Obrázky stránek

ÆTAT. 22]



The favourable

The church was

had been sent to preach at Northallerton. impression he made was not forgotten. still without a pastor, and the office-bearers on learning his position gladly sought his temporary services. He apprised me of his acceptance of the invitation in a letter dated Oct. 20th:-"I hope it will not be deemed unpardonable to trouble you with a letter before the last is answered, providing I can shew a good reason for the deed. I believe I can. I am going to Northallerton for four Sabbaths. If the air be suitable I think my visit will be beneficial to me.

"I have been reading 'Todd's Student's Guide,' and strongly recommend it to you. It contains much wisdom, and is written with a terribly condensed energy. It has a few minor faults, which may produce effects the author never contemplated, and which he would no doubt lament. There is a keenness in the style which may operate unfavourably upon sensitive minds, and prompt to a course of unhealthy action. I am no stranger to the evil, and therefore can speak of it.

“I heard Dr. R— at York last night. I did not much like him. I am no admirer of the species of eloquence he adopts. I think I daily grow in love with simplicity. All show-off in pulpit addresses is painful to me.

"I have finished Richard Watson's life. He was a great and good man. Such men do not come into our world every day. Robert Hall was almost unbounded in his praise of him, and recommended his congregation to hear him. And yet his life was one of turbulence and activity. It is a strange anomaly that those who have least time to study often effect most. Who would have thought that Erasmus wrote his works while rambling over Europe in search of patronage?"

On the same day he wrote in his Journal: "I cannot do what I wish to do ; I cannot do what some men have done ;

but I will do what I can. I will make the best of my circumstances. Here my mind shall rest.

"I will take no one for my model. I will endeavour to direct my energies into useful and suitable channels. This alone is the way to true greatness."-Such was the spirit in which he went to Northallerton. His visit to this place formed an important link in the chain of events which make up his brief history, for here was laid the foundation of a change in his opinions on some important points in Christian theology.

26th. "I am now conscious of a power I never had before. I despair of nothing if only I have God's help. I have obtained a clearer insight into the operation of His laws, and have more confidence in their results. I believe that if I earnestly set about the work, I could fill this chapel. Will it not be a great sin if I do not ?"—And I believe he did. At all events I know that the congregation increased considerably. He was now reaping the benefit of having intelligently and diligently sought the realization of his aspirations. This record furnishes an illustration of that principle of the Divine procedure: "to him that hath' as result―" shall be given."

30th. "I am about to place myself in a very intimate and solemn relation to many immortal souls. Who can tell the effects of this evening's service? There will be results. Every sentiment I utter may be valuable to some one in the congregation. Its efficacy will depend upon the mode of utterance. O that I fully understood my own sermon! The great thing I now want is faith-a realization of the invisible. If but these grand objects could be so presented as to give the vividness of witnessing the reality!"

Nov. 4th. "I will devote Saturday afternoon to a review of the labours of the week. This will be both pleasant and

[ocr errors]



profitable. I have lost much by not reviewing."-By "the labours of the week" Mr. Hessel does not mean the public services, but the studies, in which he had engaged. And though two opinions may exist as to the pleasantness of such a review, there can be but one as to its profitableness. It is not what we hear or read that becomes knowledge-intellectual capital with which we can traffic-but what we retain. Fully one half of the knowledge most persons acquire is speedily forgotten. Young man secure your acquisitions, and you can do that only by reviewing them. Every review tends to render indelible the impressions made on the mental tablet. "Remember," says Todd, "that the great secret of being successful and accurate as a student, next to perseverance, is the constant habit of reviewing."

"There may be a combination of moral elements in which there is but little to weaken their full efficiency. There are moral powers which are unequivocal in their operations. The man who has them speaks and writes in a tone which all must feel, and with an authority which none can gainsay. Wherever he puts forth his mind the minds of his fellow-men bow before it. Why? Because it has most of Deity in it. This is the highest kind of usefulness. Such was the great Prophet.”

7th. "In the earlier ages, when men were unable to trace the connection subsisting between the natural and moral government of the world, and to see how sin, by natural and irresistible laws, works its own punishment, it was necessary that God should affix special penalties to many sins. Now, that necessity does not exist."

Let all readers of " a certain keenness of mind" ponder this: "There is a certain keenness of mind which may be turned to vast account if joined with benevolence. It acts like a sharp medicine upon our diseased nature. It is a

necessary moral element in our world. It must however be under the guidance of love, which, so far from weakening, will strengthen it."

In a letter to me dated the 15th, he says: "My health has very much improved since I came here. The air agrees remarkably well with me. I am staying a Sabbath longer than I expected, and perhaps I may come again for a few weeks. You will be gratified to hear that I have not been more happy of late than I am now.

"I have some important news to tell you. My mind has of late been turned very much towards India. I have serious thoughts of going. I have great hopes that it would suit my health, and I fear that my life in England would be only a melancholy struggle with our cold climate. It is my daily prayer that God would send me to that part of His earth where I shall do most good. My mind has of late been singularly abstracted from the influence of those minor considerations which once very much affected me. I have endeavoured to form a calm and accurate estimate of my adaptation for such a work, and I believe that in many respects I am peculiarly fitted for it. If such persons as myself are not to go, who are? And the work must be done. Whilst my attainments in many things upon which my usefulness in England would much depend are but very meagre, my circumstances have led me to acquire a versatility of mind admirably qualifying me for new emergencies. Besides I feel that my mind has commenced a struggle with the spirit that reigns at home, and perhaps if I stayed here I might spend a life in fruitless contention with it. A society composed of more simple and primitive elements would be better adapted for me. A species of refinement has crept into English society, which I feel disposed to handle too rudely. I have long felt this, and been often tempted to despise what I could not, or



would not, imitate. These tendencies ought to be taken into consideration, for they will probably increase if I live.

[ocr errors]

"Through the goodness of God I am but little harassed by wanderings into the future. If I do what is right now, I know all will be well. The people here are very kind and sympathizing. I am often affected even to tears when I think of these instances of the divine goodness."

On the same day he wrote in his Journal :- "With God's help I will from this time aim at universal excellence. I will endeavour to be as little influenced as possible by the false opinions prevailing in society. Find out what is right and proper, useful and beautiful, and do it. In writing to my friends I will take more pains with my letters. I will regard letter writing as an important means of usefulness. An elegant easy style is extremely desirable. I wish from this time to live more in communion with God, not only because I shall be more happy, and better prepared for death, but because I am convinced that all I speak, and write, and do, will be much more valuable, and produce a far greater amount of good."

25th. "It is not desirable to dwell upon the faults and weaknesses of others, except with pity. This will prevent much uneasiness, and conduce to true greatness and goodness. Often think how the Saviour would have thought and felt and acted had He come in contact with certain persons."-A larger amount of human infirmity was exhibited to Mr. Hessel than a person of his years usually witnesses. His heart was bent on usefulness, his mind was fertile in expedients, and his position made him feel responsible for attempts at improvement. At the period these remarks were written, the spirit of progress had not possession of the public mind to nearly the extent it now has. He had frequently to encounter strong prejudice therefore. I do not affirm that his projects were always wise, but

« PředchozíPokračovat »