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Church, alike fatal to her impression upon the world. Infected with either tendency, she cannot do her errand of mercy; or if she does, mingles so much error with her work of truth, that it soon corrupts and perishes. While, therefore, brethren beloved, we are seizing the opportunities which God, in his providence, is affording us, let us be careful so to maintain the Church which has been entrusted to our keeping, that when we shall send her forth, we may be sure that she will teach the simple truth of God, and impart to the nations whereto she is sent, not merely herself and her forms, but the spirit of Him who is her head and life! An awful responsibility rests upon us, the chief shepherds of the flock of Christ, when we contemplate such fields as those in which we are now preparing, through the instrumentality of these our brethren, to make
an impression for eternity. It is fearful to calculate the mischief which may be inflicted even for this world -still more fearful to weigh the misery which may ensue in regions of everlasting woe-by the promulgation of error in the stead of truth-by the corruption, in however slight a degree, of the Gospel of God's grace, at a moment of such intense interest, under circumstances of such solemn grandeur. As the Lord opens the world before us, and we become more prominently the stewards and dispensers of his mysteries of grace, let us strive and pray that we may be permitted to guard with jealousy his Holy Ark, and present her ever to the world under one unchangeable aspect-CATHOLIC, for every truth of God - PROTESTANT, 2
gainst every error of man! Bishop Elliott at the Consecration of the Missionary Bishops.
LETTERS TO THE WIFE OF A YOUNG CLERGYMAN.
MY DEAR YOUNG FRIEND,-Have you not already felt the privilege of having an enlarged sphere of usefulness opened before you? Do you not daily see more of that wisdom and love, which so planned the scheme of salvation, that at every point the natural selfishness of our fallen nature is met, and when the Holy Spirit blesses the means, it is subdued? This truth is fully manifested whenever the spirit of prayer is excited. We cannot pray for ourselves alonewe are as it were impelled to plead for others; just in proportion to our increasing affection for them, and our conviction of the worth of those blessings which we feel that they need.
If, therefore, “ pray for your minister," be so incumbent upon every member of a Christian congregation, what must it be upon you? So far as you enter with him into the spirit of his work, will you feel the need of the petition, that God would "renew, quicken, and preserve him, as a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for his master's use." Whilst renewed bodily strength is wanted to sustain the continued efforts of one who desires to 66 'spend and be spent" for Christ, renewed spiritual support is not less needful to resist the fiery darts of him whose special aim is directed against the "standard bearers of the cross." Does not your daily intercourse also show you what continual supplies of grace are required
to "quicken and preserve the ministers of God, as vessels unto honour sanctified, and meet for their Master's use?" Inward corruptions, constitutional temperament, and outward temptations, all conspiring to prevent this.
The nearest connections, and the warmest affections, cannot be always blind to the truth, that the Gospel "treasure is in an earthen vessel;" and may we not rejoice in this, if it lead us with increased fervency to the throne of grace, and give us a deeper conviction, that "the excellency of the power is of God, and not of man.” The more we realize the value of the treasure," the more we need this teaching; otherwise we must fall into the awful sin of "idolatry," of which we are often unconscious, until God shows it to us, by the fall, or the removal, of its object. Another series of petitions for him, with whose usefulness and happiness yours are so closely interwoven, is "that he may always be faithful as a preacher, diligent as a pastor, and exemplary as a pattern." You cannot offer this in sincerity, without being reminded by conscience, how much is required of you in it; and how much you are condemned by it! Have you never felt a secret desire that some plain truth had been withheld, lest the faithful declaration of it should cast a shade over that popularity which is so gratifying to yourself, forgetting that perhaps the eternal interests of others were concerned? I merely refer to truths here, not to modes of expression; because an affectionate hint as to these is not unlawful, if given in a Christian spirit, and with earnest prayer that it may be dictated by a real desire for the glory of God. Acceptable words" are not unlawful, if not intended to conceal unacceptable truths.
"Diligent as a pastor," is another important prayer; and should be followed by the solemn enquiry, "Do I promote or impede this? What is the motive that influences my precautions as to over-exertion?" It is not always wrong to remind those whose delight is in the work of the Lord, that they serve a Master who is "too great to
need self-destruction to accomplish his purpose, and too good to require it of his servants." But it is never right to do it for mere personal gratification or convenience. The clergyman's wife in England, as well as the missionary's wife abroad, may profit by the injunction-" to fan the flame of her husband's zeal, and never damp it by foolish fears nor softness, nor break his lofty resolution by a selfish interference; but to think more of his obligation to God as a minister, than of his duty to her as a husband." It requires far more than natural strength of mind to do this; we must look for Divine aid to assist us. But whenever an affectionate hint is given, we should be specially cautious of the spirit which accompanies it. This is generally indicated by the tone and manner: a peevish manner, proves an unsubdued and fretful state of mind, which is the most unlikely to influence any but those who are too weak to resist it. I shall only add one more petition for the present subject of your intercessions, which is, "that God will be pleased to bless his minister with such encouragement in his work as may prove a constant stimulus for renewed exertion." With this petition, also, your duty and privilege are closely connected. Your daily intercourse with the different members of your flock will furnish you with such proofs of usefulness, as may be very encouraging to you both. But take care that they are not used by Satan as a means of temptation, by which your spiritual benefit may be lost. Do not be too soon elated by sudden impulses, or external appearances. When you see anything hopeful, first carry it, by ejaculation or private prayer, to Him who alone can give you wisdom to act wisely, and supply grace by which your fondest expectations can be realized. Never forget the various disappointments which the parable of the sower teaches us to expect. (Matt. xiii. 18—22.) In this spirit you will encourage, without injuring, one who needs the utmost watchfulness to defeat the devices of Satan, either in his own heart or in his work, which this great enemy knows to be so closely connected. On
the other hand, when the Head of the Church sees fit to disappoint your hopes, do not discourage or weaken the hands of God's minister, by your trials added to his own; but rather use both, as motives for personal humiliation before God, and for earnest prayer that your mutual faith may rise above all present appearances, and realize the apostle's experience, when he would say " Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge in every place.” (2 Cor. i. 11.) By such means you will be enabled not only to soothe the natural feelings,
but to strengthen the faith, and ani-
"Let thy bright rays upon us shine,
That you may long "see the pleasure of the Lord prospering in your hands," is the sincere prayer of Your attached friend,
Bristol, Oct. 2nd, 1845.
SKETCH OF THE LATE ELIZABETH FRY.
ELIZABETH FRY, whose decease was
Notwithstanding this and some similar pursuits, she was in no small degree attached to the vain pleasures of the world, and was herself peculiarly attractive to such as were making those pleasures their object. Her dignified, yet lovely person and manners, her cheerful, entertaining con
versation, and her melodious voice, were admired by many; and her genuine kindness and sweet temper conciliated the regard even of the more worldly of her friends and compani
But infinitely higher and better things than the follies and vanities of polished life awaited this interesting and fascinating young person. Her health was materially affected by a complaint which appeared to be of a serious character; and thus the instability of all temporal things became, unexpectedly, matter of personal experience. Soon afterwards, under the searching yet persuasive ministry of a friend from America, (the late William Savory), she became deeply serious. Her affections were now directed into the holiest channel; the love of the world gave way to the love of Christ; and she evinced the reality of her change by becoming a consistent member of the Society of Friends, to which she belonged by birth, adopting the plain dress and simple mode of speech by which that society is distinguished. Such was the way in which she believed it to be her duty to take up her cross-for a sore cross it was to her naturally gay and
lively disposition-and to follow that blessed Lord and Saviour whom she was now made willing to confess before men.
This change, however, was far indeed from disqualifying her for those social endearments which a widowed father and ten beloved brothers and sisters claimed at her hands.
On the contrary, she became more than ever the joy and comfort of the home circle, until the year 1800, when, at the age of twenty, she married Joseph Fry, of London, and settled in a commodious house, connected with her husband's business, in the heart of that metropolis.
Here new scenes of interest and duty awaited her. She became the mother of a numerous young family, over whom she exerted the tenderest maternal care. Yet her domestic relations did not prevent her labouring with constant zeal and assiduity for the benefit of her fellow-creatures. The poor found in her an unfailing friend; and numerous indeed were the instances in which cases of distress were first personally examined by her, and afterwards effectually relieved. She was eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame; and the cause which she knew not she searched out.
The leading object of her benevolent exertions was the amelioration of prisons. Her long and persevering attention to this object, which continued to be dear to her until her end came, commenced with a circumstance which is already well known to the public, both at home and abroad. At an early period of her life in London, she was informed of the terrible condition of the female prisoners in Newgate. The part of the prison allotted to them was a scene of the wildest disorder. Swearing, drinking, gambling, and fighting were their only employments; filth and corruption prevailed on every side. Notwithstanding the warnings of the turnkeys, that her purse and watch, and even her life, would be endangered, she resolved to go in without any protection, and to face this disorganized multitude. After being locked up with them, she ad
dressed them with her usual dignity, power, and gentleness; soon calmed their fury and fixed their attention; and then proposed to them a variety of rules for the regulation of their conduct, to which, after her kind and lucid explanations, they all gave a hearty consent. Her visits were repeated again and again; and with the assistance of a committee of ladies, which she had formed for the purpose, she soon brought her rules to bear upon the poor, degraded criminals. Within a very short time, the whole scene was marvellously changed. Like the maniac of Gennesaret, from whom the legion of devils had been cast out, these once wild and wretched creatures were seen neatly clothed, busily employed, arranged under the care of monitors, with a matron at the head of them, and, comparatively speaking, in their right mind.
Every morning they were assembled in one of the wards of the prison, when a chapter of Scripture was read aloud in their hearing, either by the matron, or by one of the visiting ladies. On one particular morning of the week, it was Elizabeth Fry's regular practice to attend on these occasions, and to read the Bible herself to the prisoners. This office she performed with peculiar power and sweetness. The appropriate modulations of her deeply-toned voice gave great effect to her reading, and the practical comments which she often added, after a solemn pause of silence, and sometimes a melodious prayer in conclusion, were the frequent means, under divine influence, of melting the hearts of all present. The prison was open, on the appointed morning, to any visitors whom she chose to admit; and her readings were attended by a multitude of persons, both English and foreign, including many of high rank and station in the world, who were all anxious to witness this extraordinary scene of order and reformation. It might often be observed, that the poor prisoners themselves, and the visitors of every class, were equally affected. All were addressed as sinners, all directed to Him who is the Saviour from sin!
In carrying on her measures of
reform in Newgate, she was generously supported, not only by the City authorities, but by Lord Sidmouth, the Secretary of State for the Home Department, and his successors without exception. With these gentle
she had frequent personal communication, as circumstances arose which required it, particularly with Sir Robert Peel, who never hesitated to afford her all the help in his power. On one occasion she was summoned to the Mansion House to meet the late Queen Charlotte, who treated her with marked kindness, and publicly signified the deep interest she took in her philanthropic objects. In prosecuting those objects, indeed, she was at all times kindly supported and patronized by the Royal Family, to most of the members of which she was personally known, and warmly and faithfully attached.
The attention of Elizabeth Fry, however, and of the other ladies whom she had formed into a visiting committee, was by no means confined to Newgate. The female criminals in some other prisons of the metropolis soon came under their care, and after the successful formation of the "British Ladies' Society for the Reformation of Female Prisoners," (which has now continued its useful efforts and interesting annual meetings for more than twenty years,) a similar care was extended, by means of associated committees, to most of the principal prisons in Great Britain and Ireland. Subsequently, the plans of Elizabeth Fry were adopted, (chiefly in consequence of her own influence and correspondence,) in many of the prisons of France, Holland, Denmark, Prussia, &c.; and have been acted on with much success at Philadelphia, and elsewhere, in the United States. The great objects of the British Society, and of those who followed in its footsteps, were, in the first instance, to place the female inmates of these several prisons under the care of matrons and other officers of their own sex; and, secondly, to arrange a plan for their being constantly visited and superintended by benevolent ladies, whose mild yet assiduous Christian influence might be the
means of gradually weaning them from their evil ways, and of restoring them, as useful members, to society.
Numerous and satisfactory were the instances of such reform, which took place under the immediate notice of Elizabeth Fry; but here it ought to be emphatically remarked, that she and her associates uniformly held up to view, that Christianity, in its practical and vital power, was the only true source of a radical renovation of character. Thus, while they ever insisted on cleanliness, industry, and wholesome order and classification, their main dependence (under the blessing of Providence) was on the reading of the Holy Scriptures, and on kind, judicious, persevering religious instruction.
She was a warm and steady friend of the afflicted slave, and many a time has she animated, sustained, and encouraged Sir Fowell Buxton and his associates, in their unwearied efforts to obtain emancipation. The cause of the Bible Society was also peculiarly near to her heart. She possessed a deep and large knowledge of Scripture, which was her daily private study, well understood its value, and was constant and fervent in her endeavours to disseminate it among others. Here it may be mentioned that she took great delight in selecting a series of striking passages, one or two for every day in the year. This selection she formed into a text-book, which was published with her name, and has since been translated into French and German. Thousands of these little volumes did she herself distribute, as appropriate presents to young people and others, and in such a kind and skilful manner, as to render the gift, small as it was, precious to the receiver.
The formation of libraries for the use of coast-guards in all their numerous stations round the British isles, was an engagement which deeply interested her. Under the generous patronage of the government, and with the help of a large subscription from her friends, she completely succeeded in accomplishing this object. It is believed that there is not a single station of this description on our