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of the castellated vice and criminality which stands rooted, built round, and barricaded by the worldly interests of our own land.
The agitating question, however, with Baptists at present, appears to be one that was discussed both at the Baptist Union, and at the Bible Translation Society-- viz., the right of translating the word 'baptizo? The British and Foreign Bible Society, after receiving a special deputation on this subject, seem unwilling to allow it to be translated in their Bibles. All will allow the question to be a delicate one. In the United States, we remember, its discussion resulted in the dismemberment of the American Bible Society. There is both reason and force in what was said of our Bible Society at one of the Baptist meetings :- Look at their inconsistency! For a single word they '
a refused to circulate the Baptist versions; and yet they did not hesitate to circulate on the continent of Europe versions which contained perversions of hundreds of words. In justification of the course pursned by the society, Mr. Bergne, the secretary, alleged, that the versions they circulated on the Continent were the only ones which Roman Catholics would receive; that they were sufficient to lead men to a knowledge of salvation ; and that the society were not prepared for the responsibility of refusing to circulate the only version acceptable to those amongst whom they desired to labour, on account of errors in the translation. If the society thus consent to the circulation of the Bibles with the greater errors, it is argued, why can it not consent to the circulation of one with only one probable error? The answer is, • We circulate what you consent to circulate in this country and elsewhere—the book with the word transferred, and leave it to the teacher to explain its meaning. If we consent that you should translate the word according to your notions, you invade the eclectic character of the society-make it in effect a Baptist society, against the will and judgment of nearly all its members. Why should you-a minority -impose your conscience upon us ?' And so the question stands—the heathen remaining unfurnished with the Book of Life until it can be settled !
The important subject-more than once referred to in these pagesof the character of modern literature, naturally came up for notice at the meetings of the Religious Tract Society. At this meeting Mr. Landels took occasion to pass a rather indiscriminate censure upon books of popular literature. They were the remarks of one who bad evidently not read very widely or correctly, and they were accordingly taken up in the able speech of the Rev. Norman M‘Lend, when the speaker said he did not agree with Mr. Landels. He had found great pleasure himself in reading “ Yeast,” “ Alton Locke," and other similar publications, which dealt with some of the difficult questions of the time in a very masterly manner.
He did not believe that every book which omitted to teach the gospel out-and-out was a bad book, and should be discouraged and denounced. Then, as to story-books, children must and ought to have them. For himself, he got his first idea of genuine pluck from “ Jack the Giant Killer," and of selfsacrifice from “Beauty and the Beast.”. “Books with a purpose,' Mr. M:Leod added, as they were called, were not always either
the most interesting or the most useful? It gave me, as a Voluntary Educationalist, and one entertaining a high opinion of the character of the working classes of this country, some pleasure to read another sentence in Mr. M‘Leod's speech. His object in being at the meeting on the present occasion, he said, was to return thanks for the gift of a large number of tracts received from the society for the use of his working-class congregation; and in doing this he might just say, that on the occasion of these services being held, the church was always full up to the pulpit stairs, and the people listened with deep attention to what was said. They were very poor people, nevertheless-for he made it a rule to exclude all who had clothes fit to appear in during the day, at an ordinary church service. But he did not treat them as if they were poor; and herein, he conceived, lay the great secret of his success. Let all who had to do with the working classes of England take care that they never fall into the error of confoundiny poverty with crime and blackguardism.'
Let me quote, in connexion with this, a remark made by Mr. Hands, of Salisbury, at one of the Baptist meetings :- -Said some, you must educate the people. So said he. Let there be exhibitions, libraries, mechanics' institutes, amusements for the people, if you will-everything to soften and humanize them as far as you can. But it did not seem to him that crime and immorality were confined to the uneducated portion of the people ; it struck him they should find quite as large a proportion of immorality and wickedness amongst men who had a fair share of wealth and education as amongst those who had them not.' 'I believe that if you approach the working classes of England to educate them, you must approach them with these convictions, that their poverty is not their crime, and that they are not more criminal in proportion to their numbers than their neighbours and superiors.'
China came up for a fair share of attention. One bishop and one Wesleyan supported the war (you will always find a Wesleyan backing up a bishop); but two very earnest men, of very different spirit, spoke in such a way on the other side, as to move their audiences to the expression of a more than usually earnest approbation. Said a French pastor, at the meeting of the Tract Society :—If, in France, we had liberty of speech, as you have here in England, to work on the public mind, being associated with you in this war, we would move the spirit of the people to a loud protest, and entire condemnation, of your national sin, the sale of opium. We would stir up the mind of our nation to say to your brethren, You shall not go to war for the legalization of this traffic, nor until it be abolished. There is a stain on your flag in the wars of China ; and until that stain shall be washed away do not think that the men of China will receive you, or that you will obtain the favour of God. Christian brethren, I call upon you to begin to work on the public mind regarding this question, and wash that stain away. I trust that God will help you to wash it away before the war is over, and then China will be more largely open for the diffusion of the Scriptures and of civilizing influences. God is a God of mercy, but he is also a God of justice ; and if he renders good for evil, the evil-doers are always punished; and you will not
escape if you do not lift up your voice and protest against all that has been done.'
At the meeting of the Chinese Evangelization Society, the same sentiment found equally forcible expression when the Rev. Mr. Welton, of the Church Missionary Society, from Fu-Chou-Fu, said that, as a missionary in China for several years, he had seen the horrors of the opium system; and he trusted they would be stirred up to exertion for the abolition of that abominable traffic. It had been the principal means of alienating the Chinese people from them. He had seen eighteen vessels lying along the coast for the purpose of selling opium. It was sometimes conveyed by the Chinese boats, and at other times by the English boats. He knew that the boats of the Peninsular and Oriental Company had
port and distributed their cargoes of opium, as if they were ordinary cargoes, and this with the cognizance of the British consul. The question was constantly asked in China, • How can you bring us a good religion when you bring us this drug ?'
Little worthy of notice appears to have been done at the meeting of the Congregational Union. The general lack of moral courage which has characterised nearly all the proceedings of this body from its commencement, marked its meetings this year. It desired to dissever the connexion subsisting between itself and Dr. Campbell's magazines, but refused the right of speech to Mr. Macbeth when he wished to propose a particular amendment unfavourable to the doctor, while nobody could be found to second the equally obnoxious though courageous amendment of Mr. Davies. It left the question of the affiliated societies just where it found it. I gather from the report that the profits of the magazines are not quite half what they were some ten years ago.
I think I notice a decrease this year of the demoralizing and disgusting practice of mutual public praise of each other by ministers and other speakers. I do not refer to the irreverent and indecent manner in which preachers are complimented to God in public prayer (this also, happily, is dying out), but to platform praise. One grave instance this
year I cannot pass over; it occurs in the report of the meeting of the affiliated societies.' I quote the speaker's words, which must have both pained and disgusted those to whom he referred. You will notice how equally the brush is used for Chairman, Treasurer, &c. :
"He might be permitted to say, and that without anything even approaching to flattery, that it was a matter of great satisfaction to have the present chairman presiding over the meeting. However much they might regret that many friends of liberal policy and progressive spirit were excluded from the people's House of Commons, they did rejoice that the chairman occupied his appropriate position there, knowing that he was never ashamed of those great evangelical principles which on the present platform he had so beautifully enunciated.'
TREASURER. "Further, he held that they had reason to congratulate them.
selves upon the fact, that a gentleman of the wealth, position, and liberality, of the treasurer, continued his unabated attachment to the institution, and that he gave to it an amount of time, consideration, and patient attention, which no recognition upon the platform would be sufficient adequately to state, and which nothing but the high satisfaction of doing a great and good work could at all compensate him for.'
SECRETARY. 'He thought, moreover, that the friends of the society owed very much to the zeal, wisdom, and prudence of the secretary.' And so on, and so on, and so on.
I gather from the general tone of the speeches, and the apparent character of the various meetings, that the committee and officers of societies, with a few exceptions, are not working under discouraging circumstances. The public support is accorded pretty evenly, and in some cases with a princely liberality. All the societies, without exception, ask for an addition to their funds; but in most cases, I believe, with a single eye to God's glory.' The majority of them are doing a great work; they are pearls in England's crown of glory. If she can righteously boast of anything, she can of her great religious societies_offsprings of her overflowing love for the nations of the earth. They are Christianity in the concrete. In the speech to which I have already alluded, Mr. Stovel remarked, that one of the great instruments in the hand of sceptics is the prima facie aspect which is presented to their eyes Christianity in the concrete. They may not to study much Christianity in the abstract. They look at it as it stands in connexion with parsons,'priests,' and church establishments'—what we may call Christian business, Christian income, religious quarrels, and so forth; these features strike them, and they stand and look. Why, they say, it is not exactly what the abstractwritten truth would lead us to expect; there is the form, but where is the life? Where is that which gives fire to the eye, vigour to the heart, and development to the soul ? 'You have, indeed, the gospel in word, but where is the work of it?'
We can point to the religious societies and say, 'The work of the gospel is THERE.
TAANKFULLY do we welcome once more the warm airs of the springtide, which have been for so long a time only a memory to us. Through long days of surging rain and biting blast, here, in our northern home, where the chief end of man seems to be the building of chimneys, whose smoke rises up for ever and ever, summer sights and sounds have been to us like the words and smiles of death-stricken friends, whose faces we may not hope to see again. And now that the spring, long after it has rejoiced the rest of the land, has even crept up the sides of our barren hills, and tipped with green the dwarfed black branches in our hedge-rows, we meet the welcome season as, perhaps, we shall meet some friend in the resurrection, with something of unexpectancy, and yet falling quickly into the old wont of familiarity, so that, as Tennyson says, “We should not count it to be strange. Now, too, the genial influences which send upwards the sap through thousands and thousands of branches, repeating everywhere the miracle of creation, quicken also the tide of human pulses, set free a crowd of human fancies long frost-bound, and even gild some deep human hopes which, despite all the power of faith, are not independent of earthly sunshine. Sitting out beneath the open sky once more, after many days, we begin to believe that summer is at hand, even though at times an easterly breath steals up this way, bringing with it sentence of death to yonder fluttering butterflywhich, like some great men, has had the misfortune to be born before its time. Yet upon all the fields the sun looks gladly, and we feel within ourselves the thrill of a new life, as though this evening and morning were to us the first day. But we are not without our prenatal memories. Surely we have seen other summers, and rested in shady nooks, and listened to the ceaseless ripple of shallow waters. Surely, in the past, we have dreamed dreams and seen visions. Let iis try to recollect.
One day, at least, we remember well enough. It was the longest, sunniest, happiest, day in all the summer. It was the day after a long railway journey, during which we had left the tall chimneys far behind, and had hidden ourselves in a country house at the end of an avenue, beyond which no road led anywhere, so that it might be the end of the world. There we had hidden ourselves as the wind-beaten, stormy petrel would shelter itself in the cleft of the rock. On that day we awoke early, with a strong holiday sense upon us. For a month, rest and enjoyment were to be the laws of life to us; laws which looked at us with perfunctorily-solemn face, assuring us they were imperative, though they could scarcely speak for laughing. The first day of a month's holiday! Oh! what an everlastingness there was about it. No responsibilities to be incurred, no proprieties to be observed, no Mrs. Grundy to be considered, for a whole month! Even when Saturday came (and this was Tuesday), what pleasant little trips our fancy could make from study to study in imaginary fight, and see all the men, brethren, and fathers,' bending beneath the weight of to-morrow's engagements, whilst we had no engagements for this week, or the week after, or the week after that, beyond which the distance faded off into illimitable perspective, into which we did not care to look, esteeming it a most profane curiosity. How is it that the first day of a month's holiday is so much longer than the last? We can remember doing fifty things during that twenty-four hours for which we never had time afterwards, besides enjoying down to its very close the most unmitigated feeling of holidayness. Says the proverb, Enjoyments are Time's wings,' yet this day did not fly. Other days did;