Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

"I am,

was ever cheerful, punctual, just, and candid to persons of every denom. ination. He sometimes met with very cross occurrences; but he ever rose above them: he was never known to be in a passion.

His humility rendered him invulnerable. When he was misrepresented and caluminated, he used to say: "Our enemies are sometimes our best friends, and tell us useful truths; and then we should amend our faults, and be thankful for such information. If what they say be not true, and spoken from malice only, then such persons are to be considered as diseased in their minds, and ought to be prayed for. They are to be pitied; and I might as justly be angry with men who are diseased in their bodies." All this he spoke with humility, seriousness, and great sweetness of spir. it: for it was the language of his heart, and not of affectation.

In actions of benevolence and charity, though he had some equals, it is certain that he had no superiors, as far as his means extended. He preferred clothing the poor, and supplying them with necessary articles, on the best terms, to giving them money. ." said he“ God's steward for the poor; and I must husband the little pittance I have to bestow upon them, and make it go as far as possible.” But, on special occasions, when money would be particularly useful, he would give to a prudent housekeeper distressed by sickuess or misfortunes, five or more guineas at a time; and he was, on all proper occasions, careful that it should not be known from whom the money came.

By his last will he bequeathed the future profits of all his works, to benevolent uses ; except his " Meditations," the copy of which he sold during his lifetime, and applied the sums arising from its sale and former impressions, amounting to about seven hundred pounds, to the relief of the poor and distressed. He said that this money was devoted to God; and that he would, on no account, apply it to worldly uses; that be wrote, not for profit or fame, but to serve the cause of religion; and as Providence had blessed his attempts, he thought himself bound to relieve the distresses of his fellow-creatures, with the product of his labors.

The cultivation of real religion and holiness, in heart and life, which tbis good man strenuously recominended, induced some persons to charge him with holding tenets injurious to society, and calculated to make men melancholy, and regardless of the lawful concerns of this world. But every charge of this nature, is abundantly refuted by his writings, and the whole tenor of his life; and particularly by an excellent and striking passage, in his "Contemplations of the Starry Heavens ;" from which the following lines are extracted :

“Some, I believe, are apt to imagine, that they must abandon all the satisfactions of this world, if they become zealous candidates for the felicity of another. But this is a very mistaken notion. Religion was never intended to strike off the wheels of business, or to cut asunder the sinews of industry; but rather, to make men industrious from a principle of conscience, not from the instigations of avarice; that so they may promote their immortal happiness, even while they provide for their temporal maintenance. It has no design to extirpate our passions, but only to restrain their irregularities : neither would it extinguish the delights of sense, but prevent them from evaporating into vanity, and subsiding into gall. A person may be cheerful among his friends, and yet joyful

[ocr errors]

in God. He may taste the sweets of this earthly estate ; and, at the same time, cherish his hopes of a nobler inheritance in heaven."

Though this siucere Christian was ardent and laborious, in serving his Great Master, and in promoting the religious welfare of his fellowcreatures; yet he had a very humble sense of his own services; and expressed to his friends, during his indisposition, great regret that he bad not embraced every opportunity afforded him, to advance the cause of his Redeemer. These expressions were made with much tenderness of spirit, and were accompanied with tears. But lest bis sentiments and views should be ministerpreted, he added: “Do not think, that I am afraid to die. I assure you, I am not. I know what my Saviour bath done for me, and I long to be dismissed. But I wonder at the love of Christ, in doing so much for me; and lament to think how little I have done for him."

On a particular occasion, when his physician was taking his leare, he observed to him, with great affection and sensibility, that as he had, not long before, a dangerous fall from his horse, by which he was much bruised ; and as he had been lately ill, and then looked very pale; he hoped he would reflect on those narrow escapes, so often fatal to others. as a kind of warning from God to him, and remember them as such; adding “How careful ought we to be, to improve those years which remain FOR US!"

The last illness of this truly excellent man commenced in the autumn of the year 1758 ; and, in a few months, made a great and effecting progress. His strength became exhausted, his body extremely emaciated, and his whole frame so sore, that he could scarely bear to be touched, when it was necessary to move him. Yet, under all this calamity, be was ever praising God for his mercies, aud for endowing him with patience. About three hours before his death, he strongly and affectionately urged a friend of his who was present, to pay all due attention to the care of his everlasting concenrs, as here there is no abiding place, no continuing city. He entreated him not to be overcharged with the cares of this life ; but to attend, amidst the multiplicity of his business, to the "one thing needful.” The physician observing the great difficulty and pain with which he spoke, (for he was almost suffocated with phlegm and frequent vomitings,) and perceiving by his pulse, that the pangs of death were coming on, desired that he would spare himself. “ No," said he, “doctor no. You tell me I have but a few moments to live : O ! let me spend them in adoring our great Redeemer.” He then repeated the 26th verse of the 73d psalm : “Though my flesh and my heart fail me, yet God is the strengh of my heart, and my portion for ever :" and he expaciated in a most striking manner, on these words of the Apostle : All things are yours, life and death ; for ye are Christ's." “Here,” said-he, “is the treasure of a Christian. Death is reckoned in this inventory; and a noble treasure it is. How thankful am I for death, as it is the passage through which I go to the Lord and Giver of eternal life ; and as it frees me from all the misery you now see me endure, and which I am willing to endure, as long as God thinks fit : for I know he will, by-and-by, in his own good time, dismiss me from the body. These light afflictions are but for a moment, and then comes an eternal weight of glory. 0! welcome, welcome death! Thou mayest well be reckon

66

ed among the treasures of the Christian. To live is Christ, but to die is gain."

After these expressions, as the doctor was taking his final leave of him, the dying saint expressed great gratitude for his visits and attentions, though it had been long out of the power of medicines to cure him. He then paused a little ; and being raised in his chair, he, with great serenity and sweetness of countenance, though the pangs of death were upon him, repeated these words : Lord, now lettest thy servant de part in peace, according to thy most holy and comfortable word, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation."

In about an hour after he had uttered these expressions, he yielded up his pious soul to God, without a sigh or struggle, in the forty-fifth year

of his age.

WINTER EVENINGS AND YOUNG MEN.

BY THE EDITOR.

We confess that we have for years had many earnest thoughts in regard to young men, Our concern for this class of society was lately freshened in the following way: We were riding in a crowded car, and thus got to be seated beside a respectable and rather intelligent married lady. Before us were some four young men, none of whom seemed entirely sober, and two of them so much under the influence of liquor as actually to demean themselves quite foolishly. This circumstance turned our conversation on the young men of the present day. The lady resided in a village of about 2,500 inhabitants, some miles before us on the railroad. She remarked that she could not call to mind a single young man of her acquaintance in that place who did not occasionally besot himself with strong drink, or who could be regarded as strictly and conscientiously sober and regular in his moral habits.

This may be an extreme case, and no doubt it is ; for, to our own knowledge, the place referred to is somewhat noted for wickedness, and the absence of high-toned moral and religious influence. Yet is it not: only too true, that as a general thing, there is of late years a great sinking in the moral tone of our young men? There is much less taste among them for the quiet, pure and elevating enjoyments of social life than formerly; and much more of what, for want of a word, we will call rowdyishness--a bold, irresponsible, daring spirit, which cares little to preserve that good name which is the greatest treasure a young man can possess. We know there are exceptions, and wish by no means to speak sweepingly; but that the tendency to evil which we have indicated is strong and increasing must be clear to all reflecting minds.

Young men who are already drawn into this current of evil may not listen to any words of concern which we may atter ; but our hope is, that such as have preserved their innocence, and are still in the ways of virtue and peace, may be benefited by advice and warning.

It is a fact too often overlooked, that side by side with our advantages always lie also our temptations and dangers. How easily may our blessings be turned into curses. Thus with the leisure and opportunities for mutual improvement afforded by the long winter evenings, come also various allurements to vanity and dissipation. Hence it is necessary for all such as would not be drawn from the right path to stand firmly and on their guard.

What a charm there is in winter evenings to such as are disposed to improve the opportunities they afford! Everything invites to in-door life, the calm, pure joys of the social circle, and the elevating influences of reading and study. What a difference between the reading-room and the billiard-room; between the library and the saloon; between the parlor and the ball-room! Not only does the proper use of these long winter evenings afford superior present pleasure, but is also mighty in its prospective bearings on after life.

on after life. As "the child is father of the man," so youth determines the character of middle life ; middle life furnishes its good or evil to old age; and, in general, this life nurses the joys or sorrows of the next. “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall be also reap. If he sow to the flesh, he shall of the flesh reap corruption; and if he sow to the Spirit, he shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." How true, and truly solemn is this declaration of divine truth. A proverb says, "A man is known by the company he keeps;" and another, which has received divine sanction, declares that “Evil communications corrupt good manners." These sayings ought, especially in the present state of society, to be well pondered by the young. We have found, in our pastoral experience, that in nine cases out of ten, when a young member of the church grows careless, and is found in the wrong way, it is the result of falling into the wrong company. Just as soon as a young person begins to "walk in the counsels of the ungodly," or to “stand in the way of sinners,” or to “sit in the seat of the scornful,” he is in a current of evil, broader, deeper, stronger than himself, and is in great danger of final ruin.

Young man, and young woman, choose your company-we repeat it, choose your company ! "Can á man take fire in his bosom, and bis clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned ?" He that walketh with the wise shall be wise; and he that walketh with the pure and good, shall be pure and good. If society around you does not furnish you with good company, choose rather to have none; and resort to the communion of good books. They will speak to you; they will instruct you; they will afford you something far better than mere pastime. Let the wisdom of other ages guide you. Let those noble spirits, who triumphed over the corruptions of the age in which they lived, and whose names, while those of the wicked in their day have rotted into forgetfulness, stand out to the world as the stars in the firmament; let them be your companions and your bosom friends. If you but will, they will come at your call

silent company” during these quiet winter evenings, and tell you how they escaped the pollutions that are in the world by sin, and have attained to glory, and honor, and immortality. If you will be wise, follow diligently in the way of their example, that you may come at last into their joy.

your

"into

[blocks in formation]

He saw,

A countryman saddled his horse for a ride into town.

it is true, before he mounted the horse, that at one of the hoofs a nail was wanting; but he said : "one nail is of no account,” and rode on.

After a while his horse lost one shoe. “If there were a blacksmithshop near," he said, "I would have a shoe put on again; but it matters not, three shoes will answer all present purposes."

But on the stony road the horse injured his hoof, and began to limp. Two robbers sprang forth from the wood to rob the rider. With his lame borse be could not escape, and they took from him his horse, saddle, bridle, and saddle-bags.

As he now returned home on foot, he said : “Little did I think that on account of one horse-shoe nail I would lose my horse. It is true as the proverb says—and it applies as truly to the things of the future life as it does to the present

“ A small neglect in little things,
Ofttimes the greatest evil brings.”

LVI-THE BROKEN HORSE-SHOE.

A farmer went into the country with his little son Thomas. “See,” said the father, on the way, “here lies a piece of a horse-shoe in the road! Pick it up, and put it into your pocket. “O," said Thomas, this is not worth the trouble of picking up!” The father silently picked ap the broken shoe and put it in his pocket. In the next village he sold it to the blacksmith for three pennies, and with the money bought cherries.

Both traveled on. The sun was very hot_far and near there was no house, no tree, no spring to be seen. Thomas was nearly perishing with thirst, and scarcely able to keep up with his father.

At length, as if by accident, the father dropped a cherry. Thomas picked it up with eagerness as if it were gold, and quietly put it into his mouth. Several steps farther on the father dropped another cherry, Thomas picked it up with the same eagerness. In this way the father dropped all the cherries for Thomas to pick up.

When now the stock of cherries was run out, and Thomas had eaten the last, the father turned back to his son, smilingly, and said: “See, my son, if you had stooped once for the broken horse-shoe, you would not have had to stoop a hundred times for the cherries."

“Who will not care for smallest things,
Upon him grentest trouble brings."

« ZurückWeiter »