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The New Zealand Evangelist

River Hutt — Opening of the Presbyterian Church.—

River Hutt.

Opening of the Presbyterian Church.—

On Sabbath, the 2nd ult., the Presbyterian Church in the Hutt was opened for public worship. The Rev. James Watkin conducted the services in the forenoon, and the Rev. John Inglis in the afternoon and evening. In the evening, Mr. Inglis preached from Ps. Ixxiv. 5., “A man was famous according as he had lifted up axes upon the thick trees.” From this text he set forth the dignity and honour of all useful labour, as being appointed and approved of by God; and as being especially honourable when employed for the purpose of providing for and perpetuating page 139 the public worship of God. Those who in obedience to the divine command, to replenish the earth and subdue it, have planted themselves in the midst of uncultivated wilds, have the high satisfaction, that however humble and laborious their toils may be,— whether cutting down the forests, clearing and cultivating the fields, erecting dwellings, forming highways, constructing bridges, or producing the first necessaries and comforts of life,—these labours are useful and honourable, pleasing and acceptable to God. But this is more particularly the case, when it is to provide the means for divine worship. Honourable mention is made of the humblest services in the erection of the tabernacle and the temple. The pilgrim fathers of New England, and other colonists, who earned the gospel with them, and took effectual means for its preservation among them, and in this way provided for the wants of the highest faculties of human nature, have ever been regarded as the most enlightened founders of new settlements, and the greatest benefactors of posterity. The Scriptures, the Sabbath, the Sanctuary, and the School; —true religion,—the religion of the Bible, and scriptural education are the surest and most effectual means for securing a high degree of civilization and prosperity. And you, said he, who are exerting yourselves so laudably in providing the means for worshiping God according to the simple and scriptural forms of your fathers, are providing not only for your own spiritnal benefit, but for transmitting to your children the highest of the blood—bought, birthright privileges, inherted from your ancestors, and conveyed and planted here at the ends of the earth. And while future generations continue to fear and worship God, they will revere your name and bless your memory, when your bodies are mouldering in the grave, and your dust can no no longer be distinguished from the clods of the valley.

But remember that the work is not ended; it is only begun; this house is only a means to gain an end; the page 140 house is nothing without worshippers, and worshippers are nothing without the presence and blessing of God. If it is honourable, and renders a man famous, to lift up his axe upon the thick trees, and hew the lifeless materials into shape and form, so as to render them subservient for shelter, accommodation, and comfort, in attending upon God's service; it must be vastly more honourable to prepare materials for the erection of God's spiritual temple; to instruct the ignorant, reclaim the wandering, strengthen the weak, and comfort the afflicted. And by each one exercising those gifts, and improving that influence and those opportunities which God has given him, he may be instrumental in the conversion of sinners and the edification and comfort of saints, and se,e in this way a living, spiritual temple rise in the midst of you, and hear it said of this man and that man, that he was born here!

The house is a substantial and commodious building, capable of containing upwards of a hundred. This is the fourth place of worship erected in the Hutt. It is pleasing to witness the activity of the settlers in providing for the worship of God, and the exemplary manner in which the bulk of them attend to the duties of the Sabbath. We have heard it said, that some of the thoughtless witlings who on the first day of the week leave Wellington and the Sabbath behind them, chagrinedat finding more Sabbath at the Hutt than at home, have left it in disgust and tried to raise the laugh against it, by calling it the “Holy Land!” May it long excite and be worthy of such reproaches.