Page images
PDF
EPUB

"My motive, so far as I know myself, is not a desire to be exempt from the inconveniences of secular employment, or an undue regard to the temporal emoluments of the sacred office, but from a sense of the immediate value of the immortal soul, and from a concern to be instrumental in the salvation of sinners, and thereby to promote the glory of God."

And this was not a momentary impression resembling the morning cloud or the early dew that passeth away, nor a fitful resolution which appeared only to be occasionally realized, nor a concern or desire created by the solemnities of ordination; it seems to have been the constant object of his whole religious life. Usefulness he invariably kept in view; for usefulness he prayed without ceasing. To qualify him for usefulness he stored his mind with the productions of Owen, and Baxter, and Edwards, and others. Embracing opportunities of usefulness, he went from house to house, testifying to the people of his charge repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ; and to become the means of usefulness he visited the beds of the sick and dying, bringing for their relief and consolation the balm of sovereign grace.

April 14th, 1789, he says,

"In the afternoon visited Lidget, Holmhouse, &c. &c. Talked and prayed with three sick persons; baptized two children; prayed with two families; in all visited twelve families, and walked six or more miles. If my services do any good, if my God is pleased, I am abundantly rewarded. Oh, let me not be a drone!" In another place he employs the following expressions to indicate his opinion:-"Nothing in the world is so estimable in my eyes as a sphere of usefulness. How desirable is it for the cause of religion to flourish !"

Not long after his settlement at Keighley his circumstances became uncomfortable, and his removal appeared to be an object of desire. At this time he received two invitations; one from the church assembling in White Chapel, Leeds;

and the other from the congregation at Pudsey. The probabilities of usefulness and comfort were of course deliberately weighed by him, and after due consideration the balance seemed to preponderate in favour of Pudsey, and accordingly, in April, 1792, he removed to that place. Encouraged by probabilities of usefulness he entered on his new charge; but whatever might be the hopes he entertained they were never realized. It seems to the writer of this article that the plan of his ministerial life was defective. The piety and zeal which distinguished every part of his public life are worthy of high commendation, but the dress in which they were exhibited was not sufficiently attractive. Nov. 7th, 1785, he says,

ing my sermons. I am accused of speaking "Repeated observations are made respecttoo fast, of inaccuracies, mistakes, &c. &c. I mean to learn better, and to take it all

kindly. I am more concerned about ideas than the mode of expressing them-of the matter than the manner. Lord, make me wiser!-and grant, I beseech thee, something of a different strain to comfort me. am honoured if useful."

I

Without trenching, or appearing to trench, on that well-known adage, Nil nisi bonum de mortuis,* the writer of this biographical sketch may, for the sake of his younger brethren in the ministry, or those who have the ministry in view, be permitted to make a remark or two on the subject of the preceding paragraph. He has disclaimed the office of panegyrist, but he cannot but be tender over the memory of his brother and friend. He was his fellow-student: they have run the race of life together: he attended his mortal remains to the confines of the narrow house, and saw its door closed, in his case, against the evils to which flesh is heir. On reviewing the scenes of

* Say nothing but good of the dead.

his chequered course, his biographer traces its circumstances with mournful recollection, and, as every effect has a cause, is disposed to ascribe the troubles of his life to a too rigid adherence to his mode of preparation for public service, stated in the passage last cited from his diary. While he diligently and laudably endeavoured to enrich himself with the treasures which Owen had amassed for the benefit of others, he made no effort. to dress his gigantic forms of thought in the attire of the present day. He did not study the rhetorician's decorations for the purpose of adding beauty to the unpolished masculine language of his favourite divine. It is true that the polish of sentences and the embellishments of eloquence may be carried to an unwarrantable extreme; but let him who aspires at usefulness avoid extremes. The subject of the present memoir was, at the commencement of his public services, not only careless of the arrangement of his matter, but entirely disregarded cadences of the voice and gracefulness of action in the delivery of his discourses, until his manner became habitual, and proved a drawback upon his acceptableness as a preacher.

Jan. 20, 1802, he gives the subsequent painful account:

"

Perhaps the waters of trouble, through which I have been lately wading, are deeper than any I was ever in before. I have much suspected my call to the work of the ministry. I have indulged thoughts of receding had I an opportunity and a prospect of bread in another way. My head has been heavy, and my sighs before God numerous. The causes of my sorrow are various. The first and most afflictive is a declining congregation; some respecting whom I hoped well grow remiss, and seem to lose their regard for religion; several attend at other places, treating my talents with indifference or contempt; some are dead. Secondly, the temporalities of the place, its debt continually increasing. The very extraordinary times of bad trade, heavy taxes, &c., may, in part, account for some of these disagreeable things; but I fear

some part of the evil lies at my own door. Oh, Father of lights, shoot some rays upon my dark mind! Show me wherefore thou contendest with me. In all my ways I would acknowledge thee; mercifully, direct my paths. Thy providence has been very bountiful to me in a succession of years. Oh, continue to be my guide! On reading over some months of my experience a few years ago, I think I see a declension in my watchfulness, disinterestedness, and devotion. Oh, my God, revive with increase, all that was ever good in me! Oh, reveal thyself to me!"

In these circumstances he continued experiencing the withering effects of adversity, and exemplifying the patience which he had

learnt in the school of his Master. He struggled with difficulties in his endeavours to meet the wants of his family. He embarked in some secular speculations, which, however, did not succeed, and the painfulness of disappointment became an addition to the other evils of his life.

One of the ministers* of the Church of Scotland, in a recent publication, laments that one third of his brethren, and some of them, too, endowed with the finest talents, and distinguished by the highest literary and theological attainments, to the disgrace of the age and country, are condemned to the starvings of £150 per annum;" and he asks," After defraying the expenses inseparably connected with their station, how are they both to secure food for their families and purchase the publications requisite for the liberal and effectual prosecution of their studies?" But what shall we say of the circumstances of Dissenting brethren in the south, a great majority of whom come far short of having £150 a-year secured to them by Act of Parliament? When Mr. Laird felt, in his advancing years, that the infirmities of age were very sensibly creeping upon him, he had at one time a disposition to resign his pastoral charge, and the

* Dr. W. Hamilton, of Strathblane.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

writer of this article was employed
to intercede for him, that he might
obtain assistance from some of our
public charities. Dr. J. Pye Smith,
to whom application was made, re-
ceived his case with that Christian
sympathy, tenderness, and libera-
lity which so eminently distinguish
him; and the application no doubt
would have been successful, but
the
perseverance of our departed
friend failed, and his intentions
were not realised.

the following Sabbath he preached
once. He also preached again on
Feb. 13th, and administered the
Lord's Supper-which was the last
public service in which he was en-
gaged. After this time he was not
out of his house; but for some days
he persuaded himself that he was
recovering. He had no apprehen-
sion that his departure was so near
as it was. His complaint, which
proved to be inflammatory, was
not regarded by himself as danger-
ous, till the night before he died.
He expired early on Sabbath morn-.
ing, Feb. 27th, 1831, departing a
single day before the completion of
his threescore years and ten."
Mr. Hamilton, of Leeds, deli-
vered an oration at his grave; and
Mr. Scott, of Cleckheaton, to a
very crowded congregation, preach-
ed a funeral sermon from Numb.
xxiii. 10;—"Let me die the death
of the righteous, and let my last
end be like his."

In 1792 he married the only daughter of the Rev. Jonathan Toothill, of Hopton. She became a valuable partner amid the evils of his life, cheered his spirits in his disconsolate moments, and with three of their children now survives him. His general health had been good till within a few weeks of his dissolution. On Sabbath morning, Jan. 30th, he got part of the way to the chapel, but was obliged, through severe pain, to return home. On

ON READING THROUGH THE BIBLE ANNUALLY, ESPECIALLY

BY YOUNG PERSONS.

FOR THE NEW YEAR.

TIMOTHY, the Evangelist, appears to have been one of the most exemplary young men of whom we read in the sacred volume. Paul, the apostle, by the direction of the inspiring Spirit, honourably commends him for his extensive knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. That this was an advantage to him, of no common order, both as a Christian and as a minister of the gospel, every one will perceive and readily acknowledge; and it is clearly evident, that much of the eminence of Timothy's character arose from his early acquaintance with the divine word. Lois, his devout grandmother, and Eunice, his pious mother, had devoted no small portion of their best time and attention to his instruction. They were his excellent preceptors, both by their direct lessons, and by their impressive and engaging example; and how greatly did he profit by their instructions!

Oh, that all mothers and grandmothers

were persons of like shining and attrac
tive piety, such as were those holy wo-
men!
Then should we have far more of
our children well-informed and knowing
in the Scriptures, even from their infant
years, as was the inestimable privilege of
young Timothy.

Every reader of the New Testament has observed with admiration the high commendation given to that amiable young Christian; and not a few, probably, with a degree of envy at the invaluable attainment by which he was so honourably distinguished. But such a distinction may be possessed, even by those who were not in early life blessed with the pious solici tude, and the diligent persevering instructions of relatives so dear and affectionate, as those who watched over Timothy's improvement. Many have no grandmothers; and not a few, even during infant years, have been deprived by death of their pious mothers. Such losses are truly great, and,

THE EFFECT OF INFANT SCHOOLS UPON THE SAVAGE MIND.

deemed, even by the busiest, from their
meals, or, by earlier rising, from their
bed.

6

in some respects, irreparable. Still we are persuaded that many of our young friends have been blessed equally with Timothy; and even many orphans, with some peculiar advantages which that fa voured youth never enjoyed. No part of the New Testament was written at the time of Timothy's domestic education; nor were the Old Testament books so easy to be read; not being marked with stops, and divided into verses, as in our English translation of the Bible. To read the ancient Hebrew or Greek writings, therefore, required diligent care and persevering labour, of which we can form but little conception. Yet the difficulties were overcome by many, who thirsted after the will of God for their salvation.

How much of the sacred books was read at a time, or in a day, by Timothy, we have no means of ascertaining; but the Jews were accustomed to read through the whole of their Scriptures ONCE A YEAR; and this may easily be accomplished by us, though to their books we have added twenty-seven more in the New Testament. About three chapters a day will be sufficient for this purpose, and there are plans for every day's reading published for our direction. "The Companion to the Bible," by the Religious Tract Society, price three shillings, contains the simplest and easiest plan that we have seen; but the daily tables given in that useful work, with various other useful matter, have been published in a little beautiful tract, price only three-pence, admirably adapted to lie, for constant use, within the cover of any Bible.

We wish seriously to urge upon our young friends the adoption of this plan this year, as the means of their edification and salvation. There is but one objection which we can conceive, and that is, want of time; but as it would not require more than about ten minutes a-day, with a very little contrivance, so much might be re

But the benefits resulting from the custom of "reading through the Bible annually," how many and how great!-especially if it be accompanied with a devout dependence on the gracious influence of the Holy Spirit by whom it was inspired!

I. It will be the means of removing many false notions from the ignorant mind.

Cape Town, 29th July, 1831. MY DEAR SIR,-From the report of the Infant School Society, and the paper in the second number of the South African

II. It will enrich the soul with a knowledge of the wise and righteous dispensations of God towards mankind.

III. It will lead to a delightful perception of the harmony of the sacred Scriptures.

IV. It will show the abundant testimony of the Old Testament to the character of Christ and the state of his church.

V. It will lead to a comprehensive view of the covenant of grace in Jesus Christ.

VI. It will show how the patriarchs and Hebrews were taught the gospel of Christ, by promises, sacrifices, and various typical representations.

VII. It will lead to habitual contemplation of the great doctrines of the gospel.

VIII. It will be the means of stability to the mind in the glorious doctrines of salvation.

IX. It will be an effectual means of preserving from sin, in act, in word, and in temper.

X. It will have a positive influence in sanctifying the soul.

XI. It will be the means of divine consolation.

XII. It will serve as the best means of preparation for usefulness in life, for a triumphant death, and for the heavenly glory!

0.

THE EFFECTS OF INFANT SCHOOLS UPON THE SAVAGE MIND.

THE following letter from Dr. Philip, to our esteemed friend, Mr. Foulger, will supply very interesting intelligence to our readers.

Christian Recorder, which were sent to
you some time ago, you will have learned
to a certain extent what we have been
doing to establish schools of that kind in
this colony. My object in the present
letter is not to enlarge upon the benefits
of the system, on which my sentiments
have already been expressed, and which
are too well known in England to require

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

any comments from me, but to furnish you with a statement of the manner in which I have expended the money contributed by friends in England, through whose means we have been enabled to introduce the system in this colony. Although my subject is merely pounds, shillings, and pence, I shall, for the benefit of those who have not had the opportunity of seeing the report of the Society, or any of the papers on the subject which have been published at the Cape of Good Hope, take the liberty of prefacing my money statements with a short account of the introduction of the schools into this colony, and the extent to which we have been enabled to carry them, with a slight notice of the hindrances in the way of their further extension.

him to ask of Sir George the use of the commissariat store-rooms, opposite my dwelling-house, which I thought might be spared for the purpose. The Colonial Secretary in this, as in every other case in which I had to do with him, manifested the most prompt attention to my wishes. He mentioned to his relative that it did not come immediately under his province to grant the request made to him, but that he would instantly apply to the proper authority; and, having succeeded, instructions were immediately sent out to the Governor to that effect. The children were now transferred from the chapel to the government store, and placed under the superintendance of the elder Buchannan, his brother assisting him, where he continues to conduct the establishment to the perfect satisfaction of the committee, the parents, and of every visitor. Another school-room was rented and fitted up in another part of the town for Miss Lyndall, at considerable expense to the committee, in which she continues to fulfil the hopes raised, by the success which attended her exertions among the children now placed under the care of Mr. Buchannan, in what is termed the lower school. The number of children in both schools may amount to about 230, and nothing but the want of funds and of suitable teachers prevent us from extending the benefits of the system to five times that number.

On my return to the colony, early in Oct. 1829, being unable to procure a suitable school-room, Miss Lyndall began her operations with a few children in the Mission Chapel. By the end of the year the number of pupils had increased to sixty. Knowing that the best method of securing for the system the countenance of the public was to exhibit it in its effects, the doors were thrown open, respectable individuals invited to visit the school, and a committee appointed, consisting of the Hon. Justice Burton, Rev. George Hough, Colonial Chaplain, Dr. Adamson, J. E. Tredgold, H. E. Rutherford, H. Ross, J. Nisbet, Esqrs., and myself, whose object was to extend its blessings as widely as possible. In Feb. the number of pupils had increased to ninety, and, under the superintendance of Miss Lyndall, the general aspect of the school was equal to any thing of the kind I had ever witnessed in England. About this time a vessel in Table Bay, for the Swan River, with emigrants, arrived. Among them were two brothers, of the name of Buchannan, sons of Mr. Buchannan, master of the Westminster Infant-school, who, being discouraged by the report they heard of the state of the new settlement, called at my house, and offered to remain at the Cape, provided the Infant-school committee would engage their services. Their terms were agreed to, and the committee immediately made arrangements for the establishment of an additional school.

Before I left England, knowing that one of the chief difficulties in commencing the system in Cape Town would be the expense of house-rent, I applied to my friend Mr. Glassford, the brother-inlaw of Sir George Murray, and requested

During Mrs. Atkinson's stay in Cape Town, by the opportunities she had of attending to Miss Lyndall's school in its initiatory state, she acquired a sufficient knowledge of the system to begin an infant-school on her arrival at Bethelsdorp, which she did with a very imperfect apparatus, but with great efficiency. On her removal to Algoa Bay, the school devolved upon Mrs. Edwards; but she having since gone to Latakoo, and there being no one to succeed her, it has, I am sorry to say, been discontinued.

At Graham's Town, the chief town in the new English settlement of Albany, the system has been introduced by Mrs. Atkinson, and is now carried on with much success by the younger Buchannan.

In 1829, a part of Caffreland, from which the Caffres were expelled, was given` by Government to the Hottentots, at the recommendation of Capt. Stockeultsom, the commissioner-general on the frontiers, who takes a warm interest in the prosperity of this rising colony, and under whose auspices, should he remain in his

« PreviousContinue »