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A GLOOMY PICTURE.
world is before us, and Providence our guide. It is the latter part of this sentence which affords me support and consolation, and I am certain it is the ground of her dependence. I must confess that when imagination puts on her sable vestments, as she often does, I feel great anxiety. I know it is wrong to yield to it, but in those seasons I cannot help it. What, if I should be thrown into some obscure place that would not yield a comfortable subsistence! What, if pale and meagre poverty should stare me in the face! How could I bear the idea of bringing my dear C― into such circumstances? Or if I should become the victim of a premature grave, and leave her with a helpless infant to brave the powers of this cold-hearted world? These are not very pleasant thoughts, and if it were not for religion, they would, in those seasons of depression, rend every fibre of this too susceptible heart. O that I could always charge my soul to wait only upon God!'
"I have just come from the chapel where I have been preaching upon 'growing in grace.' I hope the seed will not be scattered in vain. It is a solemn thought that every sermon we preach will have some influence upon the audience, and that influence will be recognised in the decision of the last day. I do hope, my dear Priestley, that God is bringing me into a better way in every thing. I think I see more than ever the importance of having our eye' single.' It is only when this is the case we can reasonably expect to do good. If we do otherwise confer any benefit upon our fellow-men, we shall receive no reward for it. How fearful the thought, if after all, we should serve but as scaffolding to the great spiritual temple God is erecting in our fallen world!
"I do not remember that I ever felt myself more loosened from the world than now. I hope that C- is not a tie to this world, but that, under God, she will be the means of sweetly wooing me to another. But still I see the necessity
of watching over my heart, lest, unperceived, it should entwine itself too much around the creature. I have told her that in order to give permanency to our attachment, we must each strive to be amiable and lovely, and that we can only be so by bearing the image of the Redeemer. Moral beauty must be the grand reciprocal attraction by which our hearts are united. And the bonds of this love cannot be
made too strong.
11th. "I find I must give up to-day to recreation, for I feel so weakened through the exertions of the last five days, that I am certain I shall injure my health if I am not cautious. Writing, although one of the finest mental exercises, nevertheless exacts a dreadful tribute upon the bodily energies. I could soon write myself out of existence. I never before felt so much the force of those nervous lines of Mrs. Hemans :
"Yet have I known it long,
Too restless and too strong
Within this clay hath been the o'ermastering flame;
Like torrents o'er me sent,
Have shaken, as a reed, this thrilling frame.'
"I have tried our plan of studying the Scriptures with the most abundant success. Although I have written twelve pages, I have got only to the 9th verse of the 15th of John. I need not tell you I am much pleased, but I have also been much profited. My experience has falsified the statement that devotion cannot be carried into Biblical criticism. I am aware that the mere apparatus of criticism is not adapted to excite, but rather to repress, the feelings; but I am convinced that in the application of that apparatus devotion is the best guide. The mind that is smitten with a hearty love of truth will delight to view her temple, not only in the distance, where the eye can grasp the stately grandeur and fair proportion of the whole, it will find a
ÆTAT. 21] HOWE AND EDWARDS COMPARED.
pleasure not less intense in examining the elegant mouldings, and the fair cornices of the exterior, with the beautiful 'carved work' of the interior. I do not remember that I ever had such views of the intimate and tender connection between Christ and His people, as I have derived from the verses I have read. May you and I, my dear friend, be among the number of those who 'bear much fruit.'-Our plan aimed at securing the results of mutual study of the same subject. We agreed on a chapter in the Bible for critical investigation, and at intervals compared notes, and thus reaped the benefit of each other's views.
"With Edwards I get on slowly, but successfully," he proceeds. "I think on the subject an hour or two every day. You know I do not compute my mental advancement by the number of pages I read. I am also reading Charnock on 'the Patience of God.' He is very excellent, but does not stand among the highest order of divines. Howe and Edwards are now decidedly my favourites; elected, I think, for ever. The noble soul of the former seems to grasp the whole range of truth; the bold and nervous spirit of the latter appears to have examined every part of its foundations. The mind of Howe was like a splendid temple, the residence of truth, which stood in bold and striking prominence, beautiful in symmetry and proportion, alluring all to come and survey the fair inhabitant. The mind of Edwards is like a gothic castle, which stands unshaken by assault-uninjured by the mouldering hand of time; and whose lofty and massive battlements frown upon the empire of darkness. I feel grateful that God ever sent two such spirits into the world. They elevate the standard of thought, and furnish a faint glimpse of the intellectual and moral grandeur of the world
"I have a great deal to say for which I have neither time I wish I could concentrate my information. O for a lightning flash of intelligence which would reveal in a
moment what would require a day to unfold by the ordinary medium! In a future state we may expect something of this sort; but such a flame would consume this earthly tabernacle.
"I have heard again from Miss * *, girl. Her religion puts mine to the blush.
She is a good
“I have had many of those intellectual longings of late ; those aspirings after something great and excellent which words cannot express. How sweet are those lines—I repeat them many times a day :—
'Something far more divine
Than may on earth be mine,
Haunts my worn heart, and will not let me rest.'
AT AIREDALE COLLEGE. Sedbergh-Kirkby Lonsdale-Pro jects-Letter to Miss **-Humiliating discovery-Benefit of a Journal-Means by which his enjoyment of prayer was increased -Amplitude of means of self-improvement-Practices found to be injurious-Solicitude for usefulness-Concentration of energyImportant inquiry-Aphorisms on reading.
SHORTLY after his return from Northallerton, Sedbergh, a small market-town at the north-western extremity of the West-Riding, claimed his services. "This place has many natural attractions," he writes. "It is situated in one of the most romantic dells I ever saw. It is encircled by an amphitheatre of hills about ten miles in circumference, whose towering peaks pierce the clouds. The ground within this circuit is very varied. There are numerous abrupt and fantastic eminences which appear to mimic the gigantic hills. The whole country is beautifully wooded, and a mountain stream runs through it. I have this evening been tracing its meanderings, and I know not when I have enjoyed the scenes of nature more. This beautiful rivulet assumes almost every variety of aspect. Sometimes it glides along in silent and sullen majesty beneath the overhanging foliage which seems to frown upon it, and then it contends in angry surges with the rugged rocks over which it rushes. I was so enamoured of the fair goddess Nature that I could not help taking up the pencil and attempting to sketch her lovely features. But I am no artist; I have forgot myself; I can give you but a miserable daub.'
These regions not then having been honoured with the visit of the steam-horse, Mr. Hessel had to break his journey at Kirkby-Lonsdale. The inn where he was accommodated