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the blade for the enemy. Mr. Bright is, we believe, still a member of the Society of Friends ; he is a religious man, in the best sense of the word a good man. It is partly because his intellect is a stream which springs from the fountain of a divine faith, that he speaks with so much ardour andôso much power. He is conversant with regions of speculation and feeling to which the majority of honourable members are strangers. But a religions man should be always faithful to his own principles in argument. If he ever adopt the argumentum ad hominem, he should strictly guard himself against a supposed sympathy with the principle which he momentarily assumes and applies. It was thus that Mr. Bright argued in the Russian war, and without in the slightest degree implicating himself on the side of war, he showed that on their own principles the Crimean expedition must prove a failure. But it was the faithful adherence to his own pacific principles, which he shrank not from avowing, that gave a kind of awful dignity to the celebrated orations in which he denounced the policy of the Government. mentum ad hominem was lawfully applied, because it was only subsidiary to the employment of his own principles. If those principles of absolute non-resistance were not enlarged upon, they were at least not denied. You differed from the politician, but you honoured the faithful man. It grieves us to say that on the occasion of the Rochdale speech, Mr. Bright flung away the scabbard of peace, in which he professes to believe that the sword of the magistrate should always be encased, and under pretence of using the argumentum ad hominem, openly and fiercely advocated the reckless enterprise of the North for the conquest of the Southern States. He reminded us of our zealous sympathy for the Italian nation in throwing off the yoke of Austria, and thence drew an argument why we should vigorously abet the bloody aspirations of the Washington government. This may be all very well from the Duke of Argyle or Lord Stanley, but from Mr. Bright it is monstrous, it is dishonest. He believes in the unlawfulness of war r-let him stick to his own doctrines. Here was at least a case where they might be serviceably applied. Here was a crisis in which the voice of the peacemaker would liave been listened to with respect on both sides of the Atlantic. But no! John Bright goes boldly in for the half-million of soldiers, for the young Napoleon,' for the naval expedition to Beaufort, for the murderous projects of Fremont—in fact, for making the Southern States an Aceldama. There is not one word on the evil of breaking up the peaceful homes of the North and the South in order to gratify the mad ambition of the mob for territorial dominion—not a word on the proved hypocrisy of those who pretended that this was an anti-slavery campaign-not a word on the hateful spite and injustice with which the self-denying attitude of England has been regarded by the Americans since the secession ; but Mr. Bright spoke as if his Quakerism were all a
fable, and as if England ought to have aided with her sympathy the most gigantic military enterprise that ever covered selfish ambition for empire under the mask of philanthropy. In the name of all that is veracious and venerable in the character of a Christian statesman, we conjure Mr. Bright to abandon for the future his borrowed weapons of controversy. They wound none but himself. Let him lay aside the sword of Goliah, and stick to his own sling and stone. Let him preach peace-right out—that is his vocation, his best statesmanship. It is not always the highest, but it is the best for him. It is a grand principle, and he could nobly represent it. Often he could, by his thrilling eloquence, vanquish opposition by honestly applying it. But let it he thoroughly, honestly applied. Let him love England at least as much as America; let him denounce Yankee violence and bloodshed at least as loudly as our own; and then, although we shall not always listen to his counsels, we shall always respect his character, and when he is taken from us we shall say that we have lost a man whose very errors were a portion of his glory.
At the date when these lines are written the nation is awaiting in suspense the reply of the American Government to the momentous despatch of the English ministers. Before they meet the reader's eye that reply will have been received in this country, and a future now impenetrably obscure will have begun to disclose itself before our vision. We will add one humble voice, however, to the demand, which will constantly wax louder and louder, for the exhaustion of every resource of argument or arbitration before proceeding to the dread arbitrament of war. In spite of the ill-judged menaces of the Boston magnates, we will not believe that the respectable classes of the United States desire to engage in a fratricidal contest with Great Britain, any more than that the thoughtful citizens of England are anxious for that awful struggle. It is the half-educated canaille of the American cities who are the abettors of war with the mother country, and who press upon their Government with a force which we ought to understand and to compassionate. England is strong enough to be magnanimous. The outrage on the Trent is not sufficient ground for war. Nothing ought to lead us into war with the United States less than a well ascertained proof that it is the determination of the whole Yankee nation to persist in general insult and outrage. If they are resolved to have a war, there is no earthly power which can disappoint them. But a casual ebullition of buncombe it is not difficult to forgive to such an exciteable population. War with America signifies such a world-wide and prolonged series of calamities to both nations, that the Christian portion of both peoples will be slow indeed to assent to its necessity. God grant that our rulers may show that true courage which knows how to overcome evil with good, and to show forgiveness into seventy-times seven,
rather than imitate the American Cabinet by yielding to the pride and fury of the lowest orders.
THE BICENTENARY CONFERENCE IN MOORGATE-STREET. A gathering of nearly a hundred gentlemen was held at the Baptist Mission House on December 10th, at the invitation of the Committee of the Baptist. Union, in order to consider what are the best methods of celebrating the ejection of the two thousand clergywen in 1662. Many of the leaders of the Independent body responded to the invitation. The general opinion seemed to be in favour of some mode of celebration which should admit of the united action of all bodies of orthodox Dissenters. It was held that although the question of State Establishments would inevitably come up for incidental consideration in connection with the history of the Caroline Act of Uniformity, it would be well to make a formal restriction of our endeavours to obtain public notice for the one point of bonesty in subscription to Church articles, If this one principle, in which we of this age are in unison with the ejected Presbyterians, be entangled with the abstract doctrine of separation of Church and State, it was argued that we should thereby excite the prejudice and opposition of all the political and ecclesiastical friends of the Church of England. Whereas, if in public lectures and discourses, attention be nearly concentrated upon the Act of Uniformity, and the law of subscription which it enforces, we shall appeal with success to the conscience of the nation, to the conscience of the church, and to the conscience of the clergy. The evil of non-natural subscription has come to the full,' and the whole empire is ready to listen to a clear, temperate, and solemn ex position of its iniquities---enforced by the holy example of the confessors of the Restoration. To this the Conference generally agreed. We are fully persuaded that it will be wise in the Liberation Society to abstain from any special action in 1862 in connexion with St. Bartholomew. Let them pursue their steady course of business, by which they are making converts every year.
But let them not vullify the Bicentenary of the Ejection by an action which will defeat the main object of that celebration, without appreciably advancing their own. An abstract truth sometimes may defeat the operation of a concrete principle, in consequence of the unreasoning obstinacy of mankind. In this case, the nation at large is not ready for the one, but it is quite ready for the other. Mr. Goldwin Smith's letter to the Daily News,' shows that disruptive forces are at work within the Establishment. The Dissenters have henceforth little need to assist the Church of England to be miserable. Like every unjust system, it contains within itself the elements of its own punishment. Its interior is a den of lions in full combat ; and not even the rich supply of bones in the midst of them can longer avail to prevent the said lions from an internecine war. The
den, however, is very strongly built, and it will require some duration of the conflict to effect its destruction. For one Goldwin Smith, there are five hundred temporizers who will hide under a judicious silence their desire for Liturgical Reform. Nothing but a revival of the fear of God in the Universities can avail to produce a strong body of men sufficiently honest, and sufficiently able to insist upon some alteration.
AIDS TO REFLECTION.
COLLECT FOR NEW YEAR'S DAY. Let the soul, oppressed by the sense of its own shortcomings, and by fear of the manitold contingencies of life, acknowledge God with the utmost earnestness at the gates of the new year. • Father of Spirits, without beginning of days or end of years ! deign to accept the washed and white-robed souls that stand around Thine altar, lifting up weak hands to Thee amidst the sorrows of time and the shades of death. Inspire us with wisdom for our work, with patience for our sufferings during this year of Thy grace. Be Thou the fountain of our life, the guide of our thoughts and of our enterprises, the controller of our wills and of our passions. If we live, be Thou our pillar of fire by night, to lead us through the thick darkness of this evil world; and if we die, may we die into Thine everlasting arms of love, for Christ's sake. Amen.'
II. Providence becomes special in proportion to the worthiness of the creatures. A ray of the divine light falls on the sparrow' as he sinks in death; but ten visions of God ennoble the life and death of Abraham. The more a man seeks God, the more God seeks him, protects, governs, and inspires him. The divine providence over him becomes more distinct and solicitous the more ardent his approach to the throne of heavenly mercy. There is, then, a providence over his labours. He leads a life with definite results. Thus the life and 'goings' of Paul were pre-eminently of the Lord. It is not seeking after groundless favouritism in the mind of God which secures this personal government, it is the intelligent attachment of the soul to those great truths and moral principles which are the laws of divine thought and action from eternity to eternity. God loves not those who try to flatter him, but those who are like him. The Father seeketh such to worship him.'
III. The process of gradually learning to understand and appreciate the character of one man is sometimes an instruction for a wide neighbourhood. Truth is thus diffused in a living form among those who could read little, and think less on abstractions. But any character singularly wise or good must be crucified and rejected by the multitude before it rises from the dead to be admired and glorified.
IV. The profession of a spiritual form of Christianity is a searching and dangerous trial of character; for if the soul ceases then to be really influenced by the highest consideration, it has no resting-place on the lower level of elevating ceremonialism, but sinks at once into practical Atheism. No persons have so
little religion as irreligious dissenters. people are so gross, frivolous, so voluptuous, so devoid of all sense of the divine, as the young people who have been brought up in an atmosphere of spiritual religion, and rejected it. Unless, indeed, we admit that there is one class still worse,--the children of those who hold the form
of godliness, but deny its power. To be familiar with the ceremonial external of religion is not so dangerous for an ungodly person as to be familiar with its innermost truths.
V. As honest belief, according to the evidence, implies a preliminary judicious scepticism, so does true seriousness imply some sense of the ridiculous. Laughter becomes madness' only when it runs into excess. Perhaps, however, no evil is greater in the present age than its excessive passion for the comic form of wisdom. It might be termed the age of comicality. Certainly joking is carried to a height which it was never known to attain in any former epoch. You may sometimes not hear a single word spoken in earnest during a whole evening, 'quips, and cranks, and wanton wiles' from beginning to end. Let us remember the warning, “There shall come in the last days MOCKERS,' whose · laughter shall be turned into mourning, and their joy into heaviness. We are surrounded by multitudes who have no fixed principles or beliefs, in consequence of an inveterate frivolity of mind. It is as if there were men without skeletons, consisting only of flesh that grovels on the ground, destitute of the internal framework of bone which must bear up the fabric of life, and afford support to action. The first requisite for the knowledge of God is awe at the centre of the soul. Sarah, laughing behind the door of the tent, is not so noble an image as Abraham reverently listening to the promises of the Eternal.
VI. The generality of people are not able to bear' the full revelation of truth; but they are able to bear' a great deal more than their teachers usually think it well to communicate to them. Many are kept in gross ignorance and error through fear of shocking them too much by any questions of their hereditary opinions. They are guarded like sensitive plants under a glass case, until they really become incapable of bearing the slightest ' wind' of new doctrine.' Every foolish person who comes under instruction, ought distinctly to be told that though fed with milk' for the present, there is meat' in the distance; and after the lapse of a suitable time, the administration of meat should be attempted, even in the form of broth, if need be—and too much attention should not be paid to the early disagreement of the new aliment. “New wine must be put into new bottles.' Prepare the new bottles; but persist in bottling the new vintage, even if, through mistake, some of the old bottles explode during the process. The
new things are as necessary as the old in the administration of the wise householder. Again and again let us reiterate, Do not abandon govern: ment either in spiritual or material things, to the uninstructed or halfinstructed mob. Nine-tenths of mankind are the steady enemies of progress or reformation. The host of Midian must be routed by the vigorous onset of Gideon and his minority.
VII. A large majority is not always an argument for the wisdom of any conclusion or procedure, for there are many motives which draw the multitude to the winning side, and many considerations besides the highest which determine the winning side. A large minority is always deserving of respect--for there is more probability that the individuals who compose it have thought over their opinions than in the case of the majority. The only condition under which the opinion of a majority becomes valuable as an autbority is when there is reason to believe that both sides, and all the individuals who compose them, have devoted personal examination to the point at issue.
VIII. “We have this treasure in earthen vessels.' The reference here seems to be to Gideon's lamps and pitchers. The treasure of divine inspiration was borne about amidst the infirmities of a human apostleship. Paul's descrip