« PreviousContinue »
On Friday, April 22, he was taken in a chaise to Mr. Mars shall's, of Kirk Ella, a distance of six miles. The journey appeared to revive his spirits, and he was not without hope that God would make this visit the means of his recovery, as he eat with better appetite than he had done for several weeks back. The house, garden, his lodging room, the family-all gave him entire satisfaction. He regretted that he had not gone sooner, and meant to stay longer than he at first intended, little thinking that his w days were numbered," and that in the space
of a few hours he would “Go hence to be no more seen" among men. On Saturday and Sunday, he was very cheerful, unconscious of his situation. He performed the religious duties of the family with apparent ease, and on Sunday evening retired to rest, after having eat his supper as usual, or rather, he took a little heartier meal. In the middle of the night he was heard to pray with great fervour ; but this circumstance was not noticed by the family as any thing remarkable. About five o'clock on Monday morning, an inflammation took place; his pains became excruciating, and no relief could be afforded by medicine. His agonies were so great that he seldom spoke, or was asked any questions by his friends. At ease in their minds respecting his spiritual state, they did not require from bim those testimonies of his Saviour's love, in the vale of death, which in general are anxiously expected by the friends of a dying man. About two o'clock, het clasped his hands together, in the attitude of prayer, but his li voice could not be heard-he then seemed to slumber away, and sunk into a state of insensibility, till about five o'clock that afternoon, when he breathed his last. No doubt his happy spirit escaped to that paradise of joy which is prepared for the saints of God. Although his pains had considerably abated for some hours previons to his death, yet he was so exhausted by suffering as to be incapable of holding any conversation : he was not even conscious of what passed in the room, nor did he take any notice of his mother, who bad come from Hull that morning to visit him. He died on the 25th of April, 1814, aged 26 years.
The man who writes the life of a junior preacher, is sensible of the scantiness of his materials; he has not to recount the various persecutions, trials, poverty, and hair-breadth escapes which render peculiarly interesting the memoirs of our fathers in the Gospel. The churches now have rest, and Christian biggraphers have little of what is usually stiled the marvellous 10 record. Who will not say, Long may the storms of persecution be diverted from the church, although the memorialist may complain for lack of incident, and the pages of your excellent Magaaine be furnished with less interesting matter.
A SERMON ON THE NATIVITY. PREACHED BY ANTHONY FARRINGDON, IN LONDON, ABOUT THE
(Concluded from page 14.) The apostle telleth us that it behoved him to be made like unto bis brethren. And to the apprehension of this union, we are led by weak and faint representations drawn from sensible things, and by negations. He was made like unto us; it is true: but not so as flesh and blood may imagine, or a wanton, busy wit conceive. Not by any mutation of his Divine essence, but without any danger of the least alteration of his state. His glory did not take from him the form of a seryant, nor did this assimilation lessen or alter him in that by which he was equal to the Father: the mystery of godliness brought po detriment to the Deity. He was made “ Not by converting the Godhead into flesh,” as Cerinthus sajd, nor The flesh into the Godhead,” as Valentinus; but as Saint Augustine saith, by an admirable and ineffable union, God united with our nature; but not so as a drop of water cast into a vessel of wine, and turned into that substance in which it is lost; but as the soul and body, though two distinct natures, grow into one man, so did the Godhead assume the manhood without confusion of the natures, or distinction of the persons. They are united as the sun and light. As a graft to a plant, say others. All this must be tasted, and seasoned with a sober application; for in all these there is some resemblance, but great disproportion. This is a great mystery, and mysteries cannot be sounded to their depth. It is well we can float upon the surface of those waters, and with a trembling hand and fearful stroke, strive forward by degrees, till we come to the haven where we would be. The fathers agree that it is not impossible, but inexplicable. It is out of the compass of human reason, far beyond the reach of the largest understanding, removed so far from any mortal eye, that we see it, but at a great distance. The angels themselves, with admiration and holy desire, stoop and bow down, to look into this mystery, All the representations which either the wit, or ingenuity of man can find out, cannot express it; they leave us still to gaze and wonder, whilst the manner of it is hid from our eyes, and removed farther off, more out of our sight than when we first looked after it. It fareth with us in the pursuit of profound mysteries, as with those who labour in rich mines; when we dig too deep, we meet with poisonous fogs and destructive damps instead of treasure; when we labour above, we find legs metal, but more safety. Humility and purity of soul are the that heavenly anthem, which the types prefigured, and the prophets descanted upon, and the angels chaunted in full choir, that music which hath filled heaven and earth with its melodious sound. It behoved his power to restore us, his wisdom to reform us, his mercy to relieve us: it ought, it was convenient so to be. Lastly, this reacheth the assimilation itself, and layeth hold on that too. He was made like unto us, and he ought to be so, to satisfy in the same nature which had offended; to take flesh for my flesh, and a soul for my soul; to purge and refine me in my own; to wash and cleanse the corruption of my flesh in the immense ocean of his divinity; and “ In all things to be made like unto his brethren." This necessity looks on all, on his Godhead, on his person, on his assimilation. God, not man nor angel; the second person in the Trinity, not the Father, not the Holy Spirit. This silenceth every storm, answereth every doubt, scattereth our fears, removeth our jealousies, and buildeth us up on our most holy faith ; to exalt our nature; and, in our shape and likeness, in our flesh, and pay down the price of our redemption.
That God should be made like unto mortal man is a strange contemplation ; that he would is a rise and exaltation of that ; that he ought super-exalteth, and sets it at a higher pitch; but that he must be so, that necessity should bring him down, were not his love infinite as well as his power, would stagger and amaze the strongest faith ; who would believe such a report? But he speaketh it himself; and that it was the fire of his love that kindled in him, and then he spake it with his tongue. Nothing more free and voluntary, more spontaneous, than his assimilation; for at the appointed time he cried, “ Lo, I come; in the volume of the book it is written of me, that I should do thy will, O God.” He must be made perfect by sufferings; he was not consummate before, not what he should be; now he is. 'Tis true, this condescension of his, this assimilation, was free and voluntary, with more cheerfulness and earnestness undertaken by him than received by us now. But if we look back upon the first contract which passed between the Father and him, we shall see there was a necessity laid upon him. Our Saviour speaketh it to his mother, “I must go about my Father's business.” Before the foundation of the world was this foundation laid, an everlasting foundation, to lay gold and silver upon, all the precious promises of the gospel; to lay our obedience and conformity to him upon; and both upon his love and our obedience to raise ourselves up to that eternity which he hath purchased for, and promised to, all his brethren, who by grace are made like unto him. Infinite, eternal love! That which the eye of flesh may count a dishonour, was his glory, his perfection. His love put this necessity upon him, and brought him after this manner under the strict and pereniptory obligation, under a necessity of being born,
of obeying the requisitions of the whole law, of dying for us to redeem us to God: his obligation taketh in all, and presenteth them all to his Father on our account: this should raise our admiration, our love, our joy, our obedience, our gratitude. Every way, and in all things, it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren.
We have run through the whole compass of our text, and find our Saviour in every point of it like unto us in all things. And now to apply it: if Christ be like unto us, then we also ought to be like unto him, and to have our assimilation, our nativity by analogy and rule of proportion answerable unto his. He was made like unto us that he might save us; yea, that he might present us to his Father, by virtue of his assimulation; and that we might be made like unto him ; for without this he cannot save us. He cannot say, Behold here I am, and the children thou has given me, holy as I am holy; just, as I am just; humble, as I am humble. A man conformable to Christ, is the glory of this festival. Heaven hath received him, and it will receive none but those who are like unto him. Not those who name him only, or who set his name to their fraud, their malice, their perjury, their oppression; not those many antichrists whose whole life is opposition and contradiction to him. All that he requireth at our hands, all our gratitude, all our duty, when drawn close together, all consisteth in this, to be like unto him. And who would not be like unto him ? who would not be drawn after his similitude? Like him we would all be in his glory, in his transfiguration upon Mount Tabor; (), by all means build us a tabernacle here! But to be like him in the manger, in his temptations in the wilderness, in his daily converse with wicked and gainsaying men, in the garden of Gethsemane, in the high priests' ball, and on the cross; to be crucified with Christ, we like not; here we start back, and are afraid of his countenance. In his humility, his hunger, his bloody sweat, we like not to follow him, to pass through the waters of affliction, bathed in tears, bathed in our own blood : we tremble to proceed, and feel that if our spirit be willing, our flesh is weak. “ If we walk honestly, as in the day,” in that day which God has made, we have our agony in our contrition; and in our regeneration we hang upon the cross: there our lusts and affections are fastened as with nails, and their strength is taken from them, that they cannot move in opposition to Christ; but our anger turneth from our brother, who is like him, and is levelled at sin, which is most unlike him; our love shutteth up itself to the world, and openeth the heart to receive him. The hardships we undergo for religion, increase our fellowship with him. Our suffering with him assimilates us with him, and in a manner deifies us. Our following him in all his Vol. XL. FEBRUARY, 1817.
* M *
ways, draweth us as near to him as flesh and blood can approach. And our joy, our greatest triumph, is in this our assimilation to him. Thus we come forth like unto him,
He was made like unto us; are we made like unto him? We are not born so, nor do we become such by chance: we cannot think ourselves, nor talk ourselves, into his likeness. He will not imprint it on us whilst we sleep in our negligence, or do worse. This picture, this resemblance, is not drawn out with a thought or a word. How many there be who bear Christ's name, yet are not like him, because they will not be made so! Christians they are called, without blood or sweat; not drawn out by an obedient will, but by the flattering of their own fancy. They struggle not against temptation, for they love it; they fight not against the lusts of the flesh, but nourish and cherish it: they have no fear, no trembling, no agony, no cross. Nay, they beat and persecute their fellows, because they are like Christ. They crucify him in his members every day, and yet present themselves to the world as Christ's children, as the very pictures of the Saviour. These are so self-sufficieni, that it is very hazardous whether they will ever be made like unto Christ. When we see men fast and pray, not that they have done evil, but like the Pharisees that they may do more evil: when we see men bow down before Christ, and lift up their heel against him; cry out Hosannah, to-day, and crucify him, to-morrow, as the Jews did ; when we see men follow Christ in profession as his disciples, and then sell him for some pieces of silver, and gratify their carna desires, their coveteousness, as Judas did; when we see them was their hands as guiltless of his blood, and leave religion to be tori in pieces by the multitude, not caring what becomes of Chris tianity, so that they may but escape, as Pilate did; when we see men tempting Christ to turn stones into bread, or to do that by miracles, which he hath provided ordinary and proper means for as the devil did.- When we see the conduct of these men, (an« the world is full of such,) shall we say they are like Christ? The the Pharisees, the Jews, Judas, Pilate, and the devil, were lik Christ. No: a Christian is not so formed, he doth not grow uj into a perfect man in Christ Jesus in a moment; for although ou conversion be in an instant, yet the preparation is wrought in u by means; there is a making of us anew, whensoever we are mad Christians. Christ's usual way is, to cause us to grow up int his similitude by degrees. Our faith ofien meets with rubs anı difficulties to pass over; and when by prayer, meditation, an continued exercise of piety, we have got the victory, we buil and establish ourselves upon our most holy faith. Our hope, wha is it but a conclusion gathered by painful experience, watchfu observation, and powerful exercise of all the powers of our mind and actions of our life? And as for our love, it is called th