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he was united in Christian fellow- built. A few years proved that ship, with the Independent Church the place was too strait for them, then assembling at Cannon Street and several successive enlargeRoad Chapel, St. George's in the ments were made, till this devoted East, under the pastoral care of the pastor saw himself surrounded by Rev. Thomas Bryson. That esti- a congregation of about 800 permable man, who had himself been Amidst the constantly re. introduced to the ministry through curring duties of his pastoral the vigilance of others, soon ob- charge, did this valued minister served the piety, strong sense, and spend his life, and however injuadaptation for usefulness, by which rious to his bodily health these his young friend was distinguish- labours were found to be, yet it is ed, and he gave him such advice, the comfort and the honour of the and recommended such a course people to recollect, that his spirits of reading, as prepared Mr. D. to were never broken by their untoappear before the church as a ward temper or unholy conduct. candidate for the Christian minis. “I was never, during the period
Under their sanction he of nearly forty years,” said he, went forth and preached at New- “ for a single hour made uneasy port, in Essex, and other places, by my church.” It may be imatill, in the spring of 1795, he was gined that the mutual affection that led to Chishill, where, having subsisted between this faithful and preached for more than a year as devoted pastor and his attached and a probationer, he was ordained sympathetic people, was strongly pastor, May 19th, 1796.
evinced as the time drew nigh At the period he entered upon “ when they should see his face no this sphere of labour the meeting- more!" The last time he admihouse was almost deserted, and nistered the Lord's Supper he was the church was reduced to a very borne to the sacramental board, few members. It pleased God, and there, amidst extreme weakhowever, so to bless the labours of ness, he gave utterance to his bis servant, that in a few years the emotions of love and joy in a maninterest attained to a degree of ner that will long live in the reprosperity never before known. collection of his brethren : there Amidst these cheering circum- was stances, an event occurred which “ A mortal paleness on his cheek, threatened the most serious results. “But glory in his soul.” The village was visited with a ca
After a season of growing delamitous fire, which in its de- bility, this valued minister at structive progress consumed not length rested from his labours, on only farm houses, cottages, barns, Sabbath morning, May 6, 1832, mastings, and workshops, but also in the sixty-first year of his age, the venerable meeting-house, and and the thirty-eighth year of his thus at once destroyed the house pastoral care. of prayer, and the property of
Thus in this very secluded vilthose who worshipped in it.- lage, there has continued, for proThe characteristic energy of Mr. bably a century and a half, a rural Dobson was called forth by this congregation, which has increased event, and by the liberality of the in numbers, order, and efficiency, people, notwithstanding their losses, and by the aid of the religious
* Vide Evangelical Mag. July 1832, public, the meeting house was re
pp. 289, 292.
with the lapse of years, and has faithful pastor, and the volunsecured the faithful exhibition of tary contributions of his people the Gospel of Jesus to the sur- not only to support him, but to rounding hamlets, which, but for build and enlarge their house of it, might have been left in all prayer, uphold a large Sabbaththe darkness of their natural igno- school, and to promote village
preaching at home and missions The advocates of a state provi. abroad, while they are at the sion for the support of religious oro same time taxed to support the divances admit, that the voluntary endowed church establishment.
, principle may be equal to main- Sure we are, that if religion tain public worship in our larger were left to her own resources, towns and cities, but deny its com- and every community had to petency in rural districts. The provide for its own efforts, and church before us presents an in- those only, that there would be stance, of which ere are, happily, seen in every district of this counmany hundreds throughout the try a much wider diffusion of kingdom, of a whole rural district spiritual religion than has yet brought under the influence of been known. " The Lord hasten vital religion by the labours of a it in his time.”
THE DECENCIES OF PUBLIC WORSHIP.
“Let all things be done decently and in order."-1 Cor. xiv. 40.
UNDER the old or Mosaic econo- most solemn manner to the altar my, great importance was attached of the Most High.
In short, to local sanctity, and the most every thing seems to have been scrupulous attention was required arranged so as to excite in the to the numerous minute ceremo- mind the conviction : Holiness benies of the levitical ritual. The cometh thy house for ever. Jews were taught to regard the On the introduction of the new temple as peculiarly the residence dispensation, all sanctity of places of Jehovah-a circumstance which was removed.
“ In every place inwas of itself sufficient to invest cense shall be offered unto my every object in any way connected name, and a pure offering: for my with it with more than ordinary name shall be great among the sacredness, and inspire the mind heathen, saith the Lord of Hosts. with feelings of holy solemnity The hour cometh when ye shall Those who went up to neither in this mountain,
nor yet at worship in that august edifice were Jerusalem, worship the Father.”required to sanctify themselves, in Mal. i. 11; John iv. 21. When order that they might engage in the time of reformation came, an the prescribed service in an accep- end was put to the divers washings table manner. They were to ap- and carnal ordinances, or those proach it under the influence of a appointments which related to exsacred and impressive sense of the ternal purification. Every thing Divine presence. The priests, and connected with the worship of God especially the High Priests, were was rendered more spiritual. The commanded to observe preparatory pomp and splendour necessarily oblations, and draw near in the belonging to an earthly teinple
were withdrawn, to give place to every thing acceptable about the the simplicity of Gospel worship; worship is to be traced to his graand, since that period, every at- cious influence! The Redeemer tempt to call forth the beggarly. himself has promised to be specially elements of ceremonial observance present in the midst of his assemhas only tended to disfigure and bled disciples, Matt. xviii. 20, and degrade the religion of the Lord a conviction of the reality of this Jesus.
invisible presence is highly calcuGreat, however, as is the change lated to produce spiritual and holy which has thus been effected, it feelings in every regenerate mind. would be grossly erroneous to sup- The importance of the means of pose, that any alteration was de- grace, the ends to be gained hy signed to be produced in the moral their due improvement, the frame sanctity of religious service, ex- of mind which corresponds to their cept it be in regard to the greater nature and design, and the high intensity given to the degree of and awful responsibilities which the that sanctity by the incomparably possession of them involves: these, more powerful excitements fur- and numerous other considerations nished by the Gospel of Christ. A which will easily suggest themspirit of listlessness, levity, and selves to the reader, conspire to daring, forms no part of that liberty fill the mind with reverence, and with which Christ hath made his lead it to cherish those feelings people free. From the burdensome and dispositions which alone can yoke of ceremonies he has indeed be regarded as comporting with the liberated them, but it is only that, hallowed associations of
66 the by abstracting their thoughts from. Temple of the Living God.” things visible and earthly, he The words of an inspired apostle, might the more effectually engage which stand at the head of this them to worship the Father in paper, are strongly corroborative spirit and truth. Though, there- of these observations. They exfore, there is now no more sacred- pressly inculcate, that every ness attaching to the brick and thing connected with the public mortar of a place of worship, than worship of God should be so arto any other building whatever, ranged and conducted as the nathere is still a high degree of ture of the service requires. They sanctity pertaining to the assemblies imply that there is a decorum, a of the saints. “ The temple of propriety, a decency and gracefulGod is holy, which temple ye are.” ness of demeanour to be observed Those who believe in the Saviour, by all the members of a Christian and, in obedience to his command, church, and an established order have come out from the world, and and arrangement to which it is associated themselves for the pur- their duty at all times rigidly to pose of publicly observing his ordi- adhere. They involve: nances, are a sanctified people. I. PUNCTUALITY. As it is They are not only the purchase of indispensable that a fixed and dethe blood of Christ, but the subjects finite hour for assembling be agreed of the regenerating and purifying upon by all Christian churches, influences of the Holy Spirit.- nothing can be more obvious than How solemn the reflection, that in the duty which such a regulation every Christian, assembled with his implies, viz. that every member brethren, the Spirit of all holiness should make it a matter of condwells and operates, and that science to be in his place by the
appointed hour. In some places Earth, reflect how anxious they of worship, there is a gross breach would be, how they would scheme of decorum in this respect. After and contrive, how they would waiting, it may be nearly ten make every thing bend in subminutes past the time, the minister serviency to their purpose, were ascends the pulpit, but still ob- they to be received at a given serving only a sprinkling over the hour into the presence-chamber of area of the chapel, and perceiving an earthly monarch. Shall that
person dropping in after attention be given, and that puncanother, postpones the commence- tuality be observed in deference to ment of the service for another five a worm of the dust, which is wanminutes. And, even after he has tonly and listlessly withholden from begun to implore the Divine bless- Him who, after he batb killed ing on the services of the day, or the body, hath power to cast into to read that word by which his hell? Should we not rather fear hearers are to be judged at the Him ? tribunal of Christ, he is disturbed Il. Devour STILLNess is anby the indecent noises occasioned other of the decencies which the by the entrance and bustle of others public service of God demands. who are still later in their atten. Not to observe further on the outdance. It ought to be a subject of rage to the feelings of the diligent serious enquiry on the part of every and devout worshipper which is minister, whether such irregularity committed by those to whose noisy be not the result of a previous want entrance at a late hour we have of punctuality on his part, and if just adverted, it may be proper to so, to rectify it as speedily as pos. rem
mark, that the most profound sisible. And it may be recom- lence ought to be observed during mended to all ministers to consider every part of the service in which whether it would not be seemly no call is made on vocal particithat they, as examples to their pation. And this participation flocks, should always be in the should ever be confined to the pulpit before, rather than after the psalmody, and the Amen at the hour, so as to commence the ser- close of the prayers, as practised vice precisely at the proper time, in the primitive church. Nothing irrespective of the number of per- is more offensive to a sober mind sons who may happen to be present. than the mechanical Amen of the A visible change would soon be Methodists, ever and anon repeated the result; and, if
still in the course of prayer, or the no tinued to come in late, an appeal less mechanical groans which dison the subject might then be tinguish that body, and some other consistently made from the pulpit. sections of the professing church of Many persons seem to forget that Christ; while, on the contrary, nothe great object for which Chris- thing is more gratifying both to tians assemble is to worship God. ministers and all truly serious The consequence is, that with them and enlightened hearers, than to it is a matter of comparative, if not of witness that stillness which the absolute insignificance, at what part flutter of a goat's wing would of the service they enter a chapel, break, and which is evidently proonly they contrive to be in time duced by a solemn sense of the for the sermon ! Let all who go Divine presence, or by due reup to the courts of the Eternal and flexion on the all-important truths Infinite Majesty of Heaven and which are being delivered, or the fervent prayers which, in the name it to banish every trilling thought, of all, are being presented to the and resist every intruding care, throne of the Infinite Majesty. that the word, which is quick and Not only ought the ease with powerful, and sharper than any twowhich a cough may be suppressed, edged sword, piercing even to the to evince the indecorousness of a dividing asunder of soul and spirit, noisy indulgence in that disagree and proving a discerner of the able habit, but there ought to be thoughts and intents of the heart, a strenuous effort made to put a may have room to produce its lestop to what is gaining ground in gitimate effects. The fact, too, some congregations the interrup- that an account must be rendered tion of such a suppression at the end of the improvement or misimproveof certain divisions or paragraphs of ment of the means of grace, and the discourse, by a fit of coughing that each opportunity that we enwhich would seem to have attack- joy may be our last, ought to opeed the whole assembly. There is, rate powerfully to the production no doubt, a habit in this, as in of that serious and devout attention every thing else, and it only re- which is required of all who hear quires to be resolutely resisted in the Gospel of Christ. order to its abandonment.
The influence of such a spirit III. SERIOUS ATTENTION to will be manifest in the external the word of God, whether as read deportment of those who feel it. from the Scriptures, or exhibited, They will not be like many whose illustrated, and enforced in the eyes are continually gadding about, sermon, ought ever to characterize and surveying one part of the conthe members of Christian assem- gregation after another; nor will blies. Not only should there be they exhibit the disgusting spectaan avoidance of every thing that cle which is sometimes to be seen would divert the attention, distract in places of Worship, of persons the thoughts, unbend the mind, nodding assent, and smiling, and and carnalize the affections, but tossing up their heads in approbathere should be a positive and con- tion of the sermon.
They will, tinued effort to bave the heart fixed individually, consider themselves on divine things, and especially to isolated, and called upon to exahave it occupied with the subjects mine their own state and character, which, on the occasion, are pre- by the truth which they are hearing; sented to the view. The consi- and under the impression thus proderation that it is the truth of God, duced, they will discover a sober to which the attention is sum. stayedness of demeanour, and an moned-truth which involves the anxious solicitude to obtain not high and immortal interests of merely a salutary excitement, but the human soul, which sanctifies solid instruction and edification to and saves it, producing, in the their souls. With their attention band of the Spirit, the new and rivetted by the word, they will not spiritual nature, the knowledge of be of the number of those who, God, repentance for sin, faith in after the half hour, begin, as it were the Lord Jesus Christ, the hope of instinctively, to look at the clock, eternal life, and a course of action and who give indications by the in correspondence with these all- restlessness of their behaviour, that important principles, should com- the language of their hearts is, municate a tone of the deepest " what a weariness is it: when will seriousness to the mind, and lead it be over!” N.S. NO, 92.