Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

TRIENNIAL CONFERENCE. “Gentlemen, the British Anti-state-church BRITISH ANTI-STATE CHURCH ASSOCIATION.

Association has outlived the perils which sur

rounded it at its birth. It has put to silence The time having arrived for the first detraction. It has greatly increased the num. Triennial Meeting required by the constitu- ber of its friends. To the hopes of its earliest tion of this Society, between five and six supporters, upon which erewhile it rested for hundred delegates assembled in Crosby Hall, continued existence, there is now to be added on Tuesday morning, May 4th. Dr. 'Thomas its own character. Such as it is, it is no Price was appointed chairman for the first longer misunderstood. It has compelled reday, James Watts, Esq., of Manchester, for spect, even where it has failed to secure the second, and the Rev. J. H. Hinton, M.A., attachment. Strong, considered in relation to for the third.

the stupendous undertaking it seeks to acAn admirable report was presented from complish, it is not-for it is yet in its child. the executive committee, the following ex- hood- but of that constitutional strength tracts from which will amply repay the which develops itself in steady growth, it has perusal both of those among our readers who its full share. It is now passing its first do and those who do not belong to the climacteric. Its future vigour, its power for Association :

usefulness, its moral influence, will be greatly “The course taken by the executive com- affected by your deliberations. This conmittee during the three years they have held ference will be the commencement of a new office, has been further regulated, to no small chapter in its history-will communicate to extent, by their firm belief that the move it

, doubtless, a fresh impulse-will open up ment over which they were called to preside to it a wider career of exertion and of triumph. should have for its main-spring a deep reli "And surely, confidently as in days gone gious conviction. They are well aware that by dissenters may have entertained the belief the question of church establishments has an that in quiet was their strength, and cogent aspect of great political interest and import- as may have been the reasons by which they ance. They know that, ultimately, that justified their inaction, there can remain but question must be settled by political agency few who, attentive to what is past and passing, They have never thought it inconsistent with still main the policy and duty of witnessing Christian profession, or unworthy of the object unheeded the rapid expansion of state-church they are labouring to advance, to employ all principles. It is coming to be felt that

, in constitutional and legitimate political means. this as in other things, not to advance is to It was not, therefore, as a religious controversy retreat, not to labour is to lose. We cannot, that they were anxious to determine the if we would, remain in statu quo. Whilst we character of their proceedings. They deemed sleep, the enemy sows tares. Taking advan: themselves justified in receiving honest sup- tage of our indifference, the state-church is port, from whatever quarter it might come. lengthening its cords, and strengthening its They never gave countenance to the idea that stakes. Active error can only be met and they would restrict themselves to purely reli overcome by active truth. God gives no gious instrumentality. But they judged it to victory to the indolent, on which side soever be both becoming and wise, to see to it that they may range themselves. He is carrying the life-blood of their organization should be on his own cause by human instrumentalityconcern for the purity and triumph of divine nor have we any warrant of His for the truth-and whilst exercising a vigilant care, expectation that in this particular matter, the in conformity with the constitution of the zeal, the courage, the self-denial, the energy, association, to preserve their efforts free from the perseverance, and the prayer, requisite in all questions of controverted theology, they all other great moral enterprizes, may be have systematically striven to enlist in this safely and appropriately dispensed with. cause the voice of conscience, the strength of “Gentlemen, the executive committee inspiritual affections, and that all-daring, all- vite your solemn consideration to the fact enduring principle of action-a single concern that church pretensions are becoming every to be approved of God. They apprehended day more preposterous, church power every that the coming contest is one through which day more formidable, in the empire. Cabinetvoluntaryism can be carried with safety only ministers

, senators, and even judges, designby the religious spirit. To it, consequently, edly, or from the unconscious bias of prejudice, their appeals have been prominently addressed are giving a practical, institutional, and legal They have studiously sought to stimulate it. interpretation to the demands of state-ecclesiTheir publications have been, for the most asticism. There would seem to be a deter: part, such as were adapted to win it over to mination amongst the ruling classes

, to link this service. And they are thoroughly per- all our secular interests, if so it may be, with suaded, that valuable as may be the help of clerical ascendency. The spirit of the establishmere politicians, whether in parliament or out of it, the great work before us must be ing all the means of intercourse and impression

ment is gradually permeating and assimilatachieved principally by men who are moved between mind and mind. It is stealthily thereto by the fear of God.”

creeping into our private seminaries. It is

2

obtaining sway in our schools for the labour contest which has been begun cannot, must ing poor. It claims legal exemption from the not, be given over. The vows to which we comments of a free press. It gives its tone to are pledged must, at all hazards, be redeemed. much of our literature. It exercises a power. We have put our hand to the plough, and, ful influence over our organs of political for us, there must be no looking back. The opinion. There is nothing too high for it, enterprize before us, gentlemen, is unquesnothing too low. It overlooks the throne tionably an arduous one, but the encourage. itself

, and it stands a sentinel of exclusion at ments which cheer us on the prosecution of the door of our workhouses. It has not only it are neither few nor small. revived assumptions which, a century back, * There are indications of no common were thought to be exploded, but it has significance, which give high probability to resuscitated many of those terms of contempt the prevailing opinion, that it is the manifest which it was wont, in the days of Laud, to design of Providence, in this our own age, to heap upon nonconformity. This intense bring the question of state-establishments of activity, this universal presence, this untiring, religion to an ultimate issue. The very fact unremitting persistency, worthy of a nobler that such an opinion should have so widely cause, met by no correspondent effort on the obtained is ominous. The 'coming event part of dissenters, are strangely telling upon casts its shadow before.' It would seem as if, the public mind. It is vain to conceal from to every eye, the vague and undefined outline ourselves what the smallest observation will of this great change loomed through the haze. suffice to make evident, that, in England, the It is assuming the character of a national influence of the state-church has increased, presentiment. It is as though society had is increasing, and must,' if we would save the been visited by the spirit of prophecy, and civil and religious freedom of our country, compelled to take up its parable against be diminished.'

state-churchism in all its forms. But this is "But, gentlemen, this is not, by any means, not all. Public attention was never so comthe worst feature of the case. Could we but pletely disengaged from other matters of have had representatives from all the colonial immediate and distracting interest. The possessions of Great Britain, we should have mountains are all levelled, the valleys all learnt that, actively as the system of establish- filled up, to prepare a high way for the onward ments is being extended at home, it is pushed march of this question. No coyness, no unon with more oppressive vigour abroad. The faithfulness of ours, no mutual understandmultiplication of colonial bishops, sent out to ings, no party compromises, can retard the their newly created sees at the public expense, discussion of it. It comes up in forms never and, in some instances supported, in part, yet dreamt of. We are driven across it by from the consolidated fund, evinces the pur- the most unsuspected causes, and at the most pose of government to sow the seeds of that unexpected moments. Statesmen, the more system in every spot of God's earth subject to eagerly they fly from it, the more certain British control. Scarcely a newspaper reaches they appear to be of meeting it. By the us from any one of these distant possessions, force of some law, potential as the law of these cradles of new-born empires, which does gravitation, it is uppermost in the affairs of not present illustrations of the grasping and the three kingdoms, England, Scotland, and domineering character of the church of Eng- Ireland. land as by law established. In one, it is “ Nor should it be lost sight of that the fearfully augmenting burdens long complained principle of civil establishments of religion is of as too heavy. In another, in defiance of just now in process of transition from a previous stipulation, it is obtruding upon higher to a lower basis. Political oxigencies reluctant settlers the support of every form of have constrained the powers that be' to religious teaching. The evil which centuries resign, in profession, if not in act, the guard. back entwined itself with our civil institutions, ianship of divine truth considered as such. and which the lapse of time has made it They are no longer, in their own view, God's difficult to separate from them, is thus de- magistrates enforcing outward respect to liberately, and in our presence, transplanted God's revealed will. Their authority is not to other climes, to develop itself in huge now from heaven, neither is it exercised with forms and to obstruct vital Christianity in an avowed reference to heaven. The connex. every part of the globe.

ion between church and state is in the present " To these grave, and, in some aspects, day maintained by all political parties, merely melancholy fucts, the executive committee as a device for preserving public order. The have thought it fitting to point your notice, religious sentiment, quite irrespectively of the with a view of deepening your sense of obliga- doctrinal truth to which it may attach itself, tion to bestir yourselves for the emancipation is deemed to be the best and surest instruof divine truth, and promptly, heartily, unani- ment by which to hold permanent sway over mously, to throw your energies into an asso an intelligent people. To get the mastery of ciation, which aims by moral agency to this, by subsidizing religious teachers, no counteract and finally abolish a system bear- matter of what sect, is the obvious drift of ing-50 abundantly its noxious fruits. The i modern statesmanship. And this shifting of

the foundation upon which the establishment | minds of the extensive class of persons just system has heretofore been made to rest, is alluded to, both in the church and out of it, immensely in our favour. It tears away the might have been lulled by the lapse of time, principle from all the nobler and more spirit- but for the appearance of the Minutes of the ual associations which give it an interest in Committee of Council on Education. Statethe affections of devout but mistaken men. endowments for the teaching of all creeds, It unsettles, on one side at least, the corner however, entered so largely into the principle stone of faith. It takes the whole controversy of that measure, that it could hardly fail to out of the realms of conscience. It degrades indicate, even to such as might court decepinto a mere political expedient, what myriads tion, the ultimate point to which legislation have done homage to as a divine law. It is drifting. Temporary inducements may renders all the old arguments, and all the have availed to secure a resolute closing of more sacred ones, inapplicable-blights the their eyes to danger; but the inducements tenderest sympathies which the subject had having been withdrawn, the danger will not attracted-and leaves conscientious adherents have passed away. Men who have assented in a maze of astonishment paralyzing to their to a principle, with this or that reservation best energies. This, then, is our opportunity. only, will discover, when the reservations The voice of Providence incites us to seize it. come to be dealt with singly and apart, that It is like the wavering of a host—it invites a their moral influence is gone. That which prompt and courageous charge. The field is they have let in simply because something our own if we be true to our own advantages. else was kept out, leaves open the door for The controversy is in that shape, that earnest the very thing they dread. Within a few truth may surely and soon decide it.

months hence, the religious education of “The executive committee refer you not British youth will be aided by the state, merely to the obvious tendencies of the times, without reference to the doctrines taught. A but to accomplished facts, and to the state of juvenile establishment, comprehending all feeling which those facts are exciting. The sects, will embody the very form of the state act for permanently endowing Maynooth church principle which, as a floating notion, college, the first serious legislative attempt to has long attracted the attention and elicited reconcile the establishment principle with the the good wishes of every political party. It claims of justice, demonstrated how impossi- would be unreasonable, perhaps uncharitable, ble it is for the state to be impartial in to believe that, when this feature of the providing religious instruction for the people, government scheme stands forth in its full without exalting antagonist ecclesiastical sys- practical development, that it will increase tems to the same position of respect, and the leanings of religious sentiment to a statebreaking down, so far as its proceedings are alliance with Christianity. What next?' concerned, all distinction between them. will be the inquiry circulating from mouth to Within the boundaries of the established mouth, when once the dreams of theory, or church, that act, carried in spite of earnest the calculations of worldly wisdom, have been and very general opposition, first awakened disposed of by unmistakeable realities; and to the suspicion that the object of statesmen in this question of alarm, 'born out of due time, giving public support to religious teaching is an answer far from soothing will, in all likeliessentially a political one, and that they are hood, be early furnished. more anxious to convert Christianity into an For, gentlemen, the next form in which instrument of civil government than to in the state-church principle will come before crease its efficiency as a purifying and regene- the country for discussion, and that, probably, rating moral power. It placed the advocates at no long interval after the assembling of a of state endowments of religion in a most per new parliament, will be a proposition to conplexing dilemma. They were compelled nect together by pecuniary tie, the British either to protest against extending to others government and the Roman catholic clergy the favours which they claimed for themselves, of Ireland. All leading statesmen have de thus laying themselves bare to the charge clared themselves in favour of this policy, of unfairness, or to sanction, expressly or and wait but the fitting opportunity to carry tacitly, the national maintenance of what it into effect. They profess to be anxiously they deemed erroneous. It was not to be watching the ripening of public opinion--and anticipated that they would see, at a glance, of that public opinion they will take the wherein lay the real weakness of their posi- legislature itself to be the surest exponent. tion. But it cannot be doubted that vast Backed by a majority of the House of numbers of them were troubled with unpleasant Commons, and encouraged by the distance misgivings, and, in their sincere anxiety to intervening between themselves and the day save the country from what they held to be a of their account, they will do as they have sin and a curse, that they sometimes turned done before, treat popular opposition as a their eyes to an alternative which, practically, transient clamour, and resolutely refuse to be would have brought them alongside of the parties to a religious dispute. It matters British Anti-state-church Association.

comparatively little whether they succeed or “ The uneasiness thus awakened in the fail. The mooting of the question will subject

to combine their efforts with a view to subsidize the

the principle of church establishments to the it, is that which it is most desirable should be severest test, and will put a pressure and a known universally :-Resolved, strain upon the sympathies of myriads who bave embraced it, which they will not be ence of principles or practice between the leading

That this Conference, discerning no such differ. strong enough to bear. Amid that violent political parties of the House of Commons, as to conflict of opinions which the introduction of render the support of either of them important to this question will inevitably excite, the prin- of them, during the

present Parliament, a readiness

the welfare of the nation-having observed in both ciple of the British Anti-state-church ABSOciation will commend itself to multitudes who teachers of religion, and thereby bring them under now reject it. The seeds of truth which we

direct government control--believing that they en. are scattering will quicken and germinate. to which they adopt it, the highest temporal and

danger by such policy, in proportion to the extent Then, it may be anticipated, all our labours spiritual interests of the people--and assured, by will tell. The witness we bear will be clear, long experience, that they attach little importance consistent, emphatic-not open to the charge not followed up by correspondent firmness at the of partiality—not exposed to be taunted with poll-booth; solemnly commend to Dissenting elecselfishness. Common sense and Christian tors throughout the three kingdoms the duty of emfeeling will be alike competent to understand ploying the franchise entrusted to them by Divine

Providence, in vindication of those ecclesiastical and appreciate our argument. The issue, who principles

which constitute the sole basis of relican venture to predict? Or who can foretellgious freedom and equality, and of resolutely how soon the union of church and state, standing aloof from all contests at the approaching upheld no longer by deep-rooted religious afforded them to record their testimony, by vote,

general election, in which an opportunity is not conviction, shall be reft asunder?

against any form of alliance between the Church " It is quite possible, gentlemen, that the and the State." state of things to which we are looking forward, and the ferment and heat of public controversy, may disclose tendencies now

NEW CHAPEL. latent in the English establishment, and bring out sympathies, which will convert some of

STUDLEY, WARWICKSHIRE, its stoutest advocates into suppliants for its On May 12th, a neat commodious baptist abolition. Be this as it may, it is certain that chapel was opened in this village. Sermons the voluntary principle will be viewed as a far were preached in the morning and evening less perilous alternative than the indiscrimi- by J. Mortlock Daniell of Birmingham, in nate support of all religious creeds. Happily, the afternoon by A. G. O'Neill of Birmingas a practical thing, it has lost many of its ham. Messrs. Morgan of Birmingham, Daterrors. The rapid growth, the wonderful vis of Bromsgrove, Crumpton of Atchlench, energy, and the unexampled success of the Philpin, of Alcester, Bottomly, of Henly-inFree Church of Scotland, prove how con- arden, and Francis of Westmancote, took fidingly earnest religion may commit itself to part in the services. the affection and resources of its own friends. The land on which the chapel stands was That church has borne a silent but noble given by Thomas Boulton, Esq., a gentleman testimony to the native power of God's truth residing in the village, a member of the es to maintain and extend itself. And although tablished church. It has been erected at a the leaders of that great ecclesiastical move cost of about £370, about £125 has been ment should persist to the end in casting collected, leaving a debt of about £245, which contempt upon the source of its strength, and will press heavily on the interest, especially with parricidal unthankfulness should curse as a great portion of the amount must be paid the principle whence it draws its vitality, the immediately. It is hoped therefore, that tho deeds of the Free Church will be more potent friends of truth will bear this case in mind to convince, than the words of its spokesmen among others that share their liberality: will be to prevent conviction. The youth Studley is a populous village, a principal now rising to manhood, tempted by no seat of the needle manufactory. The church previous utterances on the other side of the is united with Cook hill, a village about five question, and needing not to keep up a sem- miles from Studley; it is an infant cause, the blance of consistency, will not consent to dis- church having been formed so lately as 1841, avow what a stern necessity first made them and is still dependent on the Worcestershire familiar with. Sooner or later they will be Auxiliary Home Missionary Society. found in our ranks, calling upon the civil magistrate to cease his meddling and corrupting intervention in the affairs of religion,”

ORDINATIONS, The treasurer's report showed that the receipts had been £1,429 78. ; the expenditure £1,368 6s. 8d. ; and that there was a Mr. Thomas Pulsford, who for some years balance in hand of £61 0s. 4d.

past has been labouring as an evangelist Among many resolutions passed, the fol- under the auspices of the Baptist Home lowing, which was agreed to after much dis- Missionary Society, has accepted the cordial cussion, one hand only being held up against invitation of the church meeting at Duffield

DERBY

Road, Derby, to become their pastor. Mr. of bis age, Mr. John Green, one of the first
Pulsford has been labouring in this sphere for members of the Baptist church formed in
the last three months, with many tokens of that place, January 3rd, 1813. He had
divine favour; many souls have been brought bonourably sustained the deacon's office for
to God, and a larger chapel is greatly needed thirty-one years.
for the numbers who flock to hear the
“glad tidings " from his lips.

MR. JOSEPH ASHFORD,

HIGH WYCOMBE.

EVESAAM.

PENYVAI, NEAR BRIDGEND.

Died at Welshpool, April the 16th, at the On Tuesday, the 4th of May, Mr. Rees senior deacon of the baptist church in that

age of eighty-three, Mr. Joseph Ashford, Davies of the baptist college, Pontypool, was town, and for many years one of its princiordained pastor of the baptist church at

pal ornaments. Penyvai, Glamorgan. Brother T. Davies, Wauntrodan, read the scriptures and prayed; brother J. Evans, Cowbridge, delivered an argumentative discourse upon the nature of a

J. CHANNING PEARCE, ESQ., F.G.S. Christian church, &c.; brother J. James, This most estimable gentleman died of Bridgend, put the usual questions to the consumption, at his residence near Bath, on young man, and offered the ordination prayer, Tuesday, May 11, in the thirty-fifth year of with the laying on of hands ; brother J. his age. He was formerly in medical pracMorgan, Talgrin, gave the charge to the tice at Bradford, Wilts, where he became a young minister ; and brother' E. Evans, member of the baptist community. Two Penygardn, Ponty pool, preached to the years since he retired to Bath, intending to church.

occupy his time chiefly in geological studies,
which he had pursued with passionate zest
and eminent success from early boyhood.

His valuable museum has long been an object The Rev. Jesse Hobson, late of Barton of attraction in the west of England. It has Mills, Suffolk, has accepted the unanimous been repeatedly visited by the chiefs of invitation of the church and congregation geological science, who have uniformly ex. assembling in Union Chapel, Wycombe, com- pressed their admiration, alike of the specimencing his pastoral duties on the fourth mens themselves, and of the masterly skill sabbath in May.

and unwearied patience with which Mr.
Pearce had developed them from the clay
or stone in which they were found imbedded.

The editor of the Geological Journal, in The Rev. Andrew G. Fuller has accepted recent comments on a letter from Mr. Pearce, the unanimous and cordial invitation of the pronounces his collection to be one of the church at Mill Street, Evesham, to the pas- Mr. Murchison, many years since, designated

best in the kingdom, and states, further, that
toral office, and enters on his labours on
the first Lord's day in June.

Mr. Pearce " the Mantell of the West of
England.” Professor Sedgewick, within the

last month, while inspecting the specimens,
RECENT DEATHS.

declared there were no others in existence

comparable with some of these. Mr. Pearce MR. CHARLES BARTON, JUN.

was a man of much general information, but On the 25th of March, at Great Missenden, his habit was to read few books, except within

by no means an indiscriminate reader. Indeed, Bucks, Mr. Charles Barton, jun., in the the range of his favourite science. Yet was twenty-ninth year of his age, after an illness this not so much the result of an exclusive of four weeks,

which he bore with striking taste, as of necessary decision ; for his mind patience and resignation. To a deeply mourning circle the loss is truly severe.

was so tenacious of whatever it grasped, that neighbourhood, where he laboured as super- his thoughts from the topics of even a casual

In the he found exceeding difficulty in disengaging intendent of the sabbath-school, and in other volume. Any work which he set himself works of usefulness, his early removal is down to in earnest, he would fairly appro sincerely deplored; but to him has doubtless priate the whole of.” Mr. Pearce's health had been given the approving welcome of his been declining for many months before his Lord and Master, -—“ Well done, good and friends were willing to believe him past faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of recovery. His own mind from first to last

, thy Lord.”

excepting a brief period of hallucination, in-
cident to the disease, was sweetly resigned to

the will of God. To the fear of death he Died in the faith and hope of the gospel appears to have been a stranger ; nor did his at Speen, April 14th, 1847, in the 59th year I usual cheerful interest in the concerns of his

MR. JOHN GREEN.

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »