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Notes and Cleanings .
COMMITTEE MEETING.–The next Meeting of the Committee will be held on Tuesday, October 2nd, at Friar Lane School Room, Leicester, at three o'clock. All pastors of subscribing churches are eligible to attend.
BAPTISM AT CUTTACK.-Four were baptized from our English congregation on Lord's-day evening, August 19th, and another was anxious in the same way to confess her Lord, and had been accepted by the church, but was prevented by sickness. Doubtless she did well that it was in her heart. It was a solemn and impressive service. Mr. Miller administered the ordinance, and J. Buckley preached from Exodus xii. 26–27 in connection with Colossians ii. 12.
WORK INCREASING.–Our work at Cuttack in English is increasing. We have recently commenced a juvenile service on the Sabbath morning, after the close of the Oriya service. It appears likely to be well attended, and we cannot but anticipate much good from it. We shall be much helped in this important effort by some of our fellow workers in the good cause.
INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION.-Our readers have probably observed in the papers, that a great International Exhibition will be held in Calcutta in December next, and it may interest them to know that the Inspector of Schools applied to Mrs. Buckley for some lace to be sent from the Orphanage. The articles sent were much admired by the few that saw them before they were forwarded.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT.-I am much obliged to the trustees of the Baptist Hymnal for their thoughtful kindness in presenting me with a very nice copy; and in behalf of the brethren here I have pleasure in expressing our united thanks for the beautiful copy sent for pulpit use.
J. B. PREACH THE GOSPEL, is the great commission of Christ; preaching the gospel is the mighty engine for demolishing the kingdom of Satan; preaching the gospel is the grand instrument for erecting the kingdom of the Lord. Hugh Stowell.
A MISSIONARY IN INDIA was once interrupted by a Brahmin, who said, “ According to what you say, it was the devil who tempted man to sin. It is unjust, therefore, to punish man. “I will answer you,” said the missionary, “with a story. A lame and a blind man were permitted by a fruit-grower to reside in his orchard. The presence of the fruit soon proved too much for them. But how were they to reach it? The lame man mounted on the blind man's shoulders, and thus they reached the trees. When the owner came, he accused them of the theft. ‘Alas!' said the lame man, 'I could not go to the trees.' * And I,' said the blind man, cannot even see the fruit. “No,' said the owner, 'but both together you managed to rob the orchard, and therefore you shall be punished together. For the same reason God will punish both Satan and man."
to September 15th, 1883.
£ s. d. Association Collection at Bradford .. 25 14 6 Allerton, Bethel
8 16 0 Legacy of late Thos. Rofe, Esq., of
7 16 6 Chatham.. 13 10 0 Caversham-E. West, Esq.
5 0 0 Dividends
London, Borough Road
5 10 0 Great Western of Canada
14 13 9
6 00 Great Indian Peninsular 12 4 9 Loughborough, WoodGate..
11 13 6 Queensland
11 15 0 Market Harborough-G. Emery, Esq. 5 5 0 Adelaide
14 13 9 Manchester-Thos. Horsfield, Esq... 2 0 0 New Zealand..
6 2 5
Subscriptions and Donations in aid of the General Baptist Missionary Society will be thankfully received by W. B. BEMBRIDGE, Esq., Ripley, Derby, Treasurer; and by the Rev. W. HILL, Secretary, Mission House, 60, Wilson Street, Derby, from whom also Missionary Boxes, Collect ing Books and Cards, may be obtained.
THE “Outlook” gives a translation from the “Eglise Libre” of the following timely, well-balanced, and inspiring article. Within the space, the few words of this gifted historian form the most sensible and salutary contribution we have yet seen.
Luther was born at Eisleben, November 13th [10th], 1483. Protestant Germany has determined to make the anniversary a great occasion. In all the countries of the world the churches which sprang out of the Reformation will join in the jubilee. They have good cause: there is no date so glorious in all modern history, because, in fact, from that date modern history, from many points of view, begins.
Whatever may be our religious opinions, we must recognize that in order to close the epoch of the Middle Ages the “Reformation” was no less necessary than the “Revival of Letters.” From one point of view it is matter for regret that the unity of belief and of worship was broken at the sixteenth century; and yet we cannot fail to recognize the fact that the birth of liberty—liberty in all spheres, and first of all in that of the spirit of man—could not take place till the day when a decisive blow was struck at that very unity which pressed with such a heavy weight on the human race, and crushed out all individuality. Catholicism herself has not lost in vain one part of the world. Since the beginning of the terrible struggle to which she found herself committed she has gained a moral vitality, an intellectual vigour which she could never have known had she kept that sort of universal monarchy which was at once benumbing and corrupting her throughout. What more barren, what more fatal than the embrace of a religious autocracy and of a State despotism The path of social progress was thrown wide open from the day when the religious conscience, rising in rebellion against these two tyrannies, claimed her rights and went resolutely forward, both to win and to consecrate them.
Let us recognize, then, without questioning, the invaluable services which the Renaissance has rendered to culture, that it would not have been strong enough of itself to wrest the human spirit from the dominion of scholasticism. It was not enough for men to find a bewitching delight in the wonders retrieved from the genius of the past; what was wanted was the creation of a current which should sweep away the old idols. But the source of such renovating currents springs only in the very depths of the soul of man. Whether we like it or not, it is none the less certainly the fact that it is only great religious movements that have strength enough to inaugurate a new era in history. That is why, in some sense, and taking a broad view of it, all the friends of liberty can unite at the jubilee of the great originator of that reform; for it has benefitted even its most pronounced opponents, as can be seen by comparing the state of Catholicism towards the close of the sixteenth century with what it was a century earlier, at a time when the enslavement of men's minds was equalled only by the corruption of their
GENERAL BAPTIST MAGAZINE, Novems BER, 1883.−VoI. Lxxxv.–N. S., No. 167.
402 THE LUTHER COMMEMORATION.
morals, and when all that the world had left of noble and holy souls fretted away in longings that were impotent to produce reform.
The jubilee of Luther, which has just begun, has already raised some rather lively debates in Germany. Not one of the sections of German Protestantism has been willing to stand aloof from this great ceremony. The advanced section, which has substituted for the ancient Reformation confessions of faith certain philosophic notions which are in reality the denial of those confessions, has announced that in Luther it will magnify most of all the great insurgent, the more or less conscious emancipator of modern thought. It is in this sense that the town council of Berlin has expressed itself. The members of the orthodox section have protested earnestly against such an interpretation. They have declared that to them the true Luther belongs, and that they will do honour in him to the religious reformer. We shall catch the echoes of these discussions yet again throughout the celebration of the jubilee which will not reach its climax till the 10th of November.
For ourselves, we are of opinion that no one can be denied the right of choosing what he likes best in the great anniversary, so long as the great past is not distorted by party spirit, and so long as history is not falsified. The freethinker of the 19th century has perfectly good ground to proclaim that Luther, just because he ruptured religious unity for the sake of liberty of conscience, has contributed powerfully to set knowledge and thought in all directions free from the yoke of intolerance; but he would be beyond his rights if he were to seek to efface in Luther the man of positive and militant (vaillante) faith; for the Reformation without faith is not the Reformation at all. In like manner the evangelical Protestant has abundant justification for laying hold of that higher element, and bringing into prominence all that the Church owes to Luther for his beliefs and for his piety; but he has no right to stifle the great cry for liberty sent up by the Reformer as a mighty tribune of the Christian people. We say this just by way of reminder to the religious party called the “old Lutherans,” who smother under the letter which has waxed old the free spirit of Luther, claiming all the while that they have secured it fast in the words of their old standards as you might keep an eagle in a cage 1 They have made a mummy of him. They don't like it when you get him out of their little vestry (sacristie) and bring him into the fresh air. We are all aware that in fact there is nothing more dangerous for mummies of all sorts. The Ultramontane party in Germany has not been content with merely keeping quiet. They have shown the most violent hostility to the jubilee, and have seized the opportunity to heap the vilest outrages on the memory of the Reformer.
It remains none the less the fact that, broadly understood, the jubilee of Luther is in every respect worthy to call forth a universal sympathy. It has no mere national significance. Although Luther belongs first of all to Germany—in fact may be regarded as its representative ideal in the sixteenth century; for he possesses all the characteristics of the race carried to their highest development, he belongs none the less to all humanity as one of her most glorious sons, clothed with the only sovereignty which is of divine right, that moral sovereignty which exerts its influence over a generation, and sends out
THE LUTHER COMMEMORATION. 403
its beams beyond the frontiers of the land which was its cradle. Let us not forget that the jubilee of a reformer must not be like the canonization of a saint. It is not a question of Luther's apotheosis. He had his grave faults, his narrownesses, his hardness, his want of consistency; he made more than one serious mistake.
Nevertheless, he remains great among the greatest. There are none but writers of sectarian history, or newspaper editors of such fanatical devotion to their cause as to seek to diminish or soil his memory by attributing to the basest motives—to a monkish quarrel or a degraded luxury—the origin of one of the grandest movements of history.
This son of a poor miner, grown in a few years to be a moral power which makes the Pope grow pale, and an emperor calling himself Charles W. give ground before the word which he aims at him in the Diet of Worms, a word at once humble and proud, motto of all holy insurrections of conscience against brute force; “I can take no other stand; God be my help”—(Ich kann nicht anders). This poor little monk, loaded with the chains of a servile devotion, who suddenly shakes them off and breaks them, and draws after him thousands of souls as he scatters out to the four winds of heaven a Divine word, long become a forgotten old text, but graven on his very heart in letters of fire, “The just shall live by faith; ”—this popular orator without equal, who makes his thoughts live in a masculine and graphic style, itself a veritable creation; this bold champion who never tires, and whose pen is more terrible than a sword against the authorities of the past, as quick at building up as at pulling down, as he proved by the ecclesiastical edifice he created under which so many generations have found shelter—if greatness is not here, where are we to look for it? If after that people think they can make him less by taunting him with his home, which never ceased to be pure, and had a touching poetry of his own, then, despite some sallies of a spirit of fun which we should have liked to suppress, we scarcely care at all. We blame everything in him that merits blame or criticism, his harshness towards the people in the peasants' war, his culpable indulgence towards the Landgrave of Hesse, his obstinacy in rejecting the hand of Zwingle in the question of the sacraments. We recognize that in the second part of his life he shewed far too much reaction from the noble boldness of the first part. In spite of some portions of it that can never die, his conception of religion cannot satisfy us.
The nineteenth century has as much right as the sixteenth to go back to the springs of Christianity and to divide the water at its source. What remains great, and deserves to be celebrated about Luther, is first of all the spirit of his work, much greater than the work itself, since it is that spirit which authorises all the corrections and all the extensions of it. In the next place it is the man himself, with his genius, his fire, his incomparable might. In these things lies the interest of this
THE PENALTY of Low AIMs —“To the end of men’s struggles a penalty will remain for those who sink from the ranks of the heroes into the crowd for whom the heroes fight and die.”—G. Eliot.
Whe 3aptist śnion at £eicester.
THE Autumnal Session of 1883 has been interesting in many ways. There was considerable attraction beforehand in the place of meeting, in the topics selected for discussion, and in the men appointed to introduce them. General Baptists were in their “own country,” and accordingly came up in strong force. And when the meetings were over, so far as one could judge, nearly every hopeful anticipation had been justified. From the first we were in a “breezy” atmosphere. But that meant mischief only to the cobwebs of theology and ecclesiasticism. There were signs of mental healthfulness, of moral susceptibility, and of spiritual glow, that will put the recent gathering into favourable comparison with any of its predecessors.
My personal observation commenced at noon on the Tuesday, hence the reception given by the Mayor, on the previous evening, to our representatives, and the stirring incidents with which it was characterized, are only matters of report to me. The same must be said of the Missionary Sermon to young men, and the Missionary Breakfast next morning. Wictoria Church was filled to hear Dr. Allon's sermon at midday. The discourse was a plea for Christian work abroad, marked by all that sympathy with his theme, that force of argument, and that grace of expression, which have contributed to the influence and fame of the Islington pastor. It was an effective sally on the part of the Doctor, when claiming the dicta of physical science for their analogy to spiritual facts, he designated the Fall of man a “reversion of type.” But we should have liked it better if the sermon had been more relieved with humour and illustration. As it was, an hour or more of strained attention to a subject under so elaborate a treatment, appeared rather too much for people whose dinner hour had passed.
The Public Missionary Meeting, in the Temperance Hall at night, was sympathetic and enthusiastic. The three speakers were missionaries, representing India, China, and West Africa; and it cannot be doubted that the exclusion of home-workers from the platform on such an occasion is, as a rule, desirable. It was very pleasing to hear Mr. Smith of Delhi say that a purely native church was wanted in India, and it was gradually coming about. “It is the natives of India who must be the means of converting India.” Fifteen years ago Norman Macleod advocated this view in the Scottish Established Church after his visit to the East, and found little sympathy.
The Union keeps up the practice, which has been abandoned by our own Association, of holding early morning services. Those who rose at six o'clock on the Wednesday morning to hear Mr. Platten's sermon at Dover Street Chapel were well rewarded. As the preacher described, from Rev. i. 17, 18, John's vision of his Master, and unfolded “the eternal relation of Christ (1) to the soul, and (2) to the churches,” there was such a blending of pathos, poetry, and power, as to produce an impression that will not soon be lost. Mr. Chown's address, at the first sitting of the Session, was conceived and executed in the happiest style. But the interest of the assembly deepened when Mr. Benwell Bird's paper, “The Changes now passing over Religious Thought,” came on