Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

The expedient intended is what people commonly call, spiritualizing scripture; that is, ingrafting the great truths of religion upon a historical factor ancient ceremony, which has no real or discernible Conection with such sublime truths. If, for example, from these words, "I am Joseph," a preacher should take occasion, by instituting a parallel between Joseph and Jesus Christ, to declare the whole grspel, and, in particular, to describe the sinner, first convinced, then penitent, then divinely taught the glory of Christ and receiving him by faith; he would undoubtedly gain the admiration of the multitude; he might edify all, and might purchase for himself the honour of an inventive fancy. But the best rules for the right interpretation of scripture, would be violated, and too much done to foster a whimsical taste in the hearers. In this mode of preaching Doctor TAPPAN'S lively imagination enabled him to excel. But his mind was too enlightened, solid, and judicious, and his taste too correct to lead him often upon such fairy ground.

The remarks here made do not by any means constitute an adequate description of Doctor TAPPAN, as a preacher. They are designed only to preserve the remembrance of his characteristick views and talents, and to exhibit those excellencies of his preaching, which peculiarly deserve the serious and devout consideration of others. (To be continued.)

MEMOIRS OF THE VISCOUNTESS GLENORCHY.

From a Supplement to Dr. Gillies' Historical

Collections.]

left by William Maxwell, Esquire, of Preston, a gentleman of considerable fortune in Dumfrieshire. The eldest was married to the Earl of Sutherland; the youngest, of whom we treat, to John Lord Viscount Glenorchy, only son of the Earl of Breadalbane.

AMONG the friends and ornaments of religion, WILHELMINA MAXWELL, LADY GLENORCHY, holds a conspicuous place. She was the younger of two daughters

Lady Glenorchy was formed by Providence for a superior place in society. Her understanding was naturally strong and capacious, and her memory retentive. Her mind was polished by a liberal education, and richly furnished with ideas by extensive reading and observation. Her person was agreeable, her manner engaging, her fancy brilliant, and attended by a constant flow of spirits and good humour. Born to wealth, and allied to a rich and noble house, she was fitted to make a distinguished figure among the great, and to shine in courts. But as Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt: In like manner, she, in all the bloom of youth, with all worldly pleasures at her command, laid herself, her fortune, her honours and her talents, at the foot of the cross of Jesus.

About the 23d year of her age she was visited with sickness: in recovering from which, her thoughts were involuntarily turned to the first question and answer of that form of sound words which is given in the Assembly's Cate chism: "What is the chief end of man? It is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever." Musing on these words, they arrested her attention, and naturally led her to put to herself the important queries: Have I answered the design

of my being? Have I glorified God? Shall I enjoy him for ever? Reviewing her life of thoughtless gaiety, she found there was no connection between such conduct and glorifying and enjoying God; and that consequently, hitherto, she had not answered the chief end of her existence. Her conscience was awakened; and, for a considerable time, she laboured under that anxiety and fear, which usually attend such a state of mind.

publick worship. Well acquainted with men and things, her conversation was full of good sense and information: it was often much enlivened by goodhumoured pleasantry; but it always was pious and spiritual, always expressive of the high sense she had of the exellence and importance ofreligion, and of her anxiety for its promotion. With peculiar pleasure she always spoke of the person or place in which it appeared to flourish; and with evident pain, of those in which it was otherwise. The sincerity of her religious principles was established by her actions. She was not of those," who say, but do not." She built some places of publick worship at very considerable expense. In Edinburgh, she erected a large handsome chapel, which will hold two thousand people, and which has, for many years, been attended by a numerous congregation, and which has now two clergymen, ministers in communion with the church of Scotland, as its pastors. To this chapel is added a free school, which she endowed, to teach reading, writing, and arithmetick. The chapel and school together, has not cost less than five or six thousand pounds. She erected and endowed also a church at Strathfillan, in the parish of Killin, on the estate of Lord Breadalbane: and she had purchased ground, in conjunction with the late Lady Henrietta Hope, for building a place of worship at the Hot-wells, Bristol; and which by her directions, has been executed by herexecutrix since her death, by a very neat and commodious house being built there, called Hope Chapel. In order to introduce and support the gospel, she purchased a very neat chapel at Matlock, in Derbyshire; one meetinghouse at Carlisle, another at Workington, in Cumberland,

But, on reading the 5th chapter of the epistle to the Romans, she discovered the way. whereby the great God could be just, and yet the justifier of the believer in Jesus. She believed; her understanding was enlightened; her conscience relieved, and her mind restored to peace. The fruits of her faith soon gave the most unequivocal evidence of the truth of that happy change which had taken place in her mind. For some time she endeavoured to avoid the ridicule which attends true religion, by concealing it, and mingling in the society and amusements to which she had been accustomed; but she soon found it impossible to support the spirit and practice of religion, and at the same time be conformed to the manners of the world. She therefore openly a vowed her religion and renounced the sinful enjoyments of the world. From this time her whole life was one continued course of devotion: her closet was a little sanctuary for God, to which she habitually retired with avidity and pleasure. In her family there was always an altar for God, and from which, with the morning and the evening, regularly ascended social prayer and praise. She loved the house of God; and the most painful circumstance of her frequent ill health, in the last years of her life, was, her being detained by it from

and a third at Newton Burhill, in Devonshire; all these she left in the hands of trustees, or to her executrix, for their original purpose. She united with others also in purchasing meetinghouses in different parts of England. To some able and faithful ministers, whose congregations were in poor circumstances, she paid the whole of their salaries; to others, a stated annual sum in part; to many, occasional donations, as she saw them needful. She educated many young men of piety for the holy ministry. Sensible that ignorance and irreligion, idleness and vice, go together, she founded and endowed schools, and set on foot manufactories for the poor. In private, the widow and the fatherless, the stranger and the distressed, experienced her abundant beneficence. To enable her to prosecute these schemes of benevolence, she herself carefully looked into all her affairs, and studied the strictest economy; and though her dress, her table, her attendants, her equipage, always corresponded to her station, yet she denied herself the splendour which her fortune and rank could well have afforded and excused. She knew the world too well, not to expect its hatred and reproach for a zealous and consistent profession of the gospel; but her natural fortitude and greatness of soul, and the force of religion on her heart, rendered this of small consequence in her estimation more than most christians, she gloried in the cross of Christ. The falsehood and ill-nature, which some time were propagated against her, she made the subject of the most refined and innocent pleasantry. Full of plans for the glory of God, and good of men, and busy in the prosecution of them, this excellent lady arriv

ed in Edinburgh from Bath where she had spent the winter, in the beginning of the summer 1786. Her friends observed, with concern, her declining state of health. She spoke much to them of death, and of her persuasion that, with her, it was near; and uniformly expressed her satisfaction and joy at the prospect. Her conversation was nevertheless as easy, pleasant and cheerful, as ever. Religion, in her, was not the production of gloom, either during the progress, or in the near views of the termination of life. Almost her last words were," if this is dying, it is the easiest thing imaginable." Disease prevailed, and, not many hours afterward she expired, on Monday, the 17th July, 1786. Of her it may be said with truth, "Her path was as the shining light, which shines brighter and brighter to the perfect day."

Lady Glenorchy was interred, agreeably to her own request, in a vault in the centre of her chapel in Edinburgh. She left 50001. to the society in Scotland, for propagating christian knowledge; 50001. for the education of young men for the ministry in England, and other religious purposes; and the greater part of the rest of her fortune, which was considerable, for pious and charitable uses.

For the Panoplist.

SKETCHES FROM SCRIPTURE. "Seest thou this woman?" BLESSED are the tears of the contrite heart! They are not like those of the selfish and carnal, which only aggravate the disappointments by which they are occasioned. But they are tears unto life, which produce tranquillity, purify the soul, and prepare it to receive those consolations of the gospel, which are neither few nor small.

"She hath done what she could," tempt the silly throng, she chose said our blessed Saviour, with eyes to sin in a more sober, retired, beaming compassion and benevo- premeditated manner. Her comlence upon the woman. It was not panions were the free thinkers of much, but it was all she could do the day, who said, there is no God, and all that Jesus required. She and with them she jeered at the repented, and came to confess her solemn worship of the temple. sins, to mourn for them with hu- With them she vied in magnifimility, love, and faith. The queen cent entertainments and equipage, of Sheba could do no more. For in the haughtiness of her demeanthe gold of Ophir could not make our, and cruelty of her heart. Or an atonement. Jesus only could perhaps, she was a sinner of a less pay the price of her redemption. conspicuous and more common Much was forgiven, for she loved sort. Her understanding cultivatmuch.* ed, her temper mild, an amiable daughter, sister and wife, and lacked only the one thing needful. "God was not in all her thoughts.” Religion never appeared to her a matter in which she had any concern. She beheld the smoke of the morning and evening sacrifices, as it rose to heaven, and she heard the songs of praise, which issued from the temple, yet her heart never glowed with devotion. Not like the holy Anna, who consecrated her days to God, she regarded passovers and sabbaths only as unwelcome interruptions of her household affairs. The law and the prophets were neglected, and her affections entirely engrossed by the world. Alas! where is the distinction between indifference and contempt; neglect of divine worship, and infidelity and profaneness? Is it not a heinous sin to be any thing less than wholly devoted to God?

This woman, perhaps, had been one of the fashionables of Jerusalem, and, in the opinion of the world, sustained an unblemished character. But the rule, by which the world judges, is not the law of God, and therefore it is commonly erroneous. She had been probably, one of the thoughtless, loquacious, giddy tribe, whose only pursuit is amusement, and who seek it, free from the restraints of moral principles. Her companions may have been those, who like herself were never less happy than when at home, nor ever more so, than when at shews and spectacles, or wherever a multitude were assembled. In her mind, actions were classed, not into virtuous and vicious, but like her garments, into fashionable and unfashionable. When reflection exercised her mind, her thoughts were of "changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins, the glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the veils."t

Or perhaps, more sedate and lofty in her carriage, disdaining vulgar vices, and viewing with con

The parable of which this is the applieation, (says Dr. Guise) phúnly shews that her Loving much is mentioned, not as the cause or reasons but as the effect and evidence of her being forgiven, and of her apprehensions about it. And in this manner the particle for is often ased. See Hosea ix. 15." Editor.

↑ Isa. iii. 22, 23.

Whatever may have been the peculiar traits in the character of this woman, it is certain she was a sinner, and Christ came to call every sinner to repentance. Behold the wandering sheep returning to the fold, and observe how kindly the benevolent shepherd greets her return! There are no chidings; nothing cold and repulsive in his manner. The lost sheep is found and there is joy in heaven. She comes

with humility, penetrated with fhame and forrow for her paft life, confeffing her guilt, and ready to furrender herself to divine juftice. She comes with ardent love to God, adoring his character, and overwhelmed with gratitude for the mercy, which had fuffered her crimes fo long, and now fubmitting with all her heart and foul to his government. She comes with faith, believing that God is in Chrift reconciling the world to himfelf, and overpowered with the vaft idea of his condescension and love to a fallen world, which is now unfolded to her mind. She haltens to caft herfelf at the feet of Jefus, whom he had fo long regarded with diflike, and glorying in repentance, the makes it as publick as her crimes. She enters the houfe of Simon, preffes through the crowd, kneels at his feet, wafhes them with ftreams of tears, kiffes them, wipes them with her difhevelled trees, and pours on them the precious spikenard. "Ah Lord!" does the feem to fay, "My Lord, and my God! Against thee have I finned. Punish me and I will not murmur. Because thy mercy is infinite, therefore it reaches to fuch a vile worm as I am. I will follow thee whitherfoever thou goeft, and to bear thy reproach fhall be fweeter than even the applaufe of the world was to me. Thofe who love thee fhall be my friends and companions. The world fhall have no more a share in my heart; Lord I give it all to thee; condefcend to make it thine. O that my head were waters, and my eyes fountains of tears, that I might weep for my fins, as I have caufe to weep. O that I could forever fit at thy feet, that I might never more depart from thy prefence, for no where elfe fhall I find any

comfort." It is grace, that triumphs when the proud finner is fubdued, and brought a willing captive to the throne of mercy. Not like the conquerors of this world whofe trophies are the gory arms and garments of their flaughtered foes; the trophies of the Holy Spirit are the ferenity, the joy, and the holiness of the converted foul.

LA TRAPPE.

To the Editors of the Panoplist.

GENTLEMEN,

If the following Proofs f the Universal Del uge, taken from Bry nt and various other au publication, they are at your disposal PHILO.

thorities, are deemed of sufficient merit for

THE certainty of the univerfal deluge is of great moment to the chriftian faith. Though the facred history ftands ftrong on its own bafis, there are men, who converfe, and write more, than they read or think, exerting all their force to invalidate the teftimony of heaven. Their popular talents, their burning zeal in the caufe of infidelity, fometimes gives currency to their fuperficial philofophy, and men of corrupt minds are perfuaded to deny one of the plaineft narratives of revelation. This renders it a facred duty for thofe, who have leifure, to collect the proofs of the Flood, found in the volumes of the learn ed, and to exhibit them to the pub lick. We will attempt, therefore, to establish the fact from the relig ious rites and ceremonies, the hieroglyphicks and traditions of gentile nations; from various phenomena of the globe, and finally from the authority of fcrip. ture.

It may be reasonably fuppofed, that fo extraordinary an event as the univerfal deluge, would leave an awful impreffion on the minds

« AnteriorContinuar »