« PreviousContinue »
From the Wesleyan Melhodist Magasine.
BY JAMES MONTGOMERY, ESQ. The body of the Missionary, John Smith, (who died Feb. 6th, 1824, in prison, under septence of death by a Court Martial, in Demarara,) was ordered to be secretly buried in the night, and no person, not even his widow, was allowed to follow the corpse. Mrs. Smith, and her friend, Mrs. Elliot, accompanied by a free negro, carrying a lautern, repaired beforeband to the spot where a grave had been duz, and there awaited the interment, which took place accordingly. His Majesty's pardon, annulling the unjust condemnation, is said to have arrived on the day of the unfortunate Missionary's death, from the rigours of close imprisonment in a tropical climate, and under the slow pains of an inveterate malady, previously afflicting him. Come down in thy profoundest gloom,
A corpse amidst the group is borne, Without one vagrant fire-fily's light,
A prisoner's corpse, who died last morn. Beneath thine ebon arch entomb
Not by the slave-lord's justice slain, Earth, from the gaze of heaven, o Night! That doom'd him to a traitor's death; A deed of darkness must be done,
While royal mercy sped in vain Put out the moon, hold back the sun.
O'er land and sea to spare his breath; Are these the criminals, that flee
But the frail life that warm'd this clay, Like deeper shadows through the shade?
Man could not give nor take away. A flickering lamp, from tree to tree,
His vengeance and bis grace, alike, Betrays their path along the glade,
Were impotent to save or kill; Led by a negro ;-now they stand,
-He may not lift his sword, or strike, Two trembling women, hand in hand.
Nor turn its edge aside, at will: A grave, an open grave, appears,
Here, by one sovereign act and deed, O'er this in agony tbey beod,
God cancell'd all that man decreed. Wet the fresh turf with bitter tears,
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, Sighs following sighs their bosoms rend;
That corpse is to tbe grave consigned; These are not murderers;these have known The scene departs ;this buried trust, Grief more bereaving than their own.
The Judge of quick and dead shall find, Oft through the gloom, tbeir straining eyes
When things that Time and Death have seal'a Look forth for what they fear to meet :
Shall be in iaming fire reveal'd.
Quick.glancing lights, slow-trampling feet, Prisoner of hope! Await the test,
And 0, when truth alone is told, Return, and in dead march move on.
Be thy clear innocence confest! A stern procession!-gleaming arins,
The fire shall try thy foes ;-may they And spectral countenances dart,
Find mercy in that dreadful day. By the red torch-flame, wild alarms,
And withering pangs through either heart;
SHORTNESS OF TIME. “Our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding.-1 Chron. xxix. 15. How soon will my trials be o'er,
The friend of sweet sympathy's mould,
Alas! how transient thy stay,
Have fled on their pinions away.
This Minstrel shall soon be laid by, My life is fast passing away
When I, on my pillow of clay, On the swilt wing'd moments of time;
Shall sweetly recline, and peaceably lie; And soon will the sun in its course to me say, While o'er me the Zephyrs shall play, Thy day is fast on the decline.
The wild rose may flourish, the sweet-brier bloon Around me is fading those scenes which delight, While I undisturb'd shall sleep in the tomb. All clad in the dark gloomy inantle of night. The wreathe on the brow of the brave, How soon will these shadows depart,
Must fade by the changes of time; These visions of bliss disappear:
The glory that shines o'er the conqueror's grave, Which perish and touch with anguish the heart, Like the sun in the west, sball decline. And fill the bright eye with a tear.
'Tis virtue alone which shall triumpb at last, To him who composes the breast I resign, When all these bright sbadows terrestial are past. And yield these low pleasures for those more
Baltimore, Sept. 16, 1824.
FOR DECEMBER, 1824.
Extracted from John Arndt's True Christianity.
CHRIST THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD,
1. God is light, saith St. John. But what is God? God is a Spiritual, Eternal, and Infinite Being. God is almighty, merciful, gracious, righteous, holy, true, faithful, all-knowing, and only wise; God is unspeakable love and faithfulness: he is the most sovereign good, and all good essentially; and the true and everlasting light. Whence every one that departeth from God, departeth from the light; and whosoever walketh not in his love, his mercy, his righteousness, and his truth, the same walketh not in bis light, but wandereth out from it, and falleth into darkness. For without God there is nothing but darkness, but mere darkness, but everlasting darkness. Ohow dark therefore is that soul in which God is not!
2. Now if God be light, then the devil is darkness; and if God be love, then the devil is hatred ;, which hatred is sown in the darkness, even as love is sown in the light, and springs up out of the light; so extinguishing the powers of darkness. For this heavenly love, having the light everlasting for its sun and its shield, is stronger than death and hell; and sin and torment must fee before it. Wherefore as God is light, yea, very light; and Christ is light of light : even so the devil is darkness, yea, very darkness, in the children of disobedience. He is all wrath and envy, all malice and uncharitableness, and in him is no light at all; and they that walk in the darkness, as he is in the darkness, have fellowship with him, being made partakers of his nature and wearing his form. And certainly, if God be in his nature charity; the devil is in his, nothing but inordinate self-love, the fruitsul womb of sin and torment. To which whosoever joineth himsell, as likewise to the abominable offspring thereof, (namely, wrath and arrogance, envy and hatred, malice and revenge, with a numerous train besides) the same is changed into darkness and the devil, VOL. VH.
and hath the vile form the serpent in his soul. From which there is no deliverance, without a total renovation of nature, and a thorough transformation and transplantation. No man can hence be delivered before he is converted from darkness to light, from sin to righteousness, and from the devil to God. And this must be the work of faith alone, whereby our hearts are purified.
For whosoever believeoh in Christ he turneth from sin; that is, from the devil to Christ. For even as Adam by sin, converted himself from God to the devil, so it behoveth every one of us to flee by true repentance and faith, from the devil to God.
3. It followeth hence that man, without returning to God, which is light, cannot be enlightened. For what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? or, light with darkness ? Darkness is unrighteousness, but the light is the true knowledge of Jesus Christ, which can no ways therewith enter into fellowship; so that it is impossible that those should be enlightened by the light of eternal truth, who live in the darkness of unrighteousness. To which appertaineth the saying of St. Paul, “Wben they shall be converted to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away;" that is, their darkness, blindness, and ignorance shall cease, and Christ shall enlighten them.
4. What thicker mist can cover the minds of men than infidelity, with the fruits thereof; such as pride, coveiousness, wrath, and lust? Therefore, where these are, it cannot be that a man should truly acknowledge Christ, or that he should know him, until he give up himself to be saved by him. For how shall he understand the humility of Christ, whose mind knoweth not himself through pride? Or how shall he know the meekness of Christ, he that is full of wrath and envy? But whosoever understandeth not the lowliness and meekness of Christ, he knoweth not Christ, but is a stranger to him. For truly to know him, it behoveth thee, by faith, to have the very heart and understanding of Christ in thee, and to perceive his meekness, patience and humility, within thee in thy heart. Since as a plant is known by the taste and smell, so Christ, the Tree of Life, by tasting and by sensible trial, is understood and perceived; even by tasting in faith his lowliness and humility, his meekness and patience, and by eating of his fruit, that is, of his love and peace, whereby thy soul may find rest and tranquility, and be made capable more and more of Divine favour and consolation.
5. Christ is mere love, humility, meekness, patience; the which whosoever hath not, he is ignorant of Christ, though he can finely talk of him, and for a cover usurp his name. After the same manner the word of God is notbing but Spirit. Whence they who live not in the Spirit do not know what the word of God is, although they prate never so much of the Scriptures, and dispute about ihen every where. In like manner, it belongeth not to a man to judge of love, who exerciseth it nol; or of the word of God, who hath not the taste of it in his soul. For all knowledge begins with sensation and experience. Nor is it his part to discourse of the light, who never hath moved a foot out of his own darkness to see the light. And what is light in man, but faith and charity, according to the saying of Christ, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven?”
6. Now seeing the most holy life of Christ is nothing but mere love, if we draw from him true faith, humility, meekness, and patience, according as he hath given us commandment, then truly we are transforined into his image, and beautified and adorned with his love, no otherwise than if he were covered and clothed with Christ himself, who is the eternal and true light, according to that of the apostle, " Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give thee light.” It followeth, that as many as do not awake from the sleep of the world, that'is, from the desire of the eyes, and of the flesh, and from the pride of life, their souls cannot truly be illuminated by Christ; and that they on the other side, who follow him in faith, are illuminated according to that of the gospel, “I am the light of the world, he who followeth me, in faith, love, hope, patience, meekness, humility, the fear of God, and the life of prayer,) walketh not in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”' As if he should say, only those that imitate me have the light of life, and the true knowledge of God. By reason of the same faith and life of Christ it is that St. Paul calleth the faithful by the name of light: “Ye were (saith he) sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord.” And again, “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor darkness, having put on the breast-plate of faith and love, and the helmet of salvation."
They that have indeed seen Christ, that is, have looked upon him with the eye of faith, these have seen the light of heavenly beauty, the virtue of virtues, and the unspotted mirror of righteousness. These have by faith seen and handled the word of life; and having seen and had this experience, they are even ravished with the love of Christ's life, and so enamoured with the beauty of his holiness, as to seek above all things, how they may sanctify in themselves the name of the Lord their righteousness; he being made to them both sanctification and redemption. Wherefore we are admonished of the Holy Ghost, always to look unto Jesus as both the beginner and finisher thereof in us; resisting with him even unto blood, and striving against all sin, that so he may be glorified
7. Now seeing the very heathens had an higli esteem and veneration for virtue, and were so much in love with it, as if it were the most super-excellent beauty that the human nature could be capable of; what esteem and veneration ought Christians to have for it, and how much rather in love ought they to be with World. it, since it is now made so exceedingly more lovely and beautiful in him whom they have taken for the exemplar of their lives? And if they so very much desired to see it who had not the advantage we have, and were so charmed with but a little imperfect glimpse of it; how much more ought Christians to esteem and love it above all things, who have it set before them in the manifested glory of the only begotten Son of God, by his most heavenly life upon earth? For if virtue be to be loved, and even loved as it is in itself, how much more as it is in Jesus Christ % In him is all the beauty of virtue, and the loveliness of grace displayed most fully, that of his fulness we may partake, and so become most beautiful in bearing some part of his likeness. Is virtue lovely? He is mere virtue. Is truth commanding? He is mere truth. Is beauty amiable?: He is mere beauty. In him righteousness incarnated itself, and all the graces were in him embodied. These must also take, as it were a body in us; and he must be made our righteousness by his dwelling in us, that we may behold his beauty reflected upon us, in a conversation like unto his. Impossible, therefore, it is for us to exceed in our love and esteem for virtue; seeing that Christ is virtue itself, and love itself, yea, God himself.
8. In huinility Christ liveth, and the Spirit of Christ is upon the meek and the little ones. And hence, upon him that hath the meek light, the heavenly grace abideth; the humble life of Christ dwelleth in him, the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, and he shall receive the gifts of the Holy Ghost. Behold the Spirit resteth upon such an one, even the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord, even as upon Christ himself. For Christ is in the man in whom his light and life are; so that they are the same, he in Christ and Christ in him. If any man desire to be set free from the blindness of his heart, and from the inner and the outer darkness; yea, from the devil himself, who inhabiteth the darkness; let him imitate Christ, by walking in his holy steps The nearer you are to. Christ, the nearer you are to eternal light: and the nearer to unbelief you are, the nearer you are to darkness and to the devil. For even as in faith Christ and all his virtues are knit together; so in unbelief, the devil and all the vices. They cleave so fast together as not to be separated.
9. Behold with me the apostles imitating Christ in faith, in contempt of the world, in denying themselves, and in living for eternity; by which means they were found fit for the heavenly illumination, and consequently were enlightened and "filled with the Holy Ghost.” This the rich young man would not do; therefore he remained in darkness, and was not enlightened by Christ to eternal life. For he who loveth not, remaineth in the darkness. For nothing is truer than that he who is without love, or faith