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own case, the light shining on his path above the brightness of the midday sun. In such circumstances, how variously also does the Spirit act upon a sinner's heart! His work is not uniform. In the case of Lydia, we have an instance how God prepares the heart by slow degrees for the reception of the Gospel of his Son. Right reason had led her to see the absurdity of idolatry, though it was the national worship; and reflection had taught her the necessity of right principles in religion. Hence she professed herself a Jewish proselyte: we follow her in the stated attendance on Sabbath worship. It pleased God, by a special act of his providence, to send an apostle to preach Christ unto her; "and the Lord opened her heart, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul." We have similar instances in Cornelius and the Æthiopian eunuch, both as to the gradual process of conversion and special interference of Providence. We have an instance of a different kind in the same Church of Philippi, that of the jailer, whose only preparation for conversion was terror. He had lived without God; and despairing on the outbreak of sudden danger, he was about to resort to the infidel's refuge from present fears in self-destruction. One moment later, and his soul had been lost for ever. Very justly, therefore, has it been remarked, "that in one case God terrifies the conscience, in another he sweetly and gently acts upon the affections of the heart; in one his work is slow and gradual, in another sudden; in one case the recipient of his grace is a person so evidently disposed in his heart as to warrant our hope of the Lord's favourable regard towards him, in another he is a criminal of a high order of guilt, palpably devoid of all previous preparation of heart, and such as to be rescued only by a miracle from the very verge of destruction." It is to this latter class the conversion of St. Paul belongs. It is to be observed, in all these cases, whether God has been acting ordinarily or extraordinarily in his providence, the instrumentality of the word of God has uniformly been employed. The Holy Spirit never acts without the word of God and the divine ordinances. The word of God is the instrument of conversion. "Being born again, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." St. Paul's case is not an exception. "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" was the word out of Christ's mouth which pierced his soul, and laid him in the dust; and when he would know what the Lord would have him do, the answer was, "Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou

• Vide sermons by the Rev. E. B. Elliott, page 327; to whom the preacher acknowledges his obligations for several of the foregoing observations in this division of the sermon.

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must do." "Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name," reveals to us the excellence of the divine word; and as we would escape the delusion of the enthusiast, as well as the ignorance of him who is not wise in that which is written, as we would expect the blessing of God, our duty is to search the Scriptures. And yet it is not to the word of God's grace, but to grace itself, that we must refer the change of the apostle's character. It has been said very justly, "the Gospel is a mighty instrument, but it is only mighty when God uses it." "The Lord opened the heart of Lydia." "He gave testimony to the word of his grace." "All these worketh the self-same Spirit." St. Paul in another place informs us, that God" revealed his Son in him." This is the special grace of the Holy Spirit, "God hath revealed them to us by his Spirit; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea the deep things of God" (1 Cor. ii. 10). The fact that "Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners," was taught St. Paul at once by the Spirit of grace. It was not the light, it was not the word of Christ-although it was not without it--but it was the Spirit of God who revealed Christ to the apostle's soul. Hence he discerned spiritual things. He not only knew of them rationally, but he loved them spiritually. The scheme of redemption, in all its ineffable wisdom, and justice, and love, was discerned in the light of divine illumination. The divine and human nature of the Saviour, his atonement, mediation, and headship, in all their relations, were verities which he believed in his very heart; they were the principles of his new character. The effect of this revelation of Christ in him was marked and decisive. "When it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, to preach him among the heathen, immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood." He preached the faith which once he destroyed; and nothing could make him swerve from the path of duty.

What, then, is our duty? For ourselves, in dependence on the promises, not trusting in any outward means (for means of grace are not grace itself), to seek that abundant grace of the Holy Spirit, whereby faith in Christ Jesus may grow in us exceedingly, and our love towards the Lord and towards each other may abound; that we may be clothed with humility, and, among other evidences of it, acknowledge every good thing in us to be of grace, according to the apostle's own declaration, "By the grace of God I am what I am. For others, that God would give to his whole Church "the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ," and make all men know by the Church the manifold wis

| be produced, a more marked specimen of it could hardly have been shewn. What nobler example could have been given, both "to shew the mercy of God in pardoning sin through Jesus Christ, and to encourage sinners to repent and believe?"* For a sovereign to make a condemned rebel the object of his pity, and not only to pardon him, but to give him a high commission in his own army, would be a very inadequate description of the grace which was bestowed so abundantly upon the apostle.

dom of God. It is a delightful thought, that St. Paul's conversion may have been in answer to St. Stephen's dying prayer for his persecutors. Were this holy exercise of intercession better understood by all Christians, as our Church in her liturgy understands the privilege, might we not expect more marked results in the world than we now witness? "Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost part of the earth for thy possession." "Ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence, and give him no rest, till he establish and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth" (Is. lxii. 6, 7).

III. I proceed to consider briefly the last point proposed for our consideration, The design of God in effecting the conversion of the apostle. It becomes a question of the utmost moment, how far we may apply the conversion of St. Paul to present edification and comfort? Are we to regard it as a monument of antiquity, which illustrates the skill of the architect, and astonishes us by its grandeur, without a hope of witnessing similar achievements in our own days? Is there nothing left to us but to admire and to despond? does it not display the divine character? is there not something in it to comfort the Church in reference to infidelity and persecution without, and in regard to the penitence within her bosom? "Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first (i. e: the chief of sinners) Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting." God might have effected the conversion of the apostle without remark or inference on record, as in the case of the thief upon the cross, and therefore with some uncertainty how far the conversion of St. Paul was to be regarded as a precedent in the divine economy; so that in looking upon such a conversion, we could hardly have done more than ask with plaintive wonder, "Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?" There was design in bestowing superabundant grace upon Saul the persecutor; a design of the most gracious character in regard to every period of the Church's history. The design might have been simply (and doubtless it was in the Divine counsel) to enlighten the world by the doctrine which Paul was commissioned to teach: and we thank God in the collect, "that by the preaching of the apostle St. Paul, God has caused the light of the Gospel to shine throughout the world." But in this respect other instrumentality had sufficed. A rule was to be established for the Divine procedure, founded on the conversion of St. Paul himself; and certainly if an impression of the longsuffering of Christ was to

There is mercy, therefore, to the very chiefest of sinners; and as it is the longsuffering mercy of Jesus Christ, it is holy mercy. In Christ mercy is as just as is the exercise of divine goodness towards unfallen angels. Cannot, then, the Lord Jesus soften the heart of the fiercest persecutor? cannot he convert and forgive the greatest offender? why should we not expect similar conversions? The spiritual application of the word of God, the revelation of Jesus Christ in the heart, is the ordinary grace of the Holy Spirit. Why may not the Church expect the same manifestation of divine compassion and almighty grace now as she experienced at Damascus ? Let the Church use the same spiritual weapons (and they are mighty through God), and the arm of the persecutor shall not wither up, but shall be stretched forth in the defence of the ark which he had ignorantly purposed to overthrow.

And how comforting to the penitent believer is this history of the Saviour's compassion! It is hard indeed to convince the impenitent of his need of pardon; not less hard is it to assure the penitent of the depth of the Divine compassion, and the freeness of the grace of Christ. They who know the woundings of a broken heart, know that no human skill can reach their case. "Has God forgotten to be gracious? My iniquity is great," is their penitent confession. "Take thy burden, too heavy for thee to bear, to the cross of thy Saviour," would the apostle exhort; believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved; for I obtained mercy to shew forth the longsuffering of Jesus Christ. The greatness of thy offence shall be no bar to mercy; yea, ratker in urging thy suit, let this be thy plea, Be merciful to my iniquity, for it is great."

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Surely, then, we may thank God for this instance of his unbounded mercy, and "glorify God in the apostle ;" and with equal gratitude ascribe unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, all honour and glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

• Holden, quoted by Bloomfield.

LITURGICAL HINTS.-No. XIX, "Understandest thou what thou readest?"-Acts, viii. 30. FIRST SUNDAY AFTER EASTER."

OF the COLLECT for this Sunday no original has been found. It is one of that class which were "composed anew, and substituted in the place of those which, containing either false or superstitious doctrines, were, on this account, rejected." It was composed in 1549; and was then used for "Tuesday in Easter week:" in 1662 it was fixed for this Sunday. "This Sunday was anciently called Low Sunday, because the Easter solemnities were continued to this day; constituting a feast of lower degree than the feast of Easter. Its appointed collect is particularly appropriate."*

The Christian, rejoicing in the Redeemer's triumph,

addresses his collect for the first time to God as "Almighty Father." The circumstances of the season remind him of his privilege, and he approaches the throne of grace, as a child restored to his father's love. It was to effect this reconciliation that divine love was so transcendently displayed; the Father sparing not his Son Jesus Christ, but giving him as a sacrifice for a lost world; and the Son, dying for our sins, and rising again for our justification. That he died for our sin, we know to our joy. If we have sinned, and thereby experience heaviness of soul, with deep contrition for our offences, we are not to sorrow as men without hope: "Christ hath died, and become the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." Our joy, however, were incomplete had the Saviour remained in his grave. Having died for our sins, he rose again for our justification. By rising from the dead, he shewed that in all things having been obedient, even to the law of death, he had effected completely conditional salvation for man. He therefore justly claimed the promised recompense of reward— claimed for mankind, through himself and for his own sake, not only pardon, but peace; not only freedom from everlasting punishment, but a just and wellfounded title to an inheritance in heaven. Have we

this hope? "What manner of persons ought we to be, in all holy conversation!" how earnestly should we pray to God to "grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness, that we may always serve him in pureness of living and truth!" Leaven changes the character of any thing to which it is applied. The word is used sometimes in a good sense, as when our Lord says, "the kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven" sometimes in a bad sense; "take heed and beware of the leaven of the Scribes and Pharisees." In the collect it is used in a bad sense: we therefore pray for grace "to put it away." As leaven agitates the meal, so malice agitates the heart, and works in it all manner of evil. The leaven of malice stirs up envy, wrath, and uncharitableness; causing us to offend against our neighbour. The leaven of wickedness, puffing us up with pride and all unseemliness, encouraging lofty imaginations, and delivering us over to the service of the devil, sets us in array against God. All this leaven must be put away, if we would serve the Lord in pureness of living and truth." We cannot serve God and Mammon at the same time. The Gospel cannot blend with worldliness. "No man putteth a piece of new cloth into an old garment." The heart must be new.

In the EPISTLE (1 John, v, 4-12) are set before us some of the privileges of believers in Christ. First, their victory. He that is born of God makes a spiritual conquest over this world; he is furnished with a weapon by which he can repel and conquer the world; and this weapon is faith. It produces this effect by withdrawing us from the love of the world, and by

* James on the Collects.

pointing us to that invisible world, with which the present is not worthy to be compared. Who is he that achieves this victory, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God, and believes therein that Jesus came to be the Saviour of the world, and to lead us from it to heaven and to God, who is fully to be enjoyed there? But this faith needs to be confirmed with unquestionable evidence concerning the authority and office of the Lord Jesus. We are assured, therefore, that he came with the credentials of an effectual Saviour, which are "water and blood." At our Saviour's death, his side being pierced by the soldier's spear, there immediately issued from the wound both water and blood: the first a significant emblem of the washing of the Holy Ghost; the second describing the inward cleansing of our sinful nature, by the spiritual purification of sin's guilt by atoning blood. To this commissioned Saviour "the Spirit beareth witness," supporting his Gospel and his servants; and his witness we may believe, for he cannot lie, being "truth" itself. That the Spirit is truth we know, because he is in heaven, and because there are others also, who cannot but be true, concurring in testimony with him; for "there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one." Here is a trinity of heavenly witnesses, testifying to the world the authority of the Lord Jesus in his office and claims. Joined with these is a trinity of witnesses upon earth-the Spirit, and the water, and the blood; and these three agree in the same testimony to the Son with those that bear record from heaven. Now, as we receive the witness of men in all judicatories and all nations, we cannot refuse to receive the higher and more unquestionable testimony which God hath given to his Son. "He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself." He has not only the outward evidence which others have, but he has in his own heart a testimony for Jesus Christ. "He that believeth not God hath made him a liar." He must either believe that God did not send his Son, after giving such manifold evidence that he did, or that the religion which God hath sent, under the sanction of his Son's name, is a delusion and a lie. The sum of God's record is this: that he has

given us, in his Son, a right and title to eternal life; the spring of which life is in his Son. He that is united to the Son is united to life; he that is not united to the Son continues under the condemnation of the law.

The GOSPEL (John, xx. 19-23) exhibits an additional proof of Christ's resurrection, his appearance to the disciples on the evening of the day of his resurrection. This was the first day after the Jewish sabbath; on the evening of which day ten of the disciples, and some more of their friends with them (Luke, xxiv. 13), were assembled privately, with shut doors, for fear of the Jews, who would prosecute the disciples as criminals, for keeping up the obnoxious belief of Christ's resurrection. Into their assembly, though the doors were shut, Christ entered, with his body already begun to be glorified. His sudden and miraculous appearance creating some alarm amongst them, he quiets them by saying, "Peace be unto you;" shewing them (to remove all doubt of his identity) the marks of the wounds solemnly repeats the salutation he had just before utin his hands and side. They believe and rejoice. Jesus tered, and pronounces the commission upon which they were to go forth to spread his Gospel over the whole earth: "As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you." He then "breathed on them;" shewing them, by this sign, the spiritual power which they were to receive from him for the work that lay before them, and added, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost"-partially now, as an earnest of the larger communication to be made not many days hence. "Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained." Whenever, duly

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THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE.-It is assuredly a most wise and apposite selection which our Church has made, when she bids her minister meet the mourners who are carrying the remains of the departed to the grave with these animating and inspiring words; for it is certainly then, if ever, that we peculiarly feel the need and the comfort of the doctrine of the resurrection. It is true, indeed, that the blessed assurance is given us, that the spirits of them which depart hence in the Lord," after they are delivered from the burden of the flesh, are in joy and felicity:" it is true that we are permitted, in the contemplation of the mind, to follow the happy spirit of the beloved one whither it is gone, into the presence of the Saviour; yet then, when every object connected with the departed is endeared to us by that association-when even the smallest trifles acquire an interest from their having been possessed or used by one whom our eyes behold no more in this world; then, when we are about to commit the very body to the ground-" earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust;" then, above all other times, do we seem more peculiarly to need the assurance, that this precious tabernacle of the spirit, so endeared to us by long communion, is not lost to us; that it perishes no more than the soul itself; that it also is committed to the faithful guardianship of the Redeemer; that, though dead to us, it still lives to him; that, though to the eye of sense the marks of decay and dissolution are upon it, it is still bound fast to Him who ever liveth, in the bonds of indissoluble union. "Yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry;" and then "he shall change this vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself." How suitable, then, and how congenial to the Christian mind, are these words which the minister of God pours forth, when, in the commencement of the burial-service, he meets the weeping friends of the departed: "I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die."-Rev. W. Dodsworth.

the sons of glory? Since a dead man may live again, I will not so much look for an end of my life as wait for the coming of my change.-Warwick's Spare Minutes.

THE SUN AN EMBLEM OF THE RESURRECTION.— When I see the heavenly sun buried under earth in the evening of the day, and in the morning to find resurrection to his glory, why, think I, may not the sons of heaven, buried in the carth, in the evening of their days, expect the morning of their glorious resurrection? Each night is but the past day's funeral, and the morning his resurrection; why, then, should our funeral sleep be other than our sleep at night; why should we not as well awake to our resurrection as in the morning? I see night is rather an intermission of day than a deprivation, and death rather borrows our life of us than robs us of it. Since, then, the glory of the sun finds a resurrection, why should not

MAN'S INDEPENDENCE OF GOD. Most of the mistakes and miseries of man come from his seeking to be independent of God, hoping to find that in himself, or the world, which is only in God. Self-love is unwilling to be beholden to God for every good thing. -Rev. W. Romaine.

HONESTY. I see corruption so largely rewarded, that I doubt not but I should thrive in the world, could I get but a dispensation for my conscience for the liberty of trading. A little flattery would get me a great deal of favour; and I could buy a world of this world's love with the sale of this little trifle, honesty. Were this world my home, I might, perhaps, be trading; but, alas! these merchandise yield less than nothing in heaven. I would willingly be at quiet with the world, but rather at peace with my conscience. The love of men is good while it lasteth; the love of God is better, being everlasting. Let me, then, trade for those heavenly merchandise: if I find these other in my way, they are a great deal more than I look for, and (within little) more than I care for. -Warwick's Spare Minutes.

man.

THE GOSPEL MAN'S GUIDE.-Mankind in general need some safe clue which may guide them through the perplexities of their condition; some support on which they may lean with security; some counsel on which they may confidently depend. And this, which is every man's want, the Gospel supplies to every It clears up all the difficulties, disperses all the doubts, which hang over our state on earth. It acquaints us that the condition of mankind, that very condition of ignorance and sinfulness which occasions our perplexity, excited the compassion of their heavenly Father; and that He, who to aid our conceptions, is revealed to us as his "only begotten Son," he who had been "in the beginning with God, and was God," regarded their state, and undertook their salvation. "All things were delivered unto him of his Father. He was made flesh; became man; and dwelt among us." This is a mystery indeed; but not a mystery from which we should turn away our thoughts as too high for us: rather one to which we should bend the whole powers and faculties of our mind, that we may be able rightly to apprehend and value it.Bishop J. B. Sumner.

FAITH. Faith in Christ can no more lead to sin, than the sun can cause darkness, whose very nature is to give light.-Rev. T. Jones.

Poetry.

SPRING HYMN.

How pleasant is the opening year!
The clouds of winter melt away,
The flowers in beauty re-appear,

The songsters carol from the spray ;
Lengthens the more refulgent day,

And bluer glows the arching sky; All things around us seem to say, "Christian! direct thy thoughts on high!"

In darkness, through the dreary length

Of winter, slept both bud and bloom; But nature now puts forth her strength,

And starts renewed, as from the tomb. Behold an emblem of thy doom,

O man!-a Star hath shone to save; And morning yet shall re-illume

The midnight darkness of the grave.

Yet ponder well how then shall break The dawn of second life on thee; Shalt thou to hope, to bliss awake,

Or vainly strive God's wrath to flee. Then shall pass forth the dread decree,

That makes or weal or woe thine own: Up, and to work! eternity

Must reap the harvest time hath sown! DELTA.

SEASONS OF PRAYER.
To prayer, to prayer;-for the morning breaks,
And earth in her Maker's smile awakes;
His light is on all below, above,

The light of gladness, the light of love.
Oh then, on the breath of the early air
Send upward the incense of grateful prayer.
To prayer; for the glorious sun is gone,
And the gathering darkness of night comes on,
Like a curtain from heaven's high hand it flows,
To shade the couch where his children repose.
Then kneel, while the watching stars are bright,
And give your last thoughts to the Guardian of night.
To prayer;-for the day that God has blest
Comes tranquilly on with its welcome rest;
It speaks of creation's early bloom,

It speaks of the Prince who burst the tomb.
Then summon the spirit's exalted powers,
And devote to heaven the hallowed hours.

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ANON.

Miscellaneous.

EDUCATION. No ground pays better for cultivating than that of the infant mind, both as it respects the quality and quantity of the fruit; and it as seldom occurs in the moral as in the natural world, that the

reasonable expectations of a harvest are disappointed where proper means had been employed to secure it. In a few cases it has happened that the soil has been duly prepared, the best seed has been sown, and the weeds have been carefully cleared away; and yet the labour of the husbandman has been frustrated: the refreshing rains did not fall, or the invigorating rays of the sun were not shed; or a mildew, or a blight, withered the fruit; but this is the exception, not the customary order of things: the covenant still holds good, that there "shall be summer and winter, seedtime and harvest, while the earth remaineth." No man, however, expects to reap the fruits of the earth who has neglected the proper seed-time; much less does he hope" to gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles." Yet such absurd expectations are not unfrequently formed in the neglect of all moral culture. The ground lies fallow; the most pernicious seeds are under its surface; the seed-time is utterly disregarded; or if a handful of corn be now and then scattered, no prayers bring down the dews of heaven to moisten, nor the beams of the Sun of Righteousness to quicken, the little and defective seed that is sown ; the weeds are suffered to luxuriate and choke the early blade; and yet-bitter disappointment is felt that no crops grow; and no harvest is reaped! I have often thought, that if the same good sense were shewn in the cultivation of the infant mind as the husbandman discovers in the management of his farm, it would be as rare an event to see a total failure in the former as in the latter. God honours those who honour him; and every where it will be seen that "the hand of the diligent maketh rich."-Rev. C. Jerram.

HABITS OF ANIMALS.-The wisdom, and power, and goodness of the Creator is to be seen in every animal that he has formed; and many of the most useful works of man, instead of being original contrivances, have been taken from observing the habits and the structure of animals. At a late sitting of the Royal Academy of Sciences, &c., at Rouen, Mr. Brunell related a singular circumstance respecting the nature of his labours in undertaking the Thames Tunnel, which was, that the idea of his shield, of which so much was said on its first application, sug gested itself to him upon examining the formation of an insect named taret, and which, under water, is capable of perforating large pieces of timber. Upon its head is a sort of shield, which enables it to resist the action of the waves, in the midst of which the creature pursues its work without interruption.

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GOOD WORKS.-We read in a book which is entitled The Lives of the Fathers,'-in the same book, I say, we read that there was once a great holy man he seemed to all the world) worthy to be taken up into heaven now that man had many disciples; and on a time he fell sick, and in his sickness he fell into a great agony of conscience, insomuch that he could not tell in the world what to do. Now his disciples standing about him, and seeing him in this case, they said unto him, "How chanceth it that ye are so troubled, father? for certainly there is nobody so good a liver, or more holy than ye have been; therefore you need not fear, for no doubt ye shall come to heaven." The old father made them answer again, saying, "Though I have lived uprightly, yet for all that it will not help me: I lack something yet." And so he did indeed: for certainly if he had followed the counsel of his disciples, and put his trust in his godly conversation, no doubt he should have gone to the devil. For though we are commanded to do good works, and we ought to do them, yet for all that we must beware how we do them. When we do them to the end to be saved by them, then we do them not as we ought to do; then we thrust Christ out of his seat and majesty. For indeed the kingdom of God is merited, but not by us. Christ hath merited the kingdom of heaven for us

through his most painful death and passion... There

fore let us learn to know Christ, and to believe in him; for knowledge must go before belief; we must first hear the word of God and know it, and afterward we must believe the same, and then we must wrestle and strive with sin and wickedness, as much as is possible for us, and so live godly, and do all manner of good works, which God hath commanded us in his holy laws; and then we shall be rewarded in everlasting life, but not with everlasting life; for that everlasting life is a gift of God, a free gift, given freely unto men through Christ.-Bishop Latimer's Sermons.

BISHOP CUMBERLAND being told by some of his friends, that he would wear himself out by intense "It is better to wear out than to application, replied,

rust out."

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