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OUR appeals to our active friends all over the country, have met with attention, and many are now busily employed in carrying into operation the suggestions we have made. This is the very thing that the circumstances of the times now call for—the diffusion of information. The rule now is that the people generally can read -the exception, that they cannot. Formerly it was argued that the people were vicious because they could not read or write. Now it is asserted that some of the most vicious are those who can. Both these assertions have truth in them, and may be easily explained. The entirely ignorant are, in the nature of things, likely to grow up vicious and wicked. On the other hand those who are instructed may be only made more capable of doing mischief if they do not make good use of their knowledge. Hence the necessity of giving thein good mental food.

Further; when it was found that the greater part of the people would read, men, whose only object was to make money, soon set to work and printed books, pamphlets, tracts, magazines, and newspapers, of all kinds, at very low prices, to meet the demand. Some of these publications were bad, others were wicked, others were vile and infamous. Tales, novels, romances, plays, songs, ballads, and we know not what were published in millions. Can we wonder that some who could read became more vicious and wicked?

True, there were some publishers who issued useful worksKnight, and Parker, in London, and the Chambers', in Edinburghand in their way they did good, but they were not-they did not profess to be-of a decidedly religious character. And nothing can effectually preserve men from vice and wickedness but real religion.

Plenty of room then for such publications as this to be circulated in every cottage in the empire-so cheap that the poorest may buy -so amusing and instructive that all may be interested-so plain that all may understand-and with so much religion every month that no man can take up a copy without finding words by which, under the divine blessing, he may discover the path of life. Jesus Christ is set forth in every number as the way to God.

Spread it then, christian friends, spread it on every hand. Can you who are rich do anything much more likely to do good among the poor than by ordering 50 or 100 copies for gratuitous distribution amongst them every month? Many a poor pious man or woman, who perhaps could do nothing else, not being able to teach in the sabbath school, would delight to be thus employed as the almoner of your bounty. And even where this is not or cannot be done, our poor pious friends, who wish to do some good in their life-time, may do much in this way, by shewing it to their neighbours, and getting subscribers, for its very low price places it within their reach. A poor bed-ridden man at St. Alban's was the means of circulating many by always recommending it to all who came to see him!



Then with a firm, unshrinking step, the watery path she trod,
And gave, with woman's deathless trust, her being to her God;
And when, all drooping from the flood, she rose, like lily stem,
Methought that spotless brow might wear an angel's diadem.


In the month of July, 1838, ministerial duties called me to the town of —, in one of the midland counties: and whilst there, I was requested to administer the ordinance of believers' immersion under the circumstances related in these pages. There were several things connected with this event which made it differ from an ordinary baptism-whether the history and great age of the candidate be taken into consideration, or firmness manifested against the prejudices of education, her former modes of thinking, and the wishes of her dearest friends or the interest combined with her immersion, which deeply affected the spectators, “insomuch that some were amazed, and glorified God, saying, we never saw it after this fashion." Nearly six years have passed away since that scene was witnessed, during which period the outlines of the following narrative have been laid aside and almost forgotten; but thinking of late that such an example of obedience to the commands of Jesus ought not to be lost upon his disciples, I have written an account of it, in the hope of encouraging timid and aged christians to go and do likewise. May the Spirit of God crown this attempt to do good with success!

Miss P- had been trained up according to the principles and customs of the established church; from a child she had been in the habit of attending upon its forms of worship, and of regarding its ceremonies with veneration; with the earliest dawn of reason she was taught, by means of the church catechism, that in her "baptism she was made a member of Christ, a child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven;" and in this way, the poison of baptismal regeneration was infused into her youthful mind by men who called themselves the legitimate and only successors of the apostles.

As her connexions in life ranked amongst the wealthy, the gay, and the favoured classes, almost as a matter of course, she became a member of the church by law established, where princes and nobles are accustomed to worship. While yet a babe, unable to discern between good and evil, the ceremony of sprinkling was performed upon her by a clergyman, whose episcopal ordination was supposed to be a link in the chain of apostolic succession, and, without any authority from the oracles of eternal truth, he declared the child regenerated as soon as he had uttered a form of prayer, and thrown a few drops of water upon her face. As time rolled on, she was taught the Lord's Prayer-the creed-the catechism-the collects turning to the east-bowing at the name of Jesus-and


all the rites observed by the church-going people;-at the proper time she was confirmed by the bishop, and went to the Lord's table: having grown up to womanhood, she was regular in her attendance upon the service of God, and moral in her conduct: in her old age, however, there can be no doubt that she was rich in faith, and an heir of the kingdom which God has promised to them that love him.

Life, with all its scenes of hope, and joy, and sorrow, was passing away like a tale that is told; and yet, up to her eightieth year, nay, beyond that period, no suspicion had arisen in the mind of Miss P- that in her case, baptism, so called, had been nothing more than a human invention substituted for a divine ordinance. On this point, her mind had now happily undergone a thorough change; not by reading books on the baptismal controversy, nor by seeing the rite administered according to the ancient custom, nor by a spirit of proselytism among the baptists, but by perusing the word of God under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and in answer to fervent and unceasing prayer. God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, so enlightened the eyes of her understanding, that she sat at the feet of Jesus clothed in her right mind; and, while her days were declining like a shadow, her early views on baptism became unsettled, and changed, and improved, till she arrived at the full conviction that nothing but the immersion of believers, on a credible profession of their faith, had been appointed by Christ and his apostles.

From a sense of duty, as well as from the respect due to her clergyman, she made known to him the anxious state of her mind on this subject, when, as may be supposed, he used every means in his power to convince her that baptism, within the pale of the established church, was both valid and sufficient; but his appeals to authority, tradition, and custom, having failed to remove her doubts, as a final argument, he brought the register of baptisms that she might see her own name written in it by the minister who sprinkled her in infancy. It is easy enough to imagine that an earnest inquirer after truth was not silenced by this kind of logic and proof, which indeed touched none of her scruples, produced no change in her views on the main question at issue between them, and left her fully persuaded that she had never been baptized according to the mode described in the New Testament.

Now what could she do under these circumstances? All her modes of thinking, her reading, her notions, her feelings, were so thoroughly churchified, that she lived many years beyond the common period of human life a stranger to what is called the religious world, ignorant of the numerous branches of the dissenting family -and, what is not uncommon among persons of her class, she had not even heard of the baptists as a distinct section of the christian church. Where, then, could her mind find relief from anxious and consuming solicitude? When month after month had been spent


in this state of mental conflict and sorrow, without any prospect of obtaining the desire of her heart, serving God with fastings and prayers night and day, the thought arose in her mind that in the town of she had a female acquaintance who might be able to give her advice, or to render her assistance; and therefore she resolved to pay her a visit, whatever might be the result, hoping to find some one there who could lead her into all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.

Behold, then, this aged disciple of Jesus Christ leaving home on a journey amounting to 130 or 140 miles in search of a neglected ordinance of God, which had long absorbed every other thought and feeling of her soul; while her determination to follow the scripture rule and pattern in this duty became stronger as new difficulties crossed her path, and fresh objectors stood in her way. She was old and stricken in years at the time this journey was undertaken -her hair was white, almost as snow-her eyes had lost the fire and brilliancy of youth-her health was in afeeblestate-she was going into an unknown part of the country-friends laughed at her singular opinions-poured contempt on what they deemed her delusions and did all in their power to hinder her from becoming one of the sect everywhere spoken against. But they might as easily have rolled back the advancing tides of the sea, or stopped the sun, "which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race:" for believing that it was right in the Lord, enjoined by the Saviour, enforced by his own example, practiced by the apostles and their followers, without any exception— no jests, nor frowns, nor threats, nor entreaties, could shake her constancy, or induce her to make a sacrifice of the claims of truth upon the altar of worldly policy.

Bent upon going the journey, and having a man-servant for her guardian, she travelled the distance already named to ease her conscience of a heavy load, by following the Saviour in the baptismal rite; and the same Providence which led Philip toward the south, where he met and baptized the Eunuch, directed the person under consideration, into the north, where she found peace and satisfaction.

Having reached the house of her friend, and received the gratulations of her family, she took the earliest opportunity of making known her doubts on infant baptism, declaring plainly her opinion that it derived no sanction from the precepts and examples found in the records of the New Testament churches. Discouragement awaited her here in the outset, for the family she had come to visit were members of the established church, and knew nothing of the baptists beyond the common report that such people did exist in the town, though very few church people knew anything about the history, the principles, the sufferings, the piety of their denomination, or the ground on which they founded their claims to be regarded as the nearest approach to the constitution and practice of apostolic churches. Moreover, she found no small difficulty in


making her friends understand that she wanted to be buried with her Lord in baptism; but there was an unerring, though unseen, power at work on her behalf; for it came to pass one morning, at family worship, that the master of the house was reading, in due order, the eighth chapter in the Acts of the Apostles, and when he came to the verse, 66 They went down both into the water, both Philip and the Eunuch, and he baptized him," the greyheaded saint, who had been listening with fixed attention as the narrative was read, unable to restrain her feelings any longer, eagerly seized him by the arm and interrupted him by saying, "There! that is what I want! I have never been down into the water to be baptized."

Having grown up under the influence of these unfounded prejudices which church people cherish against dissenters, but against none so much as the baptists, the family were not a little surprised at this discovery, though at first disposed to regard it as a subject for merriment; but those who follow truth wherever it leads them are not easily turned aside from the path of duty by scoffs and jokes: nor was it likely that a person of her advanced years could be persuaded to rob herself of "the answer of a good conscience towards God" for the sake of pleasing mistaken, though affectionate, friends. "Whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."

"Should it rend some fond connexion;
Should I suffer shame or loss;
Yet the fragrant, fond reflection,
I have been where Jesus was,

Will revive me,

When I faint beneath the cross."

Her sincerity, her earnestness, her anxious state of mind at this moment, may be judged by the fact, that as early as five o'clock in the summer mornings she was often sitting up in bed reading the word of God carefully weighing every passage which threw any light on the mode and subjects of baptism-praying for the comforts of the Holy Spirit; and on one occasion saying, with great emphasis and emotion, “I cannot die in peace, unless I am baptized." The distress of her mind now amounted to agony "Without were fightings, within were fears." Obedience had been essential to her happiness. She was "constrained" by the love of Christ. Anxiety was consuming her. Believers' baptism had taken such hold upon her heart, that she was "straitened" till it was accomplished. Cannot anything be done to ease and satisfy her conscience? Is there no friend, no guide, no comforter within reach ? Where is her prayer book? Alas! that authority prescribes immersion as the rule of baptism, and thus increases the anguish of her soul by strengthening her convictions that she has not been scripturally baptized. Is there no learned divine at hand to calm her excited feelings by bringing "a message from God." Happy thought! "How beautiful are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, and publisheth peace!" The clergyman! the clergyman! was now all

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