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stowed that it may germinate, like seed, and rear new plants of righteousness. It glorifies God by doing good to men. And to "withhold the truth" from this, its high and holy mission, is "unrighteousness." A responsibility, which cannot be shaken off, attaches itself to all who receive the grace of God in truth to spread the glad tidings as widely and effectively as possible. "Let him that heareth say, Come."
In agreement with these principles has been our experience during the year now past. "The spirit of grace and of supplication" has seemed to be poured out on not a few of those who occasionally led us in prayer. A deeper and more absorbing sense of the value and necessity of vital spiritual religion had no sooner seemed to possess their minds, and engage their petitions, than "the burden of souls " weighed down their spirits.
While this state of feeling became more and more perceptible, a reverend brother, at first a stranger to the most of us, if not to all, attended the meeting. His heart was warm, and his utterance free and cogent. Not only did he plead, from time to time, with God for us, but also with us on behalf of God. His impassioned addresses led to the appointment of meetings in the building occupied by our "Baptist" brethren in Bowdoin Square. There, at length, a series of meetings was holden during a part of the summer and autumn, and the labours of the Rev. Mr. Day were blessed, as is hoped, to the everlasting good of not a few. His labours—and he had often laboured in different places as an evangelist during revivals of religion—were shared also by the Baptist Church and Society worshipping in Baldwin Place.
After Mr. ray's departure, the Rev. Mr. Wescott continued the service, with good success, in Bowdoin Square. There it is now advancing, though more slowly. In the meanwhile, under the preaching of the Rev. Mr. Finney, President of Oberlin College, Ohio, the work goes on in Park Street Church and Society. From the crowded attendance, and from the solemn attention of those who listen to his instructions and exhortations, the best results are hoped for.
Oh, how different, Christian friends, is this state of things, though far beneath our wishes still, from that which prevailed when our morning prayermeeting was resuscitated, more than six years ago! Is not a firmer hold taken upon the promises of God than we dared to take then? Are we not better prepared to give honour to the Divine Spirit for the conversion of souls than then? Axe we not even more than convinced that, without the convicting and converting energy of the Holy Ghost, no sinner can be brought to rejoice in the Saviour? And have not the pleadings with God for His more than royal gift become increasingly urgent, confiding, and persevering? Have not answers to prayer been also in mercy experienced?
As in the course of the last year, occasional days of " fasting with humiliation and prayer" have been holden, at which seasons the meeting enjoyed the welcome presence and aid of several of the pastors of churches represented in it. These seasons were uniformly most solemn, and, it is hoped and believed, most useful. Their usefulness has been found, if in nothing else, at least in two successive annual public meetings, on the usual State Fast. These meetings, originating in the spontaneous volition of a small portion of the community, have assisted, it is hoped, in rescuing from an else increasing neglect, an observance descending to us from our Puritan ancestors, and authorised by ancient patriarchs, prophets, and " holy men of God."
As the human mind is liable, in its fluctuations, to go from one extreme to another, it is our precious and inestimable privilege to have the sacred Scriptures open before us in this meeting. In these we have an infallible directory. From the Bible, properly understood, there is no appeal. But be it remembered that this Word of God pronounces the consecration of both "body and spirit" to His service and glory our "reasonable" duty. It tells us we "are not our own, but bought with a price," and that, therefore, this duty binds us. Did it practically engross the Church of God on the earth, how soon would the entire face of our world be altered! How soon might " the glorious Gospel of the blessed God" pervade it!
What have we, then, before us, but humble, holy diligence in our walk with God, and doing good to men, as He in His Providence shall give us the opportunity and means? Thus shall " the little one become a thousand, the small one a nation," and God " will hasten it in its time." But He " will be sought unto to do it."
It is proper in this connection to mention that, agreeably to the vote of this meeting, correspondence was held, for a time, with a similar meeting, in Portland, Maine. Since then, although but recently, I have been grieved to hear that the meeting alluded to has ceased, the attendance gradually diminishing, until it was thought best to dissolve it. Nevertheless, it is gratifying to learn, from other quarters, even at a greater distance, that your zeal, Christian friends, has encouraged imitation, and that your example has not been without its influence. God grant that it be employed as an instrument of power in building up His kingdom in this favoured region, and in the nation He has so greatly distinguished by His mercies, that it may distinguish itself by active and effective devotedness to His service and glory.
During the past year we have been favoured by Divine mercy, in prolonging generally the lives of those with whom we have been accustomed to meet. One melancholy exception, however, is to be made, in the lamented decease of a beloved brother, the Honourable Daniel Safford, a deacon of the Mount Vernon Church, and highly respected and confided in by the religious community, and our citizens at large. As presiding over the city mission, his influence, as were his labours, was invaluable. He had indeed the true spirit of a Christian citizen, raised up, in the Providence of God, for public good. But "with Him" who made our brother what he was " is the wisdom of the Spirit," unexhausted and inexhaustible.
All which is respectfully submitted.
Secretary of the Meeting. FOURTH ANNUAL REPORT OF THE UNION PRAYERMEETING, HELD IN THE OLD SOUTH CHAPEL EVERY MORNING OF THE SECULAR WEEK, AND LATELY AT NOON ALSO.
(Read May 12, 1858.)
Towards the close of 1857, the Secretary of this meeting drew up a series of hints, intending to use them in preparing a report for that year, to be presented at the commencement of the new one, but, being seized with illness, and confined for several weeks, the usual time for such a service passed by. In the meanwhile, an unusual state of the public mind developed itself, producing, through the abounding grace of Almighty God, a revival of the power of religion in several different branches of His Church among us, and awakening attention to that all-important subject among almost all orders of the community, especially men of business.
It seemed expedient, then, to watch the course of events, and see more of the issue of them before recording anything. But a resolution was adopted very recently, that some communication from the meeting should be made public. Out of that resolution this report takes its origin.
The first emotion to be noticed, in looking back on the interval passed since the last report was read, is that of gratitude to God for the continuance of the meeting, leading, it is not to be doubted, to the acknowledgment of much benefit derived from it to those wno have been able to attend it seriously and habitually. To all such the appeal is made, that this benefit has been found in the cultivation of the social feelings, sanctified by the spirit of the religion of the Gospel; in the recognition of our mutual dependence on God for every blessing; in the special acknowledgment of our need of the influences of the Holy Spirit to revive and invigorate the Christian graces, and to extend the kingdom of our blessed Redeemer and Saviour by the conversion of sinners, thus cultivating compassion for our fellow-men, with reference to their eternal interests; in learning, too, and sympathising in the varying condition of the branches of Christ's Church, as intelligence may have been communicated, leading to prayer; and cherishing an interest in all Christian