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essence and flower of his life, the act of noble self-sacrifice in which his life culminated and was crowned! No wonder that the world refused to let them die ; that strange and uncouth as these farewell sermons sometimes sound in the ears of a long.subse quent generation, they are yet preserved among the heirloomg of the Church. Let our readers only peruse these discourses, or only the few extracts from them which we have been able to give, with a desire to under: stand, an effort to realise what their forefathers suffered, by what a stress of endurance even these brief and dignified references to their personal experience were compelled from the Puritan confessors, and they will the better understand of what high strain we Nonconformists come; they will feel the truth and simple beauty of Wordsworth's lines :
« Nor shall the eternal roll of praise reject
Those Nonconforming, whom one rigorous day
THE TEMPORARY AND PERMANENT VIRTUES OF THE
BY THE LATE REV. WILLIAM RHODES, OF DAMERHAM.* TRUE piety, being a personal endowment, i light himself by the anticipation of the and having its seat in the heart, is suited glorious period when, having gone through to fix our most observant attention upon this introductory process of conflict and ourselves, in order to examine its nature improvement, he shall go forth from the and trace its progress. The religious state | shades and miseries which attend him here, of his own mind claims the first attention in the full vigour and bliss of piety, and of every Christian ; for in it there is form- find a congenial home and society in the ing the element of all his virtue and bliss ; | kingdom of heaven. there the affections are generating which | Now, when we turn our attention to unite him in a happy and everlasting inspect the interior nature and structure of alliance with his Father in heaven-with piety, we find it is composed of a large the Redeemer of his whole nature—with variety of sentiments and affections, some the community of the saved on earth-and of which appear to be more precious and with the higher invisible society to which lasting than others. This distinction among he belongs, and with which he will shortly the virtues of piety is founded on their mingle. He has to watch over the move nature, as painful or delightful. Those ments, and to nourish the weakness, of a which are painful, we may be assured from pure and immortal life, the life of God in the unmingled felicity of the future state, his soul, which, though it be of so high an will be confined to the present life; those origin, and destined to a perpetuity of which are delightful will be permanent and existence, is now in its childhood, and everlasting. Since in this life we expeexposed to continual injuries and decays. rience only the commencement of religion He has also to observe and adore the in our minds, and that most frequently in sacred agency by which this Divine life is a sad and imperfect form, we are not to imparted, sustained, and will be finally | imagine that all the feelings and exercises matured. He may often console and de- which its operation excites will continue for
* Communicated by J. E. Ryland, Esq., M.A.
ever. The sacred influence of religion is ments and graces we shall point out inlimited and resisted by the infelicity of cludes all those which essentially partake pur mental circumstances, and much more of the nature of sorrow. Though of indisby the frailty and sinfulness of our nature, pensable use and importance in our present that prevents the full communication of state of imperfection and guilt, these are the light and happiness with which it is the most inferior and fugitive of all the fraught. Though, when it enters into a feelings which enter into the composition fixed and permanent alliance with our of piety. The presence and operation of nature, it is intended ultimately to replenish religion in our nature, especially at the the whole with its celestial qualities of commencement of its pure and beneficent sanctity and felicity, yet, in the commence | influence upon us, produce many views ment of its operations upon us, it produces and emotions that are extremely distressan order of very painful feelings, which, ing ; such as sorrow for sin, fear of conthough they are necessary and beneficial in demnation, dread of losing the felicity of this state of probation and guilt, are not | heaven, a vivid consciousness of guilt and intended to make a lasting part of religion, | unhappiness, most abasing and melancholy .whose highest glory consists in bestowing conceptions of our state and character; unmingled and eternal happiness. Con 'and through life it continues to inspire sidering the guilty character of our nature, deep and affecting regret for our constant and the change of worlds we shall shortly imperfections and sing. The conflict with experience, it is not to be wondered at that many of the most favourite and vigorous the first visitation of religion to our minds propensities of our nature must be num. should infuse some temporary sentiments, bered with these painful sentiments and and bestow some fugitive virtues, most efforts which accompany the introduction requisite and becoming in our present con and prevalence of religion in the heart. dition, but which will be completely re These fears and sorrows are the inevitable linquished when we go to the grandeur and result of its operations upon a guilty being : perfection of eternity.
the sense of danger springs from the perThe following classification of the pious ception of guilt which the illuminations of virtues is broad and general, though suffi religion impart; and many other soliciciently minute for the purpose in view. tudes arise from the contact of its purity They are so blended with each other in and brightness with the moral pollution their numerous exercises, regard so many and gloom. It would be a mournful conobjects, assume so many forms, and receive sideration, and tend much to impair the so wide a variety of colours from every worth and felicity of religion, if these quarter, that they can never be described earlier impressions were destined to comwith perfect precision. The sentiments pose a lasting part of it; they would preand affections which form the substance of clude the hope of attaining here security genuine piety may be divided into three and happiness in its service--the only classes : two of these are temporary, being attainment that can adequately reward us .confined to the present world; the other is for the distresses which its influence at destined to be permanent and eternal. We first occasions. But the pure and felicitous are inclined to think that it is of no incon- nature of religion, and the experience of siderable importance in the formation and its power, delightfully teach us this is not improvement of piety to understand the the case with any who sincerely embrace respective worth of these different orders of its dictates and imbibe its spirit. sentiments and emotions which compose it, The fears and sorrows which so frequently that we may clearly perceive what portion attend the commencement of piety, and of cultivation and regard they respectively which generally adhere to it in some meadeserve. So it will not be deemed an un sure through life, are nevertheless, conprofitable task to endeavour to place them 1 stantly receding from the minds of true in their true light; for, perhaps, some Christians. If they do not entirely depart Christians are disposed to form too high before we reach the end of our course, they an estimate of some of the temporary | certainly grow less and retire at every virtues, to the partial disparagement and advancement in the ways of God. Relineglect of the permanent and immortal | gion forms no alliance with our depravity, class of them which deserve a superior cul- which is the principal cause of our fears tivation and love.
and griefs ; the only relation it bears to The first temporary order of pious senti- ! the vil that has entered and polluted
our nature is to consume and destroy | ally fade and retire from truly devont it with all the miseries it has produced. | minds; they imperceptibly drop them on In proportion as it effects the conquest and their way to heaven; their piety refines itdestruction of our sins, and imparts its own self from the dark and distressing ingredipurity and excellence to the mind, our ents which mingled with its earlier forms; sorrows are banished, our happiness is and in some happy instances it assumes its restored and perpetually increased. The genuine and heavenly character, imparting agitations and fears which are felt for a scarcely anything but peace and joy, long longer or shorter period at the beginning before it is removed from this earth to the of a religious life, are in a great measure kingdom of God. removed wben we find peace with God, and It must be acknowledged that the painare “compassed about with songs of deli ful sentiments and emotions we have deverance.” As we advance in the service scribed continue to prevail in the minds of and attainments of religion, in spiritual yery many serious Christians through the wisdom and excellence, in devotion and whole of their progress. Their piety does hope, our penitent alarms and distresses not acquire sufficient purity and vigour to abate; the feelings of penitence, indeed, 1 expel the sorrows which accompanied its in. still continue to be felt and cherished, but troduction to their souls and to establish its they soon lose the anguish of remorse, complete dominion of light and peace. It unless quickened to vividness by fresh and is not sufficiently imbibed and practised to repeated indulgence of sin. The alarming remove the diseases and miseries which sin fear of the Divine anger is gradualiy ex has infused into their nature. But howchanged for a humble confidence of his ever much their religious happiness and favour, and a steady enjoyment of the | excellence may be shaded and impaired by light of his countenance. The dread of the continuance of penitent solicitudes and perdition is succeeded by a consoling hope fears, these are only temporary ingredients and prospect of heaven, which grows | in their piety that will soon be expelled. brighter through every stage of our pro- | For since they do not properly belong to gress. The first doubting and trembling | the happy nature of religion, and had no approaches to the Divine throne become basis in the primitive constitution of hugradually enlarged in freedom, inspired manity, they will have no place in our with holier confidence, and tinctured with minds when restored to a state of perfecincreasing consolation and delight. The tion. They mix with our piety, and even distant and painful temper of a servant compose a part of it, while passing through towards God is changed, by imperceptible this introductory and probationary state ; degrees, into the cordial attachment and being, however, of the same fugitive chaaffectionate spirit of a child. The fear of racter as the guilt from which they spring, God, that at first was mingled with awful they will completely vanish at death; they dread of his presence and displeasure, is are but temporary visitants in a renovated increasingly ripened into a tender and mind ; not one of them will pass over the profound veneration for his blessed name. confines of the future world to mingle with The distressing conflict with his evil pro the felicitous sentiments of heaven. An pensities and with the numerous tempta humble and penitent heart, with the griefs tions of the world which a Christian has to for sin by which it is so often pierced and maintain, though it must be continued replenished, is a precious ornament to a till every particle of sin is expelled from Christian on earth; but he will drop it in his nature, becomes an easier task as he his ascent to the skies; it will make no advances in spiritual health and vigour, part of his frame when transformed into a and is increasingly imbued with the love of glorious saint and placed in the presence perfect excellence. His mournful sense of of God. When conducted to the perfection imperfection, distressing as it always will and bliss of that glorious state, having no be to a devout and enlightened mind, grows portion of evil attached to our nature, reless with every right performance of duty, fined from every tincture of sin, there will with every fresh conquest over sin, and be no room for any of the spiritual diswith every new acquisition of holiness. tresses and solicitudes which now afilict us. Thus all the sorrows produced by the opera There is a second class of devout sentition of religion on our affections of fearments and graces which are also of tempoand grief, and those which spring from its rary duration. They differ from those consuming opposition to our eins, continu- | already mentioned in these two respects. They are of a happy nature, and must be! The third order of sentiments and vir cherished in full vigour to the end of life. tues inspired by religion are superior to Such virtues as the following compose this those we have already described, being order :-The forgiveness of injuries, a delightful in their nature and of immortal solemn and tender solicitude for the souls duration. They compose the very essence of men, the various exercises of pity and and sweetness of piety, both on earth and beneficence, and the other innumerable in heaven, the substance of eternal goodmodifications of holy feeling and services ness and felicity. These graces and senti. that are suited to the exigencies and claims ments consist in a cordial attachment and of this earthly state.
love to the great Redeemer, a humble trust These social graces of piety, which form in his pardoning mercy, the highest affeca great portion of its beauty and worth at tion to his cause, the imitation of his sacred present, could not exist but for the sins virtues, and a sincere devotement to his and miseries of mankind. The injuries we will. They consist in a supreme regard to receive from them must be pardoned; their God, habitual communion with him, pure wants relieved; their state of danger and and spiritual views of his nature, complaguilt be compassionated ; and their souls, cency in his perfect character, veneration if possible to be effected by our efforts, for his name, approbation of his governmust be saved from the wrath to come. ment, the enjoyment of his presence, reThese tender and beneficent forms of piety pose and delight in him as our final and are indispensable in the present world, sovereign good; combined with a loyal and where sins and calamities so much abound; obedient spirit towards the blessed and but since there will be no room for their only potentate. They consist in humility, operation in the future abode and society refinement of conscience, spirituality of of the good-no offences to pardon, no dis- / mind, purity and tenderness of heart,
tresses to pity and soothé, no wants to sup- | universal benignity of feeling and conduct, – ply, no souls around us to be saved-those together with many other graces of the
graces, with all their Divine sweetness and | Christian character. These virtues form
charms, will be completely relinquished at | the life of piety in the soul even in this - the end of life. The whole circle of the imperfect state, according to the measure
passive virtues, precious and sublime as in which they are attained. They are they are, will have the same termination. joyous and delightful in all their operaWhere there is no suffering to be endured, tions. patience and resignation can have no place Now it is in the nature of these permain the mind. Virtues of this sort are nent and felicitous virtues, nourished and highly enjoined by our religion as most sustained by the grace which imparted necessary qualities in a sanctified character, them, to grow and expand in vigour and and when, eminently cherished, are full of happiness. While the earliest sorrows and happiness. To be compassionate, forgiving, anxieties of piety are retiring from renobenevolent, meek, patient, and resigned, | vated souls, its graces, consolations, and are some of the most pure and delicious joys are gradually increasing in peace and sentiments we can ever indulge; but de- ! sweetness. The May bloom of piety, enlightful as they are to every devout mind, chanting as it is to every serious observer, they must soon be relinquished. So piety may be permitted to fade into a more sober now wears many beautiful affections and loveliness ; the ardour and vivacity of feelforms of excellence which, for want of | ing which is often created by the first imsuitable objects, cannot be felt as exhibited pressions of religion, as it generally parin the state of celestial happiness. Though takes more of bodily excitement than of these affections are confined to this life as spiritual feryour, may be allowed to decline the proper sphere of their exercise, and are without regret ; but its pure felicities, its to be relinquished at its close, they will solid pleasures, continually, though not leave a Divine tenderness and benignity of with perfect regularity, advance with a temper behind which could not otherwise more gradual or rapid pace in the mind have been attained, and which will prepare of every devoted servant of Christ. But us for holding an intimate sympathy with though the nature of genuine religion and the Redeemer, by whom such affections the promises of God insure its certain adwere indulged in perfection during his vancement and final perfection, it must be abode on earth, and who still continues to acknowledged that the progress in virtue exert them towards mankind.
and happiness, in most cases, is but very gradual, and sometimes almost impercep multiplied in number and improved in retible to their possessors; for it is one of the finement and elevation by continual medi. melancholy characters of our nature to be tation upon the objects that produce and slow to improve, especially in the acquisi exalt them. The progress of Christians in tion of those brightest distinctions which sanctity and happiness is in no respect can ever adorn it. Still it does improve in more evident than in the perpetual im. them under the gracious influence of provement of their views and regards heaven ; and it is a delightful contempla towards the Redeeiner. By studying his tion to mark the progress both in our own sacred character, and surveying his great minds and in those of others. The light and merciful performances, they gain new of heaven, in its first communications to perceptions of his excellence, feel a more the mind, is often confined to a single solemn repose in his sacrifice, increasing point, and shines upon that with only confidence in his power and mercy, a growbroken and imperfect rays; it is, however, ing conviction of their transcendent oblimost pleasing to observe how gradually it gation to serve and please him, and are extends its dominion from part to part, il prompted to a higher imitation of his luminating the views, brightening the yirtues and love to his name. thoughts, and shedding radiance over the The devotion and love which religion -whole sphere of its movements till the en imparts, however weak and imperfect at lightened spirit becomes full of light. The first, are susceptible of endless enlargesacred influence by which we are saved, in ment; they are the precious rudiments of its earliest visitations to the heart, often an evergrowing excellence, the buds of improduces but a faint and uncertain effect; mortal happiness that open and expand but, by repeated applications, it succeeds through life, and will bloom with perfect in liberating us from base attachments and felicity and beauty in the future world. habits, refines us from the defilements of The most enlightened and diligent Chrisguilt, forms us to real goodness, and raises tian, it is true, has innumerable decays and our best affections to Him on whom they revivals of devotion, his winters and sumwill repose for ever. It would be an mers of piety, which alternately sadden almost endless task to point out the and delight his heart.. Much of his whole of a Christian's progressive spiritual vigour is expended in conflict improvement in all its changes and varie- | with sin, which, but for such an employties. The first perception of the eternity ment of it, might have gone forth in of wonders and glories disclosed by revela devotion and joy. Much of his time and tion is very dim and confined; but by the attention are directed to secular engagereception of new illuminations from above, ments and toils, some portion of which he and by the continued exercise of thought, would be glad to exert on the things of it gradually advances in brightness and heaven. The innumerable frailties of his enlargement, till the magnificent vision nature, the unconquered evils that linger appears in somewhat of its vast reality so in his heart, and the perpetual seductions far as it can be conceived by man: it more of the world, frequently involve him in sin, frequently engages the solemn and pro- | impede his spiritual progress, and cause longed attention of the mind, gains a him to mourn. In general, however, when sovereign ascendency in its contemplations | he is diligent in his holy vocation he ex. and practical regards, moulds the senti- periences a constant improvement in wisments and regulates the conduct in con- | dom, excellence, and peace. Under the formity to itself, reduces this scene of 1 teaching and grace of the Eternal Spirit, earthly things into its just insignificance, he acquires longer and brighter views of and creates more steady and fervent aspira Divine truth, and receives more of its sanctions to attain the felicity it presents. tifying impressions : his heart becomes Thus the perception of the invisible state, more tender and rich with heavenly affecin its amplitude and splendour, its awful tions, his temper is improved in purity and felicitous attractions, grows brighter and mildness, his performance of duties and brighter in a serious mind, till life is more regular and exact, his regard to viewed as a pilgrimage, the world divested divine and invisible things more constant of her charms, and immortality comes to and elevated, his attachment to God and be regarded as all in all. The devotional his service confirmed, his aspirations toaffections and consolatory thoughts, which wards the sanctity and bliss of immortality are the essence of Christian Felicity, are more animated and sincere, his whole