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w'ith many pleasing evidences "that the good hand of the Lord is upon us for good."
We have had opponents to withstand, and difficulties to grapple with, yet through the all-sufficiency of the Divine blessing, we are steadily progressing in numbers, and I hope also i» tr»e piety, and Christian influence. —During the 14th and 15th of October, we were honoured with special "tokens for good." On the days referred to, we held our services on behalf of our Chapel Fund. Three excellent sermons were preached on the Sabbath, two of. which were preached by Rev. I. Reed, Wesleyan Reformer of Chatteris; and the other by Rev. I. T. Wignar, (Baptist, of Lynn). The congregations were really good, and in the evening our chapel, which will seat upwards of 350 persons, was not large enough to contain the numbers who came to hear their old townsman, and highly esteemed friend—Rev. I. Reed. A very gracious influence rested upon the services of the day, and so much delighted were many of our friends, that-they continued together after the evening service, until nearly 10 o'clock, singing the praises of the most High God.
On Monday we held our tea-meeting. A goodly number was present, and such harmony, Christian pleasantness, and decision to be happy by making others happy, were manifest, as I have not witnessed before in this circuit And now comes the crowning feature of the services — The public meeting on Monday evening. —About 300 persons were present. The meeting was commenced by the circuit minister giving out that beautiful hymn, beginning with
"Except the Lord conduct the plan,
The whole assembly seemed to imbibe the spirit of this important sentiment, and they joined heartily in the singmg- Prayer was offered by Mr. M. Lalans, Wesleyan Reformer of the Downham Circuit. Mr. H. Balls of Dereham, was called to the chair, and he practically responded to the call, and delivered a very appropriate opening speech, in which he illustrated the utility of the principle which underlies the old maxims—" A place for everything, and everything in its
place." The meeting was then addressed by Messrs. Lalans, Hazelwood, Reed, and Wignar. The subjects of address which were selected by the Circuit minister, and dwelt on with peculiar pathos, aptitude, earnestness, and force, by the several speakers were as follows—viz. "The importance of an improved.state of religious feeling among professing Christians." "The utility and blessednesss of the diffusion of Christian knowledge, and the advancement of true piety." "The best and most efficient instrumentality for the extension of the kingdom of Christ." and "The honour and happiness of sincere and devoted attention to the great work of evangelising our fellowcreatures." A sacred influence pervaded the meeting, and many a one was heard to exclaim at the close thereof: "This has been the best meeting that I have ever attended." Truly it was a meeting which belongs to the order of things that oannot be easily forgotten. The proceeds of the services exceeded our highest expectations, and afford ano^ ther illustration of the fact — that liberal contributions, for the cause df Christ and humanity, increase in proportion to the growing warmth of Christian love in the heart.
The question of amalgamation is favourably received by us, and we have practically united wi)h the Reformers of the Downham and Wisbeach Circuits for Christian operation. I trust that the blessedness of Christian union will progress abundantly, for whatever may be the opinions of others, the writer is fully persuaded that Ishmaelitish Churches are not based on Gospel principles ; nor can they answer the important ends for which the Church' of Christ is designed. O that all the Churches would "endeavour to keep the unity of the spirit, in the bond of peace." Christian unity is a sure ground of Christian prosperity j it is the mighty armaments of the Church, which causes the fortresses of the unbelieving world to surrender to the faith of Christ. Henry Pointer.
ON THE DUTY OF CONTRIBUTING TO OUR MISSIONS. I am sure you will forgive me intruding on your valuable time with this letter, but I have long thought
that our Connexion ought to raise more money for the support of our Missions than we do. 1 have also thought, that if we had more of system in contributing, our funds would largely increase. The better to explain my views of what I mean, I will just relate the plan of a friend of mine. In his shop, there is fixed
one of our Missionary boxes, and he puts into this box for ever pound received, one halfpenny, and at the end of the year, it turns out a very decent sum. Now, sir, I think if this plan was adopted through our Connexion, we should see a very
large increase of our Mission Fund.
* * *
Supposed to be written in Rarpurhey Cemetery.
'Tis eventide. The sun has disappeared behind the hills, But his gorgeous train still gilds the sky. Far down the western slope, fair Hesper sheds Her soft and shadowy ray. The flower* Whosegaudy leaves were dazzling in sunlight, K ow wear a sombre hue. The wind is husu'd, As though 'twere slurab'ring on the tiny twig, Or tow'ring tree, which but an hour ago Were fluttering in its breath and musical. Nature herself seems woo'd to sleep, so calm And tranquil all around.
On such an ere I wander midst the sad memorials Of broken circles, buried hopes and fears, Affection's witber'd flow'rs, friends lost to
friends— To all but death—And linger o'er the grave Of one • who died ere seventeen summer's
suns Had shone upon bis brow—ere that fair
brow Was furrow'd by a single anxious care. In his bright countenance, intelligence, Pure taste, and lofty thought were all re
veal'd To an observant eye. His gifted mind, With varied knowledge stor'd, still sigh'd for
more— Nor sigh'd in vain. And so with early morn, His couch was leftin summer's glowing heat, Or winter's freezing cold, to cull the gems Of classic lore. Like that undaunted youth Immortalis'd in verse, most sad, most sweet, He sung Excelsior! Excelfior! He was belov'd by all who knew him well, The centre of high hopes, a father's pride, A mother's anxious care, a sister's joy. Life promia'd well, health bloom'd upon his
cheek, No trace was there of death's cold hand; no
sign Of fell disease. Hope sparkl'd in bis eye. Pride mantl'd o'er his cheek—that lofty pride Which springs from true nobility.
Alas! Within a few short days, he—so belov'd, So full of life, of hope and happiness; Surrounded by fond hearts, and all the
charms Of social intercourse—sicken'd and died. As " life's sanusebb'd,"nomuimurpass'dbis
lips, No tear his eye, no sigh upbeav'd his breast; Gently as zephyr fans the brow, sweetly As music strikes the ear, he fell asleep In Jesu's arms. By Jesu's blood redeem'd, Bis happy, happy soul has enter'd heav'n,
And there awaits those dear ones left behind. His voice now swells th' angelic choir, whose
song Is of the Lamb which took away death's sting, And robb'd the grave of victory!
TU night. In cloudless splendour shines the eilv'ry
moon, And the blue boundless arch through which
she sails, Is luminous with stars, countless as sand Upon the ocean's shore. The fragrant flow'rs, And leafy shrubs are bathed in pearly dew; So soft and cool, so bright and beautiful. The marble monuments, the massive tombs, And humbler head-stones, bearing each a
name Of one whose form was fondly gaz'd upon. In the moon's light, are dimly visible. As I retrace my steps, one ling'ring look On this suggestive scene, which, like sweet
strains Of solemn music slowly pealing forth In grandest harmony, ne'er fails to fill My mind with holy thoughts, and silent awe. Ye shades of death still lovely in your gloom, Farewell! once more farewell, but not for
aye; Again these eyes would gaze upon your still Calm, mournful beauty; and again would
trace Those graven hist'ries of life's vanity, Those silent monitors to death doom'd man, Which seem to say: •' Stranger thou too must
die; The rosy hue of health now blooming fair Upon thy cheek, will fade with coming years, As fade the leaves when wintry winds approach. That bounding elasticity of step, And graceful symmetry of form, which now Enhance thy loveliness, will yield to age, As pleasure yields to pain. Perchance ere
longBefore time 1 writes a wrinkle on thy brow"— Death's dart may pierce thy breast. O happy
thou, If in life's morn thy peace is made with
Heav'n. Despair's dark clouds dispell'd by hope's
bright ray, (As rising sun dispels the morning's gloom), Thy soul will calmly gaze on Jordan's stream; Though cold, and dark, and drearily they roll Sustained by mighty faith, 'twill safely reach Fair Canaan's shore. There ceaselessly enjoy The sweet communion of holy men, Of angels, and of God."
Manchester, August, 1858.
* The late Mr. William Howe, .Tun., cf Manchester.
CHARACTER OF APOSTOLIC PREACHING.
"Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place." 2 Cor. xxii. 14.
Such was the language of Paul when he saw those glorious effects which he constantly witnessed through the preaching of the ever blessed Gospel. There was no want of success in those days. There was no cause to mourn over the word taking "none effect," for it was efficient everywhere. The inquiry is one of no small moment at the present time, when so much regret is felt, and so much surprise expressed, not at the failure of the Gospel, but its want of general triumphs; as to what was the character of apostolic preaching; and by what it was particularly distinguished? This we purpose to show.
I. Apostolic Preaching Was Characterised By Purity Oy Doctrine.
The Apostles drank at the fountain-head of truth, for they conversed with Christ Jesus, who made - known to them the truth, and being divinely inspired by the Spirit of God, could not but fully comprehend, and be properly qualified to indoctrinate others. Do we ask what that doctrine was which the apostles so zealously guarded, and so faithfully promulgated? In a few words, it was the Deity and equality of the Father, the word or Logos, and the Holy Ghost constituting the triune Jehovah; the perfection, purity, and innocency of man in his first estate, the fall of man involving all his posterity in its consequences; general redemption by Jesus Christ, repentance, justification of the penitent sinner by faith; the clear indubitable witness of the Spirit; sanctification through faith by the Holy Spirit, producing inward and outward holiness, leading to an active and useful life; the resurrection of the dead, the general judgment, the eternal happiness of the righteous, and everlasting misery of the wicked.
For success in the conversion of souls, and the building up of believers, there must be purity of doctrine. We cannot expect God to endorse error. The wood, hay, and stubble of erroneous doctrine must be burnt. "Thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitaines, which I also hate," said the Head of the Church to the Angel of the Church at Ephesus. "Take heed," not only "to thyself," but "to the doctrine," said Paul to Timothy. As to the doctrine, it must be according to Godliness, for if it does not lead to this, it is defective and erroneous. How little did the Apostles dwell on forms, and mere ceremonial observances. There was spirit in their discourses, for it was a living gospel they preached. Where there is purity there is life, the power of the Holy Ghost accompanying pure doctrine to the heart. How jealously they guarded the doctrines. "Charge them that they teach no other doctrine," 1 Tim. i. 3, was a strict injunction. Departure from sound doctrine, should in the end, bring in damnable heresies, and great evils. 1 Tim. i. 4. In apostolic doctrine, we find a constant appeal to the Scriptures, for they urged nothing but what was manifestly taught in those infallible records. Like the Redeemer, the Apostles threw aside the glosses of men. They could say that they had a more sure word of prophecy. To the utmost they were careful to guard the people against being carried about by every wind of doctrine. The truth they preached, they considered should be cordially embraced, and firmly believed. When they exhorted the believers to leave the principles of the doctrine of Christ, it was only the elementary parts thereof, that they might go on to perfection; for as in mathematics, so in religion, there are certain elementary principles which should lead to further attainments. Of the first converts to Christianity, we are informed that they continued stedfastly in the Apostles' doctrine ; the result of which, was not only much glorious enjoyment, but fear came on all around—the fear of God, and daily accessions were made to the church. According to the testimony of the enemies of Christ, this doctrine had filled Jerusalem. Acts v. 28. Glorious and widespread conquest! For once truth prevailed, and that which had been so nobly won, was to be cherished and guarded. "Give attendance," said Paul, not only "to reading," but "to the doctrine." "In doctrine showing incorruptness." What that doctrine was, he could say " thou hast fully known." Here was no mystification, no duping; all was clear as the day. The Apostles could declare that they had not handled the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth, had commended themselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. 2 Cor. iv. 2. All Scripture—history, proverbs, parables, epistles, psalms or spiritual songs—" is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished to all good works." 2 Tim. Hi. 16, 17. When the word is forsaken, men get in endless mazes lost. To be clear in doctrine, ministers must preach according to the word. "Those who abide not in the doctrine of Christ have not God." 2 John ix. Thus error is destructive to the soul's best interests, for it robs man of God. To teach for doctrine the commandments of men, is to err egregiously.
It is to place man in the chair of the lawgiver, and exalt him on a par with God. A bishop is to hold fast the faithful word, as he hath been taught, that he may be able with sound doctrine, both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. Titus ii. 9. Yes, magna est Veritas, et prtevalebit. It was on this ground that the opponents could not resist the wisdom and spirit with which Stephen spoke. Acts vi. KX O the power of truth !" Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
II. Apostolic Preaching Was Characterised By Dependence On The Holt Spirit.
The Apostles were forbidden to leave Jerusalem to prosecute their holy mission, until endued with power from on high. They waited for the blessing, and in a short time they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and were then fully prepared for the work. They invariably attributed their success to the power of the Spirit. And what other power could have enabled them to grapple with and vanquish such colossal forms of evil? The mighty signs wrought were by the power of the Spirit of God. Rom. xv. 19. No part of the glory whatever was taken to themselves by the Apostles. They ascribed it all to God, through the amazing energy of the Spirit, which made the word they preached quick and powerful, and sharper than a two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Heb. iv. 12. Seeing the mighty influence the Spirit gave the Apostles, Simon Magus sought to purchase the gift of the Holy Ghost with money, that on whomsoever he laid his hand, that Spirit with all his miraculous influences might descend. But this glorious gift cannot be bought with money. It can be secured only by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. How often did the Spirit signally work whilst the Apostles were preaching. While Peter was speaking to Cornelius, and those assembled on that interesting occasion, the Holy Ghost fell on all them that heard the word. Acts x. 44. The Apostles being like Barnabas, "full of the Holy Ghost," were eminently successful. How could it be otherwise, when the Holy Spirit gave them according to the promise, "a sharp threshing instrument having teeth," by which they were enabled "to thresh the mountains, and make them small, and the hills too as chaff?" Isa. xli. 15. Nothing was impossible to such men. If ministers were equally under the power of the Holy' Ghost, their preaching would produce similar effects now, for the Spirit of the Lord is not straitened. The holiest men, all other circumstances being equal, have ever been the most successful ministers.
The Word of God is still the "Sword of the Spirit," and when properly wielded, cannot fail to do much execution. "I came not unto you," said Paul, "with excellency of speech, or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God." "My speech," said he, "and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power." 1 Cor. ii. 1, 4. Here was the grand secret of success. The Spirit prepares for the work, "for to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another, the word of knowledge by the same Spirit ; to another, faith, by the same Spirit; to another, the gifts of healing, by the same Spirit j to another, the working of miracles; to another, prophecy j to another, discerning of spirits; to another, divers kinds