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OUR COLLEGE; ITS WORK AND NEEDS.
missionaries at home and abroad ; and the training is suitable, as it meets the wants and demands of the time, develops and disciplines gifts of mind and utterance, and places men somewhat in advance of the general intelligence and culture of the churches. A glance at the reports of its studies will show that it is manifestly and conspicuously the aim of the College to give this special and suitable training. Year by year it strives after the realisation of this aim with zealous labour and many prayers. The blessing of Heaven has rested and still rests upon its endeavours. Should it in anything seem to fall short, the fault lies not with the grace of God, nor necessarily even with committee, tutors, and students, but it may be in some measure, at least, with the constituents of the College, and possibly in a special degree with those churches that have a voice in the direction of its affairs, but an interest too languid and feeble in its welfare, and a place too low, or indeed no place at all, in its annual subscription list. To provoke one another to love and good works on behalf of the College, to stir up each other to greater and more strenuous effort to reach its high and noble aim, is surely one of the agitations the new year may appropriately seek to revive.
Whether or not the number of young men at the College is adequate for the needs of the churches and of their enterprises, is a question of fact which statistics will throw light upon. In its first fourteeen years the College trained nineteen ministers ; in the last fourteen years it has trained forty-three. But the extreme point of increase the churches attained in the first period was something less than 6,000, and the extreme point of increase attained of late is something more than
4,000, or more than four times as large. That is to say, we have now only twice as many ministers educated for four times as many people. It may be said that the churches are larger than formerly, and one minister has now the pastoral charge of a greater number of members. Be it so; and let this modifying element enter into our calculations and have due weight. Still the fact remains that less than 6,000 members educated nineteen men for the ministry in fourteen years half a century ago, and in the same number of years, just lately, more than 24,000 members, four times as many, educated only forty-three ministers, or little more than twice as many. It cannot be said, then, that we have been attempting too much. Moreover, it is to be remembered that in 1811 there were 58 churches to provide with ministers, and in 1878 there were 179 churches to provide with ministers, or more than three times as many; and therefore, from this point of view, at least three times as many students for the ministry, or 57 instead of 43, ought to have been under training during the last fourteen years. Yet further, as the Secretary of the Association pointed out in the report last year, of the 109 ministers or assistant ministers tabulated in the Association schedules, 44 only were of our training, and 23 were from other colleges. And yet further, as the Secretary of the College pointed out in the report of the previous year, the extension of the ordinary term of study to four years, and the possible extension of it to six, owing to the Pegg Scholarship Fund, make a larger proportion of students at the College requisite in order to keep up the supply of ministers in even the same ratio as before. It appears, then, that the number of men trained in our College has not of late years been proportionate to the number trained in the earliest years of its history, and not nearly equal to the needs of the churches.
That the College premises have just been enlarged, and that there is now room for fifteen students instead of twelve, are therefore welcome facts for the new year, and good and hopeful signs for the future. This additional accommodation, if fully used, will bring the College in point of numbers nearer to the mark it should reach. Fifteen students at the College will give, in fourteen years, fifty pastors for our churches. and this rate of production, though a little less proportionately than the rate of production of the first fourteen years of the existence of the College, will be approximately adequate to the needs of our churches, and certainly not in the least beyond our duty to attempt and our power to attain.
We now come to the conclusion of the whole matter. The college needs just now the special attention of our churches and their special help. The Magazine is surely the right place in which to state and publish this need. The Magazine and the College are twin-brothers, and they have for each other the affection of brothers. When the first of its students entered the College the first number of the Magazine was already in the press. Born in London, of the same parentage, and at the same time, they rejoice always in being mutually and fraternally helpful, the College finding new readers for the Magazinethe Magazine new students and subscribers for the College. By your kind permission, Mr. Editor, and through your interesting pages, the College asks—
(1) For more men. After Christmas there will be ten men in the house; we want five more, and then we shall be full up to 1880. Will our brethren in the churches look out five young men-zealous, energetic, sound in the faith, strong in purpose, full of the fire of a holy enthusiasm, divinely moved to labour in the service of the Lord—and send them to us at Chilwell with all suitable speed. The College asks also
(2) For the revived interest and continued and increasing regard of its friends. It has many friends-ministers educated within its walls; ministers educated, like its Classical Tutor, elsewhere; members of churches who are every week largely helped and benefited in their religious life by a trained ministry, and who know its value ; Sunday school teachers, from whose ranks many a student of the College has come; local preachers, who feel every time they preach—as who does not ?—the need of a more efficient training, and who esteem highly the friendship and kindly counsel of the pastors of our churches ;-all these, and others, are good and true friends of the College. The College asks of them their increased interest and attention; their kind and sympathetic co-operation; their generous and frank word of encouragement and good cheer. The duty of providing for the perpetuity of our churches, of religious teaching, and of the kingdom of God among men, is a common duty, a universal duty; it is therefore, after all, not its own work, but common and universal church work and Christian work that the College undertakes. Who will not pray for an abundant blessing to rest upon tutors and students, and lend a helping hand in the good work? The College asks, finally
(3) For more money, larger annual subscriptions, more liberal collections, and special aid in its immediate financial difficulties. The addition of a wing to the premises, and of seventy square yards of frontage to its estate, with other improvements, has cost £375.
The whole amount has been borrowed, and interest is paid upon it; it never occurred to any of us to solicit a loan from the Building Fund. It is desirable that this debt be paid off this year; and friends would oblige by at once forwarding handsome contributions, “New Year's Gifts,” to the Treasurers, pro tem; the President, and Secretary. There is also a debt of £140 on the current account; and this debt may readily be met by increased subscriptions and collections. Several large subscribers—one of £20, and three or four of £5 per annum-have been called away, and the honourable places thus vacated are still vacant. Many half-crown subscribers persistently and modestly refuse to come up higher; and guinea subscribers increase at a very slow rate. Brethren, the work is most needful; the prosperity of the College is the prosperity of the denomination and the furtherance of the Lord's kingdom; College, Magazine, Home and Foreign Mission, the denomination at large, stand or fall together; and the College has reached now a new point of departure, a new crisis, a new determining-point in its history. In the name and for the work of our common Lord and Master, the College asks you for generous, sympathetic, and liberal help. “He gives twice who gives promptly."
Poetical finish. BRAINS and pains are essential to success in menta! work and literary triumphs. Careless, indolent men, never excel in anything except indolence. It is the diligent hand which maketh rich in expression, beauty, and form. One of the most remarkable and famous examples of toil and thought will be found in Wordsworth’s “ Lines on the Cuckoo,” the continuance of which may be traced for fifty years ! We give the changes in the second verse, which were as follows: “While I am lying on the grass,
It seems to fill the whole air's space, I hear thy restless shout
At once far off and near.” (1820.) From hill to hill it seems to pass
6. While I am lying on the grass, About, and all about.” (1807.)
Thy two-fold shout I hear, " While I am lying on the grass
That seems to fill the whole air's space, Thy loud note smites my ear
As loud far off as near.' (1827.) From bill to hill it seems to pass,
66 While I am lying on the grass, At once far off and near.” (1815.)
Thy two-fold shout I hear; “ While I am lying on the grass,
From hill to hill it seems to pass, Thy loud note smites my ear;
At once far off and near.
(1849; certainly after 1843.) We commend this example of laborious toil to poets and preachers. Let them remember that brains and pains will enable them to do wonders; and that, if they add prayers, they will accomplish greater wonders still.
G. W. M'CREE.
May I not go to heaven without baptism? Why should I not? Christ himself said, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.” I am a believer, why need I be baptized ? Baptism is not necessary to salvation-is it?
Of course it is not. We are saved by faith, not by baptism. Believing on the Lord Jesus—that is life : life here and life hereafter. Baptism is not necessary to salvation; nor is sanctification, purity of life, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, study of the word of God, beneficence and devotion. You may get to heaven without any
of these. You may die a malefactor’s death, and in the last moments of your agony breathe the prayer of penitence and faith, and enter forthwith into the paradise of God. You can go to heaven without doing a single good deed, without securing any grace of character, or rendering any service in the salvation of others. These things are not necessary to salvation, “He that believeth on Him is not condemned.” God is not a hard master. He says, “ Come ye to the waters of salvation;" buy, and eat, without money and without price. His marvellous and manifold salvation is perfectly and uniquely gratuitous. You can have it for nothing! You need not be baptized in order to be saved.
But if that is the miserable spirit in which you seek God's salvation, I must say that you run fearful and awful risk of not getting it. Poor, shrunken and shrivelled soul, care you for nothing else than to live according to your own low desires here, and then squeeze into heaven at last? Is that all you want—to get into heaven, and to get there with the ignoble distinction that you did the least you could for Christ and for men ? Is it in that cold and hard spirit you meet the commandments of the Lord who died for you? In effect, if rot in words, the Leader and Example of All Souls adopted the language of the Baptist, and said, I HAVE NEED TO BE BAPTIZED. Yet He was not sinful. Baptism was not necessary to save Him; but it became Him, it was fitting that He should be baptized that" He might fulfil all righteousness.” If any man have not the spirit of Christ—the spirit which pants and longs to fulfil all righteousness, to obey every known law of God—“He is none of His.”
“Need I be baptized” is not the language of the believers in Christ on the day of Pentecost. Pardoned, and glad they obeyed the Lord at once. They shrunk from no duty. Duty! Not so did they regard it; but leapt up to the height of the privilege, and were baptized that very day, even to the number of 3,000 souls. Not the faintest whisper of reluctance is heard from the people of Samaria; but believing in the Lord Jesus, they were baptized straightaway. The rich Treasurer of Candace does not say " Need I be baptized," nor Saul of Tarsus, nor Cornelius, nor Lydia and her household, nor the jailor at Philippi, nor Crispus--they do not tarry in Doubting Castle; but they arise and are baptized as if they delighted to obey their new King, and bear witness to His grace and power.
That is the spirit in which we should go to our baptism-as a happy bride to her wedding, as a devoted student to his books, as a prince to his long expected throne. To come with sluggish and relactant step,
“NEED I BE BAPTIZED ?”
9 constrained not by the sweet love of our Lord, but a strong sense of duty, or deference to a supposed arbitrary order; and only after numerous wriggles and violent contortions to get out of the pincers of Scriptural logic: this is to rob baptism of all its beauty, and take out of the act all its grace. We should say—not “need 1,” but “why do you hinder me from being baptized into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”
II. But need I be baptized—i.e. dipped, overwhelmed or plunged in water? Why will not sprinkling, or pouring a few drops on the forehead suffice? The value of the act is not in the abundance of the water. It is merely a form, and a little will do as well as a great deal. A thin ring answers as well as a thick one at the marriage ceremony.
No doubt, anything or nothing will do if Christ has so ordered it. But if it be a COMMAND at all, it must of necessity be obeyed in the way in which the King Himself prescribes. Good subjects obey laws: they do not change and adapt them to what they like. If the law says I must pay in a gold or paper currency it is not for me to substitate cowry shells, or bars of iron.
Now Christ has not appointed sprinkling or pouring, but IMMERSING. No scholar whose reputation is worth a fig will deny that. The gospel baptisms were in RIVERS. Jesus was baptized in Jordan, and that is neither a bason nor a font, but the chief river of Palestine. John the Baptist went to Ænon to baptize because there was plenty of water there. The administrators went down into the water, and came up out of it; and, as men of sense, they would not have done that when a few drops of water in a leathern bottle would have answered equally well. Paul declares that the object of baptism is to show forth the burial and the resurrection of Christ. We do not leave the dead on the ground and sprinkle a little earth upon them,—they are put into a grave. Sense and scripture and scholarship agree in saying that there is no baptism save where there is a dipping, an actual immersion.
III. But why need we baptize, or pour, or sprinkle? This is the dispensation of the Spirit. We are not under carnal laws and ordinances now, but under grace. Circumcision avails nothing, nor uncircumcision, but new creature.
So say the Friends, or Quakers, and with a consistency which does them credit; they abolish ordinances altogether. They have no preaching ordinance, or praying ordinance. Praise is not an ordinance, nor is the reading of the Scriptures, nor is the Lord's Supper. Every one is free; all are free. They meet and are silent or not, according to the monitions of the Spirit. The abolition of the external is totally accomplished. There is a visible building, and there are visible men and women; but no fixed arrangement for preaching, or for audible song or prayer; no Lord's Supper,and, accordingly, no baptism.
But, mark, though this is the dispensation of the Spirit, yet Christ's command about baptism was given just before the dispensation dawned, and was, in fact, sanctioned by the promise of His presence in the power of the Spirit. True; He made disciples and baptized them before His resurrection ;. but in the commandments He delivered after His