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to the directory appointed for public wor ship. I have been in many churches both in England and Scotland, and although I have found cases of very great departure from this order, I have not been able to meet with one church in which it is carried out.
A short prayer at the commencement of the service, as ordered, appears to me sin gularly appropriate.
Singing a psalm or hymn (see Confession xxi. 5, proof) follows, or is preceded by reading portions both of the Old and New Testaments; not, as is generally the case, certain parts which are favourites of the minister, but "it is requisite that all the canonical books be read over in order." The Book of Psalms is especially commended to be read more frequently.
Would it not be well, therefore, to read first a chapter of the Old Testament, "and sometimes more, where the chapters are short, or the coherence of matter requireth it," then to chant one or more of the Psalms, followed by a portion from the New Testa
The rest of the prescribed order is generally pretty closely adhered to, except in the disuse of the Lord's Prayer, and the matter of behaviour, which is well worthy of our serious attention.
Some will object to chanting the Psalms. Before doing so, let me ask them to try it, and I think that they will agree with me that, so long as we have the poetical translation of the Psalms that were and are chanted by the people of Israel, we do not
need a metrical version.
The Jews to the present day chant the Psalms in their synagogues; and I would ask any one to compare the solemnizing effect with the singing of three or four stanzas of our metrical version, with or without connexion, as is too frequently done by us.
A few of our congregations stand to sing, and why any should sit I cannot tell, as we think it right for our precentors or choirs to stand. If right for them, why not for us? If this were done, and the people cultivated music, as our forefathers did, who were able to take their proper parts in the psalmody, we should have little occasion for organs, although believing, as I do, that they are not opposed to anything in the Word of God, but rather approved by it, and therefore consistent with "purity of Divine worship."
At the same Meeting of Presbytery it was moved-"Disapprove of the Hymn-book." I quite agree with this pithy Motion; but as the reasons of disapproval are not given, I cannot tell whether my grounds for so doing are the same as those of the reverend gentlemen.
A union between the English Presbyterian Church and the United Presbyterian Church in England has been long talked of; and, although perhaps many years distant, I think it would be well if the Hymn-book Committee were to take into their consideration the adoption of the entire Hymn-book lately issued under the sanction of the United Presbyterian Synod.
I obtained a copy, that I might see if it would be suitable for us, and found it would require no other alteration than the titlepage.
The United Presbyterian Synod would doubtless be glad to allow their printer to supply us with copies with another titlepage, and we should by this means obtain a good Hymn-book at a much lower price than, with the limited number of our churches, we could hope to issue a compilation of our own. The retail price, I believe, ranges from ninepence upwards, so that it is one of the cheapest hymn-books in existence.
If this suggestion were adopted, it would do something towards preparing the way for union. I am, most truly yours, W. November, 1855.
SIR,-On looking into one of the back volumes of the "Messenger," I stumbled Wilson, of London, urging the taking up upon a letter of the late Rev. Josias of large towns by the Home Mission Committee, and especially noticing Leeds and Sheffield. We have got churches set a-going in those important towns, ministers settled, and, I suppose, places of worship in course of erection. So far, so good.
But the sanguine expectations which a few years ago were indulged in of advancement externally as a Church have not been fulfilled. Presbyterianism is little better known throughout England than it was at the Disruption era. How many large towns in our land have never heard a Presbyterian minister preach since the time when the Free Church Deputations made their appeals and obtained their
results in collections!
Why is this?
The series of articles on "Church Progress," which lately appeared in your periodical, should serve to recal attention among us to the need of decided and self-sacrificing effort for the extension of Gospel ordinances in connexion with our Church. I cordially concur with the
writer of those articles in thinking that Presbyteries should endeavour to look out for promising fields of labour within their bounds. If our Church Courts do not exert themselves in such way, there is reason to fear that God may give them over to quarrels among themselves. What a fine field for additional congregations is presented, e. g., by the Tyne and Wear district, over which the Newcastle Presbytery bears ecclesiastical rule! As that Presbytery never published any of its proceedings in the Messenger," one is left at a loss to discover, whether any routine-hating brother has ever suggested the doing somewhat to extend our Zion's cords within the needy and populous district in question.
What an encouragement (or shall we say rebuke?) is afforded by the Bristol people, who have just called one of the most popular of the Glasgow United Presbyterian ministers, and offered him a stipend equal to what he has in his present sphere of labour! Let no one say that infant congregations of this stamp are of common-place character, and if proper means were taken, why should not our Church have openings as attractive as this?
The experience of the post-Disruption year in our Synod plainly shows, that whereas there has been a man willing to give painstaking toil, and to keep at the work, there, whether in town or in
country, success has been attained. Constant effort is sure, by the blessing of God, ere very long to tell. Where there has been an exhibition of the sanguine, the fitful, and the desponding, in rapid succession, what wonder that the other side of the Tweed, or the other shore of the Atlantic, ere long received the illfitted or unpersevering labourer!
Why should not our Home Mission and our State of Religion Committee join together, and make provision by next Synod, for sending forth our very best ministers, partly to preach in and endeavour to revive those places in our Church, where both numbers and (what is worse) godliness are at a low ebb, and partly to preach in the open air and elsewhere in those populous districts, where our cause and Church are alike unknown? Have we not talked too much and done too little?
Have we not congregations numerous and wealthy (the only one in the city or large town) from which a nucleus might well be spared, to go and take up a Mission station in some other part of the town? And would not such a spiritual emigration to colonize and evangelize for Christ's sake bring a blessing on those who went and those who stayed? An elder or two, with three or four good Sabbath-school teachers, would do the work. Yours, PROGRESS.
LETTER FROM THE REV. CARSTAIRS DOUGLAS.
Amoy, August 21, 1855.
MY DEAR SIR,-We have just heard, indirectly, of Mr. Burns' arrival at Shanghae, but you will probably have already heard from himself. Your letter to him came here lately; I will forward it by the first opportunity.
Though I have now been here fully five weeks, and studying the colloquial a considerable time each day, I am not yet able to hold any intercourse with the people, except about the most ordinary daily wants. Therefore, I must still be content to have all my information about the Mission at second hand, and I have very little indeed to tell you. Meantime, allow me to take final leave of the voyage by making two remarks suggested by my experience of it. The first is, the great
importance of missionaries labouring on the way for the spiritual good of the seamen: their state is usually very sad, and the opportunities of doing good are often great. A really suitable selection of small books and tracts, readable both in matter and in type, is a great help: many which we had given to us, or with which we had supplied ourselves, were utterly useless. They must be plain, interesting, and pointed; books should be the same, and not large. The men are always glad to read, through the tedium of a long voyage. Illustrated works, such as the "British Workman," are much relished. Bibles and Testaments, of course, and some in foreign languages. We felt much the want of German Bibles and tracts, for Germans are found in almost every ship. Mr.
Burns set an admirable example in dealing with the men, both in public and private. We began with one sermon on Sabbath forenoon; then one each evening | in or on the forecastle was added; then, also, a weekly service on Wednesday evenings with the men; and finally a class three or four times a week to improve the reading of the worst readers. The Bible being our text-book gave room for useful remarks, and many who read perfectly well used to join in our class. Of course it is not in every ship that such abundant opportunities can be found, but something should be done. Some of the men seemed a good deal interested, and many of them came to read their Bibles a good deal: the captain had supplied Bibles to such as chose to ask for them. Many of our Meetings were indeed delightful in singing we always gave out two lines at a time, as Hymn-books and Psalm-books were wanting. Some of the men used to say they wished every ship carried missionaries,
But the second remark is, that this hopeful state of matters was almost quite reversed on our reaching Hong-Kong, and that mainly through the influence of strong drink. There are, indeed, other causes; the temptations to immorality are most fearfully numerous; the lodginghouses accessible to sailors are universally bad in many respects; but both in them and out of them the drink is the grand means of working ruin both bodily and spiritually, both for time and for eternity. Mr. Burns and I had often warned the men not to let a drop cross their lips, and several were enabled to follow our counsel, and most thankful did they say they were that so it had been; but the many took no heed, and I need not tell the result.
One fact more on this subject. Both in the Challenger and in the Waverley (in which I came from Hong-Kong to Amoy) no spirituous liquor was ever given out to the men; and it should be a fact widely known that seamen, almost to a man, prefer this plan; of course an equivalent being given in the shape of tea and coffee, &c. Even those who were the hardest drinkers on shore told us that they much preferred the ships where there was no grog.
What I have said should not apply to missionaries alone. I believe godly passengers might do almost as much if they would try.
Now, as to our own Mission here, little
can be said, as I am the sole representative, and I am as yet able to do nothing but study. The school goes on as usual, and the native assistants conduct meetings at the chapel, as was done formerly, and they also give some assistance at Chiohbey and Pehchuia. The Missions conducted by our brethren of other Societies in the city itself, and at Kolong-soo, continue still to be the means of some conversions; but I cannot give exact data, as I am not aware up to what point information had been previously sent.
At Chioh-bey, in the beginning of July, the American missionaries baptized six adults on one Sabbath, one of these being a female. When Mr. Doty went up for that purpose, he found that the spirit of opposition was so strong that he was afraid of a disturbance, and he obtained several policemen from the local magistrate at Chioh-bey. The chapel was densely crowded with spectators, but the means used prevented all harm at that time. But a superior magistrate came down to Chioh-bey, and reprimanded the local magistrate for so encouraging foreigners; the latter answered that "the doctrine" was good, and favourable to morality, on which his superior charged him with being bribed. He at once threw up his appointment, and several times he came to the chapel to learn more of the doctrine. Report says that he has gone to Fuch-chau, to lay the case before the provincial authorities, but that is quite doubtful. The man who sold the house for a chapel to the Americans, and one of the hearers, have been imprisoned, and all public meetings are stopped for the present, The little company of believers, however, continue stedfast in holding their regular Meetings, "the doors being closed," and there are several new applications for baptism. One Sabbath they did so in the face of threats that if they shut their shops their houses would be broken open and plundered; but the Lord put the fear of them upon their enemies so that they did them no hurt.
That persecuting mandarin (he is a great slave to strong drink) has endeavoured to incite the mandarin of Haitieng (under which Pehchuia is) to follow the same course; but he says the doctrine is good, and that he will not persecute. These two, with other mandarins, are at present in the neighbourhood of Pehchuia, wreaking their vengeance on the villages which had sided with the insurgents. Our village was Imperialist, and so gets
going anywhere else, whether the way to Nankin was passable or not. I got up with a favourable wind, and without any hindrance, as far as the great canal which crosses the Yang-tsze-Keang, near the city of ChinKeang-Foo, but farther than this the boatmen could on no account be persuaded to go, apprehending danger to me, but much more to themselves, both from the insur
no direct injury. The Hai-tieng manda- | Yang-tsze-Keang, wishing to try, before rin sent a message to the brethren that it might be well to keep as quiet as possible while his fellow-officers and soldiers were in the neighbourhood: they answered that Sabbath came only once in seven days, but that then they must hold their Meetings. You must see from this that they also are in some danger. But the Lord reigneth He maketh the wrath of man to praise Him. Pray that it may be
so in this case.
A few weeks ago I visited Pehchuia with Mr. Doty, going up one day very early, and coming down during the night; but my ignorance of the language prevented me from getting much real knowledge of the state of matters. I could see, however, that the people were glad to see a new teacher from the West. One of the lads from Pehchuia now stays in this house, in order to have the advantage of a class for systematic doctrinal instruction, which Mr. Talmage has begun.
My health is standing admirably; the heat does not incommode me much. I take a walk of one and a half or two hours every week-day evening, on the hills above the city, a plan which seems excellent for keeping the system in good
MR. BURNS'S VISIT TO SHANGHAE.
Shanghae, August 24, 1855. MY DEAR SIR,-On the eve of leaving this place, in company with Mr. Muirhead, of the London Missionary Society, to make a visit of a week or ten days to a large town in the neighbourhood, I hastily pen these few lines. Since writing you a month ago, I have been absent from Shanghae nearly three weeks, visiting, by boat, a few of the many cities and towns in this region to which easy access is found by the canals which every where intersect the country. At my first setting out, I went directly up the
gents and from the Imperial forces, who are engaged partly in fighting and partly in watching each other from the point where we were onward to Nankin. Finding no way open for going farther in that direction, I came down the great canal as far as the provincial city of Soo-Chow-Foo, and then by another canal returned to Shanghae. My movements were in this instance too rapid to allow of entering fully into the missionary work at particular places, but we distributed all the Scriptures and tracts which we had brought with us, and at three different cities and towns where we remained a complete day (two of these days were the Sabbath), I had interesting oppor tunities of addressing the people as far as my limited knowledge of their colloquial would allow. On returning here after a fortnight's absence, I again set out immediately, intending to visit in a more leisurely way some places not so distant; but rain and stormy weather obliged us to come back, after an absence of five days spent at Woo-Sung (the great opium station) and the city of Paon-shan near it. Among the letters which I have received from Amoy is one from the Pehchuia people, urgently calling on me to lose no time in returning to them. This I should be glad to do, were it not that I am unwilling, by taking a pastoral oversight of them, to restrict my This I had in view when, three months liberty in preaching the Gospel at large. before I left Amoy, I made over the pasto ral care of these dear people, as far as I was concerned, to our brethren of the American Mission; and, besides, having come here, I am unwilling to go away without endeavouring to aid, as far as I may be enabled, the great work of spreading the Gospel here and in the surrounding country. More than 100,000 of the 1,000,000 New Testaments have just been printed here, and unless they are to lie undistributed, this will afford abundant work in connexion with the oral declaration of the Gospel to all who are ready to take part in it. An edition of the Pilgrim's Progress," with the plates, is now in the course of being printed here. The edition will consist of 5,000 copies, and there can be no doubt that several times this number could be easily and, I hope, usefully distributed in this populous region, where the capacity of
reading is probably more general than in the neighbourhood of Amoy.
I shall not at present add more, but hoping that prayer will be made for us in this quarter, as well as for the brethren and the work at Amoy, &c.,
I am, dear Sir, ever yours truly,
to be done, when anything had gone immediately wrong. Two of them were confirmed opium smokers, and their miserable, woe-begone look, and utter inability to endure either cold or fatigue, was the first proof that had come before my eyes of the destructive tendency of that vice-body and soul perish fast under
MR. JOHNSTON'S VISIT TO CHIANG- its influence. After a sail of about eight
miles, we passed between two islands,
[The following letter reached us too late for which form the western extremity of our November number.]
Greenlaw, Dunse, Oct, 1855. MY DEAR SIR,-I have not been able to write anything for the "Messenger" this month of the kind I intended. But, as you are anxious to have something about China, I send you an account, hastily drawn up from notes made at the time, of a tour which I made in company with Mr. Doty, shortly after I arrived in Amoy. Our object was to visit ChiangChow, my great desire being to judge for myself, by actual observation, of the suitableness of that sphere of labour chosen by our Church for the centre of a vigorous and extensive missionary organization; and as what I then saw formed a part of the data on which I came to the conclusion, after an inspection of the chief ports open to foreigners, that Amoy is the best field for our Church's operations, an opinion formed on grounds independent of the Church's previous selection, it may not be without interest to your readers. Of this you can judge for yourself, and insert it or lay it aside, as you think best :
It was on a fine, clear, cool day in January, 1854, that Mr. Doty and I set out for Chiang-Chow, in a good sailingboat, gaily painted blue, and black, and white, with two staring eyes at the head, and one large, square, bamboo sail, which shut up and opened like a fan, manned by eight hands, who were all partners in the joint property, in various proportions, all subject to the old man at the helm, though each had a good deal to say in support of his own view of what was right
the harbour of Amoy, the one appropriately called Sea-gate, the other called by foreigners Pagoda Island, from a small pagoda built on the highest part of it, for the important purpose of guarding the city of Chiang-Chow, thirty miles up the river, according to certain principles of military engineering understood only by Chinese astrologers, and only believed in by Chinamen. But it seems that the distant city can never be taken by an enemy so long as the pagoda stands its ground; and the battered pile bears testimony to the general belief, as it is now half in ruins from the assault of the rebels on their way to attack Chiang-Chow, a few months ago; but as they only partially succeeded in their attempts on the solid pile, defended by a god or some spiritual influence, they did not succeed at all in their assault upon the town defended by the faithful. On passing these islands, we found ourselves in a large basin, about fourteen miles long by ten or twelve broad, so completely shut in by hills from 400 to 1,500 feet in height that form the centre, we could see neither entrance nor outlet for our boat. At first it seemed as if the hills rose from within a few hundred yards of the water's edge, but as we neared the further extremity, we found large tracts of land reclaimed from the river, so low and flat that it was scarcely above the level of the water, and at high tides would be overflowed but for the high embankments thrown up with much skill and labour by these enterprising and grasping people, who are incessantly encroaching on sea and river