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arbitration, when invited to it by those who feel themselves aggrieved, and they must be disowned. A vote of non-communion is the utmost stretch of authority which our system admits of. And it is our fault if we shrink from it when circumstances require it. True, the disowned may persevere in his appeal to the civil court. And so he might if he had been deposed by a Presbyterian Synod. But in such a case neither Congregationalism nor Presbyterianism would be to blame. The fault must be cast on the shoulders of human nature.

4. With these views we cannot hesitate to say that the Reading case ought never to have appeared before the Vice-Chancellor. ance and continuance in court involve no small blame somewhere. The Vice-Chancellor himself wished to be saved the necessity of pronouncing judgment, and oftener than once suggested arbitration. Whosoever it was that persisted in keeping the suit in court, must be held responsible for the disrepute brought not on Congregationalism alone, but on religion itself.

5. The points determined by the Vice-Chancellor are of considerable interest and importance. They are, as we understand them, two. First. As to the relation of pastor to his people. The sentences in the judgment which we have printed in italics, amount to this—that, so far as civil law has to do with the matter, whether “ equity” or common law,” the relation of a minister to an unestablished Church, is of the nature of a voluntary contract, formed by the voice of the majority, and capable of being dissolved by the same voice. If it be true, that in law (for the civil judge had to deal only with the legal aspects of the case) the minister is appointed for his life-time, the Vice-Chancellor argued, “Even the unanimous vote of the congregation could not displace him. And if he could not be displaced, there would be the absurdity of his being the officiating minister of a congregation unanimously recusant to his services.” From this it follows that all our excitement, two or three years ago, about our Model Trust Deed, was in vain. The question, so hotly debated, was whether any provision should be made in the Trust Deed, giving power to the Church to dismiss a minister. It now appears that the absence of such a provision does not diminish the power of the Church. The majority is the Church. And the contract between pastor and Church, being voluntary, may be dissolved by the majority without any specific provision to that effect. Such is English law as interpreted by ViceChancellor Stuart. We do not suppose that his decision touches the case of a Trust Deed in which there is provision that a certain proportion of votes shall be necessary to elect or to dismiss a minister—say two-thirds. Such a provision would be regarded, we presume, as an essential term in the contract under which the minister assumes, and by which he holds, his office.

A second point, decided by the Vice-Chancellor, is that the existence of an endowment does not affect in any way the minister's tenure of office.



The endowment is for the benefit of the congregation, and that they may be benefited by the services of a proper minister. " There is no trust or purpose for the personal benefit of the minister, except to reward the services which he performs for the congregation.” All this seems reasonable. And it is well that it should be declared to be law. For there has been a popular impression that the existence of an endowment gives to a minister a hold of office, from which it is difficult, if not impossible, to dislodge him. And this impression has contributed to the evils which endowments have occasioned in Dissenting congregations. We are very thankful to have it authoritatively removed.

6. We cannot sympathise with some friends who are in alarm lest the decision, in the Reading case, should have an injurious influence on the position and status of our pastors. We make no account of such expressions as “ Tenant-at-will of the Trustees,” or “ Tenant-at-will of the Church.” The first is correct only in such rare un-Congregational cases as give to the Trustees the power which belongs of right to the Church. The second is used only in a legal sense. The spiritual ties which bind pastor and people, and the mutual obligations of their relationship, are not at all affected by Vice-Chancellor Stuart's decision. We know too well that practically it does not require a majority to drive away a minister. A

very few disaffected persons may be sufficient for that., This is an evil which no legal process or power can prevent. It is not by the force of law that pastor and Church can be kept together. We must bring other forces to bear on their union to make it useful and happy. And we do not anticipate that this Chancery decision will in any way impair the power of spiritual considerations and affections.

Perhaps it may be well that the Christian TVitness should not be held responsible for all the opinions we have now expressed, and therefore we shall sign this paper, not Editor, but


POSTSCRIPT.-—It appears that Mr. Gordon's friends wish to test the validity of Vice-Chancellor Stuart's judgment by an appeal to the Lords' Justices. This we gather from a circular which reached us after sending the foregoing comments on the case to the printer. The circular contains many details, of necessity ex parte, which in no wise affect the principles we have laid down, but which would be proper matters of investigation by referees called to sit in judgment on the case.

It appears that the objections to Mr. Gordon's ministry, in which the Saturday Review and many other papers

have found so much exercise for scorn and sarcasm, were not the objections of the Church, but were simply “read by a deacon from MS., at a Deacon's meeting," and have been dragged into the suit somehow to the no small discredit of Congregational Christianity.

JOACHIM NEANDER, AND HIS “ SONG OF SUMMER.” JOACHIM NEANDER belonged to a family of Bremen in easy circumstances, and in his youth was a wild and careless student. One day he and two of his comrades went into St. Martin's Church at Bremen, with the intention of making a jest of the whole affair. But the sermon touched him so deeply that he determined to visit the preacher in private ; and from this time he began to draw back from many of the coarser pleasures in which he had formerly indulged. But he was still a passionate lover of the chase, and once followed his game on foot so far that night came on, and he utterly lost his way among rocky and wooded hills, where the climbing was difficult even in daylight. He wandered about for some time, and then suddenly discovered that he was in a most dangerous position, and that one step forward, which he had been on the point of making, would have thrown him over a precipice. A horror came over him that almost deprived him of the power of motion, and in this extremity he prayed earnestly to God for help, vowing an entire devotion of himself to His service in the future. All at once his courage returned; he felt as though a hand were leading him, and following the path thus indicated, he at length reached his home in safety. From this day he kept his vow, and a complete change took place in his mode of life. After completing his university course he accompanied some rich merchants sons to Frankfort, and here he made the acquaintance of Spener, Schütz, and the little coterie of religious persons, of whom Spener was the centre in that city, and a warm friendship grew up between them which lasted through life.

In 1674 he was made head-master of the grammar-school at Dusseldorf, belonging to the Reformed Church. It flourished exceedingly under his rule ; but he also set on foot private religious meetings after the pattern of Spener’s, and these gave great offence. He was accused of heresy; and one day the elders of the Church made their way into the school, and before the pupils charged him in an abusive manner with various errors of doctrine, ending with the announcement that he was deposed from his mastership, forbidden to preach, and banished from the town. His pupils would have liked to fight for him, but he forbade them, and submitted. It was summer-time, and feeling himself utterly friendless there, he wandered out to a deep and beautiful glen near Mettmann on the Rhine, where for some months he lived in a cavern, which is still known by the name of "Neander's Cave.” In this retreat he composed many hymns, and among them the following :

O Thou true God alone,
Thou Good no creature-soul can comprehend,

Thou great and Holy One,
The Lord of IIosts most strong,

To Thee I raise my song,
Thou art the Lord, whose wonders never end !

A deep and holy awe
Put Thou, my God, within my inmost soul,

While near Thy feet I draw,
And my heart sings in me,

And my voice praises Thee;
Do Thou all wandering sense and thought control.

Let all things join with me
To tell Thy praises and Thy fame abroad;

Let earth, and sky, and sea,
With voices pure and clear,

Resounding far and near,
Proclaim how great the glory of the Lord !

O God, the crystal light
Of Thy most stainless sunshine here is mine,

It floods my outer sight;
Ah! let me well discern

Thyself where'er I turn,
And see Thy power through all Thy creatures shine.

Lo, how the cloudless dome
Like to a clear and dazzling mirror gleams,

Of light the very home;
O Thou, transform my heart,

Till pure in every part
It mirrors back undimmed Thy golden beams.

Hark, how the air is sweet
With music from a thousand warbling throats,

Which Echo doth repeat;
To Thee I also sing,

Keep me beneath Thy wing,
Disdain not Thou to list my harsher notes.

Ah! Lord, the universe
Is bright and laughing, full of pomp and mirth;

Each summer doth rehearse
A tale for ever new,

Of wonders Thou canst do
In sunny skies and on the fruitful earth.

Thee all the mountains praise,
The rocks and glens are full of song to Thee;

They bid me join my lays
And laud the Almighty Rock,

Who safe from every shock
Beneath Thy shadow here dost shelter me.

I hear the waters rush
Far down beneath me in the hidden glen,

They break the quiet hush,
And quicken all my mind

With keen desire to find
The Fountain whence all gladness flows to men.

How various and how fair
I find Thy works where'er I turn my sight;

Beauty is everywhere
Without or stint, or bound,

And Wonder all around;
Would that all hearts would ponder this aright!

Wisdom hath made them all,
Its order reigns through all these wondrous things ;

Earth's brightness doth recall
Thy brighter Love to mind,

So endless and so kind ;

Sing, O my soul, as now all nature sings. In 1679 Neander was called to the very Church in Bremen which he had once entered in mockery, but he only preached there one year ; he died at Easter, 1680, not quite forty years old.



Quarterly Record. It is now more than fifty years, since poor people, and it was resolved to the late Thomas Thompson, Esq., of do something at once, to provide London and Poundsford Park, was them with copies of the Word of driving in a donkey-cart from Tun- God. But it was soon found that bridge Wells to Groombridge, to the words of the Prophet were apattend a meeting on behalf of the plicable to the whole case, for how British and Foreign Bible Society. could they read or “hear without a The driver was a youth of fifteen preacher, and how could they preach years of age, who had been brought except they were sent.” From that up in gross ignorance, and, on in- time forward, Mr. Thompson set himquiry, Mr. Thompson found that there self to work for the villagers of Engwere more than a hundred lads and land, and while he was thinking and girls in the place where he lived, planning, and planning and thinking, who were as ignorant as himself, and a few other Christian friends were living without God and without hope deeply concerned about the gypsies in the world. Mr. Thompson told in the neighbourhood of London; him where he was going and also others took a larger view of the gave him such an account of the question of spiritual destitution, and Bible as excited a lively interest in by a wonderful concurrence of prothe youth's mind. He asked him vidential circumstances, they were if he would accept a Bible, and try brought together in the house of to get others to subscribe small sums Mr. G. F. Abraham, at Kentish weekly to buy Bibles for themselves; Town, then beginning business as and this he promised to do. Having a solicitor, where the Home Mistold the story of this boy's ignorance sionary Society was formed in the and of the villagers where he resided year 1819, Mr. Abraham alone, of to the meeting, there was much all its promoters, being alive, in this anxiety felt for the state of these the year of its Jubilee, 1869. Thus

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