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which the 2300 years begin. For, after declaring that this begins from the date of the vision, (which we have said was 553 B.C.) he arbitrarily deducts 102 years to reach the date of Artaxerxes's great decree for restoring the city and the wall; which date he—most erroneously, and by mere calculation—fixes at 434 B. C.; and by making 434 years the measure of a time, and thus the basis of all his calculations, he palpably substitutes 434 B. O. as the period from which he begins to count the 2300 years. And having thus found the true measure of a time to be 434 years, and the beginning of the 2300 years, he thus, in a note to chap. vii. 25, develops his scheme. The first time is the 434 years ending with the first Advent. The two times are 868 years, and these three times added together make 1302; by substracting then 1302 from 2300, we find that the prophet's division of time is 998 years; and by subtracting 434 from 2300, we get 1866,—the great year of the Lord's Second Advent. The reader might be glad to know by what process Mr. Bellamy discovers that the division of time (which he himself says is the same as the half time spoken of in chap. xii. 7) amounts to 998 years, and not, as one might expect from sublunary arithmetic, to 217; but we find no account of the process. It is not even noticed as a difficulty cleverly overcome, but is attained, as far as we can perceive, solely by its admirable adaptation to the other elements of this calculation.
The truth is that the hinge of his whole scheme is the exact date of Artaxerxes Longimanus's great decree in the 7th'year of his reign. Now, as all respectable chronologists, from Dean Prideaux down to Ewald and Bunsen, fix that event at 458 B.C., it is evident, on Mr. Bellamy's theory, that 458 years constitute a time. Let us then accept this, and, in strict accordance with his principles, work out the problem of finding when the 2300 years end; even though the result may give us a very different year for the Lord's Second Advent. Thus, if 458 make a time, and mark the date of the First Advent, two times are 916, and three times are 1374. By deducting the last number from 2300, we find "the prophet's division of time" amount to 926. And, as Mr. Bellamy deducts his time 434 from 2300, in order to discover that the Second Advent is due in 1866, we (by the same ratio, and with far correcter data to start from) deduct 458 from 2300, and find that the Second Advent ought to have happened in 1842!
In the confidence that some of our readers will endeavour to understand the basis of this new theory, and in the hope that their investigation may convince them of the entire justice of this criticism, we gladly forbear further comment on this singular production. N.
Gone art thou, lost friend!
Forth on thy perilous way;
Wandering, tempted, astray!
Dares not to swerve from the road
Even to lighten thy load,
Warm light of love on thy lot,
Dies! —but may follow thee not!
But though from chilled heart
Warm prayers shall follow thee yet:
Mayst thou not wholly, forget!
World-success dawn on thy way,
Praise, till thou learn to obey!
Threaten thy soul with despair,
Stoops for the sparrows to care!
May the Divine Man,
—Who in the wilderness sought
Till He on shoulder it brought,
Thee, too, though wide thou mayst roam,
Seek and find, carry thee home,
Hopes of earth freely we yield!)
Purified, strengthened, annealed!
There shall all tears dried,
Contrite hearts cleansed be and healed, True hearts, the seven-fold tried,
There to acceptance be sealed. There shall of wrongs done
(Mourned but not undone !) the sting Vanish as rime in the sun,
Drops from the water-bird's wing! There shall of pangs borne
Stilled be the dull after-pain;— Joy-absorbed mist of the morn
Night shall not darken again!
There may we smile yet!
There of earth's torturing dreams (Dreams of joy, parting, regret—)
Read in truth's heaven-day beams, Deep meanings, close-veiled,
Here, from our self-darkened eyes; Soul-blessings guessed not nor hailed,
Angel-like housed in disguise. Thither, Oh! faint heart!
Drooping and desolate, raise Dreams, aspirations, which part
Here from Hope's lingering gaze.
Never on earth more!
Better in sooth were the thought, Knew we not Heaven shall restore
Earth-joys with fadeless bloom fraught.
Mary C. Hume.
The fifty-sixth meeting of the General Conference of the church was held this year in Peter-street, Manchester, and continued its sittings from Tuesday, the 11th August, to Tuesday, the 18th. It consisted of fifty-five members,— eleven ministers and forty-four representatives. The number of ministers was smaller, and that of representatives greater, than last Conference—a fact, no doubt, attributable to the Conference being held in Lancashire, where there are so many small societies. The Rev. E. D. Rendell was elected President.
The first day was, as usual, almost entirely occupied in bringing up and reading the various reports and addresses. These include reports by the President and Secretary, which embody the information obtained from ministers and societies, and which contain a great deal of useful and interesting matter relating to the state and progress of the church amongst us. The report of the Treasurer is hardly less important, as shewing the comparatively and increasingly large sums that pass through his hands, and which go to support or assist the various schemes and institutions which have grown up in the church, and which have either originated with, or have been placed under the care of the Conference.
Although not in the order of the proceedings, we may here notice some of the grants of money made by the Conference, as shewing the uses to which the funds at their disposal are applied. The sum of .£133., the interest of sums bequeathed for the education of poor children, was divided, in unequal sums, among eight schools, in all of which the children, besides receiving a useful secular education, are instructed in the principles of the New Church, and trained in its spiritual morality.
Another important object, which has only recently been realised, is the instruction and training of young men for the ministry. Four students are at present maintained at the expense of the church. The means required for this are partly derived from funded property, but principally from subscriptions and donations. The expense of providing for the education of these young men has, during the past year, exceeded the current income.
A deficiency for the year on which we have entered is therefore expected, and a committee, consisting of Dr. Bayley and Mr. Storry, was appointed to appeal to the church in behalf of this fund.
It may, indeed, be thought that the large sum of £10,000., left by the late Mr. Crompton for "College" purposes, might have been made available for carrying out the plan of educating theological students. But the specific mode of applying the interest of the money has not yet been agreed upon by the Conference and the governors of the College. At the present Conference, however, some of the difficulties have been cleared away, and some arrangements have been made which will enable both parties to whom this trust has been committed, to see their way more clearly to a successful carrying out of the object of Mr. Crompton's will.
A favourable report of the progress of the students was made by the committee entrusted with the management of this important trust. And as it is most important that those who have entered on the work may be carried through their necessary course of studies, the members and friends of the church must oome forward and supply the deficiency which is likely to occur.
Besides the support of students, this fund is intended to afford partial assistance to ministers. In order that small societies may have the services of regular and active ministers, grants are made from this fund to supplement their own limited means of supporting them. Several societies are in this way enabled to maintain a minister which could not otherwise do so. Several of such societies are at present assisted with small sums, and were these to be withdrawn, they would be deprived of ministers whose services they greatly prize and greatly need. The continuance of the grants made to them depends also very much on a hearty response being given to the special application which the Conference has ordered to be made to the church at large.
Another fund, annually dispensed by the Conference, is that for affording pensions to incapacitated ministers, and to the widows of ministers. This also is a fund derived partly from the interest of permanent stock, and partly from collections. Of late years the fund has
received very little from this latter source. But Providence has given a supply during the past year, through an unexpected channel. John Finnie, Esq., of Bolton Lodge, Manchester, who, a year ago, made a gift of £2,000. to the National Missionary Society, has during the last jear given a similar sum— £3,000—to the Pension Fund. This munificent and beneficent gift will, by the mode of its investment, which the donor has prescribed, add XI00. a year to the means which the Conference already possesses of assisting, in their old age, those who have devoted their best days and their best energies to the service of the church, and for whose support every Christian body makes some provision. Besides the deserving pensioners previously assisted from this fund, the widow of the late Rev. James Bradley, a useful and disinterested labourer in his day, has this year been placed on the list, and the annuity granted the old lady will help to gild file evening of her life, and will help to satisfy the conscience of the church.
The Trust Deed, executed many years ago, intended to give the New Church in this country a kind of corporate existence in the eye of the law, necessary to enable it to receive and hold gifts of money and property, has hitherto prevented the Conference from accepting gifts of another and still more valuable kind. It was long supposed that it prevented the admission into the number of recognised ministers of such as might come from other countries, and he ordained by other bodies. A case of this kind occurred by the settlement in this country of the Rev. O. P. Hiller, who had been ordained in America. All felt anxious to add so excellent a man to our list of ministers, and regretted that legal obstacles stood, as was supposed, in the way of his admission. Legal advice has, however, been taken on the subject, and the result is that Mr. Hiller has been duly admitted into the ministry of the church in this country; and his name will appear in the forthcoming Minutes as one of the ministers " recognised by this Conference," a consummation which is a1 source of gratulation. Besides ministers ordained in the New Church, whose admission into Conference as such has only been hindered by assumed legal objections, there are two, and there may be others, ordained in the Old Church, whose admission
into the New Church ministry may be desired on both sides. A committee has been appointed to consider on what conditions such ministers may be received, to report to the next Conference.
The desire of the Conference to afford means and facilities for the regular administration of the sacraments in our various societies, induced them several years ago to grant licences to leaders of societies to baptise and dispense the Holy Supper; and thirteen applications were made to the Conference for such licences.
One application was also made for ordination. This was from the Bath society, in behalf of Mr. Keene, who has been its leader for thirty years, and has served it with great zeal and with great acceptance. We are glad so excellent and useful a man has at length yielded to the often expressed wishes of his congregation, to take upon himself the whole of the duties of the sacred office of the ministry.
The resume of Conference proceedings will be continued nex-t month.
The Keliqious Service. The first evening of the Conference is devoted to religious services. The Rev. John Hyde had been appointed to preach the sermon on the occasion. He selected for his text Isaiah lx. 1— "Arise, shine, for thy light is come; and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.'' The preacher gave a very lucid explanation of the text, and applied its truths in a very practical and powerful manner. The Lord having risen upon the church in the glory of His Divine Truth, His disciples were enabled to rise in His rising, and shine in His light,—to rise in goodness and shine forth in intelligence and good works. After the discourse, the sacrament of the Holy Supper was administered by the resident minister, assisted by the President of Conference. The church was well filled during the sermon, and a considerable number remained to unite in partaking of the Holy Sacrament. The service altogether was impressive, and could not fail to give a more deeply religious tone to the proceedings of those who had come together to deliberate for the good of the church.
Meetings. On Monday evening, a reception meeting was held in the Peter-street