Page images
PDF
EPUB

it shows how sin is forgiven, and our hearts renewed.”

A little girl residing at in Berkshire, had enjoyed the advantages of a Sunday school education. Her parents were general shopkeepers in the town; and while she was one day in the shop, a servant in livery came in to pnrchase some article for his employers, and took up a handbill which lay on the counter, announcing a meeting to be held connected with the Bible Society. This servant, it appears, had drunk the very dregs of the cup of infidelity, and looking at the proprietors of the shop, he said, What! do you have anything to do with the Bible ?"

Yes,” was the reply. “Why,” said the servant, “it is a compact of falsehood and lies.” The little girl who until now had only listened to what was passing, turned to the advocate of deism, and asked him, “Sir, did you ever read the Bible ?” After recovering from the momentary confusion which this question produced, he replied to the child, “I cannot say that I have." I thought so," said the little maid, “ for if you had, and with serious attention, you could not have arrived at the conclusions you have been so bold as to express.” Here they separated. A short time after, the little girl, who was the subject of a lingering disorder, died. When drawing near the closing scene, and stretched on her dying bed, her father was seated by her bedside, and she addressed him thus : “Father, I wish to crave of you a large gift.” “What is it, my dear ?" replied her anxious and affectionate parent; "anything," said he, “that I can give you, or do you, I am willing to do it.”

I wish you,” said the dying child,“ to give me eleven shillings.' Eleven shillings,” said the father ; “what, child, can you want, in your circumstances, with eleven shillings?” The child, without revealing her object, still importuned the gift; and the parent yielded to the request of his expiring child. When she had the money, “ Now,” said she, “I wish that with this eleven shillings one of the best Bibles may be bought; and when I am dead, let it be conveyed to the poor man I saw in the shop, and who

declared the contents of the sacred volume to be a compact of falsehoods ; let him be informed, it is my last le gacy, and that it is the earnest wish of a dying child, that he would read it with serious and solemn attention.' Very shortly after, the immortal spirit of the child had fled from its tenement of clay; her request was strictly complied with.

The Bible was placed in the hands of the person referred to, and the dying wish of the child was repeated to him. He was struck with the intelligence. His feelings were overpowered in reflecting on the disinterested benevolence she had manifested. He was impelled to comply with the request. Truth came home with power to his mind. A change of conduct and character was the result. Having succeeded but too well in infusing the poison of his infidel principles into the minds of two of his fellow-servants, he became anxious to make all the reparation in his power for so serious an injury; and he purchased at his own expense, two Bibles of the same duscription as the one sent him by the child, and gave one to each, that he might provide the best antidote to those evil sentiments he had been the means of propagating. — Sunday School Teachers' Magazine, 1821.

Temperance. In the year 1788, Thomas Trotter became a candidate for the degree of doctor of medicine in the university of Edinburgh, and being anxious that the subject of his inaugural address should be something that had never been noticed by any former graduate, he fixed upon ebriety. This thesis was afterwards expanded into a treatise of 230 pages, and published in 1803. The fourth edition of this book now lies before me, published in 1810. As this work was published before abstinence from alcoholic drink, as remedy for drunkenness, was generally thought of, the views of Dr. Trotter are entitled to respectful consideration.

The learned doctor gives :
I. A Definition of Drunkenness.

II. Phenomena and Symptoms of Drunkenness.

for

65

а

Devil 1"

erroneous

III. In what manner Vinous Spirit opium. The vulgar name for this conaffects the Body.

dition of body, is brain fever.” IV. The Catalogue of Diseases in- Dr. Trotter, who had been in the duced by Drunkenness.

navy, had seen the ruinous effects V. The Method of correcting the of drink on the sailors, and like a true Habit of Drunkenness, and of treating lover of his countrymen, endeavoured the Drunken Paroxysm.

to shield them from its influence. He The first chapter is headed by a says, very striking passage from Shake- “During my residence at Plyspeare,

mouth Dock, towards the conclusion

of the late war, I had the satisfaction “O! thou invisible spirit of wine, if thou hast no name to be known by, let us call thee of getting 200 gin shops shut up.

They were destroying the very vitals “In medical language, I consider of our naval service. In the year drunkenness to be a disease ; pro- 1800, not less than one million four duced by a remote cause, and giving hundred thousand pounds prize-money birth to actions and movements in were paid at that port to the seamen ; the living body that disorder the and every trick was practised to enfunctions of health.

trap these credulous and unthinking “Our definition is briefly this: people. An overgrown brewer, who Imbecility of intellect,

had monopolised a number of these judgment, violent emotions, and loss houses, complained heavily of my of sense and motion, after the im- representations to the Admiralty, and moderate use of vinous liquors." said that he had lost £5,000 by the

In the next chapter the author business. It was a most fortunate, shows the effects of drinking. First, measure that such nuisances were The pleasures. Noisy folly succeeds corrected before the ships were paid to this—then torpor, perhaps sleep,

off at the peace." and the inebriate wakes up to suffer The doctor in this chapter describes languor, lowness of spirit, and debil- the chemical effects of alcohol: ity. Well is it for him if his sin and • Thàt alkohol, independent of its folly end here ; but not unfrequently intoxicating quality, possesses a there is an intense longing for the chemical operation in the human intoxicating cup, and if the victim body, cannot be doubted. Applied yields, he is likely to become the directly to the animal solid, it conwilling slave of the demon drink. stringes and hardens it; and suspends

In the third chapter is described its progress towards putrefaction the effects of drinking on the body. when separated from the body. It The doctor says:

coagulates the serum of the blood, “ The operation of vinous spirit on and most of the secreted fluids." the body is twofold; which may be Much more the doctor says on this divided into

head, but we must postpone any I. Intoxicating; and,

further remarks to the next number. II. Chemical. “ Intoxication or drunkenness is the delirium which succeeds the im

Choice Selections. moderate use of fermented liquors or wine. It is delirium ferox ;' it is

OLD SERMONS : THEIR POWERLESSthe ferocious delirium, to distinguish

NESS BY REPETITION. it from the mild delirium, delirium A DISCOURSE must not only contain mite,' such as attends the fever from interesting matter, but must set that typhoid contagion. Yet, it not unfre- matter forth in interesting combinaquently happens, after a debauch, in tions of thought and delivery:

It weakened constitutions that the mild

requires no practised ear to discern delirium succeeds the other. It is the difference between the mischievous commonly attended with wakefulness

cry of fire in the streets, and the and less disposition to a comatose sharp, true ring of fire! FIRE ! as the state. And, as in low nervous fever, words are uttered by one who sees. it is relieved by ardent spirit, wine, or and feels the danger of a conflagra

make special preparation for every occasion of preaching, at least to an extent that will thoroughly enlist the thoughts and interested feelings of the preacher. Only thus will he be in a position to interest others.

Some preachers, when they have preached a choice sermon, count it as a substantial addition to their stock in trade, to be carefully hoarded for future use. Not so the great preachers of the day, who, having confidence in their own powers to produce as good sermons in the future as they have done in the past, and indeed better than any of their past productions would be in the future, do not hesitate to give their sermons promptly

to the press.

tion. So the preacher has no need to inform his hearers that he feels interested in his subject. If such be the fact, they will either become aware of it, or, what is more important, will find a similar feeling awakened in their own bosoms.

The principle here stated, shows emphatically the danger of relying upon old sermons and plans of discourse, as well as that of the too frequent repetition of sermons. There is something in the genesis of thought which not only causes the mind to glow with interest, but which kindles a similar glow in the minds of others. That glow having once expired in the speaker's breast, it is difficult, if not impossible, to rekindle it. The “threadbare story,” or the thricetold tale,” may drag its length along; but no matter how well chosen the language, or how well-adjusted the periods, no enthusiasm marks the utterance, and that which originally sparkled and vivified is now dull and stale.

Whoever supposes that a stock of old sermons will avail him as well as new where they have not been heard, deceives himself. It is only when the preacher can, by special review, bring back to his own mind the original feeling of interest, that he will succeed with the productions of the past. And if his mind be at all progressive, this will be exceedingly difficult, unless he can blend new things with old in such a manner as to increase the interest of both.

As well might the man of middle years expect to recover his original interest in the trifles that amused his boyhood, as the preacher in advanced life to be thoroughly interested in the best compositions of his school-days or his incipient ministry. The themes may be equally interesting, but his comprehension of them and his capacity to illustrate them should have grown with his advance in years, and increased with his constant practice.

If these views are correct, it may be safely remarked that no style of pulpit preparation, however elaborate, is sufficient to answer the highest ends of preaching for a great length of time. Hence the rule should be to

Thus they put themselves under the necessity of constant and increasing mental activity, and the result is that they acquire additional strength with each increasing effort. Other preachers may safely imitate their habits in this respect; remembering that though novelty is not an essential element of interest, freshness is.— Doctor Kidder's Treatise on Homiletics, p. 175-7.

REMARKABLE DAM ON THE UPPER

NILE. The extraordinary obstruction that since our passage in 1863 (two years before) had dammed the White Nile. There was considerable danger in the descent of the river upon nearing this peculiar dam, as the stream plunged below it by a subterranean channel with a rush like a cataract. A large diahbiah laden with ivory had been carried beneath the dam on her descent from Gondokoro in the previous year, and had never been seen afterwards. I ordered the reis to have the anchor in readiness, and two powerful hawsers; should we arrive in the evening, he was to secure the vessel to the bank, and not to attempt the passage through the canal until the following morning. We anchored about half a mile above the dam.

This part of the Nile is boundless marsh, portions of which were at this season terra firma. The river ran from west to east; the south bank

actual ground covered with

was

mimosas, but to the north and west the people had died of the plague at this flat marsh covered with high weeds spot during the delay of some weeks was interminable.

in cutting the canal; the graves of At daybreak we manned our oars these dead were upon the dam. The and floated down the rapid stream. bottom of the canal that had been cut In a few minutes we heard the rush through the dam was perfectly firm, of water, and we saw the dam stretch- composed of sand, mud, and intering across the river before us. The woven decaying vegetation. The marsh being firm, our men immedi- river arrived with great force at the ately jumped out on the left bank and abrupt edge of the obstruction, bring. manned the hawsers--one fastened ing with it all kinds of trash and from the stern, the other from the large floating islands. None of these bow; this arrangement prevented the objects hitched against the edge, but boat from turning broadside on to the the instant they struck, they dived dam, by which accident the ship- under and disappeared. It was in wrecked Diahbiah had been lost. As this manner that the vessel had been we approached the dam I perceived lost- having missed the narrow enthe canal or ditch that had been cut trance to the canal, she had struck by the crews of the vessels that had the dam stem on; the force of the ascended the river ; it was about ten current immediately turned her broadfeet wide, and would barely allow the side against the obstruction; the passage of our Diahbiah. This canal floating islands and masses of vege. was already choked with masses of tation brought down by the river were floating vegetation, and natural rafts heaped against her, and heeling over of reeds and mud that the river on her side, she was sucked bodily carried with it, the accumulation of under, and carried beneath the dam; which had originally formed the dam. her crew had time to save themselves

Having secured the vessel by by leaping upon the firm barrier that carrying out an anchor astern and had wrecked their ship. The boatburying it on the marsh, while a rope men told me that dead hippopotami fastened from the bow to the high had been found on the other side, that reeds kept her stern to the stream, had been carried under the dam and all hands jumped into the canal and drowned. commenced dragging out the en- Two days' hard work from morntangled masses of weed, reeds, am- ing till night brought us through the batch wood, grass, and mud that had canal, and we once more found ourchoked the entrance. Half a day selves on the open Nile on the other was thus passed, at the expiration of side of the dam. The river was in which time we towed our vessel safely that spot perfectly clean, not a vestige into the ditch, where she lay out of floating vegetation could be seen of danger.

It was

necessary to upon its waters ; in its subterranean discharge all cargo from the boat, passage it had passed through a in order to reduce her draught of natural sieve, leaving all foreign water.

matter behind to add to the bulk of the This tedious operation completed, already stupendous work.- Baker's and many bushels of corn being piled Explorations, vol. ii., pp. 329-332. upon mats spread upon the reeds beaten flat, we endeavoured to push GOD'S PRESENCE AND ACTIVITY her along the canal. Although the

EVERYWHERE. obstruction was annoying, it was a The materialism of the day has its most interesting object.

creed on the subject. According to The river had suddenly disap- it, the world may have been indebted peared; there was apparently an for its origin to the will of God; but end to the White Nile The dam was everything ever since has proceeded about three-quarters of a mile wide ; it according to law and natural developwas perfectly firm, and was already ment. According to it, all that we overgrown with high weeds and grass, behold is only the result of an impulse thus forming a continuation of the sur- given far back in eternity, by a Being rounding country. Many of the traders' ever since far off in space. According

6. He

to it, creation is now independent of of scripture it is difficult to determine its Creator! For aught it knows or whether the phrase "the love of God” cares, He may even have ceased to

means His love to us, or ours to Him, exist: it can do without Him. In a so in some states of the mind it is not word, it denies His providential go- easy to decide (happy perplexity !) vernment; as if, forsooth, we could whether the flame of holy love of conceive of a self-sustained universe, which we are conscious, burns from any more than we can of a self-origi- Him to us, or the converse. nated creation. It pretends to a con- that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, cern for the Divine dignity and ease, and God in him." as if the infinite God were a being Beyond this, the Bible draws aside like ourselves, whose distinction may the veil which hides the spiritual consist in doing nothing; or as if it world from our view, and, behold, a would be a degradation for Him to vast scheme of providence adminissustain a world which it was yet His tered by God himself; a scheme in glory to create. It pleads the regu- which every want of His people is larity of nature as a proof that all is noticed, every object numbered ; resolvable into law; as if, forsooth, every being moving in the direct law had any meaning apart from gaze of Omniscience. Every human mind, or as if God would govern in pang is seen vibrating to the throne any way except by law. It repre- of God. Lines of relation are seen to sents the Omniscient as if He saw be established between every sanctinothing, the Omnipotent as doing fied trial on earth and the blessedness nothing, the Omnipresent as univer- of the remotest future. Angels are sally absent, the All-sufficient as the seen speeding on His service in every author of a universe which excludes direction. Horses and chariots of His own activity.

fire encompass the endangered serFar different is the doctrine of vant of God. And even the solitary scripture. It teaches me to combine and benighted pilgrim, apparently the doctrine of His original appoint- alone on the desert, is in reality ment with that of His ever-present reposing at the very gate of heaven. agency. Everything has the ground Posthumous works of the Rev. John of its existence, from moment to mo- Harris, D.D.-Jacob's Dream, vol. ii. ment, in the will of God. Every law

pp. 299-300. in nature is a mode of His working, and a proclamation of His order. PROPERTY IN RELATION TO Every atom has its holy of holies

CONSCIENCE. which He inhabits. He underlies " Is it not lawful for me to do what I every surface on which our eye may

will with mine own?" rest, and is enshrined in every mate- When property is looked at from ą, rial object we admire. Physically, higher stand-point, and in relation to He is present with every part of my a higher sphere, it is not the absolute system; and present with every diffe- possession of any creature. And rent part in a different respect. hence no creature has an absolute With my organisation, He is present right to do with his property as he as life, and even with my will, not pleases. He is bound to consult the indeed to move it, but to sustain it in pleasure of the original and absolute the power of self-motion. In the Proprietor. In the case, again, of spiritual kingdom, every ordinance is this absolute Proprietor Himself, the as an instrument of which He is the question of lawfulness, in relation to power; every institution, a form of his disposal of what is His own, does which He is the essence ; every not, strictly speaking, come in at all. Christian soul, a moving temple of As original Proprietor, He is not Him the Infinite. I am not alone under law. There is no one above with my Spirit. He himself in- Him to be His lawgiver. habits my consciousness.

So near

His will, being will, is merely will, is He, that a desire reveals Him as and is hence as truly under an impenot only present, but as present and rative as is the will of any of His working. And, as in some passages creatures, -the imperative of His

But yet

« PreviousContinue »