« PreviousContinue »
The Church lives above the world, auxiliary is the reading of the Book and the clergy at the top of the of God. Books can be multiplied, Church; they are, or should be, though divines who labour in the the eye, the head, the heart, the word and doctrine may be rare. lungs of that never-dying body of But in this the clergy cannot alone Christ, "the Church of the Living supply the millions who need; they God.”
therefore engage the nation to join These are the men that have to in this “work of faith and labour do with the Bible. They are es- of love." My paper reminds me pecially Bible-men. But their that I have already written too object is not to monopolize, but to much, though I have much more diffuse, They are enriched by to say; but must with earnest giving. By scattering they in- prayer for the diffusion of Scripture crease. Freely they have received, and Scripture truth, and your sucthey freely give. It is the essence cess, remain yours in the Lord, of their office to make known the
SENEX. truths of the Bible. But a grand
LETTER FROM AN ABSENT PASTOR TO HIS FLOCK.
1845. DEARLY BELOVED IN THE LORD, AND FOR THE LORD'S SAKE,Since I left you, I have, be assured, not forgotten you. I may truly say you are never long out of my thoughts; greatly desiring that, as a part of the chosen and redeemed family of God, you may be filled with his Spirit, and satisfied with his love; that you may grow in grace and in the knowledge of a blessed Saviour, even the Lord Jesus Christ who is our hope; yea, that you may grow up into Christ in all things, in the experience of his infinite worth, in submission to his will, and obedience to his commands.
Beloved brethren and sisters in Christ-much goodness and mercy have followed us since we have been here. All that kindness on the part of Christian friends, and quiet and retirement, and a pleasant country could give, we have had. But this has been the least of our blessings. We have had some opportunities, in a quiet way,
a way in which there was little demand upon my strength, of speaking the truth to many sinners, and to not a few saints, and not without testimony that the Lord himself has been with us.
And even this is far from being all the claims upon our praise and gratitude. I trust we have enjoyed something of his presence which is better than life, and known somewhat of Phil. iv. 7,4" And the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Oh, how needful is it from time to time, when the Lord himself
the door and gives us power to enter, to withdraw from the outward circle and go within. I am quite assured, beloved friends, that it is no uncommon case for a man to be usefully and honourably employed for God in the Church and in the world, to be looked up to, to be flattered and highly thought of, and in the midst of it all to be dry, barren, unctionless, powerless, and all for
want of retiring into this inner my God and Father; to dwell upon circle.
his love, his unutterable, free, most Casual observers may not per- gracious, most sovereign, most unceive it; superficial eyes may not deserved love; to have real tran. detect it; but he is, in some degree sactions with God in his love; and at least, (and a mercy is it when how can this be if there be no he is,) conscious of it; close walk- withdrawment from all things and ers with God suspect that it is so all persons, to be alone with God with him, but the heart-searching himself? God knows it altogether.
It was said of Lord Anson, that I do not mean by this retiring he went round the world, but knew from the world such a withdraw- nothing of the world; may it never ment as that I am now enjoying, be said of you and of me, that in for that to some of you is quite the course of regular duties, we go impossible; and that which is out round about the Lord, but do not of the power of a saint of God to really, yea, intimately, know the possess can never be essential to Lord himself; and in order to this, his true spirituality; what I mean we must be much, yea, often, with is, the having some time, however him. small the period may be, for posi- In looking over my letter, I seem tive withdrawment from all things to have dwelt much upon one point. around—the being actually alone But it is one to which my mind has with God, and knowing it and been much led. I think that I have feeling it.
seen some of the evils of its not I am aware that there are great being duly considered in the state difficulties in the way of some on of others; I am quite sure I have this point: but much more may be suffered many of them for the done than is done; and I believe, same cause in my own. where the Lord sees the soul really Beloved in the Lurd, we shall panting after this real withdraw- soon be in the land of rest-we ment from things outward, in order shall soon be with Him whom we to be alone with himself, he opens love; whether all go to him, or he unexpected doors, or if he do not comes to us, to be with Him is the that, gives such power of with blessing of eternity. drawment in the very midst of Oh! to live for this! I hope engagements, as shall be surprising that I can say—this is after all the to ourselves, and afford us cause language of my heart—the desire for ceaseless gratitude. Secret of my soul—"This one thing I prayer is an immense blessing; we do.” It is my heart's desire for shall never know entirely and fully you also. how great the blessing is, which is The Lord—the Spirit-make the connected with it, till we, through ministry, the lip, the life, more full grace, reach the land where prayer
of it. is no more needed.
But great as
Nothing else is really worth it is, it is not all that is conveyed living for. A dying minister was to us by this secret withdrawment. known to say when he came to In prayer I pour out my heart to die, “ Brother, in looking back, I God, as I feel and all that I feel ; am ready to say,
we seem but but in order that I feel aright-feel half awake!'" And is it not what I should feel--I require to be really so? really with God
to be with him May He quicken us, who, as as my God-my God in Christ the second Adam, is the quickening
spirit of his Church-quicken us by the Spirit
, be felt, known, expehis Spirit, and in the Spirit. rienced, lived on, and lived out.
I bear you much upon my heart Pray that, as the weakness and before a throne of grace. Brethren, infirmities of age come on, there pray for me ; ceaselessly, importu- may be deeper spirituality, more nately, hopefully, as the Spirit of mental vigour, more vital strength grace and supplication shall helpless of the world and self-more you. Some of you prayed for me of Jesus, more of God, more living when I was young and full of beneath the cross, more living in vigour ; pray
the cross. that I am no more young,
but Ever, ever, believe me, dear and grey-headed in the work and ser- precious and beloved in the Lord, vice of the Gospel. Pray that all Yours most tenderly its glorious doctrines, promises,
and affectionately, and precepts, may, by the power of
ON RELATIVE DUTIES.
be truly said that the beauty great extent, at least, are what the of religious profession shines the master or the mistress is. The brightest through the faithful and fault in servants is
very traceable conscientious discharge of the rela- to some fault in their employers. tive and social duties of life. If I have been led into these rethere be any serious defect here, it marks by two instances in point, dims the light that has to shine which have lately come before me. before men, and in so doing fails to I know a lady who had lately glorify our Father which is in occasion to engage a nurse. Two heaven. And yet how little is this young women offered themselves, matter practically regarded; and both with good characters : the how many, even sincere and serious, one plain and neat, and tidy in her Christians, unwittingly perhaps to dress and general appearance; the themselves, are living in some other in her silk gown and satin habitual, but grievous neglect of mantilla, with her ringlets interduty.
mixing with her artificial flowers In no department of duty per- beneath her bonnet. Will it be haps is this more conspicuous than believed that the lady, though conin the treatment of servants. There sidered a truly religious person, and is a growing and general complaint, making a profession of serious and that servants are not what they scriptural religion, did not hesitate once were, and that difficulties to engage the latter, and to confess regarding them are seriously in- afterwards to a friend, that she did creasing; but it may be truly said, not hesitate to do so “ because she that as pupils are very much what was such a handsome dresser."* the teacher is, so servants, to a I fear this is no isolated case. I
* If ladies thus act in the choice of servants, how can we wonder they are come to such a pass as the following fact exemplifies : a lady was requested by her cook, who had recently come into her service, to have leave of absence one evening ; assigning as a reason, that she had to go to a dance in the town, and was engaged to lead off the Polka!!
may lead ?
fear there are many
inconsiderate desire to be identified only with mistresses who regard it as a fea- religious characters ever so ardent, ther in their own cap to have “ to be carnally minded is death." their servants dressing well. How And as the tree is known by its can they shut their eyes to the fruits, so the carnal mind is known certain consequences ? How can by its tendencies and doings. How they wonder if the habits of pilfer- sad it is, that even amongst proing are formed to support such an fessors there may be the plague expense; or at any disgraceful en- spots of death! What need to tanglement into which such vanity pray that we may see if there be
in us, and that we And let
Christian lady may indeed be led in the way picture to herself the unmerited everlasting. disappointment of the discarded Another somewhat similar case candidate. I know what were her lately came before me. A friend of feelings, and how properly she ex- mine happened to meet the old pressed herself on the occasion. coachman of the late Lady There was no anger or ill-nature; Well, John,” she said, you but there was heartfelt surprise, have lost a kind, good mistress ?” that a lady professing godliness Yes, ma'am, my lady was very could possibly act in such a man- good to us all, and we had need
What a stumbling block, feel her loss.” “Yes, John, but what a scandal was thus presented ! in higher things I mean ; you had What a discouragement to a young great religious advantages in her female, sincerely and practically service. “ As for that, ma'am, endeavouring to fulfil her baptismal my lady took vast good care of vow, and to renounce the pomps her own soul, but very little of and vanities of this wicked world ! mine. I lived nine years with her, What a shameful and intolerable and in that time I never once got act of Christian inconsistency, that to a place of worship on a Sunday. the flaunty-dressing, giddy, young I had to drive my lady three times servant should be preferred, because every Sunday to her church; and of her vanity, and go to her place with my horses to see after, it was triumphing over her whose covet- not possible that I could get myed and valued adorning was that of self.” a meek and quiet spirit. Oh! that I knew Lady- well. I had Christian ladies would lay these watched the integrity and general things to heart. You have a solemn consistency of her walk for a long responsibility in the servants en- period. I had often referred to her trusted to your care.
as a striking instance of the power be many a case where we cannot of divine grace, which enabled her, check a growing evil as effectually amidst high family connexions and as we could wish; but, at all events, peculiar difficulties, to continue it should be your care and study steadfast in the fellowship of the not to encourage it.
Gospel ; and all that I had known It can only minister to a carnal of Lady would have led me mind to have all as dressy and vain to conclude that such a fact was below stairs as it is above. And utterly impossible. But how sadly “to be carnally minded is death.”. mistaken was this venerable saint Yes, let the profession of religion be in such a practice! If it had ever ever so high, and the knowledge of been faithfully put before her, I am religion ever so extensive, and the sure that she would have at once
seen the impropriety of this spi- healthy in that appetite which can ritual monopoly, and have been be running after distant churches thankfully content to restrict her. for self advantage, to the robbing self to two meals on the Sabbath, even of one servant of his Sabbath that her servant might have one. due. The master or the mistress But the thing never occurred to incurs a fearful responsibility, in her, and in her ardent longings getting their own gain at their after the courts of God's house, servants' loss. and her own enjoyment of Christian The Christian's resolution should privileges there, she lost sight of be not only to serve God himself, the manifest duty owing to her but to have his whole household domestic.
serving him also.
“ As for me and How many similar cases exist in my house we will serve the Lord.” London, as well as elsewhere. Oh! Oh! that the reproach could never that heads of families would duly apply to real Christians, , “What consider the duty owing to their do ye more than others ?”
We household. The Sabbath is the want more of practical religion. servant's privilege as well as the Sins and infirmities will always master's. What a striving then have to be lamented; but still we should there be to equalize the long to see Christian families aimprivilege as far as possible; to ing at practical, daily, consistent, diminish work, so as to give ser
habitual godliness. Let us ever vants the opportunity of improving remember, that the ordinances of the Sabbath hours for their souls' religion are only the means to the growth in grace.
attainment of an end, and not the If there be any serious, scriptural end itself; and that they prove reflection, one would think it im- valueless, and a dead letter to us, possible that a Christian could however they may advance us in have any peace or happiness within knowledge, if they are not carrying the walls of the sanctuary, while us forward into the details of social his servants are without. There and relative duty. is something diseased and un
HYMN FOR THE SICK AND SORROWFUL. The terrors, Lord, at last I know Remember what the sum it cost, The bed of sickness, grief, and To make one child of darkness pain ;
thine! And thou alone, who laid'st me low, Can'st raise me up to health again. Oh! bring the blood by Jesus shed,
With hyssop purge my guilty soul; The dews of death
forehead Here, wash my hands, my feet, my steep,
headThe worm prepares his work within; Nay, cleanse my heart, and make Yet not for pangs like these I weep.
me whole ! To me "the sting of death is sin.”
Reproach and murmur bid me cease, O Lord, and shall a soul be lost ?-- To heav'n the thorny path approve, O God, and must that soul be Confess thy rod the pledge of peace, mine?
Thy chastisement the bond of love!