio.
It is due to this honourable body, representing as it does the intelligence, piety, and influence of the entire Baptist brotherhood of this State, that we, in venturing on this unusual step, should explain the reasons which have prompted it. Simply as an act of Christian courtesy, it needs no apology; but as a departure from ordinary customs, you will be curious to know, and we are in honesty bound to explain, why we are sent with this novel message-novel, not in the light of a pure Christianity, but in the light of the history of your past and of ours. Polite conventionalism might prevent you from reminding us, after the style of Peter in his first discourse to the Gentiles: "Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a 'Baptist' to keep company, or come unto one of another "-name; yet it is idle to attempt to conceal the fact that, religiously, we have been almost as séparate and alien as Jew and Gentile were of old. We do not claim that any angel has directed us to send to you or for you; nor that in any vision we have been instructed to come on this mission; neither do we look for any such outpouring of the Divine Spirit as signalized that marvelous reconciliation of hostile races. But we trust that you and we are all learning to say, "What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common;" and we dare also to hope that if, in a Christian spirit, and in obedience to the voice of God, in His word and in His providence, we can mutually see our way to the cultivation of more friendly relations, the time will yet come when it can be said of those whom you represent and those whom we represent here to-day, "In one Spirit are ye all baptized into one body, and have all been made to drink into one Spirit."
Allow us, therefore, frankly to state the reasons that have led to this step.
As a people, we are seeking the restoration of the Christianity of the New Testament, in letter and in spirit, in principle and in practice. We clearly see to be involved in this the overthrow of denominationalism, the repudiation of human creeds as authoritaitve expressions of faith or bonds
Observer, Jan. 1, 71.
of fellowship, the annihilation of party names, and the reunion of God's
We rejoice to-day in every indication of restlessness and disquiet among Protestant sects, which renews the protest against human authority, and sighs for a purer and completer loyalty to Jesus than Protestantism has yet reached; and we are confident that God has, among these great Protestant parties, a people yet to be called out from remaining errors and corruptions, and enrolled under the glorious old banner which the apostles unfurled at Jerusalem. But we are compelled to regard all these Protestant movements as unsatisfactory; and while gratefully recognizing the obligations we are under to the men and the parties that urged on the work of reformation, alike among the Lutherans, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Independants, and Methodists, we are still constrained to regard their best performances as falling short of the desired object, if the restoration of primitive Christianity is had in view as the great object to be attained. As movements tending onward towards the grand object sought, we have pleasure in them; but as furnishing the consummation so devoutly wished for, we are compelled to repudiate them. The Church of Christ and the Christianity of the New Testament, pure and simple, are not found in any one of these sects to-day, nor can they be found in any possible combination of sects.
We turn our eyes to the Baptists. We think we discover, in their position and aims, that which more nearly accords with our own. understand them they do not claim simply to stand as one of the Protestant sects of this time. They have in view and have always had in principle, whether they have always been stedfast to it in practice or not, a return to the Christianity of the New Testament; and while they do not claim to be lineal descendants of, they have always claimed spiritual kinship with, the heroic preservers and defenders of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus, who, in the fastnesses and refuges of the Alps and the Pyrenees, kept alive through long ages of suffering, the voice of the "two witnesses" -a people whose origin is "hidden in the remote depths of antiquity." That the Baptists have always been true and faithful to this aim is, we suppose, more than they would claim. But what may have been their errors, or ours, is not the question to-day. If this is their aim, it is also ours. We hail them as the uncompromising foes of priestly authority, of the corruptions in doctrine and practice which prevail in Protestant as well as Roman Catholic sects, -as the unyielding opponents of infant baptism, that important "part and pillar of popery which stands to-day so prominently in the way of the restoration of the primitive faith and practice, and as the brave champions of a Church of regenerate peoplea spiritual house, a royal priesthood, and a peculiar people." In all they have done and suffered for the Word of God, and in all the service they have been permitted to render, by virtue of their principles, to the cause of civil and religious liberty, we rejoice with you and give thanks to God.
Observer, Jan. 1, '71.
Our intercourse with enlightened Baptists has confirmed us in the conviction that our aims and principles are much more accordant than has generally been supposed; and it is on this account especially that we come to you with words of friendly and brotherly greeting, as recognizing in you co-workers more nearly allied to us, in spirit and in purpose, than we can find in any other religious body in our State. While there are some grave matters of difference, which is not now our province to discuss, we are agreed, unless we mistake the position of the main body of Baptists in Ohio, in the following important particulars:
1. The divine authenticity and authority of the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as a revelation from God to man.
2. The divine authority and sufficiency of the New Testament as a revelation of salvation through Jesus Christ, and as a rule of faith and practice for Christians.
3. The revelation of God therein in the threefold manifestation of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in the great work of human redemption.
4. The divinity of Jesus as the Son of God, and his Messianic offices of Prophet, Priest and King, to enlighten us by His teachings, to redeem us by His sin-offering, to rule over us by His kingly authority, and guide us to eternal life.
5. The mission of the Holy Spirt, to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment, and to abide with the saved as a Divine Comforterthe earnest of the heavenly inheritance.
6. The Gospel as the power of God unto salvation to every one who believes.
7. The necessity of "repentance towards God and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ," in order to admission to baptism, and through baptism to membership in the Church of Christ.
8. The immersion of every believing penitent into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
9. The obligation of all, thus immersed, to walk in all the ordinances and commandments of the Lord, that, "being made free from sin, and become servants to God, they may have their fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life."
10. The competency of every church to manage its own affairs free from the ecclesiastical control of associations, synods, conferences, or any outside ecclesiastical power whatever.
11. The desirableness and expediency of union and co-operation among the churches of the saints, for the spread of the Gospel and for every good work
We agree, then, to love and serve the one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in us all. We accept and own the one Lord Jesus Christ, as our only Lord and Saviour. We possess the one Faith in Him as the Christ, the Son of the living God, who died for our sins, and was buried, and rose again from the dead, and is now made Head of all things, for his body, the Church. We teach and practice the one immersion-the burial with Christ in immersion of all who possess this one faith. We believe that all believers, thus immersed, are members of that one body, in which dwells the one quickening and sanctifying Spirit, and common inheritors of the one hope of everlasting life.
That we should seek to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace and walk worthy of our calling, is an inevitable conclusion from these, premises. And while we are authorized to express not so much as a desire for a union between the Baptists and Disciples, we are confident in