« הקודםהמשך »
it, and I hope and pray that he will continue and enlarge his good
CHRISTIAN PERFECTION: ness to you. You may frel bereft and as in a wilderness for the present, but the Divine presence and blessing will do inore for
2 Sermont, your comfort than the company of the best of 118; the temptations to which you now feel yourself more than ever exposed,
BY Tie Rev. EDWARD GARRARD MARSH, M.A., that aid will crer enable you to resist, and the trials and suffer- Prebendary of Southwell, and Rector of Waltham, ings of life it will enable you to sustain. How reviving is the
Lincolnshire. recollection of the prophet's description of the goodness of God
2 Corinthians, xiji. 9. in past ages, now, no doubt, extended to his faithful servants! " In all their afflictions He was afflicted, and the angel of his
“ This also we wish, even your perfection.” presence saved them; in his love and in his pity he redeemed
BEFORE we comment upon the wish here them." With the consolations of the word of God before us, how confidently may we expect that he will deliver his spiritual expressed by the apostle, it is necessary that Israel out of all their troubles! Even viewed under existing cir- we should understand precisely what he cumstances, your situation allords abundant ground for hope and
meant by the word which in the text is comfort; but if your son's death be viewed on his account, how
translated “ perfection." greatly may your consolation abound! To the son who received from you the image of the first idam yon have been, under
There can be no doubt that Saint Paul God, the means of communicating the new man, which after wished the perfection of all the disciples, even God is created in righteousness and true holiness ---Christ was
in the most absolute sense of that word. Our formed in him, the hope of glory. It has pleased (iod to take him early to his rest, to the enjoyment of himself in a blessed
blessed Saviour had said in his sermon on eternity; who can wish himn back again in the vale of tears? It
“ Be ye perfect, even as your Fais the consummation of our hopes with regard to others as well ther, which is in heaven, is perfect;" and as ourselves that they may so pass through things temporal as finally to obtain things eternal. We must, therefore, thank God
without all controversy that which the Lord for all who have died in his faith and fear; and with regard to commanded, his apostle desired to see fulthe increase of care or trial which this separation occasions, cast filled. Nor is even this divine perfection an all our care upon him, for he careth for us; and thus trusting in
object which Christians should ever leave out his goodness, shall find crooked things straight and rough places plain before us, for which we shall rejoice and praise God with
of view; for it is the ultimate
of their all the redeemed from every kindred and tongue and nation, pursuit, and will undoubtedly be granted in when we assemble before his throne to dwell with him for ever. the end, not indeed in this life, but in that Extract froin the answer of Bishop Chase to Mr. which is to come, to their patient continuance Dallin.
in well-doing. To be perfect, even as our London, May 18, 1821.
Father, which is in heaven, is perfect - what My dear friend. --The tears which pushed from my eyes at rvery line of the first page of your good letter of the 13th inst.,
does that awful comparison import? It imwere not those of regret and sorrow that my son Philander has ports that, as the Lord is both righteous and left this for a better world : no, the evidence of his faith in the gracious-perfectly righteous and perfectly Lord Jesus Christ was too conspicuous, and I feel mine too full
gracious and fearless that he has exchanged the trials of the wilderness
in all his dispensations towards for the enjoyment of Canaan, to admit the idea of selfish com- his people, so we in return love him to the plaining sorrow. I grieved and still grieve that I have not full extent of all the faculties which he has proved myself worthy of such a son. Instead of being as you given us, and love our neighbour also with seem to suppose, the instrument of his conversion, he has been
an impartial and disinterested affection, as more especially such of mine. His meekness and moderation often checked my impetuous temper, and his piety often en- equally with ourselves an object of his care kindled my own. Dear loved youth! from an unsightly fruitless and goodness. This is Christian perfection ; stock thou wast taken and engrafted into the vine Christ Jesus;
this it is permitted to us to wish for ourselves thou wast in Christ by baptism, Christ was in thee by faith! Thy fragrance was of grace, not of nature; it was shed around, and all
and for each other; this will hereafter be atwondered and delighted at its sweetness; God has seen fit to tained in the eternal world by the spirits of remove thee, and why should I complain? The tempests which just men made perfect. once beat upon thy lovely head now no longer shake thy tender
But this, notwithstanding, is not the perframe; meekly didst thou bow to the storms of life, and they were many; God has now removed thee far beyond their reacht;
fection intended by Saint Paul in the text: thou didst leave as a last legacy to thy father, thou didst leave he did indeed wish it; but the wish was cren to him thy blessing --"Tell my father not to let my death
too remote for practical effort: and therefore damp his ardour in the cause of the Redeemer's Church.” Thus thou didst leave me, and with the sweetness of hravenly love is
he formed a humbler wish, one more within thy name embalmed. It is, indeed, the balm of Gilead, the odour the present reach of human infirmity, and of Lebanon. Refreshed by its fragrance I return from the in- one, the steady pursuit of which will be protimely grave, O my son, to iningle in the busy scenes of this troublesome world. I would wish to be with thee where thou
ductive of immediate and perceptible imart; but God's will is paramount, and in it I would fain rejoice, provement. Though it is necessary not to though it be for life or death. I have yet a dear wife and young lose sight of that high prize of our calling children to care for, and above all I have the cares of the Church which is set before us; yet our approaches in the west of my dear country laid mpon me,--at the thought of these, my sorrows are brushed away like a morning cloud;
towards it produce no sense of progress, beGod secins to gird me about with strength; and by this I seem cause degrees of advancement are as nothing to be able to run and not be weary, to walk and not faint. when the distance of the mark is infinite;
Faithfully yours, and therefore the apostle narrows his wishes,
and limits them within a nearer, a distin(To be continued.)
What, then, is the perfection which he means? The same word is used by the Evan
gelists, in its primary meaning, for repairing This, then, being the wish expressed by the fishers' nets, and thus signifies supplying Saint Paul for the lisciples, our next quesall defects, and inserting the parts that are tion is, how we inay best apply it to our own wanting: Accordingly this is the sense in edification and improvement; and may the which it is metaphorically used by the God of all grace, who hath called us unto apostle, where, transferring the same idea to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, inake you a spiritual subject, he says in the third chap- perfect in every good work, to do his will, ter of his first epistle to the Thessalonians working in you that which is well pleasing in “We pray exceedingly that we might perfect his sight. that which is lacking in your faith," or in My brethren, you must not imagine that other words, that we might supply its defi- the life of a Christian is an idle life. I do ciencies. Just so likewise in his sixth chap- not mean that it requires you merely to be ter to the Galatians "If a man be over- industrious in your several callings, to be taken in a fault, ye which are spiritual re- diligent in business or active in charity, or to store such an one in the spirit of meekness:" be careful in all the duties of relative and where the idea of repairing a rent which had social life, as well as in the public services of been made in the integrity of a fellow-disci- religion. This also it undoubtedly requires ple's character, and thus restoring its com
But there is much besides for a pleteness, is distinctly preserved. The same Christian to do in the peculiar nature of his word is used in two other passages at the close Christian calling, and which may be disof the epistle to the Hebrews, and of the first charged even by persons who have no great of Saint Peter, where the sacred writers pray offices of active duty to perform, and may that the God of peace and of all grace would even be carried forward with impaired bodily make the disciples perfect in every good senses, upon a bed of languishing, and with a work, to do his will, working in them that crippled and helpless frame. For this also which is well pleasing in his sight; and again, we must wish, for every one of you, even that after they have suffered awhile, he would your perfection. And what does this wish make them perfect by stablishing, strengthen- imply? It implies growth in grace, progress ing, settling them. "In both these places the in faith, hope, and love, advancement in the work of making perfect is clearly a gradual conquest of in-dwelling sin, correction of beprocess, consisting in the supply of deficien- setting faults in temper, habits, and concies, and the correction of that which is duct, and improvement in the acquisition wrong. Hence, when Saint Paul, two verses of those heavenly dispositions which should after the text, exhorts the brethren to be
adorn our profession. fect, he is to be understood as urging them to Thus the commencement of the Christian look well to the imperfections of their own life is the same in all; for its uniform com. character, that every error may be rectified mencement is that faith in the virtue of our and every want supplied. To this effect he Lord's meritorious atonement, whereby a sinsays to them—" Examine youselves whe- ner is justified, and peace of conscience atther ye be in the faith.
Prove your own tained. Even here indeed there is a differselves. I pray to God that ye do no evil, ence; for that faith must be accompanied by but that should do that which is honest;' repentance
of sin, and in some that repentance and adds, in the words of the text-" This will be more intense and that faith more peralso we wishı, even your perfection.”
fect than in others; but still, until there is The sentiment of Saint Paul, therefore, in real repentance and genuine faith, there can this place is as if he had said—“ Be not con- he no justification. In this first step, theretented with a barren profession of faith. Do fore, of the Christian life all must agrec. not think it enough, if you have obtained But afterwards, when this portal is once peace with God, or can persuade yourselves passed, there is a vast difference in the pace of that you are justified by faith in our Lord their progress, a difference which our Saviour Jesus Christ." But besides this," as Saint expresses thus :-“ They bring forth fruit, Peter in his second epistle amplifies the sen- some a hundred-fold, some sixty, some thirty. timent contained in this single word, “giving They all bring forth some fruit, if their faith all diligence, add to your faith virtue, and to be genuine, for grace cannot be altogether virtue knowledge, and to knowledge tem- unproductive; and even if the fruit be little, perance, and to temperance patience, and to yet if it be the true fruit of the Spirit of God, patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly it is not overlooked by him, who never de kindness, and to brotherly kindness charity. spises the day of small things. But yet it is For if these things be in you, and abound, far from being a matter of indifference whether they make
shail neither be bar- we bear much fruit or little, for “herein," ren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our said our blessed Redeemer, “is my Father Lord Jesus Christ."
glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye
be my disciples.” Accordingly in this respect cording to the truth of the Gospel, are easily there are various degrees of grace here, as carried away, by the force of example or the inthere will also be proportionate degrees of fluence of authority, to act against the dictates of glory hereafter; and we are exhorted in this their conscience. These are inconsistencies of race of Christian virtue to covet earnestly the frequent occurrence, and yetare no certain proof best gifts, to forget those things which are that the root of the matter is not in them; for behind, to reach forth unto those things which there is flame, smothered under smoking flax, are before, and so to press toward the mark which by due care in separating the cumbrous for the prize of the high calling of God in heap, may burst out and burn brightly. But Christ Jesus. It is in this respect also that the decisive question is, Are such persons scope is afforded for the discriminating in- satisfied with their condition? Are they construction of a faithful minister, who has need tented to remain so? or are they desirous to of much spiritual understanding, that he may obtain more light, more grace, more consisbe able to apprehend the real state of those tency, more progress ? Are they ready to who apply to him, and to reprove, rebuke, say- “That which I see not, teach thon me. exhort, with all long suffering and doctrine; If I have done iniquity, I will do no more. and the people also have need of much meek- For there is no more unvarying mark of a ness and humility of mind, that they may true Christian, than that he is one who is suffer the word of exhortation, and, looking solicitous, not merely to receive, but to adorn not to their attainments, but to their deficien- the Gospel, and with that view to put aside cies, may thus go on unto perfection. In this everything which he knows to be unbecoming way every man's case has its peculiarities, his profession, and to advance in the knowand requires encouragement, warning, incite- ledge and the love of God. ment, or instruction, suited to itself. And But if a Christian be indeed intent on corSaint John, combining the two requisites of recting the evils and supplying the deficienindividual self-inspection and of ministerial cies in his own character, that so he may prewatchfulness, says to the brethren, partakers sent his body a living sacrifice, holy, acceptwith him of the heavenly calling,-“Look to able unto God, which is his reasonable yourselves that we lose not those things which service, he cannot long continue addicted to we have wrought, but that we receive a full any vice or any vicious practices. Either that reward."
habit will destroy his Christianity, or his Remember, therefore, Christian brethren, Christianity will overcome that habit. Still, that what we wish is your perfection: it is however, such is the inveteracy of our moral not sufficient to confess your sins, to believe discases, that some root of bitterness will in Christ for their pardon, and to offer a few remain in us to the end; either some hastiprayers for his grace and protection; faith ness of temper, impatience of contradiction, must have its work, love its labour, and hope love of pre-eminence, dread of human cenits patience-or the evidence of your Christian sure, desire of human applause, or some sincerity will be defective and unsatisfactory. Other infirmity, will impair the singleness
The remarks which I shall now make do of our devotion, or tarnish the purity of our not at all concern those who are strangers to faith ; and here again the influence of genuthe hopes and comforts of religion. They fne Christianity will be felt in detecting these must repent of sin and believe the Gospel, iaults, and inducing a habit of vigilance they must be converted and become as little against them. Failings, which once seemed children, or the light of truth visits them in to us of no moment, which still ought to be vain; they have no part in its promises, no overlooked in the estimate of our character by share in its reward. I will suppose that you
our neighbours, come to be noticed, when the have taken this step, that you have really mind looks inward and compares its blemishes repented of sin, that you do indeed believe with the law of its God or the example of its the Gospel.
Redeemer; and thus a habit of holy jealousy Persons in this state of mind are yet some- over itself is engendered, which will gradually times still addicted to vices, which they have soften every asperity, and melt down every not at once surmounted: perhaps they are selfish, proud, and unkindly feeling in the not yet sufficiently enlightened to see the whole fame of divine love. Hence a Christian, enormity of sin ; there are some evil courses who is a Christian indeed, will find the of which they do not discern the mischief; or leaven of his religion pervade every portion the temptation to some wrong habits, of which of his behaviour, and will become a kinder they do not discern the guile, recurs too often friend, a more faithful servant, a more conand too powerfully to be resisted by a faith siderate master, and, in short, better in every which is at present weak and inexperienced; relation of life, in proportion as his Chrisor they are timid Christians, and though they tianity gains greater ascendency over him. are in earnest desirous to walk uprightly ac- Be sure, my brethren, that, if you acquiesce
any known failings, and are not desirous / much you have yet to do, if you would live to remove every thing that you know to be up to the character of those whom the aposunchristian from your intercourse with tles described as beloved of God, called to others, and even from the current of your be saints. private thoughts, you are not yet brought I will advert only to one more distincfully under the power of the Gospel; for this tion, which will mark an advancing Chrisis what we wish for every one of you, and tian. He will not only depart from those this is what every one of you should wish practices which he knows to be offensive for himself, even your perfection.
to God, that so he may live near to him The considerations, however, which have in act and thought, but he will become hitherto been adduced, relate chiefly to the zealous for God, desirous to promote his second table of the law. But it is one pecu- honour, to extend his kingdom, and to furliar distinction of a child of God, that, while ther his plans of salvation. Hence he will he is more attentive than others to every so- become a philanthropist in the true sense of cial and relative obligation, he regards his the word, having pity upon those immortal duty to God with still greater reverence than souls, of which he has learned to know the his duty to his neighbour: in proportion, value, and ready to make exertions and satherefore, as he becomes imbued with the crifices according to the opportunities afforded grace of God, he will become more sensible to him, for the purpose of diminishing the of the poverty of his devotion, the coldness amount of misery and vice by which he is of his affections, the wandering of his heart surrounded, and helping all his neighbours in in prayer; and he will become more and the acquisition of the true riches. more desirous to render his sabbatical exer- Yon perceive, my brethren, that there is cises, his private devotions, and his family much to be done, if you would abound as worship, real and effective acts of communion you ought to do in the graces of your Chriswith God, by means of which he may im- tian calling. If you do perceive this, the prove in the knowledge and love of that Be- next thing is to Bestir yourselves that you ing, who is now considered by him as all his may supply the deficiency. It is idle to sit salvation and all his desire. Hence he will mourning over your failings, over the languor take increasing delight in meditating on the of your prayers, the weakness of your faith, promises of Scripture; and as those promises and the insensibility of your hearts. The all imply a meetness for the reception of right way to act under this consciousness of them in those who are to partake of them, a intirmity is to set yourselves to work, to ameetness to be formed in us by the fatherly bound in the active duties of a Christian, that discipline of our God and the gracions opera- so your feelings may follow in the train of tion of his Spirit, constraining us to acts of your works. By visiting the fatherless and love and obeclience, he will find a pleasure widows in their affliction, you will become also in studying the precepts of the Bible, better able to keep yourselves unspotted from although they remind' him of his miserable the world; and by seeking to live more in deficiencies and sins, because they form a the spirit of your prayers, your prayers themcorrect picture of that character which he selves will be made better; till" by patience, longs to acquire, by the continual observation and comfort of the Scriptures, through the of which he may learn to trace its lineaments blessing of the God of the Scriptures, you more exactly. At the same time, and for become perfect-complete in all the elements the same reason, his confessions will be more of Christian character, thoroughly furnished deep and his praises more arrlent; and he unto all good works, and at length meet for
to know more and better the inheritance of the saints in light. what the apostle means when he says—" our
Alas, brethren, this is a high standard; fellowship is with the Father, and with his who shall reach it? I answer in the words Son Jesus Christ."
of our Saviour himself, “ With men this is Does this description, brethren, remind impossible, but not with God; for with God pou of your own failings, of your distance all things are possible.” He desires your perfrom that standard at which you ought to fection, he also will supply your need; but aim, of the dulness and slowness of your he requires you to be in earnest, sensible of hearts in that work in which you ought to your wants, anxious to remove them, seeking mount up with wings as eagles, and not be from him the grace to will and to do accordWeary? It is good that you should be rc- ing to his good pleasure; and then he is able minded of them, that you may seek grace keep you from falling, to make you stand proportioned to your want, and that your perfect and complete in all the will of God, nced may be supplied. We wish your per- to do exceeding abundantly above all that fection, and therefore lay before you your
vou ask or think, according to the power weak points, that you may perceive how that worketh in you, and, in short, to supply
will thus come
all your need according to his riches in glory
Yet, Lorde, I Thee desyre,
For that they doe to ine, by Christ Jesus.
Let them not taste the liyre Now unto God and our Father be glory
or their iniquytie." for ever and ever. Amen.
Francis Quarles (born 1592, died 1612). I had
written an extended memoir of this poet, with copious SACRED POETRY.
observations on his works, when I found that much of
my information and many of my remarks had been By James CIAMBERS, Esq.
anticipated by a writer in a former volume of this No. VI.
work.* To that memoir I refer the reader ; but as no Balade by Anne Askewe.--Quarles.
extracts from his writings are made there, I shall feel Amongst the fragments of sacred poetry belonging to justified in presenting a limited selection from his the carly part of the sixteenth century, is one which I poetry, because it is my firm conviction that very few omitted to insert in chronological order, but which I are acquainted with the original imagery and striking shall extract here, because it will prove interesting to sentiment which, despite his quaint conceits and unthose readers who have perused a memoir of Anne natural measures, appear in all the productions of this Askewc, in a previous number of this periodical. abused poet. The fragment to which I allude is entitled “The His " Alphabet of Elegies” on Dr. Ailmer is well Balade which Anne Askewe made and sung when she known. I select the tenth, for the sake of the account was in Newgate.”+ Though but a humble production, with which I shall introduce it. it derives. a thrilling interest from the circumstance Dr. Aylmer was a man of learning and piety. His that it was written by this holy woman when waiting whole life was a series of benevolent acts, and his for her crown of glory.
death beautiful exceedingly. Being asked how he "Like as the armed knyghte,
felt, he answered, “I thank God, heart-whole;" and Appointed to the fielde,
laying one hand on his breast, and lifting the other up With this world will I fighte,
to heaven, he said, “ The glory above giveth no room And fayth shal be my shylde.
to sickness.” And when death was rapidly approachFayth is that weapon stronge,
ing, “Let my people know," he said, " that their Which will not fayle at nede;
pastor died undaunted, and not afraid of death. I My foes therefore amonge, Therewith wyl I procede.
bless my God I have no fear, no doubt, no reluctance,
but an assured confidence in the sin-overcoming merits Faythe of the fathers olde
of Jesus Christ." Then closing his mortal eyes with Obtained right witness,
his own hands, lie fell back on the pillow, while the Whych inakes me verye bolde To fear no worldes distress.
smile on his dying features seemed to testify that he
saw the heavenly Jerusalem, and that the deathless I now rejoice in harte,
music of immortal barps bad burst on his enraptured
Quarles had sat at the feet of this Gamaliel, and we
may know from his elegies that“ true worth and grief To them Thou wylt attende;
were their parents.” Undo, therefore, the locke,
“ ELEGY X.
I wondered not to hear so brave an end,
Because I knew who made it could contend
With death, and conquer, and in open chase
Would spit defiance in his conquered face-
And did. Dauntless he trod him underneath
To shew the weakness of unarmed death,
Nay, had report or niggard fame denyed
His name, it had been known that Ailmer died.
It was no wonder to hear rumour tell
That he, who died so oft, once died so well.
Great Lord of life, how hath thy dying breath
Made man, whom death hath conquered, conquer death!"
Quarles' poetry is remarkable not only for his quaint or moody cruell wytte.
style, but eccentric metres. Occasionally they proAbsorpt was ryghtwysness,
duced a good effect, as in the following lines, wherein As by the ragynge floude; Satan, in his excess,
the long-drawn barmony swells by degrees into a Sucte up the guiltlesse bloude.
fuller and grander tone : Then thought I,--Jesus, Lorde,
“BE110LD, When Thou shalt judge us all,
llow short a span
Was long enough of old
To measure out the life of man;
Surveyed, cast up, and found but threescore years and ten.
• Vol. iv. p. 69.
Harde is it to recorde