« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
Observer, Feb. 1, '71.
the truth of the great facts of Christianity, shall be explained on the supposition that no such facts ever occurred? That all this is myth, and fable, and delusion.
Hard would be the task of the infidel if he were to undertake this. It was too much for Mr. Gibbon, and he therefore set himself to the work of showing how, on the admision of these main facts, the propagation of the religion could be explained on the supposition that it had not a Divine origin. It was too much for Strauss, and he, therefore, set himself to the task of showing how, on the supposition that Jesus lived, the system of Christianity could be made to grow around a few central truths, representing in imagned action the ideas of deceivers and impostors. It was too much for Renan, who, admitting the main facts in the New Testament, and attributing to the Founder of the system unequalled genius, and a power of which he became slowly conscious, accompanied with much self-delusion, attempted to show how He originated a system designed to overturn all existing systems, and a system that did accomplish it. Each and all of these things go to confirm the position which I have endeavoured to establish in this lecture, that time does not materially affect the evidence of the great facts of history; that what was properly believed at the time when the events occured may be properly believed now; that if the historic records were lost, we could reproduce many of the leading events of the history of the world. In particular, if the New Testament were destroyed, we could reproduce from other sources the main facts pertaining to the life and death of the Founder of Christianity, on which the religion was propagated and received, and the great features of the system as it was first propounded to the world.”
HEALING LEAVES; GATHERED BY WALTER LUDBROOK.-London. FIFTY-ONE One-page Temperance Tracts bound up as specimens, and forming a useful statement on the great subject of temperance. The purchaser will get information enough for the twopence charged for the same. The quantity and quality of the pages may be seen from the one following
OUR GREAT NATIONAL CURSE.
1.-Destruction of Grain.-64,000,000 bushels of grain are annually destroyed in the manufacture of intoxicating liquors in this country. This grain would produce 9,000,000 sacks of flour. Each sack would produce 94 4lb. loaves. This sum, multiplied by nine, gives us 846,000,000 of 4lb. loaves; a quantity sufficient to furnish three loaves every week to each family in the United Kingdom.
2.-Quantity of Liquor consumed.-100,000,000 of gallons of intoxicating liquors are annually consumed. This would make a river three feet deep, 36 feet wide, and 168 miles long; a body of liquor capable of floating the entire British Fleet.
3.-Sunday Work.-40,000 persons are regularly compelled to break the Sabbath to attend to the manufacture of these liquors; 250,000 regularly retail these liquors every Sunday.
4.-Number of Drinking Temptations in England and Wales.-The host of dealers in strong drinks is 350,000 strong. 90,000 are Public-houses and 62,000 Beer-houses. The remainder are grocers and other shopkeepers who sell for consumption off the premises.
5.-Expenditure on Intoxicating Liquors.—In 1867 the expenditure was £100,000,000. This is (1) About £24,000,000 in excess of the gross public expenditure. (2) Five or six times the interest of the National Debt. (3) One-third the value of all our imports. (4) Over half the value of British produce exported. (5) Nearly eight times the amount paid into our savings banks. (6) Five times the amount of all the Railway net receipts. (7) Six times the annual rateable value of all the property in the metropolis. (8) £1 spent in drink for every 2d. contributed to Christian missions. (9) Equal to one-eighth of the gross annual income of the people of England; and (10) Eighty times the total of the annual incomes of all the charitable and religious institutions which have their head quarters in the British capital.
6.-Our Revenue the price of Blood.-The revenue derived by Government for sanctioning the sale of liquor is £24,000,000. The machinery required by Government to attend to the evils resulting from the use of liquor costs the nation more than double the revenue derived from strong drink.
7.-What the Nation pays for the doings of Drink.-The annual cost to the nation for the crime, pauperism, disease, loss of life, time, property, premature death, &c., (saying nothing of the army of 25,000 policemen), is upwards of £50,000,000.
Observer, Feb. 1, 71
8.-Labour Market affected by Drink.— 1,000,000 more people in the United Kingdom could be employed were the money spent in intoxicating liquors turned into channels for the production of clothing, good food, or any other necessity of life. In the manufacture of 20s. worth of ale or beer only 1s. 9d. go to the labourer, whereas, in the manufacture of silks, blankets, clothes, and articles in general use, 12s. go to the labourer.
IS CHRISTIANITY OF DIVINE
ORIGIN. REPORT OF DEBATE
BETWEEN D. KING AND C. BRADLAUGH.
A PORTION of the opening speech will enable the reader to discern the course marked out by the advocate of Christianity
'Christianity, if of Divine origin, cannot be destitute of supernatural attestation. You are entitled to demand miracles in support of its claims. That demand we are prepared to meet. At the first it was attested by miracles, and miracles will attest it to the end of the dispensation. I do not say that our present miraculous attestation is of the same kind as that which accompanied the early proclamation of the gospel, but we have that which is sufficient for the requirements of the case.
The miracles of Christianity may be divided into two classes :-the one class for the generation living when they were wrought, and the other for periods then future and distant.
Man is possessed of physical and intellectual power. Beyond a given line he cannot go. By an exertion of physical power he can move certain bodies, but he cannot move a mountain. By an exercise of intellectual power he may calculate some of the effects of present continental movements. But no man can tell who shall rule England three hundred years hence, nor predict the then character of its government, nor give a list of its ministry. To move the mountain would require supernatural physical power; and to map out the future in the way described can only be accomplished by supernatural intellectual power. Applying these remarks to the subject in hand the case stands thus -Man cannot do the works attributed to Christ-the walking upon the sea, giving sight to the born blind, healing the sick, raising the dead. Nor is there power in nature to bring one from the dead, as Christ is said to have been brought after blood and water from His side had given evidence of actual death. So, on the other hand, it is impossible by an exercise of power appertaining to our race, or inherent in nature, to foretell the rise, character, decline and fall of nations, and events not less remarkable, as has been done by those who claim to have spoken by the Holy Spirit. If we prove this to be the case it will then be established that God has spoken to man and that, therefore, Christianity is of Divine origin.
We might offer various proofs of the numerous, public, beneficial displays of supernatural power put forth by Christ and His apostles, did time permit. I must, however, on this head, be content with insisting that the early extensive progress of Christianity cannot be accounted for except by miracles. It must be remembered that the first advocates of Christianity were few, poor, uneducated for the most part, and uninfluential. They could use no force themselves, nor had they help from Jew or Roman. They were subjected to fierce opposition and persecution.
Of the vast early progress of Christianity there can be no doubt. The Emperor Trajan died A.D. 117. Pliny, about A.D. 107, wrote to the Emperor for instruction as to what he should do with the numerous Christians who everywhere avowed their faith in Christ. He intimated that great numbers were examined, some by torture, and he further saidSuspending, therefore, all judicial proceedings, I have recourse to you for advice: for it has appeared to me a matter highly deserving consideration, especially upon account of the great number of persons who are in danger of suffering. For many of all and every rank, of both sexes likewise, are accused, and will be accused. Nor has the contagion of this superstition seized cities only, but the lesser towns also and the open country. Nevertheless it seems to me that it may be restrained and corrected. It is certain that the temples, which were almost forsaken, begin to be more frequented and the sacred solemnities, after a long intermission are revived.'
Now let it be observed that this was the state of the case A.D. 107—that is within about 70 years of the death of Christ. Further that this state of things had then existed for some time, as the solemnities of the heathen temples' had been subjected to a 'long intermission,' though they were then somewhat reviving by means of severe persecution. Turning to the infidel historian, Gibbon, we have not only this vast early spread of Christianity admitted, but the fact is accounted for, in part, by reference to the miracles.
Observer, Feb. 1, '71
He says 'A pure and humble religion gently insinuated itself into the minds of men, grew up in silence and obcurity, derived new vigour from opposition, and finally erected the triumphant banner of the cross upon the ruins of the capitol.' Again he says-'It will, perhaps, appear that it was most effectually favoured and assisted by five following causes. Among the five he names—' The miraculous power which was ascribed to the primitive Churches ''The pure and austere morals of the Christians'-'The union and discipline of the Christian Republic."
Thus, then, the Heathen and the Infidel attest the progress of Christianity and the latter calls in the aid of miracles to account for the fact. Nor can it be otherwise accounted for. It has been well said that its first propagators had for adversaries—' the national pride of the Jews; the implacable hatred of the Sanhedrim; the brutal despotism of the Roman Emperors; the raileries and attacks of the philosophers; the libertinism and caste-spirit of the pagan priests; the savage and cruel ignorance of the masses; the faggots and bloody games of the circus; they had an enemy in every miser; every debauched man; every drunkard; every thief; every murderer; every proud man; every slanderer; every liar. Not one of the vices, in fact, which abuse our poor humanity, which did not constitute itself their adversary. To combat so many enemies, and surmount so many obstacles, they had only their ignorance; their poverty; their obscurity; their weakness; their fewness; the cross and miracles.' Miracles of healing and of other displays of supernatural physical power wrought by Christ and His apostles, were intended as demonstrations, to the people then living, of their claim to be received as ambassadors from God. On the other hand PROPHECY (which is not less supernatural) supplies miraculous attestation, not to the people to whom the prophecies are uttered, but to those of the time of their fulfillment and, subsequently, to all who know that they were recorded before their accomplishment and are sufficiently definite and complex to render certain that they could not result from human forecast
PROPHECY, then, is a standing miracle in evidence of Christianity. It is enough in itself, though there is enough without it, to render certain that God has spoken to man and that Christianity is Divine. Prophecy offers a vast field, in which we might roam for more than our nine nights, but there are only two evenings devoted to the present inquiry, and, as I shall have to pay attention to matters introduced by the other side, I can devote but little more than an hour to this important branch of evidence, and, therefore, only some three or four distinct prophecies can come under notice.
So far as the Old Testament is concerned, I shall, perhaps, fall back chiefly upon the Book of Daniel. The first question is-Did the Old Testament, or this particular book of the Old Testament, exist before the time when it is alleged the predictions were fulfilled? I answer, 'Yes,' and give one fact in proof, viz., that of the translation of the Old Testament into Greek, say some 250 years before the introduction of Christianity. This Greek translation (known as the Septuagint), then renders us certain that the Old Testament existed long before the days of the apostles of Christ. This cannot be gainsaid, and I need no more as the foundation of my argument.
Now turn to the book of Daniel. Observe! I do not care when the book was written; nor whether you admit Daniel as its author, I only insist, that it was known two or three hundred years before the introduction of Christianity. I do not for one moment admit that it was not in existence long before that, but I do not at this time so assert because my argument requires no more than I have now affirmed.”
For the arguments presented, in the line indicated by the foregoing, and for the evasion on the other side, the reader can consult the Report, by which he may be both amused and instructed, if, indeed, one can feel amused at the folly of the infidel.
Intelligence of Churches, &q.
NOTTINGHAM DISTRICT ASSOCIATION OF CHRISTIAN CHURCHES.-The Sixth Annual Gathering of the Churches, united for cooperation, took place in Salem Chapel, Barker Gate, Nottingham. J. W. Dawson, of the Bulwell Church, presided. The Churches were represented by those whose names are appended to this Report, who were accompanied by forty or fifty brethren.
Edward Evans, Evanglist, was also present. The New Brinsley brethren gave a good account of the progress of the truth, stating their urgent need for a larger place of meeting. The same want was felt at Green Hill Lane, and after the possibility of helping these Churches had been discussed, a collection was set on foot for the latter Church, which had commenced a fund for building
purposes. The Brinsley Church has some prospect of having a larger meeting place ere long. The Derby Church reported steadfastness and peace. A Sunday School has been recently commenced. Bro. Banbury, late of Leicester, now of Mansfield, reported his having carried the truth into that town; and that two had been immersed into Christ. He begged the meeting to send preachers to their assistance. Mans field was therefore added to the list of Churches and placed on the preachers' plan. It was also resolved that preaching assistance be sent to Loughbro' if desired. No communication having been received from the Leicester Church, as to their withdrawal from this association of Churches in favour of Birmingham, and the names of their brethren being still on the plan for this district, it was agreed that Leicester be continued on the list for another year until their views be fully known. The accounts from the other Churches, Nottingham, Langley, Loughbro, Bulwell, Marehay, and Carlton, were of a hopeful and cheering character. They all testified of unity, love, and peace abounding and brighter prospects. On Nottingham and Bulwell rested the work chiefly of sending out the Gospel, but others were coming into the field. Nottingham brethren had this year made 106 visits to surrounding Churches. Several Churches acknowledged the counsel and assistance they had received from Bro. Evans. About eighty sat down to dinner provided by the hospitality of the Nottingham Church. In the afternoon the business was resumed and a variety of subjects affecting the interests of the Churches were discussed, ending with an earnest exhortation from the president that the preachers should preach Christ-plain Scriptural teaching. The usual tea meeting was then held, about 120 sitting down. The Christians' full flow of soul followed in a meeting the like we had never seen before, long to be remembered by all, as from twelve or thirteen brethren (some fathers, some new converts) the testimonies to the power of the truth proceeded, filling the hearts of all with gladness, thanksgiving, and praise, to God and Christ, to whom be all glory for ever and ever. Amen. The delegates present, were-C. Cook, New BrinsleyJ. W Dawson, Bulwell-J. Britton, Carlton-R. Tomlinson, Derby-J. Heaps, Green Hill Lane-J. Brett, LangleyA. Darby, Loughbro'-E. Banbury, Mansfield-E. Manful, Nottingham-A. Hartshorn, Marehay.
BRIGHTON.-We acknowledge with gratitude our Heavenly Father's presence with us in the preaching of the Gospel. Five have been added to our number by immer
Observer, Feb. 1, '71
sion. Bro. Ellis is leaving us for awhile to visit the church in Chelsea. We know not how to spare him, but pray that his labours there may be blessed, and that he may speedily return to us laden with the bles sings of the Gospel of Peace. R. STILL.
LOUGHBOROUGH, December 21.-I have pleasure in stating that two sisters made Lord's day last. We are thus encouraged the good confession and were baptized on to look forward for more responses to the invitations of the Gospel. A. DARBY.
CARLISLE.-We had five baptisms the We have been much week before last. pleased with Bro. Strang's visit; he is a W. BROWN. labourer of the right kind.
MARYBOROUGH, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA.— The cause of Christ, commenced here in the year 1862, has for some time been in a very languishing condition, arising from the removal of several members to other localities; from those remaining being located very far apart; and from there being no evangelist. The few brethren, however, continued to hold together, observing the institutions of the Lord's house, and endeavouring to bear their testimony to the truth. At length, in the last week of July, Bro. Surber came amongst us for the first time, for a brief visit and to introduce our Bro. Wright, who was prepared to devote himself to the work of an evangelist. Bro. Surber com menced his public labours here on the evening of Friday, the 29th July, by addres sing an audience of about fifty persons, which included several of the brethren who had come a distance of fourteen miles through pelting rain in order to be present. The audience were evidently favourably im pressed, and from that night went on increasing at almost every meeting, till the chapel could hold no more. Meetings were held on the Lord's-day, and three other evenings of the week, at which Bro. S. spoke eloquently and earnestly of the glorious gospel in its various relations to man. The ear of the people was thus gradually gained, the interest continued to deepen, and the numbers to increase, whilst during the addresses the attention was riveted. Still, it was not till the second week's labours were closing that one man responded to our brothers' appeals, came forward and confessed Christ. In the third week three were restored to the Church, and four other persons came forward, including two who had been members of the Wesleyan Society. This roused opposition, and during the fourth week, lectures were given to counter act Bro. Surber's teachings; nevertheless the meetings were crowded, many were
Observer, Feb. 1, '71.
unable to gain admission; and during that week eight persons came forward. At the close of the fourth week Bro. S. was obliged to leave for Melbourne, and so occasioned a break in the interest; but on his return on the following Wednesday, the congregation at once rallied, and fresh interest was manifested. Bro. S. was now accompanied by Bro. Wright, who assisted in the services. The Methodist ministers had previously appeared as opponents of our principles; the Episcopalian minister now came for ward in the same way, and announced a continuation of discourses with the same object. It was now considered incumbent on Bro. S. to appear more prominently in support of our principles, and accordingly the largest hall in the town was engaged, in which on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, the 6th and 8th September, Bro. S. lectured on the "Mode and Subjects of Baptism to crowded audiences, notwithstanding the then prevailing rains and floods. The attention was most respectful, and many were led to think. The services were still continued in the chapel, and this week thirteen persons came forward, and confessing Christ, were baptized into His name. Friday evening, the 9th, closed Bro. Surber's labours and the special effort thus conducted with so much zeal and talent, and love. The immediate result of this effort is, the addition of twenty-seven members to the Church of Christ here-namely, twenty by faith and baptism, five by restoration, and two received from other churches, besides six others baptized and added to the church at Adelaide Lead. A general congregation has been brought together, the Sunday school has been materially increased, much misapprehension and prejudice have been corrected, many have been led to "search the Scriptures," and we trust an impetus has been given to the cause which will be continued. Our Bro Wright has commenced his labours under encouraging circumstances. At each of the two meetings he has conducted since Bro. Surber's departure two persons came forward and confessed the Saviour. For all these successes we feel we are, under God, indebted to our Bro. Surber's self-denying labour of love. He came among us a stranger, but his amenity and kindness, as well as Christian zeal and talent, have secured a hold on our affections and gratitude which we desire to cherish through life. We have but one regret-Bro. Surber's extreme labour has told painfully on his health. Will the brethren unite with us in praying that his valuable life may be long spared for the Master's work, and that the "Good Lord will also raise up and send forth many more such labourers into his vineyard." GEORGE HESKETH.
MELBOURNE.-September 23rd, 1870.During this month fifteen have been added. G. L. S.
THE MORMONS.--The Mormon question has been one of much concern to many persons; and many unpleasant predictions have been made with regard to efforts which should be made to remove the excrescence of polygamy from their social habits, and to bring the territory thoroughly under the control of the government. But the autocracy of Brigham Young, and his "manywived system," may be safely said to have had their best days. Within a few months past a well defined opposition to Brigham has set in, and is rapidly increasing in strength. His once supreme authority over Utah is now openly defied, and his pretended infallibility heretofore acknowledged, is now being invalidated. A schism under the lead of Godbe, is increasing its forces, and Gentile influence is rapidly extending. The Methodists, Episcopalians, and other Christian denominations are establishing churches and schools, and are drawing converts from the Mormon ranks. Within the past few days, Mr. T. B. H. Stenhouse, for years the editor of the Telegragh in Salt Lake City, and allied by a "plural marriage," with Brigham Young, has been in Washington City, consulting the President and other officials in regard to affairs in Utah. He his a man of ability, and although a polygamist, is in favour of prohibiting such marriages in the future. He also desires the Government to establish guarantees for the exercise of the rights and liberties of all the people of the territory. This visit of Mr. Stenhouse is full of significance, and taken in connection with many other important circumstances, justifies the prediction of the speedy downfall of Mormonism in its present obnoxious forms. Chris. Stand.
EDINBURGH, January 10, 1870.-Our esteemed Bro. Somerville, died on Friday last, aged 57 years. It is now almost five years since I intimated in the Harbinger the death of Bro. Thomas H. Milner, and since then the church in Edinburgh has not suffered a loss equal to that which it has sustained in the demise of Bro. Somerville. As he was personally known to many brethren both in England and Scotland, as well as in America, a brief notice of his life, will not be unacceptable. Early in life he became a Christian, and having married in Edinburgh his sister-wife, who remains to mourn his loss, he left for the United States of America. Being a printer, he was, for some time, employed in the office of the late Alexander Campbell at Bethany. While there he attended some of the