Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Guise had furnished the best commentary on the difficult passages in the New Testament. His expression was, "He never went round the swamps." Scott's commentary he thought to be excellent as a family work, though rather too prolix, and not as good for ministers, who wish for light on difficult passages, as Guise, Henry, or Doddridge. He thought Orton was underrated. He used in his last years to read his work in the family, saying that he found more instruction than he expected. He often alluded to the circumstance of Orton's concluding, in most instances, his recollections with some appropriate Scriptural passage. He knew that the acceptance and success of a minister depended not more on his talent in the pulpit than on his conduct out of it. As a faithful instructer, he often gave hints for the formation of ministerial character. In reference to bearing injuries with patience, he often repeated an old minister's saying,—" If you can't bear to hear a man say to you, ' You lie,'' when you know that he knows that he lies, you are not fit to be a minister." As a summary of every thing that could be said in this connexion, he commended to his pupils the very expressive direction of the Saviour,—" Be ye wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." He would pleasantly say, "An ounce of serpent to a pound of dove is generally enough!"

XII. EMINENT AND CONSISTENT PIETY.

His religious experiences were grounded upon a change of heart, through the power of the Holy Ghost. He ever referred to the new and wonderful change which he felt under the "apple-tree" as the commencement of his religious feelings. Previously to that inemB b

orable event, he was the subject of many serious impressions; but it was not till then, as he believed, that his heart was sweetly constrained to accept the salvation of the gospel. His religion was based upon a firm belief of the soul-subduing doctrines of the cross. He seemed continually, and especially in scenes of deep affliction, to look up to heaven with serene joy, that Jehovah was on the throne. A remarkable spirituality was apparent in his conversation, which plainly evinced that he was familiar with Heaven. He loved the duties of the closet, where no eye but that of Omniscience witnessed his secret wrestlings with the angel of the covenant He was distinguished for great tenderness, and was often deeply affected with a sense of his own sinfulness. In prayer he seemed to covet the lowest place, more than the throne of an archangel.

"I beheld the transgressors and was grieved." This was characteristic of Mr. Haynes. In the pulpit, he often wept in view of the exposure of others to the wrath of God. If he possessed any one of the Christian graces in a higher degree than the rest, it was doubtless humility. He was everywhere surrounded with incitements to pride; whenever he preached abroad he was sure to draw a large audience, who hung upon his lips with most flattering attention. If he travelled, all classes were solicitous to give him entertainment. Amid the admiration of crowded assemblies or the pressing invitations of his friends, he never discovered any other feelings than those of marked humility. He often spoke of Cowper, who stayed from public worship, fearing that by his presence he should defile the house of God. In speaking of himself or of his performances, he manifested great delicacy. He used to say, " It is a great deal for ministers to keep ego out of the pulpit.'' When led to speak or to offer prayer in reference to himself, it was in terms of affecting self-abasement. He loathed all self-exaltation. If his family, after he had retired, spoke in commendation of his public performances, he would stop his ears that he might not hear it. He was deaf to the voice of praise.

Finally, we may consider his ministerial gifts. Mr. Haynes possessed a clear head and a pure heart. In him was a rare union of qualifications for the gospel ministry. His unoffending deportment and great spirituality; his tenderness and humility; his quickness of perception and strength of memory; his systematic views of theology and comprehensive knowledge of all subjects connected with his work as a minister of Christ, fitted him to stand forth as "a burning and shining light."

It is much to be regretted that he left no diary or other writings on his own private religious experience. "The living epistle," which his long life has left as a legacy to all who knew him, may be " known and read of all men." His piety was uniform, deep, and consistent, and always active. He was much in his closet;— watched, and prayed, and fasted much; and, as one of God's ministering angels in flesh and blood, he seemed to maintain habitual communion with the Father of spirits. He forgot himself while the glory of the Lord and the interest of Zion lay near his heart. He was like one standing on the verge of two worlds, viewing alternately the one and the other, and taking his measures in due regard to both.

His manner in the pulpit was peculiarly his own. I would describe him, "simple, grave, sincere." From the very commencement of public service he held his audience as by a kind of religious fascination. He made no gestures except to wave horizontally the hand in which he held his reference Bible. He never looked a hearer in the eye, but seemed as much absorbed in his subject as if no assembly was before him. His enunciation, though remarkably clear, was extremely rapid; a delightful flow of words and thoughts, as if they were crowding each other for utterance. Remarkable as he was for wit and keen retort, he was never known in the pulpit

"To court a grin when he should win a soul."

His discourses were delivered either extempore or memoriter, almost entirely. Occasionally you might have seen him open his Bible and refer to the brief heads of his sermon. You would be carried along through the several divisions of the discourse as by the charm of a musical instrument. Throughout his sermons, he kept his subject so thoroughly in view, and so incessantly brought forward convincing arguments and happy illustrations to confirm and explain it, that he rarely failed to produce a deep and permanent impression. His sermons you could never forget. You would have been occasionally thrilled with fine strokes of eloquence. At the close of the service you would be ready to say, as an interesting and intelligent lady once said, after listening with rapture to his sermon from Psalm xvi., 11, on heavenly joy—"It seems as if the angels had come down!" In short, "he was the orator of nature, and such a one as nature would not blush to own."

He was always happy in the choice of his text.

Being a most thorough textuarist, the whole Bible was

at his command on all occasions. On the demise of Napoleon Bonaparte at St. Helena, a respectable pa^ rishioner proposed to him that the event should be commemorated by a funeral discourse. "Is it best?" said he; "I can deliver a discourse if it is best. I have thought of a text. 'The Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.'" His text rarely comprised more than one verse, and in many instances only a single clause. It was always the very one which the occasion required, and was presented to view so prominently, and connected so closely with the whole discourse, that his texts and sermons have been remembered for half a century.

He discovered great originality in the plan of his sermons.

It was generally his method to reduce his text to a categorical proposition, which he illustrated by three or four distinct divisions, as the subject required. Much ingenuity appeared in the arrangement of his subdivisions; and the meaning of his whole text was given with perspicuity and force. Although he followed the method of the old divines in the multiplicity of his divisions, yet he never said Sthly or 9thly without a thought which richly rewarded the attention of the hearer.

The following skeleton of one of his sermons may be regarded as a fair specimen of his manner. . .

"Zech. xi., 13: 'A goodly price that I was prized at of them.'

"There are people to be found who sell the Lord Jesus, and are wicked enough to think they make a

'

good bargain. "I. Who

are those that sell the Lord Jesus Christ.

« AnteriorContinuar »