« VorigeDoorgaan »
attend my death-bed, and to close my eyes ? or shall I ing to the believer, and has been rendered a passage to see him wither away in his bloom, and lay him in a immortality, ought to inspire our breasts with feelpremature grave ?" Cease, weak nature, from wading ings of the warınest gratitude to him, through whose in this dark and deep stream of perplexity, and keep instrumentality this happy cliange has been effected. on the solid ground of fact and of duty. Cease, fond When we consider the intrinsic value of the benefit, parents, from inquiries so profitless, that they cannot, and the great cost at which it was purchased, even by of themselves, benetit either you, or your children, the sufferings and death of the Redeemer, it is impossieven the worth of the dust beneath your feet; and ne
ble for us to estimate what ought to be the intensity of glect not that which is of more value than much fine our feelings of the deepest obligation. The Saviour gold. The important fact is this, that, as yet, they are
has not indeed delivered his followers from temporal with you. Teach them now to fear the Lord, for death, “ for he himself tasted death for every man," thus shall you certainly attend to what belongs to your but he has deprived it of all its destructive infiuence, selves; and, if the blessing of God be superadded, you and has rendered it an introduction into his own preshall be the instruments of preparing them for a length- sence.
In order to kindle in the liveliest manner grateened life of usefulness, or for an early death of peace.
ful feelings in our hearts, let us remember the price by Nor is it easy for us to keep within proper limits, which he purchased such a boon ; let us consider the when we begin, as is very common, to metlitate on
contradiction of sinners, which, on our account, he unwhat may be the state of individuals who have left this derwent; let us call to mind his agony and bloody world. When the tie that united one of our acquaint- sweat in the garden ; the hidings of his Father's counances to this lower world is loosed, and he leaves his tenance, which he endured for a season for our sakes; lifeless body behind him, we are ready, as it were, to
his crucitixion, death, and burial. Let us consider what follow his disencunbered spirit in its tlight,---ready to
he has achieved ; let us remember, that by his glorious ask, Whither has it gone ? Has it soared to endless resurrection, he became the “ first truits ot' them that happiness, or sunk where hope never enters? It is slept,” and has enabled all his believing followers to true that there are cases in which we cannot avoid hay- | cherish the certain hope of a similar deliverance from ing our fears; for “some men's sins are open before the grave; that he has assured them, that “ concerning hand, going before to judgment.” And it is true that them which are asleep,” they need “ sorrow not even there are cases in which we are authorised to entertain as others which have no hope;" for if they “ believe the most delightful hopes ; for when men during their that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which life have given every evidence of grace, what is left sleep in Jesus will God bring with him ;” and that he for us but to believe that at their death they have gone is (Jolin xi. 25) " the resurrection and the life; to glory? But it is obvious that we may be mistaken
that " he that believeth in " him, “ though he were dead, on both hands; and that we ought to hold it as a
yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in general rule that it is neither our province, nor our
him shall never die.” Besides the assurance given interest, to form or to pronounce any positive opinion. to all his followers of a glorious immortality, by his own When it is considered that the state of the dead, be resurrection, he has, by his ascension into heaven at the it what it may, is a fixed state, and, of course, that no
Father's right hand, gone to prepare numerous manopinion or exertion of ours can make the slightest al- sions, and, by his continual intercession, he sends supteration on it, it concerns us to draw instruction from plies of grace and comfort, which cheer the hearts of their death to ourselves, to remember, for example, believers in their most trying circumstances, and diiluse that we must soon follow them to the grave, to avoid
a peace over their departing moments. He is truly said whatever may have been faulty, and to imitate what
to have “ brought life and immortality to light by the ever may have been praise worthy in their conduct, and Gospel,” for what the speculations of Socrates, Plato, to feel reminded to attend to the interests of those Aristotle and Cicero, did but imperfectly explore, and who remain with us, while yet our attention can be of what Moses, in his preparatory dispensation, but dimly
shadowed forth, He has fully revealed.-T. Russell.
Nature and Grace.- Nature teaches us to quarrel CHRISTIAN TREASURY.
with our neighbours, but grace teaches us to quarrel Preparation for Death. The season of sickness or
with ourselves.-BERRIDGE. of a death-bed is surely very unsuitable for preparation An old Apologue.-A man going out of his beaten for eternity, when the body is frequently racked by pain, and directed way to gather unlawful fruits, fell into a when the intellectual faculties are often impaired; and deep pit. In his fall, he caught hold on the arm of a even when they are preserved in a perfectly sound state, tree growing in it. Thus he hung in the midway, beare, from the general suffering to which the frame is sub- twixt the upper light from which he fell, and the lower jected, totally disqualified for the collection of the darkness to which be was falling. lie looks downthoughts. While health and strength are continued with ward, and sees two worms gnawing at the root of this us,- while the mind is in full vigour, let us therefore be tree. Ile looks upward, and spies on a branch a hive warned to seek an interest in salvation, so, that, being of honey. He climbs up to it and feedeth on it. But, reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, we may be as- in the meantime, the worms did bite in sunder the root, sured, that “ living or dying we shall be the Lord's," and down falls inan, and tree and all, into the bottom that, when the “ Son of Man cometh as a thief in the of the dark pit. Man himself is this wretch, who, night,” he may find us those protitable servants, whom straying from the way of God's commandments, fell to he will invite to “ enter into the joy of their Lord,"-- eat of the forbidden fruit,-instantly he fell. The pit that the grave may become to our bodies the bed of over which he hangeth is the grave; the tree whereby rest, while our spirits join the assembly of just men he holdeth is this mortal life; the two worms are day inade perfect,—that death may prove to us the intro- and night; the hive of honey is the pleasures and lusts duction to eternal glory and immortal felicity; and that of this world. Thereupon he greedily feeds, until the at the last we may be able to take up the language of the two consumers, day and night, in their vicissitudes,
“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where have eaten asunder the root of life. Then down drops is thy victory ? The sting of death is sin, and the earth to earth, there it must lodge in the silent grave, strength of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who neither seeing nor seen, blended in the forgotten dust gi veth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” and undistinguished mould, till it be awakened by the (1 Cor. xv. 55–57.) The reflection, that death, which archangel's trump in the seat day of Christ.- Old was originally a curse, has been converted into a bless- Writer.
centuries, will be ever memorable for his extensive cha.
rities. It has been justly observed concerning him, that HEAVEN.
“ to do justice to his character, would oblige one to By Mrs J. B. PATTERSON.
enumerate almost every kind of charity which can pro
mote the glory of God, or relieve the necessities of It is a land
man.” Scarcely any description of temporal calamity Bright, spotless, as the fair, unclouded arch
escaped his assistance ; and with difficulty can one spi. Of yon pure firmament, a land of love
ritual want be named, towards the removal of which And bliss ineffable; there, spirits high
he did not piously and freely afford bis contributions. And glorious, angel and archangel dwell;
The charities which have derived either their foundaStately their glittering forms, to mortal eye
tion or improvement from his hand, are so numeru:25, Invisible, they sweep their golden harps,
that their variety becomes surprising. From his boulAnd ever as seraphic strains ascend
tiful benefactions, the ignorance of the young, the inAnd fill that dome majestic, lowly bend
series of the interior, and the helpless necessities of the In adoration deep before the throne,
aged, are to this day removed and relieved. The price Where, veiled in light intense, the Father sits,
vidence of God seemed to bless this extraordinary pera And at his blest right hand the Eternal Son,
son, in a most remarkable manner. It is affirmed to Clothed, wonder infinite ! in human form,
him, that he never insured, and that he never lost a But nobler far than earth's most noble sons ;
ship, notwithstanding the vast extent of his commercial His countenance divine, as when the sun
transactions. On one occasion, indeed, one of his resShines in his strength, his glistering raiment white,
sels, homeward bound, struck upon a rock, immediately Bound with a golden girdle, and his head
sprung a leak, and the water rushed in so rapidly, ila White as pure wool, as white as fleecy snow.
the crew were induced to believe that they were in Lowly they bend, behind their folding wings
the most imminent danger. In a little time, but Their faces veil, and with deep awe and love,
ever, the leak stopped without any apparent cause
, com “ Hail! holy, holy, holy, Lord !" they cry.
the ship arrived in the port of Bristol in perfect safere And who are these, that multitude who stand
When the vessel was examined, it was found, that a With them around the throne ? no tongue can tell
fish, said to be a dolphin, was so fast wedged into 15 Their numbers; not angelic spirits they,
fracture made in the timbers, that the ingress of ! But bright and pure as angels; fired they seem With more than angel's love, what songs they pour memory of this very extraordinary dispensation of P:
water was prevented, and the crew were saved. They tell of perils past, of sins forgiven,
vidence, the figure of a dolphin is carred upon Of tears all wiped away, of robes impure Washed in the blood of Him before whose feet
staves, which are carried in procession by the penis
who are educated at the schools which he founded. They cast their golden crowns, and to his power And love ineffable they joy ascribe!
Man's Extremity is often God's Opportunity.—T": These are the ransomed from yon land of sin,
life of John Fox, so celebrated for his Dartyrolory, The pardoned rebels, for whose bliss the Son was chequered with extraordinary vicissitudes, which His glory laid aside, and for a space
involved as extraordinary manifestations of providentia Sojourned in their dim world, bare all their woe,
bounty and care. On one occasion, towards the cuir Sustained their punishment, and with his blood
clusion of the reign of Henry VIII., he went u This glory purchased for them; these are they
London. Having no great resources, and meeting was For whom the Spirit infinite, of light,
few friends, he was soon reduced to abject poverty, the Wrought miracles stupendous, changing them
produce of his own industry and the gifts of kindnes From vile and wretched outcasts into pure
being equally exhausted. St. Paul's Church was tari And blissful souls; within their new-born souls
the principal place of resort both for company and iv Dwelling as in a temple, till the shrine,
business. To this place Mr Fox one day repaired, in Defaced and ruined, is raised up anew,
sat down in the utmost dejection. His eyes were betina An altar where eternal incense burns.
low, his countenance was wan, and his whole appears Well may ye strike your harps, and as on wings
ance betokened such squalid poverty, that the passengers Of fire send forth your songs of victory,
shrunk from a person whose extreme emaciation ? Of victory gained for you by the Lamb!
sembled the ghastliness of death. But at length a per Well may ye hasten on your shining way
son he had never seen before addressed him, presenten To do his bidding through the wondrous paths
him with a sum of money, encouraged him by kind el Of his creation, when he sends you forth,
pressions of solicitude and regard, and told him to late Not from his presence, for his presence fills
for the termination of his wretchedness. Mr Form All space, and ever as ye go ye bask
tired, penetrated with a sense of the compassion of 64 In its full sunshine, but to other worlds,
and animated with confidence in bis promises and guit Charged with high errands, reaping thence the fruit
Three days afterwards, the Duchess of Richmond miste Of such bless'd toil in knowledge reaching far,
him tutor to the children of the Earl of Surry, bki And farther still, amidst the glorious depths
under her care. That finite mind can never fully sound ! Well may ye speed your blissful way, and then Published by JOHN JOHNSTONE, at the Offices of the Sets! Returning, fill heaven's crystal dome again
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HINTS ON SPIRITUAL DEPRESSION.
No state of mind is more to be lamented than
that in which the visitation of calamity is met by No. VI.
sentiments and conduct such as have now been By the Rev. William Muir, D.D.,
described, whether proud reasoning would resist, Minister of St. Stephen's Parish, Edinburgh.
or false pleasure would bribe away the sense of How ought affliction to be met by us ? is a ques- affliction. Yet this state of mind is exemplified. tion at all times interesting. Even in our times Indeed, it is exemplified as one of the most freof greatest prosperity, we cannot conceal from quently recurring proofs of human corruption. ourselves how uncertain is the hold we have of How often, instead of the humble and contrite earthly good. To think of our passing along a bending of our wills to the chastening rod, is there course which neither difficulty shall interrupt, nor “ the turning aside from it, as with necks unacsorrow embitter, is the dream of ignorance, or the customed to the yoke !”
How often do sympfoolish claim of presumption. We soon learn toms appear of that secret atheism of our fallen that “men are born to trouble ;” that the very nature, which would incite us to cast off restraint, persons who remain long, as if they were excep- and to hasten, if possible, whither the dominion tions from the common lot, are still brought to that controuls us might never reach! How often feel its saddening influence; that the most pros- is an endeavour made to procure help and consoperous, in the height of their successes, experience lation from any quarter but from the divine hand! many things that detract from their immediate How often is the urgent endeavour made not only enjoyments, and that calamity at last strikes the to get rid of the poignancy of affliction, but to more deeply, in proportion to the length of the obliterate from the mind all impressions equally of season during which the blow has been suspended. the chastisement, and of him who dispenses it,
How ought affliction to be met hy us, then ? is and the purpose for which it is administered ! always an interesting question. But this question, Alas ! suffering, though designed to promote our both in speculation and in practice, has been differ- return to God, is often utterly fruitless of all its ently settled. Two schemes of conduct have been blessed effect. The way of our return, as opened proposed as an answer, that are decidedly opposite. up by the Gospel—the way of salvation through On the one hand, a stern philosophy has laboured free and sovereign grace, is what “mars the pride o produce contempt of suffering, and to neutralize of man,” and is, therefore, intolerable to the proud he sharpness of calamity, by blunting the sensi- heart, while fellowship with the High and "Holy vility that renders us alive to it. On the other One is shunned, because it would bring us under nand, the boasted skill of the gay world has pre- a sense of the very controul, which, by our selfpared and commended the varieties of social plea- indulgence, is felt as most irksome and oppressures, as what shall yield the quickest and best sive. Rather than return to God, we accordingly intidote to mortal griefs. The latter prescription desire, as our first parents did, to “ flee his pres, of course, the more acceptable of the two. An sence, to hide ourselves from him," and to lose attempt to reason down the consciousness of pain the dread, and even the thought of him, in the s not likely to meet anywhere with a cordial re- coverts of this earth’s blighted paradise; or, if ception, and the scheme that proposes it, there compelled to think on him, we think on him as ore, has been advocated only by some visionaries, our enemy. O! most falsely accused ! not our who, in their pride of singularity, have rather affect- enemy, even amid the sorest of the chastisements d to follow it, than actually reduced it to prac- which thou inflictest. Thou bringest us to feel ice. But the plan of counteracting evils by the power of thy arm to smite and wound, but orldly pleasures, and of quenching the sense of it is that we may seek thy mercy, which is able retchedness in the gaieties of life, is more plaus- and ready to bind up
and heal. Die, has found multitudes of admirers, has been In answer to the question, then, How ought efended in theory, and been oftener embraced with affliction to be met ? the wisdom of the Bible momentary but delusive experience of success. teaches what is infinitely separated both from the
stoic's apathy, and the epicurean's licentiousness. above the circumstances in which it was received, This neither calls us to root ont the sensibility of and the instruments that dealt it. They are ever the heart, or even, in any degree, to suppress it, busied among the secondary causes of their griefs
. nor to try to bribe away the consciousness of They recur to “the gall and the wormwood which suffering by worldly expedients. The plan which their souls have still in remembrance.” Anderen the wisdom of the Bible proposes, is alone suited when they attempt to seek consolation from the to beings endowed with reason, and made for im- Word of God, they are discouraged by the frownmortality, and what alone can supply present con- ing aspects of his providence. But let them sensolation, and secure lasting benefit. We are to ously consider the whole case. Can they doubt recognise the hand that chastens us. We are to that, through the course of afflictive events, the confess our sins, and to be grateful that we are care of a father has been superintending them? visited less than our iniquities deserve. We are Can they doubt that designs of grace pervade to own and adore the sovereignty of God—to the mysteriousness of the supreme government? acknowledge his rectitude—to acquiesce in his Can they doubt that every trial is only to increase will—to seek his favour—to wait on the promises in bitterness, by their dwelling exclusively on the of his mercy in the Saviour—to hold communion circumstances of it, or by cherishing fearful airl with him--and to ask, by the prayer of faith and suspicious thoughts of its dispenser ? Let thema devotedness, the sanctified use of his dispensations. rise, then, superior to the secondary causes of their It is thus that, under sufferings, we are brought to attictions. Let them look to the first cause, an! peace; are enabled to endure not only with pati- to the gracious purposes for which He acts. LEI ence but with cheerful resignation ; are sustained them regard his hand as ordering every tempor! by the hope of that “eternal weight of glory” | loss to promote and enhance an everlasting gain. which renders the “ present affliction light, and as Let them hear his voice in the calamities of life, only for a moment;" and are prepared for receiving as exhorting them with renewed earnestness to the whole good of “ that chastening in which the seek his favour. Let them meet his chastisements soul is duly exercised.”
as the zealous watchings of the Shepherd bringiz I. There are those who have withstood all the them and keeping them within the fold of redemp means employed to restore them to God. They tion. All is harassment and misery to the sou were visited with calamities, and driven by these while it is estranged in affection from God, wbuke into some of the thoughts of penitence. But the it feels, in his presence, the dread of the slave, a seriousness produced, went away with the occa- the reluctance of the suspicious child. But draw sion of it. They have listened to many calls of near to him as reconciled to you by Christ Jestis, Erace, and have not been insensible to their mean- Kneel before his rod with the filial reverence u ing and importance. But they have not followed adores the justness of every one of his dispensewhither these calls would have led them. They tions. From the same Being who wounds, stk have been aroused by the pangs of conscience, and expect the cure. Pray that you may be and at times been agitated by the terrors of the enabled to lose your own will in the confiding van judgment to come. But still even these have not proval of his will. This is the very end proposal moved them out of their spiritual distance from by him in his discipline over you. The gains God. They must own that they are not yet re- of this brings to you consolation. Here is peace. conciled to him,--that they cannot, with reason- “ He waiteth to be gracious. He hid his face. tak ableness, pray to him as their Father ; and that it was as for a moment, that, with everlastin they are conscious, therefore, of no train of thought kindness, he might receive you." being so ungrateful to them as what would occupy III. There are those, whom the convictiog d their minds with the perfections of his character, sin is “piercing with many sorrows." It is w and with the prospect of their final meeting with that the conviction of sin is felt. This forms tk him. Their wretched experience is now what subject of gratitude to the Spirit of all . it has hitherto been ; that the varied dispensa- “ Woe to them who are at ease in Zion.” 6 Blas tions of heaven have left them more averse to ed are they who mourn, for they shall be comicreturn to God than before.
ed.” But, observe, while the conviction of sin Is this experience to be prolonged ? Are the felt, how it operates, and whither it leals. warnings of providence to be still ineffectual ? ought to lead you to the cross of Christ, to the Are the calls of grace to be still opposed? While mercy of God, to the throne of grace, to tbe bemmercy spreads its solicitations without winning, ble and earnest petitioning for pardon. is the rod to wield its terrors equally in vain ? to combine closely the sense of your need, with the Say, what is the only issue of such a course? in the fulness of the divine provision for your Detse
“ harden themselves against the Al- Never, in its appointed course, will convida mighty and prosper ?” Are not « despisers at sin tend to separate the greatness of the evil thaa last to see their error, and wonder, and perish ?” | bewailed, from the greatness of the love which cm “ Now is the accepted time. Now is the day of | atoned for the guilt, and is able to deliver fra salvation."
power of sin. If the sting of the serpent is & I II. There are those on whom calamity has in- is to constrain you to look, with the more inte flicted a deep wound. They deem the wound to intenseness, to the miraculous standard of Diete be incurable. They cannot raise their thoughts | raised by the Gospel for the cure of the persian
soul. You are sunk in the dust of abasement, im- and the previous ones, the following language of ploring forgiveness. But you are still to consider - Complaint” and “ Answer” may serve, perthat it were a despite done to the rich grace of haps, to present shortly, and, it may be, a little the Saviour, did you doubt that the compassion, more impressively, some of the sentiments which flowing from his cross, is able to reach and glad- have been brought forward, 'both on spiritual den even the chief of sinners.
depression and the grounds of scriptural comWith a reference to the subject of this section, I fort :
We faint beneath Thy rod :
O! art Thou still our God?
Guilt has a poison'd sting;
What can solacement bring?
Betokens coming day ;
That tracks th' Avenger's way.
Faith welters in the deep;
But leaves us still to weep.
We faint beneath Thy rod;
Spare and restore, O God.
Yea, life is in my rod;
That I am still your God.
My cross will heal despair ;
i future joys prepare.
You dread an endless night;
And God shall be your light.
May shriek, may sink in fear;
And I myself am near.
The language of my rod;
But bind them all to God.
of advantage to myself, or for God's glory.-0 Lord, BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF
send a blessing upon my undertakings !” THE REV. FRANCIS SHERIFF, In little more than a year after these resolutions were Late Minister of Lady Glenorchy's Chapel, Edinburgh. formed, Mr Sheriff began gradually to throw aside the ; Tuis interesting young man was born in the year 1750, vices of the world. He became acquainted with some
restraints of religion, and to mingle in the follies and -of respectable parents, in the neighbourhood of Hadding-thoughtless young men among his fellow-students, and
At eight years of age he was sent to school at yielding to the force of evil example, he walked in the Musselburgh, and, as his parents were anxious that he should study for the Church, he entered the University way of the wicked, and, at length, even sat down in the
seat of the scorner. Religion and religious men he of Edinburgh at the age of fourteen.
alike despised, and though his conscience often reproved Mr Sheriff's mind was early impressed with the im- him, he succeeded, in process of time, in obliterating portance and value of religion, and at college he asso
his former serious impressions, so effectually, that they ciated chiefly with some young men of decided piety. seldom occurred to bis remembrance.
For nine years Along with them he attended regularly a prayer meet- he continued to evince the utmost indifference and even inge which was held in the apartment of the late worthy hostility to divine truth. and much esteemed Mr W. Peebles, who was for up
In the year 1769, he went to London at the invitawards of fifty years master of the Orphan Hospital. Intion of Mr John Home, the author of the tragedy of the course of his studies he began to keep a diary, with Douglas, and was recommended by him to the Earl of the view of noticing his progress in religious feeling Dunmore, then governor of Virginia, as a proper perind conduct. The following are his reflections on en
son to go abroad with his eldest son. Mr Sheriff, how ering the divinity hall ;
ever, did not accede to the proposal, but preferred acThis day I entered the divinity-ball. O what se. ious considerations ought this to impress upon my
cepting a clerkship in the War Office, which he held nind, and with how much assiduity and care ought í for a short time. Anxious, at length, to quit this situa2oy to be living, as I have enlisted myself to be one of tion, he embraced an offer, which was made to him, of God's pastors to feed his flock! God forbid that I en going out with a fainily to Jamaica, where he remained ol my name upon any other end or footing, but to the
a year, in an incessant whirl of riot and dissipation. lory of God, and the good of bis people's souls. 1 His amiable dispositions and fascinating manners gained how yow before God, that, by his assistance, I shall him admittance to the fashionable circles of the island. levote my time and talents to his glory; and that for But amid all the gaiety and giddiness which prevailed he future I will not trifle away my time, with any one
There was an bing that is not profitable to myself or others. I shall around him, his mind was ill at ease. pend all of it (through grace) in reading the languages, indescribable feeling of dissatisfaction wbich harassed ivinity, or devotion, or some other thing that may be and annoyed him, leading him to long for an opportunity • The records of this prayer meeting, which contained a minute of returning to his native land. count of the proceedings of each meeting, would be very interestK. if they could be obtained. It is a curious circumstance that the
In the spring of 1772 he embarked for New York, iginal projectors, one of whom was the late Dr Balfour of Glasgow, where he arriyed after a very dangerous voyage. ld their first meeting on the branches of a tree in the Meadows; such was their modesty and their anxiety to escape notice. There he met with bis cousin, Major Sheriff, who in