« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
deficient in activity. An exemplary member of the Kersley Society, who took an active part in its establishment, but died young, designated some of these old worthies "two-armed-cheir New Church folk, who would cower i' th' chimney neuk and talk about charity, but take little or no part in Church uses.'
This was not the case with all. Mr. Seddon, for example, was among the more energetic and active. There were also three brothers, Thomas, John, and Elijah Gee, who attached themselves most ardently to the Church. The depth of their affection may be inferred from the fact that, so far as I am aware, all Mr. Seddon's descendants, now in the fourth generation, are connected with the Church ; and those of Thomas Gee alone, in various parts of Lancashire, number some sixty or upwards, besides members who have descended from the other two brothers. The eldest, who is still affectionately remembered by some few of the earlier generation who still survive as “Old Thomas Gee,” took a more prominent part in the affairs of the Church than either of his brothers. This arose from various circumstances. He was an acceptable preacher, and from his travelling over the county with small wares, he was wellknown among the Lancashire Societies, where he frequently preached and was always a welcome visitor. This was not only the case with members of the New Church, but with those of other denominations ; and frequently has he been asked by the latter of what religion he was, when some such conversation as the following took place :
_66 What religion art tu? Art a Methody?" To which his usual reply was,
? ,1 * Au con do vera weel wi' a Methody, so he's a good Methody;" and so on through the various denominations. He could do with any and all of them, if they were good ; and when at length he gave a direct answer as to his religious profession, he generally replied that he belonged to that queer set of folk who believed that every good man and good woman, whatever their belief, would go to heaven.
It is related of him that he was the only preacher who succeeded in satisfying a congregation (not belonging to the New Church) amongst whom were some elderly ladies somewhat difficult to please. Some one having suggested the sending for Thomas Gee, who it was averred would please them if any one could, he was accordingly invited, and
He opened his discourse with his favourite sentiment. “Mau Christian friends," he said, “its mau belief that every good man, and (using increased emphasis) every good woman too, so they are really good, and live good lives, will go to heaven when they die."
1 The usual term for Methodist in the North.
Whether the sentiment was novel to his hearers or not, it was evidently congenial to their feelings; for it arrested their attention, which he succeeded in retaining to the end of his discourse, when the portion of his congregation on whose account he was sent for admitted that they had never before heard a preacher they liked so well.
Striking as was the simplicity of his character, he possessed nevertheless great practical wisdom and judgment. It was a maxim with him, that to attempt to introduce any new idea into a mind already filled with the old was a fruitless labour ; it was necessary the mind should be emptied to allow of the introduction of a new truth. Neither was he anxious for victory in argument, provided he succeeded in impressing those with whom he conversed with some more correct spiritual thought, calculated to lead them to a higher appreciation of the true life of religion.
The following incident which I received from the party with whom it occurred, will best illustrate this feature of his character. The party in question, then quite a young man, like many others, held our friend in high esteem, and, like them, thought it a pity that so estimable a man should be so misled. He accordingly determined to make an effort to reclaim him. It happened that they both belonged to the same benefit club; and it suggested itself to him that their meeting on the club-night would furnish a favourable opportunity for carrying his purpose into execution. He therefore went sufficiently early to secure not only a seat for himself, but a spare one also for his friend, whom, on the entrance of the latter, he invited to sit beside him, when he commenced, and for the space of two hours continued pouring & flood of arguments and objections into the old gentleman's ear ere he paused. During the whole of this time Thomas never once interrupted him. When however he paused, Thomas asked him, “ Hast tu done ?" " Yah,” replied the other, “au believe au have,” “Thou’rt a singer artn't?" rejoined Thomas. “ Yah,” was the reply. “And thou sings at Ringley Chapel ?” The young man again replied in the affirmative. “And thou sings,” resumed the other, “Let th' floods clap their hands, and let th' hills be joyful together,' and (with increased energy) before the Lord' too; now dost tu know what thou sings ?” “No," replied the young man, “but au believe yoo con tell me." This led to some explanation on the spiritual sense of the word, and this was succeeded by some conversation on the Holy Supper; and the result was that the old gentleman laid the foundation for the young man's reception of the doctrines which shortly followed. In conversing with his friend afterwards, the old gentleman remarked that he thought he would let
Contributions to the Science of Correspondences. 235
him empty himself, “ but,” he continued, " it took a long while, for thou wast vast full."
Another of his maxims was that, when he felt dissatisfied with things about him and his family, as like every one else, he was sometimes inclined to be, when returning jaded from his journeys, he concluded that he was not sufficiently tired, and sought for some duty to perform, domestic or otherwise, and continued until he had regained his customary tranquillity and cheerfulness.
When at home on the Sabbath, as may be supposed, he took a prominent part in the Sunday morning conversations. On one occasion, as he told a friend of mine, he felt great unwillingness to be present, he was, however, determined not to yield; so, to repeat his own words, addressing his corporeal part, he said, “Come, old body, thou fanciest thou’rt tired; but thou'll be like to go." And never, he said, had he experienced so delightful a season. The Word opened to him as he was expounding it, so that his mind quite overflowed with joy, till on returning he began to question in himself, whether he had not mixed something of self in the satisfaction he felt : so tender were his susceptibilities to the approach of any extraneous influences. of a truly peaceful disposition ; and on the institution of the Manchester and Salford Missionary Society, he remarked that the missionaries might sometimes have to fight, and urged that, whenever that was the case, they would be sure first to dip their swords in oil.
(To be continued.)
CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE SCIENCE OF CORRES
PONDENCES,—THE AURORA BOREALIS. The recent winter has exceeded those of many past years in the number and magnificence of its auroral displays. Every one remembers those of the 24th and 25th of October last, when not only in our comparatively northern clime, but in Paris also, and Bordeaux, Rome, Naples, and Athens, a large part of the midnight sky was glorious with living
, changing hues of crimson and gold. On Sunday evening, 2nd April
, the sky was marked across, from nearly north-west to south-east, with eight or ten well-defined lines, so as to present a strong resemblance to the meridian lines on an artificial globe ; these lines shone with a faint yellowish green light. But, perhaps, the most splendid display of the season was that of Sunday, 16th April, when the crimson light appearing about half-past ten, and lasting till shortly after
was continually varying both its extent and appearance ; now appearing like the sky-glare of a distant conflagration, and then
236 Contributions to the Science of Correspondences.
making more than the northern half of the sky change from its deep blue dye to an even hue of purple, richer than the robes of kings; and then it was ruled across with shifting rays of pale gold, now shortening, now lengthening, and then disappearing, when the red seemed to be gathered into flame-flakes as from a city on fire.
One of the first reflections suggested by a gorgeous display of this kind, is the reminding us of the weakness and ignorance of man. In our greatest endeavours to command and control appearances of light, so as to produce a nocturnal pageant, how far short the results fall from those which, in such everchanging forms and tints of beauty, stream across the heavens. Then, too, our ignorance how great! If we are asked for the cause of this beauty, we may answer by saying that the northern lights are connected with this or that of the forces of nature, but a full answer is beyond our powers. If asked for the reason of the appearance, or for the way in which it is brought about, silence is our best reply, for we know not either the aim or means. Nevertheless, the change in scientific opinion on this subject is very suggestive and instructive, showing as it does one of the great scientific tendencies of the new age -a tendency which is just what might have been looked for by any thoughtful student of the science of correspondences.
I can remember something of the scientific opinions of thirty years ago, when one was told that the opinion of our grandfathers was a mistake, that there was no reason for believing that the sun was a globe of fire, but that on the contrary it might very probably be an inhabited world, not more torrid in climate than the most favoured climes of earth. To about the same period belong my recollections of graphic descriptions of the horrors of an Arctic winter, and of the alleviation of the long winter gloom by the almost continual gleam of the northern aurora. And how was this wonder explained ? By suggestions which were true in part, and which, like all partial truths, were partially false, and left à false impression on the mind. It is true that often the central point of the northern lights corresponds in direction with the magnetic pole, that the flickering of the streamers was always attended with a quivering of the needle of the mariner's compass,
and the conclusion was true that the streamers were connected with terrestrial magnetism, but they are not caused thereby. So, by passing a stream of electricity through thin air, in a partially exhausted vessel, we can produce a stream of light strongly resembling that which lights the arctic sky. But though the aurora is connected with electricity, it would be false to say that electricity is its cause.
Towards the end of 1861, two independent observers of the sun, a distance of hundreds of miles apart, but at the same moment, saw & sudden outburst of light on the sun's surface, and this phenomenon was attended by a series of remarkable results, which all may
be fidently referred to the sun as their common cause. Magnetic storms, many of the currents of electricity continually playing about our world, and the aurora borealis and its southern twin, aurora australis, are all caused by the action of the sun.
We find that this is the modern belief about the aurora, and, never doubting its truth, we claim it as a result of the advent of a new age, that effects on earth, instead of being referred to their proximate causes are referred to the sun, which of created causes is for our system the highest, and at the same time the truest, representative of the Lord. Does not this remind us of George Stephenson's celebrated utterance, in which, speaking of the motion of a long train of coal waggons, he said that the engine and train were propelled by sunshine, for, ages ago, solar heat and light were drunk in by countless leaves, and solar forces were fixed and imprisoned in that wood which was afterwards submerged and changed into coal, and now releases, in the form of heat, that energy which, originating in the sun, is employed by man as his own, and for his own purposes. When the Arctic midnight is brightened the glories of the sky are derived, not fronı
earth-force but from the bidden but not less potent sun. Here is a suggestive text. Is the temper of the unrenewed heart occasionally brightened by a crimson glow of kindness ? Is the darkness of the untaught mind relieved by a bright and true thought? There is an evidence of the present power of an unseen and it may be of an unremembered God. It is a proof that however arctic the winter of our discontent, it shall yet be made glorious summer if we turn to Him, the Sun of righteousness.
So auroral gleams, magnetic tremors, and electric currents, visit our souls, our heart, and mind, when cold and gloom have gathered over us, and all remind us of the fact that we are still controlled by the power of the
We leave the reader to think out his own sermon on this theme, suggesting only one out of many beautiful texts for his meditation:-“Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil : for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me."
W. C. B.
Reviews. THE IMMORTAL FOUNTAIN, ON THE TRAVELS OF Two SISTERS TO THE
FOUNTAIN OF BEAUTY. By R. EDDLESTON. Speirs, London. A NEW and handsome edition of this little work is here provided for the youth of the Church. Besides having passed through five editions in this country, it has been published in America, and has been translated into French. These are some guarantee of its excellence, which a perusal will confirm. It is an interesting and instructive allegory.
A BLIGHTED LIFE, and other Poems, by JOSEPH DUFTY. London:
Simpkin, Marshali, & Co. POETRY as compared with prose is like the spontaneous and universal language of affection as compared with the invented and therefore restricted and conventional language of thought. All lovers sigh in