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TowCESTER, NORTHAMPTONSHIRE.-Services in connection with the recognition of the Rev. H. Hardin as pastor of the Baptist church in this place, were held on Thursday, July 31st. In the morning, at half past ten o'clock, there was a public prayer meeting, at which the Rev. J. Allen, B.A., of Regent's Park College. delivered an eloquent address on prayer. In the afternoon, at two o'clock, there was a public service. The Rev. J. Daries (Independent), of Towcester, read the Scriptures and offered prayer. The Rev. J. Teall, of Wool. wich (Mr. Hardin's late pastor), then stated the object of the meeting, and in an earnest and affec. tionate address expressed the desire of himself and the church at Woolwich that the union about to be consummated might be a lasting and a prosperous one, and concluded by asking the usual questions, The Rev. J. T. Brown, of Northampton, then read a very interesting statement prepared by one of the deacons (Mr. Tite), detailing the circumstances connected with the rise and progress of the cburch, from 1681 to the present time, and the steps which led to Mr. Hardin's invitation to the pastorate. Mr. Hardin then related the history of his conver. sion, call to the ministry, his reason for accepting the invitation of the church, and the doctrines he in. tended to preach, after which Mr. Teall offered the ordination prayer. The charge was then delivered by the Rev. W. H. Cornish, of Hook Norton, from 1 Timothy viii. 16. The Rev. T. Marriott, of Milton, closed the service by prayer. After the service a large number of friends took tea together in a large room and barn kindly lent for the occasion. In the evening, at six o'clock, a public meet. ing wes held, at which the Rev. J.T. Brown presided. The Revs. T. Chamberlain, B. P. Pratten, B.A., T. T. Gough, J. Mursell, and E. L. Forster, all delivered addresses.
LYDNEY, GLOUCESTERSHIRE.On Wednesday July 30th, Mr. M. S. Ridley, late of Rawdon Col lege, was ordained as pastor of the Baptist church at Lydney. A devotional meeting was held in the morning at seven o'clock, when prayers were offered by Messrs. Snaith, of Pillawell, Watkins and Nicholson, of Lydney, and the Rev. John Hall and Mr. Ridley. In the forenoon, at eleven o'clock, the chapel was filled with a respectable congregation, including members of all the neighbouring churches. The Rev. John Williams, of Newport (late of Glasgow), commenced the ser. vice by reading the Scriptures and prayer. The Rev. W. Best, B.A., of Coleford, delivered the introductory discourse from Matt. xxiii. 8. The Rev. Dr. Acworth proposed the usual questions to the pastor elect, offered the ordination prayer, and gave the charge, founded on 2 Corinthians iv. 2. The Rev. Benjamin Nicholson, of Bristol, closed the service with prayer. In the afternoon & public tea meeting was held in & spacious tent provided for the occasion. In the evening at half. past six the chapel was densely crowded. The Revs, Philip Prees, of Cinderford, and J. Taylor (Independent), of Adset, read and prayed. The Rev. Jobn Howard Hinton, A.M., although suffer. ing from illness, delivered with much energy and pathos a discourse full of fatherly counsels and solemn appeals.
RHYL.-On Tuesday, July 22nd, the foundationstone of a new English Baptist chapel was laid in this fashionable and increasing little town. The service having been opened by the Rev.R. Prichard, of Denbigh, addresses were delivered by the Rev. 8. H. Booth, of Birkenhead, who presided, and by the Revo. J. G. Owen, Dr. Pritchard, and Charles Vince. Mr. J. Taylor, jun., then produced the documents, &c., which were to be placed under the gtone. These consisted of a brief statement by the
minister and deacons, a copy of the Freeman, and of the local papers, and the coins of the realm. The stone was then laid by Miss Taylor. Prayer was offered by the Rev. J. T. Feaston, of Birmingham. The Right Honourable Lord Teynham delivered the closing address. In the evening the Rev. Charles Vince delivered a powerful sermon in the Wesleyan chapel. On Wednesday evening the Rev. Hugh Stowell Brown, of Liverpool, preached in the Independent Chapel. Collections were made after each meeting towards the chapel fund, which amounted in all to nearly £70.
CHESTERFIELD.--The foundation-stone of a Baptist chapel, to be erected in the improving town of Chesterfield, was laid in Brewery Street, on Tuesday, 29th July, by Joseph Wilson, Esq., of Sheffield, in the presence of a considerable assembly. The ceremony having been performed, the Rev. C. Larom, ot Sheffield, delivered an impressive address, Two sermons were preached in the market hall, in connection with this movement, on the previous Lord's day, by the Rev. James Edwards, of Nottingham. On Tuesday, at the close of the service on the ground, the promoters of the building adjourned with others to the market hall, where a large company sat down to tea. After te& a public meeting was held. Mr. Pike, of Hasland. at the request of the friends, occupied the chair, and the meeting was addressed by Joseph Wilson, Esq., Revs. James Edwards, C. Larom, J. P. Campbell, J. Ashmead, and otber friends. The prospect of the recently-formed Baptist church in this town is very encouraging.
CHIPPENHAM.The sixth anniversary of the opening of the Baptist chapel, Chippenham, was celebrated on Wednesday, July 16th, when sermons were preached by the Rev. W. Brock, of Bloomsbury, and the Rev. E. Probert. of Bristol. The great cause for rejoicing on the day of the anniversary was that the chapel was made free from debt. At its opening there was & sum of between £600 and £700 on the building. That sum has been principally diminished through the disinterested and continued efforts of the Rev. T. E. Fuller, secretary of the committee through whom the chapel was built. In addition to the sum thus raised, the congregation has built a school-room at the cost of £200, which, with other items and the debt on the chapel, makes the sum of £1,000 raised in the course of six years.
LANDPORT, PORTSMOUTH.-Services in connection with the formation of a Baptist church were held in the Commissioners' Hall, Landport, on Thurgday, August 7. The Rev. E. W. Burton read the Scriptures and prayed. The Rev. H. Kitching statēd the circumstances under which the new interest had been originated. The Rev. S. G. Green, B.A., Classical Tutor of Rawdon College, constituted the church, and, after the Rev. J. Davis had offered the benedictory prayer, delivered the charge to the minister. The Rev. J. B. Burt, of Beaulieu Rails, preached the discourse to the church, At the close of this service the newly-formed church, and members of other evangelical denominations, partook of the memorials of the Lord's death at bis table.
MINISTERIAL CHANGES.-The Rev. Dr. Evans | has resigned, after a ministry of thirty-eight years,
the pastorate of the cburch at Scarborongb.--The Rev, E. Morgan, of Wem, Salop, has accepted a unanimous invitation to the pastorate of the Baptist
church in Victoria Road, Crewe, and enters upon | bis labours the first Sabbath in October.-Mr B.
Cole has resigned the pastorate of the English Bap| tist church, Maesteg, Glamorganshire.
Love by reading B.A., Fm Matto
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THE CHURCH. .
" Built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the
* chief corner-stone."
A CHURCH IN RUINS.
BY TIE REV. JOHN COX. By this expression, “ A Church in Ruins," I do not mean a dilapidated material building, though I may make use of such an object'as an illustration. To many persons the ruins of an old cathedral or ancient church form an inter. esting and picturesque object. While the painter loves to transfer its outline to his sketch-book, the thoughtful mind gathers round the crumbling pile many sad and solemn associations. He thinks of the generations which have passed in succession through the old doorway, and who were at last carried through it to one of the graves which now surround it. He inquires, Was the glorious Gospel preached within these walls, and did many believe it? He thinks, Where are the preachers and the hearers now; and what is their condition in that eternity of retribution and reward towards which we all are hastening?
By the term “ Church,” I mean a body of professed believers who have volun. tarily united themselves together for divine worship, Christian communion, and holy service. When composed of "saints indeed,” who live in peace, walk in love, and act for God's glory in seeking each other's profit and the salvation of souls, a nobler sight cannot be seen out of heaven than such a church. Nothing material, political, or social, can for a moment be compared with it, God himself being witness. “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.". Such answer, in some measure, to God's great and gracious idea, “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, whereunto ye are called in one body, and be ye thankful.” Time would fail to' quote the passages which express the pleasure of holy men, yea, we may also say the delight of the Holy Spirit, in such exhibitions of Christian unity, love, and zeal (Acts ii. 22, iv. 32, ix. 31 ; Rom. i. 7, 8; Col. ii. 5.; 1 Thess. v. 7, 8).
Can ruin come upon such bodies as these ? Can decay lay his withering fingers here, and crumble down all this beauty? We appeal to facts for a reply. Where is the church at Jerusalem ? Swept away ages ago. What is become of the church at Ephesus? The candlestick has long been removed. In what condition is the Christian religion at Rome? Is there a church now in that famed city that Paul could address as “ beloved of God, called to be saints "? Ah, no! “the gold has become dim, and the most fine gold changed.” The same questions may be asked and the same answers given respecting every other church mentioned in the New Testament. All are either swept clean away, or only exhibit a few unsightly ruins, concealing hurtful and hideous things beneath them. These sad changes were gradual, and did not involve the loss of one soul really united to Jesus. The ruin was that of a corporate body. It involved the disappointment and destruction of many mere professors, it seriously injured many Christians, and caused the Lord's name to be blasphemed; but amidst all the wreck it was
proved that “the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his ;" and what an emphasis was there given to the next words, “Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from all iniquity."
We are able to trace in the word of God the gradual decay of some of these churches. Take that at Ephesus; once so flourishing, so rich in grace and gifts. The apostle gave a faithful warning when bidding the elders of that church farewell (see Acts xx. 28–31); and his great Lord, some years later, exposed to view the decay that had already commenced, and solemnly summoned its professors to “remember and repent” (Rev. ii. 24-5); but all was in vain, and soon ruin followed. The church at Rome also seems soon to have lost its early beauty ; and we read of “envy and strife". (Phil. i. 15). A few years later Paul mournfully writes of the Christians there, “No man stood by me, all men forsook me" (2 Tim. iv. 16); and though truth lingered in the city a long time, at length error and worldliness prevailed, and a moral pest-house has for ages occupied the strong points of the seven. hilled city. There is no ruin at Rome 80 fearful as this moral ruin.
Are there any ruined churches among us! Sometimes, though not very often, we hear of churches dying out, or being dissolved; but it is not of these we now speak, but of something even worse. When a church, wbich for years has been prosperous-where apparently many souls have been converted -where believers have walked and worked together, and been blessings to all around; when such a church becomes a scene of strife and debate, where angry words are spoken, and bad tempers triumph, so that the peaceful and timid withdraw, and the clamorous and scheming carry everything their own way, we exclaim, What a ruin! Communion of saints cannot exist under such cir. cumstances, and consecration to God's service is unknown. It may be that many things are done, and much zeal displayed, but if the words of warning are overlooked "Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory;” “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others ”activity only makes the ruin wider, and even additions under such circumstances become a source of weakness, and generally introduce spiritual sappers, to un. dermine the walls.
While looking at an old ruin, whether castle, abbey, or church, we feel inclined to inquire respecting the cause of its overthrow. Did a fire break out within it; did an enemy assault it; or did it gradually fall into ruin through neglect ! Thus we inquire when we see " a Church in Ruins ;” and such inquiries properly conducted will exhibit the truth of God's word, and furnish warning for others. Was there a want of prayer and watchfulness? Was sin excused, and discipline not attended to ? Or did a covetous spirit gradually creep in, so that God did not get his own year after year? Were some of the members fast accumulating property, and seeing all the while others in trouble, if not want, without lending a real helping hand? Was any truth given up, or held lightly, in order to obtain some very questionable advantage? Such questions are necessarily of a general nature, but may assist those who are mourning in secret over decaying churches, diligently to search out the cause. After a building has suddenly fallen down, it has been often ascertained that in certain places the dry rot has been at work for years. When a great fire has burst out without warning, proof is forthcoming that it had been smouldering for hours, or even days. A ilttle diligence might have found out these things in time, and prevented the catastrophe. So with regard to churches, how much mischief and ruin might have been prevented by proper mutual oversight and faithful loving discipline.
There is one cause of much misery in some churches, and also of the ruin of others ; a cause so common and so powerful that it deserves a separate mention. No one but God can count how many pastors' hearts bave been broken, how