« AnteriorContinuar »
remarkable for the insipidity of their conversation on religious topics, are reprehended by the text. Did they feel so great an interest in the things of God, had they so much sympathy with them as they evidently have with the affairs of the world ; did they understand them as well; doubtless they would speak with similar facility and point concerning them. We speak accurately of that we know, and with interested minds and point of that we love. In this case the faculty of interesting speech is not wanting, it is apparent; but the lack of properly directed affection is disclosed. Some there are, too, who speak religiously in the company of the pious, but who speak in another manner in other associations. These persons forget that their speech is to be “alway with grace," however their circumstances differ. They take character from their company, instead of endeavouring to impress a character upon it. True Christianity must do the latter: it is too unyielding to submit to the former. They who so act probably hope to conciliate the world, to obtain the good opinion of their companions. In this, however, they fail, and secure their just reward in contempt. Do those need the admonition of the Apostle, who, lacking wisdom, introduce religious conversation unseasonably and unsuitably ?—those need it still more who, upon the plea of wisdom, neglect every opportunity of so doing; or who, if they converse at all about it, affect an indirect and philosophical mode of address, as improper as it is inefficient and unfaithful.
In general we observe, that the speech of the Christian should be true. “ Lie not one to another.” We would hope, what we certainly have a right to take for granted, that the vice here reprehended is not found among the professors of our holy religion. It is, however, an evil which bas many phases; and against its less gross and more insidious forms all should guard. In speaking of God, our speech should be reverent; in speaking of ourselves, modest ; and in speaking of or to others, kind and faithful. There is, however, a spurious and boasted faithfulness, which outrages Christian courtesy, and degenerates into rudeness and insult. This is not the measure or form of fidelity, and good men will avoid it,—“speaking the truth in love." There is, also, a spurious kindness, which has no higher origin than selfishness; and that, upon the pretext of a benevolent feeling, seeks to shelter its possessor from some of the inconveniences which attend the discharge of duty. But correct religious speech will be kind without weakness, and faithful without indecorum. Its faithfulness will be the product of the purest kindness, and its mode will participate of, and be influenced by, the genius of its origin.
The habit of speech enforced by the Apostle would tend to the production of the most blessed consequences. It would preserve the consistency, promote the edification, and maintain the peace, of the church. It would banish, to a great extent, scandals, and expel strifes, from her pale; whilst her beauty would be more engagingly disclosed before
the world, and her evangelical influence would increase in power, and be crowned with greater success.
That our speech may be of this character, let us seek for an increase of personal piety. In the diligent and faithful use of the prescribed means of Christian improvement, let us secure the more advanced degrees of holiness to which we are invited ; that, being “sanctified wholly, body, soul, and spirit,” we may be “preserved blameless," in word as in deed, “ unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Thus, the tree being made good, the fruit will be good also ; and that which God requires will be easily and delightfully, because naturally, performed. Any resolutions or watchfulness apart from this, as they are arbitrary and artificial, will be comparatively inefficient; but from a sanctified heart the principles which originate wrong speech are expelled, by the introduction of those which produce all righteousness.
Cultivate, also, a sense of God's presence, and remember bis inspection. Words are important in their present and future consequences. Though forgotten by us, they are remembered by the Lord; and will, assuredly, be brought to our recollection, either to our joy or to our confusion, in that day when by our words” we shall be justified or condemned. (Matt. xii. 37.) May we find mercy in that day; and now, as then, may “ the words of” our “mouth” be “ acceptable" in the sight of God, our “strength and our Redeemer !” Amen.
ON FAMILY CATECHISING.
Addressed to the Ministers of Somersetshire and Will shire, by the
Rev. Joseph Bernard, and the Rev. Joseph Alleine. SIR, -While we have been devising what to do for our God, we thought we could no way better serve him than by provoking such as you are to set up his great name with us. We love and honour you, not only as you are a member, but a Minister, of Christ Jesus our Lord; and, therefore, deserve to be doubly dear unto us. And because we could think of no more pleasing a sacrifice of thanksgiving, we have stirred up ourselves, and friends with us, to send to you
a Prophet, in the name of a Prophet,"—this poor token of love; which, though but small, yet, we trust, will be a sweet savour unto God, and will be accepted with you, being our two mites cast into God's treasury. But look not upon yourself as obliged to us hereby; but put it upon the account of Christ, to whose precious name we dedicate it, and from whom (although he be so much already beforehand with us, yet) we expect a recompence at the resurrection of the just.
And being further desirous to promote the work of God in our low and slender capacities, we have been bold to provoke yourself, with other our fathers and brethren in the ministry, to set about that neces
sary and much neglected work of catechising ; not a little pleasing ourselves in the sweet hope that, by your means, we may be instrumental to spread the sweet savour of the knowledge of our God in every place. And being well persuaded of your readiness to forward so blessed a work, we have stirred up ourselves and our friends to expend a considerable sum of money, to furnish Ministers with Catechisms, a hundred whereof we have sent unto you, beseeching you to use your best prudence and utmost diligence for the spreading of them, and for others' improvement by them, that our labour and charge in so good a work
prove not at last of no effect. Sir, we shall humbly propose unto you, but not impose upon you. But let us be bold with you in Christ, to lay our requests before you as touching this concernment,—they being, indeed, what judicious friends and brethren have thought fit to propound :
1. That the people be publicly and privately instructed about the high necessity and great usefulness of this duty. 2. That these Catechisms be freely given to all that will promise to use them. 3. That you would be pleased to acquaint yourself with all the schools that are within your verge ; and that you would do your utmost to engage the Teachers thereof to teach their scholars this Catechism ; and that you would furnish all their scholars that are capable and willing to learn. 4. That you will endeavour, from house to house, to engage the master or mistress of every family for the forwarding of this work. 5. That you will appoint set times wherein to take an account of the proficiency of all such as have promised to learn ; and that, if it may be, they may be engaged to learn weekly a proportion, according to their capacities. 6. That you would favour us so far as to let us know, as speedily as you may, of the receipt of these lines; and, if we may presume so far upon you, we pray you to indulge us some assurance under your hand, that you will, to your power, promote this happy design ; and that, by our Lady-Day next, you will acquaint Mr. Bernard what progress is made.
Sir, our souls will even travail in birth for the success of this undertaking; and therefore we request you, for the love of God, and by the respect which we are persuaded you bear to us, that you will labour to comfort and encourage us in our endeavours for God, which you can no way in the world do so well as by letting us see that there is some blessed fruit of our cost and pains, and that we have not run in vain, nor laboured in vain. If there be any of these Catechisms remaining in your hands, that you cannot dispose of by our Lady-Day, be pleased to send them to Mr. Bernard, or to Mr. Rositer, in Taunton. If you should need any more, give us speedy notice, and you shall not fail to be furnished with what number
desire. Thus, upon the bended knees of our thankful souls, we commend our poor sacrifices, together with yourself, to the eternal God, and remain, &c., J. B., and J. A.
METHODISM IN FORMER DAYS.
IX.-MISSIONS IN AFRICA.
(To the Editor of the Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine.) Among those who advocated the on their arrival, laid the foundation cause of injured Africa, a few en of the Methodist society in this lightened and benevolent gentlemen colony. On the arrival of these soon perceived that little benefit pious Blacks at Sierra-Leone, they would result from the abolition of found the constitution of the colony the slave-trade, unless we could in- congenial to their wishes. Thus troduce among the inhabitants the circumstanced, they established the principles of morality and religion. worship of God among themselves, This was one of the grand objects according to the plan of the Wesof “the Sierra-Leone Company,” leyan Methodists. Two or three at which was incorporated in 1791, and this time officiated as Local Preachheld their first meeting on the 19th ers; and a few others bore the office of October, and chose their Direc- of Class-Leaders. As their lives tors for the ensuing year. Among were exemplary, and their preachthese were the celebrated names ing regular, their congregations soon of Wilberforce, Thornton, Clarkson, increased ; the number in society Granville Sharpe, and others, who was augmented, and in process of have immortalized themselves by time a preaching-house was erected, espousing the cause of insulted capable of containing four hundred humanity. I find the following persons.” (Coke's Narrative of a entry in my father's cash-book for Mission to Sierra-Leone, pp. 7, 9, 1792:-“ Paid for a share in the 18.) Sierra-Leone Company, £50.” The “The fame of the colony spread Company discovered a laudable zeal in every direction. The King of the to promote the interests of the Gos- Foulahs, a large and powerful nation pel. They provided the settlement to the north-east of Sierra-Leone, with a serious Chaplain, and en and whose territory is three hundred couraged Preachers and School and fifty miles in length, and two masters, who were willing to labour hundred in breadth, together with among the settlers, or to go as Mis- other Chiefs several hundred miles sionaries to the natives in the sur. in the interior, sent friendly embas. rounding country.
sies, and children from
quarters “The settlers who left England to be instructed in European learnreceived orders, that, on their ar. ing, and the Christian religion. The rival, they should seek out a com Directors looked forward to the day modious situation for the erection when Africa should present a new of a town. Health and conveniency aspect to the world. The British were the objects to be combined, Government had afforded them its and it was to be denominated ‘Free protection and assistance; and the Town.' To assist these adventurers French Convention, on the comin their undertaking, it was thought mencement of the war, requested a necessary to introduce more inha. full explanation of their designs, bitants; accordingly, in 1792, the assuring them of the good wishes of free Blacks who had taken up the French Government to so noble their residence in Nova Scotia, were an undertaking.” (Ibid., pp. 11, 12; conveyed to Sierra-Leone. These and the Missionary Mag., p. 104. amounted to one thousand one hun. Edinb., 1796.) dred and thirty-one; among whom This settlement suffered greatly in were many pious characters, who, 1794, from the depredations of a
fleet of French pirates. It was thus But on the morning which had been that the French executed their pur named for our departure, there came pose of spreading light and liberty a delegation from the Missionaries, through the world; for these power to say, that they could not proceed. sul patrons of the “rights of man It is so far fortunate, that they have destroyed the colony with attendant retracted before we set out on our circumstances of the most wanton journey, as their receding then cruelty. In February, 1795, the might have displeased the natives, Court of Directors met to take into and shut the door against future consideration the melancholy state Missions. It seems as if the field of the colony; and two years after they were to occupy, which is a wards we learn, “that the damage very extensive and important one, is now (1797) in a great measure was reserved by Providence for some, repaired, the settlement again flou- who, with more courage, can rishing, and the Gospel with it." counter difficulties and bear their (Heptinstall's Christian Pocket Mag. cross, and who will be disposed, for 1797, p. 16.)
with Paul, to count all things but The Doctor says, “We received loss; nay, not even to count their many letters beseeching us to send lives dear for the sake of Christ." a Missionary to the colony to se (Missionary Mag., p. 34. 1796.) cond their own exertions, and to instruct them more fully in the way To this letter Mr. Wilberforce re. of righteousness." Being at the time plied as follows :unable to procure men who were both qualified for the Mission and
“Buxton, July 3d, 1796. willing to undertake the arduous
“Your intelligence concerning task, he gave encouragement and the Foulah Mission is highly illusassistance to sundry “mechanics trative of the character of Mewho were members of our society thodism, and seems to me to teem in England, some of whom had officiated as Local Preachers, to ac
with practical consequences. I have company Governor Macauley to the tained in your letter to me.
as yet only seen the account consettlement in order to form a Chris. tian colony, and open a friendly event confirms me in the wish to set
must not be discouraged. But this intercourse with the natives of the Foulah country. It seems, however, maintaining Missionaries, of which
up an institution for educating and from the following letter, that they
a few of ourselves should be the mahad either not rightly understood
nagers.* the engagement they had entered
“ To Zacuary MacauLEY, Esq.” into, or had not fully counted the cost." (Missionary Mag., p. 69.) They sailed from Portsmouth, Fe
In a “Narrative of the Methodist bruary 17th, 1796, and arrived March
Missions,” contained in the above18th.' The following month Mr. named Missionary Magazine, pp. Macauley wrote as follows to Mr.
65—69, the Editor adds, “We unWilberforce :
derstand that the Mission to the
Foulah country, which is said to “ Free-Town, April 19th, 1796.
have failed, was not properly a Me“MR. CLARK* will probably ac
thodist Mission, as the families that quaint you with the failure of the went out with Mr. Macauley, with Methodist Mission to the Foulah
the design to settle on the borders country, and the causes of it. I had
of that country, were not sent by the resolved to accompany them to the Methodist Conference. We, thereplace of their destination, in order fore, insert this note, lest any of our to negotiate a settlement with the readers, by attaching the common King of the country for them, and idea to the phrase Methodist Misto see them completely established. sion,' should be led to conclude, that * The Chaplain to the colony.
* Life of Wilberforce, vol. ii., p. 159.