תמונות בעמוד
[merged small][graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

with 66

PERSUASIVE TO THE DUTY OF SAYING In illustration of this remark, I would diGRACE AT MEALS.

rect the attention of my readers to the miNo. I.

racle of the four thousand and upwards, fed BY THE REV. HENRY ARTHUR HERBERT,

seven loaves and a few little fishes,” Curate of Eldersfield, Worcestershire. recorded in the fifteenth chapter of St. MatThe union of the two natures, divine and thew. Doubtless on reading it yourselves, or human, in the person of Jesus Christ, is not on hearing it read by others, admiration and a more essential subject of our belief in order love have jointly possessed your hearts: adto satisfy us of the efficacy of his atonement, miration at one so powerful as to be able to than to perfect us in all holy living. If on more than satisfy the wants of so vast a multhe one hand the shedding of no one's blood titude with such an adequate supply; love could have reconciled fallen creatures to the towards one so gracious as to perform all this Almighty, save that of God “manifest in the of his own free will, no request being made, flesh ," so on the other no one's example no hint thrown out to him to relieve their could have been so effectually proposed as hunger; and in suffering your hearts to be his, who, though “ in the form of God,” thus doubly influenced you acted wisely; for

was made in the likeness of men,” and be- what more likely method can we pursue in came subject to all their infirmities, sin only order to impress our minds with a full conexcepted. It was the observation of a celé viction of his ability and willingness to sucbrated heathen philosopher, that were virtue cour us in every time of need, than by medito appear on earth, she would excite in the tating upon the marvellous works which he minds of its inhabitants a marvellous affection performed for the afflicted and distressed towards her. Behold the very circumstance, during his sojourn upon earth? But, I bethat in his judgment should produce this de- seech you, stop not here: search into this sirable consummation, realized in the coming narrative a little more closely, and you will of the Son of God amongst us! In him, and rise from the investigation no less satisfied in him exclusively, perfect, unalloyed virtue that Jesus Christ is well worthy your imitarecommends itself to the admiration and imi- tion as man, than you previously were that tation of the sons of men ! What patterns of he deserved all adoration and praise as God. excellence ought we “in these last days” to “ And he took the seven loaves and the fishes be in consequence of being thus highly fa- and gave thanks.” The circumstance of voured! Unlike the unenlightened genera- giving thanks is also mentioned by two out tion in which this heathen lived, who were of the other three evangelists, who relate this carried to and frd in their belief and practice and the corresponding miracle of the five by the contradictory dogmas of self-willed thousand fed with five loaves and two fishes.” teachers, we have only to cast our eyes upon In St. Mark we read, “ He took the seven the gospel, and there we find that we are loaves and gave thanks.” St. John speaks commanded to perform nothing, but what a to the same effect: “ And Jesus took the partaker of flesh and blood has performed loaves, and when he had given thanks he already, “ leaving us an example that we distributed to his disciples.” But why should “ should follow his steps.'

all these three evangelists make a point of



(London : Joseph Rogerson, 24 Norfolk-street, Strand..]

inserting this apparently unimportant clause? | lawful to use every kind of wholesome food With or without it their accounts of the re- without restriction, “For every creature of spective miracles would have been equally God is good, and nothing to be refused if it complete; nay, the thread of their narratives be received with thanksgiving; for it is sancis interrupted by it, and it obviously appears tified by the word of God and by prayer. to have been introduced by design, to answer The word of God sanctifies or guards from some useful purpose. Yes; they were well abuse our meals by the various directions it aware of the proneness of mankind to enjoy gives concerning them. It enjoins temperthe daily gifts of God without thanking, with- ance in whatsoever we eat, and sobriety in out thinking of him: they witnessed (save whatsoever we drink. It asserts that the St. Mark, who, however, together with his meanest and scantiest pittance, where piety fellow-evangelist St. Luke, “ had perfect un- and charity crown the board, is far more adderstanding of all things from the very first"); vantageous to man and acceptable to God they witnessed, I say, their heavenly Master than the richest and amplest entertainment acting very differently, thus at once shaming defiled by irreligion, and embittered by disand instructing their erring brethren. The putes. Better is little with the fear of the same portion of the gospel which presents Lord, than great treasure and trouble therethe grandest view of the creating power of with. Better is a dinner of herbs where love the Son of God, is made to exemplify, in the is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith." most striking manner, the humility of the Better is a dry morsel and quietness thereSon of man! We observe the Lord omnipo- with, than a house full of sacrifices with tent by whom all things were “ created that strife.” It bids us dread an indulgence in are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible the creatures worse than death, by a strong and invisible, whether they be thrones or do- figurative expression: “And put a knife to minions, or principalities, or powers," thank- thy throat if thou be a man given to appeing his Father for bare necessaries; we hear tite” or excess. It recommends the rich to him saying in the same breath to the loaves reserve out of their abundance somewhat conand fishes, " increase and multiply,” and to siderable to “ the poor, the maimed, the lame, God," I thank thee in my own name, and in the blind,” who " cannot recompense" them, that of all here present, for these thy gifts:" rather than from an expectation of being we are involuntarily attracted by his piety in entertained in return. On the other hand not permitting his followers, though ready to it commands the poor if they have but faint with hunger, to taste any food until the “ food and raiment,” or clothes to cover and blessing of heaven had first been begged upon a roof to shelter them, to “ be therewith it. Then I would say “the disciple is not content,” not to be craving after dainties, or above his master, nor the servant above envious of the enjoyers of them. Yet, alas! his lord ;” neither is that conduct unbefitting how prone is man to neglect or forget these the dependent, helpless sons of Adam, which divine injunctions ! Few there are to whom, God's" co-equal and co-eternal” Son thought in some way or other, their table proves not it by no means beneath his dignity to pursue. a snare and stumbling-block. Scarcely a If elsewhere the apostle teaches us by pre- meal occurs from which we can rise not cept to give " thanks always unto God,” chargeable with a greater or less degree of here Christ teaches us by his own example to discontent, uncharitableness, impropriety, or give thanks unto him, especially at our meals. excess whilst taking it. How, I ask, has it

But notwithstanding that this duty is en come to pass that we have thus transgressed forced by so strong a sanction, many families, against the honour of God, the good of our I fear,“ who profess and call themselves neighbour, and our own comfort and advanChristians,” disregard, or only occasionally tage? We have not sincerely lifted up our perform it, and then in a manner so little re- souls in prayer before sitting down to meat. verential or so imperfect as greatly to lessen That our meals, therefore, may be farther the complacency with which the Almighty sanctified or preserved from abuse throughwould otherwise have viewed their conduct. out, it is absolutely necessary to beg an I may therefore be permitted to bring the especial measure of God's grace at this hour subject before the readers of this Magazine, when we so urgently require it. hoping for a blessing on what I shall say.

But when we “ have eaten and are full," At the outset, then, I may observe that the much more incumbent on us is it to return act of saying grace is composed of two dis- thanks unto him who has thus given us our tinct iorms of address to God, viz. praying “meat in due season.” If the sense of the to hiu when we sit down to table, and thank- temptations we incur while satisfying our ing him when we rise up from it. These are hunger be not powerful enough to prompt a thus briefly summed up by St. Paul, and are prayer beforehand, yet surely it is most unmade by him the conditions on which it is natural, whilst the taste of the good things we


have just enjoyed still lingers on our palate, to cisive testimony of living without God in the withhold our gratitude from that hand which world-allege the unavoidable interruption gave them—that which might have dispensed which would hence arise to the effectual disto us for differently. What though we may charge of household duties; their domestics have earned our provisions by our labour, or being obliged to be going out and coming in purchased them by our wealth, yet had God at the very times set apart for its performance. disabled us by pain or sickness, or given This plea, if "weighed in the balances” of our riches

wings to fly away,” should we an enlightened conscience, will soon be not have been reduced to the same level of “ found wanting,” but “is altogether lighter destitution with thousands of our fellow- than vanity itself” in reference to the form creatures? Are not thanks consequently due of prayer and praise which I have made the to him who maketh us thus to differ, subject of our present consideration. It is especially as we are- utterly undeserving of so short, so seasonable, that I defy the lowest such distinguished favours ? When Barzillai worldling to object that it interferes with his had provided bread, and other necessaries, daily business; and yet a stranger, witnessing for David and his followers, who were “hun- its religious observance, will be inclined chagry and weary and thirsty in the wilderness, ritably to hope that “God, of a truth, dwells this act of kindness so deeply affected the here.” Sanctified hereby, an ordinary meal exiled monarch, that, immediately upon his becomes a spiritual sacrifice; and whosorestoration to the throne, he offered his bene- ever leads the devotions of those around the factor all the luxuries of his court for life. table is exalted for the time being into the “Come thou over with me, and I will feed thee character of priest. with me in Jerusalem.” Now Barzillai had merely performed the bounden duty of every subject, and accordingly was entitled to no

Biography. remuneration--an admission he himself made, nay advanced, as one reason for declining his

(Concluded from p. 238.) sovereign's offer;—“And why should the king recompense me with such a reward ?The least showy of all the performances of a ChrisMore enlarged sentiments actuated David tian are those which he is called to discharge in the than the Gileadite thought any mortal breast relative situations of life. The trumpet will never capable of conceiving ; excess of gratitude however perfectly, these duties ; but they are always

sound with a loud note the praises of any who perform, constrained him to propose rewarding ser

conscientiously attended to by godly men. The high vices he had a rightful claim to, and all

principle of this gentleman was manifested in all the of us, if similarly circumstanced, would, I

relations of life which he sustained, and not the least hope, copy his example. If then nature bids

as a father. His paternal tenderness was shewn in us stretch a point, and make a return for

an anxiety that his children might be brought up in what is properly not“ of grace, but of debt," the “ nurture and admonition of the Lord.” His does not religion doubly bind us to present practice was, after giving them spiritual instructions, our humble acknowledgments to the Lord to take them into his closet, and there pray over of heaven and earth for condescending to them and for them. He made it a rule, whenever confer benefits? To his own free mercy it is any of them had displeased him, not to correct them, owing that our food is not withheld from nor so much as even reprove them, in his displeaus, or ourselves snatched away from it, yea, sure; but he would wait until he might be satisfied, in the very moment of enjoyment; and for from the length of time that had elapsed from his such undeserved kindness he merits, at least, first knowledge of the offence, that no anger was a few words of thankfulness and praise. That mingled with his feelings ; and then he would not atheists who deny, or the irrational creation allow his displeasure to be discovered but by his which are ignorant of, his existence, should silence. From his great generosity of disposition, never bless the hand which feeds them, might he would always represent any acts of kindness which naturally be expected; but that firm be- he shewed towards them as springing from his wish lievers in this doctrine, yea, in that of his to encourage them, than as the fruits of his bounty; superintending providence, should be thus in- assuring them that “ he took infinitely more satissensible, is indeed surprising. In addition faction in beholding one grain of grace, and evidence for praying to God before, and for thanking prosperity were to leave them profane, or only civilto the separate arguments already adduced of the true renewal of their hearts

, than if their pos

sessions were multiplied a hundred fold,” if such him after meals, I may mention one which

ized persons, without the power of godliness. respects both these branches of saying grace,

In his will he left ten pounds to the parochial viz, that the use of them serves as an ex

minister, Mr. Fairclough, desiring hiin that " whilst cellent token whereby to distinguish Christian he lived he would give good advice and counsel to families from profane. Many, in excuse for his children.” Alike exemplary was he as a Christian the neglect of family worship—that other de- master. As he " walked within his house with a

perfect heart," so he would not allow any “profane | racter as one “that feared God and worked righteousperson to stand in his sight,” or to wait upon him. ness,” was so much hid as to be only like the bcams His eyes were ever fixed upon those that were

of the sun striking under a cloud; yet, in his public faithful in the land, that they might serve him." religious character, his graces seemed to have their His family, after a time, became the nursery of ex. "tabernacle in the sun," so that they shone with cellent servants; and it was said by one who was much lustre. His sanctification of the Sabbath may, well acquainted with it, that “at one time he had first, be mentioned. On this day (though he rose ten or more servants of eminent piety,” and that the early every day in the week) he roused his children house was a spiritual church and temple, in which and domestics in such good time, that they might were daily offered up the spiritual sacrifices of read. | attend, without hurry, upon the services of the sancing the word, and prayer; and they had a habit of tuary; and as respected his own desire to profit by singing the praises of God after each meal, before the word preached, it may be truly said that he was any servant rose from the table. Their master re

swift to hear," valuing and constantly attending quired them to give an account of the sermon they the public ministration of the word; and, the first had heard ; accordingly, the head-servant used to thing he did when he was within his own doors after call the others into the butler's apartment (the place leaving the church was to betake himself, at once, to of inost disorder in many houses), and hold a re- his closet, “ to beg a blessed dew from heaven to hearsal of the sermon, before they went, each, into water the seed sown in his heart that day." He also their master's presence, to be questioned. And the looked forward with gladness, aud prepared his spirits personal devoutness of Sir Nathaniel was of a marked solemnly for the Lord's supper, reading, praying, kind. He would pour out his soul three times, and examining his spiritual condition. in secret, every day, and oftener, if he had the op- But he deserves to be spoken of, since he shone portunity, in addition to his family religious service, brightly therein, in bis capacity as a member of and periods of special humiliation. - This I can the church of God. To those pastors who were testify,” says his pastor, “ from my own experience, faithful and godly he manifested a warm and lasting that for many years together, when I was first ac- affection. None of his rank was a more hearty quainted with him, I seldom visited him, or he me, friend and well-wisher to those who laboured to win but he requested that we might not part before we souls ; none so earnestly and often prayed for prayed together. Nor was he more frequent in secret them; none prized their calling and labours as be prayer, than regular in reading the scriptures, begin- did. He was fully of the mind of an excellent perning and ending that exercise with the uplifting his son who once professed, that “he had rather fall soul for the blessing of God.

with the ministry of England (the ministers of reWhen he had fed his mind with the literature of ligion, he meant) than stand in greatest power with heaven, then, but not before, he would read other their enemies." And when the gloomy anticipations authors; which he did freely, having a good collec- of some persons led them and not without reasontion of books. Not long before his death, he took to talk of bloody times and dark days that were great delight in reading “ Baxter's Saints' Rest," a

coming on, be would reply, that those would be taste which, after his death, was remarked upon as accounted "black days indeed when the lights of the having been the gift of God, who led him to that ministry were extinguished.” It was said at his book, rather than any other, as a guide to bring him funeral_" Whosoever in the congregation have more speedily to that rest. Sir N. B. made a con

been losers by his death, we of the ministry have science of his intercourse with others, that it might the greatest loss; if the hearers put on black, the be such as should " adorn the doctrine of God his preachers have cause to mourn in sackcloth.” The Saviour,” and recommend religion to his associates, anxiety he discovered in his grandfather's time to So strict was he in this respect, that it merits to be present to vacant livings men of holiness and ability, mentioned among the duties he discharged to God.

was shewn in a far higher degree, when the reBoasting and passion were put far away from him, sponsibility devolved upon himself as patron. When and nothing heard but sweetness, and modesty, and any benefice was vacant, he would pass many days

re; his communications ever “ ministered grace in prayer to invite God's direction, and he used to unto the hearers;" they were a pure stream from the

say, that “his spirit trembled more to set his band purified fountain of his heart; and so far were they and seal to a presentation than to any other writing from containing aught of lightness or excessive

or deed whatsoever, lest,” said he " I should thereby mirth, that in thirty years together none ever heard bring the loss of the souls of the people to be reone syllable from his moutb tending to ribaldry, or quired of me or my posterity, through my negliwhich could offend the most chaste mind or ear, but

gence.” Happy the parishes that had so conscienas the poet Milton,

tious a patron, who gave them fair play for their " His tongue dropped," &c.

souls. He considered all his time, even the most retired As the birth of Sir N. B. was honourable, as his moments of it, unspeakably precious ; and what an life was governed by divine grace, so his death was ancient Roman described as a trait of excellence in blessed. He prepared for it when it was at some disanother, that he “ was never less alone than when tance. Several years before it came, but especially the alone,” was truly to be said of him, and in a far last two years, he was ever thinking of it, with the higher sense than that contemplated by the author calmness and serenity that a “gooil hope through of the sentiment, for God was his most abundant grace” could alone impart. In his will he discovered company. In his private duties, his nobility of cha- the “ full assurance of hope.” Even as though, like

[ocr errors]


venerable Simeon, he had embraced the Lord Jesus | lived in it sixty-five years. His funeral at Kelton, in his arms, and whilst disposing of his property, he on the 26th of August following, was attended by contrived to interweave so many heavenly counsels many thousands. and instructions, relative to the heavenly inheritance What Eusebius says of Constantine, may truly be of his posterity, that for spirituality it rather re- said of him. “ His birth was good, his life better, sembled our Saviour's testament, conveying the and his death most glorious of all."*

N. legacies of the covenant of grace, than any secular instrument to dispense only carthly possessions. His

THE WESTERN HOME. will being finished, though he "tarried the Lord's leisure," he was "willing rather to be absent from Every thing goes wrong,” exclaimed Walter the body, and to be present with the Lord.” Per- Fleming, as he entered at twilight his richly fur. ceiving from certain bodily symptoms that his life

nished dining-room. Impatiently laying aside his

hat and cloak, he threw himself into a rocking chair would be brought into danger, he sent (from Hack and repeated. -"Every thing goes wrong, wife, every ney, where he then was) fifty miles for his minister thing-we have been going behind hand for months, to converse with him on the immortality of the soul, and the failure of Smith and Co., of which we have and the manner of its acting when it was separated heard to-day, has given the finishing stroke to our

embarrassments." from the body; of the joys of the other world, and

“ I feared that you were finding trouble in your of the vanity and emptiness of all things in this. He worldly affairs, as you were not with us at dinner; was so deeply affected in his spirit with what passed, but we are glad to see you now. Come, draw your that, at parting, he thus expressed bimself to his chair to the tea-table, and forget for a while your pastor, “Sir, I now much wonder that any man that perplexing cares." fully believes these things to be realities, and not

Forget them, wife! I cannot ! Night and day I am

distressed and anxious—every thing goes wrong, I mere notions, being in my condition, should be unwilling to die. For my own part, I will not be so “ It is only to those who love God,' that the proflattered with any carnal content as to be desirous to mise is made that all things shall go right, my dearest live longer in this world, where there is little hope left husband. For such, although the clouds may for a that the Lord hath any more work or service for me light in the distance."

while be dark and the prospect misty, there is always to do, except it be to suffer for keeping a good con- “ I can bear implied reproof from you, wife," rescience, in witnessing against the apostacies and im- plied Mr. Fleming, as he affectionately took the hand pieties of the times, and now, it is a great favour of of the gentle speaker; you are not one of those who God to be sent for specdily." When he was after-say and do not; you are a living, spcaking commenwards removed to London, for having the readier tary on the religion you profess; I wish there were

more like you.' attendance of skilful physicians, he avowed to seve

Alice Fleming was indeed a pattern of good works, ral of his friends and visitors, that he desired " to She was one of those excellent beings be dissolved into Christ.” One of the greatest trials

. That seem to dwell he experienced was his inability to attend the house

Above this earth--so rich a spell

Floats round their steps, where'er they move of God. Observing one Sunday morning, the peo

From hopes fulfilled and mutual love.' ple of the family he lodged in, preparing to attend

She was heartily devoted to the religion she propublic worship, he poured out his heart in weeping, fessed; her faith in Jesus Christ was a living prinwith David, because, though he had ever in past ciple, and her life was a mirror of the doctrines of days “ gone with the multitude and led them to the the gospel, reflecting all those virtues and graces that house of God,” he was now separated from that should belong to a woman professing godliness.

Her husband was an upright, intelligent, generous which his soul so much thirsted after.

man-the best of husbands and the best of fathersThe day before his death, he admonished his chil. ready to lavish upon his wife and children all that dren whom, like Jacob, he had called about him, to he could earn by the most diligent application to a take heed of worldliness and vain glory, pointing out lucrative business; he was an excellent citizen and the difference between a godly man, a subject of di

a faithful friend-but here his goodness ended--this

world bounded his hopes, and his faith extended not vine grace, and a proud, earthly-minded man, both beyond the narrow limits of the grave. It was the in the estimation of God and all good men. He daily prayer of his wife that he might be brought urged them to unity, and besought them to tell each into the fold of the Redeemer; in silence and seother affectionately of their failings, also to take crecy, she besought the Lord to turn him, and so heed of timorousness and sinking from the truth, out of the ark of safety, the only drawback to her

should he be turned. The knowledge that he was by reason of the opposition of the times to the happiness-to see him in it, was the only thing needpower of inward godliness, showing the danger of ful to her earthly peace. complying with men against God; and finally, he She was herself consistent and stedfast in the percommended them to the “word of God's grace," formance of all her religious duties, but, near as were and the word of God's grace unto them.

the spiritual interests of her husband to her heart,

she never intruded the subject of religion upon him, He enjoyed to the last abundant peace. His son

or introduced it at unscasonable times. If at any observing him grow faint, begged him to be cheerful.

moment she perceived that his feelings were made “Son,” said he, “I thank the Lord I am so cheerful, tender by some afflictive or prosperous occurrence, that I could laugh while my sides ache." His eldest she endeavoured to speak that word in season' son asking him how he was, he prayed earnestly that which the wise man has pronounced so good; and the Lord would be pleased to give bim a happy de- hushed evening hour, she would read some cheering

sometimes as she sat with her open bible at the liverance out of this life, and a glorious meeting with

“Felix nativitas, felicior vita, felicissima mors." his Saviour. He left this world 25th July, 1653, having

+ From The Southern Churchman.

« הקודםהמשך »