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country and throughout the world; once more we are permitted to bring together our communications and our hopes; and once more, through the faithfulness of our God, we find in these communications abundant cause for thanksgiving, and in these hopes always new motives to arm us with a zeal equal to the greatness of the work. We must acknowledge, again, that He who has sown on the earth the spiritual seed, like the grain of mustard, has conferred on us the precious privilege of aiding its growth, admiring its progress, and of beholding already in that little plant, so feeble in appearance, but withal imperishable, the future vigour and beauty of the tree which the Eternal has planted for himself, that he may be glorified. Our God has fully shown to us his kindness. He permits our eyes to witness the blessing which he sheds upon our works; or rather, he is pleased to afford a glimpse of the sure and stedfast advancement of the work which he accomplishes himself, the more to encourage us in the efforts to which he appoints us, and to enable us increasingly to appreciate their blessedness, who shall one day hear from his lips that word of mercy- Well done, good and faithful servant.
“ () that such may be to us the fruit of these christian festivals! O that the joy which they diffuse in our hearts, refreshing as the morning dew, may not be fleeting as it! and that the recollection of these seasons may remain amongst us as a testimony from our heavenly Father, to show that the success of the religion of Jesus proceeds from himself and not from us. And then should the soil of France still appear, in so many respects, ungrateful and barren-if to human sight, it should still seem so little suited to the celestial culture thus bestowed upon it, so far from being dismayed by the present, or fearful of the future, we will rejoice in the confident anticipation of brighter days, and will vigilantly prosecute our engagements to the Most High, whose object it is to publish abroad his glory, and to celebrate his greatness.”
On Monday evening, April 17th, the brethren and friends assembled for prayer, preparatory to holding the meeting, in the chapel De la Rue Taitbout; when MM. Pasteurs François Perrot, of Jersey, Audebez, Verny, and F. Monod, of Paris, implored the divine blessing on the various efforts which are employed for the evangelization of the world at large, and on those which are in operation in France for this object, in particular.
Religious Tract Society.-Its fifteenth anniversary was held on Tuesday, April 18th. The venerable M. Stapfer presided, and the attendance was as large as usual. After singing a hymn, M. le Pasteur Duchimin, from Niort, prayed. The President then offered a few remarks on that moral condition of society upon which the distributor of tracts is destined to exert a beneficial influence.
The report, which was read by M. Henry Lutteroth, referred to the labours for evangelizing France, amongst which those of the Tract Society, although the most unpretending, had not been the least useful or effective. This was shown from the testimony of several ministers. One writes-“The tracts have opened many Bibles which before had been neglected and forgotten;" and another“ Our preaching induces many to read the tracts, and the tracts in return attract many to bear our preaching." After many similar extracts, it proceeds to state“ It is most delightful to us to collect, and to be able to communicate to you, the testimonies of the ministers of our churches in favour of the distribution of tracts. It is the fondest desire of our hearts to second their labours, and to render, if possible, their burden more pleasant; to double, in some degree, the force of their voice, and to be assured that we have succeeded in those efforts; to know that our tracts continue to increase the number and attention of their hearers."
That useful tract, entitled “ Plain Counsels for Parents on the Education of their Children," has led to the establishment of two new schools. When distributed in the diligence, these little works lead to serious conversation, which ends in a promise from those who receive them to search the word of God. On one occasion, an under-prefect reproached a fellow-traveller for distributing tracts, which appeared to him quite unnecessary. The individual replying that he could not be restrained by his objections, the magistrate demanded an expla
nation of the doctrines which the books contained; and thus the truth, which he wished to withhold from others, was proclaimed to himself. In prisons they are extremely useful: exciting in many of their inmates a desire to learn to read, that they might be able to peruse them. Many under-officers have paid three, four, and sometimes five francs for the tracts; and when the distributor wished to return the money, they have refused it, saying that was necessary for the support of such cliristian societies, for the people of the world would not contribute to that object. .
Various new French tracts have been published during the year; many of them of the nature of popular commentaries on select portions of scripture, and others powerful appeals to the undecided. As instances, are mentioned "The Death of Christ and of the Malefactors;" “ What is it to be born again ?" “ The Fall and Restoration of St. Peter;" “ The barren Fig-tree;" and "The Disposition necessary to come to Christ." One on the inexhaustible mercy of God, is a translation of a little work by M. le Professeur Schubert, one of the most popular religious writers in Germany, entitled the “ Courant de Mer" (Flowing of the Ocean).
Although free from controversy, the tracts of the Society are put in the index, or condemned list at Rome. The efforts of the colporteurs have especially led to this. While confined to the circle of the reformed churches, the work of distribution, to the amount of several thousands of copies annually, goes on quietly and without exciting suspicion. But how could this opposition be escaped, when every day, and in all parts of France, the tracts are carried about by individuals whose express work is to sell or give them away ; to read them to those who are untaught in that art themselves; to explain them to such as are dull of comprehension, and to inform themselves, after short intervals, as to the impression and fruits of their labours.
This is a stupendous plan, and its friends rejoice in its success; its enemies will be alarmed. Two episcopal mandates were issued last Lent, to warn the people against a course of procedure so much to be dreaded. The word of command has been given at Rome and repeated in France. But what of that?
This system is not the invention of our age, as will appear from a passage contained in a History of Dieppe, by M. Vilet, in which is shown how blessed were the labours of a colporteur of the name of Jean Vènable, introducing the Reformation into that place." Three years were hardly passed away since the bag* of a poor colporteur introduced into this town the first germ of the new faith, and already more than half its inhabitants have abjured catholicism. The old religion languishing, degraded, is only now as a heap of ruins: so dauntlessly have the adherents of the young church gone on from conquering to conquer, and boldly dared to claim from the most christian king the right to build for themselves a temple.”
Four millions and a quarter of tracts have been circulated by this Society in fifteen years: and half a million have been demanded by its friends during the past year. The only method employed by the Committee to answer the objections and censures which assail their object, is to print tracts in those languages in which the doctrines of the gospel have never yet been exhibited in their purity. They have added six new Spanish tracts, to the ten which previously appeared, and have resolved to publish tracts in the low language of Britany and in Italian. “The Almanack of Good Councils" has been printed, and has extended to 61,000 copies. The receipts of the Society have Leen 22,247 francs and 17 centimes, (about £9260. 6s.od.) This with the sum in hand amounts in whole to 23,755 fr. 48. C. The expenses of the year have been 22,314 fr. 650. (about £9247. 28. Od.)
An account of the anniversaries of the Protestant Bible Society of Paris, and the Evangelical Society of France, was inserted in our last number, pp. 601, 602,
* Or kind of knapsack, used by colpolteurs to convey about quantities of Bibles, Tracts, &c.
RECENT DEATHS. On the 15th of July, at Charterhouse Square, aged 68, Charlotte, relict of the late George Sker, Esq. merchant, London.
This estimable lady was deprived in early life of her parents, and left under the guardian care of Dr. Caleb Evans and Dr. Samuel Stennett. She was successively a valued member of the churches at New Court and at Battersea, under the pastoral care of the late excellent Dr. Winter and Joseph Hughes, until she removed, in 1826, to Havre-de-Grace. She laboured for nine years to diffuse the knowledge of the Gospel in that beautiful but benighted neighbourhood. Amongst other efforts it deserves to be named, that she translated several of our best evangelical tracts into the French language.
Her last illness was short, but the consolations of the Gospel sustained her, which is the best solace of her afflicted family, who deeply deplore her loss.
Died, on the 30th of August, at Yardley Hastings, Northamptonshire, the Rev. John HOPPUS, in his 77th year; late pastor of the independent church at that place. He had resigned the pastoral office about four years, after having exercised it laboriously and successfully during a period of thirty years. His labours were very eminently disinterested, and they were much blessed by the great Head of the church. The populous village which was their scene, will long remember him as its benefactor; for by his indefatigable exertions a spacious chapel was raised, when the former had been destroyed by fire; and a commodious house was built adjoining it, for the residence of future pastors. He was the means of introducing and encouraging the preaching of the gospel in several of the neighbouring villages; and possessed, in no inconsiderable degree, the spirit of a missionary. The welfare of his own congregation lay near his heart to the last; and he administered the Lord's Supper, much to the gratification of his late charge, on the first Sabbath of August. He was interred in the burial ground of the chapel, on the 6th of September. His esteemed friend, the Rev. T. P. Bull, President of the Evangelical Institution at Newport Pagnel, officiated on the occasion, according to the long expressed desire of the deceased, and preached the funeral sermon from a text which he had selected, 1 Cor. xv. 58.
ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS, &c. Since our August Number, we have to acknowledge the favour of communications from the Rev. Drs. Bennett-Redford-HoppusJ. P. Smith - Burderand Henderson. From Rev. Messrs. J. Clayton, Jun.-G, Croft-Thomas Atkins-Josiah Bull-William Thorn-Robert Chamberlain-Wm. OwenJ. Harrison-William Ward—Thomas Milner-T. Edkins-W. Brewis-J. Edwards—E. Prout-Wm. Davis—A. Wells-W. Wright.-H. TownleyA. Tidman-and James Turner.
Also from Sir J. B. Williams, LL.D.-Wm. Stroud, M.D.-Julius Partridge -Wm Smith-George Bennet-M.F.
We hope to insert in our Magazine for November the two important letters on the Congregational Union, which have been inserted in The Patriot, together with some observations of our own.
Our friends who send us their books for Review must have patience with us. The large demands that are made upon our pages for miscellaneous purposes and denominational intelligence, prevent our devoting that space to Reviews which we would gladly give. This number contains an extra half sheet, to enable us to present our readers with all its important contents.
Errata.–Pages 602 and 603, for the Earl of Derby, read Earl of Denbigh.
THE CONGREGATIONAL MAGAZINE.
MEMOIR OF THE LATE REV. THOMAS JACKSON,
NEAR ROCHDALE, LANCASHIRE.
Many of the servants of Christ, in the ministry of his Gospel, distinguished for pre-eminent piety and respectable learning, have been, in a great measure, hidden from the world, and too little known in the Church of Christ. Natural timidity, united with deep self-knowledge and genuine humility, have greatly contributed to this concealment. But “their record is on high," and the day is fast approaching, when their characters will be fully revealed, and their good works amply rewarded. These remarks are strictly applicable to the subject of the following memoir.
The Rev. Thomas Jackson was born on the 17th April, 1770, in the township of Sowerby, in the parish of Halifax, Yorkshire. He descended from pious parents ; his father was particularly distinguished for extensive scriptural knowledge and deep-toned piety. His son Thomas was taught the necessity of personal religion, and its excellency also, by the daily instruction and holy example of a parent truly devoted to God. But many a weeping parent experiences, with Mr. George Jackson, that his instructions are not always received, nor his example followed. Young Jackson soon evinced that religion is not hereditary, and the love of sin, which occasioned a disgust at the holy service of God, often manifested itself in his neglect of the worship of God, when parental authority did not controul him.
At the age of seventeen, the most powerful convictions of sin harassed his mind to such a degree as to produce, for some time, a gloomy and rebellious melancholy. In this state of mind, to use his own language, he was " distressed with strange and horrible ideas of the character of God and the doctrine of election.” The way in which he was relieved from these painful feelings, he describes as follows:-“ I was led to pay more attention to the word of God, to seek the company of pious people, and to frequent their social Vol. I. N. S.-Vol. XX.
meetings for prayer. By degrees my distress abated, and my mind became more easy; and by attending the preaching of the word, I obtained a more extensive theoretical knowledge of the plan of salvation by Jesus Christ, I was persuaded of his ability to save, and imagined it was an easy thing to believe in him to salvation. But, alas ! I was yet unacquainted with the purity of the divine character, the extensive requirements of the law, the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and the total depravity of my own heart. Thus I remained till about my twenty-first year, when I began to think of entering the marriage state, which I did at this time; but for more than two years after, all my religious impressions were removed from my mind. I became dissipated, lost all pleasure in the exercises of devotion, and sometimes neglected the public worship of God." But God, in his infinite mercy, did not give him up,“ to choose his own ways, nor to walk after the desires of his own heart.”
In his twenty-third year the Lord put a period to his wanderings, and brought him to his feet for mercy. At this time, Mr. Jackson writes, “My convictions returned with redoubled force, through the preaching of Mr. John Dracup, near Sowerby. Now I was given to see the exceeding sinfulness of sin, the desperate wickedness of my heart, and guilt was charged home upon my conscience; I saw my crimes, attended with the most aggravating circumstances, as committed against light, and knowledge, and love, and should have sunk into despair, had not the views I had long entertained of the all-sufficiency of Christ supported my mind. As ready to perish,' I cast myself at the feet of sovereign mercy, looking unto Jesus, until - the Lord sent his word and healed me.' The blood of Christ was applied to my conscience, and I felt joy and peace in believing; I was led to hate sin in all its deceitful forms, and obtained a victory over it, which I never experienced before I gave myself up to the Lord, and devoted my soul to his service.”
Some time after, Mr. Jackson became a member of a christian church. He soon felt an ardent desire to devote himself to the work of the gospel ministry. There are few who have felt the renewing influence of the Holy Spirit upon their hearts, who have not desired to speak of the Redeemer's love to others, though not all who have experienced this have been qualified to preach the Gospel to the world. That the desire for this good work was put into the heart of our departed friend, by the Holy Spirit, is evident, from the disposition of mind in which he entered upon the sacred office, the manner in which he executed it, and from the success that attended his labours. “ Having,” says he, “tasted that the Lord is gracious, I felt a desire to proclaim his goodness to my fellow-sinners. I considered it as my duty to use my utmost efforts to advance the interest of my dear Redeemer, and to lay out my talents in his service. It was, however, a matter of doubt to me, considering the importance of the work, and my own insufficiency, whether I had any talent for preaching the Gospel. Having laid the matter before the Lord, and sought him for direction, I began to examine myself respecting my motives for desiring such an undertaking, and I was fully satisfied that it was not from any desire of worldly advantage