Imatges de pàgina
[ocr errors][merged small]

ing upward, but cannot reach the glorious light, the blessed knowledge, the perfect love for which it longeth; yet by its eye, its aim, its motions, its means, its groans, I know its meaning, where it would be, and I know its end. My displaced soul will never be well, till it come near to thee, till it know thee better, till it love thee more. It loves itself, and justifieth that self-love, when it can love thee: it loaths itself and is weary of itself, as a lifeless burthen, when it feels no pantings after thee. Wert thou to be found in the most solitary desert, it would seek thee; or in the uttermost parts of the earth, it would make after thee: thy presence makes a crowd à church: thy converse maketh a closet, or solitary wood, or field, to be kin to the angelical choir. The creature were dead if thou wert not its life; and ugly, if thou wert not its beauty; and insignificant, if thou wert not its sense. The soul is deformed which is without thine image; and lifeless, which liveth not in love to thee; if love be not its pulse, and prayer, and praise, its constant breath; the mind is unlearned which heedeth' not thy name on all the world, and seeth not “ Holiness to the Lord," engraven upon the face of every creature. He doteth that doubteth of thy being, or perfections, and he dreameth who doth not live to thee. O'let me have no other portion; no reason, no love, no life, but what is devoted to thee, employed on thee, and for thee here, and shall be per. fected in thee, the only perfect final object for evermore. Upon the holy altar erected by thy Son, and by his hands and his mediation, I humbly devote and offer thee this heart : oh that I could say with greater feeling, this flaming, loving, longing, heart! But the sacred fire which must kindle on my sacrifice must come from thee, it will not else ascend unto thee; let it consume this dross, so the nobler part may know its home. All that I can say to commend it to thine acceptance is, that I hope it is washed in precious blood, and that there is something in it that is thine own ; it still looketh towards thee, and groaneth to thee, and followeth after thee, and will be content with gold, and mirth, and honor, and such inferior fooleries no more; it lieth at thy doors, and will be entertained or perish. Though alas, it loves thee not as it would, I boldly say, it longs to love thee, it loves to love thee; it seeks, it craves no greater blessed. ness than perfect, endless, mutual love. It is vowed to thee, even to thee alone, and will never take up with shadows more, but is resolved to lie down in sorrow and despair, if thou wilt not be its rest and joy. It hateth itself for loving thee no more, accounting no want, deformity, shame, or pain so great and grievous a calamity.

For thee the glorious, blessed God, it is that I come to Jesus Christ : if he did not reconcile my guilty soul to thee, and did not teach it the heavenly art and work of love, by the sweet communications of thy love, he could be no Saviour for me. Thou art my only ultimate end; it is only a guide and way to thee that my anxious soul hath so much studied; and none can teach me rightly to know thee, and to love thee, and to live to thee, but thyself ; it must be a teacher sent from thee, that must conduct me to thee. I have long looked round about me in the world, to see if there were a more lucid religion, from whence thy will and glory might be better seen, than that in which my lot is fallen : but no traveller I can speak with, no book which I have turned over, no creature which I can see, doth tell me more than Jesus Christ. I can find no way so suitable to my soul, no medicine so fitted to my misery, no bellows so fit to kindle love, as faith in Christ, the glass and messenger of thy love. I see no doctrine so divine and heavenly, as bearing the image and superscription of God; nor any so fully confirmed and delivered by the attestation of thy own omnipotency; nor any which so purely pleads thy cause, and calls the soul from self and vanity, and condemns its sin, and purifieth it, and


leadeth it directly unto thee ; and though my former ignorance disabled me to look back to the ages past, and to see the methods of thy providence, and when I look into thy word, disabled me from seeing the beauteous methods of thy truth ; thou hast given me a glimpse of clearer light, which hath discovered the reasons and methods of grace, which I then discerned not; and in the midst of my most hideous temptations and perplexed thoughts, thou keptest alive the root of faith, and keptest alive the love to thee and unto holiness which it had kindled. Thou hast mercifully given me the witness in myself; not an unreasonable persuasion in my mind, but that renewed nature, those holy and heavenly desires and delights, which sure can come from none but thee. And O how much more have I perceived in many of thy servants than in myself; thou hast cast my lot among the souls whom Christ hath healed; I have daily conversed with those whom he hath raised from the dead. I have seen the power of thy gospel upon sinners. All the love that ever I perceived kindled towards thee, and all the true obedience that ever I saw performed to thee, hath been effected by the word of Jesus Christ. How oft hath His Spirit helped me to pray! And how often hast thou heard those prayers ! What pledges hast thou given to my staggering faith, in the works which prayer hath procured, both for myself and many others? And if confidence in Christ be yet deceit, must Í not say that thou hast deceived me; who I know canst neither be deceived, or by any falsehood or seduction deceive?

On thee therefore, O my dear Redeemer, do I cast and trust this sinful soul! with thee and with thy Holy Spirit I renew my covenant ; I know 10 other; I have no other: I can have no other Saviour but thyself. To thee I deliver up this soul which thou hast redeemed, not to be advanced to the wealth, and honors, and pleasures of this world, but to be delivered from them, and to be healed of sin, and brought to God, and to be saved from this present evil world, which is the portion of the ungodly and unbelievers, to be washed in thy blood, and illuminated, quickened, and confirmed by thy Spirit, and conducted in the ways of holiness and love, and at last to be presented justified and spotless to the Father of Spirits, and possessed of the glory which thou hast promised. O thou that hast prepared so dear a medicine for the cleansing of polluted guilty souls, leave not this unwor. thy soul in its guilt, or in its pollution. oo thou that knowest the Father, and his will, and art nearest to him, and most beloved of him, cause me in my degree to know the Father; acquaint me with so much of his will as concerneth my duty, or my just encouragement: leave not my soul to grope in darkness, seeing thou art the Sun and Lord of light. O'heal my estranged thoughts of God. Is he my Light and Life, and all my hope ? And must I dwell with him for ever, and yet shall I know him no better than this ? Shall I learn no more that have such a teacher? And shall I get no nearer Him, while I have a Saviour and a Head so near? O give my faith a clearer prospect into that better world, and let me not be so much unacquainted with the place in which I must abide for ever. And as thou hast prepared a heaven for holy souls, prepare this too unprepared soul for heaven which hath not long to stay on earth ; and when at death I resign it into thy hands, receive it as thineown, and finish the work which thou hast begun, in placing it among the blessed spirits, who are filled with the sight and love of God. I trust thee living, let me trust thee dying, and never be ashamed of my trust.

And unto thee, the eternal Holy Spirit, proceeding from the Father and the Son, the communicative love, who condescendest to make perfect the elect of God, do I deliver up this dark imperfect soul, to be further renewed, confirmed, and perfected, according to the Holy Covenant

. Refuse not to bless it with thine indwelling and operations ; quicken it

[ocr errors]

with thy life; irradiate it by thy light; sanctify it by thy love; actu. ate it purely, powerfully, and constantly by thy holy motions. And though the way of this thy sacred influx be beyond the reach of human apprehension, yet let me know the reality and saving power of it by the happy effects. Thou art more to souls, than souls to bodies, than light to eyes. O leave not my soul as a carrion, destitute of thy life; nor its eyes as useless, destitute of thy light; nor leave it as a senseless block, with. out thy motion. The remembrance of what I was without thee doth make me fear lest thou shouldest withhold thy grace. Alas I feel, I daily feel, that I am dead to all good, and all that is good is dead to me, if thou be not the life of all. Teachings and reproofs, mercies and corrections, yea, the gospel itself, and all the liveliest books and sermons are dead to me, because I am dead to them: yea God is as no God to me, and heaven as no heaven, and Christ as no Christ, and the dearest evidences of Scripture verity are as no proofs at all, if thou represent them not with light and power to my soul, even as all the glory of the world is as nothing to me without the light by which it is seen. O thou that hast begun, and given me those heavenly intimations and desires which flesh and blood could never give me, suffer not my folly to quench these sparks, nor this brutish flesh to prevail against thee, nor the powers of hell to stifle and kill such a heavenly seed. O pardon that folly and wilfulness which hath too often, too obdurately, and toounthankfully striven against thy grace, and depart not from an un kind and sinful soul. I remember with grief and shame how I wilfully bore down thy motions ; punish it not with desertion, and give me not over to myself. Art thou not in covenant with me, as my sanctifier, and confirmer, and comforter ? I never undertook to do these things for myself, but I consent that thou shouldst work them on me. As thou art the agent and advocate of Jesus my Lord, O plead his cause effectually in my soul, against the suggestions of Satan and my unbelief, and finish his healing, saving work, and let not the flesh or world prevail. Be in me the resident witness of my Lord, the author of my prayers, the Spirit of adoption, the seal of God, and the earnest of my inheritance. Let not my nights be so long, and my days so short, nor sin eclipse those beams which have often illuminated my soul. Without thee books are senseless scrawls, studies are dreams, learning is a glow-worm, and wit is but wantonness, impertinency, and folly. I'ran. scribe those sacred precepts on my heart, which by thy dictates and inspirations are recorded in thy holy word. O refuse not thy help for tears and groans ; but O shed abroad that love upon my heart which may keep it in a continual life of love. And teach me the work which I must do in heaven; refresh my soul with the delights of holiness, and the joys which arise from the believing hopes of the everlasting joys. Exercise my heart and tongue in the holy praises of my Lord. Strengthen me in sufferings, and conquer the terrors of death and hell. Make me the more heavenly, by how much the faster I am hastening to heaven ; and let my last thoughts, words, and works on earth, be likest to those which shall be my first in the state of glorious immortality; where the kingdom is delivered up to the Father, and God will for ever be All, and in Ail: of whom, and through whom, and to whom are all things, to whom be glory for ever.


III.--Native Education with or without Religion, No. I. In our last number we pledged ourselves to enter upon the discussion of the great question of Education with or without Religion, and now, after making a few preliminary observations, we shall proceed to redeem our pledge.

[ocr errors]

The present

[ocr errors]

In the first place we wish it to be clearly understood, that we do not profess to treat the subject in a learned manner. era of the history of India is essentially one of action and not of speculation. Physically speaking, the people are poor, and capital so scarce and valuable, that those whose object it is to acquire wealth become engrossed in business before they have half finished their education ; and, morally speaking, the minds of the people of India are starving for want of sound knowledge ; while those who are in a condition to assist them are so few in number, and their time is for the most part so much occupied with other indispensable duties, that every moment becomes of value. This is particularly the case in respect to our up-country friends, for whose inspection these papers are principally intended. Some of our readers may have heard of the plan they have in Holland of making an incorrigibly idle convict work; they put him in a cistern into which a stream of water is turned, and he is then told to pump or be drowned. This is exactly the case of the great body of officers in civil employ throughout the country : their business is always neck high, and, if they were not perpetually pumping, it must soon fill their noses and mouths, and make an end of them. To philanthropists so situated it would obviously be quite out of place to enter upon an exposition of theoretical principles, backed by numerous learned arguments.

India wants no more philosophers according to Adam Smith's definition, “ Persons who speculate upon every thing and do nothing.” The men of the age must be men who are guilty of the glorious avarice of time, who know how to raise a royal tribute from the poorest hours, and to make every moment pay. Experience therefore, and not learning, practice and not theory, will form the basis of our present correspondence with our friends.

Happily also the subject is of that nature as to be directly resolvable into a mere question of experience. It has long been settled by the concurrence of the great body of thinking people throughout the world, that man is a religious animal, and requires for his well-being, even in this life, the hopes and motives derived from a future state of existence. We will also take it for granted that Christianity is the only true religion, for although some yet hesitate to come to this conclusion, yet the truth of Christianity is admitted by so vast a majority of the persons who are qualified to form an opinion that it may fairly be adopted as an axiom. Even if it were otherwise, the subject has been completely exhausted in numerous volumes written on both sides of the question, and the time of inquirers would be much better employed in consulting them with a view to the formation of a deliberate judgment, than in engaging in a controversy in the course of which the subject would only be partially developed, and the heats and animosities generated by which would form a serious obstacle to arriv.

[ocr errors]

ing at an impartial conclusion. We shall therefore take the truth of Christianity for granted, and, admitting it to be true, every body must allow that it is a duty to extend the knowledge and practice of it. The sincere Christian will allow this, because our Saviour's last commands laid a solemn injunction upon his followers to extend to all mankind the blessings which had been communicated to them; and having delivered to sinful man the message of peace, and reconciliation of the world to God, he left the outward operation of it to human agency, with a promise of the Divine blessing upon the means employed. The philanthropist, or the mere man of natural benevolence, will also allow it, because, admitting Christianity to be true, he must also admit that it is a system adequate for the eradication of sin with all the variety of evils flowing from it, and the restoration of the world to a state of purity and innocence; and therefore, according to his own principles, he is bound to propagate it. It is a useful end, and a philanthropic object to extend the influence of Christianity, and therefore, every philanthropist who admits its truth is, ipso facto, a Christian missionary, whether he himself feels the power of religion, and yields obedience to its dictates as far as his own conduct is concerned, or not. Every lover of order and good faith, and the common principles of morality which bind society together, must be of the same opinion; and, in fact, no person, who once admits that Christianity is trce, can be opposed to its extension throughout the world ; except the

person who is guilty of a criminal neglect of a rule of life, the divine obligation of which is acknowledged by him, the misanthrope, and the enemy to all civil order and propriety of conduct.

A proper regard for these considerations will tend greatly to simplify the subject in hand. The expediency of the plan is fully admitted, and the point under discussion relates to the particular mode of its application. The question at issue is not whether true religion be a good thing or not, but merely how true religion can best be introduced. We agree entirely as to the end, and differ only as to the subordinate question of the means.

The entire coincidence of opinion which subsists between the two parties on many very important points constitutes a peculiarly gratifying feature of the present correspondence, and before entering upon the discussion of the matters in which we differ from our friends, we must be allowed to indulge for a while in the pleasing task of recapitulating those in which we agree with them. ' In the first place, we join in a common protest against the propagation of error, under whatever guise it may be introduced ; and we both strongly reprobate the proceedings of the General Committee of Public Instruction, so far as that body, with funds appropriated by the Government of Great Britain for the sublime purpose of introducing the light of European knowledge into these vast possessions, has through the publication, with these

« AnteriorContinua »