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there is “
a time to laugh," and the apostle Paul tells us “to rejoice with them that do rejoice.” There cannot therefore be anything wrong or inconsistent in christian professors enjoying themselves at proper times and in proper places. Many with Puritanical notions would condemn such a course, but we are not to trouble ourselves with what men may say or think, we have within our bosoms a monitor to which we must look carefully. It matters not what the world, or a certain class of individuals, may feel disposed to say when they see minister, teachers, parents and children, joining in the “play games. “If our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.”—1 John, iii., 21.
An author has justly said, “We live in a world where our actions sometimes through wilfulness, sometimes through ignorance—are often misunderstood; and, consequently, if our happiness were dependent upon the opinion of our fellowcreatures, it would have a very variable foundation, and settled serenity of mind would be unattainable. But our peace has not been left thus dependent upon the views which others take of our conduct; for the approval of our own conscience is sufficient to make us calm and happy in the midst even of unkindness, injustice, and bitter persecution."
The professor who looks upon the innocent amusements practised at our school anniversaries as something that savours of irreligion, may wrap his Puritan cloak closer around him, he may steel his heart to the laugh of the merry child, he may think it a sin to smile, he may act and walk circumspectly, he may be methodical in all his dealings with mankind, but with such an individual we have no sympathy whatever. Does the religion of Jesus dwell within his cold breast ? Has the religion of love taught by his Divine Master ever warmed his heart with its pure and hallowed glow? We doubt whether such a person has ever felt the Holy Spirit's elevating, sanctifying influence. To such a one we would say, search diligently the New Testament, on every page thou wilt find the sweet spirit of love and meekness: turn from thy perusal of the holy book to nature's wide-spread page, thou wilt hear a soft murmur in the rippling rill, music in the zephyrs that fan thy brow, a voice of gladness in the depths of the forest glade, and a song of wild joy in the warbling of ird, All nature rejoices, why should not man rejoice too? The glad voice of nature is never hushed, from her thousand springs the crystal streams are ever gushing : taste the waters as they flow past thee, drink into thy very soul a full draught froin nature's cup, and confess that it is good for thee and for thy fellow-christian to taste joy in this life.
We have seen a group of Sunday school children at their play games; minister and teachers have stood outside the circle and every now and then checked the merry laugh, and gravely told the children that as they belonged to the General Baptist Sunday school they must not romp and run about like other children. Were those children happy? No. Better would it have been for the minister had he laid aside his ministerial dignity ; better for the teachers had they stepped among the children, and instead of checking their flow of joy, joined heart and hand in helping to fill up the measure of it; and how much better for the children. They would love their minister and teachers all the better for having chased them round the “circle.” Ministers and teachers can never expect to win the affections of the little ones when they keep so much aloof from them. We have narrowly watched those Puritanical teachers when they have had their class around them in the school-room. They might justly be compared to a dark cloud. We shiver even now as we recal their cold and icy words; they preached to us religion, but not in accents of love; they wished to win our affection, but how could they when they were by their frigid manners closing up every avenue of access to our hearts ? Memory tells us, too, of kind teachers who have played and rambled with us, and with us gathered wild flowers. They
"Came amidst us Like sunshine among flowers ; Cheering with love's soft radiance
Those blessed Sabbath hours."
Their manners exerted over us an influence that clings to us yet, and we trust ever will.
At a school anniversary some time since we saw a little group composed of girls from four to six years of age, they were looking very sad because they could not find out how to amuse themselves; a teacher came up just as two or three were indulging in a last resource, viz., tears; she kindly enquired the cause of their trouble, after listening to their childish sorrows she did not leave them to amuse themselves as best they could, but wisely joined them in playing a simple game; soon smiles beamed on every ruddy cheek, and every little eye sparkled with joy. How happy that teacher must have felt ; far happier than if she had unheedingly passed by.
We would strongly advise both ministers and teachers to join in the "play games,” and we feel convinced they will not regret it.
“Give smiles to cheer the little child,
ADMISSION OF MINISTERS INTO THE CONNEXION.
To the Editor of the General Baptist Magazine. DEAR SIR,--Having received from two or three of the G. B. churches, letters of enquiry respecting the Rev. Jonas Kiddle, a minister of the Independent denomination, who was baptized by me about two months ago, I beg with your permission to say a word about that individual; and a word likewise about his son-in-law, Mr. W. Deavon, who with his wife, formerly Miss Kiddle, was amongst the candidates at our last baptism, which took place on Wednesday evening, the 24th of March. About Mr. Kiddle I have only to observe, that from the first I thought it would be better for him, if possible, to unite with the other section of the Baptist denomination; and I am glad it has so turned out. He is at present settled as pastor of the ancient and respectable Baptist church at Tetbury, in Gloucestershire, and with very encouraging prospects of comfort and success.
On Good Friday, in compliance with the desire of himself and friends, I paid a visit to Tetbury, and had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Thomas, the well-known and highly respected president of Pontypool College. Besides Dr. Thomas and myself, about a dozen ministers were present; the occasion being the re-opening of the chapel, and recognition and settlement of the new pastor; and the services from one cause and another excited so much interest, that in spite of the sleet and rain which were falling the whole of the day, the chapel
, both morning, noon, and night, was filled to overflowing. In the evening especially, it was crowded; and I was told, that there were more persons outside than in—who, of course, were compelled reluctantly to go away.
Mr. Deavon, the other person to whom I referred, is a young man of considerable talent and decided piety, who has risen up amongst the Wesleyan Reformers here, and has for the last three years or more been the minister of the Methodist “ Free Church " in the island of Portsea. He is very studious, is very much given to reading, and has made considerable progress in various branches of learning. He is very acceptable as a preacher, and rather popular, and by all who know him he is considered to be sincerely devoted to God and to his work. I can have no hesitation in commending him to the notice of destitute churches, and for reasons intimated above I think him more eligible for admission to the ministry among the G. B. churches than his father-in-law, Mr. Kiddle.
I remain, dear Sir, yours very truly, Portsea, April 10th, 1858
8. H. BURTON,
GENERAL BAPTISTS IN AUSTRALIA. The following letter was presented to the Foreign Mission Committee, and for general information is inserted here. Should any minister be disposed to emigrate he may correspond with the secretary.--Ed.
To the Editor of the General Baptist Magazine.
Birchcliffe House, Hebden Bridge, April 9th, 1858. TO THE COMMITTEE OF THE GENERAL BAPTIST MISSIONARY
SOCIETY. DEAR BRETHREN,—A former member of the church at this place is now a resident in the colony of Tasmania. God has blessed him with wealth. He has a new house, with out-buildings, and seven acres of land, which he intends to make over to the General Baptist Body for ever. I have sent him a form of trust deed, &c. He still asks for more information, as the professional man he has consulted fears it might be attended with difficulty. There is no such body in the colony. It has occurred to me that it would be the safest plan to advise him to convey it to the Foreign Missionary Society. I write to ask the favour of your opinion on the subject. The property is in an excellent situation, an improving locality, a few miles from Hobart Town, and has cost him, with improvements in progress, £1000. For a country boarding-school, there is not a better situation in the colony. His wife is urgent with him to build a chapel upon it as well, which it is possible he may do, if life be spared a few years. He is now in his seventy-first year.
Either as a minister's house, or as yielding an income towards his support, he hopes it may be useful when he is gone to heaven. I have thought, if you were to address him on the subject, your influence might be useful.
I think it right, brethren, further to inform you, that he is a trustee for a neat and handsome Baptist chapel, with school-room, and minister's house, in an excellent situation in Hobart Town. There have been three successive ministers, each of whom had a good congregation, but in consequence of the extremely high sentiment of a portion of the church, these brethren have left. The cause is now a wreck. This brother believes, if a new foundation could be laid, and a minister would stay long enough to establish an interest, by combining together those only who approve of his ministry, a good self-sustaining church would soon be raised. Himself and the other trustees, would gladly instal a General Baptist minister in it if a suitable one were sent.
Brethren, will you make the attempt to send out such a man?
For one, I have long most fervently desired that our denomination might be introduced into the Australian colonies. I do now most fondly hope the set time is well nigh come.
Here is a chapel, school, and minister's house, for present use, and property in prospect. If this be not God's voice, bidding us enter in and possess the land, I am no judge of the signs of the times. I shall write by next mail to inform him that I have written to you on the subject, and to advise him to convey it as above.
For further instruction, as to how this may be safely done, I wait the favour of your reply.
Brethren, I beg to remain,
Your servant in Christ, To Rev. J. C. Pike, &c.
JOSEPH BARROW LOCKWOOD.
To the Editor of the General Baptist Magazine. DEAR SIR, -As the time for holding our next Annual Association will soon be drawing near, and as it is desirable that the statistical returns then made should be as correct as possible, may I be allowed to propose the following questions :
1. Have we a Church at Fenstanton, and, if so, does it consist of 17 members, as reported in the minutes for last year?
2. Have we a Church at Manchester consisting of 61 members ? 3. Have we a Church at Northampton consisting of 29 members ? 4. Have we a Church at Uppingham consisting of 10 members ?
I shall rejoice if these questions can be answered in the affimative, but if they cannot, it seems desirable that correct returns should in some way be procured for insertion in our next minutes. Praying that our Churches may abundantly increase in number and efficiency,
I remain, dear sir, yours very truly, Peterboro', April 14th, 1858.
CONFERENCES. THE MIDLAND CONFERENCE met at Sileby, Leicestershire, on Tuesday, April 6th. Mr. Hunter, of Nottingham, preached in the morning from Luke xxiv. 45-8. “ Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. Mr. J. Riley presided over the meeting for business, and Mr. J. Holroyd, of Barton, opened with prayer. One hundred and eight were reported as baptized since the last meeting, and eighty-one remain as candidates. From seventeen churches there was no report, neither written nor verbal. It is very desirable that all our churches should be reported, that the friends living in different localities may hear “ how they do.” The minutes of the last conference were read.
1. Knipton-Renewal of the chapel deeds. Mr. W. Bennett, of Sawley, reported that the Committee nominated by the Conference had met, that the business was in progress, and likely soon to be brought to a satisfactory issue. Agreed :- That this Conference hears with great pleasure the report from the secretary of the Committee; and that the case stand over till the next meeting.
2. Applications for admission into the Conference. (1.) Old Basford. The friends at this populous village having been formed into an independent church, and the church at Stoney-street, from which they had separated, recommending their admission into the Conference. Agreed :-That their application be complied with, and that they be recommended to the next Annual Association. (2.) New Hall
, Leicester. After some discussion, it was agreed to allow this application to stand over to the next meeting.
3. Opium Trade. Agreed :- That in the present crisis of Indian affairs, and in view of our interesting connection with India through the mission, we deem it especially incumbent upon our ministers and the members of our churches and congregations to call public and parliamentary attention to the evils of the opium trade between British India and China.
4. Chapel Debts. Agreed :—That the following case be entered in the minutes of the present Conference, and deferred for discussion till the next :- Dear Brethren-having for a considerable time past thought it very desirable that some plan should be adopted by our churches for the extinction of our chapel debts. I beg to suggest to the Conference the propriety of an attempt being made to raise a fund for this purpose, the same to be placed under the management of a committee, who shall have power to appropriate the said fund, either as loan without interest for a limited period, to be repaid by instalments, or, as a gift towards the reduction or extinction of existing debts. Numbering as we do about 18,000 members.
Surely there are at least 7,000 who would most willingly subscribe towards so desirable an object. Might we not safely calculate, that there are at least friends who would subscribe, say 100 at 10s., £50; 200 at 5$., £50; 200 at 2s. 6d. £25; 500 at Is., £25; 2,000 at 6d., £50; 4,000 at 3d., £50; making a total of £250 per annum, which in a few years would so accumulate as to be of essential service to the Connexion. Can any plan of this description be adopted by this Conference for the benefit of the churches in the Midland district ? or will this Conference recommend to the ensuing Association the formation of such a fund for the benefit of the churches needing assistance throughout the Connexion ?
JOHN ELLIS, Mount Sorrel. 5. Collection for Conference incidental expenses. As most of the friends from a distance were compelled to leave before the close of the sittings, it was resolved :That the collection be deferred till the next Conference, and that it be made before the commencement of business.
The next Conference to be held at East Leake, on Whit-Tuesday, May 25th, Mr. T. R. Stevenson, of Ilkeston, to preach. Mr. W. Kelley, of Leicester, preached in the evening.
J. J. GOADBY, Secretary. The North DERBYSHIRE CONFERENCE met at Crich on Good-Friday, April 2nd, 1858. The meeting was opened in the usual way, and brother Yates was chosen to preside. The reports of the churches were then read, or given verbally, from which it was found that thirty-nine had been baptized since the last Conference, and that twenty-eight were waiting for that ordinance-viz.: Belper, two baptized, and two candidates ; Crich, three candidates ; Duffield, one baptized; Hucknall, six candidates ; Kirkby, three baptized, and six candidates ; Langley Mill, three baptized; Milford, seven baptized, and five candidates ; Ripley, thirteen baptized; Smalley, ten baptized, and four candidates; Wirksworth, two candidates.
After singing and prayer business was proceeded with.
The Secretary gave notice of his removal from Ripley to Ashby-de-la-Zouch, and in consequence resigned his office. It was resolved —
1. That the thanks of the Conference be given to brother Gray for his services, and our prayer is, that God's blessing may go with him, and resť upon him, in his new sphere of labour.
The intelligence of the sudden death of brother Ward, of Ripley, was heard with much sorrow; and it was resolved
2. That this Conference records its deep sense of the loss sustained in the sudden removal of brother Ward, and desires to express its deep sympathy, not only with his bereaved widow, but also with the church of which he was a member, and in which he had held the office of deacon from the time of its formation to the time of his disease.
3. That brother W. Shakespear be the Secretary of this Conference for the next 4. That the thanks of the Belper friends be cordially given to those churches which have responded to their appeal through the Conference, for help to sustain and carry on the cause there, viz. : Ripley, Smalley, Wirksworth, and Kirkby.
There was some conversation about the practicability of raising funds for the support of a Home Missionary in this district. Brethren Samuel Bush, of Crich, W. Sims, of Belper, and John Higdon, of Holloway, volunteered their services as collectors of such a fund ; and it was resolved
5. That we commend the spirit and zeal of these brethren, and heartily wish them success in their work.
6. That the next Conference be at Wirksworth, on the first Monday in August, 1858, at two o'clock, and that a revival meeting be held in the evening:
After tea in the parochial school-room, brother Yates preached in the chapel ; the attendance was pretty good.
W. GRAY, Secretary. THE YORKSHIRE CONFERENCE was held at Staleybridge on Tuesday, April 6th, 1858. The representatives met in the morning. At half-past two the brethren assembled for business. Mr. Sutcliffe presided, and Mr. Taylor prayed. According