« ForrigeFortsett »
Rev. JAMES H. BROOKES, D.D. :
GAIN we send forth our modest little volume, inviting
to its perusal that wider circle of Mildmay friends
whom distance and occupation prevent from gathering with us at our yearly feast, and that inner circle too, who, having tasted the good things there provided, are anxious to taste again; and to both we would say the repast is varied and attractive, and will yield abundant satisfaction.
In the importance of the central subject the recent Con. ference yields to none which have preceded it; and we may claim for the beloved brethren who dwelt upon its various aspects, that they discharged their parts with marked ability, earnestness and success. Among so many admirable addresses it would be invidious to single out any ; but the friends from within our own borders will not grudge a word of thanksgiving on our part to the dear brethren from America whose helpful words we all so much enjoyed ; and it is matter for sincere thankfulness to God that the truths we hold so dear on this side of the Atlantic are as firmly held and as ably set forth on the other side.
Coming at the close of a season rendered memorable by the great evangelistic mission in London of Messrs. Moody and Sankey, and at a moment when the restfulness of a Conference was specially welcome to a large number of somewhat wearied workers, we recall with pleasure the comparative absence of stir and excitement outside the Hall, and feel confirmed in the impression that a too great variety of afternoon meetings does not contribute to the calm and sobriety which ought to characterise Conferences such as
We earnestly trust that this conviction is shared by our friends generally, and may more than counterbalance any disappointment which might be felt by those who in former years had opportunities to plead for special objects. Our sympathy for these is not diminished; and we rejoice to welcome them to Mildmay at other seasons.
May we in conclusion remind the beloved friends who visit us at Midsummer, that Mildmay means not an arnual Conference merely, although that involves much forethought, much labour, and much prayerful preparation ; but a large and continuous mission work, and the devoted labours of many whole-hearted workers ? For that work and for these workers we covet the prayers of God's dear children ; whilst on our part we love to bear upon our spirits in frequent supplication all the faithful in Christ Jesus.
That the knowledge of God may be increased by the perusal of the following pages; and the way to attain to that blessed knowledge made plain to many seekers, is our humble and earnest desire.
The letter of invitation to the Conference was in these terms :
BELOVED CHRISTIAN FRIENDS,—It is again our privilege to invite you to the Mildmay Conference.
As year after year rolls away, thus bringing the day of our Lord's promised return nearer, and as the times become increasingly times of “perplexity," these occasions of withdrawal from worldly business, and even from the activities of Christian work, for quiet, holy worship, and for communion with our God and with each other, become more and more valuable and needful.
On the one hand we cannot but say with one of old, “This day is a day of trouble, and of rebukę and blasphemy.” The enemies of the Lord and of His Anointed are crying more loudly than ever, “Let us break their bands asunder, and let us cast away their cords from us." Their attacks on the truth of God and on Christian institutions are growing more persistent and determined. The ties of society are being visibly loosened, and the very foundations of all that has seemed stable and permanent are “out of course.
On the other hand we are bound thankfully to acknowledge that “ This is a day of glad tidings," and that while there is much to alarm, to sadden, and to depress, there is abundant cause for praise unto our God for increasing manifestation of His
presence and power. He is still our “ King of old, work. ing salvation in the midst of the earth.” In this and in other lands the glorious Gospel of Christ has been wonderfully blessed, and we cannot doubt that the last few months have proved to be a time of wide spiritual awakening, not only in London and the neighbourhood, but in very many places both at home and abroad. There is therefore very much to en: courage our hearts and to lead us to renewed consecration in the work of the Lord.
Let us again come together, to take counsel, and draw near to God. "The work is great and large, and we are separated, one far from another." We need to draw close together as the days become more critical; and we are assured that, as in the past, our Conferences have been times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord, and we have left them with spiritual strength restored, our God will renew His former mercies to us, and give us all just the blessings of which we stand individually and collectively in need.
The subject proposed for our consideration is “THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD".
-as the purpose for which He has redeemed His people—as that which should be the object of their most earnest pursuit, and as the blessing which they are the appointed means of conveying to the world.
Must it not be acknowledged with sorrow that many among us are prone to rest content with the “knowledge of salvation," though called to the inestimable privilege of acquaintance with all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge which are hid in the mystery of Christ—that to many the inquiry may still be addressed, “ Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me?” May we not all make advances in this most glorious of all sciences, the knowledge of God Himself, as the One who can alone so satisfy our souls that we shall be filled, with the fulness of God?
We earnestly trust that our meditations on this exalted subject may stir up all our hearts to "follow on to know the Lord," and thus not only to respond to His wondrous purpose of bringing us into fellowship with Himself, but also by closer intimacy to be more conformed to His image, so that we may represent Him more adequately to those around us.
A variety of passages from the Word of Truth, indicating the line of thought we believe it will be profitable to follow, is appended, though of course only a certain number of them can be fully dwelt upon during the meetings.
The general arrangements of the Conference are now so well known that it is unnecessary to say more with regard to them at present than that we propose to adhere this year to those of our last gathering, in accordance with which the whole of the three days were devoted almost exclusively to the primary object with which the Conference was originally held-worship and edification in the truth. The detailed arrangements will, as usual, be made known later.
You will, we feel assured, unite frequently with us in believing prayer that our gracious God and Father, will, by the power of the Holy Spirit, make the Conference of 1884 an occasion of very great blessing to all who attend it, as well as to multitudes who are unable to come, and thus of glory to Himself, for His dear Son Jesus Christ's sake.
We remain, yours affectionately in Christ Jesus,
JAS. E. MATHIESON,
H. C. NISPET,