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Observer, Jan. 1, 75.
The chapel was crowded to excess. After Baptists, two from English Baptists, and opening exercises, the chairman observed five by immersion.
H. B. that the chief duty of the evening was to RYLSTONE.-W.R. Perkins reports threo extend a cordial welcome to Bro. John immersions for the year. A. T. M. Strang. He could not but look on his coming here as a providential answer to their prayers. He had heard of Bro.
CRICCIETH.-We have been gladdened Strang for years ; and Bro. Gore, who had by the addition of seven to the church met him in England, had always spoken here--five we have immersed and other of him with the greatest respect. He two formerly immersed. May they prove
· W. W.: was sure that Bro. Strang was a most faithful. devoted and earnest exponent of the truth.
BUCKLEY. We had added one to the Bro. A. Gordon, on behalf of the church, church by immersion—the son of one of said he cordially welcomed him to Strath
our sisters. We stand in need of some albyn. Bro. John Strang was received help in spreading the truth.
A. P. thanked them for their expressions of porting two recent additions by immer good feeling towards him.
A. D. he had chosen on which to address them
MOLLING ON.— Three young men bapmight be stated in three words—“ Our tized this week, one of them my son, Mutual Work.” He said that, although William, All my family have now confessed engaged as an evangelist for the churches the Lord; blessed he His name. P. 8. in the Strathalbyn district, be should only WILSON Town.-d good work is going be one' working with others. In a few on here at present. Bro. Murray, from earnest practical remarks, he explained Edinburgh, is with us, and since he came what he understood his work to be, and thirteen have been baptised. Rome" is appealed to the entire brotherhood to co beginning to cry out, but still the people operate with him, as there was much for pay attention to the strange things spoken them to do also. Only in this way could to them. May this prove but the comthey expect the work to be a success. mencement of a great ingathering: Bro. W. H. Martin, from Collingwood,
C. M. Victoria, next spoke, and remarked that Americans were expected to be humorous, but if they expected such from him, they
Obituary. would be disappointed. There were no such things as tea meetings in America ; SISTER HARRIS, of Reading (late of but he saw that they carried them through Camden Town), fell asleep in Jesus on very successfully at Strathalbyn. He the 14th day of December, 1874, in the then delivered an interesting address upon eightieth year of her age, after several the love of Christ as a grand aud universal weeks of acute suffering, yet constantly bond of brotherhood. Bro. T. A. Magarey sustained by the full assurance of speedy upon
the final charge. Bro. freedom from sin and sorrow, and a happy MeLachlan spoke upun union in Christ. entrance into a state of perfect purity, rest Bro. Jas. Hales dwelt upon the agencies and bliss inexpressible. Her firm faith, exnecessary to a wiser spread of the truth. emplary patience, and holy joy in prosBro. Crawford spoke of “Home.” The pect of soon being with the Lord, together meeting was brought to a close after with the remembrance of her loving and ively but practical addresses from Drs. pious deportment from her youth upMagarey and Kidner.
T. L. wards, afford especial comfort to the NEW ZEALAND, AUCKLAND.-Bro. Wm. surviving widower, daughter, and others. Rattray, under date of 12th August, writes
W. D. H. as follows: "A co-operative plan has been
SISTER MELLOR3, the beloved wife of arranged amongst the brethren of the Bro. Thomas Mellors, of Maro-hay, fell churches in this colony in order to bring
asleep in Jesus, Nov. 11th, leaving a large
A, D. out efficient evangelists amongst the many family to mourn their loss. small localities in New Zealand, which DR. J. T. BABCLAY, late Missionary to. singly could not be accomplished. Jerusalem, departed this life, in abounding
DUNEDIN.- Since last report the church peace and joy, on the 28th of October, here has admitted
ten to fellow. 67 years of age, after a painful illness of ship: one by letter of cominendation from only eight days, at the residence of his brethren in Scotland, two from the Scotch 'son, in Lawrence County, Alabama.
Observer, Jan. 1, '75.
" THE TEACHERS' STUDY.” INTERNATIONAL
LESSONS, &c. Last month we commended the International Lessons for use in our Sunday schools, and promised to devote some space each issue to notes upon the Lessons for the ensuing month. It was not intended that our own pen should produce more than a small portion thereof. We designed to appeal to those of the brotherhood able to take part to use our pages for that purpose. Not till a week after our December issue was in the hands of its readers had we the slightest idea that any one among us contemplated a periodical devoted specially to that work. On December 7, we received a circular (the first and only intimation up to this writing), of the intended publication of “ The Teachers' Study and Sunday School Record,” to commence January 1st, price ld. ; one of its leading features being that exposition of Lessons above announced. It is to be concluded by J. Adam and F. Taylor, and published by Richardson, Warwick Lane, London. To our surprise, in looking through the prospectus, we find that numerous brethren have been consulted and appealed to during the previous month ; even so far as to intimate help from America; while not even a hint was given us; notwithstanding that we have sustained the labour and the loss of our Sunday School periodical for years.
Had we been informed at an earlier period of the contemplated periodical, we should not have announced the intention to devote certain of our pages to the same work.
Well, if there is need for “ The Teachers' Study” we wish it success. It will be remembered that two years ago the Sunday School Conference adopted for printing, and generally approved, a paper read by us on Sunday School Literature. Ths leading feature of that paper was the non-desirability of publishing for ourselves anything that is already sufficiently well provided in the book market. Now if the special department to be occupied by the new publication is not supplied by existing publications so as to meet the requirement, aided by a fer pages monthly in our two magazines, then there is need for the work announced. We give no present decision on this point, because it is uncalled for, and will not affect the case ; but we have found that the general excellence of two or three similar monthlies, already in the field, is largely admitted.
ORDINATION AT BETHANY.
To The Editor of the E. 0.-In your Oct. number a report is given from an American paper, of the setting apart, by ordination, of three young men, at Bethany, for “ the work of the ministry," which was done“ by prayer and fasting, on the part of the Church, a sermon by Bro. Pendleton, and a charge by Bro. Loos," all, apparently, being attended to, in a very appropriate, orderly and solemn manner ; 80 much so, that you say it looks exceedingly well, and you would be "quite in love with it, were it not destitute of apostolic example, and in accord with the usages of mystic Babylon." These are hard and
Observer, Jan. 1, '75.
grievous words to be applied to your brethren, and the question is, are they justifiable ? We don't think so, and confess that to us the proceedings do not only appear lovely, but commendable, and not without apostolic example to sustain them (see Acts xiii. 1-5.) It is not, however, to argue the question we write, but we regret to see such remarks, and cannot help noticing, that in order to support your condemnation of what you are pleased to term “ the Bethany ordination business," you seem to us, to apply a little extra colour to the picture, without which the light and shade would be defective and not quite clear to your readers.
For example, you represent “these three young men as having been brought up to Bethany that they may be duly authorized and bear the ordination stamp;" overlooking the fact that they had occasion, not long before, to leave the place, where they had " for many years been accustomed in the church there to exercise their gifts, and their walk and conversation were well known and approved.” If, therefore, these men were to be ordained at all, this was surely the church where, and the people by whom it should be carried out.
You further describe them as being set apart by college presidents, professors, &c., whereas it was as members and elders of the church, that these laid hands upon them; and, supposing they had been blacksmiths and tailors, would it have made any difference, and would you have referred to their calling and objected in the same manner ?
You also paint certain denominations having one man as preacher, teacher, etc., who is called “our minister," and, “ this term,” you say, " seems the one applied to these three young men." How so? Why so free with your brush? And why so forgetful of that charity which thinketh no evil? Is it not stated, “ they were set apart to the ministry of the word, and sent out as heralds of the salvation which is through Christ?"
But our principal reason for writing is, that as such a proceeding is denounced by you, would you direct us to the apostolic plan, and shew us how and when it is practised at home, and it may also benefit those brethren in America whom you consider doing wrong, were they informed how the New Testament precepts and examples are adhered to, when ministers of the word, evangelists or preachers, are chosen, set apart and sent out by the churches here.
INQUIRER. The printer cannot possibly find space for remarks upon the foregoing. We must, therefore, either exclude Inquirer till next month, or let him be heard now and defer our reply. As we much object to comments upon matters printed three months before, and as Inquirer has left his over so long, we give him space at once, and promise early attention.
QUERIES. EDITOR E. 0.-Will you kindly insert the enclosed queries, with an answer to the same ?
R. DILLON. 1.-Wherein is a Baptist Church, maintaining for its faith and order, one Lord, one Faith and one Baptism, not a Church of Christ ?
Observer, Jan. 1, '75.
II.-What more is essential to constitute it a part of the One Churel ? III.--In what particular omission of faith or practice, does a Church of Jesus Christ cease to be such, manifestly?
We have neither time nor space to attempt answers to the foregoing for the present month. Perhaps some of our readers will forward the required information, early. As R. D. has introduced the terms " Baptist Church,” we shall be glad if some kind friend will give us such a definition of a Baptist Church” as shall be accepted by Baptists, according to fact, and include the churches generally that are so designated.
DR. ALEXANDER ON CHURCH DANGERS.
(From the Derby Journal.) SIR-In the Sentinel of Saturday there appears an interesting account of a religious ceremony performed by Dr. Alexander, the Protestant Bishop of Derry, in Chapel-of Ease. The Bishop, after long and careful study of the Scriptures, raises his warning voice against dangers in the Church of Christ, and notably against the practice preyailing at large religious meetings during times of awakening--such as witnessed lately in this city-whereby people are told that “except a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God." The careful student of the Sacred Writings cannot fail to notice the scriptural conclusions arrived at by his Lordship, viz. : "That the Apostles never called on a baptized sinner to be born again, for the very cogent reason that the church members in those days and for long afterwards were presumably already 'born from above,' as the result of acknowledging, believing, and obeying the Messiah;
and each received the gift of the Holy Spirit--the great gift promised to the Apostles and those who should believe in their word. Furthermore, every believer was born out of water' gennethe ex hudatos kai pneumatos.-John iii. 3-5—the birth from above enabling them to see the new Kingdom of Theocracy ;ịthe birth out of water being the door by which to enter it.”.
These are tru sms familiar doubtless to Dr. Alexander, with his rich historical and ecclesiastical know. ledge, but which are generally entirely overlooked or ignored by modern evangelists and preachers, and the consequence is, the anomalous confusion existing in most churches. A birth of flesh is substituted for that birth from above, which the Great Teacher, in the most emphatic tercas, enforced on Nicodemus and all others who desired membership in His kingdom. It is sad to contemplate the result of this departure from the beautiful and instructive order of the New Institution and its ordinances, as laid down in the book of the Acts of the Apostles. The introduction of unconscious babies as members of the church, their being trained up in the belief that they are already grafted into Christ, members of His body, and as such invited to the Communion, etc., and, after the lapse of years, during some religious' awakening they are preached at and told that unless they believe in Christ, or be born again, they cannot see the Kingdom of God. Who is to blame for this state of matters that Dr. Alex. ander, so justly inveighs against ? Is it the deluded church member that seems more sinned against than sinning ? or is it their spiritual guides, the clergy, who, generally, lead them not so much to the word of truth as to the conventional usages and customs of their fathers, which, if traced back for generations, would doubtless lead them into company they would be quick to eschew. To the independent man who can break with routine and conventionalism where these diverge from apostolic practices, the Bishop's words are in a sense confirmatory and deserving of attention. Šir, I have long arrived at the conclusion that there is nothing so unpopular in these days of religious zeal and awakening among church members, as the Christianity promulgated, enforced, and practised by the Messiah, His Apostles, and their immediate followers.--Yours truly,
UNORTHODOX. Londonderry, December 7, 1874.
Observer, Feb. 1, '75.
MODERN SPIRITUALISM, AND ITS RELATION TO
CHRISTIANITY. The disciples of Buckle and Lecky, who think that the belief of our fathers in witchcraft and fairies and other kindred superstitions, was induced by their ignorance of physical laws, and that it always vanished before a better acquaintance with those laws, must, I think, be somewhat disconcerted by the spread of modern Spiritualism in America and England during the last quarter of a century. The fact, that in America alone, the adherents of this system (if we may take their own estimate, number from eight to twelve millions, is certainly not flattering to the intelligence of the present age, and I fear shows that a tendency to believe in the marvellous, especially where the world of spirits is concerned, is ineradicable in some minds.
I have often been asked, “How can you, a believer in the extraordinary events recorded in the Bible, and accepting as undoubted the theory of the supernatural origin of Christianity and the reality of the miracles of Christ, yet maintain such an indisposition to receive the supernatural explanation of these modern manifestations ?” I am the more inclined to attempt in these pages a brief answer to this question from the attitude towards the Holy Scriptures assumed by Spiritualists. One party in this sect professes to hold the Bible in reverence, and systematically teaches, that “Christianity and Spiritualism are twin sisters, the off-spring of one Father, who should ever go hand-in-hand.” Not only are we asked to believe that these latter-day marvels are consistent with the history and teaching of Scripture, but that they have indisputably established the credibility of the Biblical Miracles. It may, in the opinion of some old-fashioned people, rather detract from the value of Spiritualistic allegiance to the Bible, to hear that the most sacred events in the New Testament narrative (such as the Transfiguration), are explained according to the Spiritualistic philosophy, the miracles of Christ (with reverence be it written), are ascribed to Mediumship,”—and the whole of our theology is to be reconstructed on the authority of the dicta of the “Spirits."
I shall assume that my readers have some knowledge of the kind of phenomena on which Spiritualists base their faith. Those who are unacquainted with these things, I would refer to the articles on “Modern Spiritualism” (by Mr. Wallace), in the Fortnightly Review for May and June last. I can promise them that they will find there enough to gratify their curiosity, excite their wonder, and, it may be, stir up emotions of a more serious order.
The theory which Spiritualists deduce from these marvellous occurrences, is that they are produced by the instrumentality of the Spirits of deceased human beings, and its moral value consists in the communications made by these Spirits to the living. Spiritualistic doctrine must stand or fall by this theory.
We certainly have in the Bible, accounts of many wonderful, and as they are commonly called, supernatural* events, some few of which may bear some external resemblance to the manifestations of Spiritual
* I use this word supernatural throughout in its ordinary acceptation, though I am aware that some exception may be taken to its strict propriety.