« PreviousContinue »
work of the Lord deceitfully, every morsel of bread which he
It is unnecessary to inform the reader, that Mr. L. had not a classical education, neither was it necessary to procure his admission among the Methodist Preachers.
It is well known that the Methodists have no colleges for the instructions of their young ministers, and that a knowledge of the dead languages is not made an indispensable qualification for the work of the ministry. We can do either with human learning or without it. It neither renders a man more or less eligible Piety, character, ministerial abilities, usefulness, and zeal, are chiefly regarded. So respectable are the British classics, and so numerous are our Bible commentaries, that it is not absolutely necessary to understand Latin or Greek, in order rightly to divide the word of truth, or preach with acceptance to an English audience. Mr. L. was not therefore sent to an academy previous to his taking a circuit :-no, the schools in which he obtained his education for the ministry, and in which he acquired sufficient knowledge and experience to preach the word, and feed the flock of Christ, were our class-meetings, prayer-meetings, and bandmeetings; as also our public preachings, where he alternately sat as a hearer, or stood as a speaker. Such an education as this has bcen proved to be quite sufficient, several of our most useful and eminent preachers have had no other. Let not the casual reader of this paragraph hastily conclude that it is a very easy matter to obtain admission into the Methodist ministry, or that little honour is reflected upon that man who is able to pass his examination satisfactorily. Probably it will be found, upon inquiry, that the Methodists are very scrupulous in this matter, and would reject those whom almost any other denomination of Christians would receive.
Ye fathers of the Methodist society, respectable for your age, talents, piety, and useful Jabours, how many of our young men think it an honour to be admitted into your brotherhood-to assemble with you at your district meetings and conferences, and to learn of you, whose lahours have so materially contributed to found and erect a new Christian Church! To be a fellowlabourer with you, to become a member of your Conference, was, I am sure, the highest pitch to which my departed friend raised his ambitious thoughts. What must be the grateful feelings of our aged preachers, when they contemplate so many rising up to their assistance, accounting it an honour to water and dress the vineyard which they have planted.
Must they not rejoice in the prospect that the same doctrine will continue to be preached among the Methodists which they taught, the same Christian experience to be enjoyed, and the same wholesome disciplinc enforced. The candle which they lighted will not be placed under a bushel, nor yet extinguished. The city which they set upon a hill, will not be destroyed, but daily increase in strength, beauty, and population. The handful of corn which they scattered upon the top of the mountain, shall multiply and replenish the earth!
The first circuit to which Mr. Livingstone was appointed, was Bridlington ; here his public labours commenced in August, 1809, and were continued until the Conference following, when he was removed to the York circuit. After passing through his first year very much to the satisfaction of the York friends, he was at their request re-appointed by the Conference, to spend another Methodist year in that respectable circuit.
Esteemed by his colleagues in the ministry, and very popular as a preacher, these two years may be reckoned the happiest in his life. Yet his health began to decline; the roses on his cheeks were blanched, and he exhibited all the appearances of one whose constitution was debilitated by study and confinement. Indeed there is reason to fear that this was actually the case.
(To be concluded in the next.)
We are sorry that the following very excellent Sermon, transmitted to us by a friend, did not come to hand in time to be inserted in our Number for December, the proper season for a Sermon on Christ's Nativity to appear. But we are unwilling to keep back from our readers the edification which, we doubt not, they will derive from the perusal of it, till another Christmas. We therefore give it them now, when that season has but just elapsed.
PREACHED BY ANTHONY FARRINGDON, IN LONDON, ABOUT THE
YEAR 1654. Heb. xi. 17—Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made
like unto his brethren. The high feast of our Saviour is called by Chrysostom the great Metropolitan feast. For, as to the chief city, the whole country resorts ; so all the feast days of the whole year, all the passages and periods of the blessed oeconomy of that great work of our redemption, meet and are concentred in the joy of this feast. Only take away this from us, a Child is born unto us, the Son of God is made like unto us, and you will ruin the whole plan of our redemption. We were miserable, naked sinners, enemies to God, at such a distance from him, that David in his 49th Psalm says, “ Man that is in honour and understandeth not, is like the bcasts that perish;" but now by Christ's assimilation to us, we are made like unto God; we are exalted by his humiliation, raised by his descent, magnified by bis minoration, lifted up on high to a sacred emulation of the angelical state. And we will celebrate this festival with songs of triumph; for it rejoices our hearts, that we are now constituted the brethren of Christ, he being made like unto man, that men may be made like unto him; so like as to be his brethren. His obedience lifted him up to the cross; and ours must lift us after him, and be carried on by his exaltation to the end of the world. If in all things it behoved Christ to be like unto his brethren, which is the benefit conferred on us, heaven and earth will conclude, men and angels will infer, that it behoves us to be made like unto Christ. My text is equally divided between these two terms, Christ and his brethren. That which our devotion must contemplate in Christ is,
1. His divine nature.
II. His human nature; for we find him herc flesh of our flesh, and bone of our bone, inade like unto us in all things.
III. The union of both, expressed in his assimilation to us; and the assumption of our nature. All these things fill us with admiration; but the 4th and last raiseth it yet higher, (and should excite our love to follow him in his obedience,)
and that is, IV. It beloved him : So that the dispensation of so wonderful and catholic a benefit must be thus translated, as a matter of duty. The end of all, of our creation, of our redemption, of his assimilation to us is our salvation; and all this terminates in the glory of God.
In the first place, in an holy ecstacy we cry out with the prophet, Who is this that cometh? Who is he that is to be made like unto us? To lead captivity captive; to bring prisoners to glory; to destroy death; to shui up the gates and mouth of hell? These are great and wonderful things; not within the sphere of common activity. We see here, verse 10, that many sons were to be brought to glory; but sin stood in the way to intercept us, the fear of death to enthral us, and Satan ready to devour us. And what were we? Corruption was our mother, and worms our brethren ; when laid in the balance, we were lighter than vanity: men fallen below the condition of men; lame and impotent, not able to move one step in these ways of glory, living dead men. Who will now stand up for us? Who will be our captain? We may well demand, Who is be? Some angel sent from heaven, or some great prophet? No; angels, glorious creatures indeed they are, celestial spirits, ministering spirits; in all purity serving God, the God of purity: ready at his beck, with wings indeed, but not with healing under them; they are secondary lights, but too weak to enlighten so great a darkness. They are angels that do his will ; yet they are but finite agents, and so not able to repair an infinite loss. They, in their own nature, are mutable, and so not fit to settle thein who are more mutable, more subject to change than themselves ; not able to change our vile bodies, nuch less to change our souls, which are as immortal as they ; yet lodged in tabernacles of flesh, which will fall of themselves, and cannot be raised again but by his power whom angels worship. In prison we are, and miserable captives; so deplorably lost, that the whole hierarchy of angels could not help us. Not an angel, not Moses, not a prophet, but the great Prophet who was to come; the Angel of the Covenant, even God himself. The Scriptures teach us there is but one God; and yet there are three persons spoken of under the titles Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We must then find out which of those persons is he. Not the Father, for when he bringeth his first begotten into the world, he saith, Let all the angels of God worship him.
Not the Holy Ghost, for we hear him as an herald, calling to us, To-day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. He, as Christ's vicar upon earth, supplieth his place, and comforteth his children. It must then be the Son of God, the middle person, the office will best suit him, to be the Mediator between God and man. Christ, then, the captain of our salvation, is the Son of God. But God hath many sons, some by creation, as angels, Job xxxviii. 7, and Adam, Luke iii. 38: some by title, as magistrates, Psalm 1xxxii. 6: some by adoption and regeneration, as all true believers and holy persons. But Christ is the Son of God in a very different sense, even his only begotten Son, having a singular and incommunicable sonship: “Begotten, not made; being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made;" the brightness of his Father's glory, the express image, not of some, or any of his qualities, but
Vol. XL. JANUARY, 1817.
of his person ; the true stamp of his substance, begotten as brightness from light, the character from the type, the word from the mind, which emblems do not yet fully declare him. For who, what, shall declare his generation? The manner is only known to the Father who begat, and to the Son who is begotten. If thy busy curiosity lead thee further, there is a cloud cast, a vail drawn. The Son of God himself says, I proceeded forth and came from God: I came forth from the Father; and am come into the world. My Father loved me, and I had glory with him, before the
foundation of the world. I and my Father are one.
And who is more fit to teach than he who came from the bosom of the Father? Who more fit to give laws than God himself? What tongue of men or angels can so well express his will, as the Word who was made flesh, and dwelt amongst us. Or what expedient could Wisdom have found out so apt and powerful to draw our love out of those labyrinths and mazes wherein it wandered, to take it from those painted and false glories, and bring it back, and fix it on that which is eternal as this, to bow the heavens and come down, in our flesh, as man, to instruct men; to gain them in their own likeness; to tell them he was not that only which they saw, but of the same essence with his Father, which they could not see! So that here are majesty and humility joined and united in one, to draw us out of darkness into that great light which shall discover and lay open to us the deformity and deceitfulness of these flattering objects in which our thoughts, desires, and endeavours, meet as in their centre. And if this infinite and inconceivable love of God in manifesting himself in our flesh, do not draw and oblige us; if these bonds of love will not hold and fetter us to a regular obedience, which must begin and perfect our peace, then we are past the reach of any argument which men or angels can bring, and no chains will hold us but those of everlasting darkness. And indeed his eternal generation by itself would but little avail us; for majesty is no medicine for our malady. We, who are children of time, have need of a captain who must be born in time. We were filled with a bold and foolish ambition, to be gods: and this disease became epidemical; we all would be independent, our own lawgivers, our own god. Pride threw us down; and nothing but humility, the death of the Son of God, could raise us; by the union of the Godhead with our nature, there was a near conjunction of heaven and earth. A sign from heaven is a great grace; but we would have a sign from earth too: and here we have it; he was made like unto his brethren. God amongst men, God on earth, is a sign indeed.
In the next place, as Christ is God of his Father, so he is man of his mother; the Son of God, and the Son of Mary. Will you have a sign ? here it is; a sign to be adored and wondered