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the directions of their exalted Saviour, “ Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, into the highways and hedges, and bring in hither the poor and the mained, and the halt and the blind; and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled." These words are still addressed to the faithful ambassador of Christ, who is qualified for the work, and hears the call of Providence to attend to it; and if the powers that be, should command such ministers not to speak at all, nor teach in the name of Jesus, what,--according to the clearly established custom of Christ and his apostles,—what is the right course for them to pursue ? Should they not answer with Peter and John, “ Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
Actuated by such views, and urged on by such encouragements, Mr. W. Jones began now to take part in some public services on almost every Lord's day, sometimes conducting them in cottages, often in small chapels in the villages in the immediate vicinity of London, and ultimately in some important places of worship in the metropolis itself.
It will be well to reserve for a separate chapter, an account of his labours in the
* Life of Rev. Rowland Hill, pp. 168-172.
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pulpit, which are known by many to have been attended with much benefit to some of his hearers. The fact of his being constantly employed in this manner on the Sundays, is only mentioned here, in order to explain precisely the reason of his taking a step with reference to the Sundayschool, after he had filled the office of superintendent for seven years.
The step above alluded to, and the considerations which impressed him with the necessity of taking it, are well expressed in the subjoined letter, which, at the commencement of the year 1823, he wrote to the teachers of Surrey Chapel Sunday-school.
• It is now seven years, my dear friends, since you called me to the office of Superintendent of the Surrey Chapel Sunday-school. I have discharged my duties, I fear, feebly, but I trust I may say, with sincerity, and with an anxious desire for the prosperity of our institution. My earnest endeavour has been to promote the comfort of the teachers, and, as far as my influence extended, that spirit of affectionate and consistent union which has so long marked the character of all engaged in the school.
• You will not, I hope, charge me with affectation, when I assure you, that I still feel the warmest interest in the school, and that nothing
but an imperative sense of duty will lead me to dissolve my connexion with it. For a considerable time past, my engagements of the Sabbath day have caused me to be frequently absent from my post, and I much fear lest my example may prove prejudicial, and that others may justify the laxity of their attendance by a reference to my own.
The knowledge I have of the teachers, might perchance check the probability of such an excuse being pleaded, yet I think I should not be justified even in risking such a reference to my own example, as might seem to account for, though it never could justify, the absence of others.
. I wish to be silent on the nature of those engagements which to my own mind justify the course I have taken. I know that the Divine blessing has accompanied the feeblest efforts to advance the Saviour's cause, and hence I cannot persuade myself to relinquish the opportunities which are now so constantly afforded me of preaching to sinners “ the unsearchable riches of Christ.”
• Allow me, therefore, with sentiments of sincere regard for you all, to tender my resignation as your Superintendent. In the course I am taking I am consulting, not my own feelings, but the prosperity of the schools, which is with me
I shall be happy to continue with you as a teacher, and shall ever consider it a privilege to help you, as far as other duties will allow, in carrying out the high and holy objects of the institution.
• Permit me, my dear friends, to “commend you to God, and to the word of his grace,” and to assure you
you may be “ stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
This communication was received most kindly by the teachers. A request was made that the resignation be withdrawn, and that he would render the best services he could to the school. Anxious to meet the views of the teachers he consented to their wishes. In a few months, however, his public engagements so increased, that he was able to give less attention than ever to the school, and he felt quite convinced that a regard for its best interests called for his retirement. He again, therefore, wrote to the teachers, repeated his former reasons, which, he added, the experience of the last seven months, during which I have been almost constantly from necessity absent from the school, has shown to be well founded ;' and expressed his full conviction
that the school could never be well regulated, or properly conducted, unless the Superintendent was able to devote his undivided attention to its interests.' His last words of counsel to his fellow-labourers were full of beauty and wisdom, and may well be treasured up by all who are engaged in the holy work of training the young in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.'
• In retiring,' he writes, “from the office of your Superintendent, I feel much happiness in the thought that I leave you a united body. Beware, my beloved friends, of divisions; guard your minds against every unchristian feeling; and strive by every means, and even by personal sacrifices, to “maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Without a spiritual union amongst yourselves, the glory will depart from your school, for where there is strife and confusion the Holy Spirit is grieved, and his Divine influence will be withheld. Though you are many members, yet you are one body ; let a spirit of harmony, therefore, show itself in all your plans, and let it be evident to every one that you are tenderly alive to the true interests of all committed to your charge.
• Hitherto, my dear friends, you have maintained your Christian character; you stand high