Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

of God, then is his burden light- principles which had inspired ened, and his tongue instinctive it. ly exclaims in the language of in- Theophilus was too much afspiration—“The Lord gave, the "fected by what he had seen and Lord hath taken away, blessed be heard, to accost the rector after the name of the Lord.

the services of the church were “ As for myself, why should I finished, but he visited him on grieve? because the dear object the next day, and then, as well of my earthly affection has enter. as in all his subsequent intered into the joy of the Lord ? for views, found his conyersation and such is the blessed confidence deportment in exact correspondwith which her faith in him has ence with the doctrines which he inspired me. No, my dear publicly taught. The weight friends, though I am deprived of of such an example was hardly a companion in whose society I to be resisted by any mind sus, enjoyed all the happiness, which ceptible of piety or sensibility; this world can afford, though my and Theophilus was led by itinto children have lost a most affec- a train of reflection, upon the tionate endearing parent, yet my power of that religion which sorrow is well nigh absorbed in could support human nature unthe thought of the happiness der the deepest calamity; and he which she now enjoys. i derive justly concluded, that if it were support and consolation from the founded on substantial evidence, confidence I feel, that the Lord, the consolation which it inspired in whom she trusted, has taken was no less rational than solid, her to himself, and from the hope He saw clearly that the topics of that through faith in him I shall condolence and resignation, sug, again see her a purified saint, in gested by philosophy, were neith, the company of my ever blessed er sound in principle nor efficient Redeemer."

in practice, and that the frame of This was a scene to which few mind which they were calculated persons present had ever witness to produce was a sullen, rather ed a parallel, and for which The; than a rational acquiescence : ophilus was wholly unprepared; whilst Christianity, on the conhis admiration was equal to his trary, inculcated submission withsurprise ; he knew the rector to out extinguishing feeling, and, possess more than a common by the views and hopes which it share of sensibility, and that the inspired, satisfied the reason warmest affection had ever sub whilst it alleviated the distress of sisted between him and his wife. the afflicted. He determined, The style of the discourse, the therefore, to peruse the scrip: tone and manner in which it was tures with patient unprejudiced delivered, and the unimpeached attention. integrity of the preacher, did not Theophilus, with whom I have suffer him to entertain a doubt frequently conversed on the in, respecting the sincerity of his teresting subject of the progress resignation, and he felt all the of his religious convictions, has force of the example, although confessed to me, that although he then was by no means qualifi. he immediately discovered, in ed to appreciate the value of the the code of revelation, a system

of morality, equally pure, ration without a tear, has since his death al, and sublime, founded on the liberally maintained his children, justest conceptions of the Su. They are placed under the care preme Being and the nature of of a pious relation in another man, and adapted to all people of county'; and Theophilus, who every country and condition, it has undertaken to provide for was long before he rightly under their temporal welfare, has made stood, and cordially and practical- a particular bequest in his will ly embraced the fundamental and for this purpose, lest he should peculiar truths of Christianity; not himself survive to fulfil his the ruin of the world by sin, its engagement. redemption by the atonement of Theophilus having deliberatea crucified Saviour, and the sanc. ly adopted the religion of Jesus, tifying influence of the Holy determined, in humble dependSpirit. The truth was, as he ence on divine support, to act up now acknowledges, that he de- both to the letter and spirit of it. pended too much upon himself, His first endeavour was to correct and had overlooked the necessity himself, and to bring his mind of prayer for the Divine assist- under subjection to the gospel; ance to enlighten his understand and as he was sensible of the nat; ing and purify his heart ; hence ural impetuosity of his temper, it was that he perused the scrip- as well as of other irreligious tures rather as a code of ethics propensities, he laboured inces. than a revelation, which taught santly to subdue them. The inhim the alienation of man from struction of his family became God, and the means of his recon; an object of his early and serious ciliation with his offended Maker attention ; he was aware both of and Judge.

the obligation of performing this But the pious rector, with duty, and of the inhumanity of whom he now constantly associ- peglecting it. By degrees he ated, pointed out his errors, and extended his care to his dependtaught him lo renounce all de- ants and neighbours, and his libpendence upon himself for spir- erality, which was now under the itual improvement, and to trust direction of his piety, aided the in him alone who is the author influence of his exertions. His of every good and perfect gift, progress was opposed by many soliciting his aid by fervent and obstacles, but he was not deterred frequent prayer. Theophilus by them from perseverance. The most readily submitted to his in- obnoxious epithet of Methodist struction, and being by the divine was applied to him, and his gay grace gradually enabled to per friends amused themselves with ceive the grand display of heav- impotent and profane jokes upon enly mercy in the redemption of his conversion.

He had igno. man, embraced with ardour the rance perpetually, and malice gracious invitation of an and ingratitude frequently, to mighty Saviour.

contend with; but these impediThis worthy clergyman is now ments, instead of inducing him to no more ; he died about ten relax his efforts, stimulated him years ago, and Theophilus, who to redouble them, and he had the can scarcely mention his name happiness, in many instances, to

more

find them crowned with success. might attend his refusal of a chalI shall not enlarge upon a subject lenge. which has been so amply detailed About a fortnight after this in my former narrative, and occurrence, Theophilus was prewhich describes Theophilus as sent at a numerous meeting of he now is; but I have learned the gentlemen of the county, a one anecdote, of his conduct, few of whom had adopted strong which so strongly marks his prin- prejudices against him on no ciples and good sense, that I other grounds than because the cannot deny myself the pleasure invariable rectitude of his conof relating it. There never was a duct furnished a perpetual conperiod in which it was trast to their irregularities. He necessary to enforce the exam- remarked, what he had been preple which it inculcates.

pared to expect, a cold formality A short time before the death and reserve in their reception of of his pious instructor, a recruit- him, little short of incivility. ing party took up its quarters in After a moment's deliberation, a small town at no great distance he requested their attention, from the residence of Theophi. explained all the circumstances lus. The commanding officer, a of the transaction, which had led young man of family and fash. to a correspondence with the ion, had contrived a plan for se- officer, and addressed them in ducing the daughter of a farmer, terms to the following purport: a tenant of Theophilus, who was “ I have been given to underapprised of the scheme just in stand, what it would pain me time to prevent the ruin of the much to believe, that my refusal girl. On this occasion he wrote of a challenge has depreciated a letter of expostulation to the of, my character in the estimation of ficer, which the other resented as some to whom I have the honour an insult, and brutally challenged to speak. I know that, even by him. Theophilus declined the the laws of honour, I was not defiance without hesitation, and bound to meet my challenger ; addressed a second letter of re, but I dare not take refuge from monstrance and admonition to reproach in such a plea. No, the officer, which produced an in- gentlemen, I am called upon sulting and abusive reply. The publicly to avow, that in declinreport of this transaction was ing the challenge sent to me, I circulated much to the preju- acted from a superior motive, dice of my friend, and, as usu- from obedience to the law of ally happens in such cases, with God, which admits of no commany circumstances which were promise with the rules of honwholly unfounded, and which The Master whom I proremained for a "time uncontra- fess to serve, not only requires dicted; for Theophilus, satisfied my obedience, but the avowal of with having performed his duty, my allegiance, and disclaims the was silent on what had passed, hypocritical service of a disciple, from a principle of Christian who is ashamed of the name of forbearance to the officer who his Lord. I shall not expatiate had insulted him, although he on the absurdity, barbarity, and was, at the same time, fully illegality of duelling : to a beaware of the consequences that liever in the doctrines of Chrise tianity, it is sufficient that the stances, all were bound to imi. practice is condemned by the tate, at the hazard of their in. positive command of the Al mortal souls. mighty-" Thou shalt do no I now revert to myself. The murder,”—and that it is opposed period of my residence with not only by the letter, but by the Theophilus is nearly expired, whole spirit of our holy religion, and in a few days I must leave the essence of which is love to my invaluable friend and beneGod and man. These are the factor, and return once more to principles upon which I have act- the mixed society of the world. ed, and to which, by God's assist- I am too well acquainted with ance, I am determined ever to the power of long established adhere, through honour and dis- habit not to feel some apprehenhonour, through evil report and sion of danger from the tempta. good report. Eternity is of too tions to which I may be expos. serious importance to be staked ed, on revisiting the scenes of against the opinion of the world; my former dissipation. Of all

our.

. and professing to fear him who my life, I can only reckon the can destroy both body and soul last six months as in any degree forever, I dare not offend him devoted to God, and to the care by the deliberate commission of of my own soul, and I feel there. a crime, which may send me or a fore my want of constant aid from fellow-creature uncalled into his the society, encouragement, and presence, with the dreadful con- example of those, who live by the sciousness of wilful sin, which rules of the gospel. This aid I cannot be repented of.”

am not to expect from my old This address, of which I am friends and associates. My enabled only to give you an im- newly acquired principles are,

I perfect sketch, was heard with trust, too firmly fixed, to be sha. great surprise, but with an effect ken by ridicule or sarcasm ; on much to the credit of those to this account I have no alarms; whom it was offered. It was but what I most dread is the well known, that at no very dis- contagious influence of the sotant period, Theophilus would ciety of those, who though not not have declined a challenge, professed infidels, and

and even and those who were disposed to nominal Christians, live without attribute his new principles to a God in the world. The danger methodistical bias, could not re- of such a society is the greater fuse their applause to his manly because it is not as much sus: avowal of them, whilst all con- pected as it ought to be, and curred in approving that conduct there is a natural tendency to which had exposed him to the accommodate ourselves to the insult of an unprincipled liber. dispositions and conversations of tine. Some of the company did those with whom we associate, not hesitate to express an un- particularly when we are not disqualified approbation of his beha- gusted by open profaneness, viour, and an old and respectable immorality, or indelicacy. Our divine spoke with enthusiasm in principles are thus gradually favour of it, as affording an exam- undermined, for want of due care ple which, under similar circum- to invigorate and confirm them,

9

for the daily recurrence of frivo. paragraph ; “Irenzus is also lous and worldly conversation said to have been for some time naturally tends to produce idle the scholar of Papias, the Bishhabits of thinking, and in time, op of Hieropolis, a man of unif not counteracted, to annihilate questionable piety, but of a weak the very power of serious reflec- judgment and narrow undertion and meditation.

standing, which, leading him to I have explained my appre- misunderstand some of the more hensions to Theophilus, who is abstruse parts of scripture, provpleased to find that I entertain ed the occasion of great errors them; he tells me to be strong in many who followed him, and in the Lord, and in the power revered his memory ; errors, of his might, praying always the contagion of which, Irenæus with all prayer and supplication himself did not wholly escape." in the spirit, for the support of It would be doing justice to divine grace. He has promised the memory of those pious and to write to me frequently, and to ancient fathers, to notice what introduce me to the acquaintance has been said and published, on of a most respectable clergyman the other hand, by those who in London, as well as of another have made it much the business friend of his, with an assurance of a long life, to search into anthat I may depend on their as- tiquity, and to inquire what was sistance and advice, in whatever accounted orthodox doctrine in relates to my spiritual concerns. the early ages of the church. I shall leave him with unseigned To answer such a purpose, the regret, but with this consolatory following extract from the above hope, that a few months will ena. mentioned venerable author, is ble me to finish the business submitted to the judgment of the which calls me to the metrop- editors of the Panoplist. olis, and that I may then return Mr. Hartley, in citing the testo his society; for the benefit I timony of the primitive fathers have already derived from which for a future triumphant state of I most devoutly return thanks to the church, under a visible reign God.

of Christ on earth ; after introEDWARD ASIATICUS. ducing the plain testimony of

Justin Martyr, which is to be found in his dialogue with Try

pho the Jew, proceeds as follows. PAPIAS AND IREN ÆUS VINDICA- “ Ireneus, Bishop of Lions,

TED, RESPECTING THE MIL. was another father of chief note LENARIAN TENET.

in the early days of the church,

having been a disciple of Poly(Selected from a work of the Rev. Tho- carp, as Polycarp was of St. mas Hartley, entitled, Paradise Re. John. Very honourable mention stor'd; or a Testimony to the Doctrine of the blessed Millennium.]

is made of him, by the fathers of

the following ages, and by those In the Panoplist for August, who rejected the doctrine of the page 92, in the Life of St. Ire- Millennium, as Eusebius, Theodonæus, given from the Christian ret, and St. Austin, styling him Observer, we find the following an apostolical man, admirable,

« AnteriorContinua »