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Wesleyan Jubilee.

The celebration of the Wesleyan Jubilee i has been going on during the week in the outposts of the cause in Ashburton County, and the centre of the circuit having been reached, the celebration services began yesterday in the Ashburton church. The unusual hour of three o'clock—for many in the borough an awkward hour—was chosen for the delivery of an exceptionally able sermon by the Rev. W. Morley, Jubilee Secretary, and it is cause for regret that the hour deprived so many of the townspeople of the opportunity of listening to one of the most gifted preachers and one of the ablest men in the Wesleyan connection. The fine presence, expressive face, and venerable' head; the melodious, yet sounding voice beautifully modulated ; the steady and clear flow of language, from which every hint of pedantry was absent, and the thoughts of the speaker couched in words simple as those of the Book itself—all these must have brought vividly to the minds of those who heard Dr Kelynack on his last visit to Ashburton, the wonderful oratory of^ the great champion of Wesleyan missions in the Pacific. The rev. gentleman chose hymns suited to the occasion, a»d after a prayer in which he besought a continuance of His blessing on the Church whose hand He had held for all these years, read for lesson the eighth chapter of Deuteronomy. Mr Morley's reading of the Scriptures is a treat in itself, the very tones of his voice seeming to act as expositors of the beautiful language of Holy Writ. Specially suggestive, to the colonists of New Zealand is the eighth of Deuteronomy, as for instance (v. 7-9) " For thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, and vines and fig trees and pomegranates ; a land of oil olive, and honey ; a land wherein thou shalfc eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack anything in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayst dig brass." Then came the sermon. It was mottoed with the eleventh verse of the first chapter of Deuteronomy—"TheGod of your fathers make you a thousand times so many more as ye are, and bless you as he hath promised you !" Briefly the preacher described, but vividly withal, the circumstances under which the great Hebrew lawgiver gave utterance to the words quoted. They were not simply a pious wish but a God-breathed prayer, and carried with them to the people who hung upon his every word all the potency of a prediction. The scene was fascinating in the highest degree—it was the nation's farewell to their God-appointed leader. For 120 years that leader had suffered and toiled in the cause of his God, and yet, though he had done so much, was his eye not dim nor his natural force abated. The preacher then went on to enumerate the qualities of Moses, which so fitted him for the God-appointed position he held. He had a rich gilt of foresight and marvellous self-control. His experience at the Egyptian Court showed, him the highest civilisation the world then knew, and acquainted him fully with State busine»ss, the while he was being brought up in the lap of luxury. His life with Jethrp in Midian was such as to develop a close communion with God, and for another forty years he was engaged in welding together the twelve tribes of Israel. Yet in spite of all he was the meekest man on the face of the earth The preacher then dealt with the audience who were listening to Moses' words. For forty years two millions- of people had been travelling over a tract of country vthat could have been covered in eleven d iys. At every stopping place death had been busy among them, and at the end of these forty years there were only two men remaining of all who had come up with Moses from the land of Egypt— Joshua, the son of Nun, and Caleb, the ■son of J ephunneh; and now Moses himsslf was called to go. After a touching reference to Moses' sight of the Promised Land he was nob to enter, and to the marvellous increase of the Hebrews during die two hundred years that elapsed from the time of the Hebrew families going down into Egypt to the date of the utterance of Moses'words of prayer and prophecy, when an army of 600,000 fighting men were available, he pointed out that though there was much in their social life in Egypt that was detrimental to them, their growth was marvellous in ypite of it all. Then the moral law as given to them by Moses was dwelt upon, and its superiority as a code of morals to that, of the.nations surrounding referred to, giving as it did a higher liberty and respect to womanhood. Then the simple life of the wanderers in the wilderness was pourtrayed. Details of life among the Egyptians then were not now available, but that it wan a life of luxury was known, and where luxury was, vice was not far off ; but simple pastoral pursuits were th.c pursuits of the children of Israel. This life no doubt tended to help the increase of the tribes, hut the great agent fchac favored that increase was the favor of their God. After dealing with the increase of the Israelites, the preacher went on to speak of that portion'qf the. Israel qf God who were now holding a jubilee celebration. Methodism was only 150 years old altogether, but it had been a potent factor in the religious life of the English speaking people. Cardinal Manning" had said it saved England from the horrors of the French revolution. The statistics of Dr Dorchester, extending over the history of Methodism from its commencement in JtfcfJ wore quoted. In 1T39 the first class meeting with twelve or thirteen members was held; now the membership and adherents could be numbered by millions. In the United States of America the growth of the Wesloyan Church is faster than the nation itself. It had not the same free field in the British Isles a,§ in. America, The English Episcopal Church had all the advantages that rich endowments gave, and the attractions of social position* but even there the members and adherents numbered about two millions— or about one in every ten of the inhabitants. In the Australian colonies the proportion was one in every twelve. The nrowth of the Church had also been vapid fn the West Indies and in the other colonies where its missionary enterprise had been directed. Wesleyan buildings were being erected in America at the rate of five per working day, and in England £200, OOQ were annually spent in fresh js^nttuariey. When lies fyehejd the Church's wide-spread organisation he might well say with Balaam " How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O i Israel •" I'hs re Vt gentleman then spoke of same of the causes of the church's growth. Among them he instanced the adoption of a simple biblical theology; the cultivation of fellowship, which has spread wherever Methodism has gone ; evangelism, and alas for the church when from its policy and practical fiction this great ele.ment of success is dropped ; the hearty, hymn singing of Churfili, <vnfj th{3 peat jmproy.ernevit'in the hy.ji}nfii effected" |)y Methodism,', which is easily shown by- ?v comparison of the hymns of Tate and Brady witw! those now in use. The preacher dwelt at some length on the subject of the hymna^, attributing much of its progress to those of Charles Wesley. You had on}y po §tudy several of the hymns (and Mr Morley repited a* few) to find how readily some of the most oqmfprting doctrines of Christianity would through those hymns take a. hold upon the people's hearts. After a reference to " sociality," the preacher said Moses prayed for a hearty increase, and now he asked "Have we any right to expect m increase?" Gqd says "To Me

every knee shall bend, 1' and the Wedeyan Church had a right to expect a share m this promised increase. After urging the professors of Christian religion to avoid all sin and be living examples of the truth —to do all good to the bodies and souls of men—to let their luxury give way to their neighbours' comfort, comfort to necessity, and necessity to extremity—he went on to advocate the embarking m philanthropic works ; the adoption of the the golden rule of "do unto others as you would be done by" m the great question of capital and labor ; the eschewing of impurity, gambling, and drink, and all things that were alien to Christianity, and then would, the Wesleyan Church go forth fair as the sun, clear as the moon, and terrible as an army with banners. A fellowship meeting followed the sermon.

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Bibliographic details

Wesleyan Jubilee., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2493, 16 August 1890

Word Count

Wesleyan Jubilee. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2493, 16 August 1890

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