« AnteriorContinuar »
worship. The department de la Somme alone, counts about six. thousand individuals in this state of abandonment, and religious privation; but it is there in particular among these reformed Christians, so long forgotten, that the faith of their fathers has been preserved in all its purity. For want of sacred books, of which violence had deprived these obscure families, and from replacing of which either fear or poverty had prevented them, oral traditions had transmitted from generation to generation the most interesting narratives, the most important lessons, and the holiest precepts of the Bible. Passing from the memories of the fathers to the children, the most fervent prayers, and hymns the most proper to nourish faith and hope, have never ceased to resound in their cottages, and the paternal benediction has stood in place of that of the minister of the Lord. When at length the written word of God returned to the bosom of these insulated families, what thanksgivings have been offered up for this unexpected blessing of Providence.
From a Catholic Vicar, to the Cologne Bible Society, dated Jan.
1820. Here is the heart and the hand, beloved brethren, of one, who though a stranger to you, still lives in blessed hopes of being one dåy inseparably united to you in the abodes of our heavenly Father? What you are doing, the world is not able to reward, neither do you seek its wages in zealously labouring to promote Christianity, or which is the same, the welfare of mankind.
Religion is the one thing needful for these times of vanity, levity and selfishness. And is there any means more fit to lead mankind back to the principles of pure Christianity, than to let our Divine Master himself, and his disciples again address the people in their own words. The simple-hearted among the multitude listen to them with so much delight; but the ignorance of many of their guides has withheld from them the source of their faith, their bope, and their consolation. Whoever finds in holy writ the words of eternal life,belongs to the flock of the Lord, and is perfectly capable of discriminating between the voice of the Shepherd, and that of the hireling. We are not to be of Cephas or of Apollos-we, who have one Father in heaven, one Redeemer, and are baptized in the same name, entertaining the same hope of glory. Of what use are these hair-spun disputed questions, but to annihilate that charity which is the foundation of Christianity?
It is true, we cannot give the increase: but never was the blessing of God withheld from faithful diligence. The fruit of our la bours, though withheld from our views bere below, will, on the other side of the grave, display the greater riches, when beheld with the unveiled eyes of a glorified nature. To diffuse, to foster
godliness, is the same object for which Jesus, with his apostles, and all his faithful followers so zealously laboured.
May God strengthen you in the work begun! Receive amongst you with brotherly affection a worshipper of Jesus, whose desire is to co-operate with you in propagating Christianity, I have received 24 New Testaments : they are all gone,
and many are anxiously looking out for the arrival of a fresh supply, In our congregation the ground is prepared here the seed is capable of striking root, and of bringing forth fruit.
Prosperity, salvation, and blessing from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Redeemer be with you, together with perseverance and patience in the prosecution of your holy work.
GERMANY. Agreeably to the promise made in our last number, we present to our readers the following extract of a letter from the Rev. Mr. Lissignol, minister of the Protestant Church at Montpelier, in France, to the Conference of Preachers convened at Herrnhuth, Upper Lusatia, in Germany, May 20th, 1818.
Translated for the Christian Herald. Truly the work of the Lord progresses gloriously, my dearest brethren ; and, although we here inhabit the region of Tyre and Sidon, (probably meaning in reference to the commerre carried on there,) still we are not wanting of striking proofs that God our Father communicates of his grace to us, in order to induce us to turn to Him with all our heart. Among those evidences most deserving attention, which we have had of that great truth, that salvation is unto us of free grace, as well as of that doctrine that “the Eternal,” heareth the cries of the miserable, the following instance is worthy of notice.
In St. Hyppolite, a small city in the Sesennes, whither I occasionally repair for the edification of truly simple souls, whom the Lord has there collected in a body, there lives a man by the name of Niel, whose wife's name is Nicette. The husband, a man whose intellectual faculties are very limited, possessed all the wickedness and rudeness of a hardened villain, had never received any religious instruction, and constantly frequented taverns. The perverseness of his heart was further increased by his associating with men of a similar stamp; and Satan too, did what he could, more completely to enslave this choleric and revengeful
Born among the lowest class of people, he had no notion for labour, and yet could not at the same time gratify his lusts and provide bread for his family. The domestic contention arising from this source, and the maltreatment his wife had to suffer at his hands, had, two years ago, compelled her to leave her husband. Being at last deceived by his fair promises of amendment, she again took up her abode with him. Meanwhile, she had already contracted an acquaintance with some pious people, who
tvere seriously concerned about their souls' salvation ; she had, on different occasions, received good advice from them; and when the Rev. Mr. Martin, jun. came into the room of the Rev. Mr. Gachon, she acted up to the advice which this young minister gave her, to join herself to those religious persons, to edisy berself with them in love. In pursuance thereof, Nicette visited the meetings which were held at sister Vegrune's. But now her husband recommenced his barbarous treatment of her again ; he beat her, dragged her about by the hair, took away her bread, and freyuently compelled her, even in the depth of winter, to spend the night without her room ; and yet poor Nicette never had, by her own misconduct, merited such a treatment; she had introduced more order into the domestic concerns; she never returned home without several groats, and never went abroad but to gain a livelihood by the sale of herbs and religious tratts, which I had forwarded to Mr. Martin. Vith a stout bodily make, which, if she had chose to act upon the defensive, would have easily enabled her to lay her busband, who is a small and feeble man, sprawling; she would never indulge herselt in any violence against him, but prayed to God to assist her by His grace to not cherish a revengeful spirit, and moreover to change her husband's disposition. Finally, however, she grew weary of the inhuman treatment, and was on the point of forsaking this incorrigible Niel a second time; himself 'divided the goods into two parts, gave her the very worst, and reserved all the good and new furniture to himself, in order 10 turn it into money. Nicette took his daughter by the hand, and declared to her husband, that she freely forgave him all his misconduct, that she was satisfied all the neighbours knew the reason why she left him ; that under this melancholy circumstance she would sull never discontinue her prayers for him; and that she would at any time be ready to return to him once more, provided he would surrender himself to the Lord; but on no other condition would she hear any more of him.
And now, behold Niel, running up to her-he conjures her to stay, drops on his knees before her, and exclaims, “No! no! you shall not be gone! I am a wretch, I have fought against God! him have offended, while I abused you! Opray to Him to forgive me! I see what a worthless creature I am! go and beg the brethren and sisters to pray for me ; you may henceforth go to them as often as you please, and I myself will go, to become like unto them, &c. Nicette accordingly agreed to stay, and Niel is, indeed, as he is wont to say—become a new man; the Lord has burst his chains asunder in a moment; the conversion that took place on the way to Damascus is not a greater miracle than that of Neil. The day after the event. happened, I received intelligence of it, and this ignorant, rude, choleric, and daring man ; this enemy of God and his chil. Vol. VII,
dren; this spendthrift and idle lounger, is now become an orderly, industrious, mild, and complaisant character, having entirely laid aside his drunken and gaming habits; in lieu thereof, he now frequents religious meetings, and with a broken heart and humbled spirit, with tears of joy, magnifies that infinite grace which the Lord has extended to him. Without affectation, and with profound humility, he now describes his former condition in the manner following :
"1 openly waged war against God and his children, and yet he has not on that account turned me into the abyss of hell! Now have the scales dropt from my eyes ; Satan no longer has any control over me! O Lord what a mercy, what infinite mercy. Still I can scarely persuade myself to believe it to be true ; the whole appears to me as a dream! Assuredly the salvation of Christ is clear free grace; where have I deserved it, that the Saviour should reveal himself to my heart? Every day of my life I had crucified him afresh in my corrupted heart; I tormented my poor wife every time she went to pray to this good Saviour for me! O what a mercy! what a gulf of perdition! what a miracle of grace! O my God! O my Saviour, have mercy upon me! Thy blood has purified my heart !"
The remainder of this day, ever memorable to Niel, he spent in prayers and tears; and being returned from the evening meeting with his wife, he did not even then quit praying ; but lay all night on his kness, crying and praying, and also begged his wife to pray for him. A young man from St. Hyppolite, who had had a conversation with him, said, “'Tis but four days since Niel has been converted, and he speaks as though he had been a witness of Jesus for ten years together.” You may easily imagine how Satan and his adherents raged, when they came in contact with this former slave of sin, who now triumphs in Jesus Christ his Saviour.
All the abusive language and bitter reproaches that scorn and ignominy could invent, fall to his share ; but Niel, in answer to all this, replies, the people were right in so doing, and that he deserved a hundred thousand times more than what they could inflict upon him; he laments their condition, prays for them, and is, to all those that have an opportunity of hearing him, and to have a detailed account of his memoirs communicated to them, a subject of wonder and edification.
Near three i.onths have elapsed since his eyes were opened to the light; he has taken the Lord's supper at the hands of the Rev. Mr. Martin, and ever since his conversion, he never for a moment has proved unfaithful to his change of sentiments. His wife is all in a transport of joy, and reciprocally do they now enjoin each other to seek the Lord and to live in his love; they ex. Claim with heartfelt emotion
“ The Saviour is my best of friends,
This extraordinary event, or more correctly speaking, this miracle, the truth of which all the inhabitants of St. Hyppolite might testify, has made upon numbers a favourable impression. Brother Merillat will, no doubt, give you a more circumstantial detail of the attending circumstances, which he will collect the next time he visits that part of the country.
NEW-YORK SUNDAY SCHOOLS. Fourth Report of the New-York Sunday School Union Society, for the
year ending May, 1820. Fourth Report of the New-York Female Union for the Promoting of Sabbath Schools, read April 19th, 1820. Third Annual Report of the Board of Managers of the New York Prer testant Episcopal Sunday School Society, March 29, 1820.
Instead of pursuing the plan adopted on former occasions, of noticing each of the above Reports separately, we have chosen to present them all at one view to the attention of our readers, making such extracts from each as, combined, may exhibit a complete view of the Sunday School operations of our city.
The Committee of the Sunday School Union Society, after noticing that new schools have arisen to supply fully the places of those which have ceased their operations, proceed to report the present state of their schools as follows :
“ The most pleasing zeal and harmony continue to prevail on the part of teachers, and there is not believed to be any abatement of diligence and punctuality on the part of their pupils.
“The present number of schools is 36, conducted on much the same plan as heretofore, but daily becoming more useful, from the increased experience of those who have the management of them; it being no uncommon circumstance to find, in almost all, some of the same teachers with whom their establishment originated.
* About 3,500 learners are enrolled on the registers of these schools, but, from a variety of uncontrollable circumstances, the average attendance cannot be brought to exceed 1,900. The whole number, however, derive the benefit of at least occasional instruction, and of being conducted to the places of public worship to which the schools are attached, and their conduct, while there, carefully superintended by some of their teachers.
“These schools consist of almost all the various denominations of Christians. There are 4 Dutch Reformed, 8 Presbyterian, 5 Episcopalian, 1 Moravian, 6 Methodist, 1 Associate Reformed, 8 Baptist, and 3 Independent; each pursuing its Christian labours at peace within itself, and with feelings of good will to all who are engaged in the same cause.
“ The course of instruction continues to be the same as that hitherto pursued; the word of God constituting the foundation on