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Sawbulgær Book Boom and Preaching Stations. THE following is a copy of a circular printed in India. It will explain itself, and show that our brethren are endeavouring to help themselves. Contributions from friends moved to assist in the good work will be thankfully received by the Secretary.

DEAR FRIENDS,—To you who love the Lord Jesus, and desire to see His kingdom established in this land, we address ourselves, and would earnestly invite your co-operation for the furtherance of a project we have in hand.

It is now three years since we adopted a systematic plan of daily work in the town and neighbouring villages, teaching and preaching the Word of the Lord. Except when absent from the station, this has been persistently carried out, and we have long felt the necessity of having a building as an auxiliary to our street work and house to house visitation. There is no need to mention the many ways in which this

would be a help to the work.

Waiting on the Lord, and watching our opportunity, we have, in spite of many adversarios, just succeeded in securing a capital site at a cost of 600 rupees. It is in the main bazaar, and fronts the most frequented spot in the town, an open space where the three principal roads meet, and where a small market is held morning and evening. For advantages of situation, if we had had the pick of the town, we could not have selected a better place. We now need money to enable us to build, and adapt it to our work, and so we appeal to you.

Confidently anticipating a cordial response, we go on to mention that our project includes another and smaller venture. In order to meet the people at every turn we have secured another plot of land at the other end of the town, and intend to erect a small building here also. The site is a small one, but it is situated at the junction of four roads; and while already a well frequented spot, it promises to become, through the growth of the town in this direction, almost as valuable a place for our purposes as the first.

We have not yet made an estimate of the cost to be incurred in carrying out our plans, but we anticipate an expenditure of not less than 1,000 rupees, in addition to the purchase money of the first site,—viz., 600 rupees.

Having already expressed the confident anticipation we entertain of a cordial response to this appeal, it remains only to add that we shall be grateful to all who may extend a helping hand; and to remind those who serve the Lord Jesus that He who fails not to reward the cup of cold water in His name, will not forget to smile His approval of any who have a share in bringing the living water nigh to those who as yet know not the gift of God. We romain, yours affectionately in the Master's cause, (Signed) P. E HEBERLET, } Missionaries

. SUMS RECEIVED OR PROMISED.

Rs. As. P. From Station funds

50 0 0 Rev. J. Vaughan D. E. Proby, Esq.

140 00 Miss Packer per Rev. P. E. Heberlet 25 0 0 Rev. W. Miller..

G. Campbell, Esq. ::

50 0 0 Rev. J. Buckley Friends at Peterboro' per Miss Barrass 50 0 0 T. F. Mulholland Rev. J. G. Pike

100 0 0 E. 0. Glazier, Esq. „ P. E. Heberlet (1st instalment) 50 0 0 F. Bond, Esq., (1st instalment)

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Rs. AS. P. 30 0 0 50 00 10 00 50 0 0 30 0 0 50 0 0 25 0 0

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Contributions
Received on account of the General Baptist Missionary Society from September

16th to October 15th, 1883.
£ 8. d.

£ s. d. A Friend towards the debt 2 10 0 Edinburgh-Miss Beck

1 0 0 B, X.-Chester Post Mark

0 5 0
Miss Mulholland

1 0 0 A Wellwisher 0 4 4 Heptonstall Slack

8 169 Bradford, Infirmary Street 9 2 0 Mountsorrel

0 10 0 Coventry-Rev. C. Hood

0 5 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, Mission House, 60, Wilson Street, Derby, from whom also Missionary Boxes, Collect ing Books and Cards, may be obtained.

farewell Words. MY DEAR FRIENDS,

I cannot take leave of this Editorial Chair, after enjoying your stimulating and cheering companionship for the long period of FOURTEEN YEARS, without some regret. Our fellowship has been a delight and an inspiration. We have, it is no presumption to say, helped one another in the highest work of life, by our communion in thought, and sympathy, and toil; and we look back on these years with unfeigned thankfulness to Him who has not failed to answer the first prayer we offered together in the dawning of 1870—“Abide with us, O Lord, Abide.”

I have just read the “ Prefatory Words” spoken on the occasion of our first march in this long pilgrimage; and I am a little, though not much, surprised at the bold challenge for the severest and frankest criticism, and the exalted standard stated and accepted for editing a magazine for a Christian church. But I may add that although the ideal has not been reached, the best strength and the most honest parpose have made some approximation towards it. Christ Jesus has been the motive and model of our work. The freshness and continuity of energy characteristic of the Great Divine Serial have been sought in a resolute and undespairing temper. Never have we forgotten that our chief business was to feed the whole moral and spiritual force of our churches, and to cleanse, enlarge, and utilize to the uttermost our organic life. Everything connected with the real welfare of our federation of churches, to free it from self-seeking, narrowness, and hardness, to inspire it with holy enthusiasm and lofty aims, has been strenuously sought for. We agreed at the outset that “ we must aim high. Though failure trip us up at every step, and defeat swoop upon us as we sit down to the feast of success, yet the iron rule of perfection must hold its place, and not be lowered a single jot. The first and main duty of this Magazine is to serve Jesus Christ, and the pattern of such service is the ceaseless Serial of Divine Providence.” We said we would regard “modern life as a circle of which Christ is still the living centre. Politics, Science, Philosophy, Churches, Creeds, Business, Home and Personal Questions, must all be brought to the judgment seat of the Son of God.”

I am glad in turning over these fourteen volumes to feel that we have sacrificed no trath manifestly His, abated no claim which He makes, shrunk from no work He has commanded, and have striven with a zeal He Himself has inspired to echo His thoughts, do His work, and breathe His kind and just, loving and righteous Spirit. Indeed that which is most cheering in the review of our work to-day is not the kindly appreciation of friends inside and beyond our bordersnot the increase of our literary area from thirty-two to forty pages per month-not even the cordial support rendered by the churches-(for all of which we are deeply thankful) but the spirit of love and hearty good will, of kindly appreciation of the best in men and in agencies, which He has breathed through the contributions to our pages. The six minor rules we set up at the start we have been enabled to keep, and now we have our reward in the assurance that though speech has

GENERAL BAPTIST MAGAZINE, DECEMBER, 1883.- VOL. LXXXV.--N. S., No. 168.

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442 FAREWELL WORDS.

been free and frank, it has always been courteous; and whilst we have not stopped the play of satire and humour, we have never encouraged bitterness and personalities. To Him, who alone delivers us from evil, be all the praise.

Letters, not a few, before me tell me that a word is necessary as to the reason of my retirement. Obviously all the readers of the Magazine are not at present readers of our Year Book. In my letter of the 30th May, 1883, to our Association, I said:—

“It has been my settled purpose for some years past to return to your hands, upon the completion of the fourteenth year of my service, the responsibility of editing our Magazine.

“I have felt it a real privilege to be honoured with your confidence so long, and I wish to express the heartiest thanks for that generous, affectionate, and enthusiastic support, which has given the Magazine such “free course,” and made it at once acceptable and useful. It will be one of the radiant memories of my life that you have afforded me so extended an opportunity of trying to be of some little use to the denomination in which I was born, whose vital convictions and aggressive activities I have so thoroughly shared, and whose welfare I most devoutly and earnestly seek.

“As to my reasons for surrendering this work—a work whose importance I rate very highly indeed—I only need remind you that I am more than ever convinced of the necessity of nourishing and strengthening, in every way possible, our organic life. It is the supreme duty. But in a denomination like ours the opportunities of creating and feeding interest in our corporate work and devotion to our common aims are of necessity extremely few. Posts of public service are by no means numerous; and therefore I have steadfastly held the guiding principles (and, as is known, I have acted in keeping with them), that the monopoly of work by any one person is a grave mistake, and the employment of the young men of capacity and self-sacrifice amongst us in the offices and works of our Association is a primal necessity.

“These reasons, to me invincible, are the only ones I have for asking you to entrust to other hands the direction of our denominational organ. My faith is undiminished in the immense competency of literature to aid our churches, to guide and solace our perplexed age, and to advance the kingdom of our Saviour and Master; and whilst my sympathy with Christians of every name was never more intense, my love for our simple, compact, true, progressive, and conspicuously scriptural society was never so strong as now.”

Those reasons are my only ones, and they are as weighty with me as ever. And it is obvious from the fascinating programme already issued by the new Editors that I was right in my judgment and anticipations, and for them both in their new departure I pray from my heart— “The benedictions of these covering heavens Fall on their heads like dew.” And for each, I will add in the language of the same unmatched singer— “May he live Longer than I have time to tell his years! Ever beloved and loving may his rule be; And when old Time shall lead him to his end, Goodness and he fill up one monument.” And to our churches all, may grace, mercy, and power be multiplied from God the Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. As ever, Yours in affectionate and willing service,

JoHN CLIFFORD.

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THROUGHOUT the centuries of the Christian era, without one exception, the word Christmas has been familiar to the mind of Christendom. True, much of the pageantry of a former age has passed away. Where are the innumerable festivals and saints' days that anon held sway in “merrie England * Where are the tourneys and masques of a bygone day? Where are many of the customs that we shall have occasion to refer to ? They are gone—swept off by the besom of civilisation. Whether we are wholly gainers by the change we will not say. Still Christmas itself remains; still king Christmas lords it over the latter dark December days. The word has a meaning still; and we know by many unmistakeable signs that Christmas is nigh upon us. Go down any of our main streets and business thoroughfares, and ask what mean those gay windows filled with all the wealth of the costumier's art. You will be told that Christmas is coming. What are those other shops made gay with ?— “Lawn as white as driven snow; Cyprus black as eler was crow; Gloves as sweet as damask roses, Masks for faces and for noses; Bugle-bracelet, neclace amber, Perfume for a lady's chamber; Golden quoifs and stomachers, For my lads to give their dears; Pins and poking-sticks of steel,

What maids lack from head to heel.”
—Winter's Tale.

What, too, makes so much extra bustle in the streets? What is it that is perplexing so many a railway porter and official? 'Tis the fact that the Christmas season is close upon, even at our heels; and as loyal subjects of the jovial king we must ransack the kingdom for Christmas presents and Christmas fare to do honour to the Christmas day.

In this paper it is our intention to deal very briefly, and, we fear, very feebly, with the origin, history, customs, and superstitions of Christmas.

ORIGIN.

In what has Christmas its origin? Several answers may be given to this question. Lightfoot, Edersheim, with many others, regard Christmas as having thrown its cloak over the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles, and as having transformed that into a Christian festival; as Passover became Easter, and Whitsuntide takes the place of old Pentecost. A more popular idea of the origin of Christmas is that it has taken the festivities, mirth, and Bacchanalian revelry of the Roman Saturnalia under its wing, purged it of its excesses, and changed the presiding deity from Saturn to Christ. Freya, the Scandinavian goddess, who held her festivities in this yule-tide, has also the honour of the parties in the case North v. South. Dr. Smith, or the writer of the article on Christmas in the “Dictionary of Christian Antiquities,” however, will have nothing to do with any of these ideas. He finds the mother of our Christmas in the Roman Burmalia, or Natalis Invicta—the festival of the winter solstice of the sun king—and he 444 CHRISTMAS; ITS HISTORY AND CUSTOMS.

ascribes to the early Christians a perception of the analogy between the “new birth as it were” of the sun at the winter solstice, and the appearance of the “Sun of Righteousness” rising over a darkened world. he inscription on the reverse of the copper coins of Constantine, retained after his conversion, is called in to support this theory. Who is right it is difficult to say. Certain it is that the Latin nations did hold a festival in honour of the sun's arrival at the solstice; for we must bear in mind what an important part the sun plays in all the ancient mythologies. Certain, too, it is, that from some source, Northern or Southern, we have got Christmas. And such being the case, what does it commemorate to us? What grand cardinal point in the Christian faith is called to mind at its annual recurrence P What theme will be proclaimed from every pulpit in two or three weeks' time 2 What will fill the Christmas organ and yule-tide carol with especial force and meaning? The recollection of a manger in yon khan at Bethlehem; of a young mother and her babe there enstalled

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of the long journey of the Magi, star-led to that baby; of Herod's futile rage; of the shepherd's reception of the annunciation song; in a word, of Paradise Regained. So that from wherever it came, and whatever it was previously, this yule-tide feast is to us the festival of the birth of Christ.

HISTORY.

Ever since England has been a civilized country Christmas has been a popular institution. During the middle ages that popularity was at its height; the modes in which it was celebrated will be touched on in our next section. One fact here will show how firmly fixed in the English heart of old was the Christmas festival.

Henry, hero of Agincourt, although he was encamped outside the walls of Rouen, and had the stern business of war before him, suspended hostilities, and sent his heralds out to proclaim how that the English king would keep open table that Christmas-day for all French soldiers who would accept his hospitality.

King Christmas held sway steadily on, though Saxon, Norman, Plantagenet, and Tudor each filled the throne, and passed away; but when the Stuart Charles, England's scourge and worst enemy, sat on a throne that had hitherto been filled by true men, he and his brought things to such a pass that a Cromwell had to be sent, heaven-inspired, to root out the flagrant sin and iniquity that abounded. The hero did his work. It was no time for gloved carpet-knights, but for the unsheathed sword of the terrible all-conquering Ironsides. England had to be saved from eternal hell by fire. Cromwell was the saviour. No wonder is it to any one who has read the history of these times that all amusements, linked as they were to such infamy, and Christmas amusements among the rest, should be deemed Satan-born, and with the rest of his offspring to be put down with a strong arm. So it was. In a newspaper of the time occurs this sentence:—

“The House before they rose were presented with a terrible remonstrance against Christmas-day, grounded upon Divine Scripture, 2 Cor. v. 16, 1 Cor. xv. 14–17, &c., in which Christmas is called

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