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SOME three or four years ago when the writer was at the Old Bailey Sunday School Union May Meeting, the desirability of occasionally holding SCHOLARS' SERVICES was discussed. It was ultimately recommended that the delegates should, on their return to their respective localities, bring this question before the branch unions. Mary's Gate Church, Derby, was the first in this neighbourhood to give a practical turn to the suggestion. As an experiment the morning service of the School Anniversary was conducted as a scholars' service by our pastor, Mr. Crassweller, and with such success that general regret was expressed by the congregation that it had not been extended to the evening service. This was three years ago. Having once broken the ice, and discovered that the waters of prejudice were much shallower than at first was feared, scholars' services were, at the two succeeding anniversaries, conducted on both parts of the day. They have become great favourites with the children and the congregation, to say nothing of the substantial help afforded to the teachers in the shape of a 50 per cent. rise in the collections!
The Finance question, it will be admitted, is second to others of greater importance. The desideratum in all Sunday schools has been to retain the influence acquired over the senior scholars so that when they swing loose from the class they may not desert God's house. Towns and cities hold out peculiar temptations to our youth.
Whatever weakens that temptation, or tends to strengthen regard for public worship, must be a practical gain. If it was denied that our crowded cities required helps-like these Scholars' Services -to stay the exodus of our youth from religious teaching and control, how much more the villages and hamlets.
Schools in populous places need funds perhaps as much as influence-in country places they need influence rather than funds. Scholars services are eminently adapted to secure both. The object of the parent society was to gain an entrance for these services in our large towns-but it seems to me that they are even more needed in agricultural districts, as greater obstacles have there to be overcome. A State Church has to be encountered. The clergyman of the parish is all-powerful with the villagers. Often his day school scholars MUST not attend a dissenting Sunday school. How is this obstacle to be met? Make use of his own weapon-INFLUENCE! But let it be the influence of a kind-hearted concern for the weal of the children-the pressure which love can bring through the children to bear upon the parents. Now Scholars' Services supply
this "pressure," and promote this inflence. Parents are attracted to the Sabbath retreat of their children, and children in their turn express solicitude that their parents should accompany them to the House of God.
At the first village where I conducted these services, I found an attendance of about five scholars. My Sunday school zeal was stirred. That very week, with a farmer friend, I "shepherded" the whole district. There were twenty-eight scholars to meet us on the following Sunday morning, and it was then that I ventured to attempt the less ambitious work of introducing Scholars Services into the adjoining villages of Derby. The children took it up with hearty goodwill-promised to make their parents and friends come and attend their service. Right well did they perform their part. The chapel was crowded. Hymns were sung adapted to both child and adult. The portion of the Word read was NOT the seventh chapter of Romans. Prayer was offered, struck from a child's key-note-for are we not all the children of one great Father-and the sermon was designedly replete with analogy and illustration from beginning to end.
But one thing must be borne in mind, the initiative will rest with any friend desirous of taking up this work in country districts. He will have to put his shoulder to the wheel-nay, if need be, offer to conduct the service himself.
It is absolutely essential to the success of these services that the interest of the scholars be enlisted. This may be readily gained by giving them something to do. For instance, the hymns printed for the service should be in a metre that could be sung to some popular air (not tune). The children should be made the choir for the time being, and a week or two's practise on their part will be sufficient to carry the voices of the whole congregation up to the throne of God.
One charm of the Scholars' Service is to see the "Old Folk" joining in the songs of their youth. Children's "pieces" must, therefore, as far as possible, be avoided. Let all the people praise thee, O God! Let ALL the people praise thee.
In conclusion, I may say, nothing has so much pleased me, in my attempts to bring this subject into notice, as the readiness with which the village teachers and singers have resigned the conduct of these services into my hands. Instead of being thought an intruder, I found myself, all at once, a favourite! If my experience, therefore, goes for anything, the managers of other schools will be only too glad to receive the overtures of similar pioneers in this blessed work. F. THOMPSON.
SO HE WENT OVER JORDAN.
How many of the Lord's good men
With words upon their dying lips
Like some archangel lay!
Such words may well be treasured up,
Have ever heard before;
And with their tones are somehow joined
Like music of celestial streams,
Or stir of angel wings.
"Twas thus a dear old Christian man Gave voice to parting breath, Whom fifty years of faith and hope
Had freed from fear of death.
His heart could weep, had sorrows known,
You could not look at him and feel
That he had e'er been sad:
For aye, since he had walked with God
Watched through her tears that peaceful
Which e'en in dying smiled,
He spoke!-Her quick attentive ear
Again his lips were moved in speech,
But no word caught, save only, "Bring,"
She felt she would have given worlds,
And said-as agonized with love
His thin white hand she prest-
As if his soul returned from far,
With slowly opening eyes
And with the slow unclosing eyes
A latent strength awoke,
With morning brightness broke.
GOD HAS NO FLOWER WHICH
WASTES ITS SWEETS.
From "Beauty of the Great King," by REV. W. P. BALFERN.
GOD has no flower which wastes its sweets
Where'er He casts the seed of truth
His love is watchful there.
God has no gem of silvery ray
Can hide the beauty which He gives,
Where'er in this vast universe
His hand finds soil and root,
He comes to breathe the fragrance sweet,
Look up, then, ye who work unknown,
All hid your tears and toil,
God marks the spot where you now mourn,
From flowers the work of human art,
E. H. J.
He turns to shed His gentle dew
Where beauty droops unseen.
To silent room where patience waits,
To hidden nook where oft love toils,
Christ marks the eyes which weep for Him,
The wakeful zeal which scatters truth,
He sees the faith which toils and waits
He loves the spot where meekness sighs,
Striving to find her strength and peace
In words which ne'er deceive.
From streets, and crowds, and solitudes,
Brief Notices of New Books.
CONVOCATION OF CANTERBURY. Report on
Intemperance. London: Longmans. SCRIPTURE v. TOTAL ABSTINENCE. A Public Discussion between Rev. E. G. Hodson and Rev. D. Burns, A.M. London: Simpkin and Marshall.
OUR NATIONAL DRINK BILL FOR 1869, and
FRANK OLDFIELD. By Rev. T. P. Wilson.
THE Lower House of Convocation of the
The "Public Discussion" contains a fair, temperate, and interesting exposition of the relations of total abstinence to the
Scriptures. We warmly commend it to those, if there are any, who base their objections to the practise of total absti nence upon the Bible. Mr. Garrett's lecture puts in a practical and telling form the distressing fact that Great Britain, the heaviest taxed empire under heaven, imposes upon itself an additional burden of "£100,000,000 a year!" Is it a marvel that poverty riots in our cities?
"Frank Oldfield" and " Tim's Troubles" are the two books that gained, one the first prize of £100, and the other that of £50, offered by the Band of Hope Union for the two best tales illustrating the wisdom of children adopting and following out the plan of complete abstinence from intoxicating drinks. Having acted as one of the
adjudicators, we can, from an intimate knowledge, commend these tales to our young friends. Get them soon. You will enjoy the reading of them, and they will do you good. Parents would find them acceptable and useful birthday presents for their children.
THEODOSIA ERNEST; or, the Heroine of
THIS admirable story is now being pub-
HOLINESS THROUGH FAITH. By R. Pearsall
WORDS are like lenses. They often need
with its affections and lusts. Still there are persons to whom such a partial and incomplete representation of holiness may be useful, e.g., to a man who has striven to keep God's commands faultlessly without "accepting Christ as the Redeemer from all iniquity," and therefore without the impulse which comes from a cordial and whole-hearted love of the Saviour. He needs to see that the perfect life begins in perfect trust; but he should be guarded from the error into which too many fall, of thinking that faith in the atonement of Christ terminates upon itself and does not grow up into the perfect stature of a man in Christ Jesus.
The tract published by Mr. Stock is, though much briefer, more complete and scriptural, and well adapted for circulation at the present time.
IT is a discreditable circumstance that scarcely any of our literature is to be found in the Great National Library of the British Museum, or the chief Dissenting Library of England, Dr. Williams', Queen Square, London. At the latter we are represented by the time-honoured volumes of Taylor on the History of the Baptists, and Jarrom on the Ninth of Romans. There is not a single Magazine nor a solitary copy of the "Minutes." The Museum is a little wealthier in G. B. productions. The greater part of Dan Taylor's works are there. But the earliest Magazine is that for the year 1831, and the vols. for 1848, 9, 50, 2, 3, are either absent or incomplete. The first three vols. published by Dan. Taylor are missing, as well as the ten vols. of Adam Taylor. There are no "Minutes."
Will some of our friends supply these deficiences? Those who wish to confer such a favour may either leave their contributions with our publishers, Messrs. Winks & Son, Leicester, or entrust them to the care of Mr. R. Silby, of the College, or send them to me, and they shall be placed in proper custody.-J. CLIFFORD.
THE LIFE OF THE REV. DAN TAYLOR.
TO THE EDITOR-
My Dear Brother,-It is stated in the last "Year Book" that I was intending to publish a volume of Baptist biography, and to have it ready for the Centenary. I have made partial preparation for the issue of such a volume; but finding it difficult to include full sketches of all who should be embraced in it, and not liking to present mere skeletons of any, I have, for the present, declined to proceed with it.
I have, however, decided to reproduce the one life to which, under God, we owe our denominational origin-the life of Dan Taylor. My object is to remove all pretext for the almost entire ignorance of the present generation of our members concerning him and the earlier history of the General Baptist body.
The book is now in the press. It will not cost more than one shilling. It will
be ready for delivery at the Leicester Association, and its subject ought to be of sufficient interest at the present crisis to ensure for it a large sale.
I remain, yours sincerely,
W. UNDERWOOD. [Nothing could be more timely than this. The plan has our heartiest and most decided approval. It will supply what we have long felt to be one of the chief wants of our body.-ED.]
THE CHURCHES IN THE YORKSHIRE DISTRICT AND THE CENTENARY MOVEMENT.
TO THE EDITOR
Dear Sir, The earnest and vigorous words of our brother Thomas Goadby, both from the pulpit and the press, have already made our minds familiar with the memorable historic facts in our denominational church life. I trust we have all
caught the spirit of the hour, and are framing our doings and bracing our energies in order to give a hearty and practical response to his stirring appeals.
The redeeming Lord, who is Head over all men and things to His church, conferred eternal honour upon the West Riding of Yorkshire when He raised up one of her sons, gave him light, wisdom, and power from on high, and sent him into certain parts of this England of ours to gather up the decayed and broken fragments of the Old General Baptist body, incorporate them into a truer confederacy, and infuse into them a more spiritual life.
In recalling the memories and deeds of our fathers, are we not acting in harmony with the genius and precedents of inspi ration, and may we not, therefore, expect the blessing of heaven to rest upon our centenary celebration? Let us each and all arise and do our part nobly in the worthy enterprise of raising the proposed £5,000 as a substantive memorial of our gratitude and praise to God, because his mercy endureth for ever.
Permit me to add, Mr. Editor, for the information of our Yorkshire friends, that we intend holding Centenary Services at Slack on Tuesday, the 7th of June, and will give a cordial welcome to all our brethren who may favour us with their presence and help. Public prayer meeting in the morning at ten; sermon in the afternoon at three, by Rev. Isaac Preston; public tea at five, and meeting at half-past six, when the ministers of the district will give addresses. Yours cordially,
C. SPRINGTHORPE. Heptonstall Slack, May 17, 1870.
REV. ISAAC STUBBINS. TO THE EDITOR
Dear Sir, I am happy to say that the object of our visit here has been accomplished in the restoration of Mrs. Stubbins's health. We shall return to Leicester (D.V.) at the end of the present month, and as I am anxious to get into regular work again, I shall be glad of an invitation from any suitable church requiring my services with a view to a settlement over it. Friends wishing to communicate with me will have the goodness to address their letters to the "Care of the Rev. J. C. Pike, Leicester.
I have had numerous opportunities of preaching and attending missionary services in this neighbourhood in behalf of the Baptist Missionary Society, and am happy to know that my labours have not been in vain in the Lord.
Believe me, yours sincerely,
THE CHURCH AND THE WORLD. TO THE EDITOR
Dear Sir,-Whilst thanking Mr. Colebrook for his letter in the April Magazine, there are some questions arising out of it that I wish to ask.
Mr. C.'s definition of "the church" is "a body of believers in the redemption of Christ," and in order to prevent any possible misunderstanding, it may be as well to say, that I take this to mean, that all such believers are included in "the church," in whatsoever sect found, or outside all the sects.
Mr. C. then says, "No doubt in the earlier years of Christianity these words were expressive of characters as sharply defined and distinct as the words themselves. But in no society is it possible such precision should long obtain." Will your correspondent kindly give his reasons for this bold and sweeping assertion? The next clause reads, "It is notorious that Christianity never was, and never can be, proof against the laws of assimilation that pervade all society;" and I would here ask, What are these "laws of assimilation" that are more powerful than Christianity? and the fact being so "notorious," will it be going too far to require proof of the truth of the statement?
Without staying to question the correctness of the remark that "at any moment there are more true believers outside our communions than inside," it may be asked what bearing this has upon the main question, remembering the definition of "the church" previously given?
Turning to my question, No. 2, it will be seen that I do not ask about marriages between members of "communions" and non-members,-but "between two persons, one of whom is of the world and the other of "the church," therefore this important question still remains unanswered. But from what Mr. C. says about a Christian" doing what is right in his own eyes," I gather that he would not consider such mixed marriages sinful, merely unsuitable; and from this it naturally follows, as further stated, that "no wrong" is done to "the church" by such an act.
In any further favour from Mr. C., perhaps he will kindly take occasion, as he intimates, to show how the passages of scripture mentioned in my fifth question support his view of the case? Yours truly,
April 16, 1870.
THOMAS H. Cox.