« FöregåendeFortsätt »
bidden to eat, and whose touch carried pollution to the very vessels used by man. The children, so far from being subject to parental discipline, were their own masters almost as soon as they could walk. The conjugal tie was esteemed of little moment by either male or female. The tyranny of the kings, priests, and chiefs was illimited; and the subjection of the common people more base than that of the ancient serfs of Europe. Private property could scarcely be said to exist, at least among the lower ranks; and even that of the higher was held merely by the insecure tenure of a tyrant's caprice. Above all, idleness and sensual enjoyment, en. couraged by the bounty of an exuberant soil, whiled away the hours of the roving, thoughtless population. In all these respects, the change was entire; and as the prospects of a brighter world opened on their view, their path through this became diametrically opposite to the road they had previously travelled, and at every turn they required instruction. In consequence, the missionaries were occupied from morn to night, and even their hours of rest often intruded on, by inquirers of all ranks, with whose eager desires they found it frequently impossible to comply, and yet felt it almost equally impossible to resist.”
The remaining chapters of the book detail the subsequent progress of the Gospel in the several islands, and of their growing civilization down to the present time. We need scarcely conclude with saying, that we cordially recommend this yolume to our friends and readers. The only things we bave to regret are, an occasional obscurity and confusion in the style-want of proper attention in the narrative, to the order of time—and above all, the want of an accompanying map, giving the corrected names of the different islands, and showing, with accuracy, their relative positions. We would gladly have exchanged, for this useful appendage, the engraved title-page, although the view therein is very beautiful and characteristic; and we are quite sure the expense of its execution would have been amply sufficient for the publication of a neat and corrected map.
A SHORT APPEAL to PROFESSING CHRISTIANS in the NINE
TEENTH CENTURY. By Thomas Tore, Esq. Cork.-William M'Comb and H. Greer, Belfast. P. p. 24. 1832. Price 4d.
This is an excellent little tract-scriptural, practical, and searching. Its professed object is to “humble the sinner, exalt the Saviour, and promote sanctification;" and in our judgment the means used to accomplish this object are wisely chosen and faithfully applied. The tract will be found suitable for the perusal of all, but seems pecu. liarly adapted for the elder children in our Sundayschools.
SACRED POETRY: being a Selection of Gospel Hymns, for the Use
of Congregations and Sunday-schools. William M.Cornb, Belfast. P. p. 99. 1832. Second Edition. Price 9d.
OUR judgment is decided, that the Psalms of David, or other portions of Scripture versified, but not para.. phrased, should be the only songs of praise used in the public worship of God. We think so, be. cause if once liberty is given to introduce the effusions of men, there is no limit to the error that may be thus insidiously brought into public worship. Still, however, we do not deny that sacred poetry, of human com, position, may be employed by individuals for private edi. fication, either by reading or singing. We have never yet seen such a compilation as we could absolutely approve; yet the little work before us bids as fair as any we know to command general approbation. It contains 102 hymns, selected from the most approved authors, and judging from a hasty review, they seem highly devotional and strictly evangelical.
Died at Ballymena, on, the 21st ult. Agnes Cumming, in the 65th
year of her age.
The lives of private Christians, especially of the female sex,' furnish but few materials for biography. Naturally indisposed to court the public gaze, and mingling little in the bustle of the great world, their history presents but little to attract our admiration or regard, but the sustained and steady operation of Christian principle. The solemn influences of religion, like the dews of heaven, descend in silence, and the heart that has been mellowed by the droppings of the sanctuary is the hallowed residence of views and feelings too aetherial in their nature to be apprehended by the general understanding of mankind.
Acting on this conviction, we deem it necessary to mention but a few particulars, illustrative of the character of her whose death we now record. That character may be sketched in a few words. She was a notable exemplification of practical and unobtrusive piety. Early habituated to the contemplation of things invisible, her mind received an elevated tone and temperament that adhered to it in after life, and became an element, as it were, of its own existence. Naturally ayerse to ostentation and parade, she loved the silence of Christian solitude; and, through the medium of her Bible and the writings of her favourite divines, accompanied with prayer, she held communion with her God. Never did a day elapse these many years, of which she did not consecrate a great part to reading and meditation. She studied much the nature of the - Christian walk, and had a decided preference for that kind of authorship which treats most of its spirituality. The authors whom she most admired, accordingly, were Owen, Boston, Marshall, Flavel, and such like, the venerable apostles of a nonconforming and religious age. She was ready, indeed, to catch the spirit of piety wherever she found it; and from her admiration of the writings of Hall, and Leighton, and John Newton, she was often heard to wish that all dissenters were as eminent for Christian excellence and holiness as they. It is somewhat remarkable, that for a considerable time before her last illness, she dropt all kinds of reading but the Scriptures; and when other books were offered her, she declined their use. Her veneration for the word itself augmented toward the termination of her pilgrimage; and though she was all her life long conversant with eternal things, yet it seemed as if she were desirous at the last to make a parting and prospective survey of the promised land, ere it should be said to her as it was said to them of old, “Let us go up and
Religious principle cannot lie folded in the mind of its posşessor in inoperative secrecy, and Miss Cumming was accordingly a most humane and condescending benefactress of the distressed. The retiring charity of her nature prompted her to numberless deeds of beneficence, many of which, we are convinced, were never known to her most intimate acquaintances. Registered in heaven, they will have their memorial and their reward. And when the disclosures of the great day shall have been made, it will appear, we doubt not, that in her case the walk of faith has also been the walk of most diffusive and enlarged philanthropy.
Nor was her charity expended on the perishable interests of time-it embraced those more important and imperishable interests that are commensurate with the duration of eternity. It were inadequate eulogium to say, that she lent more of her anxieties, her contributions, and her prayers to the advancement of the kingdom of the Saviour, than any private individual in the district in which she lived; for, alas! a grudging and ungenerous spirit is the banefal characteristie of the age, and the selfishness of a contracted policy shrivels up the heart of Christendom. But she whom we commemo• rate was ever ready to supply the means for ministering to the spiritual necessities of her less-favoured brethren, and ever took a lively interest in the propagation of “ the joyful sound" in this and other lands. And one of the most pleasing contemplations of the works that follow her is suggested by the fact, that she has bequeathed liberally of her property to the promotion of that cause she had so much at heart." Exclusive of £100 left to the poor, her will records the bequest of £600, to be apportioned in equal shares between the Synod's Home Mission, the Scottish, and the Jewish, Missionary Societies. May ber example, in this respect, while it illustrates the omnipotence of Christian charity, tend at the same time to rebuke the practical indifference of those clamorous professors, in whose conceptions Orthodoxy is bereft of its peculiar and characteristic glory, even its power to warm, and animate, and expand the soul!
The mention of Miss Cumming's missionary bequests re. çals to mind her venerated brother, who, after a life much exercised in Christian experience, died in full assurance of faith, about nine years ago, leaving a still greater portion of his property to missionary and religious institutions. Never, we believe, was there a more spirtual man than John Cumming: He and his sister lived long together under the same roof, and were mutually edified by each other's Christian converse." Very pleasant and refreshing was their intercourse while here; and very dear and cherished were the recollections of it, upon her part, after he she loved was gone. And surely if the power of recognition still survives the dissolution of this mortal frame, there was a joyous meeting in heaven, when death unloosed the bands that held the saint on earth, and sent her to salute her kindred that rejoice before the throne.:
It is usual, when recording the ascendency of Christian principle in the life, to mark and register its triumphs in the time of disease and death. The nature of Miss Cumming's illness prevented those who waited by her in her last moments from contemplating, in all its vividness, the power of faith, as it grew brighter to its close. But well we know that she was not left desolate; and that although her body was benumbed and powerless, her spirit was upborne within her by the balm and consolation of the covenant. Though her tongue was, for the most part, sealed in unbroken silence, yet it gave utterance at times to holy thoughts and meditations : and though
her memory had lost its hold of almost all beside, it still re, tained the liveliest recollection of the truths of the great sal, vation.” And now that she has followed after those who are inheriting the promises, let us hope that this memorial of her character will keep her in remembrance, that haply others of the daughters of Israel may adorn, like her, the desolations of Zion, and by their prayers, their contributions, and their example, speed on the prosperous aera of her renovation and her glory
WE have heard that the Rev. John Coulter, as Chairman of Committee, has treated us to another letter in the newspapers, in his usual style. We have not read it, even though a copy was kindly transmitted to us: We treat Mr. Coulter's letters as men were wont to treat the books of Michael Scott: they opened them pot, for fear they might raise an evil spirit. We wish not to be angry with our Correspondent. “We pity and we will not retaliate.” We learn, however, that he denies our as sertion of two members of the Secession Committee, notwithstanding their present denouncement, being willing not long ago to join the Synod of Ulster, and that he calls for names. We have also received a letter on the subject from one of his co-presbyters. We have only to observe that the names and the witnesses are in the hands of our publisher, for the inspection of the parties concerned. Our last. Correspondent ean tell why we refrain from publication. If it go farther, the fault shall not be ours. But we do not retract one jot of our assertion. -EDIT.
At the late annual meeting of the General Synod of Ulster, beld in Monaghan, it was resolved, that the second Wed. nesday, or where that day might be inconvenient, the second Thursday, of August, should be kept throughout all their congregations, as a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer before the Lord ; and certain brethren were appointed to draw up, publish, and circulate a brief state. ment of REASONS, to be read and applied at the time of public worship, as Ministers might deem advisable.
1. The first reason for fasting consists in this--tbat fasting is of divine institution and scriptural obligation. This conclusion we draw not from the commandment, Lev, xxiii. 27-29.; for that, being ordained as a Jewish rite, might not be held binding on Christians. Neither, for a similar reason, do wę infer its divine origin and obligation from the Lord's acceptance of fasting, Joshua vii. 6;