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Prayer-meeting presided over by the Rev. S. G. Green, B.A., President of Rawdon College, who delivered an address from 1 John i. 7. The proper business of the Baptist Union commenced at ten o'clock. The Conference of the day was held in Bethany Chapel, and the Rev. Dr. Thomas, of Pontypool College, conducted the introductory devotional service. The Hon. and Rev. Baptist W. Noel, M.A., the Chairman of the Union was warmly welcomed, and after a few preparatory remarks read the paper which will be found in our pages. The following Message of Committee was then read by the Rev. J. H. Millard, B.A., the Secretary :“ The Committee of the Baptist Union of Great Britain and
Ireland, to the Pastors and Delegates assembled in
session at Cardiff “ BRETHREN BELOVED AND HONOURED IN THE LORD:
“We rejoice to meet you at another of our Autumnal Sessions, and are profoundly grateful to our Heavenly Father that the affairs of the Baptist Denomination are esteemed by you of so much interest and moment as to convene you in such numbers from all parts of the United Kingdom.
“We are assembled, brethren, in a district which has been singularly, favoured by Almighty God with rich spiritual blessings for many years past-blessings of which the Baptist denomination has enjoyed a share, at least, fully equal to that of any other Evangelical Churches. Before the commencement of this century there were but seventy-five Baptist churches in all the Principality of Wales; they now. number, exclusive of membership, 453, and of these about 170 have come into being during the last twenty-five years. At the beginning of this century the church members of our denominations in Wales, probably did not amount to 4,000, they now exceed 52,000. This rapid increase, unequalled in any other part of the kingdom, is doubtless due, in measure, to the great developement of trade and commerce, and the consequent growth of the population in some localities; but it is due to our Welsh brethren to acknowledge, that under the Divine blessing, which always attends on such graces, it is mainly attributable to the holy and self-denying zeal with which they have seized on every opportunity of founding new churches, and otherwise promoting the best interests of Zion. And we cannot but express a confident expectation and hope that the spectacle of so many flourishing churches in a comparatively small population, and the privilege of holding communion with their zealous pastors and deacons, will prove an encouraging and healthful stimulus to all of us in our future efforts for the extension of Christ's kingdom; whilst a more cordial sympathy and hearty co-operation will henceforth obtain between the English and Welsh sections of the denomination in all our great denominational undertakings.
“On the present occasion, brethren, we invite your serious attention, both to subjects relating to our own internal and denominational welfare, and to others which affect our relationship to the whole professing Church of Christ.
“The rapid spread of Ritualism and semi-popery among the clergy of the Established Church, demands that we should once more assert the simplicity of the faith, discipline, and order which our Divine Lord and Master requires of His followers. We shall lay before you papers on this subject, together with a declaration and protest in behalf of the whole Baptist denomination against sacerdotal assumptions, sacramentarian errors, and the union of the Church with the State.
“A paper on the duties specially devolving on the female members of our churches, and some others, having immediate reference to the requirements of churches in the Principality, by whose generous hospitality we are now gathered together in Cardiff, will be also submitted for your consideration. You will also be asked to take a preliminary step in reference to a Sustentation Fund for the pastors of our poorer churches.
“We have pleasure in announcing that the churches in
Bristol invite the Union to hold its next autumnal meeting in that city. At present this is the arrangement contemplated by the Committee, and a resolution conveying the thanks of the Union to the friends at Bristol, and requesting the Rev. Dr. Gotch to accept the office of chairman for the next year will be laid before the session.
“On all these subjects we pray that a Divine unction may guide you in your deliberations; that the sacred dearest to our hearts
many ways be strengthened, and we ourselves may return to our several spheres of labour with great and conscious accessions of faith and love and joy in the Holy Ghost.”
An address of welcome and congratulation from the Welsh Baptist Union was then read by its Secretary, Llewellyn Jenkins, Esq., to which the Chairman made a suitable response.
Resolutions on various topics were now introduced by members of the Union.
The Rev. C. Williams, of Southampton, proposed that a committee be formed for the purpose of enquiring into the “practicability of making a provision whereby the stipends of our poorer ministers may be augmented; and the Revs. J. T. Brown and Arthur Mursell having supported the motion, it was unanimously adopted. The Rev. S. G. Green, B.A., then raised the question of National Education, and moved that a Committee be formed to take the matter into consideration, and to report at the next Annual Session. This motion was seconded by the Rev. J. Bigwood, and was carried. A paper was then read by the Rev. W. Walters upon “Baptist Principles and Religious Liberty," which will be found further on. The business of the morning
being now concluded, dinner was provided at the Town Hall, by kind permission of the Mayor of Cardiff, who also presided on the occasion. More than 400 persons were present.
During the afternoon the Rev. H. Varley, of Notting Hill, preached to a great multitude in the Market Hall.
At the same time a Conference was held at Bethany in behalf of the Home and Irish Missionary Society. The
Rev. J W. Sully, of Bridgwater, presided ; and the Rev. C. Kirtland, the Secretary, stated the present position of the Society, and its claims to enlarged support.
His statements were enforced and enlarged upon by the Revs. M. Philpin, J. Bigwood, W. G. Lewis, Dr. Price, Dr. Evans, C. J. Middleditch, W. Walters, E. Webb, and others; and the proceedings were concluded with prayer by the Rev. W. H. Tetley.
In the evening many services were held in the town. Particular mention must be made of one for working men held in the Stuart Hall, and conducted by the Hon. and Rev. B. Noel. The Rev. J. Aldis preached in Bethany Chapel to a crowded congregation; the Rev. D. Katterns preached at Canton ; the Rev. D. Jones, B.A., at MountStuart Square; the Rev. E. G. Gange, at Tredegarville; and Welsh services were conducted by the Revs. B. Williams, of Pembrey, H. W. Jones, of Carnarvon, A. J. Parry, of Cefn-mawr, E. Thomas, of Newport, J. Jones, of Brymbo, W. Lewis, of Felengoel, and others.
On Thursday, at seven o'clock in the morning, the Rev. W. Stott delivered an impressive discourse in Tredegarville Chapel
At ten o'clock a crowded Conference was held at the Tabernacle, Hayes; the Rev. Dr. Hoby conducting the devotional services, after which the Hon. and Rev. Baptist Noel took the chair. The Rev. A. Tilly read an extract from a letter by the Rev. C. H. Spurgeon, expressive of his regret at his enforced absence through illness. A solemn prayer was offered for his recovery.
The paper by the Rev. J.J. Brown on “ Woman's Work in the Church," then followed. After a few remarks by the Rev. Dr. Thomas, and the Rev. W. Barker, the Rev. Dr. Davies was called upon to read his paper on “ Ministerial Education in Wales.” This was followed by the Rev. G. Gould's paper on the “Theory of Sacerdotal Functions in the Administration of the Sacrament recently put forth by the Bishop of Salisbury.” Both of which will be found in our pages.
After the dinner at the Town Hall, presided over by Mr. Joseph, of Ely Rise, the Rev. Mr. Price, of Abersychan, moved as follows:
“ That this Union cannot permit the proceedings of the session to come to an end without expressing their deep sympathy with their beloved brother the Rev. C. H. Spurgeon, in the affliction by which it has pleased God to try his faith and patience, with their prayerful hope that he may be speedily restored to health, to his invaluable labours,
and to the fellowship of the brethren." The Rev. C. J. Middleditch next moved :
“That the cordial thanks of the Union be given to the churches in Bristol for their kind invitation to hold its next annual meeting in that city; and that the Rev. Dr. Gotch, the president of the Baptist College in Bristol, be requested to accept the office of president for the ensuing year.”
The Rev. J. H. Millard moved :
“That the members of this Union feel the great and special obligation under which they lie to the churches in Cardiff for their kind and most hospitable entertainment of the Union during the session, and especially to the ladies, whose kind attention has been unremitting and most gratifying to all the visitors.” He was sure they would allow him to say a word or two on the subject, because he had a special debt to pay to the friends at Cardiff
, who had shown a prompt generosity in receiving the Union which was beyond all praise. Cardiff had taught them some important lessons, and amongst the rest it had taught them to utilize all their forces better than they ever did before. By employing so many of the brethren in preaching and speaking, the interest of the meetings, as well as their usefulness, would, he hoped, prove to have been more than doubled.
The resolution was seconded by Mr. N. Dickinson, of Nottingham, supported by the Rev. J. Aldis, of Reading, and carried amidst the most enthusiastic cheering.
The Freeman states that the compliment was appropriately acknowledged by the Chairman, by the Rev. Rees Griffiths, and the Rev. A. Tilly, each of whom assured the visitors that what little had been done by the people of Cardiff, had been very amply repaid by the pleasure which had been derived from the meetings of the Union there.