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The prizes consisted of scientific books and a small field-glass presented by Mr. T. W. Grimshaw to the most successful collector of geological specimens. The exhibition was regarded as quite a success, and a very pleasant and profitable evening was spent by all.

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THE LINCOLNSHIRE NEW CHURCH ASSOCIATION. The annual meeting of the members and friends was this year held in London on 4th August, and was well attended. The chair was taken by the president, Mr. James H. Moore of Sheffield. The honorary secretary read an interesting report of the work done during the past year, of which notices have appeared in these columns. Mr. R. Gunton was elected president for the ensuing year. The committee were reelected, as also the honorary secretary, Mr. J. S. Bogg. Several ladies and gentlemen present assented to a request that they would become honorary members of the Association. Mr. Speirs presented six copies of "Talks to the Children for distribution. A grant of five pounds to the Horncastle Society was agreed to, with the recommendation appended that the services of the Rev. Dr. Tafel should, if possible, be obtained for a ministerial visit. It was resolved to present one or more sets of five New Church works to the libraries attached to the military depôts in Lincoln and Nottingham; to offer the work entitled "The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine" to all the clergy in the diocese of Lincoln, and to all the ministers in that county who had not applied for the work entitled "The Future Life" (Heaven and Hell); and to offer the second volume of the Arcana Coelestia to those who applied for the first conditionally on payment of postage. It was also decided to place the "Spiritual Columbus" in some of the hotels in Lincolnshire. Resolutions were passed declaring the desirability of establishing a Colportage Association for the three counties of Lincoln, Derby, and Nottingham; and the secretary was requested to correspond with the secretaries of New Church Societies and with isolated receivers in those counties. The president briefly addressed the members; the Rev. W. H. Benade of Pittsburg and the Rev. Dr. Tafel also offered a few remarks expressing interest in the work of the Association. Mr. R. Jobson kindly consented to become collector for the metropolitan district.

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LONDON (Camberwell). -The Rev. W. C. Barlow, M.A., is continuing his pastoral labours at Camberwell under most hopeful auspices. The congregations at the Sunday morning services have fully sustained

the average of the past twelve months, while those at the evening services have been considerably increased, no less than 144 persons having been present on Sunday evening, September 14th. On August 26th there was held a meeting preliminary to the re-establishment of the junior members' class, at which twenty-one young people were present. The class will be held on alternate Wednesday evenings, and on each occasion two papers will be read by members of the class, one upon a doctrinal subject, and one in elucidation of the spiritual sense of the Word. At a subsequent gathering thirty-four attended. On the evening of the 16th September forty members of the Society and congregation met their pastor and arranged the details for the recommencement of the theological class, which will assemble every Tuesday evening and systematically read and converse upon Swedenborg's "True Christian Religion." The Rev. W. C. Barlow has arranged to attend in the schoolroom half an hour before and after the meeting, to speak with any inquirers who have questions to propound not strictly affecting the subject which the class has at the time under consideration.

LONDON (Argyle Square and Camden Road).-The Rev. R. Storry has just concluded a short course of services at these churches. The services were at Camden Road, but in the absence of the minister, the Rev. J. Presland, it was arranged that Mr. Storry should take the morning service at Argyle Square on the morning of the 7th September, and at the close administer the Sacrament of the Holy Supper. A large congregation attended on the occasion. In the evening Mr. Storry commenced a course of three discourses, on successive Sabbath evenings, on the "Kingdom of God." The first of these discourses was on "the Sovereignty of the Saviour;" the second on "the Nature, Extent, and Government of the Saviour's Kingdom;" and the third on "the Certainty of its Continuance and Increase."

SALISBURY.-On Wednesday, August 6th, the Sunday-school in connection with this Society held its annual treat. Tickets having been provided for the accommodation of adults wishing to be present, so large a portion of the congregation availed themselves of the opportunity thus afforded that the party was eventually above fifty in number. With high spirits, undamped by a smart shower, the school started for Salisbury Race Plain, where, as the rain cleared off, and nothing occurred to mar the enjoyment of the day, an exceedingly pleasant time was spent. The summons to depart was therefore an unwelcome one,

and all seemed to wish for the longer continuance of a day which had been so productive of happiness. Before leaving several hymns from the "Chapel Gems' were sung by the children, and the applause which followed indicated the pleasure that the elder portion of the assembly had derived from listening to them. This expedition, which proved such a complete success, served to promote a kindly feeling in the church, and it is earnestly hoped that the mutual confidence and charity there displayed will continue to exist and increase in the Society.

Birth.

On Sunday, August 31st, the wife of the Rev. J. R. Rendell of Bradford of a son.

Marriages.

On the 10th September 1879, at Palace Gardens Church, London, by the Rev. Dr. Bayley, George, eldest son of George Townsend Trobridge of Smethwick, to Georgina, only daugher of the late H. F. O. Huntley of Exeter.

At Rotherfield Church, Sussex, August 19th, Alfred Emanuel Beilby, eldest son of Mr. Beilby of Nottingham, to Annie Maria Sarah (Madge), eldest daughter of J. S. Williams, Esq., Highbroom, Rotherfield.

Obituary.

On the 11th of August, Mary, the beloved wife of Mr. Jacob Schofield, departed this life in the fifty-fourth year of her age. Our departed sister has passed through a life of varied and chequered experience. Naturally sensitive in feeling and refined in sentiment and habit, she had to patiently endure surroundings and circumstances she would gladly have altered. Combined with these for many years was a feeble frame and constant sickness. She was bound to earth by her affection for her family, whom she tenderly loved, and who needed her help and guidance. For herself she was not impatient, yet willing to depart. Sometime since a severe fit of dangerous illness exhausted her strength and brought her to the margin of the grave. Her doctors, her family, her friends, and she herself expected her departure. In the extremity of her exhaustion she had a remarkable dream, which left a strong impression on her mind. It is easy to ridicule dreams, but they are among the most certain facts of our mysterious existence, and they not unfrequently convey lessons we should do well to note.

Our departed friend dreamt that she came into the presence of angels, who told her that the time of her departure to their world had not yet arrived, and that she must still pass through much suffering before she entered the kingdom. She awoke confident that she should recover, and equally confident that a life of trial was before her. She was, as it were, forewarned that it was only through faith and patience that she could inherit the promises. She recovered, as she felt assured would be the case, and she girded the loins of her mind for the conflict still before her. She entered the darkness confiding in a Divine strength. She endured hardship as a faithful servant of our Heavenly King, and now she inherits the promise, "Where I am there shall also My servant be."

At Heywood, on the 8th July, Mrs. Elizabeth Hope closed a life of patient suffering, in the sixty-ninth year of her age. For the long period of ten years she was confined to bed by a painful rheumatic affection. During this long period she endured much bodily pain and spiritual trial. She had also to pass through seasons of severe bereavement. Warmly attached to her children, she had seen all except one pass into the other life before her the two last when her infirmities rendered her dependent on their kindly aid. Mrs. Hope was one of those who signed the roll on the formal enrolment of the Society at Heywood in 1837. She was then one of the young persons connected with the Church and Sunday-school, and one of the most regular attendants on public worship. Her long illness was borne with exemplary patience. She never lost faith in the merciful providence and constant care of the Lord, although she occasionally expressed an intense desire to depart. The long night of her affliction is now past, and she has at length entered into rest.

On the 6th of July, aged fifty-two, after a comparatively short illness, Mrs. Sarah Aspinal departed from the present life to the abiding inheritance of her future home. Her general character was amiable and unobtrusive, and she was doubtless prepared during her earthly life for some of the manifold uses which await the children of God in their Father's house.

Departed this life at Thornwood House, on 25th August, Janet, infant daughter of James and Jane Eadie.

Caroline Edith, infant daughter of Rev. J. J. and M. J. Thornton, was removed into the spiritual world on May 27th, 1879, at Melbourne, Australia.

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THE PHILOSOPHY OF PRAYER.

PRAYER is communion with God. It is the Divinely appointed means of expressing our wants to Him, that we may have them supplied. That which God has appointed must be adapted to secure the object intended to be answered by it. It is not for us to question the wisdom of any of the Divine requirements. Yet, as the Author of our being has bestowed upon us a faculty which can never be satisfied without a knowledge of causes, and even of ends, which are final causes, it is lawful to inquire reverentially into the meaning of the duties He imposes and the privileges He bestows upon us. This is rendered desirable by the fact that there is a right and a wrong way of reasoning on Divine and spiritual subjects; and therefore it is often necessary to bring forth the right reason to counteract the wrong. As Divine wisdom and right reason can never be at variance, we need not fear that rational inquiry into any of the ways of God in His dealings with His creatures will ever bring the human mind into conflict with the Divine. Besides, there are on all subjects, and especially on Divine and spiritual subjects, appearances which, if followed, would lead us astray, and which require to be corrected by the realities that lie concealed under them. And not only so, but real truths may be adopted as premises of wrong conclusions. It is not uncommon to reason in this wise on the subject of prayer: God loves us with an infinite and

unchangeable love; what reason have we then to entreat His favour? He knows better than we ourselves can know what our states require ; and what need then to inform Him of our wants? He is more ready to give than we can be to ask or receive; why then entreat Him to bestow His gifts? He inspires every good desire; whence then the need of expressing those desires in His presence? All those statements are true, and yet the conclusions thus drawn from them are false. It is true that the Almighty knows our wants and is willing to supply them; yet the conclusion which some draw from this, that therefore prayer is unnecessary, is far from being just, and shows the necessity of right views on the subject. Such views are equally required to correct the opposite error that prayer can prevail with God, and procure from Him spiritual and temporal blessings which He can, but will not otherwise bestow. In endeavouring to show how prayer is efficacious in bringing down the Divine blessing, we only desire to make more evident its reasonableness and advantages.

There are two principles that must be admitted before we can understand the subject of prayer. The first is, that prayer can produce no change in the mind of God. "He is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever." As His nature is unchangeable, so are His laws. The laws of His Providence originate in His unchangeable love, and are framed by His unerring wisdom, which sees and provides for the states and circumstances of all to eternity. On the immutability of the Divine attributes, and the constancy of the laws according to which they operate, the preservation and welfare of the moral as well as of the physical world depend. The language of the Scriptures, that God repents when man returns, is the language of accommodation to the simple-minded; and yet it shows, what is sufficient for such to know, that the Divine clemency is ever secured by sincere repentance.

If prayer can produce no change in the mind and dealings of God, it must be intended to produce a change in the mind and state of the worshipper. This is the second principle to be admitted before we can understand the manner in which prayer operates its beneficial effects. It acts upon the worshipper in such wise as to prepare him for receiving the things which he asks in prayer. We would not be understood as limiting the benefits of prayer to the worshipper alone. There is no mind in the universe which is alone or which can be affected alone. Space cannot separate mind from mind, or soul from soul, nor the spiritual world where angels and demons dwell from the natural world where men sojourn. They have their proximi

ties and their distances, their connections and their separations; but these are determined entirely by the law of sympathy and antipathy, or by similarity and dissimilarity of state. The same law determines our nearness to and our distance from God. All are equally near Him as regards space, but all are not equally near Him as regards state. All those expressions in the Scriptures which speak of man's nearness to and distance from God, and of his drawing near to God, and departing from Him, must be translated out of the language of nature into that of spirit, before they can be understood in their true sense.

Admitting, then, these two essential principles, that prayer can produce no change in the mind or in the laws of God, but is intended to produce a change in the mind and state of the worshipper, we come to consider how that change or improvement is effected.

Every duty which God requires of man, though it may appear in the Scriptures simply as a command, will be found, when viewed in relation to man's nature and necessities, to be grounded in the profoundest wisdom. God has required man not only to desire but to ask for the gifts of His bounty. Prayer is the desire of the heart expressed. Desire is the essential of all prayer. But something more than the desire is necessary. If the desire had been sufficient, the desire only would have been required. Since God has required that the desire should be presented to Him in the words of human speech, we may be assured there is a cause for this requirement worthy of Divine wisdom and goodness.

The greater efficacy of prayer than of the unexpressed desires and wishes of the heart, is grounded in the law of our nature, that an act of the mind is not truly an act of the man till it has also become an act of the body. To express it more correctly—no act of the inner man, till it has become an act of the outer man also, is an act of the whole man. The obstacles to the carrying out of a principle or to the performance of a duty, are in the outer man—in the natural affections and thoughts, appetites and habits; and until these are first brought into compliance, and then into harmony, with the desires of the heart and the convictions of the mind, there is something wanting of the unity in which there is strength, and of the harmony in which there is peace. Every desire of the heart and every conviction of the mind requires to be embodied in some suitable form of action or of expression, that it may be fixed, that the desire or conviction may acquire an actual and permanent existence. Desires and thoughts are unsubstantial, and very often delusive, when they only play about the head and touch

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