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and untiring in his endeavours ? or, have they been cold and languid, and such as could not be expected to produce an effect? Sunday-school teachers ! have you prayerfully sought an avenue to the hearts of your interesting charge? Has your spirit been that of Jesus, as you have beheld the little children of your class approaching you ? Have you sought out acceptable words, words of truth and tenderness ? and have you persevered in your work, waiting for the reward which God shall give you in his own good time? Visitors of the poor and neglected! have you yet expended all the self-denial, all the benevolent sympathy, all the laborious effort, all the prayerful solicitude which your work demands ?

Or, have you been too easily discouraged ? have you shrunk back from difficulties ? have you said, “ There is a lion in the way ?"

have you folded your hands in ease, and left to be performed by others what you ought to have accomplished yourselves ?

These new year's reflections may be extended and generalised by Christians of every rank and standing in the church. Ministers, deacons, private Christians, may find something in them to reprove and to stimulate. Let the present year be entered upon by all in a new spirit. Let past failures and negligences awaken deep repentance ; and lead to the adoption of a more holy and devoted course. Let the Spirit of all grace be sought by fervent and reiterated prayer.

Thus may all who name the name of Jesus hope to be more useful and happy in the future than they have been in the past. Chelsea.

J. M.

NOTES OF THE LAST ILLNESS OF MRS. HEMANS.

“ For she was born beyond the stars to soar,

And kindling at the source of life, adore."

It is peculiarly delightful to the in- do we find more beautiful specimens of telligent and devout mind to learn, in polished language, vigorous imaginaany instance, that an individual pos- tion, graceful, tender, and glowing sessed of superior acquirements, and thought. The versification of her popre-eminent talent, is under the influ- ems, the imagery employed, the range ence of the grace of the gospel, and of subjects, and the vivid and impresthat that individual enters eternity, re- sive manner in which her principal posing unlimited confidence in the love compositions are penned, combine to and atonement of the Redeemer ; and render her one of the most captivating when this person is one who exerts a and influential writers of the British commanding power over his age, as a empire. How delightful, then, is it for writer, whether in prose or poetry, it is the Christian to be able to cherish the most refreshing to ascertain that the hope that during her last illness, she divinity of the Christian religion is re- was brought effectually to the Saviour, cognised ; that the claims of that reli- and that, when she expired, she died gion are felt ; that the preciousness of calmly and happily in the Lord, that religion is experienced ; and that,

“ Soaring to the world in the dying hour, the supports of that

Of light, and fadeless joys above." religion are enjoyed.

A few concise notes to exemplify Few writers of the age, it is obvious, the correctness of these observations, have imparted so much pleasure to per- may prove interesting and beneficial sons of cultivated minds, poetic taste to every enlightened believer in Jesus and sensibility, in every district of the who peruses these pages, and may aug. land, as the late Mrs. Hemans ; and in ment the gratification of those who the productions of few female authors often read her exquisite poems—“A Domestic Scene;" "the Graves of a to the earthly tabernacle, the bright Household;" “ the Better Land;" “ the flame within continued to burn with a Silent Multitude."

steady and holy light, and, at times, Shortly after her arrival in Ireland, even to flash forth with more than wonted where Mrs. Hemans died, she was ex- brightness. On one occasion she finely tremely unwell.

When among the expressed herself, when there was a mountain scenery of the fine county favourable change in her condition, of Wicklow, during a storm, she was “ Better far than these indications of struck by one beautiful effect on the recovery is the sweet religious peace bills : it was produced by a rainbow which I feel gradually overshadowing diving down into a gloomy mountain- me, with its dove-pinions, excluding all pass, which it seemed really to flood that would exclude thoughts of God.” with its coloured glory. “I could not This gifted lady wrote, with peculiar help thinking,” she remarked, " that it beauty, on another occasion, “I wish I was like our religion piercing and car- could convey to you the deep feelings rying brightness into the depth of sor- of repose and thankfulness with which row, and of the tomb." All the rest I lay, on Friday evening, gazing from of the scene around that one illumin- my sofa upon a sunset-sky of the richest ated spot was wrapt in the profoundest suffusions, silvery green and amber darkness.

kindling into the most glorious tints of During her last illness, Mrs. Hemans the burning rose. I felt its holy beauty delighted in the study of sacred litera- sinking through my inmost being, with ture, and particularly in the writings of an influence drawing me nearer and some of our old and choice divines. nearer to God.” This became her predominant taste, Her confidential attendant, a most and it is mentioned respecting her, that interesting young female, devotedly atthe diligent and earnest perusal of the tached to her mistress, expressed herHoly Scriptures was a well-spring of self respecting her in the following daily and increasing comfort. She now delightful and impressive manner, “ It contemplated her afflictions in the right may well be said this was not her rest. manner, and through the only true and She ever seemed to me as a wanderer reconciling medium, “and that relief from her heavenly Father's mansion, from sorrow and suffering, for which who knew too much of that home she had been apt to turn to the fictitious to seek a resting place here. She world of imagination, was now afforded often said to me, I feel like a tired her by calm and constant meditation on child, wearied and longing to mingle what alone can be called the things with the pure in heart.' At other times that are.' »

she would say, 'I feel as if I were When the cholera was raging in sitting with Mary at the feet of my Dublin, she wrote to a dear relative, Redeemer, hearing the music of his “ To me there is something extreme- voice, and learning of him to be meek ly solemn, something which at once and lowly,' and then she would say, awes and calms the spirit, instead of 'Oh, Anna, do not you love your kind agitating it, in the presence of this Saviour ? The plan of redemption was viewless danger, between which and indeed, a glorious one ; humility was, ourselves we cannot but feel that the indeed, the crowning work. I am like only barrier is the mercy of God. I a quiet babe at his feet, and yet my never felt so penetrated by the sense spirit is full of his strength. When of an entire dependence upon Him, any body speaks of his love to me, and though I adopt some necessary I feel as if they were too slow ; my precautions on account of Charles, (her spirit can mount alone with Him into son), my mind is in a state of entire those blissful realms with far more raserenity."

pidity." While the work of decay was going The sufferings of Mrs. Hemans, prior on surely and progressively, with regard to death, were most severe and agonising, but all were borne in the most un- ness to live or die, a saying with the complaining manner. Never was her whole heart, “ Behold the handmaid of mind overshadowed by gloom : never the Lord. Be it unto me according to would she allow those around her to

thy word.” speak of her condition as one deserving * I feel,” she would say,

as if hoof commiseration. Her sister finely vering between heaven and earth," and remarks, “ The dark and silent chamber she seemed so raised towards the sky, seemed illumined by light from above, that all worldly things were obscured and cheered with songs of angels, and and diminished to her view, while the she would say, that, in her intervals ineffable glories of eternity dawned from pain, no poetry could express, nor upon it more and more brightly. imagination conceive, the visions of In her physician, Dr. Croker, Mrs. blessedness that fitted across her fancy, Hemans was wont to say, she had at and made her waking hours more de- once a physician and a pastor. He lightful than those even that were given frequently read to her from a little book to temporary repose.

which she dearly loved, and which he At times her spirit would appear to had first made known to her,-a selecbe already half etherealised. Her mind tion from the works of Archbishop would seem to be fraught with deep, Leighton. The last time of her listenand holy, and incommunicable thoughts, ing to it, she repeatedly exclaimed, and she would entreat to be left per- Beautiful! beautiful !” and, with her fectly alone, in stillness and darkness, eyes upraised, she appeared occupied in to commune with her own heart, and communing with herself, and mentally reflect on the mercies of her Saviour. praying. She continually spoke of the unutter- When her spirit was nearly gone, she able comfort which she derived from said to her darling Charles, and her dwelling on the contemplation of the faithful sister Anna, that she felt all atonement, and stated that this alone at peace within her bosom. Her calmwas her rod and staff, when all earthly ness continued unbroken till, at nine supports were failing.

o'clock, on the evening of Saturday, In the heaviest affliction, she desired May 16, 1835, her spirit passed away, the assurance to be given to one of her without pain, or the endurance of a friends, that the tenderness and affec- struggle, and the pleasing hope is tionateness of the Redeemer's character, cherished, was translated, through the which they had often contemplated to- mediation of her blessed Redeemer, to gether, was a source, not merely of re- that uninterrupted “rest which remainliance, but of positive happiness, to her : eth for the people of God.”

The remains of this gifted lady were “ The sweetness of her couch."

deposited in a vault beneath St. Anne's The powers of memory, for which church, in Dublin, almost close to the Mrs. Hemans had always been so re- house where she died. A small tablet markable, shone forth with increased

was placed above the spot where she brightness while her outward frame lies, inscribed with her name, her age, was so visibly decaying. She would

and the date of her death, and with lie for hours without speaking or mov- the following lines, from a dirge of her ing, repeating to herself whole chapters of the Bible, and page after page of

“ Calm on the bosom of thy God, Milton and Wordsworth.

Fair spirit, rest thee now :
The conviction of the inestimable E'en while with us thy footsteps trode,
value of affliction, as the discipline of His seal was on thy brow.
Heaven, was ever present to her mind,

Dust, to its narrow house beneath :

Soul, to its place on high : mingled with the deepest humility, the

They that have seen thy look in death, most entire resignation, an equal readi

No more may fear to die."

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ON “THE LIVELY ORACLES,"

A HOMILY FOR THE TIMES.

Acts viii. 37.

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An oracle denotes something deliver- word oracle” to the hallowed resided, in the form of a revelation, by divine ence of the ark, the mercy-seat, and wisdom. The oracles of the heathen the shechinah, they proceed, in a furworld were but a grand imposture, bor- ther stage of divine revelation, to apply rowed, in mimic show, by their priests, it to all the several communications from the supernatural appendages of of God's will to the children of men, the patriarchal and Jewish worship. in whatever way imparted, whether by Wherever the light of heavenly truth the mouth of prophets, or by the office has penetrated these false oracles have of the Jewish high-priest, or by any been silenced, and the deluded wor- other method in which the Most High shippers of dumb idols have been revealed himself to his blind and erring brought to listen to “ the lively oracles" creatures. Thus, when the word is of God.

used in the plural number,—and it is The word “ oracle” is first employed generally so used, -it denotes the rein Scripture, to denote the most holy velations contained in those sacred place, from whence the God of Israel writings, of which the nation of Israel revealed his will to his ancient church ; were made the depositaries. Hence, for it is recorded of Solomon, 1 Kings in the seventh chapter of the Acts of vi., that “ against the wall of the house the Apostles, Moses is described by he made chambers round about, both Stephen as having received “ the lively of the temple and of the oracle ;" and oracles” from God, that he might imagain, in the same chapter, “ the oracle part them to the Israelites. Hence, he prepared in the house within, to set when Paul enumerates the advantages the ark of the covenant of the Lord ; of the Jews, he declares, that “ unto and the whole altar that was by the them were committed the oracles of oracle he overlaid with gold ; and God," Rom. iii. 2. It was thus that within the oracle he made two cherub- the phrase came to be applied to all ims of olive tree, each ten cubits high.” inspired writings in general ; as when Hence, too, the Levitical priesthood the apostle to the Hebrews charges are said in 1 Kings viii. 6, to have them with ignorance of the grand out“ brought in the ark of the covenant line of the written word; he says, of the Lord unto his place, into the " When ye ought to be teachers, ye oracle of the house, to the most holy have need that one teach you again place, under the wings of the cherub- which be the first principles of the ims." Hence, also, it is written, 2 oracles of God." Chron. iv. 20, that “the candlesticks We are justified then, in regarding with their lamps, were to burn before the terms “ oracle” and “oracles," as the oracle, of pure gold.” Thus it expressly denoting a revelation of the was, that the sacred spot, whence God will of God, and as absolutely restricted communicated his will to his church to such revelation. They describe the of old was styled the oracle, because whole of that sacred volume, in which there gave forth the intimations of

we have truth without any mixture of his holiness, justice, and truth; and error, and of which alone it can be because there he communed with his affirmed, that it is “ able to make us people from off the mercy-seat, and wise unto salvation, through faith which from between the cherubims of glory. is in Christ Jesus." It may be observed, however, that

It may be profitable, in these critical though, in the first instance, the sacred times, to invite attention to the Scripwriters restrict the application of the tures, considered as the oracles of God,

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and then to justify the epithet applied of the written word, if tradition had to them, when they are denominated been added to it as a rule of faith ? “ the lively oracles.”

Church authority! what is it? what I. LET US INVITE ATTENTION TO THE can it be, in reference to the divine SCRIPTURES CONSIDERED AS THE ORACLES oracles, open to all, with a command Of God.

to all to « search” into their sacred 1. They are divine oracles.

contents, if it be not to perform that Scripture is given by inspiration of office, which Paul gives to the church God.” In the several parts of this in his first Epistle to Timothy, üi. 15, divine book, “ holy men of old spake as “ The church,” says he, “ of the living they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” God, the pillar and ground of the Of the two grand departments of re- truth." The truth,” here spoken of, velation, the Old and New Testaments, is the divine oracles, and the office it is thus written, “ God, who at sundry assigned to the church is not that of autimes and in divers manners spake in thoritative interpretation, but that simply times past unto the fathers by the pro- of exhibiting as on a conspicuous column, phets, hath in these last days spoken displaying as on a visible platform, the unto us by his Son,” Heb. i. 1. The truth of God to a benighted world, that best description, then, of the Bible is, that, thus it may be enlightened and saved. from first to last, it is God addressing As God by his holy oracle has spoken himself to the children of men. The to the children of men, it will be at human agents that, in certain cases, their peril if they listen to any other intervened, do not break in, in the voice but his ; and whenever the church slightest degree, upon this grand and puts herself in the place of God, we solemn view of revealed truth ; for must say to her, as God did to the what Paul said of his instructions to professed teachers of his people in days the Corinthians, may be said with equal of old, “ To the law, and to the testitruth of every other part of Scripture, mony; if they speak not according to “ Which things also we speak, not in these, it is because there is no light in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, them.” but which the Holy Ghost teacheth, 2. They are sure oracles. The crecomparing spiritual things with spirit- dentials of the Bible, as a divine revelaual,” I Cor. ii. 13.

tion, are so indubitable, that the more The Bible, reader, is the only divine they are examined, the more firm and oracle, which God has given us to con- fixed will be our conviction of their sult. All other books are human and truth. He who binds this precious erring productions ; but this is the word volume to his heart hath not believed of the living God, the express revela- a cunningly devised fable ; but may tion which he has given of himself and well "give a reason of the hope that of his great salvation.

All other pro

is in him, with meekness and fear.” fessed oracles are but the inventions of He can speak of its adaptation to the men ; to listen to them is to forsake present lapsed and miserable condition our only sure guide, and to yield that of human nature ; he can tell of the homage to man which is due only to light, and peace, and holy influence it God.

has shed upon his once bewildered, unMuch is said and written, in our day, happy, and polluted mind; he can point on the subjects of tradition and church to its triumphs in himself and others ; authority ; but to those who contend he can show its consistency with itself, most vehemently for these bewildering and its perfect harmony with the moral tenets, may we not say, “ Ye do err, character of God; he can exbibit its not knowing the Scriptures, nor the long series of fulfilled prophecies ; he power of God;" ye make void the

can prove the historical truth of the law of God by your traditions ;" miracles which were wrought in con" ye be blind leaders of the blind.” firmation of its life-giving doctrines ; Tradition! what had been the value he can tell the bitterest enemy of re

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