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In the latter part of the year 1841, the stale of this circuit was sufficiently discouraging. The Society was low both in number and in piety, as wa» most manifest in their very slack attendance on the means of grace. The congregations also were exceedingly small; and, to bring us lower still, there appeared to be a removing mania among the local preachers and leaders, so that out of sixteen preachers—the number given in at the Annual Assembly of that year—by Christmas we had but nine: and since then one of even that small number has gone from us. Our discords, together with the last-named circumstance had, as might be expected, a most withering influence, upon the church, and so confidently was our ruin predicted, and expected, that some of the members actually began seriously to consider where they would look for that church communion, which would give them the most satisfaction. But, blessed be God, these things are now only remembered, as events that are past, and which afflict us no more. "The Sun of Righteousness hath arisen upon us, with healing in his wings," the clouds have dispersed, the storm is succeeded by a calm, and the fertilizing showers of divine influence come down, and frequently fill our hearts with gladness.
The first indication of better days was given in a love-feast held on the twenty-sixth of December last, when a very powerful sense of the Divine presence rested upon each individual present, producing a most refreshing and quickening effect. And at the reading of the covenant on the following Sunday afternoon, which service was closed by the administration of the ordinance of the Lord's Supper, we were again favoured with a gracious manifestation of the power of God upon the minds of the people, giving each to see, and to feel, the solemnity and importance of the engagement into which we had just entered.
About this time two or three backsliders were restored, and became very active in the church; and on the 16th of January, we had one very clear conversion to God, in the prayer-meeting after the sermon in the evening. Near the close of the same month we had another equally satisfactory conversion. This inspired our members with new life, raised our expectations, and excited the hope that these were really the beginning of good days; and such, comparatively, they have proved to be; From that time to the present, first one, and then another, has stepped into the liberty of the children of God. O may the blessed work mightily increase and abundantly spread 1 We are thankful that a divine influence rests upon the preaching of the word, the blessing of God attends the ordinances of his house, and, although it is still the day of small things with us here, yet the most sceptical of our members acknowledge with gratitude that the Association in Sheffield is in a far better state now than it has been for years before: to God be all the praise, to whom alone it belongs.
A few months ago, some half a dozen of our members, who had recently felt the quickening influence of divine grace, happened to call together at a friend's house one evening as they were going from the chapel, and entered into conversation as to the most likely way in which they could benefit or help our little cause; when it occurred to them that our chapels were in a most wretched condition for want of painting and colouring, and if they could be made clean and respectable it might be the means of increasing the congregations, and of inducing persons to take sittings therein. It was foreseen that great difficulties would have to be encountered,—the expense would be very considerable, and the means at command exceedingly slender. However, they formed themselves into a committee, called "the Painting and Cleaning Coinmittee "—oblained the sanction of the leader's meeting—laid down a plan of operations—carried it out with the most untiring perseverance, and, through the good hand of God upon them, have brought their labours to a successful termination; having accomplished far more than their sanguine expectations, and almost all that they wished or desired.
The annexed " Report," which was read to a social tea-parly that was held on the Monday evening after the re-opening of Surrey Street chapel, will give a luminous view of the nature of the work, and its happy accomplishment.
"The consummation of the work which has given rise to the present meeting is a matter of sincere congratulation, and the satisfactory result that has attended almost every effort of the Committee is a convincing proof that the hand of Providence has signally favoured the design. The state of our places of worship, and the desirableness that they should be thoroughly painted, and cleaned, with as little delay as possible, became the subject of conversation amongst a few friends, who, speaking after the manner of men, accidentally—but as it appears from the results, providentially, met together; and they determined to enter upon the work, if its practicability were generally admitted. They were appointed a Committe to carry out the object. The purpose every where met a hearty response, and the Committee entered npon their work with the determination of doing all that the means with which they might be furnished would warrant. They met on the 17th of February, and resolved to originate a fund which should be open for three months before the work was commenced. Donations were announced, collectors appointed, and by the 8th of April the fund had reached from £ll to £12. On the 25th of that month a social tea-meeting was held, at which our female friends most liberally exerted themselves. The whole of the provision was furnished gratuitously, and the sum of £3. 6s. Id. was realised to the fund; exclusive of £l, which was kindly presented by a friend at the
close of the meeting. That meeting pledged itself not to relax any effort that could be put forth to enable the Committe to paint, white-wash and clean the chapels throughout, as originally intended. And such was the handsome manner in which that pledge was redeemed, that, by the 20th of May, the fund had reached the sum of £20 10s. lid., and the repairs of Stanley Street chapel were commenced in the ensuing week: and at the reopening of that chapel £2 15«. was collected. Such were the laudable exertions of a few of our female friends that by the 17th of June, the fund had accumulated to £32 lid. It was now determiued not only to complete the work originally designed, but also to include several necessary alterations and repairs; many of which have been accomplished.
The expenditure, as near as at present can be ascertained,is about £46. The collections at the re-opening of Surrey Street chapel amounted to near £ 12, which, added to the other receipts, makes a sum which it is anticipated will cover all the expences which have been incurred. To persons unacquainted with all the facts of the case, these results may appear inconsiderable, but when the unprecedented depression of the times, and other circumstances are taken into consideration, it must be admitted that they could only have been effected by the blessing of God upon the humble efforts of the parties concerned. They acknowledge their utter dependance upon Him from whom alone proceeded) "every good and perfect gift," and now only desire that the work may be made subservient to the glory of God, and the salvation of men; which are the highest objecls that can engage the attention of sentient beings."
At the re-opening of Surrey Street chapel, the Rev. J. Verity, Primitive Methodist, preached in the morning; the Rev. R. S. Bayley, F. A. S., Independent, in the afternoon; and the Circuit Preacher in the evening. The congregations were good, and the collections such as have not been obtained in our chapel fer some years before. But better still, a divine influence rested upon the word; and in the prayer meeting held at the close of the evening service, a poor wandering slave of sin entered into the liberty of the sons of God. Hallelujahi
For four nights during the week, immediately succeeding the re-opening of our Chapel, prayer meetings were held therein, for the especial purpose of supplication to heaven that our
national calamities may be removed from the land. These meetings were well attended, and the divine presence was powerfully felt therein. O may God answer to the joy of our hearts, and at the same time baptize all his professing people with the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Died at Sheffield, on Thursday, the I7th of March, 184-2, Mrs. Mahy' Ann Ibbotson. Losing her father by death when at the tender age of four years, she was early cast upon the providence of God, and left entirely to the care of a widowed mother. But although thus bereft of an earthly guardian, she was blessed in early life with preventing and preserving grace, so as to he kept from many of those follies which lead young people astray. Her youth was characterized by steadiness, humility, and good behaviour, in such a way as to command the respect, and secure the esteem of all who were acquainted with her.
But although distinguished by morality of conduct, she grew up without manifesting any serious concern about religious or divine things, or obtaining a knowledge of her guilty and fallen state through sin. And this ignorance of God and of herself continued until the month of December, 1840, at which time it pleased God to visit her with a fit of illness, which, through divine grace led her to look forward to death and judgment, and to examine the ground upon which she stood as to her hopes and prospects beyond the grave. The result of these inquiries was, deep conviction of her lost and helpless condition, and of her need of the pardoning mercy of God. That mercy our sister earnestly and diligently sought; and it was not long before she obtained the pearl of great price. The peace and joy of faith were revealed to her soul, giving those enjoyments and blessings which are purely of a spiritual nature, bat well calculated to support the mind under all the trials of life.
She now became a member of the church, and attended on all the means of grace, as her health and strength would allow.
Her death was rather sudden and unlooked for. She was expecting to become a mother almost every day, hut felt disease had seized upon the seat of life, which bore down the powers of existence, and in an unexpected day blasted the fond mother's hopes, and buried a widowed father's joys.
She had been unwell for some weeks, but both herself and her friends thought that she was recovering, and the medical attendant had given up his visits: suddenly, however, the complaint returned—late at night the surgeon was recalled; the most likely means to afford relief were again resorted to, but all in vain. Early the next morning, with her hands clasped, and her eyes lifted up towards heaven, she gently fell asleep in Jesus, in the twenty-third year of her age.
Thus, before she had reached the noon of life her sun went down, not to rise again "until the heavens be no more."
It may be satisfactory to add that, during her affliction, the writer visited her several times, and always found her in a calm, peaceful frame of mind, without any fear or dread of death, looking for the mercy of God through Jesus Christ.
Died at Lostock, a village in the Northwich circuit, March 11th, 1842, Mr. William Sanders, aged 29 years. Our late brother Sanders was a native of Lostock , that was the place of his birth, life, death, and interment.
In the year 1832 Northwich and its vicinity became excited and alarmed by the reckless obtrusion of the choleramany fell and many feared. Chapels became crowded, and many about this time were made savingly acquainted with the Saviour of sinners; among whom was the subject of this memoir. He then joined the old Methodist society, and became not only steady and consistent, but zealous and indefatigable. In the year 1837 he joined the Association, and ever after laboured very diligently to promote its interests. He held the office of Leader for nearly four years, and very faithfully discharged his duties as such. In his endeavours to advance the cause of Christ, he was ceaseless and untiring. In bis attendance on the different means of grace, he was uniform; rarely, or never, absent. As a friend, he was faithful—as a brother, he was affectionate. In habits of diligence, he was equalled by few. His Sabbaths were days of grateful toil; he was seldom seen unemployed.
In February last he was assailed by the scarlet fever, from which he, in about a fortnight, seemed partially to recover, and was thought to be almost out of danger; but a tumour arose in bis throat, which was succeeded by a complete relapse. His illness was very severe for about a week after this, and then terminated in death. During his affliction, he wished his class to meet in his room; the scene was too affecting to be forgotten.
The solicitude be manifested on his dying bed, for the salvation of some young men, with whom he was acquainted, will long be remembered.
In prospect of dissolution, his confidence was unshaken; he often said he
had no wish to recover. At length, without a sigh, he expired, exclaiming, "Oh, my blessed Redeemer!1' On the 16th of March last, his earthly remains were laid in the midst of his native village, in front of that Tabernacle to which he had been so dearly attached. The Rev. D. Rutherford, attended by a number of other ministers, read the burial service. Perhaps Lostock never saw such a day before—the whole village was moved; nearly all the inhabitants attended his funeral, lamenting the fall of one that had done and suffered so much among them for the honour of God, and the good of souls. The church in this place has lost a welltried, and never-tired friend.
Died at Kenn, in the Worle Circuit, on the 4th of August, 1842, in the forty-first year of her age, Mrs Elizabeth Hookway. Her exemplary piety cheerfulness of disposition, as well as liberality to the extent of ber ability, endeared her to all her religious acquaintance. Her illness being only a few hours, little can be said of her prospect at the last; but from her manner of life, little doubt can be entertained of her being safely lodged in our Father's house above.
"Far from a world of grief and sin, With God eternally shut in."
THE CHRISTIAN'S REST.
"There remaineth therefore
In a world of affliction, and sorrow, and
strife, Which blighteth the bud, and the blossom of
life; The thought cheers the Christian, along the
dark road, There remaineth a rest to the people of God.
When sickness hath hurried its prey to the
grave, And nature, exhausted, sinks down like a
wave. And resteth the head, underneath the cold
sod, There remaineth a rest to the people of God.
When the great judgment seat is set in the
air, And sinners affrighted, approach it with fear,
a reet to the people of God."
The devils too, tremble, expecting the rod, There remaineth a rest to the people of God.
When the heavens on fire are melting with
Come, then. Holy Ghost, our natures renew,
B. Glazibrooi- .
WESLEYAN METHODIST ASSOCIATION
<Euarterlp JHisstonarp Notices,
To spread the knowledge of Salvation offered by the Gospel of Christ, and purchased for mankind by the sacrificial death of "the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world," ought to be an object of ardent desire, and persevering and untiring efforts, with all who profess to know "the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord," and who believe the souls of men to be immortal, and designed to dwell for ever, either in heaven or in hell. These truths make it most affecting to consider how large a proportion of the human family yet remains in a state of awful ignorance of Christ and Salvation.
The state of the heathen in distant lands, and the state of the heathen in our own country, and in our own neighbourhood, ought to excite our pity, our prayers, our every effort, to rescue them from impending danger. Can we be either approved of God, or satisfied in our own consciences, if we are not seeking the salvation of our fellow-men—if, knowing the love of Christ towards them, we are not endeavouring to make them acquainted with his love to them ; that under its powerful influence they may renounce their sins, devote themselves to his service, and thus, by grace, escape from the wrath to come, and attain to the possession of everlasting life? All around us souls are perishing: let us give them the Gospel which is the bread of life—let us pray more fervently and effectually for the Holy Spirit to incline our hearts, and the hearts of all who profess our holy religion, to the exercise of increased efforts and liberality to provide the means of making known to our countrymen, and to all men, the riches of redeeming grace. At the present time our Missionary fund is not only exhausted, but the Society is considerably in debt. Increased contributions are required to support the ministers who are already employed in the work; and their number ought to be very much increased. Let us faithfully consecrate what we have received from God to his service, remembering that to him we must render our account.
THE SUBSTANCE OF A MISSIONARY SPEECH,
Delivered on the 23rd of June, 1842, in the Church-street Chapel, Kingston, Jamaica, by M. Baxtbr, Weskyan Methodist Association Missionary.
The resolution which I have the honour to move reads as follows: "That the far greater part of the human race, both in this Island and in the