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from the sulphurous pit, and for ages settled on the fair fields of Palestine, are being dispersed by the breath of the Lord. The Moslem receives the Bible, the child of the wild Arab is taught to lisp the name of Jesus, the weary-footed Jew is bending his steps to Palestine, and the faded churches of Syria are being revived and quickened into new life. Many facts illustrative of these hopeful and encouraging signs have been given in our Magazine for the current year, and the faith and zeal of our readers must oft have been stimulated by the records of the passing months. We shall continue to supply this soul-stirring material, and trust the hearts of our friends will be expanded more and more by that enlightened catholicity, that liberal and enlarged philanthropy which begets a healthy interest in every Godlike enterprise and every advancement in the kingdom of Christ at home and abroad.
And now, beloved friends, what shall be our circulation in the coming year? On the whole, we have no complaints to make respecting your generous and faithful efforts in the year now ending. In a few instances there may be a degree of supineness and neglect; but imperfection, we know, belongs to human nature, and its manifestation in this and other forms, in a few sporadic cases through a community of myriads, may be expected as a matter of course. We therefore pass them by with a nod of charitable and hopeful recognition, and present our hearty thanks to the generous thousands who have cheered us by their bland smiles, and helped us by their active support. We respectfully and earnestly solicit their continued favour and valuable influence, and cherish the hope that the circulation of both our periodicals for the coming year may be in advance of the past. And this we urge with the greater confidence and hope, because we speak not in the interest of self, or for any personal advantage, but on the broad ground of Connexional interests. The Magazines, dear brethren, are your own.
Devonshire Road, Forest Hill, London, S.E.,
November 15, 1867.
MEMOIR OF THE REV. C. ATKINSON. As year after year glides away, how rapidly do our friends fall around us! The standard-bearers in our churches, one after another, are removed. Their toils and dangers end, their conflicts cease, and the victory is gained. We have now to record the death of another faithful minister of Christ.
The Rev. Christopher Atkinson was born December 24, 1782, in Sheffield. He has left it on record that his ancestors for generations had attended the Established. Church. He speaks with warm affection of his mother. She was the daughter of Mr. Joseph Eyre, a respectable master 'cutler. · At the age of twenty-two she was married to Samuel Atkinson, a young man of industrious habits, and of good moral character at the time, though a stranger to personal piety, and subsequently of evil habits. They had eleven children, of whom Christopher was the youngest. When only nine years old his father died ; but it is said he died a sincere penitent, relying on the mercy of. God in Christ. Christopher was thus early cast on the special care of a widowed mother, who industriously employed her energies to provide for the temporal wants of her children, was careful to instil into their minds the duty of attending Divine worship, and storing their minds with the Church Catechism, the Lord's Prayer, and what is called the Apostles? Creed. Cbristopher's attendance and behaviour at the church were exemplary. He says, “I was found at the church three times on the Sabbath, and very frequently on the week nights as well; and so regular and so devout was I, that I often had halfpence given at the close of the service, with the expression “You are a good boy."" He was of necessity early put to business. His master was a religious man, and required not only his family, but his apprentice to attend Queen Street Chapel.' “ Here,” says Christopher, “ the minister prayed without a book, and preached without a surplice.” His mind was gradually enlightened, and his affections drawn to the things that were good. At this early period the desire of his soul was to be a minister of the Gospel. “At this period there was an extensive and blessed revival of religion in Sheffield. God owned in a remarkable manner the labours of a Moor, a Bramwell, a Taylor, and others.” Amongst those whose hearts were filled with sorrow for sin, and afterwards with love to Jesus, were many young people. The change effected
in them had its influence on many of their parents; and homes which had been the scenes of ungodliness were transformed, and became the abodes of piety and peace. During this revival of religion, young Atkinson was often found listening to the Gospel proclaimed by those devoted and successful ambassadors of Christ; and when the services could no longer be held in the open fields, or on vacant plots of land, he mingled with those who held religious meetings in private houses. One of those places of resort for prayer, he says, was the house of Thomas Croddock.
While many were happy in the conscious possession of the love of Christ, or rejoicing in God as their portion, he was the subject of disquietude and spiritual distress. But on one occasion, while the prayer of faith ascended to God, he felt his heart softened, trust was reposed in Christ, and a sweet calm ensued. Love to God and all mankind, pure and ardent, sprung up in his soul. His tears were now stayed, and serenity beamed in his countenance. Soon as this all-important and joyous change was wrought within him, he longed for closer fellowship with God's people. He began to meet in class, and to employ his powers in his Master's service; and now, as his knowledge of Divine truth increased, his aspirations for the full possession of Christian privileges became more ardent.
At this period his Methodistic attachments and associations exposed him to sarcasm, reproach, and persecution ; but, trying as this was, he admits, with all candour, that bis greatest foe was his own evil heart. Unhappily, his ardour cooled, his attendance on the means of grace was not so exemplary and constant as it had been ; but, he says, “I could not be happy in this state, nor long remain in it.” “ About this time,” he says, “ the division of 1797 took place, and a few months after this event I was invited to join a class that was led by a pious and sensible man, of the name of Amos Hobson, a leader in the Methodist New Connexion Church. grateful remembrance of the spiritual good he derived under the ministry of a Mortimer, a Kilham, a Thorn, a Driver, and others. His joy was to be in the means of grace, drinking of the stream of that river that “maketh glad the city of God.” He says, “Soon after my union with the church, it pleased God to convert my mother and my sister Sarah, who was a widow with five children. I had a strong affection for my mother, and did all I could to help her, and often wept because the aid I could render was so small."
Before his apprenticeship had expired, he says, “I was pressed to try to preach, but I had no confidence in myself; my desire to be useful was strong, but I felt so fully my unfitness, that I hesitated. At length I yielded to entreaty, and one Friday night I made the attempt to speak in a house where a weekly prayer-meeting was held. What I said, or how I proceeded I cannot tell, but to my astonishment, I was urged to continue in my efforts. My companions and I had held meetings in a room in our house, where we had attempted to preach. One of my companions was at length put on the Wesleyan plan, and I was brought on the New Connexion plan. The Sheffield Circuit at that time extended to Barnsley and Mapplewell in one direction, and to Claycross in another. I often preached three times on the Sabbath, and walked sixteen or eighteen miles."
He had a very