صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

appeared to be absorbed in it. His religion was unaffected and substantial, genuine and primitive.

He was a conscientious member, and a devoted minister, of the Church of England. He shewed his zeal for the Church when she was in danger from many enemies, especially from the Church of Rome. When some were so wicked as to change their profession, and others so tame as to sit still unconcerned, when the enemies were at the gates-then did this good man bestir himself; he "lifted up his voice like a trumpet," and undauntedly defended her when she had most need. He believed the doctrines of the Church, obeyed her injunctions, and conformed to her constitutions. He admonished and diligently instructed his charge, kept multitudes in her communion, lived up to her rules, and was ready to sacrifice all that was dear to him in the world to promote her true interest.

As for his pastoral care and diligence, it has been further observed: he was an exemplary pattern to those in the ministry; he well understood not only the dignity, but the duty and charge of his holy function; had an overwhelming sense of the value of souls, and of the care that ought to be had of them. Hence he laboured indefatigably night and day; was so very "painful" a preacher, and so very hard a student. Hence he was so very diligent in catechising the youth, in visiting the sick, and in all the other parts of his holy office. His heart was wholly set upon gaining souls to God. In this work he laboured incessantly, and greatly honoured those among the clergy who were thus disposed. A considerable number of such ministers were well known to him, some of which, who were not provided for, he occasionally recommended to cures and employments, as opportunity offered, from persons of quality, who frequently applied to the doctor on these occasions: and happy were they who took this course; they might securely rely on his recommendation, for nothing could bribe him to commend that person to a place of trust whom he did not know to be fit for it.

His charity was a lively imitation of the love of God and of Christ. He sought not his own, but, with great industry, pursued the good of others. He did not spend his time in visiting great persons, and hunting after preferment and applause. "He went about doing good," and in this he was indefatigable; his heart was set upon it, and this made him despise the difficulties which lay in his way. His charity was large and diffusive, extending to the bodies, estates, and souls of men: he fed and taught, he instructed, comforted and relieved, those who wanted help. One piece of charity deserves to be remembered to his honour, and that was, the telling men of their faults, not only publicly, but privately also. His reproofs may well be reckoned among his charities; for it may be said of him, as Libanius said of Socrates, "he made those better whom he did bite." He bit and healed at once; there was no gall or venom in him; but all proceeded from unfeigned charity to the souls of men. He could not suffer sin upon his brother; but durst, and therefore did, admonish and reprove the greatest. Never was any person more stout in reproving vice, and in appearing for the truth, or farther removed from flattery, than this good man.

He was temperate to the greatest degree, almost to

a fault. Considering his great and constant labours, he hardly gave himself that refreshment which was necessary. He drank very little wine at any time, and in the latter part of life wholly refrained from it. After the fatigues of the day, he would sup on an apple or two, with a little bread, and small ale, or milk and water: always receiving the meanest provision, or the smallest morsel, with the greatest gratitude and thankfulness to Almighty God. Though he denied himself, he was open-handed to others, and whenever he entertained his friends, did it liberally. Rather than the poor should want bread, he would fast himself. He led an ascetic life; kept under his body; and, with great industry, advanced in holiness and the spiritual life.

Such is the testimony borne to the character of Dr. Horneck by those who had the most ample means of forming a true estimate of it. But it is not a singular character-a solitary example of devotedness in the ministers of our Zion. The walk of a parochial minister is, indeed, one which does not attract the admiration of the world. The ministerial life is often represented as one of comparative leisure,—and there are situations in which it is so; but it is far otherwise in the populous districts of our metropolis, and of the country at large. Many a pious and devoted labourer in the vineyard has sunk under the burden and heat of the day. Many called to an early rest have had their strength enfeebled, their health impaired, their spirits wasted, by the labours of a densely peopled parish. The Christian world at large, the members of our own Church in particular, are called upon to suffer this no longer to be. As already stated in our pages, we hail with delight and with gratitude to God the spirit of benevolent inquiry which has gone forth on this subject, and of ready co-operation on the part of the laity to provide more ample instruction for the poor, the ignorant, the ungodly, among us. The spiritual instruction of our increasing population, according to the principles of our Church, is, we need hardly say, an object inexpressibly dear to our hearts; and the present memoir has been introduced into our pages to draw the attention of our readers to the consideration of years of suffering, brought on, as far as can be judged, by excessive labour in the faithful discharge of ministerial duties. The time was, and at no very distant period, when the pious layman found it exceedingly difficult to co-operate in such a good work as this: he can now be at no loss. His contributions may be cast into the treasury of those who aim at an increase of church-accommodation by the erection of new, or enlargement or repair of old buildings; or of those who seek to provide suitable assistance for the clergy in populous districts, overwhelmed with the pressure of parochial duties, and with means far too limited to provide that assistance themselves. Activity and energy are now the characteristics of our Church. Such a remark may excite the ridicule of our enemies; but such is the case. The accusation has been brought against her in other days, that she was asleep; if so, she has arisen refreshed with her repose: and while she holds forth the words of eternal life, and her members, lay as well as clerical, are devoted to her support, prepared for her defence, and zealous to extend her influence, under the blessing of God, she will be the

instrument of bringing myriads to a knowledge of | her; she enjoyed no cheerful talk, she ate no

[blocks in formation]

"Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee." You will observe, my dear children, that there is, in these words, a question asked, and there is also an answer given; and the person who asks the question, and the person who gives the answer, is the same person: and you will know with what attention you ought to hear his words, and what reverence you ought to pay to them-how you should try to remember them, and how you should strive to understand them when I tell you, that He who asks the question, and He who gives the answer, is the Lord, the Lord God, the Maker of heaven and earth; the God who knows what is in heaven, and what is in earth, and what is under the earth; yes, and who knows what is in heart-who knows at all times, and your at this very moment, whether you are striving to listen, and whether you are desiring to understand. Now if this very same question had been asked of you"Can a mother forget her sucking child?" perhaps you would have given a very different answer; for would have thought of your own dear mothers. You would have gone back to the time when you began to know any thing-to know one face from another by the eye, and to tell one voice from another by the ear, and to distinguish one hand from another by the touch, and to feel the difference between your mother and all other mothers, by the quicker beating of the heart when you were folded in her welcome arms: and, remembering this, you would perhaps answer, "No! my mother could never have forgotten me-she never did for-get me. She not only takes care of me when I am well, but she nursed me when I was sick; she sat by my bedside when I was laid on it by fever; she moistened my parched lips, she cooled my burning brow, she rocked me in her arms when I could not bear the painful pressure even of the uneasy pillow; she watched over me all the night, and she waited upon me all the day; she took no pleasure, no rest, while she feared that I should be taken from


[blocks in formation]

pleasant bread-never once was there a smile upon her lips, while I lay gasping and moaning by her side: no! my mother could never have forgotten me." But while we do not blame you for feeling and for thinking thus, and would have you consider all this love and this care as fresh cause of thankfulness to your Father which is in heaven, who hath given many of you such a mother upon earth; while we do not say to any one, Your mother would have forgotten you; we remind you all of the Lord's answer to the question, "Can a mother forget her child?" which must be a true answer, because it is the Lord's, "Yes, they may forget." Ah, my dear children, they have forgotten. You may read in the sixth chapter of the Second Book of Kings, a very sad story of two mothers, one of whom at least did forget, and had no compassion on the son of her womb: but we will not tell you that story now, because these were not Christian mothers, and it is therefore no wonder that either of them should love her life better than her child. Some of your mothers, we doubt not, love their children better than their lives; that is, love their children's souls better, and would do more to preserve them for Christ than to save their own lives. And in talking to you this day, what we want to persuade you is, not to love your mothers less, but to love God more; and for this very reason, because God loves you far, far better than even your mothers do. You may think this also impossible; but you only think so, because you see your mothers, and you observe what they do for you-and this is what Scripture calls "to walk by sight;" while you cannot see God, nor observe what he does for you, which is "to walk by faith." But, perhaps, you do not yet know even what faith means. When, however, I have told you how God has loved you, and what He has done to prove that love;-not only more than the tenderest parents ever could have done, but even more than they could ever have thought of doing-you will go away, I hope, with a better understanding of the sweet "Can a and precious words of my text, mother forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee."

You love your mothers-you to whom God has spared your mothers--because the first that you can remember of them is words and acts of kindness-the look of gentleness and of gladness, and the smile of tenderness and love. You love them, because at the time when you could do nothing for them, they did every thing for you; and did it without any motive of selfish interest: did it, that is, not

hoping for any thing again, except duty and obedience. And when you were as I fear the best of you were sometimes-froward, wayward, and perverse; bent on your own will, though you only desired what would do you harm, forgetful of their feelings, and their wishes, and their rights, and their claims; you did not find that, for all this waywardness and wilfulness, they loved you the less. However you had misbehaved, no sooner did you express sorrow and penitence, than you were forgiven; the tear of repentance was wiped away as soon as shed, and no painful impression remained, because you felt that you were loved as tenderly as before. You felt, that as there was no coldness in the mother's manner, so there was no anger, no resentment which is anger prolonged-in the mother's breast: you not only felt that the offence was forgiven, you were sure that it was forgotten too.

So, you love your mothers, because they first loved you. But, in all these respects, you have far greater cause to love God, compared to whose love even a mother's is only as the little twinkling star, compared with the bright sun that lights up all the heavens in the noon of a summer's day, or as the tiny pendent icicle which you see on the edge of the bare and withered bough, compared to the mountain of the wave which the wild hoarse wind dashes on the rocky shore of the boundless sea. If the first that you can remember of a mother is love, who gave you that mother? Who filled her heart with tenderness to the little helpless thing that seemed to bring with it into the world nothing but labour and sorrow? Who provided her with the means of doing every thing for you? Who bestowed on her the clothing and the nourishment which she in turn imparted to you? And who continued, and does continue so to provide, though every act of ingratitude to a parent is a proof of rebellion against Him? Is it not God-the God who speaks to you in the text? And does not God do every thing for you which your mother and your father cannot do? Does not He make the sun to shine, and the winds to blow, and the showers to fall, and the earth to bring forth, and the trees to blossom and bear fruit for you? Does not He keep far from you the stroke that would wound you, or the weight that would crush you, or the accident that would maim you, or the disease that would kill you? And when your kind and watchful parents are asleep, and cannot guard you against any harm, does not God, as One who never slumbereth nor sleepeth, watch over your dwelling and beside your bed, and make you to rise up, as you have lain down, in health, in safety, and in peace? And is this because you serve


Him better than you obey your parents? because you are less ungrateful to Him than you are unthankful to them? Ah, my dear children, the youngest of you is not too young to know how much less he loves God than he ought; how much less he serves God than he ought; how very prone he is to the evil which he ought to hate and shun; how very averse to duty and to prayer, in which he ought to take delight; how his little heart resists and rebels when he is called to think and to hear of God. Do we not see this in school, when the teacher is speaking of God's goodness, and the little boy or girl looks as careless and as unconcerned as if God, so good to all beside, was not good to him or to her? Do we not see this in the church, when the minister is talking of God's love, and the little children, instead of striving to listen, or trying to understand, are looking carelessly around them, or playing with each other, thus committing a double sin; leading others to do wrong, and preventing their parents or their instructors from hearkening in comfort to the precious truths of God's pure word? And even in those children who seem to behave well in school or in church, and thus far set outwardly a good example, does not God, who looks into the heart, behold it but too frequently set upon any thing and every thing, rather than Himself? Does He not see the thoughts wandering, the mind roving, thinking of its tasks or its toys, its lessons or its plays, as though this were not the house of God, the place of prayer, the gate of heaven? Yes, my dear children, you only offend your parents sometimes, and then, perhaps, you do not always mean to offend them; but you offend God every day; and if you are not so wicked as to mean it, I am afraid some are so foolish as not to care for it. this great and good God still bears with you, still pardons you, still loves you, still preserves to you your blessings: He is very patient, though provoked every day: He still gives you every thing, though you have nothing to give Him in return. You may, and some of you by good conduct do, increase the mother's happiness: you can add nothing to the glory of God. Yet, though you behave far worse to Him than do the worst of children to their earthly parents, He loves you far better than the best of mothers can love the best of children; for, "Can a mother forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee."

And yet

I have not told you, however, even yet, why you have most reason to love God. I have spoken only of that part of what He gives you and what He does for you, which is comfortable and pleasant for the body, the


body, made, as you know, out of the dust, and which, as you know also, however tender you may be of it, must return in the end to the dust out of which it was taken. Many children, you are aware, die, and die at all ages; many have died within the last few months out of this very neighbourhood; in three months we have committed to the grave fifteen children, for some of whom I perceive many of you are dressed in mourning; and these children of all ages too: the infant who never had but two resting-places--the arms of his mother and his grave; the child of four years old, who was wont in his sickness to lean his aching head upon his mother's bosom, and comfort her and himself with the texts and the hymns which he had learnt at school; several who passed from this world, this vain and bitter world, ere they had numbered seven years, but out of whose mouths, babes, as they were, and sucklings, God had ordained strength;-yes, and the last time the dark and gloomy vault beneath this church was unclosed, it was for a child not ten years old, of whom I have since heard with delight, that her last words were prayer, and her last look was praise. And there are children now ill, perhaps dying, within a very short distance of this house of God. But, then, you are to consider, not whether they die, for you know this at the time, when you look sadly upon the pale face, and listen to the deep short sigh; and you know it afterwards, when you lift up the coffin-lid, and look beneath the white shroud, and touch the stiff hand, which falls lifeless from the grasp, and press your lips to the colourless cheek, and find it icy cold. Yes, you know they are dead; but what is it that is dead? Is it that which moves and thinks within you--that which loves or fears, likes or dislikes, prompts you what you are to do, and tells you what you are to leave undone? No, that will not, cannot die. It is gone away to live in another place, and to live for ever; to live in such happiness that you cannot imagine it, or in such misery that you cannot conceive it. And here is the way in which God has most shewn his love: He has so provided for you, that, if you will but seek it, you may obtain the happiness; and, if you will but shun it, you may escape the misery: and this is the way in which He hath done both,-He hath given his blessed Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to die for your sins; and Christ has so loved you, that, when there was no other way to save your souls from death, He came down from heaven to save them by the shedding of His own most precious blood.

Now this is what you have been often told, but what too many of you have never understood, at least if we may judge from

the little attention which some children pay both at school and in church; and which, at the best, would surely be much greater than it is, did they know, or, at least, did they feel, what reason they have to love their heavenly Father, who gave his Son, and the Son of God, who gave himself, that they might be saved from hell, and that they might be admitted into heaven. But if you will listen very attentively, my dear children, I will endeavour, by God's help, to make you understand the love of God, in saving you from the curse and consequence of sin; for we fear that many children, and many grown persons too, talk a great deal and hear a great deal about sin, without really knowing either what it is, where it is produced, what harm it does at the time when it is committed, or what mischief it will do, long after any little advantage is passed away, which men or children foolishly think to derive from it. Now, in order to teach you what sin is, I would have you look back as far as you can recollect, and in some of you it is not very far; and I would ask, whether you do not remember very early to have done that which you knew to be wrong?whether, for example, you did not commit some fault, and endeavour to screen it by an untruth ?-whether you did not stretch out your hand, when you thought no eye was looking at you, to take that which was not your own?-whether you did not take advantage of the mother's absence to strike or ill-treat the little brother or sister who could not defend itself?-whether you did not shew perverse and stubborn tempers towards the kind parent who was denying herself for you? -or whether, when you were reproved, your heart did not swell with rage, and you wished to reply, or longed to disobey, but were only kept back from doing so by fear of punishment? All this, then, was sin; and it is in that wicked heart which is within you that sin arises: but your parents and teachers cannot see the heart, they can only mark and punish what they do see. But God sees all. The sin of the heart is to Him what the sin of the action is to us. Here is the difference: We see the evil done, God searches the evil planned-we hear the falsehood uttered, God beholds the falsehood meant we see, and are shocked at seeing, the little hand raised to transgress a parent's command, but God sees disobedience working in the heart when you dare not stretch out the hand to perform the will. Now you know that even your parents and your teachers, when they are what they ought to be, hate sin; but God hates it far worse than they; they are sinners like yourselves, but a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he:" they make allowance for your

[ocr errors]

errors by the remembrance of their own, but "God is of purer eyes than to look upon iniquity." Your parents very frequently do not know, and, perhaps, almost as frequently do not punish, all the wrong you do; but God both knows all, and will punish all. From the very moment that you were able to distinguish between right and wrong, not one wicked thing have you done, not one forbidden word have you spoken, not one evil purpose have you even thought in your hearts, which God did not know at the time, and which He does not remember now. His eye sees in all places at once, and His mind pervades, or goes through, all times at once; and past, present, and future, are alike to Him, and so are night and day. It is just as if He kept a book-a book of remembrance, Scripture calls it-in which is carefully noted down all that you have done amiss; not one thing omitted, however well you might think that you had hidden it from every eye. And O, my dear children, there is enough in God's book against the very best of you, if He were to deal with you as you deserve, to shut you up in that dark prison, where there is no cheerful light of day, and no sounds of mirth and gladness, and no kind father's voice, and no gentle mother's hand; but all sights are darkness and misery, and all sounds are weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, and all sense is pain and torment, and there is no hope of ever coming out; a place in which how could we believe it, if it were not God's word?-those who were once fathers and mothers think no more of their children than if they had never been, or think of them only with anguish that aggravates their own lost sad condition, because they, by evil example, aided the enemy of souls to bring their offspring thither. Now the consequence of sin would be, if it were not pardoned and forgiven, to shut you up for ever in this dark and dreary place. God MUST punish sin, because He has said He will; and every word of God is true. And how is He to punish sin, and yet spare you? O, my dear children, it is in this that God has shewn His love, and for which all those who know themselves aright say, We love Him, because He first loved us; because-mark the text I am going to quote, and read it after service-or rather, learn it, if you do not know it already; -you will find it in St. John, iii. 16—" God so loved the world that He gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him might not perish, but have everlasting life."

Now, you may well wonder why God so loved the world, for a wicked world it was, and little deserved such love; but you need not think it strange that this was the way in which He shewed His love, for God tells you

in the text that His love to you far surpasses even that of mothers; and I am sure you must recollect how ready mothers are to take upon themselves the evil consequences of the injury which their children have done. They do not think much of toiling, or of suffering, much less of sacrificing their own comfort, or acting contrary to their own will, if they can spare the children whom they love better than themselves even what they have deserved to suffer and just so it was with God—" God so loved the world, that He gave His onlybegotten Son:" and Jesus Christ, the Son of God, so loved the world, that He gave Himself; for, when He went to die, He said, "No man taketh my life from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again." It is just as if one of your own dwellings were all in flames, and the little children in the highest room were to be suddenly roused by the terrible shout of "Fire! fire!" and no one could reach them, because the flames were spreading all around; and the elder brother, grown to man's estate, and knowing that he must lose his life in the attempt, were to say, "Father, mother, I cannot stand by, and see all my brothers and sisters perish in the flames. I can save them through the windows-the opening is too small for me--and, though my own return will be cut off by the flames, I will snatch them from the fearful death, though I must taste its bitterness myself." Just such an elder brother is JESUS; but the fire from which He delivered you is very different from that which only consumes the dwelling, and destroys the body, and after that has no more that it can do: it is a fire, which, as Scripture tells you, cannot be quenched; a fire that consumes both soul and body in hell; a torment, the smoke of which ascendeth up for ever and ever, where the wicked are tormented day and night, and when years upon years have rolled away, ages upon ages will be yet to come. But Jesus died to save you from this; He took upon Himself the consequences of your sin; He suffered, that you might not suffer; He died, that your souls might live; He bare your sins in his own body upon the tree; He rose from the grave, that you might rise from it to glory; He now sits at the right hand of God the Father, that when you pray, He may plead for you-and when you are in need, He may help you-and when you are in danger, He may watch over you-and when you die, He may take you to Himself. But, perhaps, I hear you say, "O this kind and good Saviour, how would I love Him if I could!" But if you would love Him, take care, then, my dear children, that you do not read the history of the doings and suf


« السابقةمتابعة »