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on the defensive; and here again, going to the extreme, Christian ministers too frequently substituted discourses on the historical and other evidences for the practical earnest preaching of the gospel. It has been usually represented as though false doctrine was the chief cause of the decline of Dissenting churches, and particularly of the old General Baptists, during the 18th century. My own belief is that this was not the primary cause. My conviction is that the first cause was a decline in vital godliness, caused by worldly prosperity, combined with an overestimate of intellectual culture. Then, when the heart had become cold, the head went wrong. heterodoxy of creed of the second half of the century was the result of the spiritual declension of the first half. Our fathers, in 1770, perceived, with true insight, what was the root of the evil; hence they rightly addressed themselves, not so much to the combating of error in doctrine, as to the revival of "Experimental religion."
It appears to me, brethren, that a parallel may be drawn between the condition of Dissent in the former half of the 18th century and now. Hence the details I have been giving you. During the last thirty or forty years, the condition of Nonconformity, externally considered, has been improving. First one remnant of political and social inferiority has been swept away, and then another. Municipal, Parliamentary, and now, we may almost add, University honours, are as open to the Dissenter as to the Churchman. And our people have been rising in wealth and social status. Friends who, within our own recollection, occupied small houses attached to their places of business, now live in suburban villas, surrounded with all the elegancies and comforts characteristic of our artistic and comfortloving age. For the blessings of this life thankfulness is due. They
are the good gifts of a loving Father, and are therefore not to be disparaged. Nevertheless, are we not now specially open to a temptation to worldliness? In the enjoyment of the gift, are we not in danger of forgetting the Giver? Is there no reason to fear that the accumulation of riches, the taste for luxury, the sense of elegance, the spirit of commercial enterprise, in themselves innocent and lawful, have already had the effect of weakening somewhat the spiritual tendencies and aspirations of our souls? Is not private communion with God less thought of now than formerly? Have we the old sense of the reality and importance of things invisible? Or is it not a sad truth, that with too many professing Christians in these days, clouds of gold, rich, palpable, and gorgeous, have curtained round this little life of earth, and shut out the view of that distant shore, deepbosomed in eternity-to which the immortal spirit, when these pageantries are all dissolved, must take its silent and mysterious way?"
And are we not, in the modern cry for enlightenment, exposed to a like danger to that of the Nonconformists of 150 years ago? Let me not be misunderstood here. Let me not be supposed to imply that Christianity has any affinities with ignorance, or that true godliness is incompatible with intellectual progress or scientific advancement. Quite the reverse; Christianity rejoices in the spread of all kinds of truth. Nevertheless, we must beware of substituting the gospel of "culture" for the gospel of the grace of God. "The sweet reasonableness of Christ," precious as it is, will never be developed in human hearts excepting by the faithful exhibition of the cross of Christ. If, in the pulpit, polished sparkling essays and leading articles come to take the place of pungent earnest addresses, appealing to the conscience and affections, decline will once more set
in, and a new Revival of Experimental Religion be needed.
Dear Brethren, in this closing hour of our centenary celebration, I should wish, if possible, that we should renew the feelings many of us have had on the last evenings of some former Associations. What will the new century bring to us and ours? Where shall we be a hundred years to come? Oh, let us all, ministers, deacons, Sunday School teachers,-all,-now consecrate ourselves anew to God! Let us who preach try with the very next Lord'sday to throw fresh heart and earnestness into our proclamation of divine truth! Do you who are our fellow-labourers endeavour to act in
the same spirit! And let every one of us remember that nothing can be a substitute for living fellowship with Christ. After this let us seek more and more! a heart-felt experience of divine things,-a deeper sense of their reality and importance, -a more abiding consciousness of the Saviour's presence and friendship. Let us by God's grace attain to these, and all will be well both with us and with our churches. Whatever changes the coming years may bring, the cause of Jesus will advance, souls will be saved, and our Heavenly Father will be glorified. "God shall bless us ;" and in due time" all the ends of the earth shall fear Him!”
THE PORTSMOUTH FLOOD.*
As we have recently suffered in our district from a most distressing calamity, it has occurred to me that our readers might be interested in perusing a brief account of the sad event. will therefore proceed at once to give a few facts and incidents associated with the great flood which has taken some lives and destroyed a vast amount of property. On Saturday, the 9th of July, the beautiful and romantic valley, lying between Todmorden and Burnley, was the scene of one of the most terrible and devastating floods that was ever witnessed in this part of the country. The valley is so narrow at many points, that there is only space enough for the railway, the highway, and the watercourse, to wind through it in a serpentine form. On each side the ascent of the hills is exceedingly steep, the rocks rising in many places in an almost perpendicular form. Standing on the hill at Shore, at noon, and looking in the direction of Rochdale, I saw a fearfully heavy cloud, very black, with an admixture of copper colour, which cast a peculiar hue upon the ground, come rolling along, slowly and steadily, in the direction of Todmorden; the line of its march being very distinctly marked. A very high ridge of moorland runs
parallel with the Burnley valley on the south side. The dense cloud appeared to settle on the highest part of the moor, near Portsmouth, about three miles from Todmorden. I arrived at a house close by the road side in the valley, about two o'clock, and had only just entered, when such a darkness came over us as I had never before witnessed at mid-day. The lightning now began to play, and flash succeeded flash with fearful rapidity. No sooner had we been startled by the vivid flash, than the thunder literally danced over our heads, as though it would shake down every building, and shatter the rocky ribs of the ancient hills, and hurl them down in vengeance upon us. After almost every flash, it appeared as though the lining of the cloud had been torn into fragments, so as to let the water out all at once, for it came down in many places, not in rain drops, but absolutely in streams and torrents. In a few minutes the Calder was overflowing its banks, and the road had become the bed of a mighty river. The water rose so rapidly, that in about a quarter of an hour the flood was a yard and a half deep on the road, and from forty to over a hundred yards wide, and was dashing down the valley with fearful impetuosity. The sight
*The writer of the following article does not attempt to describe the whole field covered by the flood, but that part of it more particularly which came under his personal observation.
became truly heartrending. The wall between the watercourse and the road was swept away. Huge boulders were rolled about as though they were mere toys for the water to play with. Some roofing of a house came floating down, and was soon followed by various articles of household furniture. I noticed a large looking-glass, a clothes basket, tables, chairs of various kinds, chests of drawers, books, mugs, tubs, buckets, bed clothes, and all kinds of wearing apparel. Óther things went rolling past, such as wheel-barrows, carts, trees, just as they had been torn up by the roots, were hurried along, and scores upon scores of huge trunks of trees were brought from the stackyards of the bobbin mills higher up the valley. Many men stood watching, but felt themselves as helpless as infants to prevent the work of destruction. Women, where they could, rushed out with their children to elevated positions, and stood in the pelting rain, some praying, some shrieking, and nearly all trembling with fear. Others, not able to escape by the doors or windows, fled to the attics, and getting through the skylights, walked the house-tops, and got down by ladders, or ropes, or any other means. One woman was seen walking the rigging with three little children; her foot slipped, and she had got close to the edge of the slates, when her son saw her danger, rushed to help her, seized her dress, and saved her life.
The rain abated about four o'clock, and hundreds of people were going up and down on the railway, the only road available, to find out who had found a watery grave, and who had escaped the destroying flood. There were many solemn greetings, many tears of sympathy, and many expressions of joy and gratitude, as one and another told of hairbreadth escapes, and of precious life snatched out of the very jaws of death. But, sad to relate, there were other tidings, which told of death and awful disasters. A little above the village of Portsmouth, the water came furiously down a deep ravine, and across a field, where a man with two children was running to get out of danger. The force of the water knocked the man down, and swept the children out of his arms; and it was only by making a desperate effort that he succeeded in saving his own life.
The body of one of the children was afterwards found, cold and lifeless, upon the field, but we fear the body of the other may never be seen until that solemn hour when the sea shall give up its dead.* At a group of buildings known as Mount Pleasant, there lived a widow, named Mrs. Greenwood, and her daughter, in the lowest house. When the flood became violent, the girl ran to fetch help, but in a very short time the house was carried away, and the widow killed in its fall. Her body was found about a quarter of a mile down the road, almost wrapped round a lamp-post. At Sun Terrace, Mrs. A. Horsfall, who had been suffering some time from a cancer, when informed that Mrs. Greenwood's house was gone, and the inmate could not be found, exclaimed, we must all be lost together," and immediately her spirit took its flight to that happy land
"Where not a wave of trouble rolls,
Several persons are still suffering
much, and there is much fear that some of them will never recover.
There was also much damage to property. Including Bacup and Todmorden, it is said the loss must amount to the sum of £150,000. At Portsmouth, the water coming down Green's Clough completely destroyed the large weaving shed, carrying many of the heavy looms across the highway, and it filled the warehouse and the lowest room of the mill with huge boulders and debris. The weaving shed occupied by John Crossley and Sons, containing from 300 to 400 looms, has been so entirely filled with wreck, that people may walk over the looms without finding a single vestige of many of them. Very many warps, and much weft, with a great number of pieces of cloth, and other things of considerable value, were taken away, leaving the proprietors in urgent need of practical sympathy. In front of the Brick Houses the steps and gardens were entirely taken away; and the road was covered with wreck, a yard and a half deep. The houses built over the watercourse at Cornholme, have been much injured. The arches gave way, and the floors and contents of the front rooms dropped into the roaring flood;
*Since the above was written, the body of the other child has been found, after lying buried nearly a week in the mud.
leaving the very picture of ruin and desolation behind. A vast amount of timber was taken out of the woodyards, and what remained lay stranded in the mud, in the wildest confusion. At Vale Manse, the palisades were washed down, and many trees torn up and carried away. The watermark in Vale shed is six inches above the tops of the looms; and in Law Mill and Knott's Mill, the damage done is very considerable indeed. Two houses were completely washed away at Bowed Row; and several others rendered totally untenantable. The most surprising thing in connection with the flood is, that so few lives were lost. Had the storm come an hour earlier, when the weavers were cleaning their looms, numbers would never have risen again to see the light; or had the flood come in the night, the loss of life at Holmfirth would have been nothing in comparison with this. As we look back on our troubles and losses, we have many reasons for adopting the language of Job; "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed
be the name of the Lord." About nine o'clock at night, the stillness and silence of death succeeded the storm. The very elements needed rest after their fearful exertions, and they took it. The silvery moon, with her smiling face, shone down with the utmost complacency upon the scene, but the wounded and bleeding earth drew a misty veil over her face, and wept in silence, refusing to look up. The scene was awfully sublime, yet I hope and pray, that in God's good providence, we may never see its like again. JAMES MADEN.
Shore, near Todmorden.
P.S.-I am glad to say the greatest sufferers among the poor will be relieved by the "Flood Relief Committee," but the special case mentioned above requires very special help. Will our friends help us? I shall be most happy to acknowledge any amount forwarded for this case. J. M.
[One hundred copies of the Magazine will be sent to our brother, the proceeds to be devoted to the Relief Committee.-Winks & Son.]
RAMBLES AMONG THE LAKES. BY THE REV. G. HESTER.
IT is a very common saying, and one which contains a seed of wholesome truth in it,-"That all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." Nature needs relaxation. The strongest powers will become exhausted, if always kept on the stretch. The mind needs repose, and the body needs rest. It is desirable that every one who works either with body or mind, or with both, should be able to break away from his regular employment for a short time, at least once a year. Great numbers of people are acting on this plan. During the earlier part of the year, the excursion in the summer, or the autumn, is looked forward to with considerable interest. Steam has produced quite a revolution in our social life. The steam engine now crosses and re-crosses every county in England. Starting in the early morning we can reach any part of Great Britain by evening. Places and outlying districts, of which our fathers scarcely ever heard, are now accessible
by rail. The sea coast has assumed quite a different aspect during the last fifty years. In many places where then only a few fishermens' huts were to be seen, are to be found now beautiful and even splendid towns. But our watering places are not the only points of attraction for those who are seeking relaxation and health. Our island home has inland districts presenting scenes of surpassing beauty, imposing grandeur, and surprising sublimity. To say nothing of the Highlands of Scotland, we have Derbyshire in the very heart of England; Devonshire and Cornwall in the West; Westmoreland and Cumberland in the North. Each of these counties possesses scenery worthy of the attention of every traveller. The geologist, the botanist, and the lover of natural history, can find something here to gratify his tastes, and satisfy his desires.
Our subject lies among the mountains and meres of Westmoreland and Cumberland. We have to pay a very
rapid visit to the Lakes, and to call up from the past the memories of some of the illustrious dead, whose names and writings have made the lake district doubly famous.
But we cannot rush into this beautiful and charming country all at once. From Sheffield, with its black smoke, its dingy buildings, and its crowded streets, to Grasmere and Rydal waters at one leap, would be a feat of audacious adventure that might shock the sensibilities of those who like to approach subjects gradually, and who prefer to receive the cup of pleasure by gentle sips, and not to swallow it all down at one draught. In order, therefore, to get near our subject without getting into it all at once, we shall notice briefly three places by way of introduction, viz.-Lancaster, Morecambe Bay, and Furness Abbey.
Lancaster is the ancient and venerable county town of Lancashire. It wears quite an antique appearance. The houses are chiefly built of stone, and the streets are narrow, and do not present a very attractive appearance. The principal buildings worthy of note are the Castle, standing on a hill; the Infirmary, with its pleasant gardens and walks; the Parish Church, standing by the side of the Castle; and a new Roman Catholic Church, with its lofty and graceful spire, which is a conspicuous object from almost every part of the town. The Parish Church, when I visited it, was undergoing the process of restoration; the old pews were being removed, and seats without doors substituted in their place. One of the most striking objects in the church is a beautifully-stained glass window, which commemorates the life and labours of one of our great modern scholars and philosophers. Under the window is a brass plate, informing the visitor that the window is to the memory of William Whewell, D.D., who was a native of Lancaster, and died in 1866 as Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. Dr. Whewell began life as a carpenter, and finished it as the head of the chief college of the nation. He was an example of untiring perseverance. He was an honest, brave, resolute, and profoundly learned man. In his mind religion and science were united. His reading was marvellous, both for its copiousness and variety of subjects.
By visitors to the sea-side Lancaster is valued for its market. Not much can be said for the position or accommodation of the market-place. You enter it through a narrow passage from one of the main streets. You come then to an opening of no great width, which is literally crowded with sellers and buyers. Fowls of almost all kinds and size, ducks, pigeons, geese, all kinds of butcher's meat, vegetables, fruit, odds and ends of drapery, &c., &c., are to be purchased here. It is quite amusing to stand by and hear the visitors striking their bargains with the hardy and acute dames of Lancashire.
About three miles from Lancaster by rail, and you then come to the town of Morecambe. As you travel along, if the tide be down, you will most probably see a number of dirty little urchins, with their trousers tucked up, turning summersaults in the mud on the banks of the river Lune. Passengers who seem to have an overflow of money throw them down coppers, the fall of which always creates a scramble and sometimes a quarrel amongst these muddy little moneyseekers. Having crossed the high bridge over the river, and left the town of Lancaster with its bold castle in the rear, there is nothing particular to arrest attention till the train winds its way into the west end of Morecambe. The first appearance of Morecambe as you enter it by train is neither imposing, impressive, nor attractive. But it improves on further acquaintance. The Bay, on one side of which the town stands, presents, when the tide is up, a very beautiful and charming aspect. It is ten miles from one side to the other. From the Bay itself, the town of Morecambe assumes a very inviting and interesting appearance. The houses are modest in their pretentions and architecture, but they have a clean and respectable frontage. The graceful and substantial new pier lately added has very much improved, not only the outward appearance, but also the capabilities of the place.
One of the greatest attractions to the visitors at Morecambe Bay is the noble pile of buildings called Furness Abbey. This ancient structure can be approached by two ways-all the way by rail, or part by water and part by