« ElőzőTovább »
Society which we are now met to advocate and support. With this wishwith this prayer, I will say-deeply, strongly impressed on your mind, I would advise you to depart, and let us close the Meeting with this prayer.”
While the increased sectarian feeling which many of the clergy display is to be pitied and deplored, it may be easily explained. They witness, for the first time, their ecclesiastical monopoly invaded, and their church ascendancy impugned. They imagine that these are but the beginning of sorrows." Their fears are confirmed by the dishonest labours of a large portion of the Conservative Church Press, which periodically feeds their appetite for alarm with abundant provision.
At clerical meetings too much fear is excited, and prejudice confirmed, by the frequent repetition of unfounded or much-exaggerated stories of the sayings and doings of the political dissenters." We fear that but a small body of the clergy or laity of the Church of England adopt the manly christian course of reading for themselves the publications of the dissenting press.
Even the Editor of The Christian Observer, who undertakes to expound to his confiding readers “ the present temper of the Dissenters," avows his ignorance of the Nonconformist journals. “ We are informed (for we have never read or seen a line of the articles ulluded to, that the Editor of this publication has been made the object of much personal virulence and abuse in Patriots and Congregational Magazines, and other ultra-liberal evangelical dissenting periodical works, for the opinion, which we have so often expressed, that there is no resting-place between a national church establishment and national atheism ; that the late Marriage Bill is of necessity atheistic, since the slightest allusion to a God to consecrate the nuptial tie was considered an infringement on the rights of conscience," &c.—Christ. Observ. April, p. 233.
Now it is true that these statements of the Christian Observer were controverted, though, we trust, without “personal virulence and abuse," in the Supplement of this Magazine for the last year, and which, we will venture to say, the Editor of the Observer ought to have read before he renewed his charge about atheism, &c. But it appears that that attempt to inform him on some questions of fact, and to reason with him on some truths of Scripture, was quite abortive, for he never read or saw a line of the articles alluded to, and yet, with marvellous simplicity, adds, “ we are not aware that any Dissenter has endeavoured to enlighten our ignorance," 8c.! Some slanderer told him that he was personally assailed and abused in our pages: but he, possessing a most serene temperament, and, as it would seem, a most incurious mind, has not taken the trouble to inform himself abont this shocking out-break of our dissenting temper, but goes on repeating refuted arguments and false accusations, as if they had never been answered or explained. The other day, he charged evangelical dissenters with “ admitting Arians and Socinians into their pulpits." In our Number for August we entreated him, if he has evidence of that fact, to produce it; but such appeals to the Reverend Editor are vain, if he will not read a line of the articles which are thus addressed to bis notice. Here, then, is one of the causes of the prejudices which exist amongst evangelical churchmen at the present time. Their oracle and guide imposes upon himself a voluntary ignorance; he cannot trouble himself with our periodical journals and official publications, and yet undertakes to expound our opinions, and censure our conduct! Such a course is alike opposed to the ordinary principles of public justice, and to the higher dictates of christian charity. The defence of the accused is regarded, even by worldly men, as indispensable to a righteous view of the case before them; but churchmen of the Observer's school would at once resign the helpless dissenters to the summary processes of “ Lynch law" and visit us with all the penalties of transgression before the proofs of our guilt are produced.
This, however, cannot last long; and, in the mean time, we hope that evangelical dissenters will preserve their tempers towards their excited brethren of the established church, and emulate the spirit of Calvin, who, when reviled by Luther, said, “Though he call me a devil, I will still call him a saint."
THE PASTOR'S GRAVE.
To deck that simple stone,
To think of him that's gone. I love to stand beside that mound,
And children lightly tread the spot, On some calm Sabbath night,
In summer beauty dress'd, And muse awhile-'tis sacred ground, As if their footsteps ne'er forgot With heavenly things in sight!
Whose ashes there they press'd.
Fit resting from life's weary scene,
Sweetly in peace he slumbers now, “ A gem of purest ray serene,"
With God's own signet on his brow.
“ All my father's house Who, though they listen to the truth, Are servants of the Lord; Feel not its power within ?
They bless the Father for his Son, Oh, pray for them !-pray day and And reverence the Word.” night,
Are all thy Father's house, O youth, That they may yet discern aright. Humble adorers of the truth?
Nay, nay ; I tell thee they are not.
O yes, they are !” What! ALL?
And whom thy Father call?
Joun C. MOSSIE.
THE CHILD AND BUTTERFLY.
She made me no reply,
To catch the butterfly.
Its wings her quick breath fann'd; Except around it loosely hung
A moment more, and all she sought The ringlets of her hair.
Lay lifeless in her hand! There was a gladness in her air, So giddy youth for pleasures runA laughter in her eye;
Through anxious hopes and fears-Her eager hands went here and there, which ever leave them, soon as won, As she was racing by.
To their regrets and tears.
The Christian Correspondent: Letters, private and confidential,
by eminent Persons of both Sexes, exemplifying the Fruits of Holy Living, and the Blessedness of Holy Dying. With a preliminary Essay, by James Montgomery, Esq. 3 Vols.
Ball: London. If the post is one of our choicest and most precious public accommodations, or rather literally a great social blessing, so also the sentiments and emotions it conveys so safely and so sacredly from friend to friend, from heart to heart, are to be accounted among the fairest and richest fruits of intellect, affection, and piety. Letters of friendship, and pre-eminently of christian friendship, are valuable beyond all other productions of the pen or of the press, because they embody more of the heart, and imply an interest between the writer and the reader, which can exist between no other writer and reader. Who does not lay down the most enchanting poem, or the most instructive treatise, the moment he recognizes the superscription of the well-known hand; or pause in his most serious studies, or his most urgent business, even in the expectation of the possible entrance of such a welcome messenger, as soon as he hears the characteristic thundering of the man of letters at his portal. It may be true that this interest cannot attach to published letters: they are not written to ourselves; and the writers were perchance no friends of ours. But still all that interest remains which may be, and must be, associated with this peculiar kind of composition. This thinking aloud comes to our own ear, though not the one ear for which it was originally intended, with a simplicity of heartfelt love, and a freedom from the dress of mere writing, and a relaxation from the cold formality of order and of argument, which imparts to it a charm all its own. It would not be easy, nor is it necessary, to describe or explain why it should be so: it is enough that it is universally felt by cultivated minds, perhaps by all minds, to be so; and it is sufficient for him who wishes to philosophize upon the fact, or at least it ought to be, to allege that it is more natural. We see the mind in its less studied, less artificial, and laboured movements. It is especially in the warm, unconstrained, unlimited expression of emotion, or of sentiment, as associated with some kind of emotion, that the chief fascination of this kind of writing consists. We see human hearts, or at least the best parts of them, in letters: and this is always pleasing. Sympathy is set agoing. We then come into the place of the friend addressed. The language of the heart is a universal language, quite independent of all other language. We understand it better than any other, because all mankind are more alike in their affections, than in their sentiments, their reasoning powers, or their acquirements.
If our readers coincide at all in views and feeling with ourselves, they will find the Christian Correspondent to be one of the most delightful publications that the press has recently produced. It is a rare collection of sparkling gems, or rather a splendid and fragrant assemblage of the most lovely flowers, culled with care and taste fully bound together. Or, still to vary the metaphor, that we may supply a better description of the work, we should compare it to an ample flower-garden, divided into its separate parterres, in which are gathered the choicest specimens of all that is curious, beautiful, and fragrant; and where each seems still blooming on its native stem, and to partake of the character of an everlasting being em. balmed in its own living lustre, and endowed with imperishable sweetness. We walk at large amidst a paradisaical garden of all that is refreshing in friendship and lovely in Christianity.
Mr. Montgomery has beautifully observed, in his Preliminary Essay
“ In letter-writing, when the heart is earnestly engaged, the first thoughts in the first words are usually the best ; for it is thoughts, not words, that are to be communicated; and meaning, not manner, which is mainly to be aimed at. The ideas that rise, and thicken as they rise, in a mind full and overflowing with its subject, voluntarily embody themselves in language the most easy and appropriate; yet are they so delicate and evanescent, that unless caught in their first forms, they soon lose their character and distinctness, blend with each other, and from being strikingly simple in succession, become inextricably complex in association, on account of their multiplicity and affinity. The thoughts that occur in letter-writing will not stay to be questioned; they must be taken at their word, or instantly dismissed. They are like odours from a bank of violets;'-a breath-and away. He that would revel in the fragrance by scenting it hard and long, will feel that its deliciousness has eluded him; he may taste it again and again for a moment, but he might as well attempt to catch the rainbow, and hold it, as linger to inhale and detain the subtle and volatile sweetness. He who once hesitates amidst the flow of first feelings and their spontaneous expression, becomes unawares bewildered; and must either resolutely disengage himself by darting right forward through the throng of materials, #0 recover the freedom of his pen, or he must patiently select, arrange, and array them, as in a premeditated exercise of his mind, or a given theme." - pp. iv, v.
The task which devolves upon us is simply to bring these volumes before the attention of our readers, and afford them two or three specimens of their contents. There are only two points on which our readers will expect us to express any opinion, and these we may dispatch in a very few words: they are the composition of the preliminary essay, and the manner in which the selection itself has been made. On the essay itself it will be sufficient to say, it is done in Mr. Montgomery's best style. Clear, comprehensive, and lively, it forms a most appropriate introduction to the work, and will be read with much interest. The selection of letters is arranged under seven heads. Part I. Illustrations of Christian Character, having sis Sections—the Triumphs of Faith; Examples of Humility, &c.; Esamples of Conscientiousness, Integrity, &c. ; Examples of Charity, Forbearance, &c.; Examples of Christian Zeal; Examples of Piety and Devotion.- Part II. Illustrations of Religious Experience.Part III. Congratulatory Letters.-Part IV. Letters of Condo
lence and Consolation.-Part V. Letters of Christian Affection and Friendship.--Part VI. Letters of Advice, Expostulation, Reproof, &c. having five Sections, viz. Letters of a general Character, under this head Letters administering Spiritual Counsel, &c.; Letters of Advice to the Young, &c.; Letters to and from Ministers on the Pastoral Functions. Part VII. Miscellaneous Letters.
The following, from the Rev. George Whitfield to Mr. L , giving an account of his first preaching out of doors, in Moorfields, will be interesting to many of our readers :
“ London, May 11, 1742. “With this I send you a few out of the many notes I have received from persons who were convicted, converted, or comforted in Moorfields, during the late holidays. For many weeks I found my heart much pressed to determine to venture to preach there at this season, where, if ever, Satan's children keep up their annual rendezvous. I must inform you that Moorfields is a large spacious place, given, as I have been told, by one Madam Moore, on purpose for all sorts of people to divert themselves in. For many years past, from one end to the other, booths of all kinds have been erected, for mountebanks, players, puppetshows, and such like. With a heart bleeding with compassion for so many thousands led captive by the devil at his will, on Whit-Monday, at six o'clock in the morning, attended by a large congregation of praying people, I ventured to lift up a standard for Jesus of Nazareth. Perhaps there were about ten thousand in waiting, not for me, but for Satan's instruments, to amuse them. Glad was I to find that I had, for once, as it were, got the start of the devil. I mounted my field-pulpit : almost all flocked immediately around it. I preached on these words, As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so shall the Son of Man be lifted up,' &c. They gazed, they listened, they wept; and I believe that many felt themselves stung with deep conviction for their past sin. All was hushed and solemn. Being thus encouraged, I ventured out again at noon; but what a scene! The fields, the whole fields, seemed, in a bad sense of the word, all white, ready, not for the Redeemer's, but Beelzebub's harvest. All his agents were in full motion, drummers, trumpeters, merry-andrews, masters of puppet-shows, exhibitors of wild beasts, players, &c. all busy in entertaining their respective auditories. I suppose there could not be less than twenty or thirty thousand people. My pulpit was fixed on the opposite side, and immediately, to their great mortification, they found the number of their attendants sadly lessened. Judging that, like St. Paul, I should now be called to fight with beasts at Ephesus, I preached from these words :- Great is Diana of the Ephesians. You may easily guess that there was some noise among the craftsmen, and that I was honoured with having a few stones, dirt, rotten eggs, and pieces of dead cats thrown at me, whilst engaged in calling them from their favourite but lying vanities. My soul was indeed among lions; but far the greatest part of my congregation, which was very large, seemed for a while to be turned into lambs. This encouraged me to give notice, that I would preach again at six o'clock in the evening. I came, I saw, but what-thousands and thousands more than before, if possible, still more deeply engaged in their unhappy diversions; but some thousands amongst them as earnestly to hear the gospel. This Satan could not brook. One of his choicest was exhibiting, trumpeting on a large stage; but as soon as the people saw me in my black robes and my pulpit, I think all to a man left him and ran to me. For a while I was enabled to lift up my voice like a trumpet, and many heard the joyful sound. God's people kept praying, and the enemy's agents made a kind of a roaring at a distance from our camp. At length they approached nearer; and the merry andrew (attended by others, who complained that they had taken many pounds less that day on account of my preaching,) got up upon a man's shoulders, and advancing near the pulpit, attempted to slash me with a long heavy whip several times, but always with the violence of the motion tumbled