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nister, and with each other, in all things that "Thereare "lovely and of good report." fore, as ye abound in every thing in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also: wherefore shew ye (ye of this church) to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf."
Permit me, finally, to remind you, that Christian charity is neither casual nor capricious. A Christian's munificence is essentially self-denying; and where nothing of this feeling guides our beneficence, there is no liberality upon the pure principles of the Gospel. The rich are placed as reservoirs of waters on the hills, to fertilise all around and all beneath; but the wealthiest amongst us may swell the funds of this charity much more than some one of our neighbours who gives less than he, and yet may not earn the praise of Christian charity in an equal degree; he may give largely of the overflowings of his wealth, and yet in his largess never confess Christ." Have we ever thought of suffering the loss of a luxurious indulgence, or restraining some unnecessary expense, or checking the spirit of covetousness? If not, we have large demands yet to answer; and should this have been the case with any one of ourselves, let us calculate the amount of our default, and assist the cause we are pleading when the present opportunity has passed away. The charity is a local, as well as a public one; it has its friends among the people of this congregation: it is, therefore, always open to receive your aid. And, as you cast in what will, we trust, be found your costly gifts, this night for the relief of the infant orphan, let the notion of merit be far away; but yet know assuredly, that your offering, if made in faith, shall find acceptance. Give to this cause the service which Cornelius rendered to God-your "prayers and
your alms ;" and, as in his case, receiving the perfume of the Redeemer's merits, they shall come up for a memorial before God.
Say in your hearts, as did David when the rich presents were made for the temple, "Who are we, O Lord, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee."
RECOLLECTIONS OF A COUNTRY PASTOR.
No. IV. Rose H--
THE neighbouring clergyman, whose advice I was so anxious to obtain respecting the case of the unhappy Mr. L., was obliged to leave home for a few weeks in the early autumn; and he requested me now and then to visit one or two of his sick parishioners, who, he said, would esteem the visit a great privilege.
One individual, he informed me, interested him very much. She was the only daughter of a farmer's widow. She had been engaged, with the full consent of her parents (her father was then alive), to be married to a young man, a respectable miller, who had met with an accident from which he did not recover, having died within a week. The circumstance had taken place nearly three years before; but it still continued to prey upon her spirits. She had never mentioned his name since the unfortunate occurrence, even to her mother, or alluded to the subject in any way. Constitutionally delicate, she was evidently much injured by the blow; and was now beyond all question in a rapid decline. She had received a good education, superior to most persons of her rank, by which she had not failed to benefit. "You will find Rose," said Mr. B., " in a very sweet frame of mind; and I am sure you will be pleased with the visit."
A day or two after Mr. B.'s departure, I walked to the cottage where the invalid resided, and found that my visit was not only expected, but anxiously looked for. I had sent word that I would call the day before, but was prevented. Here let me remark, by the way, that it is always as much as possible to be avoided, that invalids should be disappointed as to a promised visit. The sick chamber is lonely enough, and illand I would impress upon my clerical brethren ness is trying enough, without such a disappointment: cially, the importance of being exceedingly punctual in fulfilling their promise of being present at the appointed time. Cases will occur, indeed, when it may not be in their power to do so; but punctuality in this part of their duty especially is of the utmost import
On entering the small neat room where Rose was sitting beside her mother, who was dressed in widow's
mourning, I was much struck with the sweet placid smile upon her countenance, although it was but too obvious that deep-rooted disease was wasting her frame, and that she was not long destined for this world. A Bible was lying on a little table, with a small selection of hymns. What a contrast to the dismal chamber described in a former paper!
"Mr. B. mentioned that you would call upon me," said Rose, smiling. "It was very kind of him to think of me, and of you to take the trouble to come so far; but, sir, you don't know how kind Mr. B. has been to my dear mother and myself. Oh, he is quite a blessing to the parish, I can assure you."
"I shall be glad," I replied, "if I can be of any service to you; and I shall have great pleasure in sometimes calling to see you. I hope that you will soon be better, and that you will regain your strength before the winter."
"My dear mother expresses the same hope; but I feel convinced I shall never be better in this world," was her answer. "I feel I must soon leave it, and my only earthly anxiety is about my poor mother; for when I'm gone, there will be no one to attend to her."
"Don't think of me, Rose, love," said the weeping mother. Perhaps you may get round again; and, at all events, God will protect me. Think what we owe to his goodness already. Why should we distrust ?"
The scene was most touching. I felt quite overpowered, and could not reply. At length, Rose broke the silence, and said, "You do not know, sir, how much I am obliged to Mr. B. You can't conceive what I feel for his kindness. O, sir, I trust that, through eternity, I shall look back with gratitude that he came to be our minister. If I know any thing at all about religion, it is all owing to Mr. B.,-I mean humanly speaking."
"How so?" I asked; "I dare say he instructed you in all the doctrines and duties of Christianity;
and I am glad to find that you value the ministrations of our Church." To speak the truth, I did not exactly approve of all Mr. B.'s sentiments; neither altogether of his mode of acting in the parish. I had no doubt but that he was an excellent man, with the very best intentions: nay, in a difficulty, I wished to have his counsel; I esteemed him highly; I knew him to be an eminent scholar and a thorough gentleman: but there was a something which I could not define, even to myself, that made me shrink from being on very intimate terms with him, even had he desired it. I was anxious, therefore, to know what were the peculiar obligations under which the invalid lay to the vicar. "O, sir," Rose answered, "when Mr. B. came to be our vicar, I was a thoughtless, giddy girl. I was very fond of dress, and gaiety, and folly of every sort. I spent most of my time in reading silly novels, and never opened my Bible. I laughed at all that was serious, and used to delight in making game of all serious people; and no one used to ridicule Mr. B.'s sermons more than I did. When he first came to the parish, people were much opposed to him. They could not bear his preaching; for it was too searching. They called him half a Dissenter; and yet I did not know how it was, that he had not been here a year in the living, before the dissenting meeting was thinned of half it members, and the Wesleyan preacher never came at all. He called at our house one day, and said that he was going to have a Sunday-school; and asked my father to support it, and to get the labourers to send their children. He said the school would not cost much, as three or four young women had offered to teach the children for nothing. Father was a goodnatured man, and said he would not oppose it; and
"Don't fatigue yourself, dearest Rose," said her mother.
"O, I am anxious to tell about Mr. B. Well, sir, the Sunday-school was set on foot; and I one morning went there from curiosity, or rather to laugh at what was going on. When I went in, Mr. was speak ing to the children, and calling upon them to dedicate the morning of their days to the service of their Maker. In church, the same morning, he spoke much to the same effect, and preached in an especial manner about the love of the Lord Jesus Christ in dying for poor sinful children. I never could forget that sermon. I think I hear every word of it now. tried to laugh myself out of it, but I could not. 0, sir, I have often thanked God I that day went to church. I think God himself led me to go, for I had intended going to see a young friend some miles off."
I was much struck with the artless simplicity with which she spoke. I perceived that she was excited and fatigued, and begged her to say no more at present. She appeared to me, I confess, to be somewhat of an enthusiast, and I ascribed the ardour of her expressions to her state of health. I expressed my satisfaction at what she had stated, and begged that she would allow me to read from a small volume I generally carried with me on my visitation of the sick. She gladly consented; and after I had read some few passages which I thought would comfort her and her poor mother, and also a prayer, I was about to leave, when I remarked how different were my feelings from what they had been in the sick-room of the wretched Mr. L.
Rose immediately answered: "O, sir, I have often thought of that poor man, and yet God, who knows the heart, can alone judge, He may, sir, have found mercy at the last. O, sir, the mercy of God is boundless! Where should we be if it were not for that mercy! We are guilty lost creatures in his sight."
"Yes," I replied, "we all are sinners; but Mr. L.'s case was one of more than ordinary guilt. Let us draw a veil over it."
I left the cottage, resolved to go again, as soon as
my other duties would permit. I did so in a few days, and found that a wonderful alteration for the worse, as far as her bodily health was concerned, had taken place. She was in bed, unable to get up; and from what the medical attendant had told me in the morning, could not survive many days, if indeed many hours.
When I drew the curtains, a faint smile crossed her pale emaciated face, and she made a sign for me to sit down by the side of her bed. I did so and she immediately began the conversation by remarking, "Sir, this is very kind; I am fast dying. But, sir, will you tell Mr. (mentioning the vicar's name) that I trust I shall find mercy at the last; but, O, sir, I am a vile sinner."
"Calm yourself, my dear young woman," I replied. "Death can have no terrors for you. Yours is a case, which it is not often the privilege of a minister of Christ to witness. Your life has been one of devotion to God's service: at least the latter part of it has been so; and you may safely trust that God will look upon you, and receive you into his favour through the merits of our blessed Saviour. You must calm yourself."
"O, sir," she answered, hastily, "my life has not been one of devotion. Oh, no, no; I dare not think of my life. If I am to be saved by my life, I am lost for ever."
Do not fatigue yourself," I replied. "You really take too melancholy a view of your past life. on a dying bed, would wish they had lived as you have done. Your obedience has been sincere, though doubtless imperfect."
"O, dear, dear sir," she answered, her eyes assuming an unusual brightness, "If I am saved at all, it will be of free sovereign mercy. I have nothing of my own to plead before God. Ŏ sir, dear sir, if I am saved, it will be of boundless grace."
"Yes," I replied; "God, for his dear Son's sake, will accept your imperfect services. They have been willingly rendered."
"O sir, no, no; I have done no service. ALL must be of grace; free, unmerited grace. If not, I am lost for ever.'
She was evidently wearied with what had passed. I knelt down by her bed-side with her weeping mother, and read a portion of the beautiful Visitation Service for the Sick. She appeared much composed. As I was about to leave the room, and held her by the hand, she said feebly, "Will you tell dear good Mr.
that I wish to leave it as my dying testimony, that the sinner saved from eternal ruin must owe it all to sovereign grace ?" I promised that I would, and left the dying chamber.
I saw her no more. As I walked home in the twilight, my thoughts were, as may be supposed, wholly engrossed with the scene I had just witnessed. I cannot call it a melancholy scene. could not fully enter into the dying Rose's view of I thought that she had taken an erroneous view of the sinfulness of her state. I referred this to disease. I admitted, to a certain extent, the doctrine of grace; but I thought she carried the doctrine too far; and I was inclined to think that if the sentiments uttered by her were those inculcated from the pulpit of her parish church, there was, indeed, a great license left for profligacy, and a wide door opened for antinomian error; and that excellent as Mr. B.'s intentions might be, and however eminent his own character for Christian holiness, still that his doctrinal statements were to be viewed with suspicion. I resolved, however, to take an early opportunity of conversing with him on the subject. He returned the day after Rose's death, and consigned her remains to the grave; and I requested permission to attend as a mourner. The poor mother followed the corpse; and when she returned to her
now lonely cottage, I accompanied Mr. B., on whose arm she leaned, and knelt down by her chair while he offered a fervent prayer in her behalf.
Years have now passed on, and Rose's mother lies beside her, in the sweet secluded church of. But the scene of Rose's last conversation with me has never been obliterated from my mind, and I trust that it never will. My lot in life has been, in a worldly point of view, very far from prosperous. Affliction has been mingled in my cup. I have known the loss of those to whom I was united by many endearing ties; and pain and disease have wrought their work on my own enfeebled frame. But I am willing to bear my testimony now to the truth of the declarations of the dying Rose, "that from first to last grace reigns in the salvation of the sinner." This great doctrine, which I then did not fully comprehend, and which I should have been unwilling to admit, has supported me in many a bitter hour of the world's sorrow,-it has whispered peace when all around was tempestuous. have lived to feel, by experience, that there is nothing secure or stable but the eternal Rock of Ages; and that he who builds his hopes of happiness for time, or for eternity, on any other foundation, is building on the sand, the straw, and the stubble. My ministerial career has been one of considerable personal labour; I have had a tolerable share of experience; and I am willing to bear my humble but decided testimony to this important fact, that it is only when there is a cordial reception of the doctrines of grace, that there has been devotedness to God's service, and unreserved obedience and resignation to his blessed will; and that there is no portion of Scripture, the true import of which it is of greater importance that it should be clearly understood; for none is better calculated to cheer in life, and to support in death, than this: "By grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: not of works -lest any man should boast."
REWARD. I know thee, O Lord, to be a munificent rewarder of all that serve thee; yet if thou shouldest give me no wages, I will serve thee; if thou shouldest pay me with hunger, and stripes, and prison, or even death, I will serve thee.... Away, base thoughts of
remuneration! I will honour and serve thee, O God, for thine own sake, for thy service' sake; yet I have no reason not to regard thine infinite bounty,-it is no less than a crown that thou hast promised me, and that I shall humbly aspire unto, and expect from thee, not as in the way of my merit, but of thy mere mercy. My service is free in a zealous and absolute consecration to thee; thy hand is more free in thy gracious recompense. If thou be pleased to give thy servant such a weight of glory, the glory of that gift is thine. My service is out of my just duty; thy reward is of thy grace and divine beneficence. Do thou give me to do what thou biddest me, and then deal with me as thou wilt. Blessed be thy name in what thou givest, whilst thou makest me blessed in what I receive from thee.-Bishop Hall.
REPENTANCE. Repentance is not a mere change of external circumstances, the transition from one sect or party in the Christian Church to another; it is not a mere sorrow for sin, accompanied with the outward show of contrition, the desponding look, the rueful countenance; for there may be the most painful and revolting austerities practised, and the most severe penances undergone, and yet there may be no genuine repentance. Sin, meanwhile, may be loved for its own sake, although desisted from on account of the misery to which it leads. True repentance is an internal change upon the soul, wrought by the Spirit of God. It is such a sorrow for sin as leads the sin
ner, while he deeply deplores the past, to strive after new and unreserved obedience for the future; even such a change as was wrought on that most determined and bloody-minded persecutor of the Church of the Redeemer, when he was arrested in his career of infuriated zeal, and made sensible of the enormity of his conduct, while he verily thought he "ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth," and who himself speaks of a godly sorrow, which "worketh repentance unto salvation, not to be repented of," while he clearly distinguishes between this and the "sorrow of the world, that worketh death." True repentance, in fact, may be otherwise described, as the conversion of the soul to God, which is inculcated by the apostle, when he charges us to "put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and to be renewed in the spirit of our mind; and to put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."-Rev. T. Bissland.
THE BIBLE. Do you believe that the Bible is the word of God? And that God spake it for this very purpose, that by it he might direct, support, and comfort man, in his journey through time to eternity? And do not you need direction, and comfort, and support? And if you do, will you not go to the Bible to seek it? Where else can you expect it? We are so accustomed to the sight of the Bible, that it ceases to be a miracle to us. It is printed just like other books, and so we are apt to forget that it is not like other books. But there is nothing in the world like it or comparable to it. The sun in the firmament is nothing to it, if it really be what it assumes to be-an actual, direct communication from God to man. Take up your Bible with this idea, and look at it, and wonder at it. It is a treasure of unspeakable value to you, for it contains a special message of love and tender mercy from God to your soul. Do you wish to converse with God? Open it and read. And at the same time look to Him who speaks to you in the Bible, and ask him to give you an understanding heart, that you may not read in vain, but that the word may be in you as good seed in good ground, bringing forth fruit unto everlasting life. Only take care not to separate God from the Bible. Read it in the secret of God's presence, receive it from his lips, and feed upon it; and it will be to you, as it was to Jeremiah, the joy and rejoicing of your heart.
A HYMN BY A PERSON WHO HAD LOST HIS SIGHT.
My Saviour, if by that blest name
Though dark and dreary be my way,
Thy cross my banner, thou my guide,
Divine Deliverer! leave me not,
Then in a sweeter, nobler strain,
I'll sing the Lamb who once was slainThat light which cheer'd me on the road That led me to a pard'ning God.
STANZAS BY THE SAME.
IN ardent years, each pow'r, each feeling blighted,
My journey scarce begun, when, soon benighted,
Pain, gloom, and sorrow mark'd me for their prey.
Of those I love, how many now are parted,
While care and grief their aching bosoms rend!
Be thou the exile's hope, the mourner's friend.
To shed her lustres o'er the rising age.
But must the flower of life thus ever languish?
POPISH CEREMONIES AT THE FESTIVAL OF THE ANNUNCIATION.-The festival of the annunciation is kept at Rome by sumptuous shows. The author of "Rome in the 19th Century" relates the pope's proceedings on the occasion. We drove through the streets lined with expecting crowds, and windows hung with crimson and yellow silk draperies, and occupied by females in their most gorgeous attire, till we made a stop near the church, before which the pope's horse-guards, in their splendid full-dress uniforms, were stationed to keep the ground; all of whom, both officers and men, wore in their caps a sprig of myrtle, as a sign of rejoicing. After waiting a short time, the procession appeared, headed by another detachment of the guards, mounted on prancing black chargers, who rode forward to clear the way, accompanied by such a flourish of trumpets and kettle-drums, that it looked at first like any thing but a peaceable or religious proceeding. This martial array was followed by a bare-headed priest, on a white mule, bearing the host in a gold cup, at the sight of which every one fell upon his knees. The pope used formerly to ride upon the white mule himself, and all the cardinals used to follow in their magnificent robes of state, mounted either on mules or horses; and as the eminentissimi are, for the most part, not very eminent horsemen, they were generally fastened on, lest they should tumble off. This cavalcade must have been a very entertaining sight. Pius VI., who was a very handsome man, kept up this custom, but the (then) present Pope (Pius VII.) is far too infirm for such an enterprise; so he followed the man on a white mule, in a state coach, at the very sight of which we seemed to have made a jump back of two hundred years at least. On the gilded back of this vehicle, the only part that was not made of glass, was a picture of the pope in his chair of state, and the Virgin Mary at his feet. This machine was drawn by six black horses, with superb harness of crimson vel
vet and gold. Three coaches, scarcely less antiquely superb, followed with the assistant cardinals and the rest of the train. In the inside of the church, the usual tiresome ceremonies went on, that take place when the pope is present. The cardinals having gone through the various motions, and the inferior priests having kissed his toe-that is, the cross embroidered on his shoe, high mass begins. The pope kneels during the elevation of the host, prays in silence before the high altar, gets up, sits down, reads something out of a great book which they bring to him, with a lighted taper held beside it; and having gone through many more such ceremonies, finally ends as he began, with giving his benediction with three fingers all the way he goes out. During all the time of this high mass, the pope's military band stationed on the platform in front of the church, played so many clamorous martial airs, that it effectually put to flight any ideas of religious solemnity.
OATHS. It forms one of the constant proofs we have of the fall of man, and of the depravity of the human heart, that there is so strong a disposition to deceive, that, in common life, to confide in the bare promise of a person in a transaction in which his interest is much concerned, is considered as a mark of weakness. The proceedings of our 'courts of justice are all founded upon this maxim, that upon any point in which his interest is concerned, no man's simple word is to be believed. What a melancholy proof of the degradation of man! All persons who object to our Scripture statements of the fall, may have their objections answered by that fact.- Rev. J. H. Stewart.
THE DEMAGOGUE.-When the people arrogate to themselves power to sit in judgment on their sovereign; when they dare to represent him as accountable to them; when they reason and act as if his interests were opposed to theirs, and his power and dignity abridged their own, they are false to themselves. The king represents the majesty of the nation; and it is to the honour of the people that his dignity should be exalted to the uttermost. He is their defender; and their security is that power which he must derive from their hearty obedience. In him the law is personified; and to weaken his authority, is to destroy the safeguards of social order, to the encou ragement of factious demagogues. And who are these gods who would exalt themselves at the expense of the crown? The wise, the honourable, the good? Oh, no! Conscience, integrity, even pride, forbid them to desire such distinction. But the vain and the unprincipled men of desperate fortunes, who would retrieve them, though by the ruin of their country; and bankrupts in character, who would be shunned by the lowest, if their sins were not cloked mob-leader, fluency, impudence, and just a smattering by party. Let them possess but the qualities for a of knowledge to teach them to cavil, and they require nothing more. The trade of a patriot may entirely dispense with character. A man, whom no vice can blacken, no infamy sink, no exposure shame, as soon as he proclaims himself "a patriot," forthwith becomes worthy of all confidence. So should it be. It is just that they, who, in their pride and folly, refuse to obey the authority which God appoints, should create their own punishment in becoming voluntary slaves to the basest of men. So the Jews, when they revolted against God, set up calves to worship, and cried, "These be thy gods, O Israel!"-From Osler's Church and Dissent.
ON THE VALUE OF ARTICLES OF FAITH. NEXT to the invaluable possession of holy writ, of which the Church is to be "a witness and a keeper," stand our confessions and articles, which the wisdom of our forefathers has handed down to us as landmarks of the faith, as cautionary limits within which it is well to confine the erratic wit of man. Objections, indeed, are not unfrequently made to the use of creeds and articles, as straitening the gate of the Church of Christ, and laying a yoke upon the conscience which God never intended it to bear. The Scripture, it is urged, as it is the infallible, ought to be the sole, standard of belief; and any additional rule is an infringement on the liberty wherewith Christ has made his people free. It is the object of this paper to shew that this objection is ungrounded, and that a Church, without formularies and confessions of some kind, is in an anomalous and unsteady position.
The Scripture, indisputably, is the sole standard by which a Church must measure itself, inasmuch as "whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation;" but individuals seeking admission to that Church, or office in it, must be examined according to the wholesome rules and orders which the Church, in agreement with the Scripture, has established. For the Scripture is appealed to by heretics of every denomination; they impose, indeed, certain interpretations on it, but yet they call it their standard: it is a point, therefore, to
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simply and rightly for their standard which be ascertained, if men really do take that they profess to take. Hence they must be put upon giving their interpretation of the word, that it may be seen whether or no this interpretation be the true one. Inquiry must be made whether they have truly gathered the mind and meaning of the Scripture; and to this end, it may easily be shewn, that confessions and creeds are not valuable only, but essential. The use of these, indeed, is but the mode of applying that perfect standard which the Christian Church considers of infallible authority; exactly as though a weight be acknowledged just and accurate, still the human hand must hold the balance in which it performs its office of ascertaining competence, and detecting deficiency. If the Scripture were a regularly drawn-up code of doctrines, logically stated, no additional confession or articles would be necessary; but as its sacred truths, revealed in the manner best adapted to the general good of the Church, have not, by its divine Author, been put into such a shape, but are left to be gathered from the histories, letters, prophecies, of which the volume is composed, it becomes essential that a constituted Church should, according to the wisdom given to her, make such a deduction of the truth, and declare, in authorised documents, what she believes to be the principles taught in the inspired book.
So natural and necessary a process is this, that persons who least like the name of articles are practically obliged, in substance, to adopt them. No community of professing Christians ever did, or ever could exist, without imposing on its members its own peculiar