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We have often observed that nothing so perfects ministerial and pastoral educa. tion as a great baptism of the spirit in a powerful revival of religion. This experimental teaching gives an insight into the true methods of dealing with souls, in public preaching and private intercourse, which no amount of scholastic attainments or severe study can supply. For this, as well as so many other reasons, the young pastor should crave, pray, labour for a revival of religion as the most inestimable of blessings. Some are sceptical in regard to these special and prevailing religious attentions, apprehensive that they will evaporate in fleshly excitement, without any pure and enduring fruits. This may be true of superficial and spurious excitements, got up by artificial machinery and unscriptural devices. These often give birth to an Ishmael, instead of an Isaac, the real child of promise. That in regard to those profound and extended awakenings, which arise from and are guided by Scriptural truth, we apprehend that there will be vastly more irreligion in any congregation without them than with them. As one fruit of the several revival seasons in Dr. Spring's Church, at one time contained sixty members, whom he could call upon to lead in prayer, and who in little companies held weekly meetings in different neighbourhoods of the congregation.
In regard to all the revivals under his ministry, Dr. Spring remarks that, judging by the fruits, they were the work of the Spirit. The subjects of them, with few exceptions, have turned out intelligent and active Christians. Of the results of one of these seasons, he says :-“Some of the brightest and most enduring Christians among us were those whose conversion was as sudden as that of Saul of Tarsus. The gathered fruits of this protracted harvest were rich, consisting sometimes of thirty and forty, and at one conversion season, more than seventy, filling the broad aisle of the church,-a lovely spectacle to God, angels, and men.
May such gracious and glorious visitations be multiplied in all our Churches, until all flesh shall see the salvation of God. May the ministers, office-bearers, and private Christians incessantly labour and pray for these outpourings, even the great rain of God's strength. And may the remembrance of these years at God's right hand quicken the zeal of God's people to promote his work.
DR. BUCHANAN ON THE EXTENT OF THE PROPOSED
UNION OF CHURCHES.
In his speech before the late Synod in London, Dr. Buchanan thus referred to the subject of Union :
“I know that in connection with the movement for union there is one somewhat delicatė circumstance connected with it-delicate, at least in this England, to speak of, and I am a little afraid lest I put down
my the wrong place in venturing to tread upon any part of that territory. At the same time I do not think I run the risk of being misunderstood. You will not wonder, I think, from the references which I have just made to the common ancestry of all the Churches—an ancestry which is intensely Scottish—that we should have a very great unwillingness ever to disinherit ourselves, that we should be very reluctant and very slow to do anything that would even have the appearance of severing the ties that connect us with the old Reformed glorious history of the contendings of our forefathers. I believe honestly and sincerely that it is not a mere sentiment—that it is not a mere imagination, but that there is a great truth connected with ita great moral force, and that if we should stand out and set ourselves in the face of the world as something else than the old Scotch Presbyterian Church, we should be something like Samson when his locks had been cropped by the hands of Delilah, we should be like other men. That is to say, we should have nothing of the old Samson, nothing of the old strength and force, of the days of the Covenant. We should have lost what even these noble men have transmitted to us. It is pretty well known that in Scotland this sentiment is very general and very strong.
At the same time I know it is very easy to imagine how one would act in a situation in which one is not placed, and where it is much more difficult for those immediately concerned, and I wish it to be distinctly understood that I heartily sympathize with the painful feeling which it must cost the United Presbyterian Church if such a state of things were to come about as to separate in a sense from those ministers and congregations of the body that reside in England. And what a painful thing it must be for the ministers and congregations in England to consent to have them so separated from their Scotch brethren! I enter into that feeling, and thoroughly comprehend and entirely sympathize with it. At the same time, both Christian men as individuals, and Christian Churches as co-operative bodies, find themselves placed in circumstances when to sacrifice their own feelings becomes a duty and becomes necessary for the best interests of the cause of God. I do believe that while it is better for us that we should maintain our Scottish character, it would also be better for the two sections of the Presbyterian Church that are locally within England that they should assume more distinctively than ever an English character. Of course I am merely expressing my own personal opinion, and that is my honest and conscientious belief. At the same time, if that state of things should come about-as, for myself, I do wish and hope it may-if that state of things should come about, that we should have a great, free, and united Reformed Presbyterian Church in Scotland, and that you should have a corresponding Church here within the territory of England, we should not merely come annually together by sending deputations to shake hands and to bow to one another, and to wait each other's will, but I hope that our connection will assume a much more practical character. I believe it will be for the interest of the two Churches in the supposed case to have a separate independent jurisdiction. I believe it will be for the interest of both to have that, apart altogether from what I was saying about the importance of maintaining our Scottish historic associations. In the first place, I believe that a Church extending from the Shetland Islands to Land's End would be unworkable. I believe Presbyterianism would in that case not get fair play when scattered over so vast a field. It would be too cumbrous and unworkable, and would, I fear, not present that form of Church government which we so much love and admire, and believe to be truly Scriptural, in a favourable point of view. More than this, I have always been of one mind, that as nationalities somehow affect men, and socially and politically in accidents at least of their national and personal character, so nationalities will more or less in their accessories affect the Christian Church too, and I do not see any reason in the world why we in Scotland should have to judge of every little question amongst you that is immaterial and formal. I see no reason in the world or any good that we
if we were obliged to judge of the fitness or unfitness of every little expedient that might be required in England, and I just see as little good to be got from your judging of corresponding things in Scotland. I do therefore from my heart believe, apart altogether from the merely Scottish sentiment, to which I have referred as proper to be kept up for itself and for its own merits, that the arrangement I have now pointed to will be found to be decidedly the best in the long run. I am quite satisfied that if the Churches in Scotland would but unite, we could be of service to the Presbyterian cause in England, and I believe that that service could be
as effectually carried on through the medium of an alliance as through the inedium of an incorporation. If we had froin Scotland coinmissioners annually delegated, who would not come to appear on a platform for an evening, and then disappear, but to appear before your Synod or your General Assembly, as I hope ere long will be the case, and to be received as members to deliberate and make themselves a part and parcel of the body to which they are delegated ; and if you did the same towards the Church Court assembled in Edinburgh-if that were done, the two Churches-the one in Scotland and the other in England—would come to have one heart, so to speak, and to have the throbbing of one pulse and of one mind, with influences circulating from one end of the country to the other. We would regard your missions as ours, and you would do the same towards us. If I have said anything out of place, or that jars on anybody's feelings, I am sorry for it; but being here, I thought the manly course was to express my own mind; and I would deceive you if I did not say that I believe that feeling to which I have given expression to be the unanimous impression in the Free Church and the Reformed Presbyterian Church; and with the leave of my esteemed friend Dr. Marshall, I beg leave to say is, I think, pretty general in the United Presbyterian Church."
For the first time for many months we are without our usual supply of letters from the mission-field; but this deficiency will be the less felt as there is so much of deep interest to occupy the attention in the proceedings at the May Meetings, both in London and Edinburgh.
We trust the collection taken in behalf of the Foreign Missions on the 20th of last inonth, throughout our congregations, will come up to the expectations formed of it from the increased interest in the work manifested in many quarters. The Committee have been distributing with a liberal hand copies of the Annual Report, and of the Narrative of the Mission, and we earnestly commend the careful perusal of both these publications. The Narrative, we are glad to see, has reached a second edition; and with the
; division into sections of the second part of the work, it will now form a useful manual for future reference.
On surveying the state of the heathen world just now, one feature, we think, must strike every thoughtful person, namely, the great preparedness for the Gospel, so that the cry is no longer for open doors, but for men and means to meet the openings on every hand. This is peculiarly the case in the Amoy Mission. In a short note from Mr. Swanson, dated Amoy, 5th March, he writes :-“I am very busy with examination of candidates, and Liong-bun-see chapel-building. Both here and at Liong-bun-see the increased attendance of which I wrote is keeping up, and the candidates are growing in knowledge. With the work so growing and so pressing, it is sad to hear that there is no immediate prospect of a reinforcement from home.” And Mr. Macgregor, on the 7th March, writes in the same strain :" The opening of new work at Chin-chew is helping to render us just now very busy. This week I hope to start for the Bay-pay region, where there is always a call for more labourers. There, indeed, the fields seem white unto the harvest; may the Lord of the harvest send forth labourers. Let us have your prayers that in this region, now so full of promise, the interest in the Gospel may not pass fruitlessly away, but that many may be truly led to Christ, and born again from above."
It is painful to contemplate the possibility of an interest in the Gospel among the heathen passing away through any neglect of duty on our part. The people are like an ailing child unable to describe the symptoms of the disease from which it is suffering, but which we know, and for which we can prescribe the only remedy. How solemn the responsibility of possessing it, yet how delightful the privilege of applying it by taking that share in the mission work which God has placed in our power.
At the present moment there are at least 300 Chinese Christians whose conversion is due to the operations of our Church. But this represents only a small portion of the blessing we have been privileged to impart to China. These 300 are scattered amidst a population of many millions, as leaven in the bowl of meal. Only a small quantity of leaven in proportion to the meal is sufficient to leaven the whole lump, and thus how many millions yet unborn may have to bless God for the missions of the English Presbyterian Church.
It is, however, most important that we should recognise “ the power of littles” in the work at home as well as abroad. In a Church which carries on its missionary operations by means of a society, those only are members who contribute to its funds, but in the Presbyterian Church all are members of the society, because the Church itself is the society. In this way our responsibility runs parallel with our privilege. But there is some fear lest the burden of contributing for the support of our China and India Missions may be left too much to the wealthier members of the Church, which would be a great evil indeed. The gift of £100 from oue friend is not to be compared in value to the receipt of the same sum from a whole congregation, for in the latter case it brings with it the prayers and sympathies of some hundreds of people. We have never heard a single murmur from our missionaries in regard to salaries, but how earnestly do they covet the prayers and sympathies of our people !
A good illustration of “the power of littles” may be seen in the case of the Church Missionary Society. Last year there was a deficiency in their funds of £10,000; this year that sum has been more than made up, not by special donations from the wealthy, but by a combined effort of all the auxiliary societies throughout the country. Our own children's contributions are also a striking proof of the same power, as the mission accounts of the last year show that, excluding special donations, one-fourth of the mission funds are subscribed by the children! Let us then recognise more clearly the importance of combined efforts on the part of all, and we shall find with what ease the result of an adequate income may be attained.
We conclude with a summary of the accounts of the China Mission for the past year, showing the income and expenditure in round numbers:
361 Chapels, Gospel-boats, and Travelling Expensez
1,263 Home Charges
thus leaving a considerable balance due to the Treasurers.
EVANGELISTIC WORK IN AND Your driver, servant, and any others under AROUND MADRAS.
you, have the dilatoriness of Hindus.
Sometimes you may lose your way. Arrived BY A RETURNED MISSIONARY.
at the intended place, it will be better for
you to put your own hands to, and get I. BEFORE telling you about this work, up your tent, otherwise it is sure to be dear friends, let me make butone preliminary tediously, and may be insecurely, pitched. remark. It is, that if the ego come pretty An unexpected rain-storm muy give you a often into what is to be said, this does not soaking. Your bed must, of course, be on arise from any desire to thrust myself upon the ground, though with some' hing between your notice, but becau-e the life and interest you and mother earth. Then, at the vil. of an address such as the present lie in its lages you may meet with great rudeness being drawn from personal experience. and insolence. As a general rule, I found And now for the preparatives. These that this sort of thing was to be expected
at about one out of every three or four vil(1.) Some acquaintance with the lan- lages that were visited. Should natives guage. Even if you have converts to come to your tent for tracts or conversaaccompany you-as I had-and they are tion, you had better lay your account with going both to speak themselves and to having your patience and temper both tried; interpret what you say, it is very un- and not be surprised if a good deal of desirable for a man to go out quite ignorant grasping greed appear. At other times, no of the tongue used around him. In such doubt you meet with hospitality and kinda position you miss the point of what is ness, are gratified by pleasant conversa. going on, feel awkward when the con- tions; nay, meet with ingenuous souls that tinuous addresses are being delivered ; and, seem visited from on high, and prepared in discussion, though ever so well helped for the reception of Christ; but these are by your native assistants, would fain know the exceptions, not the rule. with your own mind the precise force of (4.) You must have some discourses, or, the objections and arguments that are at least, skeletons of discourses, with you. levelled against you.
What they should consist of we shall hear (2.) Some familiarity with the habits of afterwards. All that I say in the meanthe people. For example, in my field I time is, that you ought to go prepared. I had to learn that audiences were to be got candidly confess that at first I sinned only in the morning and evening; that the against this rule. Not long, however. In people will never listen when the gloaming God's good providence, the weakness, deepens into darkness ; that preaching in a foolishness, and wrongfulness of going forth Brahmin street awakens an amount of to spin out some commonplaces, even anger and prejudice which it is better to though your heart might be in them, was avoid ; that references to Hindu literature plainly shown me, and I ever after felt it are very acceptable; that assaults upon my duty to make special preparation for idolatry, though sometimes needed, are each visit. One means of my enlightenbetter replaced by statements of Christian ment on this point was the perusal of a truth ; that you must stand prepared for missionary memoir, that of Mr. Weitthe suspicion of wishing to kidnap the brecht-a great and good German, who people's children; that the actual period of wielded the language of Bengal with great an idolatrous festival is a rather hopeless facility, and laboured there for many years. one for preaching in ; and that there are He never went oven to the smallest hamlet many social customs practised by the without distinctive study and notes for it. Hindus which can be profitably used in On reading this fact, I had the thought preaching to them.
practically driven into me, that if such a (3.) Readiness to rough it. Your tra- man systematically pursued this course, it velling equipage is but a bullock.cart. was indeed presumption for a mere young