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THE 31ST OF THE PRESENT MONTH. The Committees of the Congregational Union, and of the three societies for Missions in England, Ireland, and the Colonies, affiliated with the Union, address once more an earnest, anxious appeal to the churches, and their pastors, for co-operation in this effort.

A paper has been prepared, in a form suitable for distribution in pews in aid of collections, explaining and recommending this effort, and stating the operations and necessities of the societies on whose behalf it is made. Brethren intending to make collections in connexion with this proposal, may be supplied with any number of copies of this paper they may require, on application to the Rev. A. WELLS, at the Congregational Library, Blomfield Street, Finsbury, London.

HOME MISSIONARY SOCIETY. HOME MISSIONARY SOCIETY AND THE CHRISTIAN OBSERVER. A writer in the Christian Observer for last month has made some animadversions on part of the proceedings of the annual meeting of the Home Missionary Society. Though anonymous, these remarks are made in a respectful tone, and, if noticed at all, they should be met in a kindred spirit.

We can assure the writer, whoever he is, that the venerable chairman had sufficient grounds for saying, that “in many places priestly domination is set at work, in private circles, and by private visitation, to do all they can to threaten and prevent the people from attending our places of worship.” Had it been only an insulated case, had there been simply acts of indiscretion on the part of a few, his expression might have appeared strong. But when from month to month, many of the agents of that very society, at whose anniversary he presided, complain grievously of unkind and unchristian opposition to their labours, by the clergy-such instances being published, and known to him-he was fully justified in the remark he made. He has besides such opportunities of knowing how the evangelical labours of other denominations are opposed in England by the clergy, of all sections into which they are now divided, as few other persons possess—and " he spoke that he did know." He might demur to the claims brought forward by the writer in the Observer, on behalf of the incumbent of a parish, as “having a right to exhort all his parishioners to attend upon his ministrations"—if this is to be understood in any other sense, than that in which it would apply to any minister of Christ, who founds his claim on higher authority than any other man can give. And yet if such incumbent, on finding that some had wandered from his fold, had used no other means, than those mentioned by M. C. B.-" to follow them with his prayers, and bear them all Christian love, so far as they followed Christ,"-or had he only “exhorted them to return,"-Mr. Wilson would not have called it " priestly domination.” Nay, he would have esteemed the man, and respected his motives, even though he might have thought him mistaken in his views. But the facts subjoined to the present observations will show, that the domination exercised is of another kind. Had the gentle mode of procedure, approved by M. C. B., been generally employed, not only would our chairman and our missionaries have adopted another tone-but the facts themselves would not have been introduced now, unless called for by such remarks as those made in the “ Observer." The statements are made on the authority of good men, who have devoted them. selves to the work of gathering the outcasts, instructing the ignorant, saving the lost—and who seek, while prosecuting this work, to“ follow peace with all men." Names, and places, and circumstances could be given, if safety from the law of libel could be secured, to show that there is no class of men in England, who so much oppose the entrance of the Gospel, into dark and immoral districts, as the clergyand more than this, that some of the most determined of such opponents are found in the evangelical section of their body. Neither cottagers nor farmers, when left to their own free agency, oppose the missionaries—young and old are in general prepared to welcome them—but from the clergy they meet with undisguised hostility, which, not satisfied with opposing the missionary himself, includes all who dare to encourage him. These are facts—we leave our readers to decide, who are the “ bigots.”

The anonymous writer next comments on a statement in the Report, as read at the public meeting, that within a few miles of the stations of the society, there are 350 villages, altogether destitute of the Gospel. This statement rests on the authority of men, whose word is credited in other things, and by those who know their manner of life. It is supposed by M. C. B. that perhaps hamlets were meant; but it is not so. Villages were intended-most of them containing parish churches, and all the accompaniments of outward service--and yet, we repeat it again, they are " altogether destitute of the Gospel." Should this appear incredible, to a writer, in many other matters so enlightened, as M. C. B.? Does he not know, that the existence of a parish church does not necessarily suppose the presence of the Gospel in it ? Does he not know that even professed teachers of the way to heaven, may propagate error, and endanger souls? He cannot surely mean to say, that the erroneons preaching, or inconsistent living of the clergymen belonging to these 350 villages, is sufficiently counteracted by the Bible and the Prayer Book—or that the use of these can be said to constitute the preaching of the Gospel. Why then the anxiety of the evangelical party, to purchase livings, held by ungodly clergy? Why rejoice in the increasing number of those, who preach the doctrines of Romaine and Newton, compared with the units to be found in their day? The grand question is not, Is there a church in a place ? but, What is preached in the church? If there be a parish where the clergyman preaches error, or fails in his life to exhibit the vital influence of truth ; and if there be no place of worship in which the Gospel is faithfully proclaimed by any one else—then we believe, and we simply state, that that parish is altogether destitute of the Gospel.

We regret the sneer of M. C. B. at the voluntary principle, because it is not in keeping with the rest of his remarks. Before he questioned either the “all-suficiency" of that principle, or the consistency of its advocates, he ought to have inquired the reason, why the voluntary efforts had not “sent into these villages the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace.” Had such inquiry been made, it would have been found, that in ninety-eight villages this had been attempted; but that in fifty-eight cases it was rendered unsuccessful, by the hostility and opposition of the clergy. Besides, the all-sufficiency of the voluntary principle will only be seen, when all believers, of every section of the church of Christ, shall act upon it. Into these dark places, pious churchmen are as much bound as others, to introduce the light of truth. If they cannot do this, consistently with the system to which they now adhere, they should not discourage, but rather aid those, who are happils not so fettered; but whose efforts are limited by the smaller amount in which they possess that wealth and influence, to be found among the favoured and prevailing sect. Enlightened churchmen cannot but know, that in agricultural districts, especially, there are parishes, whose inhabitants are utterly ignorant of the way of salvation-truly sitting in darkness, and under the shadow of death.

The writer next refers to the statement, that "there are three or four thousand parishes in which no Gospel is preached by the national clergy." He condemns this statement as uncharitable, and by implication incorrect ; and while very properly asking for a definition of "what is meant by preaching the Gospel"-he gives an extract, describing the preaching of dissenters as “an exhibition of metaphysics, philosophy, and school-learning." With the unfairness of this representation, we have nothing to do. All we should say of it is, that if such were the prevailing character of dissenters' preaching, the sooner their chapels were closed the better. But we should suppose, we cannot but believe, that the phrase "preaching the Gospel,” is perfectly understood by M. C. B. We should understand by it, a full, and simple, and earnest declaration, of the doctrines of justification by faith; regeneration, not by baptism, but by the operation of the Holy Ghost ; the absolute necessity of this Divine work in the soul; the great doctrine of the atonement; and the freeness of salvation to every sinner who will believe the joyful news. When these things are plainly and affectionately declared, we rejoice to acknowledge, that the Gospel is preached.

Now the question recurs, how many of the parochial clergy preach these doctrines? Is it not matters of notoriety, that those well acquainted with the spiritual statistics of their own church, count 3000 as the number of evangelical clergymen; and that this includes many, who, though they are evangelical in their preaching, can hardly be recognized as spiritually enlightened themselves ? But suppose we say 3500--there are at least 10,000 parishes. Deduct the former number from the latter ; and how many remain ? not 3000 or 4000, but 6500. If there are so many, it may well be questioned, whether by such a system more souls have been saved or lost. We have seen no evidence to convince us, that the number of evangelical clergymen is so great as has been stated. But even if so many were to be found a year or two ago, there have been within that time a lamentable amount of converts to the ranks of Puseyism. And though all these do not run alike to “the same excess of folly," yet they have imbibed the exclusive spirit of the party; and instead of being friendly with fellow-labourers of another name, the zeal with with which they formerly aimed at the salvation of souls, is now too frequently exhibited in speaking against other teachers, and preaching the popish doctrine of apostolic succession. The rest of the clergy are decidedly unfavourable to evangelical doctrine ; and how any writer in the Christian Observer could object to our statement of the 3000 or 4000, is to us a matter of surprize. We fear it is the working of a delusion, which deceives many, and keeps good men easy, while thousands are perishing. They say, “Oh, the Gospel is to be found in the Liturgy, and in the Scriptures read at church.” Hence the desire of some to disprove the assertion, that it is preaching the Gospel that God honors in the conversiou of sinners. On this point we are not called to enter. The advocates of such an opinion can easily defend themselves.

The Home Missionary Society has no object in view but the spread of the Gospel throughout this country. It brings no railing accusation against other denominations. At the same time, it is prepared to uphold its statements, by numerous facts; and to sustain its missionaries also, while they, in a Christian spirit, pursue their important work. The Directors give no encouragement to preach against other churches against errors in doctrine their agents are bound to preach ; but the known wish of the Directors is, that the missionaries should co-operate cheerfully and sincerely with all other denominations, while they are seeking the salvation of men by scriptural means. All this, however, is compatible with a feeling of regret, and with an expression of censure, when means are used which interfere with religious liberty, and with the rights of conscience, and which would, if successful, silence all our missionaries as unauthorized teachers, and destroy the Home Missionary Society itself, as an unnecessary intruder into a field already occupied by the ministers of a rational church. N. S. VOL. V.

5 B

While England, however, remains unevangelized, and two-thirds of its teening population remain uninstructed, the Christians of this land will not allow the exerts of the Home Missionary Society to be lessened, or its scriptural plan of saying socks to be abandoned. It can carry the Gospel where pious churehmen cannot go to preach it without being guilty of an ecclesiastical crime; on them, therefore, the Society has just claims, whether they count the destitute villages by hundreds or by thousands.

Extracts from the Journals of the Missionaries. "One old woman on whom I called told me, she dared not attend any other place than the parish church. She lives under the D- , and would be turned out o her cottage if she did; and the clergyman, who is a relation of the - , is as had as himself, and greatly opposed to all dissenters, and would deprive them of his favours if he missed any of them at church."

“ The Directors seek for facts—I send one. A poor man in my congregation applied to the vicar for a portion of the charities left to the poor in this place A long conversation ensued, in the course of which the poor man was lectured upon the sin of schism. Arguments were next used to induce him to return; and among others, the following: Vicar— Even allowing that your soul should be endangered, you may make yourself perfectly easy, I shall have to bear the responsibility. Your soul will not be required at your hand, but at mine !!

“ Tory ascendancy has caused a great deal of chuckling among the clergy in this neighbourhood; and if their movements amount to any thing, they seem determined to try to drive back dissent from whence Gathercole says it came. Little else than Puseyism has been heard from the pulpit belonging to the Establishment at this place-baptismal regeneration, apostolic succession, and confirmation, have been the principal topics for the last two months."

"A female in this town, the wife of a tradesman, has been in the habit of attend. ing my ministry at least for eighteen months. During the last month, however, she has ceased to attend, and her four children have been removed from our Sundarschool. Upon inquiring the reason, we have learnt, that she was threatened with the loss of custom, if she persisted in attending chapel, and in sending her childra to school.

" It should be remarked, that, till we came here, she seldom or never attended any place of worship. The cases, however, are numerous, in which we have succeeded in getting persons to hear the Gospel, who never attended church for years, but their attendance with us has been marked, and rebuked, and stopped ; and now it is generally understood among the poor, that to attend with us is a crime, to attend nowhere is none! The name of the clergyman is given as the chief opposer."

In a very destitute district in Hampshire, the missionary says, he "might open rooms in several places, if Church influence was not so great against us."

“ The clergyman of the parish lately called at the houses of those who attend or little place, and endeavoured to persuade them not to go to chapel any more, because dissenting preachers were no ministers, and had no right to preach at all. He again opened a Sabbath-school in a cottage, right opposite our little chapel; but as he brai no suitable teachers, the children would not go. However, he insisted on his own clerk's withdrawing his children from our school, which he did as a matter of course; he had three or four, and no one beside went. As might have been expected, it soon came to nothing.

“I am thankful to say, that things go on very favourably in the little school at present. However, there is one circumstance which I much deplore. H i s an agricultural neighbourhood, and when the little boys or girls go out to service, to the farmers, they are never permitted to attend the Sabbath-school again. I never wit

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