Page images
PDF
EPUB

from the prophet's vision of a valley full of dry bones. He then urges christians to co-operate with God in hastening on the Redeemer's reign upon earth. His arguments are derived from the certainty and perpetuity of it; from the consideration, that it is to be introduced by human exertions, and that in efforts to extend it, not only success, but even a failure, will be glorious. Having gone through these arguments in a very impressive manner, he begins his application. This is warm, animated, full of energy and pathos. He paints in glowing colours the miseries of Pagans on our borders. He describes with great strength the value of immortal souls. He directs our eyes first to the glory which Indians redeemed would obtain, and then to the extremity of wo into which they must sink if left to perish in sin. Ile calls upon us to estimate the value of souls by the agonies of Immanuel who died to save them. Then leading his auditory to anticipate the effects which may flow from their charity, the delightful emotions that will swell the bosom of christians hereafter, should they in heaven meet with souls to whose salvation their alms will have contributed; and commending their former liberality, he concludes in such a way that the contributions may be taken up, under impressions of the presence of Jesus Christ.

Our author's manner of thinking is lively, and, in some degree peculiar to himself. His conceptions have much strength and beauty. Corresponding with his conceptions, his style is perspicuous and forcible; always pleasing, and sometimes highly elegant.

In a word, this discourse is well adapted to the occasion, extremely impressive, highly wrought, and exhibits the author as a man of superior powers of imagination. Filled with his subject, glowing with fervent affection to the Redeemer's cause, impressed deeply with the infinite worth of souls, and the inexpressible importance of Messiah's reign on earth; he pours forth his thoughts in streams of eloquence that bear down every obstacle.

As specimens, we select the following passages:

“ I repeat, christians, in your hearing, these declarations of God, and by repeating them I furnish you with evidence more incontestible that the end for which you labour will not ultimately be defeated, than I could furnish to the husbandman, from the analogy of nature and the experience of ages, that the end for which he labours will not

“ The husbandman, however encouraged by the uncertain prospect of success, sows his seed and waits, in hope, the reward of harvest. The reward for which he waits may fail; but your reward cannot. There must be a harvest of souls; a harvest

immense and universal. The veracity of God is pledged to this effect. This pledge secures unalterably the event. The seasons may be interrupted in their course, the figtree may cease to blossom, and the fruit of the olive fail; the flocks may be cut off from the fold, and no herd remain in the stall; nay the earth itself may dissolve, and the heavens, wrapped in flames, pass away; but the purpose of God cannot fail, his promise unaccomplished cannot pass away.”

“ That the present system is not to be eternal, philosophy as well as revelation asserts. Deep in its nature are implanted principles of decay, and the laws which govern it are hastening on its end. The sun is burning out its splendours; subterranean fires are consuming the bowels of the earth; the planets are known, by an examination of ancient eclipses, to be converging; and the sage perceives distinctly in the movements of nature, a constant and solemn advance towards that dreadful catastrophe, of which revelation pre-admonishes the saint!"

The sentiments contained in the following passage deserve an attentive perusal by every friend, and, if there be such among christians, by every opposer of missions to untutored Indians:

« There are always difficulties to be encountered when reformation is the object. And there always must be, while human nature remains perverse. Do you imagine, however, that these difficulties excuse you from exertions? Had Asa reasoned thus, Israel had not been reclaimed. Had the apostles reasoned thus, Holland, Germany, and Britain, countries which gave birth to our pious ancestry, had remained, to this day, ignorant of the gospel and its benefits. Had the apostles reasoned thus, you, whom I address as children of the light, and partakers of the liberty of the sons of God, would now have been enveloped in impenetrable darkness, and bound in accursed chains. And in place of thee, venerable house of God; of you, holy altars, ministers of grace, and witnesses of Jesus, with which I am surrounded, mine eyes had beheld a pagan temple, cruel altars, priests stained with blood, and worshippers paying homage unto idols. But they did not reason thus. No; blessed be God! they did not. And yet their difficulties, in diffusing the knowledge of the Saviour, far exceeded ours.

“ In proof of this assertion shall I call back the scenes of apostolic sufferings? Shall I retrace those paths covered with the bodies, and stained with the blood, of the witnesses of Jesus? Shall I lead you to the confessor's dungeon, to the martyr's stake, and point to fires, and racks, and gibbets, means of cruelty and instru

ments of torture till now unknown? In addition to the obstinacy of those whom they sought to christianize, such were the difficulties with which the early friends of the Redeemer struggled.

“ Both Jews and Gentiles obstructed their course, and counteracted their influence. Emperors persecuted, and princes combined to crush them. But they combined in vain. Their love for Christ was stronger than death, and floods of ungodliness could not quench it. In prison and in exile; on the scaffold, and from the cross, salvation was published, and multitudes were converted.” The poet said,

“ An honest man's the noblest work of God. Our author speaks more consistently with evangelical chris-tianity, when he says,

“ God, from his throne, beholds not a nobler character on his footstool, than the fervent missionary, the man, who inspired with zeal, and burning with love, bids adieu to his friends, abandons his comfort, and his home, braves the perils of the deep, encounters hunger, and thirst, and nakedness, and persevering through dangers and deaths, proclaims the Saviour to those who know him not."

“ The Saviour could easily furnish means for this, from his own resources. He could command the heavens to supply the ambassadors of his grace with bread, and the flinty rock to furnish them with water. But, it is more blessed to give than to receive. This the Saviour knows, and having, in the profusion of his goodness, loaded you with treasure, he condescends to ask, and to receive from you a part of that treasure: and this he does, not that He needs it, but that you may have an opportunity of likening yourselves to God by the imitation of his sublime munificence, who delights in doing good, and whose tender mercies are over all his works.

“ In this light I place the subject. And now O my God, what inore shall I say? Can the unfeeling heart of man contemplate miseries the most extreme, and not be moved? From the bill of Zion, beaming with light, and smiling with life, let me direct your view to the vale of darkness, and the shadow of death.

“Yonder are the pagans. Friends of humanity, () that I could describe them to you! cold, naked, famished, friendless; roaming the desert, burning with revenge, and thirsting for blood.

“ Yonder are the pagans. Friends of Immanuel, O that I could describe them to you, assembled on the ground of enchantment, practising the delusions of witchcraft, insulting the heavens by the sacrifice of dogs, and paying their impious adorations at the shrines of devils!

“ From these profane devotions, the hoary warrior retires. His steps totter with age, he reaches the threshold of his hut, and sinks beneath infirmities, on the cold earth, his bed of death. No sympathizing friend partakes in his misery, no filial hand is stretched out for his relief. The wife of his youth has forsaken him, his daughters are carried captive, his sons have been slain in battle. Exhausted with sufferings, and weary of life, he turns his eye upon the grave. But the grave to him is dark and silent. Not a whisper of comfort is heard from its caverns, not a beam of light glitters on its gloom. Here the curtain drops, time ceases, eternity begins: Mighty God, how awful is the scene which follows! But I dare not attempt to lift the veil that covers it. From that bourn beyond which submission is our only duty, turn again to the living world, where your prayers and exertions may be availing.

“ Is there a father in this assembly, who, high in the hopes of heaven, brings his infant offspring to these altars, and places them by faith in the arms of Jesus? I plead in behalf of fathers who have never heard of heaven, and whose offspring know no Saviour.

“ Is there a mother in this assembly, blessed by the affection of her husband, and solaced by the smiles of her daughters? I plead in behalf of mothers, whose husbands are tyrants, and whose daughters are slaves."

[To be continued.]

ANECDOTE

OF DR. DARWIN. The anecdote in a late number of the magazine of a disciple of Darwin, I read, not with surprise, but with pity for the unhappy man, and an increased disgust with that pernicious philosophy, by which it is to be feared thousands are ruined.

However high the character of Dr. Darwin may stand in the estimation of mankind, as a physician, a philosopher, or a poet, the following anecdote sufficiently demonstrates his obduracy and degradation as a father, and as a man.

Anna Seward, from whose biographic pen the life of Dr. Darwin has been exhibited, informs us, that his eldest son had “ a gentle, ingenuous, and affectionate heart," and that, on his death, he left “ an untainted reputation for probity and benevolence; beloved, respected, and mourned by all who knew him.” Mr. Darwin, “ while his profession in life was undetermined, expressed a wish to go into the church rather than the law. That preference was repulsed by parental sarcasms upon its indolence, and imputed effeminacy. From infancy to his last day, Mr. Darwin had shrunk, with pained sensibility, from his father's irony."

This young man, having met with some embarrassment in business, “on a December evening cold and stormy,” went down to the river Derwent, which ran at the bottom of his garden, and terminated his existence amid its waves. The discovery, shortly after, of Mr. Darwin's hat and neckcloth, created alarm. Boats were sent out. Dr. Darwin, the father, was summoned. Each spectator probably expected to discover in his countenance, all the risings of parental surprise and wretchedness.-Far otherwise. “ He staid a long time on the brink of the water, apparently calm and collected. The body could not be found till the next day. When the doctor received information that it was found, he exclaimed in a low voice, “ Poor insane coward,” and it is said never after mentioned the subject.” “ It excited," and well it might excite, “ universal surprise to see him walking along the streets, the day after the funeral of his son, with a serene countenance and his usual cheerfulness of address.” Nay more, as if to show, that the privation of natural affection was a virtue, “ He took immediate possession of the premises his son had left, laid plans for their improvement, took pleasure in describing those plans to his acquaintance, and determined to make it his future residence, and all this without seeming to recollect to how sad an event he owed their possession."

Let the reader contrast the insensibility of a Darwin with the amiable grief of a David. 2 Sam. xviij. 33. “ And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept; and as he went, thus he said; O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom, would to God I had died for thee, O Absalom, iny son, my son!" But as to the philosopher,

“ Num Aetu ingemuit ?-num lumina flexit?

“ Num lachrymas victus dedit ?" Let the infidel beware, lest the stoicism he boasts prove, in its issue, to be that “hardness, and impenitence of heart, which treasures up unto itself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.”

« PreviousContinue »