Изображения страниц

It might be asked, -Why is man thus required under such anxieties, and toils, and perils of awful failure, to build up a character that shall be holy and meet for heaven? Would it not have been kinder had his Maker, who created him holy, for ever kept him so ? This question it would not become us even to attempt to answer. God's thoughts are not as our thoughts, nor his ways as our ways. He has been pleased to leave man, whom he made in his own image and after his own likeness, free; and to deal with him as a free and responsible agent—to entrust him with the direction of his own destiny. There is one suggestion, however, which we may offer as bringing our paper to an appropriate conclusion, and as casting some light on this dark subject, and it is this,—that assuming, as we must do, that in the world to come saints shall be employed in service, shall be God's ministers, doing his pleasure; it may be that by the obedience which they here learn through the things they suffer, and the attainments which they here perfect through suffering; they may, through possessing experience which simple innocence merely could not furnish, be qualitied for higher and more trusty service.

The view of work which we have been endeavouring to present may perhaps assist in correcting some misapprehensions which we ihiuk are current in regard to its relation to the fall of man. There would seem to exist a generally diffused notion that work was imposed on man after his fall as a penalty; and we have heard it referred to as a curse—“the curse of labour," which, from the evil it helps to repress, and the temporal advantages it secures, has nevertheless turned out a blessing. Work, however, was imposed on man at his creation, and there is no reason to believe that he then engaged in it, as an amateur might do, for mere employment. On the contrary, there is much to lead us to suppose that work even then was pursued under conditions which required considerable exertion of his powers. Labour was required of him by the relation in which he stood to the earth and the fulness thereof, for the supply of subsistence and for every other physical want; and to recruit both mind and body, and brace and energize them for further labour,-night,with its still and natural opportunity for rest, from the beginning succeeded day. The curse consequent on the fall did not originate work, but it made work greatly more toilsome and more exacting. The ground being cursed for his sake, and he himself suffering physically as well as spiritually by the fall,—the fertility of the earth being lessened on the one hand, and his own strength being weakened on the other, it then came about that he had to eat bread in the sweat of his brow, and in sorrow all the days of his life. But this punitive or penal purpose of work is not its only one.

Work must have been ordained at the first for some purpose. We believe that purpose was to serve some end in connection with the original probation state, and though it now carries in it a penal element, and so exacts hard and irksome requirements, we also believe that its main purpose still is to fulfil the important function in regard to the present probation state which we have indicated.

We close by merely adding these practical reflections:--1. It is evident that work will prove to us either a curse or a blessing according to the spirit in which we engage in it, and the motives under which we act. The end we propose to ourselves will determine whether it shall accomplish in us good or evil. If that end be merely to make money, if that be the only, the all-absorbing one, then it is clear our whole action will be controlled by it, our choices will all be wrong, and will constantly be violating those principles, a supreme regard to which alone can form a virtuous and holy character. Surrounded daily by influences capable of such good and evil, the result of

whose operation on us is dependent solely on our own choice, how necessary and appropriate the prayer of the Psalmist, “ Incline my heart to thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.” 2. It is evident that our life is not separated into distinct and isolated departments, but is an inseparable whole--a uuity. Our business life is not one thing, and our religious life another thing; they flow not in different channels, but in one and the same. Yet have we never felt, when viewing ourselves as candidates for a happy immortality, as living here to become meet for life there, as if the exactions and restraints of work alienated our life wholly away from its main object and design, and prevented our availing ourselves of those pious exercises which seem to be best, if we have not thought them to constitute the only ones, fitted to aid us in securing it? But our subject presents life to us as an inseparable unity; a thing which cannot be broken. Our religion is to strengthen us in the business day's trials, and the business day's trials are to strengthen our religion. The want of religion, on the other hand, will cause us to fail under trials, and our failing under trials will but cause us to be more irreligious. 3. Our subject makes it evident what is to be regarded as the test of success in business. It shows us that only he achieves success, that only he is fortunate who, though he may bave failed again and again in an earthly point of view, or may have attained no position in the world's estimation, shall yet, whether under prosperity or adversity, be found to have been rightly exercised thereby; and, on the other hand, that he is but a bankrupt, the true unfortunate as God judges, and as man ought to judge, who, though he has gained the whole world, yet loses his own soul.

3igellaneous Papers.


sioned appeals, he fulminates in wrathful The following biographical notice of this drunkard, it is easy to see that the secret

tones against the dastardly wife-beating remarkable man appears as an introduction spring of his keen invective and eloquent to Six Addresses lately delivered by him at reproof is to be found in his own reminisRochdale, and published in London by s. cences of childhood-a drunkard's home, a W. Partridge :

blaspheming father, and a suffering, patient

mother. And it is to his mother that we “ The influence of early training was must turn for the other side of this dark picnever more strikingly. exemplifi than in ture. From his father, he derived nothing the present instance; and this both for good but pernirious, evil influences; but his and for evil. Richard Weaver was sur-mother was a religious woman, and one who rounded, froin his birth, with two opposite kept her light burnirg in a dark place. She sets of influences, antagonistic in their ten- was a praying woman; and from her mouth, dencies, and each, in turn, preponderating. instead of the parental blasphemy, Richard He is a native of Shropshire. His father first learned to call upon God with the voice was a collier, and, like many of that class, of prayer and thanksgiving. He has seen, was a man sunk in the depths of depravity. he says, his father stand over her, when she A victim to intemperance, he gave loose to has been reading the Bible, with a weapon the vices which follow in its train, and was a in his hand, and heard him “threaten to noted blasphemer and reveller. As is too split her head in two." Yet amidst all this generally the case, his family suffered from persecution and opposition she steadily perhis drunkenness. Often did his drunken severed in her Christian course. madness cause him to ill use and assault his “ Amidst such conflicting influences it is wife, and this in the presence of his children. not surprising that, as Richard grer up, the Scenes of this kind frequently repeated, and mild entreaties of his mother were disre. familiar from his early childhood, have left garded ; and, yielding to the temptations of a deep impression upon the mind of Richard; bad company, and the naturally evil tendenand when, in some moment of his impas- cies of his own depraved nature, he should


he found growing in wickedness, and gra- able to fulfil his intention, he attempted to dually obtaining the position of a pioneer in murder a poor unfortunate female with whom the ranks of iniquity. As early as sixteen, he was connected. Fortunately, a he had acquired a taste for intoxicating drink; panion prevented him from accomplishing and the dancing-room found him one of its the awful crime. For two days longer did frequenters. Before long, he added to his his misery continue, and then, in boundless other bad habits a love for fighting, and was compassion, the Lord spoke peace to his often found indulging in this barbarous and soul. He soon made his mother's heart to brutalising practice. After one of these sing for joy, by sending her a letter, telling occasions, when but seventeen years of age, her what God had done for him. For a time he returned home with two black eyes.

As 'he ran well, but something hindered.' soon as his mother saw him she fell on her Satan strove hard for him, and his old com. knees, and began to pray for him with broken panions laboured to get him once more with utterances from an almost broken heart. them; and at last he fell, and was, for a time, This so enraged the young reprobate, that a living example that the last state of such he says, 'I felt like a bloodhound of hell, men is worse than the first. and I said I would murder her if she did not “ He now removed to a village not far give over praying.' He left the room, and from Manchester, where, as California went to bed ; she followed him, after a short Dick,' he soon acquired a reputation for time, and knelt down by the bedside, again everything that was evil. One Sunday afterto pray for her poor boy; but he, infuriated noon, two young men, who had recently by passion, sprang out of bed, and seizing been converted, and whose hearts burned her by her grey hairs, swore that he would with all the fervour of first love, were standmurder her if she did not cease praying for ing in a house in the village, when the sister him. Mark the steady faith of the poor of one of them said, pointing out of the . mother while thus in the grasp of her de window, 'Look, there goes California Dick.' praved son ; she cried, 'Lord, though thou One of these young men said to the writer slay me, yet will I trust in thee! It is hard of this sketch, I shall never forget that first work, my child, to see thee raising up thy sight of Richard Weaver. He was waiking hand against thy mother; but, O Lord, between two fighting men, and his face was though thou slay me, yet will I trust in plastered in all directions from wounds he thee.'

had received in a recent fight. While I “He went on from bad to worse, and for looked upon him I resolved to try and get years was one of the most dissipated among hold of him, and to win him for Christ.' the depraved with whom he associated. His This resolve was carried into effect, -an accourage and success in his pugilistic encoun- quaintance was formed-early impressions ters with his fellow pitmen gained him the were revived, and he was induced to go to name of Undaunted Dick.' Drinking, the Sunday School, not, however, without dancing and fighting, blasphemy, and ob- considerable opposition from some of the scenity, were now the characteristics of his teachers, who thought, and not without reacareer; and, up to this time, we see fully son, that until a more marked change took exemplified the results of his father's per- place in him, bis attendance at the school nicious example. God was not in all his might possibly do it harm in the opinion of thoughts, and the ways of religion were his others. Though his convictions were reabhorrence. But God's ways are not ours. vived, he did not at once wholly forsake his In the face of all this rebellion and sin, God sinful courses. One day, in the year 1856, intended to use him for his glory, and, as Richard being in a place in Manchester used in the memorable case of Saul of Tarsus, to as a sparring or boxing saloon, and having make the bitter opposer to become a cham- the boxing gloves on, he was, while actually pion for the truth. In the midst of his sin, engaged in a boxing match, seized with such and while preparing for a fight, which had deep conviction and sorrow for sin, that he been arranged to take place a few days after became horror-struck, all his past career wards, he overheard some individuals con- appeared to start up before him, and the versing on religious subjects; his past life awful end to which it all tended, stared him flashed before him, and he was miserable. full in the face. Leaving the place, he He had not been to a place of worship for hastened to his lodgings, and rushing up to eight years, but these words flashed into his his bedroom, cast himself on his knees before mind, ‘Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?' the Lord ; and for several hours he remained Now the effect of his mother's early training in earnest prayer. During that night the began to show itself; and though thus sunk Lord heard the voice of his supplications, in sin, the seed, which had been long before and for Christ's sake pardoned his iniquities sown, began to bear fruit. For some days and blotted out his sins. It was evidenced he resisted the strivings of the spirit-tried by his life that he was now a changed man. to drown the voice of conscience with drink Old things had passed away, and all things - he even attempted suicide ; and when un- l had become new. He joined the Wesleyan


Society at Openshaw, a village in one of the ing for the man who had struck him. The Manchester circuits, and where he is still a ruffian still grasping the weapon, walked member, this being his residence. The con- round him threatening to kill him. But an unductors of the school, satisfied as to the seen Power protected Richard, and throwing reality of his conversion, began to make use the stick down, the man was heard to mutter of him as a teacher in some of the juvenile as he slunk away, 'I cannot kill him; he classes ; and thus he began to work a little has so many lives.' for God.

“ The many applications for his services in “ About this time a party of Mormons distant towns compelled him to resign his came, as they had frequently done before, to engagement at Prescott, and since that loe village where Mr. Weaver was living, period he has travelled over the British and one Sunday afternoon held a meeting islands, preaching the Gospel. He is not in the open air. In company with some in the employ of any society, and therefore of the teachers he was returning from the receives no salary. But, trusting to ProviSunday School, and stopped to hear what dence for temporal blessings, he has realised was going on. The Mormon speaker, after the truth, Verily, thou shalt dwell in the giving an account of their system, and land, and be fed.' enforcing it to the best of his power, closed "In London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dublin, by challenging any one to reply. No one and in many towns in Lancashire, Yorkelse appearing willing, Richard Weaver shire, Cheshire, and elsewhere, he has said, I will answer thee, but I must hav laboured with unprecedented success. He a chair to stand on; lend me thine. This specially addresses himself to the working. the Mormon refused to do; but several of classes, and, being one of themselves, he the villagers, expecting nothing from him is able so to appeal to their sympathies that but a little amusement, cried out, “I'll lend he secures their attention. After once thee a chair, Dick.' Accepting one, he preaching in any place, crowds flock to mounted it, and commenced his reply. To hear him all succeeding occasions, the astonishment of the villagers, and the and these are to a very large extent from confusion of the Mormons, he showed very the ranks of those who seldom or never considerable knowledge of the subject; and attend any place of worship. In some towns, so handled his opponents that they speedily upwards of a hundred persons have been left the assembly, and slunk out of the brought to the enjoyment of religion, village, leaving Richard master of the field; every night, under his ministry; and this for and from that time they have avoided the several weeks in succession. Though someplace. Mr. Weaver's brother was a class. times, he may, in his earnestness, be beleader and local preacher, and occasionally trayed into expressions which, to say the he supplied for him, and this brought him least, had better have been omitted, yet few more prominently before the public. He can hear him without feeling persuaded that became known to that devoted servant of he is a remarkable man, raised up specially God, Mr. Reginald Ratcliffe, of Liverpool, for a great end. God has wonderfully owned and he soon found him employment as a his labours. Thousands have been concolporteur. In this capacity he attended verted by his instrumentality; and to recount the execution of Palmer, and sold Bibles and but a portion of the thrilling narratives distributed tracts on the ground at Stafford which he gives of the scenes in which he has during the previous night. For about twelve taken part since his conversion, would fill months he continued in this occupation, a volume, and cannot, therefore, be atfrequently accompanying Mr. Ratcliffe on his tempted in this brief sketch. preaching excursions to various places; and can do justice to the power with which he his reputation as an ardent and uncompro- sways the emotions of the immense throngs mising preacher greatly extended. He next who crowd to hear him. Now provoking a accepted an engagement as town missionary, smile, almost merging upon open merriat Prescott. Here he soon became an ob- ment, by soine flash of native humour, and ject of persecution to many, especially the then melting them to tears by some pathetic Papists; and on several occasions he was narration, matchless for its artless simcruelly ill-used by them-being more than plicity and tenderness. And it is a sight once dragged along the ground by his legs, worth looking upon, to see a large chapel with his head striking against the stone filled with the hard-handed, and grimy pavement until it was severely cut. • But featured sons of toil, who have come direct none of these things moved him. All from their workshops to the chapel, thus acbleeding as he was, he stood up and preached knowledging the power of one of nature's Christ to the infuriated people; one of whom orators. Untaught, rugged, and sometimes rushed at him with a bludgeon, with which he uncouth, he at all times fearlessly declares struck him a violent blow on the head, which the truth ; warning all men, exhorting and felled him to the ground. He rose to his knees, reproving. Hypocrisy he boldly attacks, and and, bleeding as he was, commenced pray- unsparingly rebukes. An uncompromising

But no pen

teetotaler, and with his own fearful remem- there I went up stairs, took a razor, and brances of the deadly nature of the evil of pulled my handkerchief off to get to iny drunkennes, he denouncess the liquor traffic throat, but my mother's prayers would not in all its forms, and relentlessly lashes all let me. I then went into an harlot's dwellengaged in it. To drunken fathers and ing, and tried to murd-r her. I fastened a husbands he shows no inercy, but pours rope round her neck, and threw it over a upon them a torrent of' withering and bitter bam in the house and wound her up, and sarcasm, showing them their sinful folly and had she not been cut down she would have madness; but to all he offers a free salvation been hung. This was on the Friday evenwith an earnest faithfulness that carries con- ing, and I said that if God would only spare victions of his own sincerity, and which is me till Saturday morning, I would give again and again blessed by God to the con. God my heart. He did spare me, and I version of scores and hundreds."

found pardon; and I sent my mother a

letter, telling her what God h.d done The following fearful passage, from one for my soul. As she read the letter the of Weaver's Roci dale addresses, corroborates tears rolled down her cheeks, and she some of the foregoing statements :

thought of my hands having been in her

grey hairs to murder her; and she went “I was at a meeting some time ago, and I amongst her neighbours showing them the heard a young man tell his experience. He letter, and saying, “ This, my son, was dead sail, I was brought up by a praying and is alive again, was lost and is found." mother, but I took no notice of that praying When I went home, before going to bed at mother; when she has been reading the night, I took the Bible, and as I knelt me Bible I have seen my father stand over her don on the stone on which my mother had with a weapon in his hand, and threaten to knelt when I seimad her by the hair of the split her head in two. At i he age of about head, I could not pray. My father began fifieen I began to get into company with to cry out, “It is time for me to begin to other bid boys of my own age, and I nego pray now, when my children have begun to lected the advice of my praying mother. A serve God.” My father became converted. sixteen years of age I took to drinking and That young man was Richard Weaver, and dancing, and at seventeen I went home one he is in the pulpit of Union Street Chapel, night after I had been fighting, and my 11 Rochdale, to-night. I knocked at heil's mother saw me witli two black eyes. Hur gate, but the Lord would not let me fall in. poor heart seemed almost broken, and she May heaven help you to arise and come to began t, pray for the Lord to bless me; I our Father. If he can save a sin-blighted felt like a bloodhound of hell, and I said I Richard Weaver, he can

save the vilest would murder her if she did not give over sinner in Rochdale, and if there is pardon praying. After I had gone to bed she came for me he can save you. Was there ever a to my room and she knelt at the bed side, wretch like me? No, never!

As I stand and I jumped out of bed, and seizing her by here a sinner saved by grace, I shall never her grey hairs, I swore I would murder her forget the counsels of a praying mother in if she prayed any more for me. She ex. by gone days. I have often thought what claimed “ Lord, Though thou slay me, yet an awful thing it will be for you that bave will I trust in Thee. It is hard work, my praying mothers, if you do not come to child, raising up thy hand against thy mo- Christ you will have to be damned. May ther; but Lord, though thou slay me, yet heaven save you to-night. When I was will I trust in thee.'” My mother's prayers fighting, cursing, swearing, and drinking, followed me into the public-house, ard 1 I thought I had lots of friends, but they began to fight, but my mother still kept were my enemies; and now that I am serv; praying for God to bless me, and those ing God, I have a great many friends

, and prayers did me more harm than a man's they are a great deal better than those I fists. I was lying in bed one morning, and had before. I had not been to a place of worship for “ When I was first converted I had a eight years, when these words, which I had companion, and I asked him one day to go not heard for years, came into my mind, with me to the chapel, and begin “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” As God. He was a good dancer, and he te I was lying on my bed the Spirit was rap- plied, 'I am going to dance for £5 a-side ping at my heart, and the devil said, "If to-night, and if I win I sha'l have a good thou does get converted, thy companions spree. I said to him, “What shall it profit will say that thou art frightened of fighting a man if he gain the whole world and lose 'this and the other man.” The next day i his own soul, or what shall a man give in determined to get drunk, and I tried to exchange for his soul?' I left him, and walk four miles to a public-house; and as I three years after that I went to see him went upon the road I had to cry every now again, and found him on the bed of death. and then, “ Lord have mercy upon me." It was the same young man that was with I returned home drunk, and when I got' me in the harlot's dwelling, and that cut

to serve


« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »