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views which are not calculated either to raise our character or to promote our orthodoxy. If I may allude to any experience of my own, I should say, that amidst all the folly, all the levity, and something worse, of my academical course, I have still retained the taste which I formerly acquired for the old theology. I love its racy English-to this hour—and shall be very sorry if any of that salt be allowed to evaporate from us, notwithstanding all the advantage which may be derived from hermeneutics, and the general principles of criticism. As we go on in life, we climb a hill; our prospect becomes more clear than before ; but I value the hill, not so much for the prospect, as for the stability which it affords. Now that I am entering upon the second half century of my life, I would not say one word, by way of appeal, to those who are fifty or fifty-one; but I would turn to those who are somewhat less ; and, taking them aside, would open to them a brother's heart—a brother still, though a little senior to themselves. I never was carried away by any love of American divinity. President Davies and President Edwards, surely, must be to our taste, if we know anything at all of the value of our principles ; but when I mention any subsequent names-with the exception, indeed, of that of Dr. John Mason-it is but as dwindled lights, and sometimes, I think, smoking tapers. And we are to barter all our divinity for that which is of American growth! No, not American, but Germananti-supernaturalism, imported viâ America. In Germany it was associated with chairs all but notoriously infidel; but, unhappily, coming through America, worked up in the books of divines there, though it may not have been intended, it has certainly inflicted an injury upon the fair fame of our body as regards its scriptural theology. Let us act ingenuously. I believe the evangelical clergy of the Established church-those who are faithful, I mean, among the faithless-suspect that there is, in this matter, 3 retrograde movement on our part ; and my conviction is, that there is colour for the charge. I may be wrong-I am not good enough, or wise enough, to be the adviser of my brethren ; but I am too good and too wise to be the accuser of my brethren. I say this before their face; I could never whisper it behind their back. I have, however, found some of my younger brethren-not to make myself very venerable for age-who would
say, we think the text means this, or think it only means this," and then absolutely, with a sort of “Eureka, Eureka,” they would rejoice to think that they had gained the lower meaning. I say the lower meaning is prima facie the improbable meaning. The lower meaning is the meaning which is to be set aside. I would rather take the word transcendentally, and say, “ If there is anything divine, we ought to be impressed rather on that side, than on the side of the earthly and grovelling.” Now, as I have before remarked, I have found this existing, and I have been interrogated in reference to it. My brethren have said, in regard to some of the most awful passages of Holy Writ, “I think it does not intend any more than this: why should it intend more?” I have sometimes said to those who have talked in this manner, “ Do observe the style of the interpretation which you are adopting." It is vicious in the outset; it gives the preference to that which is “of the earth, earthy." I should be unfaithful, Sir, to my own conscience, unfaithful to the denomination with which my best wishes, my best hopes, and my best affections are connected, if I decline to give utterance to these thoughts. I know Augustin is much abused because he said, “ Credo quia impossibile.” I do not justify the exact phrase, but I believe there is sound reason in it. Here is a Divine Intelligence suggesting that which no human mind could ever have suggested; and I have no hesitation in saying, that the impossibility, instead of being a stumbling-block, is my inducement to believe. I would also make one remark, as to the Antinomianism of which we have been so much afraid. I do believe that I have sometimes been afraid of preaching the entire, the fullest view of truth, lest the Antinomian should find his pabulum in it, or say, “ This is the
Gospel," while he allowed the term to nothing beside. There is nothing like stilling Antinomianism, suffocating Antinomianism, by the sound, irreproachable preaching of the truth. Let us cut off occasion from those who seek occasion. Let none of them be able to say that they shall starve, or that we preach to them a nay Gospel ;" I believe that is a Hawkerian phrase. Let them not say that we grudge or stint the faith “once delivered to the saints.” The glory of our denomi. nation has been the preaching of the simple and entire compass of Christian truth. We have preached it in its experience, but we have never been afraid of the doctrinal principles; even in its more abstract shape and form we have met with our enemies. Evil will be the day, dark will be the hour, if any of our brethren, young or old, shall shrink from the firmness of our forefathers, that firmness which has characterised us as a denomination. Independent as I am, Independency, Congregationalism, all the whole machinery and apparatus, would go for nothing in iny esteem, but as it is the scaffolding to that which is the vital truth, the “ truth as it is in Jesus.” I will not intrude myself any longer upon the attention of the meeting. I believe, however, that I am speaking articulately and precisely the thoughts and feelings which are passing in almost every heart and intellect around me. Permit me to say that I think there is a spirit amongst some of us which ought to be firmly withstood. It displays itself, not in denying Christianity, but in putting it upon a Procrustean bed, lopping it away, cutting it down, and making it palatable to the temper of the age, and especially to our better-educated and informed young people. Now against that I do protest. We find so many of our young men who are quite full of hermeneutics, (I know the meaning of the word, but I believe it comes from the lips of many who hardly possess even that degree of knowledge)—these young men are many of them proceeding in a fashion and at a rate which I verily believe would have puzzled Homer and Demosthenes and Cicero; and they have such enlightened views of truth that I really do not think they know in fact what they believe. I believe that these dear youths are few, but I hope that before they are admitted to the high places, or allowed to have any consideration among us, we shall test their orthodoxy, not by symbols, but by the New Testament. Let us say to them, “ Here is the New Testament, that is my religion. I will read it with you, either in English or in the original, but I do not think that any of your interpretations, from whatever quarter derived, have done anything to add to the common stock of truth.”
The Rev. R. VAUGAAN, D.D., of the Lancashire College, said he wished to say one or two words iu reference to the dreaming system imported from Germany. He had heard young men in the ministry speak as though it were a kind of honour done to Christianity, that such men as Emmerson and Carlyle should speak in the terms they do about the Saviour and Christianity. Honour done to Christianity that it should be wounded with a bow, and betrayed with a kiss! He would rather have to deal with a direct enemy, who denounced the whole system, than with a crafty one, who affected to receive it in part only, that he might neutralise the more effectually that part which he disliked. He wholly sympathised in what had been said as to the importance of preaching fully the old truths of the Gospel. In setting forth these truths, however, they must not forget that they had to do with a state of mind which was peculiar to their own times ; they must study that mind in order to adapt this old theme to the new forms of difficulty which they had to encounter. They should not be thought to be so much occupied in exposing the folly of the absurdities that were afloat, as in building up their own sublime truth, leaving the absurdities that were opposed to it to perish as a natural consequence.
The Rev. J. A. James said—he felt personally implicated in the remarks which had been made on the subject of American divinity. He had, in reference to this
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subject, stood in good company, though it appeared that that did not always secure he being right. When he had found his name associated with one of the most correct, discriminating, and recondite theologians of the day, and of the old school too, Dr. Payne, who had been held up that very morning as an authority—he had certainly felt that he could not be wrong in recommending Mr. Finney's book on Revivals. However, Dr. Payne was not infallible, and he was sure he (Mr. James) was not; and he would honestly avow that although the preface recommending this book was prepared with great caution, and with the intention of preserving the readers from error, he regretted that it had ever been written. He must join, too, in what had been said as to the necessity for caution with regard to some of their younger brethren. He himself had had to deal with one young man who had fallen into an error which he conceived to be the great tendency of the present day, by enforcing man's responsibility, without sufficiently taking into account the Divine sovereignty, and the work of the Holy Spirit. There was a period in their history when the tendency of their divines lay in an opposite direction. In sweeping away the rubbish of former times, they had been in some danger of touching fundamental truths. It must now be recollected that there was not only a power of the Spirit in the word, but a power of the Spirit with the word, and that if that were left out, they would be denying the doctrine of the Divine influence. That was a tendency of the present day against which he hoped their young men would studiously guard.
It being 12 o'clock, the business was suspended, as on the previous day, to allow time for a devotional service of singing and prayer, in which the Rev. Professor Scott, of Airedale College, and the Rev. J. Scott, of Cleckheaton, prayed.
The discussion was then resumed and continued until nearly two o'clock, when both the memorial and appeal were adopted by the following resolution :
That this assembly adopts the declaration now read, for the purpose of publishing and placing on record its solemn sense, not only of the essential truth and unchangeable importance of the great doctrines of the Gospel, as held by the Inde. pendent churches from their origin, but of the peculiar necessity that, in the present remarkable times, those doctrines should be maintained with watchful fidelity, and preached with fulness and ardour in the Congregational churches of this country.
The Rev. T. Scales, as chairman of the sub-committee on the subject of education, read a list of names which had been drawn up for approval. Some other routine business having been completed, the Rev. J. A. James closed the sitting with prayer.
The ministers and lay gentlemen present again dined together after the sitting of this day, at East-parade Chapel; the attendance being no less numerous than on the previous day. The Rev. R. W. HAMILTON, of Leeds, presided.
After the cloth had been drawn, the Chairman said it had been affirmed on the previous day that none could exceed in loyalty the Protestant dissenters of this king dom. From his heart he believed, and would avouch that they were the most loyal of her majesty's subjects. Theirs was free, spontaneous loyalty. They were equally loyal, come smile, come frown ; come storm, or come fair weather. Whether at court or not, their fealty was true as the dial to the sun, although it might not be shone upon. He begged to propose the health of her majesty Queen Victoria-000 with the honours, for they wanted no noisy effusions to testify their loyalty to their sovereign.
The Chairman then proposed Success to the Congregational Union of England and Wales. He had always approved and admired the principles of that institution. It was only necessary that it should be extensively known and well understood, in order to insure its being well appreciated and universally supported.
The Rev. A. Wells moved that the Rev. John Ely should be received into the Union.
The Rev. Dr. Matheson seconded the resolution, which was carried unanimously.
The Rev. Thomas SCALES said their Union was now perfect, as far as the town of Leeds was concerned. He hoped that the example which had been set, would be followed by numbers of the brethren in that county, who had not yet joined the Union. There were, he believed, in all, about one hundred and fifty churches in that county. The ministers of sixty of them had been spectators of their proceedings. He trusted that both churches and pastors would unite themselves, as speedily as possible, to the Congregational Union, which had been the instrument of such immense good to their denomination and to their country.
The Rev. A. Wells said-it should always be remembered that what they chiefly wanted was the adhesion, not merely of ministers, but of ministers and churches conjointly. It was from such adhesions as these that the most beneficial results might be anticipated.
The following gentlemen were then admitted into the Union :- Rev. J. S. Pearsall, Andover; Revs. J. Ely and W. Hudswell, Leeds; Rev. Walter Scott, Airedale College, Bradford; Rev. H. Wight, Carlisle ; Rev. J. Waddington, Stockport ; Rev. J. G. Miall, Bradford; Rev. Robert Massie, Newton ; Rev. J. Bramhall, Stainland ; Rev. B. Beddow, Barnsley ; Rev. D. Jones, Booth ; Rev. James Scott, Cleckheaton.
The Rev. ThomAS SCALES said, he held in his band a resolution which he should submit to the Meeting with unfeigned pleasure and delight. It referred to their excellent and reverend friend, (the Rev. J. Reynolds, who had with so much ability, with so much urbanity, and with so much lemanly feeling, presided over their proceedings. They would all feel with him that he was richly entitled to their thanks for the important services which had been rendered by him to the Union in the capacity of Chairman.
The Rev. Dr. Vaughan, in seconding the resolution, said—it might not be known to the majority of those who were present, that their esteemed brother was a convert not merely to the Congregational Union, but to Congregationalism itself; having become so in circumstances which involved a large amount of sacrifice, and exhibited a perception of the majesty of principle and of truth, to which they should be prepared to do sincere homage. He had left a department, as it were, of the ecclesiastical world, in which he might have realised honour and emolument, in order to throw himself into associations, in which he was cut off from the intercourse to which he had been accustomed from youth, and to cast in his lot among them. It was delightful to look back upon his conduct for two-and-twenty years—the period during which he had had some knowledge of his character—and to see him now, comparatively in the evening of his life, surrounded by a body of ministers who could feel the worth of Christian principles. Long might he be spared to serve the cause of that truth which was dear to him in common with all Christians, and to maintain those principles for which he had been prepared to suffer, and had actually suffered, with the cheerfulness and dignity proper to the Christian man.
The resolution passed by acclamation.
The Rev. J. OLDS said it would be the height of affectation to say, that he was not deeply sensible of the honour which had been conferred upon him. Affected, too, he must indeed be, or he would have neither the feelings of a man nor of a Christian. He rejoiced—and believed that he should do so in his dying hour—that the providence of God had cast his lot among the Nonconformists. It was his growing conviction that they were right in principle ; that they had the word of God on their side; that they had the tokens of God's presence and favour resting upon their proceedings; and that if they continued to maintain the principles which they held, and which separated them from the church, in the spirit of the Gospel, they m
must eventually insure for them universal prevalence. With regard to himself, he had already said at the annual meeting in May, that the position he had occupied as Chairman of their proceedings, was the highest point at which his ambition could aim. He now felt that he owed them the deepest debt of gratitude for the kind construction which they had put upon his imperfect discharge of the duties of that office.
The Rev. J. Ele proposed the following resolution :
That this Meeting feels it to be its duty to record the deep and solemn im. pression produced by the faithful and truly pastoral address delivered before the ministers and brethren assembled in Belgrave Chapel, by the Rev. Thomas BINNEY, and to express their earnest desire and request, that Mr. Binney will allow it to be printed for the benefit of this Union.
The Rev. J. A. James seconded the resolution, which was carried unanimously.
The Rev. T. BINNEY said—he could not but feel thankful to God that his effort to serve the Union had been so kindly received. He had some doubts, however, of the propriety of printing the discourse ; it had not, he feared, been prepared with sufficient care, to justify such a step. If the Meeting, however, would consent to leave the matter with himself, he would consider whether or not it would be desirable to publish, and act accordingly.
J. Conder, Esq., proposed the following resolution :
That the ministers and trethren of the Congregational Union present avail themselves of this opportunity to tender EDWARD BAINES, Jun., Esq., their cordial acknowledgments for his invaluable services in the cause of religious freedom ; and more especially for his laborious statistical inquiries, by which so important a mass of information has been elicited with regard to the existing provision of the means of religious instruction and general education in the manufacturing districts.
GEORGE HADFIELD, Esq., of Manchester, seconded the resolution, which was carried unanimously.
E. Baines, Esq., of Leeds, briefly acknowledged the resolution.
J. James, Esq. (Mayor of Birmingham,) said, he rose for the purpose of proposing a resolution which required no support from him. Gratitude was prompt, and an expressive acknowledgment needed not many words to give it force. It was bis happiness to serve the tables of the first provincial meeting held by the Union ; it had been delightful to mark the progress of the Union since that occasion ; but though it might be said of their Christian friends, in the different towns they had visited, “Many sisters have done virtuously,” yet Leeds had excelled them all. In the arrangements made to secure the comfort of the delegates and ministers, nothing had been lost sight of; every thing displayed the most delicate attention. He had enjoyed the rites of hospitality on this occasion more than he had ever done before, and it was delightful to observe that the season had also been signalised by the manifest extension of the principles of the Congregational Union. On every account, then, he felt great delight at having been entrusted with the following resolution :
That the very cordial and hospitable reception afforded to the ministers and delegates of the Congregational Union by their brethren at Leeds, calls for the expression of their warmest thanks, and the assurance of their affectionate and fraternal regard to the honoured ministers and brethren with whom they have on this occasion been brought into such happy communion and fellowship.