Page images

hospitality to his servants. She used every art of persuasion to detain their presence; and we see the courtesy and cheerfulness of her sex exerted to accommodate those, whom her affections had learnt to prize. Dorcas passed her hours in industry; but her occupations were in strict conformity to the seclusion of feminine habits. Had she set up to refute false sentiments by the cleverest arguments, I question whether we should find her eulogized as an example to the daughters of Zion.

I do not forget the reception of Apollos under the roof and tuition of Aquila and his gracious partner. The stranger convert was indebted no doubt to Priscilla, in co-operation with her husband, for some blessed improvements in divine truths. But whoever fills up the outline of this sacred anecdote with any images of polemical dispute; or whoever supposes a formal contest between varying assertions eagerly contending for victory, not anxious for advancement in knowledge, will utterly deface the sweet picture which the evangelist has designed. When Jude exhorts to contend for the faith, I never suppose that he means we should quarrel about it; but that christian emulation should vie with love, in declaring the object and subject of all our hopes. Each renewed soul has its own appropriate stock of grace, which it may carry to the general treasury of the Lord's gifts; the seed is thus stored up as in a garner, for public consumption. Christians have all things in common, and in conformity to this generous diffusion of benefits; the Lord hath caused this charming relation of primitive cordiality to be sanctified among the pages of Scripture.

I have always been an admirer of Mr. Newton's remark on the behaviour of Aquila and Priscilla, “ Apollos met with two candid people in the church; they neither ran away because he was legal; nor were carried away because he was eloquent." The purport of Apollos' preaching has been handed down to us, in that interesting episode which the Lord has made in the Acts of the Apostles, purposely, we may infer, to commemorate and hallow the familiar meetings of believers. Notwithstanding his abilities and readiness in the Scriptures, Apollos knew little -only the baptism of John. The narrative adds, that by the instrumentality of St. Paul's late auditors, the Holy Spirit enlarged his understanding, and revealed to him the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The behaviour of his two friends was vastly engaging. Apollos preached fear-. lessly, as far as he knew decidedly; and the clearer views of the Apostle's converts, instead of fixing them above him on a pinnacle of spiri-, tual pride, or rather of knowledge which puffeth up; tended to assimilate their advantages with his wants, and to draw out their love towards one who spoke in faithfulness; although his utterance was not in the fulness of the Gos-, pel of Christ.

This engaging incident precisely represents: what I mean as to the efforts of female converts, and aptly illustrates what the Lord approves in our behaviour towards strangers, and candidates for Christian fellowship. Women, when taught of the Lord, are to be domestic interpreters of the word, and modest, contented exemplars of its influence. Daughters of Jerusalem prepared spices to embalm the Lord's body, and we may be compounding fragrant affections for the use of the brethren; which, like the subtle evaporation of essences, shall betray. our industry by refreshing all within their perfumed atmosphere.

I love that fortitude of understanding, which,

while it holds the truth in its full liberty and proclairns it with sacred confidence, shall, at the same time, be in concordance with delicacy towards the ignorant, and tenderness towards the faint. The inspired inquiry is not what preachers do you attend ? but, “ What think ye of Christ ?"


Memorial to absent friends-Contemplation on

past yearsTemporal mercies never truly appreciated but by the renewed mind-Practical utility one of the beauties of the Bible, Danger of mistaking an apprehension of doctrines for faithThe author's introduction to the vicar of the parishThoughts on the suitable walk of women professing godlinessOpinions founded on divine teaching.

I have very nearly fulfilled the design with which I commenced this little volume; having brought my “ Outlines” to the termination of those few months, within whose rapid circle I had been settled far from the busy scenes of youth, and its ever-varying expectations. The Christian's hope, like the polar star, never roams from its position; while the desires of time as falling spangles, glitter most when they escape beyond our reach.

« PreviousContinue »