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power of recognising our own language in the literature of the past. If Pope had written gold, oblige, Rome, tea, and so on, as he pronounced them, how strange they would appear to modern eyes. Usage and custom change pronunciation very rapidly, and if spelling shifted at the will of each individualspeaker, our written language would become barbarous. If the melancholy disease of language known to philology as 'phonetic decay' were to set in, if we all slurred our words into each other, and if phonetic spelling were doing its wickedest at the same moment, our books would become enigmas to the scholars of the future. Something of the same sort may be urged against the changes which usage and time bring about in language, but then these changes are the result of slow working and universal laws, which are known and can be studied and allowed for in practice. No one could allow for the effects of individual caprice if each man spelled in a way that sounded correctly to himself. The scholar would lose the power and the pleasure of tracing words, as Mr. Max Müller does so instructively, through modern into ancient tongues, from England to the cradle of the Aryan race, wherever that may bave been, for scholars seem to be less certain than they were a few years ago. These words can be traced because they changed in obedience to such laws as that which bears the name of Grimm. These laws worked surely and slowly, over vast areas of space and during æons of time. But if illustrious English writers were to spell at random and to pronounce queerly, and if their spelling were caught up-as it would be—by their imitators, there would be confusion worse than that about 'light and delight,' which is now causing missiles to be hurled in the battlefield of philology. Our spelling, in short, has a history, and that an interesting and instructive one. Caprice has played its part, as caprice does in the policical history of the world. But law has always been far more powerful than chance and choice, and the study of our English language is the study of the life of our race in England. Perhaps schools would do well to pursue the two inquiries together, and boys might read a little of the English Chronicle, with the reigns of early kings, and note, in words like Elyot's · Governour,' how Latin came in like a flood at the Renaissance."]-EDITOR.
STALYBRIDGE CIRCUIT. OUR friends in this Circuit having lately been very busy in raising money, clearing off debts, and improving the various chapels, a brief report may be of general interest.
STALYBRIDGE. This Society undertook, at the last Conference, the entire responsibility of refurnishing the superintendent minister's house. To raise the funds needful a Christmas-tree and sale were held in Chapel Street School on December 25 and 27, and a tea-meeting as well. More than 400 people sat down to tea, and the various stalls were visited by plenty of customers during the sale. There were three stalls—one presided over by the ladies of the sewing meeting, another by the teachers of the schools, and the third by two youthful but industrious and enterprising scholars. Besides these there was a very tastefully arranged and abundantly supplied refreshment-stall. There were other interesting adjuncts that made the sale especially attractive--fine-art gallery, curiosity shop, microscope, galvanic battery, wheel of life, spelling bees, &c. I give no names, for all our friends worked so enthusiastically in the matter that it would be hardly fair to mention one without mentioning all. The result was that, from the various sources indicated, the gratifying sum of £85 was received.
HOLLINGWORTH. Our chapel here has lately undergone a thorough renovation. It has been painted and beautified throughout, and two additional vestries built at a cost of £120. A new heating apparatus has been supplied at a cost of about £20. The brickwork of this apparatus has been done by two of our own friends gratuitously, Mr. Ridgway and Mr. Parker. The organ has also been enlarged and improved by the addition of new pipes. The reopening services were conducted by Rev. J. W. Williams, of Manchester, who preached two eloquent sermons, to the great delight and profit of all our Hollingworth friends. The chapel and school are now entirely free from debt, and, what is a very exceptional thing with a Methodist Chapel, there is a very considerable sum of money in hand. Our Hollingworth friends are well able, and, I should think, from various expressions of opinion volunteered by some of our leaders, will be perfectly willing to take a married preacher when the Conference sees fit to appoint one. There is a matter of great importance that is now under the consideration of our friends—the appointment of new trustees. The only trustee left in connection with the chapel is Mr. J. Ridgway, and he and our other Hollingworth friends are taking steps for the immediate formation of a new trust body.
- Our Dinting chapel was opened in 1861. Its erection cost nearly £500, and at the opening about half the entire sum was raised. The debt of about £250 was reduced a little in the early years of the history of our Dinting cause, at the same time that some very important additions and improvements were made in the chapel; as, for example, the introduction of a capital organ, and the building of spacious vestries and organ gallery at the rear of the chapel. A little more than a year ago our friends began to make systematic efforts for the entire extinction of the chapel debt, and it was then found to stand at £180. A bazaar was held on Good Friday; the teachers and scholars and friends have given liberally and begged extensively; and monthly tea-meetings have been held that raised sums varying from one to three guineas. Such perseverance as was manifested is sure to be rewarded, and in December the summit of the hill was gained, from which our friends had the satisfaction of looking on the fair prospect of a chapel entirely free from debt. The congratulatory tea-meeting was held on December 4th Mr. W. Parker in the chair. It was then found that not only had all the debt been paid off, but that there were over £20 in hand, which with collections since made at the Trust sermons is now swelled to nearly £30. This sum it is proposed to spend in making the vestries more comfortable and in altering the gaslights in the chapel. Several of our Dinting friends have laboured with great assiduity and zeal, and they have been well supported by all the people. Their names I need not give, as they have their reward in the success of the undertaking. But I should not do right not to give the praise which is his due to an outside friend, Mr. J. H. Warhurst, of Ashton. This gentleman has taken the warmest interest in Dinting Chapel since its commencement. His gifts have been both frequent and generous, and so wisely bestowed as to call forth fresh efforts from the Dinting people. It is very largely due to him. that our friends now worship in a chapel that is entirely free from debt.
The Circuit, as a whole, is in a very fair financial condition. The efforts I have described have prepared the way for spiritual and evangelistic work, which of course is the proper function of a Christian Church. That God has greatly blessed them in labouring for the financial prosperity of the Circuit is matter of devout gratitude to our people, and their cry now is, " O Lord, revive Thy work."
NOTES OF OUR VOYAGE TO ADELAIDE.
On Wednesday, July 21st 1875, Mrs. Birks and I, on board the steamship Durham, left the South West India Docks, London for the scene of our future labour, at 2.30 p.m. Some of our London friends kindly came to see us off. It was with a sad heart that we shook hands with them and said good-bye, perhaps for ever! We shall not soon forget their kindness, although we may not be able to repay them. We should have felt lonely indeed if they had not been there. Arriving at Gravesend that evening, we did not leave until 1.45 p.m. the next day. We had a pleasant passage down the Channel, and arrived at Plymouth about midnight on Friday, July 23rd. Some of the passengers joined us here, coming to this place by train so as to escape the Channel passage, which is sometimes very unpleasant, but was not so on this occasion. At 8 o'clock on Saturday evening, July 24th, we left Plymouth and got fairly under way. It was painful to see the separations on the part of some. Many a strong man bowed his head and wept, and many a bosom was evidently heaving with emotions which words could not express.
Arriving at the outskirts of the Bay of Biscay, most of us expected that We should know that we were there in more senses than one. The wind and waves presented no opposition, and we were allowed to pass quietly and peacefully on our way. On Thursday, July 29th, we sighted, in fact came quite near to the island of Madeira, which is about 400 miles from the north-western coast of Africa. The island is one mass of basalt, the highest summit of which is 6100 feet above the sea-level. The climate is very mild, and the inhabitants are descendants of the Portuguese, but with a considerable mixture of African blood. As our vessel passed we signalled, and the news would be sent to the owners in London that the ship had passed all well.
On Tuesday, August 10th, most of the passengers were thrown into a state of consternation by the outcry of “Fire !" A fire at sea is a terrible thing. A sailor went into the fore part of the vessel with a lamp and let it fall in a store-room containing ropes and other things which would soon make a blaze. All necessary hands were soon at work, and the flames were extinguished before any great amount of damage was done.
Saturday, August 21st, the wind was in our favour, and sufficiently strong to carry us along without the use of steam, so the commander gave instructions to take up the screw." It had to be raised by means of ropes and a chain, and to the surprise of us all, when about half-way up the chain parted, and several passengers narrowly escaped being killed. Several were struck by the chain, but, fortunately, the fall was broken before doing so, and thus they escaped with a few bruises and cuts.
Our first proper gale blew on Lord's-day, August 29th. The wind howled, the ropes struck each other fiercely, the sea boiled. This lasted eight hours. On the 31st we had a much stronger gale. The waves came over the deck and on to the poop, the windows of which had to be pro
tected to prevent them from being broken. A new sail was torn to ribbons in a very short time, in consequence of the iron-work which secured it giving way. Shortly after we shipped a tremendous sea just as we were in the midst of dinner. The saloon is raised above the main-deck, and when the water came over, in addition to breaking away the top of the bulwarks, it struck the end of the saloon, broke the windows, sent one door right off its hinges, and this struck the inner door and broke away the sideposts; another door on the other side was broken into two parts, and the way being thus cleared the water came tumbling into the saloon where we were sitting, giving some of us a baptism about the head and shoulders and wetting most of us up to the knees. As we had been baptised once by sprinkling in childhood, and in our maturity disapproving of“ immersion," this went very much against the grain, and so the doors would have said if they could have spoken. The dining-saloon, as also the cabins connected therewith and those underneath, were flooded, much to the inconvenience of those who wished to keep their boxes dry. Of course there was an end of dinner that day, and plates, dishes, knives, forks, spoons, glasses, pies, puddings, tarts, &c., &c., were swimming about at their pleasure, but not to the satisfaction of our stomachs. The next thing was to clear it out with buckets, &c., and all hands went to work, the ladies not excepted. One lady had the misfortune to lose her purse containing £20. It was thought that it got thrown out with the water and sundry things. This gale lasted about ten hours.
September 2nd came, and as night drew on the weather became very threatening, and at last the wind arose once again, accompanied with rain, thunder, and lightning. An accident occurred to the man at the wheel; his foot slipped, and to save himself he took hold of a cog-wheel, bis fingers were drawn in, three were thus cut clean off, and the doctor had to amputate another, and since the man has been obliged to have his hand taken off. The man's right hand was thus lost, and although left-handed the subscription of £50 from the saloon passengers will be as nothing in place of a hand. The second-class passengers also subscribed a few pounds.
The worst gale, however, we had blew for ten hours on September 5th. An indescribable expression of fear was on most countenances, and with great anxiety we asked from time to time how the glass was, sometimes going up and sometimes down, and so went our spirits. A fine day made a wonderful difference in us, and some said that our faces were not so long by several inches; however that may be, on Saturday, September 11th, we sighted land-- Australia, in fact, was in view. At 4 o'clock we sat down to dinner, the vessel being in smooth water. The cloth removed, Mr. McBain was called upon to preside. A number of toasts were duly honoured, and when it came to the commander's turn he was presented, in the name of the saloon passengers, with a purse of sixty guineas. Captain Frederick Anderson for that is his name—is a gentleman. Afterwards, in recognition of the services rendered during the voyage, in proposing the health of Mrs. Birks and myself, I was informed that a subscription list had been opened, and that a gold watch was to be purchased for me when we landed bearing a suitable inscription, all of which was duly attended to, greatly to the satisfaction of those immediately concerned ; and here Í should say that I conducted service at all convenient times, lectured, and at 10.30 every morning held devotional exercises, at which about two-thirds of the passengers attended.
At 7.45 we landed at the Sandridge Pier, where we were kindly received by a number of our Melbourne friends, Mrs. Masterman among the number, In Melbourne we received a very hearty welcome at a tea-meeting, the room being duly decorated for the occasion. If this were the time and place, and if I were the person to say it, I could say a good deal about our Melbourne mission. I must say, from what I saw and heard, the mission has entered upon better days, and a new and larger church (no chapels here) will soon be a necessity. If we could have those who are not favour
able to our Australian Mission suddenly dropped down here at little or no expense, they would not any more talk glibly and rashly about that which they can but know little about.
In due time we set foot on board the Aldinga, which in forty-eight hours landed us and all that belonged to us at Port Adelaide. A couple of hours saw us at our future home, thankful for so favourable and safe & passage to the Colonies. I was very well the whole way, but Mrs. Birks was not so fortunate, Poets may write about life on the ocean wave," and “ rocked in the cradle of the deep” as they like, but beyond a trip give me the land. At the time of writing I have made my appearance before the Church and congregation in Adelaide, and by the time this is in print, I shall know more about the cause I have, if spared, to superintend. At a welcome tea-meeting I was assured of the sympathy, prayers, and help of our friends here, and I sincerely hope and pray tbat the work of the Lord may prosper in our midst. There is much to be done, and often have I already asked, “Who is sufficient for these things ?" But my main reliance is placed in Him in whose cause I am engaged, believing that He will sustain and bless us in this new sphere of labour. I can truly say that we enter upon this work with the full determination, under God's blessing, to spare no labour that we can possibly bring to bear. To those who have promised to do so, and to those who have not, we say, Brethren, pray for us.
MARTIN J. BIRKS, Whitmore Square, Adelaide, Dec. 5th, 1875.
OUR HYMN BOOKS.
SIR-I have been sorry to see in this district, and am afraid it is the case in other parts of the Connexion, no doubt from mere thoughtlessness, the introduction into our Sunday and day schools, as well as occasionally into our Sabbath and week-day public and private services, hymn books other than our Connexional ones. Our own hymn book is perhaps the best in use by any denomination, and contains hymns suitable for all religious services; then we have our Sunday-school book, with which no fault need be found. My object in troubling your readers with this communication is to request all our ministers and officials, both in our Churches and schools, to discountenance and discontinue the use in their services of all and every hymn book but our own. To do otherwise is to inflict a very great wrong upon our Book-room establishment, which we should all desire to support as much as possible, as the profits arising from the sale of all our Connexional publications are devoted entirely to Connexional objects. If you consider this matter of sufficient importance to insert in the Magazine, please do so.
WILLIAM JENKINSON. Manchester, Dec. 26th, 1875.
ST. PAUL'S CHAPEL, ATTERCLIFFE, SHEFFIELD NORTH
CIRCUIT. FOR the first time since its erection in 1869, this commodious structure has been recently renovated at a cost of about £80.
After being closed for nearly a month for that purpose, re-opening services were held on Sunday, December 5th, 1875, when sermons were preached in the morning by the Rev. J. Graham, and in the evening by the Rev. J. Stacey, D.D.
On the following Monday a public tea-meeting was held; Mr. G. Cooper presided, and excellent addresses were given by Rev. J. Graham,