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laboured to diffuse their principles, and to gather their countrymen into the fold of Christ. The zealous itinerant labours of Mr. Holcroft, in Cambridgeshire, were blessed to the conversion of many souls, and were only arrested by the long imprisonment of that faithful evangelist, who first organized “a Congregational church in Cambridgeshire. The same spirit was manifested by others who were, however, silenced by the Act of Uniformity, or fettered by the Five Mile Act.
Those of the Independent body, who escaped to America, were not forgetful of the obligation which rests upon all who have received the truth, to teach it to others, and therefore they “bound themselves to study the advancement of the gospel in all truth and power, both in regard of those that are within or without, no way slighting their sister churches, but using their counsel as need shall be, not laying a stumbling block before the Indians, whose good they desired to promote.” These sentiments led them to undertake a mission to the red men of the forest, and the labours of Eliot, Cotton, and Mayhew, attest the missionary zeal of the first Congregational pastors of North America, to extend the gospel to the regions beyond them. Had equal liberty been enjoyed at home, similar efforts would have been doubtless made, but religious liberty was scarcely known in England, until a prince of the house of Brunswick was firmly seated on the British throne. A spirit of apathy had taken possession of the public mind, and from causes that we cannot now stop to explain, powerfully influenced Christians of every denomination. Still there were churches, such as that in Northampton, under the pastoral care of the devoted Doddridge, that “were moved by a real concern for the propagation of the kingdom of Christ in the world,” and that united their prayers, labours, and subscriptions, for that sublime object. It will be a hundred years, on the 15th day of next October, since Dr. Doddridge proposed to his brethren assembled at Kettering, this important question, “Whether something might not be done in most of our congregations, towards the assisting in the propagation of Christianity abroad, and spreading it in some of the darker parts of our own land ?” and at that meeting the revival of religion, in their respective churches—the instruction of the young and the ignorant—the promotion of district and county associations were all recommended by the associated ministers, warned and excited as they all had been by his solemn and affecting sermon on the sin and danger of neglecting souls.” It is deeply to be deplored, that their enlightened and godly suggestions were not more extensively acted upon, and that the population of our country has been allowed by our churches to multiply around them, without the most strenuous efforts for their instruction and salvation. This omission, however, resulted not from the peculiar principles of our churches, but from the neglect of them. We are happy that this has not been universally the case. The Congregational Union of Lancashire has for fifty years been seeking,
by combined counsels and efforts, to multiply the churches of Christ in that palatinate, and to save the souls that are ready to perish.
At the present moment, a feeling is widely spread amongst our churches, that such associations are indispensable to their prosperity, and there is on all hands an inquiry as to the best methods of organizing them. We regard it therefore, as singularly opportune, that Mr. Slate has given to the public, at such a moment, the results of the experience and labours of forty years.
"The Association of Congregational Churches in 1786, gave rise to the ' Itineracy' in 1801; and that Society prepared the way for the establishment, in 1806, of the * Lancashire Congregational Union,' whose history has been briefly related. If it had not been for the operations of this Society, the religious condition of the county would havc been far different to what it now is. It has been the means, in some instances, of provoking Christians of other denominations to put forth their energies to advance the religious welfare of the community, and it rejoices in their successes.”
* Since its formation much has been effected, by the blessing of God on its operations, far beyond the expectations of its revered founders. There is cause to “ thank God,” that twenty-one churches, which are now contributing to its support and assisting the general progress of vital Christianity in the world, have been either entirely raised by its agents, or supported for a season by its grants. It is gratifying to its friends that, at the present time, it is able to render pecuniary aid, in some instances to a considerable amount, in maintaining the preaching of the gospel, the administra. tion of evangelical ordinances, and the conducting of Sunday-schools, in about 150 stations and out-stations, in which are near 1200 church-members, and congregations with not less than 10,000 who hear the gospel, beside 6255 Sunday-scholars, with 839 teachers. The amount of spiritual good which has been promoted by these means, is known only to Him who will make it manifest "at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”—p. 95.
There are some eager friends of foreign missions who look with a jealous eye upon the efforts which our churches are engaged to make for home. We recommend the following case to the attention of those anxious brethren, which will show, that well directed home missionary labours will be the best means of securing extended resources for our foreign missionary enterprise.
“The case of Ashton-under-line is one of the most pleasing instances of success in connexion with the County Union. It was not, indeed, originated by the Society, but in its infancy received that efficient aid which not only nourished it when weak and feeble, but promoted its growth until it was placed under the care of its present honoured and beloved pastor. In the year 1815, a few persons of piety and influence, attached to the doctrines and principles of evangelical Congregationalism, fitted up a room for publie worship, which for some time was supplied by lay-preachers from Manchester and the neighbourhood. The attendance for the first six months was small, frequently not amounting to twenty persons in the morning ; but these contimuing united, meeting often for prayer, and being encouraged by the ministers of the Manchester district of the County Union, who made Ashton and its populous neighbourhood a part of their itinerancy, they gradually increased in numbers and strength.
“ In the report of the Union for 1816, it is stated, that the neighbourhood of Oldham
presents, “ with Ashton, a very promising sphere of itinerant labours.” A chapel was erected in this town capable of accommodating four hundred people, at a cost of about €1000, which was opened on the eighth of April, 1817. The principal instrument in the erection and continued support of this place of worship, and whose name, and piety, and distinguished liberality in support of the cause of Christ, are entitled to a record in this history, was Nathaniel Buckley, Esq., the senior deacon of the church. In June of the same year, application was made to the present minister, the Rev. Jon. Sutcliffe, then a student in Airedale College, Yorkshire, to supply the pulpit during the midsummer recess. The prospects at that time were, on the whole, encouragaing; the congregations amounting to about fifty persons in the morning, and from one hundred and fifty to two hundred in the afternoon. Hav. ing received and accepted a unanimous invitation from the people, he commenced his stated labours on the first Lord's-day in January, 1818, and was ordained to the pastoral office in the following May. Accessions continued to be made to the church and congregation, and greater accommodations became necessary, which were afforded by the erection of rooms for the Sunday-school, opening into the chapel, at a cost of £200. The debt remaining on the chapel, was liquidated on the 16th of February, 1823, by a united effort, when the collections amounted to the sum of £530. The chapel was again enlarged in the summer of 1827, at the cost of £500, and rendered capable of seating six hundred and twenty persons. At a church-meeting, held in July, 1833, it was concluded, as the chapel was insufficient to accommodate the increasing congregation, to erect a new place of worship on a large scale, on an adjoining plot of ground, then occupied by cottages. The foundation-stone was laid, amidst a large concourse of people, on the 23rd of May, 1834, and the present elegant and spacious chapel, capable of seating twelve hundred persons, was opened for divine worship on the 10th of May, 1835. The total cost of the erection, including the purchase of the premises, &c., was about £4000. There is now no debt remainingthe pews are all let—and there are three hundred members in church fellowship.
"To the honour of this Christian people be it recorded, that they have acted under the influence of Christ's direction to his disciples, “ Freely ye have received; freely give.” As early as in the year 1818, when only in their infancy as a church, they felt the claims of the perishing heathen, and made a collection on behalf of the London Missionary Society amounting to £10. Since that period, an important missionary association has been formed there, which remitted last year to the parent society the sum of £147. 58. 3d., clear of all expenses. Nor have the claims of the cause of Christ at home been neglected by them. The congregational churches that have been formed at Staley-Bridge and Denton, are daughters of this fruitful mother, and other places in the neighbourhood are visited and instructed by lay preachers, under the sanction of this church. When a deputation visited Ashton, in 1839, to obtain subscriptions for the Lancashire Independent College, about to be erected at Manchester, in the course of an hour the sum of €1160 was subscribed, which was afterwards increased to near £1500! On reviewing this case, it may with gratitude be said, “ This is the Lord's doing ; it is marvellous in our eyes.” May the blessing of the Most High continue to rest on this place, even to future generations.”—pp. 39-41.
We can only spare room for the following just remarks upon a general union for home missionary objects.
"Desirable and important as such local societies are, still, it must be confessed that something more is needful- A General Union of all Congregational Associations for Home Missionary purposes. A County Union for the spread of the gospel may answer well, in a county in which there is a sufficient number of churches to associate, and able to employ labourers to cultivate the moral deserts within its limits; but there are counties, and these the most destitute and needy, in which the churches are too few and too poor to support the agents necessary. The adjoining counties of Westmoreland and Cumberland, lying direct north of Lancashire, are cases in point. In the former there is but one Congregational church able to maintain its own pastor, whilst there is an immense tract of country, with numerous villages, whose inhabitants are awfully ignorant of the only way of salvation. In the latter there are only twelve churches, some of which cannot support their own ministers, and the rest can do but little towards evangelizing a county containing a population exceeding one kundred and sixty thousand souls. A minister, who formerly resided in this county, and who lately revisited it, assured the writer, that such are the customs and habits of the people, such their general ignorance on spiritual subjects, and such their destitution of the means of grace, that they as much need the sympathy of Christian Churches as many portions of the heathen world. The same may probably be affirmed of other counties, especially in rural districts. How then are their spiritual wants to be supplied, but by agents sent forth and supported, at least for a time, by a general union of the churches throughout the kingdom?" We thank Mr. Slate for his volume, and recom
ommend it to the notice of our readers, not only as an interesting history, but also as supplying important suggestions to those who wish to establish or improve county or district associations, for the diffusion of the gospel amongst the neglected inhabitants of our towns and villages.
CURSORY NOTICES OF NEW PUBLICATIONS.
We are happy to receive the 27th, 28th, and 29th volumes of “The Biblical Cabinet," a series of “Hermeneutical, Exegetical, and Philological Works,” principally translated from the German, that should have a place in the library of every Chris. tian minister and intelligent layman. Dr. Rosenmüller's “ Mineralogy and Botany of the Bible" occupies the 27th volume, and forms a valuable book of reference, being replete with information, sustained by most ample references. The 28th volume contains several valuable tracts by Professor Tholuch, viz. “ Remarks on the Life, Character, and Style of the Apostle Paul;” Six Sermons, with many notes; and the author's celebrated “ Essay on the Nature and Moral Influence of Heathenism." To which is prefixed, a Life of Tholuch, by Professor Parke, of Andover.
The 29th volume is devoted to the translation of a valuable work by Frederick Lisco, of Berlin, “The Parables of Jesus Explained and Illustrated.”
This appears to us one of the best works upon the parables we have seen, in which the author labours to develope the one important truth, that each was designed to illustrate and enforce. Its analytical character will make it very useful to ministers of the gospel.
The opening of Abney Park Cemetery has led Mr. Collison, its solicitor, and son, we believe, of the venerable tutor of Hackney Academy, to prepare an interesting 12mo volume, entitled “ Cemetery Interment: containing a concise history of the modes of interment practised by the ancients, descriptions of foreign, English, metropolitan, and provincial cemeteries, and more particularly of the Abney Park Cemetery, at Stoke Newington." The volume contains much curious information on funereal subjects, and is embellished with several good lithographic prints.
The religious public are much indebted to Mr. Charles Knight, the enterprising publisher of "The Pictorial Bible," for a new and economical edition of the same valuable work, without the sacred text, in monthly volumes, entitled, “ The Illus
presents, " with Ashton, a
ess. cinefly explanatory of the was erected in this town
= ures, and also of the History, of about .€1000, which
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traversed the countries of the of the church. In Ji
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most authentic sources." The same supply the pulpit dur
Seripture Geography: a series of on the whole, encou
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PT. Hughes, P.R.G.S.” It is adapted stated labours on
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