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FOLLOW ON TO KNOW THE LORD.
PREFACE. DEAR MR. EDITOR,
My Poem was occasioned by two sermons delivered in our town, especially by theone which I enclose.* In the morning service the Rev. gentleman gave himself out as a martyr, a victim of religious bigotry. He needs to be reminded, as was one of old, that it is the saint who makes the martyr, not the martyr who makes the saint. And, surely, if the Vicar of Healaugh be sainted, Tom Paine should find a place in the same hagiology. I have compared "the Sling and the Stone” with "the Age of Reason :" the two men hold the same faith, and as to differentia--why-Paine has more ability and more reverence. Surely, the Infidels must laugh heartily over the outcries of their Rev. brother. If they were to send forth a missionary to preach either pure Deism or positive Atheism,--and in a short time he was found earnestly enforcing Redemption by the Bloud of Jesus, Comfort by the Holy Spirit, and Resurrection from the dead through Christ,--they would not waste time by bringing him to trial. His salary would be stopped at once, and he would be ignominiously cashiered; besides, he would have to hear a Tittle salutary truth about appropriating the funds of reason, while propagating the superstitions of the Christian faith. We e can conceive of them saying, “Sir, your faith may be very illustrious, but your morality is by no means lofty, and we wish the body to which you mean to adhere much joy in the fellowship of such an incorruptible soul ; doubtless the communion will be refreshing on both sides." But the Rev. Infidel actually dreamed of pocketing his stipend as a defender of the faith, while denying the resurrection of the Lord and pouring contempt on everything distinctive in the Christian religion. Had we lived in the days of Judas, and met him on the road to the priests, we might have said, “ If you have lost your faith, by all means sell the Lord and make as much as you can by the transaction ; but keep your fingers out of the bag, for that belongs to the cause which you have renounced.”
FOLLOW ON TO KNOW THE LORD.
follow on! But to whom shall we call ?
The Lord saw corruption in the lone Syrian grave! * A Sermon by Mr. Voysey on Hosea vi. 3—" Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord," in which sermon the preacher despises the authority of Christ, the Apostles and Prophets, proclaims the
Bible the work of man, declares
that whatever of revelation there is of God in the world is defective, and hands us over to “ human excellence," Theodore Parker, and the human soul, for more perfect vision.
Observer, Aug. 1, '72
His mission was a dream and His works are a fable
Observer, Aug. 1, 71.
The old baronial house of the eminent Baboon !
MINISTRY IN MODERN TIMES. " Those who have carefully read the New Testament can have little doubt that the teachers and officers in the Primitive churches were appointed by a general vote of the church meetings. Two features seem to have characterised these appointments—(1) The choice was made by the Church; and (2) The person selected had belonged to the Church, in which he
Observer, Aug. 1, 71
was hereafter to minister. How these principles have been departed from is apparent on every hand. Churchmen, Baptists, Independents, and the Methodist bodies generally, all sin in this respect. Some of the min. isters of the Established Church are appointed by the Government, and others by wealthy men; the Wesleyans and other Methodist ministers are appointed by their Conferences. And, although among the Baptists and Independent denominations, each church appoints its own minister, the members never choose pastors from among their own members, but invariably select a stranger, who never worshipped with them, and probably never would have done but for the salary. But bad and unscriptural as is this state of things, what shall we say of the condition of a church whose minister is selected by the votes of the whole ratepayers of a district, after the fashion of a Poor-law guardian or a town-councillor! Wicked and ungodly men taking part in the appointment of a Christian teacher! Yet incredible as it appears, such a profane practice prevails in certain parts of England, one of which is the town of Bilston, in Staffordshire. There is in that town a clerical post styled “the incumbency of St. Leonard's ” the appointment to which rests with the whole body of ratepayers—good, bad, and indifferent! Now, recently, the incumbent died and immediately some half-dozen clergymen’ requested to be allowed the privilege of stepping into his shoes and salary—this last amounting to about £700 a year; and the whole town was covered with handbills, some of them reflecting the least possible credit upon the candidates whose claims they set forth. One enterprising gentleman actually went so far as to proclaim that, 'If he were the clergyman of the ratepayers' choice he would show his love of the poor of Bilston as his ancester, the late Humphrey Perry, did, by giving security for £2,000, the interest of which should be paid annually for ever to the poor, irrespective of their creed and religious profession.' This modest candidate for the vacant 'cure of souls,' however, faded into obscu. rity, as did also three other competitors. Only two rival claimants remained, and on each side the contest was carried on with all the strife usual to a Municipal election. At length, on Tuesday, June 6th last, the nomination took place, and there was a scene of indescribable uproar and confusion. For three hours the respective partisans of the two canditates—Mr. Lee and Mr. Ward—were occupied in yelling at each other, and in mutual abuse. Large groups collected in the principal streets of the town, not always discussing quietly the merits of the rival canditates. Strong partisans of Mr. Lee had their wide-awakes.' bound with blue ribbon, and wore large blue rosettes on their breasts. Thus decorated they paraded the town cheered on one hand, and hooted on the other, till both sides grew wrathful, and once or twice the public peace was in danger. As a specimen of the spirit-we do not say religious spirit--in which these proceedings were conducted, we quote the following account of the proceedings at the nomination of the candidates. The chairman said
*This election was not like an election of a member of Parliament; it was more im. portant. It was an election of a man to have the supervision over their souls as well as their bodies, while members of Parliament only looked after their bodies. The extreme term for which a member of Parliament could be elected was seven years; but in this case the election would be permanent. How important then it was that they should look at the matter calmly, and not do anything rashly. He hoped they would not act in a way that would make them a laughing stock for their neighbours, but he trusted they would conduct themselves in a way so that they might have nothing unpleasant to reflect upon hereafter. (Interruption : cries of Chair, chair.') The chairman concluded by reading the certificate of the burial of the late incumbent, which took place at Baker-street, Marylebone, on the 6th ult. Mr. J. Lambert in supporting the nomination of the Rev. Charles Lee, said he took it that they wanted a full-grown man ; they did not want any
Observer, Aug. 1, '71.
babyism. (Hear, hear, and groans.) They wanted no mediocrity. (Hear, hear, and groans.) They wanted a man of superior culture-a man who would be able to take tho Jead in all public matters. The stipend of St. Leonard's ought to command such a man; it ought to command the best brains in the country; £700 a year was no fool of a thing. He maintained that they wanted a thoroughly evangelical man. They wanted a man who could preach the Gospel of God in all its purity.”
Then came the day of election. The polling occasioned extraordinary excitement. Mr. Lee was victorious, but gained the coveted office, not by passing through Pentecostal scenes, but through scenes of turbulence which agitated the whole town with uproår. The losing canditate was burned in effigy. This provoked retaliation, and his friends made free use of stones and bricks. Defiant bands paraded the town, armed with sticks, whilst troops of colliery girls and lads marched in regimental order, and not a few windows were broken. We have no language whereby to fitly characterise this unholy procedure. How is it possible that the blessing of God can rest upon a church and a minister brought together in this ungodly manner ? What is more calculated to bring the sacred office into contempt? How the opponents of the Gospel-spiritual as well as human -must rejoice in such a scene! Shocked at so scandalous a spectacle, some of the newspapers have called for the interference of Parliament in the matter.
No. What has Parliament tơ do, with religious bodies ? The true policy is for Parliament to give up interfering in religious matters altogether, and for each church to adopt the apostolic plan of appointing its own preachers from amongst its own members. We have no wish to display a spirit of antagonism to the Church, the Methodists, or other religious bodies having a paid ministry; we are broad enough in our sentiments to wish them all God speed in the glorious work of bringing the world to Christ; at the same time we think their ministerial system bad and unscriptural and a hindrance to the progress of the work jn which they are engaged, and against that system we must wage uncompromising war.”
The foregoing is from the Free Gospel Magazine. We are thankful that the time has come when the organ of a branch of the Methodist family of churches thus far speaks out in favour of New Testament ministry. Not that we can accept its every intimation. We cannot speak of the church choosing its teachers and pastors, (as was the case with deacons), but certainly they were not chosen by the queen, the government, nor the ratepayers' of a parish.
The Bilston 'affair is a disgrace to a country designated Christian. Birmingham has had similar elections. It is the old story over againWhere the carcase is there the eagles gather together.
CAN A CHRISTIAN BE A SOLDIER? Much has been said on both sides of this question ; but, I confess that the arguments advanced in the affirmative have failed to convince me. Messiah's kingdom is not of this world, but it is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. When the Spirit inspired Isaiah to testify of Jesus, he said, “ His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” And the angelic choir, on the morning of His birth, sang, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” During life He went about everywhere doing good ; He taught His disciples to resist not evil and to love their enemies; and in the midst of His agonies on the