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The Four Evangelists. By EDWARD | ing their catalogues to their publicaA. Thomson James Nisbet & Co., tions, but this is rather too much of a Berners Street.
good thing. The story itself is a very We have said a good word for this little sweetone, so sweet that we regret that it but able work in times gone by. It is is so short. One does not reckon upon a now slightly revised, and stereotyped
book's being so much padded out with a in what we suppose will be its perma- trade list, and had we bought the nent form. We again wish it God speed. Whole concern at the price charged, we
should have felt ourselves to have been A History of Wesleyan Missions in all taken in when we found the tale itself parts of the World, from their com
so brief. Some advertisers will give mencement to the Present Time. By away as much matter as this book conWilliam MOISTER. Second Edition. tains in order to secure a reading for Elliot Stock.
their advertisements; we advise Mr. INTERESTING to all who delight in the Shaw to consider the propriety of doing extension of the Redeemer's kingdom. the same. All Methodists will, we feel sure, consider it a part of their children's edu- The New World; or a recent Visit to
America. cation to be acquainted with their own
By Rev. W. G. Campmission history, and this work will serve
BELL, author of “ The Apostle of them for a family class-book. Glory be
Kerry.” Elliot Stock. to God that such a record could be WRITTEN in a natural, lively style. written ; may the next fifty years reveal It is practically the diary of a tenfold progress. O that our Baptist Methodist minister travelling through Mission might yet again be favoured of the States. It abounds with witty stothe Lord!
ries and holy reflections, but we cannot We got Agate of Singing ; or,
“ Jesus say that we like it one balf so well as Tender Shepherd, hear me." By
the author's former work, “ The Apostle A. C. C. D. J. F. Shaw & Co.
of Kerry." To North-of-Ireland Wes
leyans the work will have great charnis; Here are ninety-six pages of book bound it glows with the natural fervour of the up with thirty-two of catalogue. We Irish blood, and with the spiritual quite commend publishers for append- | ardour of Methodism.
A Review out of its Place. THE Rev. Arthur Wolfe, M.A., Rector of Fornham All Saints, and of
, Cambridge, has just published a volume of “Sermons on subjects more or less interesting at the Present Time,"* and we have finisbed a perusal of them with mingled feelings of pity, pleasure, and amazement. The reverend gentleman is evidently a lover of the truth and holds the doctrines of grace with a firm grasp : herein do we rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. He has much in common with us upon points where his own churchism does not warp his better judgment. The tone of bis sermons is vigorous, alike for thought and evident biblical scholarship, but they are marred by a bomage to church formularies which is little if at all short of the reverence which he pays to the Bible itself.
If the Bible, and the Bible alone, be the religion of Protestants, the Rev. A. Wolfe, is not one, for he accepts besides the Scriptures another fountain of truth. He says in a sermon upon the Athanasian creed, “We who live now receive what Christ taught through his apostles, and others contemporary with them; in their writings we have handed down to us the faith once delivered to the saints. So then, when in the Athanasian Creed we are required to accept certain staternents as the Catholic, that is the Christian faith, our disposition should be to receive them, unless we have reason to think that they assert what
Longmans, Green, & Co., London,
Christ never taught at all, that they contradict in short, what we read in the Canonical Scriptures." We entirely disagree with the writer, our disposition should be to put away every addition to the complete and finished Word of God and to keep a broad clear line between it and the traditions of men. This fatal adhering to old creeds is the Chinese shoe which cramps not a few of the strong runners into a halting pace, and makes cripples of them for life.
We are glad to find that the author himself is really ashamed of the Athanasian creed, for he says, “ It is hardly however to be doubted that our Reformers, had they lived in these present days, would have either removed this creed from the Prayer Book as unnecessary and giving needless offence, or at least, have modified it as, in fact, the Nicene creed after its first publication was modified.” And yet the writer of these words will stand up and read this creed which he thus condemns, and add at the close of it, “ This IS THE CATHOLIC FAITH, WHICH EXCEPT A MAN BELIEVE FAITHFULLY HE CANNOT BE SAVED" !!!!
Is not this triflivg with truth? We denounee it as a treachery to all honest speech amongst men; how the writer squares it with his conscience we cannot imagine. We again quote his own words—“Many who think over what they say may possibly find in this creed things about which in their seeret hearts they feel a misgiving; and to say that we believe that, which we do not really believe, cannot be right at any time, least of all when we come before him to whom all hearts are open, and from whom no secrets are hid." We agree with this, and hence we brand with our hottest indignation the declaration of total ruin against those who cannot " faithfully believe” the ereed to be true; especially when the anathema is publiely pronounced by a person who in another place confesses that the creed mfght well be modified. Had the wire-drawings of the Athanasian creed been inspired of God, it would still remain an outrage upon all honesty for one believer in it to eondemn another to perish everlastingly for his unbelief. He who wishes a creed modified does not believe it, at least he does not so thoroughly believe it as to be qualified to declare another accursed for his less veiled unbelief.
Either the late tutor of Clare College, Cambridge, and rector of a couple of churehes, says too mueh, or acts too little. What do our readers say to this as being the exposition of an officer belonging to an episcopal church :
“In the apostolic times there were clearly, according 'to Scripture, two orders' only-elders attending to things more purely spirituai, teaching guiding, ruling; deacons acting under (?) these elders, distributing the alms of she brethren to the poorer members, dispensing the elements of the Lord's Supper to those present, and carrying them to the absent sick. Scripture knows nothing whatever of bishops as a distinct order. Now, then, let us contrast with this primitive arrangement as furnished by Scripture, according to which we should have ip each church a body of presbyters under one of their number presiding, a body of deacons also assisting the presbyters in matters less purely spiritual; contrast with this the state of things which exists among ourselves, and you will be able to judge how far the two are really one and the same.
" Why do I bring forward a subject like this? Because if we, like Israel, have sinned in departing from the form of government given by God at the beginning, then it is right that we should know it and acknowledge it, as the first step to repentance. Such departure from primitive appointments, to which we have succeeded by inheritance, is no ground for schism, but it is for reformation."
But what if there be no reform ? Then we suppose because it is inherited it is right to continue in what we condemn, though the Scriptures assert that " what is not of faith is sin." Let protests be made, but if our connection with the evil fosters it, then ACTION clear and public must follow.
Come ye out from the midst of her" is the voice to be obeyed. Would to God that a man so enlightened as Mr. Wolfe would lead the way in a grand
disruption movement; such a step would mark an era in England's history bright with hope.
It is a good sign that the author recognises the utter impossibility of discipline in his church while it is itself under the rule of the State. He evidently longs for relief, but confesses with a sigh that “such discipline as would, doubtless, be in force if the church were unfettered by the State cannot any longer even be attempted."
We make another extract or two on the subject of baptism, as we can heartily endorse so much of his teaching on that point :
• Our Lord gave directions to his apostle to go and baptise all nations; but it was those who believed who were to be baptised: and belief implies a creed to which the candidate for baptism must first bave given his assent." public confession of sins was in the early church one of the marks of repentance by which a convert showed himself a fit candidate for baptism ; so confession of faults after baptism may well be expected from all who coutinue to trust to the merits of Christ."
How can this good brother hold such views on baptism and then sprinkle infants, who cannot either believe or repent, without doing violence to his published convictions ou the matter? The whole book is a painful exhibition of a fettered warrior who is bound to defend a position which he feels cannot be ultimately maintained. We do not hesitate to say that there are subterfuges in argument, and inconsistencies in so-called explanations, which on no other subject would be tolerated among educated men. The most solemn declarations are refined away into contradictions in a manner which, if it were not so awful in its results would be contemptible for its littleness. Oh for Christian manhood enough to break away from every trammel, and come out into the free air and speak without the gag of dead men's creeds muzzling bold, honest speech ; or else if the bread of the church must be eaten by those wko do not accept her teaching, at least let it be done in a silence which she has a right to demand from those who have given an unfeigned assent and consent to her dogmas and discipline, and who have called the Holy Ghost to witness to the solemo declaration.
We must hold our brother to be wanting either to the truth or to his church, while he holds his present views and takes her pay under a declaration which is no longer the honest fact, whatever it may have been when it was first made.
Our Special Services.
religious work. As the year is delightfully chequered with the verdure of spring, the flowers of summer, the fruits of autumn, and the pure snows of winter; so should the Christian year beneath the beams of the Sun of Righteousness pass through all phases of beauty. There must be the sowing, the upspringing, the watering, the ripening, and the ingathering. To maintain spiritual fervour always at the highest point is our duty; but to attempt constantly to display it in a community, as it is developed at favoured seasons, is sure to produce one of two evils—either mere formality or else a grievous sense of weariness. Horses which rush like the wind when spurred to it must not always be so ridden. Even the sea is not always at the flood. and the day is not perpetually at noon. The trees rest in winter, or they would be fruitless in summer; a holy pause may intervene between ardent engagements. We are the last to advocate spasms of etfort and fits of excitement; the efforts of a church must be steady, persevering, inrelaxing, but sometimes wheu the Holy Ghost manifestly points thereto, they must rise to an intensity and vehemence which it would not be possible always to maintain. As we eat every day, but sometimes hold a feast, so we should be devout and diligent at all times; and yet special occasions may excite us to warmer love and more zealous service.
Fraught with many blessings have been the February services at the Tabernacle during each of the years in which they have been held. Constantly mpon this occasion have we heard brethren say, " I prayed for my wife at these meetings last year, and here she is at my side rejoicing in Jesus ;" while others with tears in their eyes testify that they owe their own souls' salvation to the former series of services. We are most of us conscious of a marked quickening of spiritual life in ourselves, and we cannot help remarking and admiring it in our fellow members; while very general breaking down is taking place among sinners of the congregation, and a great tenderness of heart is notably observable. At the moment of going to press with this magazipe we are nearing the middle passage of the meetings with a favouring wind and a full sail. It may be interesting to some of our friends if we describe the services as far as they have gone.
We began with a meeting of the pastors, deacons, and elders, with the distinct view of seeking a preparation from the Lord for the work and the expected blessing. The bread with which the multitude was fed was first received from the Master's hands by the disciples, and then handed by them to the assembled crowd; we therefore waited on him for the living bread, and desired to receive it direct from himself. Our communion was very sweet. The tea table became the centre of a true love-feast, in which brotherly love rejoiced. Then followed prayers, hymns, exhortations, and interchanges of thought. Each one of the brotherhood did what seemed to him most suitable, and the Holy Spirit guided the meeting ; so that each ode felt at the end of it tbat his inmost heart had been refreshed. Our brethren are not of the order of men that delighi in inventing novel methods, criticising plans, and raising objections, but they have learned to prefer acting to cavilling and praetice to theory; hence the meeting was pot marred by discussions or fault findings. Each one went straight to the point;-a blessing we need, we are now about to seek it. God will grant it, let us ask to be made ready to receive it, to make the best use of it and to retain it. The holy tire burned and glowed gloriously; and at one period of the meeting it rose to the height of sacred enthusiasm, in which we see the repetition of the tongues of fire and tbe rushing mighty wind.
On Lord's-day, February 12th, the pastor came to bis work with a pecnliarly weighty message, and spoke at both services upon the Marriage Supper. (The four sermons upon this parable will be published in a few days in a neat wrapper for distribution, price sixpence ; and it will make a seasonable present, for it commemorates the marriage of the Princess Louise.) After each service persons came forward who were pricked in the heart. In the afternoon a large prayer meeting was held in the Tabernacle, and another after the evening service. Prayer is, under God, the great lever with which to uplift a church. It is not a problem to be solved as to whether prayer is beard; we know it and have seen it. The power of prayer is as much a fact, and as clearly to be seen as the influence of electricity, or the force of gravitation.
On Monday, February 13th, the threefold prayer-meeting was held. Many began at seven by uniting in supplication; a goodly band gathered at noon; and the whole area of the Tabemacle was fall at night. The spirit of prayer was richly given. The pastors esteem the prayer-meetings to be the life of the church ; they are never absent unless by the foree of necessity; and hence the people value the prayer meetings and meet in such numbers as we fear are to be seldom found anywhere else engaged in intercession. Again enquirers were forthcoming, and some who had got beyond that stage pressed forward to avow themselves on the Lord's side. No excitement was manifest, but solemn earnestness revealed itself. The Pastor having selected a band of helpers they met for prayer this evening, and to arrange themselves so as to help at the meetings
The next day the pastors waited from eleven to one to see seekers. Many came of all classes. The invitation to the wedding-feast of mercy brought in, as of old, both bad and good. Objectors came with their hard questions, the lovers of the loaves and fishes with their hypocrisies, the ignorant with their superstitious fears, the talkative with their presumptuous confidences; but there also drew near to the servants of God the broken-hearted, the desponding, the despairing, the believing, the rejoicing, the restored. It was a good day, and when the fishermen counted up the treasures of the net, after laying many aside, and assigning others to a course of further instruction, they found a residue of twenty-six whom they felt free to propose to the church for membership. A quarter of an hour is the very least time we can give to form any estimate of the spiritual condition and render any efficient aid, and in many instances two or three times that period is requisite; so that on this occasion the pastors felt that a good day's work had been done. At seven in the evening a very considerable number of enquiring persous came together, and were faithfully addressed by some of the elders and other friends. The Lord's own arm was revealed. Quietly, but deeply, the work went on in many hearts.
On WEDNESDAY evening, at seven, the church alone came together, that, as a body, it might cry mightily unto God, and also seek preparation for the coming blessing. It was, without exception, one of the very best meetiugs we ever attended. The gracious words spoken to us by our brother, Mr. Gracey, and others, will remain with us while memory lasts. The meeting was open to all the members, both to pray and to speak, but no unqualified brother wasted the time, as is so generally the case in such meetings. The fittest men to speak did speak, and all rejoiced to listen to them.
On THURSDAY, at four, the Pastor met about 150 or 200 of the young ladies of the Tabernacle, and preached to them upon, " Thou art not far from the kingdom of God." The sacred feelings of that bour have, we are sure, left their permanent impress upon many a tender heart. That same night, in more than one house, friends were compelled to rise and administer comfort to young hearts in which the arrows of conviction had fixed. The audience was select and consisted almost entirely of young friends, of an educated class, just rising into womanhood. After the Pastor's address certain beloved matrons in the church mingled with the youthful company and conversed with individuals concerning their souls. Then followed the usual evening lecture, which partook of the spirit of the week's proceedings, and was blessed of God, so that again anxious souls waited to have conversation with the elders and other friends.
Friday was spent in prayer by the students in the College, who were joined by some of the ministers of London who were educated in our Institution. There was much hearty agonizing petitioning, a general personal renewal of consecration to God, and a holy warmth of soul. At its close, at seven o'clock, the workers of all sorts carne streaming in to their meeting-city missionaries, Bible-women, evangelists, tract distributors, Sunday-school teachers, and others. The Pastor, though evidently weary with an arduous week's work, had a word in season for the assembly, and so had our venerable friend, Mr. Rogers, our brother Charlesworth, and our ever-ready and invaluable helper, W. Olney.
On review of the week, we are compelled to bless the name of the Lord with all our heart, for the Lord of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge.
LORD'S-Day, Feb. 19th, the Pastor finished his exposition of the Parable of the Wedding Feast, and it was a season of great searching of heart. Certain of the church officers visited the adult classes in the afternoon to show that none of them were forgotten, and to stir them up to seek the immediate conversion of the unsaved ones among them. These visiting friends had happy interviews in all cases.
MONDAY was a day of prayer, all day long; commencing before the sun had risen, the people continued to come and go in relays all the day long. Just before the meal-times, when wives were bound to attend to domestic duties, the