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HUME, MR. JOHN RICHARD-
Words and Deeds of Prince Consort 261
Parable of the Sower
Rev. J. Stevenson, M.A.
A Man-eating Alligator in Orissa
Letter from Rev. W. Miller
40, 200, 500
The Denominational Mainspring. COILED up inside the delicate and complicated machinery of a watch, ready for all the action required of it, carefully protected from the influx of dust, and finely and firmly set, is the fragile steel hair, known as the mainspring. It is encased, and carefully hidden from view, and yet it is the source of all movement. Adorning nothing, strengthening nothing, and giving no sign of its presence save in the “report” it regularly makes of its onward march by the fingers on the dial plate; still, it is the chief force in the whole machine. Elaborate and costly case, elegantly chased face, finely cut wheels—what are all these without that fragile steel hair! Alas! what ?
Well this! Precisely what a Christian denomination is, with all its well-selected and well-placed officials, admirable institutions, missions at home and abroad, colleges and magazines, correct creed and compact organization, collections and subscriptions—but without a deep, passionate, and Christ-inspired yearning for the salvation-the whole salvation, of all men; without a vivid and ever-operative sense of the prodigious value of a single human life, and of the infinite possibilities and unspeakable preciousness of humanity. Case, dial-plate annually washed, wheels, compensation balance, jewels even ;-all there, but a void where the mainspring should be discernible swaying with well regulated movement to and fro. Artists may admire the figures exquisitely cat into the case, artificers will prize the accurate and well-fitting wheels, jewellers will know how to estimate the diamonds; but for all the real ends for which the machine was originally designed it is useless, because the mainspring is missing. Of click and clatter of wheels there is enough; noise of controversial tongues, official bustle, and statistical rattle, and the jingle of money-bags—all this—but little of the real success displayed in a divine power to save men, to save them completely, even unto gentleness and nobleness, to the beauty of holiness and the strength of righteousness. The denomination is there; but the denominational mainspring is either absent, or broken, or hurt.
Guizot, speaking of the pathetic Monod, and the largely gifted and philosophic Vinet, accounts for all they were and all they did by declaring that they were inspired" with an intense passion for the salvation of
JANUARY, 1879.- VOL. LXXXI.-N. S. No. 109.
souls.” Methodism was born in a baptism of fire, and spent its best years in the white heat of a divinely glowing zeal to save men ; and its proved successes are at once its justification and our instruction. It has surpassed all other forms of denominationalized Christianity in the energy and range of its aggressiveness, in the steadfastness of its zeal, and in its additions to the number of the “saved.” He who runs may read; and he who reads ought to run in the same man-saving way.
For this keen and ever fresh realizing of the value of immortal men is success. Christ conquered by it. It is the mainspring of His
power. It moves Him in heaven and on earth. It makes His life luminous with the glories of pity, tenderness, and love, and it flashes forth from the darkness of Calvary in one deep-red ray of self-sacrifice, and is the full-orbed and undimmed sun of His eternal glory. Pentecost begins amid the symbols of flaming tongues like as of fire. Paul, wishing himself accursed from Christ for his brethren's sakes, unveils the secret and invincible force of his life. It is at once the spirit of Christ, and the Spirit of His church; the spirit that always conquers and always must conquer.
Every good-doing sermon is inspired by this exalted sense of the worth of men! It is the tenderness of every appeal, the courage of all rebuke, the warm light of every exposition, the winning force in every argument. It sends men to College, and keeps them there if they are worth keeping; and holds them in the “ministry” whether they get little pay or much, are fairly considered or unjustly treated, are persecuted by false brethren, or have to endure “a great fight of afflictions” with true brethren who are blundering and thoughtless. It is the life of our societies. It feeds the fires of missionary zeal. It prompts gifts -large and small alike. It makes men thoroughly denominational, syinpathetic with every beat of the denominational heart, and therefore and thereby strongly and beautifully catholic in their loving embrace of the unseen but real church throughout the world.
It is the spring of a limitless hope. Working from a living and governing conviction of the incalculable value of ALL souls, we neither despair of God nor man. Humanity is not a foundling cast out in "the Great Thirst Land” with no Hagar to own it. It is God's own child; lost! alas ! how sadly; but sought out and cared for and loved by God; oh, how tenderly! God, our Father, loves all, and is the Saviour of all men. “
Jesus Christ, His Son, our Brother, " tasted death" for all. The Holy Spirit convinces all. We therefore labour and suffer reproach because we have fixed our hope on God, and have learnt the unspeakable preciousness of all souls. His love, suffering so acutely to redeem men, dying even the death of the cross, how it consecrates man, and sheds a halo of glory around his very ruins! The inimitably selfsacrificing love of so transcendant a Being gives prodigious and eternal values to all men.
Such a yearning for souls will compel us to that courageous adaptation of our denominational machinery which fits it for its special work in each hour. We shall sacrifice our method of working to the purpose of our work. We do not keep the machine for itself, but for what it will do. Animated with this spirit, not a fig shall we value our machinery, our College, our Missions, our Associations, our Creed, our name, save as each is auxiliary to this sublime work.
A NEW YEAR'S SERMON SKETCH.
This, too, is the bond of cohesion. We are one in Christ, and for
Our magnet is here. Here is the electrical force that moves all our machinery. Other things unite us our traditions, our associations, our activities—but this is the beating heart of our organic life.
In the recently issued biography of Dr. Wilson, of Bombay, it is recorded that Mr. F. W. Newman was, in his early years, a missionary, and sought, with some real enthusiasm, "to win men to Christianity by such purely moral evidence of its superiority as the lives of really disinterested Englishmen might supply.” He failed, and returned to England to write the “ Phases of Faith." Where Newman failed, Dr. Wilson succeeded, because he never ceased to show that a disinterested life and the Christian family spring directly from Christ Jesus;" he did not make the mistake of cutting the stream off below the fountain-head, and hence the permanent and developing fruitfulness of his work to all time, and among all classes and creeds."
We are in danger of repeating Newman's mistake. There are strong and manifold temptations to forsake Christ; to blind to the measureless possibilities of each separate soul; the stupendous value of each life, and of all humanity. Society invites us to quench our eagerness to save men; spend less on our Lord and more on our luxuries ; to shirk the privilege of carrying denominational responsibilities and sharing denominational work; to think more about ourselves than we ought to think, and less about our fellows, their need and their destiny.
May the Saviour who died for all men baptize us into His Spirit this New Year's Morning! May the same living conviction of the unutterable value of men rule in us which was also in Him! May the same heart of self-sacrificing, man-redeeming love, be in us, and we shall be sure of a Happy New Year for ourselves and for our denomination, and of a richer and gladder year for the world.
3 Yew Year's Sermon Sketch for Yonng Men.
BY THOMAS HENSON.
The year is renewed, but the time is short."
Text: Psalm cxix. 9.—“Wherewithall shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to Thy word.” 1. Your path is difficult and dangerous. 1. It is beset with
2. Slippery with temptations. 3. It is harassed by Satan's subtle power.
II. God's word, attentively used, will be your security. 1. It will guard you against them. 2. It will guide you through them. 3. It will cause you to triumph over them.
You will not go far before you prove the truth of one or other head of Part I. What about Part 11.? To prove the truth of that, you must be watchful over yourself; faithful to your Bible; and trust in God. Consider Psalm cxix. 105.
Our College ; its work and Needs.
At the opening of the New Year a word on behalf of our College may not be unseasonable, and can hardly be unwelcome. Good institutions have a tenacious and beneficent life. They survive their founders, and perpetuate the great principles and aims their founders cherished and held dear. The influence and power of men and generations live on and work mightily in the world through the organisations they establish or sustain. Every new year reaps in privilege and blessing the fruit of labour and ideas the old years gave to the world. In the unfolding history of God's kingdom the continuity and permanence of work for God and the souls of men are thus signally manifest. Wise and good enterprises are wise and good for those who initiate them, and carry with them a present benediction; their effect abides a heritage of blessing for the immediately succeeding age; but consolidated and made organic in living institutions they disseminate wisdom and multiply benediction in all coming time.
Our College, in its work and history, illustrates these truths. 1t saw, with the last month of the old year, the eighty-first anniversary of its actual existence; it enters the new year freighted with the results of past toil and the promise of future blessing. Its honoured founder has long since passed away; four succeeding tutors have followed, the third of them, only a few weeks ago, venerable with years and high in the affection and esteem of the churches; two others have retired-one to well-earned but still active repose, and the other to similar and larger service elsewhere; the first of its students, too, have all passed away, and most of their children; but the institution lives, its traditions of work and service are fresh and vigorous, its pulse beats high with hope, its spirit is youthful and enthusiastic, its power and usefulness continue to grow, and are capable of still larger and fuller growth, and the succession of its tutors, students, and supporters, is unceasingly maintained. Nay, more: the language with which it was commended in 1798 to the kindly attention and liberality of the churches, we adopt and reproduce in 1879; “Where is our love of God, our zeal for truth, or our benevolence to mankind, if we neglect to avail ourselves of any plan, however expensive, if within our grasp, to disseminate the principles and accelerate the progress of genuine Christianity, by procuring a permanently acceptable ministry ?”
But is the College as equal to its work in 1879 as it was in 1798 ? This is an important question, and may be answered by answering other questions. First of all, what is its proper work? and, secondly, how is it doing it? The work of the College is the special and suitable training of an adequate number of young men to keep up the succession of ministers in the churches that support it, and to provide for the supply of ministers for the new churches they may be able to establish, and for all home and foreign missionary enterprises in which they may feel called to engage. The speciality of the training consists in this: that it is designed to fit men to be preachers of the gospel, pastors,