صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

had not sufficient interest in the people to defray them. The reason, you say why Mr. Holyoake did not come, was, that his "physicians forbade him." Yet his amanuensis writes, in the passage part of which you quote, "Had the discussion been pending he would probably have gone.

“But in March, 1851, and later in the same season, Mr. H. lectured in Newcastle, and you were not present." And for a very good reason: I did not previously know of his intention to lecture, and had engagements elsewhere that could not be postponed. He took advantage of my absence to say, "The continued absence of the Rev. J. H. Rutherford from the discussion to which he so vauntingly challenged me, is producing its fruits of reaction against his cause. That one so enthusiastic and so well able to do battle for Zion should frequent all obscure places in preference to appearing in the arena he once so valorously selected for himself, is a matter of dangerous wonder to those who, not being able to appear in person in defence, expect their preachers to defend their opinions for them." What right had Mr. H. or any one else to expect me to neglect my ordinary, but important work, to be at his beck and call whenever he saw fit to make his appearance, without any previous intimation of it. It was ra. ther his clogging debate with the condition of two guineas per night that was matter of wonder to those who knew he had said that he would “hold his hat in the market-place for pence" rather than be disappointed of a discussion with me.

I could have no reason for saying that I was absent from Newcastle when I received Mr. H's. letter of July 30th, if I was at home. From the first sentence of that letter he seems to be well aware of the fact, he writes, “Your absence from Newcastle this week, &c."

“It will be soon enough,” you say, “to draw a comparison between Christian and secular effort, when a fair field is conceded to Secularism.” vent you from instructing the young, from visiting the fatherless, and the widows, from helping the poor, from reclaiming the drunkard, from labouring for the general good? Will you delay helping a suffering world till it costs you nothing? “To express our opinions," you say, “is an indictable offence.” I am sorry if it is so, and will do all I can to secure for you the same freedom of thought, speech, and action, that I claim for myself. But what then? According to you, opinions are of no consequence, therefore you cannot think it a crime to keep them for yourselves; and I know of no law preventing you from doing deeds of kindness and mercy.

“You say our system is heartless and calculating." I do, and that because I think it; and I think it because Mr. Holyoake will not discuss without a guarantee of two guineas per night, nor Mr. Barker without half of the proceeds ; and you excuse yourselves for doing nothing but find fault with everybody else by alleging that you are persecuted. But you tell me the Christian system

Who can pre

is "heartless, infamous, and immoral," because it represents the Diety as “ drowning a world because the creatures of his hands had gone astray," and "consigning the majority of men to “utter and endless misery." Nothing could be further from the truth. Christ came to save men from the sin, whose consequences are so terrible and so just. And, if men in their selfishness, and depravity render themselves a curse to society, who shall dare to blame the Judge of all that they meet a self-chosen and merited doom.

You do not like my advice to the "two dear friends,” to discuss whether either of them can be trusted. But if they cannot be trusted, how will they upset orthodoxy as you expect ? They are proofs that human nature is not a sufficient guarantee for morality. I do not object to a friendship between the two gentlemen; I only say that it is worth nothing, if it is not founded on mutual esteem. "Does Christianity, you ask, not enjoin forgiveness ?" It does, but they believe in neither Christianity nor forgiveness. I do not wish to see them get up a quarrel,” but I wish the working classes to see that, if they could call each other hypocrites without reason, their invectives against the Bible are not to be relied on. Why should I fear Mr. Barker ? An opponent who tries to drown your voice by noise, to drive you from the platform, who will not debate with you on fair and honourable terms, is surely not to be dreaded. I have accepted his challenge both at Newcastle, Sunderland, Northampton, and Liverpool, yet he is likely to get away to America without our having a discussion.

I have nothing to alter in the account which I gave of my meeting with Mr. B. in the Music Hall here. You say I laughed at his reply. If I did, it was involuntarily: and you surely cannot blame one who is the creature of circumstances.” I do not pretend that my audiences are perfect, or that they always treat opponents with becoming courtesy ; but I use all my influence to lead them to do so, which Mr. Barker does not. On this point I am willing that you should judge of me by my deeds. Have I ever failed in exerting all the influence that I have in securing for opponents at my lectures a fair and patient hearing ?

You call upon me to point to one Secular society that has changed its name. Do you not know that the Liverpool Secularists call themselves, “The Free Protestant Association ?"

You assure me that the Newcastle Secular Society is not “dead;" is it then asleep? You ask me if I brought “the Young Men's Christian Association " to an untimely end. I never either lectured for that society, nor had any connection with it. You tell me that you "can afford to let my standing offer of debate stand, until I become better acquainted with you than to address you as Infidels.” If it displeases you, I am sorry that I cannot find a name more descriptive of your position. But why do you find fault with it when your leader, who declares he has nothing to be ashamed of in the past, said broadly, “ I am

also an Infidel," and when Mr. Barker still frequently uses the name. You will not surely from dread of a mere ňáme withhold light from the people. Noble character has often ere now thrown a halo of glory around a name of reproach.

Finally, be assured, I hăve no interest either to talk or write you down. Yourselves I should be glad to serve if it is in my po ver; your creed, Í regard as one of the poorest and emptiest ever propounded, and will say so as long as

1 can prove it. As you pray that one day, I may be found battling as constantly, earnestly, and bravely for the Truth, as I now do for Error, you will not take it amiss, if I pray that you may yet perceive in Christianity the highest incentive to manly effort here, and the best preparation for the great future.

Yours, respectfully,

J. H. RUTHERFORD.

PAUL IN TEARS.

Whatever there may be now-in the days of Paul, at least, there were men who turned the grace of God into licentiousness, and who ranked among the privileges of the gospel an immunity for sin. And it is striking to observe the effect of this corruption on the mind of the apostle ;—that he who braved all the terrors of persecuting violence, that he who stood undismayed before kings and governors, and could lift his intrepid testimony in the hearing of an enraged multitude-that he who, when bound by a chain between two soldiers, still sustained an invincible constancy of spirit, and could live in fearlessness, and triumph, with the dark imagery of an approaching execution in his eye-that he who counted not his life dear unto him, and whose manly breast bore him up amidst allfthe threats of human tyranny, and the grim apparatus of martyrdomthat this man so firm and undaunted, wept like a child when he heard of those disciples that turned the pardon of the cross into an encouragement for doing evil." The fiercest hostilities of the gospel's open enemies he could brave, but when he heard of the foul dishonour done to the name of his Master by the moral worthlessness of those who were the gospel's professing friends, this he could not bear—all that firmness which so upheld him unfaltering and unappalled in the battles of the faith, forsook him then; and this noblest of champions on the field of conflict and of controversy, when he heard of the profligacy of his own converts was fairly overcome by the tidings, and gave way to all the softness of womanhood. When every other argument then fails for keeping you on the path of integrity and holiness, O think of the argument of Paul in tears! It may be truly termed a picturesque argument—nor are we aware of more impressive testimony in the whole compass of Scripture, to the indispensable need of virtue and moral goodness in a believer-that is to be found in

where Paul says of these unworthy professors of the faith, For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ; whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.'

CHALMERS. THE POPE AND THE BEGGAR.

that passage

Secularism has not and cannot have any poetry. It lacks inspiration. In its poverty it has appropriated the following ode of Bulwer's as an illustration of ihe secular doctrine, Deeds, not Creeds'! The ode, however, belongs not to Secularism but to Christianity. It illustrates James's saying, “I will show thee my faith by my works,” and the cheering words of the book of Revelation, “ They rest from their labours and their works do follow them." It teaches that desires undeveloped in deeds are worthless, and that there are higher and holier faiths, because norê influential for good, than are to be found in the Romish church.

I saw a Soul beside the clay it wore,

When reigned that clay the Hierarch-Sire of Rome ;
A hundred priests stood ranged the bier before,

Within St. Peter's dome;
And all was incense, solemn dirge, and prayer,

And still the Soul stood sullen by the clay :
• O Soul, why to thy heavenlier native air

Dost thou not soar away ?'
And the Soul answered with a ghastly frown,

'In what life loved, death finds its weal or woe;
Slave to the clay's DESIRES, they drag me down

To the clay's rot below!
It spoke, and where Rome's Purple Ones reposed,

Tbey lowered the corpse; and downwards from the sun
Both Soul and Body sunk-and darkness closed

Over that twofold one !
Without the church, unburied on the ground,

There lay, in rags, a Beggar newly dead;
Above the dust, no holy priest was found-

No pious prayer was said !
But round the corpse unnumbered lovely things

Hovering, unseen by the proud passers-by,
Form'd upward, upward, upward, with bright wings,

Aladder to the sky!
And what are ye, 0 Beautiful?' 'We are,'

Answered the choral cherubim, ' his DEELS !
Then his Soul, sparkling sudden as a star,

Flashed from his morial weeds;
And lightly passing, tier on tier, along

The gradual pinions, vanish'd like a smile!
Just then, swept by the solemn visaged throng

From the Apostle's pile-
• Knew

ye this beggar?' 'Knew !-a wretch, who died
Under the curse of our good Pope, now gone !!
'Loved

ye
that Pope?' • He was our church's pride,

And Rome's most Holy Son !
Then did I muse :-Such are men's judgments, blind

In scorn or love! In what unguess'd of things
DESIRES OR DEEDS—do rags and purple find
The fetters or the wings!

BULWER.

6

buubrams of Thought.

Methinks I see in my mind a noble and puissant nation rousing herself like a strong man after sleep, and shaking her invincible locks; methinks I see her as an eagle muing lier mighty youth, and kindling her undazzled eyes at the full midday beam ; purging and unscaling her long abused sight at the fountain itself of heavenly radiance; while the whole noise of timorous and flocking birds, with those also that love the twilight, flutter about, amazed at what she means, and in their envious gabble, would prognosticate a year of sects and schisms.

To be still declaring what we know not, by what we know, still closing up truth to truth as we find it, (for all her body is homogeneal, and proportional, this is the golden will in theology as well as in arithmetic, and makes up the best harmony in a church ; not the forced and outward union of cold, and neutral, and inwardly divided minds.-MILTON.

NOTICES TO CORRESPONDENTS.

The real names and addresses of correspondents required, though not for publication. The Editor does not undertake to return rejected communications.

Our correspondents in different places will do us service by giving us prompt information of what goes on in their localities.

Mr. Johnson could not expect to be attended to in No. 3, or even in No. 4; the former was in the hands of the booksellers, and the latter nearly ready, perhaps, when his note came. In our next number we shall give a very full report of the first night's discussion at Halifax, between the Rev. B. Grant, and Mr. Joseph Barker; and of conrse with that the principal terms of that discussion.

CHRISTIAN PROPAGANDIST Fund.
J. B. Manchester. 100 shillings.
Friends at Annan, 8s.

Where our friends in country places have difficulty in getting copies, if they can secure twenty-four subscribers, we shall send copies direct from the office, 50, Grainger Street Newcastle-upon-Tyne, pre-paid by post.

Communications and works for review to be addressed to the Editor, 50, Grainger Street, Newcastle-on-Tyne, either direct, or through the publishers.

London : HOULSTON & STONEMAN, 65, Paternoster Row.

[blocks in formation]

Hunter & Co., Printers, Grainger Street, Newcastle-on-Tyne.

« السابقةمتابعة »