Obrazy na stronie

any speculations he pleased on the philosophy of Christianity, provided he did not directly deny its essential doctrines.” However, as he hopes to get rid of creeds, confessions, constitutions and liturgies, those human bibles, that have almostbanished pure Bible Christians out of the churches, and as none should be called to account for writing or publishing, any error indirectly, there is, we think, little danger to be dreaded on that quarter. But after all the outcry against confessions of faith by Dr. G.he has given us his own. I do not mean that confession which he, in common with the church of which he is a member, professes ecclesiastically to believe, but that which is, in a great measure, opposite thereto, contained in his “ Mediatorial Reign.” The truth is, every man must have some confession of faith, or be an absolute sceptic. Hear Dr. G. on this subject, p. 419. “I insist as strenuously as any man, that there must be an agreement in doctrine, in order to church fellowship.” And yet men raise a clamour against confessions, and Dr. G. joins with them too, for “he has business on both sides of the road,” and wonders, p. 437, that men, instead of believing that they are bonds of union, do not believe that they are wedges of division, that their necessary effect is to organize society into factions of hostility. I here close my remarks on the * Mediatorial Reign,” and cannot refrain from expressing my sorrow that such an arrogant performance, so hostile to the system of grace, and so subversive of the good cause of the blessed reformation, ever should have been sent forth to disturb the faith of Christians. Pittsburgh. John Black.

The Retrospect: or Review of Providential JMercies; with Jonecdotes of various Characters, and

an olddress to Naval Officers: by siliquis, formerly a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, and now a Minister of the established Church of England. Philadelphia, published by David Hogan, 1821.

This interesting little work, intermingles the record of many unusual events, which occurred in the life of the author, with many pious remarks, and illustrations of evangelical principles. There are few such men as the writer of the Retrospect to be found in the Episcopal Church of England; and, indeed, considering the whole history of his life, in any portion of the visible church.

Many striking anecdotes selected from this work, without any acknowledgment of their source, have gone the rounds of our religious newspapers, and other periodical publications. It is but justice to remark, that in the Presbyterian Magazine we have published, from a manuscript selection furnished us, the story of the “hardened conduct and awful death of G, H,” an English mariner, without knowing that we were indebted for it originally to this publication.

The Retrospect ought to be better known, and read as a whole; and it certainly would be, were its merits as an entertaining and instructive volume fairly spread be. fore the public. The style of the work is easy and natural; the facts it states are remarkable; and the reflections upon those facts judicious and savoury.

In this notice we shall simply state a few of the prominent incidents in the life of siliquis. Sixteen years before the writing of the work before us, he was an abandoned young prodigal, impatient of parental restraint, “ loud in blasphemy, and ever ready to burlesque and condemn the holy scriptures.” To escape from the inspection of his natural guardians, to sin without control, and to obtain fancied

[blocks in formation]

SJ," shipwrecked crew, consisting

f one hundred and fifty survivors, should gain the opposite shore, as speedily as possible. On the day but one after their landing, all who could move, began their march through ice and water, from ankle deep to breast high; and were in perils many, “surrounded by the sea on all sides,” with “guides bewildered and the main land undistinguishable,” for nearly two hours. Covered with ice, Aliquis had no sooner reached a cottage, in one part of which the owner was threshing out grain, than he fell exhausted and senseless on the straw. The peasant dropped his flail, and all the family kindly ministered to his necessities. Soon after, he rejoined his naval companions, and the memory of their merciful deli

verances was drowned in “drunkenness, oaths, and profane songs.” In October of the same year, Aliquis “was called on to share in the , perils of another and more dreadful shipwreck,” which occurred on the coast of Holland. We shall give the account in his own words.

“Let it suffice to say, just after midnight, when the wind blew strong, when thick clouds darkened the sky, and the angry o was rising higher and higher, we dashed upon the fatal bank with such

violence, that those on deck were thrown

off their feet, and those below were instantly roused from their slumbers, to hear the doleful report, ‘The ship is on shore! the ship is on shore P All was dire confusion and alarm; the crew were seen on deck; some half dressed, and others just as they leaped out of bed. The long-boat was hoisted out, and instantly foundered; signal guns of distress were fired every minute; blue lights” were burnt; and measures taken to prevent the ship from falling over on her side. The chain-pumps were set to work, but our leaks defied all such resistance. The sand worked through the bottom, and long before dawn the well was choked up, and the lower part of the ship filled. Nothing now remained for us to do but to wait the return of day. O how anxiously did we look towards the east, if peradventure the opening light might show some token for good! For, as yet, we knew not where we were, or whether any or no prospect of relief or escape would present itself. “The anxiety with which we passed these hours of darkness, and the eager desire with which we looked forward to the day, have often since reminded me of

the Psalmist's earnest longings for the ma

nifestation of God’s love to his soul. It has been the best criticism on the force and beauty of the royal mourner’s words, when he exclaimed, “My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that wait for the morning: I say, more than they that wait for the morning.” t “At length the sun arose, no doubt to gladden the hearts of millions, while its beams led them forth to the pursuits of the day; but to us it rather increased than diminished sorrow.—We indeed discovered our situation, but it was a mournful discovery! The land, at seven or eight miles distance, could not be approached; and our fleet (then in possession of the Texel) was at least four miles farther off, and, un

* Certain fire-works, composed of sulphur and gunpowder, and which may be seen several miles at Sea.

der existing circumstances, utterly incapa

ble of affording the smallest aid. “ In this state of wretched suspense we continued till noon, when, to our inexpressible joy, the weather in some degree moderated, and a vessel was seen standing in from seatowards us. It proved to be aking's brig: our signals of distress had been observed: she came and anchored as near as her own safety would allow. It was now extremely desirable that no time should be lost in sending a boat, to concert the best and most prompt measures for our immediate relief. A consultation was held on the subject; but from the great surf which still surrounded the wreck, the commanding officer foresaw the very imminent danger which must attend those who made the attempt, and therefore very humanely forbore to issue any orders, leaving it to such as chose to volunteer their services. Seven seamen and three officers had already taken their seats in the boat, when I learnt the circumstance, and instantly filled up the remaining vacant place. “All was now ready for lowering us down into the angry waves, when the commander ordered me out of the boat, and gave my situation to a stronger person. Filled with anger at being singled out, and denied what I considered as my privilege, I quitted that part of the deck, without staying to see how the others succeeded, and descended below. Here I had not indulged my sullen resentment more than five minutes, before I learnt, that the instant the boat was launched into the water, one wave dashed her against the ship’s side and broke their oars, and a second overwhelmed them all in the deep, to rise no more! This intelligence stopped my murmuring; but it did not extort one sentence of thanksgiving, or lead me to see the hand of God in it! I merely thought, that as things had turned out, I, was better where I was! “By four o'clock the boats were enabled to pass and repass; and before dark about two hundred of the crew were taken from the wreck. “It may not be improper to observe, that, as this ship had been but newly commissioned, the officers and men were strangers to each other. Hence there was much insubordination on the part of the latter during the whole of this melancholy event, the evil of which was severely felt; particularly when the boats from time to time came for more passengers: numbers rushing into them, not only obstructed the commander in executing the regular duty, but even endangered their own lives, and actually prevented many more from getting away in the same time. “Not willing to add to these scenes of confusion and disorder, I kept back until

night began to set in, and the weather had much changed for the worse. Two boats were now coming along side, evidently for the last time. The remaining half of the crew, more than ever anxious to escape the dangers of another night on board the wreck, were hanging over the side, if pos. sible to gain a place. Few of them, in: deed, could be received into two small boats, yet every man hoped to be amongst those few. When I saw things in this state, I not only considered it my duty to make the attempt, in common with others, but regretted I had not done tearlier. That God, however, whose blessing I did not implore, was pleased to favour me; for, while numbers failed, I succeed. ed in leaping from the deck into the last of them, and by that means got on board the brig. “They who remained on the wreck passed such a night as none can form any idea of but those who have experienced similar calamities. The sea continued to beat over them till nearly daylight; and though they had lashed themselves to the highest and most sheltered parts, yet many were swept away into the sea, and many were drowned in the wreck. But it pleased the Lord to send a fine morn: ing, and in the course of the succeeding day the survivors were taken from their miserable situation, and conveyed on board our fleet in the Texel.”

In the next ship in which Aliquis embarked, he was sent to the Mediterranean sea; “the events of war threw some famished prisoners” into the vessel; and they introduced a pestilential disease, which compelled the captain to re: sort to Minorca, that he might land his sick. Aliquis, with four others, was left in the hospital at that place, in a state of perfect delirio um, which continued for ten or twelve days; during which time. three out of his four shipmates died. For three years previous to this sickness, “he had never read one sentence in the word of God;’ and had continued one of the most Wicious and profane on board his man of war. “This foreign hospital was a place where no man cared for his soul, much less for that of his fel. low;” and Aliquis left it igno rant as a heathen of the way of sal: vation.

“But the time drew near when a ray of light was to dawn on a benighted soul My friend, captain W , was blessed with a pious daughter, who, on the father's quitting home to command this ship, had put up Burder's Village Sermons in his trunk, with the hope, and doubtless the prayer, that they might not go forth in vain. The hope, as it respected the poor thoughtless father, was not realized. . I knew him well: I saw him die. He quitted this world in much the same state as I think I myself should have done, had I


departed at the hospital. There were

neither bonds, neither were there any hopes in his death. But, although these little volumes lay unread by him for whom they were intended, the providence of God directed me to them, and commissioned them to dispel a portion of mental darkness, and to show me “that God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him, might not perish, but have everlasting life!” Amazed and confounded at my former ignorance, I blessed the Lord that he had not called me hence in my heathen creed, for I now saw there must be a peace-maker to stand between offending man and an offended God. Yet there was a strange veil still over my eyes. For, notwithstanding I read the two volumes attentively, and also turned often to the Bible, I continued ignorant of many essential truths. The depravity of the human heart, the necessity of regeneration, and the insufficiency of man to will or perform, were doctrines I saw no more of than an heathen; and as to the offices and work of the Holy Ghost, as a convincing, comforting, teaching, and sanctifying Spirit, I might be truly said not to know any thing of the matter. Confused and limitgo as my knowledge of Christianity was, I

on became proud of it, and even considered it as the faith spoken of in the scripture and treated of in the sermons I had read. But, alas! it little purified my heart, or wrought by love. Indeed, with the exception of having left off swearing, and ceased to ridicule religion, my practice was as bad as before; and, as conscience did its work more faithfully, my life was only more wretched. Sinning, and vowing against committing sin, repenting and transgressing, and transgressing and repenting, made up the whole round of my days and months, during the three years I was abroad. My companions thought me happy; I knew myself to be miserable.”

The ship E– was, put out of commission, and Aliquis “joined the D–, to offend still more, and to receive yet greater mercies.” In this last vessel, he found a large and gay society of young men, Vol. I.

eager in pursuit of naval fame and

promotion ; and he outstripped them, so that he “was among the very first who received promotion from the commander-in-chief after the close of the battle of Trafalgar, in which the D– took no minor part.” . For more than two years he continued in this ship, one of the most passionate of mortals, striving to be a deist, and at the same time harrowed by continual remorse of conscience. “Thus far all was esteemed by man; and yet all was abomination to God. He was not in all or any of my thoughts as the chief good; the glory of his name was not my motive of action; nor was his word my rule of conduct. But amidst all the dangers and mercies, the bustle and delusive smiles with which I was surrounded, I was far from being happy. The Lord did not suffer my conscience to become wholly callous, and every day I did more than

- sufficient to wound its feelings and raise

its voice. Nothing short of the preventing mercies of God, kept me from destroying myself and others in my paroxysms of anger and passion. Once I so nearly brought on an apoplectic fit, as to turn giddy, become speechless, stagger, and almost fall on the deck; and often has this unworthy hand levelled a poor offending fellow mortal at my feet on a trifling occasion. No marvel then, that, when I retreated to my cabin, I was wretched in the review of my conduct.” “While these conflicts were passing within my mind, and while I was sinning

on deck and repenting below, making re

solutions and breaking them faster and faster, the Lord sent me one very striking personal call to turn and consider the madness of my ways. ... Having anchored off the coast of Suffolk, a party went on shore to shoot wild fowl. We had returned to the beach, waiting the arrival of the boat. The roar of noisy mirth had ceased, and I was at length becomie thoughtful; for I had greatly sinned gainst light and conscience that day. As I was pacing the shore thirty or forty yards from the main body of my companions, one of them le: velled his peaje; I noticed him, and thought his aim was well adjusted for my head, if he hao any design to shoot me. scarcely had the thought crossed my mind before he fired; when, feeling my hat jerk, I took its off, and, to my surprise found the contents of his piece had entered the crown, right in front; passed over the scalp of the head, and escaped through the back part of the hat! It appeared, on inquiry, that he had loaded with a pebble

[ocr errors]

stone, the size of a musket-ball, which he foolishly supposed would fly to dust as soon as it escaped the barrel of the piece. When I saw how near I had been to the eternal world, I could not but say, ‘This is surely the voice of God;’ and under this impression I sat silent in the boat during the greater part of our way to the ship, a circumstance which one of my companions observed, and began to rally me on it, asking whether the thought of having been nearly shot had tied up my tongue. And now, does the reader imagine I honestly confessed the truth?—No! for, although I trembled at the recollection of the eye and hand of Omnipotence being so evidently about me, yet I trembled more at the prospect of human ridicule, and rather than endure the laugh of man for standing in awe of God, I ventured on another act of known sin, and positively denied that any such thought occupied my mind.”

Not long after Aliquis was removed to the ship E—, from the D—, “she was lost and more than five hundred souls perished in her.” “On returning to England the C– had to undergo some repairs;” which enabled him to be more on shore than formerly. He spent his time, at first in “gallanting ladies to shops and morning visits,” in “sitting down to wine parties, or mixing in the card-room, the assembly, or the ball;” just as our naval officers in general do; but twice conscience made him steal away to attend “morning service, at a fashionable chapel of ease:” but, adds he, “I neither understood nor felt what I heard. Little, in

deed, did I then know of doctrines;

but I was vexed to find nothing about Christ in the preacher’s discourses.” On the third Sabbath of his being on Shore, however, Divine Providence se *him to “Old Stoke church, just as the congregation - : , , 22 o,

Were going 1}]. G. “I followed them, and saw, and heard, and felt what I little ex,xected. To behold a minister address his audience, not from the pages of a formal, cold, moral essay, but from the Bible, with that seriousness, which bespoke him really in earnest—and with that o which showed that he indeed felt for their etermal peace: to behold all this in a minister of the Established Church, was to me (par

don me, my clerical reader) as new as it was unexpected: nor was the subject-matter less new than the manner in which it was delivered—I may truly say by this servant of Christ, as the Athenians did by the great apostle, “He brought strange. things to my ears,” drawing a picture of man as a helpless undone creature, possessing a nature totally corrupt, and desperately wicked. I began to see the source of that evil I so often had found breaking through all the restraints, resolutions and vows with which I had endeavoured to bind it. Hitherto I had esteemed myself capable of doing great things; nor had all my failures swept away my vain conceits of a good heart and inherent strength. But now the word was commissioned to lay the axe at the root of . all such vain boastings. I was told, and I felt I could neither think nor act of my

self in any way pleasing to God, but that all my sufficiency must be derived from

above. In short, a few sermons tore all my false props from under me, and I saw myself, ‘poor, and blind, and wretched, and miserable, and naked.” But I was not left here; I was directed to the Lord Jesus as the great High Priest, whose fulness abounded, to the supplying all the wants of his church and people. What a display of those wants, and of the mercy and goodness of a covenant God to supply them, did I hear, in an enlargement on Psalm Iv. 22: Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” No longer surprised at my having broken through so many resolutions and vows of

amendment, I stood amazed at the folly of *

having even made one in my own strength. I now understood, both doctrinally a experimentally, that “it is not our willing or running, but that it is of God, who showeth mercy, and who worketh in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure.’” After the word of God had wrought powerfully in the mind of our author, he visited this Christian minister of Old Stoke church; and through a divine blessing on his public and private ministrations, grew in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. From this time he evinced, by his general deportment, that he was born of God; and soon began to seek the spiritual welfare of his naval companions. He endured “cruel mockings,” but the gave him courage and perseverance. ...

From officiating as chaplain of his.” - $3

[ocr errors][graphic][graphic][graphic]
« PoprzedniaDalej »