« ForrigeFortsæt »
bers of this 'Scripture Union.' As an aid to the cultivation of early piety, and as conducive to the systematic study of the Scriptures, the formation of this 'Union' will be regarded by Christian parents and teachers generally with warm interest. Branches, it is hoped, will be established throughout the kingdom.
we are certainly preparing them to stand alone."
VIENNA. In our report of the proceedings of the last session of the General Conference we noticed the suspension of the mission at this city, and the forcible dissolution of the Society by the municipal authorities. We have received from John Fletcher, Esq., of StoneMADAGASCAR.-One of the principal clough, near Manchester, who has refields of the labours of the London cently visited Vienna, some particulars Missionary Society has been Madagascar. respecting the Society and the distress Here, many years since, the native of its pastor, to which we invite the Christians were subjected to a fearful attention of the members of the New persecution; and the Christian Church Church in England. The Church in England and elsewhere was painfully throughout the world is one body, affected by the reports of the cruel united by the one Divine life of love martyrdoms to which the Madagascar to the common Saviour and charity Christians were exposed, and in which towards all the brethren. If one branch they passed to their reward with all of the Church suffers, other portions of the constancy and heroism of "the the general body sympathize in its noble army of martyrs" of the primitive afflictions. Our efforts may fail to Church. The work of the Society has obtain for our brethren the restoration in recent times been again renewed. of their public worship, with its attenMemorial churches have been erected, dant privileges and blessings, but we and the labours of the missionaries more can at least offer temporary pecuniary widely extended. The Church of Eng- assistance to their esteemed pastor, land, the Society of Friends, and the who suffers loss by this action of the Roman Catholics have also missionaries authorities. The following is Mr. on the island, the Friends working Fletcher's letter: "Having had occacordially with the Independents. The sion to visit Vienna, I took an opporRev. W. E. Cousins, of the London tunity of waiting on the Rev. Hermann Missionary Society, who has been two Peisker, Hermannsgasse 33, Thür 19, to years in England, in his letter to the obtain some information as to the directors, written since his return, thus troubles the New Church Society had speaks of the progress of the island: got into. I had several long conversa"I find the Prime Minister has been tions with Mr. Peisker, and I found moving forward very rapidly, and has they commenced worshipping as a made important changes in regard to Society in the year 1872; and, accordthe administration of justice, etc. The ing to the laws of Austria, they deposited compulsory registration of births and a copy of their rules, which were not deaths, of marriages, of contracts, sales objected to, at the Town Hall. The of land, etc., the prohibition of poly- Society continued to worship and celegainy and divorce, and certain laws brate marriages and baptisms until the regulating the slave trade, are a clear year 1876, when a number of the memgain to the cause of civilization and bers were arrested and taken before the progress. The relations of the Govern- magistrates, but were discharged. On ment to our work generally seem to be what pretext they were arrested does very friendly, and with prudence and not seem to be well understood. The patient teaching we may yet secure to members continued to meet for worship, the native churches a very large amount and to celebrate marriages and baptisms of liberty. There appears to be a grow- until last August, when the Society ingly clear apprehension of the differ- received a letter from the Police Courts ence existing between the spheres of the requesting the members to meet there State and of the Churches. On the at a given time. They accordingly whole, the work seems strong and went, and were told that they could healthy; and although the native not be permitted to carry on worship Christians may long need our friendly any longer, the reason assigned being help both in guidance and in money, that they had not carried out their rules,
nor were they acknowledged as a religious Society by the State. The police then took all their furniture and books, etc., from their meeting-room, and the funds in hand, about £30. Mr. Peisker has sent a petition to the authorities complaining of such a cruel proceeding, and praying that they might be allowed to conduct their worship as usual. To this petition, which should have received a reply, according to law, in about thirty days, no reply, up to the time of my leaving Vienna, had come to hand. Mr. Peisker had, however, heard that the reply had been received from Government by the city authorities, and that it was against the Society. I saw several members of the congregation, and their statements quite coincided with Mr. Peisker's. It seems from the first commencement in 1872 before each service they had to give three days' notice to the authorities, and a policeman or other representative from the Town Hall has been present at every meeting, whether for worship or other meetings, and that this man has signed each marriage-contract. If the Society were transgressing the law, why did not the authorities find it out sooner, and not allow seven years to lapse, and each meeting to be sanctioned by their own official? I called at the British Embassy, but did not succeed in seeing the British Minister, who was absent. I had an interview, however, with the chaplain, who received me with Christian courtesy and kindness, but was powerless to aid in the matter. The opinion I formed is, that the only way to assist the friends in Vienna would be to get up a petition to the Austrian Minister in London, and follow it up with a good influential deputation. The members in Vienna are utterly powerless. If they are to be assisted, help must come from the outside. I consider they have been hardly treated. So far as I can learn they have not, certainly not intentionally, committed the slightest wrong, or violated any of the laws. Before leaving Vienna
a number of the members waited on me at my hotel, and, after repeating the story of their wrongs, begged that I would lay the matter before the New Church in England, in the hope that some steps might be taken to get matters put right again. Dr. Peisker told me he had tried to get permission to keep a school, but immediately it was known
what his former position (New Church minister) had been, he was refused, and anything else he had taken in hand in the way of employment had been stopped. When he went to Vienna he had a little money saved, but it had all gone, and he was now earning a little by giving a few private lessons. From the appearance of his home (a little room about the fifth floor in a block), I should say he is in very distressed circumstances, having a wife and three little children; and I feel that it would be doing the right thing to help him along if possible till he can officiate again as minister, or at least get a final reply from the Government." Mr. Fletcher offers to contribute £5 towards a subscription to assist Mr. Peisker in his present painful circumstances. This is, doubtless, the right thing to do, and to do promptly. shall gladly receive any subscriptions in aid of this object, or they may be forwarded to the treasurer of Conference, Richard Gunton, Esq., 19 Oseney Crescent, London, N., for immediate transmission to Mr. Peisker.
MAURITIUS.-A correspondent sends us from Malta the following extract from a letter he has recently received from the Mauritius, which will doubtless interest our readers. During a passing visit at the Mauritius our correspondent had no opportunity of attending service, as he was not there on a Sunday. The following is the extract: "We have had a subscription lately in our small Society to pay off our debt of £500, and we raised £400, or very nearly that figure, and this, Í think, was doing well considering the few we were. At Christmas our congregation, including children, was about seventy, and we had, I think, thirty communicants. Our President, M. de Chazal, was unable to attend through illness, and the service was conducted by one of our oldest members, M. Lesage, who did it very well. I trust all were benefited by it.
BIRMINGHAM.-Sunday the 9th March was specially interesting to the Sunday scholars, and to many of the congregation who assembled in the church prior to morning service for the purpose of witnessing the baptism of the second group of young adults, who, in consequence of doctrinal instruction in the
schools, and of their own free request, were baptized by the Rev. R. R. Rodgers. On the former occasion seven, and on this occasion twelve (all scholars excepting one-a former teacher), were baptized. The following hymn, specially written for the occasion, was sung after the ceremony :—
BAPTISM OF YOUNG ADULTS.
March 9th, 1879.
To seal, by that most holy sign
BOLTON. The minister of this Society, the Rev. Thomas Mackereth, F.R.A.S., has just completed a course of lectures at the church on the following subjects: (1) "A Swedenborgian's View of the Uses of Sunday;" (2) "The Nature and Immortality of the Human Soul;" (3) "The Nature and Character of Divine Revelation;" (4) "The Law of the Interpretation of the Sacred Scriptures." The attendance at all the lectures was good, and many strangers were present. The church was comfortably filled at the lecture on the Human Soul, and much satisfaction was expressed by strangers with the arguments and elucidations of the subject. In the first lecture it was shown that Sunday was not merely a substitute for the Sabbath, and for prayer and praise to the Lord, but that it is now, and will become more so, a day for instruction in Divine things.
With the abundance of natural knowledge has come an unfolding of spiritual and Divine knowledge never known before, and therefore the highest use of Sunday was found in the prayer and praise that lead to spiritual culture by the now revealed knowledge of truth. In the second lecture it was shown that attributes alone distinguish the identities of all things. In these the Divine is distinct and personal from His creation. Attributes without substance and form are unthinkable; therefore wherever attributes are found there also must be substance and form, for if the converse be true, which is manifestly so, then also is the deduction. It was shown that not only do attributes distinguish things from one another, but that the substances and forms of things are nothing but their attributes made by force, or by the action of life in the elements of things. The elemental world is a world of forces only, but the vegetable and animal worlds are worlds of life, where, from within germ and matrix, life builds up and organizes all that constitute the substances and attributes of the myriads of subjects of these living worlds. But one thing is obvious of them all, which is this, that as soon as the subjects of these kingdoms have fulfilled their functions as subjects they begin to perish. The attributes of man, seated in his own consciousness, extend far beyond physics. The animal world affords the strongest proof that mere brain cannot comprehend the man. Here are attributes, notwithstanding the marvellous capabilities of animal instinct, that demand something more than a physical subject, substance, and form. With the growth of years man's loves and affections become purer, holier, and higher; his thoughts from rational become staid and wise. The knowledge which he loves with advancing years is of the highest and most useful order. When he shall have fulfilled his functions with these attainments he shall perish too; but as the whole life of man's mind is progressive to its close, reason is bound to admit that the end of man is an indeterminate equation. There is therefore no reason why he shall not live for ever. "Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy
Lord." The third and fourth lectures were practically one lecture. The object of the first was to trace out by history and discovery the early character of revelation, and so to show the foundation on which rested the peculiar characteristics of the Bible as the Word of God. In the second lecture the laws of correspondence and representation were explained at considerable length, and many striking illustrations were given of the application of this mode of interpretation.
DERBY.-The annual meeting of this Society was held on Monday evening, February 17th. Tea was provided in the schoolroom, after which the chair was taken by the minister, Rev. Mr. Ashby. The greatest interest was manifested in the proceedings. After prayer the minutes of previous meetings were read and adopted, three new members were admitted into the Society, and three candidates proposed for membership. Reports relating to the various institutions of the Church were read and received; and it is gratifying to state that all (with the exception of the report of the Church Library) spoke of good work having been done, and of the healthful condition of the several departments of usefulness. The Committee reported that several members and friends, who had taken in past years an active and warm interest in this Society, have been removed from our visible presence. Seven new members have been added during the year, and three have been removed to the eternal world. It is sincerely hoped that the younger members of the Church will endeavour worthily to fill the vacant places. The Committee congratulates the Society upon the healthy appearance of its various institutions, and trusts that they may continue to grow and prosper.
HEYWOOD. We abridge from the local papers the following account of a pleasant and numerously-attended meeting of the teachers of the Sunday school, which was held in the girls' schoolroom on Wednesday evening, March the 12th, when an enlarged, beautifully-finished, and elegantly-framed photograph of the late John Alfred Isherwood, Esq., was presented to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Isherwood. After tea the chair was occupied by the Rev. R. Storry, who in
troduced the proceedings of the evening by a brief address, in which he dwelt on the relation of the Sunday school to the present state of popular education. The Sunday school at its commencement needed to combine secular with religious instruction. The progress of popular education now provided all that was required in the way of secular instruction. Our diversities of religious thought, combined with the requirements of the Government inspection, tended to remove religious teaching from the day school, and the Sunday school in the future must supplement the work of the day school by a more definite religious instruction. After a glee by the choir, the chairman called on Mr. Mason, who, in a humorous speech, narrated his experience of living in France. This was followed by the anthem "Blessed is the man who feareth the Lord." The chairman then rose to make the presentation. There were two ways, he said, of looking at death-one was full of gloom and sorrow from the apparent loss we had sustained; the other was one in which we contemplated the triumph of our departed friends who had departed in the life and hope of the Gospel. It was in this last sense he should refer to it to-night. During the past year the school had lost by the departure of Mr. John Alfred Isherwood, one of its most promising and esteemed young men. Wherever work was to be done, whether in the school, the choir, or other uses of the church or schools, he was prepared to undertake it; and it must ever be a source of satisfaction to his parents to look back upon his wellspent life. The present testimonial was a warm expression of the general feeling of the teachers of the school. Every one had a part in it, and all had joined heartily in its preparation. There is an inseparable connection between labour and its reward. Where labour is not rewarded by earthly remuneration, it has its reward in the consciousness of use to others, in the improvement and elevation of character which it invariably secures, and in the esteem to which it gives rise. And this was often manifest in the case of those who were placed in high social positions. It was an evident law of Divine Providence that there should be gradations of social life. This did not necessitate extreme poverty, and in a regenerate society no one would be
without the means of a comfortable subsistence. All classes of society were closely knit together and mutually dependent. A full-grown and beautiful tree that extended its branches and opened its blossoms to the sun, while sustained by the root and stem, was a thing of beauty, and filled the air with fragrance. But separated from the root it soon sunk into decay. It was the same with the upper circles of society. Their root was in the active usefulness of the humbler classes; and the more closely all classes were knit together by mutual sympathy, kind feeling, and mutual helpfulness, the better it would be for society at large. This testimonial was an evidence of the existence and wish to cultivate this feeling among all classes in this Sunday school. As such it would be received by Mr. Isherwood and his family, and as such he hoped it would tend to increase the spirit of love and esteem which existed among them. The following inscription, neatly engraved, is attached to the frame:
"Presented to Thomas Isherwood, Esq., by the teachers and senior scholars of the New Jerusalem Sunday School, Heywood, as a token of their love and esteem, and in grateful acknowledgment of his valuable services rendered as superintendent for a period of twenty years.-March 12th, 1879."
Mr. Isherwood said: "I can assure you there is nothing you could have presented me with which would have pleased me better than the token of your esteem and affection which is now before me. While sitting here my mind has been glancing back to the time when I first entered these schools about a quarter of a century ago. We then taught reading and writing in the schools, and of the friends who were engaged in the work there are not more than one or two left, Mr. Mason and Mr. Fairbrother, both of whom I am very glad to see here to-night. I am glad to see that the children and grandchildren of those who took an active part in the work then are represented here, and are taking an active part in this work, as did their predecessors. At that time the school was about half its present size. We enlarged it in 1860. And then when we found the schoolroom too small, we had friends who were ready to find the ways and means to enlarge, which was a great thing, seeing that we were nearly all poor people. I remember the time when I was almost forced
into these schools by our friends, Mr. Fairbrother and the late Mr. Walter Whitworth, by whom I was told I must do my best as a teacher. That I have done. I was soon afterwards forced into the superintendency, which I have held for over twenty years. I shall never forget the assistance which my friends gave me at that time. I was then new to the work, but I always found friends ready to give me their support, which I needed then, and which I need now. I can assure you I have spent many long and happy hours here, and my sole aim and object has been to stay with you in the school until I could leave you three teachers in the school, when I thought I might retire. But Providence has ruled otherwise, and to His decision we must bow. Let me appeal to you to work harmoniously together, to try and leave the school in that position in which you will have done some good, and you cannot do good to others without at the same time receiving greater benefit to yourself. I feel that I have tried to do that ever since I was connected with this school; and nothing has given me greater pleasure when we have been collected together, either here or at my house, than to see the kindly feeling which has prevailed. I hope the main object of all will be to improve the children connected with these schools, and to prepare them for that other world for which we are all intended."
Mr. Fairbrother followed by an address, in which he narrated some interesting particulars of progress which had followed a similar presentation to another member of the church many years before, and expressed a hope that similar use might follow the present occasion. Short addresses from other members of the school and pleasing music by the choir filled up the time of a most interesting meeting.
HULL.-During the winter a series of Sunday evening lectures have been given in the church on the Spring Bank by the leader, Mr. J. R. Boyle, which have been eminently successful in their results. They have extended over a period of seventeen weeks, commencing on the first Sunday in November, and concluding on the 23rd of February. The subjects have been chiefly doctrinal, using the word in its most comprehensive sense. The subjects were as diverse