ePub 版

imparted, are utterly incapable of receiving the things which are of God; and though they may have the form, and semblance, and exterior deportment of converted men, thus making a part of the visible Church on earth, yet, having eyes they see not, and having ears they hear not, neither can they understand. It is generally acknowledged, that the work of regeneration is momentary, while the succeeding operations of the Spirit are understood to be gradual. This blessed Spirit begins his work in the souls of the elect by communicating to them a new life, which it carries on by convincing them of sin, showing to them how the Father has been reconciled to them through the Son, and how they are washed, sanctified, and justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Cor. vi. 11.) In this manner, by the power of the Spirit, the renewed soul is prepared for the reception of Christ, being made to apprehend his love and that of the Father, and as ardently to desire communion with both as the new-born babe desires the milk which is provided for him in the breast of his mother.

"Thus, as I have before said," continued Mr. Eliot, "the work of man's conversion and sanctification is begun, carried on, and completed by the Lord the Spirit: and though the ministry of man may be sometimes used in the work, yet is such ministry so utterly inadequate to the end intended, and its insufficiency is so frequently made to appear, that there can be no room whatever, in my opinion, for the most successful writer, teacher, or preacher, to take any credit to himself; and I have little doubt but that the influences of the Spirit are generally withheld in all cases in which man by his arrogance thus endeavours to deprive the Lord Jehovah of the honours due unto his name, and makes other gods unto himself; for_the_Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God; (Exodus xxxiv. 14.) neither can we expect that he will patiently endure the idolatries of man."

By this time, the two gentlemen having arrived at the suburbs of the town, the busy hum of the place prevented further conversation.

When Mr. Eliot entered his cousins' parlour, he found them preparing for supper; and supposing him to be

those extraordinary sentiments which they said prevented their cousin from becoming an eminent Christian character, and a shining light in the country, the Almighty decided the point, and proved to those who were inclined to see, this his chosen one had done well in re-. jecting human praise, and pursuing with simplicity that course of life in which he was best able to preserve the calmness of his mind, and that state of heart in which a man would wish to be found at the approach of death.

At the beginning of the second winter of his residence in England, he was seized by an inflammatory complaint on the lungs, which terminated his life in a few days. He died in the arms of George Phillips, while Mr. Sandford was offering a prayer by his bed-side. "My father! my father!" said Mr. Sandford, as he closed the eyes of the departed saint; "my father! my father! O that a part of thy humble and holy spirit may rest upon me, and that henceforward I may be raised as high above the desire of human praise as thou wert." George Phillips earnestly united in this prayer on his own behalf.

The large property which had belonged to this gentle man, was appropriated, by a will made soon after his arrival in England, to the use of his flock in India, and of the poor in the town and neighbourhood where he then resided; Mr. Sandford and Mr. George Phillips being appointed as trustees; with the reserve of such a sum for the use of the Misses Clinton, as rather more than compensated for the liberal allowance made for his lodging and boarding. It was supposed that he would have left them more, had he not been fearful of ministering thereby to that worldly spirit which he had so often combated in these his only remaining relations. James Trowers was the only poor person belonging to the neighbourhood mentioned by name in Mr. Eliot's will.

Mr. James Eliot is remembered with the tenderest affection to this day in the town in which he died; and the two ministers who were present at his death have given evidence that the pious conversation of this godly man, and the sweet simplicity of his spirit, were rendered peculiarly beneficial to them; the Holy Spirit having vouchsafed to make use of this Christian stranger for their growth in grace, and especially for their more con

[ocr errors]

scientious adherence to the commandment-"Thou shalt have no other gods but me."

The lady of the manor having finished this story, and finding that the allotted interval for these evening exercises had expired, called the young people to prayer; after which, they all returned to their respective homes, meditating and conversing by the way on that which they had heard.

A Prayer to be enabled to keep the First

“O ALMIGHTY and BLESSED LORD GOD, who art the only Creator and Ruler of all things, and in whom we live, and move, and have our being, we beseech thee to give us such a view of the spiritual nature of the commandment, 'Thou shalt have no other gods but me,' that we may tremble at the idea of departing the smallest degree from this holy rule, either by making gods of our fellow creatures, or seeking that praise and honour for ourselves which is due only unto thee. Thou hast spoken of thyself, O Lord, as being jealous for thy holy name; and we know that thou only art worthy of praise; that thou art the first cause of all that is good, of all that is excellent, of all that is commendable on earth. We know also, that when one man is made to differ from another, it is through thy mercy and the blessed effect of superabounding grace; not according to his works or deservings, but according to thy free and sovereign pleasure. Nevertheless, we blindly look to second causes, and lead others to do the same; sometimes setting up ourselves as idols for others, and sometimes making gods of our fellow men. O Lord, we confess and bewail this our grievous offence, very earnestly entreating thee to give us grace henceforward, neither to covet for ourselves the commendations of our fellow creatures, nor to mislead our brethren by our flatteries; since thou, O Lord, alone art worthy the praise of all thy creaturesfor thou only art holy-thou only art just-thou only art good. Shed thy Holy Spirit abroad in our hearts.

and we will show forth thy praise. O Lord our God, other lords besides thee have had dominion over us; but by thee only will we make mention of thy name. Thou art the God who hast revealed thyself, through thy Son, the God of mercy, the one only and true God. In thee alone therefore, will we place our trust, upon thee alone, will we build our hope, and unto thee alone shall our tribute of homage and adoration be paid without ceasing.

"And now to God the Father," &c.

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« 上一頁繼續 »