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I. THE BRITISH Association has met this year at Southport. More than 2,300 tickets were sold, and the enthusiastic interest of the people of Southport and the neighbourhood reached an exceptionally high degree. Professor Cayley's address was one of special ability and special knowledge. It was the work of a specialist from beginning to end. Not one in a dozen understood it who heard it, and numbers failed to hear it. Never have we seen a more impressive illustration of “shooting,” as the phrase goes, “over the heads” of an audience than in this utterance from the chair of the British Association. We are glad to see that increasing prominence is being given to an Association “Sunday” in the town where the Parliament of Science is held, and that it is dedicated to the utterances of some of the most cultivated and accomplished preachers of the day; a prophecy, we will hope, of that complete absorption and utilization of Science by Christianity which is surely not far off.
II. THE MONTH OF CONGRESSES AND of UNION MEETINGs is upon us. The Church of the State presents an appetising programme at Reading. The Independents will discuss vital themes at Sheffield; and the Baptists will congregate at that great Free Church centre, Leicester. With Baptists, Foreign Missions, as usual, lead the way, and absorb the forepart of the engagements of the week. On Wednesday the Union begins its own work, and we General Baptists are a portion of the Union. We were in at the beginning, and have been along the whole course. Of late, as everybody knows, the Union has changed its front to a large extent, and is rapidly becoming a BAPTIST Home MISSION Organization. From that part of its work “Generals” are shut out; but we feel we ought to do our utmost for the “Annuity,” “Augmentation,” and “Education” Funds, and therefore we have, at our recent Assembly—remembering that what is everybody's work is likely to be treated as if it were nobody's l—created a Baptist Union department, of which the Rev. W. J. Avery is Secretary. Will the churches generously respond to his appeals? It is to be feared that in this, as in other matters, we have not done all we ought. Since we have no reason for belonging to the Union except to aid in its work, we ought to do that as far as we possibly can.
III. ACCURATE STATISTICs of our churches are necessary, amongst other reasons, for the safety of those “dear” men in the nation who do everything by the slate, and reckon up church-members and their obligations as farmers do sheep. “So many heads, so much money;” and whose strongest appeals are framed on such lines as these: “If" (what a gigantic potentiality that is 1) If only—and how could we ask less?—“If only each member would give one penny a week, that would be £100,000 per annum, and we would engage to convert the world (on the slate) in the space of five years, three months, and twenty days.” It is perhaps cruel to remind these Christian statisticians, that other societies than those they plead for exist; that a little work has to be done for the world in other ways than by societies; and that churches and individuals differ indescribably in their giving power; but at least we might take care that a large percentage of “dummies” in our returns should not introduce confusion into their arithmetical calculations.
IV. WENDovER.—A letter reaches me too late for insertion in full from the pastor (J. H. Callaway) of the church at Wendover, Bucks, renewing his appeal for help in the renovation of the home of this ancient church, and reciting some of the features of its long and chequered history. Friends who, in the holidays, have lost sight of this request, would do well to send their aid at once to the brethren at Wendover. They are too feeble to do the work unassisted, and they should not be burdened with debt for these most necessary repairs.
W. THE Mosquito QUESTION.— Several communications have come to hand concerning Rev. S. G. Winslow's paper on this subject. I have only been able to make room for one in this issue.
VI. NEw CoMERs.—We may learn to give a cordial welcome to new converts and new comers in the church. Ananias went as soon as he was sent, and said, “Brother Saul.” Oh, how these words must have thrilled the heart of the blinded one ! And how much he would be pained when, on his first appearance as a disciple at Jerusalem, the members or the mother church stood aloof from him, and treated him with coldness. Blessings on thee, Barnabas, for taking him then so warmly by the hand! Thou wast always a son of consolation, but 388
never didst thou prove thy right to that name more convincingly than when thou stood'st the friend of the suspected and avoided Paul' But is there not here an example for us? How many, especially in our large cities, come and go to and from our churches for weeks, it may be even for months, without anyone speaking to them a cheering word! We may say, indeed, that they ought to make themselves known, and introduce themselves through some of the evangelical associations to its members; and this, to some extent, is true; but the first advance should be by the church; and it seems to me that every congregation should have a Barnabas committee, composed of some of its kindliest members, who should undertake this Christ-like service. . . . We knew a good Christian lady who went to her pastor for the addresses of those who were received from time to time into the church, that she might personally call upon them, and congratulate them on the stand which they had made. There was a deaconess without the name ! If there were more like her in all our churches, these spiritual societies would become more like “households of faith.”—Dr. W. M. Taylor.
VII. THE BEAUTIFUL AND BENEFICIENT MINISTRY OF THE WEAK AND SUFFERING. —Robert J. Burdette, the genial humorist of the Burlington Hawkeye, lately gave up an intended visit to Chautauqua Lake,
on account of the invalid wife he is nursing at Nantucket, and in his letter of excuse he wrote: “Her little serene highness is in utter helplessness, unable to stand alone; for years she has been unable to walk, her helpless hands folded in her lap. She must be dressed, carried about, cared for like a baby, suffering from countless pains and aches, day and night; and I cannot leave her, even for a few days. Her life has been a fountain of strength to me. In her long years I have never seen the look of pain out of her eyes, and for more than half so long I have seen her sitting in patient helplessness, and I have never heard a complaining murmur from her lips, while she has served as those who only stand and wait, never doubting the wisdom and the goodness of the Father whose hand has been laid upon her heavily. The beautiful patience of her life has been a constant rebuke to my own impatience, and in her sufferings I have seen and known and believed the “love that knows no fear,” and the faith that ‘knows no doubt.” Let the feeble and suffering be of good cheer. Their unseen ministry is dear at once to God and men.
VIII. “PREACHING WITHOUT PAPER is one thing, and the right thing; preaching without preparation is another thing, and an altogether wrong thing.”—J. S. Blackie.
PRESBYTERIANISM. By Rev. J. Macpher
son, M.A. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark. IN this addition to the valuable series of “Handbooks for Bible Classes” we have a useful description of the principles and methods, offices and Courts, of the Presbyterian Churches, references to the literature on the subject of Presbyterianism, and explanations of the relations of the Presbyterian Church Idea to the Prelatical and Congregational conceptions. The book is not without mistake on matters of fact, but is specially marred by the domination of an oppressive mechanism, as though Christ, in creating a New Society, had merely constructed a dead machine, or built up an edifice of lifeless stones. The author ignores the changes going on in Presbyterianism wherever it is vital; is oblivious, apparently, of the moulding influence of the Zeitgeist on the forms of the church's life, and is not free of the hoary error
which isolates the divine action into separate grooves of human experience. Making abatement for these grave defects, our readers will find in this book a helpful guide in the study of a form of Christian life and activity which has an inspiring history, and is still one of the renewing forces of the world.
NEw STUDIES IN CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY. By a Graduate of Oxford. Stock. NEw Studies in Christian Theology are always desirable; and, fortunately for us, they are inevitable. Man is essentially a student, and the best work of other men is not enough for him. He must enquire for himself. But new studies should always be conducted on true, if not old principles, or the conclusions reached will be false, in whole or in part. The Oxford Graduate starts with a false principle, and assumes that the Bible is not to be investigated as any ordinary book belonging to the same section of world literature, and produced under similar natural conditions; and therefore his results are often fanciful, unreal, and unsatisfying. Thus the “names” of persons in the genealogical lists of Matthew and Luke are not intended to give any natural pedigree, but are “of purely spiritual significance, and were never intended to represent existent individuals, but only purely spiritual qualities and principles.” So long as the Bible is treated in this way, it will be a book apart from the actual life of man, a breach in the total unity of the full revelation of God, a set of texts for pleasant and curious speculations, but not a history of the highest manifestation of God to the sons of men.
Is LIFE WoRTH LIVING P AN EIGHTFold ANswer. By J. Clifford, M.A. Marlborough & Co.
“THE answers of Moses, Elijah, Solomon, and Paul, are treated of in succeeding discourses, marked by much thoughtfulness and great literary freshness, force, and beauty. The sixth sermon is a tender and beautiful one, discussing the ‘meaning and mystery of pain’” . . . .
“Mr. Clifford shows not only a marked acquaintance with the various schools of modern thought and the discoveries of modern science, but is himself evidently a man of ripe culture, in whom scholarship has not quenched enthusiasm.
“We know of no reply to the question, “Is life worth living?' equal to this within the compass of the same number of pages; nor of any book more fitted to be helpful to such as are troubled with doubt concerning the manifold mysteries of life.”—The Outlook, Aug. 24.
A FourTH edition is now in the press, with a new Preface, containing the answer of M. Renan to the question of the worth of life.
A HANDBook of REVEALED THEoLogy. By Rev. John Stock, LL.D. Elliott Stock. A FourTH edition of a work of this character in such a theologically transitional period, is a strong witness to its value, and a proof of some weight that “Calvinism” and “Strict Communion” are not “dead,” even though, as many \think, they are sleeping their last sleep. Twenty-two years ago Mr. Spurgeon— while not endorsing all Dr. Stock's teaching—gave this volume warm praise. The church has moved in the interval, and though Dr. Stock's comprehensive and well arranged treatise is an able representation of one of the modes of
theological thinking a quarter of a century ago, this book loses much of its aptness for this generation by the obsolete character of much of its language, and its want of vital relation to, and vigorous handling of, the insistent questions of the souls of men. To a man who has made his own “handbook” to revealed theology the book might be commended without much risk; but we should have grave fears of peril to young men starting their theological thinking under Dr. Stock's guidance.
Booth of THE BLUE RIBBON Movement; or, THE FACTORY Boy who BECAME A TEMPERANCE Evangelist. By Ernest Blackwell. Passmore & Alabaster. WE have read the story of this earnest and successful advocate of Temperance with real interest. It is full of incident, of difficulties bravely faced, and of harvests of success splendidly reaped. The Christianity of the Blue Ribbon Movement, and the History of the Temperance Reformation, are made to turn on the life of R.T. Booth as a pivot; and credit is accorded to the workers of past times, though had it been done with greater zest and heartiness, the work would have lost none of its interest or value. We rejoice in the toil and in its triumphs, and commend the story to all interested in the welfare of humanity.
DICTIONARY AND CoNCORDANCE OF BIBLE WoRDs AND SynonyMEs. By Robert Young, LL.D. Edinburgh : G. A. Young do Co. By this effort Dr. Young exhibits the use and meaning “of 10,000 Greek and English words occurring in upwards of 80,000 passages of the New Testament,” and so enables the student to discover how the original Greek is variously rendered in our version, how the same word in our version is the translation of a different one in the original, and to detect shades of significance by comparison of parallel places. We have tested the work at a number of points, and can heartily commend it as sure to be of real and extensive use.
Information should be sent by the 16th of the month to 51, Porchester Road, Westbourne Park, London, W.
CHESHIRE ConFERENCE will meet at Audlem, on Tuesday, Oct. 9th. Morning service at eleven. Preacher, Rev. W. Lees, of Crewe. S. HIRST, Sec. MIDLAND ConFERENCE.-The next Conference will take place at DUFFIELD on Tuesday, Oct. 16. Devotional Service, with Sermon by Rev. A. Firth, at 11 a.m. Business Session, with paper by R. F. Griffiths on the question, “Is a Baptist Church Admissible?” at 2.15 p.m. RoBERT SILBY, Sec.
THE EASTERN met at Louth, Sept. 13th. In the morning brother Bentley, of Wisbech, preached from Luke ii. 52. The Reports from the Churches shewed 55 baptized, 23 candidates, 27 received from other churches, since last Conference.
Gedney Hill.—Brother Bennett (in the absence of Mr. Wherry) reported the progress of the new chapel. Amount realized at stone laying, £42. Liabilities still very great, calling for the practical sym
pathy of the churches. Chapel opening to take place, if possible, on Oct. 10 next. Pulpit Supply for Weak Churches.— The church at Formcett to be advised to seek needed help from brother Taylor of Norwich. Brother Orton was thanked for his recent visit to Kirton Lindsey and hopeful report; and was requested to repeat the visit, and give advice as then deemed best. Grouping of Village Churches. – A recommendation was made “that the present Committee, consisting of brethren J. C. Jones, W. R. Wherry, and C. Barker, rouse itself and again urgently press this matter of grouping wherever practicable. Building Fund.—The attention of Conference having been called to the Association Minute, “That some person be appointed, by each Conference, to solicit and receive subscriptions,” etc., brother Orton was appointed to do the work. Evangelistic Work-A conversation took place upon this important subject, when it was resolved, “that the ministers present hereby express their willingness to render service—each in his own neighbourhood—whenever possible, upon receiving expressions of desire for such help. SKEGNEss—Mr. Jolly introduced the question, “What action ought the Conference to take towards putting up a Baptist chapel, or otherwise helping to build a Union Church?” Mr. Jackson thereupon offered to accompany Mr. Jolly to visit, enquire concerning the number of Baptists, with prospect of aid, etc., and report to the Spring Conference. The offer was accepted. Arrangements for ensuing Conferences. —Places: for the spring, March; autumn, Grimsby. The preacher at March to be brother Bennett. Brother Payne was also requested to read a paper on “American Church Life” in the afternoon. Home Missionary Meeting.—This was held in Eastgate Chapel in the evening, the President of the Association occupying the chair, and addresses being given by brethren Barrass, Jolly, and Bennett. A collection for the Home Mission funds brought a good, but somewhat thinlyattended Conference to a close. CHAs. BARKER, Secretary.
THE LANCASHIRE AND Yorkshire, CoNFERENCE assembled at Stalybridge, Sept. 12. Revs. S. H. Booth preached at 10.30, G. Eales, M.A., conducting the devotional part of the service. The afternoon session commenced at two o'clock, and the Conference gave a hearty welcome to the Revs. S. A. Booth and W. J. Avery, who were present as a deputation on behalf of the Baptist Union Funds. Their addresses were listened to with great interest, and we trust will have a practical result. The Conference resolved, “that we strongly recommend the Funds of the Baptist Union to the sympathy and support of the churches, and that the Secretary of the Conference be requested to act in concert with Revs. S. H. Booth and W. J. Avery in receiving subscriptions. A proposal to vote £5 from the Conference Fund to the Annuity Fund was unanimously agreed to. The Rev. S. H. Booth was then very heartily thanked for his sermon in the morning. It was subsequently resolved that a circular embodying a digest of the statements made by Messrs. Booth and Avery be forwarded to the churches. The churches reported a gain of sixtythree members. The Secretary tendered his resignation in consequence of his removal to Luton; and it was resolved, “that we much re
gret the removal of our brother, Rev. J. T. Roberts, from this district, and the vacation of his office as Secretary which it necessitates; and, in accepting his resignation, we thank him for his services, and desire that the divine blessing may rest upon him wherever he may be able to render service, in the Master's cause. The Rev. W. Gray was re-elected as Secretary. The Rev. G. Eales, M.A., having accepted a call to Friar Lane, Leicester, it was resolved, “That we much regret the departure of Rev. G. Eales, M.A., from this Conference, and express our best wishes for his welfare and usefulness in his new settlement at Leicester.” It was decided, after a brief discussion, to postpone the consideration of the question, raised in a former Conference, on the expediency of admitting unbaptized persons into our churches to an indefinite period. J. T. RoberTs, Sec.
LEICESTER AND LEICESTERSHIRE BAPTIST PREACHERS’ ASSOCIATION.
THE fifteenth Annual Conference was held on Sept. 6th, at Barrow-on-Soar, Mr. J. Thornton presiding. The president said, there were two millions of the inhabitants of rural districts living without the means of grace, and contended that the present system of public worship was not sufficient to reach them. After tea the Rev. C. W. Wick presided at a large meeting, and there were also present Messrs. J. Thornton, G. Payne, T. D. Briggs, W. Hill, H. Hammond, J. Dawley, J. T. Harvey, S. Curtis (Whetstone), M. Lovett (Sutton Bonnington), T. Hunt (Mountsorrel), Russell, and W. Herring (Sec.) The Report stated that on April 27, 1868, five lay preachers formed themselves into what was now called “The Leicester and Leicestershire Baptist Preachers' Association.” Since then seventy-six members had been enrolled, but as fifteen years in the history of any association brought many changes, that had naturally been their experience —some of their members in the ministry, some in the mission field, and others in foreign lands. At present they numbered twenty-seven in-town, and fourteen out-town members, making a total of forty-one. Their financial position was not a very serious one, as their expenses were small and liabilities few, and were fully met by an annual subscription from the members of not less than 1s. The association supplied twenty village pulpits. A gentleman had given twenty