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As a preacher he was generally acceptable. His voice was agreeable, and he could express his thoughts with much clearness. His sermons gave evidence that he was a diligent student of the good old Book. To him preaching the Gospel was a delight, and he was very conscientious in his attention to his appointments on the plan.
His death was sudden and unexpected. On the evening of the 17th March, 1882, whilst taking supper, he said to his wife, “I am doing my very utmost to walk in the footsteps of my Lord and Master Jesus Christ.”. Shortly after he had uttered these words they retired to rest. About midnight he was suddenly taken ill, and, despite every effort to save bim, he died at four in the morning.
His funeral was a solemn and impressive one. The Revs. Law Stoney, W. Eddon, J. E. Radcliffe, R. Crewdson (Primitive), and the writer took part in the ceremony.
Dear Mr. Tommis has gone to reap the reward of his long and faithful toil. His removal has left a gap in the ranks of our local preachers. Who will, by the Grace of God, step in and take his place ?
JOHN W. WALLS.
MRS. J. LISTER, STOCKPORT. The maiden name of our departed sister was Miss Bedford. She was born on the 22nd November, 1820. In early life she consecrated herself to God; indeed, she could not remember a period in her history when she did not love Him, She soon manifested her love for Him in an earnest desire to labour in some department of religious work. In the year 1833, Portwood, a suburb of Stockport, was then without adequate spiritual provision, so much so that there existed neither a church or chapel. The Rev. W. Cooke, D.D., saw in Miss Bedford one who would prove a likely worker, and enlisted her services. So effective were they that a portion of an old mill was soon filled to hear the Word of Life dispensed every Sabbath ; in process of time the premises proved much too small for those worshipping, and a bold effort was made to build a chapel and school. In this effort the subject of our sketch heartily worked, begging not a few pounds and securing many prayers. The premises having been built, we find her working in the school, evidently with a commendable spirit, for in a note in the school minute-book her name appears as willing to take any class. She began with one of the smaller classes, and so effective was her teaching, so winning her manner, that when the teachership of the senior female class became vacant it was conferred on her. On July 1, 1845, she was united in marriage to Mr. J. Lister, bimself an active Christian worker. The interesting ceremony was performed by the Rev. T. W. Ridley, in Old Mount Tabor Chapel. She still continued her work in the school, until home duties so pressed upon her that she was obliged to resign ber class on January 11, 1846, much to the grief of her scholars and fellow-workers.
But if she gave up work in one department she did not, as under similar circumstances do now, give it up altogether ; she busied herself in other matters of the church equally as important; indeed, there never was a period in her life when she was not doing something for God's sanctuary. She was an active member of the Ladies' Sewing Meeting, an
institution the claims of which ought to press more generally on the ladies in most of our congregations. She helped to make it a tower of strength, a bond of sympathy, a means of blessing. She figured conspicuously in our annual Christmas sales, and in the effort to reduce the chapel debt she was second to none.
Her attachment to God's house was intense. We have a striking example of this. Some eight or nine years ago she was stricken with a severe affliction for some weeks ; in consequence, the family removed to Davenport, as a more healthy locality. It is nearly three miles distant from Portwood, and yet she walked to the morning and evening services of the sanctuary. She felt that every Sabbath she had two public engagements with God, and she kept them. Surely many may learn a lesson from her example.
Our sister had power in prayer. We remember the first time we met in class with her. The prayer she offered seemed to fill the room with the presence of od, so highly was she honoured. She took everything to God in prayer, and latterly her family specially. Brother B. Johnson writes of her : “ The first time I met my class I was very much impressed with her high attainments; in divine things I found that hers was not a superficial experience, buć was the result of a personal saving knowledge of the plan of salvation, through faith in the precious blood of atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. So clear were her views of divine truth, so elevated the tone of her piety, and such aptitude and freedom in giving expression to the state of her mind and heart, that I frequently felt at a loss how to reply to her beautifully balanced sentences; and when engaged in prayer, her petitions seemed to go right up to the Divine throne, and as the result we all experienced many times of refreshing coming from the presence of the Lord, With deep interest I have watched her movements through life: her un. assuming piety, strict integrity, and kindliness of heart were ever manifest and won for her the esteem and affection of all with whom she came in contact, both within and without our beloved church. And truly I may say that our society has lost a friend—the poor a silent helper ; her husband a loving wife; and her children an affectionate and devoted mother. * The memory of the just is blessed.'”
The Rev. T. W. Ridley writes : “ She was noted for her stability in the faith, her love to the Church, her intense desire to be useful and her zeal for God. She also persevered in well-doing : her piety both in her daily walk and in the domestic circle shone with increasing lustre, and now I doubt not but that she is for ever with the Lord."
About fifteen months since she was seized with congestion of the brain, from which she partially recovered. Her first wish was to be taken to her seat in the chapel, and although her faculty of speech was almost gone, she manifested her great joy at being there once more. Some five months after the first she had a second attack,and on Thursday, 22nd of June, she had a third : under this she sank slowly until death admitted her happy spirit to the realms of light. On the following Tuesday her remains were interred in the Borough Cemetery by the Rev. W.J. Townsend, and about three weeks afterwards her funeral service was conducted in Port
wood Chapel by the Rev. T. J. Bass. We cannot but experience a feeling of sadness as we see the faithful workers being laid one by one in the silent grave, nor repress some anxiety for the future of God's cause here, and yet we know “He doeth all things well.” He buries His workmen and carries on His work.
Our Connexional Outlook.
We have only a small portion of Connexional Intelligence to record in our March Magazine; but what we have is encouraging. The diversified labours of our young friend at Darlington are indeed praiseworthy, and God is crowning them with His blessing. The improvement in the Stourbridge circuit is the reward of zealous labour and earnest prayer by the worthy minister and the friends who have united with him in the good work.
We respectfully call attention to the letter of a correspondent on the new Revival Hymn-book, containing above 250 hymns, and sold for one penny a book, which only needs to be known to be purchased by thousands. Our anonymous friend inquires respecting a tune-book suited to these revised hymns, and we are thankful to be prepared to answer, Yes, we have a tune-book containing a great variety of tunes adapted to every hymn in the book, which we can afford to sell at the small price of 2s. per copy. .
The Irish Branch of the Evangelical Alliance has appointed March 17 as the day for special prayer for Ireland, and invites Christians of all denominations to unite with them in earnest supplication in behalf of Ireland at this important period.
It affords us much satisfaction and joy to announce that our dear friend and brother, the Rev. Dr. Ward, has arrived from Australia in safety and in health. We now retire from the editorial seat, which he will resume with our best wishes for great prosperity in his important and useful duties, at the same time rendering our grateful thanks to ministers and friends who have assisted us in our work.
DARLINGTON. I HAVE pleasure in taking up my pen at your request to give some account of the “work of God” in connection with our cause at Darlington. The wave of prosperity which rolled in upon us last year has not in the least decreased, but, gathering in strength and volume, has increased. Though we have suffered heavily through removals, we have now 118 members and forty-two probationers, being fifteen more than we returned last Conference. The various agencies of the Mission have been vigorously
carried on, with most gratifying results.
The Sunday evening addresses from the Town Hall steps were delivered during the summer months, attended with unabated interest and success. I cannot help comparing the large band of workers which rallied round me this year with the handful of persons who ventured out with me when I first embarked upon this enter. prise. Looking on this picture and upon that, we are constrained to say, “It is the Lord's doings, and it is marvellous in our eyes." In the
month of August we had what Whitfield would call “ a grand field day.” We camped out, holding two preaching services, a love-feast, and a prayermeeting. The weather was splendid; not a cloud sailed across the sky, nor breeze rippled the air, while we were shaded from a burning sun by a cluster of beautiful trees. The attendances were large, and the influence was most blessed. At the Victoria Hall, which is the centre of otr operations, the week-night meetings and Sunday services are well attended. The aggregate attendance at the social means of grace last week, numbered 170. The hall is, and has been for months, uncomfortably filled by the Sunday evening congregation, 80 that no more progress can be made in this direction; hence the pressing need of the new chapel being opened with all possible speed. The spiritual life of the Church continues good. We are very rarely a week without having penitents at some of our services ; last week there were two in the classmeetings, and two on Sunday evening. Whenever there is any declension in our spiritual tone I call the Church to a consecration-meeting, in which we all go down on our knees, and together, in an extemporised prayer, acknowledge our unfaithfulness in the past, and, solemnly, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, pledge ourselves to greater holiness and earnestness in the future. This in. variably brings about an immediate revival. In one instance, such a service was followed by two Sunday nights in which we had, respectively, seven and five penitents; one of whom, within a short time, was made the means of bringing five others to the foot of the cross. At Brunswick-street
we are still trying to shine as a light in a dark place. The Sunday-school is now consolidated, and seems in a healthier condition than ever. The Sabbathevening service, which is largely attended by young people, keeps up well
- last week the attendance was 100. We have done some hard mission work in this district, going into every court and alley with the comforting message of the Gospel. The people who live around us here are indeed lost, but it has been our pleasure to seek and our joy to save many of them.
One Sunday night last summer, while giving an invitation in the streets, I happened to say, “Never mind your clothes, God doesn't require silk hats and black coats, but white hearts." A poor man who had just walked into the town from Middlesboro', a distance of 15 miles, and who had been arrested and touched by the singing, was encouraged by the above remark to come to our service in the Board school. He stayed to the prayer-meeting, came out to the penitent form, and though, as told by himself, “he had drunk himself silly for 36 years,” found peace, and has never looked behind since. Another man, a mill worker, was brought to service through his children, who are scholars in the school. Thuugh once a great drunkard he is thoroughly changed, and is now meeting regularly in class, where it would do anyone good to hear him testifying that he has “found nout nicer ner religion.” Though he has only joined us a few weeks he has brought three others, all of whom are now converted, through his efforts.
Such are some of the fish which have been caught in the Gospel net in Brunswick-street, and did time and, space permit, we could easily supple. ment these with many more from another class in society who have been caught in our services at the Hall. The weekly preaching and class meeting which was started at the north end of the town fifteen months ago, continues to grow in interest and power.
Seeing that we are at the extreme south of Darlington, I have all along felt that we ought to have another chapel at the north ; but in face of
our great responsibilities in connection with the new chapel at this end of the town, an effort for one at the other end was thought by many to be altogether out of the question. I am, however, delighted to say the way seems now quite open, a most eligible site has been obtained on Albert-road, at a small ground-rent, with every probability of an undisturbed tenure. “A Friend ” has given me £100 towards an iron chapel to hold about 200, which will be erected with all possible speed and no great debt. Thus there is the pleasing prospect of two chapels in Darlington. Hallelujah!
We are doing moderately in our ordinary finances. Our Magazine order for this year is twenty-two large and sixty small. I have tried to make the Mission a power in the town, by taking part in all educational, social, political, and philanthropic movements. I have walked miles to find unemployed men situations, distributed clothes, clogs and shoes, begged pounds with which to relieve the necessities of the poor, believing that a minister should not only try to save the people from their sins, but also succour them in their sor.
We have not been without our anxieties and discouragements. Who is ? But we are “looking unto the hills from whence cometh our help.” With humble and thankful hearts we bring our work and lay it upon the altar, exclaiming“Take it, Lord, 'tis all our store, More should'st Thou have if we had more."
friends spent £100 on remodelling an improving the body of the chapel. Since then the congregation has considerably improved, whilst the amount contributed for the support of the ministry has been doubled. And now it is determined to get a new organ, at a cost of £185, to be ready for use by the latter end of May. Subscriptions amounting to nearly half the cost have already been promised, and the friends engage to pay the entire amount within nine months after the instrument has been put in the chapel.
At Lye Waste a larger organ than the one previously in use was purchased last summer, at a cost of £110. By a spirited effort the whole amount has been raised. The instrument is said, by competent judges, to be worth £300. It gives great satisfaction to the congregation. Additions are being made to both the society and congregation. This Church is, perhaps, more prosperous now than it was known to be in its previous history.
The debt on Cradley Forge Chapel was reduced last year from £605 to £300, and this year the estate has been settled on a new trust, consisting largely of young men who are members of the society. Within the last two years we have had some very pleasing additions made to this Church, 80 that it numbers fifteen more than it did in 1880.
Brettell-lane Chapel has been remodelled and beautified, at an outlay of from £50 to £60, and the society is working hard to raise the money, so that the whole amount may be paid as early as possible. The chapel is now very beautiful; additional sittings are being let, and the congregation is gradually improving.
At Colley Gate the trustees and Sunday-school teachers are busy rais. ing funds for a new school, the present one being much too small for the increasing number of scholars.
The Kiddermirster friends have also done nobly. The society, which num. bered only sixteen at the Conference