Obrazy na stronie

however, he suddenly received abundant supplies from various quarters, addressed in each case to himself personally, and sent to aid him in his work.

Let me mention an incident which he related to me by way of showing 'how effectually he was taught, in the whole affair, to rest on God alone. He was in the midst of his building operations, and had to pay the architect a particular sum on a given day, when he received three letters by the same post. He hastened to open two of them, in the address of which he detected the handwriting of some friends he had relied upon for help; but inside he found nothing but excuses, and even indirect censures of bis undertaking. As he showed them to my mother, with the simple remark that He who would not that we should make flesh our arm, would be sure to provide, she asked him to open the tbird. He did so, and found inside an order for £100, sent, with a few cheering words, by an entire stranger.” (pp. 113, 114.)

Help will not be wanting to those whose one desire is to serve the Lord, and more especially in that branch of service which, so dear to our Lord's heart, he laid upon the heart of His people, when he said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature.” When the Church first went forth to the discharge of this great duty, it was numerically feeble, and destitute of worldly means. Yet it was helped, and the extent and reality of the work which was done by so feeble an agency remains on record for the encouragement of God's people in adverse times. The Church of Ireland has been sent forth ignominiously from the honoured position which it so long occupied. As a faithful Church, it testified to that Christianity of the Bible which the nation also, in the deliverance vouchsafed to it at the time of the Reformation, had learned to distinguish and appreciate. Protestant, then, in its convictions, it rejected the Church of Rome, because it was corrupt and disloyal in its testimony; and recognized, on both sides of the Channel, Churches scriptural in their doctrines and faithful in their testimony. What their forefathers set up, the present generation has pulled down, and in doing so has proved how grievously the nation has lost that discriminating faculty which enables men to distinguish between truth and error; and the Protestant Church of Ireland, disowned by the State, has been cast out. She has been not only dealt with as an outcast by the State, but has been spoliated of that which was her own -the revenues with which our ancestors had endowed her for the maintenance and propagation of our Lord's truth. Like Hagar, when she went forth with some bread and a bottle of water, that Church is dismissed to her future with a scant supply; but the sadness of heart which has been caused by this unlooked-for change, bas poured itself forth in earnest prayer, and in answer to those prayers there shall be help. She has the precious seed. Although weeping, let her go forth and sow it; and she too may take as her motto, “Ejactura lucrum.” Casting her bread upon the waters, she shall find it after certain days; and in the spiritual harvest with which her labours shall be crowned, she will find more than a compen. sation for the worldly losses she has sustained.

Under the cornerstone of the building Malan placed

“A leaden box containing a parchment, which I myself removed when the building was taken down in 1864. The document, written in his own hand, ran as follows:

"In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. 0 Eternal God! my God and Saviour; my heart is filled with joy for the mercy Thou hast bestowed on Thy servant in permitting him to build this church. I implore Thee to bless it with Thy sovereign grace, for the alone merits' sake of Thy well-beloved Son, Jesus Christ, my Redeemer, my Master.

"O Lord, according to Thy promise, let Thy Name be there! Amen.

“The Church of Geneva is desolate. The gospel is seldom heard in our midst. A deadly heresy is destroying souls. Christ is no longer worshipped as God eternal, manifest in the flesh, and His merits are likened to the merits of a creature.

“The Lord has raised up in our city, for some years, preachers of the truth, who have withdrawn from the National Church.

“God has had compassion upon me! I have been deprived of my collegiate appointment, and banished from the pulpit of my country because I was faithful to the ministry conferred upon me by man in 1820, and by the Lord in 1817.

“Without separating from the Church, I have now been preaching in this garden for a year and a half in a little chapel. Required for the accommodation of an increasing flock, this larger building will witness the glory of God, for He has erected it. It is my resolve to preach in it the gospel of Christ as embodied in the Confession of Faith of the Swiss Churches.

“« Christians in Germany, (Stuttgardt, Leomberg, Metzingen,) in England, Scotland, Ireland, France, America, and Switzerland, have supplied the funds for its erection.

** This corner-stone, which I pray God to erect spiritually on the Great Corner-stone which the builders rejected, has been laid by me and my house to the glory of the most Holy Trinity.


“« Minister of the Church of Geneva.' « Friday, 28th April, 1820.””

It will be observed that, when he drew up this document, Malan was far from anticipating the secession to which, four years subsequently, he was constrained. On the contrary, he entertained the hope that the restrictions which compelled him to the building of this chapel, would be eventually removed ; and accordingly, up to the year 1821, he invariably presented

his children for baptism in the National Church. Gradually, however, almost unconsciously, the way was being prepared towards the formation of an Independent Church. Although, until after his expulsion, the Lord's Supper was not administered in his chapel, yet discipline had been introduced, so as to constitute what had been hitherto "a mere congregation of habitual hearers, a community of selected members.' In the National Church, all discrimination had ceased to be exercised.

“From the middle of the last century the decay of independent belief in individuals had led to this result, that the Church, becoming more and more confounded with the nation, Protestant rights-tantamount then to the rights of a citizen of Genevasuperseded the duties of a Christian in the exact sense of the word. Hence it arose, that communions in Geneva degenerated into mere national solemnities, which no one could omit without casting suspicion on his patriotism and respectability. In accordance with this tradition, in the great annual fast-day sermons, in which our pastors are in the habit of speaking in a more pointed and special manner to their parishioners, infrequent attendance at the Lord's table figured constantly in the list of the scandalous offences with which the population, considered as such, were charged. Participation in that solemn ordinance had come to be regarded without reference to the living faith in the heart of the communicant, but merely as a thing to be done; and that not only because it was proper and incumbent, but because the doing of it secured the favour of heaven. Impressions such as these were not wanting in other Protestant Churches; they were nowhere perhaps more apparent than in the Church of Geneva.” (pp. 131, 132.)

If the new congregation was to have a spiritual nucleus, a substantial centre around which the as yet undecided elements might gather themselves, and to which they might become gradually assimilated, it was necessary that such confusion should be avoided.

“ Theoretically, of course, there were two ways open ; either to regard all discipline in reference to the Holy Communion as a matter to be left to the responsibility of the communicant himself, care being taken on the one hand to instruct him as to his duty, while all risk of placing him in a false position by the misapplication of rules and requirements was avoided; or, on the other hand, to entrust that discipline to the ministers themselves, to exercise it in behalf of their flocks, by welcome or exclusion, as occasion should arise.” (p. 132.)

For the solution of questions such as these, his biographer considers that Malan was unfitted.

“He had no precedents to guide him to his task, and no other material to work upon, than his general conception of the Presbyterian Constitution. But this was not enough for all that he required. To fit him for his undertaking, he needed a thorough insight into the history of Genevan Protestantism; more than this, of the Christian Church itself, from which the Protestant Communion had sprung, in all the principles of its origin, and all the details of its protracted and laborions progress. Over against these indispensable qualifications, we must set his own alleged total ignorance on the subject, and the consideration that it had never been comprehended in any of his earlier studies.

“But more even than this. To found a Church requires not only a definite and perspicuous creed, a decided and consistent character, Christian charity equally sincere and active, with a heart thoroughly renewed-all this my father had in a high degree-but, in addition to these qualifications, infinite capacity for management, a minute study of details, an ever-watchful caution, and, to crown all, consummate tact, the fruit of an intimate insight into men and character, impossible to a man in an isolated position, from sheer want of opportunity.” (pp. 133, 134.)

To induce individuals to separate from the old Church, and gather them into a congregation of hearers, is a task comparatively easy. It is one in which many are engaged at the present day. It is not with them, as with Malan, a necessity to which they are compelled, and which they enter upon reluctantly; for that which can alone justify such a step, namely, that the Church has rejected the Gospel and cast it out, is not true of the Church of England. Her condition is like that of the Church of Pergamos,-"I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam. . . . . So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate"; or like that of Thyatira,—"I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel," &c. There are errors within the Church; but there is full liberty for Gospel teaching, and ample opportunity to wield in its force the sword of the Spirit, and bring it to bear upon those errors : and thus the Church of England is at this moment a battle field, in which truth and error are in strenuous conflict. At such a moment the active help of all who love the truth is needed, -not a man can be spared without injury to the cause,-yet at such a critical moment innovators occupy themselves in seducing the soldiers, and persuading them to forsake their ranks, and that under the vain pretext of doing God service. Every defect, every irregularity, every even the slightest blemish, according to their ideas, justifies secession; and such is the credulity that abounds, that they find no difficulty “in drawing away disciples after them." But when they have so far succeeded, what shall next be done? If they are to have Church life and Church action, the fragments must be congregationalized, and on what principles shall this be done ? Questions arise requiring, in order to their satisfactory

solution, special qualifications which these men have not. A chaos has been evoked, how shall it be reduced to order ? The strong individuality which has characterized the whole movement, becomes at this crisis of its history absolutely uncontrollable. “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God,” is an element which has little place in the new school. The leaders disagree, and the original principle of separation, without reasons to justify it, is reproduced ad infinitum.

The question of admission to the Lord's Supper, whether it should be open or closed, is one of those which in every direction has been much agitated, and still continues to be so. That the decision, except in cases of open immorality, should be left to the individual conscience, is a solution which Malan never seems to have entertained. On the contrary, he considered that upon himself, in his ecclesiastical capacity, the responsibility rested, and that he was himself called upon to decide. We cannot hesitate to express our conviction, that whether this duty be vested in the minister alone, or whether others, the deacons for instance, be associated with him, the process of human discrimination will not be found to answer. To discern accurately between the spiritually-minded and those who are not such, between reality and appearance, is impossible to man. The worldly element is too subtle to be excluded by any human arrangements. It will assuredly ooze in, and the community become, what it must continue to be, until He comes with His fan in hand, a mixed body; with this addi. tional disadvantage, that, whether really gracious persons or otherwise, all are alike accredited as such, and entrusted as such with executive powers in the congregation. Thus, men of the world, whose judgment is warped, and whose principles are not reliable in spiritual matters, are placed in a position of responsibility for which they are not fitted. The faithful, affectionate, yet close application of divine truth to the conscience will far more effectually fence the Lord's table than any arrangements of this kind, The body of communicants will be at the least as pure, and there will be this advantage, that the unworthy communicant is not officially accredited.

That discipline was exercised in Malan’s congregation, and that to a considerable extent, appears from the following passages :

“I have before me a private register from the year 1825 to November 1863, when my father preached for the last time. It is entitled, “Transactions du Troupeau et de la Diaconie de l'Eglise.' Here we find set down, his admissions of catechumens, the receptions or retirements, and sometimes even the expulsion of members, with a list of baptisms and marriages. It is written in his own hand, and, till 1830 especially, Sunday after Sunday. Up to that

totherwith esecuse judem

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