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“ Any Methodists?” “No such names are known here.” “Well, then,” asked the baffled and alarmed soul, lingering by the gate, to enter which had been his heart's longing for years, “have you not any members of the body of Christ here?” “Ah! yes
-all who enter here are members of his glorious body. If you be one of these, enter, and welcome.”
If the churches were, according to the beautiful figure of James Montgomery, “ distinct as the billows, but one as the sea,” how profound would be the unity of the Spirit beneath, compared to the sectarian undulations on the surface! The “unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”-that is what must possess us if we ever dwell in heaven, and therefore what we must aim at even in this carnal world. The mighty ocean which laves our continents and islands is ever the same, and by its beneficent cloud-collecting and wind-diffusing powers, the whole world is fanned and watered—but what is this universal beneficence compared with that of the “ fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness ?" There must every soul of every denomination have washed before it has learned to commune with God.
And if all are indebted to the same cleansing flood, how can we stand aloof as if we were strangers? If even the ten lepers associated together in their misery, shall not those who are healed associate together in their thankful union?
“Lift high thy banner, Prince of Peace;
Let discords die, and love increase.”
THE SACRAMENTAL SERVICES.
In the dark parts of the earth we find shadowy intimations of Scripture truths. Some have three united idols for their god. Some have traditions of the original pair who peopled the earth. Some have an account of Noah's flood, not very unlike the truth. All these are valuable, as intimating the one source from whence they draw their origin.
They have by tradition a dim representation of what we have by inspiration. Even those things which are distinctly stated in the New Testament become modified in the course of ages, and under the different degrees of light or liberty of the Christian Church
Thus, some baptize by immersion, some by sprinkling, some in a house, others in a running stream. But all derive the rite itself from the divine record. And so of the Lord's Supper, which continues to shew forth the wonderful sacrifice made for man. It will remain“ till He come," but under varied forms. It has been touching to me to observe such
variations, and to feel that in spite of them all the believers are one in heart and in hope.
At the communion service, in an ancient village church in. Switzerland, the pastor was raised two steps above us. He took from a small table by his side a long strip of bread, as thick as his finger. From this he broke a morsel, which he silently gave to each communicant, who then passed behind him, and received the cup from one of the two elders stationed at another little table on the same platform, and passing downward, the people returned to their places by entering the pews at the opposite end from that by which they had left them.
In Belgium, on a similar occasion, the church having been lately painted, the elder who had charge of the communidn plate was absent, and had locked it up. Were the children to fast because of the absence of the regular order of vessels? Nay, verily. Their pastor treated the matter in a more practical way, unfettered by any solemn consecration; and using simple goblets of glass, and a common china plate, the tokens of redeeming love were dispensed to us—and the accompanying exhortations and prayers were never more strengthening or quickening.
Some of these services in the United States had only so refreshing a variation from ours, as to be the more arresting to the mind. One of these, which we enjoyed in New Jersey, I shall describe'as correctly as memory will enable me.
We had public worship on Friday afternoon and evening, and again on Saturday at two o'clock. It was lively to see the country people congregating from distant hamlets, and to count upwards of seventy vehicles on the green—the number on Sabbath being increased to upwards of a hundred. Each vehicle carried four persons—many of them six-and in some there were children above the regular complement. They were chiefly plain country people, who in our own country would walk a few miles to church without weariness. The vehicles comprised many of fashion new to me—the waggon, the rockaway, the dearborn, and so on, up to the comfortable brougham. The spacious church was wellnigh full—the services instructive and edifying. On the Saturday, all who were to join the church for the first time came up the middle aisle to profess their faith. Their names were mentioned by the minister, and also the names of those who were to be received from other evangelical churches. The covenant was read, and after a short affectionate address from the pastor, the new members resumed their seats. This brought to mind the simple country church in Dumfriesshire, where, several years before, those very dear to me had stood in the band of young communicants to receive such welcome and such admonition.
After this address the minister invited any strangers who might wish to commemorate the Master's dying love, with an affectionate reference to Christian friends from a sister church in a distant country. Next came the baptismal service for those unbaptized. One man and one woman, both of middle age, presented themselves. They advanced to the rail around the elder's seat and kneeled. With us it is so uncommon a circumstance not to have been baptized in infancy, that when it is required, the service is as it were smuggled by in the session-house or in the manse. The open profession is the more becoming method, inviting the prayers and the brotherly oversight of the whole flock.
On Saturday afternoon, when the children of the church are usually presented for baptism, there stood a mother with her full heart and watery eye, offering her boy—about six-in one hand, and her girl_about three-in the other, awakening the sympathy and petitions of many of us—specially that her heart's wish for the conversion of her husband might be granted. The boy looked up in the minister's face and smiled when he first poured the water and then laid his wet hand on his head to bless him. The girl gave a startled cry at the shock of the cold water on her face, and then was still. Here was a sight good for a church, calling forth many family and Christian sympathies.
Next approached five or six pairs side by side ; the fathers, with that tenderness for the feebler sex which is unfailing in America, carrying the babes, till the pastor took each one in his own paternal