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No greater contrast could be than between his son in the gospel, David Stoner, and himself. Dawson was striking to eccentricity, figurative, full of graphic illustration, and withal very earnest. Stoner, pure Stoner, pure in diction, and sweet in expression, ornate, chaste, but like holy oil descending and beautifying everything he touched. Some of his admirable sermons are vividly on my mind and memory to this day. If ever I was in danger of man idolatry, it was at this time; and yet there were before me greater things than these.
Methodist born, and methodistically trained, I seldom heard any other preachers; and at this time I went to the opening of a chapel near Bradford, where the late eloquent Robert Newton (not Doctor then) preached the two sermons. appearance was most commanding, his voice perfect, his manner inimitable, and his sermons full to overflowing of admirable thoughts, every one of which was made to tell on the audience. I thought then, and I still think, that Robert Newton was the prince of English pulpit orators. No reasonable distance ever prevented me at this time from hearing him; and it was my highest ambition to take a coal from his eloquent altar to touch my lips and heart. On one occasion only, in the midst of very many, did I ever know him to fail; and I got more correct notions from his preaching as to the really popular and useful, than from all the men I ever heard. His volume of sermons, though faithful records of his ministry, want all the vivacity and power which so distinguished his pulpit efforts. It was worth a fair journey to hear him give out the first line of one of his favourite hymns
"A thousand oracles divine."
His noble Christian life, in his biography by Jackson, is very good;
but it ought to have been a thousand times better. No other such man the Wesleyans ever had; and I doubt, "taking him all in all, if we ever see his like again." And how gloriously the aged veteran died, exclaiming, "Farewell sin; farewell death. Praise the Lord."
Many, very many, men were superior to Dr. Newton in learning, as Dr. A. Clarke utterly distanced him in profound theology. He was nowhere when Joseph Benson, Richard Watson, or Jabez Bunting, were present; and Theophilus Lessey had excellencies of a higher order; but Robert Newton was the pulpit and platform orator, and the man whose labours were more abundant in Great Britain and Ireland than any other man since the days of the Wesleys.
He was, during his long life, one of the chief lights and glories of Wesleyan Methodism. He was the honoured instrument in the conversion of a clergyman in Yorkshire, and who became a great blessing in his sphere and generation- and while Dr. Newton was a Methodist of Methodists, he was singularly free from sectarian littleness and religious bigotry. He took a very influential part in the formation of the Evangelical Alliance, and was eminently a lover of all good men. It is said his stock of sermons was very small, and that he often reproduced his discourses; this, I believe, is tolerably correct; but most persons felt one of his warmed-up sermons was much to be preferred to the regular run of pulpit productions. With his ecclesiastical views and his church polity I had nothing to do; but as a preacher of the gospel of Christ, he did me more good than I shall ever be able to express, and I glorify God on his account. I shall be well contented if I can even remotely live, and labour, and die as he did.
Among the other good men whose ministry instructed and edified me
I mention Mr. Entwistle, whose lovely face and bearing seemed to remind one of John, the beloved disciple of Jesus. Books suited to counsel and help me now came in my way. About this time the Pulpit," "Evangelical Pulpit," and other serials began to be published, and I was delighted to read the sermons preached in London by celebrities from every part of the land. It was no mean treat to read the missionary sermons delivered at the May anniversaries, and other discourses preached on great public occasions. Mr. Jay stood in the front rank, and seemed as a textuary; and for felicitous illustrations, and perfect veneering of his sermons with apposite Scriptural quotations, to stand head and shoulders above his brethren. His naturalness, hist skill in dividing and arranging subjects, his queer but ever telling texts, his rich evangelical savour, along with inwrought experience and holy practical exhortations, qualified him to be eminently the leading Congregational preacher of his times.
I remember how delighted I used to be when seeing the new part of the "Pulpit" contained sermons by the Rev. William Jay, of Bath, and what is more, I never was disappointed. His discourses, exercises, and other works are a real and invaluable treasure to the church, and his catholicity, urbanity, and Christian courtesy gave him as an author an introduction to the libraries of the rich and poor, Nonconformists and Churchmen, bishops and royalty, and has sent him into colleges and Christian hearths to the ends of the world. The eight volumes of "Sketches of Sermons," published by Houldsworth & Co., gave me considerable help and hints on sub
jects, and the varied modes of treating them. Change of residence
brought me into close contact with the other branches of the Methodist connexion. The ministers of the New Connexion I had known from my childhood, and their earlier preachers, Messrs. Driver, Scott, Haslam, and Styan, I knew well. Thomas Allin was now in the midst of his deservedly high popularity, at once a philosopher, an orator, and a humble Christian, honoured and beloved of all who knew him. Rejoicing in the zeal and self-sacrifice of the Primitive Methodist preachers, I often preached with them and for them. The two Bourn's, W. Clowes, and others, I knew, and with their extraordinary John Verity was closely intimate. But my resting place for the while was the New Connexion. In most places of the Halifax Circuit I often preached. At some of the lesser ones I was somewhat of a favourite. At one country chapel I had been sought to administer what I thought was the initiatory rite of infant baptism. At this time I had never heard a Baptist minister, or seen baptism administered, or even been in a Baptist chapel. The old repeated story about "circumcision," "Christ blessing children," and "baptized households," had kept me from supposing that believers only, and dipping only, were the baptism recognised in Holy Scripture. As I had neither heard nor seen, nor read at all on the subject, I was most sincere and undisturbed in my faith and practice. But at length a plain man, a weaver of the Queen's Head (now Queensbury) church, was the person Divine Providence selected to teach me this way of the Lord more perfectly. But that I must reserve for my next paper.
BISHOP TEMPLE ON BAPTISM AND CONFIRMATION.
THE following newspaper notice of the episcopal doings of Dr. Temple, now instituted and consecrated Bishop of Exeter, will have some interest for our readers :
"The first confirmation by the newlyelected Bishop of Exeter was solemnized on Friday, January 7, in the Cathedral, when about two hundred were confirmed. His lordship, at the conclusion of the ceremony, addressed the young people. After explaining the meaning of confirmation and its Scriptural authority, he said there was a stronger reason why confirmation should be performed now than in the early days of the church; for then only those came forward to be baptized who professed a willingness to serve the Lord Jesus Christ, and they were carefully instructed immediately after baptism. At the present day people were baptized while they were children; it was impossible that they should reason at once upon the blessings which baptism was intended to confer. There could not be a doubt that inasmuch as our Lord instituted baptism, whatever blessings belong to baptism, independent of our wills, will be given to us when we are baptized, but whatever blessings belong to baptism, and are necessarily dependent upon our giving ourselves to the service of God, those blessings of necessity must wait until our will is strong and mature; and such were the blessings which were bound up with the rite of confirmation. They were specially bound up with a solemn profession before the Church, and with the keeping of that profession afterwards."
The Bishop added much good counsel, which we need not quote. The extract furnished, and especially the words printed in italics, sufficiently attest two things. First of all, we have Dr. Temple's outspoken admission that, in the earliest times of Christianity and the Church, the rite of baptism was administered only to professed believers; that it was, in effect, a form of self-dedication to the Saviour, as prescribed by Him, and, therefore, something widely different from the act called Christian baptism, as now practised by the Church of England and various Nonconformist bodies. This avowal does honour to the new Bishop of Exeter, and deepens our
conviction of his sterling honesty and straightforwardness of character. We desiderate similar wisdom, or an equally correct acquaintance with ecclesiastical history on the part of many dissenters who have been halfinclined to join in the outcry against Dr. Temple on account of his supposed heterodoxy of faith. One thing seems fully clear he is not afraid or ashamed (and shame is fear joined to a consciousness of wrong) to own the truth, though the declaration cannot prove palatable to many churchmen and dissenters, who want to believe that infant baptism is an apostolical institution. That, secondly, the Bishop, while impelling admiration for his frankness, exposes the weakness of the custom of pedobaptism when he goes on to refer to certain blessings which "belong to baptism independent of our wills," and to other blessings which are dependent on self-consecration to the divine service. What the former blessings are he does not indicate; but since he infers their existence from the Lord's institution of baptism, he should have remembered what he had just before stated, that baptism in the beginning was baptism with the consent, and by the desire, of the baptized. Why, then, should he suppose that blessings promised to such persons can any more be transferred to others, than that rights peculiar to citizenship can be claimed by foreigners till they have become naturalized citizens themselves? It would be curious to ascertain what a man of liberal thought and vigorous mind like Bishop Temple really thinks of infant baptism as a church ordinance, as differentiated from the original ordinance instituted by the Saviour. The Church of England view of it as an act in two partsone part done in infancy without consent, the other in youth with consent (and called "Confirmation")
-is so obviously an evasion of the difficulty resulting from the change made of the primitive institution, that it is hardly possible for the weakness and incongruity to escape the penetration of all men: and as to blessings enjoyed by unconscious children, what alteration is there between regarding them as purely nominal, or as equivalent to that regenerating influence for which Dr. Temple's predecessor so stoutly contended? But Dr. Temple is not a second Dr. Phillpott's; and greatly as we esteem his devotion to duty, we cannot contemplate without re
gret the illogical and indefensible
AN OLD ASTRONOMER'S SAYING.
ALONE with Queen Quietude, the even-
"Springs up surprised,
then, if ever, we are impelled to speech,
the first time last night? No: it has been familiar to me any time these twenty years; but we never know when or how the Eternal Mind will speak to ours. Did Moses, think you, pass a certain bush but once? As like as not its shelter was a chosen place for meditation-at last it flamed mysteriously unburned. I shall not be held to mean myself a Moses, or that sentence for a burning bush, but this, God does speak to man, and no man knows by anticipation where, when, or how. Any common flint struck sharp on steel will give you fire: now you allow the mind for steel, and then everything is a flint with God; thought-fire is flashed upon us whenever He may please. It's a bad metaphor, that steel, say you, because the mind is never absolutely passive. Ah! but the signification is almost wholly with the flints, and you'll find it not unworthy of your quiet observation. Do you admit my "everything ?" You see most people know by instinct that all beautiful and precious things are living preachers; but do most people know that there is a ministry in things cheap as nettles, despised as a beaten ass, and common as a barleycake-a veritable ministry with authentic teachings for us from the central Heart of Wisdom? Yet I must not have some tender youth conclude from this that all his dreamy musings
may be written out and indexed as authentic teachings. How we must keep binding our poor meanings, or they keep fraying out! Not all suggested thoughts are from the Fount of Truth, but some are, and may be known as such: of course there will sometimes be a distressing likeness in the false to the true, but it never amounts to verisimilitude, therefore take courage: truth loved and sought has a way of its own, coming to us often, and revealing such differences as destroy the resemblance between it and falsehood.
The last remarks are only for the tender youth aforesaid, which will account for their triteness; he will do very well now while I tell you how truth presents itself to my own consciousness, viz., with momentum, antiquity, and correspondency; these and more, but these especially. Momentum,
"It strikes me;" we all say that; and even the most thoughtless have felt something of the force with which truth does shake, awaken, and compel the soul to recognize its existence. Observe here that our common instinctive phrases have a deeper significance in themselves than we have in our use of them. Antiquity,-How truth makes me aware of its dateless age I cannot tell. Have you ever been convinced of some great principle without at the same time feeling that it is from everlasting? It came like, and virtually was to us in the first instant of perception, a new revelation; but in the second we discerned that it was only new to us, and old in itself as the Ancient of Days. Every truth seems to say, "Before Abraham was I am. Hence in part the childlike spirit of truth-seekers-"I am but of yesterday and know nothing"-and "I have been as a child gathering a few shells out of myriads remaining on an infinite shore." Then Correspondency,-What I find that is true, somehow corresponds with all of the true I have gathered before. All truth is not the same truth, but every truth is related to all truth. The daisy differs from the rose, but both correspond with the whole kingdom of flowers; and all the true that we come up with, or that comes to us, corresponds with the entire kingdom of truth in God's two volumes.
Here, then, is a philosophy in brief
of truth's advent to the soul: (a) a communication from God; (b) the mightiest and the meanest things are equally the media of its approach; (c) it arrives with a force or momentum which levels the opposing barriers of prejudice and ignorance; (d) carries with it a conviction of its immortal age; and (e) attests its genuineness by a manifest correspondency with the fixed and complete revelations of God.
And so some truths smote their dints of conviction on me with the hammer of that old astronomer's saying (never heed my mere simile; the egg of one's meaning must have a shell, but you can always leave that). Why didn't they strike me with greater force from the Book of books, and a long time ago? Did all the pure, noble thoughts that have enriched your soul come to you directly through the Book? And have you never felt shameful in the presence of truths that seemed to overtake you, turn round and face you, as if somehow you aforetime had passed them by with culpable carelessness? Alas! for us, if we be not penitent and humble; why then it had been better for us not to be.
"God has waited six thousand years for an observer." There I laid down my volume, awed with an incommunicable sense of the Imperturbable Patience, of which the stars that in silence rest over us appeared to be both witness and symbol. Sudden and beautiful, like an awakening at the touch of morning sunshine, still and clear, there was the real meaning of all phenomena :-the worlds and the ages spread out, and the heavenly voices sounding, for man, the eyes of a sleepless love for ever upon him, and the Infinite Heart of all things waiting in passionless calm till man shall listen and look.
Sentiment! did you say? Well: at least you'll not say it's untrue. "There is soul. There is life. Words are being said in heaven; God is looking on us. What are you about? I know that busy men must needs "Lay telegraphs, guage railroads, reign, reap, dine, And dust the flaunty carpets of the world;" but O! my brothers, listen from your work,
"Look round, and up, and feel a moment's space; That carpet dusting, though a useful trade, Is not the imperative labour after all." To say nothing of our other lives, we have these to live out truly, valiantly,