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place of worship. The Independent congregation of the eighteenth century was, we believe, a secession from the Presbyterian congregation about 1731. In our first volume, a correspondent speaks of Bridge as a Presbyterian. The authorities are all against this statement. Calamy not only speaks of Bridge as a Congregationalist, but numbers him amongst the Dissenting brethren of the Westminster Assembly.
“The spacious church of St. Nicholas, that fine old building, which affords an interesting study for the architectural antiquary, was so arranged during the Commonwealth as to accommodate the two denominations to which the town lecturers belonged. The Presbyterians occupied the nave of the church. The building was stripped of all vestiges of Popery; the Royal arms were displaced to make way for those of the Commonwealth ; a table in the aisle was substituted for the altar; the Prayer-book and surplice were banished. Civic processions no longer attended at the great festivals; Presbyterian simplicity reigned throughout the whole Gothic edifice; the hymn of praise ascended to God not less acceptable from its being unaccompanied by the peal of the organ; and many a discourse full of sound scriptural instruction was delivered by good Mr. Brinsley in his Genevan cloak. His Congregational brother, who lived with him on the most friendly terms, and who exerted his influence on his behalf when, during the Protectorate, he was in danger of being ejected, was accommodated at the same time within the walls of the same building. In January, 1650, it was proposed to the Corporation that the north aisle of the church should be fitted up for a distinct place of worship; but a committee being appointed to consider the matter, it was at length concluded that the chancel would be much more convenient for the purpose,' and that it should be closed in with main walls, where needful, and fitted up for a church house.' An expense of £900 was incurred by the entire alterations of the church, which when complete appears to have afforded distinct and commodious places of worship for the two congregations, so that the Presbyterian and Congregational preacher could simultaneously minister under the same roof. Little difference, if any, was discernible in the mode of worship adopted by these worthy men; but their principles of church government kept them apart, so far as their clerical ministrations were concerned, though they entertained for each other sincere regard and affection.”-Pp. 256, 257.
Chapter IX. gives us a number of striking illustrations of the cruel operation of " Black Bartholomew." Chapter X. brings us to 1665, “ The Plague Year.” Honour is done to the heroic philanthropy of Thomas Vincent, of London ; of Monpesson, of Eyam; of Thomas Stanley, the ejected minister of that place; and of Samuel Shaw, who was ejected from the rectory of Long Whatton, in Leicestershire. As least known, we extract the narrative respecting Shaw,
“He retired to the small village of Coates, near Loughborough, and there engaged in agricultural pursuits, for the support of his family. His fields were ripe for the sickle ; the valleys were covered over with corn; the little hills rejoiced on every side ; and the good man shared in nature's joy, as he looked upon the smiling scenes which spread round his quiet homestead, and anticipated the ingathering of the harvest ; * little dreaming, as he tells us, of the Plague, which was almost a hundred miles off.' Some Christian friends from London came down to see him and brought the infection; for soon the plague-spot appeared in one of the members of the household, and touched another and another till all were smitten, and the farm-cottage became a pest-house. People now dreaded to approach the place;
the master of the dwelling was anxious to prevent the spread of the contagion. There he was shut up in that abode of suffering for three months, tending the sick and performing other painful offices as his own health permitted; for he was himself affected by the malady, but mercifully restored. Two of his children died on whom he doated with a fondness which, in a tone of very fervent spirituality, he afterwards confessed and deplored. One of his servants died; two of his friends from London also died. Thus five out of ten at that time residing with him were cut off. Though he must himself have been enfeebled by sickness, there was no one else to perform the last rites of sepulture; hence he turned his garden into a grave-yard, and with his own hands there buried the dead. What a scene of desolation and sorrow, enough to crush the most elastic spirit! But Mr. Shaw was a choice example of the heroism of endurance sustained by the power of religion. In the beautiful little volume he afterwards published, entitled “Welcome to the Plague,' which contains in an expanded form a sermon he preached to his family while suffering from the visitation, he describes his elevated state of mind during that afflictive season."-Pp. 325, 326.
Charles and his mitred priests had fled to Oxford ; and while the holiest and bravest of the Nonconformists were tending the pulpits and spiritual duties which hireling shepherds had abandoned in the hour of peril, a new engine of persecution was constructed against them by the Parliament, designed to sever more effectually the people and their faithful pastors. This is known as the “Five-Mile Act."
Chapter XI., “Tolerance and Persecution,” illustrates Charles's Declaration of Indulgence of 1672, its capricious withdrawal and the increase of persecution, and
the other events in the religious history of England till the Revolution of 1688. Chapter XII., “ The Three Death-beds,” are those of Owen, Baxter and Howe. Chapter XIII., “ The Three Graves,” are those of three Puritan ministers-Osland, Oddey and Holeroft. They lie in the county churchyard of Oakington, about four miles from Cambridge.
As we have been lately treating of the subject of Presbyterianism at Norwich, we close our extracts from this very attractive book with a passage descriptive of the two Nonconformist societies assembling in 1672, on the publication of Charles the Second's Indulgence :
“The Norwich Puritans, both Presbyterian and Independent, emerged from their concealment, and took possession of part of the remains of the fine old Blackfriars Convent, which was granted them by the city for the purpose. The cloisters were, at that time, standing, with the buildings on the eastern and western side, formerly used as a refectory and a dormitory. These, since the Reformation, had been turned into granaries for the city corn, but being now disused, were accommodated to Dissenting worship,--the Presbyterians occupying the old dormitory, and their brethren of the Congregational order using the refectory. It may be noticed as curiously illustrating the liberality, and probably the comparative means, of the two congregations, that at a court of Mayoralty, on the 27th November, 1672, the officers of the Independent congregation are reported to have brought twenty-five shillings and four-pence, the amount of a collection made for one Cotton's child-some object of suffering no further known-and the officers of the Presbyterian congregation, at the other granary, three pounds, eleven shillings and four-pence, for the relief of the same individual. Our Norwich Nonconformists must have been respected by their fellow.citizens, or the latter would not have permitted them to assemble in a place which was public property, and under the control of the Corporation."Pp. 337, 338.
Apprehensions and Hopes, excited by the recent
Revolution in France: a Discourse delivered on March 5, 1848. By John James Tayler, B.A. No event in modern history has more startled the world by its suddenness, at the same time that it has satisfied them by its justice, than the recent expulsion from his throne and kingdom of the crafty yet short-sighted King of the French. The event has naturally occupied the attention of every thoughtful man, whether politician, philosopher or divine. No one has written upon the subject more wisely or benevolently than Mr. Tayler in this discourse, delivered to his congregation at Brook Street, Manchester. It has been his lot to witness two Revolutions in the neighbour-land, both of which he has made the subject of discourse to his flock, and both discourses have been (and both deserved to be) given to the public.' In 1830, Mr. Tayler improved the expulsion of the elder Bourbon prince from France, by expounding “the Retributory Providence of God," and in 1848, he has been led to re-open the discussion of this great theme by the retribution of which the head of the junior branch of Bourbons is the subject. Both discourses have common topics and similar thoughts; but seventeen years of thoughtful study of God's providence and the history of man, have given expansion to the author's views, and increased the earnestness of his convictions. To all who wish to interpret recent events in a religious and Christian spirit, we recommend the perusal of Mr. Tayler's sermon. We must content ourselves with two or three extracts. The first eloquently amplifies the adage, that honesty is the best policy.
"It is impressed upon us before all things, by what we have witnessed, that a religious fear of falsehood and wrong is the foundation of all true wisdom.Individuals and governments should bear about with them the constant feeling, that they are but men--powerless with all their wealth and with all their strength against the law of God. There is no security for one or the other, but in strict adherence to truth and right.-All false appearances must vanish in disgrace at last. Where faith has not been kept, retribution will come. He who traffics in the selfishness of the human heart, instead of appealing to its nobler tendencies and trusting in its generous affections, who seeks his resources in cunning and duplicity rather than in the wisdom of uprightness--has cut away from under him the only solid ground of trust, and rests upon crumbling pillars the strength of his house. Be not deceived by the show of greatness. Where this inward rottenness exists, no outward support will avail. --The crafty hand may scrape together treasures from every side, and the doting brain may dream of the omnipotence of gold; but there is a spirit working in the world stronger and deeper than they, alone upholding the arrangements in which the subtle essence of wealth resides, and capable in an instant of dissolving them, and of casting forth the imagined possessor of millions a penniless fugitive on the face of the earth.-Corruption may do much to prolong the reign of evil.-But its power is limited. We may have too undoubting a faith in the vileness of human nature.-All is not as foul and as base-as lost to all sense of honour and justice -as we supposed. The poisoned streams flow back to their source, and kill with their accumulated malignity the vicious nature which had tainted them.
“Not less feeble is the arm of flesh, when it is raised against a people's sense of right. It drops unnerved from the conscious want of a just cause. What are forts and ordnance and all the fearful equipage of war, when the spirit which can alone make them formidable, is absent? What are myriads of armed men drawn up in stern array about the majesty of the throne, when their trusted royalty is but the mechanism of discipline, and not animated by any living principle of reverence and love:”-Pp. 11-13.
Mr. Tayler, himself an accomplished historian, familiar with the progress of civilization, could not but feel deep interest in the fate of Guizot, who, whatever may be his faults as a statesman, is entitled to respect and admiration for his service to letters. The following striking passage shews us that admiration of talent ought not to blind us to the enormity of wrong-doing.
“We have learned the indispensableness of moral rectitude to the triumphs of intellect itself. We have seen how the highest genius and a most noble eloquence lose their quality, and become a thing of earth, faint and soullesswhen they turn aside into crooked ways, and scorn and wrong what is pure and generous and free in the human heart.- If successful villany sometimes puzzles and perplexes us, high mental and moral excellence overthrown by the evil of the world and bound down like a slave to its sordid maxims, fills us with a profounder grief, by which our very trust in humanity for the moment is shaken.I know nothing more fearful in the moral aspects of this world, than the power which the evil of inferior minds appears sometimes to exert over the good that is in the noblest. It is as though the Devil had taken a human shape to wither and destroy the fairest fruits of humanity. A constellation of virtues is overcast by one dark and disastrous influence. When evil is deliberately chosen for good even in one point, the Tempter has gained the day; and the many attributes of a noble mind that still remain-magnanimity, which spurned the low aims of personal aggrandisement-fidelity, which shrank from no arduousness of public duty-courage, which, in the pursuit of its aim, could brave all the obloquy and hate that attend inflexible adherence to conviction-as if struck with palsy, shrivel up into sudden impotence, and the hero becomes a slave. Terrible indeed must be the temptations of power, and corrupting the influence of a court, when a mind like Guizot's, naturally pure, lofty and brave-the humane and enlightened interpreter of the civilization of ages-framed by God to lead along with calm wisdom and persuasive eloquence the tranquil progress of mankind in all that is great and good-falls entangled in the meshes of diplomatic meanness and duplicity, and submits to work out the designs of a cunning and despotic selfishness. How irreparable are the consequences of a departure from rectitude! Had another course been taken, how different at this moment might have been the prospects of France and of Europe!”—Pp. 13—15.
With respect to the future course of the Republic of France, Mr. Tayler's “ hopes" are, we imagine, outweighed by his “ apprehensions." He mingles with his aspirations for political amelioration a due portion of conservative prudence.
“What has succeeded the displaced ? A chance-a possibility-an aspiration after reality--scarcely shaped as yet into an actual event. There is much, we may trust, to hope for; much, also, to fear. On the one hand, there are generous aims, benevolent intentions, high thoughts—and down into the lowest depths of the masses, a moderation, a humanity, and an avoidance of the gratuitous shedding of blood, which attest the onward march of society, and prove that past experience and half a century of instruction have not been without effect. On the other, there are a thousand risks of fatal error and incalculable mischief. We may learn much from contemplating the very dangers of our neighbours. At their own peril, they are venturing on a tremendous experiment for the instruction of the world. Observe the passionate vehemence with which popular feelings break forth under a deep but vague sense of wrong, without any clear and definite perception of the right that should replace it. In yielding to that passionate impulse, there is danger of being surprised into a movement, which may carry us beyond our convictions, and of which no mortal foresight can discern the end. We see then the wisdom of an adherence to the established, 80 far as reason does not oblige us to forsake it—as something positive, of which the actual working is known-as an assured basis on which to rear the possibilities of the future. Abstractions which express the purest reason and breathe the most refined humanity, cannot readily be brought down from their airy heights into this world of hard and stubborn facts, and linked to realities, and woven into a living practice. It is easy to destroy; the difficulty is in reconstruction.”-Pp. 16, 16.
There is much wisdom in the following passage. Would that its truths could be enforced on the masses, both in France and England !
“When men are galled with present evils, they look for every imaginable good, immediately on their removal. Popular expectations are always extravagant. It is weak and wicked in those, who know their fallacy, to encourage them, or even by any want of simple honesty, to fail in assisting to dissipate them.. Progress is possible only by adherence to the laws of providence-on conditions which have now been ascertained beyond the reach of any reasonable doubt, by the concurring judgment of all thoughtful men and the decisive experience of a thousand years. Laws must be equal and impartial, not framed in the spirit of party or for the benefit of a particular class. This is a just demand; and society ought not to rest, till it is fully satisfied. But the price of food and the remuneration of labour and the ease and comfort dependent on them, it is not possible for government directly to control, without destroying the very springs of individual forethought and energy: they are governed by circumstances in the social condition of a particular period, which we can no more subject to our legislation, than we can determine beforehand the mean temperature of a particular day of the year. Any government which holds out such expectations, must infallibly perish in the consequences of the disappointment that it will create. An unpalatable but most salutary truth has yet to be learned by mankind-that the blessings of freedom and civilization are not to be achieved by the hasty provisions of extemporaneous legislation. They can only be secured by the combined personal efforts of individuals. They cannot be given--they must be won-won by the moderation, foresight and industry of myriads of men, working together for a long course of years, under the influence of just laws and a free government and unrestricted intercourse with other nations, wrought into their national character by the results of experience, the instructions of enlightened education, the habits of a pure morality, and the contentedness and trust of a religious spirit.”-Pp. 16–18.
The Reformer's Companion to the Almanacs. MR. JOSEPH BARKER, the author of this monthly and most mischievous publication, has latterly become a writer and talker on politics. He is an arowed Republican, saying that the Charter does not go far enough for him; and his opinions he seeks to spread amongst the excited and discontented artizans of Ashton and other manufacturing towns. He enjoins, it is true, peace upon the people; but at the same time he does what he can to inflame their passions. Let any man read the following passage in the April No. of the Companion, and decide for himself whether the counsel to peace, or the apology for violence and bloodshed, will have most weight with an ignorant man groaning under the burthens with which, at the present time, he (though not he alone) is so lamentably oppressed.
“I wish you to understand that I am, myself, a man of peace. I am against all war, all violence. I do not deny the right of an oppressed and plundered people to use arms in struggling for their right; but I question the expediency of using them in such cases. If any class of human beings on earth have a right to use violence and shed blood, the oppressed and plundered working classes of Great Britain and Ireland have that right. But my advice to the sufferers is, • Forego that right; persist in peace.'
In the same No., the question of the value of the lives of the Queen and the Bishops and Members of Parliament is raised by a letter signed "J. Ill-put-on;"
“I used to pray that God would preserve their lives, and save them from all dangers; but now I feel as if I hardly cared whether they lived or died. It seems to me as if things could hardly be worse, if they were all of them to die together. I do not wish them to die, and I am sure I should not like anybody to kill them; but they vex me sadly, and I have very queer feelings towards them at times, compared with what I used to have; and when the prayers for them are read, I cannot help thinking, 'I wish they were better folks ; I wish they would do their duty to their country; I wish they would make a way for poor people to get an honest living, or else let us have some ships to take us all away to a country where we could get a living."
To this letter Mr. Barker prints a reply, signed “ A Reformer,” in which he
“The Queen gets above a million pounds a year, and it is strange indeed if she cannot do something for the country for all that. If she is so situated that she cannot help the country, she ought to give up her place and her wages, and get another situation.”
Many of our readers will, we doubt not, in common with ourselves, deplore the use to which Mr. Barker is thus putting his gift steam-press. Once for all, we express our deep regret at the course he has seen fît to pursue, and having thus eased our conscience, shall not hereafter think it necessary to notice his doings or sayings.
The Congregational Year-Book for 1847. London---Jackson and Walford.
8vo. Pp. 180. This is a valuable collection of statistics relating to the progress of the Independents. It contains the proceedings of the Congregational Union of England and Wales and its confederated societies for that year, together with supplementary information respecting ministers, new chapels, schools and publications, of the Congregational body throughout the United Kingdom. The managers of Unitarian institutions, and the
compiler of the Unitarian Almanac, may here learn some things worthy of their attention and imitation.