Project Canterbury






Church of St. John the Evangelist,





The REV. A. C. A. HALL

Of the Mission Priests of St. John the Evangelist,
Cowley, Oxford





Dear Friends:

We have been asked by your Parochial Clergy to conduct a Mission among you. They have felt the Dedication of your new Church to be a special call to renewed earnestness in self-consecration, and to greater efforts in building up the Spiritual Temple of God. It is indeed such a call. God grant that the Mission may help you to fulfil it!

We do not come to you altogether as strangers. The growth of your Parish has long been a matter of loving interest to us. Some years ago one of us paid you a brief visit while you were worshipping in the temporary Chapel, and we felt it a privilege to assist at the dedication of your new Church. May this House of God prove indeed a Spiritual Home to many a soul! May you therein continually "grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." The special exercises of the Mission will, we trust, help you to use the ordinary ministrations of the Church with greater benefit and devotion.

[3] And now we desire to address ourselves to you individually, and to explain to you what is the work which we come to do in the Mission and what part each one of you can take in it.

Perhaps you who read this are one of those who have lived for some years, and yet have never really settled the one great question of life, "Am I in the way of salvation?" That is to say, you may be one of those who have never yet really turned to God. Perhaps you scarcely understand what I mean when I say "turned to God." Well, then, this Mission is meant for you. Come to it, and surely God will teach you something.

Or perhaps, you are one who at some time in your life did more or less give yourself to God, turning away from sin. You set things right, and went on well for a while; and for aught that the world knows, you are going on fairly well now. But it may be you are conscious of having much fallen back since that time. Old sins are coming on again; old associations are getting the same old power over von. Those prayers, so often omitted; those merely formal acts of worship; [3/4] those many little indulgences in thought and word, and, perhaps, in act,—what a weight they are on your conscience! How glad you would be to start afresh! Yes, a fresh start, diat is what you want. The Mission then, dear reader, is just the thing for you. Look at the list of services, and come to whichever you can.

Or are you groaning still under the weight of some overmastering sin? You have longed again and again to be rid of it. No creature on earth knows what you feel about it. You say, "Oh, that I might throw this off, and go on at peace with God and with myself." My dear reader, if this be your case, the Mission is indeed meant for your poor soul. You little know how glad we shall be to give you help in this sore struggle for victory over sin.

Or perhaps, for some reason or other, you are in difficulty about what you ought to believe. These are days when Satan sorely vexes souls with doubts and difficulties in matters of faith. Well, come and let us see whether God has not in store for you some light, all unexpected, and all sufficing for the removal of your perplexity. In the instructions [4/5] and the Evening Sermons, many subjects will be dealt with which are likely to interest, and we hope, also assist you.

Or once more, are you, dear reader, one of that large class of persons who, without the consciousness of any definite serious sin, are yet letting life slip away with no real apprhension of its tremendous character? Is your life, at once so blessed and so awful,—so blessed in its opportunities, so awful in its responsibilities—being just frittered away; filled with nothing but trifles: no high resolves; no real gift of yourself to God; swallowed up in an empty monotony; no witness to the Saviour; no walking above this world? Oh, come to the Mission, for the subjects dealt with in the Mission sermons will be just as are most likely to assist you to rise above your present, unsatisfying, useless, dreamy routine.

And in conclusion, dear reader, we invite may give you such assistance as lies in our path. You will see further on at what times [5/6] the clergy can be seen. So you can either make an appointment in person or by letter. Anyhow, do your best to come to as many services as you can. And besides coming yourself, you may be able to arrange so that those in your househeld should come, some to one service, some to another, so that all may get to some part of the Mission.

If you are amongst those who are indeed doing their best to serve Christ our Lord, still we would say, "Come, come and help in the Mission; come and pray with all and for all, and may God abundantly bless your endeavors."

How to get Good from the Mission.

I. Come to as many services at the same hour as you possibly can. For instance, if you can come in the morning, come every morning; if you can come in the evening, come every evening. This is important, because the subjects at the same hour each morning or evening will be closely connected, so that missing one of the series, may be like dropping a link in a chain. But of course, if [6/7] you cannot come to all, come to any service you can.

2. Remember all through the Mission that God is speaking to you in a very special manner. As we sometimes speak to one another with what we call special emphasis, so in a Mission God speaks to hearts with special clearness, loudness, and authority. He claims souls through a special effort which He has inspired His minister to make in His name. Therefore, after sermons or addresses, try and give a little time to quiet consideration, either at home or in Church. Apply what has been said to yourself. Think, "God has been speaking to me: what ought I to do?"

3. At the beginning of the Mission, solemnly promise to Almighty God that, by His Grace, you will give up any sin that most easily besets you, for at least the twelve days of the Mission.

4. If you have not been in the habit of regular prayer, ask any of the clergy connected with the Church to recommend you some prayers. Anyhow, begin some rule of [7/8] prayer as soon as possible, and pray every day for the Mission.

5. If you are a communicant, you may come more frequently to communion during the Mission. That is the best time to make your prayer for yourself and others.

6. If anything that is said perplexes you, ask the Preacher or one of the other clergy to explain what is meant.

7. Remember that all Divine inspirations have some definite end in view. They lead to something to be done in our daily life—something to be set in order—something to be laid aside—some virtue to be looked after—some sin to be more carefully guarded against. Take care, therefore, that you make some good resolution. It is a good plan to write it down before the end of the Mission, and keep it by you for the future. You can ask advice about this of any of the clergy.

Things to be done in the Mission.

There are some things to which you may be quite sure that God is calling you, if you have not already done them, e.g.:—

[9] I. If you have not been already baptized, you may feel sure that God would have you make up your mind to present yourself at once as a candidate, that you may he baptized sooner or later, as may seem best. We read that when the jailer at Philippi was converted he "was baptized, he and all his straightway." When St. Paul was converted and asked of our Lord Jesus Christ, "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?" The Lord said unto him, "Arise and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do." And soon we read that he "arose and was baptized." Acts IX, 18.

2. If you have never been confirmed, think again and again of the text, "then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost." Acts VIII, 17. God then gave His Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands; the Apostles could not give it—they were men, just as much as our Bishops—but God gave it, and through the laying on of hands. He will do the same now to "them that ask Him." Luke XI, 13.

3. If you have never been to Communion, do not rest until you have taken some definite [9/10] step towards approaching this Sacrament in a proper frame of mind. I do not say, come at once, without any conference with your clergy, but set to work in some way to prepare for your first Communion. You might give in your name as one that wished to join a class for that purpose, or to be prepared in some other way. Remember that you have not yet obeyed your Saviour's almost dying command, "Do this in remembrance of me." Oh, who would bear to go on without obeying that?

4. If you have been in the habit of frequenting Church, and coming to Communion, but have felt the need of some more decided and helpful preparation for your Communion, If you have felt at times uneasy about yourself when coming, remember that there is special provision for your case in the invitation which the Church gives you to "open your grief" to one of Christ's ministers, that you may "receive the benefit of Absolution, together with ghostly counsel and advice, to the quieting of your conscience, and avoiding of all scruple and doubtfuiness." (Prayer-book.)

[11] Don't scruple to make use of this most helpful provision. Ask anyone of the clergy to help you in this way. We are set apart by the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, to be of use in comforting and strengthening those who feel themselves weakened by sin, and wearied in their strife with temptation; and to assist with special means those who desire to live as closely as possible to their Blessed Saviour.

We are, dear friends, your servants for Jesus Christ's sake.

A. C. A. HALL.
Mission Priests.

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