صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

With us, with us cast in thy lot,
Join with us heart and hand;
Despised we are-forsaken not-
A firm and fearless band.

No earthly joys we promise thee,
No false and fading flowers:
Pain, sickness, sorrow, poverty,

May all alike be ours:

And deeper woe than worldlings know,
Conviction's thrilling dart,

The strife with sin and hellish foe,

And hidden plague of heart.

Yet move we on! as mourning still,
Yet joying in our Lord,
Submissive to his holy will,

And resting on his word.

The way is rough-to heaven it leads,
And quickly will be trod;

The night is dark-but what succeeds?
The glory of our God.

And even now a kindling light

Streams o'er our toilsome way;

Our hearts are fixed, our hopes are brightThe Lord's our shield and stay.

A voice thou canst not hear is nigh,

And tells us not to fear;

The light of heaven is on our eye,

Its music on our ear.

[blocks in formation]

HEARKEN, O God! unto a wretch's cries,
Who low dejected at thy footstool lies,
Let not the clamour of my heinous sin
Drown my requests, which strive to enter in
At those bright gates, which always open stand
To such as beg permission at thy hand.

For well I know, if thou in rigour deal,
I can nor pardon ask, nor yet appeal ;

To my hoarse voice heaven will no audience grant,
But, deaf as brass and hard as adamant,
Beat back my words; therefore I bring to thee
A gracious ADVOCATE to plead for me.
What though my leprous soul no Jordan can
Recure, nor floods of the laved ocean

Make clean? Yet, from my SAVIOUR'S bleeding side
Two large and medicinal rivers glide :-
Lord! wash me where those streams of life abound,
And new Bethesdas flow from every wound!

HENRY KING, Bp. of Chichester, 1669.

Miscellaneous.

DEATH OF HENRY VIII.-On St. Stephen's day the king's illness became so severe, that he was unable to

rise, nor did he quit his bed again. His attendants now became sensible that the struggle could not continue long, but no one ventured to communicate the mournful intelligence to the royal patient. At last, Sir Anthony Denny, after informing him that his case was considered desperate by the physicians, exhorted him to prepare for his approaching change. Henry felt, most probably, that the announcement was not premature; and he received, with the meekness usual to men at such a time, the religious admonitions of his attendant. 66 My life," he said, "has been sufficiently fruitful in grounds for self-condemnation; but I doubt not, that through my Saviour's merits, I should obtain the pardon of even greater sins than any that can be laid to my charge.' Denny, pleased to hear this Christian-like language from his royal master, then asked him if he would wish to have the advice and consolation of any learned divine? "If I have any such person here," replied the king, "it shall be the Archbishop of Canterbury." "Shall a messenger go for him immediately?" rejoined the knight. “Let me take a little sleep first," said Henry; " and when I awake again, I will think more about the matter." After the interval of an hour or more, the king aroused himself, and gave orders to have Cranmer sent for from Croydon immediately. He arrived only in time to witness the departure of his friend and patron. Henry was then speechless; but consciousness stil lingered about his sinking frame; and when the primate came to the bedside, he firmly grasped his hand. Cranmer used such exhortations as the urgency of the case allowed, and entreated of the dying king to give him some sign of his firm reliance in the merits of Christ. Henry wrung his hand with all the energy that remained to him, and very shortly afterwards expired.-Soames.

WORKHOUSES. In all our reasoning and legislating on the poor-laws, it is to be borne in mind that they are a charity. Whatever approaches to cruelty is, therefore, inconsistent with their first principle. We are to enforce that strict discipline which repels the worthless, that we may be able the more freely to shew kindness to the deserving. A properly regu lated workhouse repels the idler, because he must there work; the disorderly, because he must submit to restraints; the vicious, because he is cut off from his indulgences; even the most deserving will avoid it as long as they can, because it implies a descent in the social scale, and a surrender of independence and free agency, of which none are more tenacious than the creditable poor. The full attainment of all these objects is quite compatible with kindness, comfort, and indulgence.-From Osler's Church and Dissent.

CONSEQUENCES OF DRUNKENNESS.-In the south of Ireland such is the conviction of the intimate connexion between drunkenness and poverty, that a common answer to the beggar is, I am able to drink my money myself. Dr. Adams, of Dublin, on questioning the first twenty applicants for soup in the parish of St. Peter's, found that eighteen of them had that morning paid for spirits to a greater amount than the value of the soup which they came to beg. Another gentleman of the same city, during the evening of a day on which 160 beds had been distributed to the poor, in the prospect of cholera, found that in one lane forty of them had been sold, and their price converted into whisky.

LONDON:-Published by JAMES BURNS, 17 Portman Street, Portman Square; W. EDWARDS, 12 Ave-Maria Lane, St. Paul's; and to be procured, by order, of all Booksellers in Town and Country.

PRINTED BY

ROBSON, LEVEY, AND FRANKLYN, 46 ST. MARTIN'S LANE.

[merged small][graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

THE CORRUPTION OF HEATHEN SYSTEMS OF MORALS MADE THE LAW OF THE GOSPEL NECESSARY.

Ir was "when the fulness of the time was come," that "God sent forth his Son." By that expression, of course, is meant, that moment in the world's history when all God's preliminary purposes were fulfilled, and when the state of things in the world at large was ripe for the entrance of the Gospel revelation. In surveying the condition of the world at that time, we can plainly see, in many particulars that lie open to our understanding, that it was a moment peculiarly fit for the coming of Christ. There are very many other reasons hidden from our understanding, and discerned only by the mind of the Infinite, which made that period of all others the most fit for Christ's appearance. These reasons, which are not even among the things which we now "see with a glass darkly," may be among the number of those disclosures which it shall please God to make to the blessed in a future state. In the mean while, we shall do well to admire every fresh evidence which history, or our own reflections, present to us, of the wisdom of the all-wise God, in selecting that precise moment of time which he did, for ushering "the glorious Gospel" into our world. Though the expression above referred to-" the fulness of time"-seems undoubtedly to mean the moment in the history of the universe when God's previous dispensations were completed the word "time" marking out that meaning as the one intended; yet we may see, in many other striking particulars, that the coming of Christ took place when it was

VOL. I.-NO. XXII.

PRICE 14d.

demanded by the circumstances of the world. And in nothing more conspicuously than in THE STATE OF ITS MORALITY. How true, in this point of view, the assertion, that "the world by wisdom knew not God!" If the knowledge of God is to understand aright his moral character, and the duties which spring out of man's relation to a Being possessing that character, then how deficient was the knowledge of the professed and accepted. teachers of moral obligation, even of the very best that the world had produced, from its commencement down to that time! and how plainly may we see, that what before was bad, had then arrived at the very worst? The defectiveness of heathen morals will be manifest, if we take some of the most elementary principles of religion, and see what the heathens taught concerning them.

1. The love of God. If this love means any thing,, it implies a holy reverence of him on account of his infinite perfections, a desire of communion with him, à disposition to give him that glory which is his due, and a jealousy of admitting any rival to him in that honour which is his exclusive right. Could heathen teachers possess this, who taught that religious honours might be paid to demons (or semidivinities) and heroes? True love cannot away with any detraction from the honour due to the object on which it is fixed; and, therefore, if the heathen moralists had been "lovers of God," they would have felt the obligation of that law, which did not pass into a law until its principle had been infringed, in commandment as well as in practice, "My glory will I not give to another."

2. Take again, the authority of God as the ground of obedience. It is one of the first

principles of religion, that He who made us has a right to govern us; that the creature is necessarily subject to the will of the Creator; and that, therefore, the will of God, in whatever form of law it may choose to express itself, is the rule by which we are bound to think and act. Now, the heathen teachers recommended many branches of that law, as far as its effects are concerned; thus, "shewing the work of the law written in their hearts," and so far "commending themselves to every man's conscience," but not "in the sight of God;" for God was not "in all their thoughts." They extolled the beauty of virtue; they said much of the deformity of vice; they dwelt upon the "fitness" of the one, and the "unfitness" of the other; but it was apart from the will of God: whereas there is really no fitness nor unfitness, no beauty nor turpitude, but that which results from the declared approval or disapproval of God, from its agreement or disagreement with his own moral nature, and which, on this account, becomes his will. In opposition to this ignorant state of the heathen mind, the Divine word makes God's character the reason for man's imitation of it: "Be ye holy, for I am holy." It resolves the exaltation of his nature into the simple good pleasure of God, "This is the will of God, even your sanctification."

:

3. To have respect to the glory of God, in all our actions, is another foundation-principle of enlightened morality. It is not enough that we do that which is good in the substance of it if our end in doing it is not the honour of our Maker, we misemploy our powers: if we do not exercise our faculties and advantages to his glory, we do not submit to his will, nor adore his wisdom, nor delight in his goodness, nor love his holiness. The determining principle which ought ever to be first taken into view, and to influence our course of action, is God's honour: nothing short of this is "living unto" Him, whose will alone makes us what we are, and whose goodness alone is the spring whence all our capacities flow. How much of this reference to God's glory entered into the systems of heathen ethics, let their own writings testify. They praise virtue, and call it the "chief good" of man, which is an impious assertion; for God is the "chief good" of man; and virtue, or even holiness, is no farther a good than as it is a conformity to his moral likeness-the being created "after God, in righteousness and true holiness." But-the practice of goodness with a single eye to God's glory-to this they were total strangers. How necessary, then (as well as lofty in itself), were those new motives which the Gospel brought to light! "Whether ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye

do, do all to the glory of God." "That God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ."

4. God cannot be profited by the good actions of his creatures: this, again, is a truth of natural religion. He is "the fountain of all goodness" it is, therefore, impossible that any benefit can accrue to him from the obedience, even though it were perfect, of his creatures. When we speak of praising him, it is the language of figure; for he is infinitely above our praises: and when we talk of "serving" him, it is alike figurative; for he is beyond the reach of our goodness. With what indignation and abhorrence, then, will a Christian think of the moralists of antiquity, who compared themselves with God, and allowed in some sense of an excellence in themselves superior to that of the Deity? That they taught men so," is notorious; and this, at the very time they were affecting to be above all vain-glory. Humility is a grace peculiarly of Christian growth, and could never spring from the rank soil of the heathen philosophy. God hath "no need" of the righteous, any more than of the "sinful man:" right reason might have brought them to this conclusion; but never until it was laid down by the great Teacher could they learn that lesson, "When ye have done all (that is, obeyed the whole law, written and inward, were it possible), say, We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which it was our duty to do."

[ocr errors]

5. What principle is more elementary and fundamental than that God is the source of all good? If we owe our being to God, on him we must depend for our well-being also. But the ancient moralists taught differently; they allowed, indeed, that, virtue being the highest good, it was God who made man originally capable of practising virtue; but they made the actual practice of it to be man's work. No thanks, therefore (according to their sys tem), are habitually due to God for the supply of power to do "whatsoever things are lovely and of good report." How necessary, then, was it that men should be expressly taught, that "every good and perfect gift is from above;" that "it is God who worketh in us both to will and to do" (that gives the present impulse, as well as the original faculty) "of his good pleasure!"

6. Closely connected with the above was another mischievous tenet of the ancient philosophy, that virtue is the highest good of man. This Aristotle taught in his "Ethics;" this Cicero taught in his treatise on "moral duties:" and yet nothing can be more erroneous. God is the highest good of man: there is no such thing as abstract virtue; but God is abstract from, because he exists before, all notions of

goodness: these things "but shadows of his glory are" it is in him that uncreated excellence has for ever dwelt. Holiness itself is excellent, only because it is likeness to God; and surely the primary idea, the originating cause, must be a higher good than the mere resemblance and effect. The heathen "liked not to retain God in their knowledge;" therefore it was that they made the highest good to consist in something short of him. "Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth" (neither created being, nor actuating principle,) "to be desired in comparison with thee."

7. One more instance I shall mention, in which the system of the ancient moralists was essentially defective; and that is, they had no notion that, to reach the highest good, man's obedience must be perfect. Let the creature perfectly obey the Creator, and then, as he cannot but be under his favour, so he cannot but be happy let him fail of this complete obedience, and then, as he loses his Creator's favour, he cannot but be miserable. This is as clear to any rightly thinking mind as any thing can possibly be; and yet the ancient moralists shew no symptom of having understood it on the contrary, they talk in such a manner as to lead us to conclude that they thought God does not require perfect virtue in order to perfect happiness. They never knew that cursed is every one that continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the law to do them." It is our high privilege to know this declaration to have proceeded from the lips of God; and to be brought acquainted with that other truth which forms an enlivening and glorious sequel to it that "Christ hath delivered us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us."

RECOLLECTIONS OF A COUNTRY PASTOR.
No. V.-Bob Smith.

"BOB SMITH is come home, sir," said my housekeeper
one Saturday evening, about six weeks after the death
of Rose "He was not expected until to-night;
but George Brown, the guard of the Royal Charlotte,
who was an old schoolfellow of Bob's, overtook him on
the road yesterday, when he was quite knocked up,
and gave him a lift; so he got home the sooner. I hope
he won't prove a trouble to his mother, poor woman.
It would have been better for her, I think, if he hadn't
got off."

Bob Smith was the son of the hostess at the White Lion; and had been notorious while a lad for his profligacy. He was unquestionably the idlest boy in the school, and known to be a habitual liar. His parents had done every thing to reform him, but in vain. He had been twice before the magistrates at the petty sessions; once on the accusation of poaching, and once of theft; but though there was little doubt of his guilt, on neither of these occasions was he convicted. One night, after a strong expostulation from his father, he left home. He made his way to Liverpool, where he

went on board a merchant-vessel, and was soon after

wards pressed. After remaining some time in the navy, he was out in a boat, with five or six of his comrades, and was taken by the enemy, carried into France, and detained as a prisoner. He was now set at liberty by an exchange, and lost no time in return

ing to his native village. He had not heard of the death of his father, until Brown, the guard, informed him. He had written to tell of his arrival in England, and poor Mrs. Smith was quite overwhelmed with joy at the prospect of again seeing him; for, notwithstanding his many faults, he was her only surviving child,

and "she was a widow."

The return of Bob caused, as may be supposed, a considerable sensation in the village. A greater number of persons than usual called at the White Lion, and among them some of his old schoolfellows; but Bob did not appear, much to the disappointment of those who wished to see him after his long absence, and to hear about Buonaparte and the French.

It

The following day, as I was leaving the vestry for the reading-desk, a paper was put into my hand. expressed the wish of Robert Smith to return thanks to Almighty God for his great mercies lately vouchsafed to him in his deliverance from captivity in a foreign land. I was much pleased and interested with the circumstance, and, on entering the desk, per

missed attendance on divine service, or suffered her

worldly calling to interfere with her religious duties.

The White Lion, as stated in a former paper, was conducted with great propriety; and Mrs. Smith testified how compatible attention to a business not very favourable for spiritual improvement, was with a strict observance of the law of God. Seated beside her, there was a sickly-looking, youngish man, whose clothes bore ample marks that they were not made for him; it was, in fact, a suit which had belonged to his father. I had no doubt that this was Bob; and I was forcibly struck with his serious demeanour both during the prayers and the sermon.

How manifestly, then, as respected the moral teaching alone of those and the preced-ceived Mrs. Smith in her pew as usual; for she never ing times, was the Gospel-law " a light shining in a dark place!" There were, indeed, many other objects in the revelation of Jesus Christ beyond its morals. The great feature of that revelation is its discovery of Christ as him. "in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of our sins:" but Christ came to "magnify the law, and make it honourable," not only in fulfilling its demands in behalf of those who could not fulfil it themselves, but also by explaining its sanctions as coming from God, and by extending its influence as reaching to the "thoughts and intents of the heart." Neither the law written on the conscience of the heathen, nor on the tables of stone to the Jew, nor as

They say that Bob Smith is quite altered," said the clerk in the vestry after service," and that he is his mother nearly out of her life, and he heeded not now very religious. A sad chap he was; he tormented the reproofs of his father. He seems, however, quite another thing now. I am sure it will do the rector's heart good to hear of this; for seriously and kindly he

uttered by Jesus on the mount, is a justifying used to speak to Bob, and warn him of the evil of his

principle; but it remains for ever the unrepealable rule of life.

E.

ways; and I did hear that Bob was much vexed when he was told that the old gentleman was away."

"I trust Smith is altered," I replied. "I am

pleased with the public testimony of his gratitude to God. I should like to see him."

As I was returning the following day from a visit to the mother of Rose I met Smith in the fields. He bowed most respectfully, and was about to pass on. I stopped and spoke. I was pleased with his civil manner, and expressed a wish that he should call at the rectory in the evening. He did so; and the visit was a most interesting one.

After alluding most feelingly to the fearfully wicked life he had led, in answer to my inquiries, he informed me, that while in the merchant-service, he had been, on two several occasions, very nearly shipwrecked; and that while in the navy he had been in two engagements, and had seen his comrades falling around him, while he was unhurt: but, notwithstanding his preservation, he confessed that he had never once thanked his Almighty Preserver. "I was, sir, in fact, all this time living without God in the world.' I never prayed. I was noted for my profligacy among the profligates, for my profanity among the profane."

[ocr errors]

"But when," I asked, "did you begin to think seriously?"

"Not, sir, until I had been in a French prison," was his reply.

"What led you, while there, to think on religion?" "There was one of my comrades, a Protestant Irishman, who was taken prisoner with me, and who was known in the ship as the saint, and sadly persecuted he used to be for reading his Bible when he had a spare half-hour. When on shore he would never keep company with the loose characters which swarm in our sea-ports, or frequent the low tippling-houses, where the poor sailor often spends in a day or two all his hard-earned wages. And yet he was the bravest fellow on board. Well, sir, two nights after we were in the prison, I exclaimed, with an oath, that we might be there all our days, and that probably we should be butchered to save the expense of our living, and that we had not a friend to look upon us to pity and to relieve us."

"I think,' says Jack Hill, for that was my comrade's name, 'you're quite wrong, Bob; I am sure we have a friend; and he repeated a verse or two of one of the same Psalms read at church yesterday; and I confess I felt quite touched when I heard it." "What was that?" I asked.

"It was from the 102d. He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer. For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the Lord behold the earth; to hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death. My comrades and I laughed heartily at Jack Hill, even in the midst of our misery; and we told him plainly, we wanted to hear no more such methodistical stuff. I can't tell how it was, sir, but during the same night I had very little or no sleep, and I could not help thinking again and again on these passages of Scripture. Jack was lying near me fast asleep. I could not make it out. Here,' I said, 'is this fellow, that we used to laugh at for his seriousness, he is now far the most contented and happiest amongst us; surely religious people cannot be so melancholy.' The words he had repeated occurred to my mind again and again during many days, nay, weeks; and when I used to see Jack reading a small Bible, which had been in his pocket when we were taken prisoners, I could not help envying his contentment, while my other comrades were cursing and swearing, and repining at their hard lot. I need not weary you, sir, with my own affairs: I can only say, thanks be to God, Jack was the means employed by him to make me think more seriously; and it is my constant prayer that I may be humble and thankful."

I was much interested in this simple detail; and, on further inquiry, I found that Hill had died, after two years' confinement; that he had, in his dying moments,

given ample testimony to the power of the Gospel; and that he departed in peace.

He had bequeathed his Bible to Smith, as the only legacy he could leave; and I felt convinced that Smith was seriously impressed with a sense of religion. He expressed to me the unspeakable comfort he had experienced in reading the Bible and talking with Jack in prison; how many hours, that otherwise would have been solitary and gloomy, were rendered most delightful and profitable by communion with this true Christian friend. He again and again expressed his thankfulness that he had been taken a prisoner; for, he said, "I am sure if I had not, I still, if alive, should have been a wild profligate." I could not help thinking of the prison-house of Philippi, where Paul and Silas sang praises to God.

I took frequent opportunities of conversing with Smith; and I had no doubt of his entire sincerity. I saw the Bible which had been bequeathed to him, and it bore evident marks of having been no unread volume. The total change which had taken place in his character, was a wonder unto many who remembered him in the days of his youth, and his utter recklessness of all that was holy,-and a subject of ridicule to not a few. Some went even so far as to charge him with hypocrisy; and I myself felt that perhaps he used sometimes to talk of his religious feelings in a manner somewhat enthusiastic; and I was afraid lest he might be induced to leave my ministry for that of some sectaries, who dissented from the doctrine and discipline of our Church, and who were then very active in seeking proselytes. But Smith gave increasing evidence of sincerity and of attachment to the services of the Church. He proved a comfort and support to his mother during her declining years. He took a small shop, by the aid of some friends, and with a little money his mother had saved. The old rector's liberality was, as usual, apparent on this occasion. By dint of industry, civility, and scrupulous honesty, under His blessing, for which prayer was continually offered, Smith got into a decent business. The last time I saw him he was clerk of the parish; undertook the gratuitous instruction of a number of poor children; and, as the incumbent, with whom I spent a day, informed me, he was the great prop of all that was good in the parish. He had married a respectable and serious young woman, and had a large family.

66

In considering this case of conversion, for by no other name can such a striking change be described, I have often been led to admire the wisdom and goodness of the Almighty in overruling temporal calamity for spiritual and eternal benefit. The dreariness of a wretched prison, in a foreign land, was the scene of the richest blessings to the soul of this poor, licentious, depraved profligate. The word in spoken season," was instrumental in bringing this ignorant sinner to the saving knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus; and he who entered the walls of the place of his captivity groaning under the bondage of a more fearful than any earthly slavery, that of Satan and of sin, departed from those walls rejoicing, not only in bodily freedom, but in that "wherewith Christ maketh his people free." I have often thought, when I have reflected on this incident, that we are, indeed, poor judges of what is good for us; and that the way whereby God leads us is indeed mysterious. How important, then, that we should cultivate patient submission, unreserved obedience to the Divine will; that we should cast our care upon Him who careth for us, and who bringeth good out of evil! It was a bitter potion in the cup of Joseph when he was sold as a bondman to the Ishmaelitish merchants; but that very circumstance of his being carried into Egypt, was overruled by Infinite Wisdom for his exaltation to honour and power.

The change which was wrought on the character of

T

« السابقةمتابعة »