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122
THE STONHAM ASPAL MEETING.

[nov. nities. In fact, were other places in England to contribute as liberally in proportion to their population, that division of the kingdom alone would subscribe five millions annually for the conversion of the heathen. Nor can it be said, large as is their offering, that it is a burden to the inhabitants. What is given is given cheerfully, as unto the Lord, and no inconsiderable portion of the sum is derived from thank-offerings, the givers of which are known only to their minister. These have now increased from three or four pounds to between thirty and forty pounds. They had their origin in a question of conscience continually urged from the pulpit, that it is not becoming in Christians to acknowledge their mercies in words alone. In the hope of interesting many in the cause of Missions, and of giving Christians of all classes the opportunity of joining in a social repast, it was determined, six years ago, that a tea-party should precede the annual meeting. The measure of success attending the movement exceeded the most sanguine expectations of its promoters; and this meeting is looked forward to with pleasure on all sides. To provide shelter for so large an assemblage was, even at the first, no small matter, and in the end proved a great difficulty. A large booth was erected, the materials of which had to be borrowed or bought wherever they could be found. At last, with a view of saving all this trouble and expense, it was proposed to purchase a tent by small subscriptions. The suggestion was acted upon by the Rev. Charles Shorting, rector of the parish, and in a few months he had received such support as justified him in contracting for it. The tent was built by Mr. James Smyth, of Aldeburgh, in the county of Suffolk: in length it was 120 feet, and in breadth 28 feet, and, when erected, its appearance was very striking. A long line of flags was flying on the top, with every national device — the Union Jack of England in the centre—“ God save the Queen" at one end, and “ Go, teach all nations," at the other. Nor was the interior wanting in attraction: flowers, tastefully arranged, met the eye in every direction ; here and there a flag peeping out from a mass of laurel and evergreen had a very pleasing effect; while numerous texts reminded all present of the responsibilities of a Christian profession, and of our Lord's positive injunction to send the glad tidings of great joy to all “them that are without.” The whole expenditure incurred for the tent, flags, and all necessary expenses, did not exceed eighty pounds.

We had ihe privilege of attending the anniversary this year, which was held on the 1st of August. As the hour fixed for the commencement of the meeting drew near, the church bells-remarkable far and wide for the beauty of their tone, and from which the village derives the name of “Stonham ten bells”-sounded forth a cheerful welcome. The day previous the weather was most unpropitious, but the promoters of the meeting were enabled to continue their preparations in faith, knowing how many were bearing them in their hearts before God; and the beauty and loveliness of the succeeding day could not but be regarded as a marked and gracious answer to those many prayers. Wagons neatly and even gracefully decorated with laurel-garlands, and festoons of roses, began gradually to arrive from the neighbouring villages, filled with visitors, young and old, all clothed in their Sunday attire. Every countenance wore a happy look; and the object for which the assembly was held may be allowed to prove that the pleasures of country-folk

1855.] THE STONHAM ASPAL MEETING.

123 are not always, in England, as we fear is the case in Popish countries, the mere “crackling of thorns under a pot.” Over the entrance of the grounds in which the tent had been erected was suspended a large banner, with the appropriate text, “ Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." For three-quarters of an hour the company continued to stream in, until above eight hundred had been admitted, and it was necessary to refuse at least two hundred who had neglected to provide themselves with tickets. In the tent itself perfect order prevailed, all necessary arrangements to accommodate so large a party having been made by Mr. and Mrs. Shorting. It is but right here to observe, that the parishioners, in the most kind and hearty manner, co-operate with their minister in this work, and seem to take real delight in holding up his hands, and bidding him God speed in his labours of love.

At four o'clock a hymn was sung, a few words of hearty welcome addressed to all present, and the tea-meeting had commenced. We do not intend to tell our readers how many acres of bread and butter, and columns of cake, were consumed. A better idea of the amount may be formed, when it is known that there were sixty-five tea-makers, each of whom had some twelve or thirteen guests to attend to. To every one of these ladies a Missionary box was given, and she was requested to dispose of it to one of her party. Very many were taken, to the prospective benefit of the Church Missionary Society.

When tea was over, and the tables cleared, the meeting was addressed at some length by Mr. Shorting, who affectionately called upon all present to examine into their own state before God, suggesting a few appropriate questions for this purpose, illustrated by interesting anecdotes. He urged them to consider what advance they had made since the last anniversary in spirituality of mind ; whether they were growing in humility and in brotherly love; whether their graces were visible; what kind of hearers of the word they themselves were; whether they heard with a personal application to their own souls. He pressed on them a favourite maxim of the late Rev. Charles Simeon

- Talk not about myself.

Speak evil of no man.” He urged them to consider whether they were separating more and more from the world ; warned them of the danger of mixing in it, and the certainty, if they did, of their silver getting tarnished and their God dishonoured. He expressed a hope that there were not such religious curiosities amongst them as he had lately been reading of, viz.

1. Professors praying with great fervour that God would convert the world, yet never giving a farthing to Missionary Societies to help the work.

2. Professors who have a periodical headache returning each Sabbath morning.

3. Professors who dared not expose their health by going to church on a wet Sunday, but who are quite strong, and not at all afraid of weather, on Monday, though it rain never so hard.

And he concluded with a few solemn remarks on the final account that we shall all have to give, when it shall be said to us, “ Give an account of thy stewardship, for thou mayst be no longer steward.”

124
THE STONHAM ASPAL MEETING.

[xov.
The Rev. F. Storr, vicar of Brenchley, Kent, and formerly residing
in the neighbourhood, then addressed the meeting, and was received
with the warmest applause and most affectionate greeting. Many had
come from a distance to welcome one who had been their spiritual
father, or their most faithful, devoted, laborious pastor. We un-
happily do not possess any notes of bis loving and interesting address.

The Rev. J. C. Ryle followed, and spoke with even more than his
wonted power and eloquence. He expressed the gratification he felt at
meeting his friend and brother, Mr. Storr, on the present occasion. This
was the kind of work of which they would never need to be ashamed,
and he trusted both would continue doing such work to the best of their
ability until they met in heaven. He congratulated his beloved brother,
Mr. Shorting, on the successful issue of his labours in the matter of
the new tent in which they were now assembled. He always regarded
a tent as a most apostolic meeting-place. It was recorded that the
Apostle Paul was a tent-maker. It was a cause for great thankfulness
that the Religious Worship Bill, which had passed the House of Lords,
would remove all doubt as to the legality of such meetings as they
were now holding. He trusted that such meetings, and many others
too, for religious worship, would now multiply rapidly in every part
of the country. He next desired to remind all present what it was that
had brought them together. It was the gospel of our Lord Jesus
Christ. That was the great loadstone which had drawn them from so
many different parishes to one common centre. They were assembled,
not merely to drink tea and to eat cakes-not merely to meet friends and
to see strange faces—not merely to have a merry-making, and to enjoy
themselves—no! they were assembled for a far higher purpose-to pro-
mote the spread of the gospel of Christ all over the world. He entreated
all to remember this. The gospel was the grand cord of union among men.
He rejoiced to think that not a few Nonconformists were present among
them. He was glad of it. If they really hoped to sing the praises of
the Lamb together in heaven, it was hard indeed if they could not agree
to work together for the cause of the Lamb during the short time they
were on earth. The more they worked for Christ, the less would they
quarrel and fall out by the way. They would soon find there was so
much to be done, and so many enemies to oppose, that there was room
enough, and to spare, for all real labourers, and no time for quarrelling
and falling out. As the gospel had called them together to-day, he
hoped they would all feel pledged to spread the gospel. The very tea
and sugar, and the cake, were all so many remembrances of the need
of heathen souls. Tea came from China, and in China there were 350
millions of people. Sugar came from many parts of the world, and not
least from the East Indies. In the East Indies there were 150 millions
of people. The currants in the cake came from the Mediterranean.
There, also, were many millions of people in utter darkness about
eternity. He earnestly entreated them to remember this. He begged
they would all go away feeling pledged to spread the gospel of Christ.
But he would ask them one thing more. He would ask them all to
live the gospel, as well as to spread it. He implored them to remember
that those who laboured to make the glorious gospel known to others
were especially bound to adorn that gospel by their own lives. If they
did not so, they would pull down faster than they built. Justification

TI

1855.] THE STONHAM ASPAL MEETING.

125 by faith, without the deeds of the law, and salvation by free gracethese doctrines were the crown and glory of Christianity—the strength of the minister and of the message--the secret of our embassy-the stamp and mark of a really flourishing church. But he solemnly charged them all never to forget that there was another doctrine which must always be linked and tied to justification by faith, and that was the doctrine of holiness as the inseparable companion of saving faith, It had sometimes been disputed whether justification or sanctification were the more important doctrine. For his own part he would ever hold and trust that both were important. That blessed man of God, Rowland Hill, was once asked which he liked best, justification or sanctification. He replied, that he should give the answer of the little girl who was asked whether she liked her father or her mother best. It was this—“ I like them both best.” But he hoped they would all make a practical application of this that very night. He entreated them all, if they professed to value the gospel, to behave so as to let men see that they found the gospel a sanctifying religion. Many eyes were apon them. The enemies of all vital religion were watching for their halting. Let no one that day give occasion to the enemies of the truth to blaspheme. Crowds were always in need of warning, Temptations were always near when large bodies of people were gathered together. There was one present that afternoon who took no ticket, and had not been invited-one whom they would gladly keep out if possible, but they could not-one who crept into the garden of Eden and marred the happiness of paradise--and that was our great enemy, the Devil. Let them be on their guard. Let them take heed to their ways and to their behaviour that night, and not give place to Satan. Let them return home with the recollection that God's eyes were always upon them, and that there was no darkness with Him. An infidel once said to a little boy, " Tell me where God is, and I will give you an orange." The little boy replied at once—“Tell me where God is not, and I will give you two." That was a wise and good answer. Well would it be for them all, both minister and people, if they would learn every year to live more and more under an abiding sense of God's presence. Happy was that man, woman, or child, who did all as to the Lord, and in God's sight. His heart's desire and prayer for them all was, that they might feel, daily and hourly, “Thou God seest me.” Then indeed would there be an increase of gospel spreading and gospel living. To walk with God as Enoch did to walk before God as Abraham did this was to be a thorough servant of Christ, and a really useful disciple.

At six o'clock the party broke up, the doxology having been sung, and hundreds perambulated the rectory gardens and grounds till the meeting in the church, which took place at seven o'clock, and in which the objects and claims and operations of the Church Missionary Society were ably advocated. The church was crowded in every part, and very many were unable to gain admission. At the opening of the meeting that beautiful and appropriate hymn was sung, “Let there be light," and was followed by a selection of prayers from our admirable liturgy. After a few introductory remarks, Mr. Shorting read the report for the past year-a report calculated to call forth deep thankfulness to that gracious God who had inclined the hearts of many

126
A FRAGMENT.

[nov. to give so liberally, and in so touching a manner. In the face of heavy taxation and expensive necessaries of life, this village has increased its contributions. It certainly is a remarkable fact, that, with scarcely a resident gentleman, a rural population, hardly exceeding 800 souls, should raise for Missionary purposes a larger sum than many towns of twenty, and even thirty thousand inhabitants. To God be all the praise! May other places be excited to a like liberality! The meeting was then powerfully addressed by the Rev. R. H. Groom, rector of Monk Soham, in a very striking speech, followed by Mr. Storr and Mr. Ryle. At the conclusion of the meeting a collection was made amounting to 281. 12s. 2d. And many and many a thankful heart left this meeting with the feeling, “ It is good for us to have been here. “ Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name!”

A FRAGMENT. I WENT this morning into the bush in search of good timber for my church roof. At a considerable distance from the town I crossed a clear little brook, and the people told me its name was Majewoffa. The meaning is, “Do not suffer the person in pawn to die.” Thereby hangs a tale of sorrow with a thousand branches, that is, stories occurring every day. A poor person gets into debt in some way or other, but more frequently through country priests dictating to him to make such and such a sacrifice. There is no money for it, and the poor person is to put himself, or a child of his or her's, into pawn; that is, a man lends you so much money on condition that you work for him two days out of three, or as it may happen to be, until you have paid the money back, which is a hard matter; for how will a woman, or even a man, be able to lay money by to pay a debt, if he has only one day out of three to earn his own living? There the poor iwoffa- person in pawn-labours and toils day after day, and month after month, and year after year too, far away in the farms, among forests. There is a little brook, where the thirsty and exhausted iwoffa can refresh; and in his exhaustion, as he approaches the refreshing rivulet, he exclaims, “Ma-je-iwoffa-ku”— " Don't let the iwoffa die!"

Oh, thou poor negro, pawned out for centuries past into the service of Satan, come to the river of life, and exclaim, “ Ma-je-iwoffa-ku!"

[Rev. D. Hinderer, Ibadan. YOUNG CONVERTS IN INDIA. In our last Number we referred to the bitter trials which young converts to Christianity have to endure in India ; and some instances of this were introduced, which we trust may have served to call forth the sympathy of our readers, and in their prayers to “ remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them, and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body."

In the report received from the Burdwan Mission for the year 1854 a similar instance occurs-a young convert cruelly treated by his own father, because he would not act against his convictions, and remain a heathen. The narrative of his sufferings is related by himself. Let our younger friends, whose Christian parents,

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