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RELIGIOUS INTELLIGENCE.

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SOUTH SEA ISLANDS.

The following letter written by Mr. George Bennet, now visiting the islands of the Pacific, to Mr. Montgomery, of Sheffield, contains so interesting an illustration of the glorious effects of Chris-, tianity in elevating human character, and diffusing among mankind the blessings of Christianity, that we have not hesitated in transferring it to our pages:

"I have not leisure for a long letter, but will give you a slight sketch of the improved state of this island of Raiatea, which is surrounded by a reef, having several beautiful little islands about it, which are called Motus. This island is very picturesque and beautiful, most luxuriantly fruitful, and about 45 miles in circumference. We came hither three weeks ago from Huahine, in a schooner of 80 tons, which the kings of the Islands of Raiatea, Taha, and Borabora, have purchased for the purpose of sending their pork, cocoa-nut oil, tobacco, &c., to New South Wales; and receiving back such articles of clothing, furniture, tools, &c. &c., as they may want, or be able to purchase; and for the express. purpose of visiting the islands around, to convey the Gospel where it is not, and the knowledge of the useful things which their Missionaries have taught,

them.

"The Missionary Settlement, where all the inhabitants reside, is on the west side of the island, along the shore, and extending somewhat towards two beautiful valleys. The first object which impresses us with the idea of great improvement as we approach the shore is, a stone pier, ten feet broad, terminated by à quay for landing goods, &c., 18 yards square, extending altogether into the sea 130 yards. From this pier, which is about the centre of the settlement, there are many respectable-looking houses (perhaps 200) neatly plastered and whitewashed, extending each way along the margin of this beautiful bay.

"The houses of the two Missionaries, Mr. Williams and Mr. Threlkeld, are nearly opposite to this pier, and would be thought respectable and commodious in England. They are, with good taste, each placed in a separate garden, well fenced and neatly laid out and stocked, suggesting ideas of neatness and comfort, whether surveyed within or without; and all the labour has been done by natives under the direction of our friends the Missionaries. At a short distance is a large school-house, in which, at sunrise, all the children of the Settlement,

and many adults, assemble for the purpose of being taught, or of teaching to read, the Scriptures, &c. Those who do not attend the school assemble in the large and handsome chapel, which is near, for the purpose of being questioned concerning their knowledge of the sacred Scriptures. The attendance at these meetings is truly surprising. The King and Queen are among the most punctual and intelligent. We have several times been present, and at the particular request of our Missionary friends, have proposed free questions to them on the verses which we have heard them read, and must confess ourselves to be much gratified by the intelligent and appropriate answers they have given.

"This commodious chapel, which is 150 feet long, by 45 within, and which is fitted up, and in the evenings lighted, with great taste and beauty, is well frequented by neatly dressed and attentive

congregations.

"Turn which way we will from the Missionaries houses, we are gratified with the sight of some particular indications of advancing civilization. Over several streams which flow through the Settlement to the bay from the adjacent mountains, the natives have carried five bridges, partly of stone and partly of wood, (one of these is more than 200 feet span), which do them great credit, and minister much to their convenience.

"In a boat-house near at hand, we see a number of natives building a boat which is large and well proportioned, and nearly ready for sea. She would not much discredit an English boat-builder, who had all his tools near him. Just beyond the boat-house is a manufactory of bedsteads, sofas, and chairs. The men are just now turning the legs of a sofa with much neatness, and in a lathe which has nothing to recommend it but the ingenuity of the Missionary, who could construct it out of such rude materials. A little further off is a forge, where natives are at this moment busy repairing the rudder irons of the Mermaid cutter, and making her a pair of new ones. The Mermaid, of only 80 tons burthen, (in which we made our voyage to and from Owhyee, 7000 miles) broke two of her rudder irons at sea, and thereby was near being cast away while we were in her; but happily we, as well as the Captain, were ignorant of the misfortune until we got to land, otherwise in running upon the first shore that we could make we might all have, perished amidst the breakers on the coral

reefs. Very near the forge is a sugarmill, with large upright rollers, made out of the wood called Ito, very hard, and neatly cogged with the same wood. Beyond this mill is the department for sorting, drying, sweating, &c. tobacco. There are also innumerable inclosures for the growth of tobacco, sugar, taro, &c. &c.

"A code of laws also is in operation, drawn up in the spirit of our own admirable constitution, to which laws all ranks yield a prompt and cheerful obedience, approving of them as obviously beneficial to all, and exceedingly superior to those absurd regulations by which they were formerly guarded, and which, being essentially mixed up with their wretched superstitions, necessarily fell in the downfall of idolatry.

"When we reflect on these things we cannot but admire the goodness of God to this people, who little more than six years ago were in the lowest state of ignorance, vice, and idolatrous superstitions; and also the zeal, diligence, and wisdom which our dear friends have been enabled to employ, and by them to overcome the habits of inveterate indo

lence to which the people were recently given up; nature having spontaneously furnished every thing for them without labour, which they formerly regarded as essential to the enjoyment of life.

"These islands have a very fine climate with great equability of temperature, the average heat is about 82, and the variation is from 76 to 86; but yet English constitutions find it too relaxing. Two of our most valuable Missionaries are very much affected by it; one of these and his wife will be obliged almost immediately to return to their native country, but the other we hope will find health and continued usefulness in the Sandwich Islands, which islands afford a field of largest promise for extensive usefulness. Our own health both by sea and land is preserved to us in the most merciful manner, and the kindness of missionaries, and kings, and chiefs, and people, is exceedingly great. No kindness could exceed that with which we were treated by our American missionary friends, during our four months residence in their family at Oahu, Sandwich Islands."

Durham and Northumberland Association. On the 23d and 24th June, the First Annual Meeting of the Durham and Northumberland Association of Congregational Ministers and Churches was held in Claypath Chapel, in the City of Durham.

On Monday evening, the 23d, the Rev. R. Davision, of Newcastle, preached on the Nature and Evidences of Regeneration. On the Tuesday morning, before breakfast, a public prayer-meeting

was held. In the forenoon, the Ministers and Delegates from the churches met to transact the business of the Association. In the afternoon, a Public Meeting took place. The Report was read by the Secretary of the Association, from which it appeared that the Ministers connected with the Association, labour in 65 villages, to nearly 4000 villagers, independent of their regular pastoral duties at home. The Meeting was then addressed by the Rev. Messrs. Stowell, Davison, Nicol, Ivy, Jones, Matheson, Scott, (Home Missionary), and Lewis (ditto), urging the necessity of greater exertions, for more widely spreading the Gospel in these too-much neglected counties. In the evening, the Rev. W. H. Stowell, of North Shields, delivered a sermon on the Nature of Christian Fellowship, from Acts, iv. 32, (first clause.) The congregations were good, and the collections liberal.

We have been much gratified by the perusal of the "First Annual Report of the Durham and Northumberland Association of Congregational Ministers and Churches." It is an able composition, that the Independent ministers of that and gives a highly gratifying assurance, extensive district are exerting themselves with much energy and judgment, in the arduous work committed to their vigilance and activity. As a first report, it was expedient that it should contain an explicit statement of principles, and this written with discretion, decision, and in summary of sentiment and discipline is an excellent spirit. Much good is to be hoped for from the judicious measures now in progress. The resident ministers supply, as far as possible, the exigencies of the neighbouring districts, tions of the Home Missionary Society. and support, to their utmost, the exerShields a congregation has been colAt the important station of South lected, and one of the senior students of Hoxton Academy has agreed to "pay another visit," and to " preach the Gospel in that place and its populous neighbourhood." We shall extract the portion which relates to the personal exertions which are made by ministers and missionaries in their Master's work.

The Association have at length succeeded in getting a Home Missionary for the town of Bishop Auckland and the numerous villages in its vicinity. For nearly eighteen months three Members of the Association preached alternately on a week-day evening in a hired room in the town; the congregations were encouraging, but still the surrounding villages had hardly any means of religious instruction. A correspondence was opened with the Committee of the Home Missionary Society, promising a donation of £20. for the first year, if a 3 S 2

Missionary were sent, and stating the importance of the station. The Committee readily attended to our application, and last September Mr. Lewis arrived at Bishop Auckland. He immediately commenced his labours, and the report which he has forwarded to the Secretary of the Association is highly gratifying.

"It appears that he preaches in eleven villages and hamlets, besides his stated labours at Bishop Auckland, twice every Lord's Day, and once on a week day evening. The spirit of hearing appears to have been poured out on many of the people; and for miles around, the villagers flock to hear the word of life. The number of his hearers, in the villages and in Bishop Auckland, may be considered on an average as amounting to 800; many of whom, but for the labours of the Home Missionary, would never hear the sound of the Gospel.

In the town of Bishop Auckland, the congregation increased so much, that a larger place of meeting was considered necessary. A suitable place was procured, and fitted up to contain upwards of 200 persons, which is respectably attended. In the beginning of last month, a church was formed at Bishop Auckland, consisting of ten members; some of whom were the fruits of the Missionary's labours, and the labours of the Ministers who preached before he

came.

"On the whole, the Association is greatly encouraged by the good that appears to be doing in the villages around Bishop Auckland; and if they had done no more than assisted in procuring a labourer for that part of the vineyard, they have not united together in vain.

Another member of the Association, and also a Home Missionary, occupies the dreary and extensive districts of Weardale and part of Teesdale. The mountainous nature of the country, the badness of the roads, and the thinly scattered population, dwelling in a district of country 16 miles in length, present many difficulties, and render the labours of the Missionary painful and arduous. He, however, notwithstanding all these discouragements, preaches at twelve stations in Weardale, and four in Teesdale, to about 700 hearers. The population among whom he labours may amount to about 12,000, principally connected with the extensive lead mines which are wrought in that part of the country. Churches have been formed at two of his stations, and good appears to be doing. Notwithstanding all his difficulties, he is determined to persevere, but calls loudly for some assistance, as the field of labour is too large for only one to occupy.

"The pastor of the church at Swalwell

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Anniversary of the Academy at Idle.-On Tuesday, June 17th, the ministers delegated to examine the proficiency of the students in this Seminary, met to commence their investigation.

In Latin selected passages were read by the different classes from Cornelius Nepos, Cæsar, Virgil, Horace, Cicero's Orations, and the Aunals of Tacitus,

In Greek, they translated parts of Lucian, Xenophon's Cyropedia, Homer's Iliad, the Edipus of Sophocles, and in Xenophon's Anabasis, his account of the defeat and death of Cyrus the younger.

In Hebrew, they read the 8th and 28th chapters of Genesis, part of the 3d of Lamentations, and the 85th and 86th Psalms, and in Chaldee and Syriac, the 7th of Daniel, the 9th of the Acts of the Apostles, and part of the 3d of Matthew.

These passages and chapters furnished the Committee with ample means of ascertaining the progress made by the students severally in the different classes, with which they expressed themselves highly satisfied.

The following day, in the chapel adjoining the Academy-house, a greater, number of subscribers and friends to the Institution assembled than had done at

any former anniversary. After Mr. Pool had prayed, three of the students delivered Essays. Mr. Hargraves on the Evil of Sin; Mr. Ellis on the Power of Conscience; and Mr. Martin on the Riches. of Divine Grace. Mr. Parsons, sen. then addressed the candidates for the ministry before him, on the incalculable importance of " Prudence" to students and ministers. The meeting for business was afterwards formed, J. Holland, Esq. was called to preside; the Report was read by Mr. Vint, and on moving and seconding various resolutions, interesting speeches were made by Messrs. Scott, Fox, Rheeder, Pool, Jas. Parsons, Hamilton, White, R. Holgate, and G. Rawson. In the evening Mr. Scott preached.

The Academy is in prosperous circum stances. Public patronage continues undiminished. The number of students last year was fifteen. In the course of the year Mr. Preston has settled at Mixenden, near Halifax; Mr. Hargraves, at Milnthorpe, Westmoreland; and Mr. Martin, at Ripon. The congregations at two of these places have been newly raised, and one of them (the congregation at Ripon) has been raised by the instrumentality of the Academy at Idle.

Irish Evangelical Society.-The ninth Annual Meeting of the above Society, was held at the City of London Tavern, Bishopsgate Street, on Tuesday evening, the 30th of May last. Thomas Walker, Esq. Treasurer, having taken the Chair, the Rev. G. Collison commenced by solemn prayer, and the Report of the Committee for the past year having been read, the Rev. Mr. Julian, of Trimley, John Wilks, Esq., Rev. Messrs. D. Stuart, of Dublin, T. Smith, of Rotherham, Mark Wilks, of Paris, J. Blackburn, of London, D. H. Creighton, of Patricroft, J. A. Roberts, Mw. Wilks, and J. Conder, severally addressed the Meeting.

weeks suspension), Youghall, Wexford, Maryborough, and Portarlington, Enniskillen, Camphill, Newry, Armagh, Moy, Bangor, Carmoney, Carrickfergus, and Londonderry, together with the places of itinerant labour, around each station, are regularly supplied with the glorious Gospel of the biessed God. The Sunday Schools, uniformly connected with these operations, are all of them in an increasing, and some of them in a truly flourishing state of prosperity; and taking a retrospective view of the whole series of labour, the Report records that there have been, during the past year, the most decisive manifestations of the divine favour, and much good has evidently been effected."

In reference to the Society's Academy, for the education of native and other Students for the work of the ministry in Ireland, the Report enters into detail respecting the resignation of the Rev. R. Cope, LL. D. the late Tutor, and the subsequent appointment of the Rev. D. Stuart, Minister of the Secession, as the Theological Tutor, and of the Rev. W. H. Cooper, as the Classical and Resident Tutor. The Students continue to supply Manor Street Chapel, the House of Industry, Bray, Black Rock, Celbridge, and Kingsend, with general and very encouraging success.

In reference to the operations of the Society, at all its stations, announced at former Meetings, the Report shows, that they have been regularly carried during the past year, and Tralee, Limerick, Mallow (with but a few

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The Report next "adverts to the progress of those of their Missionaries, who, itinerating from village to village, from hamlet to hamlet, and from house to house, are proclaiming to the Irish, in their native tongue, the wonders of redeeming love.

In reference to the still widening sphere of the Society's laboars, the Report announces that three Stude. ts have finished the period of their studies in the Academy during the past year, and are now occupying important stations in the country, as faithful evangelists of Jesus Christ. Three new Students have been admitted, all of whom are Irishmen, and, as additionally marking the Catholic principles of the Society, one of them is an Episcopalian, another a Presbyterian, and the third an Independent: there are eight Students now in the Institution. The Report also states that the number of the Irish preachers, who labour under the Society, in the vernacular tongue, has been increased from two to four, and that other openings of a most cheering character are inviting the still further extension of the Society's labours, but the Committee were compelled to pause, on account of the embarrassments that rested on their funds. The receipts of the Society, during the past year, amounted to £2,275. 2s. 24d., and its expenditure to £2,446. Is. 74d., leaving a balance due to the Treasurer, of £170. 199. 51d.

Pembrokeshire and Haverfordwest Sunday School Union.-The Annual Meeting of this Society was held at Bethesda Chapel, Haverfordwest, on Monday evening, July 14. The Rev. Thomas Rogers, Wesleyan minister, was called to the Chair: and, from the Report read by the Rev. Mr. Bulmer, one of the Secretaries, it appeared that only one School, in connexion with the Union, has been discontinued during the past year; that five Schools, formerly discontinued, have been revived; and that five new Schools have been established. The Institution has, therefore, received an accession of

nine Schools since the last Annual Meeting; and the present number of its Schools was stated to be more by twentysir, than in the autumn of 1817, when the Institution was first established. Such has been the progress of Sunday School Education in the English parts of the county, during the last six years! Many pleasing extracts from the corre spondence of the Society, were included in the Report, several excellent speeches were delivered, and the meeting separated, highly gratified with the proceedings of the evening. The only cause of regret, was the low state of the finances, owing chiefly to the increasing number of Schools, and partly to the withdrawment of subscriptions, in favour of a Church of England School, recently established in Haverfordwest, avowedly in opposition to the efforts of Dissenters. The friends of the Union, however, are determined to persevere, relying on the blessing of God, and the assistance of a liberally-minded public.

On Thursday, July 31, Mr. J. Roof, jun. (late of Hoxton) was ordained over the church and congregation of Queen Street chapel, Wolverhampton. The Rev. T. Scales, of Leeds, (Mr. Roof's predecessor) delivered an excellent introductory discourse. The Rev. J. Hudson, of West Bromwich, asked the questions; the Rev. J. Codfer, of the same place, offered the ordination prayer; and the Rev. Dr. Harris gave a very impressive charge, founded on 1 Peter, chap. v. ver. 2-4. In the evening, the Rev. J. A. James, of Birmingham, preached to the people from Rom. xv. 29.

The subordinate parts of the service were conducted by Messrs. Hammond of Handsworth, Dawson of Dudley, and Freeman of Kidderminster. The deep impressions which were made on the numerous ministers and large congregation present on the occasion, will be long remembered, and it is hoped will be extensively beneficial.

Methodist Conference at Sheffield.-The 80th Annual Conference of the Wesleyan Methodist connection was held at Sheffield, on Wednesday, July 30, and following days. The Rev. Henry Moore was appointed the President, and it was understood that nearly 400 preachers were present. A peculiar solemnity was given to their proceedings, by a melancholy accident which occurred by the overthrow of the Fleece coach on the Huddersfield road, on which were nine preachers going to the Conference. Messrs. Sargent and Lloyd were thrown with such fatal violence to the ground that they expired in a few days, and several others were seriously injured.

The following is the reported number

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9,659

It is said that in the United States of America the Society can number nearly 300,000 members. Messrs. Reece and Hannah are appointed as Deputies to the American Conference of next year.

Imposition of a Fine for refusing to take a Judicial Oath.-It is with regret we learn that, at the last Cork City Criminal Court last month, Baron Pennefather threatened to commit a Mr. Connell, of that city, for declining to swear on grounds of religious scruples, and when he respectfully assured the Judge, that it was not intended as contempt of Court, he replied," Instead of committing this person, let him be fined £100.!"

The National Society. -- His Majesty's letter, which was addressed last month to the Archbishop of Canterbury, requiring the minister in each parish throughout England and Wales effectually to excite their parishioners to a liberal contribution" for the above Society, states, that it includes 1,869 united schools, which contain more than 350,000. children. The establishment of these has absorbed all the sums contributed by Royal munificence and individual bounty --leaving a bare sufficiency in annual subscriptions to support the Central School!

The Jesuits.--The King of Sardinia has established, by a formal decree, the Society of Jesuits in his dominions, as the privileged instructors of youth, declaring that they have already acted praiseworthily," and to his " particular satisfaction."

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Recent Deaths. -- Died, at his son's house, at Reading, on the 28th of July, the Rev. James Hinton, M. A. late of Oxford. He was attacked by spasms, which, in a few hours, terminated his existence. He was the respected and efficient Pastor of the Baptist Church in that city thirty-five years, by whom his loss is justly deplored. He has left two sons in the ministry.

To the afflictive mortality at Sierra Leone, recorded last month, we regret to add the name of Edward Fitzgerald, Esq. Chief Justice and Judge of the ViceAdmiralty Court in that Colony, and Assessor to the mixed Commission established there, for the more effectual abolition of the Slave Trade. He died on the 3d of June last, of the malignant fever which then prevailed there.

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