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necessary as they are, are offered freely to all, wherever the Gospel comes.
The year has been distinguished by two remarkable features of its religious character, -" the Spirit of grace and supplication,” so observably poured out on very many assemblies of greater or less number and publicity; and the honour, in consequence, given to the Saviour. But this latter feature is only in perfect coincidence with His own declaration concerning the work of the Spirit: “He shall glorify me.” Under such operation, therefore, this is uniformly to be anticipated.
It ought to be noticed, likewise, that, while our own meeting is, in name and reality, a “union," combining individuals of different “ branches” of the Christian Church-Congregationalists, Baptists, Episcopalians, Methodists, and Presbyterians, for instance and that, from its first formation, the same feature has been impressed on the meetings in other places; indeed, so far as we have learned, in all, and that observably,—the bond of union is love to the Saviour, and Christian affection for all who bear His moral image, and seek to promote His cause and glory in the conversion of sinners. Denominational differences in other respects have hardly made their appearance. They have been absorbed in a deep and abiding concern to realise the prayer of the Redeemer, that in Him all His professed followers should be ONE.
Another feature of this revival has been, and is, the engagedness of laymen in promoting it zealously, and judiciously, and perseveringly. And this has appeared to be done with entire cordiality, and of a voluntary and intelligent consecration to the work, without waiting to be urged by the ministry, but acting on the permission, “Let him that heareth, say, Come,” and without a tinge of the spirit of fault-finding and reproach. Thus far, this important fact has been a great encouragement. The Lord grant that it continue and increase!
It has also been one of the memorable features of the year, that God has called into increasing operation the instrumentality of young men. A recent estimate of this “arm” of the spiritual warfare makes it to amount to two thousand in London alone, in fourteen years, since its providential employment, and in our own country to ten times that number. Can we contemplate this without adoring gratitude ? Some of us can look back to the period when aged men and aged women—the relics of “the Great Awakening ” — formed the majority, small, indeed, at best, of our respective churches, and it was rarely seen that the young came forward to increase the sacramental band. But now, and since the formation of our all-important Sabbath schools, the Church of Christ is becoming replenished with youthful converts, to receive, if their services be faithful, the training of the Saviour's “household of faith.” Oh, that it may be a training for such a measure of Christian usefulness as is imperatively demanded throughout that "field” which is “the world,” and such as no previous age of it has witnessed !
The prayer-meetings which have been holden by the sisters of the Church, many of whom are deeply interested in Maternal Associations, have been effective of much good; and they promise still greater, from the salutary influence on the infancy, childhood, and youth of our race, exercised by the highly-privileged Christian mother,--an influence which, though it may not always produce its proper effect at once, yet is often recalled, and rendered operative in subsequent life.
Two features more of our meetings demand a grateful mention. One is, that occasional exhibitions of Christian experience have been made in them, by interesting narratives of personal joys, sorrows, and efforts; the other, that opportunity has been offered, and taken, of hearing reports from Christian friends who have come in from abroad, concerning what God may have been doing by His grace under their own observation, and in their neighbourhoods. This has often excited a new interest and tender concern, which, with the admission of requests from individuals for a special remembrance of their case at the throne of mercy, have taught us, in some good degree, “the worth of prayer."
Nor ought we to overlook, in this connection, the establishment and operation of neighbourhood meetings for prayer. These have been multiplied, and God has remarkably blessed them. They allow a greater liberty of speech, and a more familiar and personal address, than more public assemblies permit, giving opportunity for arriving at a knowledge of the state of individual hearts, sympathising with them, pointing appropriately to the only remedy for sin, and urging immediate application to it, as well as affording matter for intelligent prayer.
We have, likewise, been recently led to entertain and cherish a new interest in the conversion of Jews, by ascertaining what God has done among them, especially in the city of New York; giving, as it were, the pledge of that promised result of their reception into His Church under the Gospel, which is to be to Gentile believers “ as life from the dead.” Nor has the year been without remarkable instances of recovery from the superstitions of Rome, and deliverance from Jesuitical art and self-seeking, from which our country, like all others where they have been prevalent, has so much reason to fear and be alarmed.
On the whole, then, brethren and sisters in Christ, we have great encouragement to persevere in prayer and Christian effort, and to commence the new year that now dawns upon us with high hopes of witnessing yet greater displays of the mercy of God in Christ. Let us "lay aside,” then, “ every weight, and the sin that doth so easily beset us, and run with cheerfulness the Christian race, looking unto Jesus," as our example, our strength, and our glorious inheritance, by a vital faith. Submitted by WM. JENKS,
Secretary of the Meeting.
We give below a verbatim report of one meeting, including every prayer, hymn, and all the remarks. Although the reporter was seen by one or two taking notes, yet no one knew that he was reporting the meeting in full for this book.
REPORT OF ONE MORNING PRAYERMEETING AT THE OLD SOUTH
SATURDAY A. M., FEBRUARY 19, 1859. (Phonographically reported for this book, by J. M. W. Yerrinton.]
HE exercises commenced at precisely half
past eight o'clock-Dea. Bates occupying
To our exalted Lord !
And we around His board.
Weary and faint ye stood,
From this immortal food ! "
O Lord, our heavenly Father, we would bless and praise Thy name for Thy goodness and for Thy mercies to us. We thank Thee that Thou hast preserved us through the night, that Thou hast refreshed our bodies by a comfortable sleep, and that we have been permitted to rise from our beds and come into this place, where prayer is wont to be made. Oh, blessed Saviour, wilt Thou meet us here with Thy