« PreviousContinue »
give him drink; for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.” The philosopher teaches, that, " in returning a favour, we should do it, if possible, with interest, and imitate fertile ground, which always yields more than it receives.” The Christian says Amen to tlie doctrine ; but the venerable Founder of his religion teaches the virtue of liberality and disinterestedness of spirit, with a simplicity of expression, and a greatness of tkzught that nothing in antiquity can equal. “If ye love them" who love you ; if ye do good to them who do good to you ; and if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what Thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again: but love ye your enemies, and do good and lend, hoping for nothing again, and your reward shall be great ; and ye shall be the children of the Highest; for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.” And again, “ When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours, lest they also bid thee again, and a recompense be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, and the blind, and thou shalt be blessed, for they cannot recompense thee; for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of ihe just."
In teaching and enforcing every relative duty, how evidently superior to all preceding legislators is the Founder of the Chris tian religion! We cannot certainly read the pages which contain his doctrines, without feeling that they originate from a mind of infinite grasp, actuated hy motives divinely pure, and whose aim is to promote the happiness of mankind in every possible situation. Children are taught, in language level to their comprehension, the obedience and respect which they owe to their parents.; and parents are reminded, in their turn, of the duties of feeding and instructing their offspring. The mutual affection aud condescension so peculiarly amiable in the conjugal state, are recommended in the strongest terms. The union is represented as made by God himself, and, therefore, indissoluble but by himi. Its engagenlents are wide sacred by his own seal which he has put upon them, having this authoritative inscription, “ What God has joined together, let no man put asunder." As brothers and sisters, we are warmly admonished to rçciprocal acts of kindness and love : and what system of doctrines can more uneqnivocally insist on the duties of inferiors to superiors, superiors to inferjors, of kings to their subjects, and of subjects to their kings? The religion of Christ is a religion of order and larmony. Whatever is offensive to these is hostile to the gospel, which requires of its professors that “they live soberly, righteously, anil godly in the world;" that they • fear Go:l and honour the king;" that they not only abstain from 'rebellion, but that they “ pray for all those that are in authority," representing their ollices as the appointients of God; and giving to the lawful exercise of their prerogatives the sanction of a divine commission. But while it ensures to the ruler the respect and obedience due to his authority, it flatters him not at the expence of his people; - it affords him many wholesome lessons on the subject of government, guarding the precious rights and privileges of the people by the most terrible denunciations against the abuse of power, and the most endearing commendations of a righteous and merciful administration. 1 It is wise, therefore, as well as benevolent in
power, to encourage the diffusion of religious knowledge among the lower orders of the community. Let it, by its own example, recommend the sublime virtues of Christianity; let it enforce, by the uniform support of legislation, its mild and righteous precepts, and it will assuredly prove " a terror to evil-doers, and a praise to them that do well;" good order and harmony will be established; all ranks will catch the spirit of universal benevolence, and the strongest phalanx will be drawn round the throne of civil power. Wiiney.
A LADY'S PRAYER SOON AFTER MARRIAGE.
[Found among her papers.] On thou, my great and merciful Creator, whom my soul elesires to love and adore above all things! O thou, who knowest all the weakness and depravity of my nature, I humbly beseech thee to correct all the errors of my reason, and all the corruptions of my heart! Give me, O Lord, that faith which is most acceptable in thy sight, and make me a member of the mystical body of thy blessed Son on earth, that I may obtain an humble inheritance amongst his saints in glory! For his sake, forgive the offences of my past life, and, purify my heart, by the influence of thy Holy Spirit, from every selfish and malignant passion, especially from that sin that doth so easily beset nie. For his sake renew a right spirit within me! Teach me to love thçe with the most humble, the most resigned, the most tender pieiy! Teach mne to love my fellow-creatures with the most perfect charity! Teach me to be humble, patient, temperate, and conientid. Defend my soul against temptation, against all the snares of Satan, but particularly against any attachment to earthly possessions. Grant that the treasure of my heart may be with thee!
Teach me to promote the happiness of him with whom I am united by the most sacred of ties ! to sooth his hours of sorrow with tenderness and patience, and enliven those of comfort with cheerfulness and afection; and to sacrifice my inclination to his satisfaction at all times, when it does not interfere with my duty to thee. Not only willingly, but with pleasure enable me to fulfil the good purposes I made before the holy altar. Enable ine, not only in outward act, but in the most inward recesses of my soul; to be liberal, benevolent; and contented. Make me truly humble, always conscious of my past sins and present infirmities; always feeling the excellence of others, and rejoicing in that excellence; always indulgent to their faults and infirmities, from a due sense of my own, and feeling that consolation in the cross of Christ which the imperfection of my own obedience can never afford. Fit me, O my God, I earnestly beseech thee, for a better state! Take me from this world when I am most prepared to appear before thee. Support me under the trial of pain and sickness, and receive my soul to mercy, for the sake of Christ Jesus. Amen.
The general character of the above lady may be summed up thus : - She was diligent in the use of appointed means of grace, temperate, just, and benevolent, candid and prudent, sincere, and truly religious.
Designed for the Evangelical Magazine, as a stimulus to other ladies, if the Editor pleasethi to give it a place in that valuable
THÉ PIOUS NEGRO WOMAN. TExtract from Oldendorp's History of the Mission of the Brethren in the Caribee Islands, St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. Jan.
Vol. 2, Book 2, Sect. 2, P: 5151
In 1736, the late Rey, A. G. Spangenberg, being then engaged on a visitation of the Mission among the negroes in St. Thomas, went with Mr. F. Martin, a Missionary of the Brethren, to visit sundry negroes that had formerly been awakenedl, and were now gone astray. Yet, among other occurrences, they were greatly rejoiced and pleased with the conversation of an old negro woman, from Guinea, of the Papan nation, called Marotte.; who, on account of her age, had been enfranchised by her proprietor. Spangenberg's description of this woman answers very nearly to that which is given of Cornelius in Acos r. She feared God, and was of good report among all the people that knew her. Every morning before ever she takes any food, she falls upon her knees, worshipping God, and bowing her face to the earth. The same she does before ever she retires to rest, having an uncommonly great reverence toward God. She saici, That she learned this custom in her infancy from her parents, and that other people in her country served the Lord also in the same manner ; but that the inhabitants of the coast of Guinea were totally ignorant of such worship. She did not comprehend why the white people did show so little reverence for God, and only, as it were, make some complimentary addresses to him. Declaring at the same time that, if any one would show hcr a
way of worship, she would desist from her practice; but that in the meanwhile, she should abide by the manner she had adopted, lest God should be angry with her.
She had been ill for some weeks, and was yet very weak from the ague. Being asked, Whether she made any use of medicine, or whether she was in want of any thing ? " Oh no," said she, o the Lord hath cast me down ; he also will raise me up again ; adding withal, that if she looked unto God, he would, in the proper time, restore her to health.
Yet had this woman never heard any thing of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We asked her, Whether she was willing to hear any thing of Christ, who was the Son of God, and who came into the world for our advantage? “O/ yes, with all my heart," said she ; “ but then I have been told that I must first learn Dutch, and then learn to read, after which I might learn to pray likewise ; but now I am too old for all this." We signified to her, that all this was not indispensably needful, for that God understood all languages, that he was able to liscern the desire of her heart, and would undoubtedly hear and grant all that she prayed for; advising her, therefore, only to continue constant in prayer, and to beseech him that he would give her yet more light and knowledge.
After this she related, at our desire, what steps she took with regard to the sacrifices which she offered. Thus, whenever she gathers fresh fruit, be it what it may, she never tastes of it till she has taken soige part thereof and burnt it; then she falls down upon her knees, thanking God, with all her heart, for granting her health to plant those fruits, and sparing her life, and giving her strength to gatlier, and now to enjoy them; after which she makes use of them for food.
This same negro-woman hearing that her master, whose slave she formerly was, had lost his child, went to him and said, among other things, 'That he ought to beware of being over much sorrowful, and repining on that acconnt; for it was God that had ordered it thus, without whose will nothing could happen; and she feared, if he gave way to discontentment, God might be displeased with him
She expressed great joy and gratiiude for the gracious dispensations of God in, sending people across the great waters, to bring to the poor negroes worris of life; and exhorted her countrymen, like a mother, to attend to what they were told on this subject.
It appeared plainly that she had some indistinct and confused notions of the Trinity ; from which we evidently concluded, that some Christian Missionaries must formerly have been in her native country. She said, “ There is only one God, the Father, whose name is Pao ; his Son, Masu, is the door, or the way, by which alone it is possible to come unto the Father; and then there is yet the Spirit, whose name is called Ce." Thus she had
been informed by her own father in Guinea ; but that the Son of God became man, and, by his death, had redeemed and reconciled sinners, were totally unknown to her.
Hence she was used annually to take a lamb, or a kid, to make an offering of it, in order to placate the Deity, and with a view to atone for her faults and mistakes. At first, she could not comprehend our objection, when we represented to her, that God required not now such offerings and sacrifices, which were unnecessary and unavailing, since the Son of God had offered himself once for all a sacrifice for us; but being further directed by the Brethren to pray to God for grace to believe this, she took their advice, and, in consequence, came one day, smiting upon her breast with great joy, and declaring, whilst she laid her hand on her heart, “ Here I am now satisfied and certain that it is exactly as you have told me.” From thai time she omitted her sacrifices; yet, on high festival days, she still killed a lamb, inviting some of the negroes to be her guests, and exhorting them to promise her that they would be diligent in prayer, and to let it ascend unto God as a sweet smelling sacrifice.
AN EARNEST APPEAL TO EVANGELICAL MINISTERS AND OTHERS. .
Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy
mountain. - Joel ii. 1. Holiness and sin, truth and error, the cause of God and that of his enemies, must necessarily be at an irreconcileable yariance. It is certainly the mark of an ignorant or a querulous temper, to make the loose and general affirmation, that the for: mer times were better than the present:" but it would no less indicate a mind unacquainted with the Scriptures, or untutored by observation, not to perceive that every successive age renders more critical than its preceding the circumstances of the churcla and of the world. The great contest between Heayen and Hell approaches to its decision. In the mean time, it may be expected that the opposing parties will daily gain accessions of strength, activity, and address. The increase of population, the extension and facility of human intercourse, the advancement of universal learning, and the very general diffusion of all knowledge, minister at once the invitation and the instruments of such exertions.
The friends of Christ and his holy gospel have not been unmoved by the calls of duty. The activity and extended labours af ministers, the increase of churches, and the formation of many excellont societies, are evidences of this. Enlargement on