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Ending and Beginning. New Year's Day is a point of view and a point of departure. We stand and think. We look at the past and we consider the future.

The years are growing larger but our time is getting shorter, for with every passing Fear the possible future in this life is steadily diminishing.

As we look back, how little we seem to have done! How 'many opportunities for doing we seem to have missed!

So it may appear even to the most faithful. Perhaps we did the best we could at the time, but now we judge our work in the light of the present. Thus we may judge ourselves too severely. God, however, will judge us in view of the light or lack of light we had at that time.

If we did the best we could at the time it is well, though now it may seem exceedingly imperfect. Indeed, the fact that the past appears so imperfect may be merely an evidence that our views have become more mature. If so, then, with our better understanding we may do better in the future.

Looking back, however, may do us little good, unless from the past we learn to do better in the present and in the future. Looking back and merely dreaming about the past is paralyzing to our present powers and to our coming possibilities. Therefore

the true course is to glance at the past in order to learn its lessons and then to turn our backs upon the past and resoluiely set our faces toward the future.

The way to age and become discouraged is to keep looking backward, but the way to keep fresh and buoyant is to look forward with a purpose, a plan, and an effort. Living in the past is to perish while we live; living actively in the present and for the future is the way preserve our powers in vigor and to really live.

Some good object should be kept in view, and we should plan and execute that we may achieve. There is something before us for which we may hope. Then let us cherish the hope! There is something before us which we may do and do better than anything in the past. Then let us put forth our thought and energy while we look to God for his aid. Thus the ending of the old year will be the beginning of better things in the new.

Decision Day.

DECISION Day in the Sunday schools has become a fairly fixed institution. At this time a special effort is made to induce the scholars to decide and love God with more or less success. As to the proper time for this special effort various dates have been suggested by various bodies. Thus in our denomination the time proposed is the first

Sunday of the New Year, and this time has been selected because the close of the year is apt to give a tinge of seriousness to young as well as old, because the first Sunday may be said to mark the end of the Christmas festivities, and because with the advent of the new year there is a disposition to reflect and resolve.

Some object to having any particular day designated as Decision Day, and we may ad. mit that unless good judgment is exercised there is danger in a stereotyped usage that may lead to merely mechanical methods and action. There is also a possible loss of the force of surprise which may be gained by the unannounced and perhaps unexpected appeal, for scholars being aware of the proposed movement upon them may prepare themselves against the expected assault, as some might characterize it.

On the other hand, it is better to have a formal Decision Day than to have no day on which a direct and pressing appeal shall be made. Unfortunately

many teachers even so generally fail to make a direct effort for the conversion of their scholars that it seems necessary by some method of this character to arouse them to the immediate performance of this plain duty. Further, it may be held that Decision Day is favorable to concentration of effort and the putting forth of united energy.

Because there is a designated day, even dilatory teachers may arouse themselves to the performance of their duty in this regard, and, in view

of the general interest awakened and the united effort put forth, the scholars themselves are likely to be affected, impressed, and moved to action. So, altogether, there is much to be said in favor of Decision Day.

There must be a moment of decision sometime, and decision is a most important part

of the mental action which leads to conver. sion. There should be, and will be, some degree of feeling as one comes to consider his condition and his duty to give his heart and life to God, though that will vary in its manifestation and apparent intensity in different individuals, but with everyone there must be the positive decision. Hence it is not the emotion but the volition that is most vital. So Jesus said, “Ye will not come to me that ye may have life." It is the act of the will.

Then, though many things may precede and lead up to the volition, the decision is the thing of a moment, and, in that sense, conversion is instantaneous. Joshua's exhor. tation, “Choose you this day whom ye will serve,” is the exhortation for this day, and the reply should be, "We also will serve Jehovah; for he is our God."

Though we may have a specially desig. nated Decision Day, nevertheless every day should be decision day, for “Now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” Direct efforts should be made every day, and good results may follow any day.

Now and then it will be well to have a gen. eral decision day in the Sunday school with. out any public announcement. Then the scholars will be off their guard and may be more easily reached.

To make any decision day successful there should be judicious preparation-preparation in the hearts and minds of the teachers and preparation in the minds and hearts of the scholars.


Organizing the Church. On the 17th of December, 1784, nearly all the preachers expected at the Conference had arrived at Perry Hall, Mr. Henry Dorsey Gough's palatial · residence, about fifteen miles from the City of Baltimore. The last


comer was Whatcoat, who arrived on the and Thomas Vasey, had been ordained by nineteenth.

Mr. Wesley and two other Anglican presThe days spent in this hospitable home byters, and a few had been ordained at the were not idle ones, for the gathering proved Virginia Conference, but the latter had to be a preliminary, though an informal, agreed to hold their orders in abeyance and conference. During this time they began the await the decision of the Rev. John Wesley. revision of the "Rules and Minutes," and All the others were unordained preachers, doubtless canvassed many of the questions but they and all the absent members of the which were to come before the Con. ference, so that probably many mat. ters were practically settled before the Conference met.

On Friday morning, December 24, Coke and Asbury, and the other preachers, numbering altogether about sixty, rode out from Perry Hall on their way to Baltimore. They were the religious cavalry of that period, and they rode through Baltimore no doubt they attracted the gaze and excited the curiosity of the people, but few if any began to appreciate what a momentous movement this march was and what it meant for the future.

In front of a modest chapel in Lovely Lane, now German Street, they dismounted and entered. The chapel was not quite finished, but a stove was provided, and backs were put on some of the benches for the comfort of the preachers, and in this humble edifice, at ten

REV. THOMAS COKE, D.C.L. o'clock of the morning before The original painting by Eldridge is in the Wesleyan Mission Rooms,

London. Christmas, this memorable Conference began its sessions. Because it met American Conference were nevertheless real during the Christmas season it has been ministers. Each one had consecrated himself styled the “Christmas Conference.”

to the work of the ministry, and each one The number present has been variously had been formally admitted to the ministry, stated. The number has been fixed at and so publicly and in a very practical sense "nearly sixty" and again at sixty-five. One, had been formally set apart for this lifeDr. Coke, had been regularly ordained in the work. Now, since Wesley had acted, orders Church of England; two, Richard Whatcoat were possible to all of them.

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REV. FRANCIS ASBURY IN HIS FORTY-NINTH YEAR. The so-called “lost portrait" was made for Mr. James McCannon, of Balti

more, and discovered after many years of obscurity by the Rev. Dr. George C. M. Roberts, who reproduced it in his “ Centenary Pictorial Album," 1866.

had been the head of American Methodism, was only thirty-nine. Only one of the others had been in the itinerant ministry as long as ten years, and that one was Dromgoole; while forty-one had been in the traveling ministry only from one to four years, and were probably under twenty-five years of age.

Assistant, and he had been acting as such for some years. Consequently he was already their recognized and chosen superior. Furthermore, all or nearly all these preachers were his "sons in the Gospel,” brought into the ministry by or under him. In the view of these young men Asbury, though a little

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