Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

Observer, Jan. 1, "72.

ren.

look round and find mutual teaching in Christ's Church. Forthwith the platform is ascended, and the good brother talks. He supposes that it is his right to talk ; but he has lost sight altogether of the qualification necessary to the exercise of that right—the capability of edifying his breth

“ Let all things be done unto edifying. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace to the hearer.”' If a brother cannot speak to edification, let him be content with other labour, and seek every opportunity of gaining knowledge to fit himself for future usefulness in that department; but let him not take up the time of the church and distress visitors with that which does not edify. The church is not all tongue. Time may fit him for what he is not now fitted.

“ Heaven is not reached at a single bound,

But we build the ladder by which we rise

From the lowly earth to the vaulted skies,
And we mount its summit round by round.
I count this thing to be grandly true,

That a noble deed is a step toward God,

Lifting the soul from the common sod
To a finer air and a broader view.
We rise by the things that are under our feet ;

By what we have mastered of good and gain ;

By the pride deposed and the passion slain,

And the vanquished foes that we hourly meet." The brother of humble ability may be a very useful member of the church, though he never speak in public; while, on the other hand, if he will publicly talk, he may become a stumbling block to many, and be eventually himself a great loser. “Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another. If a man think himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. Be not deceived, God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap."

"We are all equal !” Yes, in some things, blessed be God! Christ suffered death for all. The souls of the poor are as precious as the souls of the rich. The learned man is no more acceptable to Christ than the most ignorant. All are sinners, and as such have equal need of Christ's cleansing blood. Al who come to Christ must bow before the cross as penitent

believers in His work of redeeming love, whether prince or peasant, black or white. “God is no respecter of persons ; but in every nation he that feareth him and worketh righteousness is accepted with him.” Nothing that we have, nothing that we are, stands by us when the cry goes forth from us." What shall we do to be saved ?" The same answer,

the same simple gospel, the same Saviour. The commission given was—“Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature : he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." This is the grand equality of which we can boast-children of God and joint heirs with Christ !

But our various relations to society are not altered. We are employers and employed, masters and servants, parents and children, rulers and ruled : and in each relation our striving should be to show forth the beauty and glory of the religion we profess. And if we would avoid contentions, divisions and strife, let us seek to be more like Him " who, though equal with God, made himself of no reputation.” Subordination to those who have the rule, prompt but proper discipline, fidelity to one another in the matter of offences and sins, and loving forbearance one to

Observer, Jan. 1, '72.

the other, would render divisions impossible and save many from stumbling. Our King is perfect, and His laws are good and righteous altogether. Let us strive earnestly to uphold them, and to "keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

LOUISE. Birmingham.

OUR DYING CHURCHES IN AMERICA.-No. III.

some

can

(Continued from p. 404.) We have noted that there always have been and always will be dying churches ; and that, consequently, the intimation that in America “ hundreds of churches, pleading for a return to the original order, are said to be dying," is not wonderfully remarkable nor alarming, when taken along with the fact that the number of churches and members has never been greater than at present. At the same time we were free to admit that

losing at one end nearly as many as we were gaining at the other” not be accepted as satisfactory. But dying churches there must be, however satisfactory our position may become. The American Christian Missionary Board, as cited on another page, reports thus :—"Take Western Virginia, for example: outside of the Pan Handle (whose ten churches are more or less cared for) there have been fifty-five churches formed by Bro. Myers, the State Secretary. He has just completed a tour of hundreds of miles on horseback, visiting and encouraging the hearts of many, 'setting in order the things that are wanting. Many little companies of them can scarcely be called churches,” etc. Now, in the very nature of the case, some of these churches will be reduced in number, by removals and other causes, and cease to exist.

The remedy and the safe-guard, as we have shown, seems to be, in the opinion of certain leading brethren in America, the setting over each church a competent pastor ; by which they mean, a man hired to take the pastoral oversight thereof. But if that be the remedy, then to us it is certain that it can never be applied ; and were it possible, it would be as unlike anything we find in the Apostolic Church as anything that could be devised The truth is, that the one-man pastor scheme is a failure the wide world over. The denominations are brought to a standstill by it; they have a large number of churches without pastors, and as many pastors without churches, because the churches will not have them. The working of this scheme is to make small churches next to impossible. The one preacher does not attract unless he be a man of exceptional ability, and then his market value is far beyond the reach of small churches ; besides which, could the money question be met by gifts direct from some land of gold the difficulty would scarcely be less, for duly qualified men, in anything like the requisite number, do not exist, and cannot be prepared. We say this not in relation to our own churches merely, but in reference to the denominations as a whole. From a recent article in the Christian World we cite these words

There may be many persons moving in Nonconformist circles who will be surprised to learn that the supply of Congregational ministers is by no means equal to the demand. They do not know many churches without ministers; they do know a good many ministers without churches. Nevertheless, there is, says the Rev. David Thomas, of Bristol, in his paper on the subject read at Swansea--and now published in a sixpenny

Observer, Jan. 1, '72.

not get.

[ocr errors]

success.

pamphlet—no want of our churches more deeply felt than that of 'a supply of ministers adequate in its quality as well as amount, to the necessities of our time.' This mode of putting the case may, perhaps, make it more manifest. It is not so much a matter of quantity as of quality. Heads enough, as Matthew Wilks said to the student whose sermon he was criticising, “but no brains in them.' Ministers enough we may, perhaps, say, but not ministers of marked ability, not even of average pulpit power. Churches wanting pastors have to look long and anxiously for the man they need, and, it is said, in most of our larger towns new congregations could easily be gathered, and chapels put up to receive them, if only suitable ministers could be found to fill such posts. The colleges are very naturally looked to for the article required, but colleges cannot produce what Churches ask for except they have a liberal supply of the raw material, and this, it is affirmed, and, it is generally admitted, they do

To the churches they must look for the young men who are to be the future pastors of churches, and the young men do not come, at least, not of the calibre nor to the extent that might be hoped for. Our colleges,' says Mr. Thomas, have not made provision for training to the ministry a number nearly sufficient to meet this want (of the churches) ; but, taken altogether, they have made provision for considerably greater number than avail themselves of it; and of those found within these walls, it is the oft-expressed regret that a larger proportion does not give the promise of more than ordinary service '—which means, we presume, that there are too few who give promise of attaining even average ministerial

Young men of advanced education, or of such natural qualifications as “are required and found in those who succeed in the other important pursuits of educated life,' do not press forward with panting breath to recruit the ranks of the ministry. To inquire into the causes of this paucity of ministerial candidates is, of course, a serious matter with Congregational Churches and their pastors, as it must also be with all other religious bodies who are affected in like manner, and there are scarcely any, it would seem, which are not."

Here, then, we find that chapels could be erected and churches formed if only ministers of sufficient ability could be found. But they are not forthcoming, and so the matter rests. This, too, is not the case with the Independents merely, but, according to the foregoing, there are scarcely any religious bodies not similarly affected. Now in England and Wales the Independents (not including Baptists) have nearly three thousand churches. The ministers of that denomination in England number over one thousand nine hundred, and in Wales over five hundred. The colleges, not including those of the Baptists, are eleven in number; and yet the onepastor system fails—men of ample ability cannot be found to fill the pulpits that are, and more are not erected because there are not suitable occupants for them. The Baptists are, of course, in no better plight than the Independents, and the whole thing stands forward clearly incompetent to gain the end desired.

But how is it that so many of our churches in America have gone after the one-man-pastor plan, seeing that the testimony of A. Campbell and that of the pioneers of the movement was most clear and strong in the opposite direction ? This last question is deeply interesting, and the answer, if correctly given, should reveal not only the cause of the departure, but the remedy for the evil. In our next we shall (D.V.) aim at contributing somewhat to that answer.

D.K.

Observer, Jan. 1, '72.

THE COMING NONCONFORMIST CONFERENCE. The Conference appointed to be held in Manchester on the 13th and 14th of last month was deferred in consequence of the then dangerous condition of the Prince of Wales. We understand that January 23rd is fixed for opening the Conference. Over seventeen hundred delegates were appointed to represent churches or meetings. We presume the number will not be decreased by the delay. But what does it mean? This: the Nonconformists of this country are now about to take a position, politically, which they have not before taken. They have been long essential to the Liberal Party, and have allowed themselves to be used for the exigencies of that party, while the principle of religious equality have been dragged in the mire to suit the convenience of this that and the other so-called liberal government. Now they mean this kind of thing to end and to support no man and no government whose policy is opposed to perfect religious freedom and equality. This movement indicates the speedy liberation of religion from State control. Let every one who can give effect to the effort, see that his arm is ready and his weapons in good order.

ED.

Intelligence of Churches, &c.

SPITTAL (From the Berwick Advertiser.) , they imagined, an opening in their own OPENING OF A NEW PLACE OF WORSHIP.- place of abode (for the majority of them “ Christian tabernacles are niultiplying in resided in Spittal) for the propagation of Spittal. For very many years a branch their doctrines, they seceded from the Bapchurch of the U.P. denomination has been tist connection. For some time they worin existence in this place; of quite a recent shipped in a loft belonging to Mr. Councillor date a chapel of ease in connection with the Boston, situated nearly opposite to the lifeChurch of England was built, and on Sun- boat house station ; but they were recently day last a third place of worship-nameless obliged to quit this place. By the aid of among the multitude of sectarian churches donations from friends at a distance, and -was opened with religious services. The their own pecuniary help, they succeeded, designation given to this new building is however, in raising sufficient funds to warthat of Christian Meeting House, and the rant them erecting a place of worship for congregation worshipping in it-deploring themselves. The Meeting House is situated the many divisions in the church, and aiming in the Back Street, or rather that portion of at the union of all denominations---follow the Back Street dubbed with the fashionable the form of worship instituted by the title of Prince's Street. It is a plain, onePrimitive Church, and make the sacred storey building, and capable of accommodaScriptures their guide for church govern- ting comfortably two hundred persons. On ment and congregational discipline. Creeds Sunday last the opening services were conand theological Confessions of Faith are ducted by Mr. J. Strang, Glasgow, and Mr. completely ignored by this religious body, E. Evans, Derby. The former Evangelist, and they consider that they, as it were, set as the preachers or teachers connected with an example to the Protestant Church to this body are called, delivered an address eschew all dogmas and tenets, and unite on in the afternoon on The elements of Wor: the common ground of Biblical belief. So ship in the Primitive Church,' and the much for the religious profession of this new latter Evangelist preached in the evening on congregation in our midst; a word now in the subject, The judgment to come.' reference to the origin of the Meeting House. The Meeting House was filled at all the The chief promoters and supporters of this services. On Monday evening a social place of worship were formerly connected meeting was held in the new place of worwith the Baptist Chapel in Castlegate, but ship, which was crowded. Mr. J. Rae a change to some extent came over their presided, and in taking the chair, he religious line of thought, and perceiving, as expressed the ploasure it afforded him to

[ocr errors]

Observer, Jan. 1, '72,

occupy the position of chairman. It was they extended a kindly hand to all in the exceedingly gratifying to the friends that three countries who claimed a stone of the the invitation to join with them in com- Christian Meeting House at Spittal. The memorating the opening of their new place of meeting was rendered very enjoyable by the worship had met with such a hearty response. singing of a few sacred pieces by a choir The question, the Chairman proceeded to conducted by Mr. Rutherford, and also by observe, naturally arose- What is the the vocal efforts of Mr. Geo. Glover, Bedobject of the present gathering? They had lington, who sang, to the entire appreciation only to look around, and they saw a new of the audience, two sacred songs. Mr. E. house. But what was the object to be Evans and Mr. Marsden, Bedlington, sang served in building the house? The answer a hymn first in Welsh, and afterwards in was—That they might therein worship their English, to the amusement and delight of Heavenly Father, and devote all their ener- the audience. Votes of thanks having been gies in it to His cause. In regard to the respectively passed to the speakers, vocalists, undertaking, he need hardly say that most and Chairman, the social meeting terminapersons resident in Spittal were aware that ted by Mr. Nimmo pronouncing the benefor some months past they had been in the diction. Evangelistic services have been habit of assembling regularly in another conducted in the Meeting House every place on the first day of the week, for the evening during the present week. On purpose of the Breaking of the Bread and Tuesday evening Mr. J. Strang spoke on proclaiming the Gospel. The landlord of Salvation; its nature and extent;' on the place requiring the premises in connec- Wednesday evening Mr. E. Evans had for tion with his business, they were under the the subject of his address • Temptation and necessity of leaving, and that evening they sin vanquished by Jesus,' (part 1st) and could return their previous landlord à last night Mr. Strang again delivered an hearty vote of thanks for bidding them address, founding his observations on the depart-(applause) – for they were now subject The Gospel and its conditions.' seated in a comfortable place of worship, To-night Mr. Evans is announced to deliver and this change, brought about by Divine the second part of his address on TemptaProvidence, had bestirred them to put forth tion and sin vanquished by Jesus.”” greater energies for the dissemination of the A brother from Spittal writes as follows : great truths of the Gospel. With regard Bro. Evans is still labouring with us. Our to the building in which they were now Lord's day evening meetings are well assembled, it had not been erected without attended; the house is filled with a highly united effort, and the work had been accom- appreciative audience. On the third evenplished in a wonderfully short time. They ing a female made the good confession commenced the cause in Spittal on the 26th before several witnesses, and we have reason March last, and their membership then to believe others are on the verge of decision. numbered 37; their roll of members now Prejudice seems to be giving way before stood at 62. Mr. E. Evans was afterwards the truth. We have much reason for introduced to the meeting, and delivered a thankfulness to the great Head of the concise address on Christian Unity. He Church for His goodness to us. He has based his remarks on Psalm cxxxiii. He indeed led us by a way we knew not, and said he looked upon the planting of that has brought us to a comfortable habitation, new place of worship only as a little drop

“ The Lord has done great things for us, of Heaven's manifestation, and he ventured whereof we are glad.”. Our existence as a to predict that if the primitive spirit of church does not extend over nine months, christian worship was revived in the church, and we can worship under our own roof, and christian unity more largely developed, none daring to make us afraid. The buildthat hundreds of such synagogues would ing after all is finished, costs over £250. ere long be scattered over the length and We would here return our warmest thanks breadth of the country. Mr. J. Strang to the brethren who have kindly assisted us. followed with an interesting address entit- We have been requested by brethren from led 'Rest for the Weary.' The Chairman, other churches to let it be known through in bringing the proceedings to a close, the pages of the E.O. that we still require observed that Mr. Nimmo, from Edinburgh | between £20 and £30 to enable us to meet (who was on the platform), laid, as it were all claims. We have received nearly £50 the first stone of the new building by from brethren not of this neighbourhood. contributing the first donation, and his DUNDEE.---The work of the Lord is being example had been largely followed. They prosecuted with all the energy our means had received pecuniary help from friends will allow, and those who are actively in Auld Scotia, from friends in the Emerald labouring are well supported and counteIsle, and from friends in dear old England, nanced by the brethren generally, who are and standing as they did on the Borders deeply interested and united. Bro. Evans

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »