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breast, to ascribe to a divine inter- seems to be gaining ground, even position particular occurrences, among the higher class of Chriswhich fall out in a certain relation tian professors. The dread of to character and moral principle. superstition, and the spirit of secuAlmost every man has a sort of lar philosophy, have driven many natural propensity to trace effects from the belief of a particular proto their causes; and this same vidence, and made them slow to propensity it is, which, in com- discern the workings of the divine bination with our moral sense, hand in the earth. It may be diffimakes us hasty to interpret the cult to keep the mind wisely bamysterious hieroglyphics of the lanced between the two extremes ; Book of Providence. And yet but let it at the same time be reto be deaf to the voice which membered, that a slight error in sometimes addresses us, were to interpreting providence is less display an apathy as impious and injurious than a total denial, or a criminal as theirs, who tempted merely general acknowledgment, God in the desert, and who hear of the Lord's hand. The Scriping, heard not; and seeing, saw not. tures constantly inculcate a regard The line of right feeling lies be- to the events of time, as indicatween the two extremes of super- tions of the divine will; and judgstition and infidelity. Supersti- ments are as constantly threatened tion is the morbid excitement of that against those who will not conmoral sense, which universally fess when his arm is made bare. makes man sympathise in the no- At the same time, it would be the tion of a superior and superintend- height of presumption to extend ing power--infidelity is the palsy this principle in any other light, of that same sense, effected as far than as the expositor of the great as artificial and unnatural re- general doctrines of revelation, straints can effect the suppression, By itself, it is no sufficient guide; or eradication of an essential part and in reference to ourselves, and of our moral constitution. The our personal enemies and party prevalence of superstitious feel. interests, we are almost sure to ings among mankind will not ap- misapply it. The visitation of pear wonderful, when it is consi- trouble upon those who bave been dered how much room is left, odious to ourselves, has too often where no revelation is interposed, been made a signal for resentfor the busy workings of imagina- 'ment and triumph. Over our own tion, under the promptings both of feelings and interests, it is necescuriosity and fear. Such a bias, sary always to hold a strong reto give a moral significancy to the straint. events of life, demonstrates the As it regards events of a public connexion of the soul with a nature, there is less danger of higher intelligence, and proves the falling into error; and with re. existence, though at the same time gard to a great proportion of them, the disturbance of that moral sym- whether we trace them to a right pathy, which, in its healthful state, cause or not, there can be no constitutes the perfection, but, in doubt as to the lessons they teach, its extinction, the deepest degra- and the improvement they imperadation, of our nature. While, tively demand. therefore, we should guard against One such case I propose to narsuch an interpretation of provi- rate in this paper, and with the dence, as might savour of supersti- same adherence to the plain and tion, it is equally necessary to simple facts of the case as I have check that spirit of infidelity and observed in my former communiapathy, which in the present age, cations.
· My early days were spent in the tage, that there would be a sermon heart of the great metropolis, preached in the afternoon, under when, in connection with many the large tree. At the time apindividuals who have since risen pointed, the service commenced, to most important stations in the though in the midst of rather a church of Christ, and with several riotous and untractable rabble. who have become eminent mis. After a short space, however, the sionaries in foreign countries, I preacher was enabled to proceed, made my first attempt to do good. though not without interruption. In company with some pious per- Before he had completed his dissons engaged in the same work, I course, symptoms of violence were visited frequently a village in Surry, indicated, and those of the party remarkable for the loveliness of who were not made of the firmest its natural scenery, and distinguish- materials began to lose heart, and ed at once by the elegant resi- tremble for the consequences. dences of many of our wealthy citi. Conceive the consternation which zens, but by a village population ensued, when a shout on the outof the rudest and most unchristian- side of the crowd intimated that like order. After ascertaining outrage was approaching. The that this village was deplorably service was interrupted; but our destitute of the means of instruc- preacher calmly maintained his tion, and grievously in want of standing on an elevated position them, it was resolved to hire a against the tree, when forth steproom, for the purpose of establish- ped the champion of the perseing a village Sunday-school. But cutors, and, in a violent and outSunday-schools were, at that day, rageous manner, presented a blunnot so popular as they have since derbuss, with which he swore he become. It was about the time would shoot the unoffending min that the celebrated Bishop Hors- nister. Dauntless and calm stood ley endeavoured to preach and the messenger of peace, and inwrite them down, and strong pre- treated the infuriated profligate to judices were entertained in most desist and repent; but imagine, places against them. In a vil- reader, what were the emotions of lage distinguished, as this was, by these humble evangelists, when the influence of many gentry and they saw the most determined reclergy opposed to innovation, and solution in the demeanour of the the education of the poor, it may wretched persecutor, and the piece easily be supposed, we met great still levelled at their preacher's resistance. No house was open breast, who refused to descend to us. Some of the villagers from the station he occupied, or would have countenanced the at- to desist from his purpose, whattempt, but they feared the frown ever might be the consequence. of the influential class. At last, " Let him fire -I am serving my it was resolved to commence ope- Saviour, and I am in His hand: Í rations in the open air; and a ve- fear not his threats.”-A moment's nerable tree, which extended wide dreadful pause ensued, like that its protecting boughs in the cen- (to compare small things with tre of the village, was chosen as a great) which, it is said, sometimes suitable spot. A veteran of the takes place in a field of battle belittle company was selected as the fore the conflicting powers comperson most suitable for the ardu- mence the assault. Each stood ous service. The day was fixed : firm, and, in a moment, the blunthe little party repaired, on the derbuss was discharged at the Sabbath morning, to the village, preacher. A thrill of horror went and notified, from cottage to cot- through even the breasts of our New SERIES, No. 16.
enemies, at the thought of such here, at least, was a deep need for a deed. All looked to see the the civilizing and humanizing inpreacher fall down dead; while fluence of Christianity. Some efthe assailant made the best use he forts were made to detect the parcould of the confusion and panic ties who had engaged in this infawhich ensued, and retreated pre- mous project, but in vain. They cipitately. But our friend, the had so concealed themselves as to preacher, stood firm and unhurt, elude detection, and it appeared for, as he had suspected, the piece that they would go unpunished. contained no shot. The confusion It was now debated whether any which ensued was, however, such further attempts should be made as could not be quelled ; yet our to preach in the open air ; and, preacher was enabled to announce after some deliberation, when it his intention of resuming his pur- was found that, under these cirpose on the ensuing Sabbath. cumstances, we could claim no With this the assembly was dis- legal protection, and might be missed, and the evangelists re- made answerable for a riot, it was turned to town without further deemed prudent not again to exmolestation.
pose the persons of the people, as The next Sunday arrived; the well as the preacher, to these astime of assembling came; the saults, but to make a new and preacher with his friends were at more strenuous effort to obtain a their post. Many of the villagers room, and thereby to avail ourwere collected together, and some selves of the strong arm which the evinced not only a willingness to law would afford us. After a short listen to the message of the preach- period this was effected. A cottager er, but a degree of sympathy for opened his doors to the persecuted the outrage which had previously friends of religion, and a regular been committed. The foul spirit Sunday School institution was of persecution appeared no more. founded, which seemed greatly to The audience was numerous, and, conciliate the regards of the lower upon the whole, attentive. Things orders. With this undertaking went on thus for some time, when was connected an evening service, a new and most infamous assault at which a few adult persons used was made, not upon the preacher to attend. merely, but upon the whole as. I am now arrived at that part sembly that had convened to listen of my narrative which suggested to bis instructions. Opposite to the cautionary remarks I have the preacher's station was a but- placed at the beginning of this pacher's shop and yard; and, in per. But a short time elapsed some part of these premises, these before a singular and deep impresenemies of religion had contrived sion was produced throughout the to conceal a force-pump, or en- neighbourhood, by an occurrence gine, by means of which, as by a which all confessed to be a judg. fire-engine, they were enabled to ment, and which, as to its effects play a stream of blood, which had at least, in the promotion of the been saved for the purpose from Gospel, was an evident interpo. slaughtered animals, over the con- sition of the divine hand, both to gregation and the preacher. This suppress opposition, and afford a infamous device had the effect of remarkable“ door of entrance" completely breaking up the meet- to the people. Three young ing. Yet, undismayed by this men had been principally conbrutal behaviour, the friends of cerned in the second day's outtruth resolved not to be beaten rage, and, for a season, they confrom the field. They saw that trived to conceal their wickedness. A short time, however, suf- the ringleaders of the persecution, ficed to bring it to light, in a most on account of a series of misforawful and affecting manner. One tunes in business, which, I believe, of the individuals was working in brought them to ruin; and this a field, I think digging potatoes, very house henceforth, for many with several others, when he sud- years, became the home of all denly cried out that he was seized the good men, who came to the with a violent illness. He was village for benevolent purposes. taken from the field to his home, A pious family, unconscious of all and medical advice soon procured, that had passed, came into the but the conviction was deeply premises, and cordially lent their fixed on his mind that he was aid and countenance, to the supstruck with death. In the deepest port of the interest of religion. agony of spirit, he sent for his Many a time, after the labours of wicked companions, and admo- a long journey, and the fatigues nished them of the sin he and they of the school and the other public had committed together, in “ per- services, have I been entertained in secuting the Methodists.” He this very house, with other my languished, as far as I can now fellow-labourers, in the most hosrecollect, but a few hours, and pitable manner, while we have then expired in the most fearful talked over the Lord's wonderful agonies both of body and mind. dispensations, and his gracious inOnly a few weeks past by before a terpositious to silence the enemies second of these wretched persecu- of his own cause. tors was seized by a fatal disease, For several years I continued -I think it was an infectious fe- to visit this interesting place, and ver,-and cut down in the midst found the village cause not only of his days and his sins. The undisturbed, but prosperous. A third, who had seen the end of his considerable congregation was companions in wickedness, now raised, and much good was done. remained. Abashed, and almost Many persons, young and old, ashamed to be seen abroad, after were blessed by the instructheir dreadful visitation, which tions of these humble labourers. became the subject of universal It is now near thirty years since conversation, he resolved on leav- the providence of God removed ing the place. He did so; but me from these scenes of useful though he fled from the face of and pleasing labours, to a distant man, he could neither escape the part of the kingdom ; but I have hand nor the eye of the great had the pleasure of hearing, at inJudge. He was killed, by an ac- tervals, that the cause of religion cident, on the high-road between is still prospering, and has now London and the village where he grown into a much more respectlived. These singular occurrences, able external aspect, since the which all took place within the days of the persecutors, and the space of a very few months, made first efforts of the itinerants. This a strong impression upon the memorial of days of trial to the neighbourhood. All persecution friends of village-preaching, gone ceased ; and, by another occur- by, never, I would hope, to return rence in providence, of a different, in our beloved country, may not but not less remarkable character, be unacceptable to some who may the very house and shop from yet retain the recollection, and rewhence the outrage had pro- cognize the spot, where these ceeded, was, in a short time, va- events transpired. cated by the family who inhabited
DEFENCE OF THE PREACHING OF peculiarly characteristic of stu
THEOLOGICAL STUDENTS. dents. This I do not hesitate in GENTLEMEN,-It was with a plain terms to deny. I do not feeling of satisfaction that I ob- mean to say, that it applies to served, in your last number, the others with at least equal propriety, article of your correspondent and that it is, therefore, unjust to “ Marcus,” in reference to that make them exclusively the subjects “ On an ornamented Pulpit Style," of it. Speaking generally, my acwhich had previously appeared in quaintance with them (and it is your pages; for, thinking as I do, tolerably extensive), informs me, that to seek the acquisition of a that their style of preaching is chaste, and even of an elegant highly creditable to them. It may style, is the duty of every one who not be always elegant, and though occupies the important station of it should be necessary to confess, a public instructor-that simplicity, that in some instances it is not far from being inconsistent with even chaste; yet I must say, on such a style, is essential to it and the other hand, that I have not that, when acquired, it becomes so unfrequently heard sermons from habitual, as to interfere in no mea- students, the style of which would, sure necessarily with the feelings to say the least, have reflected of the heart, or with the full, im- no disgrace on some who stand passioned, and energetic exhibition very high in public estimation. of the truth; the subject appeared And if it is unjust to consider their to me also, “to call for further ob- style as generally deficient in reservations." I might perhaps have spectability, the imputation of even thought that there was still room an approach to such “nonsense," for remark on the original subject, as “ making ships sail through the had not my attention been pain- clouds, and fishes swim in the air,” fully arrested by a part of the ob- certainly merits the severest censervations of “ Marcus," which I sure. Such things may be found think ought not to pass unnoticed. amongst those who decry all eduWhile with him I lament that some cation for the ministry, but it is mistake bombast for elegance, and very rarely indeed, that a student, substitute strings of weak and even of the first year, is not above tawdry metaphors for strength of this. It is a fear of the injurious language and energy of thought, consequences which are likely to I deeply regret that he should result from such statements, in have thought it proper to fix such such a publication, that induces a charge on a body of young men, me to endeavour to defend our who are now most important aux- young ministers from imputations, iliaries in the service of the sanc- which have neither truth nor prutuary, and to whom we must look dence for their warrant. Depenfor the future supply of efficient dent upon them as we are, for and educated Ministers. His ob- services which we should find it servations, with relation to them, very difficult to dispense with, it appear to me to be alike uncalled would have been highly imprudent for and unfounded. He, perhaps, to indulge in such a strain of redid not intend the charge which he mark, even if it were founded in makes to be a general one, as he truth. There is need rather to speaks of “some” of them; but discourage than to stimulate a feelthe reflection is made in such a ing, with relation to the services of manner, as to produce the impres- a young Minister, to which we are sion on the mind of a reader, un- too apt to yield our minds, which acquainted with facts, that the is as irrational as it is contrary to description of style reprobated, is the plain intimations of Scripture.