Abbildungen der Seite

presence had become hateful to him. Seven months passed by through the untrodden paths of peace, without having an interview either by letter or otherwise. One evening, as I was on my way to the house of God, and being in a meditative frame of mind, the world and transitory things to me were lost in this train of thought, I felt the slight touch of a hand on my back, and a voice said "Stop!" On looking round, to my surprise I found it was my friend and his female companion. I thought his countenance said there was no peace within his soul. After some questions of each other's welfare, the following conversation took place :-He asked me for what place I was bound; I told him to join the people of God in and praise, prayer and invited him and his comrade to go with me. There was something of an unusual, strange appearance in his countenance; he said if he were alone he had no objection, but on the following week, that night eight nights, he would go with me. I took the liberty to ask him where he was going. I received no answer from him; but was suddenly answered by his companion, "We are for the theatre." I thought it was my duty to be instant in season and out of season: I urged him not to go, but come with me for one night; but he was afraid, if he deserted the ranks of Satan and gave up the works of darkness, the world would laugh at him. "My friend," said I to his companion, "what comfort have you in the theatre, or the vanities of this world?" The answer was: "There is every happiness to be found; the performance, scenery, and characters were all so fine, that who could not take comfort therein ?" "Yes, friend," said I; "but there is one happiness you have not yet spoken of: will they give happiness to you on a death-bed; or will that grand scenery yield you any comfort in a dying hour?" I received a sneer to this question; they both walked off, and when my friend was about to go, I said, "Rejoice, young man, in thy folly; let thy heart cheer thee in the day of thy youth; but for all these things you shall be called to judgment," &c. He said, in another week he would grant my desire, and would go with me to the house of prayer, (alas! alas!) and so we parted.

This was on the Wednesday night; and on the Friday following Death found him out. He was seized with a violent pain and throwing up of blood: "In the midst of life there is death." I was sent


for the third day to visit him by his desire; I did so, and found the work of death would soon be done. When I entered the room there were a number of persons round him; but they quickly retired. We were now alone; he seemed to be near the gates of death; it was some time before he could speak to me, being racked with pain; but as soon as he was able, he took hold of me by the hand, and said: "My friend, you and I are about to part, to meet no more for ever. My sins have found me out; my summer is over; my harvest is come, and I am not saved!" He remained silent for some time. "My friend," said I," what think you of death?" In a short time he replied, with a convulsive groan, Ah, it is dreadful; it is most awful! It is an awful thing to fall into the hands of an angry God!" I endeavoured to direct his mind to Christ, that even at the eleventh hour he might have mercy upon him; but all was in vain. He said there was no mercy for him, for the worm that never dies had already began to torment him; he was already feeling the vengeance of an angry God; and to speak of Christ or salvation only added to his torments: "I see my sins like a wall of fire around me; the pains of hell have already taken hold of me." This was a trying scene, indeed, my readers, to see the wicked driven away in their wickedness. About this time his companion (the female alluded to before) arrived, to visit him contrary to his desire; I brought in the visitor to his bedside. Here my feelings are better felt than expressed. Before me lay my friend-my friend, yes, from my schoolboy days: through youth up to manhood we were one; we had gone to the house of God together, sat beneath the joyful sound of the Gospel, and joined ourselves to the same branch of God's family, and partook of Christ's dying love to his believing people. Now behold him in the arms of death-a despairing backslider! Alas! my feelings, in beholding the object of his ruin stand at the side of his dying pillow. My duty was obvious: "Well," said I to her, "what comfort does the theatre yield to poor John now?" I received no answer to this. She said to him: "How do you feel; you are very low?" He made no reply for some time. I asked him if he was aware who the individual was that spoke to him. He said, yes; but he was so unable to speak he could give no answer. The visitor asked again, with tears,

"How do you feel?" He lifted up his eyes, fastened them on the object before him, and said, "I feel all the torments that is possible for man to endure in the body; let this be a warning to you and others not to put off their day of salvation." This hardened daughter of sin and servant of the wicked one said, "This is only an imagination of the brain; you will yet recover." I then removed her; he took no notice of what was passing. Being sorely racked with pain, he held me by the hand; and still his language was, "I am tormented!" He said to me, "Warn your acquaintance to beware of evil company." Some other words he uttered, but I was not able to gather them, from the weakness of his voice. In a short time after, with a dreadful struggle, his spirit fled the tenement of clay, and winged its way to an eternal world to meet its sentence there; so that on the same day he was to have gone with me to the house of prayer, I accompanied his remains to the cold valley of the shadow of death-death, indeed, that never dies. Alas!

The above is a brief sketch and heads of the last moments of this young man, my friend, John Stewart, as far as my memory serves me. Reader, from the nature of the scene, what think you of death? Are you yet in your sins? if so, fly, fly to Christ while he may be found; call upon God while he is near, &c. Leave not your salvation to a death-bed or a dying hour, lest you be like the poor sinner you have now read of; for there is neither knowledge nor salvation in the grave, whither you are fast hastening. THOMAS PATERSON. Glasgow, Aug. 14th, 1847.



Ir is not without diffidence that I attempt to speak of the feelings of joy and grief which have many times pervaded my heart, when assisting at the public worship of Protestant churches of different Christian denominations; not that I have any doubt of the truth of what I am about to dwell on, but of myself. I feel at this moment the greatness and the almighty power of GoD, and the feebleness of man, whose voice can have no power if it be not the echo of the eternal voice of the great I AM! I know that the foundation of the earth is less solid than the Word of God; but I must make

that Word heard, though a thousand voices arise from the heart to intercept that Word, which alone can save our souls.

I entered within the walls of the high cathedrals, with their gigantic towers and gothic architecture; there I saw the ceremonies performed with all the splendour of outward pomp; festoons, and drapery, and surplices; highly wrought pulpits, multi-coloured windows; the vault reverberating with the peals of the organ, the melodious voices of the children, the deep chant, and the majestic chorus. I saw their ritual, the mitre, and the crosier; my eye was charmed, but my heart-alas! my heart remained cold and oppressed. In vain there I sought my crucified Redeemer-I beheld this as a Protestantism brought forth by the power of the world, which neither Luther, nor Calvin, nor other reformers had ever contemplated; as a weak and vacillating child, disguised in the armour of Christianity; as a negative Protestantism; an easy pillow on which to rest with pleasure, and sleep the sleep of death; as a Protestantism, alas! created but for painters and poets! I left the place with tears in my eyes; crying, "Ichabod, the glory is departed, for the ark of God is taken! They forgot God their Saviour; they believed not his Word, and hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord," but unto man: "God desireth not sacrifices, but a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart he will not despise." He desireth not exterior worships, not chants and notes; but the perfume, the harmony of a thankful, of a sensible heart, "of a heart of flesh."

In going along the street, and meditating on what I had witnessed, and on the feelings produced in my heart, I was aroused by songs, neither so studied nor so melodious as those which I had left, but which appeared to be emanations of the heart; I felt myself attracted, and was induced to enter the house where they proceeded from. An old violoncello was the leading instrument; girls and boys, who had never seen a note, were the choristers; the people not only unacquainted with music, but apparently deficient in the taste of that art, accompanied them inharmoniously. New feelings came over my soul. I asked myself, is this worshipping God? Are sounds like these agreeable to God? Is it a means of salvation for the perishing souls of men? Has Jesus commanded it? or, is it a copying after the great cathedrals? In the

joints and marrow!' Yes; in a renewed heart only reside the qualifications of a true Christian, and not in groaning and amens; it is faith, love, hope, assurance in the promises of our blessed Jesus, which unite believers in spirit and in truth' and in the spirit we are better instructed than by the reasoning of man; because we have the consoling promise of the Holy Scriptures, that God had revealed them unto us by his Spirit, and the spiritual judgeth all things.' In a renewed heart only," I continued, " reside these qualifications, which support them with patience amid the temptations of their life; it is from the heart that the most elevated sentiments, the most noble effects, the most magnanimous actions generate. From this source springs the precious tear-drops of tenderness and pity, of joy and consolation. Through the heart the plea ures of this life are rendered precious. while its evils find comfort and alleviation."

time that my mind was occupied in putting these questions the hymn had ceased, and the preacher had begun to pray. The people answered with groanings, but not those "groanings which cannot be uttered;" they were with utterable groanings, Amen! Glory be to God! Blessed be God! My mind was disturbed, and my heart neither elevated nor edified; the senses were excited, but that calm was not produced in my spirit so indispensable in the presence of the Eternal Judge of the earth. I asked a man who was near me, if the Lord was deaf, that they prayed so loud? He replied, "The Lord is not deaf, but we think that you are deaf." Then I adored my crucified Redeemer with all my heart; and magnified the operations of his works of grace which he has done for me. I blessed his name, that through his tender mercy my ears were shut to the wisdom of man, and opened to the voice of the good Shepherd. I felt that such a worship excited the senses and "quenched the spirit;" that Christianity became a work of man, and not of grace. Salvation must come from "our God which sitteth upon the throne, and the Lamb." When the voice arises from a penitent heart, and not from the excitement of our neighbour, it will be sanctified "of the Spirit unto obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ; by whom we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."

After the service was over, I joined in conversation with two pious ladies. One said, "How delightful the sermon was!" The other replied, "Oh, it was beautiful!" I asked them what their souls had profited by it, and what they remembered which could improve their mind? Neither answered; but after a short pause one groaned and sighed, and the other said, "I hope we have profited something." But I could evidently see that my fair companions were pleased without receiving spiritual or intellectual benefit; they were entertained, but not edified; delighted, but not instructed. I said afterwards to those ladies, "The reasons which your preacher adduced may persuade the mind, but not convince the heart; intellect must have its proofs, the heart equally its demonstrations and evidences; and they do not consist in trepidations, and in thumping the Bible, but in the power of that Word, of that 'twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the

The following Lord's-day one of my friends came to conduct me to a chapel, to hear an eloquent preacher from the country; a storm prevented us from going as far as the desired chapel, and we were obliged to take shelter in a meeting-house of the Society of Friends. In sitting down, and looking around, involuntarily made a contrast between the beautiful music of the splendid cathedral, the vociferation of the chapel, and the solemn silence of this place of worship; where they who worship “in spirit and in truth, and with patience, wait for that which we see not. The luxury of the gothic temple, the insignificance of the chapel, and simplicity and neatness of the place I was in, combined to absorb my every thought. That passage which says, "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them," forcibly occurred to my mind; and I was deeply impressed with the truth, that our blessed Redeemer cometh not in the midst of us by groans and exclamations, or even by the concordance of sweet sounds, but "for his name sake." I was so transported with joy from this silent worship; so elevated upon the wings of faith in a sublimer sphere, that I said in my heart, If the union in spirit and in truth of the children of God is so sweet here below, what will it be when we shall worship before the throne of God, with the great congregation, with the Cherubim of glory, with the angels and the redeemed from the earth, with the prophets and apostles;

what joy we shall experience when we shall enter into the temple of God, and never depart, but serve him day and night;" when we shall sin no more there, neither expose to God our wants and miseries, because "there shall be hunger no more, neither thirst any more, for the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed us and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying; neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away, and all things made new.' In those meditations, without being interrupted, the congregation rose, shook hands with one another very heartily, except with me; I felt displeased to be considered by them as a stranger at the moment that I had worshipped with them before the throne of grace; when I was united with them truly in the spirit of Christ.


In going out my friend, who was more accustomed to a noisy sacrifice than to that of the contrite heart, said, "Have you noticed the dumb dogs,' they appeared as if they were all dead?" I asked him what had been the subject of meditation with him the whole time? He answered, "Nothing! I like a good sermon, and a lively prayer. They seemed to me as if they were sleeping; do they not pray?" On my answering that they did, but that they were waiting for the Spirit; he said, "How can they know that they have the Spirit? And where does the Bible teach the church to meet together without saying anything?"

I replied, it is impossible for me to answer so many questions at once; but, if you will allow me, I will endeavour to give you reasons from what I have gleaned from the Bible; though, as you are aware, I am not one of their body. You ask me, Why they do not pray?"


How can you say that they do not pray? Prayer is nothing more than an elevation of the soul towards God, in paying homage of adoration and gratitude to him; or a humiliation of our hearts before the throne of grace, to implore his pardon and assistance: this is properly which constitutes prayer. I know that the elevation of a sanctified soul, or the humiliation of a contrite heart, can be expressed in words; but words are nothing if they are not the sincere testimony of the feelings of the heart. If a man meditates on the infinite attributes of God, and on the nothingness of self, and feels profound adoration in his affected heart-behold, he has prayed! If he elevates his eyes to the Most Holy,

and the uneasiness of his conscience moves his heart to feel his sins, and hastens his mind to his Father which is in heaven, to bless his mercy, to implore his favour-behold, he has prayed! The thought only of the benefits of God, of the unworthiness of man; of his justice and our rebellion, the immense riches of his grace, and of the profound misery of human nature, a sigh escapes from his heart-behold, he has prayed! The penetration only of deep feeling, of repentance and gratitude, and the desire to approach his Maker with the greatest confidence, through the intercession of Jesus Christ-behold, he has prayed! A sinner subdued by the influence of the Spirit of God, and soaring freely with the sentiments which fill his bosom-behold, he has prayed! A sinner who is desirous to bless his Redeemer, to confess his disobedience, to intrust his misery to him "who searches the heart and tries the reins of man," and finding no words to express his love to him "who had before loved us," his swollen heart redoubles its palpitations, his eyes become involuntary fountains, and fixed on the blessed cross of justice and love-has he not prayed? The intensity of our feelings towards those we love is at times so overpowering, that words fail to convey it; how can you say, then, that a people who wait in silence for the Spirit of God, to incite them to the utterance of their feelings, are dead; that they are asleep? Or, how can you ask, Why they do not pray?

Your second question is not less futile than the first. "How can they know when they have the Spirit?" How can you know that you are in life, but by the effects which the living power produces in your body-the activity of the senses? It is the same with the spiritual life: "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." A Quaker, who feels liberty to speak of the goodness and mercies of God, and to soar with his soul to his crucified Redeemer, has certainly the Spirit of our blessed Jesus.

One of the effects of the Spirit is also faith. Like a child that is never suspicious of its nurse, and believes with all its heart the most extraordinary things that are related to it; in whose mind the idea never enters that it can be deceived; so the Spirit of God is a spirit of faith, which bends natural resistance to the truth, humbles pride, and makes it submissive to his holy will, to believe in his Word, without suspicion of that Word; "Thus saith the Lord," dissipates all

doubts and objections; and the greatest use he thinks to make of his reason is, to cease to reason with the infallible and eternal One, and to submit like the child to its nurse, believing God to be a greater philosopher than man.

Charity and love are another sensible effect of the Spirit of God; and as the visible thing can only be enjoyed through the senses, so the spiritual thing can only be discerned through the Spirit. "God revealed them unto us by his Spirit; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God." You may ask, Is the power of music, of chants and songs, to excite or to produce faith, charity, and love in our hearts? No!" God alone revealeth them unto us by his Spirit." As the source of the spring is not to be found in the roaring of the torrent, but in the silent forest, so the Spirit of God is not manifested in the boisterous movements of our senses and passions, but in holy patience, and silent waiting on that "Spirit who helpeth our infirmities, and maketh intercession for us."

is our blessed Jesus who speaks, who instructs, who edifies: it is no longer the voice of man which elevates us to the heavenly sphere; it is God who descends to man, who brings the heaven in our heart. We are "like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season." Like a plant, planted in a fertile ground, and nourished by its root, so is the sweet plant of faith rooted in our Redeemer, from whence we receive joy and peace, consolation and comfort, hope and life. Like the calix of a flower, which opens itself from the beneficial rays of the sun; so from the influence of the Sun of Righteousness the heart becomes inflamed, its lukewarmness changed into zeal, the zeal into faith, the faith into love and hope. A sinner retired, silently waiting for the Spirit of God, is like a plant which in the stilly night is refreshed by the dew of heaven; his heart is revived and renewed by the influence of the Spirit of God.

Notwithstanding all these excellencies, I am not an advocate of silent worship; not that I disapprove of it in itself, but of the consequences. A society which has birth-right, must have necessarily a great number of dead members belonging to it, who CANNOT enjoy that sublime worship, because of its spirituality; "the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him." Without speaking of the hurtful tendency that it may have on children, I will only remark, that at the beginning of the Society of Friends there never was a silent worship, because the members were all spiritual. In conclusion, I said to my friend, that it was our duty to pray for every church, of whatever denomination it might be, that the Lord might multiply his blessings upon them; and that they might grow from grace to grace, and the Spirit of God fill their hearts; that every member might be a temple of the Holy Ghost; and that all their doings might be for the glory of God, for the salvation of their souls, and the advancement of the kingdom of Christ.

Your third question is equally simple: "Where is it in the Bible that the church shall come together, remain, and separate without saying anything?"

Where is it found in the Bible that there should be external trappings, surplices, and mitres, violoncellos, and chantings? Jesus has taught us by his example the way we ought to pray: "Before day he went out and departed into a solitary place, and there he prayed." Separated from the contentions of the world, retired in our heart, and solitary as at Gethsemane, we should "watch and pray always, with supplication in the Spirit.' "Let none that wait on thee be ashamed, then their strength is to be still," says the Scripture. If the association of man had such a moral influence on our social life, that we should fly the bad and seek the good, how salutary must be the holy company of our blessed Jesus, with whom we have retired in the wilderness of our heart, to receive those "things which God hath prepared for them that love him?" Ah! a soul centered in itself, and united with its Saviour, should "tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril,”_or_the voice of his conscience, make desolate his heart, yet he will be more than conqueror through him that before loved us. We have no want of music to excite our senses, for we carry Divine harmony in our hearts; it is "Jesus who is all in all." We have no want of sermons; it


IN the day when Jesus gazed upon the magnificent spectacle of the Jewish capital, the powerful protection of Rome was extended over it, and all was peace. How great was the change ere that generation had passed away! The children of those daughters of Jerusalem who bewailed him on his way to crucifixion, were

« ZurückWeiter »