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The Chairman then addressed the meeting, congratulating the connexion on the advance which they had made in mission work.
Councillor Carrington moved the adoption of the report. In the course of his address he said that there was enough encouragement in the report to kindle anew the fire of love in their hearts, and increase the flame of interest in the Gospel. Referring to the progress made in Ireland, he said that that part of the report was especially interesting to them at the present time, coming, as it did, after the special legislation enacted by Parliament for that unhappy country. That legislation had been attended by social improvement, and he trusted and felt sure that it would pave the way to more abundant blessings for the moral and religious welfare of the Irish people. China had always appeared to him to be a country of special interest. His grandfather, who had devoted a large part of his property towards mission work, had had his whole heart in the work, especially in regard to sending the Bible to China. Mr. Carrington then alluded to the vast population of China, and to the intelligence of the people. He thought that a country which was so thoroughly intellectual was a country in which they had every hope to bring thousands and millions to a knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Chinese, with the efforts of the missionaries, were capable of the highest development. He had very much pleasure in moving the adoption of the report, which was a very interesting one, and which showed how much had been done by those missionaries whose meat and drink it was to do the will of Him that sent them and to finish His work.
The Rev. J. F. Goodall seconded the motion, and said the grand evidence for Christians to rely on was the power of Christ in soothing the troubled conscience, in healing broken hearts, in extracting the sting of death. The man who carried that evidence within was thrice armed against the assaults of sceptics. In the heathen nations amongst whom the Gospel had been preached, it had been received with the deepest joyit had been a message of joy, a message of light to their souls. The Gospel did not come to them as an untried thing; it brought its record of glorious victories with it; it told them of the many millions of people who had been subdued by it and brought under its benign sway.
It was a Gospel which could reach man in the very lowest depth of his moral debasement. It saved to the uttermost, and was the all - sufficient remedy for the sorrows and sins of mankind.
The Rev. H. Parrish moved a reso lution expressing thankfulness to Almighty God for the blessing which he had bestowed
on their labours, and pledging the meeting to increased liberality in the mission carlse.
The Rev. J. Gibson seconded the motion, and spoke of the work which the society was doing in its various stations. He referred to the evil effects of Roman Catholicism in Ire. land, and of the need there was for the preaching of the Gospel there. Alluding to China, he said their missionaries had penetrated to the heart of the country, and they had made progress there during the year of which any missionary society might well be thankful.
NOTE BY EDITOR.—We have a number of Memoirs on hand (some already in type) and other articles, which we are compelled to omit for want of space.
METHODIST NEW CONNEXION
PRAYER TURNED INTO PRAISE; OR, THE WORSHIP PRESENTED IN FAITH AND THE WORSHIP
PRESENTED IN VISION.
By SENEX. " Save now, I beseech Thee, O Lord: O Lord, I beseech Thee, send now prosperity. Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord.”_PSALM cxviii. 25, 26.
"And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multi. tades that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Soni of David : Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord ; Hosanna in the highest.”-MATTHEW xxi. 8, 9. We have here two texts, one from the Old Testament, the other from the New, but they are very intimately connected. The first expresses some precious words of prayer and praise which were presented to God by the ancient Jewish Church in anticipation of the promised Messiah. The second contains the jubilant song of praise addressed to the Messiah Himself, when He had come, and was standing before their eyes as the Incarnate God and the Saviour of men. Thus, though hundreds of years had intervened between the first utterance and the last, the words were essentially connected, for both referred to one and the same glorious personage, and to one and the same grand and important event-the coming of the Messiah, and the great salvation through His mediation. The first was the language of faith and expectation; the second was the language of joyous vision and exultant realization. The prayer of centuries was now answered and turned into thanksgiving and praise. A brief explanation is necessary to show the meaning of the words, their connection with one another, and their realization in the recognition of our blessed Lord. February, 1883.
The word Hosanna.- In the exultant shouts of the people when they welcomed our Lord on His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, the word “ Hosanna" occurs twice. Now, it is to be noted that the same word occurs also in the text we have selected from the Old Testament; but in our translation we do not perceive its presence, because it is turned into English. For Hosanna is a Hebrew worda compound term, consisting of two words—namely, nywin Hoshia, which means Save, and Na Na, which gives intensity to the meaning of that word; the two together making the one word Hosanna, and expressing fervent desire ; as if the people said, “ We earnestly entreat Thee, O Lord, to save ; we pray Thee to hasten to accomplish the great work of salvation.” Now, as God had promised salvation through the Messiah, the prayer was, in effect, the voice of the Church pleading with God to send the Messiah to procure salvation for men, and to send Him soon. Hence the next petition in the text : “ O Lord, I beseech Thee, send now prosperity," that is, send us that true spiritual prosperity which the blessings of salvation alone can give, and which the Messiah at His coming will procure for us. “ Hosanna, Save Lord, we beseech Thee,” by -sending the promised Author and Procurer of salvation, and bless us with all that true spiritual prosperity which He alone can give as the Saviour of the world. This is the full meaning of the words, as comprised in the prayer of the ancient Jewish Church, and as embodied in the Hosanna of the first text (Psalm cxviii. 25.)
The special occasions when these earnest words were uttered by the ancient Jewish Church, and the remarkable ceremonies which gave them emphasis, ought to be noticed. They were uttered annually, as part of the service at the Feast of Tabernacles, and they were accompanied with some extraordinary ceremonies.
The reader will remember that there were three very important .annual festivals, which the Jews were required to observe with great solemnity-namely, the Passover, the Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles; and at each of these festivals the Jews sang certain psalms.
The Feast of the Passover was ordained to commemorate the deliverance of God's people from the sword of the destroying angel, and from the cruel oppression of Egypt. And at this feast the priests and people sang together six psalms, to celebrate God's goodness in signal deliverance, namely, the 118th to the 118th. Hence we read in Matthew xxvi. 30, that when our Lord for the last time celebrated the Passover with His disciples, they sang a hymn together : this hymn was most probably one of the psalms I have named.
There was also the Feast of Pentecost, held just fifty days after the Passover, to celebrate the giving of the Law; and on this occasion likewise the Jews sang the psalms before mentioned.
The third annual festival was the Feast of Tabernacles, to commemorate the sojourn of the Israelites in the wilderness, where, as pilgrims, they dwelt in tabernacles for forty years. At this festival the Jews sang again those same psalms, called the Great Hallel ; and on this occasion the Hosanna was sung with special ceremonies and great exultation. The feast lasted seven days, when the people thronged each day into the court of the Temple; the priests blew their trumpets, and the people marched round the altar bearing in their hands branches of the palm-tree, the myrtle, the willow, and of other trees; and while the priests were chanting the appointed psalms, the people waved their branches and loudly joined in the responses ; but when the priests came to the 25th verse of the 118th Psalm, where the word Hosanna occurs, they shouted with one united voice, “Hallelujah! Hosanna! Save now, O Lord; O Lord, we beseech Thee, send now prosperity.” This jubilant song and the waving of branches were repeated each of the seven days of the feast; but on the last day the people marched seven times round the altar, shouting “ Hosanna, Hosanna!” to the sound of the trumpets; and it is said that even the children present, who could wave the branches, were expected to take part in the ceremony and blend their voices in the general exultations of praise.
Those were seasons of joyous interest, of holy excitement, and there can be no doubt that the psalms sung and the special ceremonies observed by the Jews at this festival had the effect of exciting the desires and stimulating the expectations of the Jews for the coming of Christ. And though many of the people were probably mere formalists, there were in every age others, devout and spiritually minded, who were waiting for the consolation of Israel, whose faith would be greatly strengthened at these annual services; so that when the Saviour came, many devout worshippers were prepared to receive and welcome Him as the Messiah and Redeemer of the world. Mary and Joseph, Zechariah and Elizabeth, welcomed him by anticipation, even before He was born ; good old Simeon embraced and blessed Him when He was an infant in His mother's arms; Anna broke out into thanksgiving and spoke of Him to all the people; Nathaniel received Him at once on His announcement; and Nicodemus believed in Him when once he witnessed His miraculous works. Besides these, there were many others who understood from the sacred books the time when the Saviour was to appear; and whose expectation of His coming would be excited afresh on each anniversary of the feast, when they heard the prophetic psalms read in the Temple, and the loud Hosannas were sung in chorus, and when they saw the branches waved with exultant joy. Thus, the Messianic promises were kept before the people ; and, indeed, so vivid were the expectations of the nation at the time of our Lord's appearing, that it is said by Luke, “ All the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ or not” (Luke iii. 15). Let us now pass from the worship of faith and expectation, to notice, secondly
The Worship presented in Actual l'ision and Realization.—This is graphically represented in our second text. “And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David : Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord ; Hosanna in the highest.”
Theimmediate cause of this outburst of praise, and loyal recognition of Jesus, was the splendid miracle He had recently wrought in the resurrection of Lazarus from the tomb after he had been dead four days. Here was a wonderful display of miraculous power, and every attempt to explain it away was abortive. The facts were inexorable to all the arts of sophistry. Bethany was close to Jerusalem ; Lazarus and Mary were well known by the Jews, and their house was a place of their frequent resort. They knew, apparently, of the mortal sickness of Lazarus, and at his death they came to condole with the bereaved sisters. They were present when Jesus arrived at Bethany; they stood by Him at the tomb, mingling their tears with the bereaved sisters; they rolled away the stone from the mouth of the tomb; they heard the authoritative voice of Jesus, “Lazarus, come forth ; " they saw the dead arise at His command ; they loosened from him the grave-clothes ; and they beheld him walk from the sepulchre to his habitation; they conversed with him again as a living man ; they sat at meat with him in after days; and thus, satisfied by the evidence of their experience, they believed in Jesus, and went and publicly reported the facts they had seen. “Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on Him. And some of them went their way to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.” Thus the facts were invincible, the evidence was overwhelming. Lazarus was there, alive, though he once was dead. The personal testimony of himself, as a living man from the tomb, was added to the testimony of his sisters and the testimony of the Jews, and could not be resisted; conviction now flashed upon the public mind that this Jesus was indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.
It was but a few weeks after that Jesus rode into Jerusalem in