Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

tinomianism of a grosser kind speaks without disguise, a language that is peculiarly profane and grossly bad. Let the doctrines of grace be allowed to speak their own language; and then let it be asked, if the high commanding banner against antinomianism under every disguise, is not best established in those hands, who from this tower of divine truth, neither allow the sinner to be his own saviour, nor can admit a salvation from the damnation that sin deserves, and not from the do. minion that sin has usurped.

DIALOGUE XLII.

BETWEEN MR, AND MRS. WORTHY, AND DR, SKILLMAN THIE

PHYSICIAN.

SICKNESS AND

2AD TIDINGS FROM SANDOVER, OCCASIONED BY THE

DEATH OF MR. MERRYMAN,

THERE was a time when I thought that the former

dialogues might have concluded these dramatic efforts : I conceived a better finish could not have been devised than to lower the claims of sectarian bigotry, so detrimental to that brotherly love, (notwithstanding minor differences,) which the genuine spirit of vital Christianity will most assuredly inspire. To this, however, another was added, in order to shew the evils which must result, where marriage connections (on which so much depends,) are rashly formed, when both the courters and the courted, blinded by a fond partiality, deceive each other, and lay a foundation of misery for themselves, which follows them through life, till followed the

grave. But we live in a world, chequered witb an abundance of misery, because of our sinfulness before God; yet still most graciously blended with rich displays of mercy, among those to whom the promise belongs, that “all things shall work together for good to them that love God, and are the called according to his purpose.” No doubt but that my pious readers must be highly delighted with the character of Mr. Merryman, so pleasant in his temper, so cheerful in his disposition, so

still to say,

66

lively, and so lovely in all his manners; and withal, so truly devoted to God, and beneficial as a minister to the souls of men.

Can my readers be prepared to bid adieu to the character of one so dear? Is patience, and resignation to the sovereign will of God, to be so sharply tried, should he be called to hear, that the delightful Merryman is soon to be removed ? What strength of holy submission must have been needed to possess the minds of his relatives, in order to part with such kindred blood, and

thy will be done !" and how could the people of Sandover bring their minds under the deprivation of such a minister, to say “ the Lord gave, the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord ;" and what must even his very enemies have felt under the departure of such a man, while blessed with the holy art of disarming the most inveterate of them, by an affectionate and delightful simplicity of disposition, as must have made them sometimes wonder at themselves, how they could hate a man like him! But who can prevent the fatal hand of disease from falling upon the best be. loved of the human race? or who can trace the dispensations of Providence, that takes away the most desirable and shining characters, in the midst of their usefulness and in the prime of life, while the wicked and the worthless are permitted to live, and seemingly for no other purpose, than by their vile example to spread contagion and death? Still he is a Sovereign. He has a' right to do what he will ; while as a holy Sovereign, whatever he does must be right; and though it is the highest wickedness to call the Almighty to the bar of our judgment, by profanely asking, “What does thou?" yet surely it must be acknowledged, that while the righteous are the greatest blessing the earth can enjoy, by our sinfulness we forfeit our mercies, and in judgment he deprives us of them ; while the wicked who are

our greatest curse, in deserved wrath, as an evil blight, he permits still to exist.

But before we relate the painful tidings of the sickness and departure of Mr. Merryman, my readers may wish to hear somewhat further of this excellent, and engaging

man.

He was no sooner made a partaker of the grace that accomplished a change so glorious, than he set himself to work to communicate the knowledge of that salvation to others; the effects of which he so well understood, from the happy result upon his own mind.

It immediately became his constant study, how all his parishioners might be the partakers of the like precious faith with himself. He not only set up Sunday schools, but established other little charitable institutions, for visiting the sick, and relieving the poor, whereby he saved many

of them from the bad way of seeking aid by parochial relief which has such a fatal tendency to degrade the mind, while, by the same means, he engaged their affectionate attention to his kind admonitions for their everlasting good.

Besides this, he was in the habit of going around his Parish, into every hamlet, and into almost every cottage, collecting the people of his charge in small assemblies; and then with his Bible in his hand, and the love of God and of souls in his heart, he would aim at their instruction, in the most engaging style, and afterwards enforce it by such familiar conversation, as astonishingly won the affections of all, if not to God, yet to Mr. Merryman, as being too captivating in all his manners, for the most rugged and untutored to resist.

On these occasions, he would diligently inquire if any neglected public worship on the Sabbath, and what were their excuses for such a neglect. The like attention was paid to their children, whether they properly prized the opportunities provided for their gratuitous

[ocr errors]

instruction ? and what they could say for themselves, in suffering their innocent offspring to be so ill used by them, as to permit them to be absent from these useful schools? As most people aim at an excuse for doing that which is wrong, it struck his active mind, that one common excuse, the want of proper apparel, might be obviated by the formation of a society for this laudable purpose. The plan was no sooner proposed than adopted. He convened his female friends together at Sandover, and formed them into a working society, for the benefit of the industrious poor; making it at the same time a school of instruction for some of the poor female children, that they might learn the same useful art. Of this society, Mrs. Merryman became the president; while other decent and benevolent characters, who had a little time and property to spare, were happy to associate themselves together, that they might form a little manufactory, more immediately for the children of the industrious

poor ;

while the benefit of the same institution was extended to some of the parents also. And while many benevolent friends, would be sending their kind presents of new bought materials for these purposes, from different shops, yet the principal design was of a humbler nature; namely, to fabricate the cast off clothes of those who could consistently spare them, into smaller garments for the children's use.

In order to facilitate this kind design, the reader will not be surprised, when he is informed that Mr. Merryman, with his accustomed simplicity and affability of mind, would request even from the pulpit, too frequently made the mere oracle of priestly importance, that all such cast off garments might be sent to his house, as a present to the poor, which would be thankfully received by him.

As designs of this kind, are soon put into circulation, through the good will of some, and the envy of others;

[ocr errors]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »