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him, who would not repent, when God called him to repentance. Assuredly there is no desolation equal
to that of the heart which God hath left desolate. There is no ruin more melancholy than the eternal ruin of an immortal soul. T.
GRACE. A man may as soon read the letter of the Scripture without eyes, as understand the mysteries of the Gospel without grace.-Bp. Beveridge.
RELIGION EVERY THING.-The observation is not more common than just, that if religion be any thing, it is every thing. If Christianity be true, the consequences of our present conduct are infinitely important; and while the infidel may be more atrociously criminal and extensively mischievous, the professed believer who lives like other men is the most inconsistent character in the world. The language of Scripture does not accord to that of modern times. Wicked Christians and irreligious believers are never mentioned in the sacred volume. Faith is never supposed separable from a holy life. All worldly men are represented as unbelievers, or as possessing a dead faith; and all believers are spoken of as servants of God, who live to his glory, and are distinguished from other men by the whole tenour of their conduct, and not merely by their principles. These things are as observable in the Old as in the New Testament; for true religion has been essentially the same ever since the fall of Adam, though many circumstantial alterations have taken place; and, indeed, the perfections of God, the wants of a sinner, and the nature of holiness and happiness, are in themselves immutable. Let me, then, conclude with the observation which introduced the subject-" If religion be any thing, it is every thing" it must be our business in this world, if we would enjoy a warranted hope of felicity in the world to come; yea, it must be our element here, in order to a meetness for the inheritance of the saints in light. Every man's own conscience must decide how far this is his character and experience; and every one must be left to apply the subject to his own case, for conviction, admonition, and encouragement.Rev. T. Scott.
DOCTRINE AND PRACTICE.-To preach practical sermons, as they are called, that is, sermons upon virtue and vice, without inculcating those great Scripture truths, of redemption, grace, and the like, which alone can incite and enable us to forsake sin and follow after righteousness,-what is it but to put together the wheels, and set the hands of a watch, forgetting the spring, which is to make them all go ?-Bp. Horne.
CHRIST AND MAHOMET CONTRASTED.-Go to your natural religion-lay before her Mahomet and his disciples, arrayed in armour and in blood, riding in triumph over the spoils of thousands and ten thousands who fell by his victorious sword. Shew her the cities which he set in flames, the countries which he ravaged and destroyed, and the miserable distress of all the inhabitants of the earth. When she has viewed him in this scene, carry her into his retirements; shew her the prophet's chamber, his concubines and wives, and let her see his adulteries, and hear him allege revelation and his divine commission to justify his lusts and his oppressions. When she is tired with this prospect, then shew her the blessed Jesus, humble and meek, doing good to all the sons of men, patiently instructing the ignorant and the perverse. Let her see him in his most retired privacies-let her follow him to the mount, and hear his devotions and supplications to God. Carry her to his table to view his poor fare and hear his heavenly discourse! Let her see him injured, but not provoked! Let her attend him to the tribunal, and consider the patience with
which he endured the scoffs and reproaches of his enemies! Lead her to his cross, and let her view him in the agonies of death, and hear his last prayer for his persecutors,-" Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." When natural religion has viewed both, ask which is the prophet of God? her answer we have already had, when she saw part of this scene through the eyes of the centurion who attended him at the cross; by him she said, "Truly this was the Son of God."-Bishop Sherlock.
TEMPTATION. The temptations of God strictly involve in them no more than a trial of principlethe temptations of Satan involve in them the infusion of moral evil into the mind.-Howell's Sermons on the Lord's Prayer.
O THOU Eternal, good Supreme,
THE WINTER ROSE.
HAIL and farewell, thou lovely guest,
Like the returning tints that die
And melt in misty grey.
The morning sun thy beauties hailed,
The withering petals fell.
My heart shall long recline, And mourn the transitory gem,
And make the story mine: So on my joyless wintry hour
C. E. M.
Hath oped some bright and fragrant flower, With tints as soft as thine.
LINES ON THE DEATH OF AN INFANT.* (For the Church of England Magazine.)
HERE Sweetly sleep awhile, blest babe! thy sun
SPONTANEOUS BURNING.-The spontaneous combustion of the human body would appear to be the result of long and confirmed drunkenness in the individual who suffers. The constant drinking of ardent spirits saturates the whole fabric of the body, making it so highly inflammable, that, under certain circumstances, when a flame is contiguous, the catastrophe of burning to death ensues. The following account is given by Devergie, a French author, of the general manner of its occurrence;-" Spontaneous combustion commences by a bluish flame being seen to extend itself by little and little, with an extreme rapidity, over all the parts of the body affected; this always persists until the parts are blackened, and generally until they are burnt to a cinder. Many times attempts have been made to extinguish this flame with water, but without success. When the parts are touched, a fattish matter attaches itself to the finger, which still continues to burn. At the same time a very strong and disagreeable smell, having an analogy to burnt horn, spreads itself through the apartment. A thick black smoke escapes from the body, and attaches itself to the surface of the furniture, in the form of a sweat, unctuous to the touch, and of an insupportable fetor. In many cases the combustion is arrested only when the flesh has been reduced to a cinder, and the bones to powder. Commonly the feet and a portion of the head are not burnt. When the combustion is finished, an incinerated mass remains, which it is difficult to believe can be the whole of the body. All this may happen in the space of an hour and a half. It is rather uncommon for the furniture around it to take fire; sometimes even the clothes are not injured."
MODERN JEWISH CUSTOM.-Though the modern Jews retain many of their ancient ceremonies, yet do they differ greatly from those which are enjoined in These lines were intended as an epitaph.
the law. It is a custom with them to sound the horn on new-year's day, to advertise the Jews that they are to hearken with humility and attention to the judgments of God, and to thank him for his favour and support during the year which is just ended. This festival lasts two days, and the synagogue is to pray with a loud voice, and in an humbler posture than usual. In Germany the Jews send their children to the grand rabbi to receive his benediction; and when they sit down to table, the master of the house takes a bit of bread, and dips it in honey, saying, "May this year be sweet and fruitful;" and all the guests do the same. They seldom omit serving up a sheep's head at this entertainment (which, they say, is a mystical representation of the ram sacrificed instead of Isaac). The sounding of the horn is performed standing, where the law is read; the whole congregation remaining in the same posture. This is made of a ram's horn, being also a monument of Isaac's ram. It is crooked, as representing the posture of a man humbling himself. The time for blowing it is from sunrise to sunset. The ancient Jews, on the day of atonement, discharged their sins upon an he-goat, which afterwards was sent into the desert: but the modern Jews, of Germany in particular, instead of a goat, now do it upon the fish. They go after dinner to the brink of a pond, and there shake their clothes over it with all their might. They derive this custom from a passage of the prophet Micah, chap. vii. 19: "He will have compassion on us; he will subdue our iniquities, and cast all our sins into the depths of the sea." Where we may observe the impropriety and absurd consequences of a literal interpretation, when the expression is evidently figurative.
REV. WILLIAM GILPIN.-The late Rev. William Gilpin, vicar of Boldre, in the New Forest, was in the habit of devoting part of his leisure-time to drawing; and he published several of his sketches, which were well received by the public, as also a work on the beauties of forest-scenery. His residence in the New Forest afforded him many opportunities of sketching the majestic oaks, with which the forest abounded till the late war demanded them to recruit our navy. With the profits of his drawings, and solely from them, he endowed a school in his parish for the instruction of the children of poor labourers, which he lived to see completed; and the parish is now deriving very great advantages from his benevolence. There is a school-house, with a permanent salary for a master.
ON THE DUTY OF COMMUNICATING TO THE DYING A KNOWLEDGE OF THEIR SITUATION.
THERE are few situations more painfully trying than that in which we behold a fellow-creature stretched on a dying bed, who is yet wholly unconscious of his state, and flatters himself that he shall speedily be restored to the occupations and enjoyments of life.
No real Christian can doubt that it is an imperative duty to undeceive such a person: and yet there is often a great backwardness in revealing the solemn truth; and the language of a delusive hope is frequently employed even by those who are convinced that the sufferer's case is hopeless.
This unwillingness to communicate a knowledge of their situation to the dying may arise either from the pain it gives the individual who is made the channel of communication, or from the effect which is likely to be produced on the patient. Nothing but the most unpardonable selfishness will ever tolerate the former as a rational plea for the neglect of this duty. It may, and in the majority of cases it will, be most painful to be the bearer of the melancholy truth; but surely this ought not to prevent the truth being spoken. It is painful to rebuke vice; to warn the impenitent; to break in upon the slumber of those who are asleep in sin; boldly to set forth the guilt and danger of a life of disobedience: but still this must be done, and not merely by the appointed minister, whose office it is to exhort and to warn, but by every real servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, who seeks the furtherance of his divine Master's glory, and the salvation of the souls of
VOL. I. NO. XVIII.
his fellow-creatures. And surely, if it be wisdom to tell a man of his danger while in the days of health and strength, it is worse than folly to conceal his true situation from the man who must soon lie down in the chambers of the grave.
With respect to the patient himself. If, indeed, there is a satisfactory evidence that, united to Christ by a true and living faith, he is in truth a believer, surely the tidings need not be held back, that he must soon leave the house of this earthly tabernacle. The believer's conversation is in heaven. His Lord is in heaven. His thoughts, his desires, his affections, are centred in heaven. He doubts not but that many who were linked to him by dear and tender ties shall dwell with him in heaven: why, then, should the truth be concealed, that the world and all its vanities is fast departing from him, and that he shall speedily be emancipated from the trammels of a corruptible body, and that his soul, ransomed by the blood of Jesus, shall wing its way to those regions where there is fulness of joy? Death is gain to the believer. The worldling knows not this. He cannot comprehend the purport of the declaration. What gain can there be in death? is his inquiry. But " all things" are the believer's "death," with all its fancied horrors. For what says the Saviour? "He that liveth and believeth in me shall never die." Let this declaration be laid up in the heart as a treasure, of inestimable value. There is no death to the believer. The body shall, indeed, be consigned to the sepulchre, and the name and memorial shall soon be forgotten, and the ashes shall no longer be distinguished
from the soil to which they have been consigned. But there is life eternal for the believer, in the house not made with hands. Why, then, not tell the dying Christian that he must soon leave a world which he knew was not his home? Why not tell him that the weary journey is fast drawing to a closethat the day is now far spent-and that he shall speedily enter on an eternal day of unclouded brightness? He may have some worldly affairs to arrange; he may have some dying testimony to give; he may have some injunction to impart. It is but kindness, then, to tell him of his real situation.
But, if it be needful to inform the dying Christian that the day of life is far spent, how much more needful is it to deal honestly by the man who is either wholly careless about the momentous concerns of eternity, or who is building his hopes of eternal happiness on some sandy foundation, and not on the Rock of Ages? In either of these cases, it is not only inexpedient, it is positively sinful, to keep the patient in the dark. The few waning moments of the eleventh hour should surely be improved. The attempt should be made, under the Holy Spirit's blessing, to illumine the eyes of the understanding, ere the bodily eyes close in the sleep of death, and to impress the hard and stony heart, ere that heart ceases to beat in the chambers of silence. If there be neither knowledge, nor wisdom, nor device in the grave: if, as the tree has fallen, so must it lie for ever; if he that is unjust must be unjust still, and he that is filthy must be filthy still;-surely his crime cannot but be heinous, who deludes the dying sinner or the dying formalist, and does not lead them, while the lamp of life holds on to burn, to Jesus, the only shelter from the wrath to come. Surely, the concerns of a never-dying soul are not thus to be tampered with. Surely, the eternal portion of a human being is not thus to be trifled with. Surely the vague, undefined notions of the Divine mercy, to which countless myriads trust, ought not to put aside the declarations of the Divine word, which represent the fearful portion of those who shall appear before the heavenly throne unjustified, unsanctified, and not meet for the society of "just men made perfect."
But what efficacy, it may be asked, can there be in a death-bed repentance? Too many, it may be said, trust to such repentance, and trust in vain. Why disturb the dying sinner, when the life is now drawing to a close? Salvation is the work of a whole life, and it is too late to begin that work now. Such a mode of reasoning testifies a lamentable ignorance of the salvation of the Gospel. It is dangerous to trust to a death-bed re
pentance; it is presumptuous to do so. That bed is too often a bed of bodily anguish, when the thoughts cannot be directed to spiritual and eternal subjects. "To-day, while it is called to-day," man is to flee to the Saviour, to seek pardon through his atoning blood. But surely no man will dare to say that God may not shew mercy even at the last. No man will dare to say that the voice of sovereign mercy may not utter to the soul of the dying, "Thy sins are forgiven thee; depart in peace." No man may presume to limit the sovereign grace of that Jehovah who delighteth in mercy. Whatever God's purposes may be, man's duty is plain. Whether or no God will grant repentance unto life, man's duty is to call the dying sinner to repentance. Whether or no God will dispel the mists of prejudice and error, man's duty is to point out to a perishing brother the true character of the Gospel dispensation. We may depend upon it, that he will be regarded by the condemned soul in misery as the worst of enemies, who drew the veil of concealment over the actual condition in life's last moments, and whispered the delusive tale of restoration to bodily health, while the soul was on the very confines of eternal misery.
There is a reason urged, however, for the propriety of concealing the true nature of their situation from the dying, lest the chance of recovery might be lessened by the shock which the communication would impart. Even were the communication likely to prove hurtful so far as the body is concerned, it still would seem an imperative duty to acquaint the patient with his true condition; and the conduct of the medical attendant is in the highest degree reprehensible, who keeps the patient and his friends in the dark. Speaking with reference to this very point, a medical practitioner of great eminence, who has viewed this important subject in its true light, thus records his opinion: "It is objected, that the communication may be attended with injurious effects both to the body and the mind; but those best qualified to judge must say, from experience, that a prudent intimation of the truth, so far from proving prejudicial, in almost every instance is productive of a calmer state, and never does harm."*
Even taking a lower ground on which to rest this imperative duty, that of doing to others as we would they should do unto us, surely no man in his senses would desire to pass into eternity without a knowledge of his situation. No one, not labouring under men
From the "Principles of Christian Philosophy." By John Burns, M.D., Regius Professor of Surgery in the University of Glasgow, &c. &c.
tal imbecility, would prefer knowing nothing about the change which is so speedily to take place. Why, then, act to others in a way different to that in which we wish they would act to us? Why regard that as a kindness to others, which we should regard as the greatest act of unkindness to ourselves? Why
not seek to soothe the bed of death with the only message that can then bring true peace -the message, that Christ Jesus waiteth to be gracious; and that whosoever cometh unto him, he will in no wise "cast out?"
At all events, the duty of the Christian minister is obvious. He must expostulate with the friends of the dying on the guilt of concealment. He must, without fear of offence, speak boldly, as he ought to speak, if he would escape the guilt and consequent condemnation of the unfaithful watchman and negligent shepherd. The exercise of the various Christian graces is never more important than in the solemnity of the dying chamber. It is there that the presence of the pastor of deep Christian experience is especially felt, and that many a pastor, whose name has not extended beyond the limited sphere of his parochial duty, is made the humble instrument of directing a perishing soul to the fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness-a soul which shall be his crown of rejoicing in the day of the Lord. Jesus.
To the Inhabitants of the Parish of St. Bride, and of the Precincts of Bridewell and White Friars, London, who follow their Worldly Calling on the Lord's-day. BY THE REV. THOMAS DALE, M.A., VICAR. MY DEAR PARISHIONERS AND FRIENDS,-I am about to address a few plain remarks to you, which are intended only for your benefit. They come from one whose desire it is, no less than his duty, to seek your real and lasting good. Let me entreat you then to consider what I say; it concerns every one who believes that there is a God, who rules heaven and earth, and a soul within himself, which shall be lost or saved, according as God shall judge.
The Sabbath was made for man. It was specially ordained of God, before sin entered into the world. The first day of human existence was a Sabbath (Gen. ii. 3). Sabbaths were kept in Paradise itself; by the patriarchs before the flood (Gen. viii. 10, 12); and by Israel in the wilderness, before the law had been given from Mount Sinai (Exod. xvi. 23). To call the Sabbath a Jewish ordinance, therefore, is contrary to fact; it existed before the law was given by Moses; it remained after the grace and truth of the Gospel had come by Jesus Christ (Acts, xvi. 1. Rev. i. 10); and it shall continue until that day when God shall judge the world in righteousness. It is binding upon all God's rational creatures; and if there be one who can, with the least shew of reason, disregard it, it is only the fool who hath said in his heart, "There is no God!"
As, then, to keep holy the Sabbath-day is God's earliest command, so it is that peculiar command, the breaking of which he will most signally and severely
punish. He strictly forbids any on this day to do their work, or follow their business, or take their pleasure, or even to speak their own words (Isa. lviii. 13). If they transgress, there is a curse entailed on disobedience, which will find them out. It will fall upon them in mind, in conscience; in body, or in estate; in their own persons, or in the persons of those whom they love best. It will curse their blessings. It will embitter life with sorrow, and spread a blacker darkness over the grave. It will work evil to their country as well as to themselves; for, while righteousness exalteth a nation, sin is a reproach to any people. Thus it was in the case of Israel: "They greatly polluted the Sabbath; then God said, He would pour out his fury to consume them" (Ezek. xx. 13. Jer. xvii. 27). And he did so ;-the spoiler came down like fire upon Jerusalem, and devoured the palaces thereof."
If these be facts-and those who dispute them must not only reject their Bibles, but belie the evidence of their own senses-it will follow, my dear friends, that the duty of every man who loves his country, his God, and his own soul, is twofold. First, not to profane the Sabbath himself: secondly, to prevent as far as possible the profanation of it by others. Both are not only your duty, but your interest. If the Bible be true, no Sabbath-breaker will enter into the kingdom of God. He will not defile heaven with those whom he cannot endure on earth. Besides, disobedience is presumption tion. The Sabbath rests on God's express command (Exod. xx. 3.) Has he not a right to order, and are not we under obligation to obey; and does not every one who violates his command, virtually harden himself against God? And did ever any do so, and prosper? O do not live as though you neither feared God, nor regarded men! Do not risk daily, hourly, an account for which you are altogether unprepared. Beware of trifling with God. Unless you have made up your minds, which God forbid! to the senseless impiety, to the monstrous contradiction, that his true word is false, do not cause it by your sin to bear witness against you on the day of judgment. If you believe that you have a soul, which will not perish with the body, O do not sell it, as Judas did his Master, for a few pieces of silver, the purchase of sin, and therefore the price of blood. It has been asked, "what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" Will you take a wretched pittance, extorted by your own iniquity from the iniquities of others, in exchange for yours?
Do not think, however, that you will really lose any thing by abstaining from Lord's-day traffic. The curse of sin is always greater than its gain: the wages of iniquity never wear well: it is such gold and silver, which, in the declining days of life, is found to canker, and eat the flesh as it were fire." But we hope you will not long have even this shadow of an excuse. We will try and persuade all to cease from thus insulting their God, and injuring their own souls. We will come to you in a few days, with a declaration drawn up, engaging to desist from traffic on the Lord's-day, which we hope will be signed by all; for if all would close their houses of business, none would be harmed thereby. Those who now purchase on the Sabbath would then do so on the evening before. Your custom would be little if at all diminished; your consciences would be greatly relieved. Your Sabbaths would be your own; and if you did not so employ them as to bring a blessing upon your own souls, you would at least escape the fearful risk of leading others into sin, and thus doing the work of the devil, at the certainty of receiving for your hire a portion of the devil's curse.
My dear friends, I thus address you only for your good. I must speak the truth, but I desire to speak it in love. My concern is to promote your happiness, both in this world and in that which is to come. object is, not to take from you what you have, but to help you in obtaining that which is above all price.