Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

been the effect on us of chastening and trial? Have we, when under the rod of affliction, the evidence of adoption—the evidence of belonging to God's family? It was one of the charges brought against the ancient Israelites that they turned not to him who smote them. What is the state of your minds? We know that all men may say "He has not dealt with us after our sins:'' the most hardened, obdurate, callous, impenitent men, in this world, may truly say, "He has not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities." But, what has been your conduct when under affliction ? have you patiently submitted to your heavenly Father's correction—have you improved by the discipline to which you have been subjected? Your Father doth not willingly afflict you, but he designs it for your profit, that you may be made partakers of his holiness. Oh, recollect this should be the first inquiry the subject ought to suggest,—what is the effect of his dealings? When the rod is upon you, when the chastening is felt, and all have had more or less of it,—what is the course you pursue? Where do you get rid of your troubles? Some get rid of them by forgetting them, others by drowning them in the cup of intoxication, which, of all the methods of relief, is surely the most awful—the most abandoned—the most'direful evidence of hardness of heart, and contempt of God and his commandments. Some also drown them in the pleasures of the world, and others are more than ever immersed in its business, in order to get rid of trouble; and many are the expedients of the miserable comforters of the world, in the time of chastening, but all their expedients will be found vain.

Now you may ascertain your real character, by asking what is my solace in affliction? Where do I fly to for relief? What is my conduct? I do not say, "if you endure chastening," that this is the only test of character; but I do say it is one of the tests, and one of the indications by which real godliness is ascertained. God dealeth with you as with sons; that is, you have the evidence of being sons by the very manner in which you endure chastening. Now try yourselves by this single criterion, are you brought to God's throne?—to God's word?—to God's service? Are you brought to humility, to self-abasement, to penitential sorrow? Are you brought to say that your sin deserves all that you are suffering? Are you brought to ask, is there not a cause? Are you brought to feel there is no mystery in the rod, that all the mystery is in mercy towards you? And have those dispensations of trial their intended effects, their designed results? Is sin mastered? Is the Saviour more precious? Is the Gospel more dear? Is the house of God more frequented? Are the people of God more loved by you? Are the ways of holiness more attractive to you? Are the promises of God more and more your solace and strength? And are his statutes, as well as his promises, your song in the house of your pilgrimage? Are you led to ask, what shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits towards me, because "thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling? I shall walk before the Lord in the land of the living."

This subject ought, Secondly, to excite adoring gratitude for the love, the patience, the wisdom, and the faithfulness of your Father in heaven. The psahn containing the words we have been considering, is entitled an exhortation to praise God, an exhortation to bless God for his mercy, and for the consistency of his mercy—

"Why should the wonders he hath wrought,
Be lost in silence and forgot?"

Never, never, cease to show forth his praise, and thus anticipate on earth the business of heaven, and be learning the song of Moses and David, the song of the Lamb, the song of redeeming mercy, even while you are here below.

Thirdly, let the subject teach you to cherish humble confidence. It should not only excite faithful inquiry, and lead to grateful adoration, but it should teach us to cherish humble confidence. If God is "not dealing with you after your sins, nor rewarding you according to your iniquities," then "trust him though he slay you." Whatever be the issue of his conduct towards you, remember it must be for the best; he will either come down to you in richer mercies, or he will bring you to himself, where all your hopes shall be realized, and death shall be swallowed up in victory; so that confidence ought to be, as it is, the rational and proper result of such views of the Divine administration. "I will trust in him, and not be ashamed." "All things work together for good to them that love God." "All his paths are mercy and goodness."

Then, Fourthly, exercise unreserved submission. "Wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins." Let there, therefore, be submission; humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. The submission of patience, the submission of obedience, ought to be the result of these views of the Divine character.

In the last place, let there be practical imitation of the Divine conduct in your judgment towards others—in your temper towards others —in your patience, in your forbearance, in your long-suffering, in your forgiveness. Recollect how God has forgiven you ten thousand times ten thousand; and if you are adoring that forgiving mercy—if God is abounding to you in liberality, abound towards others—if he is ever doing good, you should be ready for every good work—if he is slow to anger, be not irritable and passionate—if he is abounding in goodness and love, be you full of benignity and kindness. Imitate the Divine character—transcribe the Divine perfections in your own conduct. Recollect God has set before you himself, not only as your portion, but as your model, and he says, "Be ye holy as I am holy." "Be ye imitators of God, as dear children, and walk in love, as Christ also has loved us;" and let those who are common debtors to common mercy, keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life. Amen.

[ocr errors]

REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES.

The Martyr O/erromanga, or the Philosophy of Missions, Illustrated from the Labours, Death, and Character of the late Rev. John Williams. By John Campbell, D. D. Post 8vo. 478 pp. John Snow, London.

The Author of this most important and highly interesting volume, previously to its publication, by his talented, laborious, persevering, and successful exertions to diffuse divine knowledge, had entitled himself to the admiration and gratitude of the whole christian community. He has proved himself to possess high qualities, fitting him, to occupy a foremost position, in the ranks of those who wage war against the evil influence of ignorance—illiberality—and monopoly. The deeds of holy enterprise which he has achieved, will record his name, in imperishable characters, on the pages of the churches' history, where it will be read "by the generations to come." By the efforts of Dr. Campbell, the Bible monopoly, has been virtually destroyed. and the price of Bibles reduced, generally, more than one-half. What splendid benefactions have thus been conferred upon the Bible Society —upon our Sunday School Society—and upon the Christian community at large. Assuredly, the Bible Society ought to place the names of Dr. Campbell, and of Dr. Thompson, his coadjutor in the work referred to, upon the list of the Committee, or upon the list of the vice-Presidents of the Society. This would be an honour, and an advantage to the Bible Society itself, as well as an act of justice to men who have more largely than any other benefactors increased the resources of the Society.

Within a few years, Dr. Campbell has appeared before the public as the author of several works, which have excited equal admiration of his laborious diligence, and of his ability as a writer. Among the productions of his pen are, "Jethro," a Prize Essay, and his "Maritime Discovery." These works have deservedly obtained for their author considerable celebrity—but, the "Martyr of Erromanga," will not only sustain, it will also increase the literary reputation of its author; and what is of much greater importance, in the estimation of Dr. Campbell, will powerfully advance the interests of Christian missions.

The Epistolary method is the one employed in the book before us— The volume contains fourteen Letters, which are addressed to those persons, whose stations in society, and whose exertions and characters, have special connection with the topics, on which the letters severally are written.

"The Teachers of British and other Day Schools—The Teachers and the Superintendents of Sunday Schools" are addressed in throe letters, containing much fervid eloquence, designed to excite in them a missionary spirit, to be by them communicated to those young persons who are placed under their care. The importance of the agency of Sabbath School Teachers is happily expressed in the following passage :—

"Honoured labourers in the Lord's vineyard! next to the teachers of day-schools, you possess the power of pronioting the cause of missions. The moral training of the most important portion of the rising race is largely in your hands. The youthful heart, unhardened, and unpreoccupied, is subjected to your influence; and, while you pour into it the lessons of gospel knowledge, with that knowledge you may daily blend the subject of Christian missions. You may show that the claims of the heathen are, in another view, the claims of Christ, and that his glory and kingdom are inseparably bound up with their conversion and salvation. You may realize the honour and felicity of rearing a generation of missionary supporters and advocates, such as the world has not yet seen. You may deeply engrave upon the youthful breast the doctrine that, next to the duty of personally receiving the truth, is the duty of diffusing it. In furtherance of this great work, it is indispensable that your own minds should be most amply stored with the literature of missions. To this end you will do well to read, with the utmost care, all the missionary biography to which you can have access, —all the missionary history that has appeared—missionary reports—periodical accounts, and general works upon the subject. For purposes of Scripture illustration, of the most striking and appropriate character, apart from the spirit of missions, these sources will yield you an inexhaustible supply. They will, indeed, render you more service than all commentaries and critical apparatus, and all the encyclopaedias united. This is one of the best methods of training a missionary church."

Among the numerous societies, which Christian philanthrophy has originated, and which confer distinguishing honour on the present generation, there is one of great importance, which, as yet, has not obtained that proportionable share of attention and support to which it is justly entitled. We refer to the Peace Society, or rather to the Peace Societies, for there are more than one; and we hope that success will attend their efforts ;—that the demon of war may ere long be driven from the abodes of men, and the happy period arrive when, in all nations, swords and spears shall be made into instruments of husbandry, and men learn war no more. Dr. Campbell has addressed one of his letters to " the Committees and members of the London and American Peace Societies." After commending the benevolent object sought to be attained by those Societies, he proceeds to show the great importance of "Missionary Labour," to extinguish war and establish peace. The following eloquent remarks on war, cannot fail to interest our readers:—

"The labours of the missionary are not simply an affair of eternity. The changes which he effects on earth are a meet prelude to the felicities of heaven. One of the first and greatest of these changes relates to war and peace. The invariable tendency of his labours is, to extinguish the former, and to establish the latter. In speaking of the happy results of his toil, I give precedence to war as at once the greatest curse and the greatest crime. You may learn from history, that, in all countries, through all time, the path of destruction has been deemed by the million the path of glory; and the most extended havoc has been always identified with the most exalted greatness. The amount of plunder and the extent of slaughter have been generally taken as the standard by which to measure desert, to bestow rewards, and to regulate renown. The splendours of martial triumph have so dazzled the eyes of mankind, that they have become intoxicated with a delirious admiration of each successive Apollyon who has arisen to desolate the earth, and to devour his species. It has mattered little whether he has led on his legions to fight the battles of liberty, or to subvert her throne, and trample in the dust the dearest rights of her children; it has mattered little whether he has conducted wars of defence or of aggression; these points, I say, have mattered little, if his victories have been but rapid and brilliant,—if he has but ravaged the world, and drenched its bosom with the blood of its occupants, his votaries have been counted by millions, and his praises have resounded through many lands. This spirit, which is inherent in human nature, has been cultivated and sustained by a multiplicity of processes, and with uniform success. Historians, orators, poets, sculptors, painters, and musicians, have all exerted their separate and combined influence to nurture the savage spirit of human slaughter in the breasts of the more enlightened and refined classes of mankind; while the vulgar herd of ordinary artists have, each in his own way, with corresponding effect, promoted the same object among the million-multitude: All, all have united to celebrate the delights of conflict, the glories of victory, and the greatness of conquering heroes. The fife and drum of the infant boy, the mimic troop, the school battle, the nursery rhyme, the kitchen ditty, the street ballad, the publican's sign-board, the drunkard's toast, and the tavern song, all have respectively and incalculably contributed to foster the taste for shedding blood 1 So powerful is the hold which this diabolical passion has taken upon the spirit of man, that, even in Europe, during a space of nearly two thousand years, Christianity has but partially succeeded in abating its force. Even England, which comprehends more true piety than all the continental nations united, is yet full of the elements of war. The heroes of England are still the gods of millions of her people; and the fountain of her proudest honours is a fountain of blood!

The preceding quotation is followed by a description of the awful state of the islands of the Southern Pacific, previous to the introduction of the Gospel among them, and of the peaceful and happy change which it has effected.

In a letter dedicated to Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton,—the long tried and justly admired friend and advocate of the much injured sons of Africa, Dr. Campbell developes—" the results of missionary labour, in relation to government, life, liberty, and property." In another letter to James Douglas, Esq., of Cavers, "the results of Missionary labour" are " considered, in relation to moral sympathy." In a letter to Thomas Wilson, Esq., Treasurer to the London Missionary Society, " the results of Missionary labour are viewed in relation to the institution of marriage, arts, commerce, and civilization;" and in a letter to Lord Brougham, " the influence of Missions" is "contemplated in regard to slavery and education." In those letters due honour is paid to the characters, labours, and services of the eminent men to whom they are addressed— and they are severally encouraged and exhorted to persevere in their valuable efforts to ameliorate the condition of man. The object, however, of Dr. Campbell is to show that every benevolent wish, in reference to man, is to be realized by well directed Missionary labours, and that Christianity alone is the full remedy for the evils afflicting mankind. Referring to slavery Dr. Campbell asks:—

"What can England do by diplomacy and legislation that she has not done? By efforts unparalleled, incredible, and above all praise, she has laboured to dry up the fountain of this foulest disgrace of our times; but her

« AnteriorContinuar »