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Dermott, curious to know what her impressions were, hastened to meet her. She declared that she could see no difference between them and the Church, but desired him to hear them himself. He sought an early opportunity of hearing Mr. Jenkins. In a month afterwards the doctor sent a note, desiring that Mr. Jenkins would dine with him. In the meantime, Mr. Jenkins had been informed that the doctor had for some time been a Socinian; he therefore purposely introduced the subject of our Lord's Divinity. O, Sir!' said Mr. Dermott, you need not fear on that account; all these notions are gone; I see clearly that Jesus Christ must be God, or He cannot save me.' He gave up his hunting and pleasure parties. He began to preach the Gospel. Many of his patients, when he talked to them about health of soul, and followed up his speech by prayer, thought that he was deranged, and told him that he need not call again.

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The Curate and a solicitor being very desirous of saving him from ruin, agreed to wait upon him. 'You, Mr. Dermott,' said the Curate, ' with an education fit for a Clergyman, to listen to such men as Methodist Preachers!' In this,' said he, 'you are mistaken. I used to think as you do, that I knew a great deal, and that these men knew nothing but I now find that I am a mere child, and know nothing of religion or the Scriptures in comparison with these men.' But,' said the solicitor, 'you ought to consider the expense you are at. Here you entertain the Preachers when they come, and often several of their friends; how is it possible you can pay your debts if you go on in this way?' 'I confess,' said the doctor,

before I knew this people I was living to the full extent of my means, if not beyond; but since I knew the Methodists I have been

saving money.' Finding him invulnerable, they bade him farewell. Mr. Dermott was by the grace of God equal to every emergency. He went forth to the surrounding villages and towns, preaching and teaching in the name of Jesus. Chiefly through his labours and those of his excellent wife, the first Wesleyan chapel was erected in Wellingborough. In 1792 he entered the Wesleyan Ministry, and for many years laboured successfully.

Early in the present century Itinerant Preachers from the Kettering Circuit found their way into what is now the Peterborough Circuit, a large section of which extends far into Hunts. We have been able to trace the footsteps of such Itinerants as Daniel Walton and William Towers in some of these villages. In Peterborough services were at first conducted in a small cottage in Westgate Street, the Itinerant Preachers from Kettering visiting the place fortnightly. About the year 1817, while William Hinson was in charge of the Kettering Circuit, the first Wesleyan Chapel was built in Peterborough, at a cost of four hundred pounds. In 1833, Earl Fitzwilliam, having opened a new street, gave the Wesleyan Trustees a much more desirable site for a new chapel, in addition to a sum of money equal to the value of the old chapel, and he headed the subscription list with a donation of twentyfive pounds. In a few months the chapel was erected at a cost of nine hundred and fifty pounds, providing accommodation for one-tenth of the population. A gracious revival of the work of God took place. While the Revs. John Brown and P. C. Horton were preaching with great zeal and success in the Methodist Chapel, an evangelical Clergyman of the Church of England was doing the same in the parish church. The present chapel,

accommodating more than a thousand persons, and having cost about six thousand pounds, was built in 1874.

Coming southward from Peterborough, we glance at two villages, Stilton and Yaxley, into which Methodism was introduced about fifty years since. It was not until the early part of the present century that Methodism took root in Stilton. During the French wars a number of soldiers were sent to the barracks at Norman Cross, about a mile from Stilton, to guard the French prisoners there. Some of these soldiers were fervent Methodists, and they commenced a Prayermeeting in a barn near the barracks. A baker's boy, named Rollerson, attended this meeting, and was truly converted. Soon after this they proposed to hold a Prayer-meeting at Stilton. A door was thus opened. In 1824 a chapel was erected, which was superseded in 1848 by the present one. The Methodist soldiers did not limit their services to Stilton and the villages in the immediate vicinity, but went forth nearly twenty miles preaching Jesus. Samuel Rollerson was a most zealous and successful Local Preacher nearly fifty years. It is believed that hundreds were brought to God through his faithful preaching, many of whom remain unto the present as labourers in the vineyard.

We must now hasten to the Fen District. A Local Preacher, when in his ninety-second year, informed the present writer that it was in the latter part of the last century that Methodist services were commenced in Ramsey. Joseph Harper, Thomas Rogerson, John Sandoe, Edward Fowler, and William Howarth, seem to have been mainly instrumental in this work. For a long time persecution was very viclent. The social and moral condition of the people in the Fen Districts of Cam

bridgeshire was at that time most deplorable. Notwithstanding the large staff at the Ely Cathedral, and in the Cambridge University a host of men in, or preparing for Holy Orders, the spiritual state of the villagers was appalling. Although there were scattered up and down a few Baptist churches, little was done by these to mission the places lining the eastern border of Hunts. There were, however, exceptions to this; notably the Baptist Minister at Harston, and the Baptist Deacons and Minister at Chatteris.

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As early as 1800, Methodism was introduced into Cambridge. A society of about a dozen persons was formed, but in 1805 it was dissolved. In 1810, after the services had been suspended for five years, they were recommenced. A small room was hired in one of the lowest neighbourhoods of Cambridge, known at that time as the Black Ditch.' The room did not accommodate more than fifty persons; but, through the blessing of God, the Society increased steadily, and in 1816 the number of members was about eighty. To his honour, be it said, no one welcomed the Methodists to Cambridge more cordially than the gifted Robert Hall. We have heard, on good authority, that he was frequently found devoutly worshipping with them in their outof-the-way room. In 1815, an effort was made to erect a chapel in Cambridge. The person who took the most prominent part in this work was a Yorkshireman named Peacock, who went to Cambridge to work as a plasterer at one of the colleges. Finding that there was no Wesleyan Chapel, and that the people's means were so limited that they could not pay a builder, he engaged to build them a chapel, if they would provide him with board and lodging. Thus the Barwell Chapel was built. The Rev. Joseph Benson conducted the opening service. Soon afterwards,

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Alderman Bottomley became occasional worshipper. In 1817, this gentleman offered one thousand pounds towards the erection of a Wesleyan chapel in the town; but this generous offer the friends were obliged to decline, as they saw no prospect of meeting the annual expense which would be incurred in connection with it. In 1830, the chapel in Green-Street was obtained, and it became the birth-place of many souls. In 1846, the number of members was about three hundred, and it became clear that a vigorous effort must be made to secure a more commodious chapel, hence the Hobson-Street site was purchased. The Connexional authorities sanctioned a special appeal on behalf of the scheme, in response to which there came five hundred pounds. A beautiful chapel, accommodating a thousand persons, was erected at a cost of three thousand three hundred pounds. Subsequently a school-room was built, and in 1849, after a struggle of nearly fifty years, Methodism took honourable place among the sisterhood of Churches in Cambridge.


Haddenham was one of the earliest and most fruitful fields of Methodist toil. Amongst those who were connected with the Society was an aunt of an eminent barrister, whose parents occasionally visited her. On one occasion they accompanied the aunt to the service. The force of the prejudice which Mr. Matthews cherished against the Society may be imagined from the fact that he had formed an idea that if he took a good hat with him it would be stolen ; he therefore resolved to go in an old one. Mr. Pinder was the Preacher on the occasion. From the time of hearing this sermon Mr. Matthews was a changed man. When asked by his sister what he thought of the

discourse, he said: If what the Preacher said is right, I am wrong." 'That is the Preacher's guide, whence he derives all his arguments,' said Mr. Matthews's sister, pointing to the Bible. On the following day the Preacher and Mr. Matthews made each other's acquaintance. The friendship formed was life-long. Mr. Matthews became one of the pioneers of Methodism in several villages.

Through the reading of a few pages of an old Methodist Magazine, a young man named Richard Ruston had been led to enquire as to this people. His enquiry was followed by a dream, which produced a profound impression upon his mind. He always believed it was sent of God. In his dream he saw a Preacher, who opened a large Bible, from which he read a text. Immediately after this, he thought a carpenter said to him: Master Richard, if you take notice of that man he will deceive you.' 'Impossible, for here is the Word of God,' said the dreamer. He awoke in great excitement, and, in the course of a few hours, went to a special service, which was held in the Baptist meeting-house in Chatteris. Mr. Smetham, the Wesleyan Home Missionary, conducted the service. The first thing that struck him was that the face of the Preacher was very similar to the one that he had noticed in his dream. Greatly as this surprised him, he was yet more so when he heard the Missionary take as his text the very words he had so clearly seen in the Bible during his dream a few hours before. Mr. Ruston was then eighteen years of age. He at once became a zealous Methodist, and for many years gave the weight of his influence to Methodism in Chatteris.

But we have reached the limit of our Article.



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open and avowed unbelief, there is a far more extensive, and far more dangerous, private and unacknowledged dissatisfaction with religious belief. This departure from the 'public religious faith' is what I mean by the term Scepticism-a word, I admit, somewhat indefinite, the use of which, to cover ideas very unlike, may at times lead to that 'mixture of things by speech which are divided by nature.'

Yet so

popular is the word, and so generally adopted by both friends and foes of Christianity, that I may with safety use it in this Paper.

To a believer in the Divine Origin and Authority of Christianity, the Bible is the record of Divine Revelation—a Book in every sense unique, occupying a solitary position in the world's literature. To him the Christ of the New Testament is a Being different from all other beings that have appeared in history. He is the manifestation in humanity of the Eternal God, the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person.' The teachings of Christ and His Apostles are not regarded as mere wise sayings, as exalted human opinions, to be received with great deference and submission: they are regarded as the revelation of the Divine Mind and Will, and therefore as the rule of man's thought and conduct. Hence the believer's

reverence for, and obedience to, all they reveal and enjoin. The Sceptic takes up a different position. He may doubt, hesitate, ignore, deny or oppose. His belief may be merely suspended,' and his full assent withheld; or he may assume a dogmatic attitude, and boldly prefer some one of the different forms of unbelief, such as Atheism, Pantheism, Agnosticism or Secularism. We use the term Scepticism to cover any or all of these. It expresses rather an attitude of mind and a tendency of thought, than a definite intellectual position, and its very vagueness may therefore be one of its recommendations.

That this Scepticism exists in the community to a very considerable extent, there can, I believe, be no reasonable doubt. To what extent it prevails among young men may not be accurately known. We may easily take an exaggerated view of this as of other subjects. We may find young men, and men who are no longer young, reminding us of the immense importance of the age, and that religion is now on its trial as it has never been before. We may exaggerate the influence of Scepticism in the community. The wits of Bishop Butler's day thought religion an exploded superstition. Had any one told them that Butler's Analogy and other works, and the Evangelical Revival under the Wesleys and others, would alter the thought and life of the country, they

would have treated such a statement with ridicule. Yet such was the case. So in our time, readers of Spencer, Tyndall and others, or of smart articles in our leading Reviews, might be disposed to think that once more the religion of Christ had be

come 'an exploded superstition,' and the Gospels old wives' fables.' Such readers too often ignore, as unworthy of notice, the splendid triumphs of Christianity in the world, even within the last twenty-five years. Rising from the perusal of some of these articles, they might certainly conclude that to believe in miracles would be to exhibit extraordinary weakness of mind, or amazing ignorance of the advanced thought' of our time.


And yet how untrustworthy would such a view be! how utterly unscientific! Hence, we must ever correct the false and one-sided estimate of such observers. They see only what they wish to see-not the world of life as it really exists.

The age culls simples With a broad clown's back turned broadly to the glory of the stars. We are gods by our own reck'ning, and may well shut up the temples And wield on, amid the incense-steam, the thunder of our cars.

For we throw out acclamations of selfthanking, self-admiring,With, at every mile, "Run faster-O the wondrous, wondrous age!" Little thinking if we work our SOULS as nobly as our iron,

Or if angels will commend us at the goal of pilgrimage.

Why, what is this patient entrance into nature's deep resources, But the child's most gradual learning to walk upright in the lane? When we drive out, from the cloud of steam, majestical white horses, Are we greater than the first men who led black ones by the mane ? If we trod the deeps of ocean, if we struck the stars in rising,

If we wrapped the globe intensely with one hot electric breath, 'Twere but power within our tether, no new spirit-power comprising, And in life we were not greater men nor bolder men in death.'

(Mrs. Browning's Works, vol. ii., p. 117.) Let us extol the age as most important of all periods of the world's history. For us this may be true: it is our age, the time given to us in which to do our work, to lose or win

life's battle; only let us not assume that all wise thinking and all science belong to our age. Nor let us always assume that because unbelief lifts up its loud voice in our streets, it is therefore universal.

At the same time, there is much Scepticism amongst us. We cannot doubt its existence, nor can we help at times feeling its chilling influence. It would be easy for me to show from authorities respected by all parties, that not only in England, but all over Europe and America, there is a great and, it is to be feared, a growing tendency towards Scepticism.

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Dr. Rigg thinks this tendency is not so strong as it was ten years ago. This may be true of the higher regions of thought, but it hardly applies to its more popular phases. Mr. Joseph Cook, of Boston, tells us that in Germany the day of Rationalism is nearly over in the Universities. It is not over in the pulpits, among the thinkers and writers of that land of thought and learning. In France and Italy there is much free-thought,' so-called, which means incipient unbelief. In England thousands upon thousands, and these not the least intelligent, have no connection with our religious life as represented by church and chapel. I do not say they are Atheists the genuine Atheists are ever few. I do not say they hold any dogmatic form of unbelief; but they are certainly sceptical to a very large extent. They believe in an over-ruling Providence, perhaps in a future state and in human freedom; but they do not accept, even passively, many of the doctrines of Christianity.

The testimony is so uniform, from quarters so different, and from men who so seldom agree, that we are compelled to believe in the existence of a great and growing Scepticism. I might appeal to men so unlike as Professor Christlieb of Bonn, and

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