Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

to say, that in giving his support to the present bill, he had no intention to hold out any delusive expectation to the country, that the condition of the general body of the people would, on its passing, be ameliorated. He

supported the measure strictly because he believed that the feeling of the country was so strong on the subject, and public opinion so disjoined and separated from the existing state of things, that it was impossible for any government to refuse with safety to place the representation of the people on a broader and more extended basis. The vices and imperfections of the present system were plain and prominent. They stood upon the surface, and struck every body's view, and had excited the indignation of the people. On the other hand, all the advantages of the system, and he did not deny that it possessed many, were concealed and hidden from observation, and could only be discovered by abstruse reasoning. When he saw that the feeling of dissatisfaction with the existing state of things was deeply rooted in the public mind, he felt it to be absolutely necessary for parliament to try and extend the basis of the representation, and place it on a foundation more agreeable to the feelings, and more suited to the understanding, of the country. When the noble lord told him, that by so doing he was yielding to the mob, and giving himself up to the winds and waves of democracy, he replied, that he was yielding to the understanding of the people. To that alone he would yield, and to that, it was one of the terms and conditions of a popular government to yield.

The noble lord then proceeded to refer to the opinion expressed by the Duke of Wellington when in office, on the subject of reform, and attributed the breaking up of his administration to his determination not to bring the question under the consideration of parliament. He did not remember that at the time the present ministers accepted office, and declared that they would propose an efficient measure of reform, any other person but the noble duke had expressed his disapprobation of the principle upon which the government was determined to act. The principle seemed to be generally acquiesced in ; and government felt themselves bound to propose their measure as soon as they conveniently could. But it was objected that the present measure went too far. He was of a very different opinion; and he thought that when the legislature determined to make concessions, it was absolutely necessary that the concession should be full, fair, and complete. It was impossible to bring in a bill of less extent than that which was now before the house; and if those persons who objected to it had an opportunity of trying a plan of moderate reform, they would find themselves involved in much greater difficulties, absurdities, and contradictions, than those of which they accuse the authors of the present bill. He implored the house not to conceive that the silence which at present prevailed in the country was the silence of indifference. He admitted that the bill proposed great changes; but he was convinced that not only would the advantages which were anticipated from it be produced, but there would also arise on every side collateral blessings and unexpected benefits, which would shew the genial nature of the soil in which the seed had been planted.

Few persons, we conceive, can peruse Lord Melbourne's speeches, of which the above specimen are but detached fragments, without being convinced that he was not languid in the great cause of Parliamentary Reform. Tempering his zeal with prudence, offensive epithets, and terms of violence, are of rare occurrence in any of his harangues. With calm deliberation, he always kept the great object in view, and having seen the all-important question brought to safe anchorage, he now enjoys, with his veteran colleagues, the triumphs of liberty, and the plaudits of a grateful country.

REMARKS ON DEVOTION.

great mass of people have ever professed a veneration for their Maker. It is true,

that the numerous heathen rites had turned “Devotion, when lukewarm, is undevout, them from a just conception of the nature But when it glows, its heat is struck to heaven; To human hearts her golden harps are strung;

and attributes of the Supreme Being, yet, High heaven's orchestra chants Amen to man." comparatively speaking, the individual that

YOUNG-Night 4th.

disbelieved the existence of God, was a soli. tary one.

A certain undefinable awe crept We contemplate the soul of man in its over their feelings, as they gazed upon the present state with feelings similar to those mysterious ceremonies and veiled solem. with which the traveller ponders over the nities of religion. Their temples were remains of a magnificent temple. Ruin placed in sacred groves, that, with impeand sadness have spread their melancholy netrable shade, cast an indistinct gloom mantles around ; yet fragments of former over every transaction, and served to aid splendour are still scattered on every side, the production of that sensation of the by which its ancient symmetry may be dis sublime, which operates so strongly on the covered, so that we may say with the poet, devotional capacities of man. Yet it must “Beautiful fabric! even in decay

be confessed, that the principal feeling And desolation, beauty still is thine."

which priestcraft excited, was terror of an For there are undoubtedly many noble offended Deity. The kind affections of qualities yet remaining in the soul of man, man were untouched, and, though he feared, by which its divine birth and sinless origin he scarcely loved his God. are attested. Though his nature at present It was left for the Christian religion to is, alas ! mournfully depraved, yet various develop the veiled character of Jehovah in dispositions manifest themselves amidst his

such a manner, that the lustre of his attrivicious inclinations, which stamp him as a butes might be less dangerous to the overbeing that was once the image of God. whelmed sight of mortality; that fear might With such reflections as these, we may be be softened into love, that man might be prepared to acknowledge that there is reconciled to his Maker. The terror that generally in man, even in his natural and

an uninformed judgment would feel in conunregenerate state, a disposition to venerate templating divine justice and power would the Supreme Being.

in some

measure be dispelled by the According to he constitution of his scheme of salvation revealed in the New mind, man is peculiarly susceptible of all Testament dispensation, where

mercy that is vast and sublime; nay, in the con and truth meet together ; righteousness and templation of infinity, his mental qualities peace have kissed each other.” Difficult are absorbed in astonishment and awe. must it be, when the mind has dwelt on However vicious he himself may be, there these revelations, to refrain from giving way

seasons when virtue will command to feelings of penitence and gratitude; feel. respect, and noble generosity melt the ings that are of themselves the sincerest heart's best feelings. So that the silence evidences of devotion of which man is of solitude will often impress upon the capable. Yet it is not to be supposed that minds, even of the thoughtless, such ideas any feelings, however wrought upon, while of Jehovah, that, overcome with his majesty, the heart remains in its unregenerate state, they perceive at a glance the vanity of their are entirely acceptable to God, since even pursuits. Thus the unlutored savage, that these are mournfully soiled with sinful roams at large over the magnificent tracts motives and unhallowed thoughts. Accordof his country, receives, from a frequent ing to scripture, it is the intercession of the contemplation of the beauty and grandeur Spirit alone that availeth with God, for the of nature's scenery, a veneration for the bosom in which this does not reign is still Great Spirit, equal, if not superior, to his at enmity with God. more civilized fellow-creatures.

are

In devotion there are two extremes into sons, likewise, as have been in the habit of which man is prone to fall. The first leads dwelling upon the benevolence and good him to mistake the fervour of animal feel. ness of God, are constrained to confess ing, for those aspirations which nothing but that the mercies of the Most Highfar true piety can inspire. Hence, seasons of transcend the aggravated iniquity and rebel solemnity, scenes of mournful grandeur, lion of man.

the rich cadence of sacred music, the irreThis in some measure accounts for the sistible appeal of eloquence, when enforce great ascendency of priests, even in the ing divine love or justice-above all, the most idolatrous nations. For though there painful events of Providence-tend to leave have always been a few exceptions, yet the such powerful impressions on the mind

Such per

that he is often deceived as to the state of effects, if it had no other auxiliary! Sin his heart. He imagines that nothing but and evil passions are of such a nature, that divine grace could have wrought the pow- unaided it could never be a sufficient erful change in his feelings which he expe- opponent to them, in the frail and guilty riences, while his heart may still remain bosom of man. On the other hand, if the same, and its failings may gradually devotion sprang only from supernatural inre-appear as the impressions subside. Auences and unaccountable excitements, it These impressions, it is true, are often, per- could never be depended upon. It there. haps generally, the means of leading the fore, properly consists in a union of the sinner to God, because they serve to incline mental faculties with the lively feelings of him to seek after salvation with deep and the heart,--an harmonious union, which heartfelt sincerity; yet they are as often no constitutes its intrinsic excellence, and dismore than the mere evanescence of feeling, plays the wisdom of God. When devowhich will soon subside, and leave his dis- tion, assuming this character, tunes her positions entirely unchanged. And as fancy seraph strains, the notes are resounded with leads her deluded votaries through her all their beauty in the heavenly world, and airy halls,

“ The bower of interwoven light With moon-beams paved and canopied with stars, Seems at the sound to grow more bright," And tapestried with marvellous energy,"

These observations receive some testiso does mental excitement in religion lead mony of their truth from a contemplation many beyond the regions of experience of the different modes of worship among and truth.

Christians. Such a regular gradation is But there is another extreme to which there in the forms of the different religious some are liable; and that is, to divest de- denominations, that a character can scarcely votion of the warmth of feeling, and the be conceived of, which is not by nature or fervour of passion. Observing the errors of education adapted to receive one of its exenthusiasm, they place the whole of religion isting modes. Those who place the chief in cold mental speculations and dull for- part of religion in warm feelings and a mality. But let us mark the scriptural lively imagination, prefer those forms and graces of the Christian character. Faith, it ceremonies which, from their pageant, are is true, is an operation of the mind, yet it most imposing. The cold and phlegmatic, is likewise a firm and lively persuasion of on the contrary, endeavour to abstract from the heart; so lively, that it clears the film religion all that nature bestows as auxiliaries of depravity from the exercises of reason, in its favour. overcomes the solicitations of sin, and That man acts the wisest part, who in induces a love towards that to which it was his devotion dispels the deluding mists of formerly most repugnant. Then springs enthusiasm, and cultivates the nobler exerhope in his bosom, which, piercing into cise of reason ; who, notwithstanding, does futurity, realizes all that the imagination not disdain the assistance his Maker has can conceive of, when expatiating through given him, in inducing a suitable solemnity the regions of happiness and love; and of feeling when coming into his presence. this, it must be confessed, is a feeling far These remarks might furnish a theme of beyond the frigidity of mental speculation. speculation on the peculiar adaption of

Finally arises love, the breathing energy different individual temperaments to the of the Christian's character, that which different denominations of Christians; for gives life to the most exquisite sculpture. it seems that the disposition of a man, wheA grace like this, it must be confessed, so ther phlegmatical or of a delicate suscepfar from rising on the basis of rational dis- tibility, generally directs him in the choice quisition, is the grand master-passion of of that sect of religion which he joins. the human breast, ruling it in all its actions, Devotion may, perhaps, be defined the words, and thoughts. Perfectly distinct religious exercises of the soul; not of some from vague and mysterious feelings, that faculties to the prejudice of others, but the have their source unknown to the possessor, complete union of the heart and mind in it is founded on a due perception of the the service of God. Of these, the exercise excellence of God, united to a grateful of prayer stands foremost, the unveiling of sense of his goodness. If these are, then, the soul to God in all its destitution, sincere the distinguishing features of a Christian, humility, and ardent desires after that holy it is certain that they must display some- perfection which is the attribute of Jehovah thing of their character in his devotion.

alone : Sterling devotion, it is true, can rise “ Prayer is the burthen of a sigh,' upon no foundation but the sober exercise

The falling of a tear,

The upward glancing of an eye, of reason, yet how faintly would be its

When none but God is near."

account of Mr. John Downs, one of the first lay-preachers sent out by Mr. J. Wesley, a man of eminent piety, of great affliction, and of uncommon genius, I am persuaded you will gratify many of your readers, and perpetuate the memory of a man who deserves to “be had in everlasting remembrance." Blagdon, May 15th, 1832.

EDMUND DYER.

It is evident that prayer can neither be warm nor effective, if the feelings be dormant, for in this case it would be nought but the mere passive ejaculations of the mind, and must soon become the empty articulations of formality.

Again, the lively imagination of him who may in some respects be sincere, and yet in others deceives himself, will often prompt a man to conceive too highly of himself because of his seemingly ardent devotion, and yet, in the words of an elegant writer, “If we imagine that we experience the feelings or pleasures of devotion, while we live in any known or habitual sin, we fatally deceive ourselves; they are the fervours of a heated fancy, or the delusions of Satan."*

In conclusion, it may be observed, that though devotion may exist in the mind or feelings of an unregenerated man, it only has complete and effective exercise when inspired by the Spirit of God. As Homer ingeniously describes them, prayers are the offsprings of God, and He will hear them, were there no other reason. That which descends from God, must, according to the laws of nature, return to God, and the desire of holiness must be communicated by its source.

“ Devotion allied to any presumptuous sin, is enthusiasm and hypo. crisy.” It scorns the indulgence, nay even the very thought, of sin. Cursed is the man that enters the holy of holies with polluted fire. It shall consume the guilty victim in all the anguish of remorse. Devotion is too pure to be sullied with enthusiasm or hypocrisy. She is the messenger from earth to heaven. She brings down to man the realities of an unseen world. She draws from their perennial streams the enduring virtues of the Christian. While his heart is fixed on heavenly things and celestial employments, the world loses some of its fascination, and he sighs

Of this good man, Mr. John Wesley says, “I suppose, he was, by nature, as great a genius as Sir Isaac Newton. I will mention but two or three instances of it. When he was at school, learning Algebra, he came one day to his master, and said, “Sir, I can prove this proposition a better way than it is proved in the book.” His master thought it could not be ; but, upon trial, he acknowledged that the pupil was right. Some time after, his father sent him to Newcastle with a clock which was to be mended. He observed the clock-maker's tools, and the manner how he took it in pieces, and put it together again : and when he came home, he first made himself tools, and then made a clock which was as fine as any in the town.--Another proof of his genius was this : Thirty years ago, while I was shaving, he was whirling the top of a stick ; I asked, 'What are you doing ?” He answered, I am taking your face, which I intend to engrave on a copper-plate.' Accordingly, without any instructions, he first made himself tools, and then engraved the plate. The second picture which he engraved, was that which was prefixed to the Notes upon the New Testament. Such another instance, I suppose, not all England, or perhaps Europe, can produce.' For several months past, he had far deeper communion with God than ever he had in his life. And for some days he had been frequently saying, 'I am so happy, that I scarce know how to live. I enjoy such fellowship with God, as I thought could not be had on this side heaven? And having now finished his course of fifty-two years, after a long conflict with pain, sickness, and poverty, he gloriously rested from his labours, and entered into the joy of his Lord.”

The circumstances of his death, which were singularly remarkable, are thus related by Mr. Charles Wesley.

“. John Downs has lived, and died the death of the righteous. For several months past he has been greatly alive to God, walked closely with bim, and visibly grown in grace. On Friday morning, November 5th, 1774, he rose, full of faith, and love,

with the poet,

"False the light on glory's plume,

As fading hues of even,
And love, and hope, and beauty's bloom,
Are blossoms gathered for the tomb,

There's nothing bright but heaven."
J.A.B.

Beaconsfield.

GENIUS AND PIETY COMBINED.

MR. EDITOR, SIR, -I have always considered that part of your valuable Magazine, which occasionally records a short memoir of the lives and deaths of pious persons, exceedingly useful. By inserting the following short

• Bowdler's Essay on Prayer.

and joy. He declared it was the happiest mote his cure. At the same time, I think day of his life, and that he had not been so it indispensable to let his friends know the well in body for years. He expressed his danger of his case, the instant I discover it. joy in showers of tears—he was led to pray An arrangement of his worldly affairs, in for the people so as he never prayed before. which the comfort or happiness of those Going out to the chapel at West-street, he who are to come after him is involved, said, “I used to go to preach tremblingly, may be necessary; and a suggestion of his and with reluctance, but now I go in tri- danger, by which the accomplishment of umph. His text was,

« Come unto me, this object is to be obtained, naturally all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and induces a contemplation of his more I will give you rest.” His words were important spiritual concerns, a' careful unusually weighty and full of power, but review of his past life, and such sincere few. He perceived that he could not finish sorrow and contrition for'what he has done his discourse, and gave out this verse of the amiss, as justifies our humble hope of his hymn,

pardon and acceptance hereafter. “Father, I lift my heart to thee,

“ If friends can do these good offices at No other help I know.

a proper time, and under the suggestions His voice failing, he fell on his knees, as of the physician, it is far better that they meaning to pray ; but he could not be should undertake them than the medical heard. A preacher ran, and lifted him adviser. They do so without destroying from his knees, for he could not raise him- his hopes, for the patient will still believe, self. They carried him to bed, where he that he has an appeal to his physician lay quiet and speechless till eight on Satur- beyond their fears; whereas, if the phyday morning, and then fell asleep. O for sician lay open his dangers to him, howan end like his ! It is the most enviable, ever delicately he may do this, he runs a the most desirable, I ever heard of! His risk of appearing to pronounce a sentence widow I visited yesterday afternoon. She of condemnation to death, against which surprised me, and all who saw her; so sup- there is no appeal—no hope ; and on that ported, so calm, and so resigned. A faith- account, what is most awful to think of, ful friend received her into her house. She perhaps, the sick man's repentance may be had but one sixpence in the world. But less available. But friends may be absent, her Maker is her husband. We are all and nobody near the patient in his extreagreed it is the Lord's doing, and it is mar- mily, of sufficient influence or pretensions vellous in our eyes.”

to inform him of his dangerous condition ; and surely, it is lamentable to think, that any human being should leave the world

unprepared to meet his Creator and Judge, (From Sir Henry Halford's Essays.) “ with all his crimes broad blown !” RaThe question has frequently been agitated ther than do so, I have departed from my among medical men, whether, when visiting strict professional duty, and have done their patients, it is their duty to conceal or that which I would have done to myself, to make known the danger that is perceived. and have apprised my patient of the great On a point of such delicacy and moment, change he was about to undergo.” the following opinion of Sir Henry Halford may not be unacceptable to the reader.

* And here you will forgive me, perhaps, if I presume to state what appears to me to be the conduct proper to be observed WILLIAM Penn and Thomas Story, tra. by a physician in withholding, or making velling together in Virginia, being caught his patients acquainted with, his opinion in a shower of rain, unceremoniously shelof the probable issue of a malady manifest. tered themselves from it in a tobacco-house; ing mortal symptoms. I own, I think it the owner of which, happening to be withmy first duty to protract his life by all in, accosted them with, “You have a great practicable means, and to interpose myself deal of impudence, to trespass on my prebetween him and every thing which may mises, -you enter without leave. Do you possibly aggravate his danger; and, unless know who I am ?" To which was answered, Í shall have found him averse from doing “ No." " Why, then, I would have you to what was necessary in aid of my remedies, know I am a justice of the peace.” Thomas from a want of a proper sense of his peril- Story replied, “My friend here nakes such ous situation, I forbear 10 step out of the things as thou art—he is the Governor of bounds of my province in order to offer Pennsylvania.” The would be great man any advice which is not necessary to pro- quickly abated his haughtiness.

DUTY OF THE PHYSICIAN:

PRIDE EFFECTUALLY REBUKED.

« ForrigeFortsæt »