Page images
PDF
EPUB

present without the Gospel! A dark and bewildering night of ignorance settles down upon the minds of many men, so that they know not whence they came or whither they are going. And upon this dark sea, without a true light to guide to a safe harbour, behold a multitude of floating wrecks, with cargoes of most inestimable value, exposed to destruction. Many of these floating wrecks are gaily adorned with flying pendants and streamers, and withal, music and dancing are aboard, as though all was secure; and those are seemingly happy; but they ought to be sorrowful, for the immortal soul (the cargo of incalculable worth,) is exposed to an awful amount of misery and woe. And is there not also a gathering tempest threatening to engulf these floating wrecks in bottomless perdition? Yes! truly the wrath of God will be "revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.” Shall we not then hold forth the Word of Life-the torch-light of salvation ? Shall we not raise up on high the truth that will illuminate the world! O let us tell these perishing men that Christ came to save them—that the Spirit is sent to regenerate and sanctify them, and meeten them for heaven! By the light of these truths shall perishing souls escape the “rocks of dark damnation," and the “ whirlpools of despair.”

On account of the value of this Word of Life, which we are instructed to hold forth, I have rejoiced and do rejoice, that “the Lizard has become the scene of a revival of religion.” The agency of the Wesleyan Methodist Association has been employed by the Divine Spirit, who works by whomsoever he will. As in the Philippian church, the hand of God led the Apostle thither to preach to a few women meeting by the river-side, so the hand of God has led his servants to the Lizard to preach the Word of Life. He who opened Lydia's heart, touched by his Spirit the heart of a young woman, who resided at the Lizard, who had heard of a revival at another place, some miles distant; desiring to go thither, she went without informing her friends what was the real object of her desire. Arriving at a friend's house, her friend exclaimed,

“ Whatever is it that has brought you here?” “I have come," said this seeking soul, “ to get my soul converted ?" And soon, with a female friend who had accompanied her, she found the seeking Saviour, and both rejoiced in the God of their salvation. But, like the woman of Samaria, they were immediately anxious, that all their friends

should also see and believe in Christ; and, like Lydia, ll (the young woman first referred to,) was ready to say to those who had been the honoured instruments of her conversion, “If ye have judged me faithful to the Lord, come into my house and abide there." Accepting the invitation to go to “ the Lizard,” the friends of Jesus went thither, and there, in a barn, unfolded the Gospel message of love. That humble barn has been highly honoured by the presence of God; and by the commencement of a revival of religion, in which the members of other churches have largely participated. Many have been the interesting instances of conversion in that long-benighted place. A revival so great had not visited it for forty years. Aged and young have alike been made to feel its power; and confessions were made by many, that testified how low, and foolish, and sinful were the pursuits of the inhabitants of the place. We do not overlook the circumstance, that a “lighthouse” of the Gospel had stood here, during half the life of man; but, as with the slumbering light-keeper, above mentioned, so there the fire was very low, and the light exceedingly dim, and the light-keepers needed an arousing call. We rejoice to know that the Conference Society there has thus been awakened, and been blessed with a threefold increase. From “twenty-five they have arisen to seventy-five;” whilst, by the blessing of God, a new, Wesleyan Association, church has been raised of forty members, besides those who have gone to increase the number of other societies. “ As light-keepers, both” societies—as well as solitary members of independent churches—" are still greatly needed on the shores of Britain.” May “i men of God” therefore, of different communions, unite, and “ let their light so shine in this benighted world, that their good

works may be seen, and lead others to escape the dangers of sin, and glorify our Father which is in heaven!” We have now a neat little spiritual light-house in the village of the Lizard, so that we are more in keeping with the “Lizard-lights," consisting of two houses instead of one only; and though no covered way from one to the other exists, yet we trust a feeling of brotherly love will unite these churches in the aim to maintain pure and undefiled religion, and to exhibit such a blended light as to guide many wanderers safely to the “refuge from the storm," and prevent their foundering in the depths of unfathomable despair.

Are not our young friends especially reminded, from our description and observations, that it is their duty to hold forth the light of instruction,—the light of truth,—the light of sobriety,—the light of purity,—the light of charity, - the light of love? These must be held forth, not in the pulpit only, but also in each individual life. Be it your aim to be “ blameless and harmless, the sons of God without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation." Like the light-keepers, preserve your glasses clean ; let your reflectors be well burnished—your lamps well trimmed; and shine with a clear, consistent, and a constant light. One sin may obscure the brilliancy, and one evil example sully the brightness, of a Christian character, which may involve some precious soul in the ruins of eternal woe. Be careful, therefore, to maintain good works, not ignoring the usefulness of others to magnify your own. The “ Lizard-lights” never disagree, for both are of essential service, and neither could be put out without awful loss. Let all unite in doing good, “in honour preferring one another," taking heed to that “sure Word,” which is as “light shining in a dark place until the day dawn"- for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”

“Now though evening shadows blacken,

And no star comes through the gloom,
On I move, nor will I slacken

Sail, though verging to the tomb,

Bright beyond,on heaven's high strand,
Lo, the lighthouse! Land! land ! land!
Cloud and sunshine, wind and weather,

Sense and sight are failing fast :
Time and tide must fail together,

Life and death will soon be past:
But where day's last spark declines,
Glory everlasting shines."

A CORNISH ROUNDER.

LETTERS TO THE YOUNG.

NO. XIV.-THE POETRY OF MILTON. MY DEAR YOUNG FRIENDS, I hope you perused, with attention, my last Letter. Let me hope that you gave it more than one reading. If so, you will now be prepared for another letter on the same theme. It is one in which the more I think and read, the more I become impressed with its importance, and the useful bearing which the study of the Poetry of Milton is calculated to exert on the intellectual and spiritual education of a susceptible mind. I desire to enlist your sympathies and convictions on the subject, and right glad will Uncle Joseph be, if he can induce any of his young friends to devote themselves to a repeated perusal and earnest study of the Poetry of Milton.

Milton lived, my young friends, at a very interesting and most important period of our country's history; and no man acted a more vigorous, earnest, and important part than he: not even Oliver Cromwell himself. The principles of the Protestant Reformation had taken a very strong hold, and enlisted a most warm and hearty sympathy in the minds of multitudes of thinking and earnest men at that time. They were anxious to see these principles more fully developed, and more completely carried out in the nation at large. The Reformation of the Church of England had been only partial, as compared with other Protestant churches. She still retained many of the rem. nants and badges of Popery. A race of men was raised up by the Providence of God, “to purge out the old leaven"

[merged small][ocr errors]

that there might be produced “a new lump.” There were others headed by Archbishop Laud, and sanctioned by the then reigning monarch, who sought to effect the more complete enthralment of the human mind, and to bring back the dark days of Popery. The despotism of the kings James I. and Charles I. had evoked a spirit of love for the cause of freedom ; and, both in Church and State, a tremendous conflict ensued. In that conflict, Milton was the most distinguished literary champion on the side of liberty. He had refused to subscribe to the Articles of the Established Church, or become one of its ministers, because, to use his own words, he could not do so without “ subscribing slave.To this, his magnanimous nature refused to submit. He became the earnest and intrepid advocate of reform and progress, both ecclesiastical and political. Macaulay says, “ That great battle was fought for no single generation, for no single land. The destinies of the human race were staked on the same cast with the freedom of the English people. Then were first proclaimed those mighty principles which have since worked their way into the depths of the American forests, which have raised Greece from the slavery and degradation of 2000 years, and which, from one end of Europe to the other, have kindled an unquenchable fire in the hearts of the oppressed, and loosed the knees of the oppressors with a strange and unwonted fear.” To the race of devout and earnest men whom Divine Providence then raised up, their enemies gave, in derision, the name of Puritans. It was the custom of many, until recently, to load the memory of these noble-minded and pious men with reproach and opprobium. But Milton said, “ There will one day be a resurrection of names as well as of bodies.” And the Book that Milton so highly reverenced and so devoutly studied, says that, “The memory of the just is blessed.” That you may have some idea of the character of these men, one of whom was Milton's tutor, and whose earnestness and devoutness had so much to do in the formation of his character, I shall here introduce to you an eloquent tribute to their memory from T. B. Macaulay, the writer quoted above. “They were men whose

« PreviousContinue »