Images de page
PDF
ePub

Missionary, gives us the following forcible observations.

" The Hindoo, before conversion, has no other notion of God, besides what he finds in the images he worships, in the fables he hears, and in the forms of idol worship. And these images, fables, and forms, bring before him nothing on this great subject, but materiality, weakness, impurity, cruelty, and sensuality; a log, a lewd or cruel story, a mess of food. Except these, the mind is destitute, in reference to God, of all associations. What then must be the surprise, the profound awe, the humble reverence, the sacred joy, supposing him capable of receiving at once the whole impressions of this vast subject, which the Hindoo convert feels, when he receives his first conceptions of God, as a spiritual, an almighty, an all-pervading, a holy, and an eternal Being? Must not this be marvellous light? His worship before, was addressed to a visible object; now to the invisible Jehovah. Before, it was all ceremonial ; now, it is principally spiritual. Formerly, all the acts of worship he performed, were as cold as the clay he worshipped ; but now all his powers are moved, and he has communion with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. • If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. I have never seen the idolaters in India more serious, than when in the public

66

street, or market place, they have heard one of the native converts engage in prayer.

I could see written on their countenances, the surprise which said, “What is this?'

Sebukram, one of our most eloquent and useful native preachers, before his conversion, was a ringleader among those who sing impure songs in the temples. See him now, leading those services in the Christian temple, by which his own heart, and the hearts of those who hear him, become melted, elevated, purified. See him, while the tears and the perspiration are rolling down his cheeks in a torrent, leading the praises of the deeply affected communicants; and hear them sing the hymn in the Bengalee, the chorus of which is, . He who giving his own life, redeemed sinners, O my soul, forget pot;') and then avoid thinking, if you can, of the words of the Apostle, · Behold, all things are become new.*' Oh, may the word of God be soon translated into every language, and produce such happy effects in

every land!

The diligent perusal of the Bible, appears equally necessary to excite our devotion in the closet, the family, and the sanctuary. The request of Christ for the disciples was, “ Father, sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” As the Christian is to cultivate universal holiness, he ought never to cast away, or lay aside, the only effectual instrument, by which this is to be done. In company, or in retirement, the divine word must prompt his sluggish, or recall his vagrant thoughts, and purify his gross, or animate his cold affections. Chrysostom has called the word a repository of spiritual provisions and healing medicines, the Christian's consolation in all his troubles, the armour of defence in all his dangers. “ What food is to the body," says he, “ that the reading of the Scripture is to the soul; it is spiritual nourishment, and renders the soul stronger and more constant; not suffering it to be carried away with absurd imaginations, but making it pure and lightsome, gives it wings to carry it up to heaven.” We are told that Alexander, the king of Macedon, had such a love to Homer's Iliad, as induced him to keep it almost constantly in his hand by day, and under his pillow by night. No doubt, the poet inspired the hero with martial ardour; his ambition and courage rose high, while the Grecian bard celebrated conquerors in sublime and lofty strains, And is not the Bible well calculated to inspire the Christian with sentiments of gratitude and devotion ?

* Ward's Farewell Letters. Since the above lines were transcribed, this valuable Missionary has finished his labours, and entered into his rest.

Can we

converse with patriarchs, and prophets, apostles and martyrs, without catching some portion of the holy fire which glowed in their hearts ? How much nobler effects are produced by the, harp of David, the sweet Psalmist of Israel, than by all the fascinating charms of Homer's muse!

Although the Scriptures are all worthy of frequent and attentive perusal, there are some parts of the Sacred Volume especially suited to the purpose of exciting and cherishing devotional feelings. In the Book of Job, the Psalms, the Prophecies of Isaiah, and the Epistles of the New Testament, the inward movements of the pious heart are laid open. The Christian, as he reads, feels himself on hallowed ground, and breathes in a region that cheers and exhilarates his fainting spirit. Nor let it be imagined, that selecting particular portions of the. word, to assist the soul in prayer and intercourse with heaven, is censurable, as implying a neglect of the rest. The little bee ranges at large over the vernal blooms, but fixes on those flowers which yield the most honey; and thus the believer may, without blame, direct his attention to such passages of Scripture, as afford him the most sweetness and consolation. Experience has evinced the beneficial effect of closely examining, cordially embracing, and diligently obeying the word of truth. It is not without good reason, that

the Scriptures are called the lively oracles of God, for they enliven and re-animate the drooping exhausted soul. “I will never forget thy precepts,” says David, “ for with them thou has quickened me.”. Nor have there been wanting, down to our own times, persons of distinguished piety, male and female, in the lower and higher ranks of life, whose familiar acquaintance with the Holy Scriptures has raised the spirit to a sublime pitch of devotion, and invested the character with the mingled radiance of every moral excellency.*

* The eloquent Bishop Taylor gives the following interesting sketch of the Countess of Carbery : :~" But if we examine how she demeaned herself towards God; there also you will find her not of a common, but of an exemplary piety. She was a great reader of Scripture, confining herself to great portions every day; which she read, not to the purposes of vanity and impertinent curiosity, not to seem knowing or to become talking, not to expound and rule, but to teach her all her duty, to instruct her in the knowledge and love of God, and of her neighbours; to make her more humble, to teach her to despise the world and all its gilded vanities; and that she might entertain passions wholly in design and order to heaven. I have seen female religion, that wholly dwells upon the face and tongue; that, like a wanton and undressed tree, spends all its juice in suckers and irregular branches, in tears and gum ; and after all such goodly outside, you shall nerer eat of the fruit, or be delighted with the beauties or perfumes of a hopeful blossom. But the religion of this excellent lady was of another constitution; it took its root downward in humility, and brought forth fruit upward in the substantial graces of a Christian, in charity and justice, in chastity and modesty, in fair friendship and sweetness of society."

« PrécédentContinuer »