« PreviousContinue »
THE REV. THOMAS RUSSELL,
(With a Portrait.)
The Rev. Thomas Russell, "M. A., the son of Mr. William Cloutt, of Marden, Kent, has recently taken the former name, being the maiden name of his deceased mother, for whose memory he cherishes the warmest affection. He was born at the above place, November 5, 1781, and entered Hoxton College, September 1800. At midsummer 1803, he relinquished his studies, and, owing to a delicate state of health, for some time desisted from preaching. He resumed his pulpit services occasionally in 1805. In May 1806 he was settled over a respectable congregation of Dissenters, in Pell-Street, then recently removed from Nightingale-Lane, and was ordained, Sept. 4th of the same year. Among this small, but affectionate charge, he still continues to labour,
VoL IX. No. 5.
Mr. Russell has published - Christian Sympathy weeping over the calamities of War:' a Fast Sermon, preached Feb. 26, 1806. “Righteousness the dignity and ornament of old Age:' a Jubilee Sermon, preached Oct. 25, 1809. A Funeral Sermon for Dr. Sinpson, preached Jan. 4, 1818. • Preparation for the Day of Judgment:' A Funeral Sermon for Mrs. Phillips, June 13, 1818. An Appendix to Dr. Watts's Psalms and Hymns, Eighth Edition, 1823, which has been highly commended in many Reviews, and which is used in about forty congregations. Mr. R. is also editing the whole works of Dr. Owen.
THE ESSAYIST.–No. XI.
ON SPIRITUAL STIMULANTS. The constitution that stands in need of stimulants, is never in a good state; or the atmosphere in which it exists is injurious; or the habit itself with a good constitution, is highly dangerous. These are physical truths, but not exclusively so. They will well apply to religion-to the exercise of the mind as well as of the body. If we refer them to the man of pleasure, whose mind must always be wrought up to the fullest excitement before he can be happy, they are true; and the test of the real state of the habitual pleasuretaker, is easily to be seen in his retired moments, when the mind, shrinking into itself, at once becomes unhappy, and sighs for a supply to fill up that 'aching void, which none but God can fill." The exciteinent ceases, and the patient is worse, till he has recourse to another dram to drown his
sinking spirits : but bis remedy is but transient, and in proportion as his excitements become common, they must be stronger, till at last he often sinks beneath the evil, unless he be happily led to find that wisdom's' ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.
It is not, however, the mere pleasure-taker who is the victim of stimulants, intended as reme. dies to heal the diseases of the mind. Many are to be found in the religious world who adopt the same remedy, though in a different way. With some there must be the perpetual excitement of novelty, and these wander from pasture to pasture in order to obtain spiritual food: they cannot endure to receive the same gospel twice from the same band, or prepared in the same way. But this is not nourishment, any more than medicine, and by living upon such means, the soul becomes lean, instead of being fat and flourishing, like those who are planted in the courts of God's house. To these may be applied the proverb, “The rolling stone gathers no moss.'
This spirit is indeed too much encouraged, even by those of whom we hope better things, and our religious societies cannot replenish their funds from the voluntary donations of congregations, communicated through their pastors, without being under the necessity of sending preachers from a distance, at a considerable expense, in order to excite a keener relish for hearing the gospel, and through that to obtain additional contributions: nor will the same labourers always succeed by repeated visits: they have been heard often, and something new must succeed them. The world may be contented with the same actors, though they change the play, but the same men, proclaiming the news of the Gospel, though in