« AnteriorContinuar »
different arts in which he had been him; and that he had more want accustomed to be employed. And, of their prayers than of their prenotwithstanding his weakness and sence." All his conversation during pain, he did all this with so much his malady was on the necessity of patience and collectedness, that he separation from worldly things, of seemed to have lost all remem- the joy which he anticipated in brance of his sufferings. The death, and of the mercy which Father Abbé, knowing the grace God had shewn him in suffering him which God had given to him, and the to finish his days in the society of degree in which God had detached the Father Abbé. him from the world, thought it his Some days before his death, the duty to follow up what he believed Father Abbé inquired minutely to be the designs of Providence into the state of his mind: he anwith regard to him. This led him, swered in these very words :"I in the various ordinances of reli- consider the day of my death as a gion, to maintain all the rigour festival; I have no desire for any which charity and prudence would thing here; and I cannot better permit; though in all private com- express iny total separation from munications with him he treated things below than by comparing him with the tenderness of a father. myself to a leaf which the wind One day, when so overcome with has lifted from the earth. All pain that he could take nothing, that I have read in the sacred he described his state to the Father Scriptures comes home to me, and Abbé, accompanying his descrip- fills me with joy. Nevertheless, tion with certain expressions of I can in no action of my life see countenance which it is almost im- any thing which can sustain the possible to restrain in such circum- judgment of God, and which is stances. The Father Abbé, how- not worthy of punishment; but the ever, said with severity (as though confidence which I have in his he had no compassion for those goodness gives me consolation sufferings in which he sympathized and hope.” He added—“ How so truly), that “ he spoke like a can it be, that God should shew man of this world, and that a monk such compassion to a man who has ought to manifest, under the worst so miserably served him? I desire circumstances, the constancy of his death alone : what can man be soul.”. Benedict in an instant as thinking of, not always to desire it? sumed that air of serenity that What joy, my Father, when I renever afterwards quitted him. The member that I am about to refresh fear lest the great exertions which myself in the waters of life!” he made by day and by night, His ordinary reading, for many combined with his extreme debility, years of his life, had been the might suddenly remove him, led sacred Scriptures, which were so them to give him the holy sacra- familiar to him, that he spoke of ment and extreme unction, He little else. He mentioned to the received both with every demon- Father Abbé so many passages, stration of piety. Such, however, and repeated them in a manner so was his weakness, that he imme- touching, so animated, and so dediately fainted away. The Father votional, that his hearers were at Abbé having asked, before they once edified and astonished. Those brought him the extreme unction, passages which were uppermost in if he desired that the whole com- his mind respected chiefly the munity should be present at the majesty of God; but as he had a ceremony, he answered, that " most humble opinion of his own terior ceremonies were not of vital life, which had, however, been, in importance; that his brethren the main, faithful and pure, he would derive little edification from always reverted to the subject of
the Divine compassion. It was in who blotteth out your iniqui- . that he found peace and repose. ties.' I am, therefore, convinced
On the day of the “assumption," that sin is a tremendous offence. he felt himself so weak, that he Far am I, indeed, from being like was unable to leave the infirmary. those who always overThe Father Abbé carried him our whelmed with a consciousness of Lord, whom he received upon his their offences ; but yet I believe knees, leaning on two of his bre. upon the testimony of faith and thren. Two days afterwards he Scripture, that sin is an immeafell into strong convulsions, and surable gulf of ruin.” These words imagind that the hour of his de
were accompanied with a manner liverance was come. The Father so extraordinary, that they touched Abbé asked—“ Is it with joy that the very hearts of those who suryou depart ?” “ Yes;" said be, rounded him. " from my very heart.” He then His bones having pierced his added, " Into thy bands I com- skin, and his shirt of serge sticking mend my spirit."
to his wounds, he begged them to The customary prayers were move him a little; but at the end then offered up for the dying; but of the day, when the person who the convulsions having left him, the had the care of him wished again Father Abbé said that the hour of to ease his body, he said, “ My God was not arrived ; and having brother, you give me too much given orders to remove him from ease.” The Father Abbé having the ashes to his bed, he turned ordered some milk to be brought to the Father Abbé with a serene him, which was the only nourishcountenance, and said, “ The will ment he took, he said, “You wish of God be done." He lived three then, my Father, to prolong my days, waiting with anxiety the time life, and are unwilling I should when God would have mercy upon die on the day of St. Bernard.” him. And such was his desire of The Father Abbé having quitted death, that the Father Abbé was him, he begged, perceiving that obliged more than once to say to his death approached, that he might him that it was vot for him to be called back. As soon as he saw anticipate the designs of Provi- him he said, “My Father, my eyes dence. His pangs lasted till within fail me—it is finished.” The Faan hour of his death; but he en- ther having asked him in what state dured them with his accustomed he found himself, and if he was patience and serenity. He said, about to approach Christ-" Yes, three days before his death, that my Father," said he,“ by the the most dangerous moments were grace of God, I am. I am not, the last, and that he did not doubt indeed, sensible of any extraordi. the great enemy of man would be nary elevation of my mind to God; employed to disquiet bim; and but, through his mercy, I am in therefore requested the prayers of perfect peace. God be thanked!" the community. The Father Abbé This he repeated three times. The having asked, after some other Father Abbé having asked him if general discourse, if he “ knew he wished to die upon the cross, the guilt of sin;" he answered, and upon the ashes; “Yes,” said sighing, and, as it were, looking he, “ from my heart.” With these into the recesses of his own soul, words he losť his speech; or, at all and in language expressive of the events, it was impossible to hear intensity of his feelings—" Alas! any thing intelligible from him, once I knew it not; but now I see except the name of Jesus, which in the Scripture that God claims, he pronounced repeatedly. They as one of his chief attributes, the carried him to the straw spread power of pardoning sin :- I am he out in his chamber. He was nearly
four hours in a dying state ; and dence of faith. When once the preserved his recollection during doctrine is adopted that reason is the whole time. His eyes indi- not to be exercised in matters of cating a wandering state of mind, religion, it becomes almost a point the Father arose, took some holy of duty to be as unreasonable as water, and, having scattered it possible. around him, repeated these words, Another circumstance which can “ Let God arise, and let his ene- scarcely fail to strike your readers mies be scattered." His face at is, the degree in which real and this moment collected itself. He sincere religious feeling, in practice kissed the cross several times ; and at least, and under the Divine wanting strength to lay hold of it, blessing, neutralizes the defects of they observed that he advanced his a theological creed. There can be head to adore it every time that it no question that the theory of was presented to him. At length, Popery strongly inculcates the meall his disquietudes ceased: they rit of works; and that this is the beheld him calm, peaceful, and point on which the Reformers esserene ; and he breathed his last pecially took their stand in pleadsigh with so much tranquillity, tbating for a separation from the Church those who watched him scarcely of Rome. But who would have perceived his death.
suspected this error to bave been [The account goes on to tell us, predominant in the creed of “ St. with a credulity ill-becoming so Benedict," when listening to bis grave a history, that, by some Di- dying language? The fact is, that vine interference, the body of St. the Spirit of God, by which, it is Benedict retained, after death, all impossible to doubt, this dying man the pliability of life.]
had been taught, teaches but one
doctrine, or rather infuses but one I cannot persuade myself to con- disposition--and that is, a dispoclude this article without adding a sition to acknowledge our own few comments upon it.
guilt, and to rest exclusively for In the first place, your readers salvation upon the mercy of God cannot fail to be struck with the and the merits of a Redeemer. doctrival incorrectness of several This concurrence of the dying serparts of this paper; and especially vants of God in one doctrine - this with the breadth and explicitness ultimate adherence to one truthof the phrase in which the capital this practical departure from varierror of transubstantiation is ex- ous theological creeds to empressed. I notice this, not, by any brace one article of faith at a means, to depreciate the value of moment when the strength and this interesting memoir, nor the worth of religion are chiefly triedpiety of the individual whom it are 10 me decisive proofs of the concerns—but to observe that, if truth of the doctrine itself. Error such was the language of Popery may possess sutlicient power to among men of refinement and edu- sustain the mind under ordinary cation, how coarse a form was that trials. It may even partially susdoctrine likely to take among the tain a few persons, in whom the vulgar. Indeed it is almost in. delusion is more than usually strong, credible that men of sense should under the last great trial. But it not at once be revolted by an ex- is only truth which can sustain all pression such as that of " bringing men under this trial; and therefore the Lord,” and by the doctrine it is in truth they take refuge. The conveyed by it. And their sub- centurion who watched around the mission to it can be solved only on cross possibly joined in the insults the principle that they deemed an offered to our Lord by the mob: admission of impossibilities an evi. perhaps thrust the spear into his
side, or drove the nails into his feet. right with God, and fitted for heaven. Yet, when a sudden darkness veiled – The intention of the Divine the heavens and the earth, and the Being doubtless is, that, as in the rocks were rent, and the dead case of our Lord, activity and dearose, and each man apprehended votion should go hand in handthe hour of his dissolution to be that he who spends the day in come-he exclaimed, “ Truly this doing good, should rise before day was the Son of God.” Thus the to hold devout communion with dying servants of God, though God. But the danger is, lest, betrayed for a time by their edu- instead of combining these duties, cation, or deluded by the specious- we should separate them, and make ness of error, yet, in the moment the discharge of one a compensaof trial, exclaim, “ God forbid tion for the neglect of another; lest that I should glory save in the we should propose to ourselves so cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” many practical duties as to leave
Finally, it is almost impossible, no leisure for devotional employI think, not to be disposed, by the ments; lest we should so exhaust reading of memoirs such as these, the mind in action as to leave no to mitigate something of our se strength for prayer; lest verity to Papists, and not to enter should fancy that we may select upon a stricter examination of our favourite line of duty, and, so ourselves. I am no apologist for that our hours are carefully filled monastic institutions. "I place it up, conclude we may fill them up among the evils of Popery, that it as we will. But God will be served, nourished a system so unfavourable if I may so express it, in his own to industry, to domestic religion, manner. We must not allow ourto that amalgamation of the reli- selves in what may be called a substigious with the mixed orders of tution of duties in the discharging society, by which the clergy be- a few more of one kind, that we come less bigoted and the laity may discharge a few less of anomore devout. But I cannot help ther.-I venture to own that I feeling both astonished and buin- rarely attend the public meetings bled, when I read of men who, in the metropolis for religious with what I should deem a severe objects without having these oband gloomy view of the character servations riveted on my own mind. of God, yet maintained a frame of I sometimes ask myself—" Will mind so devout and tender to their these thousands return home to heavenly Father. They seem in secret devotion-will their humitheory to know the Divine Being lity survive the plaudits for reliless as the “God” who “ is love, gious zeal-will the spirit of prayer than Protestants ; and yet they live in this heated and perturbed render to Him a homaye, and they atmosphere ?” I confidently bespeak of Hiin in a language, which lieve that, in many instances, all would be more natural on our lips these questions night be answered than theirs. And here, perhaps, in the affirmative. And I put them I may be permitted to observe that rather in the way of caution than one of the palpable defects of the of reprehension ; rather from what religion of the day appears to me to I anticipate, than from what I see. be-the want of a devotional spirit. I put ihem because, having narThere is much zeal, much correct. rowly watched the workings of at ness, much benevolence; but, I fear, least one mind, I discover reasons comparatively little devotion-little for watchfulness and suspicion of that secret communion with God, there; and knowing the univerof those quiet exercises of religion sality and resemblance of our moral which, after all, are, perhaps, the diseases and infirmities, I venture least suspicious evidences of a mind to conclude that what is dangerous to one may not be absolutely safe “2. The other extremity contracts to many Perhaps, sir, it might the riches of Christ's satisfaction be no bad expedient for those who into too narrow a room; as if none have stood a while on the hustings had any kind of interest therein, of the Bible Society to retire from but such as were elected before the thence, in imagination at least, to foundation of the world; howsothe deep and gloomy shades of La ever by the Gospel, every one be
Trappe ; there to divide, as it charged to receive the same ; were, the world between God and whereby it would follow, that a ourselves; there to hold secret man should be bound in consci'communion with Heaven; there to ence to believe that which is un“ commune with our own hearts, true, and charged to take that and be still.”
wherewith he hath nothing to do.
“ Both extremities then drawing
with them unavoidable absurdities, To the Editor of the Christian Observer. the Word of God (by hearing If the following letter from Arch- whereof faith is begotten, Ephes. bishop Usher, on the death of i. 13.) must be sought unto, by a Christ, and his satisfaction on the middle course, to avoid these excross, appear as valuable to you tremities. as to myself, you will be glad to “ For finding out this middle insert it in the Christian Observer. course, we must, in the matter of
G. S. our redemption, carefully put a
distinction betwixt the satisfaction “ The all sufficient satisfaction of of Christ absolutely considered, Christ was made for the sins of the and the application thereof to every whole world. The true intent and one in particular; the former was extent is lubricus locus to be once done for all; the other is still handled, and bath, and doth now in doing: the former brings with much trouble the Church: this it sufficiency abundant to discharge question bath been moved sub the whole debt; the other adds to iisdem terminis quibus nunc, and its etficacy. The satisfaction of hath received contrary resolutions; Christ only makes the sins of manthe reason is, that in the two ex- kind fit for pardon, which without tremities of opinion held in this it could not well be; the injury done matter, there is somewhat true, to God's majesty being so great, and somewhat false; the one extre- that it could not stand with his mity extends the benefits of Christ's honour to put it up without amends satisfaction too far, as if hereby made. The particular application God, for his part, were actually makes the sins of those to whom reconciled to all mankind, and did that mercy is vouchsafed to be really discharge every man from actually pardoned. For as all sins all bis sins, and that the reason are mortal in regard to the stipend why all men do not reap the fruit due thereunto by the Law, but all of this benefit, is the want of that do not actually bring forth death, faith, whereby they ought to have because the gracious promise of believed, that God in this sort did the Gospel stayeth the execution ; love them: whence it would fol. even so all the sins of mankind are low, that God should forgive a become venial, in respect of the man his sins, and justify him, be- price paid by Christ to his Father fore he believed; whereas the elect (so far, that in shewing mercy upon themselves, before their effectual all, if so it were his pleasure, his vocation, are said to be without justice should be no loser); but Christ, and to be without hope, all do not obtain actual remission, and to be utter strangers from the because most offenders do not take covenants of promise.--Ephes. ii. 2. out, nor plead their pardon as they