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FORMATION OF WILBERFORCE'S RELIGIOUS
THE formation of such a religious character as that of Mr. Wilberforce, must be a subject of no ordinary interest and its history is given in a Funeral Discourse delivered at Hull, by the Rev. John Scott, M. A. From this we learn that Mr. Wilberforce had been favoured with the instructions of the Rev. Joseph Milner, the pious author of the "History of the Church of Christ;" and he attended the ministry of that faithful preacher of the gospel. His religious impressions thus received, were deepened by residing in London with a pious uncle and aunt, who introduced him to the excellent Mr. Newton, whose ministry they attended; but on his removal to college, or even before, as the Rev. Mr. Scott says, he declined from that seriousness which began to distinguish him. On entering into public life as a member of parliament, by the London clubs and political meetings, his heart, it is to be feared, was considerably drawn away from God, and turned aside to vanity, and his religious principles in some degree corrupted or undermined. But the same year at which we have arrived was, through God's mercy, to furnish the occasion of his recovery, and to lay the foundation of that holy and decidedly religious character, which he eventually maintained to the end of his days.
In the latter part of the year 1784, and again in 1785, he travelled on the continent with a party of friends. The late Dean of Carlisle, Dr. Isaac Milner, was his companion in the same carriage: and here these highly-gifted friends discussed various interesting topics together. Religion was of the number and on one occasion Mr. Wilberforce having expressed respect for a pious clergyman, but added, that he "carried things too far," his friend pressed him upon this point. "What did he mean by carrying things too far, or being too strict? On what ground did he pronounce this to be the case? When we talked of going too far, some standard must necessarily be referred to: was the standard of Scripture exceeded? or could any other standard be satisfactorily adopted and maintained? Perhaps it would not easily be shown that where things were carried, as it was alleged, too far, they were carried beyond the rules of Scripture, but only beyond what was usually practised and approved among
Mr. Wilberforce, when thus pressed by his friend, endeavoured to explain and defend his position as well as he could but he was dissatisfied himself with what he had to offer: in short, he felt that his own notions on the subject were vague and untenable. A lodgment was thus made in his conscience; matter for serious thinking was suggested; and his thoughts could find no rest till they found it from the word of God, and the adoption of a scriptural standard, by which to form all his judgments and regulate all his conduct.
Another incident in the history of his mind at this period, as related by himself, is not less interesting and instructive than the preceding: "As I read," said he, "the promises of Holy Scripture, Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you;' God will give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him; 'Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy-ladeu, and I will give you rest;' 'I will take away the heart of stone, and give you the heart of flesh;' 'I will put my laws in your hearts, and write them in your inward parts;' 'I will be merciful unto their unrighteousness, and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.' As I read these passages, it occurred to me to reflect-If these things be so-if there be any truth in all this—and if I set myself to seek the
blessings thus promised-I shall certainly find a sensible effect and change wrought within me, such as is thus described. 1 will put the matter to the proof, I will try the experiment, I will seek that I may find the promised blessings! He did so: and the result was peace, and liberty, and victory; peace of conscience, and purified affections; deliverance from those sins which had ensnared him, or held him in bondage; 'the victory that overcometh the world,' and boldness to confess Christ before men.' 'He had the witness in himself,' 1 Johu v, 10; a sensible evidence, both that the word of God is true, and that he had not in vain sought the fulfilment of its promises in himself."
Mr. Scott then makes this appropriate appeal: "And was not this, brethren, a truly rational proceeding? Was it any other than a strictly correct application of the principle of the experimental philosophy? Bringing an alleged fact to the test of actual experience, making a great and important experiment, for the express purpose of ascertaining whether its result was such as it was averred it would be? Let me say to you all, Go ye, and do likewise:' put the truth of the Divine asseverations to the test; ask such things as God hath promised, with becoming seriousness, humility, and perseverance; and see now if it shall not be unto you according to his word.' Be not content to speculate upon matters so thoroughly practical, and so nearly concerning your eternal welfare. Ask, that ye may receive, and that your joy may be full.""
Now it was that Mr. Wilberforce, with these altered feelings of mind, sought again the acquaintance of Mr. Newton; and in the winter of 1785-6, that he began, at Mr. N.'s recommendation, to attend the ministry of a revered relative of my own (Mr. Scott's father, the celebrated Commentator); which for many years he continued regularly to do, till a change of his situation in life obliged him to become only an occasional, instead of a constant hearer.
Thus may be said to have been completed the settlement of Mr. Wilberforce's principles and character; and by such gifts of nature, such a process of education and training, and such influences of divine grace, was the foundation laid for all that was to follow.
DISINTERESTEDNESS OF CHRISTIANITY. Lord Chesterfield, who adorned conversation by his wit, as much as he impaired it by his principles, has defined politeness to be "the art of pleasing." St. Paul recommends with as much warinth as his Lordship the duty of pleasing our neighbours: but here the two moralists part. The noble writer would have us please others to benefit ourselves: all his precepts originate and terminate in that one object-self. The Christian writer directs us to please others for their highest good, their moral edification. The essence of the worldly code of ethics is selfishness: that of the Christian is disinterestedness. There is a generosity in Christian intercourse, the very reverse of that little narrow spirit ascribed to it by those who do not know or do not love it. True religion keeps the whole man in order, whether he be engaged in business or in company: it sheds its benign influence far beyond its own sphere, and by a reflex light casts a ray on actions to which it has no inmediate reference. The Christian uses his talents temperately, aud had rather not shine at all, than shine at the expense of another. The religious man finds means for the exercise of many Christian virtues without descanting on them-candour, charitable construction, patience with the less enlightened and temper with the less forbearing, a scrupulous veracity, an inviolable sincerity, a watchful guard against every vain thought and every light expression.
UNWARRANTED CONFIDENCE IN DIVINE
SIR, What replies are most suitable to make to those persons, who, amid the ills of life, endeavour to solace themselves with the mercy of God and the promises of the Gospel, yet evince no disposition to love God or obey his commandments? An answer to the above in your valuable Magazine will much oblige A CONSTANT READER.
Our Correspondent supposes a case, many examples of which are found in our Christian country. They are most truly distressing to the minds of decided, intelligent, spiritually-minded followers of the Redeemer; for they know, that whatever references any may make to the mercy of God, "without holiness no man shall see the Lord," and that "except a man be born of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God;" "for our God," who is "glorious in holiness," is also "a consuming fire." At the same time, they require to be treated with peculiar tenderness and discretion, as well as faithfulness.
Replies" to their observations are not sufficient; nor is controversy to be recommended. Sympathizing kindness, inculcating the grand principles of the gospel of Christ, will be the most likely means of effectual conversion of the mind from that state of delusion: but still, every effort to lead the heart to God, embracing his salvation by Jesus Christ, will be utterly ineffectual without the gracious influences of the Holy Spirit.
Afflictions demonstrate the fallen condition of mankind. Misery, under the government of God, infinitely wise, powerful, and good, could not possibly exist but as the consequence of guilt. Divine revelation inculcates this doctrine in every page; and exhibits the Son of God, in the character of Mediator, securing by his death, as a sacrifice of atonement for sin, a channel for the communication of eternal mercy. Every reference to the mercy of God and to the promises of the gospel, on the part of those enduring "the ills of life," should be encouraged; but at the same time, every possible means, in a sympathizing spirit of kindness, should be employed to direct the sufferer to the atonement of Christ, as the only medium of our personal reconciliation with God, and as the only ground of our appropriation of his promises.
"We are all hoping in the same mercy of God, and expecting the same heaven," is the language of many who appear to be altogether uninfluenced by the Spirit of Christ. Persons of a worldly spirit, as our Correspondent writes, "evincing no love to God, or obedience to his commandments," however they may sometimes, in the season of affliction, speak of the mercy of God, or of heaven, are unhappily and fatally mistaken. The mercy with which they endeavour to solace themselves, is merely deliverance from their present sufferings and misery; and the heaven which they expect is some undescribed place of exemption from calamity and sorrow, in the enjoyment of ease and gratification. It may not be the sensual Paradise of Mohammed, nor the fancied Elysium of the Greeks, but it is not the heaven of the Scriptures.
The hope of the Christian is "the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life;" embracing the full pardon of sin, spiritual peace with God, and lively sense of his sovereign kindness in granting deliverance from deserved condemnation by the sufferings of the Redeemer. The heaven which the Christian expects is an eternal Sabbath of spiritual, holy, delightful exercises, with all his glorified powers in the active worship and service of God in his immediate presence, and in the blessed society of myriads of angels and glo
rified saints. Scriptural views of the Divine mercy through Christ Jesus, and the inspired representations of the Christian's heaven, should be offered to those who are mistaken and deluded, that they also, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, may be brought to seek and obtain salvation and eternal glory, the gifts of God through the Divine Redeemer.
CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE OF THE TRUTH OF
(From the Diary of a departed Christian.) THERE are seasons, when the internal evidences of the Bible, as a revelation from God, are so strong and irresistible on the Christian's nind, and the truths which that blessed volume unfolds come with such energy and unction on the soul, that not to recognize the influence of the Spirit of God in his word, would be to doubt the evidence of the senses. How sweet is it to hold communion with God, when he vouchsafes to visit the soul, and then to have fellowship with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ! - when the work of the Spirit on the heart sweetly leads us to Jesus, and through Jesus the Mediator to God! - when the veil seems for a while withdrawn, which hides the unseen but not unfelt realities of another world from us!and God, speaking to us by his word, so applies some part of it to us, so fixes and lays it on our hearts, that we can say, "It is our Father's message to us!" How careful ought we to be to cultivate a spirit to receive these whispers of mercy. How much do we lose by not keeping a listening ear and an attentive heart when God is willing to speak with us. Communion with God! Yes, the believer knows what it is: it is no vain abstraction, no heated enthusiasm of the imagination, as the cold philosopher may scoffingly think,
Oh my God and Father! draw me up to hold that blessed and soul-elevating intercourse with thee, which thou givest at thy own sovereign pleasure to those who seek thee! Why are thy visits, O my Saviour, so short and so distant? Are they too ravishing for our earthliness to bear? Canst thou not enlarge our capacities even here to receive more of thy communicable fulness, and to apprehend some brighter revelation of thy uncreated glory? Why, O my soul! dost thou not pant after this sweet and heavenly communion more? The Spirit and the bride say, Come. O let me re-echo, Come Lord Jesus! But I have tasted that the Lord is gracious. I have sat under his shadow with great delight, and his banner over me has been love. And though here still constrained often to walk without the full sunshine of my Saviour's presence, though here still obliged to see only through a glass darkly, yet let me be thankful for what I do know of God. Blessed thought! to be able to say in the assurance of faith, “I know that it is my Father who is in heaven! I know that my Redeemer liveth and that the Spirit of God is my Comforter!' It is the seal and witness of greater bliss; for whom he loveth, he loveth to the end; and he who has begun the good work will carry it on to perfection, to that blessed consummation when faith shall be swallowed up in open vision, and the full splendours of eternity burst on the transported soul! Here let me live the life of faith upon the Son of God. Nothing can be too humble to think of myself, nothing too high of my Saviour. O for a thankful, quiet, confiding spirit! May I rest in his love, knowing that God is love; and that he who hath not withheld his only-begotten Son, how will he not with him freely give us all things! And I ascribe to God Almighty, Father, Son, and Spirit, all glory, blessing, and adoration, now and evermore. Amen. P. N.
EXTENT AND DREADFUL EFFECTS OF
THE quantity of spirits which pay duty for home consumption in this kingdom has more than doubled within a few past years. According to Parliamentary Returns made in 1831, it amounted to 27,719,999 gallons at proof, which, with the addition of one-sixth for the reduction of strength by retailers, amounted to 16,736,7127. 10s. 8d.; and this sum does not include any part of the many millions of gallons known to be illicitly distilled, or imported without paying duty.
The Poors' Rates and County Rates, for England and Wales only, amount annually to 8,000,000. The proportion of this expenditure occasioned by drinking may be most safely estimated at two-thirds, say 5,333,3337.; which, added to the cost of spirits alone, 16,736,712, gives the sum expended by this nation, in the last five years, on these two objects only, at 110,350,2251.; amounting, in only twenty years, to more than 440,000,000/. sterling; without including any computation for the enormous sums consumed in the abuse of wine and beer, the expenses of prosecutions, the injury done to our foreign trade, the loss of shipping, and the notorious destruction of property in various other ways.
It has been estimated, that four-fifths of all the Crimes in our country have been committed under the excitement of liquor. During the last year, 32,636 persons were taken into custody by the Metropolitan Police for drunkenness alone; not including any of the numerous cases in which assaults or more serious offences have been committed under the influence of drinking and it should be observed, that this statement relates only to the suburbs of London, without any calculation for the thousands of cases which occurred in the city itself.
Excessive drinking is the principal cause of our Parochial Expenses. Of 143 inmates of a London parish workhouse, 105 had been reduced to that state by intemperance; and the small remainder comprises all the blind, epileptic, and idiotic, as well as all the aged poor, some of whom would also drink to intoxication if opportunity offered.
More than one half of the Madness in our country is occasioned by drinking. Of 495 patients admitted in four years into a lunatic asylum at Liverpool, 257 were known to have lost their reason by this vice.
ADVANCEMENT OF RELIGION IN AMERICA. DR. Cox, of New York, has been on a visit to England during the past summer, for the improvement of his health. The object of his voyage across the vast Atlantic, to the land of his fathers, having, through the Divine blessing, been happily realized, he has returned home to his family and his pastoral duties. During his visit to Scotland, he attended the "United Associate Synod," while that reverend body was deliberating on a Memorial respecting the Observance of the Sabbath. To this a reference is made in the following account.
"The Rev. Dr. Cox, a member of the Presbyterian church of the United States, having entered during Dr. Ritchie's address, it was proposed to adjourn the further consideration of the memorial, and take into consideration the letter which had been transmitted from the General Assembly of the American Presbyterian Church. The letter was accordingly read. It gave an interesting account of the progress of Presbyterianism in America, and states, that in the year 1704 there were only six Presbyterian ministers throughout
the colonies; and that at the last computation there were 22 synods, 111 presbyteries, 1,800 ministers, 2,500 churches, and 233,000 members. The object of the letter was to obtain an interchange of yearly reports between the two churches, and the consent of the Secession to hold prayer - meetings in all her different churches for the conversion of the world, on the first Monday of January next.
"Dr. Cox then rose, and gave a general account of the state and prospects of the Presbyterian church in the United States, remarking, that the discussions which prevailed among them were respecting the metaphysics rather than the facts of religion, and that the ministers of the church might all be called Calvinists in their title, however they might differ in various shades of opinion respecting it. With respect to the support of ministers, he said that they were all liberally supported by the people, and mentioned, as one instance among many, that when his health obliged him to visit Europe, his congregation unanimously offered not only to continue his salary, but to pay the expenses of his voyage, and farther, to support any successor he might name in his absence. There was not a minister, he said, who wished support from the State, and the man who said they did would everywhere be treated as a calumniator."
TRIBUTE TO THE MEMORY OF THE LATE W. WILBERFORCE, ESQ.
AMONG the tributes paid to his memory, we copy a Resolution of the Committee of the Church Missionary Society, passed on the 12th of August:
"Resolved, That in recording the death of Mr. Wilberforce, a Governor and Vice-President of the Society from its formation, the Committee cannot but testify their strong sense of the valuable services rendered by him, on numerous occasions, to this Institution; and, while they bow with submission to the will of our Heavenly Father in removing him, they would offer up unfeigned thanksgiving, in acknowledgment of the benefits which it has pleased God to bestow on their country and on mankind, by the rare endowments which He granted to that distinguished man — by the singular opportunities of wide and commanding influence opened to him-and especially by that gracious power of the Holy Spirit on his heart, which enabled him, for a long course of years, under the constraining influence of the love of Christ, to direct his talents, with sincere aim and unblemished character, to the glory of God, in labouring for the present and eternal good of his fellow-men: and the Committee unfeignedly rejoice that this eminent servant of Christ was allowed to witness, before his eyes were closed on this world, the near consummation, so far as this country is concerned, of that object to which, with unwearied perseverance and unsubdued fortitude, he had devoted all the best years of his life-the Liberation of Africa and her Children from their bonds."
TO THE MEMORY OF MR. WILBERFORCE.
WHAT is the charm of sweetest, holiest worth,
POPULAR HYMNS IN GERMANY. GERMANY, as inany of our readers are aware, has fearfully sunk into a kind of infidel scepticism. Deism was rendered fashionable at the German courts by Joseph 11, emperor of the Romans, and Frederick I, king of Prussia, and their influence on the continent was extensive and lasting. Nevertheless, the pious writings of Arndt, Spener, Frank, Gerhard, and other of the German Pietists, were scattered widely, and still pos sessed by many who read them with a lively and saving interest. Their evangelical hymns, too, in a great variety of metres, amounting it is said to seventy thousand, while those used in England by every denomination amount to only about five thousand, are sung by many in humble life, doubtless with melody in their hearts. Surely these will be the meaus, in connection with the circulation of the Scriptures, of a revival of religion in that immense district of the Continent, under the gracious influence of the Holy Spirit. Our Readers will form some idea of their popular hymns from a TRANSLATION OF A GERMAN WATCHMAN'S SONG.
Hark ye, neighbours, and hear me tell,
Human watch from harm can't ward ye,
Human watch, &c.
Threefold reigns the heavenly host,
Human watch from harm can't ward ye,
THE RECORD OF PROVIDENCE;
Or, the Government of God displayed, in a Series of interesting Facts from Sacred and Profane History. By the Rev. John Young, author of “ Scripture Balances," &c. &c. 12mo. cloth. London, Houlston and Son.
DIVINE PROVIDENCE is awfully mysterious. But it being the government of Him who is "too wise to err and too good to be unkind," a devout contemplation of his righteous direction of all affairs in the world, must be of incalculable advantage to the Christian. Our blessed Lord has assured his disciples, “In the world ye shall have tribulation;" and, as an apostle has declared, "Now for a season, if need be, ye are in heavi ness through manifold temptations," &e. 1 Pet. i, 6, 7.
Illustrations of Providence occupy a large portion of the Holy Scriptures; and the principles of faith, and hope, and resignation, in the ancient saints of God, are commended to us in this manner by inspiration. Mr. Young has industriously collected a most edifying number and variety of facts, which we have no doubt will be read by many with considerable delight and profit. We shall have occasion again to refer to this interesting volume.
AWFULLY INSTRUCTIVE DISCOVERY. Sanguinary examples, in deterring from crime, have been found fearfully deficient in efficacy. Of this we have a most affecting illustration in the following:—
"The Rev. Mr. Roberts, of Bristol, in his visits to prisons in England from time to time, has fallen in with many convicts under sentence of death. In 167 instances he inquired of the malefactor whether he had ever witnessed an execution. It turned out that no fewer than 164 out of 167 condemned offenders had been spectators in the crowd upon these melancholy occasions, which the legislature designed to operate as warnings to the profligate.
A WORTHY EXAMPLE.
London Missionary Society-The Rev. Robert Cotton Mather and the Rev. John Adam Schürman, with their wives, sailed from Portsmouth, on the 9th of July, in the “Alexander,” Captain G. Waugh, for Calcutta, on their way to join the mission in Benares: on the day after they sailed, the Directors received the following Letter, with its enclosure.
"Observing in the Evangelical Magazine for this month, that God is opening a door for his truth to enter at Benares, East Indies, and believing that, if truth enters, by the teaching of the Holy Spirit, darkness must, though reluctantly, retire; and wishing all possible success to your efforts in sending missionaries to such dark regions; enclosed you will receive 4001. in aid of the saine, from a well-wisher to the universal spread of Divine truth."
London; Printed and Published by C. WOOD AND SON, Poppin's Court, Fleet Street; to whom all Communications for the Editor (post paid), should be addressed; — and sold by all Booksellers and Newsmen in the United Kingdom.
OCTOBER 26, 1833.
PUBLISHED EVERY SATURDAY.
PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY C. WOOD AND SON, POPPIN'S COURT, FLEET STREET, LONDON.
ANCIENT CORINTH was one of the most illustrious cities of Greece. In some respects it has been considered superior even to Athens. Sacred, as well as profane history, celebrates it for its splendour; and as the seat of learning, luxury, and voluptuousness. Corinth is said to have been founded in the time of Moses, about the year 1514 before the advent of Christ, by Sisyphus, the son of Eolus and grandfather of Ulysses.
Beautifully situated on the southern part of the isthmus, which joins the Peloponnesus to the continent, about sixty stadia, or seven miles and a half from the sea on each side, commerce flourished at O Corinth as a convenient mart; and hence it became adorned with the most sumptuous buildings: temples, #theatres, porticoes, and palaces, adorned this city; and #the peculiar style displayed in the columns with which the public edifices were enriched, occasioned that order of architecture to be denominated from the city Corinthian.
Statues for temples and palaces, and all the liberal arts, were brought to their greatest perfection at Co. rinth. All the European and Asiatic princes, who had any taste in painting and sculpture, furnished themselves here with their richest moveables.
Corinth was considered one of the strongest cities in
the world, when taken in the year 146 before the Christian era, and pillaged and burnt by the legions of Rome. Mummius, the Roman consul, allowed his troops to ransack the city; when they destroyed the most valuable pictures and the statues, the works of the greatest masters. Many inestimable pieces of the most famous painters and statuaries fell into the hands of the ignorant soldiers, who either destroyed them, or parted with them for trifles. Polybius, the historian, was an eye-witness to this barbarism of the Romans.. He had the mortification to see two of them playing at dice on a famous picture of Aristides, which was accounted one of the wonders of the world. The piece was a Bacchus, so exquisitely finished, that it was proverbially said of any extraordinary performance, "It is as well done as the Bacchus of Aristides." This master-piece of painting, however, the soldiers willingly exchanged for a more convenient play-table; but when the spoils of Corinth were put up to sale, Attalus, king of Pergamus, offered for it 600,000 sesterces, nearly 5,000l. sterling. It was carried to Rome, and lodged in the temple of Ceres. The city being thoroughly pillaged, fire was set to it in many places, which produced a prodigious conflagration. At this time the gold, silver, and brass, which the Corinthians had concealed, were melted, and ran down the streets in streams; which, when the flames were extinguished,