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Rev. W. C. Van Meter's Work in Rome.
roaching their dwelling it is neceasary to wash their feet again, in order to cleanse them from the dust and dirt contracted by the way. Moreover, it may be necessary for a person on entering his house to wash his feet a dozen times a day, though his custom is to bathe only once. On returning from a market to my tent one afternoon, I asked a native preacher whether he would go with me to the river to bathe ? His reply was, “I bathed this morning; and our Lord says, 'He that is washed, or bathed, needeth not save to wash his feet. I have only my feet to wash, and then I shall be clean every whit.'
Happy they who have been washed from
the sins of their past life. Such sins, no matter how numerous or heinous, are gone never to return-are cast into the depths of the sea.
As regards them the believer needeth not to be washed again. There are, however, daily sins— sins which cling to us, and defile us, through contact with the world-which we need to have washed away. We require a continued as well as a complete cleansing, and must have recourse to the same fountain for the one as the other. Only then shall we be “clean
“My dying Saviour and my God,
Fountain for guilt and sin!
REV. W. C. VAN METER’S WORK IN ROME. BURNING THE SCRIPTURES IN FRASCATI. the world. By a sort of common consent, New and rich harvest-fields are opening,
it has been treated as if it were "holy and inviting us to enter them. Frascati is
ground,” and whoever should dare to enter a beautiful town of several thousand in- it for any purpose, other than to do the will habitants, about thirty minutes by rail
of the pope, and specially he who should from Rome. The Scriptures were distri
dare to give the Bible to the people and buted there not long since. The priests
gather the children into Bible or Evandenounced them, and gathered and burned
gelical schools, would merit the “tender every copy they could lay hands upon.
mercies of the Inquisition." This set the people to thinking and talking.
A man—not a christian, nor any longer One evening I was in a meeting in Trajan's
a papist-sent word to me that if I desired
to Forum (Mr. Wall's preaching-place); a
open a Bible or Evangelical school or a teacher from Frascati came in, and with
preaching place, I might have rooms at his
house at small cost. great earnestness told us that he had come to ask some one to come and give them the
I hastened over to No. 130, Borgo Vecchio truth. It seemed more like a messenger
(the middle one of the three streets from from Cornelius than anything I ever heard
the castle of St. Angelo to St. Peter's. The
house is in view of St. Peter's, and about a Then the district attorney urged me to
hundred and fifty yards from the square in come immediately and open an evangelical
front of that church and the Vatican.) school.
There, on the ground-floor I found a nice But what could I do? I had already ex
front room, about twelve or fourteen feet panded my work to the extent of the means
by forty-five, back of it a court, about promised me for 1873. Rev. Messrs. Wall, twenty by twenty, with a small fountain ;
and back of it a nice hall, eighteen by Gioja, Cote, and I, met and considered the whole matter. We dared not say “no,”
thirty-six feet, for school, preaching, etc.,
etc. I stood and looked with silent and yet what could we do? At length I said, “ If you will do the
grateful wonder. Such rooms in such a preaching, I will rent a suitable place for
place, and for such a purpose ! school and preaching, and pay the salary
As I thought of being permitted to gather of the teacher. To this they cheerfully
around me the children, and lead them to agreed. Mr. Wall and I went, made the
the Saviour, and of their sweet songs that
would rise up and enter into the very chamnecessary arrangements, and the work be
bers of the pope and cardinals,gan. Did I do right? True, I had not a shil
“I trembled with delicious fear." ling to spend upon it, but could I not safely True, I had not the thousand dollars trust that you would at once help to pro- (£200) to meet all the expenses the first vide the six hundred dollars (£120) to meet year, and I knew also that I was in an the entire expenses for one year ?
enemy's country and far from home; but I
also knew that God had made a breach in OPENING OF THE VATICAN MISSION.
the wall and opened the way into this citaTHE Leonine City is that part of Rome del. To have even hesitated to go in at such across the Tiber in which are the Vatican, a time, would have been base cowardice. St. Peter's, and the Inquisition.
The plea that I must wait until I could For centuries this place has been the seat write to England or America and raise the of the “ man of sin.” From it have gone money (and thus let this opportunity pass) forth edicts and influences that have cursed before assuming such responsibility would
have shown a want of confidence in my struction, but failing to obtain an interview brethren that would have been most offen- with him, I explained carefully to a gentlesive to them and covered me with shame. man in his office the work I had been doing In an hour the lease was in my pocket. in New York, and the work which I pro
I immediately employed a christian man posed to do in Rome. Not being familiar and woman to go from house to house to tell with the customs, language, and laws, I rethe “old, old story.” On Monday, Nov. 4th, quested him to make any suggestions that he two schools were opened. At night the thought would aid me, which he very kindly place was dedicated by a union meeting of did: but he did not mention one thing which the Italian pastors and congregations. The is now alleged that I ought to have done. hall was packed, and a crowd stood silently I did not know that an authorization from and orderly at the door, evidently profound- the government was required for such a ly impressed by this strange and “impious work as mine, nor that I must cease to be intrusion."
an American citizen before I could open a We hoped to begin with fifteen or twenty school in Rome ! pupils ; but over eighty were received the I therefore had not complied with these first day. During the week parents came frequently neglected requirements. and registered the names of 224 as appli- This my enemies ascertained, and at once cants for admission. Alas? for want of compelled the government to enforce the means I could receive only 100, and was law. Without the least intimation being compelled to beg the parents to wait given to me, the police were sent, the schools patiently until I could obtain sufficient closed, and the pupils dispersed. means to secure more room and employ
MORE LIGHT ON THE SUBJECT. more teachers. How long shall they wait ?
An eminent legal adviser of the governWHY WERE THE SCHOOLS CLOSED?”
ment with whom I was remonstrating said, From the beginning I have had the advice “ Distribute no more Scriptures and tracts, and co-operation of of the most discontinue the visits of your teachers and judicious christian men who know Italy missionaries among the families, and you and the Italians.
will have no trouble.” I did not seek to evade the law, nor ask I replied that I had come to do just such to be exempted from its requirements. On work. “ Then,” said he, “ you must accept the contray, before I opened my schools I the consequences." I replied, “I do accept took special pains to know what I must do them, whatever they may be.” in order to conduct them wisely and Another gentleman (unofficially) said, efficiently. I well knew that the old “Give up your Vatican mission and withenemies of true progress-of civil and re- draw from the Leonine city, and you may ligious liberty and freedom of conscience, work where you like.” I replied, “I cannot would watch and take advantage of the do it. If it be lawful to have a mission in least mistake I might make, and hinder if Rome, I will locate it where I think best; they could not prevent my work. There- and since God has opened the way for me fore I was the more anxious to know just by the Vatican, St. Peter's, and the Inquiwhat to do.
sition, I will not withdraw from it, but will I called upon the minister of public in- succed or fail just there."
FOREIGN LETTERS RECEIVED. BERHAMPORE-W. Hill, March, 24, April 12, 19.1 CUTTACK–J. Buckley, April 1, 21.
April 18th, to May 18th, 1873.
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Nottingham, Prospect Place
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1 0 0 a sincere friend of the Orissa Mission 31 17 6
Subscriptions and Donations in aid of the General Baptist Missionary Society will be thankfully received by T. HILL, Esq., Baker Street, Nottingham, Treasurer ; and by the Rev. J. C. PIKE, the Secretary, Leicester, from whom also Missionary Boxes, Collecting "Books, and Cards may be obtained.
GENERAL BAPTIST MAGAZINE,
DIGGING FOR WATER. SOME of the "out-of-the-way” passages in God's Word contain precious teachings, which will repay us for hunting them out and turning them up. There is a rich ore of truth hidden under them. For example, there is an historical incident narrated in the third chapter of the Second Book of Kings which is very seldom noticed. We read that the kings of Judah and of Israel were at war with the heathen armies of Moab. The armies of the Lord were suffering from the want of water. Within the compass of a seven days' journey they cannot find a drop. In their straits they send for God's prophet, Elisha. He becomes God's oracle, and gives them this message from Heaven: “Thus saith the Lord, make the land full of ditches.” The word may be better translated trenches. How shall they be filled ? That is not their concern. It is the duty of faith not to question but to obey. “For thus saith the Lord, ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet this valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink; both ye, and your cattle, and your beasts.” The trenches were dug, and presently the water began to steal into them from some mysterious, invisi
It was not an ordinary process of nature ; but a supernatural process, accomplished by the direct agency of God. All the awakening, converting, and quickening power that operates on human souls is really supernatural. Up to a certain point human agency acts, but not one hair's breadth further. “ Paul may plant,” and there he stops ; “ Apollos may water,” and there he must stop. Then comes in the Divine agency, when "God giveth the increase.” All that the thirsting Israelites could do, or were asked to do, was simply to dig the trenches. And then a supernatural power filled them mysteriously with water. There does not appear to have been any Huxley, or Tyndall, or Darwin in the camp, to teach God's people that supernatural agencies are never exerted, even for a good object. The simple-hearted Israelites wanted water, and they dug channels for God to pour it in. They prepared for a blessing, and the blessing came.
This is the pithy and practical truth that we find by lifting up this text and looking under it. It is a suggestive one to hundreds of our churches, which have long been languishing in spiritual drought. If we want spiritual blessings, we must dig
the trenches to receive them. The first trench that ought to be opened in some churches is a deep, broad channel of mutual confidence and BROTHERLY LOVE. When Christians grow cold and neglectful of their own duties, they grow censorious toward each other. - As love declines, the critical temper increases. All along the eaves of a cold church hang the sharp, piercing icicles of criticism and censoriousness. Then everybody suffers. The pastor catches his share ; his most honest efforts are the most censured. The officers of the
VOL. LXXV.-NEW SERIES, No. 43.
church are blamed roundly, and those who happen to be unpopular are made the luckless scapegoats on which to load the failures of the church. Each blames the others; but no one goes down in the dust of contrition and blames himself. Sometimes this censoriousness is born of very impatience at the want of success. Sometimes good men and women, vexed that things do not go better, fall to hitting right and left their fellowmembers, their officers, the pastor getting a blackened eye among the rest. It is as if a rifleman on the battle-field, seeing the fight go badly, quits firing, and takes to battering his comrades with the butt of his rifle
. Whereas his own example, in just standing firm and taking sure aim at the foe, would do more to restore the battle than all his disorderly assaults on his fellow-soldiers. The charity that “thinketh no evil,” and is not easily provoked,” and that “seeketh not her own" (way), is the first grace to be exercised in many a cold, discordant, fault-finding church. How can Christians expect the outside world to put confidence in them when they put so little confidence in each other? The first duty in such a church is to run a deep, broad trench of cordial charity and brotherly love right through the whole congregation. This trench must be dug by every one before his own door.
Another trench to be opened speedily is earnest, penitential PRAYER. This is God's appointed "channel to convey the blessings He designs to give." I sometimes think that there are no equal number of utterances by reputable people in which so many falsehoods are told as in public prayers. Loving words are often spoken by people whose hearts rankle with mean spites and malicious grudges. Sins are glibly confessed in prayer which, if anybody else should charge upon the speaker, he would grow red in the face with wrath. Words of solemn self-consecration are fluently uttered by persons who are living to themselves, and not to Jesus Christ. Such prayers are a mockery. They cut no channels for God's blessings. But genuine prayer—born of contrition and soul-thirst, poured out with faith and wrestling importunity-breaks its way up to the throne of infinite love. Sach prayer always brings a revival; nay, it is itself a revival.
A third work of preparation for the Divine blessing is equally indispensable. It is PERSONAL REPENTANCE of sin. Not of other people’s sins, but of our own. The best draining of a farmer's field is sub-soil drainage. In our churches we need a sub-soil repentance. It must cut deep. It must cut up sin by the root. If the ploughshare run through the flower-beds and melon-patches of our self-indulgence, so much the better. The trench that drains off our sins will be a channel for the sweet, life-giving waters of salvation.
We might mention other trenches that are needed-such as HARD WORK and LIBERALITY IN GIVING FOR CHRIST. The wider we cut these channels the broader and the fuller will be the stream of God's blessings. Thus saith the Lord to His people, “Make your valley full of trenches." We may see no wind nor rain.” We may hear no sounds of violent excitement. But silently and steadily the tides of spiritual influence will flow into our souls. As the tides rise from the ocean over bare and slimy ground, and lift up the keels of grounded vessels, so shall these blessings of the Holy Spirit flow into our churches. Not by inight, nor by human power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord.”
Brethren, this plain-spoken article may reach scores of churches who are so dry that there is no water within a compass of seven days' journey." God's command to you is to prepare for blessings, or they will never come. When your trenches are ready, the currents of spiritual power will flow in. If you want water, dig for it.
T. L. CUYLER.
Is it possible that any of the langour and feebleness of the church of Christ, so commonly deplored amongst us, is due to inattention to His clearly expressed preference for a free, generous, and enthusiastic devotion ? Does the current of love and of life move with a sluggish flow because we are ignorant of His demands, and content to put in their place the maxims and standards stamped with the image and superscription of our fellowmembers ? Have we taken our ideal of discipleship from those who sit with us on the same form, and read from the same book, and bear our own faults, instead of looking directly to Him who is our Example as well as our Teacher, and the Pattern to which we are to be conformed as well as the Voice we are to heed ?
Certainly our Lord expects enthusiasm in His followers. He demands the passionate heat of a self-consuming love. The stony heart is His intensest abhorrence. His most scathing sentences fall on souls dead to feeling, callous with indifference to all interests except what they mistakenly regard as their own. Hard, calculating, cold Pharisees, cutting and figuring their phylacteries without a flaw, measuring their prayers to half a word, and repeating them to the strike of the clock, are withered with the sharp blast of His rebuke, like the big-leaved but fruitless fig-tree, notwithstanding the superior correctness of their theological notions and the elegance and taste of their religious ritual. Could any other parable so vividly teach that there is no more damnatory feature of character than an ice-bound, selfish heartlessness, as does Christ's matchless picture of the gay purple-robed worldling faring sumptuously every day, and yet leaving the poor beggar, a mass of sores, covered with rags, to the greater kindness of his dogs ? The man who will not lose his life, hazard its wealth and pleasure, or hold it and care for it, ever ready to fling it away at His bidding and for His sake and the gospel's, may have a respectable position and good repute, but he is not worthy of Christ. The severest sentence uttered by the risen Saviour to the defaulting churches of Asia Minor is not against those who fraternized with heretics ; though His threat against the heretics is big with fearful woes ; nor even against the lawless and lustful members of the church at Thyatira, and yet an awful doom is denounced on them; but the heaviest judgment of all falls on the flaccid, vigourless, lukewarm Laodiceans, who, in their blindness, regarded their poor shrivelled nature as nobleness, and their tattered and filthy garments as the robes of princes. Hear Him! “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I shall soon spue thee out of My mouth.” Can anything exceed that in fearful severity ? Could volumes of reasoning more conclusively show the deep displeasure with which Christ regards a life that takes its name from Him, but has none of His calm intensity of love, none of His sublime self-sacrifice. Within hearing of that word is it not a marvel we can ever suffer the fires of love to burn low ?
See, too, how pleased He is with the “fervent in spirit.” Hot tears of penitence and faith bursting from a broken-hearted sinner on to his feet are refreshing as water to the thirsty soul, or good news from a far country. John, the man whose fervid, woman's love gets him the place nearest our Lord, it is, that comes down to us as the disciple whom Jesus loved. Even Peter, rash and indiscreet as he is, takes first rank amongst the apostles,