[ocr errors]

ately after the cloth was drawn, a carriage drove up to the door, bringing the celebrated phrenologist, Dr. Spurzheim, and another gentleman, to call on the Rajah. They were ushered into the dining-room, and a chair was placed for Dr. Spurzheim immediately opposite the Brahmin. The Doctor was scarcely seated, when the Brahmin said (I wish I could give the deep tone and broad pronunciation with which he spoke; any thing said by him must lose much by the absence of that which can't be transferred to paper), ‘But I must have a word with this philosopher; I was a member of the Phrenological Society of Calcutta for two years myself, but they all fell to quarrelling among themselves, so I left them; but you say the head—it is formed with the bump, the conformation, the figure, and that the bump, the conformation, the figure does indicate the character, the habit, the disposition of the mind. You say so; well! you shall meet with a man who lives to be twenty, thirty, forty, fifty years old, and then he change, he quite change, he become another man. Now his head, does that change ?" "Oh, yes,' said Dr. Spurzheim, with a strong German pronunciation, "and you shall meet with some men that do change, but there are many more that do not change.' 'Oh, yes,' replied the Brahimin, there are many men that never change You may find five hundred men that do not change, five thousand men that do never change; but if I find fifty men, five men, that do change, and their head it does not change, my fifty, my five go to prove that your system is not universal. Dr. Spurzheim's friend then related the case of a boy, who was a bad boy, and grew up to be twenty, and till that time was a pest to society; but, when little more than twenty years old, he changed, and became an altered man, and the bumps on his head went down till they were entirely lost. The Brahmin listened most earnestly, tiil the gentleman ceased to speak, and then he lifted up his hands as in astonishment, and said, 'So the bump it go away!' 'But,' Dr. Spurzheim cried, 'don't you believe the fact ?' 'Oh, yes,' he replied, 'I must believe the fact, as the gentleman says so; but, it is a very remarkable fact, and very much to your purpose.'

"The other instance in which I had the pleasure to meet this most interesting man, was at breakfast in my own house. On that occasion I invited men of various religious opinions to meet him, and there were about thirty persons present. The conversation was very lively and well-sustained. The Brahmin exhibited wonderful shrewdness. 'Ah,' he said, “you say that you are all one in Christ, all brethren, and equal in him. Well, you go to the cathedral at Cal. cutta, there you see a grand chair of crimson velvet and gold-that is for the Governor-General of India; then there are other chairs of crimson and gold, they are for the members of council; and then there are seats lined with crimson, they are for the merchants, etc.; then there are the bare benches for the common people and the poor; yet you say we are all one in Christ; but if the poor man--whose seat is there, on that bare bench—if he go and sit down on the crimson velvet chair of the governor-general, they will break his head! Yet you are all one in Christ!' Some one was about to expound this matter to the Brahmin and explain the impropriety of any one taking the seat of the representative of majesty. But the thing was too good for our Quaker friend, James Cropper, quietly to let it go. He so thoroughly sympathized with the Brahmin's view of the matter, that he could not refrain from interposing. Nay, nay,' he cried, thou must not seek to put aside the force of our friend's remark;' 80 the Brahmin and our friend James had the matter entirely to themselves."


Dr. Raffles lived to see our terrible conflict for the preservation of our national existence, but there is nothing in this volume to show whether his sympathies were on the side of the Unionists, or dis-Unionists. While the war was in progress he wrote to his American friend, Dr. Sprague, as follows:“I thank you for your photograph. It tells of advancing years, though I trace the resemblance to what my memory retains of your appearance, when I had the pleasure of seeing you last. Shall I'never have that pleasure again on this side the grave? I can scarcely expect it, for should you visit this country again—which, indeed, you told me some time ago you had the purpose of doing-unless it be very soon, I cannot reasonably entertain the prospect of being here to see you. But we shall meet, I trust, in a better land! I am truly glad to have so good an account of yourself from your own pen. You have been a hard worker with heart, and brain, and tongue, and pen, and God has enabled you to work well and to good purpose, and you will leave behind you works for time and for eternity that will render you immortal! I am glad to find you don't anticipate a long continuance of this dreadful war. May God speedily send peace !"

” In 1862 Dr. Raffles resigned his pastoral charge of the Great George Street Church, his bodily infirmities rendering the performance of regular duties impossible. He said, at that time, to a friend, “I have known nothing all along save Jesus Christ, and him crucified, and that which has supplied the burden of my ministry is dearer to me now than ever.” He preached occasionally after his retirement. At the close of his last sermon, he experienced so much pain and exhaustion that it was some time before he could converse, though during the delivery of the discourse, the spirit of the aged servant of God triumphed over the infirmities of the flesh. The sermon was one of great power and tenderness. On the 17th of May, 1863, he peacefully breathed his last. His funeral was attended by clergymen of various denominations, including many ministers of the Church of England. The Mayor of Liverpool and many of his fellow-townsmen followed the funeral cortége, at the head of a long line of carriages, and it was estimated that 50,000 people lined the route of the processior.




Considering the reputation enjoyed by Dr. Raffles as a preacher, and the multitude of his admirers, we are surprised to find that the descriptions contained in this volume of the character and style of his public services are so few. The following is an account written by an American gentleman for a religious newspaper :—“At the appointed hour of service, a large, portly man, with full and ruddy countenance, and in full clerical dress, ascended the pulpit. After a hymn, he read the 24th chapter of Matthew, with great pertinency and pathos of expression, in silvery and subduing tones. From the first opening of his lips, he seemed moved from his inmost soul. I could have imagined, though ignorant of the cause, that the deep fountains of feeling were opened within him, and that some mighty sympathies were working there. And I thought, too, that the congregation were ready to be with him in feeling. But I knew not the occasion. “Is that Dr. Raffles,' said I, in a whisper, to the gentleman on my right? “Yes, sir,' was his answer. After the usual introductory services, and a prayer which breathed the soul, and which seemed a fellowship with heaven, the following text was announced. Therefore, be ye also ready, for in such an hour as you think not, the Son of Man cometh.'

Nearly twenty years have rolled away since I have had the pastoral charge of this congregation,' said the preacher, and these were his first words after reading the text,—and never have I been called to mingle my tears with the bereaved of my charge in any instance for a work of death so astounding to private and public sympathy as in the late and ill-fated doom of the Rothsay Castle.' And here, at the end of the first sentence, the secret was all opened to me, and I felt myself at once a mourner with the mourning, for I had passed in full view of the scene of death, and heard the story, for the first time, this very day. Three members of Dr. Raffles' church were of the number who perished, and this evening it had devolved on the pastor to stand up before a mourning people to tell the story, and try to impress them with the practical lesson of the awful event. And he did tell the story in the outset, the simple story, as the exordium of his sermon. He briefly noticed the character of those they mourned, traced

[ocr errors]

the pathway of their spirits through the stormy waves of the ocean to the haven of eternal rest; and then applied himself to the proper theme of his text, in application to his hearers—Be ye also ready.' Never did I see an audience so perfectly spellbound by the voice of a man. Occasionally, in the progress of the sermon, the Doctor was powerful beyond description; his thoughts and manner, and the tones of his voice all befitting each other. The interest of the occasion was itself intense, and when the ' Amen' was pronounced, the perfect stillness which had reigned for the hour was succeeded by the singular bustle which an instantaneous change of position in every individual of a great congregation, after having been long chained by eloquence in fixed and motionless attitudes, produces."

An attendant on the ininistry of Dr. Raffles could not fail to remark his strong attachment to the doctrines of grace. The Saviour, and redemption through his blood, were constantly exhibited in his preaching. It was a favorite saying of his, that in every sermon there ought to be something which would teach any ignorant person who might happen to be present the way of salvation through the atoneinent of Christ. When a friend, in conversation with him, expressed the opinion that people were pretty well enlightened on the doctrines, and needed to have the practical truths presented to them, he admitted the latter part of the statement, and then said, “ If I were preaching a sermon such as you speak of, before I closed I would give it a twist, so as to bring in Christ and his great salvation.” A consideration which greatly favors this view is, that though the exhibition of the particular truth which the anxions sinner most needs to know may seem to do no good at the time it is presented, yet very frequently its saving effects are experienced years afterward. Prayer should be incessantly offered by the people of God, that the Holy Spirit would apply the truth lodged in their souls to their conversion and salvation.

We do not think that Dr. Raffles' preaching was characterized by frequent forinal exhibitions of the denunciations and threatenings of the Word of God against the impenitent. Whether he erred in this we pretend not to say. The explicit. ness and frequency with which the terrors of the Lord should be declared depend on the state of the congregation. It should be borne in mind that, though conscience of itself often teaches most powerfully precisely what the law declares in regard to the punishment due to sin, and more effectually than any preacher can, yet, when the question is asked, “How shall man be just with God ?” both reason and conscience are silent. Is it not then pre-eminently the official duty of every ambassador of Christ to show what the Bible teaches on this subject? Though he inay leave some things unexplained, yet is he not solemnly bound so to instruct his hearers in regard to free justification through faith in Christ's righteousness, that it will not be his fault if any of them do not clearly understand it? And then it is to be remembered that the cross is not really held up, the gospel is not really preached, unless it is exhibited in such a way as is adapted to make the sinner conscious of his danger, and his wants, and extinguish every hope he may entertain of salvation out of Christ. When David exclaims, “ Mine iniquities have taken hold upon me so that I am not able to look up,” and again, “ While I suffer thy terrors I am distracted,” he says all that is necessary to show us that he believed in a future state ; the idea of an eternity and its retributions is wrapped up in his words. And in like manner the terrors of the law and all those considerations which address themselves to men's fears, are as sumed to have an existence, and are really taught when the glad tidings are proclaimed to men.

Though gifted with remarkable fluency, yet it was not often that Dr. Raffles appeared as a speaker on the platform. He had a great dislike to speech-making. The only duty, his biographer tells us, he would willingly undertake at a public meeting, was that of chairman. For this he was peculiarly well qualified by his admirable tact, by his universal popularity, and by his thorough knowledge of business.

This volume is a large one, and many of its details are more especially interesting to Dr. Raffles' personal friends, and those with whom he was associated in the work of his life; nevertheless it contains much that is of interest to the general reader, and we feel indebted to the author for the instruction and


« ElőzőTovább »