Sidor som bilder

About the close of the last year season. For myself, I desire to his bodily vigour began to decline, thank God that I arrived in time and he found himself compelled to to witness the elevated and holy intermit those labours in which his triumphs of that dying bed. "I soul delighted. By the advice of have no doubt"-said he to me when his medical friends he visited Bath, he perceived me at his side, “I am in the hope ofderiving benefit from its going to heaven-ihe Saviour whom far-famed waters, but in vain. Dis. I have served so imperfectly, and ease made a silent and rapid pro- whose glory I have feebly attempted gress upon his once athletic and to promote, is with me. How can vigorous frame; and after remaining 1 siuk with such a prop as my elersome weeks that the experiment nal God ?" The next day, the last might be fully made, and spending a of his life, was spent almost wholly few days with his friends at Bratton in ejaculatory prayer, uttered as on his relurn, he came back to his though there were none but his God own habitation, whence bis spirit to hear. In the evening he said to was destined to wing her joyful fight a friend, who was waiting upon him, to the mansions of glory.

“The battle is fought, the victory The state of his mind, during the is won”—but, as if to check any whole course of his affliction, was suspicion of vain glory, immediately such as every Christian might de- added_" through the atonementsire for himself; and the whole Christ has done it;" and, not long scene was so instructive, that I re. after, when he appeared incapable joice to learn that the world is likely of recognizing any of us who surto be favoured with a larger account rounded the bed of death, he disfrom the press than can be com• tinctly repeated that beautiful expressed within the limits of a ser pression of holy Simeon, “ Lord, mon. He felt, and rejoiced to ac- now lettest thou thy servant depart knowledge, that the gospel, which in peace, for mine eyes have seeni had been the theme of his ministry, thy salvation." Through the night, was now the support, the all-suffi. he was observed to be much in cient support of his soul. « The prayer, and, about four o'clock hand of God," said he, " is upon on Wednesday morning, he calmly me, but underneath me are the ever- placed his hands across his breast, lasting arms." Amidst the dreadful feebly uttered “ Lord, grant me thy pain and great depression of animal salvation;" and almost immediately spirits, consequent upon his disorder, bis request was granted, and he which led him to remark to a near quietly breathed out his soul into relative, “ You see death in perfec- the hands of his Redeemer! tion bere;" his mind was stayed upon God, and a dignified and joy. ful serenity was, with scarcely any Letters on the Evidences of Christiintermission, the frame of his spirit, anity. Addressed to a young He took leave of his weeping family, Person of Sceptical Opinions. aud of the deacons of the church assembled at his request in his

LETTER I. dying chamber, with expressions of unabated love and concern for them, MY DEAR FRIEND, and humble thanksgiving for the It is with feelings of no common mercy voucbsafed to himself; and anxiety, that I set down to write to it was observed that, to all who ap. you on this occasion. Our corres. proached him, he had a word in pondence has always been of so pleasing á nature, that I know not system itself as contained in the how to write under the influence of New Testament. If you receive an event which bas excited the the scriptures as the word of God, deepest regret. But my concern and with an bumble dependence on for your happiness constrains me, divine teaching, endeavour rightly without delay, to communicate a to understand and observe them; few remarks on a subject of the the modes of faith and forms of highest importance, which, I trust, worship which occasion diversity of you will candidly and seriously con- sentiment, will, for the most part, sider.

be found comparatively of little conYou will not be surprised to learn sequence. The doctrine to be bethat your esteemed relatives have lieved is most clearly expressed by acquainted me with your last letter, St. Paul, in the first chapter of his and wished me to answer its con- epistle, to the Hebrews : “God, tents. Though unable to conceal who at, sundry times and in divers my own surprise and sorrow, I was manvers spake in times past unto the more auxious to sooth their dis. the fathers by the prophets, hath in tress, and to suggest the most favour- these last days spoken unto us by able view of your expressions, and of his Son, whom he hath appointed thie unhappy state of mind into which heir of all things, by whom also he you have fallen. And I fondly hope made the worlds; who -being the your next letter will tend to assuage brightness of bis glory, and the ex, iheir fears, and to heal the wound, press image of his person, and updeep and severe as it is, which their holding all things by the word of peace of mind and parental affection, his power, when he had by himself are now suffering.

purified our sius, sat down on the Having no doubts myself respect- right hand of the Majesty on high ; ing the divine origin of the gospel, being made so much better than the and thinking highly of your good angels, as he hath by inheritance sense and piety, I scarcely deemed obtained a more excellent name than it necessary, my dear friend, before they." The claims of this doctrine you left home, to caution you against are likewise expressed with equal the sophistries of unbelievers. But perspicuity and force in the follow. I am now ready to blame myself on ing chapter. “ Therefore we ought this point, and fear the means used to give the more earnest heed to the for your Christian instruction were things that we have heard, lest at insufficient to prepare you for the any time we should let them slip. dangers of a bold and speculative For, if the word spoken by angels age. But, I trust, you will take a was stedfast, and every transgrescalm and solemn review of the pro- sion and disobedience received a cess and evidences of the Christian just recompense of reward; how revelation, as maintained by the shall we escape, if we neglect so ablest writers, before you resign great salvation? which, at the first, your faith, and hope, and happi- began to be spoken by the Lord, ness, to the delusive and fatal in- and was confirmed unto us by them fluence of unbelief.

that heard him; God also bearing In adverting to the claims of them witness, both with signs and Christianity, it is needless for me to wonders, and with divers miracles, remind you, my dear Sir, that I do and gifts of the Holy Ghost, accord. not mean any of those peculiar ing to his own will." modifications of it which prevail in Let me, then, entreat you, my Christian churches, but the entire beloved friend, to consider the de

sirableness and necessity of such'a vours are conveyed, and his plans revelation, both to make known the accomplished. true God, and to restore mankind to You will, doubtless, readily admit virtue and happiness. Let me en- the possibility of such communicatreat you, also, calmly to consider tions from God to man, as the the evidences which prove the cre- scriptures affirm. How, indeed, dibility of the Christian faith, as can it be denied or doubted by any transmitted to us in the Holy Scrip- one, who believes that God exists, tures. And, if the inquiry be pro- and has any idea of his infinite perperly pursued, I trust you will soon fections and authority? Certainly, come to a satisfactory conclusion. he who formed, and still sustains

If you wished to obtain the know- the universe, can make known his ledge of some distinguished person will to the human mind by any proage, so as to form a true estimate cess he may think proper; and can, of his character, there are, obviously, at the same time, confirm the revebut two ways of obtaining it; name- lation by indubitable evidences, ly, by his generalconduct and works, both to the person inspired, and to or by a voluntary and specific de- the people for, whose benefit the claration of his own views. If communication is intended. the person were removed from your Whether or not such a revelation immediate observation, the ideas from the Divine Spirit, in the proformed of his character, merely from ceedings of his moral governmeot, what you have seen and heard of be, in itself abstractedly considered, his conduct, would be very partial, a probable event; is an inquiry and liable to mistakes. But, when which it would be neither improper a person communicates to the world nor useless to examine. But, in a true portrait of his own character, judging of this point, no person describing the habitual state of his could possibly judge wisely, unless feelings; the knowledge we desire he had first formed a distinct idea may be easily acquired, faithfully of the divine perfections and governpreserved, and universally dissemi- ment, the design for which mankind nated.

were formed, and the actual neces. To a certain extent, therefore, sity or desirableness of greater " the invisible things of God, even knowledge than appears to be dishis eternal power and godhead, may coverable by the light of nature. be clearly seen from the creation of If God be infinitely wise, and if, in the world, being understood by the making the human race, he designed things which are made.” But, as them, “ by a patient continuance in the divine pature and mode of ope- well-doing, to seek for glory, honour, ration infinitely transcend the narrow immortality, and eternal life;" the comprehension of finite thought, the manifest insufficiency of natural reaideas we can form of the Deity, by son to secure these attainments, renhis works alone, must be very limit. ders it, in the highest degree, proed and obscure. But, from the bable, that an immediate revelation revelation of himself, gradually dis- of his designs was fore-ordained in covered and properly authenticated, the divine counsels, and has, in fact, we may derive just views of the been communicated to the world. moral relations subsisting between The doctrines affirmed, in the us and God, the designs of mercy verses before cited, certainly imply he has formed towards man, and something supernatural; a deviation the medium through which his fa- from the common course of human experience, the nature and operation duct. The subject, my friend, is of which were inconceivably differ- one of the greatest possible interest. ent from any thing known or felt It has received the sanction of wise by ourselves. But, my dear Sir, and good men in all ages. Nothing, the simple fact that we ourselves indeed, can be more desirable in have not been favoured with super. itself, or more conducive to the patural communications from the dignity and happiness of our nature, Spirit of God, is no proof that than correct views of truth, and others have not received ihem; any a well-founded confidence. And if more than the circumstance of our Cbristianity be true, its claims are not having seen the eruptions of a infinitely important, and its belief volcano, or the ravages of an earth- or its rejection must involve the quake, may be adduced to prove, most serious and lasting consethat such phenomena never happen- quences. ed, or were never witnessed by any Let me, therefore, again urge you, one. To reject the credibility of a my friend, to take a calm and delimiracle, because nothing like it takes berate view of the arguments, from place in the common course of which the truth and divine authonature, would be egregious folly; rity of the Christian revelation are since its occurrence, however won. clearly inferred. The authenticity derful, if frequent and regular, would of its records, the credibility of its cease to be miraculous; and could facts, the character of its agents, the no longer be appealed to as a special harmony of its dispensations, the proof of the divine interposition and excellence of its principles, the authority. But miraculous as the grandeur of its discoveries, the sufnature and evidences of divine reve. ficiency of its credentials, and the lation may be to us, let me remind perpetuity of its influence, are subyou, my esteemed friend, that its jects of inquiry which I entreat you communication, “at sundry times more especially to consider. Each and in divers manners," is not to of these particulars, indeed, opens a be considered as a deviation from wide and interesting field of inquiry, the first arrangements of Divine and deserves all the attention you Providence, any more than the ap- can give. But the slightest view pearance of a comet in the heavens you can take of these facts, in the can be called a derangement of the spirit of an bumble and serious insolar system; but it was originally quirer after truth, will convince you, fixed with as much foresigbt and if, indeed, you need such conviction, adaptation to moral purposes, as that our faith in the gospel rests on the laws of nature in the ordinary a firmer basis than the opinions of revolutions and events of the mate- our forefathers, or the institutions rial world.

of the country to which we belong. • The chicf inquiry, then, which This has been found to be the case demands our attention is, whether through a series of ages, in the estithe scriptures of the Old and New mation of many wise and good men, Testament do, in fact, contain a whose mental superiority entitles revelation from the Spirit of God, them to respect, and whose love of designed for man's happiness, and truth cannot be questioned. And, should, therefore, be received by as you advance in these interesting us with corresponding affection, as inquiries, I trust, unreasopable and the ground of our hopes and fears, distressing doubts will be removed ; aud the rule of our faith and con- and your faith as a Christian be at length established on a solid and thie child will mourn for the parent, immovable foundation.

and say, Alas, my father! my faIn the mean time, I will endea. ther! and many a parent will say vour, in some following letters, to with Jacob, I am bereaved of my suggest a few hints on the general children ; Joseph is not, and Simeon evidences of Christianity, which is not, and Benjamin is likely to be may, in some measure, assist your taken away. And it will be well if inquiries. With much concern for many a parent does not here take your true interests,

up the lamentation of David, and I remain,

say, O my sou Absalom, my son, My dear Sir, my son Absalom ; would God I had Your affectionate friend, died for thee, O Absalom, my son,

T. F.

my son! Harlow.

I perceive that you are affected

with the solemn scene before you. (To be continued.)

But you have not reason to sorrow

as those who have no hope ; for if ORATION

we believe that Jesus died, and rose

again, even so them also which sleep AT THE

in Jesus will God bring with him. · Funeral of Mrs. Martha Hope, Of all the scenes of common life,

there is none more affecting and in. At the General Cemetery, Low Hill, structive than the funeral of a friend. · Liverpool, February 1, 1825; We read in scripture of solemn and

by the Rey. Moses Fisher. Being mournful funerals: Abraham buried the first Interment in that place. bis beloved Sarah in the cave of The Address was delivered in Machpelah, in the field wbich he the Chapel erected on the Pre

purchased of Ephron, in the premises for the Accommodation of

sence of the sons of Heth, for a Mourners.

burying-place. Moses, the servant

of the Lord, died in the land of AFTER Jacob had slept on a pil- Moab, according to the word of the low of stones, he awoke out of sleep, Lord, and he buried him in a valley, and he said, Surely the Lord is in in the land of Moab, over against this place, and I knew it not, and Beth-peor, but no man knoweth of he was afraid, and he said, How his sepulchre unto this day. Devout dreadful is this place, this is none men carried Stepben to his burial, other than the house of God, and and made great lamentation over this is the gate of heaven; and he him. Our Lord himself was buried called the name of that place Bethel. with some degree of ceremony, and But this house may be called Bo- as many of his friends followed him chim, the place of weeping; many as had courage to attend on the somourners will enter this house; here lemn occasion. the pathetic exclamation will be There is a respect due to the boheard in sighs and tears, Lover and dy of a Christian, as the temple friend hast thou put far from me, wherein God has been served and and mine acquaintance into dark honoured. It is designed to be ness. Here the husband will mourn rebuilt in another world, and it for the wife, and the wife for the , ought not to be disregarded in husband; the brother for the sister, this. and the sister for the brother; here A capacious and respectable, ce

« FöregåendeFortsätt »