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seeking mercy, in an hour are rejoicing in hope of the glory of God. Authentic instances of a later date are on record, of persons passing through all the stages of conviction and conversion in a brief space of time. One moment a child of hell,--the next an heir of heaven! Surely golden does not adequately express the value of such moments. What else have moments done?
A moment was all that the young man required in which to decide for this world, who went away from Christ very sorrowful because he could not serve God and mammon! A moment was all that was requisite for Judas to betray his Lord with a kiss, but that moment sealed his damnation. It required but a moment for Felix to say, Go thy way for this time; and for Agrippa to decide that he would not be a christian when he was almost persuaded! Thus moments have saved, and moments have damned, souls. Eternity, with its infinite joys or endless woes, has, in myriads of cases, depended upon a single hour or moment - the awful issue trembling in the balance, the weight, as it were, of a feather deciding it, sealing a soul's eternal destiny! "Time the supreme! Time is eternity; Pregnant with all eternity can give; Pregnant with all that makes archangels smile!"
TAB WAY TO BE SAFE AND HAPPY.-I have somewhere read of one who, having
strong religious impressions, and feeling terrible apprehensions whenever the ideas of death and judgment presented themselves, continued so to habituate his mind to the contemplation of them, as to render them ever after, not only easy, but agreeable. His custom was, to consider each evening as the close of life, the darkness of night as the time of death, and his bed as the grave. He composed himself for the one, therefore, as he would have done for the other. On retiring to rest he fell on his knees; confessed, and entreated pardon for, the transgressions of the day; renewed his faith in the mercies of God through Christ; expressed, in a prayer of intercession, his charity towards all mankind; and then committed his soul into the hands of his Creator and Redeemer, as one who was to awake no more in this world. His sleep after this was perfectly sweet ; the days added to his life were estimated as clear gain ; and when the last came, it ended with as much tranquillity as all that had preceded. I would wish to recommend this example to your imitation. The practise will cost you some pains and trouble, perhaps, for a little while, but you will never have cause to repent that you bestowed them; and I know of no better method whereby you can place yourself in a state of constant security and comfort.
THE PRUSSIAN BAPTISTS. Just as we were going to press last month, we received from Brother Lehmann, of Berlin, the first quarterly Report of 1851, containing the statistics of the previous year.
God has favoured our brethren in Prus. sia; so that, notwithstanding all the difficulties of the times, their clear increase has been considerable--from 1018 in 1849 to 1411 in 1850. The number of churches is 14. Berlin, the largest, has 310 members; the smallest, just formed, Klein Werder, only 9. Memel and Rummelsberg, each 211; Stettin, 191; Stolzenberg, 173; the rest from 19 to 54. Connected with the churches are 66 stations, 402 Sunday schol. ars, and 56 teachers. The Parent Society in Berlin was formed on the 14th May, 1837.
The letters in the Report record much that is pleasing and refreshing. They have had to exercise discipline frequently, and, in a few cases, misunderstandings have arisen. But the ardent feeling and deep brotherly love is a truly delightful contrast to the spiritual dulness which reigns amongst us at home.
In visiting the stations, the brethren fre. quently preached to crowded congregations. On one occasion, a number who had stood without all the evening, came in after the service was over, and requested the preacher
to begin a new service for them; he did so till bis voice failed. One instance of persecuting assault, by some low fellows, is mentioned; but the State Clergy seem to be the head persecutors. In one instance, on the occasion of interring a brother of great usefulness and high character, who had died rejoicingly “anticipating his death as his marriage-feast,” though the national schoolmaster closed his school, and attended the funeral, the clergyman shewed his temper in the only way open to him, by forbid, ding the customary tolling of the bell. Another instigated the authorities to prohibit a brother from administering baptism or the Lord's-supper. The brother, however, replied very decidedly that “he should pay no attention to the prohibition, but proceed as he had done before," and heard no more from them. In many instances, the clergy denounce “these errors" from the pulpit, which not unfrequently rather serves than hinders the cause of our brethren.
Despotism, unqualified military despot, ism, now reigns again throughout all Germany. The press is entirely enslaved: every germ of liberty crushed beneath an overwhelming soldiery. Every monarch nearly has grossly violated his most solemn oaths. Priesthood and absolutism reigu supreme. In such a state of things, of course, Brother Oncken's course is again stopped. The gospel can no longer be
grossedness as ded that od gra
preached by him at Vienna to eager hundreds. Let the Revolutionists of 1848 have been Atheists, Deists, Pantheists, or whatever the foes of liberty please to style them, one fact is clear, our energetic brother baptist could preach with a hearty welcome from north to south; while now, in great part of the same territories, the very word of God is excluded !
Happily, there is every ground to hope that so vile a state of things cannot last. Austria's immense army has made her bankrupt, and her credit is quite gone. Providence will yet open its own way into priest-ridden Austria and Italy, the millions of whose people pant for civil and religious liberty. if revolutions should occur again, and if crowned heads should literally fall, let not, however, the people be blamed. Our own Charles I. lost his head by lying and perjury. And if, in future years, continental despots die at the hands of an enraged people, it will be the penalty of the grossest treachery and cruelty,-of such wickedness as amply deserves capital punishment, provided that punishment should be inflicted at all. God grant a more peaceful path for his blessed gospel. We must confess, however, that it appears to us as if he were "hardening the hearts" of priesthoods and despotisms, in order to destroy them with terrible vengeance at last, by the hands of their oppressed, deluded victims. (Ps. ii.) PROPOSED CHAPEL AT SHIRLEY, NEAR
SOUTHAMPTON. For the last year, a school-room in the village of Shirley, near Southampton, has been opened for public worship, and principally supplied by the undersigned Baptist ministers. During that time it has been twice enlarged, and is now inconveniently crowded. A Sunday-school is conducted by residents in the village. It contains 50 children, in regular attendance, and might be largely increased, if there were accommodations. Weekly services have been held, and the Lord's-Supper administered monthly.
The only other provisions in the village, for worship, are a church and a Wesleyan chapel, both quite inadequate to the wants of the neighbourhood, the population of which, in a circle within a mile, is estimated at nearly 6000. or these, a large number consists of the families of persons engaged in business in Southampton, to whose attendance the unfavourable situation and limited accommodation of our school-room is felt as an obstacle, and regretted.
It is therefore proposed to erect, at the smallest possible cost, a neat, commodious chapel, to hold 300, in a good situation, which we think can be done for a total expense of £400.
There are generous friends in our denomination whom God has blessed with wealth, who, feeling deeply the responsibility thus laid upon them, are anxious to find opportunities for furthering the cause of Christ by their contributions. To the liberality of such friends we commend this case, which
has forced itself upon our attention by its urgent claims ; and while having done, and being still anxious to do, all in our power for its healthy prosperity, we now venture confidently to submit it to the kind sympathy and sense of responsibility to God of our christian friends..
As it is not intended to burden this movement with any weight iu the shape of a debt, we beg urgently to solicit, that friends who may see this notice will kindly respond speedily.
Any communications may be addressed to either of the undersigned, who will gladly give further information, or receive subscriptions.
THOMAS MORRIS, East-Street Chapel.
THE MANUFACTURING AND OTHER WORK
The Religious Tract Society, London, offered, some time ago, a series of prizes of £100, £50, and down to £15, for the best works on “ The present state of our manufacturing and other working classes, so far as such classes are affected by moral causes, and by personal character and habits, and the best means of promoting their temporal and spiritual welfare." We have the pleasure of informing our readers, that the first prize of £100 has recently been awarded to the Rev. Henry Dunckley, M.A., pastor of the Baptist church, Salford. The congregation over which he presides are about to commence the erection of a New Chapel in Great George Street, Salford, and earnestly appeal to their friends for assistance in so important an undertaking.
HALIFAX. The Rev. S. Whitewood having completed the twentieth year of his pastorate in Halifax, his friends, desirous to manifest their esteem for his christian character and pastoral labours, originated a subscription, in order to present him with a purse as an expression of their affectionate regard. Aided by the spontaneous liberality of christian friends of various denominations, their hopes have been more than realized; and on March 21st, the Treasurer of the fund presented him with a purse containing upwards of two hundred and seventy pounds.
COMBMARTIN, NORTH DEVON. On Wednesday, March 19th, 1851, a new Baptist chapel was opened in this place. Sermons were preached, in the morning by the Rev. David Thompson, Great Torrington, from Ps. cxxii. 7, and in the afternoon by the Rev. S. Newman, Barnstaple, from Is. xxviii. 16. The evening was devoted to a public meeting, at which the Rev. William Davy, minister, presided, and addresses were delivered by the Rev. Messrs. Blackmore, Lovering, Newman, Vasey, sen., and Vasey, jun. The services through the day were deeply interesting and profitable. The chapel will accommodate 350 persons. Both the congregation and Sabbath-school are rapidly increasing.
* Built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets Jesus Christ
himself being the chief corner-stone."-Eph.ii. 20.
FRAGMENTARY NOTES OF VILLAGE SERMONS.
BY THE REV. JOHN FOSTER.
Christian.”-dcts xxvi. 28. 1. How many things do we read or hear, which suggest the thought that they ought never to have been said upon this earth, never to have been put into language! Has it not often struck you, that there ought never to have been a state of mind 'which would admit of such and such expressions being employed ? We do not mean that men should use ex. pressions which do not agree with the state of their minds, but that the thoughts expressed should never have existed.
It is very common to hear expressions indicating a lightness of mind on the subjects of serious thought. Men will say, that the state of their mind is bad with regard to religion, and shew, at the same time, that their regret on this account is very small. A man will say, “I never thought about religion; I do not pretend to think about it!" and feel a kind of complacency in saying so. But that men should not feel regret is most melancholy. A man will say, that he is conscious he is not prepared to die, if there be such a place as is designated by the term Heaven; and you will be astonished to look in his face, and to observe how lightly he says so, without feeling the force and terror of such a declaration. Now, the expression we have read, is one that should never have been said to an inspired Apostle, who was empowered to work miracles, and to convey thoughts from God to men. When expressions indicating such a wretched state of mind are used, it is desirable that some one should admonish men, constrain them to think of their state more deeply, make them turn their thoughts back again, and lead them into quite a different state of thought. In this instance there was such a person, the Apostle Paul. There was a much less reflective hearer present, the Roman Governor, Festus, who exclaimed, “Much learning hath made thee mad.” Remark, how easy it is for proud men of the world to say this to men speaking the truths of religion, and denouncing the judgments of God : they think it a very easy thing to meet the displays of the divine authority; they do not think it worth while to weigh the force of evidence brought forward on great occasions; they suppose that the first words
that occur to their minds will do; if the first suggestion is madness, of what consequence is that? No matter that the men upon whom they bring this charge are endowed with power from heaven. If men do not feel the weight of solemn declarations, you know this is a common way of meeting striking displays of character. A man will not be able to go far into society, remonstrating against sundry vices and vanities, before the defenders of them call him mad. How many things of this kind could you trust yourself to go through society and animadvert upon, without reckoning on such treatment? But it belongs to apostolic spirits to disregard all this; to possess a sublime and dignified indifference to the opinions of men. Teachers of religion should not be concerned for the effect that accompanies their doctrine, merely as it regards them. selves, but to follow Jesus Christ; not to care in the slightest degree, provided they can gain attention to the cause they advocate, and of which they should be the examples.
Many, perhaps, are of the opinion of Festus with regard to Paul; and if he had good grounds for thinking as he did, all persons ought to regard the apostle in the same light; for what do we mean, principally, by a man being beside himself, but acting contrary to reason ? Let those who are not convinced pronounce thus on St. Paul: for there were no reasons for Paul's being a christian but such as should be sufficient for them. But there are none for them, none of practical force, and yet they do not accuse themselves of acting contrary to reason. Well, then, admit the force of this reasoning, and we must needs pronounce him mad. The Apostle Paul was mad, or they and we should be christians. When we feel the defective force of christianity, we ought to examine how it is that reasons, which had irresistible conviction on other men (Paul and the rest of the apostles, for instance), have so much less effect upon us. If we complain of an untoward nature, is not the force that was applied to him sufficient to change all human natures? We should not rest contented under this weight of fault. Probably Paul never felt more triumph, more elevation of spirit, than when avowing his religion before these powerful men. It is a happy thing to have such a feeling; to exult in the avowal of our sentiments in any possible situations; to be able to say, “My object is worth it, I cannot be too decided; there are no lengths I can go which my cause does not deserve I should go !” It is a very happy state, to feel one has a cause worth every degree of courage. This is a very important rule by which to try a system of life-how far one can feel reasonable in avowing it. Let every man place himself in thought in all places, and ask, Would my cause be worth dying for? Is it a kind of interest for which no boldness would be too great? This would give a dignity to character. Now, how many causes are there in which men's pursuits would not bear such a test! In many cases, a man would feel , confounded and dishonoured by the cause he loved. Why do not men
think of their state? Why do they not feel how little satisfaction it can afford them to die in such a state, or to suffer persecution ? It is like a man dancing, or fighting, or building on a shifting sand; the more exertions he makes, the more the unhappy man sinks. We may observe, that every christian should seek this kind of courage—to avow his Master and his cause every where, among every class of men. A good man should seek for courage to declare for God's cause before the most thoughtless, or gay, or unbelieving, or the powerful and unjust, remembering what Jesus Christ said, “Whosoever is ashamed of me, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels” (Luke ix. 26). The christian cause is superlatively excellent in keeping its advocates' spirits high. Christianity gives a man the assurance that he may venture anything, and never fear, the treacherous nature of the ground; infinite firmness bears him up: nothing can make a revelation to discover fraud or weakness; the more demanded of it, the more it gives; the stronger the trial, the greater the power it puts forth. Here was Paul; he endured almost every sort of vexation and grievance, at every moment of his existence-see the consequences; what did all this effect? It was impossible to persecute, to scourge him out of his religion; and history tells us that crucifixion could not dissolve the union-nothing could separate him from the love of Christ. Though he suffered everything that malice could inflict, still this hated religion clung to him whole and complete; and that is another test_if, having trials, we find our cause worthy. It is barely possible that a bad cause may infuse a degree of affection for it, but this is very rare among the children of men; they must have something to reward them for it. We may apply to the apostle, in an opposite sense, what was said of the incorrigibly wicked, “The Ethiopian might change his skin, and the leopard his spots, sooner than he could learn to do evil.” There was a kind of absoluteness of impotency in the apostle to do evil. This distinguished heroism much affected King Agrippa; and it was no small testimony from a heathen high inagistrate when he said, "Almost thou persuadest me to be a christian.” You may be assured, this king and judge was not easily surprised into words of which he would afterwards be ashamed. The impression on his mind must have been great, to make him utter these words, and this, too, just after another noble Roman had accused Paul of insanity. It is striking to see how much powerful effect might be produced on a man who did not feel the final constraining power of Christianity. Nothing can occasion, to a serious mind, deeper melancholy, than to mark what a divine impulse, what a strong radiance and sun-shine of truth, can pass through the mind, and then vanish for ever. It was as if heaven's gate had been opened, and he had consented that it should be shut again. It is very grievous, that men should irresistibly bear testimony to what Christ testifies, and that this testimony of conviction should not go into the practical convictions of life. The minds of young persons are sometimes affected by the clear convictions of truth, and nothing is more affecting than to see them, in a little time, given up to vanity as before. This proud heathen came so near conversion and happiness, but then all passed bye. Sometimes we see the commencement, and say, such is the right feeling, there is the homage to the gospel, there is a confession of the glory of christianity,—that is how the mind should be,-why may it not go on to a confirmed state? But, if you watch it, you see it passing away, and the world and sin coming forward again. We must feel great regret at this state of the human mind. Sometimes you may hear persons make very strange affirmations--they will very calmly confess they once felt very powerful impressions of divine objects; but it is so now no longer. There are very few visages of men you could look upon with more sadness, than upon these: to think that such and such a man has been touched, but the divine element has passed away, that celestial agency is gone bye. Now he heeds not the divine judgments, though they must needs be coming nearer and nearer; though he is still exposed to everything in the train of destruction, and is willing to suffer the consequences.
"Almost thou persuadest me to be a christian.” "And Paul (we are told) said, I would to God that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds” (Acts xxvi. 29). Now Paul's reply was perhaps the best that could be given. But we may imagine several replies not impertinent.