Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

12 articles on this Page

l' AMONG THE REUNIONISTS IN…

News
Cite
Share

l' AMONG THE REUNIONISTS IN SWITZERLAND. ARTICLE III. GBINDELWALD, Suisse, July 19, 1892. The Reunioft meetings which, ostensibly at any J Jrate, form the principal reason of the excursions out here, arc tiow nearly over; and the rest of the 'time will be chiefly devoted to mountaineering, j picnicing, and attending the concerts and social; evenings which are held in the large concert room at the Hotel Bar. August will be a purely holi- day month, with the exception that special preachers, such as the Rev. W. J. Dawson, the jjev. Hxgh Price Hughes, and the Rev. Guinness Rogers, will preach on Sunday evenings at the Zuringlian Church; and then in September the Reunion Conferences will be resumed. Up to the present the meetings have been very successful, the attendance has been large, the debates animated, the subjects of great im- portance, and, inasmuch as alS sections of Pro- tectant Christendom are represented, the views expressed have naturally been of the most varied character. The Church of England representa- tives include the Hon. and Rev. Canon Free- vaantle, the Rev. W. Hay M H. Aitkin, the well- 'iknown Church missionary, Principal Kingsmill -Moore (Ireland), and the Rev. A. &. Buckland, MyA. editor of thereclord; the Cengregational- istrf include Dr. Mackennal, Mr. R. F. Horton, M.A., and the Rev. ^Herbert Stead; amongst Wesleyan Methodists we have the Rev. Hugh Price Hughes, Dr. Lunn, und Mr. Percy Bunting; while the chief representative of the Baptists is Dr. Glover, of Bristol. These have already taken a prominent part of the discussion of the ques- tions included in the programme, and the mention of their names will be sufficient guarantee of the quality of the debates. It mar be wondered how leaders representing so many and such divergent aspects of Christian thought can meet together and discuss in an amicable spirit the points which divide them. So far, all speakers have expressed themselves with the greatest frankness, but the Christian temper in which their views have been expounded has preserved throughout the most friendly feelings amongst -sJl members of the Conference. The key-nóteto the discusions has been this-that if the Christian Churches are to be brought together into closer union it must be not by the sacrifice of principles or the abandon- ment of historical functions, but by the recog- nition on the part of allfthat they agree in essen- tials, differ only in matters of government and organisation, and are content to work together i r against a common foe. The first party which arrived were received on June 29 in the Zuringlian Church by Dr. Lunn, who briefly summarized the tendencies appearing on every hand in favour of reunion. The Con- ferences proper opened with an excellent paper by the Rev. Arthur Battersby (Church of Eng- land) on Our common ground: what it is, and how can we co-operate for its enlarge- ment ? Mr. Battersby detailed the pro- posals in the direction of union made by the Bishops assembled at Lambeth Palace, and these, with the exception of the historic episcopate," appeared entirely acceptable to the Nonconform- ists. Against this one claim the Nonconformists, one after another, expressed themselves opposed, and, if reunion will ever be brought about, the claim of th-e Chwrch of England in this respect must be considerably modified, if not withdrawn. So interesting did the discussion prove that it had to be resumed on'the following evening, the Rev. Lewis Hughes, a Welsh curate, leading off. The debate was brought to an exciting finish by Miss Conybeare, sister of the M.P., who asserted with remarkable vigcur the rights of women to equality with men, and severely criticized the priesthood." The subject of the second meeting was a lecture by Dr Mackennal on «' The Meaning of the Refor- mation from a Congregational standpoint." The lecture was chiefly historical in its tone, and was delivered with ail that clearness and eloquence of expression forwhich the doctor is distinguished. He insisted upon the New Testament idea of a Church (as interpreted by Congregationalists), and explained in detail the motives which under- lay the Puritan and Separatist movements. The discussion which followed was a warm but good- tempered one, the warmth being generated by an incidental refertwee on the part of a Welsh clergy- man to Disestablishment; the other points of in- terest being Erastianism, and the influence upon English public life of the Reformation. Points of eentact in opposing views on jiscnatoiogicai subjects u was the somewhat for- midable title of a paper read by the Rev. W. Hay Aitkin. Mi. Aitkin chiefly devoted his paper, which was an admirable one, to the dis- cussion of eternal punishment- a question which most of the Churches are now inclined to fight shy of. Mr. Aitken and the succeeding speakers, especially Dr. Mackennal, were clearly all disposed to the acceptance of the larger hope," and if the opinions expressed at the Conference may be regarded as anything like representative, the old, rigid, and terrible doctrine of eternal hell-fire has been practically abandoned for some more humane and rational position. The duty of the Church to Science, arad the influence of Science oc the Church formed the subject of a lucid, elocuent, and profound paper by the Rev. Wm. Spiers, M.A. The paper on this subject was to have been read kf Dr. Dallinger, the eminent-scientist; but the scientific experiments of this gentleman were at such a stage as rendered his departure from England im- possible, and Dr. Lunn was fortunate enough to secure in his place, Dr.fDallinger's fellow-worker and co-editor. The paper pointed out with grtat detail, and in ornate and beautiful languagta, the elevating character of aeientific studies, and the universality of truth, both sicientific and theo- logical; recounted many instances in whick scien- tific discoveries had been first boycotted aad then gladly accepted and disnaissed in the most posi- tive manner any fear that 'religious truth wouKl be injuriously affected by scientific research. An excellent discussion ensued, a few expressing the viow that scientific training was inimical to religious belief, but the majority being largolyoll the other side. The Rev. (Lewis Hughes (the Welshman), with his fatal dieposition for raising debatable topics, introduced the question of evo-i lution and, while some were disposed to view the; aubjeet with suelpi-cion, the bulk of those who ex-: pressed themselves regarded it favourably, and,| without accepting the details of the Darwinian- system, thought the principle -of evolution had' done much to explain difficulties both theological and scientific. On Tuesday, July 12, the "neral Election party "-i.e., those who were detained by electoral duties in England-arrived at 6-80, and at 8.30 the Rev. Hugh Price Hughes, apparently un- affected by the fatigue of a two days' journey, -delivered a vigorous address on "National Christianity." In referring to the-general ques- tion of Reunion," Mr Hwghes asserted that one of the principal obstacles in the way of "bringing the churches together was the existence ef the Establishment; but this view was far from being shared by the majority of his hearers, federal ministers from Ireland rising and stating that the effect of disestablishment there had been to estrange rather than conciliate Dissenters and Churchmen. The lecturer laid down the principle that a Christian state was to be judged by the laws it passed, and by the adoption of a policy of peace both at home and abroad-a state, the laws of which were all favourable to piety and un- favourable to evil. Such a state, asserted the Speaker, had never yet existed. He concluded by urging that the mission of the Christian church was national as well as individnalistic; and that -I!, J1 wane wieu urdt L ury was uiie regeneration of the individual, their ensuing duty was to reconstruct society in aeeordance with the principles of Jesus Christ. Mr Price Hughes, as everyone who has )ieard him koows, is nothing if not vigorous; and the vigour he am pax ted into the subject was main- tained throughout the whole meeting. Several excellent speeches were delivered, perhaps the broadest being one from Canon Freemintle, who argued that instead ot having a number of1 different sects called the churches," they should jregard the nation as the church that there was lio real distinction between "sacred" and "Mcular"; and that each parish ought to be a centre in which all Christians agreed to work together to advance the kingdom of God upon earth. He complained of the exclusive applica- tion of the term" church" to the solitary function of public worship to the exclusion of the social work so dear to the heart of Christians and reiterated, amid loud applause, the Lutheran doctrine of "the priesthood of all believers." The all-day Reunion Conference was held on July 13, the subjects for morning, afternoon, and evening being Ecclesiastical obstacles to Re- union," "Theological Obstacles," and "Social Obstacles." The morning oonference was to have been presided over by the Lord Bishop of Ripon, but under the advice of Sir Andrew Clark he remained at home, and his place was taken by the Rev. Hay Aitkin. This gentleman, in the course of an elaborate and lengthy speech, dealt with the Lambeth proposals, showed the liberality of the bishops in making them, and asked whether Nonconformists were prepared to make conces- sions upon their part. Reunion he described as' a union sufficicintly visible and -external for the outside world to take cognisance of it. The points to which objection was taken was the claim to retain the historic episcopate, that a bishop should be present in the future at the ordination i of Nonconformist ministers, aed that conifrmation should be accepted as the means of entrance into;, church membersh ip. These proposals the leading' Nonconformists present—D?-. Mackennal and Dr. Glover in particular—declared it impossible for them to accept; and the discussion, which was most interesting, closed with an appeal by Mrs Sheldon Amos to all Christians te unite in securingthe return at Parliamentary, county, and municipal elections of Christian men. The afternoon meet- ing was presided over by Dr. Mackennal, and the devotional tone which be imparted to it in his opening speech was never obliterated, the result being that the meeting, considered as a discussion, fell a little flat. In the evening, however, the interest 'which had characterized the morning sitting was revived fey the opening address on social topics of Mr Price Hughes. Mr Hughes has a reputation for saying startling things, and this evening he startled the audience by declaring his readiness to accept, with flight qualifications, the proposals of the Bishops. From a social point of view bis address was admirable, and the discussion proved an excellent one. The succeeding evening was allocated to Mr R. F. Hoiton, M.A.. the popular and talented young Congregationalist minister of Hampstead, whose subject-a favourite one with him-was Inspira- tion." The reading of the paper taking up con- siderable time, and the matter being of so important a. character, it was resolved to adjourn the discus- sion until the following morning, when two hours and a half were devoted to it. These two meet- ings were among the most successful. That on Friday morning terminated just in time to allow Mr Horton, Mr Price Hughes, and a few others to catch the train, and to be photographed ere they departed. A crowd of two or three hundred assembled to see them off, and sang as they were leaving two appropriate hymns. Friday evening was devoted to the question which Mr Herbert Stead has been freely ventilat- ing recently, viz., How to induce Christian people to discuss the Disestablishment question in a Christian spirit." Mr Stead's address was an admirable summary of the position of both parties to the Disestablishment controversy but the previous meetings had evidently exhausted the energy of the conference, and the attendance was not large, while the discussion was loose and far from the mark. The only effect it produced upen me was a desire to get up and explain the real condition of things in Wales, and to impress one with the amount of ignorance still prevalent upon the subject, and the urgent necessity of prosecuting the Disestablishment campaign in English-countieb. This is but a cursory summary of the meetings which have been held up to the present; the remaining ones will be held during the ensuino- fortnight. In addition to the meetings, English sermons are delivered at the Zuringlian Church, as well as by the Chaplain in the English Church, every Sunday evening, the special preachers up to the present being the Rev. Hay Aitkin, the Rev. Dr. Glover, and the Rev. Dr. Lunn. There are some other matters that I thought of dealing with, bmt these I must leave for a future number.

NEWTOWN AND LLANIDLOES HIGHWAY…

SEVERN FISHERY BOARD.

SEVERN FISHERY BOARD.

Advertising

THE LLANFYLLIN BITING CASE.

Advertising

THE WELSHPOOL SHOOTING CASE.

THRILLING LIFEBOAT SCENES.

DISTRICT COUNTY COURTS.

" GALLANT LITTLE WALES."-

Advertising