Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

at the early age of ten, to reside with and assist in her business an old friend of her mother's. A son of this person was inclined to Deism, and when the deceased was about sixteen, put into her hands Paine's “Age of Reason, which for a time somewhat unsettled her faith in divine revelation. At this juncture, however Mr. Sagar, then the leader of the Bolton Society, which met for worship in Bury Street, commenced a course of lectures, which she was induced to attend, when the flood of light thrown on the nature and meaning of the sacred volume completely dissipated the figment of scepticism, and settled her faith in the divinity of the Bible, and, at the same time, in the truth of the New Church doctrines, to which from this period she became devotedly attached. She was also very successful in introducing the doctrines to others; and through her instrumentality her mother, sister, and brother, and subsequently to her marriage, her husband, and his brother, with his wife, became zealous and devoted members of the Church. When it was determined to erect the present Church, she threw her influence into the effort with characteristic energy, taking the main charge of the business, whilst her husband with Mr. Edleston, who then officiated as leader, visited the members, to solicit subscriptions ; and failing in the first instance to raise the required amount, at her suggestion her husband and his brother doubled the amounts they had promised, and the example being followed by others, their efforts eventuated in success. A considerable portion of the expenditure had to be provided for by debentures; and here again, at her suggestion, her husband and his brother cancelled a portion of their claims, in addition to their contributions each succeeding collection, as a means of gradually liquidating the debt; and she lived to have the satisfaction of seeing the liabilities of the Church reduced to a merely nominal amount. Her last illness was a lingering and trying one, eventuating in disease of the heart, accompanied with dropsy and painful nervous derangement. Her faith in the Divine Provid. ence of the Lord, and in the doctrines of the New Church, however, never wavered, and she looked forward to her end with the confidence of realizing the conviction she had so long cher

ished, and enteringon an immortality for which she was so fully prepared. W.

At Heywood, February 19, Mrs. Mary Jackson, aged sixty-two, relict of Mr. Joseph Jackson, whose obituary is inserted in our January number, 1870. The deceased had been for nearly thirty years a devoted and active member of the Church at this place. For many years she and her esteemed partner attended worship at Heywood, while residing at Rochdale. Although placed at a distance from the house of God, she was seldom absent from its public services, and took an active part in all that concerned the well-being of the Church. Since the departure of her husband, she has suffered from declining health, until at length without a murmur she departed to join him in a higher state of being.

Died, February 23rd, aged seventyseven years, David Brook, formerly colporteur of the Yorkshire New Jerusalem Church Colportage Association.

Departed this life, March 10th, 1871, Mr. Titus Brown, for many years

minister of the New Church Society at St. Heliers, Jersey, and of which, from his unremitting zeal and painstaking in its behalf, he well deserves to be called the father. Nearly fifty years have now elapsed since our revered friend was first instructed in the doctrines by Captain Gomm, who introduced them into the island, and whom he never ceased to speak of in terms of the greatest love and respect.

During the time that Captain Gomm conducted asmall society, Mr. Brown made himself useful in the choir, and by his ardent study laid the foundation of that accurate knowledge of the truth, which made him such a useful labourer in his Lord's vineyard. After Captain Gomm's death, the friends were for a time scattered ; but at length in 1836, Mr. Brown, with three or four others—two of whom still remain in our midstresolved to establish the Society, which still exists and flourishes. From the period of its foundation till within about a twelvemonth, Mr. Brown continued the affectionate and devoted minister of the Society, struggling on through good report and evil report, and cheered at times by the evidently beneficial results of his labours. Numerous friends anxious to show a last mark of esteem to their loving and gentle minister and brother accompanied his mortal remains to the grave.

[blocks in formation]

“And now I come to Thee. And these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them Thy Word ; and the world hath hated them ; because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” – Ver. 13-16.

Each verse of this wonderful chapter has shewn us the Lord in His Divine Humanity-His manhood, praying for and sympathizing with His disciples, His Church, and mankind, yet with hopes and aspirations so deep, so wide, and so grand, as evidently to contain in them an infinite quality, and so being in their ground and origin divine.

From the words now before us, it might be concluded that personal separation is implied. “I come to Thee" seems to imply previous distance and severance.

Yet it was not so. In the foregoing chapter the Lord said, “I am not alone, because the Father is with me” (v. 32).

It is not place, but state, which determines man's distance from God, or nearness to Him. In Him we live, and move, and have our being. The seeking soul finds God on the mountains as Elijah did, or in the valley, in the palace or the cottage. In the most solitary desert, the heart open to divine influences thirsts for God “ as the hart panteth after the water-brooks,” and will find Him. Like Jacob, the true Christian will often have occasion to say, “ Surely the Lord is in this place, and I knew it not : this is none other but the house of

[ocr errors]

P

God, and this is the gate of heaven.” When we come into a near state of sympathy with God we have a sense of closeness to Him; when our tastes and aims are external we seem far

away. The humanity was approaching to identity of feeling with the Father, and said, “I come to Thee;" not as to place, but as to state. They would soon be altogether one.

There is another passage where distance seems even more strikingly expressed, and yet no distance of place could be meant, for Jesus and the Father were really one. The Father who was in Him did the works. He who sent Him was with Him. It is distance of state not yet fully overcome, which is meant. He said to Mary “Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father : but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God” (John xx. 17). He forbad her to be conjoined to Him until His full glorification was completed. There was yet some veil tempering His Divine Glory, until He had arranged all things in the world of spirits. Wonderful works were doubtless being done in the forty days between His resurrection and His ascension. As He covered Himself with flesh, that He might dwell with men of flesh and blood, and deliver, heal and bless them; so in His dealings with the spirits, to whom Peter tells us, He went after His death in the flesh, He retained, we conceive, a spiritual covering to accommodate Himself to them.

While He retained this, His external state was not that of full perfection. He had not yet ascended in this respect to the Father. Interiorly, He and the Father were one. As to person, he who saw Him saw the Father. But His external had not yet fully ascended to the perfect state of glory, which it would speedily attain. He was about to ascend. Soon His humanity would altogether be His divinity. The shades that clouded His Majesty would speedily disappear, and He would to the whole universe stand forth as the embodied Godhead, the Divine Man, whose countenance would be “ as the sun shineth in his strength,” and who could say, "Fear not, I am the First and the Last” (Rev. i. 17).

The Divine speaker proceeds to unfold to us the object of His teachings. How this has been misconceived by sincere, but mistaken and melancholy souls. How many read their Bibles to make themselvek and others miserable. Ascetic piety looks grimly on the beautiful world around us, and supposes its Maker will be pleased with them it they disdain the splendours of His divine workmanship. They persist

[ocr errors]

a

in making a gloomy mixture of piety and gall, and naming this religion. How different is the blessed teaching of the Saviour. “ These things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.”

What a beautiful expression! My joy. The joy of doing good. The joy of making others happy. The joy of aiding, encouraging, purifying. The joy of lone labouring, and triumphantly imparting peace.

All healthy, orderly pleasures are gifts from God, and it is not religion but rebellion which disdains and renounces these. Harsh souls need sunshine, softening, and sweetening. They are caricatures, not Christians. God in creation is a God of beauty, loveliness, order, and joy. See how gloriously the sun throws his beams over the world, the trees bloom, the flowers exhibit their myriad forms of loveliness. Hear the insects hum, and the birds sing. Creation clothes itself in music! The orderly tones of the human voice are full of charms. How sweet are the joys of home. The cooing caresses of babyhood, the kindly confidences of friendship, are among life's highest pleasures. The sweet intercourse, the loving cares of married partners to secure the happiness of home, are all joys imparted by the Adorable Parent of the universe, who rejoices in His works, and who desires that all His children should have “fulness of joy."

The Saviour said in another passage “ Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” Joy is full, when God is in it. Joy is full when we feel that it comes from God, that it reflects Him, and we bless Him for it. Every joy is full that is innocent, pure, wise, and healthy, and that is received with a grateful thankfulness to the Supreme Giver.

O what à grand world would this be if we all felt and acted upon the assurance that religion is intended to purify our lives, enlighten our minds, and make our pleasures more, not less. Life's roses might then be enjoyed without the thorns. The gall and the sorrow might be eliminated from our ways, and our lives would be a succession, a variety, and a fulness of joys. How majestic would religion then stand forth as the august patroness of human hearts and homes, the hallowing dispenser of purity, enjoyment, and peace.

This is clearly the Saviour's purpose. “These things I speak in the world

, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.” He proceeds, “I have given them Thy Word ; and the world hath

[ocr errors]

hated them.”

[ocr errors]

There are two kinds of worlds. There is God's orderly world and man's wicked world. God's world is magnificent and full of excellence, it only needs that a man cultivate himself and it to bring out unending satisfaction, abundance and beauty. Its difficulties even are incitements to higher perfections. But man's world, degraded by selfishness and vanity, is the outbirth of the mixture of noble and base, of wise and foolish things which compose the human character. These are displayed in all human productions. Man's world is what man himself is. It is the outbirth and counterpart of human nature. The Jewish was a mass of superstition and hypocrisy, with here and there a few honest and devout souls, despised and hated by the rest, but hoping, waiting and praying for better days.

To these, the Lord gave His Word, and His exhortation, " Fear not, little flock, it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."

The Word is the grand lesson of love to God, and love to man drawn out in all the varied ways of history, precept, prophecy, and gospel. The natural and the spiritual senses apply to both worlds. These apply their divine truths to man's regeneration and preparation for heaven. The Word condemns injustice, bitterness of temper, worldliness, and iniquity of every kind. In this respect it comes, not to send peace upon earth, but a sword. The Jews hated the Living Word that rebuked their sins; they hated the written Word. They hated all those whose virtues were a reproach to their insincerity and their wickedness.

How is it now? The Word is still the same. It has still the same holy requirements. “The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever; the judgments of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether.” The burden of divine revelation still is, and ever will be,“ What doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to do justly, love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God ?" But the vicious, the imperious, the self-seeking, frandulent, impure world hates those who demand from it justice, charity and virtue. The Word requires humility; self-will hates to be humble. The Word insists upon “ doing unto others as we would they should do unto us.” The world smiles at the credulity of those who imagine such a thing is possible, and hates those who strive to see it done. Yet the Word is immutable, and it is sharper than a two-edged sword. It cuts keenly into the conscience, and the world hates, repudiates, resists, and crucifies in return. The Word crucified to-day rises again tomorrow. The Word abideth for ever.

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »