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Otserver, Apr. 1, 75.
B.-Notwithstanding we are agreed as to the standard of appeal, it may be possible after all that we apprehend it differently, or apply it after different methods.
1. Quite possible; and I must confess I have sometimes had an impression that, besides, your own understanding and judgment have been affected by your bilious temperament. I could mention half-adozen names whose owners to my mind are truly spiritually minded men, and yet, though they have all in turn formed the subject of conversation between us, you have never in any one instance given a hearty assent to this conviction of mine.
There is C., for instance, whose piety seems unquestionable. If you want to look upon his beaming countenance you know well when and where you can do so. He is at his place at the Lord's table. He is the constant support of the preacher. He is present at the prayer meeting. His prayers are of the most fervid and touching description and on every appropriate occasion, his voice falters with tender emotion, and his eyelids drop the dew of charity.
Then again, there is D., of a different temperament, being of a more rigid and active turn of mind, whose emotions cannot be so easily traced, but whose practical and common-sense views of things become quite wholesome correctives to mere sentiment, as he would say. Still his very bluntness and honesty claim recognition, and though he may have to yield to the eminent spirituality of C., I cannot help enrolling him on my list.
E. also claims instant acknowledgment, as a fervent and devoted Christian. Why, his very words are all aglow with fervour, and declare his whole experience to be of the most blessed realization. Indeed, I feel its reflection in my own soul, and am conscious of increasing happiness in his companionship.
And what can you possibly object to F.: Here we have a man of wealth and position, who, instead of seeking a place in some wealthy community, holds on to his old associates, mingling with poorer men as an equal, and there are not wanting instances of tender manifestations, showing that his heart has not been hardened by the influence of his riches, out of which I happen to know he scrupulously devotes &
Ι given portion to the Lord.
G. is another, of whom I may say that not only can I render him deserved praise, but his praise is on many lips, for his self-denying labours in every cause. You can hardly mention the good movement in connection with which he has not figured prominently, and won for himself lasting honours.
I shall name one other, to complete the half-dozen I said I could refer to, although I could increase the number if needful. We both know H. very well, and I believe regard him with a common admirationa man of refined tastes and considerable culture, a kind-hearted, openhanded gentleman. Now I would really like you to say candidly what you can find in any, or all, of these friends to lead to a conclusion adverse to my own.
B.-Well, as you wish it, I will try briefly to gratify you, begging at the same time that you will make due allowance for the constitutional bias already hinted at. I must deny, however, that my conclusions are
Observer, Apr. 1, 75.
adverse to yours, while I confess they are qualified, and sometimes strongly, by known circumstances, for which you do not care to look.
In the case of C.-I at once admit him to be a bland and somewhat engaging sort of man, but dealing with facts I have known him as a husiness man, an employer, and also as a husband. He has failed more than once in business through sheer looseness and inaptness. As a journeyman he is just like so many worldly men, who work under the eye of master or foreman, and read the papers or lounge and talk when oversight is relaxed; and as a husband, all his gushing tenderness of which you speak too often gives place to a petty crabbedness, which indulged in such a relationship always indicates, to my mind, downright despicable meanness of spirit.
D. I know as intimately as anybody, and can give him all due praise ; but while he thinks himself practical, and lays great emphasis on the practical as being the very essence of all, I could make him confess that his own practice is often of a very sluggish kind.
I have often wished I could mix some of E.'s fervid temperament with my phlegmatic one, especially with a view to economy, as I often think that more steam escapes than goes into the cylinder. I have good ground for saying it would be a happy thing for more than himself if he kept the safety valve better weighted, and secured a more continuous and steady pressure in working partially out the common duties of life. Great aspirations are one thing, solid honest work is another.
F.-has been one of my life-studies, with this result, viz: I find him strangely at the mercy of diverse influences-to-night he is soft and pliant, to-morrow may find him obdurate. In the house of God he may manifest the tenderness of a child, while in the counting-house, or on 'change, he is a man of gold and iron. It is a pleasant thing to see a rich man separate the Lord's portion, and hand round his donations, but I would like to know whose the bulle is after the deduction. Some very miserable doctrine passes muster on this subject of the Lord's commission of a tithe, as if a ten or fifteen per cent. consecration was an equal distribution all round of individual responsibilities. It often simply amounts to an attempt to bribe the Godhead by a commission on a questionable transaction. To
mind it would be monstrous to claim that there was as much self-denial, and therefore equal intrinsic worth (all other things being equal) in a gift of two thousand pounds from a twenty thousand man, as in a gift of two shillings by a twenty shilling man.
So also says the widow's mite. To G. I would apply Paul's teaching to women-let him learn to be a keeper at home. Even although the work be good, that cannot be a good course of life which keeps a man trotting in the wake of every movement to the neglect of the institution of home. If you help to culture the whole world and leave home a wilderness you are after all only a barbarian chief
I admit a certain admiration of H. There is as you imply a natural nobility about him that cannot be ignored, and yet udfortunately the very terms in which you praise him bring his weak points to my mind. Open-handed"! yes, it is a fine quality--if neither the milkman nor the
grocer have to pay for it. It is a bad thing for a man to open his hand wider than he can honestly fill it again.
Observer, Apr. 1, '75.
A.—You surprise me exceedingly. You paint with a heavy band, and, let me hope, with too strong colours. Do not forget charity!
B.--My brush is dipped, I trust, in the charity that thinketh no evil, but rejoiceth in the truth. My moral is my redemption, and on this point we may exchange thoughts when we meet again. I must now say good-bye.
“ PROGRESS MEN IN AMERICA. In the December E.O., the Editor has a short notice of “ Progress men " in the American Churches, and it leads me to consider that he has not a right estimate of the matter he treats of; and certainly the quotation he gives from the Apostolic Times is not likely to give his readers a correct idea of the matter. I have now been here more than three years, and in this State I have moved about considerably among the brethren and churches. I have also visited several churches in Missouri, and have met and conversed with many of the ablest preachers in the west. I have been with churches where the Christian Standard is principally circulated, and amongst those who patronize the Apostolic Times and Review, and the question of "progress" or " anti-progress,"
" as it occurs as matter of difference in the churches, I have had good opportunity of studying, and I have studied it and taken a side.
But before I say what side I have taken, I have to say that the word
progress no more describes the brethren to whom it is applied than the term Campbellite. It is a nickname, and in my experience is not used by those to whom it is applied, and I am not aware that the “anti-progress " people use that term themselves.
The great question on which there is difference among our churches is that of the missionery work. It is a question of church co-operation for the preaching of the Gospel in places where it is not provided for. Brethren of the standing of A. Procter, Issac Errett and others support A plan of co-operation that is substantially like the plan of the English Churches. Every church does what it pleases, and its delegates in annual meeting vote money when they have it, for the support of Evangelists. Persons who will give neither money nor work to this plan call the workers in it progressists and, as a rule, they have no plan and little work of their own in the missionary field. There is really no other difference of importance in the churches, and this difference bas been magnified by envy and other imperfections incident to the best of men. The going out from us of W. C. Dawson and a few others, has as much to do with it as the man in the moon, and no more.
The question of a paid pastorate or, as you have it, a "hired " pastorate, does not divide the brethren here. All are agreed that a preacher should be paid. Moses Lard will take pay for work done in this way as readily as W. T. Moore. In my experience there is less given to the preachers among those opposed to the missionary co-operation than among those favouring it. Among all our brethren here there is looseness on the relation of the preacher
to the congregation that is not pleasing to me. There are churches that never meet except when a preacher comes that way, or if they get together regularly on the
Observer, Apr. 1, '75.
Lord's day they call it "only a social meeting.” Preaching is much more thought of here than teaching, but the reason is teaching is much worse done than preaching. Indeed, in some regions teaching is unknown. The blame for this state of things is equally deserved by preachers and hearers. But those who favour the missionary plan and those who are against it are alike in this matter. When I speak of regions and numbers in these matters I am comparing with England. A much better state of things prevails in the majority of the churches in the Central States of the Mississippi Valley.
The idea of Open Communion permeates our brotherhood in this country. I have met none who do not hold it as an opinion, and there are few churches where, as a practice, it does not sometimes occur. As I ever did I hold it to be wrong, wrong theoretically, and disastrous in its results, and my influence will never favour it, but the editors and readers of the Times and Review are no more free on this subject than the supporters of the Standard or Evangelist—all are alike here. The Baptists of this country are the most sectarian of sectarians, much differing from their congeners in England, and they hold strict communion, and the result with them is steady growth. Open Communion in any community means emasculation, but the brethren here don't see it, and the hatred.of denominations for us makes it less harmful than it might be.
I have seen hints elsewhere than in your article that the independency of the churches is threatened in some quarters, but I have never found one solitary fact to support it in all I know of the history of the churches co-operating for missionary labour.
I will use the rest of this paper to send greetings to my friends at Wigan, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, and Furness Fells.
We are always glad for those who understand a subject better than we do to correct any mistake into which we have fallen. We cannot, however, accept correction in the present instance from the good brother who has thought well to object to the few remarks published in our December issue. On the condition of the American Churches we have very little to learn, and the person who, in any material point or general way, corrects us in relation thereto, must be one of wider experience than the writer of the foregoing. We say this because he has spent a considerable part of the three years he has been in America where he had little or no access to brethren and churches, and because since then his range has been somewhat limited; whereas, on the other hand, we meet with instances somewhat like the following :
An Evangelist from America, staying with us, contended that our view of the condition of things in American Churches was not at all sustained by his knowledge of the facts. But having, after a while, returned to his own country and spent some time in moving among the churches, he wrote intimating that he had by wider experience found that the items he was not prepared to admit prevailed according to our understanding of them. His denial when here (made, we were sure, most conscientiously), did not in the slightest change our views, because the
Observer, Apr. I, 175
sources of our information are too varied to admit of serious error as to the facts. We depend not upon one side for imformation. We have facts from the so-called leading Progressionists and from the most intelligent of those who sound the alarm, and from all classes of brethren, American and British; including nearly everything of importance printed on both sides. We understand the matter thoroughly well; no statement of ours has yet been refuted. When there is a real correction it shall be gladly published as widely as we can circulate it.
Nor does R. Hay touch any one point of our December comment. He tells us that the brethren called " Progressionists” do not take that designation. It was not supposed, nor did our article imply, that they do. He informs us that it is used to designate those who “contend for a certain plan of co-operation in opposition to others who hold that the churches should evangelize without any such plan as they favour.” But on this point he either gives us only part of his knowledge, or his information is not sufficiently ample. The term did not arise out of the Louisville plan in particular and it has a much wider application. We know when and where it originated and what it covers. In the article R. H. sets himself to correct there is no mention of this cooperation plan. The evils toward or into which certain “Progress Men ” have made their way are said to include—"unrestricted communion; a hired pastor in addition to a merely nominal eldership; a recognition of sects, by concerting with them and speaking of them as the other denominations'; interference with the independency of churches; and other deviations from apostolic order.” Now, so far is R. H from showing that in thus putting it we need correction, that he strikingly confirms the heavier items of the indictment and, indeed, puts in a shade rather darker than we are prepared to accept. He deems our reference to interference with the independence of churches not called for, as he has never found one fact to support it in all he knows of the history of the churches co-operating for missionary labour. But there are brethren in America who would reply, that his assertion only proves his restricted acquaintance with those facts. But, be that as it may, our specification had no reference to the missionary co-operation. We wrote what we know. The independency of churches (as we understand it to be exhibited in the New Testament) is threatened by theories held by some of the so-called Progressionists, the hired pastor being a preliminary to further departure. R. H.
says, “ The question of a paid pastorate, or, as you have it, a hired pastorate, does not divide the brethren here. All are agreed that à preacher should be paid." We are sorry that our brother so soon falls into confounding things (on this question) that differ. What ha's the paying of a preacher to do with the hiring of a pastor.
The confounding is of Ashdod, or of the Progressionists if you please. It may be true that all American brethren agree that a preacher should be paid, but it is not true that they are thus agreed on the totally different thing of a class of men (many of them young and inexperienced), waiting in the market to be hired as church officers, and that in addition to the eldership; appropriating, too, a title to themselves and excluding the eldership from it, which title, if still applicable, belongs to the