« AnteriorContinuar »
at length be closed. The unwashed room, so completely was every spot crowd dispersed, and most of the shop filled with well dressed people of alkeepers shut up their shops and retired; most every class save that of the one neither the one or the other to their we had just left behind us. The painful church or their chapel, but the former conviction flashed upon our minds, to idle away the morning, if not the that this was no church for the poor. entire hours of the day, and the latter True, it was the parish church, but to count their sabbath gains and then the poor of the parish were not there; to refresh their jaded limbs and spi- they either could not or would not rits according to their various habits. come in. We must, however, do the
On our road to this place, and in Incumbent of this and other parishes its immediate vicinity, we were much the justice to say, that they are uninterested by witnessing a small knot wearied in their efforts to provide of people, gathered in a large and va church accommodation. Church after cant place, listening to one who, with church is rising, and where active a small Testament in his hand, was and faithful men are placed in them, “holding forth the Word of life.” He their erection tells upon the surroundwas a labourer, like the hearers; one ing population; but the class of which whom we knew to be engaged from we have been speaking, for the most Monday morning to Saturday night, part, remains without their walls. earning bread for himself and his They have to be sought out, visited, family. We could not but feel deeply and preached to either in the open air moved, that one such person should or in large rooms, or they will never have been led, without any reward tenant the pews and free-seats of our save that of the hope of souls to be churches. We are deeply convinced saved, to stand up and preach in his of this, and therefore we are most humble way the Gospel of man's sal- anxious to speak faithfully and fully vation. We could only hope that on this subject. some amongst the throng of sabbath Much may be done with the mabreakers we afterward saw, might, as chinery and the men we have. In they returned from purchasing earthly the parish church already referred to, food at the sabbath market, pass that and as we know in the surrounding way, and be led to buy, without money churches, where three or four Curates and without price, the bread of hea are employed, it is the custom for ven and the water of life. But we
three clergymen to officiate in the passed on to church, and there again morning service. We cannot but feel our thoughts were forced to recur to that there is in this much waste of the scene we had left, and the perish- clerical strength. One has to read ing souls we had seen, and the hum- the desk portion of the morning serble minister of Jesus we had for a few vice; the other, a portion of the commoments listened to.
munion service, and preach; while the It was a very large and very beau- third has simply to read the short epistle tiful parish church into which we then for the day. Surely one of this staff en ed; the ordinary minister, the might be more beneficially occupied Rector, was to preach, and every in summer in the open air, and at other pew and every aisle was densely times in large rooms, in preaching to crowded. There was hardly standing the masses of the people, who cannot
or will not come to church. We know ary, but also in the persons of those that in many of these churches there pious and otherwise well qualified lay are three services on the Sunday, be members of the Church, who may be sides daily prayers and a lecture in willing to go in and out amongst their the week; but surely the benefits poor perishing brethren, and preach arising from the invariably thinly at- Christ to them. tended daily prayers, are not to be We are glad to find the Liverpool compared to a regularly organized clergy stirring in this good work; and zealous attack upon the irreligion they have met with some opposition, of the masses. The Church must de- but at this they will doubtless neither scend to meet the necessities of its be surprised or discouraged. The entire body. If our present class of enemy of souls will be grievously ministers, and our present services, vexed at any fresh plan to rescue his are unsuited to the wants, the minds, long held prey from his mighty grasp, and the habits of the labouring, as but there is a Mightier than he, who well as the idle and dissolute poor, will rejoice to own and bless every the Church must contrive some ma- fresh effort in the holy cause of saving chinery and appliances, whereby the souls; while opposition and persecuendeavour may at least be made to tion should but add to the zeal and compel those to come in, who are now prudence of the movement, and the almost hopelessly without its pale. hearts of God's people everywhere
Our recent numbers have contained should be lifted up in prayer for its letters from a valuable clergyman at large success, and further spread. Cambridge,* on the subject of open-air In the great metropolis, in our preaching, and we know that his ex- densely populated parishes, there are perience of its results is not without thousands upon thousands thus crying large encouragement for himself, as out for the aggressive operations of well as example for others. We feel true-hearted christian Churchmen. that the Church must act at once in Nothing that is done in church buildthis matter, and on a large scale. Her ing, or the accession of ministerial ordained ministers must go forth strength, seems to touch the evil. amongst the dense masses of their These thousands still remain strangers flocks, and catch them how and when to the house of God, and the pastor, they can, and speak to them of their however laborious he may be in his temporal and eternal interests in lan- work, cannot penetrate the frightful guage that will reach their understandings and their hearts.
When and where, from weather or churches so completely occupy the peculiar localities, open-air preaching time of the clergy, that they cannot is impracticable, we must have rearrange for a thorough visitation and course, without the restraint of Church ministration amongst a class it has order, to numbers of rooms opened been almost impossible to reach, they on the sabbath-day, for short and immust, as we hinted in a foregoing pressive services, conducted by those number, gladly avail themselves of who have the ability and the will so lay help, not only in the shape of to minister. We have lately heard Scripture Reader and City Mission- that an Incumbent of one of these
dense and ecclesiastically inaccessible
• Rev. H. Titcomb.
parishes, feels strongly the inade out suggesting some few practical quacy of the present system, either of measures that might be acted upon. men or means, to reach its fearful 1. Let the well-affected lay memwants. We repeat, that we are not bers of such parishes as we have deinsensible to the work doing by all scribed, accompany and effectively the societies now in the field; but the support their ministers in a thorough Church itself, and the week-day, and visitation of these sabbath-breaking especially the sabbath efforts of its neighbourhoods. Let them especially lay members, must afford some new direct their attention to the shopand more effective agency.
keepers, and urge upon them the In the district referred to in the duty and privilege of a perfect oboutset, the State might do much to servance of the sabbath. prevent the scene we glanced at, by 2. Let there be established in the absolutely forbidding the sabbath very heart of these dark spots as morning opening of the shops. Why many preaching places as possible ; should our policemen have to per- and whenever practicable, let the form the duty of sweeping away at clergy, or other qualified individuals, eleven o'clock, the market which is strive to preach in the open air ; altogether a violation of God's com- and in the case of any necessity, mandment, if not an infraction of the they should be protected by the polaw of the land. Why could it not lice, who would thus be far better be thoroughly proclaimed in such dis- occupied than in driving away the tricts, that no more of this unseemly buyers and sellers from the sabbath sabbath desecration would be permit- market. ted; that Sunday provisions must be 3. In case the field to be occupied purchased on the previous night, for should prove too large for either the that a government which declared clergy or the paid missionary agents, itself in union with a national Chris- let the former carefully select from tian Church, was determined to aid in the leading and properly qualified carrying out its teaching, and in at members of their congregation, those least enabling all classes to partici- who could in their stead speak to the pate in the rest of the sabbath day? pecple as brethren earnestly desiring This latter thought, however, opens the temporal welfare and eternal saltoo wide a field for our present space;
vation of their fellow-creatures. yet we cannot refrain from stating How much might be effected in a our deep conviction, that the govern- single summer, in many a large pament does not act in consistency with rish by such enlarged plans; how the principles of its alliance with the many souls might it not please the Church, in suffering, as it does, shops Holy Spirit to quicken into spiritual of all sorts, taverns, tea-gardens, and life by the simple yet faithful preachother places, to interfere with the ing of those who have hitherto been sanctity of the sabbath day.
content with feeding themselves on Yet must the Church, and Chris- the bread of life. Surely the need is tians individually, do their parts, whe- great, shall we not try every scripther the government fully and con- turally lawful expedient within our sistently support them or not; and reach? we will not conclude this paper with
VAIN THOUGHTS. We often find the professing Christian What they are in their general tenor complaining of the thoughts of his we shall gather at once from the heart, and of the naturalness and fa words of David :-“I hate vain cility with which he calls up evil thoughts : but thy law do I love." imaginations before his mind; or, as Now the whole course of the Psalm he would say, with which evil imagi- in which these words occur, plainly nations present themselves uncalled. indicates an ardent desire on the part Experience, however, . proves that of David to be entirely conformed to there is more of profession than of the will of God. “Hold thou me up, sincerity in many of these complaints; and I shall be safe: and I will have and that it is one thing to detect these respect unto thy statutes continually. thoughts, and to know them to be ... With my whole heart have I wicked and vain, and another thing sought thee: O let me not wander cordially to hate them. There is a from thy commandments. Thy word sort of half sincerity in these matters, have I hid in my heart, that I might which does almost as much harm as not sin against thee. ... Quicken me greedy unhesitating wickedness. A after thy lovingkindness ; so shall I man will suffer evil thoughts to pos- keep the testimony of thy mouth. . . sess his mind-he will quietly enter- Give me understanding, and I shall tain them and contemplate them; and keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it when he finds that they have led him with my whole heart.” And then, in astray to the indulgence of criminal immediate connection with our subwishes and unholy tempers, and to ject, —“I have inclined mine heart the disturbance of that“ peace which to perform thy statutes alway, even passeth all understanding," then, and unto the end. I hate vain thoughts : not till then, he says, “I hate vain but thy law do I love." Here are a thoughts." This will not do. A man variety of very strong expressions, all with a high religious profession may indicating the wish, the purpose, the go on in this way, thinking and com earnest endeavour and prayer, to do plaining, till he wakes for the first the will of God. And then, in the time to a full view of the evil, in hell. midst of these, comes a complaint But granting that some are sincere, against an evil which he puts in dior wish to be so, in the hatred of vain rect opposition to the law of God that thoughts, we would suggest for their he desires to fulfil :-"I hate vain benefit a very important line of in- thoughts : but thy law do I love." quiry, which, by a Divine blessing, From which it is evident that he abmay assist them in the great objects hors vain thoughts, because they are of the christian pilgrimage.
an impediment to the attainment of We will consider
his great object,-a keeping the com1. What are vain thoughts ? mandments of God affectionately, per2. What is the remedy for them? fectly, alway and unto the end.
3. When we may hope that the re The nature of vain thoughts, genemedy is effectually applied to. rally, is therefore now made plain.
First. What are vain thoughts ? All those thoughts which militate in
the remotest degree against the ad- ism. They could not exist, where the vancement of the soul in the know- mind had a proper sense of God's exledge and love of God, and in con- istence, character, and power; and a formity to His will; thoughts of evil, proper influence, arising from it, upon whether in the way of contemplation, the heart and the conduct. Where recollection, or anticipation; all those these thoughts dwell, and have the idle speculations of the soul in its un- mastery, the fear of God is not effecguarded moments, which lead to no tually reigning in the heart, nor the good, and almost always terminate in goodness of God always before the the presentation to the mind of some eyes. In fact, the existence of such forbidden thing; in fact, every occu- habits at all, in a moral being, indipation of the mind which is not con- cates a dreadful alienation from God; sistent with duty, and with that which which, even though it may now be is the great business of life, -the aim- under a course of remedy, is not altoing to recover our ground, and to get gether subdued. But the dominion of the soul restored to the likeness of such thoughts is essential impiety, and God.
enmity to God. But to be more particular. By vain 2. All unrighteous thoughts. The thoughts we would understand all law of God in this particular is sumungodly thoughts, all unrighteous med up in one sentence :- · Thou thoughts, all worldly thoughts, and shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” all idle thoughts. This classification And “love is the fulfilling of the law, is very extensive, more so than would because love worketh no ill to his at first be supposed. Let us examine neighbour.” Now any unjust, ungeit. And
nerous, illiberal, envious, or angry 1. By ungodly thoughts we mean thought, is a violation of the law of every speculation or habit of the mind love, and is opposed to the universally which is contrary to the supreme ho- keeping of the commands of God. If nour and authority of God, or incon
the thought, therefore, only extend to sistent with that perfect love which is uncharitable surmising, or harsh or due to Him from His creatures. Pre- hasty judging of motives, or even to sumptuous and unreserved inquiries bitter censure of that in a brother, and speculations into His nature and which in itself is positively wrong, it His
purposes; hard thoughts of His is included in the list of vain thoughts. providence or His mercy; low views 3. Worldly thoughts. And here we of His justice ; rebellious kicking enter upon a most extensive range of against His law; restlessness under evil; for by this term we would dethe yoke of His authority ; a scanty signate all those thoughts which saand uninfluential sense of His great vour of the debasing influence of this majesty; and all those habits of mind present world. St. John gives us a which indicate indifference to Him, good criterion of this class of thoughts, and the want of a filial fear,—the want when he says, “ Love not the world, of that love with the whole heart and neither the things that are in the strength, which He requires as the world. . . For all that is in the world, due and consistent feeling of the crea- the lust of the flesh, and the lust of tures of His hand. All these are un- the eyes, and the pride of life, is not godly thoughts. They savour of athe- of the Father, but is of the world.”