« AnteriorContinuar »
TO THE MEMORY
THE REV. NATHANAEL FORSYTH,
SMALHOLM BANK, LOCHMABEN, IN SCOTLAND,
Missionary ; WHO ARRIVED AT CALCUTTA, DECEMBER, 1798, AND AFTER A LABORIOUS, HOLY, AND EXEMPLARY LIFE, DIED AT CHANDERNAGORE, IN FEBRUARY, 1816,
AGED 47 YEARS.
THIS STONE IS ERECTED
CAPT. HUGH REID, OF LONDON. From the preceding imperfect sketch, it will be seen in some measure what Mr. Forsyth was. It is not as a faultless character we hold him up to view ; sinless perfection is the privilege of the glorified, and of them only: but we certainly conceive, that for intense piety and honest sincerity, he was surpassed by none: and such was the rigid severity of his principles, that he persevered with unshaken constancy in the exercise of his public duties, even while labouring under the accumulated pressure of sickness and infirmities. We cannot help regretting some parts of his conduct, which appeared calculated to injure his fine constitution, and doubtless contributed, humanly speaking, eventually to shorten his days; but even here we would not judge our brother, far less would we question the strength of those convictions which led him to see it right to love not his life unto the death, if peradventure he might be the means of saving many. All have not the same zeal for souls, but they must not question the truth of his, because it sometimes led him into imprudent extremes. “To his own Master he standeth or falleth,” and so do we ; let our aim be to permit his peculiarities to merge in his uniform devotedness, and may we be enabled to follow him as he followed Christ.
Such a one as he was cannot perhaps be fully estimated on earth, for the best of us often view things through a darkened medium, and always through one in some degree perverted; but when we are in the light, as he is now, we shall clearly perceive that it is not those who have been most highly commended amongst men, but whom the Lord commendeth, that shall be chiefly approved.
V.-Special Concert of Prayer for the Conversion of the World.
To the Editors of the Calcutta Christian Observer. GENTLEMEN,
Perhaps all the readers of your valuable Magazine are not aware, that
many Churches and individual Christians propose to observe the first Monday in January, 1834, as a day of Fasting and Prayer for the Conversion of the World. The same day of the present year, 1833, was extensively observed in the United States, by previous recommendation of various ecclesiastical bodies; and as it was found a very profitable and interesting way of waiting upon God, the same day of the next year has been designated, and an earnest invitation extended to Christians in other lands throughout the world, to unite in humiliation and in prayer to the God of all grace, for the universal diffusion of the Gospel of our common salvation.
Every reader of the Bible knows that the sentiment of the Psalmist,“ Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it," pervades every part of the inspired volume.“ Paul may plant; Apollos may water ; but it is God only who giveth the increase." Every true Christian knows, also, the tendency of prayer to purify his motives, to stimulate his efforts, and to inspire his hopes when engaged in the Lord's work ; while it is probable that there are few honest Christians who will not find, in a review of their services in advancing the Saviour's kingdom, ample cause for deep humiliation. The importance, therefore, of the measure proposed, seems too obvious to require illustration. And as to its interesting character, what could be more simple, and yet more sublime—what more affecting to the pious mind, and more pleasir.g to God our Saviour-than to see the entire Christian Church, without distinction of name or nation, uniting in humble supplication, with fasting, to implore the blessing of God on this fallen world ?
The hope may be indulged, therefore, that every one who prays “ Thy kingdom come !" will respond, in feeling and in action, to the proposal of the American Brethren, and will humbly and earnestly approach the throne of grace on that day, with special prayers for an overflowing blessing. Why might not the scene, witnessed on the day of Pentecost of old, be displayed in this age of the Church on each returning Sabbath ? Surely, “the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear.” Yet, “ thus saith the Lord God, I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel to do it for them."
[We have perused the above with great pleasure, and shall feel truly happy if its insertion in our work should lead to any determination, by the members of varions denominations of Christians in Calcutta or other parts of India, to unite with their American Brethren in the solemo and appropriate service proposed. -Ed.]
VI.-Correction of the Mis-statement of “ Amicus."
To the Editors of the Calcutta Christian Observer. GENTLEMEN,
I addressed a letter to you some time ago from Patna, in refutation of some animadversions made by a writer under the signature of “ Amicus” in your columns*, respecting the Meerut Hindoostanee chapel ; but it appears that through some cause or other the letter has not been delivered. I could, if necessary, add the testimony of two other individuals to my own, in order to assure you from personal knowledge, that the statement which appeared in the Annual Report, regarding the Meerut chapel, was perfectly correct. I shall endeavour to shew that “ Amicus” has fallen into an error respecting the number attending the chapel. Did it not strike “ Amicus” that he was writing nearly a year after the Missionary made his statement? It is here that the mistake lies: the Hindoostanee chapel was first opened by the Rev. Mr. Fisher previous to his leaving Meerut for Calcutta; and for some months after, at morning worship, the chapel was almost crowded, so that on some Sunday mornings, I really believe there was at least a hundred persons in the chapel (I speak from personal observation). The Missionary at that time, giving an account of his labors, of course wrote something upon the interesting aspect which the chapel exhibited; and stated that almost a hundred was the amount of his congregation; which was not at that time at all an exaggerated account. Some months after the statement alluded to was made, a considerable diminution took place in the congregation, I believe through the carelessness of some, and the departure of others from the station. However, this does not render the Missionary's account invalid, because he was not aware of what would take place in his congregation several months after he made his statement. Many unfounded allegations are brought against Missionaries, which by a little inquiry would be altogether saved.
VII.--Anecdotes respecting the late Countess of Huntingdon.
Lady Huntingdon, while living in the neglect of God, was exceedingly struck with a sentiment which Lady Margaret Hastings expressed; “that since she had known and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ for life and salvation, she had been as happy as an angel.” When seized with a dangerous illness, the fear of death fell horribly upon Lady Huntingdon ; she recollected the words of Lady Margaret, and earnestly prayed for life and salvation by Jesus Christ. Immediately her distress and fears were removed, and she was filled with joy and peace in believing. The Earl still treated her Ladyship with much affection and respect, but wished she would oblige him by conversing with Bishop Benson on the
* See Calcutta Christian Observer, for April, 1833, Vol. II. p. 180.
subject. This she consented to, and talked so plainly to the Bishop, that his temper became ruffled, and he said, he lamented that he had ever laid his hands on George Whitefield, to whom he imputed, though without cause, the change wrought in her Ladyship. My Lord,” said she, “ mark my words: when you come to lie upon a dying bed, that will be one of the few ordinations upon which you will reflect with complacence.” It deserves remark, that Bishop Benson on his dying bed sent 10 guineas to Mr. Whitefield, as a token of his favour and approbation, and begged to be remembered by him in his prayers.
The late Prince of Wales, (the father of King George the III.) one day in company asked a lady of fashion, where my Lady Huntingdon was, that she so seldom visited the circle? Lady Charlotte replied with a sneer, “ I suppose praying with her beggars.” The Prince shook his head, and said, “ Lady Charlotte, when I am dying, I think I shall be happy to seize the skirt of Lady Huntingdon's mantle, to lift me up with her to heaven.”
VIII.—Conversations with Tom Paine. Perceiving that the writings of Paine have obtained a currency, to which they are no wise entitled, among the native youth of Calcutta, we extract a few anecdotes relating to him, from the July No. of Fraser's Magazine. We hope they will be copied by the Editors of the Reformer and Enquirer, as in no slight degree calculated to disabuse the minds of their countrymen, and to give them a right view of Paine's real character and standing in society :
“I asked him what he thought of his almost miraculous escape ? He said, the Fates had ordained he was not to die at that time. Says I, 'Mr. Paine, I will tell you exactly what I think : you know you have wrote and spoke much against what we call the religion of the Bible; you have highly extolled the perfectibility of human reason when left to its own guidance, unshackled by priestcraft and superstition; the God in whom you live, move, and have your being, has spared your life, that you might give to the world a living comment on your own doctrines. You now shew to the world what human nature is, when left to itself, to wander in its own counsels. Here you sit, in an obscure, uncomfortable dwelling, powdered with snuff, and stupified with brandy-you, who were once the companion of Washington, Jay, and Hamilton, are now deserted by every good man; and even respectable Deists cross the streets to avoid you.' He said, 'he cared not a straw for the opinions of the world.' Says I, “ I envy not your feelings. So we parted. In short, he was the most disgusting human being you could meet in the street. Through the effect of intemperance, his countenance was bloated beyond description; he looked as if God had stamped his face with the mark of Cain. A few of his disciples, who stuck to him through good and through bad report, to hide him from the gaze of men, had him conveyed to New Rochelle, about twenty miles from the city, where they supplied him with brandy till it burned up his liver. So he died as a fool dieth.
“One evening, shortly after he gave me the history of his escape from the guillotine, I found him in company with a number of his disciples, as usual, abusing the Bible for being the cause of every thing that is bad in the world. As soon as I got an opportunity to edge in a word, says I, 'Mr. Paine, you have been in Ireland, and other Roman Catholic countries, where the common people are not allowed to read the Bible: you have been in Scotland, where every man, woman, and child has the Bible in their hands; now, if the Bible were so bad a book, they who used it most would be the worst people. In Scotland, the peasantry are intelligent, comfortable, sober, and industrious; in Ireland, they are ignorant, drunken, and live but little better than the brutes. In New York, the watch-house, bridewell, alms-house, penitentiary, and States-prison, is filled with Irish ; but you won't find a Scotchman in these places.' This being an historical fact which he could not deny, and the clock just having struck ten, he took a candle from the table and walked up stairs, leaving his friends and myself to draw our own conclusions."
This account is given by Mr. Thorburn, an industrious and intelligent mechanic in New-York.
IX.-The Sum of Religion, attributed to Lord Chief Justice
Hale. He that fears the Lord of heaven and earth, and walks humbly before him ; that thankfully lays hold of the message of redemption by Jesus Christ, and strives to express his thankfulness by the sincerity of his obedience; that is sorry with all his soul when he comes short of his duty; that walks watchfully in the denial of himself, and does not yield to any lust or known sin ; he that, if he falls in the least measure, is restless till he has made his peace by true repentance; that is true in his promises, just in his dealings, charitable to the poor, sincere in his devotion ; that will not deliberately dishonour God, although with perfect security from temporal punishment; that hath his hopes and his conversation in Heaven; that dares not do any thing unjustly, although ever so much to his advantage, and all this because he firmly believes Him that is invisible, and fears him, because he loves him—fears him as well for his goodness as his greatness; such a man, whether he be an Episcopalian or a Presbyterian, an Independent or Anabaptist; whether he wears a surplice or wears none; whether he hears organs or hears none; whether he kneels at the communion, or for conscience sake, stands or sits; he hath the life of religion in him, and that life acts in him, and will conform his soul to the image of his Saviour, and go along with him to eternity, notwithstanding his practice or non-practice of things indifferent. On the other side, if a man fears not the eternal God, commits sin with presumption, can drink to excess, lie, swear vainly or falsely, live loosely, break his promises ; such a man, although he cry down Bishops, or cry down Presbytery ; although he be re-baptized every day, or declaim against heresy ; although he fast all the Lent, or feast out of pretence of avoiding superstition ; yet, notwithstanding these and a thousand more external conformities or zealous opposition to them, he wants the life of religion.