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Such is the state of Nonconformity in the city in which it was deemed desirable to hold the last Autumnal Meeting of the Union; and the proposal to do so was inost promptly responded to in the affirmative by Mr. Parsons and his excellent flock. This, when it is reflected that concurrence involved the provision of board and lodging, for four days, to nearly 400 ministers and gentlemen, it will be seen was no slight undertaking, and implied a serious contribution to the promotion of Christian friendship.
THE BUSINESS MEETINGS.
The evening of Monday having been devoted to prayer, on Tuesday morning business commenced by the Chairman, Dr. Hamilton, delivering one of his magnificent orations, which we now present in full:
ment: our union debars not separate action : none can be proscribed the fullest freedom of thought, speech, and protest; all may, on their own responsibility, carry out their views; we ask not compromise, much less subjection: each is erect, associated as detached: and, therefore, let us hold, not only blameless, but honoured, him, whosoever he be, who in plea or suffrage stands upon these claims.
DR. HAMILTON'S ADDress. HONOURED AND BELOVED BRETHREN, -Little am I fitted to address you. My heart is sore; my strength is dried up. You know "such things have befallen me!" The stroke which most I should have deprecated, save that which might fall upon my dearest relationships, has smitten me to the dust. I had rather have "sought where to weep." My brother, my companion in labour, and fellow-soldier, has fallen at my side. I have closed his eyes. The earthly tie of thirty-six years' friendship-a friendship which suffered not the most superficial ruffling, or a momentary pausc-is severed! Paul could not have known Epaphroditus so long, could not have loved him more; but mercy was had upon him which I might not presume to expect, which I was not worthy to receive, though the double mercy was to the departed, and "I have sorrow upon sorrow." I am not here the biographer of John Ely: alas, I am but the apologist for my own weakness. Yet may it be recorded-forgive the handful of flowers I strew upon his yet unhearsed remains-that rarely has character presented itself offering so many titles to esteem, and consisting of such beautiful proportions; that few men and ministers could be so tenderly beloved, or so justly lamented; and that, without ungenerously comparing him with others, scarcely could a greater void be created than that he leaves behind. How lonely, how gravelike, grows the world to many of us!
Griefs, personal and even public, must yield to the tasks of duty. For these, drying our tears, led us now gird ourselves. Like the patriarchs, we may only halt to compose a grave and rear a pillar, and then go on our journey. The victorious army encamps to bury its slain, but immediately breaks up for further conquest. The brevity and uncertainty of this life only makes it more serious. The less of time, the more importunate are our obligations. Others have laboured, and now rest from their labours: let us labour, that we may enter into that rest. Let me enjoin you, even at this early stage of my address, to exercise towards each other perfect candour and love. Our denominational principles encourage the right of individual judg
The disposition of the age is to place all reality in the visible, the external, the actual. This leads to low and gross conceptions of things. A coarse philosophy like this makes light of the spiritual, the reflective, the earnest, the holy. It shuts out the mind. Nothing is left or involved but objects of ignoble ambition, and of grovelling calculation. It is for us to contend that there is reality in grand, lofty, and pure ideas, in deep-resolved sentiments, in far-reaching principles. We must account more of the inner, hidden man, of his word, of his truth, of his good-whatever is incorruptible in him, whatever is great for him, whatever is illustrative of him. And while these are thoughts, and habits of thought, elevating and worthy, they agree to our sincerest convictions of Christianity. We are not chiefly concerned for a christianity which cometh with observation, but for that which is in us; not about a formal organization, but congregated minds; not so much caring for the ceremony of worship, as that it should be in spirit and in truth. In vain, and falsely, are we told that these views are too subtile and abstract-that they can neither impress nor bind. There is life only in such thoughts, and there is power only in such life! Nor can it be objected, that the religious element is, by these views, carried into the visionary and the ideal. We claim for it an active, searching intelligence. It is a reasonable service. No truth is proclaimed withcut its fitting evidence, and no fact avouched without its credible ground. While we admire the spiritualism of Christianity, refining the whole, breathing through the whole;-while we believe in, however it may be contemned, the invisible church;-while we hold the helplessness of matter towards the efficacy of grace, it is we who abjure the imaginative and the sensuous in religion. We ask no more license for awe, and mystery, and tenderness, than Christianity freely authorizes and yields;—we allow o occult virtue of evangelic means and ordinances; -we discourage, not as decencies, but as aids to devotion, all sensible accessories;—we know not, nor understand, the religiousness of lights, colours, and recesses;-all our ideas are practical, orderly, edifying;-our beauty is simplicity, our strength is truth! Just at the point where any would speak of the religion of outward things -architecture, pageantry, music-we denounce so much of will-worship and bodily exercises ;we not only stop as at what is doubtful, we see a deceit and a snare ;-we proscribe it not only as religious, but as irreligious !
We attach no importance to our principles because they are Nonconformist. This is but an incident. It is what we regret. They receive not this character from us. It is other systems, existing around us, which give them this unenviable badge. If these were dis-established, this would cease; our principles would remain the same: this peculiar antagonism would be annulled. Every difference of opinions with others is, indeed, so far nonconformity to them.; but al
others being on an equal, undistinguished level with us, Nonconformity, in its common conventional acceptation, could no more exist. We do not dissent from them who occupy a common position, but only from that which is uplifted, dominant, and supreme.
Assembled in this ancient and renowned city, one name arises to our memory which, for good or for evil, is not to be blotted out from among men. Having with difficulty escaped the jealous artifices of Galerius, Constantine opportunely left the palace of Nicomedia, and on the coast of Gaul joined his imperial parent in his embarkation for Britain. Having watched the death-bed of Constantius, Cæsar, and Augustus, in the palace of York, Constantine was proclaimed his successor by the legion then in this country. Though not a native,-for it would appear that he was a Dacian by birth, he must ever be identified with this land, and with this provincial metropolis. Having to dispute his way to the very walls of Rome, the October sun of the Christian year 312, saw him the conqueror of Maxentius and his Prætorian guards, reposing with his army peacefully on the banks of the Tiber,-prepared, as soon as the morning light was spread upon the Sabine and Alban mountains, to cross the Campus Martius and to scale the Capitol. By the strategie of the despot whom he overcame he was prevented the passage of the Milvian Bridge and the entrance of the Flaminian way, and had only access to the city by the Gate of Triumph. This seemed an augury for the favour of Christianity. It was supposed to hang upon his march. We follow the sacred Labarum and Monogram. The cruciform glittered on helmet, streamed in banner, flashed from shield,-it was the symbol of the procession, the rapture of the day. We behold the multitude wind their way with acclamation and hymn, by portico and terrace, through arch and festoon, with an enthusiasm which wakes the echoes of the Colosseum, and is reverberated by the Palatine and Aventine hills. No hero victims were butchered, no spoils of victory were made a show of, no pomps of military triumph were affected. Persecution fled. Peace and justice rode in the victor's car. Christianity was established-It is but little of this spectacle in which we delight. Christianity was until now free, voluntary, and independent. It was self-resting. It won by its own attraction, it prevailed by its own power. It was good that its oppression should cease. Had it there been left! But it was decked. It was imposed. It was converted into an instrument of guile and force, policy and coercion. And we demand, What was the effect of all? After a few years of such national conversion, encouraged by the monarch's example and edicts, he is well nigh driven from the throne of the Cæsars by the reviving paganism of his subjects, and seeks a more propitious sphere of proselytization on the shores of the Propontis. He is followed in the purple by the Apostate. Thus religions rise and fall. And scarcely had a century passed than Rome, which had seemed to keep the jubilee of Christianity, and had given it its proudest ovation, stands thick with more than a hundred idol temples, while the rock of the Capitoline clusters with fifty more, a very Olympus of mythology! Pontiff, augur, vestal, flamen, resumed their place! Not satisfied with its own rabble of gods, it invited and colonized those of the whole earth!
The senate which had flattered and sanctioned the royal behest, had always retained its heathen bias, and the people easily relapsed after their first ardour, to all the atrocities of the amphitheatre! But we do not allege that all anti-christian corruption was engendered in this civil incorporation of Christ's holy gospel. Antichrist was in the world long before such event. It was error, pseudo-philosophy, secular cupidity, hierarchical ambition, which paved the way for it. Sacerdotalism, prelacy, clerisy, controversy, worldliness, had entered into the external church, and opened the door. The sanctuary was betrayed, or this abomination had never stood in the holy place. It was far more the effect of preceding evils, than the cause of future ones. It rather confirmed and consolidated than produced. When Christianity stood before Cæsar's judgment-seat, when it appealed unto Cæsar, it was strong in itself: but when it mounted and shared that judgment-seat, when it became his parasite and not his appellant, then was it shorn of strength and became incapable of resistance,-it was bound hand and foot, and fell an easy prey! We seek the restoration of Christianity, not only from that which Constantine made it, but from those corruptions of nearly three ages which enabled him thus to mar it, and out of which his usurpation rose ?-A solemn inquiry into our principles is going on, very independently of any provocation on our part, in the arena of the public mind, at the bar of popular opinion. While that does not acquit us of the duty to explain ourselves, we may calmly abide its verdict. But let us not be too sure that the allowance of principles, most cognate to ours, even in strictest parallelism to them, will always be confessed by those who adopt them, to favour us and to justify our profession. Many minds content themselves with fragments of truth. They who contend for the most unrestricted freedom of commerce, would give religion bounty and protection. They who admire the heroism of the Puritan character and resistance, condemn, if modern, every counterpart to them. The most uniform advocates of civil liberty will often betray an ignorance and an uneasiness of religious, the most grossly inconsistent.-Nor let us grudge to frequently renew the task of teaching men. The first seed cast may fail. It is not surprising that we are discouraged. Ours is "precious seed;" the fibres of a harvest,-living, germinant things. We dare not confine it to the garner. We weep, but still we sow. We go forth. Often have I watched with peculiar interest this labourer. He is not seldom alone. With measured step and corresponding gesture he traverses the glebe. He follows the furrow, and scatters his store. It is not at random that it flies, but his hand distributes it with impartial skill. There is a very solemnity in his manner. It seems a venture; it is a hopeless track. He leaves but countless sterile graves. Might that grain revive, all smites it with desolation. There breaks the storm. There sweeps the hail. There outspreads the wintry shroud of snow. When it grows, it does not appear at once. There is many a patch of waste. That which rises above the clod is tenderly susceptible. It has many enemies. Slow is the progress, "There is the blade, then the ear." There must be long patience for it. Thus we sow! In common with many others, great political, patriotic maxims
the right of inquiry, the responsibility of conscience, the utility of knowledge, the equality of mankind, the source of power, the impartiality of legislation. Christianity involves all these truths, and must, therefore, favour them. But it is itself" the seed of the kingdom," which we go forth to sow. Protestant Christianity, in its self-sufficience, and in its creation of mental independence and power! Evangelic Christianity, in its doctrines of grace and holiness! Earnest Christianity, with its revivals, its zeal, its unction, its fire! Missionary Christianity, spurning climate and territory, with out-pressing determination to save the world! Spiritual Christianity, submitting to no favour, encumbered with no fosterage, bribed by no price!
Suffer me to remind you that you are bound to follow out your principles as far as their utmost legitimate consequence. In embracing them at first, these may not have been foreseen. New collisions with new circumstances may discover new powers in them, in their new applications. We must not flinch. We have committed ourselves to their guidance. We must not recede, whatever the difficulty or the cost. As well might he who had allowed every mathematical axiom and postulate suddenly refuse the doctrine of the Asymptote; or, in refusing that doctrine, renounce every axiom and postulate.
It cannot be sufficiently impressed upon us that it is by Christianity in its theology, its polity, its profession,-that it is as Christians, in our temper, in our consistency, in our unworldliness, we can alone look for our peaceful victories. Citizenship has its duties, which no saint must fly. The Press has its gigantic uses which no" scribe instructed unto the kingdom of heaven" will forego. The platform has its influences,giving notoriety to fact and conspicuousness to truth,-popular, diffusive, stirring. But the pulpit is the throne of light and masterdom, and the watch-tower of intelligence and alarm, and when consecrated to the dogmas and institutions of the gospel is their proper expositor and defence. They who banish from it all matters that are controverted among Christians, should be the last to complain of extraneous agitation. It is they who drive others to this course of action.
It is quite possible to be a Dissenter without any querulousness of disposition. But we have causes of complaint. We lament not the loss of revenue and honour. Yet we see not why we should be socially depressed. We know not why our literature should be slurred. We have yet to learn why every recovered privilege and right should be made invidious and offensive to us. Oh! the generous mind cares not for the alienation of sordid prizes. But it would be a joy, an elation, to tread the aisles of yonder glorious Minster with assurance of right equal to theirs who now only can worship there. We could appreciate the pride of a conjoint impropriation. We could rejoice, like Edward Bowles, to preach in that magnificent "temple all the words of this life."
words which declare how nearly his life was spent, words which speak monitorially to some of us, "What I say, I must say at once. What. ever I write is in its nature testamentary. It may have the weakness, but it has the sincerity of a dying declaration."* Now that the "time" is past when kings go forth to battle,""-now that the fear of violence is past,-surely we may raise these great questions fully, firmly; always with meekness and respect towards others, with perfect esteem of their character, and unmixed honour for their motive. Measures have been carried, since last we met, which we conscientiously opposed. That opposition has been pronounced, by an honourable adversary, as "worthy of the serial struggles of our fathers for civil and religious liberty."+ We are not discouraged; we are not disconcerted. Our's is not victory; it certainly is not defeat. We are repulsed, but not broken. We are not put to shame. We may well suffer others to interpret our position. We believe it would be something like this: "It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome." The question of the day, that of Education, will come before us. We are solemnly, irrevocably pledged to repudiate all aid toward a religious education. Here we have made our stand. We need not perplex the simplicity of this vow. Some would wish, perhaps, to argue that it is not the province of legislation to interfere in any way with education. Others, again, might desire to prove that secular education of the people falls within its certain scope. But why lose time, it may be endanger temper, over matters which are not before us? Let the two parties, which possibly exist among us, waive a more extreme and abstract view. The only education proposed is religious-the only subsidy offered is in behoof of a dictated, controlled, centralized, religious education. In the meanwhile let us proceed, speaking and acting as "becometh the Gospel of Christ." We are not responsible for our principles, but only for the way in which we hold and propagate them. Let chicane and artifice,-whatever is crooked and sinister,-whatever is not of honour and generosity,-be abhorrent to us. Let us save ourselves from disappointment by chastening our more sanguine hopes. Our progress must be slow. We have proved it. We may still expect it. But one such plaudit as this, would outweigh all secular flatteries, and rewards, and successes,Thou has kept the word of my patience!"
We must not judge one another as to the manner and the time in which we wage this war of principles. We are not all of the same temperament. Burke has remarked: "As in the exercise of all the virtues, there is an economy of truth. It is a sort of temperance, by which a man speaks truth with measure that he may speak it the longer." But then he adds, in
The same honour awaited this which attended Dr. Hamilton's primary Address in May; it was instantly, and with acclamation, voted to be forthwith printed, and was printed accordingly, and distributed among the members. In the evening Dr. Alexander, of Edinburgh, delivered a most masterly sermon, which was much and justly applauded, with the exception of some statements relative to theclergy" character of our ministers, of which, at present, it is needless to say more, as the subject will recur again
* Letters on the Overtures of Peace. Hon. G. Smythe.
when the speaker's matured views shall have passed the Press. While the learned preacher, a Scotchman, stood forth in the city of York, in the midst of an assembly of two thousand of England's best citizens, sounding gloriously the trumpet of mercy, thrilling with tidings of peace, beloved and admired of every auditor, men of historic habitude of mind could not help contrasting the season and the sermon with the days and mandates of Edward II., when and as he said, in 1327, "The King to his well-beloved the Mayor and Bailiffs of his city of York, greeting. -Since the Scotch, our enemies and rebels, have thought fit to enter our kingdom, in a hostile manner, near Carlisle, with all their power, as we are certainly informed, and kill, burn, destroy, and act other mischiefs, as far as they are able, we have drawn down our army, in order, by God's assistance, to restrain their malice.'
How changed now the relations of the two nations, which time, wisdom, and religion have made one! What may we not hope for to the wide world, with all its kingdoms, and all their strifes, in the space of another 500 years!
The business of Wednesday opened with an appropriate resolution on the death of Mr. Ely, feelingly moved by Mr. Blackburn, London, and seconded with admirable propriety and great pathos by Mr. James, of Birmingham. The discussions of that as well as of the following day went off in a manner the most satisfactory, or rather the most gratifying. Never had the Union a more gladsome assembly, with the sorrowful drawback of the decease of the much-honoured Mr. Ely. The morning meetings were very largely attended, and those of the evening crowded to the close, when all returned to their homes thanking God for all they heard and saw, and taking courage in spite of difficulties!
On reviewing the whole, it may, we think, be safely affirmed that all look back to the occasion with feelings of the most unmixed satisfaction. But social pleasure is the smallest of the benefits that result from such assemblages; their moral effects, both local and general, may extend through coming generations. They are fraught with good to the regions in which they are held. There they compel attention to great principles. The idea attaching to Independency, in York, we vouch for it, among many, is now
somewhat different from what it was before. That mighty gathering demonstrated that the system which, to the dull observer, seems the most divisive and incoherent, is, in reality, the most homogenous, and the most united. Yes, to this end such assemblies do more than whole years of argumentation. They, moreover, strengthen the hands and confirm the hopes of those who are sufferers for conscience, or victims of prejudice, fixing their minds on the fact that what is, in the view of many, their deepest reproach, is, in truth, their highest glory. Thus the suffering soldiers of Christ, too, are inspired with fresh courage. Those excellent and deserving, but ill-requited men, the Home Missionary, the hamlet pastor, and the young minister fighting his way to establish a cause amid difficulties all but insuperable, with many foes and few abettors-the dejected spirits of these brave men are fired afresh by a visit to the main army, where individual feebleness is lost in the collective strength, and where they meet brethren in abundance in all points equal to the most potent of their proud oppressors. There the young and the old, the weak and the strong, the obscure and the distinguished all meet in one harmonious fellowship of brothers. Men, likewise, who have long lived and loved apart now look each other in the face, shake hands in token of united hearts, and sit together at the same table, forming friendships which will last through life and be renewed in eternity! Such gatherings, too, have a rare value to that generous band on whom the hopes of the churches rest-our students for the ministry. In far distant years they will recur to this assembly with pathetic pleasure, while they talk to the generation to be born of the great and good men who are soon to pass away, and whom, for the first time and for the last, they saw then and there. It was among the sweetest remembrances of Ovid that he had seen Virgil, and of Pope that he once beheld Dryden. The People, too, the multitude, the Young, the Poor, and all who never visit the great towns and Metropolitan conventions, these are gratified by intercourse with a portion of the pillars and ornaments of the community-the tutors, the scholars, the authors, the orators, the eminent men, both lay and ministerial, whom, previously unseen, they loved and honoured for their character and work's sake, but whom, for having met in the flesh, they will henceforth love with an
improved and invigorated affection—an affection which will be duly reciprocated, for those select individuals do not interest others more than they themselves are interested in their brethren of every rank and class. Finally, such gatherings redound exceedingly to the increase of interest in the work of Missions-Home, Irish, and Colonial.
One word for ourselves: thanks sincere, cordial, thrice-repeated thanks, for all the kindness shown and all the favour accorded to us, both publicly and privately-on the ground of our humble endeavours to serve the church of Godby those whose approval we exceedingly prize-our fellow-labourers in the gospel vineyard, the servants of God, and, generally, of the faithful in Christ Jesus. Thus encouraged and cheered, we proceed on our course of care and toil, trouble and conflict, for the good of these nations, and for the Divine glory. The times are full of alarm! The Man of Sin is fast
recovering his lost ground in this our native land. But
The Revealed Doctrine of Rewards and Punishments. By R. W. HAMILTON, LL.D., D.D., 8vo, pp. 555. London: Jackson and Walford.
THE subject of this volume is the most momentous that can occupy the human mind. Man and Eternity!-Eternity and Punishment! What ideas, these! At no period, perhaps, since the Reformation, has the doctrine of future punishment been so loosely held by many in what is called the Christian world as at present. It may be difficult to account for it; but certainly such is the fact. Now this is a state of things which ought to excite the most serious consideration. The doctrine is true, or it is false—and its truth or falsehood must be determined wholly by the Scriptures, and in bringing out the mind of God in the Scriptures, the sole and only appliances at all admissible are the Grammar and the Lexicon. The simple question for our solution is what hath God spoken? Having ascertained that, the result must be faithfully proclaimed-whether men will hear, or whether they will forbear. Awful truths are not to be sacrificed to a false liberality. The system which conceals from man his danger is not charity but cruelty. No man more deeply sympathises with this
"A breath of submission we breathe not!
The sword that we 've drawn we will sheathe not! Its scabbard is left where our martyrs are laid, And the vengeance of ages has whetted its blade! Earth may hide-waves engulph-fire consume
But they shall not to slavery doom us!
If they rule, it shall be o'er our ashes and graves; But we've smote their already with fire on the waves,
And new triumphs on land are before us!
Pastors, Evangelists, Poets, Orators, Journalists, Authors, all,
"Let every rank and age Do each what each can do! Let him whose arm is mighty as his rage, Strike deep-strike home-st.ike through !" Fathers, Brethren, Nonconformists of every class, bear with us, hear us!
"Be wise, be firm, be cautious, yet be bold !
Be brother-true! be ONE!
Review and Criticism.
I teach but what the Phrygian taught of oldDivide, and-BE UNDONE!"
idea than the author of the volume before us, who has brought to his solemn undertaking, adequate learning, exemplary patience, a sound and all-commanding judgment, peculiar decision, and a courage that knows no fear. There are few living men to whose hands the dread theme could have been more safely committed. He seems to have been fully alive to the importance of his task, and the magnitude of the responsibility that devolved upon him. He appears to have put forth all his strength, gigantic though it is, and at once to have exhausted both himself and his subject, at least so far as that subject can be exhausted by the finite mind; for it is clearly both boundless and bottomless, and admits of an interminable expatiation. But for all practical purposes, we conceive Dr. Hamilton has done enough; and we think it is not too much to hope that the appearance of this powerful volume is to be taken as a token for good, that the Lord is returning to bless his churches. Compared with this massive and magnificent production, all that has appeared on the other side is but as dust in the balance. The atheistical morality and infidel philanthropy of our times may cleave to their assumptions, and lead their followers into a land of darkness, and none can hinder them;