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NOTES AND GLEANINGS. 39
At the Bible Readings we sometimes have the Sala nearly full of people, who seem to be much interested. All who can edify are free to take part, and generally three or four take part. These meetings are most profitable.
DURING this autumn there have been fearful inundations in the north of Italy, causing much suffering and distress. Subscription lists have been opened everywhere in Italy, and some of the congregations of Evangelicals have made collections for the sufferers. We have had our collection, and it is interesting to contrast the result with a similar occurrence in the past.
When I came to Italy in 1878 there was a similar distress from inundations in the north of Italy, and similar efforts were being made to relieve it. We then made a collection. I remember the occasion well. , We had a crowded Sala. The collection had been duly announced previously, and I supposed that all hearts were palpitating with sympathy for poor suffering fellow Italians. But the collection, when counted up, amounted to thirty centesimi, that is, just threepence 1
This year we have made the collection at a service rather less numerously attended than in 1878, but the result was twenty-six lire, i.e., a little more than a sovereign.
This is not much, but it suffices to show some progress.
§ofts and ÖItamings.
SACRAMENTAL OFFERINGS FOR WIDOWS AND ORPHANS.—With reference to this subject we beg to call attention to the circular which appeared in the Observer for December. We trust the offerings will be as liberal as possible. THE REv. ALEx H. YoUNG, M.A., who has gone to take charge of the Protestant Boys' School, Cuttack, embarked in the British India steamer Rewa, in London, Dec. 2nd, and left Gravesend the next day for India. We are glad to see that the vessel has passed Suez. MR. AND MRs. WooD, with their little boy, and a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Pike, arrived safely in England on Wednesday, Dec. 6th. We are pleased to state that the health of both Mr. and Mrs. Wood has greatly improved on the voyage. Mr. Wood's address for the present is, Hugglescote, Ashby-de-la-Zouch. CAVERSHAM, NEAR READING-The ladies of the Mission Working Society at Caversham, have sent per Miss Leigh articles to Cuttack to the value of £10. Would that a similar working society existed in connection with each of our churches. Were this the case, the funds of the Mission would be considerably augmented. Will the ladies kindly attempt something in this direction. Ten pounds per annum would support three orphans, or a Bible woman. BAPTISM AT CUTTACK.—Fourteen young persons were baptized at Cuttack on Lord's day, the 5th of November. Shem Sahu preached on the occasion from 1 Cor. xii. 6, on the manifold ways which the Lord employs in bringing sinners to Himself, after which Ghanushyam Naik administered the sacred ordinance. We have also, at the present time, eighteen candidates. It was a day of many hallowed recollections. It was the 56th anniversary of the writer's baptismal day; and very interresting it is to add, that it was also the 56th anniversary of the opening of our chapel at Cuttack by brethren Lacey and Sutton, and this, as all
40 MISSIONARY OBSERVER.
our friends should know, was the first chapel erected in this idolatrous land for the worship of the one true God, and the preaching of the Gospel of Christ. Nor should the national mercies which the 5th of November brings to mind ever be forgotten. It was a grand day for England when it pleased Him “who putteth down one and setteth up another” to depose James the Second and to raise to the throne William the Third, of blessed memory, whom the late Prince Consort most justly described as “the greatest statesman that ever sat on the British throne.” Let us thank God for the deliverance from spiritual tyranny and arbitrary power. J. B.
SINCE the Association Mission Services, have been held as follows:–
, 29, 80 ..] Mansfield... ... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Nov. 5, 6...| Leeds, North Street ... . . . . . . . . . . joy ,, 12, 18 ..] Sheffield. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . o ,, 19, 20...] Kegworth and Diseworth ... . . . . . . ..] W. Hill, T. R. Stevenson.
* - ?? - ?? -- i ow ,, . Mission Chapel ... . . . . . . . J. Sharman. Dec. 3, 4 ..] Wirksworth and Shottle T. . . . . . . . ..] W. Hill. , 10 ... ..] Ilkeston . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . so , 11 ... ... Poynton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . wo ,, 17, 18 ...|Coalville . . . . . . ... . . . . . . H. Wood. ,, 17 ... ..] Beeston . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..] G. Hoffman. , 20 ... ..] Belton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . H. Wood.
Besides the above, sermons or lectures have been delivered by Mr. Shaw, at Leicester, Nottingham, Walsall, Peterborough, Wisbech, and several other places, and collections made on behalf of the Rome Mission. Valuable help has also been rendered to the good cause by our own and other ministers and friends in the various localities where the services have been held, which help is gratefully acknowledged.
£ s. d. £ s. d. Birchcliffe ... . . . . . . . . .. 84 14 9 Poynton . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 1 11 Bradford, Tetley Street—additional 1 0 0 Queensbury . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1518 4 Clayton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 0 10 Sutton-in-Ashfield ... . . . . .. 7 10 0 Ilkeston, South Street ... . . ... 10 0 0 Tarporley—additional ... ... 1 1 5 Kegworth and Diseworth ... .. 8 10 0 Wirksworth—on account ... ... 18 0 0 Nottingham, Old Basford . . . . 93 0 0
Subscriptions and Donations in aid of the General Baptist Missionary Society will be thankfully received by W. B. BEMBRIDGE, Esq., Ripley, Derby, Treasurer; and by the Rev. W. HILL, Secretary, 60, Wilson Street, Derby, from whom also Missionary Boxes, Collecting Books and Cards may be obtained.
To wearied men no restorative is so sweet as that of sleep. Of many a sufferer it might be said, “if he sleep he shall do well.” But what is balmy and beneficial to some—to all indeed at the proper season—may be useless or baneful to others by being taken in excess. All good things are regulated by measure, and overmuch becomes an evil.
The taking of rest in sleep is a human necessity, for which nightly provision is made by the God of our life. But this divine provision is not always wisely appropriated. The propensity to pervert it is strong in all, and in some it is overpowering. Long indulgence makes them somniferous and sluggish. Locked in the arms of a leaden slumber their time is wasted, their vigour is sapped, and the self-awaking voice of nature is hushed into silence. If other voices did not rouse them they would sleep on indefinitely; and hence morning by morning those other voices, or their substitutes and equivalents, may be regularly heard. Horns and trumpets were formerly sounded for the friendly assault of overdrowsy ears; and subsequently gongs have been struck, and bells have been rung, for the same needful purpose.
The bell is an ancient invention, though not so old as a writer once quoted by an eastern patriarch averred, who ascribed it to Tubal Cain, and said that it was used by Noah to call his carpenters to their work. The office of the bell has been to give a kind of tongue to time, which would otherwise pass by us as silently as the clouds pass over our heads. But this office can be served for the benefit of those only who listen to it, and who wish to take due notice of its noiseless speed. Happily it has also a use for the dormant, both in the darkness and at the dawn, to apprize them of the length of their resting, and of their time to rise. It is a morning monitor—the mechanical contemporary of the gallinaceous fowl, whose crowing disturbs and delights not.
The sound of the bell finds its counterpart in human language. Writings are sometimes said to have a ring—the right ring in them. Inspired words are meant to be, and often are, awakening words. Each verse of Scripture is a voice to strike upon the ear, and to arrest the attention, and to move the inmost soul. When St. Paul told the Roman believers that it was “high time for them to awake out of sleep; the night being far spent, and the day being at hand;” he, in effect, rung a bell in their ears. And so we find a name for the short essay we are proposing to write. The costly instrument which was fabricated at Loughborough, and put into the tower of St. Paul's, London, during last year, was an event which will be remembered by all who are interested in campanology. Visitors to the metropolis may be curious to hear it strike the hour; and all who should be near enough would be careful to listen to its thrilling tones, on the special occasions when it may be tolled, viz, on the death or funeral of a member of the royal family, a bishop of London, a dean of St. Paul's, or the Lord Mayor of the year. The new bell of St. Paul's may continue its services until it becomes as ancient as any of its predecessors. But it can never vie in its antiquity with that which, not falsely, it is hoped, nor fancifully, we have designated the Bell of St. Paul. What may be the measure of its utility in every
GENERAL BAPTIST MAGAZINE, FEBRUARY, 1883.-Wol. Lxxxv.–N. S. No. 158.
42 THE BELL OF ST. PAUL.
way is matter of conjecture only; and whether that utility will compensate for its costs may be doubted. But its benefits admit of no comparison with those which have been derived from the apostle's utterance, since before the day when it struck the ear, and savingly excited the soul of the great Augustine of Tagaste. The anecdote of his conversion, by means of this text, is perhaps too trite to be repeated; but it is also too true to be forgotten. No church annals could record how many more of her illustrious sons and daughters have been called into her sacred inclosure by the sounding forth of this word of the Lord. It has been heard to profit by the young and the old, whom it has alike reminded of their too protracted slumbers—of the imminent perils amidst which they A. sleeping—and of the urgency of the work to which they ought to 8 Wake. But the greatest amount of good has accrued from this moving admonition to those who have been reposing within the pale of the church. Very difficult is it for such to maintain a becoming vigilance, and to keep themselves in a wakeful and working state. Scarcely can any Christian be found who is not conscious, to some extent, of his drowsiness and dormancy; and who does not see occasion for some such selfremonstrance as is contained in a now silent hymn : “My drowsy powers, why sleep ye so? Awake my sluggish soul!
It is sternly true that no being on the earth has more need to be busy than a believer in the Son of God. Besides his manual labour, or his mental toil; his personal needs, and social duties; he has to abound in a work which is emphatically “the work of the Lord.” But he is prone to forget the pre-eminent importance of that work; and when he thinks of it, his sense of it is torpid, and anything in the way of active effort is a task and a trial to him. So he sits still, or lies down; his hands are folded, and his duty is left undone,
Has not this ever been the failing even of the better class of mankind? The people of the Lord have always been more or less inclined to supineness and inaction. They have often set faith before works, and have been more full of words than of good deeds. What is more common, in the old testament prophets, than the charge of positions unoccupied, of services unrendered, and of self-indulgences allowed How often, in Isaiah, does the word awake occur. He saw occasion to call on the gentler sex for something higher and better than they were shewing— “rise up, ye women that are at ease. Hear my voice, ye careless daughters.” Amos threatened woe to them that were at ease in Zion. And Zephaniah foretold that God would search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men who were settled on their lees, and said in their heart the Lord would not do either good or evil. But surely the cardinal criminality lay with the so-called watchmen; who had nothing of the acoimites character in them: for they were said to be “blind, and ignorant, and dumb: sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.”
*The acoimites were a particular class of monks whose origin dates from the fifth century, and who took their name from the circumstance that in their cloisters divine worship was celebrated continuously through the might as well as the day. They were literally the sleepless—the unresting.
THE BELL OF ST. PAUL. 43
Coming down to New Testament times we do not find a perfect vigilance maintained, even amidst the excitement which marked the beginning of the kingdom of God. The parable admits that while the bridegroom tarried, the wise, as well as foolish virgins, all slumbered and slept. The choicest of the disciples, who were selected by their Master to be witnesses of His sorrows and supplications in the Garden of Gethsemane, could not watch with Him even one hour. Active as the apostles became after the ascension of the Saviour, and the reception of that power from on high with which He endued them, their very first converts would seem to have been deficient in the devotion which was required from them. At the least we may say that there is scarcely an epistle to the churches which does not contain sentences intended to wake them up and keep them alive either to their duties or dangers. These stirring passages are not cited here, but they can readily be found, and they may be commended to the practical notice of every Christian professor at this distant date. “Old Mr. Honest,” says Bunyan, “began to nod. And Greatheart said, What, you begin to be drowsy come, rub up.”
How can this drowsiness and dormancy be explained? What causes this condition of once awakened souls' Satanic agency is traceable here. He who is our adversary is ever vigilant; but it is his policy to make us otherwise; and this purpose he effects by darkening the understanding, by drugging the conscience, and by lulling the labouring and restless spirit to a state of quiescence and repose. Our reclination is his opportunity. The fleshly part of our nature is inimical to the spirit, lying like a heavy incubus upon it, and proving as hurtful to it as if it were a real body of death. The more our bodily appetites are indulged and gratified, the more faint and slumbrous do our souls become. Moreover, this present world, and the things that are in it, operate banefully on the believer's mind. Some are so absorbed with mundane affairs as to have no time or energy left for anything higher and better. Some are rocked asleep in the cradle of prosperity. Others are so buffeted with adversity as to become “feeble and sore broken, and are as a man that hath no strength.” The cares of this life overcome many who have neither poverty nor riches; so that while in the world they are wide awake, in the church they are fast asleep. The tendency of advancing age is to increasing torpor in mind and heart, as well as in the members of the body. Old disciples are tempted to more and more retirement, relaxation and repose. The enchanted ground is one of the last refuges which the enemy of the pilgrims has, and is placed near the end of the way, and so stands against us with the more advantage. “For when, thinks the enemy, will these fools be so desirous to sit down as when they are weary 2 and when so likely, to be weary as when almost at their journey's end? Therefore it is that the enchanted ground is placed so near the land of Beulah and the end of their race. Wherefore let pilgrims look to themselves, lest it happen to them as it did to Heedless and Too-bold, who entered the arbour by the wayside, and who fell so fast asleep that none could wake them.”
This sleeping is a thing quite out of season; for the night is ending and the day is beginning. It is incompatible with our true character; for we are not of the night nor of darkness. We are children of the light and of the day. Our work cannot be done, nor our warfare waged, if