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Several out-stations which the pastor hearing me attentively, said, “Oh, then, I could not visit, except very rarely, are
have spent my days in sin and rebellion now regularly attended to.
against God, but in my youthful days we had
no bibles, nor good men to teach us their THE RESULT.
sacred contents. May it please the Lord to Though Mr. Eccles will from time to time pardon my great ignorance and neglect. But furnish you with information regarding the you, addressing his family, have now the opchurch in this town, yet I may just add, that portunity offered, and I earnestly beg you al the truth is evidently progressing. There are to embrace it." This poor man died a few still persons being added to the church, and days after, and I trust we have some reason the denomination is becoming more generally to hope that his confidence was placed in the known.
Lord Jesus. I have been able to open seven stations for preaching. At some, however, of these, The proposed payment of the Romish the attendance is small, but at others it is priesthood agitates even the peasantry very good, and at all it is increasing. A few in this remote district. of the people attending these out-stations are now beginning to come to evening service in
VARIOUS OPINIONS ABOUT IT. our chapel. So far this is well and en
Within the last few weeks a general cry couraging, and invites us to expect other fruits in God's own time.
has been raised among the lower classes that
I may say that in all cases my visits are thankfully received, and
their priests are about to accept a governalso that I am frequently invited to preach
ment stipend. Some of them seem glad, as
they think it will put an end, for the future, amongst the people.
to their severity and harshness. Others suppose, if they accept of it, that it is a sterling
proof that they are not infallible guides, as The following facts are from the re- they have hitherto pretended to be, and thereports of the readers in the Connaught fore they will not be regarded as their spidistrict. They continue to prove the
| ritual instructors. What this agitation of usefulness of this agency. It is a matter
| mind may end in, none can tell. But God of constant regret to the committee that
will bring good out of evil. the offers of service which they so fre
SUPERSTITION CONQUERED. quently receive from persons eminently qualified for this work, are necessarily
I have visited pretty often lately, a woman declined from want of funds. This is
who is a Carmelite, and wearing three rings
on one finger, in honour of St. Joseph, St. the inore to be regretted, because some
Dominic, and St. Francis, together with is of the agents labouring among the
scapular, and other consecrated cords and largest populations, as Cork and Water
badges, which she obtained from friars and ford, have no assistance whatever.
others who traffic in such consecrated
trumpery. THE POWER OF THE WORD.
On meeting with her last week, strange to On entering a house where I had been in tell, I missed the rings. Not seeing them in the habit of reading for some few months their old berth, I said to her, “ Biddy, what past, the woman living in it gave me a hearty did you do with the consecrated rings?” She welcome, saying she longed to see me again. replied, “ I have cast them off for ever, for Haring asked why, she said, “You know my I need not trust in them when God's word son, since his father's death, turned a bad boy tells me that the blood of Christ washes to us. On one occasion I complained of him away all sin.” “ Don't believe what she says," to the priest, but it was of no use. You observed a young woman, “ for in quilting commenced to read the scriptures for us, and her petticoat last week, she hid the rings in to tell him of the evil consequences of his it.” “No,” said Biddy, “I would cast a conduct ; and blessed be God, he seems not thousand of them away, if they were gold, only changed himself, but strives in a proper that I might put my trust in Christ alone.” Fay to advise and counsel others in the
THE WORD PREVAILING. family, who were following the evil example set for them. So I am glad you are come, L I have no hesitation in saying that the and hope you will come often, and counsel people are increasingly reverencing the the others who need it as much as he did.” | authority of scripture rather than the comAbout eighteen months ago, this very woman mandments of men. The tracts you gave refused to let me read the word of God. It me for distribution lasted no length of time, is a great change indeed.
The children in the school took the greater THE ENTRANCE OF TUY WORD GIVETH LIGHT.
part of them away. Those who could read
were eager for getting them, and they are so I lately visited an aged sick man, who after careful of them, that they most commonly
carry them in their books, to and from school, , persons, and distributed a hundred and three lest they should be soiled.
tracts. Two members have been added to the church by baptismyoung men of great
respectability and worth. Mr. Wilshere The reader at Athlone, Pat. Walsh, preached a suitable sermon on the occasion, writes under date of Nov. 2, 1848 :
which produced a deep impression. I heard
much of it during my visits the following week, In the course of the last month I have and had an opportunity of showing them visited eighty-seven families, and spoken on chapter and verse for what was brought forthe grand concern to about two hundred 'ward on the subject.
POSTSCRIPT. Our friends will perceive from the Appeal in the first page, what is the pecuniary condition of the Society. We beg them distinctly to ponder the fact that this terrible debt has not arisen from increasing the expenditure ; for, during the past four or five years, every effort has been made to reduce it. The income has not kept up to the average of the previous years. We believe none will deny that every effort has been made to improve it. No labour has been spared, but hitherto without the expected measure of success.
What then was to be done? Ordinary means having failed, there was only one course open, and that was a frank explanation of the circumstances, and a strtement of the whole case. Circulars have been forwarded to churches who have given no help for two or more years, and to such private friends as are known to be anxious about the Society's welfare and success. Some fruit has already been gathered. We wait with considerable anxiety for the result. May all who can help be inclined to offer it promptly and liberally!
CONTRIBUTIONS RECEIVED SINCE OUR LAST.
Jay, Mr. A...
Friends, by Rev. C. Anderson 1 2 0
£ s. d.
£ $. d. Collingham--Mrs. Nicholle....
1 0 0 1 10 Cambridge-Lilley, W. E, Esq........... 30 0 0 1 1 0 Ipswich-Contributions by Miss Limmer. 1 9 1 1 1 0 Royston - Mrs. Goodman....
2 0 0 1 0 0 Ampthill-Mr. Claridge
0 10 0 1 0 0 Ashton-under-Line-by Mr. Mulhern 2 2 6 2 2 0 Oldham- contributions
2 7 8 1 1 0 Gravesend-collection at Zion
3 3 6 35 00 Maidstone- ditto King Street
6 2 6 2 13 0 Brighton- ditto by Rev. W. Savory... 5 0 0 4 18 9 Olney-contributions by Wr. Soul.... 5 0 0 2 13 4 Lewes- ditto by Mr. Button 7 0 0 2 0 0 Sabden-Foster, George, Esq.....
30 0 0 5 0 0 Halstead-collection by Rev. J. Bates..... 1 14 0 2 2 0 Earl's Colne
2 15 6 Bures .......ditto.......................
3 10 0 Sudbury ..ditto...
1 15 6 2 2 0 W. A., by Rev. J. Angus..
1 0 0 1 1 0 Camberwell- Mr. Moore
0 10 0 1 0 0 Banbridge-the Church.
12 € 0
Peto, S. M., Esq., M.P....
DONATIONS TOWARDS THE DEBT.
£ &. d.
50 0 0 M. M. H...
£ .. d. 5 6 0 2 2 0 0 10 0 1 10 0
Subscriptions and Donations thankfully received by the Treasurer, JOSEPH TRITTON, Esq. Lombard Street; and by the Secretary, Mr. Frederick Trestrail, and Rev. JOSEPH ANGUS, at the Mission House, Moorgate Street; and by the pastors of the churches throughout the Kingdom.
COLLECTOR FOR LONDON, REV. C. WOOLLACOTT,
4, Compton Street East, BRUNSWICK SQUARE.
J. HADDON, PRINTER, CASTLE STREET, FINSBURY.
THE PROVINCE OF ASSOCIATIONS.
BY THE REV. GEO. B. IDE, D.D.
Tae Philadelphia Association has just the association in matters of discipline. closed a very interesting session. The By one of the churches certain queries veneration in which this ancient body were sent up, having reference to subis held, its prominent position, establish-jects connected with its own internal ed character, and the large number of administration, on which advice was churches represented in it, give to its sought. The association, by a very deliberations and movements an im- | large majority, decided that such quesportance that belongs to few similar tions did not come within its legitimate organizations throughout the land. scope ; that it was foreign from the The meeting was one of much harmony design of its formation to give counsel and spiritual enjoyment. The accounts in affairs of ecclesiastical government; presented by the delegates from the and that difficulties arising in an indiseveral churches indicated, in general, a vidual church, or between different healthful tone of religious feeling and churches, should be adjusted in the action ; while the interest manifested customary and authorized way. In this in the various objects of benevolence, conclusion we rejoice, believing it caland the liberal contributions made for culated to promote order, to preserve their support, afforded the most cheer- the independence of the churches, and ing evidence that this noble cause has a to determine the real province of those firm hold upon the hearts of the multi- voluntary bodies emanating from them. tude there assembled.
To show that our approval is not But the decision which appears to us lightly given, we shall take occasion to of chief moment, and fraught with the offer a few thoughts on the true nature happiest consequences to the peace of and purpose of associations, as a recogZ on, was one relating to the sphere of nized department of baptist polity.
FOL. XII.-FOURTH SERIES.
There is, perhaps, no other organiza- and co-operation in the cause of God. tion among us so ill defined, or respect. They have no authority to promulgate ing which such vague opinions are creeds, to issue canons, to prescribe entertained. And yet associations, systems of discipline, or in any way to meeting as they do regularly, having a supervise the internal regulations of the permanent existence, and an established churches. They are not boards of connexion with the churches, must, reference, nor councils of advice, nor from their very character, be capable of courts of appeal. They can neither great good or evil. It is, therefore, a legislate, nor adjudicate, nor punish. question of much practical importance, An association may, indeed, separate What is their appropriate sphere ? from it any church that becomes corrupt Within what limits is their influence in doctrine, or whose disorderly and beneficial ? When does it become violent proceedings endanger the general dangerous and harmful ?
p ace; that is, it may withdraw the It is plain that no express mention privileges of union and intercourse of associations is found in the New when the conditions on which they were Testament. We know not that the conferred are violated. Such a power primitive churches had any arrange- is necessary to secure the ends it has in ments analogous to them. But though view, and is involved in the very prin- . not directly required by any command ciples of its organization. But further or example of scripture, their existence it cannot properly go. Apart from this, is, we conceive, strictly in harmony its sole office is, by the means above with the general spirit of its instruc- indicated, to advance truth, holiness, tions. It is certainly allowable for and love ; leaving all that is executive, Christians to institute, with a view to disciplinary, or governmental, where their own religious improvement, such Christ hath left it-to the churches voluntary combinations as do not con- themselves, acting in their individual flict with any statute of the gospel ; capacity, under their sovereign Head, which assumes not to make, interpret, to whom alone they are responsible. or execute laws in the kingdom of It may, however, he said, that when Christ; and which trench upon none cases of difficulty exist in a church of the prerogatives of that ecclesiastical which it is unable to settle, it may be constitution which he has ordained. both suitable and useful to seek instrucAccordingly, the churches of our deno- tion and guidance from the association mination have deemed it not inconsistent to which it belengs. To such a course with the bible, and profitable to them- there are, in our opinion, very serious selves, to unite in fraternal communi- and weighty objections. References of ties, under the name of associations, this nature, should they become frequent for the purpose of mutual edification --and were the principle established, and comfort. The institutions so form- they would soon do so-must necessarily ed are intended simply and exclusively absorb the time of the association, proto have regard to the spiritual interests tract its sessions, create strife and party of the churches connected with them ; feeling, and waste, in exciting discusto ascertain and collect the facts of sions, the hallowed hours that should their condition ; to produce concert in be spent in devotional exercises, and in their pious labours; to extend succour solemn consultation on the great inteand encouragement to the feeble ; and, rests of the Redeemer's kingdom. Thus by the interchange of sympathy and the very objects for which an association fellowship, to promote unity of feeling, is formed would be crowded out and lost. Nor is such a body at all a fitting more effectual and safe than a reference one to investigate and determine ques- to associations. Councils, as such occations of discipline. It is not so consti- sional assemblages are denominated tuted as to answer any purpose of this among us, are chosen with a yiew to the kind. It has neither the leisure nor specific case that is to come before the means for the calm deliberation, them. They meet at the call of the the patient weighing of evidence, the church desiring their assistance. Their full and impartial inquiry, so indispens- office is wholly advisory, and even that able to just conclusions. Whatever is delegated ; and when its functions judgments it might pass, in these cir- are performed, it reverts to the church cumstances, must be hasty, crude, at whose request they act. Having one-sided, and would, probably, only discharged the duty assigned them, they aggravate the evil they were intended to are dissolved, and cease to exist. cure.
But an association is a permanent But, it may be asked, Is a church, body. It is frequently even a legal when embarrassed by cases of an intri corporation. By its stated meetings, cate and distracting nature, never to and annual delegates, it renews and claim advice from any source without perpetuates itself. If it be empowered itself? To this we reply, that the rules to take cognizance of discipline, or to which Christ has given in his word for instruct the churches in the managethe order and regulation of his house, ment of their internal affairs, self-respect if rightly understood and applied, are alone will lead it to see that its dictates amply sufficient for every conceivable be regarded. Where they are treated exigency. Let these be duly studied with contempt, it can do no less than and wisely followed, and the most obsti- put out from it the delinquent or reDate dissensions will vanish before their fractory members. And thus we have healing influence. And what is true of at once, an ecclesiastical court, interdifficulties in a particular church, is preting laws, issuing decrees, and enequally true of those which sometimes forcing them by the very highest penalty, arise between different churches. But that of excision. It may declare that should instances occur, in which the the potent words it utters are merely application of the Saviour's laws is not those of advice—the mild admonitions clearly seen, or division and excited l of a kind and watchful guardian--but feeling prevent their being put in force, they are, in effect, commands—the imthere is a remedy at hand, sanctioned perative edicts of a judicatory erected by scriptural precedent, and the general over the churches, and awing them into custom of our denomination. Let the submission. It matters little by what church or churches so situated, agree to name such a controlling power may be submit their differences to the umpirage called—whether synod, presbytery, or of neighbouring churches. Let judicious association. The thing, as to all practiand impartial brethren be called in for cal results, is essentially the same. As this purpose, before whom the whole soon would we place ourselves under an facts of the case shall be laid, and who, organization claiming to legislate in after careful investigation, shall explain God's house, as under one presuming to the scriptural rule in the premises, and expound to us his will, and visiting with give such counsel and aid as may be censure the neglect of its teachings. needed. Scarcely an occasion can arise Whatever thusexercises superintendence in which such an expedient will not be over the churches, or hinders their free found adequate. At all events it is far action, is a palpable encroachment upon