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very near. That there should be a reform in the extravagance of dress; that the wealthy bring not their costly attire into the house of God; that no stumbling block be put in the way of poor Christians; that we give our means both for Home and Foreign Missions till we feel it, were some of the conclusions reached. One brother said: " My soul has longed for a meeting like this for years! And I bless God that I have lived to see this night! I believe it will work a new era with this congregation. I now ask the brethren to assess me the amount they think I ought to pay for home work. I will pay it. Then I will pay an equal additional amount for work in the county; and I will also pay an equal amount for Foreign Missionary work." This brother is a merchant. The meeting was continued longer than usual, yet all desirous of speaking had not opportunity. It was decided to hold a similar meeting on the next Lord's day evening. The entire congregation has been brought nearer to God. J. H. BERRY.
AUSTRALIAN GLEANINGS.-As already announced, Bro. H. D. Smith's engagement with the church in South Australia has led to his immediate departure from this colony (Victoria). He left these shores on the 17th ult., for Adelaide, his destination being Milang. At this latter place, he has relieved Bro. Colbourne, who has for some time past been labouring in the word in this place. Bro. Colbourne, it is reported, takes the general evangelistic field under the auspices of the Evangelist Committee. May both labourers be abundantly blessed in their work of faith and labour of love. A projected visit for three months by Bro. M. W. Green to the church at Dunedin is one of the church topics of the month. We are informed, from a New Zealand source, that a very pressing invitation has been sent to Bro. Green to go over there at as early a date as convenient. We learn also that the invitation is favourably entertained by the brother concerned, and will be accepted. Efforts will be made, we learn, to secure John Strang, if possible, for Hotham during the absence of M. W. Green.
From Prahran, we learn of continued progress of the church. In all departments of the church work an improvement is reported, and very encouraging interest prevails. Since last report seven have been added, in the way of the Lord's appointment.
Richmond reports the accession of two to the membership; and an encouraging interest in the proclamation of the Gospel is at present prevailing. Through the liberality of a good brother, the church is at present widely circulating a weekly tract which, in the providence of God, seems to be awaking a still larger interest in the minds of the public in that locality.
From Geelong, we have the report of five additions, three by immersion into Christ and two by commendation.
After a season of depression, the Church at Emerald Hill seems to have entered upon a time of greater pros perity. The attendance at the meetings for worship have, of late, been very encouraging, and generally the brethren here have reason to thank God and take courage.
J. A. Hamill reports lecturing at Camperdown during the past month, in the local Temperance Hall, which had been secured for him by a warm-hearted lover of primitive Christianity-Mr. David Anderson. Mr. Scott, an influential resident of the place, presided, and, at the close of the lecture, remarked with much force upon the plain truths which had been presented by the lecturer. A vote of thanks was accorded Bro. Hamill at the close of the meeting; a very evident good impression has been created. This field will repay labour hereafter.
H. L. Greslin, the new evangelist for the church at Carlton, has now fairly entered upon his work of evangelisation. A gentleman and a scholar he has proved himself to be by his carriage and utterances; for the rest,
let the future speak. It has been his privilege, in the three Lord's days in which he has preached here, to take fire confessions of faith in the Crucified One. May he continue to reap even more abundantly.
In Port Adelaide five have publicly confessed their faith in Christ since the last recent notice.
At Hotham, since notice the previous month, eight have been added to the church.
In affectionate remembrance of JOHN FERGUSON, of Aspatria, who died, after seven days' illness, on the 28th day of December, 1875, aged 50 years. Almost in a moment the strong man is gone. One never thought of his dying these many years. But God thus speaks to others than His frailest ones, and says, "Be ye also ready." We have long known and always known him as intensely devoted to God and truth. If in this country there is a man more constantly anxious to spread forth the Gospel of salvation, than was John Ferguson, we should like to make his acquaintance. May the Lord protect and bless his widow and children. Ed.
"AMONG THE BRAMBLES."
"Heed not the thorns that wound thee,
I WAS searching for primroses, and though the time was come when they are usually abundant and easily found, the advance of Spring had been checked by cold winds and inclement weather. and there a fair blossom smiled amidst the unopened buds, but it was quickly seized by younger hands than mine, and I walked far without obtaining any.
Everything seemed to whisper one word-"WAITING." The branches of the trees were thickly covered with buds ready to burst, which, leafless though they were, threw over them a flush of life, brought out in different hues under the touch of evening sunlight. The hedges were hiding behind their bareness wonderful preparations for May-day-coils of fernleaves and blossoms in embryo-seeds swelling and shooting beside the moss and among the ivy, which had kept bright all the winter through. A few early adventurers were gemming the sunny sheltered parts of the wayside with tender green, telling of hawthorn boughs, and bunches and wreaths of roses soon to come; but, taken as a whole, Nature appeared as if holding her breath, looking and longing for the full loosening of her bonds-the busy, joyful waking up to newness of life.
Yes! silently, but emphatically expressed everywhere was just this, only this "WAITING." Each little spray tipped with rosy buds, each branch lifting itself up with its undeveloped store of foliage, each tiny germ hidden within the seed, together breathed it forth, and I felt an answering chord touched within.
How close the fellowship in symbol between the
voiceless speech of GOD's handiwork and the unuttered yearnings of His new creation! "Even we ourselves, which have the first-fruits of the Spirit, groan within ourselves WAITING for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of the body"-in that great Resurrection Day, when secret things shall be made manifest, when seeds sown in darkness shall wave in fruitful sheaves in light, when, all hindrances of earth and flesh removed, the powers of soul and body, the impulses and affections of "the hidden man of the heart," shall spring forth in happy freedom and exuberance, to praise and serve and know Him whom we love, as we cannot praise and serve and know Him now.
Practically-for the lessons of Nature are always practical-this hush of expectation seemed to say that, if in true harmony with her attitude of waiting, it will be no idle, sentimental dream of coming joy that we cherish, allowing us to sit with folded hands as the hours passed by. The waiting of the earth for the Spring is a state of great preparedness and unwearying activity. Through the days and nights of frost and cold, those countless buds were formed, which in due time break asunder the protecting sheath within which they were nurtured, and become full-grown leaves and flowers. So, dear friends ours is a hope that should make us very busy. We are to "go forth, bearing precious seed." (Psalm cxxvi. 6); we are to be "laying up in store" for ourselves "a good foundation against the time to come." (1 Tim. vi. 19.) As in natural things so in spiritual, "He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap." (Eccles. xi. 4.) Upon barren lives as upon dead twigs and masses of rock, the brightest sun will shine in vain. The germ of all that is to break forth hereafter is to be formed now, for only that which is quickened here through living union with Jesus will be raised in glory by-and-bye.
Let us take home to our hearts the questionWhat is preparing in my soul and in my daily life to blossom out in the Day of Resurrection? Beyond all that can be seen of man, the good works manifest beforehand fruits of the earnest of the Spirit-are there blessed secrets between GOD and myself, growing amid the snows and the shadows of the earth, beneath the covering of His shield- buds of love, and faith, and patience, and holiness, which only wait for more warmth and light to expand into full vigour and beauty before Him! "Seeing that ye look for such things," this is the word for our waiting time-"BE DILIGENT, that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot and blameless."
But to return to my primrose search. much that was witnessing of "things not seen as yet," and going a little out of the beaten track, my eye rested on a dull unpromising-looking bank, nearly covered with tangled masses of the common bramble. I went up to it almost involuntarily, and there, to my surprise, in sweet profusion grew the flowers I had come to seek. They had remained undiscovered, or else were passed by because of the sharp sentinels which guarded every avenue of approach. Could I gather them? Yes, if I shrank not from a touch of the thorns. I wanted the primroses for a dear absent one, and I must not mind a few scratches; so, one by one, they were secured at some cost to myself, but withal a great deal of
pleasure, for when brought together they made a good-sized bunch, and I knew how their fresh beauty and delicate fragrance would delight my child.
Strange it was to see that, yet unreached, higher up on the bank, amongst the sturdiest growth of thorns, the finest and the fairest were blossoming. A few more scratches and they also became mine.
Will my thoughts seem too child-like if I let these primroses say to dear fellow-workers what they said to me?
Like these fair flowers "amongst the brambles," out of the common track of those who are gathering for Jesus and hidden from general view, there are to be found in most unsuspected places souls of precious value ready to receive the message of grace, or dear ones, loving His name but afraid to confess Him.
Are we willing in this service to bear "a few scratches" for our dear Lord? to breathe, it may be, the stifling atmosphere of wretched homes, to encounter the rough words of "the sons of Belial," to become familiar with sickness and pain, to "endure hardness" in many ways, if only we can help forward the blessed work for which He came from Heaven, who bore the Cross and wore the thorn-crown for us?
Perhaps it is too sadly true that we have loved our ease too well, and made provision that work for the Lord shall not infringe upon comfort, convenience, and even luxury. Let it be so no longer. Let us count no sacrifice too great for the Gospel's sake, and seek to understand the deep earnestness of Him who said-"If by any means I may save some." E. C.
And his soul within
Grew as hard as the money he worked to win.
But he died one day as all men must,
They quarrelled now who had little cared
And his hard-earned gold
Yet men will cheat and pinch and save,
Like the selfish savings of Soloman Ray.
Observer, Jan. 15, '76.
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But some kindly reader may be inaudibly, saying" Mr. Editor, have you not also letters of another sort? Are there not fault-finders among your correspondents? Do you intend to let us know nothing about them?" know nothing about them?" A very fair question, Sir! It shall have an equally fair answer. We have but one letter which could properly be deemed of that class, and that one ends by increasing the number of copies, which had already been augmented. The main complaint in this instance is that our pages are few and small compared with some other periodicals; to which lamentation is added on account of the loss of the wrapper. We shall get dirty before the time of binding, and not present a fair interior when sent home (may be on New Year's day), finely clothed in cloth and gold. Come then let us reason together. An elderly lady came into a printing office, saying, "Please, Sir, what would you charge to print me a Bible exactly like this, and how soon can you get it done?" The answer was, "it will take some months; the price we cannot exactly tell, but not less than £50." The old lady was amazed; "Why that Bible, ten years ago, only cost five shillings, well bound, and surely printing is cheaper now than then." But the printer was right and so was his would-be customer.
would have lost money by printing her a Bible for the sum named, yet she could obtain it for five shillings where hundreds of thousands had been produced from the same type. On our table is a serial of twenty-four pages with coloured wrapper, and about the same amount of reading as the E. O., price One Penny. But then 200,000 of each number are issued. With half that number our price can be reduced and our pages doubled. Periodicals are cheap or dear, so far as printing and paper are concerned, as the charge for them is high or low when compared with similar productions of like circulation. To attempt comparison, without reference to the number sold, is merely to act the old lady's Bible business over again. This much we are prepared to maintain-that while publications which sell a hundred thousand to every thousand we send forth can, and do, and ought to sell for half our price, and yet yield a present reward, there are not few periodicals, with larger circulation than we have ever attained, that are not less in price nor larger in paper and contents. have never said this much before, and most likely shall not again write in similar strain. Reduction in price we deem not particularly desirable. But we are encouraged by the present enlarging demand to ascertain the cost of four additional pages as also the number of extra copies we shall need to dispose of to cover the cost thereof. This estimate is not gone into merely with a view to one such increase, but that a rate may be fixed, according to which other pages may be added so often as the requisite advance in circulation is made. Let but the present interest and effort continue, with any reasonable increase, and it will not be long ere the first addition of four pages may be made, thus, in effect restoring the wrapper, as in that instance, the extra pages would not be numbered to bind with the rest.
there is no
In the meantime, however, necessity to soil the outer pages. A few pence would procure a case, with tapes to hold two or more numbers, which would last for years. As new numbers are inserted the old ones could be put away for binding. We have obtained samples and can supply a cloth case, blocked and gilt lettered, at 6d., or post free 7d. We know not whether to obtain a supply, but if those who wish them send a post card we can at once determine.
THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN'S BOARD OF MISSIONS having yet no one employed to go to Jamaica to open their work, wish to correspond immediately with any suitable person who is willing to spend a year or more there, starting within the next six weeks. We have the necessary means on hand, and
are anxious to lose no further time.-For particulars, address, Mrs. Maria Jameson, 296, Broadway, Indianapolis.
COMING OUT.-The "Rev." G. Chute, M.A., recently preached his farewell sermon at Market Drayton. His reasons for leaving the State Church were partly expressed thus-"What brought me finally to a decision to leave the Church was that, after constant prayer and careful examination of the Word of God, I felt I would rather cut off my hand than be present at the rite of confirmation again. I could not bring children from thirteen to eighteen years of age for the bishop to ask them 'Dost thou renounce the devil and all his works,' etc. The children answer, 'I will,' or 'We do.' My dear friends, I could no longer be present at this awful lying falsehood, patronised by an old bishop and by clergymen who have come to vears of discretion. I could not come and deceive children by telling them that they were born again in baptism, and received the Holy Ghost in the rite of confirmation."
TIME.-There is no fixed date to which articles may be inserted in the E. O. Send as early as possible, and what is not in time for the first issue will have a good chance for the next.
CHRISTIANITY TRIUMPHANT, by Joseph Barker, sold out. No more expected.
S. J. Baptize on satisfactory confession of faith and repentance without stipulation as to the future, further than that the baptized fully intend earnest endeavour to learn the will of the Lord in all things, and to act accordingly. Refuse to baptize when the applicant makes known intention to do contrary to the law of God, or to go, or to remain, where he ought not to be.
FREE DISTRIBUTION.-Contributions for this purpose have considerably increased since last issue. The committee will be able to enlarge their arrangements. Still there are many who might respond and have not, and there is ample room to carry the work much further. It may be well to repeat an intimation before given, viz.In some instances churches, or individuals, having contributed take charge of copies thus paid for, and circulate them in their own neighbourhood. Others send a list of names for the committee to supply. Generally, how. ever, the distribution is left to the discretion of the committee. Each contributor is perfectly at liberty in this respect. The committee gladly receive suggestions in reference to the distribution committed to them, both from subscribers and others.
PAYMENTS RECEIVED to January 21.-R. Smith, J. R. Forbes, M. A. Evans, J. Ward, G. Newman, M. Harvey, G. Hay, T. Collin, D. S. Collin, W. Balding, C. Thomas, J. Law. P. Stephen, W. Dawson, A. Cameron, J. Nimmo, R. Graham, D. Mills, J. Collin, W. Linn, Ed. Brown (Auckland), W. Hoare, W. Ferguson, J. Jones (N. Z.), J. Peet, J. Hodge, A. Lobbam, R. Bateman, Thomas Watson, Thomas Edwards, W. Howard, A. Dawson, W. Dick, H. Cruikshank, Thomas Lyle (Adelaide), G. G., J. Hunt.
Free Distribution Fund.-William Jones, A Brother, E. Scott, T. Coop, J. Marsden, W. Hoare, R. Black, H. Johnson, A. Forsyth, J. Louden, G. Slee, W. S. Scott, Also from the following churches:-Glasgow, Lough borough.
Evangelist Fund.- Cupar, 303.