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was anxious to be useful to her fellow singers. She taught in the school, collected for the Missions, and seemed ready to every good work. We could almost have wished for her continuance with us. but God thought otherwise; when ready for usefulness here, she gave signs that she must leave the work to others and go hence. After a year's various affliction, she put off mortality to go and be with Christ, which is far better, saying as she went, “Good bye, mother; I am happy.” Beloved sister, though thou canst not return to us, we shall come to thee.
Died in the Lord at Stalybridge, Feb. 28, 1852, in the thirty-fifth year of her
age, Martha Mellor. Our sister had been a steady member of our Church for more than twenty years. Her experience was Christian, her life checkered by some changes, and her end was alarmingly sudden. She was going about her household concerns when the messenger Death came, and in the midst of her children she gave up the ghost, and went to her final home.
H, W. March 5, 1852.
Died in the Lord at Stalybridge, March 1st., 1852, Miranda Smith, at the age of sixteen years. Our sister was led into the fellowship of the Church on Sunday evening, and on the day following went to the Church triumphant. H. W.
March 5, 1852.
AMERICAN MOVEMENT FOR A REFORM IN THE METAODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH, BY TIE INTRODUCTION OF LAY DELE. GATES TO THE ANNUAL AND GENERAL CONFERENCES OF THE BODY.–An American paper reached us yesterday (the 23rd of March), giving a full report of the above Convention held in Philadelphia only ten days ago. It appears that forty-four places were represented by the attendance of 167 delegates. Professor W. H. Allen, President of the Gerard College.. was called to the chair, and conducted the business in an admirable manner. Great harmony of feeling and unanimity of sentiment prevailed, and the following resolutions were among those adopted on the occasion :
“ That this Convention do hereby declare that in their deliberate judgment the Constitution of the Methodist Episcopal Church ought to be so amended as to admit the introduction of lay delegates into the General and Annual Conferences, under such restrictions as shall not conflict with the rights of the clergy in their appropriate ministerial and pastoral du. ties and privileges, yet so as to secure effectually the voice and influence of the laity in their legislating or rule-making department of the Church.
“That this Convention do hereby respectfully petition the General Conference to give this subject the thought and at. tention which its importance requires,
and, in accordance with the spirit and aim of the first resolution, so modify the discipline of our Church as to provide for lay delegates in our General and Annual Conferences.
“That those Circuits or Stations who sympathize with the action of the Convention, but who have found it inconvenient to send up delegates, be requested to take such action in the premises as will put the General Conference in the possession of their views on this important question.
“ That this Convention appoint a Committee of ten to meet in Boston during the session of the General Conference, whose duty it shall be to lay before said Conference the memorial and resolutions of this Convention, and advocate the objects set forth in them to the best of their ability.
“ That the said Committee shall also receive all communications of Churches not yet heard from, and correspond with all such as may be favourable to the movement, in order to obtain as full an expression of our brethren under the jurisdiction of the General Conference as can be obtained, and strengthen thereby their hands in the cause which they are commissioned to advocate."
Many other Methodist Churches are with the movement, and many of the preachers, it is said, are favourable to the movement. It will be seen that the great principle contended for is the one which has been carried out in our own community from its foundation.
* President Allen is brother-in-law to our excellent friend R. H. Brett, Esq., of Toronto.
NEW CONNEXION MAGAZINE.
DISCOURSES, ESSAYS, &c.
BY THE Rev. H. O. CROFTS, D.D. PRAYER-MEETINGS are of great antiquity. Men have been accustomed “to call on the name of the Lord" from the earliest period of time. There have been places appointed for saints to meet together, and unitedly to pray to God in, ever since the children of Israel were delivered from Egyptian bondage and had the worship of God established among them. The ancient Jewish temple was styled by Jehovah himself "a house of prayer for all people.” When we come to New Testament times, we discover that separate meetings, in addition to the public worship of God in the Temple and in the synagogues, were held for the purpose of prayer. After Jesus ascended to heaven, we are told, in the first of Acts, that the apostles, in " an upper room," "all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.” “ And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place," undoubtedly praying. When the Holy Spirit descended upon them in all his fulness—when the three thousand were converted, " they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” In Acts xii. we are informed that when Peter was delivered from prison, and “ had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of Jolin, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying." Peter knew where to find the disciples of Christ-he knew they would be at the prayer-meeting; therefore he went thither, and, to his joy, found “many gathered together praying." But in our day, the very last place in the world where we should be likely to find many of the professed followers of Christ would be the prayer-meeting; for they are never found at a prayer.meeting from the first of January to the last of December. We cannot tell what Peter would think of such Christians were he now upon the earth ; but some of the best of God's children think that those who thus neglect the prayer-meeting resemble the Church at Sardis, and as much need Christ's rebuke as that Church did : "I know thy works, that thou hast a name, that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die ; for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember, therefore, how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If, therefore, thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief in the night, and thou shalt not know in what hour I will come
upon thee.” In Acts xvi. we read, “ And on the Sabbath-day we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wout to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither;" and at that meeting Lydia was converted to God. The piously-inclined women at Philippi were accustomed to go out of the city by the river-side, for the purpose of holding a. prayer-meeting. Paul and his company repaired thither also; and one soul, at least, was converted to God. Prayer-meetings, then, are of great antiquity-were attended by the apostles and the first Christians—were sanctioned by the Lord; so that we have the highest authority for holding prayer-meetings in our day.
The importance of prayer-meetings is very great. Prayer-meetings, we conceive, are just as important to the Church and to the world as the preaching of the Word, or any other means of grace, not even excepting the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. Prayer-meetings are admirably adapted to promote growth in grace among the followers of Christ. Those who neglect the prayer-meetings wilfully and habitually are certain to be found dwarfs in piety, mere babes in Christ, and are sure to be found of little service to the Church with which they stand connected. Nay, more, they are often dead-weights which prevent the Church from rising and prospering. Those who neglect the prayermeetings lose all the spiritual blessings which are bestowed in auswer to the united prayers of God's people. Those who neglect these means of grace can never feel those ardent desires for holiness which the lively, warm-hearted, believing prayers of the brethren at the prayer-meeting are calculated to produce. Persons who grow in grace rapidly, and become eminent for piety, attend the prayer-meetings, enter into the spirit of them, and thus both obtain good and do good at the same time. They are found generally “ forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before," pressing “ toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
Prayer-meetings promote love among brethren. How often, when strangers, who love the Lord Jesus Christ, meet in a prayer-meeting and mingle their prayers together, do they feel instantly such a warm affection to each other, that in a few minutes they become as great friends as if they had known each other for years! The very best way to promote love among the brethren is to bring them often together in a prayer-meeting. Praying together, if it be worthy the name of praying, will destroy every wrong feeling which they may have towards one another, and cause them to love as brethren. In many Churches offences are found : some of the members of the Church are at variance with each other; they avoid each other; and the result is, the whole Church is brought into a state of confusion or stagnation. No good is done in that Church; none can be done. Every effort to reconcile these parties is vain. We once heard of a minister who wanted a revival in his Church; but there were two of the leading members who were at sword's point with each other. He could not effect a reconciliation in the usual way; but he was determined to have a revival, and he began with a prayer-meeting, at which both of the belligerents were present. An intelligent local minister of ours, who was present, told us that the minister called upon the most implacable of the two to pray. He began; but he could scarcely proceed. He uttered a sentence or two, and theu began to cough violently. For a time he had difficulty in proceeding; but the man
prayed on, and finally gained the mastery over his vindictive feelings. A reconciliation was effected that night between him and his brother Christian, and a glorious revival followed. Two brethren in our own Connexion in a distant land, with whom the writer was acquainted, had a serious difference over a bull which had broken loose and done great mis. chief to the other's property. This difference sadly damaged the Church. They were brought together in a prayer and fellowship meeting, which are there often united ; they prayed together, a good feeling was present ; one of them got up to speak his experience, and alluded to the unhappy difference between him and his brother, the grief of mind it had occasioned him, and so on : the other was melted into tenderness, he rose on his feet, strode across the chapel, grasped the other by the hand, who at once enfolded him in his arms. They wept on each other's neck a good while ; and then one of them cried out, " There is no bull between us now." After that the work of God revived in that Church ; and these neighbours were ever afterwards united in the bonds of love until one of them was remored to heaven. Praying with those we have any ill. feeling towards will soon displace it, and cause us to be kindly affectioned one to another. The writer was once, as the chairman of a meeting, severely handled by a well-meaning brother who had allowed his feelings to get the better of his judgment, and who had said things which would have made us enemies for life had they been resented; but on that occasion, as soon as his speech was ended, and while he was almost boiling with rage, we proposed to the meeting to spend a short season in prayer, and at once called upon our angry brother to pray. He began with a tremulous voice, hardly knowing what to say ; but by-and-by he began to confess his rashness and to implore forgiveness, and, by the time he had done praying, we were all melted into tenderness and love. We went on with our business as though nothing had happened, and for years since then that man has been one of our best friends. He said to a mutual friend afterwards, that he never was so overcome in all his life. Oh, what immense mischief is done in the Church of the living God when his people fall out by the way, or live in enmity one with another! We know of nothing that will so effectually prevent these evils, or remove them where they do exist, as attention to prayer-meetings. “Let brotherly love continue !" To obey this precept, we must, as members of the same Church, be often found together praying.
Prayer-meetings promote spirituality of mind. Nothing is so well calculated to destroy earthly-mindedness as a good prayer-meeting. While praying together we are brought into nearness to God, to heaven and eternity. And while a truly spiritually-minded brother is wrestling with God in an agony to obtain the power of religion in his own soul, and for others to be saved to the uttermost, we ourselves are quickened. The same feeling takes hold of us, and we are led to pray for the removal of our earthly-mindedness. Never does the world appear of such little importance as in a good prayer-meeting. If we could only get our worldly-minded professors to attend the prayer-meetings as they ought, we should soon have them singing
Let worldly minds the world pursue
It has no charms for me;
But grace has set me free.
But as long as they will not attend the prayer-meetings earth-worms they will remain, destitute of that “ life and peace" which are inseparably connected with spirituality of mind.
Prayer-meetings secure the blessing of God. “The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers." God cannot hear his children pray without blessing them and making them a blessing. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much ;" how much more, then, must the prayers of a number of righteous men avail with him! Prayer-meetings fully attended and rightly used will bring the blessing of God down upon the Church in showers. Never, until the prayer-meetings are better attended, will the following cheering promise be verified in the experience of our Churches, “And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing." If the prayer-meetings were attended as they ought to be, we should have “ showers of blessing" descending on the heritage of the Lord ; and the ransomed of the Lord would “come and sing in the height of Zion, and would flow together to the goodness of the Lord, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd; and their soul" should be “as a watered garden,” and God would “satiate the soul of the priests with fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the Lord." But neither ministers nor people are satisfied with the goodness of the Lord where the prayer-meetings are neglected.
Prayer-meetings are of importance to the world at large. In answer to the united prayers of God's people the world is blessed, greatly blessed. Deserved judgments are averted; the spirit of conviction and conversion is poured out upon the ungodly ; labourers are thrust out into the harvest-field ; the hearts of men are opened to give of their substance to support those institutions which have for their object the conversion of the world to Christ in answer to the united prayers of God's people. The platform, the bazaar, the sewing-meeting, the teameeting, and the missionary-breakfast, might all be laid aside if prayermeetings were rightly attended; and the wants and the woes of our race were fully pleaded before God in the prayer-meetings. Instead, then, of having to resort to these expedients to secure money to carry on the cause of God and benefit the world, the Christian public would be, to their power and beyond their power, willing of themselves to contribute for the support of the gospel and the evangelization of the world—“Praying us with mach entreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of ministering” to the necessities of the Church and the world. If prayer-meetings were rightly attended and properly conducted, we should soon see what was once seen in Israel when the people were asked to bring an offering to the Lord : “ And they came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing, and they brought the Lord's offering to the work of the tabernacle of the congregation, and for all his service, and for the holy garments. And they came, both men and women, as many as were willing-hearted, and brought bracelets and earrings, and rings, and tablets, all jewels of gold ; and every man that offered, offered an offering of gold unto the Lord. . . . And they spake uuto Moses, saying, The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work, which the Lord com