“And they came unto the brook of Eshcol, and cut down from thence a branch with Free cluster of grapes, and they bare it between two upon a staff.” — Numbers 13:23.
The cluster of Eshcol is famous among fruits of the earth. Divines have delighted to find in it a symbol of those superlative delights which afford to believers on earth a foretaste of their future bliss. Our readers do not need to traverse that well-worn path, nor did we take up our pen to write of that; “earnest of the Spirit” which is the pledge of the rest of heaven. The carrying of the notable cluster between two is the one point which has caught our eye and set our mind in motion. Why was I carried on a staff in that fashion? Surely not principally because of its weight, for the hugest bunch of grapes imaginable would be an easy burden for a man. Was it no; to preserve the beauty, freshness, and bloom of the luxuriant cluster that the spies rims bore it to the camp? One bearer alone could not have kept the luscious fruit uncrushed and unbruised, but two with a little care carried it in safety. Among all;he proofs of Canaan’s plenty, none was more overwhelming than the cluster which two must bear between them; reader, among the joys of believers, none are more sweet that those which require Christian fellowship to develop them. How sweet it is when friend with friend In holy fellowship can walk!
When thoughts and sympathies may blend, And hearts be open as their talk!
Such will the preparation prove For lasting fellowship above.
The joy which we gratefully tell to another is doubled to ourselves and preserved far longer in the soul. The prayer in which two agree is prevalent beyond and above all solitary devotion, for it hath a special promise of a sure result. The praise which streams from brotherly hearts and voices, each helping to swell the strain, has the richness of the first ripe knit about it. To forsake the assembling of ourselves together would involve the loss of one of the dearest Christian privileges, for the worship of the church below is the vestibule of the adoration of heaven. If ever heaven comes down to earth it is in the communion of saints. Our Lord’s table is oftentimes glory anticipated. The prayer meeting often seems to be held close to Jerusalem’s city wall; it stands in a sort of border land between the celestial and the terrestrial; it is a house and yet a gate, fruition and expectation in one, the ‘house of God and the very gate of heaven. Churchfellowship is meant by our Lord Jesus to be the table upon which the daintiest meats of the banquet of grace are served up; those who neglect it crush their grapes for want of a friend to help them carry the cluster.
Are there none among us whose solitude is a solemn injury to their joys?
Might not many a downcast one take good heart if he would but associate with a Christian companion? Friendship might prove like a David’s harp to cheer away the despondency of a soul distressed. Hearts would burn with fire of joy if disciples would commune together by the way. Holy intercourse is the. soul-enriching trade which wise believers carry on to their lasting benefit. In Paradise it was not good for man to be alone, it can scarcely be better now. David n as all the better and happier because of the friendship of Jonathan. Peter found his restoration all the easier because of John. Lover of retirement, eat not then, thy morsel alone, or if thou have no morsel, starve not in secret. “O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice.” Come forth, lonely one,. follow the footsteps of the flock, and find rest.
Jesus sent out his disciples by twos, for he knew that each would cheer his fellow. Service is usually best in companionship: he who works altogether alone will be in his temper either too high or too low, censorious or desponding. Two are better far than one; they no; only accomplish twice the work, as we might have expected, but the.;’ frequently multiply their power seven times by their cooperation. Happy are those wedded souls whose life of love to their Lord and one another is like the cluster on the staff, which they joyfully bear along! Happy those Christian companions who share each other’s joys and sorrows, and so pass onward to the skies knit together as one man. Communication enriches, reticence impoverishes.
Communion is strength, solitude is weakness. Alone, the fine old beech yields to the blast, and lies prone upon the sward: in the forest, supporting each other, the trees laugh at the hurricane. The sheep of Jesus flock together; the social element is the genius of Christianity. To find a brother is to find a pearl of great price; to retain a friend is to treasure up the purest gold.BETWEEN TWO UPON ASTAFF we find happiness. The monastic or hermit death-life is not our Master’s beau ideal, but holy companionship is his chosen means for affording us help in service and advance in joy.
Reader, be not a carping critic, separating from everybody. There is surely something common to thee and another which thou and he may work for or rejoice in. Be the friend of men, and not the reviler of thy kind. Be a bond in the church, not a separating knife. Little children, love one another, THE INQUISITION BY C. H.SPURGEON.
THE unionof the church with the state renders persecution possible; and hitherto churches have not been slow to avail themselves of the secular arm that they might confound all dissent with arguments which come home to the bone and the flesh. All churches, who-: they lose the spirit of Christ, are very prone to persecute; but a horrible pre-eminence must be awarded to the scarlet harlot of the seven hills, for no church on earth except that of Rome has had a separate institution for hunting out and destroying heretics. Whether it may be traced to wang of will or wan; of inclination on the part of other establishments. it is certain that the Popish Antichrist alone has been able to drink of the overflowing blood-cup tilled by familiars and tormentors. Long pampered by the state, she came to be its lord and tyrant, using fire and sword, prison and rack, to work her accursed will. The Inquisition was the masterpiece of infernal craft and malice, and its deeds were far more worthy of fiends than men. If the church of Rome could at!his moment change its. Ethiopian skin for ever, lay aside its leopard’s spots, and become a pure community, ten thousand years of immaculate holiness and self-denying philanthropy could not avail to blot out the remembrance of the enormous crimes with which the Inquisition has loaded it. There is a deep and indelible sentence of damnation written upon the apostate church by avenging justice for its more than infernal cruelties, and the curse is registered in heaven; nor can any pretences to present, liberality reverse the condemnation which outraged humanity has pronounced against it; its infamy is engraved in the rock for ever. Centuries of the most liberal policy would not convince mankind that Popery had become tolerant at heart; she wallowed so greedily in oppression, torture, and murder in her palmy days, that the foam of human gore hangs around her wolfish hugs, and men will not believe her to be a gentle lamb, let her bleat as she may. Against her common humanity is up in arms as much as evangelical religion. Her confessional is as dangerous to the mere moralist as to the Christian; her inquisition would be as ruinous to mercantile prosperity as to spiritual activity. Men of all religions and of no religion should deprecate the growth of a system which rendered the Inquisition possible; while followers of Jesus, for their own sake as nell as for their Lord’s, should oppose with all their might.
Rome made the worst possible use of the weapon which the state gave her, but the radical evil was the state’s entering into alliance with the church, and lending its power to fulfill her purposes, Had true church principles prevailed, the crimes which make us shudder would have been impossible.
Disarm and disestablish every sect, and leave each religion to its own moral and spiritual power, and no inquisition can be dreamed of; but put forward the doctrine that a state should propagate or maintain religion, and you have uncaged the lion; no one knows how much he may rend and devour.
Modern Romanists would, many of them, lament the cruelties of former ages, but they ought to see that these were but the ripe fruits of their system Mien plentifully irrigated with royal favor, and planted in a soil rank with ignorance and superstition; a principle which, among Protestants with far less scope, has nevertheless produced most horrible results. Anglican churchmen who persist in upholding church and state, if they will but carefully think the matter over, will see that the Inquisition is but a grosser exposition of their principles; it is-not the outgrowth of either one creed or another, but the result of a paternal government protecting its espoused faith with all its power. The argument flint a state ought to have a religion, and support it by national funds, when like a meddler fully ripe and rotten, lands us at Smithfield’s stakes or the Lollard’s Tower. Whether Papists or so-called Protestants hold it, its results are the same in substance though not in measure. Rome has made a diabolical use of Jr, but no priests are to be trusted, even Protestants eau persecute if they have the opportunity.
Principles do not stop short at a hard and fast line, though their practice may be compelled to-do so; and it is clear to every thinking man that, although state-churchmen would shrink from setting up an inquisition, the full development of their views would logically require it: the path of prudence is to return to the true principle, and leave the kingdom of Christ to be as at the first, not of this world. The same spirit which blazed up at an auto-da-fe smoulders in an imprisonment for church-rates, and the same principle which in its manhood dyed the Netherlands with blood in order to thrust in the Papacy, is that which thrusts in the Irish church upon an unwilling people. We Protestants who are really so, must fight zealously against the essential Popery which would lead us to use the secular arm in spiritual matters, and would tempt us to employ compulsion where everything to be acceptable must be voluntary. We must insist upon it that no shade of coercion or degree of patronage shall be exercised towards any religion; all must be fully tolerated, nay, more, all protected in their natural liberty, and all secured an absolute equality before the law. To act as Rome has acted is to unprotestantise ourselves. To deny Roman Catholics the fullest civil and religious equality is to degrade ourselves to their level by handling their weapons. Faction suggests reprisals, and fear demands precautions, and none can wonder, for the Papistical party is cunning and bigoted to the last degree; but Christianity scorns to sin in order to avenge a wrong, or avert an evil. If we treat our antagonists as they treated our fathers, we cannot convert them, for they have already perverted us . A people boasting of their Protestantism as the English do, should be ashamed to support Popery in the Anglican establishment, or to bow before the dogma of union between church and state, which is the essence of Antichrist and the germ of persecution: an injustice to man, and an impertinence to God. The inmost soul of Protestantism is the responsibility of the conscience to God alone, the spiritual nature of true religion, and the freedom of faith from the rule of earthly lords. State-churchism is antichristian, and always ripens into oppression and tyranny wherever opportunity is given it. “No Popery” is our cry, and therefore laying the ax at the root of the system, we demand the abolition of every union between church and state, and the disallowance of every form of interference On the part of Caesar with things which belong alone to God.
We have been led to these remarks through reading a most thrilling work by Dr. W. H. Rule, a solid volume of sober history, written without the slightest tinge of sensationalism, and yet more stirring by far than any romance. Dr. Rule has, by this book, contributed to the standard library of Christendom — every one should read it, and see what state-religion leads to when it has nothing to hinder it. Truly in the case of the Romish church it makes one loathe the very name of Romanist, and shake himself, lest the plague of intolerance should by any means linger in his own garments. To Rome it seems to be essential to rend and devour. “‘Blessed Father,’ said Baronius to Paul V., ‘the ministry of Peter is twofold — to feed and to kill.’ For the Lord said to him, ‘ Feed my sheep; ‘ and he also heard a voice from heaven, saying, ‘ Kill and eat.’ To feed sheep is to take care of obedient, faithful Christians, who in meekness, humility, and piety, show themselves to be sheep and lambs. But when he has no longer to do with sheep and lambs, but with lions, and other wild, refractory, and troublesome beasts, Peter is commanded to kill them; that is to say, to attack, fight, and slaughter them, until there be none such left.’“ This notion of killing (eating is another matter) — has been fully carried out by the Papacy, as our long rolls of martyrology can prove. It is the duty of all Protestants to be well read in our martyr annals, that our detestation of Popery and all that leads to intolerance may be renewed and confirmed.
Dr. Rule commences with a paragraph which shows that persecution commenced as soon as ever the church was affiliated with the state. “The first imperial patron of Christians, Constantine the Great, cannot be fairly described as a persecutor, but rather as benevolent and liberal; yet, educated in heathenism, he thought it quite right to employ repressive measures for the extinction of idolatry, measures which the Pagans complained of as unjust, but could not regard as cruel in comparison with the ancient hostilities waged against each other by the votaries of hostile gods. Constantine, as a matter of course, discouraged freedom of utterance, where such freedom seemed inexpedient, and denied liberty of worship to idolaters and heretics. His edicts, or constitutions, became part of the civil law of Christian Europe. No fewer than seventy-two such laws, made by Constantine and his successors, against controversialists and heretics, with many more against Jews, Samaritans, and Pagans, may be found in the Theodosian Code, and show how diversities of religious opinion were to be prevented, and the teachers crushed. Confiscation, banishment, death, were the penalties to be inflicted for breach of what Romanists are pleased to call ‘Catholic unity.’“ Every reader of this paragraph who is not an and-state churchman should carefully note it, and meditate within himself as to what the tact here stated most surely indicates.
The powers of the Inquisition when in its palmy days were very extensive.
A Romish writer says, “The tribunal claims right of jurisdiction over the following persons: — All heretics without exception. All who blaspheme God and the saints. They who utter words of blasphemy when extremely drunk are not to be condemned at once, but watched. If half drunk, they are entirely guilty. They who speak blasphemously or heretically in their sleep are to be watched; for it is likely that their lips betrayed the heresy that was lurking in their hearts. All who speak jestingly of sacred things.
Wizards and fortune-tellers. Worshippers of the devil: and it seems that while the Inquisition was in its glory, when the Reformation had scarcely dawned, or where its light had scarcely penetrated, people were known to offer sacrifices to the evil one, kneel down to him, sing hymns to him, observe ‘ chastity’ and fast in honor of him, illuminate and tense his images, insert names of devils in the litanies of saints, and ask them to intercede with God. Such was the condition of many who had known no other church but that of Rome. All who harbor, or show kindness to heretics, being themselves orthodox; very near relatives, however, having slight indulgence allowed them, in some cases, if the inquisitors please. All who look ill on an inquisitor — those ugly looks being indications of heresy, and injurious to the holy office. Persons in civil office who hinder the inquisition and its agents, or who refuse to help them, or allow an accused person to conceal himself or to escape. Any one who gives food to a heretic, unless he be actually dying of hunger: for in this case it is allowable to feed him, that he may live to take his trial, and, haply, to be converted. Experienced inquisitors could detect a heretic by a characteristic unsightliness about the eyes and nostrils.”
The terrible burnings of the faithful witnesses of the Lord at the autos-da-fe of the Inquisition are painted to the life by our author, so that one shudders to read the description. “At Lisbon, the place of execution was at the water-side. For each person to be burnt, whether dead or alive, a thick stake, or spar, was erected, not less than twelve feet above ground; and within about eighteen inches of the top there was a thick cross-piece, to serve for a seat, and to receive the tops of two ladders. Between those ladders, which were for the use of two Jesuits, there was one for the condemned person, whom they compelled to mount, sit on the transverse piece, and there be chained fast. The Jesuits then went up, delivered a hasty exhortation to repentance, and, that failing, declared that they left him to the devil, who was waiting to receive his soul. On perceiving this, the mob shouted, ‘Let the dog’s heard be trimmed;’ that is to say, let his face be scorched. This was done by tying pieces of furze to the end of a long pole, and holding the flaming bush to his face, until it was burnt black. The disfiguration of countenance, and his cries for ‘mercy for the love of God,’ furnished great part of the amusement for the crowd, who, if he had been suffering death in a less barbarous way for any criminal offense, would have manifested every appearance of compassion. When ‘the beard’ was trimmed, they lit the heap of furze at the foot of the stake, and, if there were was no wind, the flame would envelop the seat, and begin to burn their legs; but, as there generally is a breeze on the banks of the Tagus, it seldom reached so high. If there was no wind, he would be dead in an half an hour; but the victim generally retained entire consciousness for an hour and a-half, or two hours, in dire torment, which the spectators witnessed with such delight as could never be produced by any other spectacle. In short, the burning, or rather roasting to death, was so contrived that the sufferer should be exposed to every spectator, and that his cries from that elevation should be distinctly audible all round.” Occasionally a poor wretch would recant, and indeed every cunning device was used to induce such recantation. One of their own order coolly says, “And while fulfilling its office, a few upright men, zealous for the faith, may go to the criminal, and exhort him to return to the Catholic faith, and renounce his errors. And if, after the sentence is passed, and he is given over to the secular court, while they are taking him away to be burnt, or when he is tied to the stake, or when he feels the fire, he say that he is willing to turn and repent, and abjure his heresy, I should think that he might in mercy be received as a heretic penitent, and immured for life, according to some passages in the Decretals” (which are cited), “although I imagine this would not be found very justifiable, nor is great faith to be placed in conversions of this sort.
Indeed, such an occurrence did take place in Barcelona, where three heretics impenitent, but not relapsed, were delivered to the secular arm, and when one of them, a priest, had the fire lit round him, and was already half burnt on one side, he begged to be taken out, and promised to abjure and repent. He was taken out, abjured. But whether we did right or not, I cannot say. One firing I know, that fourteen years afterwards he was accused, and found to have persisted in his heresy all the time, and infected many He then refused to be converted, and, as one impenitent and relapsed, was again delivered to the secular arm, and consumed in fire.”
Frequently, a refinement of cruelty was displayed which unassisted mortals could hardly have thought of, the direct suggestion of Satan is evident in many a passage in the Inquisitorial history. Incarnate fiends trod those bloodstained halls. “Gaspar de Santa Cruz escaped to Toulouse, where he died, and was buried, after his effigy had been burnt in Zaragoza. In this city lived a son of his, who, as in duty bound, had helped him to make good his retreat. This son was detained as an impeder of the holy office, arrested, brought out at an act of faith, made to read a condemnation of his deceased father, and then sent to the inquisitor at Toulouse, who took him to his father’s grave, and compelled him to dig up the corpse, and burn it with his own hands. Whether the inquisitors were most barbarous, or the young man most vile, it may be difficult to say.”
We trust, for the sake of our common nature, that there is some mistake in the description which Gavazzi gives of the Roman Inquisitorial edifice, when laid bare during the short-lived Roman republic. He says, “So short was the time that it remained open to the public, so great the crowd of persons that pressed to catch a sight of it, and so intense the horror inspired by that accursed place, that I could not obtain a more exact and particular impression. “I found no instruments of torture, for they were destroyed at the first French invasion, and because such instruments were not used afterwards by the modern Inquisition. I did, however, find in one of the prisons of the second court a furnace, and the remains of a woman’s dress. I shall never be able to believe float that furnace was used for the living, it not being in such a place, or of such a kind, as to be of service to them. Every thing, on the contrary, combines to persuade me that it was made use of for horrible deaths, and to consume the remains of victims of inquisitorial executions.
Another object of horror I found between the great hall of judgment and the luxurious apartment of the chief jailer, the Dominican friar who presides over this diabolical establishment. This was a deep tray, a shaft opening into the vaults under the Inquisition. As soon as the so-called criminal had confessed his offense, the second keeper, who is always a Dominican friar, sent him to the father commissary to receive a relaxation of his punishment. With hope of pardon, the confessed culprit would go towards the apartment of the holy inquisitor; but in the act of setting foot at its entrance, the trap opened, and the world of the living heard no more of him. I examined some of the earth found in the pit below this trap; it was a compost of common earth, rottenness, ashes, and human hair, fetid to the smell, and horrible to the sight and thought of the beholder. “But where popular fury reached its highest pitch was in the vaults of St.
Pius V. I am anxious that you should note well that this Pope was canonized by the Roman Church especially for his zeal against heretics. I will now describe to you the manner how, and the place where, those vicars of Jesus Christ handled the living members of Jesus Christ, and show you how they proceeded for their healing. You descend into the vaults by very narrow stairs. A narrow corridor leads you to the several cells, which, for smallness and for stench, are a hundred times more horrible then the dens of lions and tigers in the Coliseum. “Wandering in this labyrinth of most fearful prisons, which may be called ‘ graves for the living,’ I came to a cell full of skeletons without skulls, buried in lime. The skulls, detached from the bodies, had been collected in a hamper by the first visitors. Whose were these skeletons? And why were they buried in that place and in that manner? “The following is a most probable opinion, if it be not rather the history of a fact: — The condemned were immersed in a bath of slaked lime, gradually filled up to their necks. The lime, by little and little, enclosed the sufferers, or walled them up all alive. The torment was extreme, but slow. As the lime rose higher and higher, the respiration of the victims became more painful, because more difficult. So that what with the suffocation of the smoke, and the anguish of a compressed breathing they died in a manner most horrible and desperate. Some time after their death, the heads would naturally separate from the bodies, and roll away into the hollows left by the shrinking of the lime. Any other explanation of the fact that may be attempted will be found improbable and unnatural.”
The modes by which confessions were extracted by the inquisitors, it would be difficult to condemn too severely. Take a specimen: — A wife of a physician was accused with her three unmarried daughters. “One of these daughters was imprisoned first, but made no disclosure. The inquisitor then tried a novel and horrible method. He had her brought into the audiencechamber, sent his subordinates out of the room, and professed that he had fallen in love with her — that he was resolved to save her life. Day after day he repeated the declaration, and at length persuaded the poor girl that he was indeed her lover. He then told her that, although she knew it not, her mother and sisters were accused of heresy by many witnesses, and that, for the love he bore to her, he desired to save them; but that, in order to effect his object, he must be fully informed of their case, under secrecy, that he might so proceed as to save them all from death. She fell into the snare, and told him all. His point was gained. Their conversation ended.
The very next day he called her to another audience, and made her declare, judicially, what she had revealed to him in the assumed character lover.
That was enough. The mother and her daughters were sent together to the flames. And the fiend saw his victims burnt.” Shall not God be avenged on such a people as this?
Our author has not condescended to defile his pages with details of the lasciviousness of the holy fathers of the sacred office, otherwise he might have told a tale of the kind which blanches raven locks, and makes men’s flesh creep on their bones. Pandemonium was Paradise itself compared with the Inquisition. He does not even dwell upon the horrible cruelties enacted more than is barely sufficient for his purpose, but the whole history is nevertheless harrowing to the last degree.
Even while these wretches crushed Choir victims, they evidently feared their testimony, and found it needful to cheek their holy witnessing. The gag, in its most cruel form was always ready. One instance we must not omit: — “ Dr. Michael Geddes, when a prisoner was brought out who had been several years shut up in a dungeon where clever daylight never penetrated, saw the poor man raise his eyes towards the sun, and heard him exclaim in rapture, as if overwhelmed with majesty of the object, ‘ How can people that behold that glorious body worship any other being than Him that created it?’ Instantly the gag was thrust into his mouth, and the Jesuits who attended him to the Terreiro de Paco were not troubled with any more of his reflections.”
Which shall we wonder at most, the endurance of the faithful or the cruelty of their tormentors? Is it not proven beyond all dispute that there is no limit to the enormities which men will commit when they are once persuaded that they are keepers of other men’s consciences? To spread religion by any means, and to crush heresy by all means is the practical inference from the doctrine that one man may control another’s religion. Given the duty of a state to foster some one form of faith, and by the sure inductions of our nature slowly but certainly persecution will occur. To prevent for ever the possibility of Papists roasting Protestants, Anglicaus hanging Romish priests, and Puritans flogging Quakers, let every form of state-churchism be utterly abolished, and the remembrance of the long curse which it has cast upon the world be blotted out for ever.
ON BAZAARS BAZAARS in connection with benevolent or religious institutions are of modern date; such things were unknown half a century ago, and would have been regarded as inconsistent and profane. Both Churchmen and Dissenters would have condemned them as sacrilegious; the one as an innovation upon consecrated usage, and the other as incompatible with unsullied devotion. We think we see the awful frown upon the brow of Andrew Fuller, the curling lip of contempt in Gill or Ripon, or hear the sarcastic reproof of Robert Hall should a proposal have been made to them to endeavor to raise funds for religious purposes by means of a bazaar.
Many think that in this respect the former times were better than these.
Many, and especially of the elder sort, think the world is going backward, but we are more disposed to conclude that it is going forward They sigh for the good old times, but we should sigh to see them return. Every age has its faults, but it has its advantages too; and we should not he disposed to make an exchange with any that has preceded. We have never heard of a period since the time when men began to multiply in the earth in which we could have wished the world to stand still. Let it go on, we say, in its appointed course as fast as it can roll. Its glory is in the future, and not in the past.
We meet with numerous objections to bazaars, as that they injure trade; that they encourage vanity and finery in furniture and dress; that they bring young persons into familiar intercourse with each other; that they promote a needless and injurious admixture of secular with spiritual things; and that they appeal to a false principle of charity. These objections are plausible, and are often conscientiously maintained. They are such, in fact, as would suggest themselves at first to nearly every Christian mind. Nor can it be denied that bazaars have their temptations to evil, and that they are for the most part such as have been named. It may be questioned, however, whether those temptations are not of nearly equal force without them, and whether there be not on the whole a considerable preponderance of good.
They have now been extensively tried. and what have been the actual results? Have they injured trade? It would be difficult, we think, to find instances of this, while tomy in which they have proved beneficial to trade might be discovered. Have they encouraged finery in furniture and dress?
That is a taste which is likely to prevail quite as much without them. How can that be increased which is already carried to its utmost extent? As to young people meeting together at bazaars, they are sure to meet somewhere, and better meet amongst the friends of the church than of the world. And as for the secularizing influence of bazaars, they are usually held at times in which those who are occupied in them would have been in other secular employments, so that they turn not religion to a secular, so ranch as secularity to a religions use. But what shall we say of the appeal to a false principle of charity? Would it not be better to give money without any equivalent? Would not that be real charity? Unquestionably it would: and it is done in a far larger extent. But why not supplement the direct by indirect means? Men may buy in charity as well as give in charity. It is sometimes greater charity to buy than to give. As direct charity is not always true, so indirect charity is not always false. Men like to exercise their benevolence in different ways, some in giving direct to the object, others in giving to those who can make more of it, and others by obtaining a memorial of their bounty. Our charity should allow others to exercise their charity as they please. We are disposed to think that real charity towards the object for which bazaars are held is the predominant motive both in those by whom they are provided and in those by whom they are patronized.
Let us look now at the considerations that might be positively advanced in their favor. They increase the funds of our benevolent and religious institutions. Thus far their end is good; and the means, if not positively evil, are sanctioned by the end. We are not to do evil that good may come; but when the evil is imaginary and the good is real and abiding, the case is altered. Let those who complain of this method of raising money, show us not a more excellent merely, but a more practicable way. Of two evils, having a bazaar and being in debt, we should be disposed to choose the former.
There may be some good in a bazaar, in itself considered. It evokes much latent talent, and calls forth energies that may result in useful habits. It enables many to say, “Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have, give I thee.” I have no money to give, but I have time, I have a tongue, I have eyes and ears, I have hands and feet, I have ingenuity and labor I will give these to the work. If to such five talents are given in direct charity, or two, or one; and the five talents become ten in their hands; and the two, four; and the one. two; ingenuity has been exercised, industry has been encouraged, and capital has been increased, Interest too has been taken in the object by those who have been thus employed which otherwise would not have been felt. And more than this, young people by this means have learned the secret of their own strength; that they have a power for good of which they never dreamt; and that instead of playing with toys, their fingers may be turned to good account. A young engineer may be in that little contrivance, a young artist in that little decoration, a young mechanic in that little production, and a young merchant in that little transaction.
Diligent habits have been formed, and preparing for a bazaar has been a school of industry to many. Knowledge too of the art of buying and selling has been acquired. Thus many, by giving their tithe and labor to others, have learned to use them profitably for themselves.
Where, it may be said, have we any Scripture authority for bazaars? The first tabernacle, we reply, with all its furniture, was erected from the produce of a bazaar. In the twenty-fifth chapter of Exodus we thus read, “Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering. And this is the offering which ye shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass, and blue, and purple, anal scarlet, and fine linen, and goat’s hair, and ram’s skins dyed red, and badgers’ skins and shittim wood, oil for the light, spices for anointing oil, and for sweet incense; onyx stones and stones to be set in the ephod, and in the breastplate. And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.” This was the notice given of a bazaar to be held in the wilderness at the foot of Mount Sinai. In the thirtyfifth chapter of the same book we have an account of the bazaar being held, which is too long for insertion here. Some points of resemblance with modern bazaars may be noticed. The object there was religions; it was for the erection of a house for God. That house was more externally sacred than any now erected for divine worship. If a bazaar might be held for a house of God then, why not now? and if a house of God of any kind, why not for an orphanage or any other benevolent purpose? The offerings of old were of various kinds. There were articles of gold and silver and brass.
There were jewels and precious stones. There were blue and purple and scarlet and fine linen. There were pins and cords and garments. There were curtains and trimmings and lamps and vases and spices. There was all the variety and profusion of our modern bazaars. The women, as now, took a prominent part. “They came, both men and women. and all the women that were wise-hearted did spin with their hands, and brought that which they bad spun, both of blue and of purple and of scarlet, and of fine linen.” All gifts, whether of goods or of labor, were gratuitously bestowed. There were no drawbacks upon the articles presented. “They came every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing, and they brought the Lord’s offering to the work of the tabernacle of the congregation.” Some were inspired by God with special ingenuity on that occasion, and why should we not acknowledge the stone hand in the talents called forth on our behalf? “Them hath he filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of work, of the engraver and of the cunning workman, and of the embroiderer, in blue, and in purple, and in scarlet, and in fine linen, and of the weaver, even of them that do any work, and of those that devise cunning work.” In the original, as in all modern bazaars, there were more articles than could be disposed of. “They spake unto Moses, saying, The people bring much more than enough. And Moses gave commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, Let neither man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the sanctuary. So the people were restrained from bringing. For the stuff they had was sufficient for all the work to make it, and too much.”
Although we have said thus much in favor of bazaar, we see the need of much caution that lotteries and gambling and other indications of a spirit that is of the world and not of God, be not associated with them. We accept them as one of the means peculiar to the present age of advancing its social and moral and religious welfare; to give place to the superior requirements of a more enlightened age, which, in its turn, must yield to that which is more spiritual, until the church and the world part company for ever, each gathers to itself all that is its own, and goes to its own place.
A HISTORY OF THE BAPTISTS.
ALL w he know much of the Baptist denomination must have regretted that so few are acquainted with its early history. We are not surprised that those who do not admit the scripturalness of our principles should be thus ignorant; nor can we be surprised that those who have superciliously looked upon our comparative feebleness shou1d have put us down as of latter-day growth; but it remains a matter of great surprise that our own congregations should be, for the most part, uninstructed in the past doings of our body. We certainly can boast of godly defenders of the faith, of noble men persecuted and contemned, who have sacrificed position, wealth, and life, for the truth: we can tell of able preachers and learned divines, and we can rejoice in the spirit of enterprise and heroism which has existed among Baptists of all ages. Why therefore should there be so much ignorance abroad as to the ecclesiastical history of the denomination? Why should so few know anything, and so many care nothing for the early Baptists, when their history is beyond measure instructive and interesting?
We think there are several reasons to be found for this apathy to our own history. We are not sure, in the first place, that Baptists have ever been passionate lovers of ecclesiastical history. Indeed, we have a notion — how far it is true we leave our readers to judge — that religious communities which indulge too much in these investigations, are apt to trust to the past, which in view of present necessities is about the worst thing a religious body could do. Baptists, too, in past days, being peculiarly obnoxious to all state-churchmen, have had enough to do to fight for very existence, and have been too much intent upon taking their part in the controversies of the times, and, upon seeking present edification, to spend much thought upon presenting in the foreground the past history of their body. Then, too, that history has been, for the most part, obscure and scanty, and even now, as Dr. Angus confesses, the history of baptism in the early church and in the middle ages is still to be written. The few books that have been compiled have been too expensive for ordinary readers, and a condensed and graphic abstract of Baptist records has been much wanted. We are glad therefore to find that Dr. Cramp, the able president of a Baptist College in Nova Scotia, has endeavored to meet this want. Dr. Cramp has long been a laborious, painstaking student of ecclesiastical history, and his works have been distinguished by some of the higher qualities of an historian. His book on Baptist history is not intended for students; at least, it is thrown into a popular mold, and will be more acceptable to general readers, to whom we most heartily recommend it. All Baptists should possess a copy, and even those of our readers who do not sympathize with our view of the ordinance of baptism, will probably be glad to know what the immersionists have to say about themselves. The time is past, we hope, when religious rancor forbids one body of believers to take an interest in another. The work is so pleasantly written, and so tastefully produced, that it would form an acceptable gift to our young men and maidens. It traces the history of Baptists from the foundation of the Christian church, when he whose right it was to give the mandate commanded his disciples to baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, to the close of the last century; adding a chapter — which to our minds is the least satisfactory part of the work — on the extension of the denomination and the peculiarities of the present period. The primitive period is remarkable only — so far as the point in band is concerned — for two things: viz., the absence during the first two hundred years of any reference in “The Fathers” to infant baptism; and the introduction, with other heresies, of baptismal regeneration and children’s baptism. Tertullian, at the in-coming of the third century openly declared that remission from sins, deliverance from death, regeneration and participation in the Holy Spirit, were spiritual blessings consequent upon baptism. The two things — the sacramental theory and the baptism of children (not infants) — probably came in at the same time; for we find Tertullian indignantly reproving those who had begun the practice of administering the ordinance to children, on the ground that they were not old enough to repent and believe. Chevalier Bunsen distinctly points out that “Tertullian’s opposition is to the baptism of young growing children: he does not say a word about newborn infants.” The same must be said of Origen. But the seeds of the evil had been sown. Children’s baptism was clearly originated by the sacramentarians, who considered that it was necessary to salvation. But infant baptism was instituted by a bishop of Northern Africa, in the middle of the third century, who confounded Christian baptism with circumcision — a blunder frequent enough nowadays. It must be remembered that the body of the infant was immersed, not sprinkled. Sprinkling sick persons confined to their beds was, however, a contemporaneous innovation.
We next enter upon the transition period, when the new system was quietly working its way. As Neander puts it, “among the Christians of the East, infant-baptism, though acknowledged in theory to be necessary, yet entered rarely and with much difficulty into the church-life during the first half of this period.” Novelty needed extraneous power to bolster it up, and infant-baptism was promulgated by men who accepted state aid, and who were backed by a royal command that all infants should be baptized. The church allied to the state, the tide of persecution inevitably set in. The state-church people were the “orthodox,” and as such were recognized; all others were heretics. A controversy sprang up with regard to those who apostatized during the Decian persecution, but who on the return of tranquillity, sought re-admission into the churches. Novation held that apostacy was a sin which disqualified them from again entering into church fellowship, and to secure a pure community, he formed a separate church, which elected him for its pastor. These purer churches multiplied, and continued in existence for more than three centuries, the members being everywhere looked upon as Puritans and Dissenters. They were Anabaptists, baptizing again all who had been immersed by the orthodox and corrupt church. The Novations, then, were Baptists.
Then follows the obscure period — a period of mistiness, doubtfulness, and difficulty. What Dr. Cramp terms “The Revival Period,” which extended from A.D. 1073 to A.D. 1517, includes the Crusades, the martyrdom of Huss, and the invention of printing. Peter of Bruys, who suffered martyrdom in 1124, was a Baptist minister, who maintained that the church should be composed alone of believers, that all believers should be baptized, and that baptism was of no use unless connected with personal faith. Others followed him in the advocacy of the same principles, giving a great deal of trouble to the Baptists by their denunciations of ecclesiastical corruptions. “The terrible storm which fell upon Southern France in the crusade against the Albigenses, doubtless swept away many of the Baptist churches, and scattered their surviving members. Notwithstanding the vigilance of the persecutors, great numbers escaped. Italy, Germany, and the Eastern countries of Europe received them.” It is clear that “the Morning Star of the Reformation,” John Wycliffe, believed that faith was required by those who were baptized, and those who held that infants dying without baptism could not be saved, were regarded by him as “presumptuous and foolish.” It is also certain that many of the Lollards, perhaps the majority of them, strongly opposed infant baptism. They were persecuted for this by the Paedobaptists, for it was held to be a grievous departure from the truth to believe that infants could be saved if unbaptized. There has been considerable diversity of opinion among historians as to the Waldenses, and both by those who assert that they were Baptists and by those who maintain that they were not, it has been forgotten that they were not distinguished by any uniformity of belief. “If,” says Dr. Cramp, “the question relate to the Waldenses in the strict and modern sense of the term, that is, to the inhabitants of the valleys of Piedmont, there is reason to believe that, originally, the majority of them were Baptists, although there were varieties of opinion among them, as well as among other seceders from the Romish church.” One of their earlier confessions, has this distinguishing belief, that it is proper and even necessary that believers should use the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, but that believers may be saved without either. Immersion in any case was still the mode, and incontrovertible facts, which no one has ventured to dispute, go to prove that it was the universal practice.
Baptists were always equally prepared for conflict and for persecution. At the rise of the Reformation they openly declared themselves, coming out of their obscure positions, where they had long worshipped their Master in quiet, seclusion. They were prepared to enlist themselves under the banners of the Reformers. They looked upon the defiant daring men of God whom no ecclesiastical tyranny could tame, no Papal fulmination’s could awe, no threatenings could silence, as their brothers — bone of their bone, and flesh of their flesh. It is much to be regretted that they should have been so bitterly disappointed. The Reformers were not as yet sufficiently wide in their sympathies, nor sufficiently clear in their Protestantism, to extend the right hand of friendship, and loving communion to the despised Baptists.
As now, so then, Baptists were a go-a-head race, always prepared to travel beyond others. They were persecuted, destroyed, forsaken, had their possessions confiscated, and were reduced to the lowest depths of poverty.
In spite of the Reformers who were bemisted by Popery, they maintained that the church of Christ should be kept as pure as possible; that there must be no indiscriminate mixing of wheat and tares, as though both were so much akin that there was no difference between them; that believers only were the proper subjects of baptism; that Scripture and Scripture alone was the sole arbiter in all theological disputes; and that civil magistrates and earthly potentates had no control over God’s free girl; to man — conscience. We, as Baptists of the present day, have precisely the same principles to defend, and in demanding the disestablishment and disendowment of the Irish church, that embodiment of injustice and bulwark against the progress of Protestantism in the sister country, we do but propagate opinions and principles which were tenaciously held by the Anabaptists of Reformation days — principles which find their source and authority in Holy Writ.
No one disputes, that the conduct of the Baptists of this era was marked at times by folly. Yet it has been the habit too much to magnify their wrongdoings, and to stigmatize all for the acts of some. The Reformers themselves chose out of their vocabulary all the offensive epithets they could, and flung them at their brethren — the Baptists. Latimer denounced them as “pernicious,” ‘and their opinions as “devilish.” Hooper regarded them as “damnable;” while other and equally mild aspersions were made upon their zeal, their honesty, and even common decency. The Baptists declared their sympathy with Luther in throwing off the Pope’s authority, and carried out their principles to their legitimate conclusion, by proclaiming themselves free from Luther’s, or any other man’s, authority.
Then came the Peasant’s War, in which Munzer joined, and for which he paid by the forfeiture of his life. Occasion was taken by his connection with the insurgents, to load all Baptists with obloquy and reproach. They were persecuted and hunted down, obliged to worship in woods, far removed from the hot fierce hand of their enemies. An historian of these times, Sebastian Franck, affirms that within a few years no fewer than ‘:two thousand Baptists had testified their faith by imprisonment or martyrdom.”
Yet despite the odium cast upon them, and the laws of repression enforced against them, they continued to spread in Germany, in Italy, in Switzerland, Austria, and Bavaria. They were hunted like sheep and compelled to emigrate in large numbers to Moravia, and to the Netherlands, where they were not free from the oppressor’s yoke. The records of Baptist martyrology are very voluminous. Our readers should be acquainted with the doings and the sufferings of these brethren, who were singled out for unsparing manifestations of cruelty and vengeance. We recommend them carefully to read Dr. Cramp’s admirable condensation of their trials during this long and suffering period. One man, by name Jeronimus Segerson, who boldly declared that he would rather be tortured ten times every day, and then finally be roasted on a gridiron, than renounce the faith, was burned at Antwerp. His wife, Lysken, was drowned in a sack — a fitting death it was thought for a Baptist. The account given in the work entitled “Baptist Martyrology,” written in Dutch, is very affecting. “She very boldly,” we are told,” and undisguisedly confessed her faith at the tribunal, before the magistrates and the multitude. They first asked her concerning baptism. She said, ‘ I acknowledge but one baptism, even that which was used by Christ and his disciples, and left to us.’ ‘What do you hold concerning infant baptism?’ asked the sheriff. To which Lysken answered, ‘Nothing but a mere infant’s baptism, and a human institution.’ On this the bench stood up, and consulted together, while Lysken, in the mean time, confessed, and explained clearly to the people the ground of her belief.
They then pronounced sentence upon her. Lysken spoke in the following manner to the bench: ‘Ye are now judges; but the time will come when ye will wish that ye had been keepers of sheep, for there is a Judge and Lord who is above all; he shall in his own time judge you. But we have not to wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, powers, and rulers of the darkness of this world.’“ Two monks visited her in prison, but could not move her from her confidence. “On Saturday morning we rose early, some before day, some with the daylight, to see the nuptials which we thought would then be celebrated; but the crafty murderers outran us.
We had slept too long, for they had finished their murderous work between .three and four o’clock. They had taken that sheep to the Scheldt, and had put her into a sack, and drowned her before the people arrived, so that few persons saw it. Some, however, saw it. She went courageously to death, and spoke bravely, ‘ Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.’ Thus she was delivered up, and it came to pass, to the honor of the Lord, that by the grace of God many were moved thereby.”
The history of English Baptists is full of interest. From the first they were peculiarly offensive to” the powers that be.” Henry the Eighth — who did so much for the Anglican Establishmentarians that he ought to be regarded by them as a pet saint, even as he was befooled and belarded by the intriguing Cranmer — when he assumed the headship of the Anglican church which never acknowledged Christ to be its only Head, proclaimed against two kinds of heretics, viz., those who disputed about baptism and the Lord’s Supper; and such as were re-baptized. These Anabaptists were commanded to withdraw from the country at once. Cranmer ordered some to be burnt, and burnt they were. Mr. Kenworthy, the present pastor of the Baptist church at Hill Cliffe, in Cheshire, has stated that if the traditions of the place are to be trusted, the church is five hundred years old. “A tombstone has been lately dug up in the burial ground belonging to that church, bearing date 1357. The origin of the church is assigned to the year 1523. It is evident that there were Baptist communities in this country in the reign of Edward VI., since Ridley, who was martyred in the following reign, had the following among his “Articles of Visitation:” “Whether any of the Anabaptists’ sect or other, use notoriously any unlawful or private conventicles, wherein they do use doctrines or administration of sacraments, separating themselves from the rest of the parish?” A fearful crime which many Anglicans of the present day would be as ready to punish were it not that other notions of religious liberty exist and powerfully influence public opinion. We can trace the same spirit, though in embryo perhaps, in the ritualistic prints of the present age, and indeed in the two delightfully amiable Evangelical newspapers whose unbounded hatred of all outside the pale of their theology and clique is as relentless and unscrupulous as the bitterest feelings of Papal days. All history teaches that state-churchism means persecution, in one form or another, according to the sentiments of the age; and the only cure for the evil is to put all religions on an equality.
Elizabeth, like her father, found it needful for the peace and quiet of the Anglicans, to banish Baptists from her realm. This she did so effectually that Bishop Jewel congratulated his brethren, in 1560, in the following terms: — “We found at the beginning of the reign of Elizabeth a large and inauspicious corps of Arians, Anabaptists, and other pests, which I know not how, but as mushrooms spring up in the night and in darkness, so these sprang up in that darkness and unhappy night of the Marian times. These I am informed, and I hope it is the fact, have retreated before the light of purer doctrine, like owls at the sight of the sun, and are now nowhere to be found; or at least, if anywhere, they are no longer troublesome to our churches.” With all this system of repression and persecution, and notwithstanding the emigration of large numbers, many remained in the country, and soon made their appearance, as history attests, in what Dr. Cramp has denominated “the troublous period,” which extended from A.D. 1567 to A.D. 1688 — from the days especially of James I. to the period when Benjamin Keach suffered in the pillory. For an interesting abstract of the history of our denomination during those times and during the quieter period which followed, with its peculiarities of controversy, and conscientious differences, we must refer our reader to the book which we have already warmly commended to their favor.
GEORGE MULLER’S REPORT FOR 1867-68.
WE bless God that his servant George Muller is led every year to publish a brief narrative of facts connected with the Lord’s providential dealings with his Orphan-houses and other enterprises. We feel refreshed and encouraged in our own work, and at the same time ashamed of our own little faith and slender attainments. Every believer ought to read this blessed sixpennyworth of experimental testimony to the living God. Our own modes of action are distinct from those of this revered man of God; it would be vain presumption to try to imitate him, each man must walk as he feels led in the service of his Master. For him his plans are beyond all criticism, they are clearly of the Lord, and his Lord approves them by signs following. We too have endeavored, after our small ability, to follow the leadings of our Lord, and have had a most abundant recompense, and shall have in the future yet more. We cull a few extracts from the present, report to induce our readers to purchase it. Thus this good steward begins his story:— “My soul does magnify the Lord for the help which he has so graciously been pleased to grant to me during another year!
Difficulties, greater than ever I had them for the previous thirtythree years, have been overcome during the past year, by prayer and faith; work, which is increasing with every year more and ,more, has not been allowed to overwhelm me, and expenses greater than during any previous year, amounting altogether, from May 27, 1867, to May 26, 1868, to £41,310 16s. 8½d., have been met without my ever being unable to satisfy to the full at once all demands, though sometimes amounting to more than £3,000 at a time. We are now going on in the thirty-fifth year of this Institution, proving, day by day, that the living God of the Bible is still the living God. Elijah has long since been taken up into heaven, but the God of Elijah lives; and all who truly depend upon him will find him ever ready to help them.”
Among the donations acknowledged are notable cases such as these:— “From Scotland, £22, with the following letter: ‘Dear Sir, enclosed is £20, which I send to you as a thank-offering, to the Lord, to be disposed of by you as you may deem most proper. Last year I sent you £10, this year I feel satisfied it is my duty to send )’on £’20, being persuaded there is a withholding more than is meet, which tendeth to poverty,’ etc. July 24. From the neighborhood of Bath, £500, from a gentleman who had in May also sent me £500. I have never seen this kind donor, as is the case with perhaps 19 out of of the donors; but the Lord spoke to him, thus to help me to accomplish this enlargement of the Orphan work. May 23. — All the glass, needed for the New Orphan Houses No. 4 and No. 5, was given gratuitously. The glass for No. 4 was kindly given by the senior partner of a large firm, and the glass for No. 5 by the same firm conjointly. The promise to do so had been given nearly two years since: but now I learnt from the clerk of the works, that all the glass had been actually supplied. The greatness of the gift will be seen, by its being remembered that there are above 700 large windows in these two houses. “June 3. Received to-day £51 5s., with the following letter: ‘My dear Sir, I enclose my cheque, value £51 5s., to be applied £20 for missions, £20 for the dear children under your care, and the balance for yourself, £11 5s. I send this in acknowledgment of God’s mercies, having had great losses in business, and feeling truly thankful that I am in a position to bear them, and still to carry on my business as usual, with the prayer that God may keep me humble at the toot of the cross of Christ,’ etc. One or the other of the readers of this report may derive benefit from this letter, Observe: 1. The donor takes his losses out of the hand of God. So should all do, under similar circumstances. It is deeply important to his own hand in all that befalls us. 2. He is grateful that not all is taken from him, as might have been the case. In this the donor should be imitated by all under similar circumstances. We are entirely dependent upon God, and therefore not only a part of what we have might be taken, but all. 3. The writer of the letter brings his thank-offering to God. For what?:Not for a large increase of his means, but that the Lord has not taken all from him, and that, notwithstanding great losses, he is able to carry on his business as usual. Think of this, esteemed reader. In this many Christians in business fall When difficulties and losses come, instead of cleaving the more to God, and being the more grateful to him that they are even as well of/as they are, he is rather less remembered; and as to being the more faithful in the stewardship, while it is continued, the losses are only dwelt on, and nothing, or but exceedingly little, can now be afforded for the poor or the work of God. Well, and what is the result? The losses increase yet more and more. O that the saints would be wise, and learn! but they frequently act so as to oblige God, in very love to them, to take by thousands and tens of thousands that from them of which they were unwilling to give to him in tens or hundreds. “March 21. To-day I received from Belgium £1 13sfor Missions, with 14s. 6d. for the Orphans. ‘ Of this amount, 18 francs cents,’ the missionary who sends the money writes, ‘ come from the box of our brother the tinker. This box is in a dark corner of a very small shop, crowded with broken pots and pans, etc. When I broke the box this morning to take out the money (for it must be broken), this money was so covered with dust and damp that it needed to be washed; but it is not less precious on that account, for it comes from a heart which sincerely loves the Lord.’“ Mr. Muller’s daily dependence upon God, anal the Lord’s daily remembrance of his servant, are illustrated by his statement that he prays every day, and many times a day, for help in his benevolent work of feeding 1,299 children and building houses for more, making in all 2,050 orphans, and are set in dear relief by the details of the first five days of his financial year:— We began the year on May 27, 1867, with £90 3s. 1 1/2d. in hand for these objects, which was indeed little for our requirements; but we called upon the Lord, and before this balance was expended, we received far more than the amount with which we began the year.
On May 27, came in £2 5s. On May 28, altogether in ten donations, £9 8s. 5d, One of these ten donations was from a Christian shopkeeper, who sent 3s. 5d., being one penny in the pound of the sum which he had taken during the previous week. In like manner has this donor sent, week by week, about the same sum. One penny in the pound seems little, and yet, little as it appears, even this little, because it was systematically given, amounted in the end to about £8 during the year. I refer to this to show how important it is to give as the Lord prospers us, even though we are only able to give according to a very low rate. On May 29th we received from London £50, and £2 0s. 4d. besides. On May 30th, £11 14s. 6d. Of this amount £10 was sent by a Christian mercantile gentleman, who, month after month, during the whole year, sent £10, or £ 15, or £20, I suppose just as God was pleased to prosper him. On May 31st, from Kent, £100, and £5 14s. 10d. besides. And as it pleased God to supply our need during the first five days of the year, so did he also during the whole period, for the sake of our Lord Jesus, listen to our supplications, and give unto us continually the needed help.”
The new houses required £58,000 to build and furnish; and we rejoice to notice the following paragraph: — “When the last year commenced on May 27, 1867, I needed yet about 326,000, to meet, as far as I could see, all the expenses connected with fitting up and furnishing the two new houses; but the Lord was pleased to give me, altogether for this object, £6,633 17s. 5 1/4d. during the year. I have, therefore, reason to believe, as far as at present the expenses can be calculated, that the amount required is in hand.
What hath God wrought? And this God is our God also. Therefore by faith we commit to him our far smaller work at the Stockwell Orphanage, at our College, and -in the Colportage, saying with Abraham, JEHOVAH-JIREH.
Our work was not of our seeking, but was laid on our shoulder even as the cross was placed upon Simon: will not the Lord give us strength to carry it? Hitherto we have received great and memorable help, and usually in large sums; surely he who has done so much will not leave us. now! “Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.”
ADVICE TO YOUNG PREACHERS.
care not to fall into the habitual and common affectation of the present day.
Scarcely one man in a dozen in the pulpit talks like a man. This affectation is not confined to Protestants for the Abbe Mullois remarks, “Everywhere else, men speak: they speak at the bar and the tribune; but they no longer speak in the pulpit, for there we only meet with a factitious and artificial language, and a false tone. This style of speaking is only tolerated in the church, because, unfortunately, it is so general there; elsewhere it would not be endured. What would be thought of a man who should converse in a similar way in a drawing-room? He would certainly provoke many a smile.
Some time ago there was a warder at the Pantheon — a good sort of fellow in his way — who, in enumerating the beauties of the monument, adopted precisely the tone of many of our preachers, and never failed thereby to excite the hilarity of the visitors, who were as much amused with his style of address as with the objects of interest which he pointed out to them. A man who has not a natural and true delivery, should not be allowed to occupy the pulpit; from thence, at least, everything that is false should be summarily banished In these days of mistrust everything that is false should be set aside; and the best way of correcting one’s self in that respect, as regards preaching, is frequently to listen to certain monotonous and vehement preachers. We shall come away in disgust, and with such a horror of their delivery, that we shall prefer condemning ourselves to silence rather than imitate them. The instant you abandon the natural and the true, you forego the right to be believed, as well as the right of being listened to.” You may go all round, to church and chapel alike, and you will find that by far the larger majority of our preachers have a holy tone for Sundays. They have one voice for the parlor and the bed-room, and quite another tone for the pulpit; so that, if not double-tongued sinful]y, they certainly are so literally. The moment some men shut the pulpit door, they leave their own personal manhood behind them, and become as official as the parish beadle. There they might almost boast with the Pharisee, that they are not as other men are, although it would be blasphemy to thank God for it. No longer are they carnal and speak as men, but a whine, a broken hum-haw, an ore rotundo, or some other graceless mode of noise-making, is adopted, to prevent all suspicion of being natural and speaking out of the abundance of the heart. When that gown is once on, how often does it prove to be the shroud of the man’s true self, and the effeminate emblem of officialism! — From a course of lectures by C. H.SPURGEON, now preparing for the press.
Prayer is not a winter garment meant for trouble alone: it is then to be worn indeed, but not to be left off in the summer of prosperity. If you would find some at prayer, you must stay till it thunders and lightens, and not go to them except it be in a storm. These are like certain birds which are never heard to cry or make a noise, but in or against foul weather. This is not to pray always, not to serve God, but to serve ourselves. Reader, how about thy prayers? Are they selfish, and brought forth by fear, or do they spring from love to God?
TO THE PROTESTANT MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND.
A FABLE:THE RITUALIST PRIEST AND THE ASS ARITUALIST PRIEST meeting an ass, thus accosted her — “How durst thou presume to wear ‘the sign. of the holy rood, seeing that thou art an unbaptized and unregenerate ass?”
The meek-spirited beast replied — “ Brother! God placed the cross on my back but I know not who placed it on thine.” Moral. — Self-imposed crosses occasion arrogancy.
FREDERICK JAMES BROWN. NO. 32. — From C. H.SPURGEON’ S “Sword and Trowel,” published monthly, price 3d.; post free, 4d. Tracts, 6d. per 100; post free for stamps. — Passmore and Alabaster, 18, Paternoster Row.
A FABLE FOR THE TIMES FABLE ACERTAIN MAN bad long accustomed himself to eat out of the same trough with a beast, and being rebuked for such unclean feeding, he replied that he did not object to it, and that by long-established custom he had acquired a right to eat in that fashion, for his fathers had so fed before him for many generations. As there was no other way of curing him of his degrading habit, his friends began to remove the trough, whereat he struggled and raved like a madman, calling them robbers and villains, and many other bad names. Meanwhile the beast at the other end of the trough patiently submitted to lose its provender.
State support of religion, by tithes and other forced payments, is the trough. ‘The Irish Church feeds out of the same trough with the Church which it is wont to call the Romish beast, only it stands at the fullest end of it. The beast only gets a few handfuls of Maynooth Grant, but the Irish clergy are fed with tithes to the full. We want to see Protestants act like men who have faith in God and their own doctrines, and then they will maintain their own religion voluntarily; but, alas! it seems as if nothing but force will get them away from the degradation of state pay. How true it is that slavery deprives many men of the desire to be free! Wait a little, and when the trough is broken altogether, perhaps the man will play the man.
Let every true Protestant help to deliver the Irish Church from her present; condition; and may God defend the right.
NO 33. — From C. H. Spurgeon’s” Sword and Trowel,” published monthly, price 3d.; post free, 4d. Tracts, 6d. per 100; post free for stamps. — Passmore and Alabaster, 18, Paternoster Row.
SOUL PROSPERITY. (NOTES OF A SERMON BY C.H. SPURGEON.)
“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” — 3 John 2.
WHAT a change the gospel made in John! He was one who could call fire front heaven on opposers, but now, having received the Holy Ghost, how full of love he is! He had been often with his Master, he had leaned on his bosom, and, like men who have lain in beds of spices, he had the perfume of delight upon him. I do not say that grace will work so visibly in all — for some retain their natural temperament, only it is turned in a new channel — but sometimes the change is remarkably evident: the morose become cheerful; the gay, serious; the revengeful, loving. John, having experienced a change, we see love in him at all times, he is the mirror of love. Whether he receives penitent Peter, or writes to the churches, all is love.
A man’s private letters often let you into the secrets of his heart. Read Ratherford’s letters, and you see the man at once; or those of Kirke White, or Newton. A man’s writing desk should be used to make his biography.
Here we have one of John’s private letters to Gaius, and it is a letter just like him: it has the postmark of charity on it; it is scented with love. Note, he calls himself simply “the elder.” Great men can afford to stoop. He uses no proud title: humility is ever the sweet companion of love. In this letter he wishes Gains every blessing, and commences with an earnest desire for his better health. Gains, it would seem, was ill; like many of the Lord’s favorites, he was sickly in body. Some of God’s choicest plants are kept earthed up by troubles, but, blessed be his name, it whitens them and prepares them for his use. John desired that his friend might recover; and we are allowed, with submission to the Lord’s will, to pray for our own health and that of our friends.
Health is an invaluable mercy, and, like every other, never properly valued till it is lost. But we notice that John puts soul prosperity side by side with it. Man has two parts: the one corporeal and earthy, the other immaterial and spiritual. How foolish is the man who thinks of his body and forgets his soul; prizes the vessel and despises the treasure; repairs the house, but allows the tenant to languish; keeps the garment whole, but neglects the wearer.
First, we will examine the words of our text more carefully; secondly, describe the symptoms of ill health of soul; thirdly, mention the means of recovery; fourthly, a practical exhortation.
I. THE TEXT.
“I wish,” says John to his “beloved” brother. But the word wish is not strong enough to express the force of the original; the Greek word is generally interpreted, as the margin has it, “to pray.” Prayer is a wish sanctified. A wish is but a chariot: prayer yokes coursers to it. Good wishes are bullion: prayers are stamped money. Wishes are seeds] prayers are flowers. Let us plant our wishes in the garden of devotion, that they may blossom into fruit. “Above all things.” Not that John desired bodily health above all things for his friend, but the phrase means “in all respects.”
Our wishes for temporal things should never get into the throne, but keep on the footstool. “That thou mayest prosper.” This is one mercy he prays for, namely, prosperity. We may ask it for our friends, and especially if, like Gaius, they spend their substance in promoting the interests of religion.
Some seem to suppose that religion makes men haters of their kind — no such thing: I can most sincerely pray for you all that you may prosper, and have what you require of worldly goods. “And be in health.” This second mercy requires no remark, it is a necessary ingredient in the cup if we are to enjoy prosperity. But, my friends, I am startled at the closing thought. I am sure Gains was a wonderful man — very unlike some of you. Why, look again: can you believe it? John wishes to have his spiritual health made the standard of his natural prosperity. Suppose I were to kneel down in my pulpit and ask God to make your bodies, in point of health, just like your souls. Suppose he should grant the petition. Half of you would drop down dead, for you have no spiritual life at all; you are dead in sin: this chapel would be a charnel house of corruption and death. Then as for those of you who have spiritual life, I should be afraid to pray this prayer for you.
Many of you would begin to shake with cold, and I am afraid some of you would be in a decline, if not in a rapid consumption. Shall I pray the prayer? then some of you would become weak in the knee, your hands would be palsied, and your eyes dim. How many would have their hearts affected? and I fear none of us would be entirely free from sickness. Oh! bless God that the body is not the index of the soul. But, still, if the picture be horrible, if we cannot endure a lazar-house of sick bodies, what must an hospital of sick and dead souls be, if we could only see within! The spiritual anatomist ought, however, to look beneath the surface, and penetrate between the joints and marrow of the soul. May God help us to deal honestly with ourselves. And this brings us to — II. SYMPTOMS OF ILL HEALTH.THESE ARE MANY: ISHALL BUT HAVE TIME TO MENTION THE MOST PROMINENT. 1. Lukewarmness. This is mentioned by our Lord to. Laodicea as a very dangerous symptom. A man lukewarm in business or politics will make but little way, but a man lukewarm in religion is worst of all. Do we not see this often the case? The place may be full or empty, what cares this man?
Sinners may be converted or not, he does not mind, or, at any rate, he never bestirs himself to win souls himself. His prayers at the prayer meeting, if he ever comes, are cold as marble; his words seemed to have been packed in ice. His neighbors he cares no more about than Cain, who said, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Or perhaps he is a man of a little better stamp — he does give, he likes to see the cause go on; but still he is not heart and soul in it. As for the truth, he does not care whether his minister be heterodox or orthodox; he does not trouble himself much; he is cold; he leaves his heart in his shop, puts his soul in his cash box, and brings us the empty chrysalis of what ought to have been a heart. This is bad. If the man be a true son of God, he will be healed before death overtake him, but be careful — it may be he is a mere professor. 2. A narrow mind. This is far from uncommon. While some run into one extreme, and think no one doctrine truer than another, and are latitudinarians, others run to the other pole, and call all men reprobates but their own little selves and the sect they belong to. Be sure that if you do not love the brethren something is out of order: If you kill all who cannot say Shibboleth, you will have to put many of the Lord’s little ones to death.
I love baptism and the doctrines of grace, but I do not wish to look with a frown on all who differ from me. Cheerer talks of putting his things into a spring box, and then putting the key inside and shutting it. So some men try to put all truth, and the key too, into their own heads; but if you have a chest as large as St. Paul’s, you will not know how to put all truth in it.
Love the brethren, love ALL the brethren, but if not, be sure all is not quite healthy within. 3. A bad appetite — by which I mean a want of desire after the word. Some say: “I cannot hear;” they go elsewhere while the place is crowded; they hear a little while, but soon the rolling stone has another turn, and they cannot hear again, while some good souls think it marrow and fatness. Let the minister utter one opinion they cannot agree with, they could not enjoy the sermon. Ah, you require some bark from the tree of affliction, or a draught of Jeremiah’s wormwood! You think it wisdom, but it is a disease — you are out of order. 4. A forsaken closet. This is the cause as well as the chief symptom of all ills to the soul. Oh! if the beam out of the wall testify against thee; if the moldy air tells that thou bast seldom opened the door; if few angels ascend the ladder to heaven — then thou art sick indeed. Boast not of thine activity and zeal, I tell thee thou art sick if thy closet be unvisited. O critic, turn thine eye on thyself! thou hast often dragged the church like a bull to the altar, and driven thy knife into her flesh: stay thy fury; turn it on thyself.
Thou lovest to lash Christendom as if she were a colossal culprit, and thou rendest off thongfull after thongfull of her quivering flesh; now; spare her motes till thou hast purged thine own beams: let thy reformations begin at home, and that thou mayst be recovered, hear the III. MEANS OFRECOVERY. I speak not now of the means God uses, though he is the great Physician. I know he cuts away the suckers, and prunes the superfluous branches from the trees of his garden, but I speak of a regimen we may use ourselves, May the Lord help you to practice it. 1. Seek good food. Hear a gospel preacher and search the Bible. Many diseases arise from insufficient or unwholesome food. Live on the finest of the wheat; eat ye that which is good. 2. Breathe freely. Let not prayer be restrained. Inhale the air of heaven by fervent supplication, and breathe it out again in grateful songs. Open the closet of prayer; climb up to the throne and live. 3. Exercise thyself unto godliness. labor for God. Fold not thine hands in apathy, but be up and doing while it is called to-day. This will circulate thy blood and warm thee if cold. 4. If these things fail, I will give you a good old prescription, and as it must be in Latin it shall be “carnis et sanguinis Christi,” taken several times a day in a draught of the tears of repentance. Those who have tried this declare that it cannot fail: it is health to the spirit and marrow to the bones. God the Holy Ghost helping you to practice the rules of the heavenly Physician, you will soon become fat and flourishing in the courts of the Lord. Turn to the old book called the Bible, and see what is the path of rectitude, for be sure that is the way of safety.
IV. IWOULD CONCLUDE,IF THE LORD ENABLE ME,WITH AN EXHORTATION.
O my brother Christian, is it a small matter to be weak and feeble? Amid all thy contests thou wilt need all the vigor thou canst gain. Wilt thou let thy heart be untended, thine infirmities unregarded? Surely no. Wilt thou not go to Calvary with weeping, and cry to him who giveth more grace?
And now, sinner, a word with thee. I also am a man as thou art; suffer me to address thee lovingly. Thou art dead — I insult thee not — thou art dead in sin, and thou knowest it not; but the dead are ever senseless. Thou art dead, and dost thou think there will be corpses in heaven? In Egypt we are told they sometimes sat a skeleton at a feast, to remind the guests of death; but. there shall be none such in heaven. It is the land of life. Thou canst not enter there: thou wilt be cast out as worthless carrion, to be fed on by the worm that never dies. Yet hear me. There is life in Christ: there is balm in Gilead. May God help thee now to seek it of him who gives freely to all applicants. Help, O Lord.
THE COLPORTAGE ASSOCIATION.
ALMOST forcibly pressed into the service by one of our most earnest and generous friends, we some time ago set on foot a Colportage Association, which, from want of funds, is still a small affair, but deserves to became a wide-spread agency. The gentlemen Who hare managed the society for us are striving with all their might to extend its bounds. The longer the agency is employed, the more clearly we see the need for it, and the economy with which it may be worked; hence we feel growingly that this form of evangelizing ought not to languish, but to be pushed on with vigor.
Laborers are not lacking, but the great need is for friends who would give guarantees of £30, so that a man could be sent to their district Where this cannot be done by friends in a district, smaller donations will aid the work.
The engraving will bring the worker in this form of service the more vividly before the reader’s eye, and perhaps suggest a prayer for’ the success of the enterprise. With these few words we ask an attentive reading for the first report, of the Colportage Association.
Our Colportage movement was originated by a member of the church at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, who had became acquainted with the great success of the Religious Tract and Book Society of Scotland, which from a small beginning has in ten years so much increased that it now employs in Scotland and the North of England about 160 Colporteurs. Our friend was willing to contribute freely towards the support of a similar agency in the south of England, and requested Mr. Spurgeon to organize an Association for the purpose of spreading good wholesome literature, and, as far as possible, counteracting the influence of the pernicious trash so prevalent on every hand, and so injurious to the moral and spiritual condition of our countrymen. Mr. Spurgeon, recognizing the importance o£ such a work, notwithstanding his existing heavy responsibilities, at once sought the cooperation of brethren who would be ready to undertake the management of a society; and they, having formed themselves into a committee, held their first meeting on September 4th, 1866, and proceeded to obtain all possible information relative to the nature and requirements of the work.
After carefully arranging their plans (in which they were materially assisted by the Scotch Society), the first agent was appointed, and commenced his labors in the East of London, on 1st November 1866. In the district there has been so much poverty that the people, in many cases longing to purchase of the Colporteur, have been unable to do so, being in want of the commonest necessaries of life Notwithstanding this, there have been circulated monthly (besides Bibles and other good books), about periodicals all of a sound moral, and most of them of a religious character.
This being the case, the committee have been loath to remove their agent, although his sales have contributed little towards his support, as they cannot but believe that his efforts must result in a great blessing to the people, many of whom, there is much reason to fear, would never have sought this class of literature for themselves The total sales amount to 100pounds 5s. 5d. for the fourteen months, and the cost of the agency, after allowing for profit, on sale, was 57pounds 12s. 6d.
On the 1st December, 1866, and 1st January, 1867, agents were started in Cambridgeshire and East Kent, and their experience goes to show that while the rural districts are most in need of our help, they at the same time afford the best prospect of success; at least, in a pecuniary point of view. In Cambridgeshire the total amount of sales during thirteen months was 14s. 7d., and the cost to the society 34 15s. 6d., and in East Kent the sales for twelve months amounted to 189 2s. 5d., and the cost to the agency was 27 18s. 7d. It will be observed that the maintenance of these agents has been met, to a large extent, by profits on their sales. These two localities have afforded the greatest encouragement to the committee, and the success which has resulted proves that with zealous indefatigable men as Colporteurs, away may be found into the homes and hearts of those who are too often destitute of spiritual advantages, whose knowledge of the present life is con- fined to hard work and harder living, and whose sense of duty to God and man is fulfilled, they think, by a respectful bow or courtesy to the squire and the parson.
On the 1st February, 1867, three Colporteurs commenced to work in Wilts, Leicestershire, and Oxford respectively. The two first have been continued, not so successfully as those last alluded to, but there is re,on to believe that much good has been done. In Wilts the villages are at considerable distances from each other, and the time taken in traversing the country doubtless accounts for smallness of sales, the total amount of which for eleven months was 78 4s. 2d., and the cost of agency 37 10s. 7d.; 20 of this amount has been contributed by friends in the neighborhood, through Mr. Toore, of Warminster, to whom the committee are much indebted for hearty sympathy and cooperation. In Leicester the sales have not been satisfactory, having amounted to only 68 17s. 3d., and the coat of the agency was 43 17s. The work was discontinued in Oxford after a five months’ trial, but the indirect results of it remain to this day, and will continue, we trust for many years to come.
On 1st June another agent was appointed in Manchester, his sales for the seven months have amounted to 51 2s. 9d., and the agency has cost 25 6s. 7d. In making this appointment the committee acted upon information that there was a good field for their operations in Manchester, but their opinion, based upon the result of their first year’s experience, is that the efforts of the society should in future be directed chiefly to the villages and hamlets, and not to the cities and large towns.
The aggregate results of our business operations are as follows: 114,193 house-to-house visits have been paid; the agents have sold 1,670 Bibles, 1,806 Testaments, 657 portions of Scripture, 6,117 Mr. Spurgeon’s Sermons, 1,326 “Pilgrim’s Progress,” 696 “Sword and Trowel,” 1,613 Religions Tract Society’s works, 2,504 copies of the “British Workman,” and 6,125 Children’s Magazines, which, with other books and periodicals, make a total of 39,270 publications. This has been done at a gross outlay of 507 9s. 1d., and the receipts have been — By profits on sales, 190 2s. 0d.; by subscriptions and donations, 335 17s. 0d.
The Committee rejoice that, while their ostensible purpose has been to sell good books, they have, at the same time, been privileged to send out men of n missionary spirit, ever eager to point the sinner to the only source of salvation and eternal life; and several instances have been brought to notice in which the word spoken has brought forth fruit to God’s glory.
The following extracts from the agents’ journals will speak for themselves.
An agent from the North of Scotland commences his .journal thus: — “I left Portsay (Scotland) for London, and arrived 17th December. I was so sick on board the steamboat I was only able to distribute a few tracts; hand a book to a man. and tell a soldier that he had a soul to be’ saved’ or lost.
While in London, I distributed six hundred and fifty tracts, and attended the Tabernacle services. “Sometimes there are many discouragements, and I feel that it needs the grace of God to uphold one in such a work as this. “To-day I know what it is to be hopeful and cast down. Another anxious soul I found thirsting for the-water of life. O that I was always in a right frame of mind to deal with such. “I had thirteen hours’ hard work to-day, besides indoor work. After getting my calls through, I felt completely tired. The appearances of a spiritual harvest more than makes up. for my tiredness. “Today I went to E.— , and enjoyed the Lord’s presence all day. At night, I addressed a large cottage meeting. “To-day I am ready to ascribe glory, praise, and honor to our God for his blessing on the work until now; this month far better than I had expected have been my sales and engagements.” As to the need for such men let the following extracts speak: — “A family of eight persons without a Bible for two years — gave them one, then almost next door an old man said, ‘ It’s no use ‘to talk to me, I don’t understand anything about it.’ In answer to my question,’ Are you converted?’ he said, ‘I have never been converted to the chapel.’ I then explained to him that he was a sinner, and must perish without Christ; when he said, ‘ I never heard that before!’ “The clergyman is a Romanist out-and-out, and so ,’we some of his flock. “The clergyman is quite indifferent to his flock. “Light reading very common.” With regard to the reception of agents they say: — “The people gave a hearty welcome. “The day,. has been wet and rather discouraging; again I am cheered by the welcome given me on my rounds. “One man accused me of insulting him because I left the tract, ‘Young man, who is the foot?’ at his house, and threatens violence if I call again.
Another says that my tracts are the thing, and he learns more from them than by going to his church for twelve months. “The clergyman is not favorable. “At L— I had an interview with the clergyman, who is much offended with my visits. “I called at a house, and it happened to be the clergyman’s; he purchased a Bible and several texts. “I sold a few books to a drunken squire. “I called on the squire again, and he bought a few more books. “The squire had another deal. “Here is an old man paralyzed, so that he cannot speak; prayed with him — whilst doing so the old man and his wire sobbed aloud; never shall I forget it. When I rose from my knees to wish him ‘Good-bye,’ the old man took my hand and squeezed it with his own, so that it was with difficulty I got him to let me go. He could not speak, but the woman said ‘ Come again, no one comes to talk to us.’ “In my rounds I find the people much more willing to converse than when I first went amount them, they then seemed suspicious of me; but now I find them very different; but this winter they have been very poor, so that I could not sell many books among them. My great desire is to do all the good here for my Savior. seeing there is a great deal to do. and little time to do it in.” The spiritual results are thus spoken of by the different agents: — “In my rounds, I met a young man who was ill with consumption; I read to him the fifty-third Psalm, and pointed him to Jesus as the friend of sinners.
I thought he was very indifferent about his soul, very anxious to get better.
I tried to show him that to get ready to die was in reality getting ready ‘to live; for if we put our sours into the hands of Jesus, we have peace, and then the medicine has every chance of benefiting the body; therefore, both body and soul were safe in the hands of Christ. He kindly asked me to come again. I continued to visit him until he died; every time I visited him, he wished my visits to he more frequent, and often said he would sooner that I should come to talk to him than anybody else. His end was peace, trusting in Jesus. “All through last summer on Sunday afternoons, and Wednesday evenings, I had the pleasure, in conjunction with two or three young men, to hold an open-air service at the corner of the police station, on a piece of ground which is always at our disposal just opposite the rector’s house. He very cordially wishes me good success, and if sinners are saved, he cares not whether they are Baptists or church people, if they but love the Savior — that is the principal thing with him. The result of my services there is that I have sold several Bibles to policemen, who would not otherwise have bought them.”
The committee think that, upon the whole, there is much cause to thank God and take courage. The first period has been necessarily one of much anxiety, as the work was commenced without any practical acquaintance with its nature; and all the Colporteurs have had to break up fresh ground, to familiarize themselves with the people, and to overcome the jealousies of some who have regarded them as intruders. This having been to a very great extent accomplished, the way has been cleared for future action, and with God’s blessing, and the largely increased support of his people, the committee hope that a grand and noble future is in store for the Society.
Various plans have from time to time been suggested, with a view to augment our funds, so that more laborers may be sent into the vineyard. An officer of the church has recently offered ten shillings a year, per man, for any number not exceeding twenty, and suggests this plan to the committee as a practical and efficient means of promoting the interests of the Society.
The committee commend the work as one worthy of the sympathy, prayers, and cooperation of all who are anxious for the extension of the Master’s kingdom, and they trust that such material aid will be speedily forthcoming, as will enable them to multiply the number of their agents, until they shall be found in every part of our land.
ROUGH WORDS FOR GREAT EVILS.
WE fear that our two pictures of last month greatly shocked a few of our good reader’s whose souls are tender of the Establishment; but we do not in any degree apologize to them because the shock, like that of a cold bath early in the morning, will do them good, and strengthen their constitutions.
We. can assure them that they cannot be one-half’ so much shocked by our ridicule of error as we are by the error itself’. We do not make the evil, we only expose it; and if’ we use words and symbols which strike and stick, and’ even offend, we believe that they are necessary, and ought to be used far more frequently. We are not going to handle the abominations of the present American establishment with kid gloves; and if’ we judge sarcasm and ridicule to be deserved, we shall give the Lord’s enemies their full quota of scorn. We have lately met with a Hudibrastic tractate, written by a Fen countryman, which has the right ring about it, and in order that our good friends may have another healthy shock, we have culled a few lines from it, descriptive of Anglican baptismal regeneration and confirmation, The author is dealing with Mother Church, and says: — “She takes an infant in her arms, Mutters her cabalistic charms, Sprinkles some water on its face, Hight presto! ‘tis a child of grace; Regenerated from that hour — Needing no other saving power — Made by the parson’s magic rod, An heir of heaven and child of God!
Oh, what a very wondrous man The priest must be indeed, who can Accomplish in so shot; a space The highest act of Sovereign Grace!
And on such cheap and easy refills, Confer that gift on mortal worms, Which (in some simple people’s view).
No one but God himself can do.
What wonder that he feels so proud, And claims such homage from the crowd; Assumes such consequential airs, And something “more than mortal stares”?.
While the poor sponsors standing by Pronounce the customary lie, Repeated o’er and o’er for years, Till all its grossness disappears, As if a falsehood was no crime When told the hundredth thousandth time; Or that the sternest, strongest vows, The language of the land allows, Made to our Maker and our Judge, Were all mere moonshine, flash, and fudge.
Their sanctions of as little away As old wives’ chat, or children a play; Their sanctity a Cheap Jack’s joke, Just “made like pie-crust to be broke;” Though promising to God and man.
What mortal never did, or can; With neither strength nor wish, nor will, Their stern engagements to fulfill As reckless oft of right and wrong As it they hummed a come song; While, if not blasphemy, their sin Is something very near akin A fact, which matters not a straw.
While countenanced by Prayer-book law;.
The outrage is no consequence On Scripture truth, or common sense.
Nor ought the parson to be freed; As an accomplice in the deed.
Tis right that those who set the snare, The culprit’s punishment should share; And God will surely in this way.
Deal with the case some future day; Though his long-suffering patience still Spares those who thus transgress his will And when that Child in after years Before his Catecni t appears, The simple, unsuspecting youth Is taught t’ insult the God of truth; When to the question, “cut and dried,” The lying answer is supplied, Bearing upon its front, the sin Of falsehood “burnt and branded in” Combining in its impious claims The highest and the holiest names; Forging the work of the Most High,.
To countenance the daring lie, Which rises at a single stretch As high as finite sin can reach; Ascending to the throne of God Through paths by common sins untrod — Like Titans, in their fury driven, It scales the battlements of heaven, By mountains, in confusion wild, Of falsehood upon falsehood piled; Asserting things already done Which never yet have been begun, And surely never will unless A greater power than priests possess; Does for the glory of his name What they so arrogantly claim.
Next comes the confirmation day, With one more wicked farce to play For which good Mother Church prepares.
To show her most imposing airs, Decked out in all her best array To celebrate the gala day.
Her proudest trappings — alter all Picked up on some old Pagan stall, On which both Jew and Gentile bags Have poured their second-handed rags — Brought out to dramatize again, The ancient scenes of Dura’s plain; While organs peal, and bells ring out, And white-smocked urchins scream and shout; And parsons gather “smart and slick” As “leaves in Vallombrosa thick,” From rectors in their plumpest trim, To leanest curates, spare and slim.
Which altogether form a band Just as contemptible as grand, When ‘tis considered how much brass And lead are molten in the mass; Which makes the little gold, in fact, Scarce worth the trouble to extract; Or to remunerate their toil Who pale the “precious from the vile.”
All joint performers in the play When Mother Church gets up to-day.
When sponsors are to have their backs Eased of their self-inflicted packs; From those engagements set at large They ne’er attempted to discharge, Which those on whose account they “stood Have made as heavy as they could.
Who now are told that they with zeal Must put their “shoulder to the wheel;” Avoid all Satan’s sinful snares, And come to church and say their prayers, Since all those sins which heretofore Were placed at their, God-parents’ door, Stand henceforth to their own account.
However awful the amount.
Advice which they will doubtless rate At its own proper estimate And now with all the pomp dud show That pride and priest craft can bestow,.
Forth comes the bishop to review His regiment ranked in order due, Who at the signal of command Are taught to bow, to kneel, or stand,.
To catch what grace, by rule of art, Prelatic fingers can impart; Which, if results are any test, Is a small modicum at best.
The blind, unconscious dupes and tools Of blinder dupes, and. guiltier fools; Some mere uncultivated dolts; Some wilder than wild asses’ colts; Some as fit fuel for the fire, As Satan can himself desire:
Though young in yearn. mature in sin; Steeped in transgression to the church, All which, compounded in the lump, Are held at one conclusive jump.
Without inquiry or research, True genuine chickens of the church — Whom how their careful parent brings Beneath her fond maternal wings, And strews a feast of poisonous food Before her thankless, careless brood.
When haunt led the graceless blades — Through all probationary grades, Relieved the sponsors of their vows, As far as Prayer-book law allows — A yoke, it must be owned, whose touch Has never oiled their shoulders much — And thanking God for having done A work that never was beau.
And blandly complimented heaven For having all their sins forgiven.
The church her finished sons invites To join and share her holier rites — Howe’er “unworthy,” or unfit, Of course it matters not a bit — So they but at her “altar” meet And make the mockery complete; Their own “damnation” to secure, And make perdition doubly sure.
So ends the confirmation day, An empty show and vain display, Which every truth taught Christian must Contemplate with confirmed disgust.