« AnteriorContinuar »
thee to thy face, thy labours, for a week, are not worthy their attention for an hour. How often has it been, when he has had his heart affected with his subject, and hoped it would affect yours, your indecent and shameful nod ding before his eyes hath so grieved and discouraged him, that he has scarcely possessed fortitude sufficient to close a sentence; and a season, which promised delight and comfort, becomes, through your indolence and slothfulness, distressing to the preacher, and unprofitable to attentive hearers. Hath not your minister discouragements enough from the world, without your increasing them by such behaviour as is offensive to God, and injurious to your own souls? Will you apologize by urging a strong propensity to sleep? Why are you not lethargic in your business? Who sees you asleep in your shops, or in agreeable company? When do you close your eyes over an interesting communication in a newspaper, or shut your ears to a tale of scandal? Abuse conscience no longer. You either make the Lord's day a day of intemperate indulgence, and so criminally endure that drowsiness, which renders you a nuisance to the congregation; or your reverence for God and your attachment to the gospel are little more than mere pretence. If your secular concerns would keep you awake at those times, in which you sleep in the house of God, it must be, because you have not so much relish for religion as for the world.
Seriously attend to the following inquiries. Do you believe that public worship is an ordi
nance of God? Do you believe Christ is present where two or three are met in his name? Do you believe there will be a day of reckoning, when he who now inspects his churches will call you to account? And will not the despisers of Christ and his worship be ashamed before him, at his coming? May the Spirit of God impress these queries on your hearts with such weight, as may excite you to amendment, and lead you to worship God in future in a more suitable and spiritual manner.
THE PIOUS NEGRO WOMAN.
Extract from Oldendorp's History of the Mission of the Brethren in the Caribee Islands, St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. Jan. Vol. II. Book 2, Sect. 2, p. 515.
IN 1736, the late Rev. A. G. Spangenberg, being then engag ed on a visitation of the mission among the negroes in St. Thomas, went with Mr. F. Martin, a missionary of the brethren, to visit sundry negroes that had formerly been awakened, and were now gone astray. Yet, among other occurrences, they were greatly rejoiced and pleas ed with the conversation of an old negro woman, from Guinea, of the Papan nation, called Ma rotte; who, on account of her age, had been enfranchised by her proprietor. Spangenberg's description of this woman an swers very nearly to that which is given of Cornelius in Acts x. She feared God, and was of good report among all the people that
knew her. Every morning be fore ever she takes any food, she falls upon her knees, worshipping God, and bowing her face to the earth. The same she does before ever she retires to rest, having an uncommonly great reverence toward God. She said, That she learned this custom in her infancy from her parents, and that other people in her country served the Lord also in the same manner; but that the inhabitants of the coast of Guinea were totally ignorant of such worship. She did not comprehend why the white people did show so little reverence for God, and only, as it were, make some complimentary addresses to him. Declaring at the same time that, if any one would show her a better way of worship, she would desist from her practice; but that, in the meanwhile, she should abide by the manner she had adopted, lest God should be angry with her.
She had been ill for some weeks, and was yet very weak from the ague. Being asked, Whether she made any use of medicine, or whether she was in want of any thing? "Oh no," said she, "the Lord hath cast me down; he also will raise me up again;" adding withal, that if she looked unto God, he would, in the proper time, restore her to health.
Yet had this woman never heard any thing of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We asked her, Whether she was willing to hear any thing of Christ, who was the Son of God, and who came into the world for our advantage? "O yes, with all my heart,"
said she; "but then I have been told that I must first learn Dutch, and then learn to read, after which I might learn to pray likewise; but now I am too old for all this." We signified to her, that all this was not indispensably needful, for that God understood all languages, that he was able to discern the desire of her heart, and would undoubtedly hear and grant all that she prayed for; advising her, therefore, only to continue constant in prayer, and to beseech him that he would give her yet more light and knowledge.
After this she related, at our desire, what steps she took with regard to the sacrifices she offered. Thus, whenever she gathers fresh fruit, be it what it may, she never tastes of it till she has taken some part thereof and burnt it; then she falls down upon her knees, thanking God, with all her heart, for granting her health to plant those fruits, and sparing her life, and giving her strength to gather, and now to enjoy them; after which she makes use of them for food.
This same negro woman hearing that her master, whose slave she formerly was, had lost his child, went to him and said, among other things, That he ought to beware of being over much sorrowful, and repining on that account; for it was God that had ordered it thus, without whose will nothing could happen; and she feared, if he gave way to discontentment, God might be displeased with him.
She expressed great joy and gratitude for the gracious dispensations of God in sending people across the great waters,
to bring to the poor negroes words of life; and exhorted her countrymen, like a mother, to attend to what they were told on this subject.
It appeared plainly that she had some indistinct and confused notions of the Trinity; from which we evidently concluded, that some Christian missionaries must formerly have been in her native country. She said, "There is only one God, the Father, whose name is Pao; his Son, Masu, is the door, or the way, by which alone it is possible to come unto the Father; and then there is yet the Spirit, whose name is called Ce." Thus she had been informed by her own father in Guinea; but that the Son of God became man, and, by his death, had redeemed and reconciled sinners, were totally unknown to her.
Hence she was used annually to take a lamb, or a kid, to make an offering of it, in order to placate the Deity, and with a view to atone for her faults and mistakes. At first, she could not comprehend our objection, when we represented to her, that God required not now such offerings and sacrifices, which were unnecessary and unavailing, since the Son of God had offered himself once for all a sacrifice for us; but being further directed by the brethren to pray to God for grace to believe this, she took their advice, and, in consequence, came one day, smiting upon her breast with great joy, and declaring, whilst she laid her hand on her heart, "Here I am now satisfied and certain, that it is exactly as you have told me." From that time
she omitted her sacrifices; yet, on high festival days, she still killed a lamb, inviting some of the negroes to be her guests, and exhorting them to promise her that they would be diligent in prayer, and to let it ascend unto God as a sweet smelling sacrifice. [Ev. Mag.
A Catalogue of seasonable good Works, presented to them that are sanctified to God, and dare trust him with their riches, expecting the everlasting riches which he hath promised; and are zealous of good works, and take it for a precious mercy, that they may be exercised therein. By RICHARD BAXTER,
1. INQUIRE what persons, burdened with children, or sickness, or any such, labour under necessities, and relieve them as you are able; and still make advantage of it for the benefit of their souls, instructing, admonishing, and exhorting them as they have need.
2. Buy some plain and rousing books that tend to conversion, and are fittest for their condition; and give them to the families that most need them. Many have this way received much good.
3. Take the children of the poor, and apprentice them to honest trades; and be sure to choose them godly masters, who will take care of their souls as well as their bodies.
4. In very large congregations, which have but one minister, and not able to maintain another, it is a very good work
to afford some maintenance for an assistant.
5. To settle schools in the more ignorant parts of the country, where they are not accustomed to teach their children to read, is a very good work.
6. It is one of the best works I know within the reach of a man's purse, to aid young men to prosecute their studies for the Christian ministry. Any rich man, that is willing to do good, may entrust some able godly ministers with the fittest youths, and allow them necessary maintenance. How many souls may be saved by the ministry of one of these; and how can money be better used?
7. Were I to speak to princes, or men so rich and potent as to be able to do so good a work, I would provoke them to do as much as the Jesuits have done, in seeking the conversion of some of the vast Pagan nations, viz. to erect a college for those whom the Spirit of God shall animate for so great a work; and to procure one or two of the natives, out of the countries whose conversion you design, to teach the students in this college their language; and when they have learned the tongues, to devote themselves to the work, whenever, by the countenance of ambassadors, attendants, or any other means, they may procure access and liberty of speech. Doubtless, God would stir up some among us to venture on such a work. If we are not better principled, disposed, and resolved to do or suffer in so good a cause than the Jesuits are, we are much to blame; and though the MahomVol. III. No. 7
etans are more cruel than the Heathen against any that openly speak against their superstition and deceit, yet God would persuade some, it is like, to think it worth the loss of their lives to make some prudent atttempt, in some of those vast Tartarean countries, where Christianity hath had least access. As difficult works as these are, the Christian princes and people are exceedingly to blame that they have done no more in attempting them, and have not turned their private quarrels into a common agreement, for the good of the poor Heathen."
The Experience of an eminent Scotch Minister of the last Century, as to the Differences between mere Morality and Saving Grace.
1. WHEN I was a mere mor. al man, I sought something from Christ and rested on this, and had no fellowship with Christ himself. But since the Lord visited me with the love of his chosen, I seek the Lord himself, I am never satisfied without him, and find fellowship with himself,
2. When I was a moral man, I drew my comfort from my duties; but now I draw my duties from my comfort. My work was first; and because I did such a thing, or expected to get such a reward for working, I therefore went about duties; but now I first close with the promise, and because alive, I yield my members as weapons of righteousness. While a moral man,
I did, and then believed, but now I first believe, and then do. My obedience is ingrafted upon the promises freely given, "Work out your own salvation, for it is God who worketh in you to will and to do," Phil. ii. 13; but before, I could never see a promise until I saw my work, the promises were ingrafted upon my works and duties, my duties did bear my privileges; now my privileges bear my duties.
3. Whatever I did was for myself; when indeed converted, I acted merely for the Lord, and to please him; when moral, I then hated sin as prejudicial to me; but now, as separating from and grievous to Christ.
4. What I did was from myself and in my own strength, not seeing a need of a divine power to lean upon; but when under special grace, I live a life of faith, I see my strength in another, and wait upon him. I can do all through Christ that strengtheneth me.
5. I had never full satisfaction to my conscience for the guilt of sin, satisfaction with a spiritual good, and therefore were there fears and outcryings, "Who will shew us any good?" but the blood of Christ gives full satisfaction and rest to both heart and conscience, so as a man that hath Christ may say, I seek no more. [Miss. Mag.
An Account of the origin and progress of the mission to the Cherokee Indians, in a series of Letters from the Rev. Gideon Blackburn, to the Rev. Dr. Morse.
Maryville, Nov. 10, 1807.
In the course of my observations on missionary attempts among the Cherokee Indians I have concluded, that after the habits are formed, the only way to reduce them is by the influ ence of the children. To this point I have, therefore, bent my whole force. The mode of dieting, clothing, and instructing them, and even of their recreations was important. During the two first years I laid in all the provisions necessary for table use; hired a cook, who, under the particular direction of the schoolmaster's wife prepared the victuals in American style. I provided a large table and furnished the requisite utensils,
around which all the scholars could decently take their seats; and after the master had looked up for a bles sing, during which time they all devoutly attended, they were taught the etiquette of the table. It was indeed peculiarly pleasing to see how emulously they strove to excel, and how orderly they would wait for a dismission by the returning of thanks: A conduct which might put to the blush many of our coxcomb would be infidels, who in this respect study to express their contempt of God, to display their ingratitude, and give a specimen of their politeness and su perior civilization, by abruptly leav ing the table before thanks are returned, and even in the presence of clergymen.