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ISAIAH, 49th CHAPTER.
2. But mourning Zion long had sigh'd To think her days of gladness past; “God has forsaken me," she cried, “Forgotten me at last.”
QUERY. To the Editor of the Independent Magazine. A constant reader of the Independent, and an occasional contributor, requests some of his christian friends, through the medium of its pages, to insert a few remarks explanatory of a portion of scripture, the literal meaning of which is intelligible, but not its application. The words referred to are these: “No man seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment, else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse.” The request is made by a sincere inquirer after truth, and any efforts to illustrate the practical lesson our Lord designed to convey, will be duly appreciated, by
CANDIDUS. February 14th, 1843.
REVIEWS. The Advancement of Religion the Claim of the Times. By
Andrew Reed, D.D. London: John Snow. pp. 400.
This series of lectures was delivered at the close of the year 1838, and was the means, by God's blessing, of exciting that delightful revival of religion at Wycliffe Chapel, the narrative of which (now witnessed to by its permanent and happy results) has already attracted so much interest in the churches. We have not space now to analyze all the solemn and deeply important contents of this work. The chapter on “the advancement of religion in the world” strikes us as most likely to prove of the most powerful present interest. From that we shall make a few extracts. The first is for the directors of missionary societies, and for the consideration of that large number of thoughtful christians who are constrained to acknowledge the unsatisfactory condition—both in constitution and working—of those which they support.
"If in existing circumstances there must be, as I deliberately think there must, separate institutions for missionary service, they must acquire additional power, by a closer connexion with the churches from which they emanate. If there is union, there must be union by explicit consent; if there is centralization, there must be representation likewise. If all the churches are to assist according to their ability, all must be fully interested by knowledge, option, and fellowship. They must not only have confidence in the proceedings, (which, however, is of unspeakable importance,) they must have identification with them they must be their proceedings."
The next is for the study of every christian man whom God has endowed with “a sound mind in a sound body.” The pressure of “the times” on many such gives the voice of Providence to these words.
“Then, and especially, the church should be brought to correct her opinions on missionary labour. Whether designedly or not, our operations have given, almost universally, wrong impression on this great subject. In the general mind the missionary and the minister are identified; so that no one turns his thought to the missionary field, till he has first disposed of the question, am I fit to be a minister of the gospel ? Mostly to the honest mind this question brings a negative, and henceforth he satisfies himself, that he owes no personal duty to the heathen. What is this but to inoculate our modern institutions, which are for the life of the world, with the worst vice of the papacy? This error requires to be met not by opposing to it the literal truth; it chiefly needs that we should oppose to it instant practice.”
Our hearts have been gladdened this month to find the Eclectic Review urging upon our ministers in this country—as a subject to which the necessities of the times call their special attention and earnest study—“the science and practical inrentions of general teaching.” In connection with this promise of good, our readers will join with us to welcome the following extract.
“ Most heartily we believe, that it is by the earnest utterance of the gospel, that we are to look for the conversion of the world to God. But what is preaching but one mode of education? a mode adapted to adult life ? Are we, however, to labour for the adult, and neglect the young ? Education, in the hands of pious men, is the appropriate method of making known the gospel to youthful life. Everywhere there may well be a distinction preserved, fainter or broader, between the engagements of the teacher and the pastor ; but it were strange policy to put them in a state of conflict, or even of separation. Rome has shown consummate skill in the fact, that while she is unfriendly to popular knowledge within her own peaceful domain, when she has to deal with a determined adversary, she relies chiefly on education-and the education of the young-for her success."
How deep and important are these truths! The mind of the church acknowledges them: but when shall they be put in practice? For some time past our missionary writers have proclaimed similar views: but especially Dr. Campbell, in his “Martyr of Erromanga,” has most powerfully urged them. Eloquence has been spent upon them; but will eloquence rouse the church? No: we want example. Who then will arise and "teach by example ?"
The Farewell Services of Robert Moffat in Edinburgh, Manchester, and London. Edited by John Campbell, D. D. London : Snow. pp. 172.
Robert Moffat has left us, and is now on his way to the wilds of Africa, there to re-enter upon his missionary labours. May the care of a gracious Providence surround this distinguished herald of the cross till he reach in safety the place of his destination. Few men, returning from a visit to their native land, have left a sweeter fragrance behind them. He was greatly beloved—deservedly beloved. We thank Dr. Campbell for his disinterested effort in compiling this little work, in which are recorded the last services the honoured Moffat was engaged in. It is a deeply interesting book. These last specimens of Moffats eloquence are the most affecting and impressive we have seen. He seems to have poured forth his whole soul, the deep feeling of years, into these last appeals to his christian friends in England. Every admirer of Robert Moffat (and who that knows him is not ?) should possess this book as a memorial of that eminent servant of Christ. The closing observations of Dr. Campbell are judicious and affecting. We subjoin an extract.
“Well! Robert Moffat is gone; we can only deal with him now through the medium of memory and imagination; and truly his character and history form a noble theme, whether of reflection or speculation. The departure of such a man for the heart of a heathen and barbarous continent, is an event of the first importance. He carries with him, in addition to the riches of the everlasting gospel, all the elements of social comfort, and most of the implements of the highest civilization. * * This memorable day, with the various events which have preceded it, suggests many important reflections. It has witnessed another noble act of both generous and grateful homage to the missionary character; we say, to the character, not simply to the man. Yes; in the distinguished honours heaped upon Robert Moffat, at Edinburgh, at Manchester, and in London, it is to be kept steadily in mind, that these honours were paid not simply to the person, but to the office of the missionary. In these deeds, therefore, all the parties concerned have openly expressed their respect and reverence for the whole brotherhood of missionaries throughout all lands. That brotherhood are, therefore, to consider, and they, doubtless, will consider themselves as represented in his person, honoured in his honour, and encouraged in the encouragement tendered to him.”
An Address to Young Female Converts. By Miss Catharine
Lake. London: Nisbet. pp. 122.
This volume breathes a spirit of fervent piety, and contains some admirable advice to the class of persons for whom it is designed. It aims not at originality, and its pretensions are modest. May the affectionate appeals of its amiable author be received in a right spirit, and they cannot fail to be widely useful.
New Year's Address to Sunday School Teachers. By the Rev.
J. A. James. pp. 32.
It is a sufficient recommendation of this address to say, that it is in every respect worthy of the pen of Mr. James. We subjoin a specimen.
“Determine to become a more excellent Sunday-school teacher in every respect. Aim at completeness, at universal perfection in punctuality, constancy, method, order, submission to superintendents, harmony with your fellow-teachers, respect and deference for your minister, affection for your children, and everything else connected with the well-being of the school ; look upon the school as a piece of moral machinery, the working of which, as a whole, depends upon the working of each particular part.”
The Sleeper Aroused. By A. E. Pearce. Birmingham :
Showell. London: Dyer. pp. 48.
No faithful servant of the Redeemer can read this excellent little tract with attention and reflection, without being excited to greater zeal and diligence in his Master's work.