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Christmas.

for his possession-then on Good Friday as we contemplate his bitter sufferings and death—on Easter, his resurrection from the tomb,-on Ascension day, his ascent from the top of Olivet to the right hand of God, where he ever liveth to make intercession for us'-on Whitsunday, the descent of the Holy Spirit to revive, refresh, enlighten and sanctify our hearts:--and finally, on Trinity Sunday, the sublime and glorious mystery of the three that bear record in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, which three are one'-I say, as from year to year, particular days bring up the consideration of these great fundamental truths, we find our faith invigorated, our love to the Redeemer increased, our knowledge enlarged, and our souls refreshed.

6. But,' said Mr. R -, it is contended by those who object to the observance of these festivals, that they are greatly perverted and abused.'

6 In what way?

«« Christmas, for instance, is spent in dissipation and riot, and opens a door for much wickedness.'

To argue against an institution, I replied, from its abuse, would overthrow christianity itself. It will be well to observe, that this perversion of Christmas of which you speak does not occur under the sanction of those who religiously observe the day. They lament it. They lift their voice against it. They think the true way to rescue the day from the hands of the wicked is for all christians to unite in making it holy unto the Lord. The objection you state, if it has any validity, applies with equal force to our annual thanksgiving. This annual festival is observed by all denominations. The irreligious, however, make this a day of gaming and revelry, of drunkenness, profaneness, and of every excess. But notwithstanding all this, the people of God do not think that this is any reason why a day should not be set apart, in which they can go to the sanctuary, and offer up thanksgiving for God's abundant mercies. In like manner, Sunday in some parts of the world, and in some places in the United States, is made a day of feasting, revelry and riot-a day in which more sin is committed than during all the other six days in the week; but no one ever thought that this furnished a good reason for abolishing the Sabbath. On the same priņciple, no valid argument can

Other objections. be urged against the observance of Christmas, because the ungodly turn it into an occasion of revelry."

« • The objections that have been noticed,' said Mr. R-, are not so serious as some that have been urged against different parts of the service. As I remarked a little while ago, we want information in reference to several parts of the Prayer Book. May I be permitted to inquire the reason, why you always begin the public exercises by reading some passage of scripture ?'

The answer to this inquiry, and the conversation that en. sued, in relation to the service, as detailed in the manuscript, will be recorded in the next chapter.

T?

The sentences of scripture at the open ny of the service.

CHAPTER

XII.

THE MISSIONARY'S MANUSCRIPT, CONTINUED.

“ Who but would follow, might he break his chaio ,
And thou shall break it soon, the grovelling worm
Shall find its wings, and soar as fast and free
As his transfigured Lord with lightning's form
And snowy vest. Such grace he won for thee,
When from the grave he sprang at early dawn of morn,
And led thro' boundless air, thy conquering road,
Leaving a glorious track, where saints new-born
Might fearless follow to their blest abode.-KEBLE.

How delightful is the thought, that there is an hour coming, when we shall no longer see through a glass darkly, but shall know even as we are known,—when every vestige of ignorance and error shall pass away, and we shall see all things in the bright mirror of eternal truth! Until that hour arrives, we ought, with all christian meekness, to seek earnestly the right path-looking up to God for guidance, and cherishing feelings of kindness towards those who may in some things dissent from our views.

We would ask the reader who has accompanied us thus far in our walk, to move on to another point, and take one or two more looks at Zion, before we separate.

It will be recollected that in the conclusion of the last chapter, in the conversation that was going on between the missionary and the little group around him, Mr. R - had proposed a question in relation to the design of the sentences of scripture with which the service opens. The reply, as recorded in the manuscript, was as follows:

“ We go to the house of God to worship Him. It is proper, therefore, that the first sounds that meet our ears should be the words of the Most High, reminding us what we are

The Exhortation: The Confession.

vile worms of the dust, "born in sin, and shapen in iniquity ;' -where we are--in the presence and temple of the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, who dwelleth in the high and holy place,' and is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity ;-and what our special business is in this placeto worship and adore that great and glorious Being, who is greatly to be feared in the assemblies of his saints, and to be had in reverence of all that are round about him.'

“ These passages of scripture are intended to prepare our minds for the solemn worship of God. They are copied from the book of God, in order that their authority may be incontestable, and that the first accents to which the walls of the temple echo, may be, as it were, the voice of God himself, calling us to our duty.

“That part of the service which follows these sentences -the exhortation, I believe it is called,' femarked a sunburnt, hardy looking man, who was a plain, substantial far. mer-that part of the service which follows these sentences, I like very much. It seems like a short, solemn discourse about God, before we attempt to speak to Him. Some how or other, this exhortation always brings up to my mind many things that are new. I think it must have a tendency to fix the heart and mind on God: It has that effect with me. The other day I was late at church, and did not get in till after this part of the service was over and some how or other, during that whole morning, I did'nt have any comfort at all in the prayers.'

“ And if you examine the service a little farther, I remarked, you will see an evident propriety and fitness in the prayer with which, in our service, we first approach “the throne of the heavenly grace. It is in the language of confessionthe language of a lowly and contrite heart. All true worshippers must come to God in the spirit of the Publican, who smote upon his breast and cried, • God be merciful to me a sinner.' That Publican might have adopted every sentiment in this first prayer of our service. From beginning to end it is precisely the language which a returning penitent would be likely to use, who desired to humble himself before his offended Maker, and longed to obtain pardon, and restoration to his favor.

While making these remarks, I observed one of the com

Incident related by Mrs. Mpany, a middle aged woman, whom I knew to be well educated and intelligent, apparently agitated, as though struggling with irrepressible emotion. Something that had been said seemed to have touched a tender cord in her heart.There was a tremulous movement of the muscles over the whole system, and the tears began to flow fast down her cheeks. Addressing myself to her, I continued

“Do you not, Mrs. M think that what I haye said in relation to this prayer is indeed true ?

“ With hesitation and half-choked utterance, she replied, • I shall never forget this prayer. It is engraven with the point of a diamond upon my heart. It was, Sir, while join. ing in this confession, crushed under a sense of my own utter unworthiness, and exceeding sinfulness, acknowledging to God that I was a miserable offender, and pleading with him to spare me and restore me to his favor according to his promise declared unto mankind in Christ Jesus our Lordit was while confessing my sins along with the con: gregation, and urging my plea in the language of this pray: er, that light broke in upon my darkened soul. The load of sorrow, which for days had weighed me to the earth was suddenly taken off. I could hardly contain myself in view of the wonderful love of God displayed in my redemption. And now it seemed as though all the promises were mine. Never did that Psalm before appear so to me in which we were soon called upon to join.—-0 sing unto the Lord a new song; for he hath done marvellous things.' Marvellous things! indeed, thought I. David must certainly have had a realizing view of this wonderful love of God in Christ, to have described my feelings so exactly. In my case, it seemed as though there was a fulfilment of the promise in Isaiah

— And it shall come to pass before they call, I will answer, and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. Sir, God sent you here to preach to me before I had ever called upon him for salvation; and then, when through the influence of his Holy Spirit, I began to see my perishing need, and to cry to the · Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world,' • while I was yet speaking, God heard.' Indeed the language of that prayer was suited to my case, and never do I repeat it, but it stirs up my soul to the very bottom.'

“ This unexpected burst of feeling, and noble testimony to

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