Images de page
PDF
ePub

were

the light of a new dispensation, and rise upwards. He sees that some

seen pursuing their course have a greater degree of affinity for separate from each other, though in the usual objects of pursuit than name and external circumstances others. He sees that some are graunited. For when our Lord speaks dually drawing nearer to God, and of the wide gate and the broad way others departing farther from him; which lead to destruction, and of and he is thus obliged to perceive, the many which go in thereat; and that, even in that colourless medium when he speaks of the narrow gate which is spread around him, there and the straight way which lead exist rays of tints as different as unto life; still more, when He says those which the prism produces from to his disciples, “enter ye in at the the refracted pencil of light. strait gate,” he must surely be But is it unnatural to suppose, or understood to mean, that, amidst all rather does it not follow of necessity, the diversities of outward circum- that where this diversity of nature stance, there are in fact but two exists there must be a correspondways of life, and that in one or other ing difference in tastes and feelings; of these every human being must be and that, from the moment when found.

Divine grace begins, these tastes will Again, in that awful picture of display themselves more strongly ? the great judgment, where our Lord The eye of the philosopher obis represented as summoning before serves the development of the cohim all nations, we read of only two lours at the very point where the descriptions of persons; of the sheep, rays first part from each other; and who are collected on the right hand; we may also affirm with equal cerof the goats, who are set on the left. tainty, that, as soon as the character What, then, can be inferred from begins to manifest itself, it will evince this, but that human life admits but of its peculiar nature by tastes and feeltwo divisions in its course as well as ings peculiar to itself.

“ He that in its close ; and that he who is not is of God, heareth God's words.” A with God must be, dreadful as the sense of the power of Divine truth, assumption is, against him.

sense of the value of God's promises, But, besides this, the real causes a sense of present consolation and of this division are beyond the reach future hope, is invariably developed of man's observation; and the real in the case of every one who turns to limits of it are only to be compre- God, though in differences of degree hended by him who knoweth man's and mode almost as great as the heart: and, though most earnestly number of individuals. In proporto be deprecated are those rash and tion as the farther development of precipitate judgments which seem the new nature takes place, these sometimes to fulfil themselves, and to evidences grow stronger. The tastes alienate from the ways of God those become more pure, the tempers more whom a gentler address might have meek, the affections more warm attracted ; still, there are circum- and spiritual, and the change of exstances which convey even to the ternal habits and pursuits bears witdarkened observation of men some ness to the change which is going on intimations of the fact in question, within. In these cases, therefore, and lead to the same conclusion. it is impossible that the mind should

Blended as men may be together, remain fixed on the same objects of and mixed and confused as may seem pursuit which had occupied it before. to be their views; a calm and at- It has lost its relish for them ; or tentive observer can hardly fail to rather, it has gained a relish for remark a difference, at least a di- things of a different kind; and as vergency, in their feelings even now. the acquired taste is stronger than

He sees that some have a tendency the natural one, it leads the man to to sink downwards, and others to reject the things which he used to

a

love and to seek those things for arrive at perfect obedience, somewhich he once felt no inclination. times expose the course which they

And this it is which constitutes the are following, to ridicule, as unjust great and real separation between the as it is unfeeling. two divisions of society which we are In the case before us, for instance, endeavouring to consider. They a person who wishes to encourage in differ in tastes, as much as they do himself or in his family a religious in principles; and this difference of and spiritual tone of mind, deprecates tastes leads to a difference in ways the amusements of the theatre as of life and habits. Each follows detrimental to the frame which he is the bias of its own dispositions, and anxious to promote. His resolution each is carried by this in an opposite is entitled to respect, as a consciendirection to the other.

tious effort to secure an important If the case were decided in every end; but it is possible that it may particular individual, the questions for a time be coupled with various would be open to little uncertainty. inconsistences in practice, which will The habits which each man formed only be removed by increased expewould exhibit a distinct represen- rience and larger knowledge. But tation of his state, and his moral because the character is imperfect, condition would be as easily ascer- is it therefore to be condemned as tained by this rule, as the Negro is insincere? Because the man is not distinguished from the European by yet all that he ought to be, and all his complexion. But we have Mes- that he tries to be; is he therefore tisos of more variety of colour in to be branded as a hypocrite ? Are this world of ours, than those which we not aware, that many steps, like Humboldt enumerates in South Ame- those which are denounced, are not rica; and though each man's tastes in reality pretensions to superior may be so decidedly pronounced as to sanctity, but precautions against form a pretty significant evidence of falling; the resources adopted from his state to his own heart and con- the consciousness of infirmity, not science; they are not always of a the expressions of presumptuous character so clear and so unam- strength. biguous as to do this to others, or to From these causes, there arises an justify their forming any conclusive infinite variety in the external habits opinion.

of those who, in one degree or other, To this we must also add, as ano- are turned towards God. The change ther cause of error, that external which is begun in them all, is differusages are sometimes adopted for ently advanced in all. In some it is the purpose of aiding the formation more developed than in others; the of those very tastes which it is de- mind more completely evinces its sirable to possess; and that men renewal; the lusts and the affections conscientiously renounce certain have been longer crucified, and are practices, in order to weaken the therefore more languidand inanimate: taste which would be strengthened and though we trust that all are of by their use. It is hardly necessary God, we cannot at present say with to dwell on a moral resource which precision and confidence that all are is familiar to every mind, but it is Israel which are of Israel, or that all necessary to state this as a cause have attained to that measure by which is open to misapprehension which they will delight to walk herefrom the inconsistencies with which after. They may be sincere in their it is often accompanied. Men ab- endeavours"; the root of the matter stain from particular indulgences, may be in them ; but still, from not because they have lost the taste remaining corruption or defective for them, but because they wish to knowledge, their walk may be so lose it; and the irregular efforts full of inconsistency as to offer subwhich they make in this way to jects of regret to their friends, and materials for triumph and reproach firmity and inexperience the unsteato their enemies.

diness of the efforts he regrets to Thus much I have written, not in observe in those whom he wishes to justification of what is exceptionable think well of. There are others, who in the accused class ; for the errors consider them as acts of wilful selfeven of good men, if errors there indulgence, as the resources of hy. be, are not to be defended; but in pocrisy and spiritual delusion, and explanation of the causes which pro- condemn the whole character on duce some of the obnoxious singu- account of its imperfections. larities, and some of the inconsist- Time, and time alone, will shew encies which are brought against what each man's work is. Wisdom, them as charges. With all this, it is we believe, will be justified of all a truth essentially revealed in Scrip- her children. The tottering unsteady ture, that such a division as is walk of the child that tries to move, spoken of does exist among men, and will become gradually the firm commay be traced, and must be acted manding march of the man; and on by ourselves. In the belief of those who sneered at the inconthis, we were nursed by that church sistency of the young in faith, shall which required us, at our very ad- be humbled before the stature of the mission within its pale, to renounce confirmed believer. But whatever the pomps and vanities of this wicked may be the doubts or uncertainties world. In this conviction I feel which exist at present, the only strengthened by increasing observa- rational ground of hope is a sense of tion and experience; and in this I increasing devotedness to God; and have been confirmed by the tone and the surest test of this is increasing temper of the Edinburgh Review distaste for the society and habits itself: for a journal which can take its of those who are willing to forget panoramic view of all that is passing Him. in the world, and can see nothing of But I would wish respectfully to the hand of God; a journal which close this paper with a few remarks can exercise its varied gifts of learn- addressed to the class whose“ pretening and talent, and use them all in sions” have been thus rudely handled; forgetfulness of the God who gave and particularly with a view to point them; a journal thus gifted and thus out the benefits which they may graceless ; offers no moderate proof derive from all such attacks. Among of the extent to which the human the moral works of Plutarch, there mind can go in forgetting that Being, is a very ingenious treatise on the whom, as Christians, we would wish benefit which may be derived from to know alone, and above all other our enemies; and he principally things.

dwells on the circumstance, that But though this division exists, we may learn from those who hate us and to the eye of God is clearly and certain wholesome truths which we distinctly manifest, it is not equally are not likely to learn from those who discernible by man. We might con- love us. To our faults, our friends sider the case as one of divergency are either blind through partiality, rather then of separation; and though or they are unwilling to name them powers superior to our own may through tenderness for our feelings ; already perceive the incipient de- and a man therefore is in very great parture, there are many cases where danger of never hearing of the exthe acuteness of the angle and the istence of these, if he only hears thickness of the lines prevent us himself spoken of by those who feel from ascertaining this division as com- with him and feel for him. To pletely as we might wish. A Chris- know the whole of his character, tian in this case is at liberty to hope he must open his ear sometimes to the best, though others may suppose those whose observation is quickthe worst. A Christian ascribes to in- ened by malevolence; and it is from

[ocr errors]

EARLY LIFE OF PROFESSOR LEE.

them alone that he will hear what he stances, not only becomes an occasion
really is, or at least what he appears of stumbling to others, but is actu-
to be; and it is obvious therefore, ally used to vilify religion in the opi-
that self-knowledge is more likely nion of the unthinking world.
to be assisted by the judgment of It becomes them thus to avoid all
enemies than of friends.

things that may offend, as well as Instead, then, of dismissing the to follow after those by which they Review with the neglect which its may edify one another, and to keep temper seems to deserve, it may themselves unspotted from a world be useful to inquire whether those which only allures them to itself in things which it asserts have any order to turn again and rend them ; foundation in fact. Is it true that and by a real and entire dedication any who withdraw from the frivolous of themselves to God, to vindicate amusements of the world as incon- the character of the Gospel they sistent with that frame of mind profess, and to glorify their Father which they would wish to encou

which is in heaven. rage, are as open to the allurements

R. of covetousness and ambition as other men? Is it true that any who abstain from the theatre are in private life as luxurious, as vain, as expensive in dress, and as selfish as

To the Editor of the Christian Observer. those who frequent it? I would trust OBSERVING in your obituary of Mr. not. I would hope that the same Greenfield, an allusion to a letter spirit which teaches caution in one published by Bishop Burgess in 1814, respect, will not neglect it in ano- relative to the early life of Professor ther; but while such allegations are Lee, I turned to your former volumes made, I would seriously entreat all to look for the document; but not who are included in the charge to having found it, I have procured a consider seriously, whether they do copy elsewhere, which I inclose for give the adversary occasion to speak insertion in your pages, thinking that reproachingly against them, and whe- the perusal of it will gratify those of ther their private lives offer any your readers who have never seen ground for the imputation. And

And I it, and also augment their esteem do this the more earnestly from feels for that excellent man whose varied ing how important it is at all times, learning has ever been devoted to yet I think I might say with pecu- the best of causes; to the glory of liar emphasis in times like, the pre- God and the salvation of mankind; sent, that every one who names the especially by his labours for the name of Christ should depart from translation, circulation, and interiniquity, and abstain not merely pretation of the inspired oracles of from all the reality, but also from truth. Mr. Lee, in his present imall appearance, of evil. Let men of portant and obtensible station in religion bear in mind that their con- society, would, I am sure, be the duct is watched with an acuteness last man to wish forgotton those cirwhich will not overlook a single cumstances of his early struggles in failing, and unquestionably will not pursuit of knowledge which reflect put the most favourable construc- on him no small honour, and will tion on any doubtful action. Let entitle him, after he has closed his them bear in mind that the charac- earthly labours, to a conspicuous ter of the very faith they profess is niche among those remarkable, selfjudged of from the conduct of indivi- taught men, whose diligence, perduals; and that every departure they severance, talent, and success are admit from the plain letter of the held out as examples and encourageGospel, however justified it may ments to the students of future ages. seem in their own eyes by circum- Would that it could be said of all Christ. OBSERV. No. 360.

5 B

who have thus distinguished them chapel, for Sir Edward Smith of selves, that their mental and moral Actonburnel, where I saw many energies had been employed like his Latin books, and frequently heard for objects as dear to the Christian that language read, my resolution as they are interesting to the scholar. was confirmed. I immediately bought

The following is the letter alluded Ruddiman's Latin Grammar, at a to. It was written by himself to J. book-stall, and learnt it by heart Scott, Esq. LL.D., formerly Persian throughout. I next purchased Corinterpreter to Mr. Hastings in India, derius' Colloquies, by Loggan, which and afterwards Oriental Professor of I found a very great assistance to me, the Royal and Military East-India and afterwards obtained Entick's Colleges; and was published by Latin Dictionary; also soon after Bishop Burgess, in his tractate en- Beza's Testament, and Clarke's Extitled, “Motives to the Study of He- ercises. There was one circumstance, brew."

however, which, as it had some effect “Sir, In conformity to your re

on my progress, I shall mention in quest, I now proceed to give you a this place. I one day asked one of detail of my pursuits in languages, the priests, who came frequently to with some circumstances of my life us, to give me some information of connected therewith.

which I was then in want; who re“ The first rudiments of learning plied, that "charity began at home." I received at a charity school, at This was very mortifying, but it only Longnor, in the county of Salop, served as a stimulus to my endeawhere I was born, which is a village vours; for, from this time, I resolved, situated on the Hereford road, about if possible, to excel even him. There eight miles from Shrewsbury. Here was one circumstance, however, more I remained till I attained the age of powerful in opposing me, and that twelve years, and went through the was poverty. I had, at that time, usual gradations of such institutions, but six shillings per week to subsist without distinguishing myself in any on, and to pay the expenses of washrespect; for as punishment is the ing and lodging; out of this, howonly alternative generally held out, ever, I spared something to gratify I, like others, thought it sufficient to my desire for learning, which I did, avoid it. At the age above men- though not without curtailing mytioned, I was put out apprentice to self of proper support. My wages a carpenter and joiner, by Robert were, however, soon after raised one Corbett, Esq.; in which, I must con- shilling a week, and the next year a fess, I underwent hardships seldom shilling more; during which time I acquiesced in by boys of my age; read the Latin Bible, Florus, some but as my father died when I was of Cicero's Orations, Cæsar's Comvery young, and I knew it was not mentaries, Justin, Sallust, Virgil, in the power of my mother to pro- Horace's Odes, and Ovid's Epistles. vide better for me, as she had two It may be asked, how I obtained more to support by her own labour, these books: I never had all at once, I judged it best to submit.

but generally read one and sold it; “ About the age of seventeen I the price of which, with a little added formed a determination to learn the to it, enabled me to buy another, and Latin language; to which I was in- this, being read, was sold to procure stigated by the following circum- the next. stances. I had been in the habit of I was now out of my apprenticereading such books as happened to ship, and determined to learn the be in the house where I lodged; but, Greek. I bought therefore a Westmeeting with Latin quotations, found minster Greek Grammar, and soon myself unable to comprehend them. afterwards procured a Testament, Being employed about this time in which I found not very difficult, with the building of a Roman Catholic the assistance of Schrevelius' Lexi

« PrécédentContinuer »