Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

enjoy under the British constitution? If we do, we are traitors to our country. Here, then, in the matters stated, we think we have, as British subjects, broad and consistent ground for a constitutional resistance to Papal aggression. Without committing ourselves to any approval of the National Establishment, without any persecution of the Roman Catholics, without any infringement of the rights of conscience, and without any sort of compromise of our principles as dissenters, we may and ought to petition the legislature to resist the Papal aggression. While we are bound to allow liberty of conscience to the Roman Catholics, we are equally bound to protect our own civil and religious liberties from being undermined and destroyed by popish machinations and usurpations.

We are aware it may be said, that the Cardinal would take the oath of allegiance to our Queen; but what matters this, when he has already sworn allegiance to another sovereign, to whom he acknowledges higher obedience, and whose right and power he admits to absolve him from his allegiance to our sovereign? His oath of allegiance to the British Queen is not worth a rush, when he acknowledges it can any moment be cancelled by the Pope. It is impossible his office can be allowed to he sustained in this country compatibly with the security of a Protestant throne or the liberties of Protestant subjects, and it must therefore be resisted.

But what are our duties as Christians? What does our allegiance to Christ and his cause demand from us at the present time? Some may hold the opinion that the preceding course of duty is required by our allegiance to Christ; and we, indeed, have the same view; but in reference to the following duties there can be no diversity of sentiment.

1. Let us humble ourselves before God, that in time past we have done comparatively so little to arrest the progress of error and sin. There is great cause for abasement. We have, alas! been very

unfaithful.

2. Let us give ourselves to earnest prayer, both for pardon for our supineness and unfaithfulness, and for the special interposition of Divine Providence and grace, to avert from our favoured land the threatened curse of popery and infidelity.

3. Let us solemnly dedicate ourselves afresh to God, devoting to his service every talent and energy we possess, and resolve to labour more fully with singleness of eye and heart, and with self-sacrificing zeal, to promote the Divine glory and the salvation of precious souls.

4. Let us endeavour in all our labours to cherish in our hearts an entire reliance on God alone for success, and believingly expect the promised agency of his Holy Spirit.

5. Let us make our people more thoroughly acquainted with the nature and importance of truth, and the baleful tendency of religious error, teaching them the immense importance of their privileges, and the duty of gratefully estimating them as above all price.

6. Let our youth be more thoroughly instructed both in the doctrines of evangelical religion and in the principles of religious liberty. The history of the struggles of truth against papal error, and the real character and history of Popery, should be clearly unfolded to them, that they may grow up with an intelligent conviction as to the essential

evils of Popery, and the vital importance of the faith once delivered to the saints.

The duties now set forth we would urge with all possible earnestness and affection; and we would faithfully press them upon ourselves as well as others. In words we employed on a former occasion, we would remark in conclusion. Brethren, every aspect in which the truth can be viewed, reflects its infinite importance, and gives us to see the solemn duty of the Church to preserve and defend it. It was given by God, and his condescension and mercy in bestowing the precious treasure challenge our gratitude and fidelity to preserve it pure and untarnished. God commands the Church to hold it fast, and threatens to punish its betrayal with the most terrible infliction of his displeasure. The history of the Church in all ages lifts up a loud and admonitory call to Christians of the present day, to preserve unalloyed the truth entrusted to our care. When that truth has been betrayed, awful have been the consequences inflicted. Monstrous errors have grown luxuriant, and the Church for ages has been more like a noxious wilderness than the garden of the Lord. When the light of truth has been forsaken, the light of the Spirit has been judicially withdrawn, and centuries of midnight darkness have rested on the nations. The Church has slumbered and the world has perished. How often has this dark scene been repeated in the history of the Church! Surely such events should teach us wisdom. The sad experience of past ages is recorded for our learning. This fact augments the weight of our responsibility, and should excite us to vigilance, to fidelity, to zeal for the truth of God, lest we fall after the same example of unbelief, and our apathy entail upon ourselves and future generations the curse of a corrupted faith, or the scourge of a licentious infidelity.

The blood of martyrs challenges our fidelity. Every martyr has attested his love for the truth, and his high sense of its importance, by dying for it. Ardently as he loved his friends, his children, his partner, he loved the truth still more, and reckoned life itself but a trifle compared with its worth. Multitudes have died to revive the truth, as well as to preserve it, for fearful have been the struggles to restore the sacred treasure when once it has been lost. Though it has descended to us free as the light of heaven, and as cheap, not costing us a tear or a pang, it has cost former ages torrents of precious blood, and myriads of valuable lives. Our forefathers fought the good fight of faith, and we enjoy the blessings they won. Can we forget this? They endured reproach, confiscation, banishment, and death, to restore forgotten truths, and transmit them to their children. Can we forget this? Can we look with apathy and indifference on a treasure which cost them such a sacrifice to procure for us? Can we, Judas-like, treacherously betray the interests of truth into the hands of Popery and infidelity? We cannot. We will Our gratitude to former ages, our veneration to departed worth, our fidelity to God, and our personal interest in the truth, conspire to forbid it.

An enlightened regard to our pcsterity conspires with all other motives to urge us to be faithful to our trust. We occupy an important position. We stand between two generations: the one is passing away, and will soon disappear; the other is rising up, and will soon fill the spheres we now occupy. The interim presents a fearful struggle between

truth and error, betwixt Christianity and Popery, and on the vigilance, the consistency, and faithfulness of those now in the bloom and vigour of life on the fidelity of those especially whose judgment, character, and talents qualify them to influence public opinion, to guide and control the minds of the present generation, the welfare of future ages greatly depends. The rising generation will be cast into the mould of the prevailing sentiments and principles of the times we live in. This is the crisis, and our conduct in it will give a character and complexion to future ages and generations. If we betray the truth which God has committed to our trust, which Providence has solemnly charged us to keep, which the souls of myriads of martyrs lying under the altar call upon us to preserve entire, which the pages of past history admonish us to hold fast, which all the interests of religion command us to retain, then black will be our ingratitude to God, treacherous will be our conduct to all our worthy ancestors, and murderous will be our conduct to our children and generations yet unborn. We entail upon posterity the leprosy of our unbelief and apostasy; we infect the atmosphere which they have to breathe; we poison the fountains they have to drink; we intercept the heavenly rays which were intended to enlighten and save them, and involve them in the malaria of pestiferous delusions and damnable heresies; we throw society back; we postpone the day of millennial glory, and originate events which may introduce again the darkest and bloodiest scenes which have yet transpired in the history of our world. On the other hand, if faithful to God and his cause, we shall prove ourselves worthy of the times we live in-worthy of our noble-minded ancestors, and of the trust Providence has committed to

us.

The truth will be preserved, the designs of the enemy defeated. and the benevolent purposes of God accomplished. Our posterity, too, will bless us, and will enter into the inheritance of our privileges and our labours. The impulse given to truth and religion in the past century, will be accelerated and extended in this, and the momentum will be transmitted to future ages. The triumphs of the cross will be advanced. Science, and art, and commerce, and all the secular advan tages of this enterprizing age, will be made subservient to the great interests of religion and the conversion of the world. The earth will help the woman. The operations of Providence will promote the purposes of grace; and that blessed era will draw near when the truth shall be everywhere triumphant, when all the enemies of the gospel shall bow before its power, and the whole earth shall be filled with the glory of God. Then let us gird up the loins of our minds, put on the whole armour of God, and fight the good fight of faith. EDITOR.

A CURE FOR POACHING.

A few days since, a member of a fishing club visited one of the preserves in the iver Trent. The keeper's son accosted him and said,

Sir, I have some good news to tell you. We shall have no more poaching in the back waters this season; for three of the worst poachers, who

have been many times before the magistrates and in prison, have turned Methodists, for I heard them praying last night at the prayer meeting; they mind their work now, never go to the ale-house, and they go to chapel. We shall have no more poaching, sir."

PRECIOUS RELICS OF THE LATE ROBERT HALL, Esq,,

FORMERLY OF BASFORD, AND LATTERLY OF SNENTON, NEAR NOTTINGHAM,

Being Extracts of Letters addressed to his Nephew, Rev. Thomas Keyworth, in the years 1822, 1823, and 1824, three or fours years before his Death.

"The righteous shall be had in everlasting remembrance."
"Gather up the fragments, that nothing be lost."

I have ventured to call these extracts "Precious Relics," since, independently of the highly esteemed character of him who wrote them, they cannot but be valued by all who have tasted that the Lord is gracious; and, brief as they are, I cannot but hope that they will be the means of stirring up the holy fire in many a reader, and especially in all who knew my esteemed relative.

Almost thirty years, the period of a whole generation, have passed away since these letters were written; but I trust that the members of the Methodist New Connexion have yet some affectionate remembrance of one who took a very active and prominent part in the early struggles of that day, which gave birth to a body and principles of government which appear to be more than ever attracting the attention of the advocates of religious liberty.

To those who knew Mr. Hall, the cast of thought and cheerful play of language will doubtless place him as he used to appear in his latter days; while the expressions of his feelings when disclosing without reserve the happy intercourse of his soul with God, will I trust excite his relatives, friends, and all who read, to emulate his example and to follow him as he followed Christ. THOS. KEYWORTH.

Aston Tirrold, Berks, Nov. 5th, 1850.

TO THE REV. THOMAS KEYWORTH.

DEAR THOMAS,-If you come, on the plan you proposed in your last, with a gig, and take the road you mentioned, my cottage at Snenton is exactly in your way. If I am informed of your coming, I will meet you a mile or two on the road, mounted on my gallant pony. You may take a little refreshment with us, and proceed to Basford, to which place I will follow you the next morning.

I cannot say that I am much pleased with the plan of travelling mentioned in your last,-that of a horse and chaise. I have known so many accidents by the overthrow of chaises by inexperienced drivers. I have driven some thousands of miles, but never had any accident of that kind. The gig driver should have the pre-requisite which is so absolutely necessary for the Christian traveller (through all his journey), namely, patience. He should always be contented to wait a minute or more, rather than contend with any other carriage on the road. Profit by this, and show yourself to be a Christian traveller.

I often say,

You will find me much reduced, since you last saw me. I am a wonder to myself, at once so very well and so very ill. But after all, when I strike a balance of comforts and afflictions, I find it so highly in favour of the debtor side (comforts), that I have sufficient

NN

ground for gratitude and thankfulness; and on taking a view of all the mercies I am favoured with, I feel much inclined to say with the prophet, "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God, for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, and covered me with the robe of righteousness." I know, my good friend, that I am not "casting pearls before swine" when I speak freely to you, and therefore I take freedoms before you I would not do to every one. The Lord has for some time back wonderfully replenished my soul with his love, and increased my faith and confidence in him. In short, I may say, without the least exaggeration, that I have long enjoyed the decisive witness (abiding witness) of the Spirit. I find no seasons so comfortable to me as those I spend in private prayer. I have formerly observed these seasons too much from a sense of duty rather than from delight, but I am now never weary of them, till sleep intrudes itself on my devotional moments. Perhaps I may look on the state I now enjoy as preparatory to the great event, when this mortal shall put on immortality.

I am obliged to live very abstemiously. My worthy son-in-law, Mr. Higginbottom, says much depends upon that with me. I laughingly tell him and others, that I am a lineal descendant of Jonadab, the son of Rechab; (Jer. xxxv. ;) and that they need not have the least apprehension of my taking the liberties forbidden by my ancestors. Mr. Attenborrow, the surgeon, told me very gravely one day, that I must leave off drinking. I as gravely told him, I could not possibly do that.

And now, my good lad, I have little more to add. Live in the constant exercise of earnest prayer, and then you will be prepared for every event of life; for afflictions you will be prepared with patience and resignation, and for comforts with gratitude and thankfulness.

Give my kind Christian love to Mrs. Keyworth, and to the young ones that can have any recollection of Your affectionate uncle,

Snenton, June 30th, 1822.

ROBERT HALL.

I am so much reduced within the last three months, that I think, unless an alteration take place in me, (which I do not in the least expect,) I am going fast indeed to the house appointed for all living. Horne, in his "Critical Study of the Scriptures," supposes St. Paul's thorn in the flesh to be the palsy. If this be true, I have, then, the thorn in the flesh to a higher degree than ever I think St. Paul had. O that I could say with him, "Most gladly, therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." I can assure you that I am so much reduced, that I am not like the same person that I was when I had the pleasure of seeing you at Snenton a year ago.

You will expect that I shall say something with regard to my present religious views, as I think I am rapidly proceeding to the verge of life. And here, my good friend, I can assure you, that when I take a retrospect of the fifty-five years I have been travelling (I ought rather to say hobbling) on my way to the promised land, I never had so pleas ing a view as I now have. I think frequently of Bunyan's land of Beulah, and of Moses's Pisgah; and though I do not like to apply these expressions positively to myself, yet I hope in a low degree I may use

« AnteriorContinuar »