Page images

In some parts of that highly civilized land the feeling between Churchman and Dissenter is as bitter and hostile as that which existed between Jew and Samaritan. An instance of this kind occurred a few weeks ago in Richmond, respecting which we have been supplied with information. To the dedication of a Mortuary Chapel in the Nonconformist section of the graveyard the Vicar of Richmond was invited. His reply was as follows : "It is quite impossible we can accept your invitation, since it is altogether contrary to the doctrine and discipline of the Church of England that either her clergy or faithful laity should attend a service in a Dissenting Chapel.” Scotch Independent ministers accustomed to different ways in their own land, coming under the dark and withering shadow of that huge establishment on the other side of the border, cannot but move our compassion !

OUR CHAPEL BUILDING FUND. The managers of the fund have issued an appeal, from which we make the following extract :- As remarkable a change as any of the year in the field of Church work is, perhaps, the advancing position given to societies such as our own. Never before were there so many chapelbuilding societies ; never promoted with so much assiduity and enterprise. Christian people generally are getting a clearer view of the great place they may fill. It is increasingly seen that the burden of putting up the building cripples new churches, and that alteration of the building or reerection, when it comes to be required, is often as serious a hindrance later on. It is increasingly felt, too, that it is a cold and unchristian thing to leave churches to struggle alone with these heavy burdens, and that a fund which should free their hands at such exceptional times for their

proper work would be a vast boon. New churches especially need every effort they can command. Those who take upon them the great responsibilities, and make the sacrifices inseparable from starting a new church, and those who are in the other case, undertaking perhaps as much, to put new life into an old one, should certainly be relieved here. This conviction is rapidly growing, and on all sides chapel-building societies are being wrought with unexampled spirit ; and they are now proving themselves, in return, a new power in the Churches. The committee trust that this society, as it has already shared, will share still more largely in this growing tide of favour."

THE SABBATH SCHOOL. WE cannot shine with rays of our own, but we must shine if we are shone upon by the Sun of Righteousness.

BE PATIENT AND HOPEFUL.-We have known people to raise lovely, blooming plants from tender cuttings which had been considered useless, and were thrown out to die. In the same way many a boy or girl, given up as incorrigible by one teacher, has been taken in hand, carefully studied, and tenderly trained by another ; when, lo! the character begins to flush with beauty, then bud, then bloom into wonderful fruitage.

THE THREE THINGS.-Luther said, that three things make a divine,-and the remark applies also to teachers,-meditation, prayer and temptation; and that three things were to be done by a minister of the gospel, first to read the bible over and over; secondly to pray earnestly ; thirdly always to be a learner. He said, they were the best preachers, who spoke as to babes in Christ, in an ordinary strain, popularly, and most plainly.

KEEP ORDER.—You can scarcely enter a Sabbath School but you will see a considerable amount of slovenliness in posture during singing,-one sitting, another standing ; one looking round about him, another turning over the leaves of his hymn-book; one leaning over the desk in front, another with his hand on his neighbour's shoulder. If you are to have good, full-toned singing, the children must be made to stand upright, shoulders back, chest forward, and head erect. During singing the classes should not be scattered up and down the church or school in little groups, but should be brought closely together. Under good management this can be done with little noise and loss of time.

FOLLOW UP YOUR WORK.-I often think that Christian work is like much of our secular work in its laws and methods. If you send a woodman into the forest to fell trees, you do not expect he will strike his axe into one trunk, and then into another, till he has gone through the whole wood, delivering but one stroke upon a tree. That would do if he were 'blazing a trail' through the forest; but if his work be to fell trees it doesn't do at all. He may chop till he is grey, and never produce a log for the mill. He must make his stand by one trunk, and smite away, and make the chips fly, and walk around it, still swinging his axe and working toward the heart, till it comes crashing to the ground. That's the type of successful Christian work. If you should undertake to nurse a sick man up to health, you would not accomplish your hope by sitting an hour at his bedside, watching him one night, or giving him one big dose of the remedy prescribed. You must spend many an hour with him, watch many a long night, administer the healing potion' many times over, and then you might recover your friend. This is very like what you have to do to recover a sin-sick soul. One visit, one interview, one appeal, doesn't secure the object.-A. L. Stone

LONG PRAYERS TO BE AVOIDED.-Several months ago, I visited one of the mission-schools of New York, when a visitor was called upon to open the Sunday-school service with prayer. There were present about two hundred children, many of them under seven years of age. They were all requested to stand erect, with folded arms and closed eyes, during the prayer. After taking his attitude and clearing his throat, which seemed unused to the passage of prayers for the little ones, the visitor commenced, and he prayed for foreign and domestic missions, for the heathen abroad and the heathen at home, for reforms and revivals, for showers of grace upon pastors and people in the west and in the east, for educational institutions and for legislative bodies. By this time the children became tired and sleepy. The

poor little boys and girls, anxious to please their teachers, tried hard to keep on their feet and to keep their eyes closed, but the man who pleaded for mercy had no mercy for them.-From the Hive.


REPORT OF MR MURKER'S ITINERATING LABOURS FOR 1875. From the last Report of the Northern Association we take the following extract, giving Mr Murker's testimony with regard to Evangelistic Work :

During the past year I have not been able to break up any new ground; but my itinerating labours have extended to a goodly number of old stations at all of which the attendance has been up to that of former years. And although impressions among the people have not apparently been so deep nor so general as on some previous occasions, yet I have been greatly cheered at finding the fruits of former labours at most of the stations revisited. In not a few instances I have found those who professed to decide for the Lord in former years not only maintaining a consistent Christian character but also taking an active part in Sabbath School teaching and in conducting Prayer Meetings ; at the same time able and willing to give evangelistic addresses on special occasions.

As in former years I spent four weeks in the month of August in the upland districts of the counties of Aberdeen and Banff, making the Cabrach the centre of operations. I conducted three services every Sabbath, and held week-evening meetings in various surrounding localities. During these weeks the fine new U. P. Church was kindly granted for my use.

On Sabbath, 22d August, as in former years, we held special services from "half-past ten in the morning till half-past seven in the evening, with the exception of an interval at 2 o'clock. These services were attended by a large concourse of people from all the surrounding churches. Nine brethren from seven different parishes took part in the early prayer-meeting and at the afternoon sederunt several laymen as well as myself gave addresses which obviously told on the crowded audience. As regards appearance the cause of Christ wears an encouraging aspect, brighter than I ever expected to see in that district.

And now that my itinerating labours are drawing to a close, in reviewing the efforts of more than forty years past I reach the conclusion that the success of my life-work has mainly been in connection with extensive evangelistic services in upwards of fifty different parishes. For there are many unmistakable tokens over the wide range of my operations evincing that I have not laboured in vain. To God be all the glory. And now that age and increasing infirmities, along with depressing bereavement, remind me that my labours in this department are drawing to a close, my prayer is that the Lord may send forth efficient labourers to ply the sickle with success in fields white unto harvest.



OH! the rest of not having to be other than we are, when we are re

but knowing that He knows all our weakness and sin and desire after Him,-pities all, and meets all.

THERE is no day which we may not lay unbroken on the altar of God, if we will do our regular work in a noble way.-Holland.

If you do not take trouble with your children when they are young, they will give you trouble when they are old.

The age of infancy is that of the undeveloped flower—the season when the whole spiritual man still lies enclosed in the bud of strong feeling. Beware of wiping off from it with too rash a hand the morning dew.

FAITH BEFORE CHARITY.---Paul says, indeed that charity is greater than faith, because more enduring. But he lays the foundation of faith before the superstructure of charity is erected. To do otherwise is very much the same as if we were to attempt to plant a tree by taking its highest branches, with all their beautiful clothing of leaves, and putting them in the ground, instead of fixing the root or sowing the seed of the plant, and then seeing it spring into life, and grow up into a tree.

GOD'S EYE IS UPON US.-Brave and determined does the soldier enter the conflict, when he knows for certain that the General whose eye surveys the field has reckoned upon him also being at his post. Even though he fall, he knows that he is in his right place. Like him, I too know that He, whose eye of affection overlooks the universe, has assigned to me my station, and traced out for me my path. Onwards I march, through perpetual vicissitudes of brightness and gloom, and the issue is as yet hidden from my view. But the eye that knows no change beholds it from eternity in a light that is ever the same.



SERMONS ON SUN-DIALS. I like to notice that many Dials appear to bear the testimony of gratitude. That is a common inscription" Horas non numero nisi serenas,"

I only reckon the bright hours;" and we fail to see the justice of Ellesmere's remark upon it, in Mr Helps' “ Friends in Council,” “ That such a dial was totally useless or utterly false." Another inscription like it is, Horam sole nolente nego,"

,"" I refuse to tell the hour when the sun is unwilling to shine.How very different such expressions are to those indulged by many people, who seem to reckon life only from its shadows, and never acknowledge at all the hours of sunshine ; yet surely, if we thought rightly and wisely, in the histories of most, the very shadows which steal across the dial of our lives would only more certainly remind us of the long succession of hours, days, and years when we failed to note because there was no shade. It must have been in a similar spirit in which the past awakened hope for the future, that such a motto as that famous one of Geneva was chosen, which also appears on many garden walls and over castle gates—Post tenebras lux," After darkness light;" or that other form of it,“ Post tenebras spero lucem,After darkness I hope for light." This is a suggestive thought to us. The sun-dial is indeed useless save in the light; we have elsewhere remarked this. “Walking through the churchyard by night among the graves, the dial itself seems as still as the silent dead, rolling masses of the black clouds, occasionally the silver light of the moon gleaming from behind the veil, and there the sun-dial, revealing nothing, explaining nothing ; yet when to-morrow's sun shall shine in the heavens, nothing will be more plain than the information it will give : and it is even so with man's individual consciousness, it is a sundial by moon-light; if man would know himself, it must be by information given by sources beyond himself.” Do not people like to note bright hours. Linnæus formed a dial of flowers, and marked the hours by the opening and closing at regular intervals of the flowers arranged in it; and concerning it Mrs. Hemans sweetly says :

" 'Twas a lovely thought, to mark the hours

As they floated in light away,
By the opening and the folding flowers,

That laugh to the summer's day.
“Thus had each moment its own rich hue,

And its graceful cup and bell ;
In whose coloured vase might sleep the dew,

Like a pearl in an ocean-shell.
“Yet is not life, in its real flight,

Marked thus—even thus--on earth,
By the closing of one hope's delight,

And another's gentle birth ?
“Oh, let us live, so that flower by flower,

Shutting in turn, may leave
A linger still for the sunset hour,

A charm for the shaded eve.

[ocr errors]

Some Dials have a very modest speech. Mrs Gatty does not tell us whence she derives, or on what dial is inscribed, the motto, “ I also am under authority," but it is very good, and speaks of that truth in subjection to highest law which is indeed the lesson of every well-ordered life; so is that other, from a French dial, “Sine sole nihil," Nothing without the sun," which is also repeated in another form on some Italian dials, “ Sine sole sileo,I am silent without the sun.The dial, however conspicuously it may be placed, and however elaborate and costly its carving, has no worth in itself as regards the purpose for which it was erected ; only when that remote sun touches it with his wonderful finger, does it become of value.

Some Dials have a strong way of asserting their infallibility. But this can never be from themselves, it is the finger of Light touching them to which we have just referred. On one we read :

“ The maker may err ;
The iron may err;
I never err.”

And we suppose another inscription carries the same lesson,The rod is of iron, the motion of shadow.Although apropos of this, we have the story of a clergyman who, entering the church, said to the clerk,“ What is the time by the dial ?" Well, sir,” said the clerk, “ the dial is half-past ten ; but I think it must be a little fast, for my watch is only ten minutes past ten.” Ah, that parish clerk! there is many another in a far higher place tha his, who would set the time by their own capricious watch, rather than by the unerring light of the skies

" The artifical Dial,

That striketh ten or eleven,"

« PreviousContinue »