صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني
[ocr errors]



SAY, why should friendship grieve for those
Who safe arrive on Canaan's shore?
Releas'd from all their hurtful foes,
They are not lost-but gone before.
How many painful days on earth

Their fainting spirits number'd o'er!
Now they enjoy a heav'nly birth,

They are not lost-but gone before.
Dear is the spot where Christians sleep,
And sweet the strain which angels pour;
O why should we in anguish weep?
They are not lost-but gone before.
Secure from ev'ry mortal care,

By sin and sorrow vex'd no more;
Eternal happiness they share,

Who are not lost-but gone before. To Zion's peaceful courts above,

In faith triumphant may we soar, Embracing, in the arms of love,

The friends not lost-but gone before. On Jordan's bank whene'er we come, And hear the swelling waters roar, Jesus, convey us safely home,

To friends not lost-but gone before!



BREAD of the world, in mercy broken!
Wine of the soul, in mercy shed!
By whom the words of life were spoken,
And in whose death, our sins are dead!
Look on the heart, by sorrow broken,

Look on the tears, by sinners shed;

And be thy feast to us the token,

That by thy grace our souls are fed!


Greenland Missionaries. Soon after the Moravian brethren had commenced their zealous and disinterested labours in Greenland, a number of murderers, excited


it, and exhorted them no longer to resist the truth. They heard all this with attention, walked for some time before the house with their hands folded, and towards evening retired, without offering either violence or insult.

Faith in Christ.-The Rev. Dr Simpson was for many years tutor in the college at Hoxton, and while he stood very low in his own esteem, he ranked high in that of others. After a long life spent in the service of Christ, he approached his latter end with holy joy. Among other expressions which indicated his love to the Redeemer, and his interest in the favour of God, he spake with disapprobation of a phrase often used by some pious people, "Venturing on Christ." "When," said he, "I consider the infinite dignity and all-sufficiency of Christ, I am ashamed to talk of venturing on him. Oh, had I ten thousand souls, I would, at this moment, cast them all into his hands with the utmost confidence. A few hours before his dissolution, he addressed himself to the last enemy, in a strain like that of the apostle, when he exclaimed, "O death, where is thy sting?" Displaying his characteristic fervour, as though he saw the tyrant approaching, he said, "What art thou? I am not afraid of thee. Thou art a vanquished enemy through the blood of the cross."

Religious Melancholy.-David Hume observed, "That all the devout persons he had ever met were melancholy." On which Bishop Horne remarked, "This might very probably be; for, in the first place, it is most likely that he saw very few, his friends and acquaintances being of another sort; and secondly, the sight of him would make a devout man look melancholy at any time.

A Bedfordshire Peasant.-In the parish of the late Rev. L. Richmond, was a dissolute, thoughtless man, who bitterly persecuted religion in those who professed it. He had formed a secret resolution never more to enter the church. Circumstances, however, constrained him to alter his determination. Mr R. preached from Psalm li. 10; "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." Sharper than a twoedged sword is the Word of God; and in its application by the power of the Spirit to this poor man, it proved to be the hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces." He confessed, that immediately on his return home, be for the first time fell on his knees, and with crying and tears, poured forth the strong emotions of his heart in the language of the publican, "God be merciful to me

a sinner!"

death-bed, was for some time under considerable dark-
Final Hope. The Rev. James Durham, when on his
ness respecting his spiritual state, and said to Mr
Carstairs, "After all that I have preached or written,
there is but one scripture I can remember, or dare grip :
tell me if I dare lay the weight of my salvation upon it;
"Whosoever cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast
Mr Carstairs very properly answered, "You

at hazard."

by the angekoks, or sorcerers, threatened to kill the missionaries, and entered their house for that purpose, at a time when all were absent excepting one, named Matthew Stach. When they arrived, they found him engaged in the work of translation, in which he went on, without showing any marks of fear, though uncertain as to their intention. After they had sat a while, their leader said, "We are come to hear good." am glad of it," replied the missionary, and silence being may depend upon it, if you had a thousand salvations obtained, he sang, prayed, and then proceeded: "I will not say much to you of the Creator of all things you know there is a Creator;"-to this they all assented except one." You also know that you are a wicked people." "Yes!" was the unanimous reply. "Now, then," resumed the missionary, "I will tell you what is most necessary to know." He then proceeded to declare the incarnation and death of Jesus; spoke of his resurrection from the dead; and assured them that he would be the final judge of all men. He then solemnly appealed to the leader of the banditti, as to the account he would render of his murders and other crimes at the last day, and entreated him immediately to accept the mercy offered him by the Lord Jesus. After he had done, a woman, whose brother they had murdered, spoke of the efficacy of the Saviour's atonement, told them she felt

Printed and Published by JOHN JOHNSTONE, at the Offices of the SCOTTISH CHRISTIAN HERALD, 104, High Street, Edinburgh, and 32, Glassford Street, Glasgow;-JAMES NISBET & Co., and R. H. MOORE, London; D. R. BLEAKLEY, Dublin; and W. M'COMB, Belfast; and sold by the Booksellers and Local Agents in all the Towns and Parishes of Scotland; also to be procured of every Bookseller in England and Ireland.

Subscribers in Edinburgh and Leith will have their copies delivered at their own residences regularly, by leaving their addresses with the Publisher, or with John Lindsay & Co, 7, South St. Andrew Street.-Subscribers in Glasgow will, in like manner, have their copies delivered, by leaving their addresses at the Publishing Office there, 32, Glassford Street

Subscription (payable in advance) per quarter, of twelve weeks, 1s. 6d.-per half-year, of twenty-four weeks, 3s.-per year, of fortyeight weeks, 6s.-Monthly Parts, containing four Numbers each, stitched in printed wrapper, Price Sixpence.

Printed at the Steam-Press of Ballantyne & Co., from the Stero. type Plates of A. Kirkwood.




[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

to save, and exhaustion of mercy, and failure of promises under his government of grace to sinners, are utterly dishonouring to his glory. And this is so readily seen, that the giving way to the sentiments which originate from those views, may immediately be followed by a deep conviction of the unreasonableness and impiety of indulging in them. But even such a conviction, though salutary, serves only, in the case now supposed, to aggravate the distress. The mind is painfully struck with the sinfulness of having cherished and uttered what is so derogatory to the divine honour. While its misery before sprang from unbelief of the mercy of God, there is now an increase of its misery, drawn from the thought of having ever yielded to the suggestions of that unbelief. As

HINTS ON SPIRITUAL DEPRESSION. BY THE REV. WILLIAM MUIR, D. D., Minister of St. Stephen's Parish, Edinburgh. RELIGIOUS Melancholy, as it is usually called, is peculiar to the mind that despairs of obtaining an interest in the divine favour. It is a spiritual malady, afflictive even in its lowest measures. On rising to the higher degrees, it becomes, in the very extreme, grievous. It not only interrupts the common business of life, but destroys the whole spring of laudable enterprise and urgent duty-estranges the heart from the claims, strong as they are tender, of the nearest relationships and throws a gloomy suspicion over every thing with which the human lot, amid many evils, is still brightened. Under the distorted vision form-sured that the proposal of grace, conveyed by the ed by it, there is scarcely an object of contemplation that does not seem revolting: our earth appearing as a prison-house, in which occasional respite from pain is meant to make the after torture the more intense, the schemes of Providence appearing as a mass of contradiction, the throne of heaven as the tribunal of vengeance, the angels as ministers of wrath,-and the world beyond death as a region crowded exclusively with images of terror and anguish. The soul is wounded. "The arrow hath entered, the poison whereof drinketh up the spirit." Every feeling, every thought is infected. In the feverish excitement of disease, the mind rejects the application of a remedy. The past is a troubled fountain, that gives out only sorrowful remembrances; and no pleasing anticipation mixes with the stream for sweetening its bitterness. The language of the Psalmist: "Will the Lord cast off for ever? Will he be favourable no more? Is his mercy clean gone? Doth his promise fail for ever? Hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies ?" (Psalm lxxvii,)—this language utters those inquiries of the heart, to which the answers returned by itself are negatives of overwhelming harshness.

" promise" of redemption, ought neither to be rejected, nor viewed as dubiously offered to human acceptance, the mind is tempted to look on itself as now most certainly "cast off" from mercy, on account of the guilt of having questioned the truth or the freeness of the mercy. Having first been harassed by agitating doubts, it next finds the cause of new harassment in the remembrance of its sinful doubtings. Nay, the troubles may not cease here. And reflection on this second ground of self-reproach may excite fresh anguish; and thus the malady grows, and the symptoms extend into multiplied sorrows, in consequence of which, the soul, tossed as on a bed of thorns, is denied even a moment's repose.

Happily for the author of the seventy-seventh Psalm, whose despairing language has been quoted, he was enabled to stop this afflictive circling of the thoughts,-though not till after he endured for a season the agitations of spiritual distresses. His attempts to regain peace of mind were not at once successful. He "considered the days of old, and the years of ancient times," inquiring, it may be, for a parallel to his distresses, or for the methods by which trials similar to his own, had, in the experience of others, been met and relieved. He called "to remembrance his song in the night," some occasion of personal thanksgiving, from which he might draw the motives to hope and enAnd still, though he communed "with his own heart, and his spirit made diligent

It is true, that even a little reflection on the language just quoted, (expressing so strongly despair of the divine favour,) will shew that the views which give rise to the mournful inquiries, detract from right notions of the character of God. Suspi-couragement. cions of changeableness in his character, of aversion

search," the immediate result of considering the subjects, whatever they were, which passed in review before his mind, is indicated by this despairing lamentation: "Will the Lord cast off for ever? Will he be favourable no more? Is his mercy clean gone? Doth his promise fail for ever? Hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies ?"

In cases of spiritual depression, there are usually afflictions arising from outward causes, which give to the burden that lies upon the mind additional weight and tenacity. In the Psalmist's situation bodily suffering appears to have befallen him; and it was, doubtless, by his regarding the allotment as the token of Divine anger that his soul "refused," under the visitation, "to be comforted." And similar causes have often had the effect of darkening to devout men their contemplation of the favour of God; and that to an extent which, without experience of the fact, no mere speculatist on the subject of Christian assurance can ever apprehend. But still, the general course of things, even in the worst case of spiritual depression, wherever the faith of revealed truth is genuine, is this, that consolation is perseveringly sought at the divine source of peace, and that the result of perseveringly seeking it there, (as the history of the Psalmist clearly shews,) is very blessed. The Psalmist has recorded the fact, that he "cried unto God in the day of trouble, and that God gave ear unto him;" or, in other words, that support in the season of trial, and ultimate deliverance from affliction, came as the answer to prayer. He has recorded another fact, that, in the religious exercises which employed him, and the effects of which were so beneficial and happy, he not only prayed, but meditated on the character, and government, and promises of Jehovah. He "remembered the years of the right hand of the Most High;" or, the annals of the divine doings. Persuaded that "the way of God" is to be seen most clearly "in the sanctuary,"under the light of those dispensations which affect the Church,-he "remembered the works of the Lord and his wonders of old" to the chosen people. He looked back to their rise in the families of Jacob and "Joseph;" to their "redemption" from hondage by the arm of the Lord, when the waters saw God and were afraid, and "the troubled depths" parting at the divine will, opened a passage for the ransomed ; -to the destruction of their enemies, when the thunder and lightning, "the arrows of Jehovah, went abroad, and the earth trembled and shook ;"and to the after journeyings of the redeemed, who were led like a flock" under the guidance of the shepherd. How clearly does even a transient reference to this history indicate the following truths-That God is superintending and arranging the events of his people's history with minute and gracious care; that sufferings are not exclusively the signs of his vengeance, since his chosen people suffered; that delays in the fulfilment of his promises, bring no evidence against his faithfulness and unchangeableness, because it was after a long

time, such as might have raised the fear of their being cut off, that his chosen people "were redeemed with his outstretched arm;" and that, though adversity be repeated on adversity in a mysterious course of trials, yet this procedure is not incompatible with the fulfilment of a wise and good end; because "the way" through which the Lord led his elect was deep, as "in the sea, and in great waters," while he was still guiding them with the tenderness and beneficence of a good shepherd.

Now the blessed influence both of the Psalmist's meditation and prayer, in restoring to him peace of mind, (the return of which called forth his ardent thanksgiving,) may well intimate, that to speak of Religious Melancholy, meaning thereby that Religion is the cause of the melancholy, is to misapply language. It is true, the opinion prevails, that the whole evil is traceable to that cause. Multitudes in the world connect with the admission of Religion into the mind the thought of nothing but what is gloomy and depressing. And in proof of this, they refer to certain facts which are regarded by them as quite conclusive. Easy it were to shew them, that the native influence of Divine Truth is calculated to produce an effect the very opposite of that which they bewail and reprehend. But they dread to listen to a single statement on the subject. The very listening, they think, would bring them within the reach of contagion, and how wise, they infer, to avoid coming near the malady, or what may infect them with it! The facts, however, by which they defend their opinions and aversion, are drawn from instances where the mind is unhinged either through the prevalence of constitutional bias, or the shock of calamity: and where, coming to Revealed Religion, it carries thither its own morbid sensibility, and thus turns the bread of life into the very aliment of spiritual disease.

It is unreasonable to adduce these facts for the purpose of disparaging the character and real tendency of evangelical faith. Wandering and wretchedness would have been found in such a mind, though it had never heard of the subject that is blamed for the aberration and suffering. Were it to receive the subject as a whole, what a blessing would the reception prove! The tendencies of the mind, if not thoroughly rooted out, would, at least, be corrected and trained. Affections, easily agitated, would be brought nearer to their due place and poise; and thus, the influence of heavenly faith, moving over the dark and troubled elements of nature, would allay its disorders, and compose and beautify it. But the tendencies of the mind in such an instance as has now been described, urge it to take partial views of Religion. Through timidity, the promises of the Bible are put out of sight, as what cannot, without sinful presumption, be looked at, while the threatenings alone are admitted and felt. God is revealed in the Bible under the engaging characters of Father, Saviour, Protector, and Friend; clothed in every perfection, in goodness, as well as

him, besides, it was not Religion, but the want of right views of its truths, that aggravated his distress. And as, at last, he received healing to his wound, and alleviation to his load, the cure was obtained when he came to the Physician of Souls; the loosening of the burden took place when he drew nigh to the cross of Christ. In short, the precious system of evangelical truth, which wicked or thoughtless men calumniate as the cause of

might; in pity and mercy, as well as rectitude and justice; in unspeakable condescension, as well as unspeakable glory. But in the case now supposed, he is seen only as the judge and avenger, girt about with majesty and power, and the terrors of awful sovereignty. The soul, traversing back in fearful thought into the abyss whence time issued, contemplates the Supreme Dispenser of events fixing the human destinies. It attaches itself to the mysterious contemplation. Instead of encour-nothing but melancholy, was that alone which agement, it draws thence only what overwhelms its hopes. It thinks only of the deed of reprobation, and it "refuseth to be comforted," because "the mercies of God" seem to be "clean gone."

This representation, instead of being imaginary, may recal the well-known history of a psalmist in our own Israel, who passed through the whole bitterness of the experience. His frame of mind was similar to what has now been described, timid, gentle, and peculiarly sensitive. He was, indeed, ardent at the same time with the fire of genius. He was a Christian poet. He dignified every thing he sung, even the humblest task, as with the touch of a seraph's piety. He celebrated truth, and "hope, and charity," in numbers that are fitted to win the ear of infidelity, to chase away the gloom of despondency, and make the heart of selfishness relent. And his effusions, equally instructive and delightful, shall flow in human remembrance as some of the streams sent for nourishing the plants which our earth shall borrow from Paradise. Yet, how long did this poet of the Gospel "refuse" to taste the "comfort" of Religion! The peculiar cast of his mind predisposed him to despair of the divine favour. Led by constitutional bias, he separated, in the great subject, the solemn from the attractive, the alarming from the encouraging portions of it. The attributes of divine power, justice, and sovereignty-the eternal decrees-reprobation and everlasting death, were the chief themes on which he dwelt. Thus, he "remembered God, and was troubled.”

This striking, and to us peculiarly interesting exemplification of what is usually called Religious Melancholy, is mentioned here, both because it appears to prove that the mind liable to the disease is of the frame just described, and because, more particularly, this very instance has often been quoted in charging Religion with the cause of the whole evil. But how unreasonable is such a charge! The mind of Cowper the poet felt not the harmony, and perceived not the beautiful proportions of the faith, simply because it was itself untuned, because its own vision was dimmed and distorted. Besides, when arguing on the tendency of Religion, from the circumstances of his life, is it just to adduce only a part of his history? If those who triumphantly point to the life of Cowper, as supplying confirmation to their unfavourable opinion of evangelical truth, would examine his own testimony, they should learn that his experience coincided with that of the Psalmist. There were, first of all, causes in his own situation predisposing him to depression and sadness. With

yielded to our interesting poet, even as it did to the Psalmist of Israel, the sweetest consolation.

Hence we deduce the following plain but useful lessons, That Religion can never be viewed as the cause of mental distress, any more than the light of heaven, rendering objects visible, may be regarded as occasioning those wrong apprehensions of them which are generated by the diseased eye:

That since false or partial perceptions of Religion lead to the evil complained of, the desire and endeavour should be earnestly turned for obtaining enlarged and correct views of its truths:-That, when wounded by the Divine hand, it is from the Divine hand we are to seek the cure:-That only an accumulation of sorrows is produced by resisting the stroke of chastisement, and quenching the serious thoughts excited by it :-That though the "remembering God" be at first the source of "trouble," we are to persevere in "acquainting ourselves with Him" as the way to "peace ;"and that prayer, earnest and importunate prayer to the Saviour, who sympathises, however the answer be deferred, is to be continued in, as the great means of comfort under affliction, and ultimately of deliverance from sorrow.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF THE LATE REV. JAMES MARTIN, A. M., Minister of St. George's Parish, Edinburgh. THE memory of "the saintly and apostolic Martin," as he has been truly termed, lives in the hearts of multitudes. His career was short, but it was truly brilliant; and in reference to no individual, perhaps, could the saying of the poet be more appropriately quoted,—


"That life is long which answers life's great end." He has passed from amongst us, but we dwell with a kind of melancholy satisfaction upon the recollection of one who possessed a rare combination of intellectual and moral excellencies, such as led all who knew him at once to admire and love him. With high talent he possessed an amiable and affectionate heart. delineate his character is both a delicate and difficult task, but one which, for the sake of our readers, we gladly undertake, that possibly, by a view of his varied Christian graces, they may be led to "be followers of him, even as he," with such beautiful consistency of character, "was a follower of Christ."

James Martin was born at Brechin, on the 30th July, 1800. At school he soon became conspicuous among his companions by his abilities, his diligence and perseverance; and such was the rapidity of his improvement, that at the early age of twelve, he entered Marischal College, Aberdeen, and even ventured to compete for one of the bursaries. During the whole course of his

importance which attaches to the spiritual interests of immortal beings, and more deeply impressed with the magnitude of his own duties."

attendance at the University, he dedicated himself with | him forward in his course, more intensely alive to the unwearied assiduity to the varied departments of knowledge which successively engaged his attention. His classical acquirements were of a high order. In mathematics and philosophy also he made great progress. But when at length he had resolved on preparing for the Church, he entered upon the study of theology with redoubled energy. And the fruits of such exertion were apparent in his after life; for he was regarded by all his acquaintances as an accomplished scholar and an enlightened divine. It is pleasing to notice, that while employed in the prosecution of theology as a science, he appears to have been deeply impressed with the necessity of attaining a personal experience of the truths which he hoped to proclaim to his fellow-men. In proof of this, we may quote from the interesting Memoir prefixed to the published volume of his Sermons,* a memorandum written at the close of the college session of 1818. "The session, now nearly completed, has flown swiftly, swiftly away. I hope, however, by the blessing of God, it has not been spent trivially or unprofitably. My studies have been pretty regular and constant. They have been on the three great heads of Revealed

Religion, the Trinity, the Decrees of God, and Original Sin. They have also included a considerable share of Church History. My spirit has, in general, and particularly when alone, been inclined to the sombre. I have mixed but little in society, yet I am surely inclined to it. My heart participates in the happiness of my fellow-creatures, and pants to increase it to the utmost, I love to see them happy.

On the 8th of April 1823, Mr Martin received a presentation to the Church and Parish of Glenisla, in the Presbytery of Meigle, and was ordained on the September following. The deep impression of divine things which his mind had received during his residence │in Edinburgh, prepared him the more effectually for entering upon the important duties of a parish minister. He felt that he was now called to occupy the responsible situation of an ambassador of Christ, and his earnest desire and prayer, therefore, was, that he might be enabled so to watch for souls as one who must give an account. Settled in a remote parish among the Grampians, as the pastor of a simple-hearted, affectionate people, Mr Martin spared no exertions to promote the spiritual interests of those committed to his charge. He laboured in season and out of season; and the fond recollections of the parishioners of Glenisla still dwell upon the faithful devotedness of their youthful minister to the work of his Great Lord and Redeemer. The beneficial effects arising from his ministry in Glenisla are thus briefly, but appropriately, described by his biographer :


They were unsophisticated, and he was sincere, faithful, and judicious; and without compromising one principle, far less winking at any sinful practice, he commended himself to their respect and esteem, as one who had their real interests deeply at heart, and the primary object of whose life and labours was to do them good. Suiting his ministrations and intercourse to their

"Yet I have often thought that I could see through the veil that envelopes my present state, and that God was dealing with me in love,-that he was shewing me the vanity of the world,-weaning me from its enjoy-real character and circumstances, with that tact, discriments, and teaching me to lay up for myself treasures in heaven. I have often found comfort,-might I say instruction?-in the idea, that one day on earth I shall be a child of God, and that I shall see the value of his present dealings, as preparatory steps for an important change.

Towards the close of this year, he became tutor in the family of Mr Ogilvy of Tannadice, within a few miles of his native place. In this situation he continued for several years, in the course of which he was licensed to preach the Gospel by the Presbytery of Forfar. His first sermon was preached at Oathlaw, from the words, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ;" and his views on that occasion, are recorded in a single sentence in his note-book. "I have to lament much imperfection; but I hope I have also some right wishes, and that I sincerely lament my own sinfulness, and sincerely confess my need of God's grace."

The winter of 1821, 1822, Mr Martin passed in Edinburgh, with Mr Ogilvy's family; and at this time he enjoyed a privilege which he valued highly,7-an opportunity of regularly attending the ministry of the Rev. Dr Gordon, then minister of St. Cuthbert's Chapel; "whose character and example," as his biographer remarks, no less than his public ministrations, appear to have given greater depth to all his religious sentiments, to have filled his mind with a stronger sense of the high and honourable nature, as well as the solemn responsibility of the ministerial office, and to have set

We are happy to understand that these excellent Sermons having rapidly passed through the first edition, a second is now in the Press.-ED.

mination, and kindness of nature, which he so eminently possessed; being regular and diligent in his course of visiting and catechising, in the superintendence of Sabbath-schools, in his attention to the sick, and in waiting by the bedside of the dying; and particularly affectionate and encouraging in his admonitions to the young to seek after God,-every one of his flock, who was not utterly reprobate, came experimentally to know the value of possessing such a pastor,-a course of conduct, which uniformly operates with the same effect upon a simple-hearted people, and gains the homage even of those who may not be permanently benefited by it in their most important interests. There were two prac tices prevalent in the parish of Glenisla at the time when he became connected with it, which he felt had a most demoralizing effect on the minds and habits of the peocouragement given to illicit distillation; and the other, ple, as they ever must have. The one was the enthe mode in which funerals were conducted, involving a great waste of time and substance, and tending to induce or to confirm habits of dissipation. Convinced that the moral influence of truth, the enlightening and quickening of the conscience, and the solemn considerations which Religion alone presents, when brought to bear upon a community, through the agency of a minister whose motives are properly understood and appreciated, are far more effectual than any prohibitory denunciations or sumptuary laws, he set himself with vigour to the removal of these evils. A complete extinction of them could not indeed be expected to be the his wisdom and decision were far from being fruitless. immediate result of his anxiety and efforts; yet, in this, And before his connection with the parish was dissolved, he had the satisfaction of knowing, that not only the habits of many had undergone a perceptible improvement, and the duty of family-worship was more regularly observed, but that some were brought in good

« السابقةمتابعة »