Imágenes de páginas

tlement of my temporal concerns, and for the disposal of all the worldly estate which it has pleased the Lord in his good providence to give me, make this my last Will and Testament as follows: -- I commit my Soul to my gracious God and Saviour, who mercifully spared and prevented me, when I was an Apose tate, a Blasphemer, and an Infidel, and delivered me from that state of misery, on the coast of Africa, into which my obstinate wickedness had plunged me; and who has pleased to admit me (though most unworthy) to preach his glorious Gospel. I rely with humble confidence upon the atonement and mediation of the Lord Jesus Christ, God and Man, which I have often proposed to others as the only foundation whereon a sinner can build his hope, trusting that he will guard and guide me through the uncertain remainder of my life, and that he will then admit me into his presence in his heavenly Kingdom. I would have my Body deposited in the Vault under the Parish Church of Saint Mary Woolnoth, close to the coffins of my late dear Wife, and my dear Niece, Elizabeth Cunningham; and it is my desire that my Funeral may be performed with as little expence as possible, consistent with decency,

Mr. Newton composed an Epitaph for himself, desiring that it might be put up near the vestry door. His executors have complied strictly with his injunctions. The following is a cor, rect copy:

1933 ant ar JOHN NEWTON,


once an Infidel and Libertine. 19 93
a Servant of Slaves in Africa,

og by the rich mercy

onl ine omy

of our Lord and Saviour

Jesus CHRIST, preserved, restored, pardoned, 10 ITALONS

and appointed to preach the FaithWestern o he had long laboured to destroy. Hindi He ministered t

o pear 16 Years as Curate and Vicar of Olney, in Berks; and 28 Years as Rector of these United Parishes.

On Feb. 1st, 1750, he married

DE MARY, is dioda daughter of the late George Catlett,

of Chatham, Kent ;

whom he resigned
to the Lord who gave her,

on Dec. 15, 1790.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]


ETERNITY, contemplated in itself, without boundaries or epocha, is a subject, the idea of which overwhelms us. It appears to our imagination like the great arch of Heaven, when light first dawned upon it, and before God had adorned it with sun, moon, or stars. It might be viewed with a melancholy admiration, as a sort of blank universe, but the admirer must be lost in the contemplation, like a mariner on the great Atlantic without a compass, and with a sky perpetually clouded.

Our great Creator saw this; and therefore not only created light, but concentrated it in the solar orb, - filled up the sys. tem with planets, primary and secondary, and, placing us near the centre of it, he appointed them ' for signs and for seasons, for days and years.

The day is formed by a revolution of our planet on its own axis ; the lunar revolutions form our weeks and months; and the revolution of our planet round the sun, a complete year. These, in our journey through life, are like mile-stones, which mark our progress, and enable us to calculate how far we have come, and admonish us of our approaching end. They may do more: by writing our Ebenezers on them, they become memorials of our mercies, and monuments of the Lord's goodness.

The division of our time is also important to its improvement: it enables us, by comparing our duties with our time, to assign proper portions of it to business, devotion, or rest. It is wise, therefore, to mark these periods ; and there is an observation of

days and times,' not only free from superstition, but of a tendency morally important.

The Commencement of the New Year in particular, has been observed by almost all nations with rites, religious as well as civil; and those are worse than heathen, in that respect, who let the day pass over without taking a lesson of improvement on it.

The Jews had a twofold commencement of the year, civil and religious. The latter took place from their Exodus, which was to be to them as the Christian Æra to us, a new beginning of time, the more strongly to mark the æra of redemption. This commenced about the vernal equinox; but the original year began at the autumnal, when every thing was created in its most perfect state. This commenced with tbe feast of trumpets. Their New Year's Day was consequently a sacreri festival.

Tbe present month (January) was first introduced into the year by Numa; before whose time the Roman year was very defective, and they were obliged to have ricourse to various awkward expedients to make it agree with the sun, and keep the seasons in their place. This was dedicated to Janus, from whom it received its name. -Cakes of new meal and salt (called Janualis) accompanied with new wine and frankincense, were offered him; and, on this day artificers chose to begin new works, and scholars new studies. On this day the Consuls entered on their office; and in grand procession, with a multitude in their new garments, and with much pomp, offered two white bulls, which had never been under the yoke, to Jupiter Capitolinus; and made their prayers and vows for the prosperity of the empire.

Janus, the idol of the day, was represented with two faces, as looking backward on the past year, and forward to the future : a circumstance that may afford a few hints suitable for a practical conclusion to this paper.

First, Let us take a retrospective view of the past year, as it regards ourselves, - our friends, the church, -and the world. As it respects ourselves, let us recount principally our mercies and our sins : -- but, ah! how innumerable are they ! - more than the hairs of our head for multitude ! Many also have been our trials and temptations ; but has not the Lord delivered us from those temptations, and supported us in every trial ?

If we look around us on every side, how many are the trials and the mercies we have to record! Here the weeping widow and the sighing orphan! - there impoverished age, and youth languishing in sickness ! - yet the Lord has comforted the widow, and provided for the orphan: he has supported age, and administered living comforts in dying moments. · The church has been threatened and reviled, as usual; but, amidst all, how many sinners have been converted! - how many distressed souls comforted! - how many backsliders recovered! - how many songs of praise and deliverance have ascended before the sacred throne, perfumed with the incense of the Redeemer's merits! .

If we compare the circumstances of our nation with those around, if we cast an eye to the seat of war, and view from afar the thousands of the miserable and distressed, and then look upon our own peace and security at home, what reason have wo to adore the mercy wbich has distinguished us ! :

Ah, Germany! how has thy country been overwhelmed with {he horrors of war! —Ah, Finland! how have thy sons been torn from thy bosom, and sacrificed to the angry fiend! — thy daughters! thy mothers ! - ah, too horrid to relate ! But the generosity of British Christians shall try to soften the calamity,

shall provide a balm to heal the bleeding bosom of distress ! But this day we stand upon an eminence; and, like the tra. veller who has attained the summit of a mountain, we not only look back on the ground we have passed, but forward to the prospect which lies before us. The next year will probably produce events as numerous, as important, perhaps, as calamitous

as those of the preceding. The evening of the world is cloudy and tempestuous; but He who rides in the whirlwind, and directs the storm,' hath promised, that' at even-tide it shall be light.' When everything seems to threaten darkness and horror, then shall the Sun of Rightcousness arise!' then shall the Redeemer's kingdom.emerge, like the new-made globe, from chaos, and fill the world with glory! - but the Father hath reserved in his own hand the times and seasons. We read futurity in the sacred book of Prophecy; but the characters are enigmatical, and require the hand of Providence to explain them. Faith, however, can look still farther; - can look within the veil. Our foresight, or our fears, may paint scenes of national, of family, or of personal calamity. Faith points to One who hath delivered, who doth deliver, and who, we trust, also will deliver;' - and opens to our view a world where neither sin nor sorrow, fear nor pain can ever enter.


Thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people

from their sins. Man is ruined and undone by iniquity; -he is proved to be guilty, and is already condemned. Unless then pardon be extended to him, the sentence must be executed, and he must perish!-- but God cannot pardon him, unless thro' a Şurety suf. fering in his stead. This Surety the gospel discovers to us: One who is able to atone for our guilt, endure our punishment, and save us for ever. The discovery of a Saviour is of the last importance. Well might the angel say, when announcing his birth to the shepherds in the fields of Bethlehem, · Behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people; for unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord ! His name is called Jesus, because he shall save his people from their sins.'

First, Jesus saves from the power and pollution of sin. Man was lost and undone by transgression, and could not recover himself; but Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost. When sinners betake themselves to Jesus, as he is made known. to them in the gospel, they are delivered from the power and pollution of sin. All is defiled within them by iniquity. Sin reigns over them; but sin loses its power when the blood of Jesus is applied to the conscience: it no longer reigns within us to bring forth fruit unto death : it is mortified more and more by the efficacy of divine grace. Jesus' blood cleanses from all sin. This flowing on Calvary, and pleading before the throne, becomes a fountain for the cleansing the souls of all his people!

First, we his peop Lord day in the lich shallchem, Being his self lost and us.saves from their sing me is called David, all people,


merc'he Lord for sages, and speculiar pecess of flesh

“There is a Fountain opened for the House of David, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and uncleanness.' To this Foun. tain we must daily come for cleansing, if we would be delivered from defilement! For the blood of Jesus Christ, who, through the Eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot unto God, shall purge our conscience from dead works to serve the living God." "He purges us from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, and purifies us unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. When sin rages, and strives to gain the mastery, we cry to the Lord for deliverance from its power, saying, • Have mercy upon me, O God! according to thy loving-kindness! According unto the multitude of thy tender mercies, blot out my transgressions! Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin !' Thus, deliverance from the reigning power of sin, is obtained by Christ Jesus.

Secondly, Jesus saves from the love and practice of sin. We are naturally inclined to the ways of destruction. We love sin. Sin, while it reigns and has dominion over us, is cherished in the heart, and obeyed in the life. When the sinner is renewed by divine grace, he is delivered from the love and the practice of iniquity. He no longer walks in these ways, but hates them. He forsakes them and follows the Lord, serving him in newness of spirit. He bas changed his master, the service is therefore different, and his state has undergone remarkable changes. As a newborn babe, he desires the sincere milk of the word, that he may grow thereby.' The service of the Lord is now their delight, and they find it to be perfect freedom : they bring forth fruit more and niore to Jehovah's praise. As they become more and more conforned to the will of God, the reality of their change and the safety of their state become the more evident and undoubted. Whatever it be then that we chiefly serve and regard, that is our Master; and the saints will thus shew themselves to be purified unto God a peculiar people, zealous of good works. It is easy to profess attachment to him, and assume a name; but do we love him? If we do, we must keep his commandments. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey, whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness. Being then made free from sin, and become servants unto God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

Thirdly, Jesus saves from the guilt and punishment of sin. We are truly guilty before God. The design of his law is to discover to us our guilt, to shut our mouths, and convince us we are lost unless the Lord deliver us: but when we betake ourselves to Jesus, the only Saviour, we obtain our release.' He hath, at the expence of his own blood, obtained eternal redemption for us. Ile, as man's Surety, was charged as guilty, and endured the penalty. Now, they who believe in him are delivered from the wrath to come. The punishment to them is

« AnteriorContinuar »