« FöregåendeFortsätt »
fusion, suddenly there did shine, more religious part of his con. in the very twinkling of an eye, gregation. These the bright and lightsome counte.
stuffed with such pride, self.con. nance of God, proclaiming peace,
ceit, disdain, and intolerable and confirming it with invinci. contempt, that thereby they were ble reasons.
O what a change carried further from their duty was there in a moment ! The sil. than any of the former; and ly soul, that was even now at the they, which should have been his brink of the pit, looking for greatest comfort, were his great. nothing but to be swallowed up,
est cross. was instantly raised up to heav. “Presently hereupon God en to have fellowship with God
called him to the government of in Christ Jesus ; and from this the churches in Galloway, in the day forward my soul was never
southwest parts of the kingdom, troubled with such extremity of being chosen by the assembly, terrors. Therefound I the pow.
and presented by the king there. er of religion, the certainty of the unto. This was done without word; there was I touched with his privity, or ambitious seeking such a lively sense of a Divinity, after it : yea, he was so far from and power of a Godhead, in mer. it, that eighteen weeks passed cy reconciled with man, and with
between the king's presentation me, in Christ, as I trust my soul and his acceptation of the bishopshall never forget. Glory, glo. ric.
In that place he was very ry, glory be to the joyful De. careful to advance the gospel, liverer of my soul out of all ad.
and to adorn his ministry. Con. versities, for ever!'
cerning the frame of his spirit, “In the midst of these wrest. thus he writes : “My soul is al. lings with God, he wanted not com- ways in my hand, ready to be bats with wicked men also; but the
offered to my God. Where, or greatness of his inward conflicts
what kind of death God hath made him lightly regard all their prepared for me, I know not ; outward contradictions. It was but sure I am, there can no evil no marvel to see Satan stir up
death befal him that lives in Christ, his wicked instruments to molest nor sudden death to a christian one, who professed himself a dis. pilgrim, who, with Job, waits quieter of him and his kingdom. every hour for his change. Yea, Yet this much supported him, many a day have I sought it with that he never had a controversy tears ; not out of impatience, with any of them but for their distrust, or perturbation, but besins; and, the Lord assisting cause I am weary of sin, and him, the power of the word did fearful to fall into it.' so beat down their pride, that
“This faithful servant of God, they were all of them at last who had always been faithful brought to an acknowledgment and painful in his ministry, when
sickness grew daily upon him “But at length, by little and was no ways deficient in the du. little, the zeal and love of most ty of bis ordinary preaching ; of that people did fall away; taking great pains also to per. so that his last conflict was, not fect his work upon the Revela. with the profane, but with the tion, which he desired greatly to
of their evil ways.
finish before his death. His in. at one time agitated by terrifyfirmity increasing, he was com- ing apprehensions respecting the pelled to keep home; yet, as his future, at another rapturously weakness permitted, he applied exulting in the hopes and conso. himself to revise his writings, lations of the gospel. This state and to dispose of his worldly es- of feeling, which affords some tate, that he might be ready for solution of the peculiarities in his passage, which every day he the religious experience both of expected. And some ten days the bard and of his pious progeni. before his decease, he manifested tor, is certainly far less desirato his friends what great content. ble than that sunshine of the soul, ment he had in his approaching that even, tranquil, and serene death.
temper of mind, that "peace of “Many repaired to him in his God which passeth all under. sickness, whom he entertained standing,” which may be consid. with most holy and divine con. ered as more properly character. ferences, expressing a great wil. izing the Christian. And yet lingness to exchange this life for how infinitely is such a state, a better ; and at last, feeling his with all its gloom, despondency, strength and spirits to decay, and terror, even supposing it to (after he had conceived a most be illumined by no alternations heavenly prayer in the company of peace, and hope, and joy, to of those that were by) he desired be preferred before a state of re. to go to bed; where, having de- ligious indifference! The one in. voutly commended himself unto dicates disease indeed, but the Almighty God, he took some quiet other the torpor of death. The rest. After which time he spake sorrows of the one may be acute, not many words, his speechfailing, but they terminate at the latest though his memory and under- in the grave, and joy, everlasting standing were still perfect. And joy, succeeds; the sorrows of $0, about seven o'clock at night, the other commence at the same he rendered his soul to God in a point, and run parallel with etermost quiet and peaceable manner, nity. Anno Christi 1619."
2. The account which is given A few brief remarks will close of the good bishop's pastoral la. this article.
bors, while at Perth, as well as 1. On turning to the account of the painful disappointment he given of Cow per the poet, in experienced with respect to their your work of 1805, p. 165, I final effects, is calculated to sugwas much struck with the resem. gest to ministers an useful cau. blance, in some particulars, be. tion. The cultivation of a de. tween him and the subject of the votional spirit is indispensably present memoir. Not only are necessary to the progress, and the letters, and other writings of and even to the preservation of the bishop superior to the age in the christian life : yet, whenev. which'he lived, but we find him er devotional exercises come to endued with the morbid sensibil. be made, as they too often aré, ity of his descendant, his prone. not only by mere formalists, but ness to mental depression, and by those who affect a superior his susceptibility of religious joy; degree of spirituality, the whole
or riearly the whole, of religion, most of that people did fall instead of being considered as away."* preparatory to farther services;
3., Undoubtedly it is the, ten. --when, losing sight of their end, dency of man to degenerate, even they are used for the sake of the under the most favorable ciremotions and enjoyments with cumstances. Offences come, diwhich they are themselves attend.. visions take place, christian ed, instead of being employed as charity languishes. Christian the means of filling the heart with zeal decays, the power of religall holy and benevolent affec. ion evaporates, the form only tions, of subjugating every sel- remains. Still it is an inquiry fish, worldly, and carnal pro. of the highest moment, what pensity to the dominion of chris. course of proceeding is calculat. tian principle, and of rousing the ed to accelerate this degeneracy; soul to active and persevering and whether any measures can be exertion in the service of God; pursued, which the Holy Spirit --there is great danger lest we will be likely to bless, for retard. should either contract a degree ing, perhaps preventing, its down. of susceptibility inconsistent ward progress. On this import. with the ordinary occupations of ant discussion, I feel myself unlife; or, as is much more com- qualified to enter at large. There monly the case, become perfect. is, however, a passage in bishop ly insensible to the impressions Butler's admirable work on the of religious fear or hope. In. Analogy of Religion, natural deed, the occurrence of this last and revealed, to which I would mentioned effect is so frequent, direct the attention of your
cleras to have led, in certain circles, ical readers, because it appears to the adoption of a very signifi. to me to have a direct bearing cant phrase to express its nature: on this subject, and to contain persons of this description are most profound and accurate said to be "Gospel-hardened.” views of human nature. The I by no means take it upon me passage to which I allude is the to affirm that this was precisely 2d section of the 5th chapter of the case with the bishop's con. the first part. I will at present gregation at Perth. At the extract only a few sentences, same time, the rapid succession which relate more immediately of public meetings for religious to the point I have been consid. worship (no less than eight oc. ering, or rather to one which is curring in the course of the week) strictly analagous. “Habits of must have interfered with other the mind,” observes the hishop, duties ; and the extraordinary are produced by the exertion of degree of excitement which ap. inward practical principles, i. e. pears to have attended them, by carrying them into act, or could hardly fail to be followed,
* A result something like this is in the long run, by injurious thought to have been experienced in the consequences. Accordingly we lace where Cowper the poet passed the find, that " at length, by little
greater part of his life : the causes which
led to it were probably not very dissimiand little, the zeal and love of
lar. See Christ. Obs. for 1805, p. 168.
MEMOIR OF MR. STEPHEN
acting upon them. Nor can which religious exercises and re. those habits be formed by any ligious ordinances furnish to external course of action, other the mind, in coltivating habits of wise than as it proceeds from purity, self-government, submis. these principles," &c. “But sion to God, zeal for his glory, going over the theory of vir. dependence on his grace, holy tue in one's thoughts, talking exertion, and self-denying activ. well, and drawing fine pictures ity. By a steady adherence to of it; this is so far from neces. such a course, through the bless. sarily or certainly conducing to ing and grace of his Redeemer, form an habit of it in him who if his emotions should become thus employs himself, that it may less lively, or his feelings more harden the mind to a contrary obtuse, the graces of the chris. course, and render it gradually tian character will nevertheless more insensible; i. e. form an become more strongly marked habit of insensibility to all mor. and more firmly rooted in his al considerations. For, from soul, and the fruits of right. our very faculty of habits, pas. eousness" will be more abun. sive impressions, by being re. dant in his life. peated, grow weaker; thoughts, by often passing through the mind, are felt less sensibly."
4. The drift of these remarks, I hope, will not be misconceived. My object is not to repress de- It appears very desirable, that votional feelings, or to restrain a larger portion of religious bio. devotional exercises, but to reg- graphy should be occupied by ulate them; not to damp the sa. the lives of pious and exemplary cred fire of religion, but to pre. laymen. Though an account of vent its unprofitable dissipation. excellent ministers is very in. The soul which feels not power. Structive, yet several circumstan. fully the workings of religious ces conduce to render it less gen. affection, has great cause to sus. erally useful. As they move ia pect its safety. But then, let it a sphere peculiar to themselves
, be remembered, that religious the nature of many of their du. emotion which leads to no prac. ties precludes universal imitatical effect; which, though it tion; and their superior atstirs the affections, does not pro. tainments and zealous exertions, duce cither the anxious correc. like the skill of a physician, tion of what is wrong, nor the or the bravery of a soldier, earnest pursuit of what is right; are rather admired and appluad- . is a perilous misapplication of ed than followed. Even their the grace of God. To such a piety is too frequently regard. case may be applied that awful ed with a kind of professional resaying of our Lord, “From verence only; as the sauctity of a him that hath not shall be taken hermit was formerly venerated even that which he hath.” The by the neighboring multitude, Christian's coustant aim and en.
who imagined themselves to be deavor ought to be, to employ under no obligation to conform the motives and excitements to his self-denying example.
We are therefore particularly ous proofs of the warm affection, pleased when we have an oppor. tender sensibility, and extreme tunity of exhibiting the lives of delicacy of his disposition, and those excellent persons who have of the integrity, and disinterest. appeared in the midst of sccularedness which distinguished his engagements. Short indeed was character. He discovered a con. the career of the amiable subject scientions regard to duty in all of the following memoir ; but his transactions, and exemplary he has left behind him a testimo. and consistent conduct in every ny to the power of religion, which relation." will long, and we hope with ad. But we wish to fix the reader's vantage, be remembered.
attention on his unfeigned piety; Mr. S. H. Golding was born which, as his life drew nearer of respectable parents, at Brid- to a close, shone forth with inport, in the
1784. Almost creasing and singular lustre. from his childhood he discovered We know not the date of his first an ardent thirst after knowledge; serious impressions. A letter and he possessed, in a greater de- which he wrote, in his fourteenth gree than many, the means of year, on the death of an elder gratifying this laudable desire. brother, evinces a mind in some He enjoyed the advantage of a degree affected with eternal con. classical educatiou, and made
But though nothing desome proficiency in mathematical cisive appeared in his character studies. After quitting school at this time, or for some follow. he devoted himself to the law; ing years, yet during this period but still embraced every op- he exhibited many favorable portunity which his professional symptoms of a mind well dispos. engagements allowed for acquir. ed. He discovered a reverence ing general knowledge. Hefre. for sacred things; and he not quently rose several hours be. only attended upon the public fore day in winter, and pursued means of grace and the secret du. his studies with an ardor and ties of religion, but frequented perseverance,
which enabled those social meetings of prayer bim, with a remarkable facil. which the learned and polite, unity of execution, to accomplish less renewed by divine grace, more than most other young pere generally regard with disgust and sons. Many proofs of his indus. contempt. But though it is imtry and application remain in his possible to say when that change, various analyses of works, and without which we cannot see several manuscripts, which his re- the kingdom of God," took place
in his character, yet it will evia But it is not our intention to dently appear from the sahsefill this memoir with an account quent part of this memoir, that of the vigor of his understand. he had been drawn by divine ing, his singular diligence, the influence from a love to worldly, extent of his knowledge, or the to a superior delight in spiritual refineinent of his mind and amia. objects. He who sees no differbleness of his manners.
ence in his past and present ex. could,” to use the words of one perience, has reason to call his of his friends, “ adduce numer religion in question. Yet the al.