Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

rial faithfulness, at once animate and abase us! (d) - May his patience in his ministry, establish and settle us! (c) May the authority which attended his teaching, endow us with ministerial authority! (f) May the glory which shone from his face in the ministry, reflect itself in our faces! (g)

May the temptations and trials which he suffered in his ministry, render him compassionate towards us in all our ministerial temptations and trials! (h)

May his willingness in his ministry, make us also willing and ready to serve in ours, both by day and night! (i)

May his being sent by his Father, and performing his ministry, give energy to our ministerial functions! (k)

May his fear and trembling, in his official sacrifice of himself, make us fear and tremble in the execution of our ministry! (1)

May his not pleasing himself, preserve us from all self-complacency! (m)

May his meat in the discharge of his office to do the will of his Father, be also our meat in the discharge of our office! (n) May his consolation in the ministry + be also our consolation in ours! (0)

May his agony in prayer, in his ministry, excite us to pray without ceasing! (p)

May his enduring, in his ministry, the reproach, contradiction, ingratitude, cold neglect, persecution, and hatred of the world, be always before our eyes when we experience the like treatment! (q)

[ocr errors]

May his behaviour in his ministry, his not striving or crying (r), his crying, on some occasions (s), his lifting up his eyes to his Father in Heaven (t),—his lamb-like meekness (u), his powerful look upon Peter, &c. (x) regulate and form our behaviour in our ministry!

May his tears over Jerusalem, bless our tears in our ministry! (y)

May the grace, peace, and tender compassion, so conspicuous in the performance of his office, be also our grace, peace, and mercy, for our manifestation in the consciences of men! (z) May his cautious prudence in conducting his ministry, render us also prudent! (a)

(el) Heb. iii. 1, 2, 6.

2 Cor. iii. 18.

(e) 1 Pet. v. 10. (f) Mat. vii. 29. (g) John i. 14. (a) Heb. i. 17, 18; and iv. 15. (i) Mat. xx. 26—28. (k) John xvii. 18. (1) Heb. v. 7. 2 Cor. iv. 7. (m) Rom. xv. 1-3. (n) John iv. 34. Ps. xl. 8. Heb. x. 7. (o) John xvii. 6-8. (p) Luke xxii. 44. Eph. vi. 18. 1 Thes. v. 17. (q) Heb. xii. 3. John xv. 18, 20, 25. Ps. Ixix. 4, 7, 9, 20. Acts v. 41. (r) Isa. xlii. 2. (1) John xi. 41. (;) Luke xix. 41. (x) 2 Cor. iv. 2.

Mat. xii. 19.

xvii. 1.

(s) John vii. 37. ix. 43. xii. 44. (2) Isa. liii. 7. (a) Luke xxii. 61. Ps. cxxvi. 5, 6. Acts xx. 19. 2 Cor. xi. 4. (a) Mark xii. 13-17. Mat. x. 16.

May his rejoicing in his ministry, be the pattern and ground of our joy in our ministry! (b)

May his moderation, in the execution of his office, keep us within proper bounds! (c)

May his humility in his ministry, influence our whole walk and conversation! (d)

And may his giving an account of his ministry remain unforgotten by us, and induce us to look forward to the solemn account we also must give of our watchfulness over the interests of immortal souls! (e)

(b) Luke x. 21.

John viii. 6, 1I. 2 Cor. iv. 5.

Neh. viii. 10. 1 Thes. ii. 19, 20. (c) Luke xii. 14, Mark ix. 40. Luke ix. 55. (d) John xiii. 12-15. (e) John xvii. 12.

Heb. xiii. 17.

SIR,

ADVANTAGES OF VISITING SOCIETIES.

To the Editor.

Kettering, June 22, 1803. AMONG the many laudable methods of promoting the salvation of our fellow-sinners, which, of late years, have been pursued, there are few, if any, which have appeared to me more deserving of encouragement than that of forming Societies for visiting and relieving the afflicted Poor. It is said of the wild ass, used to the wilderness, "That in her month they shall find her." There is a time, in almost every man's life, in which his spirit is brought down; and in which he will give ear, at least, to those things that in the season of health and prosperity he despises. Affliction is the month in which every man is to be found; and, therefore, is a time of which we ought to avail ourselves. It is then, if ever, that the want of a solid ground of hope is sensibly felt. It is then that worldly supports fail: like vicious companions, they withdraw from the bed of affliction, and leave men to die alone. This, therefore, is the time for Religion to obtain, at least, a hearing. And when, in subserviency to the good of mens' souls, we relieve their temporal wants, they cannot but perceive the sincerity of our counsels; and must ordinarily be induced to regard them with candid attention. Such was the conduct of our Lord himself: he went about continually doing good to mens' bodies, as the means of gaining access to their minds.

When in London, about a month ago, I was requested to preach a Sermon in favour of one of those Societies, at Maze Pond Meeting-house; and this I cheerfully complied with. Just as I was coming away, a paper was put into my hands, by one of the members; of which the following is the sub

stance:

About the middle of the year 1798, a few individuals in Southwark, united for the purpose of visiting and relieving the afflicted poor. By the beginning of 1799, being formed into regular order, and encouraged by the subscriptions of other Christian friends, they began their visits.

On the 4th of January, J. C-d and J. W-d were appointed by the Society to visit a Mr. S, Brandon-street, New Road, Bermondsey. They found him in a deplorable state of mind, a poor hard. ened sinner. Extreme ignorance, carelessness, and profaneness, even under the most dangerous affliction, were manifest in the whole of his behaviour. The day before he was visited, a kind friend had intimated to him, that his dissolution was apparently at hand. He answered, "I know not that there is a God, a Heaven, or a Hell; but if there be, a day, or even a few hours, are sufficient for that?" In the first interview, attempts were made to convince him of the evil of sin, and of his lost con dition as a sinner; and certain instances of his evil conduct, of which the visitants had been informed, were alleged as proofs of it. This arrested his attention. They proceeded in holding up before him the accumulated wickedness of his whole life; feeling and expressing at the same time, their tender concern for his immortal soul, now about to appear before its God. At the close of the interview, one of the visitors, according to the directions of the Society, went to prayer; and implored mercy from the God of all grace, to be manifested through Jesus Christ, to this poor perishing sinner. His mind seemed to be affected by what he had heard. He thanked thein repeatedly for their kind attention to his best interests; and intreated them to come again.

In future visits, they dwelt upon the great truths of revelation; and, according to the ability given them, insisted particularly on the excellency, the suitableness, and preciousness of Christ,-on the great grace of God towards miserable sinners, and the rich provision made for the securing his own honour, in the eternal salvation of all that believe. They also recommended him to read the Scriptures, and to pray; and it ap peared that their instructions and counsels were not in vain. They after. wards frequently found him reading the Bible; and he would express to them the satisfaction he enjoyed in it, and in prayer, and spiritual conversation. Freely and repeatedly he confessed his aggravated guilt, acknowledging that he deserved the displeasure of God in the greatest degree; yet hoped to obtain forgiveness, from the grace of God, through Jesus Christ. On this alone he professed to rely, as encouraged by the declarations and promises of the gospel.

[ocr errors]

When certain favourable symptoms induced a hope of recovery, his desires of life appeared to be, that he might have opportunity of proving the sincerity of his professions, and live to the glory of God in Christian society, as he had heretofore lived to his dishonour in the society of the wicked. He would often express his gratitude to the visitors, and to the Society who sent them; blessing God for them as the instru ments by which he was rescued from eternal misery: and when relief was afforded him, under his temporal wants, he discovered the same grateful spirit. As the disorder increased (a consumption) and dissolution drew near, he discovered increasing composure and spirituality of mind. His hopes of eternal life, as the free gift of God to sinuers of mankind, thro' his well-beloved Son, seemed more vigorous, and his soul more lively than before. Expecting every night, as it arrived, to be his last, he would take leave without any appearance of terror; and express his hope of being soon in glory. On April 9, 1799, in this state of mind he died.

In addition to the above, the visitors are not without hope in behalf of his widow, who appeared from the first to be impressed by the things that were spoken. She observed, at one of their visits, "What you have addressed to my husband, equally concerns me ;" and, on all occasions, paid a serious attention to what was said. It was from her they learned, that her husband had been extremely wicked aforetime; and that, even

during his affliction, he had often been guilty of profane swearing, and uttered the most passionate language; but, from the time that he was visited, she said, he swore no more; and no more fell into any of those violent passions to which he had been so greatly addicted. She also informed them, that he warned his wicked companions; one of whom especially, who came to see him in his affliction, appeared to feel very for cibly the poignancy of his reproof. She farther assured them, that he was resigned to the will of God, not only when they were present with him, but uniformly so; and that they enjoyed more happiness together, during the few last weeks of his life, than in all their married state before."

N. B. The paper makes mention of 157 cases being admitted the first year; and upwards of 60 l, expended,

On this interesting story, the reader is left to make his own reflections. Those who have been immediately concerned in it must surely say, and it may be presumed others will say also," What hath God wrought!" GAIUS.

THE SERVANT OF ALL-WORK.

IN a late periodical publication, there was an advertisement for a steady servant of all-work. This struck me as a singular requisition; and that the advertiser will find some difficulty in finding a servant who would be willing and able to fulfil the duties of such an arduous post. However this may be, I think I know one Master who has a right to demand such servants; persons of all-work. "One is our Master, even Christ." He attaches us to his person; he inclines us to prefer his service to that of every other master, Hence, when we have received the earnest of his Spirit, we join his family willingly, and take that part in it which his wisdom assigns.

[ocr errors]

From this time, we reckon it a pleasure to serve him, and obey his orders; and he expects that, from the moment we are received into his household, we should conform to his rules, and submit to his authority. Knowing, therefore, that we serve the Lord Christ, we say, with the Israelites, "All that the Lord hath spoken we will do." And should a Joshua suspect our sincerity and zeal, we eagerly reply, " The Lord our God we will serve, and his voice will we obey." Now, our adorable Master has given us his written commands, viz. "That we should serve in newness of spirit, that henceforth we should not serve Sin,- that we should be careful to maintain good works; to be zealous of them, to be rich in them, to provoke others to them, to be perfect in them, to glorify God by them. All this is very proper; nor do we doubt of the reasonableness of these commands, when we first enter the service of Christ : but as he is always the same, his service is the same; and he

expects, nav demands, that we be servants of all-work; or, in the apostle's emphatic language, " ready to every good work."

This work consists in looking to Christ for direction and assistance; in watchfulness, in diligence, in activity. We must work while it is day; and, like him, finish the work we have to do; for "the night cometh, when no man can work."

Farther: This expression all-work, has many other appendant duties. For instance, Are we private Christians? Here is work in the closet, and work in the family; which all diligent servants attend to every day. Besides, there is much work to do in the church, of which our Master is the head; social: prayer and conversation, punctual attendance on public ordinances, &c. and such kind of work as this, very much strengthens the hands of the upper servants, who, for want of such friendly attentions, often go to rest very weary, and greatly discouraged. Again: Here is much work to do in procuring more servants for our Lord's service for what between the death of many who go to enjoy their reward, and the failure of others, who run away through dislike of family-order, we are authorized to say, and yet there is room; our Lord's House is not full.

Hence different spheres of usefulness open before us. Here is work in our families and neighbourhoods; Missionary work, in which counsel, and prayer, and money, are much wanted! Here is work to do in the nation, and out of it: in country villages, in every direction; or, by our representatives, to the very ends of the earth.

May the advertisement be applied to ministers? How much does it behove them to be meu of all-work! Ought they not to be like their Master, "who came not to be ministered unto, but to minister?" Ye honoured servants of an infinitely honourable Master! see what various and laborious duties the apostle describes in 2 Cor. vi. 3-7. May these things be in you and abound, with the exception of certain trials, which, I trust, your Master will never suffer you to experience!

[ocr errors]

But the advertisement, which occasioned these reflections, requires a steady servant too; and, indeed, what is a servant without steadiness? Yet, on this point, the servants of Christ have to lament the want of this principle. Alas! we soon grow weary in well-doing." And why? Because we fail in looking to our blessed Master for those encouragements which would effectually banish indolence and relaxation. Hence it is, that the service begins secretly to be disrelished; and those servants, who are in such a case, will surely be disposed to find fault with one another, when the quarrel ought to be with themselves. Some of the upper servants begin at this time to be treated with inattention and neglect, with misrepresentation and contempt. If they, ever so prudently, remind them

« AnteriorContinua »