« AnteriorContinua »
soost pure and sublime delight, while the Monthly List of Contri. butions to the Funds of the Society are a striking evidence of Chris. tian Liberality, which is the more remarkable, considering the pecuniary difficulties of our times. The multiplication of Auxiliary Societies is also peculiarly pleasing; and especially the recent efforts of Juvenile Christians, not only in the families of the wealthy, but : among the children of the poor in Sunday Schools. These general and combined efforts of all classes of persons augur well, and lay the foundation of a good hope, that the Society will be enabled to send forth many more leralds of the Cross to the most benighted nations of the earth.
But we are far from wishing to confine our Religious Intelligence to a single object, however great and important: other Institutions claim a proportionate share of attention. Most gladly do we record the increasing prosperity and extending usefulness of The British and Foreign Bible Society. Every Friend of Christianity must hail with delight their noble exertions in diffusing the benefit of a divine Revelation to so many countries, and in such a variety of languages. The labours of The Baptist Missionaries in India, both in preaching the Gospel and translating the Scriptures, -- with those of The Society for Missions to' Àfrica and the East, the active efforts of The Religious Tract Society, the laudable endeavours of The Hibernian Society of The Female Penitentiary, and of many other Institutions in the metropolis, together with the no less commendable zeal of our brethren throughout England, in spreading the gospel by their occasional itinerancy, their Association-Meetings, the Ordination and . Sottlement of Ministers,-the benevolent Hints of our Correspondents, with a view to the formation of new plans of usefulness, these, with many more Articles of similar tendency, will continue to be the constant objects of our attention.
In short, we sincerely hope, that a cheap Work, yet so printed as to contain a great mass of matter, comprizing Original Memoirs of Evangelical Ministers, -- Essays on Doctrinal and Practical Subjects, - Obituaries, displaying the grace of God in a dying hour,---Extracts from scarce and valuable Books, Illustrations of difficult Texts, Addresses to the rising generation, --Occasional Poetry; and, above all, a more copious and general Register of Events relating to the kingdom of Christ than can be found in any contemporary publication, will secure the continuance of that approbation which its great sale has hitherto evinced among all denominations of Christians; especially when it is recollected that the Profits of the Work are faithfully devoted to the Necessitous Relicts of poor, useful, Evangelical Preachers. More than Eighty Widows annually partake of this benefit; and the Amount of the whole so distributed, since the commencement of the Work, is more than Sıx THOUȘAND POUNDS! besides Occasional Contributions to the Missionary Cause, as in the recent instance of the fire at Serampore.
To our friendly Correspondents we again present our sincere Thanks; and hope for the Indulgence of their further Contributions; reminding them at the same time, that, in a Work which embraces so great a variety of objects in so small a compass, brevity and compres. sion are essential requisites.
December 16, 1812. .
THE LATE REV. RICHARD CECIL, M. A.
MINISTER OF ST, JOHN'S CHAPEL, LONDON. IF departed talents or piety demand the memorial of Biography, their union, and that in an eminent degree, may well employ the pen of a secording angel. Such has Mr. Cecil found in his late amiable consort, and now mournful relict, who hath immortalized her own name in rearing a monument to her husband *. We have no wish to supercede the labours of Mrs. C. nor shall we make any attempt to improve them. Her facts are from the highest authority,--Mr. C. him. self; and the narrative, will greatly interest readers of taste, as well as religious persons; but we have thousands of readers to whom her work is inaccessible; and it is for their use that we make the following abstract:
Mr. C. was a native of London, and born Nov. 8, 1748. His father was an eminent dyer in Chiswell Street, and a zealous member of the Establishinent; but his mother was a Dissenter, the only daughter of Mr. Grosvenor, the brother of the excellent Dr. G. an evangelical and popular preacher among the Dissenters, and author of the Mournert:
St. Jude speaks of believers being preserved in Christ Jesus, and called :'--such was evidently the case with Mr. C, who experienced several remarkable instances of providential deliverance before he was called to the knowledge of the truth. Two of them are stated as most observable. Once he fell under the ice in a large back of water in his father's grounds, where he was discovered by a remarkable circumstance, taken out apparently dead, and with difficulty recovered. At another time his coat was caught in the wheel of a mill; from which he was extricated through an extraordinary presence of mind, kicking against the horse's face, which stopped instantly the motion of the inill. None of these things, however, suit, ably affected him. His father took him constantly to the parish chuch; and his mother, who was a woman of real piety,
* See Works of the Rev. R. Cecil, M. A. with a Memoir of his Life, &c, in 4 vols. 8vo, vol. 1; or the Life and'Reinains, in one voluine.
+ A volume of his Serinons has been lately reprinted by Jr. Davies, of Lymington, strongly recommended by Mr. Bogue.
admonished him a long time in vain. He was designed for business, and placed in a respectable commercial house ; but his disposition was gay and thoughtless, and his attachment was to Literature and the Arts, particularly Painting: for the latter he had so strong a passion, that, unknown to his parents, he rambled to France to see the works of the foreign masters; and would have gone to Rome also, if his means had been sufficient. Circumstances, however, compelled him to return 20 his father; who, perceiving the strong inclination of his mind, was about giving him up to his favourite pursuit; but Providence prevented it by an accidental circumstance, as the time approached when he was to be called by grace to a very different sphere of life.
Young Mr. C. had long indulged in reading sceptical books; thereby "hardening his conscience, and fortifying himself in infidelity. He went farther: he led others into the same depths of sin, from which all his subsequent endeavours never could réclaim them; -- but while thus proceeding in a course of evil, the Spirit of God began to work upon his conscience. Ruminating one night upon his bed, he thought of his pious mother, and the support she seemed to derive from her Bible:
but,' said he,' she has a secret spring of comfort of which I know nothing; and, if there is any such secret in religion, why may not I attain it as well as my mother? I will immediately seek it of God.'-He rose up in his bed and began to pray; but he soon recollected that much of his mother's coinfort seemned to arise from her faith in Christ. Now,' thought hie,
this Christ have I ridiculed; he stands much in my way, and can form no part in my prayers.' He therefore laid down again, in much confusion. The next day, however, he resumed his prayers, began to read religious books, listened to the admonitions of his mother, and attended the preaching of the gospel ; insomuch, that his father began now to be alarmed lest he should turn Methodist, in which case he threatened to abandon him. To prevent this, he proposed sending him to a university, and afterwards to purchase him a living, if he would go regularly into the church. This offer he accepted, and was entered at Queen's College, Oxford, May 9, 1773.
During his residence at the college he suffered many reproaches from his profligate fellow-students; and many secret conflicts in his own mind. At one time, while walkiog in the physic-gardens, he observed a fine poniegranate - tree, cuk alınost through the stem, near the root. On enquiring of the gardener the reason of this,'he replied, 'This tree used te shoot so strong, that it bore nothing but leaves; Bren't when I had cut it in this manner, it began to bear plenty of fruit.' This explanation he instantly applied to his own case; and do rived much consolation from the reflection. Thus the Lord pifces many of liäs chosen to the heart, to znake them fruittul