« PreviousContinue »
say, 'May our God fulfil in us all the thropist, in the early stages of his good pleasure of his goodness, and noble enterprize. May it be permitted the work of faith with power ?' one who had close and intimate op(2 Thess. i. 11.) May we find our- portunities of studying his character, selves growing in grace, that we may both as it appeared in public, and as hereafter partake of a more abundant it clearly manifested itself in private measure of glory.
For life, to offer to his memory a brief assuredly the nature of God and of but sincere tribute of affectionate Christ is unchangeable, the same veneration. Upon his great powers yesterday, to-day, and for ever. And of eloquence, his undaunted moral when we consider what a prize is be- courage, his unceasing application, fore us, surely it might be expected his stedfast perseverance, all brought that our most vigorous efforts would to bear through long years of trial, be called forth; but, alas! here we are opposition, and discouragement, upon apt to be lukewarm and remiss-here the final object of his solicitude and where our everlasting interests are in hope— Negro Emancipation, it is question ! Quicken us, O Lord, by needless to expatiate, because these thy heavenly grace, and let us not are become facts of history. Equally sleep as do others, but resolutely needless is it to refer to the warm set ourselves to run, to fight, (to and ardent spirit of philanthropy in agonize, as the Greek expresses it) which he was ever ready to exert his so as not to run uncertainly. Above great talents in the cause of public all, let us not flatter ourselves that charity, whether directed to the temwe have attained, until this is esta- poral relief of his fellow-creatures, or blished by clear decisive evidence. to their spiritual improvement and
“My dear Sir, I am persuaded I instruction, for all this is scarcely need make no apologies for the free- less obvious. dom with which I have written to But to those qualities which are you. Adieu ! and, as you orientalists most revealed to the eye and observaphrase what can I say more? tion of friendship in domestic life, I “Ever sincerely yours,
may be permitted for a moment to “W. WILBERFORCE.” advert. He was one of the least re
served of human beings: his inmost It was often my wish to have made thoughts upon all subjects were rethe writer of this letter personally flected to the minds of those who enacquainted with Mr. Whalley. Í joyed his intimacy; and there are well knew, from intimate friendship none such existing but would declare with both, what pleasure they would that his great public virtues were have felt in each other's society ; but founded on a truly divine, because the opportunity never presented itself. truly Christian spirit of philanthropy. It may not, however, be out of place This spirit pervaded his whole chato add, that the first letter in this racter. It was in the school of collection was well known to Mr. Christ, and by obedience to his divine Wilberforce, and highly valued by precepts, that he had learnt to crucify him.
the selfish principles of our fallen Glory, and that of the highest and nature, and to tread, as far as is pospurest kind, must ever accompany sible to mortals, the path of disinterthe name and memory of Wilberforce, ested goodness. Amidst all his manias the great instrument in the hands fold and pressing engagements,” he of Providence for effecting the aboli- walked with God.” The devotions tion of the slave trade; an act which of the closet were his daily preparaprepared the way for putting down tives for the duties of public life; and slavery throughout the British do- therefore, whether on the floor or in minions, and it may confidently be the lobby of the House of Commons, hoped, is the precursor of the ex- or in his study at Kensington Gore, tinction of slavery itself. But the he was precisely the same.
His time, existing generation can hardly be fortune, and influence appeared to be aware what a storm of obloquy and almost exclusively devoted to public reproach pursued that great philan- objects; yet all the while the stream
of his private charities was flowing has already been adduced in this biothrough innumerable channels, un- graphical notice. Pursuing stedfastly seen and unknown by the world, but the path of Christian duty from year blessing those whom it visited. As a to year, Mr. Whalley's life for the companion, his wit and fancy, and sixteen years during which he occucheerfulness were inexhaustible, and pied Chelwood, was a life of active his thoughts, always lively, were ex- charity, self-denial, and devotion. pressed, as they rose at the moment, Ill health was his principal trial. A with a rare felicity of language. So pulmonary disorder, often alluded to salient was his mind, and so fruitful in his letters, became more oppressive of inward peace were the high prin- and frequent in its attacks, as he adciples upon which he acted, that at vanced in life, and not seldom made the age of seventy-three his spirits him an unwilling prisoner, when he were light-hearted like a boy's. As would gladly have been pursning his a friend, he was all affection and pastoral duties. Occasionally it sympathy; and as a Christian, his obliged him to spend the severer humility was as profound as his pur- months of winter on the mild coast pose was high and elevated. This is of South Devon, when Sidmouth was not mere panegyric—it is fact. his usual place of resort. Yet his
The proximity of Chelwood to life was a most happy one, for he Clifton and Bath, naturally enlarged lived, as far as is conceded to man in the sphere of Mr. Whalley's acquaint- the present imperfect state of things,
In proportion as he became in the spirit of that “ perfect love known, his advice and opinion were which casteth out fear.” A greater sought on points of conscience or of example of deadness to the world I Christian doctrine; and such was his never beheld. Satisfied to dwell in kindness that he hardly knew how to the seclusion of his humble parsondecline compliance with any
such age, he appeared to be intent on one application, coming to him from an sole object, that of approving himself attached or enquiring friend, although in the sight of God, and doing good the consequent labour of thought and to his fellow-creatures.
The conpen was often beyond his strength. tentions of party, the strifeof opposing
Nothing could exceed the affec- interests, the bustle and the hum of tionate kindness, the simple, yet cor- busy life, approached not his peacedial hospitality with which he enter- ful and retired dwelling. He had no tained, at Chelwood, the friends whom wishes for preferment; he had no be admitted, when his health allowed feelings of ambition; he sought not it, to his house and board. The house distinction notice.
Shunning was small, but neat; the appendages rather than seeking observation, he of his table were plain, but inviting; calmly pursued the noiseless tenor and a due attention was paid to the of his way; but whenever he did little minor comforts which befit the come in contact with the world, no residence of a gentleman. It always one knew better what befitted a appeared to myself, when I enjoyed Christian and a gentleman. So the privilege of spending a few days spiritual were his tastes, that I have with him, that had been admitted several times heard him
“I find to converse with a sort of human far more pleasure in sitting down angel. If there were some points of and conversing with the humblest theology, of secondary moment, which old person in my parish, provided weviewed through a different medium, that person be a real Christian, than these slight differences were perfectly I should in associating with the consistent with essential accordance brightest literati of the age, if devoid of opinion; and such as they were, of genuine piety." they gave frequentoccasion to friendly, When I sometimes spoke to him interesting discussion, and to my ex- of new publications, or of choice properience of the candour and kindness ductions of taste or genius, he would with which he met any thing like op- give me to understand that he was position of sentiment.
* homo unius libri;” that he had reLittle remains to be added to what nounced, from the moment of his
great change of opinion, secular to you have been long due, for the studies, excepting so far as they fruit you repeatedly sent me. But could assist him in the interpretation independently of this motive for of the Bible, and in the practice of writing to you, I wished to hear of its sacred truths. “I have lost so your health ; and yet my letter has much time," he would say, “in past been delayed till now. However, I days ; the earlier years of my youth trust you will, without further apoand manhood were so misspent, that logy, accept this present poor offerI have not the claim which others ing--a free-will offering, I assure you, possess to indulge in these elegant it is, though late—a real produce of pursuits. I feel it to be my duty to the affections of the heart; and, as do all the little I can to redeem lost God himself does not despise such time, and stedfastly to keep in view things, you will not; for I am perthe grand and ultimate objects of the suaded you belong to him, and parChristian vocation.”
take of his indulgent loving Spirit, Mr. Whalley was cordially attached ever ready to pardon, ever ready to to the fundamental institutions of his make allowances for the weakness of native country. He was deeply sen- the flesh, if the spirit be willing, and sible of the inestimable value of a free the mind upright. And this, indeed, government and a reformed church, is everything in his sight ; and where and of the debt of gratitude which sincerity is, there we may be sure he this nation owes to that wonderful himself is; for it is by his Spirit that Providence which guarded its own we obtain it; otherwise we go on shores from violation, while the hurri- deceiving ourselves and others, offercane of war and revolution was deso- ing to God empty, heartless services, lating every other part of Europe. and paying to men many fine comThough he meddled not with politics, pliments, that have no meaning. But, he was a sound Protestant, and jea- when we are brought to the knowlous of every opinion tending to un- ledge of his love to us in Christ, we derrate the importance of those differ- begin to have something of the mind ences which separate the Church of that was in Christ, and then our love England from that of Rome. The is without dissimulation. Such a love, doctrine of Papal supremacy he re- my dear friend, may we ever cultivate garded as a monstrous usurpation, while we remain here below, that we forced upon the western church by may carry it up with us to heaven, fraud, force, and ambition, in dark and there have it perfected. And and superstitious times; opposed to should it not be our great endeavour the facts of Scripture, to reason, and to advance in that science and art of to primitive precedent. He abhorred love, which we are to exercise for ever from his heart the false miracles and in another state ? What is our lying wonders with which that Church Christian profession but a training up cajoles the ignorant multitude, and and previous education for the enjoyrivets her chains upon their con- ment of the great privilege and patrisciences, and considered that she had mony of loving God and the children only escaped total corruption in con- of God, without any further hindrance sequence of the vital and essential or drawback? The heirs of great truths which are still comprehended wealth, here upon earth, are still in her creed.
looking, till they come of age, to The following letter, one of his last, their estates and titles; and should if not the last of any length, for it not we, who have such wealth in was written a few weeks only before heaven, be doing the same thing? his death, will beautifully illustrate And what is the wealth of heaven? the state of his mind, and the bright Why, still I say LOVE.
In this one hopes which cheered and sustained word is comprehended heaven itself. it on the very verge of his last illness. To love God perfectly by the influence To Mrs.
and power of his love in our souls,
uniting us all in one circle of love to “MY DEAR FRIEND,-Debts of him and to each other through Christ, gratitude should be paid, and mine will be our one delight and desire
a desire never disappointed, as here, for, indeed, my infirmities are such in some measure, our best desires that I am constrained to give up
To desire and to possess will visiting, even among my kindest then be the same thing. To look to friends. And now, my very dear God, and to be like him, will admit of friend, I bid you farewell. I recomno discrimination. Our very busi- mend you to God and his grace, ness in heaven will be love; and the which is able to build you up, and services there appointed for us, will give you an inheritance among them all be made up of that: no more dif- that are sanctified. When you lift fering from the principle, than the up your heart to God, remember me; stream from the spring; and as the
and believe me ever, spring will be eternal, the stream will “ Your affectionate servant, be eternal. Well, then, my dear
“ R. C. WHALLEY." friend, let us be attentive to this very thing now. If the good Spirit has Shortly after the date of this letter, indeed shed abroad the love of God the malady under which Mr. Whalley in our hearts, and the spring of this had for so many years laboured, asdivine principle has burst forth in sumed a more serious aspect, and he this way within us, then the stream was strongly impressed with the idea must flow of course, and all our duties that the term of his earthly existence must be done in love; and let the was fast approaching. Happily for stream be large and copious, be- his own comfort and for the feelings coming those who profess to derive of his family, he had previously it from God, who is love itself. It is reached his son's parsonage at Yeotrue that as to God himseif, he only vilton-a son closely united to him wants our affections ; yet he has com- in sentiment, heart, and affection ; manded FRUITS and PROOFS of them and from him and his daughter-infor the sake of his creatures and law, to whom he was greatly attached, people, and for our own sakes. It he received, in his closing hours, the must still be known whose we are, most affectionate and tender attenand whom we serve, by our services tions. The state of his mind was all to the brethren, and streams of bene- serenity and peace, and his hopes ficence, as well as benevolence, should were full of immortality. His conbe flowing out according to our versation was most edifying. He means, in honour of him who is the joyfully anticipated the putting off great Benefactor—the Giver of all his weak and worn-out body, and good.
entering through the gate of death “I am much as I have been, and into the presence of that Saviour, exactly where I have been, in my own whom his faith hailed as “the strength cottage. The summer has been ad- of his heart and his portion for ever.” verse to me, so that I have been very He rallied so much from this seizure, little out, even in my own parish. I about a fortnight before his death, have been hoping to be able to go that he began to talk of future plans, and see my children, who cannot, and even of returning home; but a with their family, come to me.
I relapse occurred, which proved too have thoughts of attempting it next much for his enfeebled strength to week, for a short time, should the
and on Sunday, Nov. 17, weather clear up at all. I seem to 1816, his happy spirit was released want some little change and exercise from the burden of the flesh, and he before the winter sets in, and there I entered into the joy of his Lord, aged can be quite at home and do as I like; sixty-eight.
To the Editor of the Christian Guardian.
DEAR SIR, - In the Christian Guardian for August last you inserted a deeply interest. ing article from the Record, by which it appears that the spiritual decay of the Church of Christ in this land is a distressing fact, admitted not only by many of the ministers of the Established Church, but likewise by some of the best and most thinking men amongst the different bodies of Dissenters. You seem fully to sympathize with the Editor of the Record in the above painful conviction, and invite the assistance of your readers in noticing a fact, so fraught with the most important consequences as respects the prosperity of our own beloved Church, of our country, and of the Church of Christ throughout the world. My own mind having been much exercised on this melancholy subject, I venture to enclose an article for insertion in the Christian Guardian, if it meets your approval, and, should you wish me to pursue the subject, I will continue to do so in the two or three succeeding numbers, if the Lord permit.
I remain your faithful servant, S. We have too much reason to fear or because they ask amiss.” How that, as regards our long-favoured diligently should we search the Scripnation, the hour of darkness is at tures in order that we may not only hand; and that as regards our Church, be engaged in the Lord's work, but there are fearful symptoms of spiritual that we may do it in the way which decay. There is an universal prin
The favour of the ciple maintained by the Most High, world is now often sought with in all his dealings with the children anxiety. The form of godliness is of men, both nationally and individu- unduly valued, and the false maxims ally : “Them that honour me, I will of the world have been engrafted honour, and they that despise me into many of our institutions. shall be lightly esteemed.”
There is much that is injuriously It is not my present object to trace exciting in the religious temperament the various steps which gradually led of the day. Much that tends to deto our national declension, but to ceive the professor, and to seduce the name some of the many painful indi- child of God from close fellowship cations of the fact, and
with his Saviour. He may be so en1st, The vast increase of those gaged in controversial discussions, so means which, in former times, have occupied with the mere externals of been attended with so much blessing, religion : with societies, committees, but are now so inadequately accom- and public meetings, that by almost panied with corresponding results. insensible degrees, he is led away Churches, chapels, schools, and reli- from real secret communion with gious societies abound; but where are God, till at length he finds himself, the fruits ? An undoubted blessing like Samson, shorn of his strength, is vouchsafed to the labours of par- and destitute of peace. It is to be ticular individuals, but it is impos- feared, that many of our popular sible to account for the scanty mea- preachers, and other Christians who sure of blessing which is vouchsafed are habitually engaged in public disto an unprecedented display of external cussion, are so harassed by the mulindications of activity, on any other tiplicity of their engagements, so disgrounds than this—that God does not turbed by the strife of tongues, and give the increase. This is a period of oppressed by the numerous secular much fleshly energy, but of little duties connected with their situation, spiritual power. But is there not a that the Word of God is hurried over, cause ? Yes, God is faithful-but private prayer is driven into a corner, man is unfaithful. God delights in and the life of the soul is well-nigh answering prayer, and he is now choked. blessing his people in every place There are some few of our public where his work is carried on in sim- Christian men who are very blessedexplicity and faith; but, in general, ceptions to the above remarks; whose men “ have not because they ask not, words are calm and weighty, and