« EdellinenJatka »
they sometimes anticipate, their new ries to tell of the two systems ! The circumstances would develop an one has triumphed over difficulty and amount of energy and zeal whose re- opposition; the other has remained sults would surprise even themselves. feeble, notwithstanding all the help Their great missionary work would be which the Government, with no prosecuted under more favourable con- niggard hand, has given it. The paditions, when the missionaries were tronage of the State has effected as no longer exposed to the reproach little for the Church which it has fathat they had appropriated to them- voured, as its persecutions have done selves the ecclesiastical revenues of to retard the progress of that on the people whom they were seeking which it has frowned. The Protesto convert. A free Protestantism tants of Ireland are only asked to would have a power which the State- trust in the same resources which exChurch has never possessed, and the perience has, in the case of English successes of the future would oblite- Dissenters, shown to be amply suffirate the unhappy memories of the cient. Could they be inspired with past. In the interests of Protes- the same confidence which experience tantism, therefore, as well as in those has taught Nonconformists to cherish, of a sound and righteous national they might, by a voluntary surrender policy, should this act of justice be of the supposed advantages which demanded.
they enjoy, secure for themselves a V.
moral power which would be cheaply
purchased even at such a cost. With all the lessons of their own
VI. history before them, Protestant Nonconformists cannot look forward to There is another aspect of the the establishmentof religious equality case, too important to be overlooked. in Ireland with apprehension. Two The choice is no longer between the conhundred years ago, they commenced tinuance of things as they are and their own course under circumstan- complete disestablishment. The state very different from any in which the of Ireland is such that if there is not disestablished Church of Ireland can a “ levelling down," there will be a be placed. They had no churches, “levelling up;" that if the Protesno manses, none of those private tant Church is not content to abanendowments which will still remain don its endowments, it must share to Irish Episcopalians. They were them with Roman Catholics. If its not even allowed the free exercise of bishops continue to sit in the House their religion ; their ministers were of Lords, they must sit there side by expelled from the scenes of their for- side with Roman Catholic prelates. mer labours ; their religious assem- If the honours of Trinity College are blies were prohibited ; all the power to be monopolized by its sons, a new of the law was employed to suppress Roman Catholic University must be them. They were driven from the created and endowed. In short, if national seats of learning-were de- the help of the State is to be given prived of the rights of citizenship to any, it must be impartially distriwere subjected for generations to re- buted among all. It was the conlentless persecution. Yet, instead sciousness of this which led the of being extinguished, they have con- Premier to urge the establishment tinually grown in numbers and in- of a Roman Catholic University in
English Nonconformity Ireland, to secure Roman Catholics was numerically weaker than the “the advantages of a higher educaIrish Church has ever been ; yet how tion under the influence of their own different a tale have the two centu- priesthood," and to avow his belief
that “we are approaching the time other with damnable heresy, while when there must be a change in the the other retaliates with an accusastatus of the unendowed clergy in tion of blasphemy. Ireland.” Under the influence of The moral sense of the English the same feeling, Lord Mayo, speak- people is not likely to tolerate such ing as the Irish minister of the à policy. English Nonconformists, Cabinet, said, “ There would not, I at least, will always be found among believe, be any objection to make all its staunch opponents. They can be churches eqaal, but the result must be no parties to an attempt to redress secured by elevation, not by confisca- one injustice by the perpetration of tion." It is true that these utter- another. Most earnestly have they ances are vague, but no mystification always insisted on the right of their can hide the fact that the speakers Roman Catholic fellow-subjects to entertain no conscientious or deep- the same privileges as themselves, rooted objection to the endowment but as earnestly will they oppose any of the Roman Catholic clergy. The attempt to confer on them any spesentiments thus avowed indicate the cial advantages, or to appropriate the policy which will be pursued if the funds of the State for the mainteConservative Government can secure nance of a system which they believe a majority in the new Parliament. to be as false in doctrine as it is in
The choice of the country lies be- tolerant in spirit, as contrary to the tween these two—the endowment of all, teachings of Scripture as it is inimiand the endowment of none.
The cal to the freedom and progress of claim for religious equality cannot humanity. be resisted, and if it be not met in
VII. one way it must be in the other. Can there possibly be any question The duty, then, of Nonconforas to which is the most in accordance mists, in the coming struggle, is with the principles of a sound Pro- clear. They have not so long contestantism, or most likely to secure tended for religious equality as to the sympathy of Protestant Dissen- throw their influence into the scale ters? They object to the erection of sectarian ascendancy now. They, of one Church Establishment: they who have professed so simple a faith cannot look with approval on the in the power of the truth, are not creation of half-a-dozen. They ob- likely to give signs of distrust the ject to the employment of national first time the legislature proposes to property, even for the advancement adopt their principles. They have, of the truth: it is not likely that indeed, a great lesson to teach the their opposition will be modified by nation, and on their decision, their a proposal to use it for the diffusion manliness, their sagacity in the preof error also. They protest against sent crisis, great issues depend. the assumptions of a Protestant Were they, from the fear that it hierarchy: still more decidedly must might injuriously affect some princithey protest against those of a Ro- ples they love, to become agents in manist hierarchy being imposed in defeating a great measure of reliaddition. The whole theory of reli- gious equality, they must henceforth gious establishment is reduced to a be silent as to their own wrongs. piece of practical absurdity, or rather They are strong only as they stand of positive immorality, when the on the ground of justice, and that State employs different classes of justice which they claim for themmen to teach antagonistic systems selves they must demand for those of doctrine, and establishes two to whose religious opinions they are Churches, one of which charges the most opposed.
OUR NEW CHAPEL, COVENTRY.
for a space
We give an abridgment of Reports, the most conspicuous features, peroccupying several pages in the haps, in this large assemblage was Coventry newspapers, of proceed- the numerous little groups of reings in the city in connection with spectable and gentlemanly-looking the laying of the Memorial Stone of young men scattered about wearing our new chapel in Gosford Street. white satin scarves and white roThe Coventry Herald says :
settes. These, we were informed,
are the school teachers connected A ceremony which appeared to with the Baptist congregation, who excite a very considerable degree of on this day had met to celebrate the interest, took place in Gosford Street fixing of a memorial stone to their on Tuesday, Sept. 8th. This old new chapel in Gosford Street by J. fashioned and narrow thoroughfare, S. Wright, Esq., of Birmingham. It about three o'clock, was completely is always a subject of gratification blocked
of about forty to find places for religious worship or fifty yards by a densely-packed springing up in any town, no matand motley crowd, amongst which ter how large or small they be, nor here and there were dotted about, to what particular section of the like flowers upon a rough soil, gaily- community they belong; and it attired ladies and well-dressed gen- must, indeed, have been a proud tlemen, whose evident interest in moment for the ministers and memthe proceedings was unmistakeable. bers of this denomination of reliThere were hundreds more poorly gionists to see such a gathering beclad, but who yet showed by the fore them. Shortly after one o'clock serious earnestness with which they the ministers, teachers, members of listened to and saw what was going the congregation, and scholars, met on, that they had not joined this at the chapel in White Friars Lane, large gathering simply from motives and marched in procession with banof curiosity. Mingled amongst the ners fluttering in the wind, to the seething mass of human beings were, new building. It was both a curias a matter of course, hundreds of ous and a novel sight to witness the others and of the lowest class, who arrangements made and the manner had merely come to look on. Now in which the memorial stone was and then there was a singing amongst deposited in its future resting-place. the multitude; and a confused roar It is usual on such occasions to lay of voices went up as the outsiders the stone somewhere at the bottom, were reluctantly compelled to jam but in the present instance it was themselves more closely together, in fixed at the top; and it was highly order that some cart or other vehicle amusing to see gentlemen in neckmight proceed on its destination ; ties of unimpeachable white and and the few police officers who were long-tailed coats of unquestionable upon the ground did their duty ad- black, climbing up a shaky ladder to mirably in preventing accidents and an infirm platform, such as only in preserving order. Considered masons are accustomed to, and from altogether, it was a very large but a thence taking a still higher flight to most seemly and well ordered crowd, a more feeble staging at the summit quite befitting, indeed, the very im- of the façade, on which was perportant and serious occasion that formed the ceremony of the day. had called them together. One of Happily no accident occurred, and the whole of the proceedings were dation or the memorial stone had marked with all the pleasure, com- been laid. Most of those whom he fort-excepting always the elevated addressed were aware that this new and insecure position of the leaders building was intended for the use of -and enjoyment that every one a community of Christians comconnected with it could desire ; and monly called Baptists. They were to add to the attraction of the event, not unknown in this country-and to say nothing of the bright coloured he might assert, with feelings of flags which crowned the scaffold pride, that they had borne their part poles in all directions, there was in its civil and in its religious hisstationed in the empty interior of tory. In fact, he was not afraid to the partially constructed edifice a boast that they had taken a fair, and Garibaldian band, which played most even a distinguished, part in workexcellent music.
ing out something of the religious A silver trowel with ebony handle, freedom and liberty which we at the inlaid with ivory and gold mount- present day had the pleasure to enings, from the works of Messrs. joy under the reign of Victoria our Skidmore, was presented to Mr. Queen. They were not used to rely Wright, as the instrument with upon great names or great patronwhich he laid the stone.
age. But few of the wealthy of the The Rev. H. Cross commenced
land belonged to them, yet they had the proceedings by giving out the
a history of which any people in the
world might be proud. hymn,“ Come, let us join our cheer
The Rev. Dr. Underwood said he ful songs,” which was very heartily
had had been called upon to say a sung. The Rev. S. Hillyard, of Bed- tinguishing principles of the denomi
word or two in respect to the disworth, then read Psalm cxxxii. from
nation that he had come to reprethe eighth verse, and a portion of the second chapter of Ephesians.
sent, and proceeded to explain in a
very clear and concise manner, the The Rev. J. Sibree having offered
difference between the doctrines and up prayer,
polity of various Christian commuJ. S. Wright, Esq., of Birming- nions in this country. The speaker ham, proceeded to lay the stone, un
enlarged upon this subject with much derneath which was deposited a tin- and fervid eloquence, and was lisbox, containing a copy of each of the tened to with attention, so far as the Coventry newspapers, The Freeman,
noise below would permit. He deThe Christian World, and The General scribed succinctly the history of the Baptist Magazine. The usual cus
Baptist persuasion, and defined the tom of putting coins under the stone differences between the “ Particular” was abandoned in this instance, Mr.
and the “ General” Baptist denomiWright remarking that he liked to
nations. He said the first General see money outside the stone (laugh- Baptist Church known to have exter), because it would be better given isted was established in the year to the cause.
1606. Now with respect to the Mr. Wright, having descended to original formation of the Particular the lower platform said, on occasions Baptist Church, opinions differed. like those it was usual to say a few Some said that there was one existwords with reference to the cere- ing in 1616, whilst others said there mony in which they had been en
“ Particular” Baptist body in gaged, and as to the object of the existence until the year 1633; so building of which either the foun- that the General Baptists were really older than the Particular Baptists. had been obliged to go home, and They believed, he said, in the Divine therefore could not be present with inspiration and authority of the holy them. Mr. Cross then read a very scriptures. They believed in what interesting report in connection with was technically termed the Trinity, the Baptist Church, part of which is also the atonement, the work, per- the following :sonality and divinity of Christ, the agency of the Holy Spirit, and the “ The present movement was comnecessity of the new birth ; but they menced in 1864. The chapel was did not believe that the new birth
well filled on a Sunday evening, and was at all affected by the outward
there were applications for sittings ordinances of baptism. Whilst feel- which could not be granted, and, ing very strong on the baptismal moreover, the school was greatly inquestion, and insisting on there convenienced for want of room. It being much water there whilst the was thought at first desirable to hire ceremony was being performed, yet
rooms for the school, and to throw they did not attribute any saving
the present school rooms into the efficacy to the ordinance. They had, chapel, so as to make increased acin fact, a free, a large, and a liberal commodation. Just at this time theological creed, upon which was
the site of the new chapel and based the belief that Christ in dying schools, containing 1,200 square gave himself as a ransom for all yards, was offered for sale, at what mankind. He felt a personal in
was thought a reasonable price, four terest in the old city, and also in shillings per yard. Feeling the deMr. Cross, and he heartily rejoiced sirableness of a commodious chapel to hear that their respected pastor being erected in the midst of that had met with a very large amount of large population almost destitute of encouragement in Coventry.
chapel accommodation, three friends At the conclusion of Dr. Un
secured the property by paying upon derwood's address the assembly dis
it a small deposit. After consulting persed.
the chief supporters in the church
and congregation, in which the feelIn the evening a tea meeting was ing prevailed that the step was most holden at the Corn Exchange. The desirable, a meeting was called, at large and handsome room- 1-which which it was unanimously agreed to very much resembles the Free Trade purchase the land, and at once to Hall at Manchester-was crowded commence a fund for the erection of from the entrance doors to the very
a new chapel. verge of the platform by an audience The movement thus set on foot that would do credit to any religious kept increasing in strength as time community in the kingdom. The rolled on. In eighteen months after respected Mayor of Coventry took the commencement, the site which the chair.
cost (including the clearing, building On the removal of the tea appa- of boundary walls, and the transfer,) ratus, the Rev. J. W. Kiddle offered £320, was nearly paid for. At up prayer.
Christmas in 1836 a bazaar was held The Rev. H. Cross then apolo- in St. Mary's Hall for the sale of gised for the absence of the Rev. C. useful and fancy articles, which reaVince, who had promised most dis- lized the handsome sum of £245, tinctly to be with them,” but for and this added to the promises paid some reason had not kept his pro- up, and weekly donations, amounted mise. The Rev. Dr. Underwood to £356 by the end of 1867.