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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
Observer, Dec. 1, '71
is for him by knowledge to have a larger function. It is for him to have moral sentiment. It is for him
How many there are that are laborious, and live, as the great mass of the human family must live, by the mere exercise of mechanical to strike through life higher and power! And that is not a misfortune necessarily. But how many men are satisfied with that! How many are contented to work, and to think just enough to get that which they shall eat and drink, and a place wherein to sleep, and have a little low social merriment! Their whole ambition in life is filled by these few things. They care for nothing further. It is that which is a misfortune. It is a misfortune that a man should have no strong ambition to make him feel that he must have something more than the animal has mere mechanism. It is not for a man to be simply a machine. It is not for him to be content with that. It is for him to desire knowledge. It
nobler conceptions and impulses. It is for him to seek out above his work, or by his work, or beyond his work, something that the soul can enjoy— something for the imagination; something for the moral and spiritual sentiments. That is the business of every man, no matter how poor he is. That is one reason, I think, why God has given us so much to know in nature-for nature is a man's library who knows how to seek for knowledge. Nature is every man's picture gallery who knows how to hunger after and appreciate beauty. Nature is every man's portfolio, and herbarium, and garden. Nature is full of instruction to those who have a heart for knowledge.—Beecher.
THE REGULAR MEETING.
In the regular evening meeting
It puzzled the soul of the angel
But sick and sinful hearts he saw,
They were silent, but said to the angel,
"Our lives have need of Him!"
While doubt with dull, vague, throbbing pain,
Stirred through their spirit dim.
You could see 'twas the regular meeting,
When the book was read, and the hymn was sung,
First came the long preamble-
He had been, ere the Lord his prayer had heard,
Then a volume of information
Poured forth, as if to the Lord,
Then he prayed for the Church and the Pastor,
And the Sunday-School, and the Choir,
And the swarming hordes of India,
And the perishing, vile, Chinese,
And the millions who bow to the Pope of Rome,
And the outcast remnants of Judah,
He prayed, or he told the Lord he prayed,
For everything out of hell.
Now if all of that burden had really
Been weighing upon his soul,
'Twould have sunk him through to the China side,