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plead that stipends of £250 to life is almost at zero, and their ex£1,000 a year were pardonable
were pardonable tinction would scarcely be observed. exceptions. No doubt there are Whereas, did we offer stipends more some churches which do their best adequate to the mere necessities of for their ministers
ministers, and even approximating provide an adequate and comfortable to a remuneration for talent, educastipend—all honour be given them. tion, and energy, we might flourish No doubt there are in our ministry where we only live, and might live men of talent, education, and piety, where we only exist. of whom the denomination is justly 3. Greater difficulties from worldproud; who being worth more are liness and State-Churchism. These content to continue with us all difficulties we encounter in common honour be given them. Yet though with other sections of Christ's small stipends do not destroy old church. We have to contend against friendships; nor present an insuper- an increasing amount of worldliness. able obstacle to some new ones, they This seems to be the hour of mamare inadequate to the formation of
His worshippers multiply. many such friendships. In this
His devotees grow more determined practical world, in this matter-of- and enthusiastic. The human heart fact life, in these times when godly is full of the love of the world. men feel justified in doing the best Riches and pleasures, mental and they can for the temporal interests of moral dissipation, are putting forth themselves and families ; in this dis- their strongest efforts against the pensation, when the most spiritually spiritual work of a spiritual church. minded minister is rigidly expected Moreover, we have to contend
, to pay twenty shillings hard cash to against the spirit of opposition disthe pound; in these respectable days played by the Established Church. when even the poorest churches ex- Its adherents see that it is in jeopect their minister to dress and ap- pardy, The venerable fabric is pear and behave like a gentleman; tottering. Its foundations are movwhen to become a dissenting minis- ing. Its members are divided, quarter is an act of self-denial for a youth relling, and prosecuting one another of moderate business capabilities ; at law. High Church, with its rituawhen the sum of £100 will not pro- listic paraphernalia and its sacerdotal vide the same amount of necessaries, pretensions ; Broad Church, with its comforts, and respectability it did latitudinarianism professing every some years ago, when every descrip- phase of religious belief; Low tion of skilled labour (save, per- Church, notwithstanding its evanhaps, the educational and the minis- gelistic faith and effort, priding itself terial) demands a higher remunera- on its social status, and clinging tion than formerly, our stipends do with unconquerable attachment to not offer sufficient inducement to the loaves and fishes ; all these are young men to enter our ministry; against us, doing their best to rob or, in other words, they do not en- us of victory, and in some places able our churches to go into the showing a determination to stamp market and secure the best and an us out of existence. No position is adequate supply of educational and
conceded us willingly and with a ministerial ability. The consequence good grace. Every position we ocis that many of our churches are cupy we maintain by continual conwithout a minister, they are supplied test, especially in small towns and with a hand to mouth ministry, they villages, and in these places every
; appreciate the supply who serves soul we rejoice over as a conversion them the cheapest, their spiritual is taken captive not only in the first
The Present State of the General Baptist Denomination. 101 instance by the truth and Spirit, tence has been necessary as a probut is the object of another contest test. Our existence now is necesand triumph—that of Nonconformitysary as a friend and an ally. Our over State-Churchism.
views of the atonement are held in 4. A prevailing indifference to so called Particular Baptist churches, nominal membership. Our baptisms and a moderate Calvinism exists even do not represent the amount of good among our own. Now we are really we do by way of leading souls to one with the other body. General repentance and faith. There is pre- and Particular are words which vailing in our congregations what might be disused.
Our greater may
be termed a broad-church view brother has become wiser; we need of religion. There are many who not now protest, but may walk and undoubtedly are Christians who are
prosper with him. not in nominal membership with us. Then how does the matter stand ? We have instructed them in the We write no jeremiad on our contruth that the possession of repent- dition. Are we as Baptists going ance and faith admits into the down? We believe not. The Respiritual church of Christ. With port published in the Handbook for these terms they comply. But of 1868 tells us of “a clear increase public profession by baptism and by of membership during the year of union with our local churches they 3,994. Thirty-nine new chapels do not feel the necessity or see the were opened at a cost of £58,265, advantage. 'Tis not that they are '
supplying accommodation for 24,230 ashamed of Christ. 'Tis not that worshippers. Twenty-nine chapels they would not acknowledge Him were enlarged or improved at an before men. But—whether through expense of £17,068, making a total the unloveliness of our local churches, outlay under this head of £75,333. or through defect in our teaching, or The income of our Colleges, Home through our rigid modes of admis- and Foreign Missionary Societies, sion, we pretend not now to say- Building Funds, &c., swells the total this is very observable, that mem- of the free contributions of the Bapbership with our local churches is tists to the cause of Christ to the not looked upon by many whom we handsome sum of £140,000.” In are bound to acknowledge as pious this success we share, in this inpersons as it used to be, viz., as a crease we rejoice. Whatever affects privilege, an honour, a duty, and the great Baptist body affects us ; an advantage. This may account its joys, its sorrows are ours. And for little numerical increase where though for convenience and practical spiritual good is being done.
purposes we occupy a distinct tene
ment in the house, we have an inIII.-A WIDER AND MORE CHEER
terest in whatever transpires in FUL ASPECT OF THE QUESTION.
other compartments, and whatever We do not increase as a distinct belongs to this section of the housedenomination because as such a great hold of faith. part of our work has been done.
IV.-REFLECTIONS ON OUR POSIWe have lived, worked, and tri
TION, DUTIES, AND PROSPECTS. umphed. There is no need now that we should be distinct from the other 1. As Baptists let us be thankful section of the Baptist body. The for the creed we have been taught. extravagant Calvinism of years gone It is an able protest against the by in Particular Baptist churches errors of doctrine and practice of has been discarded, or moderated, so many religionists of the day. It and rendered agreeable. Our exis- makes the rationalistic, the ritual
istic, the sacerdotal, the baptismal reported as dismissions. That we regeneration, and other ecclesias- may have more conversions let us tical bubbles collapse with its touch. labour and pray more. It is spiritual It is the truth, and will prevail. As increase we need. We have much Protestants, as Nonconformists, as material progress to rejoice over. A Baptists, in these marvellous times, great deal has lately been done in when every system seems to be improving our chapel property, in shaken by Providence to riddle truth removing debts, and other evidences from error, and to bring forth of life and activity. That Christ's Christ's own spiritual church from glory may be advanced amongst us, the corrupted churches of Christen- let each minister, deacon, and memdom, let us be united, firm, and ener- ber aim at eclipsing the lustre of our getic. The Baptist denomination creed by our beautiful lives, our will only become extinct when the peaceful churches, our faithful, enerNew Testament has gone out of getic ministry in the pulpit and the print and not a copy is to be found, school. God honours them who or when there are no unscaled eyes, honour Him. If our churches are no common sense, no spiritual minds meet for the stamp of Divine apto read it.
proval, a faithful God will not leave 2. As General Baptists let us us without tokens for good. There periodically and frequently correct is no reason in the world why our our list of church membership, and churches should not conspicuously exercise care and discipline and shew share in the celebrations of that day sympathy and kindness to each case wben Christ shall adorn His heavenly as it turns up. Let us be more home with His illustrious, beautiful, watchful over our flocks to nurture and perfect bride. And those who and preserve them, so that exclu- now are first in faithfulness and love sions may be less frequent, with- shall be first in glory and honour drawals less numerous, and removals hereafter.
“ MAN MADE IN THE IMAGE OF GOD."
Genesis i. 27.
BY THE REV. GILES HESTER, SHEFFIELD.
Five days of creative power and furnished and beautifully-adorned wisdom had come and gone. The earth was awaiting the presence of a sixth day was far advanced when the superior being, who should mark its most marvellous example of the order, admire its beauty, interpret divine skill was brought forth. The its symbols, and appreciate its glory. palace had been most completely Sprung from the fiat of Infinite and prepared, and most elaborately fur Almighty Power" are myriads of nished, but the inhabitant of the smiling flowers; animals of all sizes, palace was until now wanting. The shapes, and orders ; here are to be glorious temple was finished in every seen the buzzing fly and the busy part of it, but the high priest of that bee, birds to wing the air, and fish temple had not made his appear
to swim the
creepVolume after volume had ing lizard, the ranging lion, and the been added to nature's library, but towering eagle: but still Nature in as yet there was no philosopher or her new and gorgeous robes is ininterpreter to open and read. To complete; she is like
complete; she is like a queen without drop figurative language, the newly- a crown, or like a crown without a
“ Man made in the Image of God.”
103 diamond. Another link must be thing which preceded him in the added before the chain of creation is order of nature. Man is the begincomplete.
ning of a new series in the line of From all eternity it was in the created objects. Man is a miracle. Creator's purpose
that there should Man did not come forth from a be another creature in the earth monkey, as some philosophers would besides those belonging to the vege- have us believe. The monkey series table and animal worlds. Befo stops with the monkey, and the the foundations of the earth were human series begins with man. The laid the idea of man had entered development theory of creation disinto the counsels of the Eternal honours God, degrades man, and Mind. All the typal forms of created deifies the forces of nature. life which had emerged into being The Scriptures declare that not through a succession of untold ages only was man created by God, but had all pointed to him as their aim that he was created in the image of and end. The successive stages of God; and it is to this part of the vegetable and animal life, whose subject that I invite your attention remains lie entombed in the mighty at this time. The word image is rocks, had formed a kind of staircase one of the key words of Scripture; leading up to the decorated chamber and man made in the image of God where man was to appear.
is the great central fact of revelaAnd now the solemn moment has tion. Taking the entire Scriptures arrived when Man, for whom all into association with my text, I shall things have been created, is to be look at the subject under three introduced. He is to appear not as aspects. the result of natural development,
1.—THE IMAGE OF GOD AS IMbut as the offspring of creative skill. There had been many interpositions of divine power through the
II.—THE IMAGE OF GOD AS DEof creation. The doctrine of a continuous evolution of species from a III.—THE IMAGE
GOD AS primary organic germ is contrary to RESTORED TO MAN. Scripture, opposed to facts, and repugnant to reason.
1.-The image of God as impressed The divine Architect of nature makes a solemn pause before He What are we to understand by introduces man. The language im- this statement? In what did the plies a council in the persons of the image of God consist? Was it a Godhead. “ And God said, Let us physical likeness ? an intellectual make man in our image, after our likeness ? or a spiritual likeness ? likeness."
1. We should do dishonour to the What results are hanging on this divine nature were we to conclude creative act! What a marvellous that the image of God impressed on history is the history of man! how man consisted of a physical likeness. full of all that is awful, and dreadful, God is a Spirit. A Spirit hath not and terrible !. - So God created man flesh, and blood, and bones. But in His own image, in the image of man is formed of the dust of the God created He him; male and ground. He is endowed with flesh female created He them."
and blood. He has bones ; for God The words declare emphatically took one of his ribs, from which He that man was created. His being formed woman. Seeing, then, that was moulded by the hand of God. God is a Spirit, and has no material He was not developed from some- parts and passions, and that man is
PRESSED ON MAN.
FACED IN MAN.
material, and has a body composed Vast stores of knowledge were deof flesh, and blood, and bones, the posited in his memory. He could image of God or man could not be
his facts and marshal his illuslikeness of a physical nature.
trations with the art of a great 2. But may not this image be master; still, with all his intellectual found in the likeness of intellectual possessions, he possessed little of faculty ? Man is endowed with in- the image of God. tellectual powers making him capa- Seeing, then, that the image of ble of exercising thought. He can God impressed on
man does not reflect or look backward, anticipate consist in physical likeness, and that
, or look forward, aspire or look up- its fulness and glory cannot be ward. The action of man's intel- traced on the intellectual faculty, lect is not confined to any limited however wide its expansion and perlocality. He has thoughts which fect its action, in what does it conwander through eternity. Man, by sist? Where shall we find it?
. the aid of his intellect, can unlock 3. My impression is, that the the cabinet of nature, and read in image spoken of in the text was of a the great stone book the history of moral and spiritual character. Man the world. He can weigh the stars, was endowed by God with moral trace their orbits, and follow the and physical capacities. These cacomets along their wondrous way. pacities were the crown and glory of He can summon the lightnings into his nature. They rendered him his presence, and make them do his capable of being a subject of moral bidding. He can construct a high
The mind was one, road through the swelling waves of and perfect. There was an even the mighty deep, along which know- balance and a delightful harmony of ledge shall pass many thousands of all the faculties in man’s complex miles in a few seconds of time. nature. Man was upright. There
Should we be right were we to no natural leaning or bias assert that the intellect of man is towards passion. His moral and the seat of the image of God? Un- spiritual nature spontaneously andoubtedly man's intellect in its swered to all the claims of God. primitive state shone forth with The spirituality of the divine nature great lustre. Knowledge was more was reflected from the mirror of the result of intuition than acquisi- human consciousness. As the crystal tion. The processes of thought were globe gathers up into itself and rerapid, progressive, complete. Still, flects the rays of the sun, so the the image of God, in all its fulness soul of man naturally absorbed and and splendour, is not to be found reflected the glory of the Eternal here.
light. Some of the greatest of intellects The image of the invisible God have reflected least of the image of was then stamped upon man. As God. Napoleon Buonaparte had a far as it was possible for the finite mighty intellect, but exhibited very to represent the infinite, so far did little of the image of God. Lord
man represent God. He was viceByron manifested a vigorous imagi- gerent in the newly created world. nation, and a marvellous grasp of He represented God, in power, authought, but those who know his thority, and holiness. He was pure history feel that very little of the in heart, active in intellect, upright image of God can be found in the in intention, and immortality, like mind of the great poet. Gibbon,
, the rose of heaven, blossomed in the the historian, developed the resources garden of his soul.
There was a of considerable intellectual power. crown placed on his brow, a sceptre