« PrécédentContinuer »
cannot be Christians. I cannot accept that solution. They may not be perfect Christians, able at once to suffer martyrdom for Christ; but if they were admitted into the Church they would grow in love, courage, and obedience; and in time would be able to serve Christ with greater spiritual sacrifices than are offered by the most punctilious Baptists. Are we then to keep them, from year to year, out of the Church, for the sake of a nonessential rite, or drive them away to other communions where they would not encounter this initial difficulty? I am arguing all along upon the supposition that in changing the mode of the rite, we are not breaking any moral command, nor injuring the integrity of the Gospel, but only using a liberty about which we do not hesitate in more important cases. I can imagine that if our Lord were now upon earth, and the case were submitted to him, his answer would be—“ Go ye and learn what this meaneth, I will have mercy and not sacrifice.”
Persons who care for the Denomination will of course repudiate the views here set forth. They would prefer remaining a small and compact body, rather than be merged in a more comprehensive organization. So would I, if I saw any divine end to be gained. But I do mournfully confess that denominationalism, as such, is less and less worthy of respect, less and less interesting to all my better sympathies; and I should hail the day with gladness when the two sections of Congregationalism could come more closely together, and cease quarrelling over the matter of baptism.
In view of the great theological questions which now occupy men's thoughts, this question of sprinkling or immersion seems unspeakably small, and not worth the trouble it occasions. It belongs to a school of microscopic theologians. Of course no question is unimportant which involves a principle. But here, as in the case of the Sabbath, baptism was appointed for man, and not man for baptism. It is difficult to think of it as an inflexible exacting rite which is capable of no modifiation with the varying circumstances of climate and customs. Men are frightened into superstitous fears by the use of such cabalistic terms as “positive institutions,” &c. There are no such terms in the Bible; and if there were, I have referred before to the liberties we take with the other positive institutions of the Sabbath and the Lord's Supper. Let any one show what great loss we should sustain, what shock would be given to the conscience, if we left the question for the decision of each individual believer whether he would be baptized by sprinkling or by immersion.
I am, my dear Sir,
Yours very truly,
AIDS TO REFLECTION.
By EDWARD MIALL.* A full heart is the true secret of a healthful and happy life-a heart kept full from day to day from the inexhaustible spring-a heart beating with love in unintermitting pulsations, and thereby circulating life and vigour throughout one's whole moral being. There is nothing equal to it for excluding worry. 'Tis a bad thing to let vexations be absorbed into the system, and break out, as they inevitably will, in ill-humours. Full of the soundest practical philosophy is the apostolic admonition—"Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let you request be made known unto God."
It is the number and persistence of small cares, none of them of sufficient importance to alarm, nor all of them together able to do more than embarrass and impede the onward progress of a man, that do most to bring to light the weak points of his character. He will not gather up his forces to meet a "rabble rout" of scrubby annoyances. Like the knight riding through the back lanes of a city, who disdains to put his lance in rest against the crowds of bawling children who holloa at and worry him, he deems it beneath the occasion to use the weapons reserved for a conflict with nobler foes. But he is seldom in fresher danger of losing his self-possession, or of giving way to the infirmities of his nature. While his grander powers stood aloof, his meaner passions are very apt to assert their force, and he who encounters the mere variations of life with the loose and undisciplined levies which bad temper can enlist, must not be astonished above measure if he gets a fall,
The ludicrous in nature is not merely pleasant, but profitable. It has a medicinal efficacy. It breaks in upon the congregation of blue-derils, and puts them to the rout. It cleanses the bosom of stuff which is disintegrating and destructive, and thereby clears the grounds for whatever restorative and reproductive energy a man may have in him. For low spirits are not only an affliction--they breed vice and crime. They may be regarded as the uncleanliness of the mind, or the weakness which induces external life to prey upon itself. A hearty laugh is like a good wash-it removes that which is the pabulum of creeping thoughts, while, at the same time, it opens the pores to salubrious influences. The true function of the ludicrous is conservative of moral health. It is not diet-it does not nourishit puts no meat into a man's soul upon which it can feed—but it is soap and water and scrubbing-brush to boot-and its effect is to cleanse the susceptibilities, and lay them bare to the better agencies.
Amid many flunctuations, the tide of good steadily advances upon the wastes of evil. Life gains upon death, fertility upon barrenness, knowledge upon ignorance, civilization upon brutality, virtue upon vice, religion upon irreligiousness. The movement of the race, considered as a whole, is upward. Every stage of a thousand years carries it nearer to the light, and leaves behind it for ever the rudest and grimest horrors of its condition. Its dealing, plainly, is not left to chance. Underlying all that is misshapen, all dislocations, all discordant elements, all afflictive manifestations, one can get discern the putting forth of a living energy, irresistible as that of gravitation, in virtue of which the entire system, in its symmetry, beauty, and splendour, shall one day give back to Heaven what it has thence received.
* Extracted from "An Editor off the Line."
SHORT NOTICES OF BOOKS.
My Life and Labours in London; done, namely that the vice is an
a Step nearer the Mark. By unconscious one, and is, we are JAMES INCHES HillocKS. sure, not willingly and consciously London : Freeman.
cherished. No one can read Mr.
Hillock's work without feeling Perhaps no religious work has this. Having said thus much in ever been written with a more its dispraise, we gladly adopt urbounded egotism and conceit another and a more welcome than this second part of the auto. strain. It is a very earnest book. biography of Mr. Hillocks. Yet, We have never read better writ. owing to the grace of the Gospel, ten descriptions of the bad side the author has a higher opinion of of London life. Mr. Hillocks is Christ and His salvation than he a graphic, fluent, and forcible has of himself and his own work. writer, and his tale is one which It is curious, however, to mark the should harrow every Christian manner in which these two esti- heart. He gives, at the same mates run parallel to each other. time many suggestions respectChrist seldom appears in this vol. ing ways of working, which are ume, working, converting, sancti. worth faithful consideration and fying, without Mr. Hillock being trial. We wish the writer all a little in front of him. This success, and that when he next is a common and almost uni. comes before the public he will be versal failing, or rather vice, of a few more steps “nearer the the whole class to which the mark.” Whatever that mark may author belongs. Hard, faithful, be, we are confident it will not be and most meritorious is the labour inconsistent with arduous Chrisperformed by our town and city tian labour and much self-sacrimissionaries, who do so much of the churches' work with comparatively so little of the churches'
Baptist Union Papers. London: sympathy, but the dry rot of con
Henry James Tressidder. ceit and self-sufficiency eats into nearly the whole of it. Where a Most heartily do we sympathise class is so characterised there with the Rev. J. P. Mursell, the must be a cause for it either in eloquent chairman of the Baptist the work and circumstances of Union, when, in the opening senthose who constitute it, or in the tences of his Inaugural Address, treatment of them by others. It he congratulates his brethren on would be found, we believe, that the revival,” the “widening influboth these causes are operative. ence," and "augmenting strength" This justice, however, must be of the Union. We also agree
Baptist Denomination. Altogether this little volume forms a very convenient hand-book of Baptist principles. We hope the “Union" will be long spared to favour us with papers such as these.
with him in thinking that this progress is greaily due to the activity and zeal of the Rev. J. II. Millard, the acting secretary. For many years past, it has been inatter for regret that our Baptist friends did not stand before the world and the churches in closer and more effective union. Cherishing most sacredly the sound principle of the independency of the churches, they have done so to the exclusion of the general one. ness of the denomination, and thus, while many noble results have been achieved by single churches in separate fields of action, many advantages have been lost through want of cooperation. We feel glad, therefore, at what seems to us like the dawn of better days. The volume before us contains the papers which were read at the autumnal session of the Union at Birmingham, in October last. The first paper is on the advantages of union, and is a fair specimen of the style both of thought and diction, for which the chairman is noticeable. The second paper is Mr. Brock's sermon on “ the right and wrong place of Christian Baptism," a discussion of which does not properly enter within our province. The Rev. George Gould, of Norwich, contributes a very interesting paper on " Romanism and Rationalism in relation to Baptist principles.” From Mr. Birrell, of Liverpool, we have a devout paper on "the influences of the present times on personal religion.” Mr. Chown, of Bradford, gives us a good paper on “Church work in large towns," and from the Rev. W. Underwood, President of the General Baptist College, we have a brief, concise, and clear history of the General
Outlines of Philosophy and Litera
ture. By ALEXANDER VINET. A. STRAHAN.
This is an original, and it is not an original work. It consists of selections from Vinet's writings classified by the editor, M. Astié. We need not speak of the exceeding value of such a work. If it wants completeness, it has a special merit of its own, by grouping together all that the author has said on the subjects selected by the editor. The independence of M. Vinet's mind, and his conscientious determination to speak all his thoughts on any subject of which he wrote, give to his writings, occasionally, an appearance of contradiction. A slight love of antithesis and a disposition to paradox increase this; but any careful reader will find that it is an appearance only. We have in the present volume, in the section on “ Social Philosophy," the greater portion of M. Vinet's criticisms on the connexion of Church and State. We know of nothing more à propos to the present phase of this controversy than these criticisms. They read as though they had been written on purpose to reply to the Broad Churchman's two theories concerning liberty of thought and the holiness of the State. The section or “Literature" is ex. ceedingly fresh. No man was better qualified to assess the precise moral value and tendency of modern literature than this great
scholar and philosopher. On is Fuller's “Cause and Cure of a this, as on all other subjects, M. Wounded Conscience,” which is Vinet was, however, too disposed given, as it ought to have been, to look on the general state of entire. For tender spiritual society as not merely degenerate, analysis we doubt if any work but degenerated. His mind was can equal this. It was written of robust and athletic order, but by a man of great and wise heart, its tone was a little too dejected. who touched the wounds of others We commend to all ministers of with the gentlest of hands, and religion the chapter on “Elo never but to heal. He causes quence." What a world of truth pain, but only the right pain of there is in one sentence in it: shame for sin. The “Miscel“ The time is come for speaking, laneous Extracts” will be read we must not obstinately persist in by most persons for the first time preaching." This book is a book in this work. Although Fuller for the study, and he who will wrote the most charming of carry it there will come forth a Church histories, none but his. wiser and a stronger man.
torical students can now afford to
buy him. Two volumes folio, or The Wisdom of Our Fathers. eight ditto octavo, bringing down
Selections from the writings events to two hundred years ago, of THOMAS FULLER. With a make a demand on time and paMemoir. Religious Tract So. tience which only literary Dryaciety.
dists can afford to meet. The Edi
tor's memoir of the author of these We much doubt the usefulness thoughts is very justly and accuof miscellaneous selections ; our rately written. He says of him, experience and observation both that “Passages of rare beauty, go to prove that such works are
of deep insight, of devout piety, oftener bought than read. If any and of tender pathos, will be author, however, will tempt a
found in all his writings.” Colereader who has tasted one page ridge, in a passage quoted by the to eat the whole, that author is Editor, compares him with Shakesold Thomas Fuller. Many a time peare, and in wealth of thought have we taken him— not the His.
and a wonderful quickness in turntory, but the “Good Thoughts in
ing it-doubling back as it were Bad Times," and the “Good
upon himself—the comparison is Thoughts in Worse Times” -as
not an exaggerated one. Of all a companion in a garden walk,
the works of which this series of and wished, while we were read
selections is likely to consist, we ing, that we could add one or
do not think that one of them more to listen to his wise and
will exceed the present either in witty talk. The Editor of this the value of its contents or the selection hasknown what to quote,
judgment which has been beand has quoted with genius as stowed in their collection. well as with labour. The greater Theological Works of the Rev. part of the two works we have John HOWARD HINTON, M.A. named is to be found here. Vol. V. Lectures. Houlston and Seldom met with, and there Wright. fore in one sense more precious, This volume of Mr. Hinton's