Billeder på siden

Both these men were great in their own spheres; though, in mind, altogether unlike and unequal. Both were sincere and honest in their opinions, and in the expression of them bold and unflinching. But Bentham made a false step: he left jurisprudence for morals, and the giant became a common mortal. On the other hand, Coleridge's element was the idealthe poetical of philosophy and religion; and there he ever dwelt. His foot was on his native heath, and on it he stood a king, and had no equal. The one would solve the problem, by rejecting revelation altogether, without question asked or reason given: the other, by erecting on the basis of Scripture a high and thoughtful religious philosophy. And as they lived, so they died. Bentham bequeathed his body to posterity: Coleridge left behind the following splendid testimony to" the truth as it is in Jesus."


To Adam Steinmetz K—.

I offer up the fervent prayer for you now, as I did kneeling before the altar when you were baptized into Christ, and solemnly received as a living member of his spiritual body, the Church.

Years must pass before you will be able to read with an understanding heart, what I now write. But I trust that the all-gracious God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Mercies, who, by his onlybegotten Son, (all mercies in one sovereign mercy!) has redeemed you from the evil ground, and willed you to be born out of darkness, but into light-out of death, but into life-out of sin, but into righteousness, even into the "Lord our Righteousness;" I trust that He will graciously hear the prayers of your dear parents, and be with you as the spirit of health and growth in body and mind!

My dear Godchild!-You received from Christ's minister, at the baptismal font, as your Christian name, the name of a most dear friend of your father's, and who was to me even as a son, the late Adam Steinmetz, whose fervent aspiration, and ever paramount aim, even from early youth, was to be a Christian in thought, word, and deed-in will, mind, and affections.

I too, your Godfather, have known what the enjoyments and advantages of this life are, and what the more refined pleasures which learning and intellectual power can bestow; and with all the experience that more than threescore years can give, I now, on the eve of my departure, declare to you, (and earnestly pray that you may hereafter live and act on the conviction,) that health is a great blessing,-competence obtained by honourable industry a great blessing,—and a great blessing it is to have kind, faithful, and loving friends and relatives; but that the greatest of all blessings, as it is the most ennobling of all privileges, is to be indeed a Christian.

But I have been likewise, through a large portion of my later life, a sufferer, sorely afflicted with bodily pains, languors, and manifold infirmities; and, for the last three or four years, have, with few and brief intervals, been confined to a sick-room, and, at this moment, in great weakness and heaviness, write from a sick-bed, hopeless of a recovery, yet without prospect of a speedy removal; and I thus on the very brink of the grave, solemnly bear witness to you, that the Almighty Redeemer, most gracious in his promises to them that truly seek him, is faithful to perform what he hath promised, and has preserved, under all my pains and infirmities, the inward peace that passeth all understanding, with the support

ing assurance of a reconciled God, who will not withdraw his Spirit from me in the conflict, and in his own time will deliver me from the Evil One !

"O, my dear Godchild! eminently blessed are those who begin early to seek, fear, and love their God, trusting wholly in the righteousness and mediation of their Lord, Redeemer, Saviour, and everlasting High Priest, Jesus Christ!

"O preserve this as a legacy and bequest from your unseen Godfather and friend,

"Grove, Highgate,

"July 13, 1834."

He died on the 25th day of the same month.


No words of ours can add force to this humble and solemn testimony of a mighty human spirit in the view of eternity. Nothing, should come after it-nothing, but his own epitaph written by his own hand.

Stop, Christian passer by!
And read with gentle heart!

Stop, child of God,
Beneath this sod

A poet lies, or that which once seem'd he ;-
O lift in thought a prayer for S. T. C.,
That he, who, many a year, with toil of breath,
Found death in life, may here find life in death!
Mercy for praise to be forgiven for fame,
He asked, and hoped, through Christ.

Do thou the same."


There is now no want of Missionary spirit among the Lay Members of the Church: they are willing to go as far as they are urged, perhaps farther. As compared with former times, the number also of those who go forth and preach the gospel has greatly increased: they have little to fear in the way of privation or danger; the rough places have been made smooth, and the crooked places straight before them; every where encouraged, sympathised with, and protected, it seems, as if the Lord had said unto them, 'Go ye up, and take possession of the land.' Whence comes it then, that they meet with so little success? We will not compare them with the Apostles, but why have they been left so far behind by the good of later times? We fear, it is because they have chosen a lower standard, and compare themselves with themselves, and not with the giants of former days. Which of us can say with Paul," Are they ministers of Christ? I am more;" or again, " I laboured more abundantly than they all?" When we read of their learning, their zeal, their prayers without ceasing, their ardent piety, and Herculean labours, we feel at once that they were men of another mould-men, not like us, timidly following, or timidly struggling against, the movement around us, but fitted to excite and to direct it. In the hope that their example may stir up some amongst us to aim at something higher than merely following the crowd, and to gird up our loins for a race like theirs, we intend to present to our

readers occasionally brief sketches of some of the most eminent servants of Christ in other times; and we have chosen for the first, JOHN CALVIN.

1. CALVIN. He was born in France, and laboured in the work of the gospel at Geneva. Returning out of Italy, (into whose borders, he used to say he went, that he might return again,) he settled his affairs, and taking along with him his only brother, Anthony Calvin, he intended to go to Basil or Strasbourg; but all other ways being stopped, by reason of wars, he went to Geneva, without any purpose of staying there. A little before, the gospel of Christ had been very providentially brought into that city by the labour and industry of two excellent men, William Farell of the Delphinate, some time a scholar of Faber Stapulensis; and Peter Viret, a Bernate, whose labours God afterwards wonderfully blessed and prospered. Calvin, hearing of these worthy men, (as the manner is amongst the godly) went to visit them, to whom Mr. Farell, (being a man endowed with an heroical spirit) spoke with great vehemency, and charged him to stay with them at Geneva, and to help them in the work of God. Calvin, being moved with his earnest protestations, submitted to the judgment of the presbytery and of the magistrates, by whose suffrages, together with the consent of the people, he was chosen professor of divinity. His ordinary labours in that office were these: every other sabbath he preached twice; Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, he read his divinity lectures. Every Thursday he assisted in the consistory for the exercise of ecclesiastical discipline. On Fridays he read a lecture for the clearing of some hard places of scripture; besides which, he wrote many commentaries upon the scriptures; answered many adversaries to the truth; wrote many letters to sundry places, of advice and direction, in weighty affairs; so that we have cause to wonder how it was possible for one man to undergo so many businesses. He made very much use of Farell and Viret, and yet himself contributed much more to them. And truly their familiarity, as it was much envied by the wicked, so it was very grateful to all good men. And it was a very pleasant sight to behold these three men, so famous in the church, and all agreeing in the work of the Lord, and yet so excelling in several gifts of the Spirit. Farell exceeded in a certain greatness of mind, whose thundering sermons could not be heard without trembling, and whose ardent prayers would lift a man up into heaven; Viret did so excel in sweet eloquence, that he chained his hearers to his lips; Calvin, how many words he spake, with so many grave and pithy sentences he filled the minds of his hearers; so that (saith Mr. Beza) I often thought that the gifts of these three men meeting in one, would make up a complete pastor. Besides the forementioned labours of Calvin, he had also many foreign businesses; for God so blessed his ministry, that from all parts of the Christian world he was sought to, partly for advice in matters of religion, and partly to hear him preach so that at the same time there was an Italian church, an English church, and a Spanish church, besides the church of Geneva, and that city seemed too little to entertain all that came to it for his sake.

When he was indisposed, his colleagues admonished and earnestly entreated him, that he would abstain from dictating, but especially from writing; but he answered, What? would you have me idle when my Lord comes? Before his death, among other things in his speech to the syndicks and aldermen of Geneva, he had these words, " Of mine own accord, I acknowledge that I am much indebted to you, for that ye have patiently borne with my too much vehemency sometimes; which sin also, I trust God, that he hath forgiven me. But as touching the doctrine that you have heard from me, I take God to witness that I have not rashly and uncertainly, but purely and sincerely, taught the word of God intrusted

unto me." When he understood by letters from Farell to Viret, that he, who was now an old man of eighty years old, and sickly, was yet determin ed to come from Neocom to visit him, and was now onward upon his jour ney, he wrote thus to him to stay him: "Farewel, my best and sincerest brother, and seeing God will have you to outlive me in this world, live mindful of our friendship, which as it hath been profitable for the church of God here, so the fruit thereof tarrieth for us in heaven. I would not have you weary yourself for my sake. I hardly draw my breath; and I expect daily when it will wholly fail me. It is enough that I live and die to Christ, who is gain to his, both in life and death. Again farewel, May 11, 1564." Yet for all this letter the good old man came to Geneva, and, having fully conferred with Mr. Calvin, returned back to Neocom. The rest of his days, even till his departure, Calvin spent almost in perpetual prayer, with his eyes fixed upon heaven. The day after his death there was a great weeping and wailing all over the city; and when he was carried out, the senators, pastors, and professors of the school, and almost the whole city followed the corpse, not without abundance of tears.

He was a man of an incredible and most ready memory, in the midst of numberless distractions, and of a most exact judgment. He was very regardless of preferment, even when it was often offered: he ate little meat, and took very little sleep. He had a certain sweetness mixed with his gravity. Discreet and mild he was in bearing with men's infirmities; yet would he severely without dissimulation reprove their vices, which freedom he always used from a child. Such a preacher he was, that he drew England, Spain, and Italy to him, filling Geneva with strangers. Such a voluminous writer, that (as it was said of St. Augustine) he wrote more than another can well read. His writings were so eagerly received, that as most rare and precious pieces, they were forthwith translated into all languages. What shall I speak of his indefatigable industry, even beyond the power of nature, which being paralleled with our loitering, I fear will exceed all credit? and may be a true object of admiration, how his lean, worn, spent, and weary body could possibly hold out. He read every week in the year three divinity lectures, and every other week, over and above, he preached every day, so that (as Erasmus saith of Chrysostome) I do not know whether more to admire the indefatigableness of the man, or his hearers. Yea, some have reckoned up that his lectures were yearly one hundred and eighty-six, his sermons two hundred and eighty-six besides. Thursday he sat in the presbytery. Every Friday, and when the ministers met in conference to expound hard texts, he made as good as a lecture. Yea, besides, there was scarce a day wherein he spent not some part, either by word or writing, in answering the questions and doubts of sundry pastors, and churches, that sought unto him for advice and counsel: over and above which, there was no year passed wherein came not forth from him some great volume or other in folio, so that in few years, (besides many golden tractates, and sundry exquisite answers, which upon short warning he made to principal adversaries,) his huge explications upon the five books of Moses, Joshua, Job, Psalms, all the prophets, and almost the whole New Testament, came forth into the world, fuller of pithy sententious matter than of paper. These things considered, what breathing time could he find for idleness, or loose thoughts? In his last grievous sickness, he could scarce be compelled by his friends to pretermit his daily task of preaching, and reading his divinity lectures: and at home, when he could not go abroad, he rather wearied others with continual dictating to them, than himself. Nothing was more frequent in his mouth than this, "Of all things, an idle life is most irksome to me." Yea, such conscience did he make of mispending a minute, that he was loth to detain the ministers that came to visit him from their public exercises. He died 1562.



In no part of the world is Religion stamped more unequivocally on the intelligence of a nation than in America. It is delightful to see it extending even to the lighter walks of her literature, and influencing her poets to draw all their inspiration from the living oracles of God. In our own country, Coleridge is gone; and no one has yet ventured to take up the seer's fallen mantle. What, if it has fallen on a young American? The name of Richard Dana is probably unknown to most of our readers; but we doubt not, that the following verses will remind them, and not unworthily, of the magnificent hymn in the vale of Chamouni. We hope speedily to return to this subject.

"O, listen, man!

A voice within us speaks that startling word,
"Man, thou shalt never die!" Celestial voices
Hymn it unto our souls: according harps,
By angel fingers touched when the mild stars
Of morning sang together, sound forth still
The song of our great immortality:

Thick clustering orbs, and this our fair domain,
The tall, dark mountains, and the deep-toned seas,
Join in this solemn. universal song.

O, listen, ye, our spirits; drink it in

From all the air! 'Tis in the gentle moonlight;
"Tis floating 'midst day's setting glories; Night,
Wrapped in her sable robe, with silent step,
Comes to our bed, and breathes it in our ears:
Night, and the dawn, bright day, and thoughtful eve,
All time, all bounds, the limitless expanse,

As one vast mystic instrument, are touched

By an unseen, living Hand, and conscious chords
Quiver with joy in this great jubilee.

The dying hear it; and as sounds of earth

Grow dull and distant, wake their passing souls
To mingle in this heavenly harmony.


Our readers may perhaps bear in mind certain propositions regarding marriage and divorce, which were inserted in the January No. of the OBSERVER. These were also kindly permitted by the Editor of the CHRISTIAN INTELLIGENCER, to appear in that work; and he has since further favoured us with his own observations on the latter part of the third proposition. He thinks we have failed to establish, that divorce is allowed in the New Testament for any other cause than adultery. We will not at present enter on the arguments which he brings forward, further than to state that there is no inconsistency between the first and the third propositions. Divorce, in cases of desertion on religious grounds, is legal in America, and illegal in England:

« ForrigeFortsæt »