« AnteriorContinuar »
THE CHRISTIAN'S ARMORY.
FURTHER ACCOUNT OF THEOPHILUS.
(From the Christian Observer.) You have complied with my, entertained of him did not exwishes, by publishing the ac- ceed his merits, and Theophilus count of my visit to Theophilus. , was delighted to discover in him, In the persuasion that every a man of polished manners and important occurrence in the life elegant conversation, learned, ju. of such a character, cannot fail dicious, and intelligent, and he to afford instruction and enter-, courted an acquaintance with tainment to many of your read- him, which was soon improved ers, I now send you some fur- into an intimacy. ther anecdotes respecting him. At this period, the religious
Let me first, however, pre- attainments of Theophilus were mise, that the flattering hopes of a standard little superior to which we entertained of his what mine were when I lately recovery were not disappointed; entered his house. In the course in a few days after the dispatch of his education at school and of my former narrative, we had the university, he had gone the satisfaction to see him re- through the usual routine of restored to our prayers in perfect ligious instruction, but the seed health. The news of a national was sown among thorns, and victory would scarcely have the pleasures of this world, "the diffused more joy in the little deceitfulness of riches, and the circle of his friends and ad- lusts of other things entering in, mirers.
had choked the word, and it had When Theophilus succeeded become unfruitful.” He attended, to the estate which he now en. indeed, the service of the church joys, he found a living attached with considerable regularity, but to it, in the possession of a rather for the sake of shewing an clergyman, who was beloved by example of decent conformity his parishioners, and generally than from conviction, or an anx. esteemed for his piety and iety to improve. An affecting benevolence. The opinion occurrence which happened a. Vol. I. No. 8.
bout six months after he had ta- alone which enables me thus to ken possession of his estate, gave address you. Had I sought for a new and profitable turn to his consolation in that worldly wisthoughts and views,
dom, which men call philosophy, The wife of the rector, and I should not have found it; I mother of four children, died, should have sunk under the after an illness of only a few calamity which has befallen me ; days : Theophilus had too much but the gospel teaches me that feeling and humanity not to be the afflictions which Christians deeply affected at this event, and suffer here, while they are the he only waited, according to the deserved punishment of their established etiquette, until the sins, are also intended to purify funeral had taken place, to ofier their faith, and to prepare them his personal condolence to his for the enjoyment of that eternal friend. Judge of his surprise, “happiness which Christ has pur. when, on the Sabbath following chased for them by his death. the death of the lady, and the In all the dispensations of the day after her interment, he saw Almighty, justice and mercy, the rector enter the church,' where there is room for mercy, with a depressed but composed' are ever united ; nor are any of countenance, and with a firm the afflictions to which a believer but submissive voice heard him in Christ is exposed, without perform his ministerial func- abundant sources of consolation. tions. The discourse which he' Such an one knows that whom addressed to his congregation, God loveth he chasteneth ; and naturally had a reference to his while, therefore, he considers own situation ; it was pathetic, his sufferings as the effect of his solemn, and impressive : one sinfulness, and humbles himself passage in it, which was com- under them ; he regards them mitted to writing at the time, also as proofs of the love of his with tolerable accuracy, by a Creator, who is thus weaning sensible parishioner, has been him from earthly attachments. communicated to me, and was Feeling that “tribulation worknearly in the following terms. eth patience, and patience expe
" You see me, my brethren, rience, and experience hope," with the characters of grief upon he says in his heart, it is good my countenance ; they are deep- for me to be afflicted, and he relý engraven in my heart. To signs himself to the disposal of lose a wife, an amiable beloved his heavenly Father, in the hope wife, the tender mother and of eternal life through Christ, kind protector of four dear chil- a hope which elevates him bedren, is no trivial sorrow ; but I yond the limits of the world and should be ashamed to appear be- time. fore you, if, upon this trying “When the Christian also affliction, I were to belie the doc- calls to mind the sorrows and trines which I have taught. I agonies of his dying Redeemer, sorrow, but not as one without and whilst he contemplates, with hope ; I know in whom I trust; unutterable gratitude, the stuand I feel his divine support on pendous display of divine love, in the present occasion ; it is that the atoning sacrifice of the Son
of God, then is his burden light- principles, which had inspired ened, and his tongue instinctive it. ... ly exclaims in the language of in- . . Theophilus was too much afspiration " The Lord gave, the fected by what he had seen and Lord hath taken away, blessed be heard, to accost the rector after the name of the Lord.
the services of the church were “As for myself, why should I finished, but he visited him on grieve ? because the dear object the next day, and then, as well of my earthly affection has enter, as in all his subsequent intered into the joy of the Lord ? for views, found his conversation and such is the blessed confidence deportment in exact correspondwith which her faith in him has ence with the doctrines which he inspired me. No, my dear publicly taught. The weight friends, though I am deprived of of such an example was hardly a companion in whose society I to be resisted by any mind susenjoyed all the happiness, which ceptible of piety or sensibility, this world can afford, though my and Theophilus was led by it into children have lost a most affec, a train of reflection, upon the tionate endearing parent, yet my power of that religion which sorrow is well nigh absorbed in could support human nature uns the thought of the happiness der the deepest calamity; and he which she now enjoys. I derive justly concluded, that if it were support and consolation from the founded on substantial evidence, confidence I feel, that the Lord, the consolation which it inspired in whom she trusted, has taken was no less rational than solid, her to himself, and from the hope He saw clearly that the topics of that through faith in him I shall condolence and resignation, sug: again see her a purified saint, iņ gested by philosophy, were neiththe company of my ever blessed er sound in principle nor efficient Redeemer.”
in practice, and that the frame of This was a scene to which few mind which they were calculated persons present had ever witness to produce was a sullen, rather ed a parallel, and for which The than a rational acquiescence; opbilus was wholly unprepared ; whilst Christianity, on the con, his admiration was equal to his trary, inculcated submission with, surprise ; he knew the rector to out extinguishing feeling, and, possess more than a common by the views and hopes which it share of sensibility, and that the inspired, satisfied the reason warmest affection had ever sub; whilst it alleviated the distress of sisted between him and his wife. the afflicted. He determined, The style of the discourse, the therefore, to peruse the scrip. tone and manner in which it was tures with patient unprejudiced delivered, and the unimpeached attention. integrity of the preacher, did not Theophilus, with whom I have şuffer him to entertain a doubt frequently conversed on the in, respecting the sincerity of his teresting subject of the progress resignation, and he felt all the of his religious convictions, has force of the example, although confessed to me, that although be then was by no means qualifi. he immediately discovered, in ed to appreciate the value of the the code of revelation, a system
of morality, equally pure, ration, without a tear, has since his death al, and sublime, founded on the liberally maintained his children, justest conceptions of the Su. They are placed under the care preme Being and the nature of of a pious relation in another man, and adapted to all people of county ; and Theophilus, who every country and condition, it has undertaken to provide for was long before he rightly under their temporal welfare, has made stood, and cordially and practical. a particular bequest in his will ly embraced the fundamental and for this purpose, lest he should peculiar truths of Christianity ; not himself survive to fulfil his the ruin of the world by sin, its engagement. redemption by the atonement of Theophilus having deliberatea crucified Saviour, and the sanc: ly adopted the religion of Jesus, tifying influence of the Holy determined, in humble depend. Spirit. The truth was, as he ence on divine support, to act up now acknowledges, that he de, both to the letter and spirit of it. pended too much upon himself, His first endeavour was to correct and had overlooked the necessity himself, and to bring his mind of prayer for the Divine assist, under subjection to the gospel; ance to enlighten his understand and as he was sensible of the nats ing and purify his heart ; hence ural impetuosity of his temper, it was that he perused the scrip, as well as of other irreligious tures rather as a code of ethics propensities, he laboured incesa than a revelation, which taught santly to subdue them. The inhim the alienation of man from struction of his family became God, and the means of his recon, an object of his early and serious ciliation with his offended Maker attention ; he was aware both of and Judge.
the obligation of performing this But the pious rector, with duty, and of the inhumanity of whom he now constantly associ. neglecting it. By degrees he ated, pointed out his errors, and extended his care to his dependtaught him to renounce all de- ants and neighbours, and his lib. pendence upon himself for spiré erality, which was now under the itual improvement, and to trust direction of his piety, aided the in him alone who is the author influence of his exertions. His of every good and perfect gift, progress was opposed by many soliciting his aid by fervent and obstacles, but he was not deterred frequent prayer. Theophilus by them from perseverance. The most readily submitted to his in- obnoxious epithet of Methodist struction, and being by the divine was applied to him, and his gay grace gradually enabled to per- friends amused themselves with ceive the grand display of heav- impotent and profane jokes upon enly mercy in the redemption of his conversion. He had ignoman, embraced with ardour the rance perpetually, and malice gracious invitation of an Al- and ingratitude frequently, to mighty Saviour.
I contend with ; but these impedi: This worthy clergyman is now ments, instead of inducing him to no more; he died about ten relax his efforts, stimulated him years ago, and Theophilus, who to redouble them, and he had the can scarcely mention his name happiness, in many instances, to
find them crowned with success. might attend his refusal of a chalI shall not enlarge upon a subject lenge. which has been so amply detailed - About a fortnight after this in my former narrative, and occurrence, Theophilus was prewhich describes Theophilus as sent at a numerous meeting of he now is ; but I have learned the gentlemen of the county, a one anecdote, of his conduct, few of whom had adopted strong which so strongly marks his prin prejudices against him on no ciples and good sense, that I other grounds than because the cannot deny myself the pleasure invariable rectitude of his conof relating it. There never was a duct furnished a perpetual conperiod in which it was more trast to their irregularities. He necessary to enforce the exam- remarked, what he had been preple which it inculcates.
pared to expect, a cold formality A short time before the death and reserve in their reception of of his pious instructor, a recruit him, little short of incivility. ing party took up its quarters in After a moment's deliberation, a small town at no great distance he requested their attention, from the residence of Theophi- explained all the circumstances lus. The commanding officer, a of the transaction, which had led young man of family and fash- to a correspondence with the ion, had contrived a plan for se, officer, and addressed them in ducing the daughter of a farmer, terms to the following purport : a tenant of Theophilus, who was. “I have been given to underapprised of the scheme just in stand, what it would pain me time to prevent the ruin of the much to believe, that my refusal girl. On this occasion he wrote of a challenge has depreciated a letter of expostulation to the of- my character in the estimation of ficer, which the other resented as some to whom I have the honour an insult, and brutally challenged to speak. I know that, even by him. Theophilus declined the the laws of honour, I was not defiance without hesitation, and bound to meet my challenger; addressed a second letter of re- but I dare not take refuge from monstrance and admonition to reproach in such a plea. No, the officer, which produced an in- gentlemen, I am called upon sulting and abusive reply. The publicly to avow, that in declinreport of this transaction was ing the challenge sent to me, I circulated much to the preju- acted from a superior motive, dice of my friend, and, as usu. from obedience to the law of ally happens in such cases, with God, which admits of no commany circumstances which were promise with the rules of hon. wholly unfounded, and which our. The Master whom I proremained for a time uncontra- fess to serve, not only requires dicted; for Theophilus, satisfied my obedience, but the arowal of with having performed his duty, my allegiance, and disclaims the was silent on what had passed, hypocritical service of a disciple from a principle of Christian who is ashamed of the name of forbearance to the officer who his Lord. I shall not expatiate had insulted him, although he on the absurdity, barbarity, and was, at the same time, fully illegality of duelling: to a be. aware of the consequences that liever in the doctrines of Chris.