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happy parents. Is that child “of age"_they again greet him. Does a clergyman take possession of that part of the vineyard to which his Lord has appointed him_“the bells” again welcome him as the voice of his people, bespeaking the love of a flock to their shepherd. When, as loyal subjects, we rejoice in those events which proclaim either the honour or happiness of our sovereign, or the prosperity of our country-how merrily do “the bells” ring out their noisy gladness, suited to English ears and hearts. Again, do we all rejoice at the return of those holy seasons which our Church has appointed to commemorate the most solemn events—from the ancient towers of every parish church in England, solemn yet joyful sounds are heard, forming (as they ascend heavenwards) one vast harmony, telling to all that religion's "ways are ways of pleasantness," while they proclaim to Christians especially the great events on which their salvation depends. Lastly, how do the cheerful “bells,” in a more subdued yet sweeter tone, “chime in the Sabbath morn,” calling on all to "worship and fall down, and kneel before the Lord their Maker."
As these pleasant thoughts crowded on my mind, I again said to myself, “How much we owe the Ringers!" But presently I added, “ How then is it, that the payment for their services is often so unwillingly bestowed ? Every one seems to grudge the annual gift to “ the Ringers!” This must show much ingratitude amongst us, unless the reason be a good one, and based on truth.
I appeal to you then, my friends, “the Ringers” of this parish and other parishes in the kingdom, if the reason almost always given be a true one? Is there truth in the saying that “the Ringers" are the most drunken, and too often the worst in the parish? that they not only do not regularly attend at the house of God, but that they carry their intemperance and riot into the church's sacred walls, making the belfry the scene of their revels; and that the money collected for “ringing" is usually spent in drink, to the ruin or distress of their families ? These are grave accusations, my friends; and I heartily wish you
them untrue. But if you cannot altogether do this, which I much fear is the case, though I dare say there are some steady ringers, why should you allow it to be said by your fellow-men, and not be able to contradict it? Is it not disgraceful that such an honourable office should by your conduct be brought into disrepute? Connected as you are with the sacred edifice in which you ring, is it possible that you can leave the belfry on the Sabbath morn, and, after calling others to worship, refuse to join them in the congregation? Why is it that the money you have well earned in ringing is spent in a public-house, and therefore does no good to your wives and children, but much harm to your own souls? While you are revelling, can you be happy that those nearest and dearest to you should be mourning your absence and perhaps their scanty meal—to say nothing of the sin of accustoming your children to the terrible sight of a drunken father, while they read in the Bible that “no drunkard or reveller shall inherit the kingdom of God”?
Deeply sensible myself of the debt we owe you, and earnestly desirous for the everlasting good of your bodies and souls, I en. treat you, as your best friend, to forsake these bad habits which “war against the soul,” and to begin another course of life. I do not mean you to leave off “ringing"_far from it. I would have you perfect yourselves more and more in that and every other law. ful calling in which you are engaged. Whatever a man undertakes should be done in the best possible manner. But I would have you learn to take a proper interest in the different causes for which you ring. Let a kindly feeling towards your neighbour, loyalty to your sovereign, and, above all, the love and fear of God, influence you on these various occasions. Henceforth, on the blessed Sabbath, leave the belfry with 'prepared hearts to give to your God, that which he demands, the offering of prayer and praise. This habit will, by God's blessing, produce such an effect on your minds and conduct, that, when the next Christmas comes, and you receive from each the ready gift, you will no longer be inclined to spend it as you have done; but will really endeavour “to better your condition,” and that of your family, by its means.
I remember hearing of one parish, in which “the Ringers" were God-fearing men; and they would admit none among them who did not bear the same character. With the aid of their clergyman they drew up some rules for the regulation of their conduct and earnings. I cannot recollect these rules distinctly—and every parish might require some variation--but I think that they all dined together once a year, with their wives and children, in some room lent them by the vicar. At this happy meeting “the Ringers” arranged their accounts, dividing the sum collected according to their own rules. A portion of this money was always put into the Savings Bank, under the name of, “The
Ringer's Money, ...... Parish.” A portion of this could be taken out at any time (with mutual consent) to meet any particular call of any of the members; but the principal part was reserved for old age, or sickness. If, my dear friends, these hints may induce
your present course, (and I ask that God's Holy Spirit may bless that pause to your everlasting good!) I shall thankfully feel that my address has not been in vain, and that I have proved myself
“A TRUE FRIEND TO THE RINGERS."
MORTIFICATION OF SIN.
For the mortifying of sin and strengthening of thy graces, look daily on Christ's death and resurrection. Study them; set thine eyes upon them, till thine heart take on the impression of them by much spiritual and affectionate looking on them. Beholding the glory of thy Lord, be transformed into it. It is not only a moral pattern or copy, but an effectual cause of thy sanctification, having real influence upon thy soul. Dead with him, and again alive with him! O happiness and dignity unspeakable, to have this life known and cleared to your souls! If it were, how would it make you live above all the vain hopes and fears of this wretched life, and the fear of death itself! Yea, it would make that visage of death most lovely, which to the world is most frightful.-Leighton.
A TEST OF CHRISTIANITY. A GENTLEMAN had occasion to travel through a new and thinly settled part of America; his companion was a man of intelligence, but of infidel principles, who was fond of discussion, and tried to beguile the way by urging arguments against the truth of the Christian religion. The thinly peopled part of the country through which they were passing was inhabited by people of bad reputation, and it had been rumoured that travellers had suffered fatal violence from them when they were within their power.
As regular inns were unknown, our travellers were compelled to trust to the hospitality of those of whom they could not but enter. tain a secret fear. On one occasion, as the evening closed in, they sought a lodging-place in a log cabin far remote from other habitations.
They expected but little comfort; and were induced to believe that it would be a measure of safety to watch alternately through the night.
As they were about to retire to their rude bed, their host went to a shelf, took down an old and much worn Bible, and informing his
visitors that it was his custom to worship God in his family, he read and prayed in a simple manner. They retired to rest, slept soundly, and thought no more of alternate watching.
In the morning, the gentleman requested his infidel companion to say whether the religious exercises of the preceding evening had not dispelled all distrust of their host's character, and had not enabled him to close his eyes in the.most confident security. He was evidently confused by the question; but at last he candidly owned that the sight of the Bible had secured him a sound night's rest. Here was a testimony extorted from an infidel, in favour of the influence of that religion which he assailed. He could not harbour a fear of violence from one who was in the habit of daily bending his knee before God. The very sight of the family altar rendered the house a secure asylum.
Who would not be a Christian ?-_Who can be an infidel?
WHO SHOULD COMPLAIN ?
Why should a living man complain,
TOSTER, PRINTER, KIRKBY LONSDALE.
HOW FAR IS IT TO CANAAN? “How Far IS IT TO CANAAN?” asks the doubling Christian, "for I am sadly afraid I shall never get there. My sins are a heavy burden to me, and I long to be rid of them, if, indeed, there is a hope for such a one as I.”—Go on, poor doubting Christian, take fresh courage, and quicken thy step. Canaan is not so far off but thou shalt reach it at last; and if thou couldest know how willing the Saviour of sinners is to receive thee, it would shed a sunbeam on thy dejected counte
I have a word of comfort for thee, a cordial for thy heart:—"I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins."
“ HOW FAR IS IT TO CANAAN?” asks the triumphant Christian, "for I long to be at home. I know that my Redeemer liveth, and because he lives, I shall live also. My soul has made me like 'the chariots of Aminadab,' and I am impatient to behold him face to face.”—Go forward triumphant Christian, with the glorious ring of assurance upon thy finger! Cast not away thy confidence, which hath “great recompense of reward.” But stay, I have a word also for thee, which may be useful. Ponder it in thy heart. “Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall."
“How FAR IS IT TO CANAAN?” asks the afflicted Christian, "for I have lain a long while upon the bed of suffering. Wearisome nights are appointed to me. I am full of tossings to and fro, unto the dawning of the day.' 'O that I had wings like a dove; for then I would fly away, and be at rest.” ”–Be of good cheer, afflicted Christian! The heavier the cross, the more pleasant will be the
If we suffer with Christ, we shall be glorified with Christ. I have a word to refresh the fainting