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the Old South Chapel, Deacon Willis, formerly of your city, communicated from a printed paper the gratifying intelligence, which I am permitted to enclose, of your formation of a meeting similar to ours, and to be holden every morning, excepting the Lord's day.
The knowledge of this gave to those who were present much pleasure ; and, at the motion of Deacon Willis, the subscriber was requested to communicate to you an expression of that pleasure, with such other remarks as the subject would naturally suggest.
In the introduction of this subject to our meeting, Mr. Willis recalled and mentioned the seasons of prayer he had enjoyed under the pastoral fidelity and Christian zeal of the lamented Payson—that beloved man of God and man of prayer, whose memory is so precious to many among you, and embalmed in the affections of so large a portion of the Christian community. And may we not believe that the recent movement among you, issuing in the establishment of this meeting, from which so much may be hoped, has been in answer to prayer ? · Christian friends, it is comparatively easy to propose and commence a new course; and to continue that course while there are many who pursue it, is not difficult. But to persevere, be uniform, consistent, vigorous, and animated, in sustaining such a meeting as you have resolved to hold, requires, you well know, daily and deep-felt devotion. Sometimes, for consolation and support, a recurrence must be had to the Saviour's declaration, “ Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matt. xviii. 20). This thought will encourage the few who can be present, and who love to be, should the many fail ; and He who heareth and answereth the prayer of faith can “make the little one a thousand-in His time” (Isa. Ix. 22). The ancient law, in its spiritual application, must never be forgotten by the people of God. “The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out” (Lev. vi. 13).
But, while past experience teaches us that changes of feeling may occur, and we are warned to guard against these, and to cherish the desire and effort to “grow in grace,” it seems equally important to be equally guarded against a censorious temper. The Holy Spirit cannot dwell in a heart characterised by this disposition. We must rather pity and pray for those who assemble not with us in these vol. untary and precious means of spiritual advancement, than blame them. The latter course injures ourselves; the former promotes our benefit.
In the prayer-meeting whose members now address you, it has been found to be a most gratifying circumstance, that professing Christians of different denominations could meet together, and aid each other in that in which all Christians are interestedpractical godliness. This has seemed to realise, in some degree, the anticipations of good Cotton Mather, who says: “The period hastens for a new reformation; wherein, as I apprehend, our gracious Lord will pass by the various denominations that now exist, to form out of them all a new people, who will agree together in the great essentials of religion, and sweetly bear with one another in their conscientious differences." Nearly five years' experience has, with us, been, in this respect, a confirmation of that anticipated result.
We congratulate you, then, Christian friends, on
the resolution you have adopted, and cordially wish you a distinguished blessing from God. We see in it a “germinant” fulfilment of the prophecy of Zechariah viii. 20, 21, where the speaker, who invites to such a service, shews his own interest in it by saying, “I will go also.”
That you may enjoy the presence and influences of the promised Comforter, be yourselves advanced in the Divine life, experience the satisfaction of seeing many engaged with you, and of knowing that sinners are embracing the great salvation and Christians growing in grace, is our earnest wish and prayer. And we ask an interest in your supplications for ourselves, that the Gospel may “have free course, run, and be glorified,” in this city also. Yours, in Christian bonds
(On behalf of the Daily Prayer-meeting in Boston),
REPLY TO THE FOREGOING.
PORTLAND, August 17, 1855. RESPECTED AND DEAR SIR :
I received your esteemed and very gratifying communication to our union morning prayer-meeting, on Saturday the 11th instant, and read it at our meeting Monday morning. The weather being unfavourable, the attendance was unusually small that morning, and it was judged advisable to have it read at a fuller meeting, before any action was taken in reference to it.
This morning it was read again, to the high gratification of all present; and J. W. Turner, District Sec. Amer. Tr. Soc. for Maine, N. Hampshire, and Vermont, was chosen a permanent corresponding committee to communicate occasionally through you with the members of the Boston Morning Prayermeeting. Mr. Turner is now out of the city, to be absent several days; but, immediately on his return, will doubtless furnish your meeting with an appropriate acknowledgment of the kind and Christian interest manifested in your communication.
The plan of this effort is in a measure new to a great portion of our Christian community, and various objections and hindrances operate to prevent the attendance of many members of our evangelical churches, whose co-operation and influence was much relied upon in carrying out the object we had in view. We much needed, and we do highly appreciate, just such a cordial as your communication administered to us. It was “as cold water to a thirsty soul,” and seemed almost to electrify our meeting this morning.
We need, we desire, and we doubt not but we have, an interest in the prayers which ascend to the throne of grace, through the only medium through which prayer is accepted and answered, from your morning prayer-meeting.
This is not intended as a communication for your prayer-meeting, but to advise you, dear sir, of the due reception of your esteemed favour. I have no objection, if you deem it advisable, to your informing that meeting that the reception of your communication has been acknowledged, and that an official response will be given in a few days. Mrs. H. unites with me in most cordial and respectful regards for yourself and family. Yours, very truly,
BOSTON, September 25, 1855. To the Rev. J. W. Turner, Portland, Maine (to
be communicated). REV. AND DEAR BROTHER IN CHRIST :
Your very kind letter of the 17th of last month was duly received ; but, as at the time of receiving it I was confined by illness to my chamber, it was not communicated to the little assemblage at our morning prayer-meeting until more than a week had elapsed. But it was heard with great attention, and excited, apparently, the best feelings of Christian affection and fraternal interest.
On the motion of Deacon Willis, of Park Street Church, I was requested to write you again in reply, and was appointed the regular channel of communication, in this matter, with yourself, on behalf of the meeting in Portland, and others, as Divine Providence may order.
If I do not greatly mistake, there is not merely no diminution in the spirituality observable in those who take part in the exercises with us, but rather an increase of interest, and of depth of feeling. This does not seem to vent itself in any irregularities of expression or conduct, but exhibits a growing attachment to “ the truth as it is in Jesus.”
Indeed, what has been, to my mind, the peculiar charm of this meeting, next to the Christian liberty indulged in it, is the reading and remarking on a portion of the sacred Scriptures, keeping this holy standard ever in sight. The consequence seems to be an increasing love of God's Word, and a desire of conformity to its spirit.
A few mornings since, we were visited by a foreign missionary brother, whose field of labour has