Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

equally if not more in need of use- fluenced by the real and intelliful and religious instruction ? gence of Christians of all deno

How then can the influence of minations-what may not the same improper publications be lessened? intluence produce, among the ca

First, I answer, by Christians terers to a vitiated taste, who uniting in discountenancing, as exist only by the breath of the far as they can, those works which reading public. Cease to counopenly or insidiously, attack re- tenance them, and they expire. ligion and good morals.

Christians can only perform iheir If the educated and discrimi- own share of this duty, and in pating part of the Christian public attending to it they should exert Was steadily and perseveringly all their influence. This is widely exerting its influence, in discou- ramified. It includes not one secraging such works, it would un- tion of the religious public, but questionably have a beneficial all denominations, and extends effect, in not merely lessening the through the breadth and length of circulation of what was evil, but the land. Christians have their also in remedying the tone of own libraries to supply; there are many modern publications. If it multitudes of reading societies, was distinctly understood, (and and many of them are connected publishers and authors would soon with subscription libraries. In tind it out,) that when ridicule these circumstances, they may was employed against religion, exercise a healthful influence, by and that when any of those ob- preventing the admission of objectionable passages which are jectionable works. No doubt now profusely scattered through many Christians do so, but it is books of imagination, could be to be feared that by some the found, this would be considered duty is neglected. as sufficient to exclude it from But ministers have various and any moral and religious circle; important duties to perform as it years would not pass before a regards this matter. They are change for the better took place, often requested to recommend We know what has been done, books, not only those of a reliwithin these few years, by the gious tendency, but works of geforce of public opinion, directed neral science and literature. and exerted by Christian principle. They should be prepared to reThe two leading reviews of the commend those which can convey day, opposed as they are to each useful knowledge, without misother ju political and ecclesias- leading the judgment in more imtical dogmas, have yielded, and portant matters, or weakening wisely yielded, to what they saw those principles which regard mowas demanded by a large and in- rality. The influence of the Chrisfluential body in the country. The tian minister, in this matter is conone has assumed a tone respecting siderable, and he should seek to religion, altogether different from improve it well. Indeed, all well its original haughty and demi- educated Christians have their infidel language. The other has own circles, in which they can actually ventured to praise and exercise a wholesome influence, advocate Christian missions to the in lessening the demand for cerheathen, which were once held by tain works. If this result can be the same party in sovereign con- accomplished, though in a small tempt. If these autocrats of lite- degree, they are promoting the rature, these soi-disant rulers of the cause of truth. republic of letters, were forced to (To be concluded in our nert.) succumb to public opinion, in

THE MAN OF THE WORLD.

-religion !-what is it with them

but a name, a commodity, a Who is he? The Scripture tells mere decency, a convenient thing me, that “ he has his portion in for governing weak and superstithis life." Ah! it is a portion tious minds? suited to his sordid desires! He Various, indeed, are the chais heir to a great estate; or he racters, tastes, and dispositions of has acquired much wealth by in- the men of the world, but one sees dustry, skill, or good fortune. amidst all the same gravitating “ The rich man's wealth is his principle: all, alas! are in the strong city.” There he intrenches same state before God, and one himself; and, defying the assaults common destiny awaits them, of poverty, and want, and afflic- The bloated, ill-savoured sention, revels in his heart's lusts. sualist, the haughty man of rank, “ Come," says he, “I will fetch the tyrant in power, the fawning wine, and we will fill ourselves sycophant, the tradesman-drudge, with strong drink, and to-morrow the proud, avaricious minister of shall be as this day, and much religion, the trifling coxcomb, and more abundant.” Surveying his the gay, fluttering, flirting coquette, possessions, he says, “ Soul, thou –all, all are in the same state of hast much goods laid up for many condemnation. They may be years; take thine ease, eat, drink, ridiculing, consuming, slandering, and be merry."

hating, oppressing, destroying But while this man of the world each other; or they may be lovrapidly consumes his portion in ing, praising, flattering, compliriotous living, and wearies him- menting each other; it is all one: self in pursuing new pleasures, they are condemned, and under another takes the contrary course sentence of death: they are in of intire self-denial, and amasses prison and in chains, awaiting a a vast store of wealth, merely for doleful fate. Too often, unhapthe vanity of being reputed rich. pily, . Poor slave! what a drudgery hast thou willingly undertaken!

“ They fancy music in their chaios,

And so forget the load." to heap up wealth with much toil and care, with much fear But occasionally they have some and anxiety, not knowing who presentiment of their dreadful desshall scatter it abroad ;-starving tiny. The remembrance of past thyself to enable some other sin- crimes and follies visits them as ner to destroy his soul by ex- a dismal spectre in the dead of cess!

night, and conscience clanks in These are the men of the world, their ears the chains which are who have their portion in this to bind them down in everlasting life. Pitiable beings they are, darkness and despair. From bis for their state is wretched. They restless pillow, the affrighted worldare “ of the earth," and they are ling starts, seeking the light of earthly; they live under ground day, resolving not to take his rein darkness and confusion; they pose at this gloomy hour, but have no thought, no desire beyond that henceforth the night shall the present life; give them their be spent in revelling and mirth : heart's desire for this world, and and, as darkness, and silence, and they are satisfied; of every thing solitude are too favourable for holy, spiritual, divine, and eternal, reflection, and as reflection brings they are willingly ignorant. “ God alarm and horror, so he will not is not in all their thoughts.” Pure see darkness as long as he lives, and undefiled religion they hate : whatever he may be obliged to

do when he leaves the present Is this really the destiny of the world.

man of the world? Can it be And is this really the condi- doubted by a believer in the word tion of the man of the world ? of God? Then tremble, my seul, Is he often wretched, even in this at the thought of being a man of life, amidst all his splendour and the world! Be content to “ sul. luxury? What then must be his fer affliction with the people of misery, when he shall have lost God," and to “ bear the reproach all to which his carnal heart now of Christ,” rather than wish to fondly clings! What agony of enjoy " the pleasures of sin for a soul, when his portion is wrenched season." Have « respect to the from his hard grasp by the iron recompense of the reward !" Let hand of death! Stripped bare me “live by faith !” O my God, of all its soft delights, robbed my Saviour! preserve me from of its other self-the pampered, the spirit and character of “ the idolized partner of its guilty men of the world, who have their pleasures, with what a scream of portion in this life !" Let me not horror will it be dragged down look on them with envy, but only the dark descent to the burning with the most melting pity; with lake! What an exchange! from the most earnest concern; with a a bed of down, and every enjoy- burning zeal for their salvation, ment and solace that art and “if, peradventure, God may give wealth can minister, to be plunged them repentance !" Let my por. into a sulphureous gult, there to tion be—" godliness with con. roll in vain contention with the tentment !"-" In thy favour there fiery billows, without hope of is life, and thy loving-kindness is mitigation or release through ever- better than life.” lasting ages!

THEOLOGUS.

ORIGINAL LETTERS.

XXXI.- Rev. Jon. Edwards to land that has been distinguished with

Rev. George Whitefield. light, and have long enjoyed the Gospel,
Northampton, in New England, and have been glutted with it, and have

Feb. 12, 1739-40. despised it, are, I fear, more hardened Rev. SIR-My request to you is, that than most of those places wbere you in your intended journey through New have preached hitherto. But yet I hope England the next summer, you would in the power and mercy of God that be pleased to visit Northampton. I hope has appeared so triumphant in the sucit is not wholly from curiosity that I cess of your labours in other places, desire to see and hear you in this place; that he will send a blessing with you but I apprehend, from what I have even to us, though we are unworthy of heard, that you are one that has the it. I hope, if God preserves my life, blessing of heaven attending you where to see something of that salvation of ever you go; and I have a great desire, God in New England, which he has if it may be the will of God, that such now begun, in a benighted, wicked, a blessing as attends your warfare and and miserabla world and age, and in labours may descend upon this town, the most guilty of all nations. It has and may enter mine own house, and been with refreshment of soul that I that I may receive it in my own soul. have heard of one raised up in the Indeed, I am fearful whether you will Church of England to revive the mysnot be disappointed in New England, terious, spiritual, despised, and exand will have less success here than in ploded doctrines of the Gospel, and other places: we who have dwelt in a full of a spirit of zeal for the promo

tion of real vital piety, whose labours bestow much of that blessed spirit on have been attended with such success. me that he has bestowed on you, and Blessed be God that hath done it! make me also an instrument of his He is with you, and helps you, and glory. makes the weapons of your warfare I am, Reverend Sir, mighty. We see that God is faithful,

Unworthy to be called and never will forget the promises that

Your fellow labourer, he has made to his church: and that

JONATHAN EDWARDS. he will not suffer the smoking flax to To the Rev. Mr. George Whitefield. be quenched, even when the floods seem to be overwhelming it; but will revive the flame again, even in the dark. XXXIV.- Rev. Henry Venn, of est times. I hope this is the dawning Huddersfield, to Mr. Jones. of a day of God's mighty power and glorious grace to the world of mankind. Huddersfield, March, 6th, 1770. May you go on, Reverend Sir, and may MY DEAR SON IN THE LORD - Though God be with you more and more abun- it is nearly two months since I received dantly, that the work of God may be your affectionate letter, which gave me carried on by a blessing on your labours much pleasure, I have been every week still, with that swift progress that it has purposing to answer it; but with a been hitherto, and rise to a greater body that compels me to use much height, and extend further and further, horse exercise, and with much to do, with an irresistible power bearing down I am often much behind band in paying all opposition ! and may the gates of hell my epistolary debts. It is no injury never be able to prevail against you! and to your soul, that those transporting may God send forth more labourers joys are all gone, with which you were into his harvest of a like spirit, until filled at the first manifestation of the the kingdom of Satan shall shake, and love of Christ, and at your first entrance his proud empire fall throughout the into bis banqueting house. But you do earth, and the kingdom of Christ, that well earnestly to intreat for that demonglorious kingdom of light, lioliness, strative evidence which makes the things peace, and love, shall be established of time, and the pleasures of sin, appear from one end of the earth unto the the one very mean, and the other very other!

detestable. I would have you take as Give my love to Mr. Seward : I hope a proof how much you need more to see him here with you. I believe I knowledge of the Scriptures, that you may venture to say, that what has been should think so highly of me as you do. heard of your labours and success has You seem to be surprised that, in my not been taken notice of more in any letter to your brother, I should mention place in New England than here, or the sore trials I feel from indwelling received with fuller credit. I hope, sin. Alas! if Paul could say, “ I am therefore, if we have opportunity, we carbal, sold under sin ;" carnal, when shall hear you with greater attention. measured by the law in its full extent, The way from New York to Boston, sold under sin, as he felt its vile actiugs, through Northampton, is but little furs enfeebling him in the ascension of his ther than the nearest that is; and I soul, and in the exercise of perfect love think leads through as populous a part to God and man.-If the planter of of the country as any. I desire that you churches, and chief of the apostles, had and Mr. Seward would come directly abundant reason to cry out, “Oh, to my house. I shall account it a great wretched man that I am, who shall favour and smile of Providence to have deliver me from this body of sin and opportunity to evtertain such guests death,” what words can set forth the under my roof, and to have some ac- state of my soul. Neither place, nor quaintance with such persons.

time can I remember, neither judgment I fear it is too much for me to desire nor mercy, that I have not abused; not a particular remembrance in your a day, nor an hour, can I bear to look prayers, when I consider how many back upon, and say, this has been dethousands do doubtless desire it, who voted as it might. Growth in grace is can't all be particularly mentioned; the mortification of self love, but self and I am far from thinking myself love is not promoted by a discovery of worthy to be distinguished. But pray, our hideous deformity; a discovery Sir, let your heart be lifted up to God which stares me in the face just as the for me, among others, that God would Prodigal's unnatural usage of his be. N. S. No. 31.

3 B

loved father, when he kneeled down and feel the truth, that neither is he before him, as a starving beggar, reduced that planteth any thing, neither he that by his own profligacy to that shameful watereth, but God who giveth the incondition. These discoveries are much crease. Every one receiveth just as the to be prayed for, and by reading the Lord giveth. "We all do as well as we scriptures, as men seek for gold in a can, and when I have been so dry, so mine, you will obtain them.

stupid, and so heavy, as even to be a There is no good character, strictly burden to myself in the pulpit, I have speaking, in the Bible, but that one, by done my utmost as well as in times of whom all the righteous are justified. In greater liberty. the best you see a consciousness of great But the main question, my dear Sir, depravity, and either from their words or is still unanswered in your letter. I actions, it is evident that they were men was in hopes you had been baptized ; of like passions with ourselves, capable you know that the Lord has been in of doing the worst of things, even after that chapel of a truth, and there you such love had been manifested to them, were blessed. As you know the design and such deliverances wrought out for of that chapel, and that God has wonthem, as seem to render it almost incre- derfully revived his work in our Sodible that they should at that time so fall, ciety (the church of England as it is Noah, soon after he came out of the called), I would have you join us. Let ark; Lot, soon after he was delivered no superstitions, and opinions about from the flames of Sodom; David, after smaller matters prevent you from doing all that he had received ; and Solomon, it. It will prove a blessing to yourself, though God appeared to him in a and, I doubt not, a blessing to others. vision of the night. Grounded on this for my own part, I never heard such view, all boasting is excladed, all self comprehensive spiritual prayers from complacence in its first risings is con- any man in public worship. Every demned; the Lord alone is exalted, man has a form, though he varies the while a never ceasing and absolute phrases ; such is the poverty of man, dependance upon him, and the word that not one in a thousand can from his of his faithfulness, the blood of his co- own heart express himself in words and venant, and the eternal purposes of his matter nearly the same. That I have own adorable will, is all in all. The no bigotry in my attachment and preproud and selfish creature man, who ference to our church, you cannot bus was his own end and idol, is laid low, confess. Indeed, I love all who love and prepared for that world where every our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, as thing shall be seen in God, and the my brethren. But I never was at worsight of self, more than it is exactly the ship with a congregation of dissenters, good pleasure of God to make it, will without being amazed at their indebe lost for ever. I wish you had always votion, so that were a painter to draw the benefit of such teaching as you have from the life, their air, their attitude, from dear Mr. Shirley; but in the want and their behaviour, no one would know of it, and under the preaching of less that they were a people worshipping able ministers, you will find a blessing God, for common sense tells us that our if you go with a hungry soul, and a posture, if not bending the knee, should humble heart. There are some preachers be that of self abasement and deep conwhose external accomplishments are trition. The eyes should be shut, and such, as the prophet Ezekiel describes, the face covered, and a deep solemnity they are like a tuneful song from one over the whole assembly. Thus much who has a pleasant voice. Many are for our particular mode of worship.* attached to such preaching, and not to the truths they preach. But our hearers . Though we are not prepared to admit ought to wrestle with God for us on the justice of Mr. Venn's remarks, on the the Sabbath-day; they should rise early general style and manner of dissenting and be begging of God fulness of mai. devotions, yet we think they may afford

a useful hint to some amongst us, who, it ter, clearness of conception, forcible

must be confessed have, both by their words, with divine teaching and power

petitions and postures, done very little to in them. And I am persuaded that in

recommend the practice of free prayer. this way of preparing for public wor.

A liturgical form, however, does not ship great would be the edification of

necessarily secure a devotional manner. the people.

Tickell's paper in the Spectator on the I would always desire to look through proper reading of the Common Prayer the instrument to the band that uses it, will illustrate this, and the learned in

« ElőzőTovább »