« ElőzőTovább »
gelische Kirchen Zeitung," which communicates general information respecting the Church of Christ. The editor is Monsieur E. W. Hengstenberg, S.' T. P., Berlin. There is also another in this connexion of a more literary character, intituled, “ Litterarisches Ansager," edited by Dr. Tholuck, of Halle.
Mr. Fliedner has published an account of the state of religion in Holland, as the result of his personal inquiries in that country. He stated to me that the number of Calvinist congregations there is 1300; of Lutheran, 50; of Remonstrant, 20; and of Mennonite, 110. If the committee wish to enter into any correspondence with the Dutch ministers, they can communicate with the Rey. Mr. De Vries, and the Rev. Mr. Van den Stam, both of Rotterdam. Their missionary meeting is in October. I was indeed at Rotterdam, but had no opportunity of calling upon those ministers, as I had already occupied seven weeks on my tour, and was hastening home, which I assure you I felt to be England“ with all its faults :" though I have to acknowledge, with much gratitude, the uniform courtesy and Christian affection with which I was received as the representative of the churches connected with the Congregational Union of England and Wales. I trust that some new and interesting relations have thus been entered into with our continental brethren ; and if little has been done in the way of external alliance, yet that a path has been opened which will lead to it in future years. Some of our brethren on the continent require sympathy and assistance; and I hope that they will find both ready to be extended to them from the Congregational Union; and that, whenever they may visit our country, they may be received with marked hospitality, and affectionate and liberal aid in their painful and laborious efforts to withstand the errors and the infidelity of the continent, and to extend and establish the knowledge and practice “ of the truth as it is in
With the best wishes for the increasing stability and usefulness of the Union in all its members as well as in its totality; and with the most respectful tender of these my imperfect services, to the candid regard of the committee,
I am, my dear Brethren,
JOSEPH TURNBULL. CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH, LYONS. In the letter of the Rev. Joseph Turnbull, which appeared in our last number, pages 60, 61, there is an interesting account of the church that has been collected by the labours of that faithful servant of Christ, M. Adolphe Monod. Since the visit of our esteemed brother to that city, events highly interesting to the Protestant churches of France in general, and to that of Lyons in particular, have occurred. On the 17th of August last, M. the Minister of Public Instruction in France, nominated M. Adolphe Monod to a chair in the faculty of the Protestant College at Montauban, and on the 17th of November that gentleman was installed in the Hall of the Faculty, which could not contain the crowd of persons of all ranks and denominations who thronged to hear the eloquence of their new and justly celebrated Professor. M. Monod naturally felt the greatest anxiety about leaving the beloved people at Lyons, for whom he had laboured and suffered so much. The providence of God appears to have facilitated his course by the appointment of M. Cordès to succeed him, who is a pastor of an eminently devoted spirit, and one in whose hands M. M. leaves the people with great confidence.
By a letter from M. L. Moureton, the respected deacon of the church at Lyons, we learn that converts from a worldly and heartless protestantism on one hand, and from a blind and bigoted Romanism on the other, are from time to time added to their little community, and that they earnestly desire the prayers and sympathies of their brethren in Christ in Britain.
These sympathies and prayers we trust will not be withheld, for as Mr. Turnbull has beautifully remarked _ “ The church at Lyons stands like the Eddystone Lighthouse, in the midst of a sea sometimes deceitfully calm and
again boisterously raging, but they are founded on' The Rock,' against which the gates of hell shall never prevail."
CONGREGATIONAL UNION OF IRELAND. The quarterly meeting of the Northern Congregational Association of the “Congregational Union of Ireland” was held in Carrickfergus, on Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan, 10 and 11. On Tuesday evening, the Rev. James Godkin, of Armagh, preached an admirable and impressive sermon on the marks of the true Church. The Rev. Gentleman selected as his text the appropriate words of the Apostle Paul in 1st Timothy, 3d chapter" The Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” – After a luminous exposition of the passage, be ably illustrated the following characteristics of the true Church :-1. Spirituality. 2. Catholicity. 3. Unity. 4. Purity. 5. Perpetuity. These particulars were illustrated and confirmed in a manner worthy of the popular author of the “ Guide to the Church of Christ.” On Wednesday morning, a very interesting meeting was held for social prayer, with special reference to the extension of the cause of truth in Ireland. During the course of the day, the Ministers and other friends connected with the Associated Independent Churches met for friendly conference and the transaction of business connected with the Missionary operations of the Union in the Northern district. Cheering intelligence was communicated of the prosperous state of several Missionary stations, and of the recent establishment of two new Independent Congregations in the North. Applications were also laid before the Association from two young Gentlemen of talent and piety-one a student of Trinity College, and the other a student in the Belfast College, who, after mature consideration, had resolved to connect themselves with the Independent body. Arrangements will be made to provide for the theological studies of these interesting men, and others who are likely to follow their example.
On Wednesday evening, a truly excellent sermon was preached by the Rev. James Hanson, of Dungannon, on the prospects of the Church of Christ. Mr. Hanson selected as his text Ps. lxxxvii. 3_ Glorious things are spoken of thee, O City of God," and in a very happy manner explained the prospects of the Church of God in this and every land, as follows:-1. The citizens shall be numberless. 2. The wealth boundless. 3. The order complete. 4. The safety perfect. 5. The happiness unmixed. 6. The duration eternal. The Rev. James Carlile of Belfast conducted the devotional services. The attendance was numerous, and the interest during the various services was fully sustained. The next meeting of the Association will be held in Moy--the Rev E. Brown of Carrickfergus to preach on the responsibilities of the Christian Church.
NONCONFORMIST CHURCHWARDENS. We have been favoured with an authentic copy of the judgment recently pronounced by Dr. Phillimore, on the appointment of a member of the Society of
Friends to the office of Churchwarden. The reasonings of that learned civilian appear to us both sound and conclusive, and as applicable to the principles of an Independent or a Baptist, as to those of a Quaker. As Easter approaches, this question deserves the serious attention of every dissenter liable to be called to fulfil the duties of an office so incompatible with his principles. In the Court of the Archdeacon of London, 25th November, 1836.
ADEY v. THEOBALD. Sentence.- Dr. Phillimore. “ The present question arises with respect to the eligibility of a person to serve as churchwarden, in the parish of All-hallows, London Wall. It is an application on the part of the church warden, regularly
chosen, and who has taken upon himself the exercise of the office, in the name, and on the behalf of the parish, to compel the other person, who has been chosen a churchwarden, who is a member of the Society of Friends, to take upon him the functions of the office. There is no question as to the competency of the vestry, or as to the mode in which the churchwardens were elected. The sole point at issue is, whether I shall compel the party thus brought before the court, to take upon himself the discharge of the office.
* When the question first came to the view of the court, and I was called upon, to assign the party to take upon himself the office, I confess I felt startled at the proposition, I felt that not only the person proceeded against, but that an ecclesiastical judge, might justly entertain scruples, with respect to such a proceeding, and with that view, I was willing to give the parish an opportunity of reconsidering the question, and of reflecting, whether the choice they had made was a judicious choice. I am disposed to hold a strong opinion, from my experience, which has been pretty long, of the churchwardens of the metropolis, that the duties of this office are least adequately performed, where they are exacted from persons of different religious persuasions from the established church; persons so circumstanced, do not perform these functions with the same spirit and zeal, as those who are members of the established church. The parish have re-considered the question, and persist in calling upon me to compel this person to take upon himself the office of churchwarden. Mr. Theobald has stated his objections in an act and petition, the parish have replied to them, and Mr. Theobald has put in a rejoinder; an affidavit has been made by the vestry clerk, confirming the allegation, that this gentleman was duly elected, and has refused to assume the office of churchwarden, and this is the evidence on which I am to decide the question:
" In the first place, it seems to me extremely injudicious in members of the established church, to compel persons, whose religious principles are so well known as this gentleman's are, to discharge duties, which all who take upon themselves the office of church wardens are bound to do; and for this reason, I have beeu anxious to look out any authority on the point-any authority that is, in which any court, in a contested suit, has compelled a Quaker to take upon himself the execution of such an office. I am not aware of any such authority, and I must therefore take the case as one prima impressionis. I have been reminded that several persons of this gentleman's persuasion have taken upon themselves this office, and undoubtedly my own recollection furnishes me with several examples to that effect. But it has always appeared to me an extraordinary anomaly, that dissenters should be constituted the guardians and keepers' of our established church (for thus they are termed by high* authority), and take upon them an office like this, with the functions belonging to it, so closely and intimately connected with our church. There are various duties of the office of a churchward n, pointed at and enjoined by the ecclesiastical law, which this person could not perform. Many of the canons of 1603; the 19th, 50th, 52nd, Both, 83rd, 84th, 85th, 109th, 110th, 111th, 112th, prescribe daties to a churchwarden, which it would be incompetent for a Quaker to perform : such, for instance, as the preserving order during divine service; and there are duties also prescribed by the Rubric as attached to the office of churchwarden, and implying eren the necessity of their presence at the administration of the sacrament itselt, which it is utterly impossible for this person, with a strict adherence to conscience, to perform. There is an old case in 1st Levintz, p. 169, Hill v. Fleurer, in which a church warden was tried for an assault, for palling off the hat of a person during divine service. In the report of the case, it is said, that the justification was, that the party proceeded against was guardian of the church, and that was held to be good, that a church warden was justified in preserving decorum during divine service, for the reporter says, how could he act as guardian of the church, and bound to present offenders to the ecclesiastical court, if he permitted any one to be guilty of this irreverence and indecency during divine
service. But a churchwarden, of the sect in question, would not only not take oft the hat of another person, but it would be part of the formal discipline of his vaste, to wear his own. But looking to Prideaux, who has been cited for another purpose at the bar, he thus details the duties of a churchwarden. By the duties of his office, he is obliged to be present in the parish church, of which he is churchwarden, on all Sundays and Holydays, to take notice of the absence of such parishioners as do not come to the said church, in order to present them for the same; and also to take care that no disorder be committed in the said church or churchyard during divine service and sermon, and that all things be kept in order and quiet.'
“ In my search for cases, I find a case decided by Sir William Scott in 1789, the case of Anthony v. Segur, 1st Haggard, p. 9, in which, the question was not the same as this, but the question was, whether an alien-born conld be compelled to serve the office of churchwarden. Sir William Scott there held that offices the most ministerial, left a discretion to the judge not to join in an illegal act; and he illustrated this by saying, that if a parish were to return a Papist, or a Jew, or a child of ten years old, or a person convicted of felony, he conceived the ordinary would be bound to reject such a person. Now, what do I collect from this case ? that in the judgment of Sir William Scott, if the person presented by a parish, should be a Papist or a Jew, the ordinary would not compel that person to perform the duties of the office, and I should like to know the distinction between a Roman Catholic and a Quaker, or why even a Jew might not be liable, if it were a matter of course that he might serve by deputy.
56 It has been said that I am bound by the Toleration Act to compel any dissenter who may be chosen by the parish to serve this office. It is true that the statute referred to allows dissenters to act by deputy, but I am yet to learn how such a permission is to be construed as compulsory upon the ecclesiastical judge, to admit all dissenters, of every description, to the discharge of this office. Such a construction would be totally irreconcileable with the dictum of Lord Stowell, with respect to Papists and Jews, in the case of Anthony v. Segur.
“ Again; it has been argued that Prideaux has not inserted Quakers in the list of those persons who are not liable to fill this office : but in the enumeration given by Prideaux, we do not find an alien, a Jew, or a Papist. What then do I infer from this? That there may be cases, in which there is a discretion in the Court, whether it shall feel itself called upon to enforce the performance of these duties. The obligation is not compulsory on all. I must not be understood to say that all dissenters are exempted, or to specify whether any, and if any, what class may be exempted. If that question comes before me, it will then be time to distinguish between the cases, according to circumstances and facts. Far be it from me to allow any assumption of a religious cloak, to prevent persons from discharging a legal obligation ; but the Society of Friends are known; they are a marked and peculiar caste-are privileged even as to their exemption from the forms of marriage, enjoined by the legislature-their tenets, doctrines, and habits, are recognised to be such, as to make it impossible to consider that they can dis. charge the duties of churchwarden. Having the means of knowing the conscientious scruples of this sect, a judge of an ecclesiastical court ought seriously to pause, not only before be attempts to violate the religious scruples of this class of persons, but also for the purpose of asking himself, whether he can conscientiously admit into the bosom of our church, persons who are disqualified from obeying her sanctions, and giving full force and effect to her institutions and ordinances.
« Upon the whole, from the best consideration I can apply to the case, I have come to the determination, that the parish must proceed to the election of some other person, as I will not compel this individual to serve the office. And consequently I dismiss Samuel Theobald from further observance of justice in this case."
OBITUARY NOTICES AND RECENT DEATHS. On the 11th of January, 1837, at Sudbury, Suffolk, in the 84th year of his age, the Rev. Joan MEAD RAY, Pastor of the Congregational Church in that town. That venerable minister was educated at Homerton College, under Drs. Conder and Fisher, and entered on the duties of his pastoral care at Sudbury in 1774. During a residence of sixty-three years did this amiable and holy man faithfully and affectionately fulfil the duties of his ministry amongst a people who loved and venerated his many excellencies. Although his lengthened life is not marked by many striking incidents or unusual changes, yet it is due to his memory to say, that he was in advance of most of the ministers of his own standing in enlightened views of religious freedom, and in prayerful zealous efforts for the cause of missions at home and abroad. He, therefore, took a decided part for the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts in 1789, when he preached a sermon before the dissenting deputies of Suffolk, assembled at Stow Market, which he afterwards published, under the title of “ Christian Liberty; or, the right of prin vate judgment asserted." Although the efforts of the dissenters then were sucCESSfully resisted, yet he was spared not only to witness the triumph of that principle, but to see his own son, Mr. Sheppard Ray, sustaining the magisterial Office in the borough of Ipswich. He was an active member of the Suffolk County Association, which has the honour of being the first religious body of dissenters that declared their abhorrence of the slave trade and slavery, in which proceedings Mr. Ray took an important part. At the general meeting of the friends of missions, held in London on Monday evening, Sept. 21, 1795, for the establishment of The Missionary Society, Mr. Ray attended, and was one of the first ministerial directors of that venerated Society. We believe that there is now but one minister living of the goodly band whose names were enrolled on that occasion. In May, 1800, he preached at the Tabernacle one of the anniversary sermons, and continued a steady friend to the Society during life. Mr. Ray's high respectability and long standing frequently pointed him out as a suitable minister to undertake solemn public services. Thus in 1801 he was called to preach on the death of his venerated friend, the Rev. Isaac Toms, of Hadleigh, who attained to his 91st year. Mr. Ray pourtrayed him as “ an old disciple," and in that sermon it is pleasing to observe many circumstances and traits which are strikingly applicable to his own character. He also gave to the public a brief memoir of the life, and character, and writings, of his honoured father in the ministry, the Rev, and learned Thomas Harmer, of Wattisfield, which was published in the European Magazine for 1792. At that period of life, when the popularity of many ministers begins to wane, Mr, Ray had the pleasure to be surrounded by a liberal and affectionate people, who rebuilt their ancient meeting-house, in a handsome and substantial style, and which was followed by the choice of a young minister, the Rev. W. Wallis, from Homerton College, to be co-pastor with their now aged friend. For several years before his death he was afflicted with such a failure of sight, as deprived his people of his faithful and affectionate discourses. Still, however, he could aid their devotions, and it was highly interesting to behold him offering prayer in public, with a countenance lighted with devout and affectionate emotions. His last illness was only of a few days continuance, so that he was not long detained from the bouse of God on earth before be was admitted with calm tranquillity to his Father's house above. After a public life of sixtythree years in the same town, characterized by eminent integrity, urbanity, and charity, his removal naturally called forth the expressions of universal respect and affection from all classes of the community.
On Saturday, January 21st, at bis house on Tombland, Norwich, in his 67th year, Mr. WILLIAM YOUNGMAN. His last illness was brief, and unattended by severe suffering; and its close was literally the sleep of death - for he had recently fallen into a slumber, during which, at some unperceived moment, his spirit took its flight. Seldom, indeed, bas a more serene and peaceful end terminated a more valuable life ; and seldom has death removed one respecting whom, more universally and more justly, would the question be asked - Who