« PreviousContinue »
unto salvation, through faith that is of the case, appear to me far more in Christ Jesus. I add with much than passable. I am not, however, pleasure, what might have been an- so anxious to extract the best speciticipated, that he was also “ a man mens of versification as some of of prayer."... The first night of his those which shew the nature of the taking to his straw-bed, being ex- writer's principles. Thus, in a blank ceedingly indisposed, he retired be- leaf of his Bible is written, “ Thomas fore the men had left their work. Hogg, born in Jedburgh, 1753." Mr. S. missed him from the shop for
“ Yes-dust and ashes is my proper name: a considerable time; and going into
Ready to perish—is my title clear. an adjoining store-room, in which no
From two poor rebels, I their offspring business was done, he found him in
came, the posture of devotion, praying to My first, my native attribute is fear. his Father who seeth in secret. This Yet let Thy love on this dark void deno doubt was his constant practice;
scend, but as Mr. S. and his men usually
All shall be safe—the Three in One my quitted their work before the old man
friend.” retired to rest, his habits of secret The poem ends with a prayer to be communion with God were now for “built up in wisdom and usefulness." the first time discovered. He was Upon the cover of the book in one of the last of men to sound a which he has entered his poems, I trumpet before him; so that it is im- find the following passages :-" To possible to ascertain to what extent you, O men, I call, and my voice is he carried his habits of prayer and to the sons of men." (Prov. viii. 4.) reading the Scriptures, in addition “ Hear, for I will speak of excellent to those sacred meditations which things." (Prov. viii 6.) “ Thy statutes doubtless cheered his mind through- have been my songs in the house of out the day, in the midst of his soli- my pilgrimage.” (Psal. cxix.) “And tary and monotonous employment. they sang a new song.” (Rev. v. 9.)
İn an early stage of our acquain- I regret that an epitaph which he tance, I had leamed that he had a composed for himself cannot be considerable taste for versification, found. He once repeated it to Mr. and that he used occasionally to S. and promised to give him a copy amuse his leisure hours by com- of it; but death put a stop to that, posing a poem. My first step there- as well as to many other intentions. fore after his decease was to get His longest poem, which consists of possession of his manuscripts, of nearly two thousand lines, is entitled which I found two books of consider- " The Flower Knot,” or “ Guide able thickness, which appeared to be Post." In a short preface, he states, duplicates. From them I was con- twenty lines or thereabouts firmed in the opinion, if indeed I need- were the most I could compose in ed any farther confirmation than what a week; and sometimes I have writmy own eyes and ears had witnessed, ten none for half a year or longer.” that his religious principles were The chief subjects of his poem are strictly consonant to that holy book thus arranged by himself: “Introwhich he so much valued, and which duction, holiness, prudence and reahe made his companion and guide. son, wit, honesty and decency, sym
Having already occupied your pathy, gratitude, hope, humility, pages at some length, and knowing temperance, chastity, passion, power, with how much difficulty versifica- truth, wisdom, love, faith.” He thus tion, except of a very high order, opens the poem : finds its way into the Christian Observer, I shall be sparing in my
“ The muse's ninefold dress why should I
wear? quotations; but I must plead for the
Not in Apollo's name will I appear. insertion of the following fragments, These let dark minds with swelling which, under all the circumstances words invoke: CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 253.
The Spirit's sword will give a surer
“ When honesty and interest seem to differ, Oh, blessed Father! Saviour! Sublime Let interest go, and resolutely suffer ;
Lord ! If Thou assist, if Thou thy strength afford, Lay all the world's best offerings in one This curious world and changing place scale, to see,
And in the other put our Father's love, Let thy good will, thy presence go with We know which side will far the heavier
SYMPATHY. Speaking of holiness, he calls it
“ From God himself where being first bethe soul's “ better dress," " pure,
gins, heavenly minded, and comely;"
Down to the smallest thread which na“ The King's highway that leads to every ture spins, good;
All living creatures have it for a law :The health of souls; the effect of Jesus' blood;
In our belief 'tis callid · The Saints' This is the preparation of the bride,
communion,' As she walks homeward by her Guar- Including all in one harmonious union. dian's side;
When one is added to the church below, Clear as the moon, and spotless as the
The golden harps in heaven rejoice also.
It makes the strongest subject to the Like royal army after victory won.
weak, Awaiting graces cheerful stand or sit, For parents hear when infant voices Bow to our God, or worship at his feet; speak. This, justly placed the centre of the In lifeless things 'tis gravity or attraction, throne
In animals 'tis instinct or affection, Our Sovereign 's holy, &c.
In human nature it is friendly care,” &c. Of all excellencies t, this most excels,
“ Were my pen pearl, with ink of liquid Heaven is its home, for there it ever
On Ophir's gold to write a heavenly
Psalm; When Thou bespeak’st in us fair holiness,
Or what an angel's liberal thought could The new creation rising forms apace;
tell, Like the small seed inclosed in fertile
I could not speak too much, or sing too earth,
well. Begins to sprout, discovering life and
None but true children can its form ex
Without its power, none can its glory 'Tis but a little mustard seed to Thee,
guess." But oh! it is a world of wealth to me.” Under the head of hope, he thus KNOWLEDGE.
points out the object on which our “ The greatest knowledge deepest woe oft hope should be fixed under severe brings,
affliction. 'Tis knowledge fills all hell with bitterest « There is a Rock, where thou mayst safestings.”
Thy hiding-place; where sorrow cannot Pope calls it feather-does he not say
There, when around is trouble, thou 'Tis like a custard light; it bears no
mayst find weight;
Security of soul, and peace of mind. But had it not that wiping feather been,
Go to thy Father in submission's way: The poet's lines had never shone so
Blessed are they who make his name
their stay." clean."
He continues, speaking of this * Wisdom on foot ascends by slow degrees, Christian grace, But wit has wings, and soars aloft with « 'Tis to the soul, what lungs are to the euse."
breast; + Miltonice.
There life begins, and runs to all the rest;
WISDOM AND WIT.
The throne on which mortality may sit, renthetical, and are quoted princi-
“ Art thou unhealthy, or a hapless Spring up, 0 well! with living water stranger, flow,
Thy spirits wasting, or thy life in And sweeten all the desert here below! danger?
Go then to Jesus," &c. Some may allege I wander from the path,
“ Thou art the God of mercy, grace, and And give to Hope the proper rights of love! Faith;
My debts forgive, my sins, my wounds Like Love and Friendship, these a
remove; comely pair,
Number me not with those whom thou What's done to one, the other has a dost hate ; share :
To health add peace; restore my sinking When heat is felt, we judge that fire is
My power is lost, the fault is wholly Hope's twilight comes, Faith's day will
mine; soon appear.
Yet bid me live, the glory shall be Thus, when the Christian's contest doth
thine.” begin, Hope fights with doubts, till Faith's reserves come in ;
The following passage does not Hope comes desiring and expects relief; strictly come under any of the diviFaith follows, and Peace springs from
sions of the poem. firm belief. Just like co-partners in joint stock of “Oh! that I knew, says one, where I trade,
might find What one contracts is by the other One of a thousand, who could heal my paid.
With haste I'd get me to his very seat, We see all things alike with either eye, Like weeping Magdalen wash with tears So Faith and Hope the self-same object his feet. spy.
Say, then, what name, what sect should But what is Hope? 'Tis foresight of I profess, redress,
To reach security free from distress? Prospect of ease when troubles down- I bid thee not be favourite Calvinist, wards press;
Nor with Arminian would I thee enlist, A distant view of what is wrong Nor peaceful Quaker, nor rude Papist amended,
furious, Pleasure to be attained, or grievance Nor Paper-dealer-no, nor Covenanter ended.
serious. 'Twixt promise and performance 'tis the There is no need of toilsome pilgrimage line," &c.
To holy martyr, or renowned sage; From whence comes Hope? and where, 'Tis vain to go to Peter, Mark, or Paul, or how begun?
Mary, or John, or any of them all. It comes from God, as light comes from In heaven or earth there's but one proper the sun.
Can answer thee—'tis Jesus Christ the Yes, O my soul, when troubles strike Lamb. thee dumb,
To reinstate thy soul, he shed his blood, Hold fast thy hope, thy kingdom is to His name alone can help or do thee
good. My fellow - toilers, who still onward Lay hold upon his offer, do not fear, press,
If thou believe, thy pardon's sealed and Our hope is in the Lord our Righ
CONTENTMENT. The following lines, although « For all the trials which thou shalt abide, under the title of Humility, are pa- Reckon at last the odds are on thy side,
Upon the earth we make but a short stay, ed out the duty. Sometimes, doubtWhy should we grieve for trifles by the less, his mind must have been de
way? If ought give sorrow on the happy shore, pressed by anxious fears, or disap'Twill be impatience for the cross, we
pointed hopes. There were seasons bore.”
when the “ candle of the Lord” did not shine so clearly upon his
path as at other times : during such The particulars which I have been periods he used to sing Addison's enabled to gather of my humble beautiful version of the 23d Psalm, friend's history, in addition to what to which he added a verse of his own has already been related, are very composition, which I have in vain few. He was a name-sake of the endeavoured to find. He called it Ettrick Shepherd, and a fellow- the Traveller's Song. It was pecucountryman, but I am not aware liarly appropriate to his own case, that they were related. He was exposed as he was, solitary and wanbrought up, I find, in a religious dering, with none to look up to for family; and in his youth had serious support or protection, but the Helper impressions of eternal things upon of the friendless. his mind. These, however, grew Thus have I presented a faithfeebler by ' intercourse with the ful, although imperfect, history of world, although they do not appear a poor man, who, in the lowest ever to have entirely forsaken him. depths of poverty, evinced such He left his home at an early period remarkable contentment and cheerof life, and for some time carried fulness, under severe sufferings, as hardware about the country. This may well excite us to godly jeabusiness becoming unproductive, lousy, and animate us to aspire after about fourteen years since he took like precious faith; a man who shewto the employment in which I found ed no symptoms of a desire to hurry him engaged, making scissar-chains from life, yet was ready at all times and skewers. Twenty-nine long to obey his great and final summons, years had passed, he told me, since and the practical language of whose he had visited his native place; nor life was, “ To me to live is Christ, could I learn what had alienated to die is gain.” him from his family and friends. A Reader! how does this simple tale hedge, or a stable, were to him an call upon you to adore the Father of asylum of peace—the habitation of all mercies, who graciously furnished contentment; for he carried that a poor object, in the lowest depths of tranquillity within him which was not earthly misery, with principles capato be ruffled by the adventitious ble, not barely of supporting him, circumstances of life. The vagrancy but of enabling him to soar far above of his life necessarily exposed him the afflictions of mortality? No one, to much hardship, and his pious soul I feel assured, can doubt whence must have been frequently “vexed this man obtained his transcendent with the filthy conversation of the faith. It was of no common stamp: wicked.” Whether he had the habit it was not the spontaneous growth of of boldly reproving the sinner, when the human heart: it must have come he daringly violated the laws of his from heaven. God, I cannot affirm, not having Permit me, then, to remind you, been present on any such occasion; that the same faith which supported but judging from his ordinary free- him, the same principles by which dom in expressing his mind, and he was actuated, may be obtained from his courage in sustaining many by you. The Divine Spirit, who of the ills of life, I should imagine implanted them in the subject of he would suffer few opportunities this memoir, offers to produce them to pass of reproving or exhorting, in you. And can I wish you a richer where prudence and discretion mark- gift? Can I take my leave of you
in a more affectionate manner, than upon the pittance of pleasure which by praying that the same Spirit he begs of some passion, or the tidwould make you like-minded with ings which he asks of the traveller this humble, but examplary, follower concerning vain and temporal things. of a suffering and crucified Saviour? “ I counsel thee,” says One who
alone is worthy to advise, “ I counsel thee to anoint thine
with eye-salve, that thou mayest see; for thou art wretched, and miserable,
and poor, and blind.” So unhappy FAMILY SERMONS. -No. CLXIX.
is the condition of this blind beggar, Luke xviii. 37.—And they told him, that when he feels his necessities, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth
he sees not of whom he may ask for
help; and when the Saviour passes by.
by, who can restore to him his vision, To whom was this told; and what and satisfy him with bread, he asks were the effects of the informa- through his blindness, “ what it tion? It was told to one, in means." And the greatest misforwhose bodily infirmity there was a tune is, that he is less anxious to be figure of our spiritual condition; and delivered from his spiritual, than the effects of the information were from bodily wretchedness; a dispoan image of the deliverance which sition, which is illustrated and rewe may have, through the Redeemer. proved, in the second thing to be I ask your attention to this interest- noticed, concerning the beggar on ing story, that you, “ through pa- the way to Jericho. tience and comfort of this Scripture, 2. His immediate application for may have hope."
help, under the sense of his blindWe will first attend to the sub- ness, to Him who was able to heal ject of the miracle, which the Gospel him. “ They told him, that Jesus records. There are four things con- of Nazareth passed by. And he cerning him worthy of observation; cried, saying, Jesus, thou Son of Dafirst, his condition-a blind beggar; vid, have mercy on me.” Jesus of secondly, his application for help, Nazareth His fame was now spread under the sense of his blindness, to abroad. He was approved amply of Jesus of Nazareth, as soon as he God, by signs and wonders which heard of him; thirdly, his perse- he wrought. This blind beggar had verance, notwithstanding the ob- heard that by him “ the blind restacles which were thrown in the ceived sight, and the lame did walk, way; and fourthly, his wonderful the lepers were cleansed, and recovery of his sight.
the deaf did hear, the dead were 1. A blind beggar !Can a con- raised up, and to the poor the Gospel dition be conceived, more humble, was preached.” Of his character as more helpless, more deplorable? In the Messiah, he had obtained some a spiritual sense, it is the condition knowledge, for he addressed him as of every sinner. He sees not God; the “ Son of David.” Probably, he he sees not salvation; he sees not had heard of his wonderful compaspeace. By the fall, his understand- sion, that none who sought of him ing is darkened. By reason of the deliverance from misery, however film which his iniquities have spread poor, or friendless, or wretched, were over his spiritual sight, the light of turned away. Perhaps he recollectGod's countenance, which shines ed, without understanding the spirieternally upon his creatures, is not tual import, that in the days of the seen. On the wayside of life, he is “Son of David," the eyes of the blind poor and blind, dependent for gui- should be opened. At any rate, he dance upon any one who will under- who might heal him was passing by. take to lead him, and for gratification He would not wait for a better op