Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

them!” Upon a subsequent visit, he continued to dilate upon the visitation of providence, by which he had been overtaken, and with the dignified confidence of unshaken faith, demanded of those around him, “Do you think my heavenly Father would have suffered this affliction to befall me, had it not been for the best ? no; he would not.” He also repeatedly declared, that he had learned more, with respect to the knowledge of God and divine things, upon the bed of suffering, than he had done all his life before. It is unnecessary to state, that, with respect to professional advice, he received the first surgical help in the kingdom. Under the personal care of Mr. Brodie, nothing was omitted which could soften and alleviate his condition; but, from the first, it was declared by the medical attendants, that he could not survive the accident. All, therefore, that could be done was, to smooth his passage to the tomb; and in that praiseworthy act, we feel it right to say, that every thing which humanity could suggest, or friendship require, was sedulously performed. In this helpless condition, with “one eye on death, and one full fixed on heaven,” he lingered, contrary to general expectation, six and twenty days; when, without any material alteration in his appearance, excepting a gradual sinking of the powers of nature, and without the least abatement or suspension of his spiritual tranquillity, he resigned his spirit into the hands of God who gave it, on the evening of Thursday, May 10th, 1825, and in the thirty-seventh year of his age. On the occasion of his interment, which took place on the Wednesday following his decease, a sensation unusually powerful was excited in the neighbourhood in which he had lived. His remains were conveyed to the burial ground adjoining the new church of St. Luke, in this parish, The procession was composed of his afflicted widow and children, followed by a body of the Local Preachers connected with the London West Circuit, who came to pay the last sad tribute of their respect and love. The streets through which they had to pass were lined with spectators, in whose countenances might be perceived the deepest sympathy and regret. And on Sunday evening, the twenty-ninth of May, the Rev. William Henshaw delivered an impressive discourse upon the melancholy event, in the Chapel at Sloane-Terrace. The congregation was large, almost beyond precedent, and was profoundly attentive, while the Preacher enforced the words of the Apostle, contained in 1 Thess. chap. iv. verse 14, to the end. May the solemnities of that evening be remembered with joy in the ages of eternity! While no disposition is felt to eulogize our departed friend, a few lines may be devoted to his general character. With respect to his station in society, it was in the class of operative mechanics that Joseph Mitchell was called to move; and, from the concurrent testimony of applauding numbers, rarely do we find the duties of that station more properly performed. Nor does he appear to less advantage as a member of the church of Christ. His religion was practical; and the seriousness of his mind was habitual and uniform. His piety lasted all the week. In his intercourse with men, his speech was seasoned with salt. Equally distant from levity on the one hand, and moroseness on the other, he adopted the happy medium which the cheerfulness of Christianity inspires; and whether in the company of equals or superiors, he was never ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. Indeed, he had a singular faculty of introducing serious remarks in a way which, so far from giving offence, was almost sure to win the heart of the hearer. Perhaps it was to the faithful discharge of this Christian duty, coupled with his excellent and regular life, that he was indebted for the popularity to which he attained. For it is a fact, that though our late friend was known merely as a common workman, no person similarly situated, has, within the recollection of the present generation, been more universally esteemed among the inhabitants of this vicinity. He lived and died steadfastly attached to the doctrines and discipline of the Gospel, as taught by the late Rev. John Wesley, and his numerous successors in the ministry. Grateful to God for the spiritual blessings he enjoyed, our Brother Mitchell felt himself called upon to labour in the word and doctrine. Some years since he was appointed as a Local Preacher in the London West Circuit; and has, during the time he has been so engaged, occupied the pulpits in most of the chapels of the Wesleyan Methodists on this side of the metropolis. His preaching was plain and faithful. Anxious to communicate some spiritual good to his hearers, he shunned not, according to the ability which God had given, to declare his whole counsel. The affectionate desire which he felt to benefit his brethren, was evident on every occasion; among whom the members of his class may be particularly noticed: for their spiritual prosperity he was deeply concerned; and for them he travailed in birth again, that Christ might be formed in them. Nor does it add a little lustre to the character of our late brother to state, that the duties he owed to the church were performed when his secular concerns were of the most pressing kind, and called for almost incessant application. And it ought to be mentioned to his honour, that, by the grace of God, he was enabled to keep a conscience void of offence; and by industry abroad, and rigid economy and self-denial at home, to provide things honest in the sight of all men. By these means he enjoyed the confidence and regard of every person with whom he associated in trade, or by whom he was employed as a tradesman. In these respects, we seldom meet with an instance in which the apostolical injunction is more finely exemplified,—“Diligent in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” Every feeling mind will be gratified with the information which will

have be at whose

beyed. Tharter; and of the 18 example tertions

now follow; because, while it abundantly confirms the remarks we have ventured to make respecting Joseph Mitchell, it reflects the highest honour upon the parties concerned. No sooner was the unfortunate situation of our friend made known, than a subscription was immediately set on foot for the benefit of his family. Henry Blunt, Esq., at whose house the accident happened, and of whom we have before made mention, was at the head of these kind exertions. Several other publicspirited gentlemen followed his example, and made it their business to divulge the situation of the widow and fatherless children in every suitable quarter; and seldom has a call of the kind been more promptly obeyed. In numerous instances, the inhabitants of the place declared, that had no application been made to them for pecuniary help, they should have felt disappointed. That the righteous should perish, and no man lay it to heart, would indeed be disgraceful to any people. The subscription list accordingly contains almost every name of respectability among the superior inhabitants of Chelsea. The Honourable and Reverend Dr. Wellesley, Rector of the parish, and brother to the Duke of Wellington, set the fair example. The Local Magistrates followed. The names of several gentlemen of title and distinction, among whom is a prelate of the Church of England, were then annexed. After which, the housekeepers, in almost unbroken succession, contributed, we will not say their mite, but their very handsome quota; not altogether as an act of charity, but to show the high sense they entertained of departed worth, and to evince to survivors, in similar circumstances, that, to say nothing of futurity, virtue and religion, sooner or later, even in this world, meet with their just distinction and reward. Thus shall it be done unto the man whom the Lord delighteth to honour. Say ye to the righteous, it shall be well with him. May the bereaved widow and children walk in the steps of their revered patron and father; and may the descendants of Mitchell long be distinguished for piety, such as he enjoyed !

DIVINITY.

DAVID BLESSING HIS HOUSEHOLD:

A SERMON :
BY THE REV. RICHARD TREFFRY.

2 SAM. vi. 20. “ Then David returned to bless his household." ... , Few men have ever obtained greater celebrity among their cotemporaries, or shone with more distinguished lustre on the page of sacred history, than David. An inspired writer of his time states, that the

fame of David went out into all lands; and the Lord brought the fear of him upon all nations." His sphere in society was strangely diversified. In what line of life did he not move 2 And what station did he not occupy and adorn ? As a shepherd, with what intrepidity did he defend his flocks! As a warrior, how fearlessly did he attack, and how completely did he triumph over, his most formidable foes! As a musician, how sweet were his songs in the house of his pilgrimage : As a saint, how elevated and intense were his devotions! As a sovereign, how wise were the maxims of his government, and how prosperous and extended his reign As a prophet, how luminous and evangelical were the visions of futurity, that beamed before his eyes; for God had “sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit upon his throne.” And as a moralist, how unblameable was his general character | For “ David did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.” But many are great in public life, and dazzle the multitude by the variety and splendour of their worldly achievements, who are yet total strangers to domestic virtues, and complete aliens from the duties of retirement. Abroad, they appear studious to please, and emulous to excel; at home, their conduct exhibits a melancholy reverse. But David appeared as solicitous to please God at home as abroad; and whether viewed in the camp, the senate, the sanctuary, or the family, we see the same devotional disposition to “serve his generation according to the will of God.” The chapter before us records a transaction in which David bore a most conspicuous part. He, and the chosen men of Israel, had been engaged in bringing up the ark of God from Kirjath-jearim unto the city of David; but instead of committing it to the management and care of the priests and the Levites, who should have borne it upon their shoulders, with the staves thereon, as Moses commanded, according to the word of the Lord ; they thoughtlessly and irreligiously put it upon a cart, in imitation of the processions of the heathen, who drew their gods about in carriages. The oxen yoked to the cart stumbled, and Uzzah, suspecting that the ark was in danger of falling, irreverently stretched forth his hand to support it; but God smote him for his error, and there he died by the ark of God. David, terrified at this awful token of the divine displeasure, hesitated to proceed; and the ark, instead of being removed unto the place appointed for it, had a temporary residence in the house of Obed-edom: and where the symbol of the divine presence rested, there the blessing of Jehovah dwelt: everything prospered with Obed-edom while the ark abode in his house. David, hearing of this, resolved to make another attempt to remove it unto his own city; and profiting by his former error, he appointed the Levites to bear it upon their shoulders, and when they had proceeded six paces, he caused oxen and fatlings to be sacrificed, as an atonement for past omissions of duty; and he laid aside his royal robes, and clad himself with an ephod, similar to that worn by the Ministers of the sanctuary, and with every demonstration of joy preceded the ark, until they had pitched it in the place appointed for its reception; and having given “to the whole multitude of Israel, to every one a cake of bread, and a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine, and blessed them” in the name of the Lord of hosts, “then David returned to bless his household.” We shall take an occasion, from these words, to show how a man may instrumentally bless his household, and what motives should urge him to such a procedure.

I. How may a man instrumentally bless his household?

It will of course be understood, that we refer, in our observations upon this subject especially, to a father, master, or head of a family; one who is placed by providence in a state of authority over his domestics; and we use the word instrumentally, because man can bless man only as an agent or instrument, and in proportion as God blesses him. Thus the Lord said unto Abram, “I will bless thee, and make thy name great, and thou shalt be a blessing.” And,

1. A man may instrumentally bless his household by his example. Every living creature possesses the property of imitability. Brutes instinctively copy the actions of their species, and imitate, with servile exactness, each others' tones, gestures, and manners. Man especially fetches knowledge from external objects, and grafts on his own stock the scions of others. The traveller surveys his route on a map; the mariner traverses the ocean by charts; the school-boy writes from copies; the architect works by plans; and the limner draws from sketches. Nor is man the creature of imitation merely in reference to mechanical operation. Minds possess the mysterious power of assimilation, and morals are not unfrequently the transcripts of others: hence no man can be either solitarily good or bad. The contagion of vice, or the influence of virtue, is quickly communicated; with this difference, that there is a repulsive faculty that guards the system against the admission of the gracious principle, but a predisposition to absorb the poison whenever it is presented. But that examples, both of good and evil, are powerfully operative, the Bible bears direct and repeated testimony: hence such statements and directions as the following:—“They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the Lord commanded them : but were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works. And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them.” (Ps. cwi. 34, 35, 36.) “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” (Prov. xiii. 20.) “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father

« AnteriorContinuar »