« ForrigeFortsæt »
must remain in ignorance as to himself and his Creator without a revelation, it is probable God would grant him one.
3. Inasmuch as man (supposing the Bible to be only the work of man) has discovered what he himself is, that he can be much better, and desires to be so, and has suggested a method of restoration, and delineated a future perfect state in the presence of his Creator, it is probable that God would by a revelation (if these discoveries did not form part of one) communicate to men a knowledge of the truth, or confirm their present sentiments if true ; and that had he not created man for immortality, it is even probable that the feelings of true piety, the desires after perfection, the suggestion as to a heaven of redeemed beings in the universe, as illustrating the love and mercy of the Godhead, would excite the benevolence of the Creator to confer upon man immortality and heavenly happiness.
1. The Bible increases the condemnation of men if they do not believe it, therefore it is not desirable.
Answer. Without the remedial scheme declared to us in the Bible, every member of the human race would have perished. Possessing, then, as it does, this scheme, it brings positive happiness and salvation to all who receive it, and it erects no barrier against any one's approach to receive its blessings. And while it is admitted that those who wilfully reject it suffer the loss of its blessings with peculiar aggravations, it is only another illustration of a common law, that he who wilfully starves himself amidst food dies unpitied, and he who wilfully violates the laws of society, with all the comforts of home, or of property, aggravates, in his own and in public estimation, both his crime and his punishment.
Objection 2. The revelation you offer us fetters the mind, places men under restraint, and prevents the gratification of those feelings which are congenial to our nature.
Answer. The Bible only suppresses our bad passions, and fetters us when we would commit evil. It places us under no restraint but the will of a holy and benevolent Creator ; and although it forbids all association in the pleasures of the wicked, it inculcates the purest benevolence and love towards them, and urges us to the most vigorous efforts for their present and eternal benefit.
Objection 3. The perfection of natural religion renders it impossible that anything can be added to it.
Answer. Whether the Bible be true or false, it must be admitted, that as to the moral state of man, the perfections and purposes of God, the salvation which is by Jesus Christ, the resurrection and immortality of man, there are many things in it that natural religion could never discover, or teach, or confirm; hence the deficiency of natural religion, and the need of something else.
Objection 4. A revelation is not probable, for there cannot be sufficient evidence to attest its reality and genuineness.
Answer. This is an assumption without a particle of evidence to support it.
Even those who have no power over their belief, as they say, can be made to believe that the dead may be raised if they see it, and that Divine power can be delegated to man; both of these things, as well as other classes of proofs, are possible, unless the power of God is limited, and man moveable only by human testimony ; but if a higher class of proofs and weightier evidence be adduced to established heavenly truth, and addressed to the senses, and to the intellect of one, or of many men ; then it is possible, especially by the performance of miracles in the name of God, that a Divine revelation can be satisfactorily attested.
COROLLARY.—It is imperative on all who believe that the Bible is a Divine revelation, to see that the will of God in giving it to mankind is fulfilled.
DEATH-BED SCENES. REPORTED BY MR. BRANCH. I REPORT the following case not from any beneficial results attending my visit, but to show the awful state of ignorance in which persons are living in this metropolis. I was told by a young prostitute, that a man, residing in the garret at No. 9, wished to see me. I accordingly went. On entering this miserable dwelling, I saw a man about forty years of age lying on some sacking (there was no bed) in the last stage of consumption. “You have sent for me," I observed, on approaching his bed. “ Yes, Sir," he replied, “ I have much to do, and little time to do it in-I am about to hop the twig. “Spare your jokes," I replied ; “they are out of place now. We should not expect a man to jest upon the rope that was to deprive him of existence. You are a dying man, if that is what you mean ; and it is a serious thing to die. What made
send for me?” “Why, Sir, I want things made a little straight; I don't want to die like a dog. Can you sit on that stool, Sir? Don't sit on the bed; my legs smell so, it must be unpleasant to you." I opened a little window, and took my seat, when, in a rambling manner, but with great perspicuity as to matter, he ran through his terrible history. I may here observe, that I have invariably found a disposition to recount past scenes, even from childhood, to be the forerunner of immediate dissolution. He told me of robberies he had committed; women out of number he had cohabited with; scenes of drunkenness and riot, lasting for a week or more, and many other crimes, with a correctness as to detail which forbids my attempt to follow him. During this recital we were interrupted by a knock at the door; I raised a wooden fastening of considerable strength, when two men entered (evidently thieves), who began railing at the dying man for his want of courage. I have recorded the following conversation to show the state of mind the dying man was in, and the effects of long continued habit in a course of sin :-“ Holloa, Tom (said one of them to the dying man), what the h- are you at now? never say, Die, man!” to which he replied with a dreadful oath at their interruption; and, pointing to me, said, “This gentleman has been kind ough to come to make all things square; so mizzle" (a cant word for departure. I am sorry to say, I get quite an adept in their language). I spoke to them as kindly as I could on their untimely visit. They both took off their hats, and apologized in the best manner they could. On my reproving them for the language they had used to a fellow-creature in dying circumstances, they admitted it was wrong, and said they were sorry they had used it. I asked them to wait outside for a few moments, I was going to prayer presently, and perhaps they would then come in. They both strongly objected to this on account of their insincerity: they looked upon it, they said, as a solemn thing. The younger thief said, that he did not like to mock God with “a solemn sound upon a thoughtless tongue.” They again thanked me for my kindness and departed. After the dying man had finished what he had to say, he said, “ Thank God, that is done,” and sunk down much exhausted. I gave him a little cold tea to drink, and in a concise and plain manner explained the nature of repentance, of prayer, of faith, and of the Atonement: cautioned him against supposing that he was nearer heaven because he had confessed his sins; directed him to the Lamb of God: urged upon him the necessity of prayer, told him faithfully the danger he was in, and the certainty of everlasting misery, if he died in his present state. “ I do not believe,” he said, “ that there is any hell but a man's conscience, but I suppose you know best." I replied, that if I could judge from his manner, that were hell enough if it lasted for eternity. “Oh, Sir,” he replied, "you are a stranger to me, but if any body was to offer me one hundred pounds that you should pass such a night as I did last night, I would not take it.” I knelt down to pray for him, and when praying that his sins might be pardoned, I enumerated them, and spoke of his unkindness to his aged grey-headed mother. He groaned here so loud, that I was obliged to stop. I appealed for mercy in his behalf, to that blessed Being who forgave Manasse Saul of Tarsus, Mary Magdalene, and the thief upon the cross. I believe if I had continued to enumerate his sins he would have
“ The way of transgressors is hard.” I called the next day-he was dead. Two days subsequently to this I met the
young thief in Drury-lane who had told me that he did not like to mock God with “a solemn sound upon a thoughtless tongue.” When I said to him, “Where did you learn those words you made use of the other day, about mocking God with a solemn sound?” he looked at me for some time, and bursting into tears, said, “I learned that, Sir, in a Sunday-school when I was nine years of age; and all the bad company I have kept, and all the sins I have committed, have not made me forget that hymn nor those
times. Sometimes I think of these things in the night and they won't let me sleep. His companions were waiting for him, so we parted."
I turn with much pleasure to the following account:-Yesterday morning (Friday the 1st), at the request of Brother Collett, í accompanied him to visit a Mr. --, residing in As I had known him previously, he thought my visit might be more acceptable, especially as he is a man of singular habit of mind. After conversing with and praying for him, I left him to visit a dying man, residing in to whom Mr, Collett hoped his visits had been blessed; but before reporting, he wished me to visit the case, more especially as the man was dying. There are some cases the Missionary finds a difficulty in doing justice to, as he can only report the language, not the manner of the persons visited. This was one of that class. The man's earnestness I shall never forget. He had been a swearing, drinking, blaspheming man: the woman he was living with is not his wife. He is sinking rapidly, but spends most of his time in prayer. Among other things he said were the following :~"Oh, Sir, my eyes were never opened to see my state as a sinner until I saw that gentleman," pointing to Mr. Collett. “I never was in earnest until now. I spend all my time in prayer. Oh, if God would show me that he has pardoned my sins ! What a mercy that I ever saw Mr. Collett! I was such a sinner. I never knew what was meant by the new birth' before. Oh, if men could see but with one eye their danger, how soon would they seek for pardon.” After prayer, he desired that his aged mother, who is a member of the Wesleyan body, and a truly pious woman, might be informed of the change that had taken place in his mind. Mr. Collett accordingly went to tell her that her son was dying fast, but was seeking eternal life by Jesus Christ. This scene may be conceived but cannot be described. The case is a most interesting one, and has been attended to by Mr. Collett for some weeks.
THE STATE OF THE HOSPITALS IN LONDON.
To the Editor of the “ London City Mission Magazine." SIR,- In the Report read at the last Anniversary of the London City Mission, I was glad to observe that the attention of the Directors of the Mission had been turned to the want of religious instruction in the hospitals of this city.
Though it may be remarked that chaplains are attached to several of these Institutions, I am sorry to have grounds for supposing that, as at present afforded, their services are not sufficient for the wants of the different patients.
When I ask, Where is the hospital in which no one capable of receiving religious instruction or consolation has died without
its being afforded? what hospital can lay claim to the desirable exemption from blame? How many, on entering these Institutions, have received every attention as regards their bodies, which, from the effects of severe injury, soon became lifeless; but, alas ! no one cared for their souls ! Is such neglect excusable in Institutions originating from that Christianity which so impressively points out the value of the soul? I know too well that many, I think I may say most medical men, would interdict religious as well as ordinary conversation in many cases, because it might prove injurious to the bodily state of the patient.
The propriety of following such a prescription I leave to the consideration of those Governors of these Institutions who acknowledge the obligation of all the precepts of Christianity.
I might enlarge on the good to be expected from the sufficient religious instruction of each in-patient personally, as well as from the distribution of religious tracts to the out-patients, but I content myself by merely hinting at them. I would also add, that I bope there will soon be such salutary supervision exercised with regard to the publications allowed to be brought into the hospitals, that there will never be found in any ward such instruments of evil as the “Weekly Dispatch,” “Sunday Times,” &c., which publications I have seen too often about patients' beds.
I trust that the remarks which I have made may, through the medium of your Magazine, be the means of inducing some of your readers who may have the opportunity, to use their influence for the supply of the defects mentioned, and that the London City Mission may abundantly succeed in this as well as every other department of its work of faith and labour of love, is the earnest
(Extract from the last “ Occasional Paper.") « PREVIOUS to the establishment of the Mission, the amount of ignorance and irreligion prevailing among our Leeds population was only partially known. The Town Missionaries have more fully explored the depths of that ignorance, and brought to light many hidden things of darkness and depravity. Heart-rending scenes of this character have been often witnessed.
“In the Districts already visited, there are thousands living in open violation of the laws of God; and many who sustain the relationships of husband and wife, parent and child, are found, in the presence of each other, disregarding their obligations, and unblushingly practising the foulest crimes.