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SPIRIT OF THE FOREIGN THEOLOGICAL JOURNALS AND REVIEWS.
From the Spirit and Manners of the Age. and spirit opens to my view, chastoning overy A SABBATH IN THE COUNTRY.
feeling, deepening every reflection, and awak
ening many tender sympathies and anxieties. The Sabbath dawned--the morn of holy rest
The transition was natural; it was elovating so wisely ordained for the repose of man and and sublime; and I began to feel the great subeast from the wearisome activities of this ne
periority of man "to the beasts which perish." ther world, arose with all the freshness and
A number of little children, of both sexes, beauty of spring-it was cloudless and serene.
neatly clad, and belonging to the village, were I awoke from the slumbers of a peaceful night, proceeding with all the buoyancy and liveliand entered into my closet, to present a morn
ness of youth along the pathway, which, crossing sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to Himing one of the meadows, led to the church; for “ who holdeth our souls in life," and surrounds there, at this early hour, they were wont to the resting-place of his servants with a guard assemble, and receive that religious instrucof holy angels—those "ministering spirits sent
tion which enlightened philanthropy and beneforth to minister to them who are the heirs of volence had provided for them. The youths salvation.”. The scene which presented itself and maidens of the village, under the direction from the window of my oratory was eminently and superintendanco of the estimable Rector, adapted to prepare the mind for the duties of cheerfully tendered their gratuitous services devotion, and warm the heart with emotions of in this "labour of love," and were accustomed gratitude and praise. It was an extensive
to spend the earlier hours of the Sabbath in this view, beautifully varied with woodland scenery delightful and charitable occupation. “Father and sloping hills, studded with flocks of sheep babes and sucklings thou wilt perfect praise !"
of mercies," I ejaculated, “out of the mouth of and other animals grazing on their surface, or refreshing themselves by a morning draught How many parental and friendly anxieties are from a beautiful rivulet which meandered
interwoven with this little flock, who need all through the valley; while the feathered song.
the tenderness and assiduity of a shepherd's sters warbled their matin song, and the flowery
care? Wilt thou not deign to look with an apperfumes of the garden, taught, through the proving smile on those humble efforts, which, medium of the senses, the bounty and benefi
if succeeded by thy paternal blessing, may percence of the omnipotent Creator. How many petuate in this happy spot the genial influences inlets to gratification are connected with the
of pure and undefiled religion, and produce a structure of that frame, “which is fearfully mighty moral transformation in the characters and wonderfully made ?" and does not this fact of its inhabitants. The patriarchs of the vilassure us that life and enjoyment are insepara- lage shall ere long sleep with their fathers, and bly connected ?-but man is not what he was
their immediate descendants will, at no distant “the gold is become dim, and the fine gold period, bid farewell to all the activities of life, changed:" that which should have been for
and rest beside them; but religion dies not in his wealth is become an occasion of falling the death of its champions—the mantle of EliI surveyed in silent admiration the lovely scene
jah will rest upon Elisha ; and although David's before me, feeling, in all its force, the apos- be the children,” successors both in time, place,
place be empty, " instead of the fathers shall trople of our great poet:“These are thy glorious works, Parent of Good, sors in excellence and piety. The best of our
and occupation; but doubly happy, if precurAlmighty! Thine this universal frame
sires would willingly awaken such ambition ; Thus wondrous fair—thyself how wondrous and if permitted for a moment to divert his atthen!"
tention from the joys of heaven, his eye would The village clock struck eight, and instantly rest with ineffable delight on the head of that the early chime proclaimed to its inhabitants, son who is a better man than his father. The a day devoted to the holy exercises of praise hour of private devotion passed, which had and prayer. A new scene now attracted my been rendered doubly delightful by those emoattention, and gave birth to feelings of high tions which this beautiful scene had inspired. and holy interest; hitherto I had surveyed the I-descended from my chamber to join the world of matter with delight almost amount. family circle, which consisted of my wife and ing to ecstasy, and now the world of mind daughter, a fine blooming girl about eighteen Rel. Mag.–No. 1.
years of age, the image, both in mind, tem- the sound of village bells chiming for service; per, and disposition, of her excellent mother; and I am not ashamed to own, they still posan intelligent amiable youth of seventeen; sess a powerful charm as the sound, softened and the worthy and inestimable curate of our by distance, floats on the wings of the morning, village, who was an inmate in my family, or is borne on the fragrant gale of a summer's and superintended the education of my chil: evening. An admirable peal of eight bells, in dren. His religion, which was the effect of sounds
of sweetest harmony, announced to the Divine grace on a mind of superior order, and villagers the approach of the hour of prayer; engrafted on a heart naturally cheerful, affec- and the path which led to the church was soon tionate and kind, was peculiarly attractive, filled with persons of all ranks and ages, reespecially to our young folks, to whom he was pairing to the hallowed spot where the "rich much attached, and over whose minds he had and poor meet together." The concourse was gained an entire ascendancy, by the suavity of unusually great, in expectation of a funeral his manners and the loveliness of his disposi- sermon to improve the death of an amiable and tion. With him, appearance and reality were exemplary young lady, whose “sun had gone the same; if the law of kindness was upon his down while it was yet day.” Her death was lips, it was but the vocal utterance of internal severely felt by the whole village : philanthropy emotion: while faithful admonition was the had lost an active and indefatigable agent; natural result of his high sense of religious ignorance, a useful instructor; and poverty, a duty, it was the stern language of principle; valuable friend. She had gone about doing but love gave it utterance. But what of the good, but the night of death had paralysed her lady who presided over this interesting circle? efforts, and closed her work. She was numasks the gentle reader ;--the truth is, my good bered with the blessed, and absent from the friend, I am too much interested in the portrait body was present with the Lord. We entered to trust myself with the pencil: our union was the church a few minutes before the commencethe result of mutual preference; hands and ment of the service; it was nearly full-a sohearts went together, while religion approved lemn silence pervaded the whole assembly: the the vow. We have now been "heirs together sacred character of religious worship reigned of the grace of life” for many years. If « mind around, and had proscribed every appearance is the standard of the man," I see no reason of thoughtlessness and folly. My clerical friend why the same test may not be applied to the read the prayers most impressively, distinguishother sex; and if so, my wife would not be in ing by his voice and manner, the varieties of jured by comparison, either as to the endow- this admirable service; a heart warmed with ments of intellect, or the graces of character. the spirit of devotion, an eye which beamed Perhaps my fond partiality might be pardoned, with benevolent solicitude on all around, added were I to say—“Many daughters have done to a clear and melodious utterance, carried his virtuously, but thou excellest them all.” Bene. whole auditory with him: it was the contavolence of feeling, however, is her element- gion of holy feeling—a combination of revehere she lives, and moves, and has her heing; rence and delight. The responses were duly and this, refined by ardent piety, has made her sustained by the congregation in a subdued the benefactress of the village. The tale of tone of voice; and the singing, led by a finemisery, and the tear of sorrow, never fail of toned organ, was general and harmonious. their effect with her; the blessings of those When the communion service commenced, the who were ready to perish come upon her, and effect was greatly increased by the mellow and she causes many a widowed heart to sing for deep enunciation of a venerable man, whose joy. At home she is the centre of attraction head many winters had silvered over; and in and the source of influence; she reigns su- whose benign and dignified countenance, you preme, but her power is invisible; it is the su
would immediately recognise the beloved Recpremacy of gentleness and love. But to return tor of the village, who was emphatically styled from this brief digression :-being assembled —the father of his people. Age and infirmities around the family altar, my reverend friend had not entirely deprived us of his public laconducted the devotions of the morning by bours; once, at least, on the Sabbath, he apreading, with unaffected solemnity, the 42d and peared in the pulpit; and when he came, it 43d Psalms, wherein the royal sufferer laments was always "in the fulness of the blessing of his unavoidable absence from the temple wor- the Gospel of peace.” His venerable and exship, and depicts in vivid and striking colours, cellent character in private life-his long expethe tendency of religious ordinances to calm rience of the power and value of religious truth the tumult of the mind, and shed abroad " that his mild and compassionate disposition, added peace which passeth all understanding." We to his intimate acquaintance with the character then knelt down, whilst he implored, in strains and necessities of his parishioners, eminently of devout and solemn supplication, the gracious qualified him to minister to their spiritual neinfluence of Heaven to consecrate and bless the cessities. If you sought him during the week, ordinances of the Christian Sabbath to the in- you would find him occupied in his Master's struction, admonition, and consolation of the work-soothing the sorrows which wretchedsheep intrusted to his care. How impressive ness had created—dissipating the clouds which is the eloquence of the heart! The prayer was ignorance had collected—visiting the abodes of short; but solemn, overpowering, delightful; disease and pain; or standing by the bed of it corresponded with our necessities and wishes; death as the minister of life and immortality. and we arose with countenances which seemed These scenes furnished ample materials of to say, in silent eloquence—“It is good to be thought; and he always considered them as here." Some of my earliest and most pleasing most favourable to the acquisition of spiritual recollections of the Sabbath are associated with knowledge and sympathy. He was an accurate
observer of human life; and his most beautiful of them. I knew one, who entered life with and powerful illustrations of scriptural truth advantages such as few of her sex possesswere founded on the passing circumstances of young, very young; beautiful, accomplished, the day, which were thus laid under contribu- affluent; the idol of her family; the delight of tion to the general good. It might be said of every eye that saw her. She grew as fair and him with great propriety, that he was "instant fresh as the gourd over the head of Jonah; but in season and out of season—a workman that God had prepared a worm to smite the gourd, needed not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the and it withered. I saw her suffer-I saw her word of truth.” His prominent excellence, die. She lingered through two whole years of however, consisted in this :-wherever he went, torture, unexampled and unmitigated. I often or whatever he did in his ministerial character, saw her lip turn white with agony; I never he always carried the unutterable tenderness saw it quiver with a murmur. Her youth strugand gentle sympathies of Christianity about gled hard with death, and her friends clung to him. His very reproofs, while they abated no- hope, while there was a hope to cling to. While thing of fidelity, were delivered in tones of she could yet walk, she frequented the house affectionate concern; and if the heart were of God; when she could no longer do so, she already broken, and the spirit bowed down, to worshipped Him from her bed of suffering. pour in the oil and wine was ever most ac- Hope and faith were with her there, and her cordant to his feelings, and here he richly en- charity never failed; her last act was to press joyed the luxury of doing good. How many with her cold hand into mine her accustomed families in this retired and beautiful spot owe ample bounty to the poor. By her death-bed their happiness to the delicate suggestions stood her triumphant mother-yes, triumphant which dropped from his lips, in the season of --for grief, that conqueror of all things human, friendly intercourse, and are indebted to his contends in vain with the power of the Gospel. counsel for that decisive step which has formed What supported that mother in that hour? She a new era in existence, and become the pre- had led her, when a little child, to Jesus, and lude of prosperity and enjoyment. When he now she resigned her to him; aye, and with a came to reside here, many years ago, the vil. happier spirit than if she had stood at the altar, lage was a moral desert in the midst of a Chris- to give her daughter's hand to the first and tian land: it could scarcely present a feature fairest of the sons of men. What consolation of the “form of godliness;" ignorance and could that mother have then derived from the vice characterized the poor, and listless indiffe- sight of withered youth, faded beauty, and rence to the name or forms of religion prevailed prostrate talents ? None. Her consolation was amidst the higher class. The Bible was un. from above. She saw her young pilgrim going known, the Sabbath despised, and the church to the promised land, and the view enabled her almost forsaken-youth had no instructor; sor- to watch her as she passed through the waves of row no comforter; man no friend;-ominous Jordan. Parents, and all who hear me, you may indeed were the predictions of such a scene, one day be called to her trial. Would you not when a vacancy occasioned by death, led to the wish for her consolation? Worlds-worlds would appointment of the present incumbent, who you give for it then; purchase, oh purchase it forthwith came to reside at the rectory, and now; the price is easy-is delightful; it is this, perform the duties of the church in his own that you suffer your little children to come unto person. Many years have passed since then; Christ, and forbid them not." and one of the most beautiful scenes in nature, We had not proceeded far on our walk home50 long devoid of moral cultivation, is now the wards, when we were joined by the Curate. abode of industry, happiness, and peace. The “Well,” said he, “ religion has her crown as establishment of a Sunday-school was highly well as her cross, and death is not always a conducive to this moral change; it recognised king of terrors."... "No," I replied, "we have the value of religious instruction, and furnished to-day had a fine illustration of its transforming an opportunity of directing the minds of pa- power, and one, I hope, which will not soon be rents to the important subject. This was but forgotten. They are greatly to be pitied whose a preparatory measure however; and to the early associations are hostile to religious truth; faithful preaching of the Gospel of Christ, we but I fear such instances are too numerous, are principally indebted for our present ad- even in this Christian country; it is the only vancement in the knowledge and power of god preservative from evil and dangers incident to liness. May we long possess these noble insti- every age; the importance of early impressions tutions, and leave them as our best legacies to is not duly estimated, either in reference to posterity when we are silent in the dust. On the character or happiness of our children; in the present mournful occasion, our Rector | the general admission of human depravity, papreached an admirable sermon from the 10th rental fondness too frequently excludes our chapter of St. Mark, and 14th verse :-"Suffer own sons and daughters; fears are lulled to little children to come unto me, and forbid rest in the lap of self-love, and the injury is inthem not.” Having described the value and flicted before the apprehension of danger eximportance of a religious education in early ists.” “Yes, sir," he replied, "and in many life, he thus proceeded in a strain of touching casos, religious education assumes repulsive and impressive eloquence :-“ These considcra- form; the study of its truths is exacted as a tions have been formed in my mind by an in- task, rather than proposed as a beneficial and stance which, painful as it was, was also most pleasing occupation. This will invariably dispowerful. Nor let me be thought to depart gust the mind, and furnish an additional obstafrom the decorum of this place, if I mention it. cle to the admission of light. I am quite disWhat indeed should forbid me from this place posed to think, that whatever is efficacious to speak of the dead? This is the place to speak | must be attractive. More converts will be
gained by smiles than frowns; and surely the trust in me,' and this applies to both parents Christian Scriptures abound with attractions. The poor man, whose heart seemed too full for What interesting descriptions! what endearing utterance, led the way to the chamber of death, promises! what splendid prospects, are con- and having placed two chairs for us by the bedtained in the Bible! in what a pleasing aspect side, left the room. As my friend took his seat does the very text of this morning present the beside the poor invalid, she cast upon him a Author of Christianity as the friend of youth! I look of unutterable pleasure, clasped his hand How gentle and dignified his mien! How per- in both hers, and said, (the hectic flush glowsuasive and tender his invitation! If the influ- | ing on her otherwise pallid and emaciated ence of religion be allurement, the young heart cheek), “Oh, sir, I am so glad--so very glad is peculiarly susceptible of its attractions. I to see you, that I may thank you before I die, am quite convinced it is the true key of access, and tell you what good you have done for a and accords most entirely with the language poor wicked careless creature, who but for you of him who says, "My son, give me thine would have been lost for ever; you don't know heart." I was about to assent to the opinion what I was,-you don't know what I am-don't of my friend, when we arrived at home; and stop me, sir-let me tell you all while I cas, dinner being ready, we sat down to enjoy the for my breath is very short, and I was so afraid bounty of a kind and indulgent benefactor, who I should be gone before I could see you." Seegiveth us all things richly to enjoy.
ing her great anxiety, and afraid of wearying A short time after dinner, as we were con- her, the Curate sat in silence, his hand grasped versing on some of those interesting topics in hers, as she thus proceeded :which had occupied us during our walk from “During the early part of my life I was carechurch, a messenger arrived who wished to less and thoughtless; I had no advantages speak with the Curate. “I am summoned," when a child, and was never accustomed for said he, as he re-entered the room, " to visit several years to go to any place of worship; the chamber of death, and I anticipate a scene after I was married I used to go sometimes, but of peculiar interest; will you accompany me? nothing I heard at church did me any good; it will present you with an opportunity of wit- my Sabbaths were generally spent in working nessing the power of religion in a cottage. for my family, and I thought I had no time to You know I have often said that Christianity spare for any thing else; the thought of death was especially the “poor man's friend, let us or another world, seldom entered my mind. see how far this may be substantiated by fact. It is now about two years ago since I heard of I assented with pleasure, and during our walk your preaching, and I thought I would come to the cottage, my friend thus prepared me for and hear you; they told me you were a methothe interview.
dist. I did not know what it meant. At last “ The object of my visit is poor
uneducated I came, and I shall never forget that day; the woman who has resided in this village for some text was about the tares and the wheat; you time; during the last two years she has been a said the former were to be burned at last, and constant attendant in the house of God, until as you described them I thought I was so like her present illness confined her to her bed them that I must be burned too; I could not about a month since. I was pleased to observe get rid of the feeling, and night after night as when I last conversed with her, that her mind | I lay awake, this subject would come into my was evidently under religious impressions; and mind; I was exceedingly frightened and disthough she said little, for she appeared very tressed; it followed me every where, and I was modest and retiring, I was satisfied that she quite miserable; I had not å soul to speak to, had not attended the services of religion with- and I could not read a word; I thought if I out much benefit. I have been since informed, could read the Bible I should be better, and that she is tranquil and happy. Her abode is gain some relief, but I could not. A poor old on the border of the adjoining parish, just be- woman, more than seventy years of age, who yond the mill which you see before us.'
lives next door, used to come in now and then; We crossed a little rivulet and entered the I found that she could read, and I asked her to garden; it was small, but neatly arranged. At come and read to me, which she did; my mind the door of the cottage stood her husband, who was somewhat better; in about a fortnight or seemed anxiously awaiting our arrival, and three weeks I heard you preach from these taking off his hat as we approached him, adwords, Where sin abounded grace did much dressed my friend, “Oh, sir, I am so glad you more abound.' I cannot describe how I felt; are come; my poor wife is so very bad, and my fears were removed, and I saw that there she says she shall die happy if she can but see was mercy for poor sinners, even the worst. I you; pray, sir, walk in." "I have brought a would have given any thing to speak to you friend,” said the Curate, “who wishes to see but I dare not; I thonght it would be too great what religion can do for the poor, and I hope a liberty; I thought if I could only touch your he will see that it can make them happy in the gown it would be a pleasure to me. When I hour of death; I have heard that your poor went home I wept bitterly; I tried to pray, wife has a religion which can support her-is but all I could say was Mercy! Mercy! I told it so?” “Ah, blessed be God, and one that my husband what I felt, but he laughed at me, can support me too, sir, or I do not know what and told me I was mad. I asked him to go I should do now,-poor Botsy! she will soon be and hear you, if only once, but he would not ; gone to heaven, but I hope God will take care after this I became much more composed, and of me and my poor children-I have six of 'em, by degrees, from going to church, and hearing sir." "Well, my good friend, you know He this poor woman read the chapter in which the has said leave thy fatherless children and I texts were, I became quite another being. I will preserve them alive, and let thy widow | lrembled to think how I had been living, and