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Sollege, gave the reen, B.A., presion formed, and
o'clock a large company sat down to tea, and at ! Marchant, and Barton, students of the Rev. C. H. seven o'clock a public meeting was held.
Spurgeon's College. This cause now bids fair to
take its place again among the churches of Lon. EDENIZER CHAPEL, COSTLkr.-On Monday,
don, under the earnest labours of Mr. W. H. October 7th, the Rev. F. Perkins, M.A., of Raw
Burion. Already the congregation is greatly don College, was publicly recognised as the pastor
increased of the cburch meeting in the above place. In the inorning, at eleven o'clock, the Rev. F. Perkins, of FOLLER CHAPEL, KETTERING.-The second an. Farringdon, father of the newly elected minister, niversary of the opening of the above place of delivered the introductory address, and asked the worship was celebrated on Wednesday, the 7th, usual questions, which were answered by Mr. and Sunday, the 11th of October. Oa the former Perkins, and on behalf of the church by Mr. W. day the Rev. C. Vince, of Birmingham, preached Barnett, one of the deacous; after which the Rev. in the afternoon from Lake xxii. 31, 32, and the R. Nightingale, of Prince's End, prayed for the Rev. J. P. Chown, of Bradford, in the evening, Divine blessing to rest on the union formed, and from 2 Cor. ix. 15. Both sermons were listened to the Rev. S. G. Green, B.A., president of Rawdon with great interest by considerable congregations. College, gave the charge to the pastor. In the On the Sunday the Rev. W. Robinson, of Camafternoon, at three o'clock, an interesting prayer bridge, the former pastor of the cburcb, preacbed meeting was held in the school-room. In the even two impressive sermons; that in the morning from ing, at six o'clock, tho Rey, J. P. Barnett, of Bir, Phil. iv. 1-3, and that in the evening from mingham, preached an excellent sermon to the 2 Samuel xxii. 47, “ The Lord liveth.” The col. people. The attendance throughout the day was lections on the two days amounted to about £48. very encouraging, and the services of a deeply in.' The congregation are striving hard to free themteresting character.
selves entirely from debt before another anniverWYCOMBE, Books.On Sunday evening, the
sary. 27th September, the Rev, D. Pledge, who has
NSWORTIL, HERTS. - On Wednesday. laboured for nine years past as the pastor of the | October 14th, recognition services were held in the church meetiug in Union Bapst chapel, in the Baptiet chanel of the above place, in connection town, preached his farewell sermon from Acts xx. with the settlement of the Rev. W. Omant as pas. 26, 27. On the following Wednesday evening a tor. In the afternoon an eloquent and impres. tea-meeting was held in the Town-hall, provided sive sermon was preached by the Rev. Dr. Harndall, by the ladies of the church and congregation, the after which the friends, with many from the neighproceeds of which, together with the collection at
bourhood, took tea in the new school-room, wbich the close of the public meeting which afterwards had been tastefully decorated for the occasion. Ia took place, were presented to the rer. gentleman
the evening appropriate addresses were delivered as a mark of esteem and respect. The chair was
to & very attentive audience, by the Rev. C. taken by the Mayor of Wycombe, Thomas Wheeler, Bailbache, E. Adey, J. Statham, and W. Fisk. Esq., who expressed his high esteem of Mr. Pledge, The meetings, in which all present manifested deep and regret at losing him, as did also the Rev. S.
interest, were closed by prayer, led by the Rer. Davies, of Cores End, E. Taylor, of Marlbro', and W. Warn. John Hayden, of Wycombe. Mr. Pledge is now at liberty to supply destitute churches with a view MINISTERIAL CHANGES.Mr. Thomas Dyall, of to the pastorate. His present address is 8, Pontypool College, has accepted a cordial end Spencer Square, Ramsgate.
utanimous invitation to the pastorate of the Bap. GRANTIAM.-On Tuesday, September 29th, the
tist church at Millwood, Yorkshire. -Mr. Kemp.
of Bury St. Edmunds, having acoepted the invita. foundation-stone of the Baptist chapel, Wharf Road, Grantham, was laid by W.C. Locke, Esq., of
tion from the Baptist church at Hadleigh, Suffolk,
to become its pastor, entered upon bis ministerial Nottingbam. Mr. Locke, in laying the stone,
labours the seond Sabbath in October.-Mr. J. gave a suitable address. The Rev. J. Edwards
Webb, who has been engaged during the last two also gave an admirable address on the nature of a Christian church and the purposes for which it
years in preaching at the Literary Institute,
Edward Street, Portman Square, commencet his was formed. He was followed by Mr. Morton, after which the doxology was sung and the people
stated labours at the Laurie Town Hall, Romford, dispersed. At five o'clock upwards of 200 persons
Essex, 0 Lord's day, October 4th.--The Rer. sat down to tea, and at half past six a large and
John Douglas, formerly an Independent minister,
recently baptized at Tubbermore, having been aprespectable public meeting was held, Mr. Alder
pointed by the Baptist Irish Society to take man Miller occupying the chair. Congratulatory
charge of their station at Portadown for three addresses were delivered by the Revs. W. Frisby. A. F. Cole, J. Morton, J. Waller, H. Watts, and
months, has accepted the unanimous invitation of Mr. Holy well. A collection having been made,
the church to become their pastor.-The Rer.
James J. Brown, of Ilfacombe, has accepted & amounting to £3 28. 6d., the interesting services were brought to a close.
very cordial and unanimous invitation to become
the pastor of the Baptist church, Coxwell Street, New Park STREET CHAPEL, SOUTHWARK.-On Cirencester, and will commence his labours there Tuesday evening, September 22nd, a very interest. on the first Sabbath in November.-The Rev. A. ing social tea-meeting was held in the above Pitt. of Burton-upon. I'rent, has accepted the chapel, when 300 friends sat down to tea. A unanimous invitation to the pastorate of the public meeting wag afterwards held. The Rev. church at Drake Street, Rochdale, and com. J. A. Spurgeon took the chair. There were up menced his labours there October 25th. --Mr. Isake wards of 600 persous present. The chairman James. of Pontypool College, has accepted & delivered an eloquent address on the co-operation unanimous invitation from the Baptist churches at of Christians with their ministers, both in labour Beaumaris and Llangoed, Anglesea, North Wales, and prayer, after which some earnest addresses and intends to commence his labours the last were delivered by Messrs. Arnold, Brown, Malins, Sun lay in December.
• Built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the
ON THE PROMISE OF DIVINE GUIDANCE
IN DAYS OF DOUBT.
BY THE REV. EDWARD WHITE. St. Paul unfolds the golden scroll of the Divine promises to honest souls respecting their temporal supply, in the words, “MY GOD SHALL SUPPLY ALL YOUR NEED, according to his riches in glory by Jesus Christ.” But this scroll is written within as well as without, and contains promises of still loftier meaning in relation to the “peeds” of the intellect and of the heart. Let us, then, read in the sunlight of faith those assurances of a Divine direction in the movements of the spirit, and in the settlement of faith, which were never more demanded by bewildered minds than in the present day. Christianity is of little avail unless it contain a valid promise from God to assist our thoughts in the pursuit of truth.
There has not been for a long period a more sustained and scientific assault upon the public faith in Revelation than during the last few years; and this assault has been inade by a strange combination of the efforts both of believers and unbelievers. The theory of inspiration, on which rests the popular reverence for the Holy Scriptures, has been subjected to the rudest explosions of a scepticism that has run its mines in every direction beneath the ancient fabric. The variations in the statements of the historians of the Bible, the discrepancies of the Evangelists, the different modes of thought and expression in the apostles themselves, even in relation to the weightiest subjects of theology, have all been exposed to light, sometimes with every circumstance of malicious exaggeration, and with the spite of one-sided unbelief. Some of the foremost men of science have published books in which they profess to have proved that human remains, and the works of human hands, have been found in strata that are older, and older by hundreds of centuries, than the time fixed by the Bible for the origination of mankind. The history, therefore, of that creation in the book of Genesis is set aside by many as a fiction of primitive antiquity, and the associated narra tive of the Fall is dismissed from belief by the same persons as a myth unworth • of an enlightened faith. The very basis of Christianity as a system of redempy tion from the consequences of a previous Fall is thus taken away. The fivereputed books of Moses have been subjected to a criticism which may be likened to what artillerists call a feu d'enfer. Their Mosaic authorship is stoutly denied. The narrative of the creation of the world in the first chapter of Genesis is exploded as a cosmogony of no greater worth than that of Hesiod or of Ovid ; or else it is defended by explanations which are little more satisfactory to candid readers than the open hostility of infidels. The human race is traced up by pbysiological theorists to ages when, in an undeveloped state, it existed in a rank similar to that of the apes of Borneo, or the African baboons. Its present
supremacy is regarded as the fortunate accident of a conflict of species in which the stronger types successively gained the victory over lower organizations. The “sin” of the world is regarded as the incomplete development of a race still chiefly on a par with animal life, in which a system of prey and bloodshed is the universal rule. Redemption is looked upon as the natural future of humanity in a universe where some occult law ensures victory and progress to the superior types of being. The narratives of the Deluge, and of the Dispersion at Babel, are dismissed as unhistorical but innocent traditions of antiquity, designed to account for phenomena in nature and humanity of which the true theory has been revealed only to modern geologists and ethnographers. The assault upon the comparatively recent history of Scripture is led by bishops and doctors of divinity, to whose opinions mathematical training or literary erudition is thought by some to add enormous weight. The “infidels" are no longer the artisans of the “ Hall of Science,” clothed in fustian, and reeking with the fames of the house-of-call; but they bear the insignia of the episcopal office, or they carry the hood and fur of the doctor's gown. Under their inspiration it is maintained that there is internal evidence of the untruthfulness of the “ Mosaic" narratives ; of the history of Jacob, of the Exodus, of the wandering in the wil. derness, of the occupation of Palestine. The history of the Hebrew monarchy is brought down to the level of other ancient histories; and the prophets and kings of the Old Testament are reduced to their " due rank" among the poets, impostors, rain-makers, and tyrants of antiquity. The Psalms are shown to be war-gongs, or the outpourings of natural piety. The prophecies of the Messiah are expounded to be either the dreams of patriotic bards, or the inventions of modern criticism, or the forgeries of writers who lived long after the events which they “ foretold.” Our Christianity is thus “demonstrated” to be a group of monumental shadows, standing on a dark pedestal of ancient falsehood, or delusion. The shadows are admitted to carry some gleams of divinity, but they are divine only as all goodness is divine. The person and work of Christ are exhibited in the light of a criticism which quenches all the glory of the transfiguration. The statements of a miraculous conception and of a personal inhabitation by the Deity, are dismissed as the creations of an idolatrous superstition. The “uniformity of nature” forbids the belief of miracles. Tbe ignorance of the apostles explains their credulous affirmation of such occurrences. The death of Christ was that of a good man protesting against priestcraft, but perhaps allowing himself in some commixture of delusion in order to shake the fabric of Rabbinical Judaism. The Resurrection is an idle tale." The hope of the life to come rests on the inspired instincts of humanity, and the pardon of sin i assured, under the government of supreme goodness, to all members of a race the law of whose existence is to “sin ” until their development is complete. Such is the Revelation of God in his Son; and such are the tenets of many learned “Christians” in the present day; of men who claim a right to maintain their benefices in the Establishment, or the name of lay communicants in the Church of Cranmer, Hooker, and Sanderson.
It is true that nearly every one of these positions is still denied by men who are probably in all respects the equals of the sceptics in learning and judgment, and that these confident assertions are by such critics thought to be for the most part of little more value than those of the more vulgar blasphemers who in former times and in less decent guise rushed to the assault of Revelation; but meantime it is not to be denied that the result of the diffusion of these opinions, and of the prevailing controversies on the very fundamentals of religious faith, has been to spread abroad among educated men, and still more among balleducated persons, a measure of doubt such as has not been known for ages past. They have " overthrown the faith of some.” The "word,” moreover, “which doth eat as a canker," has seized upon the breast of the modern Church, and is
corroding the bosom of her who should be the nursing mother of the faithful. There are more doubters than appear, and the doubts are deeper than are expressed. They go down to the depths of life. Under a sky whence the sun has vanished, and where the stars are overclouded, men are looking up with dimness of anguish into a gloom which seems to grow more fearful as night darkens around. The allurements of pleasure in the great world, on the other hand, become more enticing and general in proportion as the faith weakens which should resist their seductions and vindicate the claims of the spirit against "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life." The teaching of the Churches becomes daily more uncertain, more destitute of force, authority, and conviction. The most daring assumes the title of the most liberal. The frequenter of the broadest road scorns most successfully the “ Puritanism" of the narrow way." Morals necessarily decay along with faith. Truth has fallen not only in the streets of commerce, but at the gates of the Church, and looks with her expiring eye upon crowds of youthful aspirants to the ministry, of every ecclesiastical name, pressing in at those gates with the “lie ” of a false subscription" in their right hand." The apostolic fear of a Gehenna for "all liars " has almost left the earth; and the heaven for which too many hope is one where the whole world of mankind shall finally meet in the presence of a Power whose "goodness" consists in a practical indifference to character.
Under such mournful circumstances we turn to those promises of Divine guidance in the Scripture, to test their value. Now, if ever, when necessary reform is made the excuse for revolution, let the Lord of mercy and of might fulfil his gracious word, and teach honest souls the truth which is necessary for salvation! The old fabrics of popular belief are falling on all sides around us with a crash of thunder. Lord of our souls, lead us in thy truth, and teach us ! If Christ be thy Son, and have the words of eternal life, and he alone, and if to “him gave all the prophets witness," show us thy ways, and teach us thy paths ; and amidst this deep and swelling tide of doubt and denial, show us how to separate the chaff from the wheat, and set fast our feet upon the Rock of Ages!
But let not timid souls give way to fear. The ark of the Gospel has always hitherto floated upon and outlived the deluge of scepticism and the progress of inquiry, carrying in it the charter of our immortality and the hope of “new heavens and new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." The opinions of men respecting Christ are not accidents, but are determined by moral laws as fixed as the laws of nature. Absolute and universal doubt is the shadow cast upon the Egyptians by that dark side of the Shekinah whose bright aspect illumines the path of the Israelites through the deep waters. There is nothing which more decisively proves the Divine origin of Christianity than its own philosophy (80 much neglected) concerning the theory of men's belief or rejection of it. * No man can come unto me unless the Father which hath sent me draw him." “They shall be all taught of God.” “Every man therefore that hath heard and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me." "He that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest that they are wrought in God." "If any man should wish to do bis will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of Göd, or whether I speak of myself.” “The natural man comprehendeth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”. These are not the words of him that hath a devil of forgery or delusion in him. They indicate a profound insight into the moral causes of faith and unbelief, which would have been impossible except to holy men who were incapable of imposture, and to wise men who were too enlightened to be easily deceived. They are words of truth and soberness, springing from the utmost depths of goodness; and wbile they at once explain the scepticism and foretell the doom of many of our modern infi.' dels, they also give agaurance to all persons of sincere practical purposes of a Divine guidance which will vanquish the influence of doubt by an instruction direct from the Spirit of God, and which will unlock, with the golden key of a personal revelation, the mysteries of God, 80 effectually bidden from a world that denies him.
The same Scriptures which teach us that there is a spirit of darkness, who "plucketh away " truth from dishonest souls, and “puts into” wicked hearts congenial schemes of treachery and murder, also teach us that there is a Spirit of light, who leads all truth-seekers in the right way, taking away those evil dispositions which binder the intuition of God, and inspiring the holy feelings which form the proper preparation for the comprehension of Christ. Man does not act alone. His mind is conjoined to intellectual worlds beneath or above; either to the host of fallen spirits, or to the God of glory. His “ opinions" are the results of his relations. It is the devil that “deceives the nations, and it is God who “makes himself known” to them that “ keep” the laws of purity, of truth, "as he does not unto the world." It forms no part of our purpose here to attempt to unfold the methods of the Divine mercy in thus “teaching the meek.” Let it suffice to affirm, on the authority of all spiritual history, and without submitting the vision of those who can see to the judgment of the blind, that these methods include an outward providence and an inward moral illumination. The outward providence brings the soul whom God will govern into contact with books or men fitted to reveal the truth ; as when the eunuch of Ethiopia was led to read the book of the prophet Isaiah, and then was assisted to understand it by the advent of the evangelist Philip, so that he “ went on his way rejoicing," having the witness in himself. The inward moral illumination is mysterious in its operation, like all the higher acts of the Divine Spirit, but its reality is not only affirmed by all the apostles of Christ, and emphatically by the Lord himself, but is attested by the spiritual experience of the Church of God since the beginning of the world. Its nature is pre-eminently practical, to afford light sufficient for that active obedience of faith without which there is no salvation. It does not ensure the “understanding of all mysteries," but it does ensure that sufficient revelation of Christ as the Saviour to the soul which at once gives peace, moral power, and an absolute faith in essentials which is secure from the attacks of external scepticism. It does not provide an answer to all objections, or a solution of all difficulties ; but it leads the soul into a region of thought and feeling where the main truth shines above the clouds of doubt in its intrinsic glory, as the aeronaut finds eternal sunlight above the mists of the atmosphere. It leads us away from theories of inspiration to the inspired Gospel itself; from the dim circumference of revelation, where know. ledge darkens amidst the mysteries of preceding worlds, or amidst the eventualities of a hidden future, to the central facts, where the light of God's glory shines around the person of the Redeemer. It raises us from the sphere of criticism and speculation into the region of serious thought and spiritual feeling, into the region of Divine holiness and eternal love; and there we gain a persuasion of the Divinity of the Gospel which survives the fiercest shocks of an unbelief urging its assaults from the lower grounds of a dubious history or a half-developed science.
It makes, then, all the difference whether a man commence his religious inquiries filled with the spirit of a true repentance for past sin, with a “humble and a contrite spirit," because of the untruthfulness, impurity, unlovely temper, and ungodliness of former days, and with a real desire not only to know, but to “do the will" of God; or whether he only takes up the study of revelation as an elegant amusement, and as a part of the literature of his own times. In the latter case he may still maintain an unscrupulous frame of character, which revolts at no disingenuousness of reasoning or criticism, and from which Divine