Page images
PDF
EPUB

up these prospects; and often did Thomas in his last affliction rejoice that his heavenly Father had permitted him to enjoy the sympathy and attentions of his dearest relatives, rather than to feel the heart of a stranger in a strange land.

About nine or ten months after this disappointment of his hopes, Mr. Green's health became seriously affected; and that fell disease, consumption, marked him for a prey.

“ With slow and silent, but resistless sap,

In his pale progress gently gaining ground,
Death urged his deadly siege !”

What a

During the whole of his affliction he was graciously supported and resigned. His mind was sweetly stayed upon God; and if at any moment clouds seemed to rest upon it, it was under a deep sense of his own unworthiness, and of the feebleness of his efforts for God and his cause. An intimate friend once asked him if he felt any comfort in the reflection, that, in a measure, he had been useful in the church of Christ : Ab,” said he, “ that is just what I was meditating upon; my want of zeal for God, and love to souls ! How differently would I now labour, were I spared! But pray for me, my dear Sir, that God would powerfully manifest himself to me." They engaged in prayer; and God vouchsafed such an abundant effusion of his Holy Spirit, that all present were deeply affected; and our dear friend was enabled to rejoice with joy un. speakable and full of glory.

His anxiety for the conversion of his relatives and friends greatly increased during his affliction. At one time of great exhaustion, when his friends thought that all was nearly over, after recovering a little, he looked up, and said, “O I thought I was going to heaven! sweet glimpse of glory I have had! O, mother, give me up, and let me go!” Soon after, feeling himself much relieved, and judging this to be a fit opportunity, he inquired if all the members of the family were present. Upon their being separately called, he gave to each of them an earnest exhortation to seek the Lord, to prepare for death, and to meet him in heaven; observing, “ Wbat should I have done in a dying hour, but for Christ in me the hope of glory?'”

A few days before his death, the forty-fifth chapter of Isaiah having been read to him, he referred particularly to the twenty-second verse; and observed to his sister-in-law, “ Here I am; my strength gone; every nerve unstrung; but how pleasing is the thought, that by the eye of faith steadily fixed on Jesus, I can look myself to heaven!”

The day before his death, his sister was reading to him that part of the one hundred and nineteenth Psalm, which contains the passage, “I am thine, save me.” He said, " That is my last text. I have been studying it upon my death-bed.” She asked if he had written any notes upon it. “Don't mind that,” said he ; “it is engraved upon my heart."

His strength rapidly declined, and it was evident the closing scene

[ocr errors]

was drawing nigh. He was unable to move himself in the least, and
his faint whisper could only just be heard. On the morning of the last
day of his life he said, “ The last night has been one of extreme suffering,
but of great rejoicing. I could sing of Jesus all the night long. O
that all his salvation might see!' I have been praying that sinners may
see the hand of God in this dispensation of his providence;" alluding
to the cholera. During the whole day, his soul was all praise ; exulting
in the prospect of "going home," to be for ever with the Lord.
how pleasing the thought,” he would say, “to be safely housed !” In
the evening he was attacked with great difficulty of breathing, which
lasted for some time, and then suddenly ceased. Seeing his friends
weeping around him, he said, “O cannot you give me up ? O give me
up, and let me go." Unable to bear more, they left the room ; when,
beckoning to his sister-in-law to remain with him, he lay a few moments
quite composed, sweetly breathing out, “Precious Jesus! precious
Jesus !” then, as if having received supernatural strength, he turned
himself upon his bed, and earnestly requested his sister-in-law, to pray.
He then said, “ This is the last struggle: call my brother John, and
you must pray me away.” His sister prayed a few words; when it
seemed as if

“ Prayer ardent open'd heaven ; let down a stream
Of glory on the consecrated hour

Of man, in audience with the Deity.” Throwing out his arms, and clapping his hands, he said, " Look! He is come! Jesus is come! and waits with out-stretched arms to receive me !” His father and mother coming in, he said, “O, father, pray me away! pray me away!” His father and another prayed; and they were “ quite on the verge of heaven,” Turning soon after to his brother, he said, “This is the last struggle! I am just going! Victory is mine! victory is mine!” Prayer was soon turned into praise. Summoning all his strength, he shouted, “Hallelujah! hallelujah.” For a few moments he was still. Heaven was reflected into his soul. It was “all the silent heaven of love.” At length, folding his arms, he said, “ He is come! He calls! I must go ;” and, closing his eyes, he sweetly fell asleep in Jesus, January 4th, 1832, aged twenty-six years.

HUMILITY. Wisdom is that perfection which is necessary to the Christian's understanding ; and it consists in the knowledge and approbation of divine truth. Now there is no access to truth in divine things, but only through faith. Faith is all the security we have against deception. And what is faith, but the humbling of reason; the beating down of imagination; the bringing of thoughts into captivity ? a professed enemy to the opinionative and the disputer, and utterly inconsistent with the pride of understanding. We cannot so much as approach to truth, Humility.

but under the conduct of humility. But this is not all: for such is the nature of truth, that after we have embraced it, we can never give it a fixed entertainment, nor ever be secure of not starting from it again, unless we continue under the same influence of humility. For truth, though it want not beauty, yet it is plain and simple, uniform and always alike. Its first and strictest obligation to all its followers is, that advice of the Apostle, “ To be of the same mind; to walk by the same rule ; and to mind the same thing." So that he who will fix upon truth must necessarily be humble in this respect, --be must content himself to think as others do; to agree with the vulgar notion; and to go in the common track. Truth cannot put on those various modes and shapes that please the levity of human affections. Truth cannot start any thing novel and strange, to take the multitude, who admire nothing so much as monsters. Truth can make no room for the pleasure of singularity; none for the love of contradicting ; none for the glory of heading, or the interest of siding with, a sect. All these are the rights and privileges of error: insomuch that it is impossible for a man, unless he be humble, to resist the temptation of catching at error, though he has truth already in his hand. And to this purpose it might easily appear from the particular history of all errors and heresies that ever sprung up to the disturbance of the church and the world, that not one of a hundred of them did ever spring from invincible ignorance, and want of light, but from affected mistake, and want of humility. Either ambition of greatness, or the thirst of glory, or impatience of a defeat, or some other designing intrigue of human pride, will appear to have been at the bottom of every dissension. So that all the different opinions wbich obtain in the world, and the various mists which are cast upon the face of truth, and the clamorous pretences that are laid to her by several sides, which it is certain can never be but one ; all these do no way argue either the failure or limitation of God's promise to his church,—that he would send his Holy Spirit to guide her into all truth. They only argue this,—that men are arrogant and opinionative, and therefore will not stick, upon every small occasion, to run away from their Guide. This is one advantage that humility brings. It disposes man to give a fixed entertainment to truth.

Opinion of ourselves is like the casting of a shadow, which is always longest when the sun is at the greatest distance. By the degrees that the sun approaches, the shadow shortens; and under the direct meridian light it becomes none at all. It is so with our opinion of ourselves. While the good influences of God are at the greatest distance from us, it is then always that we conceive best of ourselves. As God approaches, the conceit lessens, till we receive the fuller measures of his grace; and then we become nothing in our own conceit, and God appears to be all in all.—Dean Young.

MISCELLANEOUS COMMUNICATIONS.

ور

POPERY. To the Editor of the Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine. It is a subject of painful regret, were suffering the maladies which that, amidst the religious means it was endowed with properties to and advantages by which the present heal. But while by the greater part period is distinguished, there should of mankind it was not accounted be too much reason to apprehend worth admission to a place on their that the system of Popery, with all blasted, desolated soil, the manner in its pernicious effects, is considerably which its virtue was frustrated among on the increase in several parts of those who pretended to esteem it, this kingdom. Many of your readers, as it was, the best gift of the divine I am persuaded, will be much grati. beneficence, is recorded in eternal fied by the following just and power reproach of the Christian nations. ful delineation of the nature and As the hostility of Heathenism, character of that grossest of all the in the direct endeavours to extircorruptions of Christianity, from pate the Christian religion, became the pen of a writer, “who," (in the evidently hopeless in the nations words of the late Mr. Hall,) to a within the Roman empire, there was a vein of profound and original a grand change of the policy of evil; thought, together with just views of and all manner of reprobate things, religion and morals, joins the talent Heathenism itself

among them, of recommending his ideas by the rushed, as by general conspiracy, graces of imagination, and the into treacherous conjunction with powers of eloquence.”

Christianity, retaining their own

quality under the sanction of its But let us now look at the intel

name, and by a rapid process reduclectual state of the people denomi- ing it to surrender almost every thing nated Christian, during the long distinctive of it but that disho. course of ages preceding the Reforma

noured name. There were, indeed, tion. The acquisition made by earth in existence the inspired oracles; from heaven of Christianity might and these could not be essentially have seemed to bring with it an in- falsified. But there was no lack of evitable necessity of an immense expedients and pretexts for keeping difference, speedily, and for perma- them in a great measure secreted. It nence, taking place in regard to the might be done under a pretence that competence of men's knowledge to reverence for their sanctity required prevent their destruction. It was they should be secluded, as within as if, in the physical system, some the recesses of a temple; nor be one production, far more salutary there consulted, but by consecrated to life than all the other things fur- personages; a pretence excellently nished from the elements, had been adapted for effect, since it was, by reserved by the Creator, to spring its very nature, its own security up in a later age, after many genera. against exposure, the people being tions of men had been languishing kept thus unaware that the sacred through life, and prematurely dying writings themselves expressly invited for the deficient virtue of their sus- popular inspection, by declaring tenance and remedies. The image themselves addressed to mankind at of the inestimable plant had been large. And while the deceivers had shown to the Prophets in their vi. specious pretexts to cover their masions, but the reality was now given nagement, they were not worse off to the world; it had the “ seed in for the other facilities. In the proitself ;” was of “wholly a right gress of translation, the holy Scripseed;" and claimed to be cultivated tures could be arrested and stopped by the people, who, in every land, short in a language but little less in

All re

telligible than the original ones to the falsehoods and absurdities of nothe bulk of the people, in order that tion, and of the vanities and corthis “ profane vulgar” might never ruptions of practice, which it was hear the very words of God, but devised to make the terms and names only such report as it should please of religion designate and sanction! certain men, at their discretion, to while it was also managed with no give of what He had said. But less sedulity and success, that the even though the people had under- inventors and propagators should be stood the language in the usage of held in submissive reverence by the social converse, there was a grand community, as the oracular deposisecurity against them, in keeping taries of truth. That community them so destitute of the knowledge had not knowledge enough of any of letters, that the Bible, if such a other kind to create a resisting and rare thing did ever happen to fall defensive power against this imposiinto any of their hands, would be tion in the concern of religion. A no more to them than a scroll of sound exercise of reason on subhieroglyphics. When to this was jects out of that province, a modeadded the great cost of a copy of so rate degree of instruction in literalarge a book before the invention of ture and science, rightly so called, printing, it remained perhaps just might have produced, in the persons worth while (and it would be a mat- of superior native capacity, a competer of no difficulty or daring) to tence to question, to examine, and inake it, in the maturity of the sys- to detect some of the fallacies imtem, an offence and a sacrilegious posed for Christian faith. But in invasion of sacerdotal privilege to such completeness of ignorance, the look into a Bible. If it might seem general mind was on all sides pressed hard thus to constitute a new sin, in and borne down to its fate. addition to the long list already de

action ceased; and the people were pounced by the divine law, amends reduced to exist in one huge, unwere made by indulgently rescinding intelligent, monotonous substance, some articles in that list, and quali. united by the interfusion of a vile fying the rules of obligation with superstition, which permitted just respect to them all.

enough mental life in the mass to In this latency of the sacred au- accommodate it to all the uses of thorities, withdrawn from all com- cheats and tyrants,--a proper submunication with the human under- ject of “ our Lord God the Pope,” standing, there were retained still as he was sometimes denominated ; many of the terms and names ap- and might have been denominated propriate to religion. They re- without exciting indignation, in the inained, but they remained only such hearing of millions of beings, bearing as they could be when the departing the form of men, and the name of spirit of that religion was leaving Christians. them void of their import and so- Reflect, that all this took place unlemnity, and so applicable to the der the nominal ascendancy of the purposes of deception and mischief. best and brightest economy of inThey were as holy vessels, in which struction from heaven. Reflect, that the original contents might, as they it was in the nations where even the were escaping, be clandestinely re- sovereign authority professed hoplaced by the most malignant prepa- mage to the religion of Christ, and rations. And as crafty and wicked adopted and enforced it as a grand men had a most direct interest in national institution, that the popular this substitution, the pernicious mass was thus reduced to a material operation went on incessantly; and fit for all the bad uses to which with an ability, and to an extent, priestcraft could wish to put the evincing that the utmost barbarism souls and bodies of its slaves. And of the times cannot extinguish ge- then consider what should have been nius when it is iniquity that sets it the condition of this great aggregate, on fire.

wherever Christianity was acknowHow prolific was the invention of ledged by all as the true religion. Vol. XIV. Third Series. SerTEMBER, 1835.

2 Y

« PreviousContinue »