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leges and duties of citizens. It is not my present intention to investigate this subject in its broad extent, although I may observe, in passing, that there is no nation upon earth, to whose welfare a proper apprehension of these points is so important as to the people of this republic. If the institutions of the old world have taken their shape, and into stability during the violence of civil war, and in the infancy of political science, the salutary energy of nature has acted as a compensating force in various ways, and alleviated the practical evils of even the most monstrous systems. On the other hand, there is a danger, that, in the pride and strength of power, the people, equally with the tyrants, may forget right, and deal with our institutions, like those book learned philosophers, who expect their engines to possess in practice their theoretical value, regardless of the resistance of the air, of friction, and the weakness and destructibility of materials.
The turn which my thoughts took, led me to contemplate that more intimate connection which subsists between the members of a religious association, in which there are comprised many ties and duties that do not exist in the simpler elements of the social compact.
That form of government is justly to be esteemed the best, which, uniting a due degree of stability with the protection of the life, the property, and the peace of the citizen, leaves him the freest in his opinions and pursuits. On the other hand, religious societies are formed for the support of certain prin iples, which are esteemed fundamental points of Christian doctrine-of certain forms of church government and modes of worship. They suppose an agreement among their members upon these subjects; and the system of ethics which should govern the conduct of individuals thus intimately connected, is more refined and exalted than that which suffices for our civil relations.
A religious community cannot flourish, unless there prevails a considerable degree of Christian charity and fervour among its members. Lukewarmness is as the damps of death to such a body. That zeal, which is thus essential to the common welfare, it becomes the duty of each individual to cherish. Our time, our wealth, and the best ener gies of our mind, should be cheerfully devoted to and dispensed in its service. Whether called to an exalted or a humble station, the true Christian, as he seeks no office in the church, so he refuses no service to which he is devoted by his brethren. He knows that the single talent well employed, and the narrow field diligently cultivated, are of as much acceptance in the divine sight as the most splendid allotment. Whenever thoughts of neglected worth, and of a right to a higher station, intrude themselves, he banishes them as the suggestions of the tempter.
It is very necessary for us all to examine closely our own hearts, and to guard against those false appearances by which we are sometimes deceived in relation to our motives. Wherever there is a social order, there must be social distinctions, and a palm of superiority to be gained. Nor can there be a doubt, that the very same passions which impel the ambitious and the selfish in the pursuit of worldly glory, may aspire to dictate in these consecrated affairs. But that love of distinction and eminence which is the soul of civil enterprise, is forbidden in the Christian code. Whenever, therefore, we find that
our ambition and our vanity are feeding upon the notice of our brethren, or devising means to rise above others in their estim tion, we may be assured that we do not stand on the Christian foundation, and that we are introducing into the church a spirit alien to its nature, and destructive of its peace.
The love of the brethren is the beautiful title of that affection which binds together the members of the church of Christ. It seeks and it supposes no evil. Built upon the truth as it is in Jesus, it does not distrust the motives of a fellow believer, because of occasional difference of sentiment or contrariety of views. It advances its own opinions with firmness and modesty, neither fearing to express, nor unduly seeking to enforce them. The intrinsic weight of its sentiments is enhanced by a humble demeanour and a quiet spirit. It makes the proper allowance for that moral perspective, by which the relative magnitudes and the apparent hues of objects are varied with every change of position in the beholder. It discriminates between those errors of opinion which flow from intellectual weakness, or individual peculiarities, and those which spring from vitiated morals, or a mischievous purpose. Above all, it casts aside its prejudices, whether of favour or dislike, at the door of the sanctuary.
As such a conduct is the unerring sign of being influenced by the gospel spirit, there are indications equally sure of its decay and approaching extinction. The declension first shows itself in the want of frankness and cordiality towards each other. Men suspect the motives, they take up unfavourable impressions of others; they attribute to the desire of self-aggrandisement, conduct which may spring from the purest principles. Such prejudices increase with indulgence, and are gifted with a sure instinct in discovering wherever else they harbour. By their influence, religious societies become divided into little parties, each holding its own opinions as the sole standard of correctness, eyeing each with jealousy, speaking of others with faint and doubtful praise, and covertly thwarting each other's purposes.
The surface of affairs may be kept smooth, and a careless observer may see nothing to disturb the apparent tranquillity, yet all the while the clouds for future tempests may be fast gathering, and the desolation of the smiling landscape be inevitable.
There can scarcely be conceived a state of society more destructive of vital Christianity than such as is here portrayed. The organization of the church may be maintained, yet men be entrusted with its affairs, who neither understand its principles, nor devote themselves to its interest. The form of sound words may be kept up, yet serve for a mantle to spread over a dead body, for a trick of priestcraft or a mask for hypocrisy.
It must be owned, that this is a picture, darkly coloured, of the last stage of decay and approaching dissolution. But the first appearances of this moral blight are so secret and insidious, that nothing but the severest self-examination will enable us to detect its existence in ourselves; and it is not usually until it has gathered strength suffieient to render it dangerous, that we become alarmed at its prevalence. And at the last it can only be successfully combated by the secret prayers and patient fortitude of the wise and the pure in heart, even as
Israel discomfited Amalek by the holding up unto heaven of the hands of Moses.
Considerations of this sort, which have been inspired by a general survey of the history of the Christian world, are not beneath the notice of the wisest and the best of all religious persuasions; for our very virtues often carry us to the verge of the neighbouring vices, into which they degenerate, if we do not vigilantly guard the avenues of the heart. It is thus that men of an amiable temper become self-indulgent and careless, and slide imperceptibly into practices which produce all the consequences of guilty intentions; while those of a severe and stoical nature turn sour and discontented, if not malignant. Let us then remember that the duties which we owe to ourselves require us to be circumspect, modest, frugal, moderate, humble, and fervent in our own walking; that those which we owe to society call upon us to be tolerant, charitable, social, disinterested, sincere, and dispassionate in our intercourse with others, and that the due fulfilment of both implies the highest of all our duties—a pious and godly life in the sight of the Almighty.
GERM OF A MISSIONARY SPIRIT IN SWEDEN.
The Rev, Charles Fr. Haeggman, Chaplain of the Hospital Church in Stockholm, has been employed for many years in endeavoring to awake his countrymen to a lively interest in the Missionary cause in Sweden. In a letter to the editors of the London Missionary Register, he says:
"For seven years I continued a weekly publication, begun by my father and an associate, in which I communicated, chiefly by translations from such foreign journals as I could procure or borrow, such notices of the glorious triumphs of that Gospel, which is mighty to save and is still spreading with increasing success even in the darkest heathen lands, as I judged most conducive to the information and profit of my countrymen. Its sale, however, scarcely covering the expense of printing, I changed the form of my little work to that of a monthly journal, of the same character as its predecessor, but with the addition of such religious and literary notices and articles as might render it more useful to the general reader. This I continued for two years; till the losses which I sustained seemed to call upon me, my income being limited and my family numerous, to lay down the work.
But now, I am resolved, in God's name, to begin afresh: for I cannot bear the thought of keeping back from my countrymen that knowledge which it may be in my power to communicate. He, who has given me this desire, will, of a surety, bless and prosper my undertaking. He, who has worked such signs and wonders in heathen lands, will peradventure rouse even us Swedes from our lethargy; and awaken that spirit of zeal and love, which shall have for its result, what I have earnestly hoped and prayed for a SWEDISH MISSIONARY SOCIETY! Then shall we no longer neglect our own heathen countrymen, far up in the North, in our own woods and mountains; where the Cross is, indeed, raised, but only as a guide-post!
In furtherance of this design, I am endeavoring to establish in Stockholm a Reading Society, consisting of such well-disposed persons as have both the ability and desire to extend their reading beyond a small Swedish publication, and for this end to supply them with as many foreign missionary publications as possible. By these means, even those whose hearts are not yet with us because they do not as yet believe, may be constrained at length to confess that God still worketh wonders in the earth, and may even be brought to rejoice in the privilege of preparing the way of the Lord.-N. Y. Observer.
THE LOVE OF BROTHERS, CONTRASTED WITH INHU
In the reign of Queen Anne, a soldier, belonging to a marking regiment, which was quartered in the city of Worcester, was taken up for desertion—and being tried by a court martial, was sentenced to be shot. The colonel and lieutenant-colonel being at the time in London, the command of the regiment descended in course to the Major, a most cruel and inhuman man. The day on which the deserter was to be executed being arrived, the regiment, as is usual on these occasions, was drawn out to see the execution.
It is the custom on these occasions, for the several corporals to cast lots for this disagreeable office; and when every one expected to see the lots cast as usual, they were surprised to find that the Major had given orders that the prisoner should die by the hands of his own brother, who was only a private man in the same company, and who, when the cruel order arrived, was taking his leave of his unhappy brother, and with tears fast flowing that expressed the anguish of his soul, was hanging for the last time about his neck.
On his knees did the poor fellow beg that he might not have a hand in his brother's death-and the poor prisoner, forgetting for a moment his petitions to Heaven, begged to die by any hands but those of a brother. The unrelenting officer, however, could by no means be prevailed on to revoke his cruel sentence, though entreated by every inferior officer in the regiment-but on the contrary, he swore, that he, and he only, should be the executioner, if it were only for example's sake, and to make justice appear more terrible. When much time had been wasted in fruitless endeavors to soften the rigor of this inhuman sentence, the prisoner prepared to die, and the brother to be the executioner.
The Major, strict to the maxims of cruelty, stands close to see that the piece is well loaded, which being done, he directs that the third motion of his cane shall be the signal to fire. Accordingly, at the third motion, the major (instead of the prisoner) received the bullet throught his own head, and fell lifeless to the ground.
The man had no sooner discharged his piece, than throwing it on the ground, he exclaimed "He that gives no mercy, no mercy let him receive. Now I submit! I had rather die this hour for that man's death, than live an hundred years and take away the life of my bro
ther." No person seemed to be sorry for this unexpected piece of justice on the inhuman major, and the man being ordered into custody, many gentlemen present, who had been witnesses of the whole affair, joined to entreat the officers to defer the execution of the other brother till the Queen's pleasure should be known.
The request being complied with, the city chamber, that very night, drew up a very feeling and pathetic address to her Majesty, setting forth the unparallelled cruelty of the deceased officer, and humbly entreated her Majesty's pardon for both the brothers.
The brothers were pardoned, and discharged from the army.-Sail's. Magazine.
In the early ages of society, when travelling was not so common as at present, and when there were but few inns, the virtue of hospitality was frequently called into exercise. This duty is enforced in the Scriptures, and was particularly required when the persecuted Christians were driven from place to place by their enemies. The spirit of this duty is still in force and so far as we opportunity we are bound to "entertain strangers," and to show kindness to all who are in distres.
The Swiss, especially in former times, were distinguished by their hospitality. In this thinly populated country, amidst its mountains and vallies, when the stranger at length arrived at a solitary cottage, he received a hearty welcome to the humble fare of its inhabitants. The incursions of armies and the increase of travelling have tended to diminish this spirit of hospitality in our days.
It was about the period of the French revolution, in one of the more retired vallies of Switzerland there lived a farmer, with his wife, and an only daughter, named Gertrude. They knew but little of the world, and they wished not to be acquainted with it. Their humble daily duties chiefly engrossed their attention; their only spare time they devoted to the good of their neighbours, especially those in affliction, and to their one book, the Bible. The touching narratives of saered writ had deeply impressed the heart of the young Gertrude, and filled her mind "with thoughts of Christ and things divine." As she tended her flock, or fed her chickens, or cultivated her garden, often would her thoughts recur to the "Good Shepherd;" to his lamentations over Jerusalem, and to the various lessons taught in sacred writ by the flowers of the field.
The peace of this retired family was at length disturbed by rumours of war; a neighbour brought the intelligence that the French were entering their country: the tidings spread through the cantons, and even to the most secluded spot the alarm at length extended. The signal from the hill called all the male inhabitants to assemble with their arms at an appointed place of meeting. With many a tear and many a prayer Gertrude saw her beloved father depart, and then turned round to comfort her afflicted mother. In a few days the distant roar of the cannon was heard, and now and then some neighbour would call and tell of the rumours and news of the day.