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found in the earth? Believers in an impostor, and imbruted by a religion which makes sensuality its noblest reward, and its heaven a brothel. What are the countless '
multitudes of Pagan men? A deceived heart hath turned them aside, they feed on ashes, por is there understanding in them to deliver their soul, or to say, Is there not a lie in my right hand ?” They ate “ without God, without Christ, without hope," without morals, and, as far as human observation has gone, in the most thickly peopled parts of those wretched regions where “Satan has his seat,” “there is none righteous, no, not one !" How fearful and heart-rending an answer is this to give to such a question !
But if, when we ask "What is man?” the answer required should respect the capacity of man, under the influence of the grace of God, to rise from this state of wretchedness and pollution, it has been already given; and there is not one among these deluded millions, whether they dwell in the uttermost parts of the earth, or surround us in our daily intercourse with society, whether they are dark hy being plunged in surrounding darkness, or dark by a wilful exclusion of surrounding light---but may be brought to the knowledge and love of God our Saviour. The conscience which guilt darkens and disturbs may be sprinkled by the blood of Jesus; the heart which swells and rankles with every evil passion, may become all purity, tenderness, and love; and the body the temple of the Holy Ghost. Those who have no hope may fly for refuge to the hope set before them; and they who wander in innumerable paths of destructive error, like sheep going astray, may return "to the Shepherd and Bishop of their souls."
Here then, on one hand, is a being of infinite capacity and value, in an actual condition of depravity and danger; and, on the other, the possibility of his being raised into a holy and felicitous condition; and precisely as these two views of the case of man affect us, will be our "conduct
. If we rightly judge, and rightly feel, one of these views will excite our pity, the other will inspire a generous hope; and pity and hope, as they are both active and influential principles, must, if they are really excited, awaken us to the magnitude of the work of human salvation, and call forth in this great cause an unwearied effort. These considerations unfold the spring of the activity and devotion of the first Ministers of Christ, and of the first Churches, who so readily cooperated with them. “The love of Christ constrains us, because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead!” They argued the danger of man from the means taken to save him; and they knew that the means had not failed of their effect, but that they who were "dead" might "live,” because Christ had " died" for this very purpose. They explain the reason for which true Christians, in all ages, have been animated with restless desires and anxieties to benefit mankind, and why the philosophers of
this world have been, and still are, so cold to human welfare. “What is man" in their systems; that he should awaken a care, or demand an effort or a sacrifice ? He is a worm of the earth, an insect of larger growth ;-let bim perish,- a moth is crushed, and the system goes on.
But the sentiments in the text awaken other feelings. That God has " set his heart” on man, is the most powerful reason why we should set our, hearts upon himn; and because he hath so loved us, how forcibly must we feel it, that “
we ought to love one another.” For " what is man” in the christian system? Not a being to be neglected. All that respects him is awfully great; and renders him a prize worth the most arduous contest. He is the image of God in ruins; but still accountable for his actions. He must be judged; he may perish, and without help will perish; and what is perishing, when a deathless nature is the subject! These are the thoughts which unlock the affections, and give to zeal its energy. “Knowing the terrors of the Lord, we persuade men.” And we know, too, “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; that he who was rich," for the sake of all the blind and infatuated sinful men about us, and in our world," became poor, that they through his poverty might be made rich;" that he is “rich to all that call upon him," has no "respect of persons,” and by us has commanded his truth to be dispersed, and his grace to be distributed. Let these views more deeply influence us, that we may never loiter in the work assigned to each of us, if we are truly recovered to God ourselves,—that of “ strengthening our brethren.” On them who are perishing for lack of knowledge, never can we too earnestly, and affectionately, and yearningly, set our hearts.” If you convert a sinner from the error of his ways, " you save a soul from death ;” and can a more powerful motive be urged? You place another child in the family of God; you open a mind to knowledge ever enlarging, and to feelings which shall yield a felicity more noble and sanctifying throughout eternity. You advance the rapture of angels, for there is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth ; you heighten the joy of your Lord himself, for he sees of the travail of his soul and is satisfied. Happy will it be when this true estimate of man shall be taken by the universal Church of Christ. Its torpor will be shaken off, its disputes and bickerings silenced, and every thought be absorbed, and every energy put forth, in the solemn work of saving souls from death. O thou who hast set thine heart upon man, inspire us with some larger portion of thine own boundless and tender charity!
4. Lastly, we see in our subject a reason for the exercise of a constant and cheerful trust in God. After such demonstrations of his love to us,
expectations from his mercy, and our frequent doubts, may justly be reproved. He delighted to make us what we are, and he hasted to rescue us when sin had made the very greatness and glory of
our nature, our curse and bane; and having given us his Son, will he not“ with him also, freely give us all things?” Let us then firmly trust in the Lord. His eyes "run to and fro in the earth, that he
may show himself strong in behalf of them that fear him.' His ears are open to our prayers; and his promises of supply are ample as our wants. His proper work as “the Captain of our salvation” is, to bring us as a part of his “many sons to glory.". If he had not been more concerned for us than we for ourselves, we had never known his quickening influence, nor his saving power ; and “if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more being reconciled we shall be saved BY HIS LIFE.” This is our hope and joy,--the life of Jesus. He ever liveth to make intercession for us; and because he lives, we shall live also. He has made it his very office to save us : he "sets his heart upon us through every stage of our journey; and never so intensely as in the hour of danger and difficulty. Lift
up . then the hands which hang down, and confirm the feeble knees! The divine dispensations of creation, providence, and grace, unite to “magnify” us : and the glorious purpose shall not close at death; it shall go on till mortality is swallowed up of life, and shall be completed only when eternity has fulfilled its round, and man can receive, and infinite fulness can bestow no more.
MEMOIR OF THE LATE REV. DAVID SIMPSON, M. A.
(Continued from page 20.) By the invitation of Charles Roe, Esq. on leaving Buckingham, he accepted a residence with that gentleman at Macclesfield; and soon after his arrival there, became curate of the Old Church, at that time the only church in the town. He had not been long in this situation, before he married Miss Waldy, of Yarm, a young lady of distinguished excellence and piety; but who was spared to him only for the short period of fifteen montlis. She died on the 14th of September, 1774, leaving a daughter, who afterwards became the wife of Mr. Lee, a respectable attorney, at Wem, in Shropshire, and who is still living. This bereavement was a heavy affliction; but, amidst all the ardour of the affection he cherished for the memory of Mrs. Simpson, he humbly submitted to the will of unerring wisdom and immutable love, and was supremely concerned, that the melancholy event might be sanctified to his own spiritual improvement and usefulness in the church of God.
Mr. Simpson had not been long in his curacy, before that plainness and faithfulness in preaching, which had excited such inveterate hostility against him in Buckinghamshire, produced the same
spirit, and a repetition of the same trials at Macclesfield. His enemies there, were the enemies of the gospel, and enemies to him only on that account. Had his preaching accorded with their corrupt views of religion; had his preaching and practice proved congenial with their worldly character, a man of such talents, so amiable a man in temper and manners, must have been bailed by them as their favourite preacher and excellent friend. But despising and rejecting that way of salvation, which so illustriously displays the sovereignty and holiness of God, how could they receive and honour him, whose every sermon bore testimony against the pride of Pharisaism, and the licentiousness of the unregenerate heart? His adversaries were active, determined, united, and, as they thought, successful. They made application to the bishop of the diocese, (Chester) for his removal, and he was immédiately silenced; his Lordship being as determined as the applicants, to exert himself, as far as his jurisdiction extended, in crushing the Hydra of Methodism in the national church.
In future years it will be considered as a most 'extraordinary circumstance in the annals of British Ecclesiastical history, that so many of the clergy should have encountered the bitterest oppo. sition for no other crime, than that of preaching the doctrines of those very articles, without subscribing to which, ex animo, they could not have been admitted to episcopal ordination. This was the only crime for which Mr. Simpson had been persecuted from two curacies, and in the last instance, by the imperious mandate of metropolitan authority. “But the things which happened unto him, terminated in the furtherance of the gospel.” The machinations, and triumphs of his adversaries were presently blasted, and, with extreme vexation, they beheld the object of their base and barbarous prejudices, raised by the over-ruling Providence of heaven, to one of the first stations of respectability and usefulness upon earth.
How long he remained under suspension, we are not informed. However, we know he was not idle; that such was his zeal for the glory of God, and compassion for the souls of men, that he could find no rest but in his wonted ministerial labours. During that period, he made frequent excursions into the unenlightened parts of the neighbouring country; preaching in private houses, and wherever he saw the door of usefulness thrown open. This prace tice he continued occasionally afterwards as long as he was able, and it was attended with such evident effects, in the conversion of sinners from the error of their ways, that, to the end of his ministry, he considered these itinerant labours as the most successful of his whole life. When remarking upon this subject to a friend, that his health would no longer permit him to follow the same plan, the Methodist preachers, he said, are now generally received, and societies are formed in those villages; so that I do not see the same necessity now as before.
The prime curacy of the church, at this critical juncture, bécame vacant, the nomination to which resides with the mayor, pro tempore. The mayor, Mr. Gould, at that time was Mr. Simpson's friend and immediately made him the offer of it, and his offer was readily accepted; but, to prevent his induction, every effort was exerted which could be devised. A petition was preferred against him to the bishop, in which the malicious ingenuity of his adversaries magnified his offence into seventeen distinct heads; though the candour of the then Bishop of Chester, who was happily of a different character to his immediate predecessor, by whom Mr. Simpson was removed, reduced them all into one ;-this was, that he was a Methodist, or that his preaching greatly tended to increase the number of Methodists. Under this charge, he acted with Christian heroism. In a letter he wrote to the bishop, in his own vindication, he thus expressed himself. “This” (alluding to the latter part of the charge of Methodism) " is true. My method is to preach the great truths, and doctrines, and precepts of the gospel, in as plain, and earnest, and affectionate a manner as I am able. Persons of different ranks, persuasions, and characters, come to hear. Some hereby have been convinced of the error of their ways, see their guilt, and the danger they are in, and become seriously concerned about their salvation. The change is soon discovered; they meet with one or another who invites them to attend the preachings and meetings among the Methodists, and hence their number is increased to a considerable degree. This is the truth. I own the fact; I have often thought of it; but I confess myself unequal to the difficulty. What would your Lordship advise?". Nothing could exceed the dignified firmness and propriety of his conduct during this trying conflict. On the part of his opponents, all was slander and reproach; treachery, violence, and rage; on his part all was forbearance, ingenuousness, kindness, and meekness. Be fore this contest came to an issue, his kind friend, Mr. Roe, voluntarily offered to build him a church in another part of the town; to this he was induced in compliance with a vow he had made in his youth, that if he should be successful in business (which he had then been to a considerable degree) he would build a church, as a token of his gratitude to God. Mr. Simpson accepted the offer, not wishing, as he himself expressed it, to preach to a people who hated him, and immediately made a proposal, which his opponents themselves admitted to be generous ; namely, that if terms, agreeable to the respective parties could be adjusted in regard to the consecration of the new church, and he could be legally secured in it as Incumbent, he would resign the prime curacy of the old church. The proposal was agreed to; the new church, an elegant and beautiful structure, was erected and consecrated; Mr. Simpson was inducted to it, he resigned the curacy, and was afterwards permitted to continue his ministrations with VOL. VII.