Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

cross.

of the righteousness of Christ, she began to loathe her own, and to desire heartily to exchange her broken reed for the beam of our Saviour's

She mourned about two years under a fourfold loadFirstly. A sense of her past neglect of Jesus Christ—“Oh, that I should have spent so many years without enjoying or seeking His love."

Secondly. A peevish heart—“Oh, who shall deliver me from it? Lord, I cannot do it, come quickly.”

Thirdly. Wanderings of mind after unreasonable business or trifles“Oh, that I might see the Sun of Righteousness ! but these thousands of motes cloud my sight.”

Fourthly. The want of assurance- -“ Oh, that my pardon were sealed on my heart,” &c., were some of her most usual complaints. She walked steadily through the means, till her feeble body was confined to a deathbed by a cholic. Here she was racked with pain in the flesh and peevishness in the spirit ; but under all a spark of Job's faith supported her and kept her hope alive—“I will trust in thee, though thou slay me." drew near the gates of death ; for five days the violence of her pain and the weakness of her stomach had prevented any nourishment from staying with her, and I began to fear for her, that the Lord had forgot to be gracious. Some of our brethren spoke openly the unbelieving thoughts that lurked in my heart; and others were tempted to judge and condemn the poor dying creature, as if she had never been truly wounded by conviction, and therefore could not be healed by pardoning love. In that ertremity, I left her on Saturday. On the Monday I called, full of the fear of finding her in the coffin ; but our good God had ordained it otherwise —she was upon a bed of praise. “The night before last,” said she," the Lord sealed my pardon-a voice spake it, as it were, to my heart—Thy sins are forgiven thee. Oh, what hath the Lord shown me! Such things as no tongue can express! Now the world, and all that is therein, are nothing to me. I long to depart and be with Christ."

I asked her if she found her heart cleave to any earthly thing. “Oh, no, no,” she said. “ The parting with my husband was what seemed hardest to me; but now I can freely, freely, freely leave him, to go to my dear Saviour. I have,” added she, “ been much harassed with temptations and fears; but, blessed be God, now that I thought they should have been at the height, they are all gone!” Nevertheless, two days after she told me, " The enemy of my soul hath returned ; but blessed be God, I am enabled to look up, and his temptations vanished in a moment." Another time she said to me, “I do not find always the same power ; but I can trust in the Lord more and more, as my faith grows stronger and stronger.”

What gave me the greatest satisfaction was her meekness and profound resignation; no shadow of her former peevishness appeared, and she suffered violent pain almost without intermission, and readily yielded herself to further sufferings. “I want to go to my dear Saviour,” said she; “but His time is best, be it longer or shorter. I desire nothing but His blessed will."

She was rather in the work of faith, the patience of hope, and the labour of love, than in the triumph of those graces; nevertheless, she showed us what the Lord can do for us in our greatest extremities. After she had been about ten days without food, scarcely able to speak two words together, with a low voice she said to her husband, “ Rejoice with me !--come let us sing the praises of the dear Redeemer.” He sung a hymn of praise, and she joined him with a fuller and stronger voice than ever. The next day she told me the light and glory she had then in her heart were inconceivable. She calmly waded for two days more the Jordan of death, feeling the cross of her Lord in every joint, but particularly in her bowels, which mortified apace. But, blessed be God, she neither sunk nor fainted. When the silver cord was breaking, one asked her if she was in the arms of Christ ?' “ Oh, yes,” answered she. Another inquired how her faith was. “Mighty strong," said she, “stronger and stronger.” These were the last words of our dying friend ; and while she drew her breath shorter, we spent ours in mighty prayers and hearty praises.

That your Ladyship's end and mine may be like hers, is the wish of, Madam, Your Ladyship's obliged and unworthy servant,

JOHN FLETCHER.

FREE CHURCH OF ENGLAND AT TOTTINGTON, NEAR

BURY, LANCASHIRE.

Tottington had been favoured for half a century with a God-fearing, devoted clergyman (Rev. Thomas Wade), who was trained under Rev. George Burnet, of Halifax. He was an intimate friend of the devoted William Wilberforce. Under this minister, the doctrines of the Reformation took deep root in the hearts of the people, were cherished, and handed down from sire to son in an uninterrupted course, until the appointment of the present incumbent. Things went on which we need not here enumerate, until fourteen years ago they were brought to a climax, which led to the formation of a school.

For the last fourteen years clergymen and others have preached ; and sometimes for weeks there have been no services. Whenever the incumbent has had the power, he has not failed to exert it in stopping any person from taking a part in the services.

Fifteen months ago, when the present pastor settled among the people, he received a note, signed by the church warden, asking by what right he came into the parish to conduct religious services. To which he gave the following answer : “Sir,-In reply to yours, I beg to say that my authority is found in Gal. vi. 10, “As we have therefore opportunity let us do good unto all men,' and believing that such opportunity presents itself in Tottington, I try in my humble way to obey the marching orders of the Lord Jesus and chief Bishop of souls, 'Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature,' &c.”

Notwithstanding the difficulties that have been laid in the way, the school and congregation have steadily increased. With truth they may say, “Hitherto the Lord hath helped us.” One great cause of success is in the fact that there has been no spirit of retaliation, but the workers have tried humbly to commend their work to every man's conscience in the sight of God. The result has been that God's blessing has rested on it—the weak have been strengthened, the believer built up, the sinner led to Jesus, the story of the cross told to the sick and dying, and some have left a pleasing testimony that they have gone to be for ever with the Lord. To His name be the glory.

It has been the aim of the people at Tottington for some years to have a new school (the present one being held in a room kindly lent free of all expense by Messrs. Hugh Roberts and Sons), and finally it was decided to put up a church before the school ; and at least a year before it was known that a single Free Church existed in the country, or any organization bearing the name, it had been decided to call it the Free Church of England, and that its officers should be members of the same church, and ceasing to be recognized as members should likewise cease to hold any office in connexion with the church. The foundation-stone of the new church was laid on Good Friday by Mrs. Hugh Roberts, in the presence of about 300 people, most of whom had walked in procession from the school. The services were conducted by the pastor of the Church, and the Rev. F. Newman gave an account of the constitution and principles of the Free Church of England, after which a silver trowel was presented to Mrs. Roberts, and she declared the stone duly laid. A tea meeting was held in the school-room, wben 250 sat down. The meeting was addressed by the Revs. F. Newman, John MacGuigan, Superintendent of the Manchester City Mission; J. Brunskill, T. Sinclair, and R. Johnson, Esq., of Manchester; Samuel Knowles, Esq., of Tottington, and Hugh Roberts, Esq., who presided over the meeting. All spoke in the highest terms of the Free Church of England movement, as being the only antidote to the Ritualistic tendencies of the present day. The building will cost 1,0001., towards which the people are cheerfully giving 2501. And that the building may never be diverted from its object, it is intended to place it under the deed-poll of the Free Church of England. The people are hoping soon to have the privilege of worshipping God under their own vine and fig-tree, with a guarantee that the trumpet sounded therein shall never give an uncertain sound, but that minister and people, with one common object and aim, abiding by the ancient landmarks, will go on making mention of Christ's righteousness, and His only, and everything that has a tendency to hurt or destroy the holy mountain of the Lord shall fall like Dagon fell before the Ark, and Christ and Him crucified be the only hope of the sinner and the only joy of the saint.

The incumbent, feeling that this movement is becoming a power in the neighbourhood, has put forth every available effort to prevent the congregation from getting the land, and, for want of something better to talk about, their movements are often the subject of his pulpit discourses ; in addition to which he has advertised, in the Manchester as well as the local papers, the following :

“St. Ann's CHURCH, TUTTINGTON.—We hereby beg to APPEAL to our fellow Churchmen for help to enable us to relay the now used-up floor of this Church, and to improve the interior. The estimate is 3001.

“This Church has no connexion with the so-called New Free Church of England, which is in direct opposition to the Church of England here.

“GEORGE HOWARTH
6 John MALONE.

} Wardens. “ Easter Monday, 1867.”

The people say, this, no doubt, gratifies him, and does them no harm, but good. Like Nehemiah of old, they are resolved that no Sanballat shall tempt them from their high and glorious work, in building a sanctuary for His presence, and for the manifestation of His glory, and that when the topstone is brought on with shouting, the doctrines of the Reformation, purchased by the life-blood of our fathers, shall be taught in the building erected ; and when the Gospel, and the Gospel alone, is used as the lever by which to raise man from sin to holiness, and ultimately from earth to heaven, then as now, the people have determined their rallying cry shall be, “ Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord.”

JOHN BRUNSKILL.

FUNERAL SERMON FOR J. H. PUGET, ESQ.,

OF TOTTERIDGE.

PREACHED IN LADY HUNTINGDON'S CHAPEL, BRIGHTON, ON SUNDAY MORNING,

APRIL 28, BY THE REV. J. B. Figgis, M.A.

“Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in in his season."

Job v. 26.

We are turning in thought to-day, in brought in his spirit, to be kept in the sympathy with a sister church even garner of the Lord till the great harvest more bitterly bereaved than our own, home. It was not so much in the ripe. towards the tomb of one who for many ness of advancing years as in the rich. years was well-known in this town, and ness of advanced piety, that God ful. was honoured wherever he was known, filled in him the words “Thou shalt and whose visits after he had ceased to re- come to thy grave in a full age, like as side here were ever warmly welcomed by a shock of corn cometh in in his season." the many who knew his worth. It will I. Every harvest has its earing, every be a fortnight to-morrow morning since shock of corn its seed, and in all he breathed his last. It was a week heavenly husbandryyesterday since “devout men followed 1. The seed is the Word of God."him to his burial, and made great Some pregnant promise, some probing lamentation over him.” But long before precept, borne upon the breath of the there assembled any gathering of mourn. Spirit, found a lodgment in the soul, ing upon earth, there was an assembly and spread, and sprung, and wrought, for welcome in heaven, and angels and raised at last the shock of corn.

So

His character, your character, if it is plea to God, and He will save us ; then to be Christian character, must glow trust Christ as our only preserver from with the mantling light caught from the sin, and He will sanctify us; and then, torch of truth. True, Christian life is try to find in Christ the only portion of God's workmanship, and it is like the our souls, and He will satisfy us. laboured task of loving hands, some it was in this case ; so it may be in flower or spreading tree, into which, yours. when you look closely, you find that 3. Christ was not only the seed, but every branch is burdened with Bible the Sower. To our shame He has said truth-every sprig a text, every spray to us, “Ye have not chosen me;" to a Scripture sentence-bearing fruits of His praise He has added, “but I have God's promises --clothed with leaves chosen you.” Truths very precious to of true life-thonghts, for they are from the heart and very mighty in the life the Tree of Life, and are for the healing of our departed friend. He never forgot of the nations. Even so, aught that that he owed everything to Christ's was fair in our friend, or can be so in never-ending working, as well as to you, must be rooted in the love the Christ's for ever finished work. Could Bible so amply supplies, must break he return to tell us, he might have forth upon the right hand and the left much to say of the unwearied patience in truths taught of God, must wave to

and painstaking of the heavenly Sower; catch the breeze of heaven in leaves much that might lead some to cast laden with the promises given us to

themselves more unreservedly on the plead ; so shall we bear fruit unto holi. care of Him who said : “Of those whom ness—itself the precept of the Book- thou hast given me, I have lost none." and have for the end everlasting life.

4. Christ's work as the Sower cannot So true is it that the “ seed is the word be at variance with Christ's words when of God."

he said, “My father is the husband2. Yet it is also true that the seed is

man.” God loves us so well, that He the Son of God. He is the corn of wheat will entrust to no other hands the cast into the ground to die and bear labours of the field ; for the Son and much fruit; and there will be no sheaf

the Spirit are, I suppose we may say, gathered into the garner but is sprung

the hands of Deity. God “hath chosen from this sowing. Could we have us to the praise of the glory of his plucked up this spiritual plant from the grace.” Yes; as our ransomed brother sacred soil to learn the secret of its

would say, it is all grace, still grace; strength, we should have found, as in fountains of grace, rivers of grace, riches the ancient fable, that blood issued of grace ; grace to wash away the sin, therefrom, but not, as in the story, its grace to rescue the sinner, grace to reown blood, but the blood of the grape,

deem from all iniquity, and at last, grace the blood of Jesus, the true Vine, out of

to ransom from the power of the grave. whom he could do nothing. He lived ;

Let no one think hard thoughts of the yet not he, but Christ lived in him. Father, for he is the God of all grace. And in proportion as we are to attain 5. As this grace is given to us like precious faith, we must keep hold through the Son, so it is gained by us of the like precious truth. We must

in the Spirit. The Spirit watereth the believe more than ever in the precious seed, or there would be neither earing nor blood of Christ, we must believe more

harvest. The Spirit sendeth the former in Christ himself. The root of our life and the latter rain. The Spirit is as is never secure till it grasps and gets the dew unto Israel, and only by His firm hold of the Cross ; nay, till it is in

blessing can we, or could he who is vital union with Him “who liveth and gone, “grow as the lily, and cast forth was dead, and is alive for evermore.

his roots as Lebanon.” In God's "holy We must first take Christ as our only and beautiful house,” “the house not

[ocr errors]
« FöregåendeFortsätt »