« PředchozíPokračovat »
we direct too exclusive attention to professing Christians. I think that students are especially called upon 'to do the work of an evangelist.' I feel it is my duty to direct my energies chiefly to the unconverted. 2. My sermons have been too long. I could not command energy to deliver them, nor the people patience to hear them with profit. 3. I see the importance of getting a number of common every-day facts for the illustration and enforcement of divine truth. The common people want food, not dainties; a dinner, not a dessert. 4. I am convinced it is best to write Get your principal thoughts collected, and if you like, the introduction written, the night before. But more of this when I see you."
a sermon all at once.
Immediately on his return to College he had to undertake pastoral duties at Northallerton for two weeks. On Monday morning, Sept. 7th, he writes in his Journal: "I am still conscious of a reserve of mental energy in the pulpit ; sometimes the conviction comes upon me like a flash of lightning. O God! have pity upon a poor creature struggling with his depravity and moral indolence. Let a ray of light, and an effusion of energy, visit this dark and feeble spirit, and make me 'a workman which needeth not to be ashamed.' What do I want this evening? For myself: 1. Physical energy; strength to preach boldly; to give powerful utterance and proper intonation to the truths I have arranged. 2. Mental vigour; strong perception; a vivid imagination; accurate judgment; and retentive memory. And above all, moral sensibility—a just estimate of the vast and unparalleled importance of the truths I deliver; a sense of the presence of God; a deep and solemn apprehension of the value of the immortal soul; a love for these immortal spirits that will burn like a fire within me. For the people 1. Attention; disposition to hear; candour; correctness of judgment. 2. That the Spirit may be poured upon us all; that a peculiar unction, a divine energy which
no human eloquence can impart, may be given; that a spirit of deep, heart-felt, anxious inquiry may be awakened; that the prayer of the publican may ascend from every breast. 3. That the careless may be alarmed; the waverer brought to decision; the penitent consoled; that souls may be saved."
On the next day he writes: "Never saw so clearly that I am now commencing a new career in the work of preaching. Hitherto I have been playing, now I must begin to work. I see myself to be a mere child, in the very A, B, C, of pulpit labours. I am now convinced that unless I do my best every way I am robbing God of His due; for my reason, imagination, judgment, memory, voice, all my faculties, whether of mind or body, are His. I am conscious that I am capable of doing much better than I have done. Satan tells me that if I strive to attain the highest possible excellence I am only pleasing and serving myself, merely gratifying my own ambition. This is a mere trick, which has unhappily been too successful Let then every sermon
be a step higher in the ascent to excellence; and whenever I fancy I have done pretty well let me beware of resting contented; let this act as a stimulant to further improvement. This cannot be effected without much prayer however that intense yearning, wrestling of the spirit which will be dissatisfied if one single attainable blessing be withheld. Lord grant this spirit of prayer."
8th. "I find that if I am to possess much divine knowledge I must gather it in the same way as every humble Christian. I must learn it by practical lessons, and not from theological books merely."
9th. "The rain has ceased, and the morning is beautiful. What an idea does this convey of the character of the Divine Being How silently and gently do His blessings descend! How unostentatious is His benevolence! We can feel His goodness even before we perceive it."
How many a preacher's heart will respond to all the sentiments here expressed! 13th. "Sunday, 6 p.m. Had a pleasant time this morning. Felt considerable tenderness of spirit, although not that deep and powerful energy I wished. It is with trembling solicitude I view the time of evening service approach. My heart tells me I shall fail. But my soul waits upon God. The night is rainy, and I fear the congregation will be small. Never felt my emotions to be
of so mingled a character. of God, and yet I cannot forbear entreating His assistance.”
I feel I am not worth the notice
It was during this visit to Northallerton that he wrote the interesting letter from which so large an extract was given in the former chapter. The remaining portion shall be supplied. "When I review my short religious career I see great reason for humility and self-abasement. God has been peculiarly good and I have been peculiarly thoughtless and ungrateful. Of late, I hope my mind has been raised from the lethargy into which I had fallen; but, I feel a proneness to slumber again. I trust that God will make you instrumental in urging me forward in a career of usefulness. I cannot now express my feelings on this subject. Perhaps I may disclose them in conversation. A wish something to this effect has often come with startling power across my spirit-that not a single blessing may be withheld from the world which, by the utmost intensity of effort, I can be the means of communicating. I wish my life to be crowded with action, and that action directed to the best and noblest ends. My dearest C-, I conjure you by everything that is tender, affecting, and solemn, in our present circumstances and future prospects, that you pray for me. Remember you cannot pray in vain. The influence of your prayers must be felt in my character, labours, and enjoyment. By the very constitution of our Redeemer's government it must be so. I thought of your prayers last Sunday, in the pulpit. I thought I felt them mingling with my
QUALIFICATIONS DESIRED IN A WIFE.
own, adding strength to every desire, and energy to every petition. This gave new impulse to my mind, and I trust a divine power was felt in the congregation. I thought the evening service peculiarly solemn, and I have no doubt strong impressions were produced upon the minds of many. May they be lasting!
"I should like our intercourse to be carried on with childlike simplicity, being convinced that the nearer we approximate to our blessed Redeemer the more we shall become as little children.' In order to secure a lasting mutual attachment we must each strive to be amiable and lovely; and we can only be so as we resemble Him. Conformity to Him is the ground of my hope of happiness, and if I did not think it was yours also, I hesitate not to say, the sooner our connection is dissolved the better. Let not my dear C— imagine that a single suspicion has crossed my mind. No, I am persuaded better things of you, and I hope, with all your weaknesses and faults,' (for I am not one of those gallant knights who would suppose you have none,) you will be 'a help-meet for me.' I am glad your standard of connubial happiness is high. I want you to be a companion; and I cannot but regard with a pity bordering on contempt those individuals who seek in a wife only a convenient piece of household furniture.
"Permit me to recommend a new mode of letter-writing. I should like you to have a Journal, and whenever you have any thing to say to me write it down while your views and feelings are fresh. Tell me your cares, great and little, your joys, and sorrows, and difficulties. This is far better than sitting down to write a letter. I intend to adopt a mode will not only
similar plan. I am convinced that this be more pleasant but more profitable. Give full expression to your feelings. Surely now you dare venture to repose confidence in me. This will be the means of exciting our sympathies, and cementing our attachment.
"In my next I intend to give you an outline of my plans for future life. We ought to have clear and intelligent views of the objects of our existence, and pursue them with untiring industry.
Now do you seriously
"You tell me not to flatter you. think I can be guilty of flattery? I have told you what I thought was truth; and I must now tell you, that much as I admire you, I think you susceptible of great improvement. I have no doubt we shall be mutually useful. It is your province to cultivate my finer feelings; it is mine to raise your intellectual character. You must create beauty and inspire warmth; I must impart energy and strength. I think you will not find fault with this division of labour.
"I intend us to read much together. I have got Hannah More's Poetical Works, and before I send them to you, I shall read them, and point out what I deem beautiful or useful. This I would especially remark, that if you would secure mental improvement you must make extensive use of your pen. Depend upon it, it is the grand instrument for teaching us to think. If possible, never let a day pass without some exercise in composition. Mere desultory read
ing will do you little good; writing will be the grand means of causing you to reflect upon what you read. It will call your powers into action, and cause you to enjoy an intenser life."
In a letter to me, written about the same time, he says: "Ever since I left you I have been in a state of intense mental excitement. I have studied hard. My frame is almost worn down with work. This affair, instead of proving a hindrance to study, appears to have given a new impetus to my energies. I now feel I have a double care, a double responsibility, a double motive for exertion. I feel that I have taken another being beneath my protection, and am bound by the tenderest and most solemn obligations to place her interests on the same footing with my own. The