網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

1864, and on the 26th died peaceably at home in Manchester. The first time I met Mr. Finnie was at the funeral of Mr. Smithson. Mr. Finnie had mentioned to Mr. Smithson his desire to do something helpful to the New Church more decidedly than he had done, and was introduced by him to Mr. Gunton, then, and now, the excellent Treasurer of the Conference.

In 1862, he sent his first cheque to Mr. Gunton. It was for £2000, to strengthen the National Missionary Institution. This gift showed his earnest desire that the truths of the New Church should be spread abroad. So modestly was this done, that the name of the donor does not appear in the Conference minute acknowledging it, and I believe this was so at his own request. He reflected, afterwards, that for some time to come the early labourers in the ministry would be scantily paid. In old age he thought they might need some support, and would not have much to leave for their widows. So, in 1863, he sent another cheque for £2000, this time to the Pension Fund. In 1866, desiring to encourage the preparation of pious young men for the ministry, he sent a cheque for £4000, of which £2000 was for the Students' and Ministers' Aid Fund, and £2000 for the College—thus seeking to add to the number of those who spread the glad tidings of the God of Love around. In 1870 he gave to the National Missionary Institution another £1000. Soon after this, indeed in 1871, he learned that with several gentlemen there was a strong desire to have New Church principles unfolded in parts of the metropolis where there had hitherto been no places of worship. From various causes the churches had hitherto been planted in the City and North London. St. John's Wood had been thought of as a desirable locality. Mr. Finnie entered into this idea, and requested Mr. Gunton, with such other persons as he might wish as fellow-counsellors, to look out a site, and he would provide the means. Three gentlemen chiefly took active measures, and while they were considering the subject on all sides, this church was advertised for sale. It was inspected, was reported upon favourably, and though it needed much to be done in the way of internal fitting and adornment, it was ordered to be bought. The purchase money, over £5000, the endowment of £5000, and the cost of internal changes, lighting, warning, organ,etc., £1696—altogether amounted to £11,946; in round numbers £12,000. When we bear in mind that he never saw the church, though he rejoiced very much on learning that all was going on well with it, it will give us some insight into his character. He loved the truth, and wished to know that it was being diffused in this quarter of the metropolis. He trusted those who, he believed, were

sea.

earnest for the spread of truth, and he rejoiced in the success of the truth for the good of others, though its reflection never reached himself. The one great love of his Lord and Master animated him, and he looked to no inferior motive. He let not his left hand know what his right hand was doing.

About the same period he assisted some other Societies who were obtaining new places of worship, or making other efforts, with £100 each, especially Nottingham, South London, Deptford and Brightling

His last considerable benefaction was to our dear friends of Camden Road Society, to enable them to erect and finish their beautiful church. He sent them £1000 in the first instance, and afterwards another £1000. I believe he never saw one of the churches he thus 80 largely assisted—so modest was his character, so unassuming his benefactions. The sum total of these kind aids to the cause of goodness and truth forms a total of £23,346. There was no claim of merit in this, no self-righteousness, no ostentation.

I rejoice to add, that though there was no New Church place of worship near his home, he, being no sectarian, was liberal to others. He hailed and believed in his own principles, but he respected the convictions of other Christians, and loved religion under every form. It is a leading feature of the New Church, that he who loves the Lord, and is a good man, whatever be his name, or opinions, on other subjects, should always be esteemed as a brother. His convictions are not ours, but they are his, and when we have the opportunity, we should aid him worthily to carry out his religious feelings. Thus would all men become brothers, Catholic, Protestant, Methodist, Calvinist, Presbyterian. Thus would their hearts pulsate with charity, though their eyes might have different colours. This was Mr. Finnie's principle, and he acted upon it, I doubt not, in many other instances; but the one I am about to relate came under my own notice, about fifteen years ago. I was requested to visit a New Church friend, a commercial gentleman just returned from Spain, and staying at Furnival's Inn. After the first compliments, my friend said, I have just had such a curious circumstance related by a business friend from Altrincham, which is close to Bowdon. He has set off just now to be at the reopening of the parish church, which has been pulled down and rebuilt at Bowdon. He has been on the committee for the rebuilding, and now the time has come for opening, and he must be there he says, and 80 he has gone. But he has mentioned what he calls the best thing about it. It is the very liberal way in which an old Scotch gentleman has acted. He has given more than any one else. He has advised, watched over, and superintended the building continually, and the wonder of it is, he is not a Churchman at all-he is something they call a Swedenborgian. I don't know what that is, I must inquire into it; but it is something very remarkable, if it produces such men as this. Besides, he added, he's never put out of humour with anything. He takes whatever happens so kindly and gently. We thought we would try to vex him. The committee told him that there was such & demand for the pews, and he not being a Churchman, although he bad given so much, they were very sorry, but they could not allot him a pew. He said, as meekly as a lamb, Oh, well, if there is not a seat, when I come, I must stand or sit somewhere. I never saw such a man, and I must inquire about his religion. That man was the excellent subject of this discourse—John Finnie of Bowdon. My friend said, Well, I am a Swedenborgian too, though we prefer the name New Jerusalem Church, but you would do well to inquire into its principles ; —the spirit of them all is charity.

Mr. Finnie's reliance on the doctrines of the Divine Love manifested in the Lord Jesus Christ, which he had made the ground of his daily life, led to a peaceful old age, a calm, quiet sunset to his career, and a gentle, lamb-like

passage to his home in heaven. He slept as a child sleeps, and so passed away. His last appearance was like that described by the poet

“He who hath bent him o'er the dead

Ere the first day of death is fled,
Before Decay's effacing fingers
Have swept the lines where beauty lingers,
And marked the mild, angelic air,
The rapture of repose that's there,
Some moments, ay, one treacherous hour,
He still might doubt the tyrant's power,
So fair, so calm, so softly sealed,

The first, last look by death revealed.” Such was the Christian and noble career of one who must ever be remembered with loving respect in the New Church, and especially in this place of worship, which we owe to so large an extent to him.

Let his benevolence and his unassuming virtue lead us, each in his own circle, to do what we can, and all can, to promote the good of others. Let us rise to greater exertions to diffuse and carry out the principles for which this church was dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ. And, looking to our brother's peaceful close, let the aspirations of our hearts be, “Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his."

491

SHORT LESSONS FOR SIMPLE MINDS.

NO. V.-HUMILITY.

John xiii. 4.10. The lesson which first strikes us when reading the account of our Saviour washing His disciples' feet, is that of His humility; He whom we now know to be God as well as man, condescending to do for His disciples that which few of us would like to do for each other.

We read a great deal in the Bible about the necessity of being humble, meek and lowly, and whilst we read, it seems very beautiful, and we feel as if it would be very delightful to practise it, and that the next time we have a chance we will do so. We

go back to our work amongst others, and perhaps we are asked to do something in the work which we think degrading. We reply that we will do nothing menial, and that it ought to be given to some one who is younger and less able for better work than we consider ourselves to be. We thus immediately forget how beautiful humility has appeared, and we show by our manner, and perhaps more unmistakeably by our words and actions, that if we are expected to serve

our neighbour, it must be in some way that we like, and not to please others, and by so doing, we at once take all the sweetness out of our work, everything that could render it acceptable to God or man; for our heavenly Father only loveth a cheerful giver, whether it be of time, money, or useful employment.

Or, perhaps, we go to our duties quietly, with no feeling of distaste for them, and are taunted by some one of those around us of being slow, or careless, or awkward in doing what we have to do. No sooner do these reproaches strike upon our ears, than the angry

retort passes from our lips, -we forget all about the Divine declaration, “ Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth,” and we excuse ourselves by saying, Well, I was so provoked, I could not help saying what I did.

Truly the tongue is an unruly member, and we cannot be too earnest in our prayers that we offend not in word. But, as we have learnt in the case of the curing of the lame and the blind, etc., the Lord was not only continually in the effort to teach us some useful lesson for our daily conduct, but also to give us rules for the government of our affections and desires, by means of His outward actions. Thus, though the first lesson we learn in this instance is humility, there is another and higher one of which humility is the basis. As the feet are the lowest part of the body, and represent our walk in life, they are the fit emblems of the character which we exhibit before others. In that character those with whom we associate see many defects, and we are all tempted to speak unkindly of each other when we observe their faults. But this will not help them to cure them, and yet it is our bounden duty to try to do so; for if we really love our neighbour as ourselves, we shall be anxious for their happiness as for our own.

This desire will lead us to pray to the Lord to show us how to help them to overcome their evils, and He will give us those indispensable fruits of the Spirit, love and gentleness, which will soften our words, and help us to show to the wrongdoers their wickedness and folly, in such a manner as not to excite their anger, but to make them feel that it is real love which prompts us to reprove. This, then, is washing one another's feet spiritually; helping each other to see what is wrong in our daily life, and by the grace of the Lord to overcome it.

M. S. B.

THE WAY, THE TRUTH, THE LIFE.

Thou art the only Way,

Jesus our Lord;
Still wilt Thou lead to perfect day,

And peace accord.
And Thou, Lord, art the Truth,

Supremely bright;
In manhood, age, and youth,

Our constant Light.
Thou art the Source of Life-

All bounteous Love;
From Thee we all derive,

Great God above.
O may we walk Thy Way;

May Thy Truth be
Our guide-by night and day-

To Life with Thee.

N. H.

HISTORY OF THE CONFLICT BETWEEN RELIGION

AND SCIENCE.L_I. If we read beneath the lines of history, a remarkable parallelism is perceived between the life of any people and its intellectual status.

1 History of the Conflict between Religion and Science. John W. Draper, M.D., LL.D. King & Co., London.

« 上一頁繼續 »