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ENLARGEMENT OF THB CHAPEL, AND SETTLEMENT OF A PASTOR AT
BICESTER, Oxon. The Congregational Church in Bicester was formed about the year 1662, to whom some of the ministers ejected from the Establishment for nonconformity preached for many years. Their first place of worship was a large bakehouse, in which they used to assemble at the silent hour of midnight, not daring to meet in the day time, to hear the glad tidings of salvation, to pray, and sing the praises of the Redeemer. The Rev. Henry Cornish, B.D. took the pastoral charge of the church in the year 1690, and he was succeeded by the Rev. J. Troughton, during whose ministry the present bandsome and substantial chapel was erected, in the year 1729. Over the door of the chapel is a pediment in which an open volume rests on a label inscribed with the year of its erection. In the book the following words are engraved, “ Verbum Dei manet in æternum." The celebrated Colonel Gardiner was for some time a worshipper within its walls; and the amiable Doddridge used to visit his friend the Colonel, and preach to large congregations in Bicester. There are about twenty-two villages, containing a population of about 9000, within five miles of Bicester, and eight or nine of these villages are inaccessible to Dissenters, except by preaching in the open air, (and that with great annoyance,) on account of strong ecclesiastical influence and prejudice. There are numbers of persons, young and old, in the town and neighbourhood who cannot read the “Word of Life,” Sabbath profanation, drunkenness, and ignorance abound to an awful extent in the parish. The present pastor, the Rev. W. Ferguson, frequently preaches out of doors in the town and surrounding villages, to numbers who are anxious to hear the gospel. It is now 111 years since the chapel was erected, and though the walls and roof are sound and good, the pews were greatly decayed, and the high walls which surrounded the burying ground gave the place the appearance of an old gaol. The vestry was too small, and very incommodious. The high wall in front of the chapel has therefore been removed, and iron palisading put up in its place. The vestry has been enlarged, a gallery erected, and the pews have been altered and modernized. The expense incurred by the undertaking is about £220. The church and congregation are chiefly poor people, many of whom are field labourers, receiving eight or nine shillings per week.
The chapel was opened after the above improvements, and the settlement of the pastor took place on Thursday, the 8th of October, 1840, when the Rev. J. H. Hinton, A.M., of London, delivered the introductory discourse; the Rev. T. P. Bull, of Newport Pagnell, offered the designation prayer; the Rev. J. Harper, of Alston, Cumberland, addressed the minister; and the Rev. C. Gilbert, of London, preached to the church and congregaton.
On the following Sabbath, the 11th of October, the Rev. J. Harper preached in the morning, the Rev. Robert Gibson, of University College, London, preached in the afternoon, and the Rev. J. Bull, A.M. in the evening.
Although the people have made every effort, the sum of £120 yet remains to be paid, to obtain which the Rev. W. Ferguson is about to solicit the contributions of those who wish well to the cause of Christ.
OPENING OF A NEW CHAPEL, PINCHBECK, LINCOLNSHIRE. On Thursday, the 5th of November, a new chapel, with accommodation for nearly 500 persons, was opened at Pinchbeck, Lincolnshire, for the use of the Congregational dissenters in that place. Three sermons were preached upon the occasion, in behalf of the building fund; that in the morning by the Rev. Isaac Watts, of Boston; and in the afternoon and evening by the Rev. H. L. Adams, of Newark. The Rev. Mr. Hor, of Spalding; the Rev. Mr. Everard, of Gosberton; and the Rev. A. R. Philips, minister of the chapel, engaged in other parts of the services.
ORDINATIONS, &c. On thc 18th of June, (a special prayer meeting having been held the preceding evening,) the Rev. Samuel Eldridge, late of Highbury College, was ordained to the pastoral charge of the church and congregation assembling at Trinity Chapel, Brixton, lately under the care of the Rev. Henry Heap, now settled at the Tabernacle, Brighton.
The Rev. J. H. Goodwin commenced the services by reading the Scriptures and prayer; the Rev. J. E. Richards, of Wandsworth, gave the introductory discourse; the Rev. John Hunt, of Union Chapel, proposed the usual questions, and reccived Mr. Eldridge's confession of faith; the Rev. Thomas Jackson, of Stockwell, offered the ordination prayer; the Rev. Dr. Henderson delivered the charge, descriptive of “a good minister of Jesus Christ ;" and the Rev. Ingram Cobbin, A.M., concladed with prayer.
In the evening, the Rev. S. A. Doubourg, of Park Road Chapel, preached to the people from Heb. xiii. 7-9.
The Rev. F. Ashton, the Rev. E. Davis, the Rev. H. Richard, and the Rev. J. Mirams, Rev. R. Gale, the Rev. B. Kent, were present, most of whom took part in the services.
The circumstances attending this event were of a most interesting character, and whilst the various parts of the service were most efficiently conducted, nothing could exceed the satisfaction which pervaded the large and respectable auditory, at the clear, intelligent, and affecting confession of faith by the youthful minister, rendered doubly so by the mutations through which this church has passed.
A cold collation was prepared in the vestries, at which a large party met the ministers who officiated, &c., when several appropriate speeches were addressed to the guests in relation to the peculiar situation of the chapel, upon which a debt of about £1800 remains unliquidated, and which greatly enhances the anxiety and la bours of the minister.
The scene was enlivened by an incident highly expressive of the sense entertained of the manner in which our reverend friend had discharged his probationary duties, who was then presented with a purse, containing £50.
SURREY MISSION.—The autumnal meeting of this Society was held on Wednesday, Sept. 30, at the Rev. J. Edwards's Chapel, Kingston-on-Thames. In the morning the Rev. J. Moss was ordained as an evangelist, to occupy one of the Society's stations. The Rev. J. Jackson, of Stockwell, commenced the service by reading the Scriptures, and prayer. The Rev. E. Davis, of Lambeth, proposed the usual questions. The ordination prayer was offered by the Rev. J. Johnson, o Farnham. The Rev. J. Hunt, of Brixton Hill, delivered the charge. The Rev. J. Adey, of Horselydown, addressed the congregation on the claims of the county; and the Rev. S. Percy closed the interesting service with prayer
A public meeting was held in the evening, wben the minister of the place presided, and addresses were delivered by the Rev. Messrs. Mirams, Connebee, Daris, W. Jackson, Adey, Ashton, Johnson and Soule. The Rev. H. B. Martin began, and the Rev. J. Churchill concluded the meeting with prayer.
The whole services of the day were marked by tokens of the divine presence. The attendance of ministers was unusually large, 24 being present, 17 of whom were pastors of churches in Surrey. It was peculiarly gratifying to witness the manifestation of fraternal affection, and of anxious solicitude for increased exertions in the evangelization of the country. This feeling was much strengthened by an affecting statement of its spiritual destitution, which was read by the Rev. J. E. Richards, one of the Secretaries. Whilst listening to the announcement of successive parishes and villages, to the number of 22, with a population of 11,500, without an evangelical ministry, a feeling of deep sympathy appeared to pervade the meeting, and all seemed to be impressed with the imperative obligation of making prompt and vigorous efforts “ to roll away this reproach," and to take the gospel of Christ to those who are perishing for lack of knowledge.
It is hoped that the appeal recently published on the above subject will be it sponded to as its importance demands. Contributions will be thankfully received by the Rev. J. E. Richards, of Wandsworth ; Rev. J. M. Soule, of Battersea ; Rer. R. Connebee, of Dorking; or by any member of the Committee.
Oct. 14th, 1840, the Rev. F. B. Broadbent, late of Airedale College, Yorkshire, was ordained co-pastor with the Rev. T. R. Gawthorne over the Independent church, Belper, Derbyshire. The Rev. John Glendenning, of Huddersfield, delivered the introductory discourse; the Rev. James Gawthorne, of Derby, asked the usual questions; and the venerable and esteemed pastor of the church, who has been the resident minister for nearly fifty years, offered the ordination prayer. The Rev. Walter Scott, Theological Tutor of Airedale College, delivered the charge; and the Rev. Reuben Calvert, of Saddleworth, preached to the people in the evening. The Rev. R. Ingham, (Baptist,) and the Rev. - Goodwin, (Wesleyan,) kindly took part in the services, with several of the neighbouring Independent ministers. About thirty ministers were present.
The Independent congregation at Belper had its origin about 1788, when several persons from the neighbourhood began to attend the preaching of the dissenting ministers at Derby and Matlock; upon observing which, those ministers turned their attention to the inhabitants of the place, and preached occasionally in their houses. At the commencement of the year 1789, the old Presbyterian meetinghouse was obtained at a yearly rent, and for 12 months was supplied by the Independent ministers in the neighbourhood. Towards the close of the same year, an application was made to the late T. Wilson, Esq. of London, for assistance, and he sent Mr. Rice Jones, who had been educated by the late Dr. Edward Williams at Oswestry. In 1790, a church of about twenty members was formed, upon the Congregational plan, and in the following summer Mr. Jones was ordained pastor over it ; his connexion with the church was but brief, as he removed, at the end of the same year, to Lichfield, when Mr. T. R. Gawthorpe, a member of the Independent church at Derby, was invited to visit them as a probationer. After remaining with the people a year, he received a unanimous invitation to become their pastor, but did not accept it until 1794, when he was ordained over them by Messrs. Scott, of Matlock; Moody, of Warwick; Richards, of Derby; and others. The congregation greatly incrrasing, a new chapel was erected, and opened July 3rd, 1799, by Messrs. Scott, of Matlock; Reece and Boden, of Sheffield; and Alliott, of Nottingham. In 1806 galleries were added, and in 1817 a further enlargement was made, affording room for eight hundred people.
The chapel was re-opened on the 12th of May, 1818, by the Rev. James Bennett, Theological Tutor of Rotherham College; and the Rev. James Gawthorne, of Derby.-See Cong. Mag. page 108, Vol. VI. Year 1823, for a more particular account.
On Thursday, Oct. 15, 1840, the Independent chapel at Brierly Hill, Staffordshire, was re-opened, (galleries having been erected,) when the Rev. John Parsons, late of Hackney College, was ordained to the pastorate of the church and congregation there assembling. In the afternoon, the Rev. J. Hudson, of West Bromwich, introduced the service by reading and prayer; the Rev. Dr. Redford, of Worcester, gave a lucid and interesting description of a New Testament church; the Rev. T. Ashwell, of Bromsgrove, proposed the usual questions; and the Rev. J. Dawson, of Dudley, offered the ordination prayer. In the evening, after reading and prayer by the Rev. E. Reeve, of Hales Owen, the Rev. George Collison, President of Hackney College, delivered the charge to the young minister; the Rev. J. A. James, of Birmingham, addressed the church and congregation; and the Rev. J. Fernie, of Brewood, closed the service with prayer.
There were present on the occasion the Revs. Richards, of Wordsley; Greenfield, of Kidderminster; Evans, of Wellington ; Richards, of Stourbridge; Rees, of Broadway; Humphreys, of Redditch; and Morgan, of Great Bridge.
On the Sabbath following three sermons were preached : that in the morning by the Rev. T. Greenfield, of Kidderminster; that in the afternoon by the Rev. j. Parsons, minister of that place; and that in the evening by the Rev. s. Evans, of Wellington, Salop. The services were highly interesting, and the attendance very good. The collection amounted to the sum of £40.
On Thursday, the 15th of October, the Rev. John Protheroe, formerly of Newport Pagnel College, was ordained as the pastor of the Independent church at Bulford, Wilts. The Rev. S. Penhall, of Codford, commenced the service by reading the Scriptures, and prayer; the Rev. S. Sleigh, of Salisbury, delivered the introductory discourse, the Rev. J. E. Trevor, of Wilton, asked the usual questions; the Rev. J. Barfett, of Salisbury, offered the ordination prayer, with laying on of hands; the Rev. R. Elliott, of Devizes, gave an affectionate charge to the minister, from 1 Tim. iv. 6; the Rev. J. Reynolds, of Romsey, preached to the church
a suitable discourse; and the Rev. J. S. Pearsall, of Andover. concluded with prayer. After the service the ministers and a large party of friends dined at Raifin, the house of H. Blatch, Esq. who had kindly and liberally entertained them on the occasion. In the evening, after prayer by the Rev. R. Elliott, the Ref. J. S. Pearsall preached an impressive sermon from Phil. i. 27–29. The attendance was numerous, and a deep and solemn feeling was produced.
Tuesday, Oct. 20, at the meeting of the Somersetshire Association of Congregational Pastors and Churches, at Taunton, the Rev. Wm. O'Neil, missionary in the service of the Home Missionary Society at Witheridge and its neighbourhood, in the adjoining county of Devon, was solemnly set apart and ordained to the pastoral office. The introductory discourse was delivered by the Rev. John Davies, of Taunton. The questions were asked by the Rev. John Harcombe Cuff, of Wellington, and were answered in a most able and impressive manner by Mr. O'Xel, who gave a confession of faith, much admired for its comprehensiveness, elearness, and power. After this, in the presence of the large congregation, the Rer. Wo. Harvey Hendebourck, of Tiverton, offered solemn prayer over him, with the “ laying on of hands,” in the name of the Lord; and the Rev. John Bishop, of Bridgewater, addressed our brother in a very serious and affectionate charge, founded on those words, in Judges vi. 14,“ Go in this thy might."
More than twenty pastors of Independent churches were present on the occasion. Much interest was felt, and many tears were wept during the solemnities of the day. The Lord, of his great power and mercy, be pleased, for his Son's sake, to raise up men in the “ spirit and power of Elias," to go forth in the dark and dreary districts of onr land! Amen.
Ou Tuesday, Oct. 20, the Rev. W. Williams, late of Balford, Wilts, was recognised as pastor of the Congregational church at Southam. The introductory discourse was delivered by the Rev. A. Pope, of Leamington ; the Rev. J. Jerard, of Coventry, implored the divine blessing on the union of minister and people. A sermon to the church, explanatory of their duties to their pastor, was delivered by the Rev. J. Sibree, of Coventry. In the evening, the anniversary sermon ras preached by the Rev. J. A. James, of Birmingham. The attendance was numeruas, and the collections liberal.
On Thursday, October 22d, 1840, the Rev. Henry Holmes, late student in the Western Academy, Exeter, was ordained pastor of the Congregational church at Wendover, Bucks. The service was commenced by the venerable Ms. Skeen, who for many years presided over the church, by reading the Scriptures and prayer. Mr. Aston, of Wingrave, delivered the introductory discourse, and Mr. Stamper, of Uxbridge, proposed the usual questions and offered the ordination prayer. Mr. Blackburn, of Pentonville, (Mr. Holmes's late pastor,) gave him the charge; and Mr. Rutherford, of Chinnor, closed the morning service.
In the evening, Mr. Hursell, of Horwood, prayed, and Mr. Haydon, of High Wycombe, preached to the people. The attendance was large, though the weather was not favourable, and the impressions solemn and salutary. The success which has attended the efforts of our young brother is truly auspicious.
On Thursday, October 220, 1840, the Rev. W. Siater was ordained over the Independent church and congregation of Odiham, Hants. The service was preceded, on Wednesday evening, by a very suitable sermon, by the Rev. Mr. Rowland, of Henley, and an early prayer-meeting on Thursday morning. At half past ten the ordination service commenced with reading the Scriptures and prayer, by the Rev. Mr. Wells, of Basingstoke; the Rev. S. Čurwen, of Reading, delivered an inpressive and appropriate introductory discourse; the Rev. – Marsh, of Newbury, proposed the usual questions, which were answered by Mr. Slater in an unusually interesting manner. The Rev. T. Lewis, of Islington, offered the ordination prayer; the Rev. T. Adkins, of Southampton, gave a most powerful charge ; and the Rer. Mr. Percy, of Guildford, concluded with prayer.
In the evening the Rev. T. Guyer, of Ryde, preached a most appropriate sermon to the people, and Messrs. Howell, of Alton, and Hitchin, of Odiham, concluded the devotional parts of the service.
The public recognition of the Rev. J. A. Miller, as pastor of the church in Ses Court, Carey Street, took place in the chapel on Tuesday evening, November Sd. The Rev. Edward Miller commenced by prayer and reading the Scriptures. The
introductory discourse was delivered by the Rev. Dr. Morison; it included a peculiarly interesting outline of the history of the venerablc church from the pastorate of the Rev. D. Burgess, in 1687. Dr. Morison said, “ It is most of all worthy of record, that during the whole period of its existence, first as a Presbyterian church for 41 years, and then as a Congregational one for 112, it has been distinguished by its firm adherence to the truth of God, by its undeviating attachment to those life-giving doctrines, which are not more the foundation of human hope than the bulwarks of Protestant dissent. While many of the Presbyterian congregations of the olden time have either become extinct or have lapsed into fatal errors, the pulpit of Burgess and Bradbury still echoes the message of reconciliation through the blood of the cross."
The Rev. G. Collison presented general prayer and thanksgiving; the Rev. H. B. Julian asked the usual questions, which were replied to by Mr. Cross on the part of the church, and by the Rev. J. A. Miller. The pastor and church were then especially commended to God in prayer, by the Rev. G. Clayton; and they were addressed by the Rev. Dr. H. F. Burder, on Acts xxvii. 23. “The angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve." The Rev. Caleb Morris closed the services by prayer.
On Wednesday, the 4th of November, the Rev. Richard Charles Pritchett, son of J. P. Pritchett, Esq. of York, and late of Rotherbam College, was ordained to the pastorate of the church and congregation assembling in Bethel Chapel, Darlington.
Workmen had been employed for some time previously in improving the interior and exterior of the chapel, and numbers looked forward to the day of ordination with joyful anticipations.
On no former occasion can it be remembered that so many Congregational ministers were ever convened in this town, and such was the interest, that long before the services began, the chapel was completely filled in every part. The fact that each of the ministers engaged in the services had known Mr. Pritchett from his earliest childhood, imparted additional interest and solemnity to the occasion.
The Rev. John Harrison, of Barnard Castle, introduced the services by reading the Scriptures and prayer; the Rev. W. H. Stowell, Theological Tutor of Rotherham College, delivered the introductory discourse, which was exceedingly luminous and convincing. The Rey. J. Jackson, the venerable pastor of Green Hammerton, offered the ordination prayer, after the questions had been asked by the Rev. R. W. Hamilton, of Leeds; and the Rev. J. Parsons, of York, Mr. Pritchett's pastor, gave the charge, during the delivery of which, when referring to Mr. Pritchett's early dedication to God, and his subsequent devotedness and piety, the congregation was deeply affected, and few were able to refrain from tears.
After the morning service about eighty ministers and friends dined together, after which admirable addresses were delivered by the Rev. Messrs. Hamilton, Stowell, Parsons, Jackson, Jack, Pritchett; J. P. Pritchett, Esq. of York, and J.C. Hopkins, Esq. of Darlington.
In the evening the church was addressed by the Rev. R. W. Hamilton, of Leeds.
It is believed that the impressions produced on this interesting day will not speedily be effaced.
On the 11th of November, the Rev. John Spencer, late of Newport Pagnel College, was ordained to the pastoral office over the Independent church and congregation of Manningtree, Essex, a special prayer-meeting having been held the previous evening. In the morning the Rev. J. Trew, of Dedham, read the Scriptures and presented appropriate supplications; the introductory discourse was delivered by the Rev. W. Hordle, of Harwich; the Rev. J. Raven, of Hadleigh, proposed the usual questions; the ordination prayer was presented by the Rev. J. Whitby, of Ipswich. The Rev. W. Spencer, of London, delivered an impressive charge from 2 Tim. ji. 15.; the Rev. J. C. Fairfax, of East Bergholt, concluded with prayer. In the evening the devotional services were conducted by the Rev. J. Bell, (Wesleyan minister,) and the Rev. J. Raven preached to the people from 1 Cor. iv. 1. The services of the day excited very considerable interest in the town and neighbourhood. The congregations were very uumerous, and the whole proceedings highly encouraging.