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Then a bright small form to her cold neck clung,
It breathed on her till her breast did fill,
And I saw who breathed on the baby's mill.'
And said, “Who put these flowers in my hand?'
Not being able to understand.
But soon she heard the big bell of the church
Give the hour, which made her say,
It is a very drowsy day.'
TO THE READER.
CHRISTMAS again! Eight years of wedded life to our readers! Well, what has been your experience of our literary connubial happiness? Perhaps, if the reader were closely pressed, we should receive for answer, after, of course, a general expression of gratification and enjoyment, a catalogue of faults, of which we ourselves have been too keenly conscious, and the mention of which by others would only, but deservedly, dishearten. For, however clearly we may perceive our own defects, and however ingenuous we may be in acknowledging them to our own hearts, we do not like to know that our friends have been watching and taking stock of them. We may have good reason to believe that, in this respect, we are seen by others as clearly as we see ourselves, but our amour propre is shocked at the audible declaration that such as we are, with all our faults, vanities, and weaknesses, such we seem to others to be. Therefore, if you are a friend, spare us, 0 reader, and add not to our general discontent with ourselves through the year, and our especial discontent at Christmas, by weighing us down with our loads of faults. We
say this to indicate the kind of response one naturally expects to receive in reply to the question we have put at the head of this address. No man or woman, on asking his or her espoused and honoured partner, what has been the individual experience of connubial happiness during eight years of married life, would dream of putting
sich a question if there were a thought that the answer would be an unfavourable one. Better keep the subject in the back-ground a great deal! We, however, have no doubts or fears in this matter. We could not have enjoyed our own life if we had not known that our readers were enjoying theirs. We should have given up' long ago if we had not an assured consciousness that we could rest in their affections. Hitherto, our reward has been our work, and this its most prized result—that those for whom the work has been wrought have, with all its defects, accepted it.
But a retrospect of mere labour is, of all things, the most humiliating. Who can take satisfaction in it? Not a particle of work but has its spot or flaw, to which distance lends not 'enchantment,' but depreciation. Nothing done that could not have been done better
. nothing,-90, sometimes, it seems, literally nothing done at all! If we and not God were the real workers, what a failure would be everything that is done under the sun! But when there is the consciousness that we are 'workers together with Him,' we know that a real and eternal success must attend all that is attempted to be wrought.
How far our work in this journal has been His, to whom we owe life, and breath, and all things, no man can tell, but we can look back upon much of it-much that has been done during the twelve months that are just closing-with both satisfaction and joy. We, ourselves, are the stronger for it; it has helped us onward; and we have a confident trust, that to others it has ministered similar strength and happiness. It has been the lot of the · CHRISTIAN SPECTATOR' to be very
often placed in circumstances of apparent antagonism to many existing forms and institutions. Not looking upon everything connected with churches, chapels, religious society, and religious societies, as they at present exist, with an eye equally prejudiced in favour of defects and beauties, it was thought that friendly counsel and criticism from within, might possibly be productive of less harm, if not more positive good, than that rougher handling, which must one day come from without, when defects shall have so long existed as to become constitutional, and, having become constitutional, will be defended as being both necessary, and, it may be, ornamental. Hence, George Warrington,' 'Poverty and the Pulpit, Modern Congregational Literature,' 'A Word concerning the London Missionary Society, and some similar papers, which may possibly have displeased many who, like
Lord John Russell, are devout worshippers, not only of our great constitution, but of every bit of dust and cobweb that has become attached to it. Now, shall we confess, that we have not an atom of partiality for dust and cobweb? Yet, what is the use of such a confession ? Better wipe all away, and say nothing whatever about it !
We can, however, easily, and we think correctly, understand the position of those who deprecate any criticism, be it just or unjust, on existing institutions. There is an exact parallel, in this respect, between religious and political society. To lay hands on the bishops in the House of Lords, in St. Stephen's, and to lay hands on certain half-hereditary dissenting magnates elsewhere, excites in different sections of society exactly similar sensations of horror. Plead, in the one case, the good of the State, and in the other the good of the Church, and, if anything, you make matters worse. If you are doing a good thing from very conscientious motives it is best not to mention conscience at all. If you are conscientious your conscientiousness will inevitably make itself felt; if you are not, all the declarations in the world will have no effect on those who may differ from you. So we can only say– What we have done we have done, and we have no wish that it should be undone.
To live to criticise, however, is the very farthest from our ambition. We suppose no animal would deliberately choose to be one of those ants who, in the south of France, are just now making a living by nibbling away the beams and foundations of houses. One must be smiled upon sometimes. Even sour and cynical Mr. Scrooge (Scrooge and Marley) could not live for ever upon his vinegar and pepper, still less we apologize for the juxtaposition-could the amiable readers of the . CHRISTIAN SPECTATOR. In the papers on the ‘Means and the Method of Life,' on 'Prayer,' on the ‘Sermons in Trees,' the ‘Songs of Novalis,' a 'Sunday Morning's Musings,' 'Family Union and Responsibility,' the 'Leaves from a Minister's Diary,' The True Method of Christian Progress,' the “Sinlessness of Jesus," the ‘Benefactions of Little Christel,' and our Christian Common-Place Book,' we hope they have found springs of spiritual strength and joy.
Travel braces, freshens, and wonderfully rubs down provincial and insular egotism and narrow-mindedness. Christians in their Christian life suffer from these no less than as men and women they do in their social life. May we hope that their acquaintance through the . CHRIS
AN SPECTATOR' with the German Pulpit' and the German
Theologians ”-Hengstenberg, Tholuck, Twesten, Nitzsch- and the
Old Believers' of Russia, will have both informed and gratified them? These are lights of the present. 'Master Harry Smith' and 'John Milton,' like two suns shining through the painted oriel windows of an old cathedral, have shed their rich and many-coloured beams from
Questions and persons of the day we cannot avoid in literature any more than we can in society—we would not if we could, and we could not if we would—and, therefore, we have not thought it amiss to discourse with our readers of the ‘Indian Question,' the Statics of Dissent,' the 'American Revival,' Government Education,' Preaching to the Poor,' 'Mr. Spurgeon,' the Moral Influence of the Fine Arts,' the ‘Present Tactics of the Jesuits,' 'Pew Rents,' Sabbath Schools,' Colleges,'' Weekly Penny Literature, and the Revision of the Bible. And with our work we have not judged it unbecoming to tell of our 'Holiday and Dream.'
And so, like travellers at the end of a journey, or hunters at the end of a long chase, we might recall all the incidents of our history and progress. But we have travelled, and are not at the end of our journey; we have hunted, and have not yet heard the view hallo!' In our further journey we shall hope to take the reader through a choicer country than he has yet seen, and, for his better entertainment and instruction, we may add considerably to our company as we go along, both of old friends and new. What else we intend we shall say not, but do. Whatever it may be, and whoever may address you, may we alike aid and be aided in the search for more light,' and the yearning for more love,' light on our path here, love to the Christ THERE!
Record of Christian Missions.
A Hindoo SOCIETY FOR THE PROPAGATION OF THE GOSPEL IN TINNEVELLY. The following narrative, taken from the ‘Mission Field' of the Propagation Society, and communicated by the Rev. Dr. Caldwell, will be read with equal surprise and interest. While very general ignorance-or, at all events, very scanty and imperfect information-exists as to the effect of Christian missions in India, a most competent eye-witness comes forward to show that his own native converts are taking active measures to spread the faith which they have received among their heathen neighbours. The movement which Dr. Caldwell records is in every way
a most remarkable one. He describes a public meeting of 600 native Hindoos, assembled for the purpose of organizing a Missionary Association; and conducting their business with an order and decorum, and expressing their sentiments with a force and fervour, that might serve as a pattern to onr own parochial associations.
• The district of Edeyenkoody,' says Dr. Caldwell, 'may be divided into two portions, of unequal extent, and unequal in Christian progress. The portion which lies to the east of the Nâttâr river is by far the smaller of the two, but churches and schools abound in it, and Christianity has made encouraging progress in it; whilst the country to the west of the river, though much more extensive, is still almost entirely heathen. The Christians belonging to the eastern part of the district have not been wholly unmindful of their duty towards their heathen brethren in the west, but it seemed desirable to set on foot some system of effort which should bid fair to produce larger results. Accordingly, I recommended the congregations in the east to combine together, and form themselves into a regularly organized society for spreading the gospel in the west. The people generally entered into the plan with commendable zeal, and appointed a native committee (one-third of the members to be native teachers, and twothirds private members of the congregations) to carry it into effect. It was desirable that the work of the society should be commenced by a public meeting, for the purpose of interesting the people at large in the plan, and also in order to collect the necessary funds; bat before the meeting was held, the âløsanei sangam, “the council of deliberation," or committee, assembled twice to arrange preliminaries and lay down rules. One object I had in view was to initiate the people into the art of transacting their own affairs themselves, and therefore I was very careful in those meetings of committee to content myself with the least possible amount of guidance. A native committee was an unheard-of novelty amongst them; and yet I must say that the sensible suggestions which were made by many of the members, the intelligence and patience with which rules were discussed and moulded into shape, and the unselfish missionary feeling which they evinced, would have done credit to a committee of Englishmen. It was agreed that the society should be called the Edeyenkoody Society for the Propagation of the Gospel ; that the missionary should be ex-officio president and treasurer, and Gnânapragâsam, catechist, the secretary; that the society should undertake to support the four native catechists now employed in the west, and meet the various expenses connected with the five small congregations already established there, besides employing additional teachers and itinerants as opportunity offered ; and that “whilst the spiritual oversight of the congregations belonged, as before, to the missionary, it was the part and duty of the society not only to manage all pecuniary affairs, but also to interest itself in the work, and to procure all necessary information about its progress.”
One of the resolutions adopted might possibly supply a useful hint to committees in high places. It was as follows:-"That every fortnight two members of the committe, one of whom shall be a catechist and one a 'laymen,'acccompaied, if possible, by a member of the society who is not a committee-man, shall pay a visit, at their own expense, to the scene of the society's labours in the west, and shall there spend at least four days in going from village to village, conversing