Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

shall be now my endeavour to discover; and, I of a new nature, when kindness from another trust, that dull as an essay commonly is, your has elicited gratitude in himself, and gratitude readers will not be unwilling to follow me prompts kindness in return. through the investigation.

This, then, we must regard as the first object The great feature in District Visiting, is the to be aimed at in District Visiting; and where concentrating on a few, that benevolent superin- this is gained, the other consequences follow tendence which would be less effective if diffused almost of course. The confidence once secured, over a wider surface. It is founded on that the kinder feelings once awakened, the channel principle of appropriation, which attaches man is opened through which the stream of moral to everything he considers as his own, and which influence may flow, and flow continually. The gives the value to possessions of every sort. intercourse thenceforth will be of the most bene

By virtue of this law of our nature, a deeper, ficial kind. The intelligence of one portion livelier interest is taken in those who are over- of society will be brought to bear on the ignorlooked; and the individuals who are directed ance of another; and those who from circumto consider the portion of a street, as peculiarly

stances have been enabled to discern that which their own, derive from the more intimate is theoretically true, may communicate their disacquaintance with the state and feelings of the coveries to those who are too much encumbered people visited, a pleasure, somewhat akin to with the practical difficulties of life to discern that which we perceive in tracing the details of the connection between a remote cause and the a landscape, when a gleam of sun carries light effects which they are witnessing: The one into its recesses, and draws many a grassy knowl, may be able to trace out the connection between and many a shaded cottage into observation, want of order and want of comfort ; between which before had been hidden in the general inattention to trifles and overwhelming burdens; obscurity.

between levity of mind and heaviness of spirit, On the other hand, if the visitor becomes more which the sufferers themselves are incapable of attached to the people by being led to regard perceiving; and this developement of the cause them as his own; the people become infinitely of the inconveniences they undergo, may be more attached to the visitor, when viewed in this listened to with patience, and remembered with the true relation. At first, perhaps, the visits profit, when they feel that it is the remonstrance were regarded with jealousy and suspicion. It of a friend, not the reproof of an Inspector. was a stranger who lifted the latch, and whose In truth, how many of the evils which belong eye first explored the details of the cottage; and to poverty, rise not from the want of means, but the

purpose of a stranger is open to miscon- from the want of method; from the want of ception, and can hardly be understood on a first thought, the want of care, the want of that explanation. But familiarity removes these which a superior understanding might impart. feelings. Kindness carries its own evidence, A little domestic discipline might check the and is, therefore, soon discovered ; and for unruly tempers of children, which at present kindness, there is a deep unutterable longing, make a cottage miserable. A little mutual foreven in the most sunk and degraded of our bearance might obviate the differences between species, which never fails to recognize the spirit man and wife, which at present destroy domestic that prompts the visit, and evinces its character happiness. A little self-denial might avoid the by securing its stated recurrence.

pressure of debt; a little moderation might avoid With the excitement of this sentiment com- excesses prejudicial to health ; a little economy mences the first benefit of the system; and in might accomplish comforts which at present the promotion and enlargement of this sen- seem inaccessible. But these causes, thus pregtiment, we may perhaps say, consists the whole. nant with future good or evil, are too generally

The act, which has succeeded in awakening overlooked on account of their minuteness, and the benevolent affections of those, who are gen- are lost out of sight in the hurry and bustle of erally the objects of this system; has produced providing for the daily wants of the body. But if in them a result hardly less important than that the poor have not leisure to discern the importance of returning animation in cases where life seemed of these trifling observances; there are others extinct.

A new state of being begins when whose situation in life enables them to see it, and this effect is accomplished ; and the human who are capable of explaining their necessity. creature, who through life has met with nothing The comforts enjoyed by one class, are merely but the workings of selfishness in those with the conclusions come to by another class; but whom he was surrounded; who never saw they are conclusions followed out and realized them merry except when amused at the expence by the help of circumstances. Cleanliness, order, of others ; nor ever knew them to be in earnest plenty form the comforts of the rich; but the but by the harshness and severity he was treated value of these things has been learnt in suffering with, comes into a new world, and is conscious from their privation; and their possession is

now en

now secured by habits which can hardly be clearly ; and if we admit the truth of the poet's formed or easily be maintained, except in condi- remark, that “the proper study of mankind is tions favourable to their growth.

man,” there is no place where that study can It is natural, therefore, that persons belonging be pursued with greater prospect of success, than to one class should know the value of usages with in à District Visit. which others are unacquainted; and they may, This at least is certain, that the mind which though themselves young and inexperienced, grows fastidious and sickly in its ideal existence, communicate lessons, the results of long tradi- which in the midst of ease, frets at imaginary tional experience, which may operate beneficially wrongs, and is saddened by imaginary sorrows; on those who are visited; and throw a light on may gain a healthier tone by becoming in this their condition, which would otherwise never way icquainted with the realities of life. In the reach them.

saine way the comforts which had been underNor will the benefits be wholly on one side. valued, and blessings which had been overlooked, It is one of the most striking and affecting may be viewed with gratitude, when we have learnt evidences of divine benevolence, that Society is to estimate them duly by considering the destituso regulated, and the elements of which Society tion of others. One objection we are aware may is formed are so constituted, that no one ever here be made, and it is an objection which does good to others without deriving good him- deserves attention. In finding human nature self. Kindness repays itself by the pleasureable en deshabille, it is probable that things may be sensations it elicits. We learn ourselves, while seen and heard offensive to modesty, and in some endeavouring to teach others—and all the good degree injurious to moral purity; and thus that is imparted brings back some return of good much is due to the objection, that the age and to the doer.

sex of the Visitor ought both to be adapted to We hardly know where a more striking in- the district assigned, and the character of the stance of this reciprocity of good can be pointed persons visited. But admitting this, and recog. out, than in the intercourse we are

nizing to the fullest extent the importance of deavouring to pourtray.

The immediate, the maintaining every guard to moral purity, it is primary intention, is that of doing good to the necessary to add, that a distinction also should be persons visited; the imparting of useful know- drawn between that delicacy which the world

teaches; for of this we are convinced, that the the persons visiting; and that benefit is not golden calf which Aaron erected, was no fitter merely the gratification of benevolent feeling, representative of the infinite and the unutterable or the consciousness of acting in conformity with Jehovah, than the refinement of a worldly mind the will of God; but it is the acquirement of is of the purity of a Christian Spirit. knowledge hardly less necessary to them than The delicacy of the world recoils from that that, which they come, like the Ministers of a which would lower us in man's opinion. The higher intelligence, to bestow on others.

purity of a Christian recoils from that which The danger of the lower classes of society would offend God. Delicacy shrinks from that consists in their being so subject to the pressure which is offensive to the senses. Purity from that of circumstances that they can hardly realize which grieves the Holy Spirit. Delicacy may be truths of a higher kind, or bring them to bear compatible with the grossest sensuality; nay, is

their own condition. The danger of the generally that which is courted as adding zest higher classes consists in their feeling so little of and refinement to sensuality. Purity can admit this pressure, that they forget the realities of of no such associations, but abhors that which is their nature, and live in a sort of ideal state. evil, however disguised, and however recom

The refinements of civilization, the tone of mended. literature, the language and usages of the world, In this way we believe there are many things combine to perfect this delusion. The wants to which offend delicacy, which still do not affect which our nature is subject are not felt as wants. purity. To the pure all things are pure; and we Its weaknesses are concealed; its corruptions are can conceive that an Angel, who would shrink palliated, and those who fancy that they know a with horror from the pages of Lord Byron, or of little of every thing, know least about themselves. our fashionable novelists, might visit an Irish Nothing is better calculated to remove this cottage, and view the nakedness and want of its illusion, and disperse the dream of an Ideal life, inmates, without any other emotions than that than a District Visit. Human nature is then of tenderness and pity. seen off its guard, and en deshabille. Its real But I feel, sir, I have trespassed too long on wants, and its real comforts, are then at once your patience. Hereafter I may, if permitted, discerned; for they are seen not through any resume the subject; at present, believe me your opaque or dazzling medium, but simply and I obliged,

Y, S.

ledge, moral principle, and general comfort. The idolizes, and

that purity which the Gospel

upon

SCRIPTURE PORTRAITS,

SATAN. In the gallery of portraits, through which we are desirous of conducting our young friends, who are especially the objects of the present publication, there may be some presented to their view, from the contemplation of which they may, at the first glance, be disposed instinctively to recoil, and to pass on to some others of a more attractive character. There may be no trace upon the features of any of those qualities, which are calculated to command respect and veneration; none of those which awaken admiration, and kindle affection. On every lineament may be impressed the image of all that is forbidding and repulsive. And it is natural that we should prefer gazing on objects which bear the stamp of beauty, and be ready to turn hastily away from those, whose aspect presents only an air of deformity.

But it is by no means a mark of prudence to be so enamoured of that which is pleasing to the eye, and congenial with the taste, as to refuse to contemplate any thing of an opposite character, however instructive and profitable such a contemplation might be. Such conduct would be rather akin to the folly of the man, who would refuse a medicine essential to his health, because it might be distasteful to his palate.

The Beacon fire, giving warning of the approach of a foe, would be less pleasing to the beholder than some signal which would convey an intimation of the arrival of a friend : but it would not be less valuable, or less important. The light-house, by the sight of which the mariner is directed to steer his course, at a distance from the latent rocks where many a gallant bark has been Wrecked, may be less pleasing, but is certainly not less useful than the capacious harbour, where his vessel, safely sheltered within, is in no danger from the tempest, which is spending its fury without.

To behold one of those glorious spirits which encircle the throne of the High and the Holy One; to gaze upon features arrayed in countless charms which shaží never be impaired, and exhibiting the bloom of a beauty which never shall fade ; to mark on every lineament the blended expression of majesty and meekness, of dignity and humility, of power and gentleness, of piercing intelligence, and rapturous devotion, and expansive benevolence, and glowing love, would be indeed most interesting and delightful. To look upon the features of a spirit who "kept not his first estate," but was expelled with ignominy and ruin from that sacred band—a Fallen Angel-may be less delightful, but not less instructive.

Could we but have seen that Angel before he fell, how striking a contrast would that countenance have with that which it now displays to our view.

Could we have gazed upon the face that was, before it was deformed and marred by the base passions which have eternally stamped their image upon it, we might have exclaimed in the language of the poet,

“See, what a grace is seated on that brow !" Alas! the language of another poet is now more appropriate,

“If thou beest he--but ob! how fall'n, how chang'd !" Varing ambition, baughty pride, arrogant presumption, corroding envy, mean subtlety, deceit, and falsehood, revenge, batred, malevolence, every atrocious principle by

which the mind of a fiend can be swayed, every malignant feeling by which the bosom of a fiend can be agitatedsuch are the prominent features of the frowning and repulsive portrait before us; such the dark colours in which, in the Scriptures of truth, is pourtrayed to the life the character of Satan.

Just in proportion as the character of an individnal exbibits these features does he bear a resemblance to that fallen spirit, who is deformity personified.

And yet, in the eye of misjudging man, some of these features possess a winning charm. Ambition, pride, presumption are not unfrequently extenuated, nay, extolled, as the marks of a high and proper spirit, and the virtues, which stand in direct opposition to these vices, despised as the evidences of a mind which is mean, grovelling, abject, contracted.

What ambition, pride, presumption are in the estimation of Him, who sees not as man sees, Satan stands in his word as a beacon to admonish us. For what but the indulgence of these feelings withered all the beauty, extinguished all the lustre, an. nihilated all the good, which distinguished and adorned the character of the Angel ; transformed the Angel into the fiend; expelled him from the realms of light; loaded him with the “chains of darkness;" made him the wretched being that he is—the wretched being that he must continue to be for ever?

Are we, then, tempted to murmur and repine against the sovereign will of God ? to harbour in our bosom feelings of dissatisfaction at the station assigned us by the allotments of his providence ? Let us remember the history of Satan, and beware. Let us reflect that this was the first germ of his misery and ruin.

Do we see the lust of revenge and the rage of malice lighting up their baleful fires in the eyes, and combining to give a hideous expression to the whole countenance ? Stung and writhing beneath a sense of the ignominy of his expulsion from Heaven, and the misery which it involved, what but the desire to revenge himself on God, and envy at the sight of that happiness, of which he saw our first parents in possession, and himself destitute, prompted him to commence, in the too successful aim to seduce them to cast off their allegiance to the most High, that war against the holiness and happiness of man, which, with such unrelenting malice, and such unwearied energy he bas continued to wage ? Let us, then, take the alarm at the first risings of revengeful desires and envious feelings, as truly Satanic in their character, and hasten to seek at a throne of grace strength to resist and overcome them.

Do we observe in those features the expression of subtlety and falsehood? Was it “ by his subtlety that the serpent beguiled Eve ?" And did he establish his claim to the title of the “Father of Lies,” by the promise by which he allured her ? Let us remember that he is still as subtle, and still as false, as he proved himself on that memorable occasion. Let us be ever upon our guard against his“ crafty devices;"' for if “ as a roaring lion he walketh about, seeking whom he may devour," as a subtle serpent he glides unsuspected, seeking whom he may deceive. That countenance can with the greatest facility change its habitual expression, and assume one as ipnocent as that of infancy in its cradle, as lovely, and fascinating, and foreign to the real character, as it is possible to conceive. “Satan himself is transformed into an

presented

D

angel of light.” Let us, then, “ Watch and pray." the greatest, because of the vast extent of its operations,

Are we, in viewing this portrait, struck with the ex- which ramify, or soon will do so, into most districts of · pression of vast, intellectual power ? Such power it were the kingdom,—the greatest, also, because it has the vain to deny that he possesses. We gain nothing by un- effect of perpetuating guilt like to its own, in other imderrating the strength of an adversary. Though fallen, portant companies-coach and omnibus masters being Satan is a spirit still, and has a spirit's intellect

. How virtually obliged to run their conveyances on the Sunprofound and consummate his knowledge of human days, as those of the Railways run; and Canal Pronature ! How intimate his acquaintance with every avenue prietors and Carriers continuing the yoke of Sabbath to the mind, the imagination, and the heart of man! But Slavery upon thousands of boat and wharf-men, not a to what purpose are his vast intellectual energies applied ? little influenced, we fear, in doing so, by evil example The reply, it would be superfluous to give: the reflection, of their rivals of the Railway trade, -the greatest, which it naturally suggests, we must not suppress. lastly, because the Sabbath desecration on Railways is, Knowledge and intellectual power unsanctified, unas- in some respects, more national than any other, supported sociated with the principles and practices of godliness, as they are by an unprecedented portion of our mer. only strengthen the lines, and deepen the colours of a

cantile and monied influence; and their vast concerns copy in man of the portrait of Satan. How much more

being, inore perhaps than those of any other trade, so, when intellectual power, as we too often see, openly the subject of legislative, and, therefore, of national espouses his cause, exhausts all its energies in his service, sanction. and is prostituted and perverted to the basest and most

However gross then and manifold may be our other awful of all passions - the endeavour to beguile the

Sabbath sins, a fearful aggravation of them

is chargeyoung, the unstable, the unexperienced, the unwary, into able upon the Railways of the land, for our Directories the paths of infidelity and impiety, of irretrievable ruin,

have, as it were, overspread our country with a practiand unavailing despair.

Pastor.

cal perversion of the words of our Lord, that “the

Sabbath was made for man ;''+ and every where, in Sunday Travelling on Railways.

awful opposition to Jehovah you are preventing the Address to all Directors and Proprietors of Railways. people from “Remembering the Sabbath to keep it

holy." GENTLEMEN,—Impelled by a solemn sense of duty, the Comınittee of the North Staffordshire Lord's Day

It seems, therefore, imperative that, in all affectionObservance Society again respectfully address you

ate plainness of speech, we charge home upon you concerning your travelling trade on that day.

this enormous guilt, even as openly as you are perpe. The Decalogue being that moral and unrepealed law, trating it throughout the kingdom—the sight and

sound of your Sabbath Trains inviting simple villagers

, which God has promulgated for the obedience of man; and “ Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy,"

as well as more sophisticated townsmen, to rebel against being one of its commands ; the Divine Saviour, more

their God :-it seems imperative that, since the heaviest

judgments have invariably followed upon national Sabover, having declared “The Sabbath was made for

bath violations, and that your system involves you and man,” and by his own example, and by that of his Apostles, and the primitive Church, having authorised

the country in such violations to an alarming extent,

we should contend with you, as Nehemiah, the civil this religious rest to be observed on the first day of

Ruler of Israel, did with God's ancient people, saying, every week ; therefore the most eminently pious men,

" What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the of every Christian age, have concluded the Lord's Day to be of Divine appointment, and of perpetual obliga

Sabbath? Did not your Father thus, and did not our tion.

The Sabbath resting upon this Divine basis, and its + “ The Sabbath was made for man ; and not man for the Sabobservance being confessedly subservient to the purpose

bath,"— Mark, c. ii, v. 27.

It was made for man at all timesin his innocency even (Gen. of God's moral government, and promoting the best c. ii. v. 2, 3,—and therefore, more particularly for him, because interest of mankind, we cannot wonder that the wrath most needed, since his fall into sin : It was made for the whole of God followed fearfully upon its gross pollution by the of man, as a being formed of soul and body – most especially for Jewish Nation ;* nor that immorality the most debasing,

bis soul, as a religious rest to prepare him for eternity; but also

as a rest for his body to preserve it in time. and calamities the most severe, have distinguished every

Hence it is plain that, while works of necessity, piety, and Christian country remarkable for its desecration. Can, mercy, are allowed, yea required by the Sabbath law, for then, Great Britain, pre-eminently blessed as she is from was not made for the Sabbath," all other works on the Lord's Day on high, reasonably expect to escape similar judgments

are trangressions of that law, not only because opposed to the

Divine will; but because endangering the well-being of both soul if she contract similar guilt ?

and body, for The Sabbath was made for man." Now it is not to be denied that to a great extent she A multitude of facts prove that Sabbath breakers are less has already thus sinned against her God, nor that in prepared for the next world, and far less useful and happy in this, very influential quarters there is a disposition to involve

than Sabbath observers, and the most eminent professional men our beloved country in the most flagrant and systematic

testify, that this periodical relaxation of the Sabbath is necessary to the God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city, yet they are, moreover, contracting the additional guilt of ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the effectually inducing most extensive Sabbath violation; Sabbath.”+

mental and physical, as well as to the moral constitution of man. violation of the Sabbath ; and especially, in justifica- See for instance, extracts from Dr. Farre's evidence before a tion of the present address, we believe it can be proved, Committee of the House of Commons :-“The Sabbath was made that our greatest Sabbath desecration is now being per

for man, as a necessary appointment"_“One day in seven, by petrated by the Sunday Railway Travelling Trade,

the bounty of Providence, is thrown in as a day of Compensation, to perfect by its repose the animal system.”—“A human being then

is so constituted that he needs a day of rest, both from mental and Ezekiel, c. xx. 13, 16, 23 to 27 verses.

bodily labour ?"_" Certainly."

and that, should this country decline from that preMotives of expediency have been often urged upon eminence it has so long maintained amongst the nations you:—it has been unanswerably argued that as opera- of the earth-should foreign invasion and civil discord tives in Sunday Trades must be less conscientious and succeed to that peaceful prosperity with which Britain more demoralised than observers of the Sabbath, so has been signally blessed; many causes indeed may there is reason to fear that your Sunday servants are occasion such a lamentable change; but that we forgot placed in such a cruel position, that they must deterior- to keep the Sabbath Day, and profaned it will be the ate in moral worth, and consequently become less grealest: and many parties may be accused of bringing trustworthy.

to pass our national ruin; but none more justly deserving But we would influence your minds by what ought such a charge than the Capitalist concerned in our Sunto be a vastly more effective lever than mere commer- day Railway Trade. cial expediency; and that is the principle of Christian Finally, as members of a religious association-some patriotism; and the fulcrum upon which we would rest of us Ministers of God, and guardians of the religion that lever is the word of God.

and morals of the public, and all of us servants of God hath commanded us to Remember the Sab- Christ, deeply interested in the present and future bath Day to keep it holy," the substance of which well-being of our Countrymen, we earnestly pray you cominand is ever obligatory :-God hath sooner or by the obligation you lie under to God, to your neighlater fearfully punished all nations, if privileged as our bour, and to yourselves, to lay these things to heart; own, which have ventured to violate the Sabbath :- and may the Divine mercy direct you ariglit, and lead We are now grievously and growingly doing so ; and, you to the adoption of that course which shall be to as companies, comprising, or about to comprise, the your own present and eternal peace. greatest influence-Goveroment itself only excepted

On behalf of the Committee.

GEORGE HODSON, Archdeacon of Stafford, President you, Railway Companies, are committing, sanctioning,

CLEMENT LEIGH, Rector of Newcastle.under Lyme, and perpetuating a perilous amount of Sabbath dese

JOHN COOPER, Rector of Coppenhall, cration. As plainly then as we have felt it our duty JAMES RALPH, Minister of St. Mark's, Shelton, to declare to you your sin, and its certain ruinous con- January 1. 1839.

Secretaries. sequences, so earnestly would we implore you to re

The Death of an Ipidel. consider the course you are now pursuing. Those indeed who decline sharing in the Sunday

ABOUT thirty years ago, Mr. Smith retired from a pleasant

country town in which he had for many years carried on profits may not be so culpable as the others, neverthe.

a successful business as the principal Surgeon. He had less as belonging to establishments, which extensively and systematically desecrate the Lord's Day, every | sinking away into eternity in the full possession of their

seen many forms of death, some of his patients slowly Proprietor, as well as Director, is a responsible par

mental powers.

Others he had seen hurried off into ticipator in the crime. No truly Christian persons, another world having barely had time allowed them to therefore, ought to remain connected with these Rail

settle their worldly concerns. But his feelings had never ways, except for the purpose more effectually to re- been touched by the deaths he so often witnessed. Death monstrate against their Sabbath profanation, and with

was in his view an eternal sleep. the determination, should their remonstrance prove Upon his retirement from the active employments of fruitless to withdraw.

his profession, Mr. Smith took a house in one of the most And, in conclusion, whatever may be the effect of this

lovely spots to be found in England. South of his house address—should it only prove a testimony for Divine was an extensive heath, which, though desolate in winter, law, and not prevail against Sabbath violation—the

was bright and gay through the spring and summer Committee of this Society would express their conviction, months, with many varieties of heaths and wild flowers. that all sharers in Sunday-running Railways are in- Eastward of his house stretched a magnificent forest, with juring themselves and families, by participating in gain the dun tenants of the forest shewing their branching gotten at the price of transgression against God; that antlers through its glades. A little further were the time

worn turrets of an ancient castle. All around him was +Read Jeremiah, c. 17, from 17th. verse :-"And it shall come the varied display of the love of God, who opens His hand to pass, if ye diligently hearken unto me, saith the Lord, to bring in no burthen through the gates of the city on the Sabbath

and satisfies the desire of every living thing. But Mr. Day, but hallow the Sabbath Day, to do no work therein; then

Smith's heart never looked beyond the creature to the shall there enter into the gates of this city, kings and princes, Creator—though a christian by name, he was a professed sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, infidel, and like too many, had only read the Gracious they and their princes, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants Revelation of God for the purpose of detecting, as he of Jerusalem; and this city shall remain for ever." And they shall come from the cities of Judah, and from the

supposed, its inconsistencies, thus reversing the wisdom of places about Jerusalem, and from the land of Benjamin, and from

his own profession, extracting poison from the best medithe plain, and from the mountains, and from the south, bringing cine, instead of drawing health-giving medicines from burnt offerings, and sacrifices, and meat offerings, and incense, and substances naturally poisonous. He had been one who bringing sacrifices of praise, into the house of the Lord. But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the Sabbath Day, and not bear

through a long and successful life had made a mock of a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath

religion, but was himself reserved for that dreadful conDay; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall demnation predicted, Prov. i. 26, “I also will laugh at devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched. your calamity. I will mock when your fear cometh.

« AnteriorContinuar »