« AnteriorContinuar »
ever be able to compose another sermon? Is it possible for me to go on in the ministry, where people are expect. ing things new as well as old, from time to time?" It al. ways happened to him better than his fears; for, by the next time of preaching, something occurred to his mind whereon to preach, which proved of benefit to some. But there was one week, in particular, through the whole of which he could not bring his mind to fix, for any time, upon any subject. He turned over his Bible and Concordance, from day to day, and supplicated the throne of grace. At times he seemed to have an insight into a passage of scripture; but could not long pursue any meditation before he found himself almost obliged to give it up, through embarrassment and perplexity. In this unhappy state he contin., ued till very late on the Saturday night, when he retired to his bed, almost in despair of being able to appear in the pul. pit on the following day; nor did he expect to sleep, the ans. iety he felt was so great; but, contrary to his expectations, he soon went to rest; and, before he waked, he dreamed that he went to a parish church, where, in former days, he had statedlyattended, and that with unspeakable pleasure, upon the ministry of the Rev.Mr. Venn. After the prayers were over, he beheld with tears of joy his dear minister ascend the pulpit, who, after a short but comprehensive and animated extemporary prayer, took for his text Matt. viii. 2. "Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.”
After a very striking introduction, in which he exhibited the sense of the
passage in the clearest point of view, he took occasion from thence, and that in a manner almost peculiar to him. self, to point out the uncleanness, pollution, and impurities of fallen man, together with the ability and willingness of the Lord Jesus Christ to make him clean; and also, the poor sinner's earnest solicitude for the benefit, when once he becomes sensible of his absolute need thereof. At the conclusion of the service, the minister awaked from his sleep, surprised to find himself in bed, but very much refreshed by his sleep, and still more by his dream.
He could not doubt of invisible agency over the human mind, both by night and day; when men wake, and when they sleep. He thought he retained in his mind all that in his sleep he had heard ; and found himself happy in being thus provided with what he so very much wanted ....a subject whereon to discourse that day to his people. It served him for the whole day, which was a comfortable one to himself; and a time of refreshing to many of his flock.
The reader will make his own reflections. S. B.
AN EVANGELICAL MINISTER'S SUPPORTS UNDER
“SHALL I entirely give up the employment,” said a servant of Christ, in his study one day, when ruminating on his want of apparent success, and retire to some private station! Has not my Master who once graciously smiled on my labors, done with me? In the mournful language of the prophet, may I not say, Lord, who has believed my report? But I check myself in these melancholy musings. To be rewarded even by the approbation of fellow creatures, for all my good intentions and friendly labors, is a vain, perhaps a carnal and selfish expectation. Happily will-it be if I hear my conscience now, and my great Mas. ter at last say, Well done!
“The more faithful I have been in my discourses to the consciences of my hearers, the less will those the most deeply interested approve them. Subjects of a general nature, especially if delivered with a popular pathos, may be admired and much talked of; but if my auditors, though not pleased, be profited; if the consciences of sinners have been convinced, and the people of God excited to greater watchfulness, zeal, and devotion; ought not this to support me in my work? Lord grant that this may be the happy case of my hearers.”
Just as he had finished this soliloquy, a note was put into his hands, to the following parpose; “I thank you, dear sir, for your sermon, yesterday from 1 John v. 25. It pen. etrated my very heart. I, I am the idolater whom you described;" with other things to the same import. This seasonable remark happily relieved his mind from a state of painful dejection; and, going among his people, he found, to his great encouragement, that his late preaching had been particularly useful to many.
It was his earnest desire the above should be made public, and the following remarks added, for the comfort of his brethren. Preaching, though not remarkably and visibly blessed, may be very useful; therefore, in the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand, for thou knopest not whether shall prosper this or that, or whether they shall both be alike good.
THE CONVERSION OF A SOCINIAN. A Mr. W...., hy reading the writings of Dr. F. Mr. L, and others of the same sentiments, imbibed the Socinian scheme; and, by degrees, forsook the house of God, and the faithful labors of Mr. D. the minister whom he for. merly attended. Mr. D. took frequent occasions to warn him against the dangerous consequences of rejecting Christ, and neglecting his ordinances, as well as of the pernicious effects which his example might produce among his children and family. After much affectionate exhortation, which seemed to make no impression on Mr.W., Mr. D. had the following remarkable dream: He thought himself deeply engaged in conversation with his friend, laboring hard to convince him of his fatal errors, when, at length, he fancied he heard a voice saying, “Thou hast gained thy brother.” This affected him so much, that he immediately awoke, and broke out into a flood of tears, rejoicing in the happy event.
Mr.D. took an early opportunity of waiting on Mr.W. and related to him his dream; when, taking him by the hand he added, "If it please God to realize my dream, I shall account it one of the happiest events of my To which Mr. W., struck with his disinterested friendship, replied, "If it would be so happy for you, sir, how much more so for me!" But no change as yet appeared to take place in his views.
Some months after this, Mr. W. was taken ill, and his disorder proved a consumption. Mr.D. visited him again, and renewed the theme with great earnestdes.
Mr. W. was now offended, and said, “Sir, I am now quite fixed in my sentiments; you only make me uneasy; I desire that I may never hear any thing more of this subject.” Mr. D. took leave of his friend with a heavy heart, saying within himself, “What is become of my pleaning dream!” but reflected, as he went home, that, however
fixed Mr. W. was in his dangerous sentiments God was able to unfix him again, and settle him at last on the Rock of ages. He therefore retired to his closet, and with much importunity besought the Lord on his account.
Early next morning a messenger was sent from Mr. W. entreating his immediate attendance. He gladly obeyed the summops. Mr. W. who was in bed, stretched out his arms to receive him, and cried out, “O, Mr. D. I am one of the most miserable beings in the world. I have lost my God!” “I hope not,” said Mr. D. "I hope it is in great mercy to your soul, and that God is about to bring you to the knowledge of Christ;" to which Mr. W. added, in a most earnest tone, “God Almighty grant that it may!” He now desired Mr.D. to talk to him, to tell him of Christ and his salvation, and to pray for him; which he readily did.
Mr. W. appeared to be quite melted and broken down; and begged that Mr. D. would renew his visit every day while he lived. He seemed to be truly serious, and, above all things, concerned for an interest in the blood and righteousness of Christ, which before he had discarded, About three days before his death he was filled with joy; and, in the hearing of a pious sister, broke out in a kind of ecstacy, repeating those excellent lines of Dr. Watts;
" Christ and his cross is all our theme;
The myst'ries that we speak
And folly to the Greek;
With joy receive the word;
Shine in their dying Lord,” &c.