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INTELLIGENCE OF CHURCHES, ETC.
proclaimed in the park, by R. Mott, T. Thompson and D. King, to a considerable company of attentive hearers. On Lord'sday evening and on Monday and Wednesday evenings, lectures were delivered by Bro. King, on Christianity and the Evidence of its Divine Origin. Thanks were heartily expressed by non-members, and it was , urged that the lectures should be repeated in some large central building.
LONDON, CHELSEA, July 9.-During the last six weeks Bro. McDougall has been among us, building up the church in its most holy faith. By the power of the gospel, one has been led to obey the Lord in the institution of his appointment.
J. C. V.
ROSS, NEW ZEALAND, April 24, 1871.In this out of the way place I am exceedingly happy to learn that the Word of God is finding its way more readily among the sects in the British dominions, as well as among other nations. The brethren in Dunedin are making progress, so much so that they are compelled to build a larger chapel, which is to be finished this month. I made a visit to Hokitika a short time ago, remained about a fortnight, and was happy to find the progress they are making with the small amount of talent that is amongst them.
J. C. MUIR.
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA, May 20, 1871.Bro. Hindle left a fortnight ago by the ship "Asia," for London. He will be able to give you his experience of Australia, and tell what he thinks of the prospects of the Saviour's cause. I regard him as a worthy brother, zealous and devoted in the extreme. I am sorry his health should have given way, but it may please the Lord to restore his health and yet make him useful to the cause here if spared to return. The additions to the churches have not been so great this year as in former years; although we always rejoice in seeing sinners entering the fold of Christ, and would labour and pray for it, yet it may be a blessing to the cause to have less doing in this way for a time, as it certainly is the means of enabling us to give more attention to edifying the church. We believe however, that a sreat work is to be done here in bringing ginners to the Saviour and breaking down the strongholds of sectarinism. Bros. Surber, Carr and Gore, are all labouring in the suburbs of Melbourne. A. THOMSON
Observer, Aug. 1, '71
BUNINYONG.-About twenty members of the Church of Christ meet at the Temperance Hall. Bro. J. A. Hamill is labouring in the neighbourhood and is meeting with great success, adding to our number F. GOODE. regularly every week.
GEORGE BLAIR died at Nottingham, June 12th, aged Forty-eight years, in the sure and certain hope of a resurrection to eternal life. He was immersed Twentysix years ago, in Loughborough canal, the ice being broken for the occasion. He then truly put on the Lord Jesus Christ, his spirit and life, throughout his Christian career, being strongly impressed with the image of his Divine Master. Who of the many who knew him will ever forget his quiet unassuming yet devotional deportment? There was so much of the Spiritual in the whole man that the thought would often be produced, that in him the subliming influences of Christianity had powerfully operated on an originally sublime nature. He was a gifted preacher, clear, concise and correct: his elaborated sentences were fit for the press as they came from his lips. As we shall never forget the Christian, so we shall never forget the preacher. Up to February, 1870, he laboured hard in the vineyard of his Lord. He was then stricken with paralysis, induced by mental exertion. He had been engaged in delivering a series of Discourses in Barker Gate Chapel, on "The Cross and the Crown," and his elaborating exertions proved too much for a naturally delicate and well-nigh broken. down constitution. The interval between this attack and his death consisted of partial recoveries and relapses, of hopes raised only to be blighted. On the 12th of June, 1871, however, his spirit was liberated from its shattered prison, and after a sad amount of pain and suffering, without one murmur he fell asleep in Jesus. On the 17th of June his remains were interred in the Nottingham General Cemetery, by Bro. Thos. Wallis, amid a concourse of sorrowing brethren. We rejoice, however, in the consolation that we shall meet him again. He is not lost, but only gone on a few steps before us.
W. J. D.
MARTHA WILDING, daughter of John W. and Elizabeth Jones, of St. Helens, wife of Bro. John Wilding, fell asleep in Jesus, June 16th, aged twenty-six years. She was a dutiful daughter, a loving wife, an affection. ate mother and a consistent christian. At the age of fifteen she made the good con fession and was immersed. Her chief aim ever was to conform to the law of the glorious Gospel of her Redeemer. J. W. J.
Observer, Sept. 1, '71.
THE first thing that strikes us in this doctrine is, its beauty and its tenderness. It is just the kind of doctrine which the hearts of the best of men would wish to be true. It answers to the weakness and the wants of our nature; to the longings and aspiration of our souls. It is full of consolation. It makes the universe complete. It makes man's life worth living. It makes the greatness, the vastness, the infinitude of our intellectual and affectional nature a blessing. It gives peace, the peace that passes understanding. It gives joy,-the joy that is unspeakable and full of glory. It opens our lips in the sight of sorrow, and enables us to give the sufferer consolation. It gives the universe a head. It gives it unity. It gives to man a Ruler. It gives to law a force. It gives to conscience power. It makes virtue duty, while it gives to it fresh grandeur and beauty. It exalts it in our eyes; and it endears it to our hearts. And it furnishes the all-perfect example. And it makes reasonable the inculcation of humility and charity, of forbearance and forgiveness. And it dignifies the work of beneficence. It makes us the allies and fellowworkers of the Infinite. It makes us one with Him. In teaching the ignorant, in bringing back the erring, in strengthening the weak, in reforming the vicious, in cheering the sad, in blessing the world, we are working as children in fellowship with their Father, and the pulses of our generous nature beat in harmony with the living, loving, all-pervading Spirit of the universe.
And while it brightens the present, it gilds the future. It makes a blessed immortality a natural certainty. If God our Father lives, then we His children shall live also. Death is abolished. Day dawns at last on the night of the grave. Earth is our birth-place and our nursery; death is the gateway to infinity, and there is our glorious and eternal home. Our work for ever is the joyous work of doing good. Our future life is an eternal unfolding of our powers. The mysteries of universal náture open to our view, and in the confluence of the delights of knowledge and the transports of benevolence, our joy is full, our bliss complete.
This doctrine, in the form in which Jesus presented it, has hold of the hearts of nearly the whole population, of Christendom. It has the strongest hold on the best. Even those who doubt it, doubt it with a sigh; and those who give it up, surrender it with regret. And as they make the sacrifice the earth grows dark. And life grows sad. And nature wears the air of desolation. The music of the woods becomes less sweet. The beauty of the flowers becomes less charming. There creeps a dreary silence over land and sea. Existence loses more than half its charms. The light of life burns dim. The past, the present, and the future all seem cheerless. The world is one vast orphan-house. Mankind are fatherless. · Our dearest ones are desolate. And language has no word to comfort them. The lover sighs. The husband and the father weeps.
The bravest stand
aghast. The charm of life, the unmixed bliss of being, is no more. But the question of questions is, Is the doctrine true? The heart says it is, and even the intellect acknowledges that there are appearances in nature which cannot be accounted for on any other principle. We cannot at present dwell on this part of the subject. All we can say is, that the doctrine of Jesus with regard to God and immortality is the grandest and most consoling, is the most adapted to strengthen the soul to duty, and to cheer and support it under suffering, that the mind of man can conceive. JOSEPH BARKER.
LIGHT IN A DARK PLACE.
Observer, Sept. 1, '71
OUR State Church is too much in the dark, in reference to the polity of the Church of God, to allow of our looking in that direction for enlightenment. But, though this is the case, a recent book from that quarter gives no inconsiderable amount of truth not usually told by clerical authors.*_ Dr. Jacob undertakes to demonstrate that a pure church, based upon the doctrine and polity of the church of the second and third centuries, is not possible; as the errors of Popery had then considerably advanced. He, therefore, says "I appeal from the Nicene Fathers to the Apostles of Christ; from patristic literature to the New Testament; from ccclesiastical authorities and practices of post-apostolic centuries to the primitive church of the apostolical age." Such an announcement from a State Church clergyman is truly refreshing. Not that he completely follows out what is involved in that appeal, but, nevertheless, he grasps great prin ciples and exhibits much truth. On the nature of the Church of Christ he observes, that "there is no example of a National church in the New Testament," and that the word "church is never applied to a building. With regard to "the ministry of orders," he finds but two offices in the Apostolic Church, the elders and deacons. He deems the attempt to deduce episcopacy from the New Testament completely a failure, and shews that the apostles had no successors in their office. On Baptism he says"Christian baptism, though, in its outward form one single act, represented no single, isolated state or feeling, but a spiritual transaction carried on in the spirit and conscience and then declaring itself externally -a power and influence which from the beginning, attested by the baptismal rite, was to go on to the end of the inward Christian life and be diffused over the whole of it. Christian baptism is the visible symbol of the invisible operation of the Divine Spirit, who alone is the efficient cause and real author of the new life in the spirit of man. Baptism is the out ward exhibition of a believer's repentance, whereby he forsakes sin; and of his faith, whereby he lays hold on Christ, and on God's promises in Him. Hence the ascribing to the baptismal ordinance all that is ascribed to it in Holy Writ is only a particular instance of the general fact that in Scripture language a single part of a complex action, and even that part which is most obvious to the senses, is often mentioned for the whole of it; and thus, in this case the whole of the solemn transaction is designated by the external symbol.
Besides this, it should be distinctly marked, first, that whatever efficacy is ascribed to baptism as a divinely-appointed ordinance, the sacred writers are careful to make it plain, that it is by no power or virtue, natural or supernatural, in the water and its application, that the ascribed effects are produced. For if they assure us that as many as were baptized into Christ, put on Christ,' they omit not to declare that it is through faith' that all are the children of God in Christ Jesus,' that it is by one Spirit' that we are baptized into one body.' It is in the name of the Lord Jesus' and by the Spirit of our God,' that sinful men are washed, sanctified, and justified.' The washing of regeneration' is the renewing of the Holy Ghost.' And, secondly, it should be distinctly marked that the persons, whom the baptism is said to have cleansed from sin, to have sanctified and saved, were those who gladly received the Gospel word, who confessed their sins, and who believed in Christ. They were, at any rate, those
*The Ecclesiastical Polity of the New Testament. A study for the present crisis in the Church of England. By the Rev. G. A. Jacob, D.D.
Observer, Sept. 1, '71.
who, as far as man could see, made an honest profession of repentance and faith; who consequently in the economy of the apostolic age, as in all sub sequent times, were spoken of on this hypothesis, and so far as this hypothesis was realised, as being what they credibly professed to be, and who on the ground of such profession were received into the communion of the Church.
Notwithstanding all that has been written by learned men upon this subject, it remains indisputable that infant-baptism is not mentioned in the New Testament. No instance of it is recorded there; no allusion is made to its effects, no directions are given for its administration. However reasonably we may be convinced that we find in the Christian Scriptures the fundamental idea from which infant baptism was afterwards developed, and by which it may now be justified, it ought to be distinctly acknowledged that it is not an apostolic ordinance. Like modern episcopacy it is an ecclesiastical institution legitimately deduced by Church authority from apostolic principles, but not apostolic in its actual existence." Upon this last paragraph the Freeman remarks:
'What these principles are, and how infant-baptism can be deduced from them we are not told. But our author does tell us when infant baptism appears to have arisen, viz., in the third century. He does not even condescend to notice the argument in favour of infant baptism, drawn from the words of Justin Martyr, who says that many aged men, were then alive who have been disciples from boyhood,' as if believing boys were not being constantly baptized among ourselves; nor does he think much more of the words of Irenæus who speaks in one passage of infants being born again; a passage,' says Dr. Jacob, in which infant baptism is not mentioned, and by no means necessarily implied.' We find, then, that infant baptism is not advocated by any writer earlier than Cyprian-the earnest pleader for sacerdotalism and believer in sacramental efficacy. As an established order of the Church, therefore, it belongs to the third century, when its use, and the mode of its administration, and the whole theory of it as a Christian ceremony, were necessarily moulded by the baptismal theology of the time. A circumstance which ought to be distinctly kept in view in every consideration of the subject '—and which we do thus keep in view in the following consideration of it-that an ordinance which was not apostolic, which did not arise till the Church became corrupt and which was moulded by its corrupt theology, is more honoured in the breach than the observance.
We do not quite understand on what principle Dr. Jacob approves of infant baptism, but he evidently regards it as something different from the baptism of the New Testament. 'The language used in the New Testament, when speaking of the baptism of believing men, does not justify the use of the very same terms in the baptism of unconscious infants.' 'It by no means foliows that such haptism should be exactly the same as in the adult believer.' That is, the ecclesiastical baptism of infants is a different thing from the scriptural baptism of believers. Christ enjoined, and the apostles practised, the latter; the humanly deteriorated Church of a later time' instituted the former. This being the case, we think it right to obey not Cyprian, but Paul-not the Church, but Christ-not man, but God."
Other points on which the author fairly brings out New Testament truths are not wanting. We wish the book wide circulation.
Observer, Sept. 1, 71
MRS. BUTLER ON THE REPEAL OF EXISTING DEMORALIZING LAWS. *
THOSE who are not uninstructed in history are aware that when nations become populous and wealthy, and wealth is very unequally distributed, society almost uniformly decays in the most odious immoralities, which, beginning with male profligacy, undermine family life, patriotism, truthfulness, self-respect, and make religion a lie, or a foul excuse for carnality. We see England itself to have reached this crisis. We have seen her Statesmen secretly scoffing at the idea of Christian purity, and enacting laws which assume male chastity to be Utopian and absurd. We know that such demoralization means political slavery, means corrupt tribunals, and corrupt Parliaments, means practical atheism and carnal enormities domineering in private, with necessary misery suffered first and worst by the weakest portion of the nation, its poorer women.
We cannot believe that Christ the Lord would ever have sanctioned the public registration of women by government as the servants of shame. We believe that if the Pharisees had enacted laws for the protection of profligates, Christ would have poured down on them His bitterest invectives. Hence not only Christian women, but the great mass of the most Christian part of this nation turns away with grief and sickness of heart from that page of shame which has recently darkened our nation's history. We feel that England is now on her trial, so to speak, before the whole world. If she do not from this time begin to put away these abominations and to acknowledge higher and purer principles in all her social and political transactions, then her decadence is sure, her role among the nations will soon be played out to the end, and God will assuredly raise up some other race, some nobler nation to take her place as pioneer of the world in all true progress, and as a dispenser of blessings to new communities and distant isles. Ah! how grand, how glorious is the work which England might do, the work to which God is calling her! but how fearful, how imminent are the dangers which threaten her, not from without, but from within. Our hope is in God, that He will raise up His power and come among us, and with great might succour us. If ten righteous men would have saved Sodom, will not tens of thousands of righteous men and women save our Britain? I know that the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our God and of His Christ, though it should involve the annihilation of those who madly resist Him and make a choice of evil.
I would not have you to suppose that I feel much confidence in what legislation can do in making people moral. Its power is limited. It is absolutely necessary to get rid of all unjust, partial, oppressive, and impure laws, for the laws may have little power to make them good, but they have very great power to increase wickedness. Certain laws for the protection of children and to remove injustice to which women are subject are rightly and loudly called for-and we mean to have them. But I hope more, under God, from the collateral movements of the day, from improved education and other things which I need not here specify; but the great thing that has to be done is to create a pure moral tone among men. know nothing for which I am inclined so sternly to blame my country women as for their selfish cowardliness in trying to please men by fashioning their ideas and speech about male and female morality upon the standard which men have set up. I cannot too strongly condemn the cowardice of women
* From a speech at a Public Meeting in Croydon; W. Fowler, M.P., in the chair.