« PreviousContinue »
In such a soil evangelical mendicants find a ready reception, and are welcomed to the great annoyance of all peaceable and really devout persons; some of whom as obedient sons of the Church would never have heard these new lights, had they not been obtruded upon them in their own parish churches.
In all the churches where the doctor preached, shameful scenes prevailed through the rudenesses of the methodistical rabble which followed him, but St. George's in the Borough seems to have surpassed them all, and it behoves the Rector (who I am informed is not tainted with the enthusiastic miasmata) to assert his right for the future in withholding his pulpit from such men. For above an hour before the service, the Church was so completely surrounded by a mob, that very few of the parishioners could get to their pews, and when they got into the Chusch they had the mortification to find them almost all occupied by strangers who had climbed into them without the slightest ceremony. The Lecturer was in the desk at two o'clock, instead of three-accompanied by two others of the same description as himself! The clerk was excluded from his seat which was taken possession of by three persons, one of whom volunteered as clerk, without any authority! The altar was crowded both within, upon, and without the rails. The noise and confusion were so great that the reader was prevented from beginning the service by endeavouring to allay the tumult, which he elegantly compared “ to a bear-garden.” He bawled aloud for order, and calling to the parish officers to keep order and peace, though he was the cause of all the riot, by bringing the popular preacher there. The people in the aisles could not move their arms, and from the crowd thus pressing upon each other, MURDER was vociferated repeatedly. Those who had raised their arms to secure their hats, were obliged to continue them in that elevation from being so closely wedged in, as to be unable to stir. One young woman fainted away and was removed over the heads of the mob to the door. Another woman finding some-one picke ing her pocket and endeavouring to prevent it, had her hand severely wounded with a knife. Three pick-pockets were actually taken up in the Church! After the reader had proceeded about half through the service, with many interruptions and in so much noise that he could not be heard at three yards distance,--the pious preacher arrived with three of his disciples, a proof how great his regard was for our venerable Liturgy. After great pains and difficulty this“ divine man” and his attendants made their way to the pulpit where you may sup sort of entertainment he furnished the congregation with.
The relation of these disgraceful scenes cannot but fill every pious mind with horror; as well as with indignation against these artful and vain-glorious men, whose evident aim is to be “seen, heard, and admired of men."
I sincerely hope that the several diocesans of these men will take these things into consideration and exert their authority in keeping them to order. To the honour of the late archbishop of Dublin, he silenced one of these fanatical and antinomian disturbers of the Church, by pro hibiting him any pulpit in his diocese, and I cannot but think that some such step would be necessary on this side of the Channel.
I am, &c. Newington-Butts, June 6, 1803.
ose what SHORT REFLECTIONS ON HARVEST.
Isaiah, ix. 3.
THEY JOY BEFORE THEE ACCORDING TO THE JOY IN HARVEST.
result from the coming of Jesus Christ, and the diffusion of his holy Gospel. Natural objects and ordinary circumstances of life are frequently adopted in Scripture to represent spiritual blessings; and what more expressive and beautiful image than this could have been chosen to describe the glorious and joyful state of the world when the “Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in his wings?” Let us then, at this season, endeavour to improve this most delightful subject by considering briefly the “ Joy of Harvest," with the corresponding blessings of the Gospel, and the duties which we owe for both.
After much pains and expence and anxiety, the Almighty rewards the labours of the husbandman with abundant success. " He crowneth the
year with his goodness, and his paths drop fatness. They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness; and the little hills rejoice on every side. The pastures are clothed with flocks; the vallies also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing," Ps.lxv. 11-13. While the rich and poor rejoice together in gathering in the fruits of the earth, unmolested by the ravages of a desolating enemy, and in the comfortable prospect of cheapness and plenty, let them contemplate and adore the wonderful goodness of God, whose tender mercies are over all his works, " and from whom descendeth every good and perfect gift.” Let the rich learn gratitude to him who has been so good to them, and let them shew forth that gratitude by being liberal and kind to their needy brethren : and on the other hand, let the poor be thankful, content, humble, and obedient. But above all things, let each of them consider the obligations they owe to the Saviour of the world for producing a still greater and more blessed source of joy than this, in giving himself as a sacrifice for them, that by faith in him they may eat of the "bread of life," and finally at the great hardest, when the Lord thereof shall send forth his angels to gather the wheat into his garner, [i. e. the righteous into eternal bliss) and to burn up the tares (or the wicked) with unquenchable fire," they may both be found together in the “ bundle of life.” The gospel of Christ affords subjects for present joy, because we are assured that God is now reconciled to the world, through the death of his Son, and that, if we believe and obey him in godly simplicity and true sincerity of heart, an abundant entrance shall be given unto us, when we depart hence, into a state of bliss. We are now enabled to joy before him, more than they who joy in a plentiful harvest, because these have only a temporal comfort which may be succeeded in a season or two, hy sore calamities, such as deso: lation, and famine ; but they who have weaned their affections from earthly things, and fixed them there where only true joys are to be found, look forward to a scene of joy which shall never end. In trouble, in adversity, in want and in scarcity, the sincere Christian
will possess an inward content, a calm placidity, because he resigns himself wholly into the hands, and under the direction of his heavenly Father, therefore, while the worldly minded, the covetous, the unthankful and the envious, are uttering nothing but blasphemous complaints against Providence, and uncharitable censures against their brethren, he piously will exclaim with the prophet, “ Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vine; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat, the flock, shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls; yet I WILL REJOICE IN THE LORD: I WILL JOY IN THE GOD OF MY SALVATION.” Hab. iii. 17. We labour much for the “ bread that perisheth,”are wonderfully solicitous about the state of the weather, the appearance of the “ blade, and of the full corn in the ear,”—and when the fields show a golden prospect and stand " thick with corn,”.. we go forth to the delightful work with much gladness of heart, and conclude the whole with great joy and festivity. But, though this is all well, yet there is another labour essentially necessary to produce happiness, and without which, if we are ever so successful in adding “ house to house, and field to field,” all our joy in the end will be turned to mourning. The present life is only a state of probation and trial, and the time allotted for us here is so short that unless we improve it by con. stant diligence we shall render but a miserable reckoning when the great householder shall demand of us an account of our Stewardship. We are required to take the same pains with, and for our souls, that we do with the land from whence we look for a plentiful crop; we must not leave them uncultivated, but endeavour earnestly to possess every christian virtue as a fixed habit ; and that they may all flourish and be rooted in us, we must watch heedfully over our tempers and inclinations, lest the tempter, whilst we are asleep, (that is, off our guard, careless and unconcerned) insidiously sow therein, the tares of pride, sensuality, envy, hypocrisy, covetousness, or sensuality. As the husbandman riseth early and goeth forth into his fields, to see that the fences are in order, that weeds do not choke the tender plant, and that his servants do their duty, so must the Christian carefully and daily exa. mine the state of his mind, and where he sees a weakness of which his spiritual enemy may take an advantage, he must plant a strong guard, vigorously resisting all encroaching temptations, lest his virtuous principles and holy desires and resolutions be choked and enfeebled.
By a course like this, piety becomes habitual and pleasant to kim; bis communications with heaven, public and private,are sweet, and especially when partaking of the holy Eucharist, may he be said to "joy before the Lord, as they who joy in harvest.” And when he draws to the close of life, his joy will become greater, because his views of the eternal kingdom will be more distinct and clear. In the last solemn scene of all, he will feel the import of the venerable Simeon's declaration when be held in his arms the infant Saviour, “ Now, Lord, lettest thou thy, servant depart in peace, according to thy word, for mine eyes have seen thy Salvation."
ON THE ABUSE OF THE PROPHECIES.
TO THE EDITORS OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN'S MAGAZINE.
AM sorry to observe amongst the various means employed by disaf
fected persons to poison the minds of Englishmen with democratical Principles, and to weaken their energy in the common cause of the coun: try; at this awful moment, there is one peculiarly abominable and dan gerous; and that is, an artful perversion of the scripture prophecies in favour of our enemy.. I have strong reasons to believe that many of the sectarian teachers dwell much upon this subject, and by representing the colossal power of France as the effect of a Providential decree; the purpose of bringing about, I know not what terrible judgments and chimerical blessings, make their infatuated followers believe, that resistance to its usurpation, is in fact to fight against God! But this is not the worst part of the mischief
. To give a greater circulation to this shocking delusion, pamphlets are printed, containing forced interpretations of the sacred predictions, and applying them in a cunning and imposing way to the existing state of Europe. These publications are calculated to produce more evil than all the pieces which have been avowedly written upon revolutionary principles; because they insinuate a deadly apathy into the minds of pious and welldisposed persons, and make them look with a degree of stupid indifference for the ruin of their country as an event fixed by the adamantine decree of heaven.
I have now before me, a pamphlet recently printed, (and sold by the teacher of a dissenting congregation) in which the speedy overthrow of this country is attempted to be proved from various prophecies, but particularly from the 16th chapter of the Revelations. It is the object of the anonymous writer (artfully calling himself a “Christian Believer") to prove that England is the “ Whore of Babylon, the mother of 'harlots, and abominations of the Earth!!” From that verse, “ Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues," he has the assurance to call upon all true Christians " speedily to remove," adding, "Let it not be delayed, for the hour is at hand; it will be too late to call for mercy when it is the hour of vengeance.” He predicts in plain terms the total destruction of London, because it is a place of great " commercial greatness. Her maritime strength (says he) is to be shaken and annihilated."Again, “ the 21st verse shews her over-throw shall be with the greatest violence: and the two following, that she shall never be rebuilt or inhabited, which seems to intimate the vengeance as peculiarly directed to a city, being more inapplicable to a country.”
It is observable that fanatical incendiaries have always taken the same steps to propagate their rebellious notions among the people; for by persuading them that the Lord is now bringing about his divine purposes, and putting shame upon the “ kings of the earth,” they alienate their minds from the principles of obedience, and make them ready to fall into Tevolutionary measures. This course was pursued by the
parliamentary preachers in the reign of Charles the first, who sounded rebellion through the trumpet of prophecy, and persuaded their misguided hearers that then was fulfilling the prediction in the Psalms " they shall bind their kings in chains and their nobles in links of iron.”
When people have adopted the fatal conceit that their doom is fixed, and that the formidable foe with whom they have to contend is irresistible, it is easy to pronounce what must be the
No man will exert himself with a willing heart, nor fight with a becoming courage, if he is fully assured that he shall perish in the conflict; and if he is satisfied that his country's fate is immutably fixed by the determinate will of the Almighty, he will yield quietly to the yoke of oppression, as a proof of pious submission, and not resist the oppressor, lest he should be acting in opposition to the counsels of Heaven.
I hope, gentlemen, that some means will be taken to stop the progress of this mischievous practice, and therefore request the insertion of these remarks in your seasonable and excellent publication.
I am your constant reader,
And humble servant,
TO THE EDITORS OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN'S MAGAZINE,
WHAT Shakespear puts into the mouth of the Chorus in his
“ Life of King Henry V. is applicable to the circumstances of this time
“ Now all the youth of England are on fire,
“ Reigns solely in the breast of every man.” I have been so much occupied in procuring scarlet-cloth and white kerseymere for my customers of late, in measuring and cutting off my goods, and in supplying the places of my son and my shopman whilst they are at drill, that i have not been able to bestow a farther thought upon the Christian Observer's double-faced Review of “ Unity the Bond of Peace, &c.” I am glad to see that the author of that excellent book has condescended to vindicate his own work against those jesuitical Reviewers. I wish he would enter into the matter in detail, and expose them thoroughly. I know not how far he may approve of what I have written. I wish I could express myself in a way more likely to secure his approbation than I do; and I wish, too, that experience of my deficiency may stimulate him to take the whole affair into his own hands. I am sorry a month must elapse before I can convince him of, at least, my zeal for the cause of truth.
I am, Gentlemen, in great haste,
Your obliged friend,
And humble servant, Shadwell,
JONATHAN DRAPIER. Aug. 6th, 1803.