« PředchozíPokračovat »
it a very
I was at church yesterday morning (at Tadcaster), and heard an excellent sermon from Mr. Maddocks. I went again in the evening. As I passed along the river banks the bells chimed sweetly, and seemed to breathe peace around the sacred edifice. The church being lighted gave
appearance. After prayers Mr. Maddocks delivered a very affectionate discourse from John xiv. 27 : Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.' He
Ι showed the misery which sin entailed upon
the human race, pointed out religion as alone calculated to satisfy the mind, and earnestly exhorted such as had not yet found this peace, to close in with the offer of the blessed Redeemer. He addressed himself to those who were seeking it. This was my case.
His words deeply impressed me. They were most encouraging."
The religious influences which operated upon young Hessel were well fitted to produce the catholicity he exhibited. His mother, whose counsels and prayers had consciously exercised a powerful restraint upon him, was a Wesleyan. Mr. Parsons, who had been instrumental in bringing him to a decision, was a Congregationalist. And Mr. Maddocks, whose lucid statements and earnest exhortation had imparted great encouragement, was a minister in the Establishment. How instructive are these facts to all ! How rebukeful to those narrow-minded zealots who doubt the impartation of spiritual blessings to our world through any other medium than their own! How palpably does God honour men of all sects who seek to honour Him !
AT AIREDALE COLLEGE. The spirit in which he enters Col
lege-Driffield-Ravenstonedale-Watson's Life of Wesley-Rev.
MR. HESSEL was one of four or five students who entered Airedale College at the period of its commencing a new historic era. It had existed seminally for many years at the neighbouring village of Idle, under the tutorship of the Rev. William Vint. Right glad were the students however, of whom I was one, to remove from a place whose name supplied unpleasant material for the punster. Current rumour says that on one occasion, a student being late in reaching the village which that day furnished his sphere of labour, a member of the congregation,-a plain-spoken Yorkshireman-suspecting their "supply" might be a stranger, kindly went forth to meet him. Approaching a person of ministerial garb he accosted him with the inquiry : “ Are you an idle student ?” Through the munificence of two wealthy ladies chiefly, a commodious structure was reared at Undercliffe, a mile from Bradford. The Rev. Walter Scott,-a man of vigorous intellect and large theological stores, but who, like some other divines, forgot, that “besides a conscience or moral nature for which God has provided a revelation of the holy, and an understanding for which He has provided a revelation of the true, man has also an imagination for which God has provided a revelation of the beautiful”—was appointed Professor of Theology. The Rev. Thomas R. Taylor-a man of refined mind, and
BUDS OF PROMISE.
poetic powers which received an eulogistic tribute from James Montgomery,-soon removed, alas, by death,-was appointed Classical Tutor. His Journal exhibits the spirit in which Mr. Hessel entered on his college duties. On April 1st he writes :
" This book has for some time been neglected. It may not be improper to state that I entered Airedale College on the 24th of Feb. As I have now got settled I purpose to continue my daily observations. Some regulations have suggested themselves which I now record. 1. I see the importance of cultivating habits of strict mental discipline, so that I
my powers at command. From neglect of this I have been at the mercy of every trivial circumstance. 2. Another important thing is the right improvement of time. I will adopt this motto : "Take care of the minutes, the hours will take care of themselves.'”—This motto he wrote on a scrap of paper and suspended on the chimneypiece of his study.
After stating his purpose in reference to classical and theological studies, he adds: “I hope to cultivate more of the spirit of practical piety. I have fearfully fallen off lately. May the spirit of God quicken me, and enable me to consecrate all my powers to His glory. I see the necessity of watching over my words and actions. I fear I sometimes demean myself by improper mirth and frivolity-indulge too much in vulgar sayings and witticisms, and assume too much self-importance. These things often pain me, and I would fain renounce them. I wish also to manifest an obliging spirit to all around me. I have lately neglected this important duty, with many others equally important. With all my sins and imperfections I come to the Cross, praying for forgiveness and constant supplies of grace to enable me in future to adorn the doctrine of God my Saviour in all things." —Here, it must be admitted, are buds of considerable promise. The new student is no starched, self-consequential youth who has gone to College for the sake of saying he has been there. It is not accomplishments he seeks, nor intellectual acquirements merely, but sterling excellence.
His personal appearance secured him a favourable introduction to his new acquaintances. His thin face "sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought"; the intelligence beaming from those dark brown eyes; the repose expressed by that countenance, incapable, apparently, of expressing any vile or even strong passion ; the native dignity of bis bearing; combined with a tall, slender, graceful figure, attired with peculiar neatness, could scarcely have failed to awaken interest in any circle.
At the time Mr. Hessel entered the College there were several preaching stations visited by the students so distant that we had to remain from two to six weeks. These places were supplied by the whole of us in regular rotation. He had been an inmate but about two months when it devolved upon him to supply a vacant pulpit at Driffield for three weeks. The practice of sending young students on such occasions is not free from grave objection. It deserves careful consideration however, whether the benefits do not outweigh the disadvantages. Is not the acquirement of knowledge too exclusive a pursuit in Colleges ? By all means let the Christian minister be well furnished with scholastic learning. But is not the power to use it efficiently as important as the acquisition ! And must not pulpit efficiency, like efficiency in all other arts, be acquired by practice? Two or three weeks occasionally spent among a people as their temporary pastor would prove a valuable experimental process to many a student. That Mr. Hessel derived a benefit greatly preponderating the disadvantage, his records compel us to believe. In a review of this period written for Miss * *, he says : "I shall ever look back with pleasure upon the time I spent in that place.
I do not remember any journey in which I have derived so much benefit. In travelling I met with some interesting comp:nions and got my views enlarged upon several subjects. I am not aware that my visit improved my preaching much. I believe I composed but one sermon. a valuable sermon to me, however, for it contained more thought than all my previous compositions put together. I had been in the habit of taking up my pen after having obtained a few vague notions of my subject, and writing as fancy dictated. My productions were of course light and frothy, and although there might be much beautiful imagery they failed in producing the desired effect. The sermon to which I have alluded was the first I thought out, and no doubt it has imparted a tone to all I have since composed.
“My stay at Driffield was beneficial in several other respects. I had leisure to apply to practical purposes the new principles I had learnt at College. I have not the least doubt that my time was far better spent than it would have been there. My spiritual interests received an improvement of which I am conscious to this day. I communed much with my own spirit ; and amid the scenes of nature I often found delightful incitements to devotion. Faint glimpses of a better state of things occasionally burst upon me, and I often felt a yearning, irrepressible, desire to be greatly good.”
On the 16th of August he writes : “I have this day attained the twentieth year of my age and it cannot be improper to make it a season of devout gratitude—of deep humiliation of unfeigned and sincere resolution of amendment—and of renewed and solemn dedication to God.” -He enlarges on each of these particulars in the spirit of the preceding extracts.
Through the winter months he pursues a student's customary and uneventful path. Spring, however, brings a