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the soul of man, he would sacrifice every subordinate consideration. He felt every other consideration comparatively insignificant. He saw the spirit of ancient Pharisaism working among those who cry out the most against it; who exact to a scruple, in the tythe of mint, anise, and cummin of their own peculiarities, while they pass over the weightier matters of unity and love; straining at the gnat of a private opinion, and swallowing the camel of a deadly discord. On the contrary, as far as order and circumstances would admit, Mr. N. clave to every good man, and endeavoured to strengthen his hands, in whatever denomination of Christians he was found. His character well illustrated the Scripture, that though “scarcely for a righteous (or just) man would one die; yet for a good man (i. e. one eminent for his candour and benevolence) some would even dare to die.” However they admired some ministers, they all loved him; and saw exemplified in him that “wisdom which is from above, which is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits without partiality and without hypocrisy.”
I conclude these Memoirs with a word to such as are endeavouring to follow the steps of their late faithful friend, as he followed Christ. We cannot but lamert the errors just described. We cannot, if we have any zeal for the gospel, but protest against them. But let us recollect, that they are not the only errors which are found in the church; and therefore let us watch, lest any other "root of bitterness spring up to trouble us, and defile many." While you lament with me the removal of ministers like Mr. N., let us recollect that Eternal Friend, who will never leave his church without witnesses to the truth; and who, among other reasons for removing earthly helps, teaches us thereby to rest only upon that help which cannot be removed. Let us take comfort too in recollecting, that, spotted as the church may appear from the inconsistencies of many of its members, yet all the real good that is to be found in this corrupt world, is to be found in that church. God saw seven thousand true believers in Israel while his prophet could see but one. Where some Jehu is sounding a trumpet before him, many are quietly passing to heaven without any such clamour. . As a great writer remarks, “Because half a dozen grasshoppers, under a fern, make the field ring with their importunate chink, while thousands of great cattle chew the cud and are silent, pray do not imagine that those, who make the noise, are the only inhabitants of the field.'"
But I must remark, that nothing has been more profitable to myself in considering Mr. N.'s life, than the exhibition it makes of a particular providence. If the church be not conducted by such visible signs now, as formerly, it is found to be as actually conducted. We read of a Divine hand concerned in the fall of sparrows, in numbering the hairs of our head, and in raising our dust to life; but with what little interest we read this, appears by our distrust in the first trial we meet. If we do not dare to join the sentiments of some, who regard such expressions as purely figurative and hyperbolical, yet our imagination is so overwhelmed with the difficulty of the performance, that we are apt to turn from the subject with some general hope, but with a very indistinct and vague idea of "a God at hand,” faithful to his promise, and almighty to deliver. Yet how many cases occur in the history of every one of us, where nothing short of an Almighty arm could prove "a present help in the time of trouble.”
Now, this short history before us is admirably calculated to encourage our faith and hope, when we are called to pass through those deep waters, that seem to bid defiance to human strength and contrivance. What, for instance, but a Divine interference caused Mr. N. to be roused from sleep on board the Harwich at the moment of exchanging men, and thereby effected his removal ? What placed him in a situation so remarkably suited to his recovering the ship, which had already passed the place of his station in Africa, and brought him back to his country what kept him from returning in the boat, that was lost at Rio Cestors ? or from the ship that was blown up near Liverpool ? not to mention many other of his special deliverances
"I am a wonder unto many,” says he, in the motto of his Narrative; and if we as distinctly considered the strange methods of mercy which have occurred in our own cases
, we should at least be a wonder to ourselves. But my aim is to point out the use we should make of these Memoirs in this respect. We should, as Christians, mark the error of despair. We should see, that the case of a praying man cannot be desperate; that if a man be out of the pit of hell, he is on the ground of mercy.
We should recollect, that God sees a way of escape when we see none ; that nothing is too hard for him; that he warrants our dependence, and invites us to call on him in the day of trouble, and gives a promise of deliverance. We should, therefore, in every trial, adopt the language of Mr. N.'s favourite Herbert :
“Away, despair; my gracious Lord doth hear;
Though winds and waves assault my keel,
Storms are the triumph of his art :
From these facts we should see, that Christ is able, not only " to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him;" but also that he is able to bring the most hardened blasphemer and abject slave from his chains of sin and misery, to stand in the most honourable and useful station, and proclaim to the wretched and to the ruined the exceeding riches of his grace. I have observed, from my own experience as well as from that of others, how strong a hold Satan builds by despair. The pressing fascinations of the world, the secret invitations of sensuality, and the distant prospect of eternal things, form a powerful current against vital religion. The heart of a Christian is ready to sink whenever these proud waters rise. Let him, therefore, recollect, that his hope, his only hope, is in pressing right onward through a world of lies and vanity; that his present dispensation is the walk of faith and not of sight; and that “by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, he has given strong consolation to such as flee for refuge to the hope set before them."
One could, indeed, scarcely conjecture, that cases like Mr. N.'s should be so perverted by any of our children, as that they should take confidence in their sins from his former course of life; but, because such facts, as I am credibly informed, do exist, let us be upon the watch to counteract this deep device of the great enemy.
My dear young friends, who may have read these Memoirs, perhaps merely for your amusement, consider with what a contrary design St. Paul'states his former unrenewed condition: “I was,” says he," before a blasphemer, a persecutor, and injurious; but for this cause I obtained mercy.” For what cause ? Was it that men should continue in sin, because a miracle of special grace had been wrought? To “do evil that good may come” is the black mark of a reprobate mind. But “for this cause," saith the apostle, “ I obtained mercy; that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to them who should hereafter believe in him to life everlasting.” The same caution is necessary whenever you may be tempted to hope for such a recovery as Mr. N.'s, after erring like him. To proceed upon such a hope, is a gross presumption. Thousands perish in wrong courses, for one who escapes from their natural consequences. "Pray, therefore, that you may be enabled to resist the temptation of perverting such extraordinary cases. God affords them to be “a savour of life unto life," while Satan would employ them to be “a savour of death unto death.” One almighty to save, affords you here, indeed, an instance of special mercy, which gives you the strongest encouragement in setting your face towards his kingdom; and this is the proper use to be made of such a case.
Your parents, your most disinterested friends, are anxiously watching for your
goodl: and they, perhaps, have put this book into your hand with a view of promoting it. The author has cause to thank God, who put it into the heart of his pious parent to make a similar attempt, and bless it with success; and he could tell of more such instances. May it please God that you may be added to the number ! Worldly prosperity would rather hurt than help you before your minds become rightly directed. Mr. N. shows us,* that his firmest friend could not have served him effectually had not God first prepared his mind for the advancement. An enemy would occupy your minds with perishing objects; but God calls you to cultivate nobler views. He proposes glory, honour, immortality, and eternal life by the gospel. “Seek,” therefore, " first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all other things shall be added to you."
* Memoirs, page 26.
AUTHENTIC NARRATIVE, &c.
REVEREND AND DEAR SIR,
We shall then see and acknowledge, that I MAKE no doubt but you have at times mercy and goodness directed every step; had pleasing reflections upon that promise we shall see, that what our ignorance once made to the Israelites, Deut. viii. 2. They called adversities and evils, were in reality were then in the wilderness, surrounded blessings which we could not have done with difficulties, which were greatly aggra- well without; that nothing befel us without a vated by their own distrust and perverseness: cause: that no trouble came upon us sooner, they had experienced a variety of dispensa- or pressed us more heavily, or continued tions, the design of which they could not as longer, than our case required: in a word, yet understand; they frequently lost sight of that our many afflictions were each in their God's gracious purposes in their favour, and place among the means employed by divine were much discouraged by reason of the way. grace and wisdom, to bring us to the possesTo compose and animate their minds, Moses sion of that exceeding and eternal weight of here suggests to them, that there was a fu- glory, which the Lord has prepared for his zure happy time drawing near, when their people. And even in this imperfect state, journey and warfare should be finished; that though we are seldom able to judge aright they should soon be put in possession of the of our present circumstances, yet, if we look promised land, and have rest from all their upon the years of our past life, and compare fears and troubles; and then it would give the dispensations we have been brought them pleasure to look back upon what they through, with the frame of our minds under now found so uneasy to bear:- Thou shalt each successive period; if we consider, how remember all the way, by which the Lord wonderfully one thing has been connected thy God led thee through this wilderness.” with another; so that what we now number
But the importance and comfort of these amongst our greatest advantages, perhaps words is still greater, if we consider them took their first rise from incidents which we in a spiritual sense, as addressed to all who thought hardly worth our notice; and that are passing through the wilderness of this we have sometimes escaped the greatest danworld to a heavenly Canaan; who by faith gers that threatened us, not by any wisdom in the promises and power of God are seek- or foresight of our own, but by the intervening eternal rest in that kingdom which can- tion of circumstances, which we neither denot be shaken. The hope of that glorious sired nor thought of ;-I say, when we cominheritance inspires us with some degree of pare and consider these things by the light courage and zeal to press forward, to where afforded us in the holy scriptures, we may Jesus has already entered as our forerunner; collect indisputable proof, from the narrow and when our eye is fixed upon him, we are circle of our own concerns, that the wise and more than conquerors over all that would good providence of God watches over his withstand our progress. But we have not people from the earliest moment of their yet attained it; we still feel the infirmities life, overrules and guards them through all of a fallen nature: through the remains of their wanderings in a state of ignorance, leads ignorance and unbelief, we often mistake the them in a way they know not, till at length Lord's dealings with us, and are ready to his providence and grace concur in those complain, when, if we knew all, we should events and impressions, which bring them to rather rejoice. But to us likewise there is the knowledge of him and themselves. a time coming, when our warfare shall be I am persuaded that every believer will. accomplished, our views enlarged, and our upon due reflection, see enough in his own aight increased: then, with what transports case to confirm this remark; but not all in of adoration and love shall we look back the same degree. The outward circum, upon the way, by which the Lord led us! stances of many have been uniform; they
have known but little variety in life; and he was likewise made willing in the day of with respect to their inward change, it has God's power: and the bright example of his been effected in a secret way, unnoticed by life, illustrated and diffused by the account others and almost unperceived by them- of him, published since his death, has affordselves. The Lord has spoken to them, not ed an occasion of much praise to God and in thunder and tempest, but with a still small much comfort to his people. voice he has drawn them gradually to him
After the mention of such names, can you self; so that, though they have a happy as- permit me, Sir, to add my own? If I do, it surance of the thing, that they know and must be with a very humbling distinction. love him, and are passed from death unto life; These once eminent sinners, proved sincere yet of the precise time and manner, they Christians: much had been forgiven them, can give little account. Others he seems therefore they loved much. St. Paul could to select, in order to show the exceeding say, “ The grace bestowed upon me was not riches of his grace, and the greatness of his in vain; for I laboured more abundantly than mighty power: he suffers the natural rebel- they all.” Colonel Gardiner likewise was as lion and wickedness of their hearts to have a city set upon a hill, a burning and a shining full scope; while sinners of less note are cut light: the manner of his conversion was off with little warning, these are spared, hardly more singular, than the whole course though sinning with a high hand, and, as it of his conversation from that time to his were, studying their own destruction. At death. Here, alas ! the parallel greatly fails. length, when all that knew them are perhaps It has not been thus with me ;-I must take expecting to hear, that they are made signal deserved shame to myself, that I have made instances of divine vengeance, the Lord very unsuitable returns for what I have re(whose thoughts are high above ours, as the ceived. But, if the question is only concernheavens are higher than the earth) is pleased ing the patience and long-suffering of God, to pluck them as brands out of the fire, and the wonderful interposition of his providence to make them monuments of his mercy, for in favour of an unworthy sinner, the power the encouragement of others; they are, be- of his grace in softening the hardest heart, yond expectation, convinced, pardoned, and and the riches of his mercy in pardoning the changed. A case of this sort indicates a di- most enormous and aggravated transgresvine power no less than the creation of a sions; in these respects, I know no case more world: and it is evidently the Lord's doing, extraordinary than my own. And indeed and it is marvellous in the eyes of all those, many persons, to whom I have related my who are not blinded by prejudice and unbelief. story, have thought it worthy of being pre
Such was the persecuting Saul: his heart served. was full of enmity against Jesus of Nazareth, I never gave any succinct account in writand therefore he persecuted and made havoc ing, of the Lord's dealing with me, till very of his disciples. He had been a terror to lately; for I was deterred, on the one hand, the church of Jerusalem, and was going to by the great difficulty of writing properly Damascus with the same views. He was where self is concerned ; on the other, by the yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter ill use which persons of corrupt and perverse against all that loved the Lord Jesus. He minds are often known to make of such inthought little of the mischief he had hitherto stances. The Psalmist reminds us that a redone. He was engaged for the suppression serve in these things is proper, when he says, of the whole sect; and hurrying from house “Come unto me, all you that fear God, and to house, from place to place, he carried me- I will tell you what he hath done for my naces in his look, and repeated threatenings soul;" and our Lord cautions us not to "cast with every breath. Such was his spirit and our pearls before swine." The pearls of a temper, when the Lord Jesus, whom he hated Christian are, perhaps, his choice experiences and opposed, checked him in the height of of the Lord's power and love in the concerns
rage, called this bitter persecutor to the of his soul; and these should not be at all honour of an apostle, and inspired him with adventures made public, lest we give occagreat zeal and earnestness, to preach that sion to earthly and grovelling souls, to profaith which he had so lately attempted to de- fane what they cannot understand. These stroy.
were the chief reasons of my backwardness: Nor are we without remarkable displays but, a few weeks since, I yielded to the judg. of the same sovereign, efficacious grace in our ment and request of a much respected friend, own times ;-I may particularly mention the and sent him a relation at large, in a series instance of the late colonel Gardiner. If of eight letters. The event has been what any real satisfaction could be found in a sin- I little expected; I wrote to one person, but ful course, he would have met with it; for he my letters have fallen into many hands: pursued the experiment with all possible ad- amongst others, I find they have reached vantages. He was habituated to evil; and your notice; and instead of blaming me for many uncommon, almost miraculous deliver- being too tedious and circumstantial, whicb ances, made no impression upon him. Yet was the fault I feared I had committed, you