Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

use.

him in judgment about things tenth of their estates to this less necessary, and even in opinions, that he held very dear.

When he was between 60 and But the virtue, which shone 70 years of age, he used to travel the brightest in him, was his into Wales, and disperse concharily to the poor. God blessed siderable sums of money, both him with a good estate, and he his own, and what he collected was liberal beyond most men in from other persons, among the doing good with it. This in- poor, labouring, persecuted mindeed he made the great business isters. But the chief designs of of his life ; to which he applied his charity were to have poor bimself with as much diligence, children taught to read and write, as other men labour at their and carcfully instructed in the trades. He sustained great loss principles of religion; and to by the fire of London, so that furnish adults the necessary (when his wife died, and he had means of religious knowledge. „settled his children) he had but With a view to the former, he 1501. per ann. left; and even settled in Wales three or four then he constantly disposed of hundred schools in the chief 1001, in works of charity. He towns; in many of which wopossessed singular sagacity in men were employed to teach devising the most effectual ways children, and he undertook to of doing good, and in disposing pay for some hundreds of chilof his charity to the greatest ex

dren himself. With a view to tent and best purposes; always, the latter, he procured them Biif possible, making it serve some bles, and other pious and devoend of piety ; t. 5. instructing tional books, in their own lanpoor children in the principles guage; great numbers of which of religion, and furnishing grown he got translated, and sent to the persons, who were ignorant, with chief towns, to be sold at easy the Bible, and other good books; rates to those, who were able to strictly obliging those, to whom buy them, and given to such as he gave them, to read them dili. were not. In 1675 he procured gently, and inquiring afterward, a new and fair impression of the how they had profited. His oc- Welch Bible and liturgy, to the casional relief to the poor was

number of 8000; one thousand always mingled with good coun- of which were given away, and sel, and as great compassion for the l'est sold much below the their souls, as their bodies; common price. He used often which, in this way, often had the to say with pleasure, that he had best effects. For the last ten two livings, which he would not years of his life, he almost whol- exchange for the greatest in Engly applied his charity to Wales, land ; viz. Christ's Hospital, where he thought there was most where he used frequently to cateoccasion for it; and he took chise the poor children ; and great pains to engage others in Wales, whither he used to travel his designs, exciting the rich, in every year, and sometimes twice whom he had any interest, to in a year, to spread knowledge, works of charity in general; picty, and charity. urging them to devote at least a While Mr. Gouce was doing all this good, he was persecuted be better applied, that “ he went even in Wales, and excommuni- about doing good.” He died cated, for preaching occasionally, suddenly in his sleep, Oct. 29, though he had a licence, and 1681, aged 77. His funeral serwent constantly to the

par- mon was preached by Abp. Tillotish churches and communicated son, from which the above acthere. But, for the love of God count is principally extracted. and men, he endured all difficul- Mr. Baxter says, “ He never ties, doing good with patience heard any one person speak a and pleasure. So that, all things word to his dishonour, no not considered, there have not been, the highest prelatists themselves, since the primitive times of Chris- save only that he conformed not tianity, many among the sons of to their impositions.” mei, to whom that glorious char

ORTOX. acter of the Son of God might

Religious Communications.

ON CHRISTIAX ZEAL. ly effects. It may not be únimFew subjects in religion have portant then to inquire into the been viewed in lights so diverse nature, properties and obligations and opposite, as that of zeal.

of truly Christian zeal. Some seem to consider it as con

Zeal is opposed to torpor and stituting the very essence and indifference. It may be denomisum of all goodness; the foun- of mind ; or a lively, vigorous,

nated an ardour and impetuosity dation of Christianity, and its superstructure too.

Howing state and exercise of its Others treat

affections. every kind and degree of it as so

From this general much fanaticism or hypocrisy. definition it appears that zeal is While a third class affect to con

either virtuous or criminal, benesider it as a thing indifferent- ficial or noxious, according to the innocent perhaps but yet a

object and the manner of its ex

ercise. By way of ascertaining, mere appendage, or rather excrescence of Christianity ; su

therefore, the nature and qualiperduous, unimportant and use

ties of that zeal which may properless. To neither of these opin. ly be styled Christian, we will ions does the word of God afford consider it as a personal duty, any countenance. It faithfully

and as a duty we owe to the warns us that there is a zeal

cause of God, and to the best in.which is false and noxious. And

terests of our fellow men. it informs us that there is a gen

It has been justly remarked uine and holy zeal, not indeed that true zeal, like charity, beso properly constituting a dis- gins at home. Its prime office tinct virtue by itself, but rather is to correct what is wrong in pervading the whole spirit and ourselves ; to see to it that our character of a Christian, and pro- own hearts be right, and our lives ducing the most useful and love. exemplary. Its most vehement

our

indignation should be directed right eyes, and cut off right hands, against our own sins ; its most if these be the occasions or invigorous efforts, to own struments of transgression. It teformation and improvement. will inspire and fortify us for the Can that man be much concerned painful, but necessary work of for the salvation of others, who crucifying the flesh, with its affec. is careless of his own ? Can he tions and lusts ; of mortifying our be deeply grieved and pained for earthly members ; of keeping unothers' sins, who is little affected der our bodies, and bringing them with his own corruptions, follies into subjection; yea, it will arm and vices?

us with courage and resolution Christian zeal has a place and to pull down strong holds, and influence in every other Chris- cast every proud imagination into tian grace and virtue. It im- the dust. It will not permit us parts a tenderness and ardour to to indulge our ease, as long as holy love ; a strength and activi- we have one base passion unty to faith. It renders reverence subdued ; one criminal propensiand godly fear more awful ; and ty unmortified.

Here is one gives wings to the Christian's pi. capital trial of the genuineness ous desires. While it infuses of our zeal. Are we engaged a sting into penitential sorrow, it and anxious to reform, not only adds vigour and confidence to a sinful world without ús, but a hope; and sublimates joy in God world of iniquity within us? into transport and triumph. Does the habitual exemplariness

It has likewise an important of our temper and conduct deplace and use in every act of de- clare that our love to holiness, votion. It will lead us, in pray- and hatred to sin, are genuine er, to pour out, not words only, and impartial ? Are our lives asbut devout breathings, intense siduously filled up with duty to desires, and, as it were, our very God, and active beneficence to souls, to our Father in heaven. man? Do we not only walk humIn praise, it will fill us with a sol- bly with our Maker, but do justemn and delightful sense of his ly, and love mercy, to our fellow adorable excellencies, and infi- creatures ? Are we rich in good nitely varied benefits. In confes. works ? Do we abound in them? sion, it will melt our hearts into Do we so live,as that an important ingenuous and unutterable grief. chasm would be realized, and It will cause us to enter the the best interests of society sussanctuary longing for God, as the tain a shock, should our exerhart punteth for the water brooks. tions cease ? Alas ! that is but a It will engage us, while we hear spurious zeal which spends itself and ineditate his word, to hunger in complaints of the badness of for the bread of life, and thirst the times, and the degeneracy of for its precions waters.

the age, while no substantial exFurther, genuine zeal, if we ertions are made to increase the possess it, will operate in the sum of virtue and beneficence, mortification of our sins and cor- and while of course the comruptions, and engage us in a plainer himself is but a cumberer course of holy obedience. It will of the ground, a nuisance in solead us resolutely to pluck out ciety. No 12. Vol. II.

Xxx

eve

race

In a word, if we have true self out principally in retirement. zeal, we shall be solicitous to find He is far from that Jehu-like eurselves making daily progress spirit, which delights in nothing in holiness, and approximating so much as the display of its own to a thorough meetness for goodness, and calls to a surheavenly glory. We shall not rounding world : Come, see my be sutisfied with any past attain- zeal for the Lord. His inward ments, supposed or real. We feelings are often much stronger, shall anxiously lay aside than he is disposed the world ry weight, and every easily should know. He has many a besetting six, and run with pa- tender, and almost overwhelmtience, alacrity and perseverance, ing sensation, which he can dethe

set before us. The posit only in the bosom of his nearer we approach to our hea- God. venly crowl, with the greater As the result of this sincerity, ardour shall we spring forward the Christian's zeal will be unito embrace it. What a pattern form. There is scarce any thing of this sublime ambition, this sa- which so strongly marks and cred zeal, was the venerable distinguishes the real child of Paul, who, in the midst of as God, as a certain symmetry of great attainments in reiigion, as

character. The most refined perhaps ever fell to the lot of a and subtle hypocrite cannot imimortal, expresses himself in this tate it, and seldom so much as humble language; Brethren, I attempts to do so. Such are of count noi myself to have appre- ten full of apparent fervour in hended ; but this one thing I do: those performances in which forgetting the things which are there is little self-denial, or for behind, and reaching forth to those which they have a present rethings which are before, I press ward in the applause of their toward the mark for the firize of fellow-men. But in the mean the high calling of God, in Christ time, secret duties, mortifying Jesus.

duties, those which are hard to Respecting the real thas im- flesh and blood, are either totally perfectly described, it may be neglected, or very inconstantly remarked that its distinguishing and superficially discharged. Far characteristic is sincerity. Its different is the sineers and zealproper seat is in the soal; and ous Christian. What he is in thence it diffuses itself through the closet, he is in the world. the conversation. It is opposed What he appears in the world, to nothing so immediately, as to he is in the closet. Wherever that coldness, or lukewarmness he goes, he carries with him a of heart, in the things of God sense of God, and this sense of and religion, which alas! is nat- an ever-present and heart-searchural to depraved man. Its sub- ing Deity is more than a thouject is, in the view of the om- sand witnesses to engage him to niscient and heart-searching Je. all duty, and deter him from all hoyah, what he appears to be, to sin. He is conscientious and in his fellow creatures. As an ev- earnest in every thing which his idence of this sincerity, the Master in heaven has enjoined. Christian's zeal will often act it. He does not suffer the duties of

REMARKS ON

THE

DECALOGUE.

devotion to set aside those of PRACTICAL
morality ; nor the duties of mo-
rality to form a pretence for nes- (Concluded from page 518.)
lecting those of devotion. He

WHEN the universe was a has a sacred and practical respect vast, unformed mass, involved in to all the divine commandments. disorder and darkness, God said, He abstains from all sin. He

“Let there be light ; let the wacleanses himself from all filthiness,

ters be divided from the waters ; both of fresh and spirit.

let dry land appear; let grass It may be added, that the

grow for cattle, and herb for the Christian's zeal is not a tran

use of man." The command sient, but a durable tbing. Thus was effectual. A beautiful systoo it is strikingly distinguished

tem arose, fitted for the convenfrom those faraing appearances ience and happiness of the endof goodness which often dazzle

less variety of creatures which for a time. The religion of hyp- were produced. The word, so ocrites may be resembled to the

effectual in this instance, is not same object to which Solomon less effectual in others. 66 Thou compares the mirth of fools. It

shalt have no other gods before is like the crackling of thorns un

me; thou shalt not make unto der a pot. It makes much noise

thee any graven image; thou and shew; not unfrequently far shalt not take the name of the. more than the religion of the Lord thy God in vain ; rememreal, humble Christian. But it

ber the Sabbath day to keep it is soon over. And its poor, de- holy ; honour thy father and thy luded possessor relapses into mother; thou shalt not kill ; carelessness and security ; per- thou shalt not commit adultery, haps into flagrant, soul-destroy- thou shalt not steal; thou shalt ing vices. Ah, how wretched

not bear false witness ; thou that religion which is thus sur- shalt not covet.” The comvived ! But the Christian's zeal

mand has not returned void. is an undying flame. it is kio

We cannot calculate the efficacy dled up by the Spirit of the liv- which it has had. It has opposed ing God, whose veracity is

the general progress of irrelipledged to perfect the good tork gion and immorality. It has rewhich his mercy begins. Nor tained thousands of thousands in shall all the blasts of temptation,

the pure worship of the true which assail it in this unkindly God. It has mollified and huclime, be suffered to extinguish manized thousands of hearts. it. It shall live even here, This subject admits not the till it burst out with renovated

same proof as other subjects. splendour in heaven ; till the

But let it be a little varied, and happy Christian feel transported the conclusion reverts in all its with the pure ardour of “the strength. Suppose that God rapt seraph that adores and

bad not meddled with the affairs burns.”

of mankind, and that they had The subject shall be resumed

been left to do, without restraint, and pursued in a future number,

as they thought fit. The con2 Z.

sequence no doubt would have been an utter contempt of reli

« AnteriorContinuar »