Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

had recourse to, viz. a pretended ambiguity in the form of expression in the original. This investigation presents us with an example of well directed patience and perseverance, which has seldom been surpassed. Almost all the vast remains of the Greek fathers, and a great part of the Latin, appear to have been closely examined. This contains, as far as materials could be found, a history of the interpretation of the texts in question, from the earliest times, nearly to the age of the reformation.

It is an important advantage of this history, that we learn from it, not only what is true, but we discover also the origin and progress of the false modern interpretation. In the last letter, a long series of instances is given, tending to show that from the very time of the apostles, the identical forms of expression, used in these texts of St. Paul, &c. were applied perpetually and invariably, in the sense which is agreeable to Mr. S.'s rule; and

hence proving sufficiently in what sense even those writers, who have not quoted them, did understand and would have explained and interpreted the passages in question.

Having thus given a view of the contents of these letters, we shall conclude, with earnestly recommending them to the notice of the public, and especially to those who have imbibed an inclination to Socinianism, to which system, a blow seems to be here given, which must spread a sickness through the whole frame. And though far from being prejudiced in favour of novelties in divinity, we cannot but add, that these works, are, in our estimation, calculated to produce the most remarkable change, which has long been witnessed in the theological world; and as constituting together, though of a small size, the most important defence of Christian doctrines, which this age, by no means deficient in such, has produced." Yours, very respectfully,

Selections.

ADDRESS OF THE COUNCIL OF CENSORS OF THE STATE OF VERMONT.

"In our inquiries whether the laws have been duly executed, we are sorry to say, that the laws for the punishment of profane swearing are not attended to, as a matter of such importance requires.

66

"We consider the unnecessary and profane taking the name of God, which appears in proVol. III, No. 6.

K K

fane oaths and horrid imprecations, to be not only grating and offensive to every pious mind, and ruinous and destructive to community in general, especially to youth; but has a tendency likewise greatly to impair the validity of an oath before the magistrate.

"Considerations like these, on

a matter which so nearly concerns the commonwealth, which are so necessary towards ensuring and continuing the divine blessing and averting the tokens of divine displeasure, have determined us to say, that in this particular, the law is not duly executed.

"The above mentioned seems to have two sources; the deficiency of the law, in that case made and provided, is this, that it does not sufficiently define the duty of the informing officers; but more perhaps from this consideration, the too general neglect of those officers who are appointed to carry this law into execution. Melancholy is the prospect to the state, so far as the neglect prevails; for by reason of swearing, the land

mourns.

"We can by no means neglect to mention, likewise, the undue execution of the law provided to restrain gaming; a practice by which time is wickedly spent, property foolishly lost, or unjustly gained; and a foundation hereby laid for the introduction of every species of immorality and dissipation.

"That law made for the express purpose of observing the Sabbath, does not appear to have been so executed as to answer the design of the law itself, nor the expectations of the serious part of the community. Perhaps there is no one consideration of more importance to the community, than the due observance of the Sabbath; and it has the greatest tendency to confirm men in the belief, in the veneration and esteem of a Supreme Being, in the conviction of his providence, and their own ac

countability to him; and as the veneration of the Deity, and a belief in his providence, is inseparable from individual and social happiness, all the blessings of friendly intercourse, of justice, humanity and kindness, are in a great degree supported by a due observation of the same.

"The law against intemperance seems not to be executed agreeably to the wishes of sober men in general.

"No crime is, perhaps, attended with more evil consequences to society and individuals, than that of drunkenness. In proportion as this vice prevails, the morals of old and young appear to be affected. If there be in any degree a reformation on this bead, as many think there is, we sincerely rejoice and are glad; for we are sure that the glory of our state must consist in the virtue of her sons."

ANECDOTES.

ANECDOTE OF A SAILOR.

MR. Pratt, in the second volume of his Gleanings, relates an affecting anecdote of a sailor on board the Venerable, the ship in which Admiral Duncan comuanded the fleet in the action against the Dutch, off Camperdown. He received the account from Dr. Duncan, Lord Duncan's chaplain and relative, who, in the action, assisted the surgeon and his mate in binding up the wounds, and amputating the limbs of the unfortunate sufferers.

"A mariner," says the Doctor, "of the name of Covey, was brought down to the surge

ry deprived of both his legs; and it was necessary, some hours after, to amputate still higher. "I suppose," said Covey, with an oath, "those scissors will finish the business of the ball, master mate?" "Indeed, my brave fellow," cried the surgeon, "there is some fear of it." "Well, never mind," said Covey, "I have lost my legs to be sure, and mayhap may lose my life; but," continued he, with a dread-, ful oath, "we have beat the Dutch! we have beat the Dutch! so I'll even have another cheer for it: Huzza! huzza!"

This anecdote is rendered more interesting still, by some prior and subsequent circumstances attending this poor sailor. Covey was a good seaman, and noticed among his ship mates for his intrepidity; but he was preeminent in sin, as well as in courageous actions. About a fortnight before the English fell in with the Dutch fleet, he dreamed that they were in an engagement, in which both his legs were shot off, and that he was out of his mind. The dream made this courageous seaman tremble, and sometimes attempt to pray; but, not liking to retain God in his thoughts, he endeavoured to obliterate the impressions from his memory, and the recollection of his sins from his conscience, by drinking and blasphemous intercourse with the ship's company. His efforts, however, were in vain. The thoughts of his sins, of God, and of death, harassed his mind day and night, and filled him with gloomy forebodings of what awaited him in this world and in the next, till the sight of the

Dutch fleet, and their conversation with each other concerning the heroic achievements they should perform, dispelled the gloomy subject from his mind. As the two fleets were coming into action, the noble Admiral, to save the lives of his men, ordered them to lie flat on the deck, till, being nearer the enemy, their firing might do the more execution. The Dutch ships at this time were pouring their broadsides into the Veneraable, as she passed down part of the Dutch fleet, in order to break their line. This stout hearted and wicked Covey, having lost all the impressions of his former reflections, heaped in rapid succession the most dreadful imprecations on the eyes, and limbs, and souls, of what he called his cowardly shipmates, for lying down to avoid the ball of the Dutch. He refused to obey the order till, fearing the authority of an officer not far from him, he in part complied, by leaning over a cask, which stood near, till the word of command was given to fire. At the moment of rising, a bar-shot carried away one of his legs and the greater part of the other; but, so instantaneous was the stroke, though he was sensible of something like a jar in his limbs, he knew not that he had lost a leg till his stump came to the deck, and he fell. When his legs were amputated higher up, and the noise of the battle had ceased, he thought of his dream; and expected, that as one part of it was fulfilled, the other would be so too.

Indeed, considering the pain of amputating and dressing both legs, and the agitation of his mind from fearing the full

[ocr errors]

accomplishment of his dream, it appears next to a miracle that he retained his reason in the most perfect state; but this was to be explained to him at a future period. Some time after, he came out of Haslar hospital, capable of walking by means of two wooden legs and two crutches; but his spirits were sorely dejected, from fearing that, as his sins had brought upon him the judgments of God in the loss of his limbs, they would bring it upon him in the loss of his reason, and the loss of his soul.

Having heard of Orange Street Chapel, Portsea, he came on the first Sabbath evening after his leaving the hospital. The text that evening was Mark v. 15, "And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind." The minister represented this demoniac as a fit emblem of sinners in general; but especially of those who live without rule and order, drunkards, blasphemers, and injurious to themselves and others; but his sitting at the feet of Jesus clothed, and in his right mind, as an engaging representation of the sinner converted to God by the gospel, made sensible of the evil of sin, the value of his soul, and the necessity of salvation through a crucified Redeemer; enjoying peace of mind, having fellowship with Christ and his people, submitting to the authority of the scriptures, and receiving instructions from Christ the Friend of sinners. Covey listened with attention and surprise; wondered how the minister should know him among so ma

ny hundred people; or who could have told him his character and state of mind. His astonishment was still more increased when he found him de scribe, as he thought, the whole of his life, and even his secret sins. He could not account for it, why a minister should make a sermon all about him, a poor wooden legged sailor. His sins being brought afresh to his mind, filled him with horrors tenfold more gloomy than before. Despair for some minutes took a firm hold on his spirits; and he thought he was now going out of his mind, should die and be lost; till the minister declared Jesus Christ was as willing to save the vilest of sinners, as he was to relieve this poor creature possessed of the devil; and that a man was restored to his right mind when he believed in him. He now began to understand the true interpretation of his dream. He thought he had been out of his mind all his life, and that to love and serve Jesus Christ would be a restoration to his right senses again. He was now almost overwhelmed with pleas

ure.

While hearing of the astonishing love of Jesus Christ to sinners, hope took the place of despair, and joy of grief and horror! Those eyes which had never shed a tear when he lost his legs, nor when the shattered parts of his limbs were amputat ed, now wept in copious streams, flowing from strong sensations of mingled joy and sorrow!

Some weeks after this, he called and related to me the whole of his history and experience. He was surprised to find that I had never received any informa

[blocks in formation]

thing more than twelve months after this time, he was received a member of our church, having given satisfactory evidences of being a genuine and consistent Christian. A few weeks since, hearing he was ill, I went to visit him. When I entered his room, he said, "Come in, thou man of God! I have been longing to see you, and to tell you the happy state of my mind. I believe I shall soon die; but death now has no terrors in it. The sting of death is sin, but, thanks be to God, he has given me the victory through Jesus Christ. I am going to heaven! O! what has Jesus done for me, one of the vilest sinners of the human race!? A little before he died, when he thought himself within a few hours of dissolution, he said, "I have often thought it was a hard thing to die, but now I find it a very easy thing to die. The presence of Christ makes it easy. The joy I feel from a sense of the love of God to sinners, from the thought of being with the Saviour, of be ing free from a sinful heart, and of enjoying the presence of God forever, is more than I can express! O how different my thoughts of God, and of myself, and of another world, from what they were when I lost my precious limbs on board the Venerable! It was a precious loss to me! If I had not lost my legs I should perhaps have lost my soul !" With elevated and clasped hands, and with eyes glistening with earnestness, through the tears which flowed down his face, he said, "O, my dear min

ister, I pray you, when I am dead, to preach a funeral sermon for a poor sailor; and tell others, especially sailors, who are as ignorant and as wicked as I was, that poor, blaspheming Covey found mercy with God, through faith, in the blood of Christ! Tell them, that since I bave found mercy, none that seek it need to despair. You know better than I do what to say to them! But, O! be in earnest with them; and may the Lord grant that my wicked neighbours and fellow sailors may find mercy as well as Covey!" He said much more; but the last words he uttered were "Halle lujah! Hallelujah!"

[Ev. Mag.

ANECDOTE OF JUSTICE HALE.

WHEN Lord Chief Justice Hale had finished a work on atheism, he sent it by an unknown hand to Bishop Wilkins, to desire his judgment of it; but he that brought it, would give no other account of the author, but that he was not a clergyman. The Bishop, and his worthy friend Dr. Tillotson, read it with much pleasure, but could not imagine, who could be the author; and how a man that was master of so much reason, and so great a variety of knowledge, should be so unknown to them, that they could not find him out by those characters, which are so uncommon. At last Dr. Tillotson guessed it must be the Lord Chief Baron; to which the other presently agreed, wondering he had been so long in finding it out. So they went immediately to him, and the Bishop thanking him for

« AnteriorContinua »