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Observer, Dec. 1, 71.
which the Church does come together? And is it not as necessary that this part should be attended to in the best manner possible, as it is of any other? If not, then why attend to it at all? "Let all things be done decently and in order."
It is possible to hide the attractiveness of the "New Testament ground" by substituting ignorance and vulgarity for simplicity-license for liberty. Too much care cannot be taken to prevent this. If this ground be occupied by the Church in its purity, avoiding extremes, order will reign, fitness be regarded, and the world see that it is adapted, as the Lord intended it to be, for the edification of the most refined and cultured.
With regard to preaching the Gospel, the sooner the too prevalent notion that it must all come from a public platform is dispelled, the better. It is possible to do a positive injury to the cause by such attempts at public preaching as are sometimes made and encouraged. Those who may at present be engaged in such attempts need not be idle if they give them up, but may, most likely, be more useful in some other way; for there is work for each and for all on every hand, without attempting to occupy a position which, as they would probably see in any other sphere of action than the Church they are quite unfitted for.
It cannot be expected that educated and cultured men will come to hear the Gospel, much less be convinced of its truth, unless the platform is occupied by men able to present the same in a manner fit for an educated ear, and with reasoning calculated to carry conviction. This much is also as needful for the comparatively uneducated, for results prove that these latter even are seldom brought to the truth by means of the kind of preaching before mentioned.
It is true that in the present position of the Churches generally, to accomplish all this would be a great work. It cannot be done at once; still, much might be done now and abundantly more in the future by a prayerful determination, from a felt need, to make greater efforts than hitherto to "attract to New Testament ground men of education and
"Prove all things, hold fast that which is good."
W: H. EVANS.
NOTES FROM MANCHESTER.
DURING the last two months Cottonopolis has been favoured with the presence of preaching Lords and Earls; and Professor Huxley has been lecturing on yeast and its suggestive lesson on the origin of life. Aristocrats and philosophers alike are coming before the working and higher classes to advance the claims of Christ, and those of nature in her varied phenomena, to the consideration of all men. It is rather a new thing to hear men of noble blood stand forth before their fellows to make known the unsearchable riches of Christ, and whatever one might say as to the correctness of their theology or the clearness of their answer to the question-What must I do to be saved? still, the earnestness of spirit and brotherly love which Lord Radford and Earl Cavan manifest are worthy of all praise and imitation. Notwithstanding all that men say of the atheistical tendencies of Huxley and Tyndal,-who stood together in Manchester,—still, in a sense, they are doing the Lord's work in opening our eyes to the mysteries of nature, and the infinite wisdom of the great
Observer, Dec. 1, 71.
Creator. If we are studying the book of God's revelation in grace they are doing so in nature. As Huxley says for his co-labourers in this sphere of thought: "We are questioning God." The thought is sublime; and if they fail to regulate their reasonings by our religious standard, still let us be charitable and, for our own part, as Christian philosophers in all our musings, whether on nature's stony record of the past, or her bright though silent utterances from the starry heavens, learn to look from nature up to nature's God.
The Alliance Monster Annual Meeting has also been held, and from the spirit shown and the noble words uttered by men of all ranks in society and shades of religious thought, from that of Archbishop Manning to the most radical Baptist on the same platform, there can be no doubt that this question of the drink traffic and the duty of our legislature to grant a permissive bill for its stoppage on the veto of the ratepayers, promises to be one of the leading problems of the day, and as such demands the calm and prayerful consideration, not only of every citizen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, but especially of those who are seeking for the true well-being of themselves and fellows, and an abundant entrance into the eternal and heavenly Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. And, finally, I may say that our religious circles are being greatly moved by the doings of the Liberation Society, led on by Mr. Miall, M.P. The outspoken and liberal Bishop of Manchester has been breaking a lance with the Liberationists, and wondering why they will not let the Church of England alone with all her endowments, state affinity, and worn-out creeds. Usually clear, liberal, and logical as he is, the Bishop apparently feels that they have got him in a corner; hence his defence is weak, his arguments narrow and inconclusive, although drawn from antiquity and presented with great skill. He wonders why the Nonconformists are so jealous and restive over the apparent wealth of the State Church, and tells them that her ministers are not so rich after all. He does not get £5,000 a year as people say, but only a hundred or two more than the £4,000. And if all the church endowments were divided equally, then her ministers would each receive only about two hundred and fifty pounds a year. Well, why should he complain when Dissenters only wish to help him to help himself, and that the poor curates should no longer be starved upon a miserable pittance of thirty or forty pounds a year and a suit of old clothes, and all or nearly all the work to do, while rich bishops and canons have their thousands for curing souls, many of whom they never
Besides, his antiquarian argument from the times of King Etha aud Ethelwold, and the private gifts to the church by noblemen-many of whom were simply repentant scoundrels, who by fear of death bought themselves out of purgatory and into the favour of the church by illgotten gain, will not stand, because, then, there was no other church than the Roman Catholic, and if the English Church is entitled to her death-bed gifts, then, in all good conscience she has no right to rub out purgatory, penance, and Mariolatry from her creeds, and should go on to say mass for her poor dead souls.
Parliament, however, and public opinion have already declared the right of the state to interfere with his bride, the Church of Ireland, and the policy then inaugurated, despite all cries of clerical Demetriuses, will soon, in God's own time, be applied in divorcing church and state on this side of the channel, making each pay its own way and mind its own busiJ. ADAM.
Observer, Dec. 1, '71.
THE COMING NONCONFORMIST CONFERENCE. THE following circulars indicate the business and desirability of the Nonconformist Conference to be held in Manchester on the 13th and 14th of the present month.
"NONCONFORMIST ASSOCIATION.-Manchester: 63, Brown Street, corner of Booth Street, October 2nd, 1871.-Dear Sir,-In accordance with a resolution passed at a joint meeting of the Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham Nonconformist Committees, a general Conference of Nonconformists will be held in Manchester, on the 13th and 14th of December next, to consider 'The Educational policy of the Government, the general relations of Nonconformists to the Liberal Party, and the necessity of organizing the political power of Nonconformists throughout the kingdom, for the promotion and defence of the principles of Religious Equality.' The Conference will be composed of Delegates from Nonconformist Congregations, Delegates from Local Nonconformist Committees, Delegates from any Nonconformist Organization, such as the Baptist Union, the Congregational Union, the Committee for Sufferings (Society of Friends), Delegates from Nonconformist Meetings called for the purpose of supporting the aims of the Conference, and individuals whose presence the Committee may deem desirable:-and you will render valuable service by co-operating with those in your neighbourhood who sympathize with the object we have in view, and securing the early appointment of such Delegates. It will greatly facilitate the necessary arrangements for the members of the Conference if the Names and Addresses of the Delegates be forwarded as soon as possible to Mr. Jameson, at this Office.-We are, dear Sir, yours,
ALEX. THOMSON, M.A. Hon. Secs. of
R. W. DALE, M.A.
H. W. CROSSKEY, F.G.S. } Birmingham Com.
J. J. STITT, J.P.
Hon. Secs. of
Hon. Secs. of Liverpool Com."
"CENTRAL NONCONFORMIST COMMITTEE.—Town Hall Chambers, 86, New Street, Birmingham, October 31st. 1871.-Dear Sir,-We beg leave to invite your attention to the enclosed circular. The gravity of the conflict in which Nonconformists are engaged has been increased by the speech of Mr. Gladstone at Greenwich. He committed himself, though in hesitating language, to the policy of assisting Denominational Schools out of the local rates. What is, perhaps, of still greater importance, he passed over with silence the manifesto of the Irish Catholic Bishops, in which they claim absolute control over popular education. This silence gives us just reason to fear that in the Government Scheme for Irish Education these claims will be substantially conceded. The defence of the principles of religious freedom against the encroachments both of the Episcopalian and Romish Church rests mainly with the Nonconformists of England and Scotland. We earnestly trust that by appointing Delegates to the Manchester Conference at your Church Meeting, or at a Congregational Meeting called for the purpose, you will assist to make the Conference a success. Will you be good enough to send the form containing the names of your Delegates to the Office of the Central Nonconformist Committee, 86, New Street.-We are, yours truly,
R. W. DALE
H. W. CROSSKEY} Hon. Secretaries." We print the circulars for the purpose of urging those Churches in Lancashire and Yorkshire in which the E. O. circulates to send delegates to Manchester, where (D.V.) we shall be happy to meet them. All we ask for the Bible and Christianity is a fair field. Let the Government find common school education for all children, and let the sects pay for the dissemination of their respective creeds, Let all churches be supported by the voluntary bestowments of those who believe in them; and let the Government know that Liberalism, with Nonconformists, means perfect religious equality, and that they know no man and no Government as Liberal which falls short of that standard. The present Government virtually re-imposes Church rates through the medium of the School rates, and thus subsidizes the State Church and the Roman Catholics. The next step is likely to be that of handing over the education of
Ireland to the Priests.
Observer, Dec. 1, '71.
ALL FOR CHRIST.
LIZZY ASHBROOK was engaged in marriage to a thorough man of the world. George Philips loved his wine, his parties, the racecourse, the theatre, the convivial and free and easy club. The Sabbath was his day of pleasure, and many a time had Lizzy graced his elegant equipage, radiant in beauty, on the holiday, as they swept along. He bore a dashing exterior, was intellectual, a wit, -courted, caressed, admired everywhere.
His brow darkened as he heard
the news. What! the girl of his choice, the woman he would place at the head of his brilliant household, become a canting Christian? Nonsense! he didn't believe it; he would see for himself. He didn't furnish his parlours for prayer meetings; he wanted no long-faced ministers, elders, or "sisters" to visit his wife, not he. It was a ridiculous hoax: it must have originated in the clubroom. What! the daughter of Henry Ashbrook, the freest of free-thinkers? “Ha! a capital joke—a very clever joke-nothing more!"
He called upon her, and his cold eye scanned her from head to foot; but how sweetly, how gently she met him! Surely the voice that was melting music before was heavenly in its tones now. What could it be?
At length, lightly, laughingly, he referred to the report he had heard. For one moment the frame trembled, the lips refused to speak; but this passed, and something like a flush crossed her beautiful face; it lighted the eyes anew, it touched the cheek with a richer crimson, as she replied, George please don't treat it as a jest, for truly, thank God! I have became a Christian. Oh, George," -her clasped hands were laid upon one of his,- "I have only just begun to live. If y you knew
"I will give up all for Christ." The words were very soft and low, and not spoken without reflection.
"Lizzy-Miss Ashbrook-if these are your sentiments, these your intentions, we must go different ways."
This was very cruel: it was a terrible test, for that young girl had, as it were, placed her soul in his keeping. Before a higher, a purer love was born in her heart, she had made up her human love-an absolute idolatry; and the thought of losing him even now caused her cheek to grow ashen, and her eyes dim.
As he saw this, his manner changed to entreaty. He placed before her the position he would give her; lured her by every argument that might appeal to the womanly heart. And he knew how to win by entreaty, by the subtlest casuistry. His was a masterly eloquence. He could adapt his voice his language, his very looks, with the most adroit cunning, to the subject and object of his discussion. More than once the gentle spirit of the young Christian felt as if she must give way-that only help direct from the Fountain of life could sustain her with firmness to resist to the end of the interview.
Observer, Dec. 1, '71.
At last it was a final "All this | promised was with her, and she told will I give you, if you will fall down the story calmly, resolutely, kindly. and worship me!" It came to this, "Christ or me." There could be "And do you intend to be bap‐ no compromise; it was "Christ or me." And standing there, clothed with the mantle of a new and heavenly faith, with its light shining in her heart and playing over her pale features, she said, with a firmness worthy of the martyrs of old,
Though his soul was filled with rage, so that he could have gnashed his teeth, the slight figure standing there in its pure white robes,-the
eye that cast an earnest upward glance, the brow that seemed to have grown white with spirit-light, -the attitude, so self-possessed yet so modest, so quiet, yet so eloquent, filled him with a strange, admiring But the hostility towards religion was so strong in his heart, that it bore down all his tenderness, almost crushed his love, and he parted from her for the first time coldly and like a stranger.
The engagement was broken off; but who can tell the struggle it cost?
This was but the first trial; there came another while yet the blow lay heavy on her heart.
Her father had never been very loving towards her. Yet he was proud of her; she was the brightest gem of his splendid home. She was beautiful, and gratified his vanity; she was intellectual, and he heard praise lavished upon her mind with a miser's greedy ear, for she was his -a part of himself-she belonged to him.
He called her into his study, and required a minute account of the whole matter. He had heard rumours, he said; had seen a surprising and not agreeable change in her; she had grown mopish, quiet; what was the cause? It was a great trial, with that stern, unbelieving face, full of hard lines, opposite, to stand and testify for Christ. But He who has
Yes, sir." A gleam of hope enterred her heart; she did not expect his approval, but she could not think he might refuse to sanction this important step.
"You know your Aunt Eunice has long wanted you to become an inmate of her home?"
"Yes, sir," the gentle voice faltered.
She did forsake all for Him; but her step became slow, her form wasted, her eye hollow, her cheek sunken. The struggle had been too much for a frame unable to cope with any overwhelming sorrow. Swiftly she went down into the valley; but it was not dark to her. Too late the man who had so sorely tempted her knelt by the side of her bed, and implored her forgiveness. Too late? No, not too late for his own salvation, for in that hour his eyes were opened to the sinfulness of his life, and by her dying pillow he promised solemnly to give his heart to God. Her father, too, proud infidel though he was, looked on his wasted child, triumphing over death, with wonder and with awe. Such a dying scene it is the privilege of but few to witness. She had given up all absolutely, all, for Christ, and in the last hour she, like Stephen, saw heaven open. Her face was angelic, her language rapture, her chamber the gate of