« AnteriorContinuar »
I know to whom, and to what you would point the finger of that solemn scripture,' said Camden rather impatiently ; ' But should that hoary head which has planned the misery of so many be suffered to lie down peacefully in a bloodless grave ?'
"He has made mistakes : he has committed culpable errors, I admit,' said Mr. Parnell, “but the charge should be heavy indeed which could bring such disgrace, on the highest prelate of the church.'
Come with me,' replied Cuthbert, and I will show you how the men you blame can rectify the mistakes he has made.'
ON CHRISTIAN SIMPLICITY.
DEAR CHRISTIAN FRIENDS,-How is it that there exists amongst us so much of what can only be considered, in the most charitable view, as highly worldly? Surely we receive hourly evidence of the Scripture truth, that we are carnal, sold under sin. We adopt, or rather we break not off from, carnal-mindedness. We continue, even when we have good reason to hope God has begun a good work in our souls, to do as others do, to talk as they talk. Dear friends, should it be thus, with those who profess to cry unto God, “ Abba, Father ?” Should the children of his adoption continue to use voluntarily modes which are after the flesh, and to employ ways of intercourse, which are hardly sanctioned, even by the candid worldling? Are the subjects of divine renewal justified in attempting no alteration in the plan of communication, all prevalent in our now effeminate and luxurious state of society? We are too refined to hear the truth, to listen to a plain tongue; and in its place we make use of a medium of interchange for our thoughts, which appears to the writer to savour more of that language of Babel, which God saw fit to come down and confound, than aught other with which we are cognizant. Then again, truth seems conventionally banished; the thing which is said is never precisely what the speaker intends should be understood; and woe be to the poor, uninitiated, simple-hearted being, who takes the literal meaning, and sees none other beyond it.
I presume not here to make any allusion in reference to what it may be necessary for men to do ; our present business is with the female branch of the community. We ought, it may be, to apologize, for broaching so delicate a subject, for venturing thus to confront what is intrinsically supposed to baffle criticism of every kind. We own we do not do so without hesitation, but our spirit longs for some voice to cry out against the worldliness of God's family, and in the silence of a better, we cannot refrain from lifting ours. Let the unrenewed follow the god of insincerity, we have no reason to expect that they should not ;. but, from Christian ladies, is a continued straying from simple truth the “ fruit meet for repentance” which we are to look for? Object not, we beseech you, to this bold remonstrance for such we allow it to be-without a moment or two of real reflection. Ask yourselves what truth is? Is it to say one thing, and mean something wholly different ? And then inquire of your own hearts, how often it is, in the course of one day, that you mean simply what you say ?
We feel ourselves on very tender ground, and perhaps it were well to leave the matter here, trusting that our gracious Lord would himself, through the Spirit, vouchsafe to bring it more closely and acceptably home to the bosoms of his chosen people, than we can hope to do. But we are oftentimes ourselves bowed down and oppressed, and we will venture to add one cause of our being so. We have borne long, and believed it would be in vain to endeavour any impediment towards arresting what we felt could not be a right tone or strain of feeling to emanate from professing Christians. We can well explain ourselves, by giving a short statement of what the special trial has been of which we speak. On our mixing in society, we have had ultimate reason to conclude, that in no single sentence which we uttered, have we been understood to mean simply what by our words we conveyed, or in our hearts we felt. Again and again have we found it thus ; wearied by the worldliness immediately around us, we have longed to find a simplicity of purpose among those who profess the gospel as it is in Jesus ; but in no case have we been understood in the same literal sense in which we have spoken. On one occasion, while addressing a dear relative, of naturally upright turn of mind, though one hardly to be considered changed by the Spirit of God, we requested to be taken simply, and, in passing, made some little observation on the insincerity which abounded. “But we do not want sincerity,' was his reply. Be it so—the world does not wish for it. But this is no reason why it should be an ingredient discarded likewise by that society which is commanded no longer to be of the world ;-rather let it be the distinguishing characteristic of this divinely-favoured body.
We confess the awkwardness of our own position : we are so unfortunately literal, as always to speak our precise meaning, which we find is generally supposed to be a thing not possible. Are we in error? We have tried to think it must be so; we have felt our surpassing simplicity, have thought it childish, have heard it animadverted upon as having this tendency, have witnessed the amusement it afforded to many ; yet whenever we returned to our knees, and sought the direction of our Lord himself, our instruction has been to go forward, through evil report and good report, speaking the truth without guile, and aiming at nothing, either in word or deed, but his glory. In Him, our bright example, we ever find truth and sincerity; why should we not in his followers ?
The aim of this letter will be better gathered by the readers for themselves, than explained by the writer. The latter has sought to shew the difficulty met with by “ little children,” when they try to serve their Lord without guile ; and would endeavour to encourage such, in maintaining a conversation more in accordance with Christ's will, than is usual in more advanced Christians. Dear young friends, follow after holiness; “ be ye pure, even as Christ was pure ;” “ speak the truth in righteousness," and fear not the scorn of the irreligious, no, nor of the professedly religious; for we have cause to apprehend our sisters will be too ready to smile at simplicity. Then let them smile, while we care only for that honour which cometh from God. Simplicity is not stupidity, nor will it ever be mistaken for such, by those whose opinion should be valued. Genuine uprightness will be gladly hailed among us by our brethren in the Lord ; they are so accustomed to our being full of contrivance and double intention, that they never look for plain, honest truth. Let us, by the help and strength of God's Holy Spirit, teach them that grace accomplishes that for woman, which is perhaps not indigenous by nature. Let us give them evidence of that guileless candour, which will be an end of all strife in our heavenly home ; let us convince them, that if we are most fitted to be hearers, while they have especially the gift of efficient speech, what we do say is spoken with honesty and singleness of heart. And may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ abide in them and in us, more vitally, more abundantly, to the praise and glory of our God.
Requesting your forbearance with the above sentiments, I remain, dear Christian friends,
Your humble servant,
M. T. R.