Page images

and a scarcity of labour is complained of—was among the first to avail itself of the legislative permission. By an overwhelming majority of votes, it was resolved to purchase and fit up the premises formerly occupied as a Socialist Hall; and by munificent subscriptions, a library of 20,000 volumes --for reference and circulation has been formed. The opening of this magnificent institution was attended by the Earls of Shaftesbury and Wilton, the Bishop of Manchester and Dr. Vaughan, Sir James Stephens and Sir E. Bulwer Lytton, Dickens and Thackeray, Mr. Monckton Milnes, M.P., Mr. Bright, M.P., and Mr. Brotherton, M.P. Perhaps the most pleasing feature of the scene was, the heartiness with which the employers and operatives seemed united in regarding the place and its inestimable treasure as common property. A number of banquets to local celebrities, serve, like the gas bubbles on stagnant water, to show there is still political life, though, in England, no political action. South Northumberland has feasted its young Hector of Conservatism, Mr. Liddell, famous only as the victor of Sir G. Grey; Newcastle-on-Tyne, Mr. Ord, a very respectable gentleman, who has represented for fifty years northern constituencies, and has been the trusted counsellor of two generations of Whigs; and Kidderminster, Mr. Robert Lowe, whose university and colonial reputation is amply justified by his vigorous and comprehensive specches to his new constituents. The burgesses of Stirling and Perth have taken advantage of Lord John Russell's presence in the Highlands to do him honour ; and the Whig chief to descant, with sententious eloquence, on abstract topics.The Agricultural Society of Cumberland has entertained Earl Carlisle and Sir James Graham, and been repaid with fine speaking and good advice. The farmers of Bucks would have been only too happy to entertain their county member, but the preparation of a budget leaves him no time even to dine : what if he should only be inditing a sequel to Coningsby? Sir F. Kelly has assured the farmers of England, however, through those of Suffolk, “All the best energies of some of the best intellects in this country are now devoted to your service and to your interests;'—so that Disraeli cannot have relapsed into novel-writing.

From, or rather through, Ireland, comes a call from Mr. Cobden to the Liberal party in Parliament to organize themselves on the basis of a pledge to support no Government that will not concede the ballot. The letter containing this proposition was addressed by the secretary of a county Down banquet to Mr. Sharman Crawford.—Out of a conference of the supporters of Tenant Right, has arisen the appointment of a committee, to communicate with the prominent friends, in England, of religious equality, in order to a combined movement against the Protestant Establishment in Ireland.

Probably, as the conqueror of Napoleon the Great is borne to his grave, trumpets and cannon from across the water will announce the re-establishment of the Empire in the person of 'Napoleon the Little. While Victor Hugo's pamphlet, so entitled, is passing privily from hand to hand through the educated classes of France, the subject of its withering recital and denunciation is receiving in the South adulatory entreaties to assume the purple and diadem, and gives a coy consent in a speech on the inauguration of his uncle's statue at Lyons-a speech that demonstrates how little he understands wherein consisted that uncle's strength and glory.





THE EVANGELICAL ALLIANCE. The Evangelical Alliance having held its meeting this year at Dublin, we were prevented from receiving any report of its proceedings in time for our last number. The members met at the famous Rotundo, and numbered not quite 200-a large falling off, we may remark, from the attendance at some of its previous meetings. The Alliance sat four days, from the 25th to the 28th of August inclusive. Very little, however, appears to have been done at any of the meetings. The first business of any importance was the reading of the Annual Report by the Secretary, Mr. Dobson. The Report alluded to a meeting held in March last in London, at the suggestion of Dr. Townshend, with a view to promoting a better union among Christians, the conversion of Papists, the removal of unnecessary dissent, and the more perfect reformation of the Episcopal Churches of England and America. As a result of that meet. ing, a work was now in preparation by the Rev. Dr. Townshend, to be entitled, ‘Primitive Christianity the only Bond of Union.' The Council had considered the question of a possible alteration in the basis of the Alliance, and had come to the conclusion, that they could not effect such an alteration, seeing that the British Organization was not the Evangelical Alliance, and had no power, therefore, to alter its rules or its documents.

On the succeeding days discussions took place on various topics-American Slavery, Protection of Protestants Abroad, &c., &c. Dr. Steane, on the second day, read an interesting paper on the progress of Protestantism in France, Switzerland, and Germany, during the last year. On the whole, the report was encouraging. Mr. Krutze, of Berlin, followed on the third day with an account of the state of religion in Germany. In the evening of this day, Dr. Steane submitted the following resolutions :*[1] A better attendance of members at the yearly Conferences; [2] the holding of frequent periodical meetings throughout the country; (3) the holding of a Conference of Christians from all parts of the world, similar to that held last year in London; [4] and the appointment of a travelling secretary to arrange for public meetings, &c.

Resolutions were subsequently passed for holding a Missionary Conference in London next year, and the members separated, not having done much, we are afraid, for the promotion of Christian love in the world.

THE NATIONAL SCHOOL SOCIETY. It is known to most of our readers, that in order to accommodate the 'prejudices' of Dissenters, the Church Catechism is not taught at many of the National Schools. The Bishop of Bath and Wells, prompted, we presume, by the late action of Mr. Keble, has undertaken to correct this laxity, and has, therefore, addressed, as diocesan inspector, the following queries to every teacher in his diocese :

1. Do you make it a rule to teach all the children in your school the whole of the Catechism ?

2. In so doing, do you ever vary the method and order of teaching? "3. Explain the cause and amount of such variation, if it exist in any instance; e.g., in the case of unbaptized children, if any; or, of those who were baptized out of the Church of England ; or, of those who, however baptized, were never formally presented in the Church by sponsors ; or, of those concerning whom there is a douốt regarding any of the above circumstances.

* Mention any other case, if there be any other, and state how you deal with it.'

The end of this is apparent, and doubtless the example of Bath and Wells' will be followed by less courageous bishops. Perhaps it is as well that it should be so.

NEW COLLEGE AND THE EXPELLED STUDENTS. Mr. W. White, of Bedford, has addressed the following to the Editor of the 'Nonconformist' newspaper :

“SIR,- In the Report of New College, just issued, I find the following sentence : “To prevent misapprehension, it may be proper to state that the removal of the students was not on account of the rejection of any particular view or theory of Inspira, tion, but for the rejection of the Divine authority of the Bible; inspiration and authority being attributed to the Scriptures only in the sense in which they may belong to the writings of other good men, and, therefore, not in the sense in which these words are generally used, nor in any sense that would allow the Bible to exhibit the testimony of God to be believed because it is from Him."

* This is a strange sentence, especially the latter part of it. To talk of “a sense that would allow the Bible to exhibit” is, to my mind, to talk nonsense. However, the meaning of the whole sentence is plain enough, and I unhesitatingly say that it is untrue,'

We also are enabled to state that the paragraph quoted from the Report is totally untrue.

THE CONGREGATIONAL BOARD OF EDUCATION. The Homerton Normal Schools in connexion with this Board, were formally opened on the 8th of September. The room was filled with a good audience. Mr. Morley occupied the chair at the meeting, and Mr. Unwin delivered the inaugural address. As this will shortly be printed we abstain from any quotations. After Mr. Unwin had sat down the meeting was addressed by the Rev. J. H. Hinton, T. James, J. Curwen, J. Thompson, A. Good, T. G. Williams, and Henry Child, Esq.

THE YOUNG MEN'S BAPTIST MISSIONARY SOCIETY Held a meeting at the Mission Rooms, Moorgate-street, on the previous evening. Some two hundred young men, principally Sunday-school teachers, attended. We are glad to learn, from the several reports read, that the success of the society has been very encouraging. One of its objects is to support Mission Schools abroad, within the sphere of the Parent Society's operations. Eighteen schools are thus supported in India and Ceylon, at which 764 children were being educated. The winter lectures will shortly be commenced.

THE ANNIVERSARY MEETING OF STEPNEY COLLEGE Was held on the 8th. The institution, it was reported, had never been in a more healthy condition than it was at present. There were twenty-one ministerial and three lay students. The financial position of the College was very gratifying.


The following calls to church pastorates have been accepted :

CHORLEY, LANCASHIRE (Congregational church). — The Rev. J. Baker from Lozells.

SHREWSBURY (Baptist church).—The Rev. Thos. Howe from Cheltenham. SHIPTON MALLET (Congregational church).—The Rev. John Young from Chumleigh, North Devon.

CHESTER (Congregational church).—The Rev. J. R. Smith from Clayton West.

South OCKENDON AND AVERLEY, Essex (Congregational churches).—The Rev. J. Morison, late of Romford.


WOOLWICH (second Congregational church).—On the 7th September.


Slough (Congregational church) August 17th.



NOVEMBER, 185 2.

Christianity—its Internal Evidearr.

We have intimated in a preceding paper,* that the evidence of the divine origin of Christianity is of two kinds, the one external and the other internal; the former being derived from without, and consisting in miraculous deeds and accomplished prophecies—the latter being derived from within, and consisting in the matter and aspect of Christianity itself. Having sufficiently treated of the external evidence, we proceed now to speak of the internal.

Fully aware are we of the magnitude and extent of the subject on which we are entering, and of the slender character of the view we can now take of it. The adequate treatment of it demands rather a volume than a paper, and so condensed and superficial a notice of it as is now possible to us cannot but convey a very imperfect impression of its force and importance; we will try, however, to give such a sketch of it as shall do it no willing injustice, and shall serve at once to direct and stimulate the further thoughtfulness of our readers.

We take up the Bible, then—which contains the record of Christianity, and the fortunes of which Christianity necessarily shares-we take up the Bible as we would take up any other book, forgetting altogether, or putting out of our thoughts for the purpose of the present argument, that it either narrates miraculous transactions, or contains announcements of future events. We purposely shut our eyes to the exterior splendour which the accomplishment of the one and the execution of the other throw around it, in order that it may be to us

[blocks in formation]



in this respect nothing more than an ordinary literary production-a book of history, of poetry, of philosophy. We assume ourselves to be ignorant of its author, and we ask, Who wrote it? We shall endeavour to answer this question exclusively by a consideration of the contents of the book itself, which we shall open freely, and examine candidly, in order to ascertain whether there is anything in it which may serve as a clue to its origin.

Not far do we proceed in the examination of the Bible before we perceive that it is a book, at all events, of many peculiarities, and very dissimilar to books in general ; but that we may not be confused by the number of objects at once presenting themselves to us, it will be better to throw them into groups, and arrange them under several heads.

I. First, then, some very obvious peculiarities of the Bible relate to its form and aspect. In its general structure it is not single, but multiform, and yet there is about it a strongly marked unity also.

1. There are many books, and yet but one subject. The Bible is now commonly put into our hands as one book; but this is owing merely to the directions given to the binder. It is in point of fact many books rather than one, and so many that their number is to be reckoned, not by tens, but by scores. Their actual number is sixty-six, The Bible, therefore, is not so much a volume as a library. And so distinct are the books of which it is composed, that, for the most part, you might rend them asunder, and scatter them on your book. shelves as so many independent pamphlets. Were you, however, in such a state to give them an attentive perusal, you would find in them so entire an identity of subject, that you would soon be impelled to restore them to a common binding again, as being, though many,

They all treat of the one great theme, the ways of God to man, more especially in the redemption of the world by his beloved Son; and they are as remarkable for avoiding everything which does not relate to it, as for gathering up every thing that does so.

2. In the Bible are not only many books, but many kinds of books. The composition is far from being all of one class. There are books of history, national and individual, or history proper, and biography. There are also books of poetry, the lyric, the epic, the dramatic. There are sage maxims of life and morals. There are splendid allegories, in which the writers were rapt into invisible worlds ; and there are familiar letters, the writers of which breathe out confidentially their tenderest feelings. All these various kinds of writing, however, have one and the same object, and are tributary to the illustration, more or less directly, of the one great subject to which the volume is devoted. If there be history, it is not a universal history, but is confined to nations more or less intimately connected with the antecedents of the Messiah ; whether given in connected records of the sacred people, as in the books of Chronicles, or in detached scenes from profane history, as in the book of Esther. If there is biography, it is either in the line of his ancestry, as in that of Abraham and David, or of him. self. If there be poetry, the bard, in his varying moods, sings of the


« PreviousContinue »