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diers. The overthrow of the tottering more than doubled since the educational throne of the Pope has opened Rome to census of 1851. Of the teachers in the the Word of God; and although papal London auxiliaries, 84 per cent. art bigotry or ignorant cupidity may lead, members of Christian churches, and as is reported, to the occasional destruc- 79 per cent. were formerly Sunday tion of the books distributed, yet the scholars. · Of those in the country extended good accomplished cannot ad- Unions, 72 per cent. are members of mit of question. These opened fields, Christian churches, and 85 per cent. combined with others that have were formerly Sunday scholars. The stretched forth their hands to receive number of scholars reported to have the Word of Life, have led to a circu- joined Christian churches from the lation during the year of 3,903,067,- London schools is 1875, and from the a number equal, it is supposed, to the country schools, 7582; making a total total number of copies of the sacred of 9457. These statistics only extend volume that were in the world at the , to the Sunday schools connected with commencement of the present century. this Union. Outside its organization The receipts during the year amounted are large numbers of other schools, to £178,000, or, including special funds, which are carrying forward, with vary£180,000. The payments on the gen. ing success, the great work of instructeral account amounted to £178,000 ; ing the rising generation in the truths including special payments, the expen- of religion, and preparing them to take diture had amounted to £188,000. their side in the great conflict with in
Religious Tract Society.—The anni- fidelity and crime. The lessons taught versary of the Religious Tract Society are not always the most accurate expowas held in Exeter Hall, the Bishop of sitions of revealed truth, but the gene. Ripon presiding. The report stated ral tendency of the instruction imparted that the Society in the past year had is to bring the minds of the young into distributed 330 new publications. The connection with the Word of God, and, circulation from the Society's depot under the unseen influences which atduring the year had reached 40,727,471, tend its study, to guide them to the and from foreign depots 8,500,000, thus knowledge of the truth, and the final making a grand total since the forma- realization of its promises and hopes. tion of the Society of 1,384,000,000. Gospel Propagation Society.—The anThe Society had, through its German, nual meeting of the Society for the ProFrench, Belgian and Swiss auxiliaries, pagation of the Gospel in Foreign parts published many millions of German and was held at Willis's Rooms, the Bishop French tracts for the soldiers engaged of Ely presiding. The report of the in the late war. On this work alone year's operations detailed the progress they had expended £5,288. The re- of the mission work in our own coloceipts were £13,804, and the expendi- nies, and various heathen and Mahomture £19,298, showing an excess of medan countries in different quarters of expenditure over receipts of £5,494. the world, and stated that, whereas
Sunday School Union.— The annual : 170 years ago, when the Society was meetings of this institution were at- first established, and there were protended by delegates from several of the bably not more that twenty clergymen provincial towns, and visitors from the labouring in North America, the West Continent and the United States of Indies, Australia, India, South Africa, America. The report stated that 12 New Zealand, Ceylon, Borneo, British metropolitan auxiliaries returned 763 Columbia, and Madagascar, there were schools, 16,707 teachers, and 192,287 now congregations under the pastoral scholars; 170 country unions returned care of upwards of 4,000, of whom 464, 2,968 schools, 72,793 teachers, and besides a large number of catechists and 569,285 scholars; a total of 3,731 teachers, are maintained wholly or in schools, 89,500 teachers, and 761,572 part by the Society. The receipts for scholars, being an increase of 5 unions, the year 1870 were £92,463. The Com. 61 schools, 1090 teachers, and 14,864 mittee add that the demands on their scholars. The committee noted that resources increase from year to year, and the increase has been going on regularly they invite more liberal subscriptions from year to year, and the number of to enable them to maintain the present scholars in the schools of the Union has and establish new missions.
100 native ministers. The Society has of late years been economizing its expenditure and re-arranging the plan of its missionary operations. The missionaries sent out from this country are relinquishing the character of pastors, and assuming that of superintendents and helpers of the churches they have established. Their attention is also directed to the training of a native ministry and the institution of native teachers and pastors over the churches. The total income of the Society has been £101,554, and its expenditure £107,351.
RECENT CHANGES IN THE DOCTRINES
AND SOCIAL IFE OF THE INDEPENDENT CHURCHES.
Church Missionary Society.—The anniversary meeting of this Society was held in Exeter Hall. The Earl of Chichester presided. The report stated that the ordinary income of the year amounted to £165,918, and the ordinary expenditure to £154,200, leaving a surplus of £11,717. In 1869-70 there was a deficit of £12, 116, but that deficit for the present year stood at £399. The statistics of the missions showed that the Society had 156 mission stations, 202 European and 127 native clergymen.
The number of communicants last year amounted to 17,943.
Wesleyan Missionary Society. The report of this Society showed a total income of £147,354. The Society has over 1000 ministers and assistant missionaries, over 4000 teachers, catechists, &c., and 166,392 members. The annual meeting seems to have been numerously attended, and the proceedings conducted with considerable animation. During the year the Society has opened a new Hall for public worship in Rome, thus invading the territories and entering the presence of the Pope himself. The work has not been allowed to proceed without exciting violent hostility. An effort has been made to blow up the building during the time of service. The attempt was providentially frustrated, though several were slightly wounded.
Baptist Missionary Society.--The annual meeting of the above society was held at Exeter Hall, under the presidency of Mr. W. Fowler, M.P. There was a large attendance. Mr. Underhill, the secretary, read a lengthy report, detailing the operations of the Society during the past year, in the West Indies, India, China, Africa, Ceylon, &c. Those operations had been upon the whole of an encouraging character. At home the Mission had also been very successful. The New Mission-house had been erected and completed without entrenching upon the funds of the Mission. The income for the past year had exceeded the average of former years, the total income amounting to L32,872, and the expenditure to £31,621, leaving a balance of £1257.
London Missionary Society. — The annual meeting of this Society was held in Exeter Hall, under the presidency of Sir Bartle Frere. The number of missionaries in connection with the Society is 162. To these must be added nearly
It is matter of common observation that great changes have taken place in the public teaching and social observances of the Congregational body within the last forty years.
The fact has rarely been so distinctly recognised and clearly stated as by the chairman of the Congregational Union of Lancashire, Rev. T. Davies of Darwen, at their sixty-fourth annual meeting, held April 12, at Liverpool. The address is " "an attempt to estimate the present position of Independency in relation to the past thirty or forty years—that is, of the last generation.' During this period," says the speaker, “our political institutions have been changed, our social arrangements have been changed. What wonder then if our religious life has felt this impulse too—felt it and been changed ? Our religion, considered objectively, cannot be changed. The revealed 'Scripture cannot be broken.' The great facts of Christianity, and the great truths which are embodied in these facts, are alike unchangeable and imperishable. But our conceptions of those facts and truths, our modes of presenting them to ourselves and others, the influence which they exert upon our hearts and lives all these are subject to change, and within the period which we are now considering, they have changed in a marked degree.” Mr. Davies proceeds to indicate some of these changes. We give them somewhat abbreviated in his own words,
“First then our theology is changed. Timid people may be startled by this
assertion; but fear cannot annihilate tion that it is the truth, is one of the facts, though it may refuse to see them. things most needed in preaching to the The fact remains; only let us be careful present generation. Multitudes who to state it correctly. In its broad aspect cannot go down to the depths themthe fact is visible enough to any open- selves will yet believe if they see that eyed observer who can compare the you have examined the foundations, preaching and religious books of thirty that you are satisfied of their stability, or forty years ago with the preaching and that you are resting your whole and religious books which find most soul upon them. Enlarged freedom in acceptance now. Assuming then, the preaching, thinking, and talking on fact of change in this respect to be religious subjects is another good result. admitted, let us try to find its elements. Ministers are not now required to be And here we are confronted at the out- perpetually presenting certain forms of set with that which is the most marked truth which were thought to be essenintellectual feature of our time—the tial. The secret police of orthodoxy revival and prevalence of scepticism in has almost, if not quite, vanished from matters of religion.
We shall our congregations. The practical apscarcely overstate the fact if we say plication of Christianity to our daily that the intellectual world is pervaded life may be
forth without necesby an atmosphere of scepticisin. But sarily being accompanied by a saving our students and preachers, and our reference to the doctrine of justification best hearers, belong to this intellectual by faith. Preachers and people are less world. They, as readers and thinkers, afraid of good works than they used to cannot escape from its atmosphere ; and be, though it is not so evident that they they must be, to some extent, influenced practise them more.
Yet further ;
the by it. Its immediate effect is that they prevalence of scepticism has demondo not so readily receive all that they strated the need for competent knowread and hear as their fathers did. They ledge and intellectual power in our stop more often to ask the reason why, pulpits. We want, indeed, Christian and require a good reason before they men, devout men, honest men ; but can be satisfied. Another effect is that they must also have brains-brains the lines of doctrinal demarcation, which trained for use, furnished with knowused to stand out clear and distinct, are ledge, and capable of wielding that now scarcely recognised. Few educated knowledge as an instrument of power." men of the present day will answer to These changes in the intellectual life the name of either Calvinistor Arminian. of the churches is accompanied by It follows, as a consequence, that the changes equally marked in the social old systems of theology are either wholly life of their members. “As our preach; rejected or only partially received. ing has become broader, freer, and Now, in all this there is some good, more secular, so it has been with our but also some evil. The spirit of scep- social and church life ; and, as the ticism is the bane of faith. But faith lines of demarcation in doctrine have is the soul's organ for seeing and grasp- more or less vanished, so the old line ing spiritual things. In proportion as of separation between the church and scepticism enters the mind, the sight the world has become gradually more and hold of such things become dim and more faint. The change, as thus and feeble. Is there not reason to fear broadly stated, may seem to be simply that this effect does actually exist for the worse, but a closer examination among us? Evil in these and other will show that it is not altogether so. forms has, I think, been wrought by The worth of the line which separates the scepticism of our day; but good the church from the world depends not has also come out of it. Increased so much upon its distinctness as upon its clearness and strength of conviction nature. Thirty or forty years ago, the have, I hope, in not a few cases, been church, not only of Independents, but obtained. The man who has battled of all who were accounted evangelical with the everlasting no,' and come Christians, was marked off from the off victor, has a far stronger hold of the world chiefly by the prohibition of truth than he could ever have had with- amusements. The man who followed out the conflict. And this certainty of the hounds in a red coat was concluded the truth, this clear and firin convic- to be a child of the wicked one. The
way for advance to a higher morality; only let us take heed that we do advance in that direction.”
gun and shooting-jacket were scarcely compatible with church membership, though occasionally tolerated. To look upon a horse-race was sin. To play at cards or billiards was sin; and even chess and draughts were with difficulty saved from condemnation. The theatre and ball-room were absolutely proscribed; while dancing, under any circumstances, and the reading of plays, were looked upon by many godly people with grave displeasure. There are, perhaps, not a few Christian people who still retain these views, but the prevailing tendency has been to change all this. The extent of the change is various in different localities, but, more or less, the movement in favour of relaxing these restraints has been universal.” Objections against these indul. gences may be advanced, and several are stated by the speaker. “Let us,” he continues, “give to these their due weight. But is there not something to be said on the other side ? Let us suppose one of our churches in which these prohibitions were most rigidly maintained to be brought under the inspection of some outside visitor of adequate intelligence and high moral and religious culture. What aspect would such a church present to him ? Would he not say, "The morality of this people is inverted; their vision is distorted; small things appear to them great, and great things small. They sternly proscribe certain practices which are, at the worst, only doubtful in their moral character, while they tolerate others which are essentially and flagrantly evil. Card-playing, dancing, and other similar things are incompatible with their Christian fellowship ; but uncharitableness, covetousness, untruthfulness, unforgiving resentment, and dishonesty, at least in trade, seem to nestle undisturbed beneath their very altars.' It would be wrong to say that these vices have ever been prevalent in our churches, but the charge is true that they have not generally been made the objects of ecclesiastical discipline or of social condemnation. It is time that the morality of our churches should be re-adjusted upon the basis of eternal right and wrong. The relaxation of the old restraints, the tendency to bring back the small things to their real dimensions, is, I think, one step in the right direction. It opens the
REMAINS OF MAN IN CALIFORNIA. - In the Transactions of the Chicago Academy of Sciences, vol. i. p. 2, Dr. J. W. Foster claims for the human skull discovered last season in the gold-drift of California a greater antiquity than that of any of the human remains which have hitherto come to light in the drift of Abbeville and Amiens, in the valley of the Somme, or in the loess of the Rhine. It was found in a shaft 150 feet deep, two miles from Angelas, in Calaveras Co., California, and is now in possession of the State geological survey. The shaft passes through five beds of lava and volcanic tufa, and four deposits of auriferous gravel. The upper bed of tufa was homogeneous, and without any crack through which a skull could have been introduced from above. The date of these gravels is referred to the Pliocene, i.e. the age before the volcanic eruptions took place which cover a great part of the state, an age preceding the mastodon, the elephant, and other pachyderns. Since the appearance of man, therefore, in that region, the physical features have undergone mighty changes. The volcanic peaks of the Sierra have been lifted up, and glaciers have descended into the valleys, freighted with gravels, and the great cañons themselves have been excavated in the solid rock.—The Academy.
LONDON.-Cross Street. The annual meeting of this society was held March 20th. The report of the committee enters somewhat minutely into the question of the financial position of the society. This, though not so flourishing as desirable, is apparently improving and the prospects of the society are hopeful. The income has been £372, and its expenditure £398. The society has lost since its annual meeting the services of the Rev. Mr. Hiller, who has passed into the spiritual world ; and for the last eight months has enjoyed the pastoral labours of the Rev. Dr. Tafel. These services have been so successful as to encourage the society to renew and extend their engagement with Dr. Tafel. Among the institutions fostered in the society are their “Sunday School," and Junior Members' Mutual Improvement Meeting. Both seem to be usefully employed, though the numbers in attendance are not large. In the Sunday School the minister has an advanced lass, which is studying the True Christian Religion. In the Junior Members' Society lectures and papers on religious, literary, and scientific subjects have been given by Revs. Messrs. Gorman, Barlow, Tafel, and Quant, and by several members of the Church in London. The society is looking forward to the Meeting of Conference which is to be this year held in their Church.
TRACT SOCIETY.—The annual meeting of this society was held in the Girls' Schoolroom, Peter Street, on the evening of May 9th. The Rev. J. Hyde was in the chair, and introduced the proceedings in a brief address. The report which was read by the Secretary showed an increase in the issues of the institution, and a promising state of the funds. Addresses were delivered during the evening by Mr. Mackereth, Mr. Hodgson, Revs. R. Storry, W. Woodman, and J. Boys, and by Messrs. Brotherton, Seddon, and E. J. Broadfield. In the course of these addresses several topics of present interest, suggested by the resolutions, were dwelt upon by the speakers. Mr. Mackereth pointed out, that while tracts had been often constructed on the principle of frightening men into religion, the purpose of the New Church Tract Society was to enlighten men's minds, and to lead them to a rational discernment of the truth. Mr. Storry took up the subject of the increased attention given to the Bible, and the great work of its revision at present occupying the attention of some of the leading scholars of the age. Evidences were given of the increased liberality of thought and unity of purpose which this work had produced among the several sections of the Christian Church. Its accomplishment must attract increased attention to the Word, but could not remove the difficulties which beset its merely literal interpretation. Passages would still appear apparently at variance with the moral attributes of the Supreme Being, and the Church would continue to need a law of interpretation to enable her to rightly understand the Word of God.
It is the mission of the New Church to supply this law, and the Tract Society is one of the agencies by which this is to be accomplished. Mr. Woodman followed, and dwelt upon the opening prospects of a more extended culture of the great body of the people under the new Education Act.
A merely intel. lectual education would not, however, necessarily prepare the way for the religious advancement of the nation. This progress required moral culture as well as intellectual instruction. The progress of the New Church has been less rapid than its most sanguine friends were led to hope. All the agencies of Divine Providence, however, are over us, and eternity before us, for the full realization of the aims and objects of the Church. Doubtless Divine Providence could open men's minds to a sight of the highest truths, but when in unsuitable states for their proper reception, they might only be inflated and injured by them. The great object of the New Church should be to do good to men, by promoting their regeneration. All
, indeed, belong to the new dispensation who are in good, and by truths their good will be purified. Hitherto our agencies, like the ancient engines of war constructed to throw stones, had been too exclusively occupied in overthrowing error and in producing rational and intellectual arguments in support of the doctrines. But there are difficulties to be removed, and the path on which we must next enter will be that of exposition. We must endeavour to explain the difficulties of the letter of the Word, to harmonize its apparent contradictions, and to lead men to an enlightened knowledge of its teaching, and to a constant and diligent practice of its precepts. The proceedings throughout appeared to interest the friends assembled, and will doubtless encourage the committee to renewed labours in the great work in which they are engaged
ADELAIDE.—The Adelaide Society of the New Church intend erecting a new place of worship, the lease of the ground upon which their chapel in Carrington Street stands expiring in December 1871.
They have purchased a suitable piece of land for the purpose in Hanson