Abbildungen der Seite

it might be conceived, that one so blameless and harmless as Mr. Martyn, so poor in spirit and pure in heart, would pass on his way unassailed by calumny or unkindness. But those who draw their anticipations from the Scripture, will not “marvel” that he should be called to endure unjust insinuations and aspersions, when his whole life was devoted to the welfare of his fellow.creatures; yet " when reviled he reviled not again, but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.' • Is it not sweet, O my soul,” he exclaimed under a trial of this kind,“ to have a holy God to appeal to and converse with, though the world should turn their backs ?" And it should be remarked here, that his patience under the severe and unmerited censures of others was not that which is sometimes mistaken for it, the indifference of apathy, or superciliousness of contempt: the one was abhorrent to his nature, as the other was to the principles of his religion. Censorious tongues were to him as they were to David, “spears and arrows and sharp swords :" so far from being callous to any attempts to wound his character and his peace, he acknowledges that obloquy was a trying exercise of his Cbristian temper, and he considered the dispensation as “ wholesome," be

to be despised by men affected him very deeply.”

6. But the name of the Lord is a strong towerthe righteous runneth into it and is safe.” scious,” said he, “ that I did not deserve the censures that were cast upon me, I committed myself to God, and in him may 1 abide, till the indignation be over


66 Con


Those however, who maligned and traduced Mr. Martyn's character, wounded his spirit far less than those who either scoffed at his high and self-denying designs of usefulness, or from worldly motives discouraged him from attempting their accomplishment. No one could be more ready than he to consider the fittest means for compassing the ends he had in view, and to weigh beforehand the difficulties attending the life of a Missionary, however favoured by external

circumstances. But objections of a contemptuous kind, or those arguments which founded themselves on an ignorance of the very spirit of the Gospel, painfully affected his mind. His reflections after concluding a long discourse with a person who had addressed him with the kindest intentions, but with a judgment unenlightened by that wisdom which is from above, are worth preserving: “All our conversation on the subject of religion ended in nothing. He was convinced he was right, and all the texts i produced were, according to him, applicable only to the times of the Apostles.--How am I constrained to adore God's sovereign mercy! My soul, dost thou not esteem all things but dung and dross for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord? Yea, did not gratitude constrain medid not duty and fear of destructionyet surely the excellency of the service of Christ would constrain me to lay down a thousand lives in the prosecution of it.” When called to encounter the ridicule of those who not knowing the hope of Christ's calling-nor the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints—nor the exceeding greatness of his power towards those who believe-despised all labours of love among the Heathen as wild and visionary; the Lord helped him to keep his ground, and to bear his testimony. 6 With my Bible in my hand, and Christ at my right hand,” said he, “I can do all things—what though the whole world believe not, God abideth true, and my hope in him shall he steadfast.”

In the latter part of the spring of this year, he had the singular satisfaction of being introduced to a personal acquaintance with one of a kindred spirit with himself,--the late Henry Kirke White.-Rare genius, and above all, sterling piety, could not fail of being greatly admired and highly prized by Mr. Martyn; he took consequently the liveliest interest in behalf of that extraordinary young man, and used his utmost endeavours to facilitate his entrance upon that course at college which afterward proved so brilliant and so transient.

The duties of a public examiner in St. John's were now, in the month of June, for the second time consigned to Mr. Martyn ;-the subjects for examination being one of them from the classics,-the other, Locke's Treatise on the Understanding. To those who embark in metaphysical disquisitions it will serve as a matter of caution ;-and to those who are harassed with distressing thoughts it may administer consolation, to recite in Mr. Martyn's own words the exquisite mental sufferings he endured after allowing his mind a range of too unlimited a nature in these abstract questions :-"My soul," he writes, " was filled with greater misery and horror than I ever yet experienced. I know not how to describe my feelings, or how I got into them—but it was after metuphysical inquiries into the nature and end of my Being, and in what consists the happiness of the soul. I was afraid to leave off praying, and went to bed earnestly commending my soul to Christ." I tremble,” said he on the succeeding day, “ to enter into these inquiries, lest my beclouded reason should lead me to the brink of hell. But I know by experience that the spirit of submission and sense of the authority of God is the only state in which I can ever be happy: and precisely in proportion as I depart from that state of things, I am unhappy. And so strong is this sentiment, that were it not my hope that I should one day wholly submit to God and descend to my right place, I would not wish to exist another moment. Mi trust is that God will, according to the riches of his grace in Christ Jesus, enable a poor worm, who groans under pride, to advance steadily and humbly to his end, and preserve him from those dreadful thoughts that almost overwhelm the soul. Thus when in danger of being “spoiled by philosophy," was his soul “upheld by the free Spirit of a faithful God."

It appeared now to be past a doubt, that Mr. Martyn would succeed in obtaining a Chaplainship in the service of the East India Company, and that in the ensuing spring he would be summoned to leave the

shores of his native country for ever. In July, therefore, he visited those scenes which were endeared to him by numberless early associations, and enlivened by the presence of many whom he admired and loved. And here it is due to the full illustration of his Chris. tian character to mention, that it was not merely the ties of family or friendship which bound him to Cornwall; others there were of a tenderer, if not stronger kind; for he had conceived a deeply fixed attachment for one, of whom less ought not, and more cannot be said, than that she was worthy of him : an attachment which, whether he thought, as he afterward did, that it should be encouraged, or as he now did, from peculiar circumstances, that it ought to be repressed, equally exhibits him as a man of God, whose affections were set upon things above, and not on things on the earth.

As this was the first time he had been in Cornwall since his ordination, and the last time he ever expected to visit it, he was extremely anxious to testify the grace of God in his public ministry, whenever he had an opportunity. Such, however, was the prejudice excited against his religious principles, that his labours were almost entirely confined to two churches under the care of his brother-in-law. There he frequently preached, and there both his sisters beard him, the youngest with much delight, the eldest with a most gratifying appearance of having been seriously impressed by what fell from his lips. "I found," said he, that she had been deeply affected, and from her conversation I received great satisfaction--in the evening I walked by the water side till late, having my heart full of praise to God for having given me such hopes of my sister."

To the churches where he preached, the common people crowded in numbers. At Kenwyn, where he addressed them from ? Cor. v. 20, 21. • Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin


for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him ;''—the church was so full, that many were compelled to stand on the outside, and many obliged to go away. How acceptable he was to those who loved and valued the Gospel, may be easily conceived; yet, such was his vigilance of mind and tenderness of conscience, that “ their commendations occasioned him some pain,” inasmuch

they tended to fan the flame of vanity.” The Christian, especially the Christian minister, has to pass through good report and evil repori-and praise is a severer test of the strength of his principles than dispraise. Mr. Martyn ever found it so, and he experienced himself, as well as exemplified to others, the truth of those words of wisdom_" as the fining pot for silver, and the furnace for gold, so is man to his praise." Prov. xxii. 21.

In the private and more retired duties of his calling, he was now, as usual, most unremitting in his attention; these, in fact, were to him the most delightful parts of his vocation. Happier would he have esteemed it, as far as his personal feelings were concerned, to kneel as he did frequently with his youngest sister, beside the beds of the sick and dying, than to have had the largest churches in his native country thronged with multitudes attentive to hear him: he was of the spirit of that Redeemer, who sought to be hid whilst he went about doing good.

His habits of reading and prayer, and particularly those of divine meditation, were in no degree relaxed during this visit, and the less so, because he acknowledges that “he felt an increased difficulty of living in communion, with God, where so many remembered him a different character.” The solitude of the spot where he resided was happily fitted for contemplation :--- The scene," he wrote in a letter to a friend from Lamorran, "is such as is frequently to be met with in this part of Cornwall. Below the house is an arm of the sea flowing between the hills, which are covered with wood. By the side of this water I walk

« ZurückWeiter »