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- For my expectation is from him. He

the pulpit recently vacated by Mr. only is my rock and my salvation : he

John Bloomfield. Our correspondent is my defence; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory:

writes very favourably of Mr. Stokes's the rock of my strength, and my re

advent : but Mr. Stokes, as a gentlefuge, is in God.”

man, as a Christian, as an author, as Do you not see, friends, what a a philanthropist, is too well, too excleaving there is here to God ? Here tensively beloved and esteemed, to is no human tradition, no human require one word from us. Whether, doing ; here are no formalities ; but however, he will permanently and here is the soul following after God,

prosperously settle down as the pascleaving unto God. So it goes on,

tor of Mearn's Court, is a matter yet " Trust in him at all times, ye people,”

in the future. that are one with David in this spirit TO THE BLESSED SPIRIT.* of cleaving unto God, in this spirit of

Holy Ghost, dispel our sadness. decision for God, in this spirit of faith Pierce the clouds of sinful night: in God, in this spirit of hope in God, Come, thou source of sweetest gladness, in this spirit of love to God.

Breathe thy life, and spread thy light! “ Ye people, pour out your heart before

Loving Spirit, God of peace,

Great distributor of grace, him: God is a refuge for us.”

Rest upon this congregation ! God in Christ reconciling us unto Hear, ( hear our supplication. himself; as it is said in the 33rd of

From that height which knows no measure, Deuteronomy, 66 The eternal God is

As a gracious shower descend, thy refuge, and underneath are the Bringing down the richest treasure everlasting arms."

Man can wish, and God can send.
O thou glory, shining down

From the Father and the Son,
CHURCHES IN THE WEST END. Grant us thy illumination !

Rest upon this congregation. Some letters have lately appeared

Come thou best of all donations in this periodical, respecting the po- God can give, or we implore ; sition and prospects of Mr. Wilkins, Having thy sweet consolations, at Soho chapel, in Oxford street. We

We need wish for nothing more. wish distinctly to acknowledge that

Come with unction and with power; the letter last month, signed “A

On our souls thy graces shower;

Author of the new creation, PELLITE, was not read by us, nor Make our hearts thy habitation. did we intend to insert it; but being Known to thee are all recesses out at anniversaries for nearly two Of the earth and spreading skies; months, it went unintentionally into Every sand the shore possesses, the printer's hands. We understand,

Thy omnicient mind discries.

Holy Fountain, wnsh us clean, upon good authority, that the lectures

Both from error and from sin; given by Mr. Wilkins were given at

Make us flee what thou refusest, the request of, and greatly to the And delight in what thou choosest. satisfaction of the church and people, Manifest thy love for ever ; and helped to remove the debt. We Fence us in on every side ; also can affirm that, as far as the mi

In distress be our reliever; nister and deacons are aware, not the

Guard and teach, support and guide:

Let thy kind effectual grace slightest disunion exists in the church.

Turn our feet from evil ways: Mr. Wilkins is preaching with accep- Show thyself our new Creator, tance and success. The deacons and And conform us to thy nature. church are united, and prayerfully Be our friend on each occasion anticipating the continued blessing of God, omnipotent to save! the Lord. We have applied to the

When we die, be our salvation;

When we're buried, be our grave. gentleman who wrote the letter, and

And, when from the grave we rise, gave his name and address ; but

Take us up above the skies; as yet it appears a wrong address was Seat us with thy saints in glory, given. We shall inake further in- There for ever to adore thee. quiries, and report accordingly.

* The above is from a recent reprint of TopMEARD's COURT.--Mr. W. Stokes, lady's hymns, by Sedgwick, London. The of Manchester, has commenced a

hymn is Paul Gerhardt's. Toplady is the

translator. We recommend Mr Sedgwick's three months' probationary service in reprints of Toplady, to our readers,

who

Our Churches, Our Pastors,

Pastors, and Our

and Our People.

66

A PLAIN COUNTRYMAN'S VISIT TO THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE SUF.

FOLK AND NORFOLK ASSOCIATION OF BAPTIST CHURCHES, HELD
AT LAXFIELD, JUNE 4TH AND 5TH, 1867.

TO THE EDITOR OF THE EARTHEN VESSEL." RESPECTED FRIEND, -Having for many ing, now turned to good account. Tables years been a constant reader of your are laden with good beef and mutton, and monthly periodical, I have found you were other earthly benefits, for the comfort of ever willing to find room for intelligence such poor bodies as have pockets rich from churches or individuals, respecting enough to dine and tea with the "upper the progress of God's religion in this class." Here, of course, the Levi tribe world; and now, for reasons which it and their fortunate wives are an excepwould be useless here to name, I have tion on the score of payment. All the been requested to note down a few parti- length of pathway by the malt office was culars connected with the public meetings well covered specially for the occasion, by held at the above place; but, being only the kindness and expense of the owner. a plain countryman, you must not expect In a meadow at the rear of the build ng the following to be garnished with flowery the Association tent was pitched, which logic, or painted orer with elegant colour- by half-past ten o'clock was well filled, ing, the one only object being to give your

and in a few minutes more it was many readers a little account as to how crowded, The leading ministers took Jehovah's work is going on in some few their places on the raised platform ; Mr. of the Suffolk churches, and around this Brown, the respected pastor of the church corner of the globe, as noted down by at Friston, took the chair as Moderator, some few persons at these services.

and commenced the proceedings by giving Living not a hundred miles from South- out the 393rd hymn selection, - Kindred wold westward, on the morning of the in Christ,” &c. Whilst this devotional first day I started with a companion on part was going on, good old Mr. George our way to Laxfield. We left the little Wright, of Beccles, once more took his town of Halesworth on our right hand; seat on this platform ; many were pleased after having travelled some little distance once more to see this venerable servant through rural scenes, now covered with of the Lord, he having stood so many nature's gayest clothing, passed through years in nobly defending the cause of God the village of Walpole, situate quite in a and truth. He was looking weakly and valley. On we went to Hevingham park, thin, but as well as for some few years past. where the noble mansion of Lord Hun- Mr. Collins read the 122nd and 67th tingfield presents itself to view ; but what Psalms; and a dear old pilgrim, named would all the world avail, with all its Masterson, from the Bungay church, riches and grandeur, if destitute of the praged earnestly and fervently, proving adorning graces of the Holy Spirit, and that he was no stranger in approaching the durable riches and righteousness found before the throne of grace. Most feralone in the possession of an interest in vently did he pray that the ministers, Christ Jesus the Lord our righteous- and messengers, and the different churches ness? Well, sir, a few more miles of road, they represented, might never be allowed and past fields better cultivated than to give up God's holy truth. some a few miles behind us, we arrive at The Moderator then gave a short openthe end of our then present journey, by ing address : “First, What we are. Why," entering the rather large and healthy

said he,

"we are common Baptists. Our looking village of Laxfield. It possesses

Lord and Master was a Baptist; and we some very nice comfortable-looking resi- wish to foilow him. We feel, also, it dences, one of the prettiest of which is would be no charity to give up the disoccupied by the esteemed pastor of the tinguishing characteristics of our most Baptist chapel. A few paces onward and holy faith. Secondly,” he said, “ What behold a nice large chapel is in view, with- they met for. To glorify God; to help and in a few yards of the roadside. We pass assist the churches that are weak; to some booths and stalls, with refreshments encourage each other in the work. Minisprovided for all who like to purchase. A ters have hitherto been helped ; and God little further on a large flag engages the eye, has only a world of sinners to make and onward we press till we enter an en- saints from. Our strongholds of truth closure on which stands a very large malt. are attacked by combined effort from

66

without. What do we see abroad but a them, during a year of trial and painful casting contempt upon the righteousness circumstances ; but new mercies have atof Christ alone. Calvin introduced the tended each trial; they remember the articles which form the basis of our union; reins of government are in the hands of this truthful bond of union we will try to “ Him who bore that we might never bear promote and defend,” &c.

the Father's righteous ire.” Their trials The reading of the letters commenced have taught and enabled them to grasp about a quarter past eleven, and ended with firmer hand the great doctrines that about two o'clock.

head the CircularLetter; the congregations The WATTISHAM letter was first. It said are good ; in summer months preaching their outward circumstances were but in open air; the pastor, Mr. Robert Bird, little changed of late, not so many had lost by death his beloved wife during this been admitted by baptism as in some for- spring; four have been added by bapmer years; it expressed a conviction of the

tism. church that a deeper sympathy was greatly The church at Friston, in their letter, needed toward those who have not as yet expressed their gratitude to God for peace given proof of their being on the Lord's and unity in their midst; hope to bear in side ; and that they could say to anxious remembrance that solemn caution, “ See seekers, “Come in, ye blessed of the that ye fall not out by the way.' The Lord.” The village stations were encour- pastor, Mr. Brown, has been with them aging; never was the school more pros- thirty-four years, and their prayer is that perous, or teachers more united; four had he may long continue. been baptised, and one very aged member The GRUNDISBURGH letter looked round gone to glory.

into the political, the moral, and the comThe letter from BECCLES was read by mercial world ; it also has its eye upon the pastor, Mr. George Wright. They ex- Popery," and the ritualistic fashions of pressed themselves as but little satisfied the day, from all which it desires to turn with the report they had to give; but to the stronghold of truth. The attendtruth required an honest statement. Con- ance is large, the church in peace; they gregations not what they formerly were ;

value truth, unite in earnest prayer, for believe the word was blessed of God to his they that wait upon the Lord shall renew people, but have not had one instance their strength ;" expect to be obliged to during the year of converting grace. A use the pruning knife; the pastor has been few have this year been added, but their there forty years; the people's love to him conversion to God was of earlier date. Of unabated. During the year have held a some it might be said, “grey hairs are meeting, at which the pastor was prehere and there upon them, yet they know sented with gold watch and chain, and it not.”

Prayer meetings are held from purse containing £15 10s. Good school. house to house by brethren, and by sis- The first Lord's-day in June six persons ters too;-Shall not God hear and answer were baptized in the open air, computed prayer? The whole cost of the new chapel, to be 1,500 hearers; day very fine. over £1,600, has been cleared off; last The church at Norton dwell together year £100_remained, but is now paid off. in love; ministry acceptable; school low; On Good Friday a meeting was held to several are removed from the locality. celebrate God's goodness towards them, The LAXFIELD church gave their brethand to present the beloved pastor and ren a most hearty welcome to this associahis estimable wife with two easy chairs, tion; and may the glory of the Lord fill as proofs of their sincere attachment to, the place. During the year they have and best wishes for, him who hath been had some things to lament over, but their faithful pastor the long period of

much to be thankful for; the congregaforty-five years.

tions are large ; barrenness to be attriThe letter from HALESWORTH was very buted to sin, not to Divine sovereignty. encouraging; congregations never larger ; Eight have been baptised, four have ministry of the pastor, Mr. Gooding, ac- died — one, an occasional preacher for ceptable, but prayer meetings not so well some little time of late at a small attended as ought to be the case; their quar- chapel near Claydon, by Ipswich, was terly prayer meetings were very refreshing; about removing to this place, but taken village preaching for some time omitted ill, died in about a fortnight ;-264 memfrom illness of pastor; the school, under bers, 219 scholars. the superintendence of their valued friend, The churches at SOMERSHAM, OCCOLD, Mr. Bedwell, goes on well; three have PULHAM, and CHARSFIELD sent good let

ters; but from those I must not make exFrom RATTLESDEN, the letter records tracts on account of space. the long-suffering mercy of God towards The STOKE-Ash church writes more

been baptised.

cheeringly than last year; they thank God ceived, two restored. This church which and take courage. Four have been bap- was in 1862 composed of 14 members, tised, praying parents have had their hearts now numbers 65; the pastor, Mr. Mastergladdened, and the cause seems in the son, is greatly blessed in his work; real midst of much encouragement. The Stoke- spiritual prosperity in a church is not Ash pastor is not drawn away to Meard's always indicated by numerical accessions Court; it would be a pity for an esteemed 'tis true, nor is a young minister, especipastor to leave a united people, where all ally, at all times well balanced, when outseem in their proper element, breathing ward prosperity is at its greatest height, pure air freely, for the smoky fogs of Lon- the Lord's grace in such case is greatly don. The Stoke-Ash friends have lately needed; may this favoured minister be given their pastor substantial proof of kept near the throne of grace, and their attachment, by presenting him with preserved in gospel truth, enjoy holy a nice purse lined with £40.

liberty, and give God all the glory. In The RISHANGLES church intends holding 1862 the associated ministers and messena thanksgiving meeting, seeing the cost gers recommended the Hoxne friends to of their chapel, about £1,000, is paid off, discontinue meeting as a distinct body in and invited all their friends to

pay

them this village, and to attach themselves with a visit. Mr. Harris, the esteemed pastor, some other churches; but God's thoughts has been very useful here.

are not at all times as man's thoughts, At Bungay, the congregations, by death nor his ways as man's ways. and other causes, are not so good as for- At CLARE, Mr. Wilson, late of merly. They have a debt of about £70; Swavesey, is still supplying on probation. want to be paid off by January next. At GLEMSFORD is again without a settled this juncture the assembly heartily sung, minister; at the old chapel, Mr. Warren “Lo, what an entertaining sight," &c. has left. Spiritual life and activity is eviMr. William Snell has left the little

dently at a low ebb. The letter says, with cause at Great ASIPIELD, and Mr. Henry them it is the time of Jacob's trouble. Cooper has succeeded him.

Three have been baptised, one of whom is The new chapel at WALSHAM-LE-WIL- destitute of natural vision, but the mind is Lows is completed, at a cost of £450, to- illuminated by the light of life. wards which the friends have raised At SAXMUNDHAM earnest prayers have £328 78. 8.d. Mr. Collins here stated, been going up to God, but not answered this chapel was very much needed, the

in the way that was expected ; Mr. Baldpeople had used the greatest economy, and win left in December, having lost the they had nobly helped themselves; and

affections of the people; but the church these were the people, he said, who de- more firmly united , pulpit supplied by served help from others. During the re- men of truth; congregations good; school building of the chapel, the church warden, going on well. Mr. Hatten, had generously placed a com- The cause at LOWESTOFT is prosperous modious barn at their disposal, for which and encouraging. Five baptised. Mr. kindness they record their gratitude. Kettle is preaching with acceptance.

The church at TUNSTALL raises another The letter from ALDRINGHAM seems Ebenezer to the God of all grace, for his written in mournful strains; were too goodness towards them during the eight hasty in the choice of a minister; now years their pastor has been with them. destitute ; want a peace-loving and peaceEight have been baptised this year, making pastor.

At HADLEIGH, the cause is in a droop- The cause at YARMOUTII is making but ing state ; they have not been successful

slow progress under the ministry of Mr. with any minister since the death of their Southgate. late pastor, Mr. Samuel Matthew.

The infant cause at SUDBORNE is AT FRESSINGFIELD a pastor is not settled going on well; chapel debt paid off; yet, nor is that union found that is desir- chapel enlarged; reopening on Whitable in the church.

Monday: To every soul who sincerely loves to see The church at BRADFIELD is getting on and hear of Zion's prosperity, the cause well with Mr. Wright; chapel well filled; at Hoxne presents a pleasing aspect. The prayer meetings well attended, more letter said they had much cause for re- space must not be taken up by extracts joicing: the Word is blessed; sinners from letters. have trembled; school goes on well, well The Moderator here made a few re. sustained by teachers ; village gatherings | marks, and one party commenced a revery encouraging: new chapel well filled, proof upon certain ministers and perand anticipate building a new gallery. sons in a manner a “plain countryman Seventeen have been baptised, eight re- could see no necessity for. Surely all

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who cannot see exactly eye to eye with Mr. in all his ideas and movements, are not " fawning sycophants ; nor is it every individual outside this Association who regards him as master;

a little nap instead of this harangu?, would have been quite as becoming a Christian minister, and as profitable to the people, but perhaps this difference of opinion is attributable to the weakness of a countryman. On the whole, no very great amount of outward prosperity has attended the associated churches this year, not quite a hundred have been added by baptism. Some few are happy and prosperous, many seem almost at a standstill. Many write in sorrowful strains; generally the letters had a candid and truthful appearance, and but few had superfluous matters introduced.

How is it, Mr. Editor, that when Strict Baptist churches are destitute, they so often seek the services of ministers holding Fulleritish, Open-communion, views ? but perhaps on those days they are, as Mr. C. said to those present on Association day, when inviting all ministers present to partake of their hospitality, We are all Open-communionists to-day.” So the time and place makes the difference, “All things to all men.” Well, no accounting for some people's taste.

In the afternoon of the first day Mr. John Foreman preached an excellent, sound, seasonable discourse from Psalm xliv. 3. This honoured servant of the Lord looked remarkably well, seemed as undaunted as ever in enforcing and defending sovereign love and grace.

Mr. Woodgate, of Olley, read, prayed, and gave out the hymns, afternoon.

Mr. Wilkins, of Soho, preached in the evening from John xvi. 13, “He will guide you into all truth.” Many people liked the evening sermon much, but he certainly is not a wonderful deal better preacher for going to London.

Mr. Sears closed the evening service.

During the time of reading the letters a thunder storm passed over the district ; the tent canvass is getting rather worn out, having been used something like twenty years, and the rain came through rather freely, but it was amusing to witness the dislike so many Baptists seemed to have to sprinkling.

On the morning of the second day at 6 o'clock, a prayer meeting was held in the chapel, conducted by Mr. Bird, of Rattesden. At 9 o'clock a second prayer meeting was held, presided over by Mr. Brand, of Bungay. On both occasions a very large company was assembled. Wednesday morning, up till noon, the weather

was very unpropitious, reminding some present of the association meeting held at Earl Soham, twenty-four years ago, only on that occasion the rain was very much heavier. The earth being very damp, a large number were afraid to be in the tent, both chapel and tent however were very full.

Mr. Bland, of Beccles, preached in the forenoon, and Mr. Hosken, of Norwich, in the afternoon.

Mr. Collins, of Grundisburgh, preached the first association sermon in the morning; and Mr. Barnes, of Walsham-leWillows, afternoon; the former from Hebrews vii, 25, the latter from 1 Timothy i., part of 13th verse, “I obtained mercy.” Mr. Barnes delivered an exceedingly well arranged and profitable discourse; the sermon in the morning by Mr. Collins was not considered by some to be so appropriate to the text selected; they would have preferred hearing the official character and work of our Great High Priest opened up, and allegiance to the kingly authority of Jesus enforced, and they could willingly have dispensed with those unkind references to the, perhaps, rather sivgular expressions of a greatly honoured and godly London minister made use of a year or two ago. Let those expressions be right or wrong, perhaps even Mr. Collins himself would not wish his every expression held up to public ridicule for years by a brother minister after they were uttered by him. At the conclusion of the afternoon sermon in the tent, Mr. Cooper, of Wattisham, gave an excellent and salutary address ; Mr. Sears joined in grateful remarks for the very great kindness shown them by the neighbours and friends, no pains or expense having been spared to accommodate, and sung the usual parting hymn (254th selection), and the meeting closed. The next year's Association is to be held at Waldringfield, near Woodbridge ; Messrs. Sears and Hill to preach ; Mr. Brand, of Bungay, to write the circular letter.

The last Association held at Laxfield was on the 19th and 20th of May, 1840. On that occasion Mr. Collins was modera

the two sermons on the first day then were preached by the late Mr. Howell, of Rattlesden, and Mr. Joseph Norris, then of Bury St. Edmunds. The Association sermons were preached second day by Mr. Austin, of Dairy lane, Ipswich, and by Mr. Cooper, of Wattisham. One extract recorded of the letters then read is, “The intelligence generally represented a state of prevailing coldness and spiritual barrenness, accompanied with many expres

tor;

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