Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

always be new and original, because the source from which it is derived is inexhaustible. We might hope to see ori. sing once more in our Churches, Bezas, Claudes, Saurins, servants of God as learned, as eloquent as these great men, and full of zeal for the cause of their Master.

[ocr errors]

TO BE CONTINUED.

MISSION TO ENGLAND, FROM THE ASSOCIATION FOR THE

PROTECTION OF THE (SO CALLED) RIGHTS OF CONSCI.
ENCE IN IRELAND.

RocheFOUCAULT, or somebody else, has defined an ambassador, “a man sent out to tell lies for the good of his country.” We make little doubt, that to political diplo. matists, the definition will sometimes apply; but, in the case of a clerical mission, we may well presume its incorrectness. More especially when men set out in the professed service of “conscience," we may well expect a strict adherence to truth in all their sayings, and doings, and printings. Of the "sayings" in London we have got a sample, which we shall, perhaps, consider hereafter. Meantime we select from a public official advertisement in the principal Unitarian Magazine, the following state. ments. We call to them the attention of the people of Ireland and England; and particularly, if they ever see our pages, of the “Unitarians" of England, that they may see how grossly they have been imposed upon by the re. presentations of the mission, and how foully the character of the General Synod of Ulster has been traduced.

Amongst other things, the mission informs the people of England, that

“One congregation, which separated from the General Synod, in vindication of its Christian privileges, is involved in an expensive and protracted lawsuit, for the recovery of its place of worship; and the General Synod of Ulster have lately ordered legal proceedings to be taken, for the pur. pose of driving a most exemplary Minister and his congregation from the meeting.house which the people erected nearly a century ago, and in which the venerable Minister has officiated for 30 years ! ! !

When we read this paragraph, we do confess, our brain felt a strange degree of confusion. We tried the Minutes of the Synod, we tossed over the pages of our memory ; and, though we have some knowledge of Synodical affairs, we could make no discovery of its truth. Indeed how could we? The whole thing is—a fabrication. gation,” they say, "separated." It is not true.

“One congre

A part

of a congregation did so. But we have yet to learn, that a part is equal to the whole; or that an Arian secession has a right to usurp the name, privileges, and property of any congregation to which they may have belonged. As to the assertion, that the General Synod " has lately ordered legal proceedings,” the thing is without a word of truth. Such a thing was never talked of in the Synod, nor even in any of its committees. But it was a good way to misrepresent the Synod, it was an admirable key to the hearts of Englishmen; and so it was written, and so it was printed, and so it was read from pulpits, and so it goes forth to the world. We do openly call upon its authors to tell the world, how they dared to invent and utter it; and we equally proclaim to our friends and to our enemiesthe statement of the mission is utterly untrue.

DAYS OF PENTECOST, ACTS ii. 1-41.

(From the Religious Intelligencer : American Paper.)

Would it be extravagant to expect the conversion now of three thousand souls in a day? Was there any thing miraculous or peculiar in the multitude of conversions on the day of Pentecost, so that we are never to witness such an exhibition of divine power again ?

Having given a considerable attention to this subject, I am fixed in the most' sanguine belief, that Christians ought now to pray for and expect the return of such pentecostal seasons; and that to expect the conversion of thousands in a day, in one place, is in perfect accordance with the promises of God, the known operations of the Holy Spirit, and the indications of divine providence. The conversion of three thousand at Jerusalem was effected by the same process as the conviction of sinners now. Christians are not straitened in God,—his hand is not shortened that it cannot save; they are encouraged to pray and expect the most extensive blessings. And surely, if by their prayers and exertions, and the preaching of the Gospel, one sipner may be turned from the error of his way, why not two, len, fifty, or a thousand, by the same means, and at the same time? The recent and extensive revivals in our own country present us the well attested fact, that five, twenty, or even sixty, have given decided and satisfactory evidence of conversion in a day; and when the means shall be understood and more directly

for

applied, and Ministers and Christians shall be more thoroughly imbued with the spirit of their Master, we may confidently expect not only fifty, but thousands of conversions occurring nearly at the same time.

In "Flemming's Fulfilment of Scripture," a book that may be studied with great profit at the present time,-we have an account of a prayer-meeting at the Kirk of Soots in Scotland, June, 1630, at which, in one night, one hundred and twenty souls were brought to repentance; and the next day, under the preaching of one sermon, by Mr. Livingstone, about five hundred more were, in the judgment of charity, savingly converted to God, and evinced the reality and genuineness of their change by their subsequent lives. Why may not the preaching

of the Gospel be attended by such powerful effects now? Surely there is no obstacle, but the want of faith and zeal, and proper exertion on the part of God's people. One great reason why greater success has not attended their prayers and exertions is, that they have not expected success. They have not acted with a view to an immediate effect, nor believed that immediate and great success was practicable. Ministers have preached, and Christians prayed under a slight impression that at some future time, something good might be the result. Having no expectancy of immediate success, their efforts have been feeble and heartless, and the world has proceeded in its downward course with increasing velocity

The time has been when, if the question were asked of the Christian Minister, what is your object in going to the house of God to-day? the answer would be, 'why, to preach a sermon. Well, what good do you expect will be accomplished? Why, to prove an important doctrine,-to settle some disputed point,—to exhibit a harmonious system of orthodoxy; and perhaps, at some future time, God may make use of it for the good of some of the congregation. Ah, “the hungry sheep look up and are not fed.

V. D. M. To the preceding remarks which are worthy of prayerful attention, we would add, that every Minister of Christ ought to desire that every one of his sermons may be the means of spiritual life to his hearers; and that all of them, who are impenitent when he begins, may be truly

[ocr errors]

converted before he has done. He ought to believe that while he speaks the Holy Ghost can and may say, " they shall hear, understand, believe, and obey." He ought earnestly to pray for, and design, so far as may be possible, to promote the immediate repentance and reformation of all who hear him, He should rather look for present than future success ; for his audience will be more likely to believe while they hear and understand, than subse. quently when they may, or may not, remember the words of life, which he bas uttered. If he is filled with the desire and hope of being the instrumental cause of converversions, without delay, he will be more likely to preach as he ought, than should he merely calculate that good may result from his labours a long time hence. Let all Ministers know, that he who converteth a sinner from the error of his way shall hide a multitude of sins and save a soul from everlasting death. Let them know too, that be who converteth not a sinner by his present preaching, may never have another opportunity of endeavouring to do it.

NOTICE OF BOOKS.

EXTRACTS FROM “THE LIFE AND DIARY OF THE REV.

EBENEZER.ERSKINE, A.M. OF STIRLING, FATHER OF THE SECESSION CHURCH.”

When we took up the volume, we merely contemplated a brief review of the work. ith this intent we read and marked its pages. The perusal we found so pleasing and so edifying, as a specimen of Christian experience and personal religion, that we changed our purpose for our readers' sake : and, instead of review, we present a series of extracts, chiefly from "Mr. Erskine's Diary,” by which, better than by description, the true character of the man will be exhibited. Passing over an interesting Memoir of bis venerable Father, we come at once to the second Chapter, in which Mr. Erskine is presented to us, as ordained in the Parish of Portmoak. What happened in the case of Thomas Scott, happened also in that of Ebenezer Erskine

- both were ordained to preach the Gospel before they fully understood or felt the power of the Gospel : and yet, by the grace of God, both were brought to know, and feel, and adorn the Gospel of God their Saviour. According to the Memoirs of Mr. Erskine, it was not till about three years after his ordination, that he understood the pure Gospel of Christ, or was at all savingly acquainted with its influence. He must be numbered, in short, amongst those clergymen, who, though once they preached a Saviour whom they did not know, have at last, through distinguishing mercy, experienced the power of illuminating and converting grace.

This great change of sentiment and feeling occurred in the year 1708." The principal means of producing it, was the pious character of Mrs. Erskine; and a confidential conversation, which he accidentally overheard, betwixt his brother Ralph and her, on the subject of their religious experience, is believed to have signally contributed to. wards the work of his complete conversion.

Modern scepticism has learned to mock at conversion, and especially at the knowledge of the time of it. Mr. Erskine evidently connected it with a date.

In various passages of the Diary, the 26th of August, 1708, is referred to as a day on which he was favoured with a memorable manifestation of the glory of a recon. ciled God.

The following pious reference to the fact, we select from several others in the Diary :

“ Jan. 27, 1711.-I was made, with some delight and satisfaction of soul, to call to remembrance the expressions I had of the Lord's love, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 1708, when my soul was made to leap within me, with the sweet views which I got of Christ, and of his covenant, and of nearness to God, and interest in him as my God.

“Feb. 7, 1715.-This morning I wakened out of sleep between 5 and 6, and as I wakened, I found myself with God. The Lord was drawing aside the vail, and giving my soul some awful but sweet discoveries of himself. I saw him to be great and good, and in every way up-making portion to the soul.; upon which my soul said, O he is my God, I will prepare him an habitation, my father's God, and I will exalt him. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none apon earth that I'desire besides thee. He is the God and Father of my elder brother and my blessed husband, Jesus Christ'; to whom he made me to give my consent upon Wednesday, August 26, 1708.”

The following extract will exhibit the experience of a converted soul in its humility because of sin, its gratitude because of grace, and its hope because of glory.

“O that it were with me as in months past. If he do return and receive me graciously, I am sure there will not be a greater monument of free grace, either in heaven or earth, than I am. I think there is not one in heaven that will, or can, sing such high hallelujahs to the

« FöregåendeFortsätt »