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was connected with the early Methodists; he was thus from persons who, he felt, could ill afford the loss, brought within a strong religious influence, and an inspired him with a disgust for such amusements. impression seemed to be thence produced upon his Though encircled with perpetual incitements to luxumind. But the intelligence of this was not pleasing rious gaiety, Mr. Wilberforce attended diligently his to his grandfather, who determined on recalling him duty in the House of Commons. He had renewed to Hull. Thither he attended his mother at twelve his acquaintance with William Pitt, whom he knew years old, and was speedily introduced to the gaie- slightly at Cambridge, and who was just then comties of the place. Here, and at Pocklington gram mencing his unparalleled career. Their acquaintance mar-school, where he lived under little restraint, he soon ripened into intimacy and confidential interspent the years till his removal to the university with course during the remarkable political crisis that the reputation of a very fair scholar. His religious ensued. Wilberforce had entered parliament as an impressions had vanished in the society and habits he independent man, and opponent of the American war had, since his return from London, been accustomed and Lord North's administration; and his first importto ; but it is remarkable, that at fourteen, the first spark ant speech, in 1782, was in favour of a motion for of a fire which afterwards burned so brightly was
peace with America. kindled. He addressed a letter from Pocklington to It enters not into the plan of this narrative to dea York paper, in condemnation of the odious traffic, scribe the political events of those times; but I may as he called it, in human flesh. It would be interest observe that Mr. Pitt soon after became Chancellor of ing to recover this document, and to mark in it the the Exchequer, but resigned his post in April 1783. rudiments of the future friend of oppressed Africa. Freed from the trammels of office, he was glad to relieve
Wilberforce entered St. John's College, Cambridge, his attention by a tour. Accordingly, in the autumn of in October 1776. He was now, by the death of his that year, he proceeded, in company with Mr. Wilgrandfather and uncle, in possession of an indepen- | berforce and Mr. Eliot, to France. At Rheims, the dent fortune, under the sole guardianship of his mo travellers stopped to improve their acquaintance with ther. It is not surprising, therefore, that, with his the language, before they ventured to present themsocial disposition, and from the many temptations selves on the more public stage of Paris. But unforthat were thrown into his way, he should have fallentunately they had forgotten to take letters of introinto the loose habits of his associates. He was, in duction ; and the only acquaintance they could form deed, mercifully preserved from actual profligacy, but was that of an honest grocer, who frankly acknowhis time was devoted to pleasure. He was a good ledged that he knew none of the gentry of the place, enough classic to acquit limself, without reading, and therefore could not introduce them. Meantime passably at the college-examinations, and mathema- they were reported as suspicious characters to the tics he thought he might entirely neglect; but it reads police ; but the archbishop's secretary, finding who a striking lesson to every young man similarly inclined, they were, carried them to that prelate, by whom they to know that Wilberforce, in after-life, deeply deplored were most hospitably treated. From Rheims they his earlier remissness; and though he endeavoured, proceeded to Paris, and thence to Fontainebleau to by subsequent application, to supply his deficiencies, the court, where their adventures furnished consihe never could attain the mental regularity and well derable amusement. The queen, particularly, would trained habits which the wholesome discipline of youth often inquire of Mr. Pitt how his friend the grocer ful study can alone impart. Even at this time, however, a vein of deep and conscientious feeling lay be On their return to England, parliament was just neath his gay thoughtlessness; and he declined sub-assembling, and speedily followed Mr. Pitt's accession scribing to the Articles, which he was sensible he had to power. It was felt important, by his opponents, not properly examined. Inquiry removed this hesita that the great county of York should declare against tion ; but it was not, on this account, till 178), that he him ; and accordingly a meeting was convened. Mr. graduated as B.A.
Wilberforce and his friends felt it equally importPrior to his quitting the university, Mr. Wilberforce ant to attempt to direct its voice in favour of the had formed the design of entering parliament. In minister; and therefore, though at present acquainted stead of being ambitious of mercantile eminence, he with few persons out of his own immediate neighbouraspired to shine in a very different sphere. Accord hood there, he hurried to York. Many had spoken of ingly he declined entering on the business which, since both parties, and the meeting was wearied when Wilhis grandfather's decease, had been carried on in his berforce came forward. Boswell (Johnson's biobehalf by his cousin, Mr. Abel Smith; and, content grapher) was present, and has graphically described with the ample fortune he inherited, he canvassed his
“ I saw," says he, “what seemed a shrimp, native town, in expectation of a speedy dissolution of mount on the table; but as I listened, he grew and grew, parliament. Just after the completion of his twenty till the shrimp became a whale." His clear voice was first year the anticipated event took place; and Wilber- distinctly heard through the vast assemblage, and his force was returned for Hull by a triumphant majority. | lively eloquence was enchaining every heart, when he The expenses, however, of this election were not less was interrupted by an express from Mr. Pitt, authoristhan between 80001. and 90001.
ing him to declare that the king had dissolved the parThis success invested his entry on public life with liament. An electric effect was produced : the address great éclat. He was welcomed by every circle of Lon in favour of the ministry was carried, and the congredon society, and was introduced into all the leading gated freeholders exclaimed,“ We'll have this man for clubs. Here the temptations of play surrounded him ; our county member." It was a bold attempt for him but the seasonable winning of a considerable sum to canvass that great county; and though he eagerly
desired the honour of representing it, he dared not abstaining from all religious topics in his common inresign his hold of Hull. For that place he was unani tercourse, and even an appearance of levity, which mously elected, and for Yorkshire too. The enthu would have prevented his being known-except by siasm for his success was wonderful; a large sum was those who were extremely intimate with him, or rasubscribed to bear his expenses, not one-fourth of ther by those who, being themselves also religious, which was spent; and he and another ministerialist were likely to draw forth his secret thoughts and feelwere triumphantly returned. The example was set ings—to have any more reflection than that average to other counties; and Mr. Pitt's power was firmly measure for which we are to give people credit whose established.
only visible attention to religion consists in their At the end of the parliamentary session, after a going to church on a Sunday. A gracious Providence flying visit to the York races, he set out with his mo prepared him, I doubt not, by a long illness, for that ther and sister, and Isaac Milner, for the south of change which he was to experience much sooner than France. From thence he was summoned, in January could have been anticipated, from the uncommon 1785, to the House of Commons, to support Mr. Pitt's strength of his constitution, and the temperance of motion for parliamentary reform. Milner, in this his habits; but had he been my fellow-traveller, I journey, was his only companion. During the session, should never have benefited by him in the most imMr. Wilberforce was constantly in his place; but in portant of all concerns; indeed, I am persuaded that the summer, he and Milner returned to rejoin his re we neither of us should ever have touched on the latives at Genoa. This intercourse with Milner was subject of religion, except in the most superficial and the instrumental means of leading him to the saving cursory way. To my surprise, Dr. Burgh declined knowledge of Divine truth. He had not previously accepting my proposal; and I next invited Dr. Milner been aware of his companion's religious principles ; to accompany me,chiefly prompted by his acknowledged who, though at that time so far deficient in practical talents and acquirements, and by my experience of piety as to attend Sunday parties, &c., was not in his cheerfulness, good nature, and powers of social clined to permit any raillery of religion. When Wi! entertainment. It was the more important to me to berforce, therefore, laughed at it, Milner would reply, secure such a fellow-traveller, because we were to "I am no match for you in this running fire; but if have a tête-à-tête in my carriage; the ladies of my you really wish to discuss these subjects seriously, I party travelling with their maids in a coach. It is will gladly enter into them with you." On their somewhat curious, that, as I learned accidentally long hastily quitting Nice, in 1785, Wilberforce, having afterwards, my grandfather had declared that in aftertaken up Doddridge's "Rise and Progress," asked life I should go abroad, with Isaac Milner as my his friend its character. “ It is one of the best books tutor. I am bound to confess tha¢ I was not influenced ever written ; let us take it with us, and read it on to select Dr. Milner by any idea of his having religion our journey," was the reply. They read it; and Wil more at heart than the bulk of our Cambridge soberforce determined, at some future season, to examine ciety; and in fact, though his religious opinions were the Scriptures to see if the statements of Doddridge the same as his brother's, yet they were then far from were borne out. In their journey the following sum having that influence over his heart and manners mer, their conversations became more important. which they subsequently possessed ; though it is They began, as Milner had proposed, to read the Greek due to him to declare that his conduct was always Testament, and seriously to investigate its doctrines. what is called correct, and free from any taint of vice ; The result must be stated in Mr. Wilberforce's own and he had a warmth of benevolence which rendered impressive words :-" It would indicate a strange in him always ready to every good work. I must go sensibility to the ways of a gracious Providence, if I farther; had I known at first what his opinions were, were to suffer the circumstance of my having Dr. it would have decided me against making him the Milner for my fellow-traveller to pass without obser offer; so true is it that a gracious hand leads us in vation. Wishing for an intelligent and agreeable ways that we know not, and blesses us not only withcompanion, I requested my friend Dr. Burgh, of York, out, but even against, our own plans and inclinations. to accompany me, a man of whom it is difficult for me The recollections which I had of what I had heard to speak with moderation, full as my memory must and seen when I lived under my uncle's roof, had left ever be of marks of a kindness that could scarcely be in my mind a prejudice against their kind of religion exceeded, and of a disposition always to forget him as enthusiastic, and carrying matters to excess; and self, and to be ready to conform to his friends' wishes. it was with no small surprise I found, on conversing A fund of knowledge of various kinds, great cheer- with my friend on the subject of religion, that his fulness of temper, and liveliness of fancy, rendered principles and views were the same with those of the him a delightful companion. But he had qualities clergymen who were called methodistical : this led to also of a higher orderman entire conviction of the renewed discussions; and Milner (never backward in truth of revelation, a considerable acquaintance with avowing his opinions, or entering into religious conecclesiastical history, just principles of religion, and versation) justified his principles by referring to the as affectionate a heart as ever warmed a human bosom, word of God. This led to our reading the Scriptures with a continual promptitude to engage in every office together; and by degrees I imbibed his sentiments, of benevolence ; but the habit of associating with though I must confess, with shame, that they long companions, and living, for the most part, in society remained merely as opinions assented to by my unwhich, whatever might be the opinion assented to by derstanding, but not influencing my heart. At length, the understanding, exhibited no traces of spirituality however, I began to be impressed with a sense of the in its ordinary conversation, had induced a habit of weighty truths which were more or less the continual
subjects of our conversation. I began to think what would be easy to dilate on this text; and I am afraid folly it was, nay, what madness, to continue month that we should find at the close of the discourse, that after month, nay, day after day, in a state in which a the picture was very unlike the men of this world. sudden call out of the world—which, I was conscious, . But who is my neighbour?' Here, too, our Saviour might happen at any moment—would consign me to has instructed us, by the parable which follows. It is never-ending misery; while, at the very same time, I evident, we are to consider our peculiar situations ; was firmly convinced, from assenting to the great truths and in these to do all the good we can. Some men are taught us in the New Testament, that the offers of thrown into public; some have their lot in private life. the Gospel were universal and free-in short, that These different states have their corresponding duties ; happiness, eternal happiness, was at my option. As and he whose destination is of the former sort, will do soon as I reflected seriously upon these subjects, as ill to immure himself in solitude, as he who is only the deep guilt and black ingratitude of my past a village Hampden would, were he to lead an army, life forced itself upon me in the strongest colours. I or address a senate. What I have said will, I hope, condemned myself for having wasted my precious be sufficient to remove any apprehensions that I mean time, and opportunities, and talents; and for several to shut myself up, either in my closet in town, or in months I continued to feel the deepest convictions of my hermitage in the country. No, my dear mother, my own sinfulness, rendered only the more intense by in my circumstances this would merit no better name the unspeakable mercies of our God and Saviour, de than desertion; and if I were thus to fly from the post clared to us in the offers and promises of the Gospel. where Providence has placed me, I know not how I These, however, by degrees, produced in me some could look for the blessing of God upon my retirething of a settled peace of conscience. I devoted my ment; and, without his heavenly assistance, either in self, for whatever might be the term of my future life, the world or in solitude, our own endeavours will be to the service of my God and Saviour ; and with many equally ineffectual. When I consider the particulars infirmities and deficiencies, through his help, I con of my duty, I blush at the review; but my shame is tinue until this day."
not occasioned by my thinking that I am too studiously During Mr. Wilberforce's journey, on his return to diligent in the business of life ; on the contrary, I then England, in the autumn of 1785, a change in his con feel that I am serving God best, when, from proper duct was already visible; and some of his gay asso motives, I am most actively engaged in it. What ciates, whom he met in places he passed through, were
humbles me, is the sense that I forego so many opporsurprised to find that he did not choose to travel on tunities of doing good ; and it is my constant prayer, Sunday. When he reached home, he had a difficulty that God will enable me to serve him more steadily, in acquainting his friends with the alteration in his and my fellow-creatures more assiduously; and I trust views. Mr. Pitt was one of the first, whom he ap that my prayers will be granted, through the intercesprised, that though he should, in general, still support sion of that Saviour, ' by whom' only 'we have access him, he could not be so much of a party-man as here with confidence into this grace, wherein we stand ;' tofore. Mr. Pitt received the intelligence most kindly, and who has promised, that he will lead on his people and assured him that nothing of the kind should affect from strength to strength, and gradually form them to their friendship. He now formed the acquaintance of a more complete resemblance of their divine Original.” Mr. Newton, the well-known rector of St. Mary Wool Those who read this letter may easily see that it was noth; and was a frequent attendant on his ministry, no enthusiastic temper, but the calm spirit of scripand guided by his advice. His intimacy, however, tural piety which now swayed Mr. Wilberforce's mind. with Mr. Newton, would, he expected, fix on him the I shall add another letter, in a similar tone, addressed brand of Methodism; and his mother, it appears, had to his sister on Easter-day of the same year. He had heard some such rumour. In a letter, therefore, dated on Good Friday, after much serious thought, commuFeb. 19, 1786, he says to her, “ It is not, believe me, nicated for the first time, and experienced somewhat to my own imagination, or to any system formed in of the blessing which the sacred feast yields to the my closet, that I look for my principles; it is to the faithful participator of Christ. The next day, he very source to which you refer me, the Scriptures. ... visited Mr. Unwin of Stock, the friend of the poet All that I contend for is, that we should really make Cowper.“ About five o'clock yesterday I put myself this book the criterion of our opinions and actions, into a post-chaise, and in four hours found myself and not read it, and then think that we do so of course ; safely lodged with the vicar of Stock. It is more than but if we do this, we must reckon on not finding our a month since I slept out of town; and I feel all that selves able to comply with all those customs of the Milton attributes to the man who has been world, in which many who call themselves Christians
* Long in populous cities pent, are too apt to indulge, without reflection; ... we
Where houses thick and sewers annoy the air.' must of course, therefore, be subject to the charge of | I scarce recollect to have spent so pleasant a day as excess or singularity. But in what will this singularity that which is now nearly over. My heart opens inconsist? Not merely in indifferent things; no, in these voluntarily to Unwin and his wife ; I fancy I have our Saviour always conformed, and took occasion to been with them every day since we first became accheck an unnecessary strictness, into which he saw quainted at Nottingham, and expand to them with all men were led by overstraining a good principle. In the confidence of a twelve years' intimacy. Can my what, then, will these peculiarities appear? Take our dear sister wonder, that I call on her to participate in great Master's own words: “Thou shalt love the Lord the pleasure I am tasting? I know how you sympathy God with all thy heart, with all thy mind, and with thise in the happiness of those you love; and I could all thy strength; and thy neighbour as thyself.' It not therefore forgive myself, if I were to keep my
raptures to myself, and not invite you to partake of would urge him to pray for, in behalf of his my enjoyment. The day has been delightful: I was beloved disciples. St. Paul was now, to use out before six, and made the fields my oratory, the sun his own words, an ambassador in bonds," shining as bright and as warm as at Midsummer. I
and “the prisoner of Jesus Christ for” the think my own devotions become more fervent, when
gentiles;" i. e. he was now detained at offered in this way, amidst the general chorus with Rome, as an accused and suspected indiviwhich all nature seems, in such a morning, to be
dual, nder the orders of Nero, for teaching swelling the song of praise and thanksgiving; and,
doctrines unpalatable to the Jews; though, cxcept the time that has been spent at church and at dinner-and neither in the sanctuary, nor at table, I
as we read in the Acts of the Apostles, he
was allowed to “ dwell in his own hired trust, had I a heart unwarmed with gratitude to the Giver of all good things,— I have been all day basking house," where “he received all that came in the sun. On any other day I should not have been
in unto him, preaching the kingdom of God, so happy: a sense that I was neglecting the duties of
and teaching those things which concern the my situation might have interrupted the course of my
Lord Jesus Christ." The peculiar doctrine, enjoyments, and have taken from their totality; for in by the preaching of which the apostle had such a situation as mine, every moment may be made
given so much offence to the unbelieving useful to the happiness of my fellow-creatures. But
Jews of his day, was that, " the middle wall the Sabbath is a season of rest, in which we may be of partition between” them being “ broken allowed to unbend the mind, and give a complete loose down," the gentiles were now called by God to those emotions of gratitude and admiration, wbich to be equal partakers with the Jews of the a contemplation of the works, and a consideration of privileges of the Gospel, without any necesthe goodness of God, cannot fail to excite in a mind of sity for the observance of the outward form the smallest sensibility. And surely this Sabbath, of of circumcision. For maintaining openly this all others, is that which calls forth these feelings in a truth at Ephesus and elsewhere, " the myssupreme degree; a frame of united love and triumph tery of Christ," as he terms it, which in well becomes it, and holy confidence and unrestrained other ages was not made known unto the affection. May every Sabbath be to me and to those I sons of men, as it is now revealed unto the love, a renewal of these feelings, of which the small holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit,” tastes we have in this life, should make us look for
St. Paul had undergone, at the hands of the ward to that eternal rest, which awaits the people of Jews, the greatest indignities; and it was God; when the whole will be a never-ending enjoyment only by appealing, as a free-born subject, to of those feelings of love, and joy, and admiration, and
the emperor, previous to his imprisonment gratitude, which are, even in the limited degree we
at Rome, that he was suffered to escape with here experience them, the truest sources of comfort,
his life. Well might he, then, call himself when these, I say, will dictate perpetual songs of thanks
" the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you gengiving, without fear and without satiety. My eyes
tiles," when addressing his converts in an are bad; but I could not resist the impulse I felt to
idolatrous city like Ephesus; to which concall on you, and tell you how happy I have been.”
verts he was peculiarly attached, and who, it [To be continued in the next Number.)
is thought, from the epistle which bears their name not having any mention of, or reproaches
for, a contrary conduct, were well grounded ST. PAUL'S PRAYER FOR HIS EPHESIAN
in the true faith and practice of the Gospel. CONVERTS :
Apprehensive, however, that these his child. Sermon,
ren in the Lord might, from any rumours BY THE Rev. llenry Curtis Cherry, M.A. that were abroad, suppose he was then acRector of Burghfield, and Chapluin 10 the Right Hon. tually sinking under persecution at Rome, Lord De Saumurem.
and that, from a danger to themselves of Eph. iii. 14-19.
similar treatment at the instigation of the “ For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of Jews, they might afterwards waver in the
our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family faith, or be inclined not openly to profess it, in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant
-St. Paul " desires" the Ephesians not to you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner “ faint at,” or be discouraged by the “ tribuman; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by lations” he had undergone for their sakes, faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, but, on the contrary, to esteem it their may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
"glory" that they had now so bold a deand to know the love of Christ, which passeth
fender of their rights, as gentiles, against the knowledge, that ye might be filled with all ihe ful malice of their enemies.
For this cause, ness of God."
that He who had begun so good a work as It would be difficult for language to express to bring them to the knowledge of his truth, more fully, or more ardently, than these might confirm them in it, and bear them up words of St. Paul to the Christians of Ephe.hereafter against any persecution on account sus, all that the heart of a zealous apostle of their religion, he tells them, he ceases not
to " bow his knees" in prayer to "the Fa And as prayer brings us in direct communither of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the cation with God, from whom cometh every whole family is named,” both of saints and good and perfect gift, so is kneeling the best angels" in heaven," and believers on earth, posture with which we children of the dust, whether Jews or gentiles. And then the and " as the clay in the potter's hand,” can apostle enumerates the several spiritual bless- bow to “ the high and lofty One that inings for which he supplicates God on their habiteth eternity.” That the duty of prayer, behalf: these, in the order in which they and its suitable attitude, kneeling, should be stand, will briefly form the several points overlooked, or little regarded, amid the enfor our consideration ; for the limits of a joyments of home and the endearments of the single sermon will not permit of our treating domestic circle, argues a heart insensible of them more at length. But before we enter the Source from whence such comforts flow; upon them, we must not pass over the two and strange indeed is that man's infatuation, particulars expressed in the words, " I bow who waits to be taught his dependence solely the knee :" I mean prayer as the medium by upon God, by the deprivation of some one or which all blessings are derived; and bowing other of the mercies he has enjoyed, or by the knee, as the posture which bespeaks a reve the untimely removal, as no doubt it will rent frame of heart in prayer, and a humble appear in his eyes, of some beloved object of sense of its unworthiness in the sight of heaven. his affections ! Surely, when competence, if
If " in the days of his flesh, Christ not plenty, in our households has fallen to offered up prayers and supplications, with our share, by God's indulgence ; when, by strong crying and tears, unto Him that was his preventive aid, no accident or long waste able to save him from death” – if almost ing sickness, has either on a sudden, or after with the dying accents of a life laid down an anxious interval of care, caused a blank in " for us men and our salvation,” the same the accustomed countenances of those we great Pattern of righteousness enjoined us to love,-surely the heart itself should tell us,
pray that we enter not into temptation ;" that we ought to pray, and that the knee and when he was withdrawn from the objects should bow to the God and " Father of our of his care“ about a stone's cast," himself | Lord Jesus Christ,” And if individual and “ kneeled down and prayed”-if we read of private blessings, in their peculiar sphere, David, Solomon, Daniel, Stephen, St. Peter, claim suitable returns at our hands, can we St. Paul, and the other apostles, that they all for a moment doubt that prayer and kneel" kneeled down and prayed,”—what can be ing are inseparable requisites in the house of said of those who “bow" not their “knees" God, where we meet, as a congregation of in prayer to “ the Father of our Lord Jesus worshippers, and members of God's family Christ?” Is it that they need not pray? Alas ! on earth, to adore him for the yet greater can man, the creature of a day, whose every mercies of redemption, " for the means of step through the wilderness of life is beset grace, and for the hope of glory." And yet, with thorns and briars, and whose will and my brethren, (suffer the word of affectionate affections are ever inclining him to evil,—can rebuke, as now offered by me who must one he hope to live without prayer—to live, not day give account of your souls), many a in the sense which chains him down to earth heart is cold, and in unison with the lips as a mere mortal, “ without God," and there that seem to move in prayer, but utter not fore" having no hope;" for in this many are its language; when "every tongue should dead even while they live,-but to exist as an consess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory heir of immortality? If such were even pos
of God the Father ;" and many a knee is sible, to what end is it that our divine Teacher otherwise, for ease or convenience' sake, emhath left on record, for the use of his praying ployed, when " at the name of Jesus every people until time shall be no more, that pat- knee should bow, of things in heaven, and tern of words, called after his name, “the things in earth, and things under the earth.” Lord's prayer ?" Why are we enjoined, “ But, beloved, we hope better things of you, “continue instant in prayer,” and “ pray and things that accompany salvation, though without ceasing ?" why assured, on authority we thus speak :" happy are ye, that ye know that might silence the most unbelieving heart, these things ; happier, if ye do them: your that “the effectual fervent prayer of a right- very knowledge of what is right will, if ye eous man availeth much ?" All these are fail, increase your guilt: " for this,” said our taught us, my brethren, to shew that the Saviour, " is the condemnation, that light is Christian is a man of prayer, and that by come into the world, and men love darkness prayer, and for the sake and merits of Him rather than light." “ I speak as to wise men, whose name he bears, all his services ascend judge ye what I say." to God, and all blessings, temporal and spi I pass on now to the first blessing which ritual, are conveyed to him.
St. Paul sought from God for his Ephesian