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May 19.-G. W. Hickson, Olney. Ad. dress on “The Meaning of Ordination," Rev. J. D. Davies, M.A. Prayer, Rev. J. Slye. Charge, Rev. C. Chapman, M.A. Public meeting in the evening.
May 21.-H. E. Arkell, to the copastorate with Rev. G. Smith, D.D., Poplar. Introductory discourse, Rev. S. McAll. Prayer, Rev. Dr. Smith. Charge, Rev. C. Dukes, M.A. Sermon to the Church on the Sabbath following, Rev. J. Spence, D.D.
May -D. B. James, Castle Green, Bristol. Introductory discourse, Rev. C. Chapman, M.A. Prayer, Rev. P. Thomson. Charge, Professor Charlton.
May 27.-J. W. Clark, Malton. Ex. position of Principles, Rev. J. H. Morgan. Prayer, Rev. E. R. Conder, M.A. Charge, Rev. D. Fraser, LL.D. Sermon to con. gregation, Rev. W. Jackson.
May 27.–C. E. G. Smith, Steeple. Address on Congregational Principles," Rev. T. Hayward. Prayer, Rev. J. G. Hughes. Charge, Rev. Č. Winter.
RECOGNITIONS. April 14.- Rev. C. Goward, Meyrick Street, Pembroke Dock.
Address on “Congregational Principles," Rev.J. Grif. fith. Prayer, Rev. E. Thomas. Addresses to the minister and congregation, Revs. D. Salmon and D. Anthony, B.A.
May 7.-Rev. G. Burgess, Ware. Ser. mon by Rev. W. Landels, D.D. Addresses at public meeting by Messrs. B. Metcalf, and M. Matthews, and Revs. W. Cuth. bertson, B.A., J. Newnes, F. Warmington, and W. Lennox.
May 26.- Rev. R. Harley, F.R.S., Bond Street, Leicester. Sermon by Rev. H. Allon. The Revs. T. Stevenson, J. A. Picton, M.A., R. Bruce, M.A., J. P. Mursell, T. Toller, J. P. Allen, &c., took part in the services.
May 27.–Rev. W. H. Jellie, Rochester. Prayer, Rev. J. Stoughton. Charge, Rev. S. Martin. Sermon to Church, Rev. J. R. Thomson, M.A. Sermon to people, Rev. H. Storer Toms.
May 28.—Rev. C. S. Slater, M.A., Addison Street, Nottingham. The Revs. F. S. Williams, W. S. Chapman, C. Clem. ance, J. Matheson, and J. B. Paton, M.A.
June 1.–Rev. V. W. Madery, Stokesub-Hamdon. Sermon, Rev. D. B. Janies, Rev. S. Hebditch, W. Spurgeon, W.J.Bull, R. Kerr, T. E. Sweeting, and J. W. Sampson took part in the engagements of the day.
June 2.--Rev. T. B. Sainsbury, Waterloo, Liverpool. Revs. J. Kelly, G. Wilkin. son, E. Hassan, and Messrs. J. Perry, and J. O. Jones, &c., took part in the services.
REMOVALS. Rev. W. Marriott, Oaken Gates, returns to Market Deeping, and Maxey.
Rev. G. Waterhouse, Wigton, to Natal.
Rev. R. Mitchell, Glasgow, to Queen's Park Chapel, Manchester.
Rev. T. M. Herbert, M.A., Bowden, to Cheadle.
Rev. J. W. Tapper, LL.D., Wood Green, to Burgess Hill, near Brighton.
Rev. J. Elliott, Ottawa, to Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Rev. T. Hall, New Mills, Stockport, to Victoria Mission Chapel, Derby.
NARRATIVE, AND TO THE CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE OF THE ATONEMENT,
By the Reb. Thomas Stephenson, THERE is nothing more noticeable in the history of ancient times than the prevalence of sacrificial rites. For long ages of the world's history, the idea of approaching the Divine Being was associated in the mind of mankind with the thought of the priest, the victim, the altar, and the knife. Amidst the glowing splendours of the Temple at Jerusalem; within the fair shrines of classic Greece ; in the massive temples of Imperial Rome; and beneath the shadow of the dark groves and forests of the North ;-everywhere, where worship was known at all, a common instinct seemed to impel men to the offering of slaughtered victims to Him whom they recognised as a God.
How complete a change has taken place in the practice of men in this respect, none needs to be told. Among the foremost nations of the present day sacrifices are no more 'heard of, except as belonging to the customs of remote and imperfectly civilised people, or to the practices of a far distant past. So completely has the practice died out that it is now difficult for us to realise that it was once an universal custom. Assuredly a change like this indicates a remarkable revolution in the thoughts and feelings of men ; or, at least, points to some new circumstances which have revealed to men a new method of approach to God.
It is also a noteworthy fact, in connexion with this great change, that among
all Christian nations the rite known as the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper has been all but universally received and uninterruptedly celebrated for almost two thousand years. The observance of this rite is as general amongst Christian people as the offering of sacrifices was amongst the nations of antiquity; and the rite seems in some way, directly or indirectly, to meet and to satisfy the same deep emotions and cravings of the human heart which were once awakened or attracted by the sacrificial system.
This marvellous revolution in human practice and opinion appears still more remarkable when we look yet more closely at the facts of the case.
1. Consider the significance of the sacrificial system. What was the meaning of all those hecatombs of victims offered upon the altar both by Jew and Gentile ?
However various may be the opinions of men as to the origin of the practice of sacrifice, and however erroneous and imperfect may have been the views concerning God on the part of many of those who offered sacrifice, no one will question the assertion that those innumerable sacrificial offerings by all nations actually expressed a sense of human imperfection and need. Men felt that in some way they were under a difficulty in approaching the Divine Being,—that there was something lacking in their consecration of themselves to Him,-something wrong, -and by these gifts they sought to set the matter right, and to make good their imperfection. Sacrificial offerings were the visible expression of man's sense of sin. The agony of human hearts, burdened by the consciousness of guilt,—the passionate cry of spirits, alienated from God, for reconciliation,—the deep unrest of a troubled world,-poured themselves forth upon the sacrificial altar ; they found their utterance there. No one will venture to account for the cessation of sacrifice among
the nations of Europe by saying that man's sense of imperfection and his consciousness of sin have ceased. On the contrary, it cannot be denied that
, during the last 1800 years, the general conception and consciousness of sin have been immeasurably extended and deepened. The sense of moral obligation has been appealed to and aroused by a law infinitely higher and deeper than that recognised by the Greek or Roman philosopher. The teaching of Christ has laid hold upon the consciences of men as they were never laid hold upon before. Sin is felt to be more dreadful; holiness far higher and more perfect than the great Gentile nations of the past ever thought of; and moral and religious obligations are felt to be, and actually are, more numerous and more strong than they were to the Jew. The sense of sin has been deepened, the consciousness of responsibility has been intensified; and yet the practices by which for ages men were accustomed to acknowledge their sinfulness and their responsibility have been abandoned.
2. Consider, further, that there appears to be nothing in the nature of the rite of the Lord's Supper, regarded by itself, which corresponds to the sacrificial system which it has (apparently) superseded.
What special fitness is there in the partaking of bread and wine that it should take the place of the shedding of the blood of innumerable victims and of all the costly services of a sacrificial ritual ? For although, as the Church has
acquired wealth and power, the rite has sometimes been celebrated with circumstances of great pomp and luxury of display, it is obvious that the rite itself is of the simplest character; and that between the mere external observance of it and the shedding of blood upon the altar there is no such analogy as would make the one an appropriate substitute for the other.
And yet we find that on every hand, within a few years of the institution of the Rite, its observance began to spread among Jews and Gentiles, and wherever this was the case the custom of sacrificial offering died and vanished away.
3. A third remarkable feature in connexion with this astonishing revolution in the history of mankind is found in the position and character of the Institutor of this new rite and of His first adherents.
This mighty change, which was to travel from East to West, and to create a new era in human history, was initiated, according to the account which all Churches acknowledge-Greek, Roman, Protestant, and which few sceptics deny,—by a humble Jewish artizan, who was born and spent his life in an obscure and distant province of the Roman Empire,—who was stigmatised as an insolent pretender by almost all the learned and respectable people of his own country, and who was finally put to the most shameful and ignominious death which the law allowed.
Those who first accepted this rite and promulgated its observance were men equally humble and obscure. With but one exception, and that not an unqualified one, they were rude in speech and imperfect in education. They did not even possess the prestige of a distinguished and honourable position among their own countrymen, to say nothing of any wider circle. And, after the death of their Master, they went about, telling a simple story of Him, which seemed precisely adapted, in its general outline, to awaken the most malignant passion of the Jew, and to arose the scorn and contempt of the cultivated Gentile.
And yet, with all these apparent disadvantages, in a sacrificial age, among people who had inherited a sacrificial system,--a system venerable with all the dignity which the highest antiquity could confer,-a system which had become associated with all the strongest prejudices,---with all the holiest thoughts and aspirations of men, and with all the most stirring and momentous events in their personal and national history,—these despised and maltreated men won over everywhere adherents to their cause; everywhere they introduced this new and mysterious rite ; and wherever this rite was accepted and observed, we repeat, the old system of sacrifice, whether Jewish or Gentile, vanished away, and among the nations who have received the doctrine thus promulgated those sacrifices have never been revived.
We are entitled to ask, then, for an explanation of such an unparalleled revolution as this. How is this change, so complete and so remarkable, and accomplished under apparent disadvantages so singular, to be accounted for ? Surely it must have been some mighty force which was able to effect such a marvellous change in the customs of mankind, and to root out a system of such magnitude and development! What was it? There are just two courses open to him who seeks an answer to this question. He must either accept the explanation which the Gospel narratire presents, or he must find some explanation more satisfactory and consistent.
1. Some have ventured to affirm that this revolution was effected by the force of fraud. Jesus Christ, they say, was an impostor, and the disciples were His dupes or His accomplices.
And this is to be received as an explanation of this mighty change! Happily it is becoming too late in the day to enter upon an elaborate refutation of such a charge. Most men perceive too clearly the glaring contradiction between this supposition of imposture, and the spirit which Christ manifested, and the morality He taught, and the kind of life He lived, to resort to such a theory. It is after all but a few who can bring themselves to believe that it was an impostor who lived the purest and most self-sacrificing life the world has ever seen; an impostor, who taught the loftiest morality that the world has ever known; an impostor, who entered the sternest protest against human wrong-doing that man ever uttered; an impostor, who, instead of courting applause and sailing with the tide of popular opinion or of influential authority, went steadfastly and calmly on in the face of the most powerful and most passionate prejudice of the community; an impostor, who in anticipation of a speedy and shameful death, calmly and deliberately instituted & rite to commemorate and show forth that death for all future time.
And they are but few who can believe that a rite originating in imposture, and under such circumstances, could have power sufficient to displace a timehonoured and august sacrificial ritual, expressive of the deepest feelings of which the human heart is capable, and so to displace it that it never recovered its position.
2. It has been affirmed that the change referred to originated in the imagination of the Jewish people, excited by the expectation of a Messiah, at the period when Jesus Christ appeared. Christ so won upon them, that after His death they believed Him to be the Messiah, and celebrated His memory accordingly.
It is a sufficient answer to this to show (as might be, and has been done) that the evidence abundantly proves that the Jews had no clear recognition of the fact that the work of the Messiah would have any definite relation to their ancient sacrificial system, so as to prepare for and bring about its cessation. They fully anticipated that the Messiah would establish their national ritual in a splendour never seen before.
And so far was the general expectation of the people from being directed towards the possibility of the humiliation and death of the expected Messiah, that to the disciples themselves that humiliation in the case of their Master was a perpetual enigma, and that death a terrible and bitter disappointment. The Jewish people expected restoration and deliverance—but of such a kind that the actual course pursued by our Lord, so far from exciting in them the permanent hope that in Him their dreams would be realised, was completely and utterly misunderstood by them.
3. It has been affirmed that this religious revolution had its origin in a gradually developed mythology.