« הקודםהמשך »
imparted, are utterly incapable of receiving the things which are of God; and though they may have the form, and semblance, and exterior deportment of converted men, thus making a part of the visible Church on earth, yet, having eyes they see not, and having ears they hear not, neither can they understand. It is generally acknowledged, that the work of regeneration is momentary, while the succeeding operations of the Spirit are understood to be gradual. This blessed Spirit begins his work in the souls of the elect by communicating to them a new life, which it carries on by convincing them of sin, showing to them how the Father has been reconciled to them through the Son, and how they are washed, sanctified, and justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Cor. vi. 11.) In this manner, by the power of the Spirit
, the renewed soul is prepared for the reception of Christ, being made to apprehend his love and that of the Father, and as ardently to desire communion with both as the new-born babe desires the milk which is provided for him in the breast of his mother.
“Thus, as I have before said,” continued Mr. Eliot, "the work of man's conversion and sanctification is begun, carried on, and completed by the Lord the Spirit: and though the ministry of man may be sometimes used in the work, yet is such ministry so utterly inadequate to the end intended, and its insufficiency is so frequently made to appear, that there can be no room whatever, in my opinion, for the most successful writer, teacher, or preacher, to take any credit to himself; and 'I have little doubt but that the influences of the Spirit are generally withheld in all cases in which man by his arrogance thus endeavours to deprive the Lord Jehovah of the honours due unto his name, an makes other gods unto himself; for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God; (Exodus xxxiv. 14.) neither can we expect that he will patiently endure the idolatries of man.”
By this time, the two gentlemen having arrived at the suburbs of the town, the busy hum of the place prevented further conversation.
When Mr. Eliot entered his cousins' parlour, he found them preparing for supper; and supposing him to be
just returned from the public party, they asked him how he liked his entertainment and his company, and were not a little surprised upon being informed where he had dined, and how he had spent his day.
From that time, Mr. Eliot preserved the same simplicity of character and fixed determination to reject human praise, and seek that honour which cometh of God. Maný blamed him for this, though no one could be offended, because his reserve on this subject was by no means mixed with moroseness, nor with any offensiveness of manner; for his general deportment was that of extreme courtesy, his charities were large, and his labours for the spiritual good of the poor and'ignorant regular and unremitting.
For a short time he afforded much matter of discourse in the town and neighbourhood, and his sentiments on these points were frequently discussed. Mrs. Essington talked largely and fluently about him in all companies for a season. “Dear old man !" she would say; " I do like him: he is a good creature. And I know not whether I do not like him the better because he won't receive our compliments. He is the first man, however, who ever refused to let me compliment him. I don't except you, Mr. Sandford, although you look so hard at me. I have not been so long in your neighbourhood without finding out your weak side. I know what will please you. I have had nothing to do but to mention some poor sinner converted under your ministry, and then I have been sure of your approbation.”
“For shame, Mrs. Essington," said Mr. Sandford, “Where is your charity? If a minister may not rejoice over a lost sheep which is found, what, I pray, is a proper subject for joy ?"
“Very true, Mr. Sandford," said the lady. And I could add a great deal more in your favour which you have not said for yourself, about the love of souls and paternal regard for your flock, and the tender feelings of a pastor, &c. &c.; but when I have said all I can for you, I shall think of you just as I did before, namely, that you are not so much above human praise as Mr. Eliot: for were I or any one to venture to speak to him about any good he may have been the means of doing to
any poor soul either here or abroad, what would his answer be?- Give God the glory, good Madam. (I like to hear him say, 'Good Madam.) _"Give the glory to the Lord. Do not speak of me. Remember the first commandment_Thou shalt have no other gods but
“And do I not speak to the same purpose, Mrs. Essington ?" said Mr. Sandford, who appeared a little hurt by her remarks.
“O yes, yes; you say something like it. But then, in you it seems more a facon de parler. Somehow, you don't contrive to stop my flattering tongue as Mr. Eliot does. You don't make me feel that I dare not proceed ; but, on the contrary, you rather draw me on to say more. But this saucy old man ! this Bengalee! this Mr. James Eliot ! he makes one feel that he thinks all we can say on these subjects is nought; that if he cannot have commendation from God and his own heart, he will have none; and having that, ours is not worth having. There is a grandeur and magnificence in this conduct which raises him wonderfully in my esteem. I do like him, I own, though he has often made me hold my tongue when I have had a vast deal to say.
But, Mr. Sandford, you look grave.”
“I do, Madam,” said the minister; “because you have touched me to the quick, and given me a view of myself which I fear is a just one. I am not hurt : but I think that I shall live to thank you for your reproof, and Mr. Eliot also for giving the occasion.”
“Well, now," said Mrs. Essington, “I am not sure whether 'I dont like you as well for receiving my saucy reproofs (which by the bye were not intended) with so much candour, as I do Mr. Eliot for rejecting all my compliments.”
Beware how you compliment me now, Mrs. Essington,” said Mr. Sandford. “ You have made me jealous of myself on these points, and I trust, with the divine blessing, to keep a stricter guard on this my weak side in future.”
In the mean time, while the opinions of the town were divided respecting the peculiarities observable in Mr. Eliot's character, and the Misses Clinton secretly regretted
thosc extraordinary sentiments which they said prevented their cousin from becoming an eminent Christian character, and a shining light in the country, the Almighty decided the point, and proved to those who were inclined to see, this his chosen one had done well in rejecting human praise, and pursuing with simplicity that course of life in which he was best able to preserve the calmness of his mind, and that state of heart in which a man would wish to be found at the approach of death.
At the beginning of the second winter of his residence in England, he was seized by an inflammatory complaint on the lungs, which terminated his life in a few days. He died in the arms of George Phillips, while Mr. Sandford was offering a prayer by his bed-side. “My father! my father!" said Mr. Sandford, as he closed the eyes of the departed saint; “my father! my father! O that a part of thy humble and holy spirit may rest upon me, and that henceforward I may be raised as high above the desire of human praise as thou wert.” George Phillips earnestly united in this prayer on his own behalf.
The large property which had belonged to this gentleman, was appropriated, by a will made soon after his arrival in England, to the use of his flock in India, and of the poor in the town and neighbourhood where he then resided; Mr. Sandford and Mr. George Phillips being appointed as trustees; with the reserve of such a sum for the use of the Misses Clinton, as rather more than compensated for the liberal allowance made for his lodging and boarding. It was supposed that he would have left them more, had he not been fearful of ministering thereby to that worldly spirit which he had so often combated in these his only remaining relations. James Trowers was the only poor person belonging to the neighbourhood mentioned by name in Mr. Eliot's will.
Mr. James Eliot is remembered with the tenderest affection to this day in the town in which he died ; and the two ministers who were present at his death have given evidence that the pious conversation of this godly man, and the sweet simplicity of his spirit, were rendered peculiarly beneficial to them; the Holy Spirit having vouchsafed to make use of this Christian stranger for their growth in grace, and especially for their more con
scientious adherence to the commandment—"Thou shalt have no other gods but me.”
The lady of the manor having finished this story, and finding that the allotted interval for these evening exercises had expired, called the young people to prayer; after which, they all returned to their respective homes, meditating and conversing by the way on that which they had heard. A Prayer to be enabled to keep the First
“ O ALMIGHTY and BLESSED LORD GOD, who art the only Creator and Ruler of all things, and in whom we live, and move, and have our being, we beseech thee to give us such a view of the spiritual nature of the commandment, 'Thou shalt have no other gods but me,' that we may tremble at the idea of departing the smallest degree from this holy rule, either by making gods of our fellow creatures, or seeking that praise and honour for ourselves which is due only unto thee. Thou hast spoken of thyself, O Lord, as being jealous for thy holy name; and we know that thou only art worthy of praise; that thou art the first cause of all that is good, of all that is excellent, of all that is commendable on earth. We know also, that when one man is made to differ from another, it is through thy mercy and the blessed effect of superabounding grace; not according to his works or deservings, but according to thy free and sovereign pleasure. Nevertheless, we blindly look to second causes, and lead others to do the same; sometimes setting up ourselves as idols for others, and sometimes making gods of our fellow men. O Lord, we confess and bewail this our grievous offence, very earnestly entreating thee to give us grace henceforward, neither to covet for ourselves the commendations of our fellow creatures, nor to mislead our brethren by our flatteries; since thou, O Lord, alone art worthy the praise of all thy creaturesfor thou only art holy--thou only art just-thou only art good. Shed thy Holy Spirit abroad in our heart VOL. II.