Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

NOTES OP LECTURES.

IRISH REVIVALS.-No. IV.

as it is, there will always be objections to

everything good; and the more glorious the BY TIE REV, NASON BROWN, LEEDS.

work, the more serious sometimes will be the opposition to it.

But what weight is to be attached to the LIKE every other great and good move

objections urged against the Revival in ment, the work of God, referred to in the Ireland? Objection 1st. It is a work of previous papers, has had to enc nter

the devil, a device of Satan! Will any sane much opposition.

Objections of various man believe it? How unlike it is to his kinds have been raised against it with the usual way of working! Is it the work of view of destroying its gracious influence. Satan to excite anxiety about the soul's This is no new thing in connection with salvation, to bring men to their knees, to the work of God's Spirit. When the Spirit travel miles to hear God's word, to attend

crowd prayer-meetings, to induce them to was poured out in such abundance on the day of Pentecost, the same temper was communions? Is it the work of Satan to manifested by many who witnessed its close public-houses, and to convert them effects. When the matter was noised into temples for prayer ; to keep men from abroad, the multitude were confounded the race-course, the cockpit ; to restrain and surprised at what they saw and heard. them from blasphemy, cursing, swearing, They were amazed and marvelled; and &o., &c.? Can the devil have anything to while some doubted, others mocked. The do in such matters as these? If Satan work, however, went on, and the fruits thus cast out Satan, how can his kingdom

stand? soon told the origin of the work then, as it

No. It is no work of Satan. is doing now. The facts are patent and Satan cannot work for God; and, thereconvincing, let men say what they will.

fore, knowing that these Revivals operate Objections. We would be surprised against his interests, he has employed his if there were no objections. We are ac- servants to cast discredit upon the movecustomed to look for them in such a work. ment. They have failed, however ; the What movement of any importance has

'Spirit of the Lord” has lifted up his not had its objections ? There were, and

“standard against them," and its enemies, still are, objections to the emancipation of vanquished, have to a great extent quit the slaves; but does this prove that a law of field. liberty is not just and right-a law declar

Objection 2nd. It is a mere popular ex. ing " that man cannot hold property in citement; a sort of religious mania, by man ;” and are those who endeavour to which weak minds have been overcome. establish such a law to be looked upon as well. It is excitement ; and, considering little better than madmen or enthusiasts ? the nature of the case, can we wonder at Surely not. If they are enthusiasts, then it? When a man has been brought to see we commend them for their enthusiasm. the enormity of his sin, when he is led to It is enthusiasm of the right kind, and we

see himself standing on the brink of an pray that God may bless their efforts with awful eternity, into which he knows not success,

how soon he may fall, and be lost for ever, “Until immortal mind, unshackled walks abroad,

is it any wonder that man should be ex• And chains no longer bind the image of our God; the brink

of a deep precipice, and brought

cited ? My hearers, if any of you were on Until no captive one murmurs o'er land or wave, And in its course the sun looks down upon nó to feel that there was only one step (as it slave."

were) between you and death, would you There were objections, again, to the col- not feel excited? Would you not, from a lecting of poor children on the Sabbath, sense of your awful situation, cry out with that they might be taught the truths of all anxiety for deliverance; and would you God's word. The founders of Sabbath- not gladly accept of help from any quarter, schools had many difficulties to contend and upon any terms ? Was there no exagainst, but it was not long until the fruits citement when the prodigal (on the verge began to appear, and then the objections of starvation in the land of strangers) bewere overwhelmed by the great moral and thought himself of his father's house, and religious change which these institutions resolved to accept, at the hands of his effected. There were objections, again, to father, even the treatment of a servant, temperance societies, to the closing of rather than submit to the degrading occupapublic-houses on the Lord's-day, to the tion of keeping swine, and be starved beunrestricted use of God's word, and to the sides. Was there no excitement when the evangelisation of heathendom through the Philippian jailor, having been led to see the agency of Christian missions. All these magnitude of his sins, cried out, “ What glorious operations have been carried out must I do to be saved " No excitement in opposition to the most inimical counter- among our Lord's disciples when, overtaken exertions. So long as our world continues by the storm, they awoke him saying, “Lord, ESTE, we perish.” Was there no excitement that there have been, and are, excesses and when, under Peter's preaching, so many extravagancies. Where is the gold without Fere“ prieked to the heart," and led to cry dross, where the wheat without chaff ? out, “Men and brethren, what shall we The counterfeit proves the existence of the do ?" In all these cases there was excite. genuine. There have been many things ment; and surprising it would have been that we cannot justify. But what is our had not such been the case. But because duty ? It is to discard what is evil, and to there is excitement, under conviction of uphold what is good. There are tares sin and danger, must that be accounted among the wheat.” “The enemy hath madness? Is every man who gets excited done this.". Is it fair to condemn the to be called a maniac? If such were the whole work because there have been some case, where would be found asylums to extravagancies ? Surely not. Must we contain all the mad people to be daily met condemn all our noble merchants because with? Is the man out of his senses who we find sometimes disreputable exceptions ? feels he is a sinner and anxious to be saved, Are we to discard the whole medical faculty or the man who endeavours to promote re- because we sometimes hear of a Palmer or ligious excitement, and to rouse others to Smethurst ? Are we to condemn medical 8 sense of their sin and danger ? Surely science because some make an imprudent not. The world may try to brand such use of poisons? Are we to reject the men with this character, as Festus did gospel because of its connection with a Paul, when he pressed home too forcibly Judas or a Simon Magus ? Are we to upon him the truths of God's Word: “Paul, disbelieve the value of truth because Ana. thou art beside thyself, much learning hath nias and Sapphira disregarded it? Are we made theo mad.” Paul replied, "I am not to discard the divinity of Christ because mad, most noble Festus, but speak the some have denied the Lord that bought words of truth and soberness ;" and so them? or are we to deny the headship of fully convinced was Agrippa of Paul's sin- his church to Christ because the Pope of cerity, and the justness of his position, that Rome usurps this prerogative ? As soon instead of joining in the opinion of Festus, may we do so as to discredit the genuinea he felt almost persuaded “ to become a ness of God's work because there are the Christian." Excitement! Madness! There counter works of the devil. Then, again, would be no charge of this kind urged by as to God's method of executing his own those who oppose this work of God, if men work. He gives not account of these were rushing to the theatre, the race-course, matters to us. What right have we to call the public-house ; but the men who are in question his wisdom, or to draw a line of anxious about their souls, and those en operation from which he may not depart ? deavouring to encourage that anxiety, must What are we that we shoulă presume to be branded as fanatics and enthusiasts! dictate to God ? “The wind bloweth But who speak thus of this movement, its where it listeth, and we judge of its friends or its enemies? Those who would existence by its effects. So it is with God's like the cause of God to flourish, or those Holy Spirit. Let us not seek to be wise "who care for none of these things"? above what is written. These objections are not made by its friends; Besides, in God's word we are led to ex. they are made by those who are careless alike pect diversity of operation in the Spirit of retrogression or revival ; and it is just work. Saul is stricken down, smitten with what we would expect from such. Those blindness, and labours under bodily sufwho do not feel their own state, their need of fering for many days. Timothy, on the a Saviour, who seldom or never attend the other hand, is converted by the religious means of grace themselves, may think it training of a pious mother and grandmostrange that others do. But are such men ther. He cannot tell how or when the capable of judging in these matters ? great change took place; but this he could Most decidedly not; as well might I, or say, "One thing I know, that whereas I any other person knowing little or nothing was blind, now I see.” Why not allow about the matter, be expected to judge of God to do his own work in his own way, the working capabilties of the Channel #eet, and judge of its character by its fruits ? or something else for which I was not Objection 3rd. It is confined to the adapted, as for men to judge of God's poor and illiterate, to factory girls and such work who are not noted as pious men, and like ; over-worked, badly-fed, nervous syswhose only qualification may be that they tems weakened. This objection had but a can write a paragraph for a newspaper. short existence, facts soon proved its fal

To all who desire to know what these sity; so that on this point we need not Revivals are, we point them to the fruits. dwell. There they are before the eyes of all who Objection 4th These Revivals are only will take the trouble to go and see for temporary ; if they would only continue, themselves. We do not for å moment deny good might eventually spring from them. Who can tell that they will be only tem. porary? How many backsliders can be

WAITING. pointed to during the time they have lasted ? But suppose they should be only Written on her death-bed, by a young lady temporary, what then? Are we to despise

of great intellectual promise. the movement on that account? No! we say where, on thy slow pinions, tarriest thou, will only regret if such should be the case.

Oh, soft celestial breath, But has it not done some good, at all events, Sent to my spirit from the Infinite ? already? If only temporary, then let us

I will not call thee Death! derive all the benefit we can while it lasts. We do not despise the return of health On my white couch all day I wait for thee, because it may be succeeded again by sick- And through the dewy night; ness; we do not despise the refreshing Has He commissioned thee to wing so slow, showers because we have not a regular re- And calm thy solemn flight ? currence of them. We do not object to the overflow of fertilising streams because they In velvet fields I know the lambkins play, return to their beds again. We do not

And infant violets peep : object to light because it is succeeded by Come swiftly, ere my almost parted heart darkness; nor to the spring, because of

Return for these to weep! its short existence. Why then refuse to take advantage of the visitations of God's Spirit While still and pale, I fade from hour to hour; while in his mercy he is shedding it down

Eyes keeping watch like stars on the souls of men ? Where is the hus. Make earth so dear that still my spirit rests bandman who would refuse to improve the

Within the crystal bars! day because the sunshine would leave as This lower sky is gloriously fair ; the night approached ? Where is the mer

I am not tired of earth! chant who would neglect to take advan. From other spheres I shall look, love, to thee, tage of a good speculation because the

Land of my mortal birth! profits might not continue long in his pocket? All the objections to this glorious But I have caught a vision of the palms work of God are invented by the enemies, Around the mount of God: and not the friends, of religion. Men who That mystic tree, whose branches show the wish to object are sure to find objections ;

way and if they cannot find them, they will try Which Christ, the Saviour, trod. and make them. Let us receive the testi. mony of all good men capable of forming And underneath their boughs my soul must a judgment in this matter. Read the tes.

dwell timony of Dr. McNeile and other eminent With souls beatified ; divines of the Church of England. Read 'Twas whispered to me in the holy night, the testimony of the ministers of Scotland, By angels at my side. Wales, America, Ireland; the great and the good of all denominations. Read the Then why, on thy slow pinions, tarriest thou, testimony of Roman Catholics, and other Oh, soft celestial breath, judges and magistrates. They have borne Sent to my spirit from the Infinite ? noble testimony to the good effects of

I will not call thee Death! this great and glorious work; and if these men are not capable of judging in such a case, who can decide as to the Spirit's work ? Oh that God would visit us with showers

THE BUILDERS. of his grace. We want it in all our English towns, we want it in our own liearts, in

BY LONGFELLOW. our families, in our churches. Let us pray for it. Let us use the means. Let

ALL are architects of Fate us wait upon God, and we shall not wait

Working in those walls of Time ; in vain.

Some with massive deeds and great,

Some with ornaments of rhyme.
“Oh that men to the Lord would give
Praise for his goodness then,

Nothing useless is, or low,
And for his works of wonder done

Each thing in its place is best;
Unto the sons of men.

And what seems but idle show,
And let them sacrifice to him
Offeriogs of thankfulness;

Strengthen and support the rest.
And let them show abroad his works
In songs of joyfulness.

For the structure that we raise,
Among the people gathered,

Time is with material filled ;
Let them exalt his name,
Among assembled elders spread

Our to-days and yesterdays
His most renowned fame."

Are the blocks with which we build.

Truly shape and fashion these,

prevailed ; that it was the ascendant in Leave no yawning gaps between ; everything; and that the mingling of relaThink not because no man sees,

tions in which the eye of sense sees so Such things remain unseen.

much that it calls evil, is in reality good.

One wbo has now passed from mortal sight In the elder days of art,

said to me, a few days before death, as from Builders wrought with greatest care her bed she looked out upon the few objects Each minute and unseen part;

that could be seen from her window,For the gods are everywhere.

"Everything is so beautiful. I wonder Let us do our work as well,

how it is. These flowers (turning her eyes Both the unseen and the seen ;

to a bouquet upon the table) fill me with Make the house where gods may dwell

delight. And,” said she, lifting her finger

from the pillow, and pointing to the window Beautiful, entire, and clean.

with a sinile, “there is that old dead tree ; Else our lives are incomplete,

it seems to me the most beautiful thing in

the world. I lie here hour after hour, and Standing in these walls of time; Broken stairways, where the feet

look at it, and think of God's goodness and Stumble as they seek to climb.

lore in putting it there ; and then I think

of the goodness of those who bring me Build to-day, then, slow and sure,

these flowers. Everything and everybody With a firm and ample base;

seems good to me. I never knew there was And ascending and secure,

so much goodness in the world before." Shall to-morrow find its place.

Now, where arises this quick affinity with

all that is kind, and beautiful, and benevoThus alone can we attain

lent ? Why do the little kindnesses which To those turrets where the eye the common sympathies of our nature Sees the world as one vast plain, prompt, enlarge into great acts of love ? And one boundless reach of sky. Why does our nature, in her very deso

lation, put on garments of beauty and glory, filling the weary spirit with ever-new

delight? REFINING EFFECT OF SICKNESS. The sick-room contemplations of a reli

gious mind weave all life's meaning and THERE is a class of persons to whom sick mystery into a fabric of goodness and love. Dess has a delicate and refined ministry. It sickness, as we commonly esteem it, is a is those in whom the religious character has calamity. It is a calamity, according to been cultivated and developed. The con. our measure of evil. No one in his right templations of a sick-room to a person of mind would pray to be laid prostrate with religious habits are certainly among the disease. But there are many who, from most refined and spiritual experiences of the depths of a blessed experience, can life. Nowhere else in life does the soul so thank God that they hare been. You may clearly vindicate its superiority to every talk about health as much as you please. thing. From the sick man's window the You may extol it as the richest blessing whole prospect has a spiritual hue. All which descends unon our mortal lot; and things take their places in a new and higher justly. But I ask any one who has ever order.

had a profound experience of sickness-of Beauty hitherto unappreciated seems sickness exalted by the holy influence of concealed in everything. Intellectual and religion-if he would exchange those expemoral qualities seem to invest the common- riences for the health which they cost him. est objects. The delicacies which delight - Stebbins. his tender senses are miracles of goodness ; and he wonders how he could have ever lived and not seen it before. The scale of

AND WHEN I'M TO DIE. being seems to be pitched higher, and more During the last two or three years of delicately balanced. It is one of the remaarkable qualities of the sick-room expe

Rowland Hill's life, he very frequently riences of a religious mind to weave every

repeated the following lines : thing into the plan of goodness. And it is

" And when I'm to die, good; it is not an effort of a half-consenting

Receive me, I'll cry, mind trying to think that it is : so clearly For Jesus hath loved me,- I cannot tell is the quality discerned, and so completely

why; does it transcend everything else, through

But this I do find, its affinities, that it is good.

We two are so joined, I have never known such a one as I refer That he'll not be in glory, and leave me to now, who did not discern that goodness

behind.”

3

a

a

weave

“The last time he occupied my pul- of consciousness he ever gave. We could pit,” writes his friend and neighbour, almost wish that every disciple of Christ the Rev. George Clayton, “when he would commit these lines, quaint as preached excellently in behalf of a chari- they are, to memory, and table institution, he retired to the vestry them into the web of his Chris. after service, under feelings of great ex. tian experience. Confidence in Christ, haustion.' Here he remained until all and undeviating adherence to him, can but ourselves had left the place. At alone enable us to triumph in fise and length he seemed, with some reluctance, death.-Belcher's Life of Whitefield. to summon energy to take his departure, intimating that it was probably the last time he should preach in W-I offered my arm, which he declined, and PRAYER IN THE HOUSEHOLD. then followed him, as he passed down the aisle of the chapel. The lights were I was once told of a cottage patriarch nearly extinguished, the silence was pro- who was born in those days when Scotfound ; nothing, indeed, was heard but land had a church in almost every house. the slow, majestic tread of his own foot. There was one in his father's dwelling; steps, when in an undertone he thus and when he pitched a tent for himself, soliloquized :

he builded an altar. Round that altar a

good number of olive-plants grew up; . And when I'm to die,' &c.

but, one by one, they were either planted

out in families of their own, or God took To my heart this was a scene of une. them; till he and his old partner found qualled solemnity, nor can I ever recur themselves, just as at their first outset to it without a revival of that hallowed, in life, alone. But their family worship sacred, shuddering sympathy which it continued as of old. At last his fellowfirst awakened."

traveller left him. Still he carried on When the good old saint lay literally the worship by himself. So sweet was dying, and apparently unconscious, a the memory of it in his father's house, friend put his mouth close to his ear, and and so pleasant had he found it in his slowly repeated his favourite lines,

own, that he could not give it up. As “ And when I'm to die,

he sat in his silent habitation, morning Receive me, I'll cry,' &c.

and evening, his quivering voice was

heard singing the old psalm-tune, readThe light came back to his fast fading ing aloud the chapter, and praying as if eye, a smile overspread his face, and his others still worshipped by his side. He lips moved in the vain attempt to articu- had not found it dull. - Dr. James late the words. This was the last sign Hamilton.

Missions.

NATIVE AGENTS.

CHINA.
TAE REV. GEORGE SMITH, SWATOW, TO

At present we have six Chinese Chris-
THE TREASURER.

tians connected with us. Of these, two

belong to the American Baptist Church Swatow, Nov. 22nd, 1859.

at Hong Kong, and were formerly imIt is now twelve months since I came to prisoned with Mr. Burns, at the Foo Swatow. Of this time, about three city of this department. Our friends at months were spent at Double Island, and Hong Kong were desirous that we should the rest in almost constant residence at employ them for a time, and their desire the town of Swatow. In the course of coincided with our urgent want. One of the year various circumstances have oc- them is engaged at Swatow, the other curred both to try and to encourage. In at Tathaupo. reviewing the past in the light of our Another is a native of this district, who present condition, we have reason to has been long a member of the American thank God and take courage.

Presbyterian Church at Ningpo, and has

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »