Page images
[ocr errors]

relation of its great component parts, and in its various forms of practical application, must be brought to bear on the hearts and consciences of men. Nor is it enough to teach ; we must see that our teaching be understood. This point is too often overlooked. If the preacher, after delivering bis most carefully-prepared address in the Sabbath services, were afterwards to institute an examination of his people, for the purpose of discovering how much of what they had beard they were likely to carry away with them, the result would often be very humiliating. Pains should therefore be taken to ascertain that the people hear and understand the word spoken from the pulpit—by Bible-classes—by catechetical instruction—by personal dealing with souls, that so they may be solidly built up in the knowledge of the Gospel; not tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, but made to grow up in all things into the living Head. It was found, in the year 1859, that those who had previously received the most careful training in the word of God were the persons who obtained the most substantial and permanent benefit from the revival.

4. Means should be taken in all our churches to encourage the spirit and practice of Christian fellowship. The communion of saints is a privilege which is but imperfectly appreciated in most of our communities. This is strange: for, as many as seek to draw near to Him who is the great centre of spiritual attraction must necessarily draw near to one another. How can they but feel desirous of frequent conferences on the salvation which God has bestowed on them, on the precious Saviour they have found, on their common privileges, obligations, motives, purposes, prospects ? * Yet there is but little provision made to meet this necessity of our renewed nature. Hence do we account for tbe number of small communities which are now and again breaking off from our Established Churches. It is from the natural effort to supply a want which is deeply felt, and which yet is not sufficiently recognised amongst us. This process of separation must continue till the evil be remedied. Those who experienced the power of the late revival appeared to have inexpressible delight in the communion of saints.

5. Another lesson is the duty of making a vigorous and faithful use of the various gifts bestowed by the Holy Spirit on the members of the church for the edifying of the body of Christ, and for the extension of His kingdom upon earth. The capacities of the awakened in 1859 were singularly quickened, and also the disposition to employ them in the service of God. The prayers, the thanksgivings, the mutual exhortations of the brethren, their appeals to the impenitent in public and in private, were often wonderful in style of expression, as well as in fervency of spirit. Out of the abundance of the heart, filled

An argument this, let us say, for the class-meeting. While some among ourselves speak disparagingly of that weekly privilege, many of the most spiritual members of other churches are yearning after its enjoyment. The whole of this paper is intensely Methodistical.-EDITOR.

with the love of Christ, not only did the lips speak, but all the bodily as well as mental energies of the believer were called forth for the service of God, and for the salvation of souls. We were led to see what a mighty engine the church would become, if all the resources placed at its disposal were brought into harmonious and well-adjusted action. The right use of spiritual gifts is a subject of great difficulty ; it requires much wisdom and discrimination. But it is surely as dishonouring to the Holy Spirit to permit His gifts to run to waste, as to employ in His service those who have received no gifts at all for the work to which their fellow-men bave called them. And, if these gifts are to be used, it is surely expedient, tbat, except in cases where no fit superintendence can be obtained, these gifts ought to be employed in subordination to the constituted authorities of the church.

6. There is one other important lesson which the late revival presses upon our attention,—the duty of special prayer for the professors and students of the theological classes in our various seats of learning. It was an interesting feature of the awakening of 1859, that not a few of the young men looking forward to the office of the holy ministry appeared to be deeply moved by the Spirit of God. In America, it is known that some of the most remarkable revivals have taken place in colleges. Many of the students in that country have been converted to God during their attendance in their classes ; and of these a large proportion have become ministers. Why may it not be so in these countries also ? It is a matter of loud and general complaint at the present time, that, while the demand for ministers is increasing, the supply is diminishing. The world now holds out so many glittering prizes to youthful ambition, that some of our most gifted young men, even of those originally designed for the ministry of the Gospel, are found to turn away from the unceasing toils and sacrifices of that arduous office to the more lucrative appointments of the Civil Service. This tendency is growing, and it demands our prompt and earnest attention. We owe it to the church, which demands a godly and learned ministry ; we owe it to our country, of which a large portion is still to be subdued to the obedience of the faith ; we owe it to the world, whose millions are hungering for the bread of life; we owe it to the Holy Spirit, whose workings cannot be appreciated, nor even understood, except by spiritual men ; we owe it to the Saviour, who has commanded us to pray the Lord of the harvest that He will send forth labourers into His harvest; we owe it to God, whose servants we profess to be, and whose name is every day blasphenied by the people who know Him not-to pray, to seek, to strive that men of the right stamp may be sent forth from our Christian homes, and from our theological halls, earnestly disposed and fully equipped to proclaim Jesus Christ and Him crucified to the multitudes at home and abroad that are perishing for lack of knowledge.

CONCLUSION. And now, beloved brethren, let me solicit your sympathies and prayers on behalf of that country in which you are assembled. The awakening of 1859 has shown us how suddenly, and how rapidly, the Lord of all power and might can accomplish His purposes of mercy toward our long darkened and degraded population. Within the last few years great changes have been wrought in the material and social condition of our people; and why may we not hope for changes equally rapid and extensive in the kingdom of grace ? Ireland has long been a perplexing problem to our statesmen and politicians. It resembles the woman in the Gospel, who had "suffered many things of many physicians,...and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse.” Till she touched the hem of the Saviour's garment, her disease remained. So will it be with Ireland. We want you to help us to bring her to the Great Physician. It is reasonable to suppose that the meeting of so many of God's dear servants, for such a purpose as brings them together, will be rendered a blessing to the land.

“ Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we hope in Thee."


The date of our tale carries us back, on the stream of time, some sixteen or seventeen years. Far up among the mountains, in the interior of Jamaica, a Missionary, who has borne the toils and anxieties of fifteen years in that land of oppression, (during which time he had passed through many vicissitudes, and rejoiced greatly over the downfal of colonial slavery,) is standing by the side of a low, plain, brick tomb, undistinguished by any inscription which might inform the beholder whose ashes they are which slumber in the dust beneath. The tomb is discoloured by time, and mossgrown. Grass and weeds almost conceal it: for it is nearly twenty years since that grave was opened to receive the remains of a victim of bigotry and persecution, who rests there awaiting the morning of the resurrection, and " the glory that is to be revealed” in the saints at “the manifestation of the sons of God.” It is to visit that tomb that the Missionary has taken a journey of some miles. He has himself confronted the banded brotherhood of persecutors, and suffered from the malice of the oppressors of the slave; and he is profoundly interested in the thrilling memories of that earlier period, when the loathsome prison-cell, in this part of the island, frequently echoed to the hymns and praises of incarcerated Missionaries of the Cross, and when the martyr who sleeps here, where “the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest,” was hunted by intolerance to the grave.

The evening is most lovely. Gentle, sweet, and balmy are the breezes sweeping by, just sufficient to temper the heat, and bear to the gratified sense the delicious fragrance which they have gleaned from rich orange blossoms adorning a multitude of trees with which the surrounding pastures abound. The western sky is lighted up with splendour and beauty : for the sun is deur his setting, and paints one of those gorgeous scenes which are


[ocr errors]

never witnessed to such advantage as within the tropics. As the Missionary turns his face to the magnificent west, he thinks of “ glory,” and “the saints in glory.” There, within the narrow confines of that lowly and unadorned grave upon which his foot is resting, lies all that is mortal of a martyred servant of Jesus, long since literally crumbled to dust,-for in this torrid zone the original curse, “ Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return,” more rapidly receives its accomplishment, when the spirit has departed, than in a more temperate clime. But he calls to mind the moment when the soul of the young Missionary, redeemed and purified by precious blood, ceased to belong to earth. He follows it in its upward flight, as holy angels “bear it to the throne of love,” and “place it at the Saviour's feet ;” and then he thinks of that spirit before the throne, realizing the “far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” And it requires but an effort of imagination to fancy that it is therc-in the heavens before him, all radiant with gold, and purple, and many varied hues—that the departed one has found his final rest. The

scenery all around is very pleasant to the eye. The spot upon which the visiter stands, by the side of that long-closed grave, is in a lovely valley amidst the mountains of St. Ann's. No cane-fields or sugar-works meet the sight : for it is a part of the country altogether devoted to pasture. There are gentle glades, and undulating hills, where waves the luxuriant Guinea-grass, introduced into the country by a slave-ship from Africa in a way that

may be called accidental, and proving a rich and invaluable boon to the planters. There are clumps of cedar and other valuable trees, giving a rich and park-like appearance to the landscape ; interspersed with vast numbers of the orange, now white with its delicate snowy so fragrant and so pure. Here and there towers an ancient specimen of the wild cotton, whose giant stem, branchless, shooting up eighty or ninety feet, at length throws wide its massive umbrageous limbs. Vast patches of woodland away in the distance diversify the scene, which are occasionally broken by openings of greater or less extent which mark spots where the emancipated negro has partly cleared the virgin land from the heavy timber which covered his newly-purchased freehold, and fixed his humble cottage, now that he has become an owner of the soil to which he was attached first as a slave, and then as an apprenticed labourer. Encircling the whole, and bounding the landscape, may be traced, through a pellucid atmosphere, the outline of immense ranges of mountains stretching far away, covered with forests, the growth of many centuries ;-trees under whose grateful shade the aboriginal Indians, through many generations, indulged their love of ease, or revelled in the dance which was their chief delight, long before the treacherous Spaniard invaded their peaceful land. These forests, in their vast abundance, show how little has been done to bring this fruitful Queen of the Antilles under general cultivation.

All around is enchanting ; but the Missionary's eye rests again upon the humble grave, and then, close at hand, upon the ruins of a Mission-chapel, and a dilapidated but still tenantable Mission-house, exhibiting a strange


and sad contrast to the smiling beauty of the landscape, and telling, in their mournful desolation, with silent eloquence, of days when all bad passions were called into exercise to oppose the faithful preaching of the truth. On this spot there stood a Christian sanctuary, built of the hard wood of the country, and capable of receiving from five to six hundred worshippers. Its walls once resounded with the proclamation of the glorious Gospel, and the unrivalled hymns of the Wesleys, sung by hundreds, still bearing the yoke of earthly masters, while, spiritually emancipated, they exulted in the liberty wherewith Christ had made them free. And there, at one end of the house of God, was the unpretending but sufficient house for the residence of the Missionary. A few uncovered rafters overhead, part of the framework of the floor, and several upright pieces of timber that once supported the roof,—these only remain of the attractive and commodious house of prayer that once adorned this place, inviting the sable sons and daughters of Africa to come and join in the worship of the Holy One, who “hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth.” And the pleasant dwelling, though still partly inhabited, is but the wreck of what it was years ago, before this lovely station was made desolate by persecution, stirred up by a slave-oppressor, whose position as the rector of this beautiful parish imparts a deeper turpitude to cruelties and atrocities which his own and other people's slaves suffered at his hands, or by means of his instigation. As the visiter stands there, at the lonely tomb, until the sun disappears behind the distant hills, and the fast-receding splendours amid which the glorious orb has dipped beneath the western ware admonish him that the time has come for remounting his horse, he is busy with memories, both pleasing and painful, which are associated with the history of that desecrated sanctuary, and the martyr's grave. The scenes of by-gone days rise in a vivid light to his mind, like a series of dissolving views, awakening mingled emotions of indignation and sympathy, but all merging in profound gratitude to Him, the Wise and Good, who hath made “the wrath of man to praise " Him, and “the remainder of wrath” hath“ restrained.” Let some of these changing scenes pass in review before us.

A meeting is held in the humble chapel at Spanish-Town, the capital of the colony, called by the Spaniards Santiago-de-la-Vega, where are situated the princely residence of the Governor, and an extensive suite of Government buildings and offices; in the midst of which stands Rodney's Temple, an ornamental structure erected to the honour of our naval hero of that name, and intended to commemorate the victories he gained in these Western seas. The temple is adorned with a costly marble statue of the Admiral, and several massive guns taken from the captured or sunken ships of the enemy. The meeting which is going on in the humble place of worship is not one of the regular public services, but a meeting held by the choir for practising tunes to be sung in the public ordinances of the church. Attracted by the music, a gentleman enters the building, and quietly takes a distant seat, listening with evident interest. When the little assembly of har

« PreviousContinue »