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“This winter has been thus far very trying on the poor. Trade has been so bad that many of the factories have turned off a good part of their workers, while nearly all are working on short time. This, together with the high price of provisions, has caused a good deal of want in some of the families belonging to me; but, in spite of all this, they seem contented with their lot, and thus prove the benign influence the Gospel exerts on the mind.
“Our sabbath-schools are very well attended. The one which I opened on the first Sabbath of this year (1867), has now very nearly double the number of scholars it had when it commenced. The teachers are diligent, and the scholars attentive. Our prayer-meetings and services at the out-stations are still very encouraging. I am to preach on the first evening of the New Year at M- station.
“Since I last wrote you, we have had three additions to the fellowship of the Church. • Thus far the Lord hath helped us,' and as His promise is sure, I rest upon it, and look for help equal to my day.”
“Two visits, one reading; hearers, eight; Scripture read, part of John xvii. and Ephesians ii. Offered a few remarks on each ; hearers appeared interested. At present there is a great deal of caution to be observed in going amongst the
ople, lest by any inadvertent remark a door of entrance and usefulness might be closed, and prejudices raised against the truth and its bearer. Papists and some sections of Protestants are looking out for a division of the spoils of the Established Church. Others, who wont have anything to do with the garments or gold of Babylon, are treated as enemies by these political religionists, and are looked on with suspicion by Churchmen; hence the difficulty of steering clear of all these, and faithfully answer for the truth.
“19th.—Three visits; one reading; hearers read and spoken to about the way of salvation, sixteen; Roman Catholics, nine; who were both civil and attentive. Were it not for priestly influences, supported by rabble law, the respectable portion of the Roman Catholic population would most gladly listen to scripture and reason, but at present they fear the mob.
“27th.—Three visits; three readings; hearers, sixteen, Roman Catholics, four. Scriptures read, Matt. xvi., John xiv., and Romans viii.; on each portion offered a few practical remarks ; hearers appeared interested; gave away twenty tracts, which were thankfully received." Another evangelist writes:
24th.—Two miles ; visited six families; read and expounded the Scriptures to ten Roman Catholics and nine Protestants; with the Roman Catholics I spent the greater part of the day: I met with the major part of them in the street. They heard me much better than I expected. I directed them to God through Jesus Christ, as the only way of access to him—without money and without price.
“29th.—One and a half miles; visited
LAY EVANGELISTS. Several devoted lay evangelists, some of them speaking the Irish language, are employed by the Society, both in principal towns and cities, and in the rural districts, visiting the people where it is practicable, from house to house, holding cottage meetings, conversing individually with wayfarers, attending the sick and dying, inducing the careless to addict themselves to public worship, teaching the young, distributing tracts and Bibles. These earnest workers have been much blessed of the Lord. Their peculiar work is associated with difficulties, which are nearly unknown by those who are similarly engaged in England.
The following extracts are given from the journals of some of the lay evangelists. One of their number says:
five families. Read and expounded the words were, “I want no priest but Scriptures to eleven Roman Catholics Jesus,' words which show clearly how and nine Protestants ; with one of the completely he had renounced all trust Roman Catholics, a surveyor, had a in priestcraft, and had committed his long conversation, which he in a mea- soul to the care of Him who died, the sure commenced himself.
just for the unjust, that He might 'During this month, visited 131 bring us unto God.' His poor widow families; read and expounded the Scrip- and children, who are Protestants, found tures to 216 Roman Catholics and 254 no small comfort in the thought that Protestants; also distributed fifty-nine he 'fell asleep in Jesus,' and that tracts.”
those who fall asleep in Jesus shall An evangelist in a large city says : God bring with Him."
“During the above month it will be seen that I have made 240 visits to Were the means available such families, including five visits to the agents as those whose work is thus insick. Number of meetings held, four ; dicated, could, in larger numbers, be number of attendants, sixty-nine; num- speedily and beneficially employed. ber of Scripture readings, eighty-nine ; What is, however, still more imperanumber of tracts distributed, 174; num- tively needed and desired, is the enber of children induced to attend Sun- gagement of, at least, one
or two day School, four; number of persons ministerial evangelists, whose sole work induced to attend public worship, should be to itinerate throughout the twenty-one.
length and breadth of Ireland, preachThis man, who had originally been ing the Gospel of Jesus, not in the a Roman Catholic, is anxious to join spirit of controversy, but in that of the Church. He has been now a long tender and sympathizing love, in time attending the public worship of chapels, in lecture-rooms, in townour Church, and I have also been in halls, in market-places, on the highthe habit of visiting him and speaking way, upon the mountain-side, wherto him and his wife on religious things ever a congregation could be gathered. for a long time. He has but very little Men of deep piety, of powerful utterknowledge of Congregational prin- ance, of earnest zeal, of unshrinking ciples, but I believe him sincere in his
courage, they would require to be. But desire to be a Christian and to glorify if the Churches of Christ are prepared God.
to supply the means, and will betake I have often spoken of this man in themselves to fervent prayer to the my journals. He was a respectable Great Lord of the harvest, that He will and intelligent Roman Catholic, but send forth such labourers, would they some few years ago, through the read- not be speedily forthcoming ? ing of the Scriptures, and by attending If ever God's Israel were summoned occasionally on the Gospel ministra- to come up to the “help of the Lord tion in the M—Hall, and other against the mighty,” they are summoned places, he was led to see the errors of to give that help to Ireland, and they his Church, and to abandon them. My are summoned now ! For Ireland's visits to him were also greatly blessed sake, for England's sake, for the world's in giving him clearer ideas of the truth sake, glad and grateful will the Comas it is in Jesus, and in confirming and mittee of this Society be to receive strengthening his faith. His dying their brethren's aid.
DEATH AND THE CHRISTIAN. Ah, Death, thou hast me now!
Thou canst reach from west to east, But not to thee I bow
Holding rule o'er man and beast; I have watched thee coming long, Thou canst compass north and south, Through my watching I am strong- Fast closing every mouth; Thou bringest no disaster ;
But thou canst not silence me, I have another Master.
I know thy history.
Once to Eden green and fair,
Yea, Death, thou wast a king,
But when man and woman went
Hurrying past the cherubim.
Now, Death, strike thy blow,
Golden Words for Busy people.
THE MAJESTY OF CHRIST SEEN IN His million of souls. “I would have gathered MERCY.
them under my wing,” said Jesus Christ, LET those great words of the Lord even as a hen gathereth her little brood of Jesus be recalled to mind—“O Jerusalem,
chickens under hers! What manner of Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, man is this—a million of souls gathered and stonest them which are sent unto beneath His wing? It can be none other thee, how often would I have gathered than He of whom David sang, “ He that thy children together, even as a hen dwelleth in the secret place of the Most gathereth her chickens under her wings, High shall abide under the shadow of the and ye would not.” The bearing of these Almighty. He shall cover thee with His words on the character of Jesus is very feathers, and under His wing shalt thou obvious,-on His grace especially-His trust.” Why, no human mind is able deep, wondrous compassion. It is not even to conceive, distinctly, what a million quite so obvious, but they have a mighty
is. Our ideas have become wholly vague bearing also, and none the less important, and undefined, long before we have that it is indirect and incidental, on the reached that sum. Who is this that glory of the Saviour's person. “I would speaks of gathering all the souls in the have gathered thy children together," city of Jerusalem beneath His wing, keepsaid He, addressing the city of Jerusalem. ing them secure there to eternity, with as Of course, by Jerusalem's children he much ease as a hen gathers her half-dozen meant her people at large. It is com- chickens under hers? Who, but He of puted, that the inhabitants of Jerusalem whom Moses sang, “ As an eagle stirreth at that time must have been about a up her nest, fluttereth over her young,
spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings, so the Lord alone did lead him, and there was strange god with him ;" He of whom Boaz said to Ruth, “The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust,”—that very God, now manifest in the flesh, and about to “purchase the Church with His own blood.”—Dr. C. J. Brown.
AY ANXIOUS SEAT IN THE PULPIT. “He preached as if he was dyin' a'most to have ye converted,” said a simple woman, when she was describing the devout and earnest M'Cheyne. In those few words the good woman gave the secret of that young saint's extraordinary pulpit power. A passion for souls possessed him. The love of Christ con. strained him. And he would have counted that Sabbath a lost day, and that sermon a waste of breath, which did not accomplish the awakening of some stupid conscience, or the leading of some guilty soul to Calvary. There was always one "anxious seat” at least in his church, and that was in the pulpit.
As when Pompey could not prevail with a city to billet his army with them, he yet persuaded them to admit a few weak, maimed soldiers, but those soon recovered their strength, and opened the gates to the whole army. And thus it is that the devil courts us only to lodge some small sins, a sin of infirmity or two, which, being admitted, they soon gather strength and sinews, and so subdue us. have set up a trade in swearing with common interlocutory oaths, as "faith " and “truth?” How many have begun thieving with pins and pence? How many drunkenness with one cup more than enough? How many lusts with a glance of the eye ? And yet none of them ever dreamt that they should be prostituted to those prodigious extremi. ties they afterwards found themselves almost irrecoverably engulfed in.-Price, 1646.
AFFLICTION. “Afflictions,” says an old writer, "are like files,—they serve to give an edge to our devotions; or they resemble the counsellors of Benhadad—they send us, with ropes upon our necks, to the merci. ful King of Israel.” In prosperity, God invites us to Himself by a profusion of favours; in adversity, He leaves us no choice. Then we have no other arm to lean upon-no other helper to implore. Then, turning away from creatures, we up and
say, "Now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in Thee.” What brought back the prodigal to his father's house? -famine. What led Manasseh to seek the Lord God of his father?-degradation, imprisonment, and fetters. What said David to himself? “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn Thy statutes. Before I was afflicted, I went astray, but now have I kept Thy word.” What was it that brought the woman of Canaan to Christ? But for her
SPIRITUAL SEA-ANEMONES. By the bounty of God's providence, some are in such a situation that they do not need to toil for a subsistence; they go to bed when they please, and get up when they can sleep no longer, and they do with themselves whatever they like ; and though we dare not say that theirs is the happiest life, it certainly is the easiest. But it will neither be a lawful life nor a happy one, unless it have some work in hand, some end in view. Those of you who are familiar with the shore, may have seen attached to the inundated reef a creatare, whether a plant or animal you could scarcely tell, rooted to the rock as a plant might be, and twirling its long tentacles as an animal would do. This plantanimal's life is somewhat monotonous, for it has nothing to do but grow, and twirl its feelers, floating in the tide, or folding itself upon its footstalk when that tide has receded, for months and years together.
Now, would it not be very dismal to be transformed into a zoophyte? Would it not be an awful punishment, with your human soul still in you, to be anchored to a rock, able to do nothing but spin about your arms or fold them up again, and knowing no variety, except when the receding ocean left you in the daylight, or the returning waters plunged you into the green depths again, or the sweeping tide brought you the prize of a young periwinkle or an invisible star fish? But what better is the life you are spontaneously leading? Are you more useful?
You go through certain mechanical routines of rising, and dressing, and visiting, and dining, and going to sleep again : and are a little roused from your usual lethargy by the arrival of a friend, or the effort needed to write some note of ceremony. But as it curtseys in the waves, and vibrates its exploring arms, and gorges some dainty medusa, the seaanemone goes through nearly the same round of pursuits and enjoyments with your intelligent and immortal seli. Is this a life for a rational and responsible creature to lead? - James Hamilton, D.D.
Pages for our young friends.
SAINT GEORGE AND THE DRAGON. ENGLISH children are familiar with un- peace and war, and every passion of the couth pictures of St. George and the heart and life, had their own gods, to Dragon—they see them everywhere--but whom they were sacred, or who were how many English children could tell me supposed to rule over them. The roads who St. George was, and when and where and streets and highways had their gods. he killed, or is said to have killed, the Every town and village had its god. Now Dragon ? And no wonder. For not only the idea of patron saintship is nothing but is the Dragon, with its crested head, and this old Paganism in disguise. enormous claws, and spreading wings, a “ The noblest heathen temple now refabulous animal, but learned men are still maining in the world is the Pantheon in discussing the question whether there Rome, which, as the inscription over the ever was a St. George, and if there was, portico informs us, having been impiously who he was, and how arose the legend dedicated of old by Agrippa to Jove and about his killing the Dragon. It must be all the gods,* was piously consecrated by very clear that if England had not enjoyed St. Boniface the Fourth to the blessed better guardianship than its unknown Virgin and all Saints. With this single patron saint could give it, it would not alteration, it serves as exactly for all the have prospered as it has done these hun.
purposes of the Popish as it did for the
Pagan worship, for which it was built. But what's a patron saint? This ques- For as in the old temple every one might tion is worth answering before I speak of find the god of his country, and address St. George's victory over the Dragon. himself to that deity to whose religion The old Romans and Greeks, and other
he was most devoted, so it is the same heathen nations, worshipped, as you know, thing now; every one chooses the patron “gods many and lords many." They had whom he likes best, and one may see here a notion, or at least some among them different services going on at the same had a notion, of a supreme or bighest time at different altars, with distinct con. God. But, practically, the people wor- gregations around them, just as the inclishipped only the demi-gods or under-gods. nation of the people leads them to the And these they counted by hundreds and worship of this or that particular saint." thousands. The sea and the dry land, the rivers and fountains, wind and storm, * The word “ Pantheon” means "all gods."
dreds of years.