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AT KIRKBY-STEPHEN. Church fellowship-A faithful Minister -The penalty of innovators—Begins to preach at Ravenstonedale
— The simplicity of faith-Entire sanctification—“Memorials of Eliza Hessel ”—Importance of meditation-Milton's Prose works
- The order in which truth should be sought-Renounces Calvinism-Miscellaneous aphorisms.
“A man's heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his steps.”
This truth was strikingly verified in Mr. Hessel's visit to Kirkby-Stephen. He proposed remaining only four or five weeks. God had an important work for him however in that neighbourhood, and tho’ he entered upon it with some reluctance, he continued in it till forced by debility to relinquish it—a space of sixteen months.
An occurrence of ill physical omen transpired in about ten days after his arrival. A stream of blood issued spontaneously from his nose, and defying all attempts to stanch it, continued more than an hour. He was well aware of the significancy of this occurrence. On the next day, which was Sunday, April 23rd, he wrote:
Bled much yesterday ; feeble this morning; unable to preach. I sometimes think that God may take me away soon.
I have done so little for Christ that I should wish to remain a little longer on earth, if I might be the means of making known His salvation. I prayed that I might be useful here. This prayer may be answered different from my expectation."-Interpreted by subsequent events this sentence appears very remarkable. It would seem as if some prophetic ray had at that moment beamed upon him. He proceeds : “It is my privilege to be perfectly happy what
MRS. WIGHTMAN ON CLASS-MEETINGS.
ever be the issue. My state of mind is not right if I am not willing to live or resigned to die. It is of far more importance that I should live well than long."
24th. “Intimate intercourse of mind with mind is absolutely necessary to advance the purposes of Christianity. Christ drew His disciples near to Him. He did not give them occasional lectures, but shewed them His mind and heart. The more closely the body of Christ is united together the more will it receive from its head. Whilst we have each a separate communication with Him, we may
also receive much from each other. When Christians are cold and distant they cannot be channels of spiritual blessings to each other as Christ intended they should.”—He alludes to Class-Meetings in these remarks. These meetings have often been misrepresented, sometimes derided, but they supply a great spiritual want of our nature. They are spiritual marts, where the mourner, the timid, and the tempted, realize special benefit. Of course they may become formal, as may public worship, but conducted by an intelligent and devout leader, they minister largely to edification. Thousands and tens of thousands who would have fainted in treading their path solitarily, have there received the strength which has sped them onward till the goal was reached. Undoubtedly “Christ intended that Christians should be channels of spiritual blessings to each other." Here that intention is carried into effect. Each contributes to the good of all. How can this be otherwise so efficiently and naturally secured? A testimony has recently been furnished to the value of these meetings, which, coming from the lady of a clergyman, will be accepted as impartial. Mrs. Wightman informs us in her “ Annals of the Rescued,” that she was solicited by some of the outcasts she had reclaimed to establish “
a ClassMeeting." Before assenting, she wisely resolved to visit
one, and satisfy herself of its adaptation to accomplish good. “I accompanied James Fuller,” says she, “and I must acknowledge that my prejudice vanished. The deep humility of all present, and the wise and apt quotations from Scripture, suited to each individual case, struck me as most remarkable. In wise hands such a meeting must have a rich blessing. I am sure no hypocrite could attend a second time so close a scrutiny ; it would be uncongenial to any except the sincere and earnest seeker after Jesus. I adopted the plan, forming separate classes for men and women, limiting each to twelve persons. My husband takes one of the former fortnightly for me. He comes from this class with a radiant face, and tells me it is the sweetest hour he spends. Every one speaks freely of his trials, struggles, &c., asks counsel on special occasions, and gets encouragement from the treasury of God's word. The same truths which appear of general application when heard from the pulpit, go home straight to the heart when spoken at these meetings."
May 6th. “My views of the gospel ministry are becoming more clear. I would fain cherish the expectation that God is preparing me for some useful place in His vineyard. My attention has lately been turned to those grand truths of the Bible, the exhibition of which will transform the world. What truths produce the greatest effect ? and what are the best modes of exhibiting them are inquiries which my mind has been constantly urging. I have every reason to expect I shall find out the truth. What do I want ? Many things, but I believe this would comprehend them all —more of the love of God in
heart.” “If I take divine power into the pulpit, (and, praised be God, it is my privilege,) the hearts of men must be affected. I have found that when I speak in the spirit of faith, my words come with a ten-fold power. They lay hold of the ÆTAT. 22]
A FAITHFUL MINISTER.
person with whom I am conversing. Had I spoken from
I myself alone the very same words would have had no power. Here I discover a mighty energy which sinks all merely human influence into nothingness. How far may this be extended, I am led to ask ? I cannot tell. I see no limits
Ι to it. The more I use it, the more I am convinced that I yet know comparatively nothing of it.”
8th. “A faithful minister. He will have a high opinion of his office. Whilst he feels its honourableness he will also feel its responsibility. He will be jealous lest its importance and true dignity should be diminished in public estimation through him. In preaching he will dwell upon those subjects which most concern his hearers. His eye will be constantly spying out their wants, and he will employ his utmost efforts to supply them. An obvious necessity therefore will determine his subjects. He will see some particular thing prominently demanding his attention. And thus a force of thought and feeling will characterize his preaching. He will not be content to go mechanically through a routine of duties. He will seek to improve upon existing things. Advancement-progression—will be the law of his being."
10th. “I feel in danger of having my energies scattered by too great a variety of objects. I want much general knowledge, but I must not lose sight of a few main points. If I had not the Gospel, and did not feel my obligation to preach it, my mind would have no definite aim. It is a great mercy that I know the business of my life. My great grief is that my actions move so tardily after my thoughts, and I fear my thoughts are hindered by the slowness of my actions. I have sometimes thought it would be beneficial to be shut up in a prison a few months, with nothing but my Bible and writing materials. Such a circumstance, however unpleasant, would break up that deplorable stag
nancy of soul into which I fear I have fallen. The best method of improvement is to confine myself to a very few spirit-stirring books, and to spend much time in thinking and writing.”—Beyond doubt this stagnancy was attributable to physical debility. A valuable writer has recently told the public that an immuring would be a great general benefit. “ Most men are possessed by the evil spirit of muddle. Their sight resembles that of sheep, or the man half-cured of blindness in the Gospels, who confounded human beings and bushes. The infliction of six months' solitary imprisonment would add immensely to the concentration of thought of multitudes. Louis Napoleon owes his success mainly to Ham. The power of seeing one thing at a time, and seeing that in clear outline, relief, and colour, is that which renders success to any man almost certain.”
Here is a beacon light for some readers : "I have got into a wrong way of treating those around me.
I measure them by too high a standard, and am grieved because they do not perform what to them are impossibilities. Now if, while keeping the standard high for myself, instead of rigidly applying it to others, I helped them, and cherished thankfulness for any progress they made, I should do much more good and be much more happy."
He who boldly innovates upon current opinions and habits, must expect opposition. Such disturbances are sure to avenge themselves upon their originator. Nor is this perhaps to be regretted. However preponderating the benefit, evil in some form must ensue from innovation, and it is well therefore that it should encounter restraint. It must be admitted that innovators, having strong convictions, not unfrequently express theinselves with offensive dogmatism, and have themselves to blame for much of the displeasure they excite. I confess that my friend sometimes thus erred. It is gratifying, however, to find that with