« PreviousContinue »
“ Ah! true,” he replied; "even viour Christ. He, as an offering from my infancy I loved to ramble of a sweet-smelling savour, was amongst the wildest recesses of the sacrificed for us ; and was now set dells that surrounded the abode of forth to be a propitiation, through my birth; and to indulge in imagi- faith in his blood, for the transnations of primitive innocency and gressions of mankind-even for peace. The birds sang cheerfully in your transgressions,' I said,
my morning salutation; and I have often venerable friend, and mire !' traced the lark, with almost exta “ During my little discourse the tic delight, to the very portals of old man remained immoveable, as heaven. 0 it was sweet to me, did his aged partner, with her even in boyhood, to listen to her hands clasped, probably in silent hymn of praise. Then did I dream prayer. When I bad concluded of happiness, and my young and my observations, be raised his ardent fancy well nigh followed eyes, and with a deep-drawn sigh her, till I beheld her mixing with exclaimed; • Ah! Christ is all the innumerable company, and my only comfort-my portion in swelling their anthem with her life and in deaih! I then cordially grateful song. But, alas! how shook this good couple by the did these visions vanish in the dark hand, and promising, if the Lord realities of life! They passed would, to see them again previous away, like the sunbeam from the to my final departure from their couch of evening; but not to re- neighbourhood, bade them adieu. turn like it.- He resumed his nar • As [ resumed the path that rative.
was to lead me to my little abode Yes, Sir,' the old man
on the banks of the lake, many joined; Labour has been my lot and various were my meditations. from my youth up; and I have ne Sometimes the thought of a world ver had reason to complain of the that lieth in wickedness, and the dealings of my God.' The lines fearful denunciations of God against have fallen to me in pleasant those who live in friendship with places; and you see, Sir, that I it, oppressed my heart; while have a goodly heritage.”
again, the abundant harvest, 1 Goodly, truly,' I replied. which, as in the natural so in the • You survey in all around you the moral creation, was ripening fast works of the Lord—the operation around, arrested my attention, and of your maker's hands. In your alternately occupied my mind. O very occupation, too, you have a of what value is an immortal spimemento of the divine records: 'in rit! Did we weigh the wide unithe sweat of thy face shalt thou eat verse with a single soul, soon would bread. You are reminded by the balances of the sanctuary deyour daily employments of the clare the one to be as the small truth of Scripture. Bethlin now dust in comparison of the other. cast his eyes pensively upon the An undying soul! Of old hast ground, and held them there, as thou laid the foundation of the in fixed attention, while I briefly earth, and the heavens are the spoke of the mournful catastrophe work of thy hands. They shall which had thus entailed on him the perish; yea, they all shall wax necessity of labouring for his old as a garment: as á vesture bread. By one man sin entered shalt thou change them, and they into the world. From this sad shall be changed;' but the breath seene, I turned to the rich provi- of life which thou' hast breathed sion made for our recovery-in the into us shall suffer no decay! The obedience unto death of our Sa- spirit to which thou hast once given
existence must endure for ever-in found conducive to his own glory, joy ineffable, or in unutterable and the in-gathering of his people. woe!
The cottage in the wood was a “ Yet still,” continued my com- lonely spot, and its inmates were panion with a sigh, • it was conso among the poor of the flock of latory to reflect, that, in that mys- slaughter; yet was the eye of an terious path in which God moves, almighty Father upon them, and I there is the impress of infinite wis- felt assured, that in the morning dom, tenderest
and un of the resurrection they would apbounded love. Dark as his dis- pear with palms in their hands, pensations may seem to us, they wearing crowns whose lustre would are nevertheless preparing the way never tarnish, and arrayed in robes for the full developement of his whose beauty could never fade.” purposes, and will eventually be
ON THE SPIRIT'S WITNESS. SIR,
affections into lively exercise, ren-, READING a dissenting publica- ders them very efficacious upon tion a short time ago, I found great their conduct, and thus puts the stress was laid upon that celebrated matter beyond doubt.” In much passage in Rom. viii. 16 : “ The the same manner, Matthew Henry Spirit itself beareth witness with explains the passage, though not so our spirit that we are the sons of clearly and distinctly. Doddridge's God,” to prove the necessity of a paraphrase is as follows." The Spisensible impulse of the Spirit upon rit itself, by his internal and gracious the heart, before we can know cer- operations, beareth witness with tainly whether we are the children the answer of our spirits, when seof God or not. This led me to a riously examined and interrogated, deep consideration of the true mean and gives us an inward and joyful ing of the above passage, the usual assurance that we are the children explanation of which did not at all of God, and personally interested satisfy me. Upon turning to Mr. in his paternal love." Scott, I find he interprets the expres Neither of these interpretations sion to mean, “the Holy Spirit, by appear to me satisfactory, or inproducing in believers the tempers deed convey any clear idea to my and affections of children, as de- mind. Though all the above wriscribed in the Scriptures, most ma ters expressly deny any nifestly attests their adoption into thing, they seem by their interpreGod's family. This is not done by tations of this passage to admit, in any voice, immediate revelation, some measure, the doctrine conor impulse, or merely by any text tended for in the publication abovebrought to the mind, but by coin- mentioned, viz. that the Spirit ciding with the testimony of their does witness sensibly and percepown consciences, as to the upright- tibly; otherwise, I cannot underness of their intentions in embra- stand what is meant by the Spirit's cing the Gospel and giving them- “shining upon its own work;" and, selves up to the service of God. by its “ answering when seriously So that whilst they are examining examined and interrogated.” Furthemselves concerning the reality ther, none of these celebrated comof their conversion, and find Scrip- mentators appear to me to define tural evidence of it, the Holy Spi- very distinctly what we are to unrit from time to time shines upon derstand by our Spirit,” though his own work, excites their holy the right interpretation of the pas
sage depends greatly upon this. his sons and daughters, and that Scott, in the first instance, seems to he will be a Father to them. understand it of conscience, but af My chief reason for thinking that terwards of the new mind produced this may be the true interpretation, by the Spirit. Doddridge leaves the is, that the Apostle makes use of a point altogether undecided. Allow nearly similar expression Heb.x. 15. me, then, without detaining you with Having asserted, that “ Christ by any further observations, to pro- one offering hath perfected for ever pose an interpretation I believe al those that are sanctified;" he adds, together new, which I think may « Of this the Holy Ghost also is a perhaps be the true one; though I witness to us," and then quotes a do so with great diffidence, feeling text of Scripture in confirmation by no means certain in my own of his doctrine. The similarity of mind.
the expressions in these two cases In the preceding verse, St. Paul must, I think, be evident to every says, “ We have not received the Whether this is sufficient to spirit of bondage again to fear, but warrant the interpretation I have we have received the Spirit of given of the above passage, I adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, leave you to judge. I will not Father.” I would understand, trespass upon your time with any therefore, by the expression “our further arguments in its favour; but Spirit,” that portion of the Holy in conclusion permit me to observe, Spirit shed abroad in the heart of that the more frequent discussion the believer, which teaches him of important doctrinal texts like and inclines him to call upon God the above, would, I conceive, add as his father. And the Apostle, greatly to the interest and profitwhen he says, “the Spirit itself ableness of your publication. With beareth witness with our Spirit,” to this view, I beg to propose for mean that the Scriptures written by your consideration, and that of inspiration of the Spirit of God, your correspondents, the 19th and bear witness with that disposition four following verses of Romans, which we feel within us, and shows viii.; observations upon which us that it is no delusion; since they would be very acceptable to declare expressly in many places Your constant Reader, D. R. that the people of God shall be
ON THE IMPORTANCE OF A RELIGIOUS LIFE.
no more seen; how soon we shall CONNECTED as we are by the become the inhabitants of the sistrong ties of blood, and our union ·lent tomb; and the necessity there cemented by a long interchange of is for us, therefore, as reasonable affection, suffer me, I pray you, beings, to live in daily expectation for a short time to trespass on your of our dissolution. For, what step attention. I can have no other can we take and meet not death? motive than your welfare-no other Where can we go and
his inducement than your eternal good. power? Who can withstand the He to whom all hearts are open, king of terrors, or fly beyond his knoweth the sincerity of the love I reach? All nature ministers to bear towards you.
him! all paths lead to the dark I cannot but feel and speak valley of the shadow of death! The strongly when I think on the un- food that nourishes our bodies, and certainty of life; how soon 'we the air that sustains our life, exershall pass away, like a morning cise and rest, joy and grief, are cloud and the early dew, and be pregnant with the seeds of death!
“ One great conqueror finds it in a things must become new.
And if so uncertain be the tenour we have directions for our spiritual of our life, so precarious the term guidance so plain, that a wayof our existence here, that we are faring man, though a fool in not the masters of a day; that we worldly wisdom, cannot err therecan hardly call a single moment in. That it clearly points to one of time our own; surely it behoves who is both able and willing to us to prepare quickly for our des save us who invites us to come tined change-prepare to meet that unto him for hope, for help, for Judge, who for the deeds done in mercy; that if in him we repose the body will doom us to endless our cares, and put our constant happiness or woe. If every day's trust, his everlasting arms will be experience did not testify to the underneath us, to bear us up amid fact, we could hardly believe it the heart-rending trials of mortapossible for man, reasoning man, lity. Let us, then, lay aside every to be so wrapt in the mantle of in- weight, and the sin which doth so difference, to be so ensnared with easily beset us, and let us run with the deceitful blandishments of the patience the race that is set before world, as to glide unthinkingly us, looking unto Jesus, the author down the stream of time, without and finisher of our faith. Soon, casting his thoughts seriously for- very soon, all means of grace will ward to that eternity to which it cease: soon, very soon, and our carries him.
portion will be fixed for ever; this May we, my dear Sir, be op- night our souls may be required posed to the practice of the world; of us. Are we prepared for death and live, during our short sojourn- and judgment? Dare we meet our ing here, as becometh them who God? Have our lives been in acname the name of Christ ; that cordance with the precepts of the when the hand of death is heavy Gospel? Are we walking in upon us, and the world quickly humble dependance upon Godclosing on our view, we may be looking unto him for daily support able, through faith, to say, with a striving earnestly to gain the vicpious Christian lately departed, tory over sin, and to be devoted, • I am happy to think that I have body, soul, and spirit, to the Renothing to do, but like Moses to deemer's service?' Then, indeed, go up into the Mount, leave the we may humbly hope, that, when world behind me, gently close my the hour of death approaches, eyes, and fall asleep in my Re our God will be with us; and that deemert." For this to be our when the last struggle is over, and case, we must be crucified to the the spirit freed, we shall be conworld, and the world to us. Its ducted to his abode, and join in pomps, its pleasures, its vanities, that triumphant song, Worthy 'is must lose their strong hold on us. the Lamb that was slain to receive Old things must pass away, all power, and riches, and wisdom, Bishop Hall.
and strength, and honour, and + Obituary of Mr. Vaughan, Missionary glory, and blessing. Register, Oct. 1823.
Ever yours affectionately,
THE CONTRAST: TWO DEATH-BED SCENES *. I SELECT from many similar God, and the redeeming merits of cases which came under
blessed Saviour, that I shall, vation, in the course of my pro- in a few minutes, be numbered fessional avocations in various with the chosen of God. O my parts of the world, the two fol- wife!
ters! I beseech you not to mourn These men, through life, pro- my departure; I feel happiness fessed sentiments very different unspeakable opening on my soul, from each other; and at the awful as it bursts from this wretched tehour of dissolution, their feelings nement.” Then grasping my hand, were indeed very opposite. They he faintly exclaimed, “Ah, my were both snatched away in the friend! virtue is its own reward. prime of life ; one being twenty- See the effect of a religious life, four, and the other twenty-seven and the blessed composure of a years old. A long and disinte- dying Christian !" He continued, rested friendship with the former, "My lamp is nearly out; but, induced him to request my attend- blessed be God, I feel that it has ance professionally; but all human not burned in vain. O Lord God, skill was vain; the cold hand of forgive my impatience! I am - death had seized him. Never in ready to obey thy call, and anxious my life did I see the cheering ef- to receive thy promised rest.” Here fects of a religious life more his voice failed his tongue falstrongly exemplified than on this tered, and his spirit took its flight occasion. His wife, bis mother, to the bosom of its father in and his five sisters, with myself, heaven. were present. Observing his fe The picture of my other unhappy male relations in tears, he re friend was just the reverse of the quested them to come near; and, above. He had indulged freely in after a little pause, addressed them all the fashionable gaieties of the in_nearly the following words: world; and if ever a serious or “ Beloved friends, I perceive with useful thought obtruded on his disregret the anguish of your souls; I ordered fancy, it was immediately say regret, because I had pro- stifled by some idle debauchery, mised myself nothing but tranquil- In this mad career, he quaffed lity and happiness, while the par- away life to the dregs, and, before tition is breaking down that sepa- he arrived at the meridian of manrates me from my God. I am en- hood, he was verging fast to the tering on my last journey, which, brink of eternity. À bacchanaso far from being terrible, is in- lian surfeit in a distant country viting and delightful.” A parox- brought on a fever, which threatysm of pain here interrupted the in- ened a speedy dissolution of life; teresting account, and for a minute and in this state I saw him for the he lay apparently insensible; but first time for several years; and I opening
his eyes again, with a pla- am certain I shall never forget the cid smile, he said, “ I feel the painful feelings I endured throughinfirmities of nature, but my sense out this melancholy interview. It of pain is lost in my ardent hope is absolutely impossible to give of salvation. I have heartily re even a faint idea of the horror, the pented of all my sins; and firmly agony, the heart-rending terror, believe, through the mercies of my that harrowed up his soul whenever
* Extracted from Mr. Reid's Account of the thought of death flashed across his Voyages to Van Dieman's Land. his mind. He received me with