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in thirty-three counties of England and Wales. Stations have been adopted in eleven counties, that had none last year. The agents preach in 550 towns, villages, and hamlets. While forty of them extend their labour still farther, and follow the example of Christ and his apostles, by preaching the Gospel under the canopy of heaven. These places, in which they regularly preach, are situated in 430 parishes, in which a small proportion about one-fourth) of evangelical instruction is given by the clergy. On these stations there are 168 Sunday-schools, 9500 children, who are taught by 1100 gratuitous teachers, being an increase over the past year, of thirtyeight schools, 1000 children, and 520 teachers. Besides these, the agents superintend forty-eight Bible classes, containing 700 pupils. On these stations there are 53 Missionary churches, (without numbering the churches under the pastoral care of the ministers, who only receive partial assistance from the Society,) eight of which were formed during the past year. These churches altogether contain about 1500 members, 350 of whom were added to them last year, and the greater number of which may be considered as the fruit of the Society's labours. Of these 550 places in which the agents preach, more than 100 were opened during the past year (as new village stations) in chapels, barns, school-rooms, and cottages.
In addition to the direct good done through the preaching of the Gospel, the agents have been most zealous in other departments of Christian activity. By themselves, or Tract Loan Societies, upwards of 10,000 families are regularly supplied with religious tracts; for most of which the agents are indebted to the generous grants made by the Committee of the Religious Tract Society, which is ever ready to respond to the requests of the missionary. In this way more than 250,000 tracts have been circulated on the loan system; besides many thousand given away, of which no account has been taken, and respecting which we may know nothing, till the day of final reckoning. Besides this systematic attempt to do good, the agents of the Society have circulated more than 4000 copies of the Holy Scriptures.
All this has been done, in addition to the regular visitations of the sick and the dying ; pouring the balm of consolation into many sorrowing hearts, who, but for your missionaries, would be without guide, teacher, or friend. Your agents are lights in many a dark and dreary region of our country, spreading around them in many quarters a healthy moral influence; and preparing a rising race for the reception of truth, which their fathers have hitherto rejected.
In closing this outline, the directors know that their friends are anxious to ascer. tain the state of the funds. This is the last, and not the least important topic of this brief notice.
Fifth. The funds of the Society. Of these also the directors can say, the report is of a most encouraging character. They can this morning state a larger amount of contribution, received during the past year, than has ever yet been obtained in any former year. To show the gratifying progress made, since the Society became more closely connected with the Congregational churches, it can be stated, that the receipts of last year were £6,285, while this year they have been £8,603. The actual increase is £2,318 108. 6d. And this, too, during a year when the pressing claims of another most important institution, dear to us all, have called for new and unwonted exertions to meet them.
In connexion with this increase of funds, it is gratifying to know, that it does not arise from one source; but that there has been an increase in every regular branch of income: in donations, in annual subscriptions, and in Congregational collections on the 25th Oct, and on subsequent Sabbaths, the collections amounted to £1000, and in all the other usual branches of supply, especially in new year's gift cards, which have this year realized, by a simple process, between £700 and £800. There is but one exception, and that is in legacies; the amount this year being £1,250 less than last year. The directors cannot deeply regret that this exception exists, they hope their living friends will long remain amongst them, and by their increased liberality, while in this world, supersede the necessity, and do away with the possibility, of being generous at death. The expenditure during the year has amounted to £8,340.
Thus, the directors have found that the confidence they expressed nearly twelve months ago, in the promises and professions of the Congregational body, has not been misplaced ; for with a few trivial exceptions, the whole increase of the year has come from that denomination. They have received proof, that the cause of home is becoming dearer every day, just in proportion as they see the value of their own principles, and adaptation of these, when diffused, understood, and obeyed, to bless the world.
The directors cannot close this brief account of their proceedings, without expressing their heart-felt gratitude for the generous confidence which the churches have placed in them, by committing so much to their care; and feeling intensely the intimate connexion that there is between enlarged and comprehensive views of duty, in extending the Gospel throughout England, and the happiness of their country, they must earnestly implore the forbearance, the continued assistance, the sympathy, and the prayers of their brethren. The times call for the exercise of renewed and unwonted energies. We, as a denomination, must take a very large share in the vast movements of the day, or we shall prove unworthy of our noble ancestry, and be found unfitted for being leaders in the mighty phalanx, that is now bearing down on the ignorance, the depravity, and the infidelity of men. The work is specially before us, as the servants of Christ. And why have we been spared to a time like this, if it is not to bear our part, in the sacred enterprize of saving men, and helping to bring a world to the obedience of the Son of God.
The Rev. PETER PARKER, M.D., American Missionary to China, rose and said-My Christian brethren and fathers in the ministry, it is with peculiar pleasure that I appear before you on this occasion ; and although somewhat indisposed, I am unwilling to lose the only opportunity I probably ever shall have of addressing this assembly. In uniting with you in that song which you addressed to the throne of grace, I was affectingly reminded that this assembly, and that the circumstances in which I am permitted to meet it, are an emblem of heaven. I appear amongst you, my brethren, from a distant land ; with a few exceptions, I meet you for the first time, and I meet you as strangers. But still I felt that there was one common feeling pervading the hearts of us all ; I looked forward to the heavenly world to which I hope at last to find admittance. But still I find, that as there is but one feeling pervading the hearts of Christians here, but one feeling will pervade the hearts of those who are permitted to meet in the great assembly above. I rise to move, Mr. Chairman, the adoption of the following resolution.
“ 'That this assembly at the present juncture feels a deep and solemn interest in Missions to their countrymen in our native England; it therefore recognizes with great satisfaction the connexion of the Home Missionary Society with this Union, as an arrangement affording the most happy facilities for the efforts of the Congregational churches in this great work. This assembly has therefore received with wartu approbation the brief statement of the Society's affairs during the first year of its connexion with this Union, now read; as confirming the views and hopes under which that connexion was formed, and opening most encouraging prospects of future success in this method of co-operation in that great work."
I am happy in this opportunity of evincing, that whilst I have chosen a distant field for the sphere of my labour, I retain still the same interest in the publication of the Gospel among those who are at home, that I should were my whole life devoted to their welfare ; and I am happy to have an opportunity of expressing that while
my life is devoted to the good of those who are abroad, I feel not indifferent to the welfare of those who are needy and neglected at home. On board the steamboat, in my passage across the Atlantic, it was known to a fellow-passenger that my life was devoted to the good of the Chinese. He immediately commenced with his objections, reminding me of the multitudes that were requiring the Gospel, the multitudes requiring our charity and attention at home, and that a few hundred pounds expended on those immediately around us, would extend much more happiness, than a larger sulm expended upon a distant portion of the world. I am aware, my Christian friends, that there is much remaining to be done at home; but if we would accomplish that which is to be done at home, we must not neglect that which is to be done abroad. I allude to this as bearing upon the fact, that there is a great work to be done at home, and which calls for our immediate, prayerful, and united efforts ; and I am happy to know that there are societies formed, whose specific object it is to accomplish this great good. It was said by one of the wisest men of my native country, and it is a saying which ought to come home to the hearts of all those who love the kingdom of the Redeemer, that since the days of Calvin and Luther there has not been any one thing which has so much retarded the progress of Christianity, as the fact, that those who have professed it have not acted up to the principles they have professed to believe. My Christian friends, and Mr. Chairman, this is a truth we profess to believe, that there is but one name given under heaven whereby we can be sared ; we profess to believe that those who live and die in their sins are lost for erer ; we profess to believe, that without the outpouring of the Spirit of God, all our efforts are futile; but we do not act up fully to these professions : we are indifferent, we are sluggish, we are inactive in our exertions for this great work, which calls for our greatest activity, our most fervent prayers, our untiring zeal. I have great pleasure, my Christian friends, in proposing the adoption of the report which has been read. I rejoice in the interest which has been already manifested in the work, but I hope that henceforth your efforts, and your zeal, will be more in proportion to the object which calls them forth.
The Rev. JAMES SHERMAN, of London, in seconding the resolution, said-Mr. Chairman and Christian brethren, as I appear before you this morning for the first time, to participate in the proceedings of this institution, I had no anticipation what. erer of being called upon to address this assembly. I, however, fully concur in the feelings which dictated this resolution, and I cannot but most earnestly wish that the objects may be extensively carried out. Sir, I believe our Home Missionary operations depend much on a revival of real piety amongst us all ; and if, in the churches of Jesus Christ, this can be deeply felt, and in our own souls, as ministers of Christ, we shall never want either funds or agents to carry out this most excellent work. Very much depends on each of our churches having a man of a devoted mind, who will interest himself in the villages and stations which may be occupied in his neighbourhood. It was my privilege at Reading to have a man of that description, possessed of a very tender and sympathizing mind towards the poor and the miserable, and the untaught around. It was his habit on a Sunday morning, occasionally, to go first to one place, and then to another, to hold a prayer-meeting, and there are, at this moment, on the very spots where he used to hold prayer-meetings, five beautiful little chapels erected, and perhaps, I may be forgiven if I say, that neither in London, nor in the country, would you find prettier buildings ; they have all been built of Bristol stone, have a bell to ring the hour for worship, and are, most of them, well attended. I was glad to hear that there are 500 stations occupied by this Society, and, what is best of all, that 350 members have been added to the church of Christ, during the past year, from the labours of the missionaries. How delightful to think that such a num. ber of precious souls have been added to the church of Christ. Only let us endeavour to excite in our own hearts, and amongst our people, an intense sympathy for the perishing around us, and the next year, instead of the present increase of funds, we shall have them doubled and trebled. I did not quite sympathize with the statement, where it said that we should have no regrets about legacies. Now, I must confess this, I do regret that those who have been accustomed to give to the cause of Christ during their life-time, should, when they come to die, give their property to some fattened relatives, who do not want it, instead of giving it to circulate the propagation of the Gospel. And I wish that some of us, who have the opportunity, when people are making their wills, would just drop a word to that effect. I think it might be exceedingly useful to the church of Christ, although I quite agree that it is much better for a man to be his own executor, than to leave others to dispense his property when he dies. Yet I venture to say, that, if I could bring a legacy of £500 to this institution, notwithstanding all the qualms which he had expressed, the secretary would not refuse to accept it. Without further occupying the time of the meeting, I will conclude with expressing a hope, that God will extend his blessing to all these efforts.
Sir Culling Eardly Smith, Bart. rose to support the resolution.--My dear friends and brethren, I am but little prepared to address you upon this subject, and the less so from the opposite reason to that which is generally avowed; not from the paucity, but from the variety of subjects connected with Home Missions, which makes it difficult to choose a topic upon which to say a few words. But I have been thinking for a few moments what I should say, and referring to the idea which is now present to my mind, and which I would pray God to be able to cast like seed over the minds of all here, is this, the importance of itinerancy in connexion with your Home Missions. I do not know what are the feelings of others who have addressed you on occasions like this; but it is a solemn feeling that there is a num. ber of persons deeply sympathizing in this cause, and that if any effect is to be produced next year, it will be in a great degree in consequence of what is done now; it produces a feeling of responsibility which almost destroys the power of utterance. But I will endeavour to do my best. Dear friends, the law of nature is reciprocity. In our bodies the arteries convey forth the blood to the extremities, and the veins bring it back again. And so must it be in relation to your Home Missionary Society. Its junction with you confers a great honour-it is a child of yours. The Irish Evangelical Society is a child of yours; the Colonial Missionary Society is another child. All these confer honour, and what is more than honour, responsibility and use. fulness upon you. But, dear friends, it must go back again. As it rejoices your hearts to know that your children are walking in the truth, so must there also be an inclination to sustain and extend that truth, and it can, I believe, be done most effectually by itinerancy. I conceive that it is the duty of this Union to do all in its power to attract public attention to local missions ; not so much by given services, and not merely the ordinary form of service, the preaching of a sermon, but the simple preaching of Gospel in connexion with local missions. Perhaps I shall make myself better understood by telling you what is uppermost in my own mind at the present moment. The Hertfordshire Union, consisting not only of Pædobaptists but of Baptists, and open to all denominations, is at this moment originating a movement of the sort which I have endeavoured to describe. They propose to erect a tent in every parish and village during this summer ; and they have thrown themselves upon the talent, and the zeal, and the energy, of those who are connected with this Union, and connected with their body, calling upon them to come forward and help them. My friends, I anticipate great good from this announcement. I conceive that it may not only do good to that locality, but direct public attention to others also. They have taken upon themselm
great responsibility by engaging in this work; but allow me, by this very act of men. tioning it, to devolve part of that responsibily upon you. Will you pray for them? I wish to devolve part of the responsibility upon the Secretaries of the Union, that they may feel it their duty to do all in their power to promote the object. Brethren, these are times, as we have been already told, in which men must act up to their principles, their negative principles, and their affirmative principles. One part of truth, is the truth of agency; and in order to demonstrate the truth of your principles, they must be seen to be active. Do let me entreat those who are able to come forward and aid us. I have facts before me; I know that this comes home to their consciences, and that they must feel that they ought to participate. I do entreat them to come forward and render their best assistance to the work. These, my friends, are unconnected observations ; but, as I have already said, on these occasions one feels great responsibility. I cast this seed upon you, hoping that it will spring up and bear abundant fruit in the next year.
It was agreed that, at this stage of the proceedings, the Secretary should call over the list of County and District Associations, to receive the communications of the delegated brethren, as the operations of the County Unions are closely connected with those of the Home Missionary Society.
The following brethren reported for their respective associations. Rev. H. Addiscott, for East Bucks ; Rev. J. P. Bull, North Bucks ; Rev. R. Chamberlayne, Dorset ; Sir Culling E. Smith, Herts; Rev. J. Kelly, Lancashire; Rev. J. Blackburn, Middlesex ; Rev. B. Hobson, Northamptonshire ; Rev. Thos. Mays, Leicestershire; Rev. A. Reed, Norfolk; Rev. I. Pattison, Shropshire; Rev. J. Jones, Oxfordshire ; Rev. J. Hill, Staffordshire; Rev. S. Davis, Suffolk; Rev. J. Richards, Surrey ; Rev. J. Edwards, Sussex. Written communications were also made for the counties of Durham and Derby.
The hour of adjournment having arrived, it was determined that the reports from the remaining associations should be heard on Friday morning, before the resolution on Home Missions be put from the chair.
The Rev. THOMAS BINNEY then concluded with prayer.
The meeting then adjourned to attend the annual meeting of the Irish Evangelical Society.
On Wednesday, April 28th, 1841, the Rev. D. Martin, late of Newport Pagnel Col. lege, was publicly ordained to the pastoral office over the Independent church and congregation, Creaton, Northamptonshire. The Rev. B. Hobson, of Welford, introduced the service by reading and prayer; the Rev. J. Bull, classical tutor of Newport Pagnel College, delivered the introductory discourse; in which he gave a luminous exposition of the principles of Congregational dissent. The Rev. E. T. Prust, of Northampton, having called upon the church publicly to ratify their invitation, proposed the usual questions, and received the confession of faith ; the Rev. D. Griffiths, of Long Buckby, offered the ordination prayer ; and the Rev. N. M. Harry, of London, addressed a very affectionate, instructive, and impressive charge to the young minister, founded on 2 Timothy iv. 5, and concluded by prayer; the Rev. Messrs. Davies, Cozens, and Nettleship, assisted in the service.
In the evening, the Rev. George Nettleship, of Yelvertoft, commenced the service of reading and prayer; and the Rev. T. Toller, of Kettering, preached to the people from Hebrews xiii. 17, and concluded by prayer; the Rev. W. Hawkins, of Towcester, also assisted in the service.
It is pleasing to be able to state, that the auspicious circumstances under which the union has been forined, give an additional interest to the impressive and hallowed