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A PARENTS' TEA MEETING AT PENDLETON, MANCHESTER CIRCUIT.
Ma. Editoe,—For some time we had been impressed with the conviction that the parents of our scholars did not cooperate with us so heartily as was desirable. We felt assured that if we could excite in their minds a more lively interest in our efforts, and prevail upon them to do all they could to second our endeavours, our operations would be carried on with much greater efficiency, and be productive of a larger measure of success. To bring about this desirable result we determined to hold "A Parents' Tea Meeting." We thought that if we could get them together at a meeting of this kind we should have an opportunity of expressing to them, in a kind and affectionate manner, the objects we had in view in the instruction of their children, and our desire that they should render us all the assistance in their power. We thought also that we should have an opportunity of inviting those who did not attend any place of worship to come to ours, and of impressing upon their minds the importance of the concerns of the soul, and the necessity of attending to their eternal interests. With these objects in view we commenced our preparations. One of the teachers of each class was furnished with a number of tickets at 4d. each, and two for self and
colleague at Cd. each, the conductors having a nnmber pnt into their bands for sale to the elder scholars. The teachers entered heartily into the work, the home of each of their scholars was visited, and the parents invited to the tea-meeting. The result was, that on the evening of the tea-meeting, the schoolroom was thronged. A good tea was provided, to which ample justice was done. After tea, our esteemed minister, the Rev. T. Clifton, took the chair. The first resolution was moved by S. Naylor, and seconded by J. Jarvey, viz., "That in the opinion of this meeting it is highly desirable that the parents should cooperate with the teachers in the work of instructing the children placed under theircare.'' The second resolution,which was as follows, was moved by T. Elkinton, and seconded by W. Diggle, "That in view of the educational and religious aspects of the age, this meeting pledges itself to renewed and increased exertions to promote the intellectual and spiritual well-being of their charge." The addresses were listened to wiih deep attention, and, at the close of the meeting, all retired evidently gratified with the proceedings of the evening. We hope and devoutly pray that the meeting mar be productive of much good.
October, 1852. T. E.
MEETING OF ADULT SCHOLARS.
"HowcanourSabbath-schoolsbemade more beneficial to our Churches?" Ever since their establishment, this has been a desideratum. Now, it occurs to me, sir, that this may be supplied to a considerable extent were our schools to carry out several plans which are being adopted in various parts of the Connexion. Without naming them separately, we would refer to one which is working well in connexion with our Peter-street School, Manchester. They have in that school two large adult classes, and these classes form a society which frequently meets for mental and spiritual improvement—a kind of introductory society to the Church. In addition to their weekly meetings, they hold also an annual teameeting.
The second annual meeting was held on the 7th Nov., when a goodly company drank tea together. After tea, the meeting being opened as usual, in the absence of their chairman and teacher, Mr. T. Jones, I was called upon to occupy that position. Mr. R. Wood, their secretary, read the report, which stated the amount of money raised by the weekly subscrip
tions and fines of the scholars, the amount expended in the purchase of books for the use of the elasses, and other outlays, after which the young people were addressed on suitable subjects by Messrs. Gee, T. E. Whittaker, Greaves, &c. This part of the meeting was closed at an early hour, when the room being cleared, the young people indulged themselves with a little physical recreation which must have been beneficial and necessary after their all-day confinement.
But best of all, sir, this society is producing a salutary influence upon our Church and congregation at Peter-street. Some of our youth have been brought to Jesus, who has justified and delivered them from the dominion of sin, and who are now giving evidence of the possession of a cheerful but sincere piety. I trust the Lord will preserve them by the power of his Spirit, and prepare them to take part in the future development of Christ's kingdom, which shall gladden the coming age. T. C.
Pendleton, Nov., 1852.
A PASTORAL ADDRESS OF THE MINISTERS IN THE MANCHESTER DISTRICT TO THE MEMBERS AND FRIENDS OF THEIR CHURCHES,
Dear Beethern,—Permit us, your ministers, to address you on subjects in which both we and yourselves have a deep and solemn interest. The Church of the living God, which he has purchased with his own blood, is the repository of his saving truth, and the great channel through which the Holy Ghost works, by various means, for the salvation of mankind. In the efficiency and prosperity of the Church is closely united, not only the glory of God and the joys and encouragements of the saints, but the well-being of the whole world. What Christian, fully convinced of these things, does not deeply mourn that the Church is not more fully imbued with the spirit of Christ, more aggressive in its movements, more effective in its labours in the salvation of men?
Lamenting the apathy of the Churches, and the want of marked success in the cause which all Christians profess to be dearer to them than life itself; knowing that declension may be followed by the withdrawal of the Holy Ghost, unless we search and try our ways, and turn again unto God, rending our hearts and pleading with him to spare and revive us again that we may rejoice in him —the ministers in the district met together at Peter-street Chapel, Manchester, on Friday, September 24th, 1852, and, after devotional exercises and pondering seriously the state of the Churches, resolved on issuing an address to the members and friends with whom they are identified, calculated to stir up your minds by way of remembrance.
Receive, beloved brethren, in the spirit of brotherly kindness and prayer, the matters which we now lay before you. It is high time for us to awake out of sleep, and go forth in the power of omnipotent grace to the great work of saving a perishing world. Hitherto we have done but little for our God ; but let us shake off sloth, and by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, and full of the Holy Ghost, be effective witnesses for Christ. May we, in the first place, urge upon all, as members of Christ, that there be a marked improvement in your attendance on the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. Some of our people, for conscience sake, mindful of their obligations to Christ, and anxious for the prosperity of their souls, do frequently commune with their Saviour in this sacred repast; others, we
fear, are seriously remiss in this sacred duty; they allow trivial reasons to keep them from the Lord's table. How strong, how various our obligations to yield willing obedience to his gracious sovereign will! How sweet, how refreshing to hold communion with him! And where can we enjoy this communion to greater advantage than in the spiritual participation of the sacred emblems of his death and passion? In this holy service is symbolized the great acts and wondrous doings, the immense love of the world's Redeemer. Therein is set forth, in a most persuasive manner, the only way of acceptance. In this service God and man are brought into saving communion. By a proper participation in this sacrament we are made partakers of the divine nature—are changed from glory into glory. Can it be supposed that any real Christian will neglect so holy an ordinance? The mere supposition is painful to the mind. Yet it is to be feared that some do neglect it. Ponder, dear brethren, deeply ponder your obligations to Christ, the power of your example, the necessities of your souls, and make strenuous efforts to be at these seasons of homage and refreshment, so helpful to your struggling piety. Get nearer to the cross in your general conversation and spirit. Frequently consider the price of your redemption, the amazing love of Christ to a fallen world, and let your hearts be filled with his power. Every time you hear the sacrament announced, spend portions of every day in that week in preparation for the sacred feast of the following Sabbath; come to his table with hearts deeply affected with your own unworthiness, reflecting profoundly on the power of Christ to save to the uttermost; with hearts deeply penetrated with brotherly love, and with melting charity to all mankind. There may be an attendance on this sacred means of grace without personal profit; but it need not be so, for Christ has promised that his banner over us shall be love, and that his fruit shall be sweet to our spiritual taste; and when we approach his table with devout breathings for his presence, he will reveal himself to our waiting souls, and feed us with that bread of which if a man eat he shall live for ever.
We would also urge upon all our members the high necessity and experimental advantage of a regular and pious attendanee on our class-meetings. All Christians arc called upon, not only to believe in Christ, but openly to confess him before men. We all greatly need the exhilarating"'power of communion with kindred spirits, occupied as we are in seeking the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. How refreshing, how encouraging for Zion's travellers to commune with brethren by the way! How often do we find not only instruction but abounding consolation and divine boldness in these brotherly meetings! We beseech you, brethren, that you make these means as wells of salvation to your souls. Let our leaders be much with Christ, in spirit, in faith, in prayer, and in searching the Holy Scriptures, that they bring forth out of the abundance of their hearts sound instruction for the correction, edification and comfort of the members. Let the leaders and members come nearer together in holy sympathy, brotherly intercourse, combined purpose, and zeal for God. It would, we believe, tend to mutual profit if our leaders would see all their members at least once a week. To the members we would say, hold up the hands and cheer the hearts of your leaders by marked progress in knowledge and grace, by a uniform pious attendance on the sacred means of mutual and spiritual profit. Let each member bring a portion of divine influeuce to the social meeting, that all present may have power with God, renew their strength, and go on their way rejoicing.
Other Churches having adopted means of communion somewhat similar to our class-meetings, ought to raise them in our estimation, and urge ns to use them for purposes of closer fellowship with Christ and his people. Forsake not, brethren, the assembling of yourselves together as the maimer of some is; but stir up the gift of God that is within you, and exhort one another, and so much the more as you see the day approaching.
Another subject which we urge upon your devout consideration is family worship. How responsible the position of parents; how great the service which they may render to the cause of Christ by a pious discharge of the onerous yet pleasing duties which devolve upon them! Can there be a greater good than the possession of the great salvation? and do not you, as parents, wish to meet your children in heaven? Have you done all which might be done for such a desirable purpose? Let conscience speak. Highly imperative it is that there should be stated times for devotion in every family; that the worship within those sacred in
closures should be simple, pure and heartfelt, pervading, as by a cloud of divine glory, the whole members of the household. See to it, we beseech you, that in these hallowed exercises you realize times of refreshing coming from the presence of the Lord. What can contribute so much to the success of these sacred exercises as a uniform consistent practice of breathing piety on the part of the heads of families? You love the souls, you long for the conversion of your children; show this deep concern in studiously avoiding everything which would damage their religious impressions, and by a scrupulous regard to all those gracious acts and doings which enter so largely and powerfully into the spiritual training of your beloved offspring—
By actions, words and tempers show
We know it, we lament it, that much is
Where zeal and friendship meet; Their songs of praise, their mingled vows,
Make their communion sweet. Thus, on the heavenly hills,
The saints are blest above; Where joy like morning dew distils,
And all around is love. Do you, dear brethren, desire peaceful homes? Do you strongly desire that your children should be as olive-branches around your tables? Do you desire that they should hand down the family piety, and be useful in the Church on earth when you may be in your graves? Then say, in the strength of promised grace say, " As for us and our houses, we will serve the Lord."
Another subject which we would press home upon your serious attention is a general and pious supervision of the many young persons connected with our schools and Churches. The times which are passing over us are highly important, teeming with events of a stirring character, and fraught with thousands of incentives to dissipation, while there is a great laxity in religious doctrine and practice. Many of our juveniles, broughtup at our schools and Churches, escape from us in after-years. This is to be deeply lamented, and, if possible, should be prevented. Greater attention is devoted to this subject How than formerly; in forming select classes for special instruction and more regular attendance on public worship; but still mere may yet be done. The ministers, convinced of this, have resolved (God willing) more frequently in their ministrations to pour forth persuasives to early piety, and, in their general intercourse with the young, endeavour to gain access to their best sympathies and win them to Christ. May we affectionately call upon our school superintendents, teachers, and friends generally, by every means in their power, heartily to co-operate with us in this work of faith and labour of love. Where are we to look for a regular supply of ministers for our pulpits, of class and prayer leaders, of pillars in our Churches, when the seniors are gone to their reward, but to our young people? Biblical classes, well conducted, may be greatly beneficial; and we hope that these will increase in number and abound in spiritual efficiency. Ministers and teachers, we call upon you all, by spirit and practice, to show these inquiring immortals the more excellent way. Let them see and feel that they are persons in whose temporal and spiritual well-being we have a deep interest; they must feel drawn towards us by the invisible but strong ties of sympathy and their eternal interests, that they may be compelled to say, This people shall be my people and their God my God. We long for this decision. We do not wish that they shonld be bigots; yet we want them to feel a Conuexional attachment, and to say concerning our Churches:—
Here would I find a settled rest,
No more a stranger or a guest, But like a child at home. Another subject on which we feel much concern is the Sabbath of the Lord. Is it not a orying sin of these times that the Sabbath is fearfully desecrated? Multitudes-neglect the ordinances of religion altogether, and others only attend to them partially; and even amongst those who profess to worship
the God of their fathers, how many are deficient in that sanctity of the Sabbath which ought to live, and move, and breathe amongst all true Christians. Can this state of things go on without producing the most disastrous consequences to our holy religion, and, as a natural result, to the well being of the whole world? Did not the people, the Jews of old, sin against God in this way? and did not God visit them with dire calamities on account of such things? And can we expect to escape his wrath unless we repent and return to God, rending our hearts and pouring out our souls before him, that he may turn our minds back again to himself? Oh! is it not high time that the faithful amongst men should cry and sigh for the abominations done in the land, that they set themselves right with God, and by practice and strenuous efforts protest against this baneful departure from righteousness? The Sabbath, the whole of the Sabbath, belongs to God, for the benefit of mankind in their religious, eternal interests. How great the work of salvation! How mighty the influences of the Sabbath upon the interest of religion, and, as a consequence, upon the well-being of the whole family of man! How dangerous for England to decline in a pious observance of the Christian Sabbath! How urgent the necessity that we preserve Christianity pure and effective; in spirit, in practice, in our hearts, homes, churches, and institutions. Behold the antagonism of our holy religion; the daring insidious attacks of open enemies; the influence of erroneous teachers, the dissipation of mere worldlings! And are the Churches to be apathetic, and see the bulwarks of their religion weakened by an awful desecration of the Sabbath of the Lord? Shall we see these things and slumber on? God forbid! Crying is the necessity for repentance and return to God; for how many, even amongst professing Christians, are deeply involved in that violation of the sanctity of the Sabbath which, like a contagion, is working its destructive course into all departments of society. Brethren, we beseech you, by the mercies of God, by your vows to Christ, by the love of the Spirit, by your compassion for precious souls, by all that is momentous in the stability oiyour civil and religious institutions, by all that is urgent in the pieroing cries of a fallen but redeemed world—by all these considerations combined we beseech you to come up to the help of the Churches against this crying sin of these
times. In your personal, domestic, and social relationship set yourselves determinately against the evil, and, as far as possible, recover others from the widespreading pestilence.
Another matter which we deem of great importance to the prosperity of our Churches is a more regular attendance on our social prayer-meetings. All the promises are sure to persevering prayer. We are not straitened in God, but we are straitened in ourselves; we restrain prayer. Can there be prosperity in our Churches—can sinners be turned from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God, without divine influence 1 Most certainly not. The residue of the Spirit is with God, and he is waiting to pour it forth like floods upon the dry ground. But we have not, because we ask not; we ask and receive not, because we ask amiss. Show tis the Churches where the word of the Lord comes in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance—where the arm of the Lord is made bare in the sight of the people. Why so much labour with so little apparent effect? Where can the hindrance be? It is not in God— he waits to save; it is not in the gospel— it is the power of God to salvation; it is not in the Spirit—he is a quickening Spirit. God is nigh to them that call upon him, to such as call upon him in truth. The hindrance must be in us. Let us shake ourselves from the dust: let us arise in the potency of general, united, faithful prayer; let us say, by our earnest perseverance to the God of our mercies, We will not let thee go unless thou bless us. Then signs and wonders will mark the places of our assemblies, and the wilderness will become as a fruitful field. Ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silent; give him no rest until he establish Zion and make Jerusalem a praise in the earth. May we suggest that in prayeruieetings all be simple and to the point, full of strong faith and joyful hope; that we all plead ns with the heart of one man, that God may arise and shine, that his glory may descend upon us and make us a praise in the earth. Time was when Methodists were powerful in prayer; they met in private bands for Christian converse and devotion. Scarcely ever did they meet in social intercourse but prayer sanctified and ended the sacred hour; their communion was always profitable for spiritual purposes; as face answers to face in a glass, so did they reflect upon each other's souls the glorious image of Christ, and they were changed from glory to glory as by the
Spirit of the Lord. May we not say, Haste again, ye days of grace! Much might be done for our souls, for our Churches, were we now to improve all seasons of social intercourse in abounding prayer and thanksgiving; God would hearken and hear, and a book of remembrance would be written for them that thought upon his name; dew would descend from heaven, and showers of blessings come down like rain upon the mown grass. Who, then, will stir up himself to lay hold on God? Who will make the experiment? Who will lead the way? Who will fully carry out the spirit of his profession as a witness for Christ? Let the ministers and the people go and weep between the porch and the altar, and cry, Spare thy people, revive our Churches, that our souls may rejoice in thee. Oh! there is hope concerning us in this thing. Now the Spirit is moving, now the heavens are big with rain. Up to your closets, to your assemblies, to the cross! Plead, plead, plead, and in and through Christ we must prevail!
In another way great service may be rendered to the Churche3 dear to our hearts, viz., by kind, true-hearted recognition ef each other as fellow-worshippers and fellow-travellers. A word spoken in season, how good it is! Many are the storms without, many the counteractions to entire devotedness to God, many the anxious cares and struggles of the saints to keep themselves unspotted from the world. Every means possible should be fully employed to keep a good fellowship amongst the servants of our God. Brotherly recognition, the gracious smile, the hearty pressure of the hand, the occasional call, the kind visit in affliction, the tender look, the tones of sympathy, the spiritual prayer—how much the power of these may be felt and diffused! Methodists how scarcely know the people of their congregations; they allow persons to come and go without well-directed efforts for bringing them into the kingdom of God; even some of the members are almost unknown. The bonds of brotherly affection and labour must be brought closer together; we must see eye to eye and mee t soul to soul; all must be pervaded and actuated by the Spirit of Christ; and, by Christian conversation and mutual prayer, we must provoke one another to love and good works—
Hands, and hearts, and voices raise,