ePub 版

Mr. Forster's was a mind of no ordinary cast; there was something singu. larly bold and original in his conceptions, the most trite and common subjects acquired from his peculiar manner of presenting them, all the interest and grace of povelty; to this it was doubtless in a great measure to be ascribed, that his public discourses took generally so deep a hold on the attention of his audience. Mr. Forster had no model-his views were bis own ; though they might often be the same that others had taken before himwith him they were original and self-derived. He took bis impressions of truth and duty from no man upon trust: he examined every thing for himself; it was nothing to him what had beeu the faith or the practice of others ; he acted under an habitual and deep sense of his own personal responsibility for his opinions and his conduct; and every thing was, with him, subjected to the test of rigid and unbending principle; yet there was nothing of obstinacy, of doginatisin or self-sufficiency in his temper. No man listened with more patience or docility, to argument, froin whatever quarter; no man could be more free froin the folly of a pertinacious adherence to bis own opinion, merely because it was his own. Of him, if of any man that ever lived, it inight safely be affirmed, that he was a sincere lover of truth, and to the pursuit of this, he devoted himself with an ardour and singleness of heart, which have seldom been equalled. Of the right of private judg. ment and free enquiry, in matters of faith, he was a firm and steady asserter. He considered this the fundamental and primary article in that liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and no earthly considerations could induce him to concede this right, or forego its exercise for a moment; and he was as delicate and cautious of encroaching on tbis right in others, as he was resolute in maintaining it for himself.

As a Minister of the Gospel, his qualifications were of the highest order. His moral feelings were pure, elevated. discriminating, delicate, consis. tent; his piety was rational, deep, heart-felt, operative-it moulded his whole character, and gave the tone and teoss to the whole course of bis life and conversation. His views of the divine character and government, were liberal, consoling and delightful; he seemed habitually to regard the Deity as the Father of the l'niverse, with sentiments of the deepest reverence and humility-yet joyons, confiding. filial. He delighted to contemnplate in the events of life in all the ininute, as well as more important concerns of inen, the operations of a wise and bepificent Providence, s from seeming evil still educing good." This contemplation was to him an unfailing source of consolation and support, in circumstances trying and afflictive, in no ordinary degree.

His public discourses were serious, practical, and impressive. He dwelt much on the peculiar character of the gospel dispensation ; on the purity, excellence, consistency and practicableness of its morality; on the importance of the truths it reveals, the solemn and powerful inonitions it presents, and the glorious prospect it opens to the pure and upright in heart. He strongly insisted ou the necessity of vital piety and practical godliness; and the utter worthlessness of all speculations, principles, and professions, unaccompanied by these. To the commands and esample of Jesus his hearers were constantly referred, for the standard of their faith, and the pattern of their conduct.

TO CORRESPONDENTS. A Communication through the Post-Office, respecting “ Two Articles of Professor Stuart's Creed," has been received, but is necessarily laid by for the present

We regret that we have not mom for L. C. He will perceive that the department, in which his Communication should be inserted, has been unavoidably straitenel. "The account of the St. Thoine Christians . ' " To Farmers :" " Euscbia :" shall have early attention. " Vimor" is received and has our thanks. We shall be glad to avail ourselves, as occasion may offer, of his hints. He may perceive from the aspect of the present number that some of his apprebeusians are groundless We do not mean to be unfaithful to our friends at home or abroad.

Several Obituary Notices are omitted for want of root.




For March and April, 1820.



The winter is now over, and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.” He, who openeth his hand and filleth all things with plenteousness, is renewing the face of the earth. “The earth, by an annual miracle, rises again, as from her grave, in life and beauty.” All things invite your adoration. The sun with its increasing heat, gently smiles upon that infant creation, which it has so lately warmed into being, presenting a striking emblem of the God, whose presence is the light of the universe, and whose smile is the happiness of his children. Let us remark upon the similitude. First, its light, or lustre. You can hardly wonder that the heathen, who worshipped the sun, should mistake so fair a copy for the bright original. Its light reveals all that you see. Without it, creation around you would be blank and lifeless; and that which is now so fresh and fair, would be covered in an undistinguished gloom. No plains would be seen dressed with flowers; no fields waving with the harvest; no guide in your walks; no comfort in your lives. With it, every thing is grand and beautiful. Remember then, when you go abroad, that the glory, and greatness of the Almighty are no less conspicuous. The heavens declare his glory, and the firmament sheweth forth his handy work. His praise is written as with a sunbeam upon every object in nature. Not a wave rolls in the ocean; not a plant shoots up in the wilderness ; not a star twinkles in the sky, which does not declare his greatness. It is he who has bowed the heavens, and come down in the revelation of his Son; made a clear discovery of New Series-vol. II.


your duty; become a light to your feet, a guide to your steps through this world of danger, and, at last, illuminated the grave you so much dread, with the light of immortality you so much desire. We next speak of the agency of the sun.

In the season that is approaching, you will be constant witnesses of this agency. The powers of nature would slumber forever, was not this great enlivening principle appointed to awaken them into action. There is nothing hid from its heat. But should it be withheld, the utmost ruin would ensue; the trees would no longer put forth their leaves; the grass would no longer clothe the ground, and the earth no longer furnish out its stores for your support. The animal, as well as the vegetable kingdom, would die; for “no longer would the fig tree blossom, nor fruit be in the vine; the labour of the olive would fail, and the fields would yield no meat; the flocks would be cut off from the folds, and there would be no herd in the stalls." But with it, none of these evilo need be feared. All is flourishing and full. Its all pervading efficacy is felt every hour, from the first opening bud in spring, to the last ripening fruit in autumn. So, be it remembered, do the all-supporting power, and the all-encircling goodness of God, uphold and enliven all that he has made. Every display of excellence, and every richness of bounty, every effort of the mind, and every affection of the heart, are to be referred to him, as their first source, and moving cause. Every thing is full of him. All motion, and life, and happiness are but the effects of his universal agency. “In him we live, and move, and have our being."

We would ask you to notice next, that the sun diffuses a general, equal influence. No one of you gets more than your neighbour; there is no partiality in its distributions. To every distance, in every direction, it sends its invigorating beams. It does not select one field, and pour all its genial warmth upon that, making it rich and fruitful; and leave the next to the continual chill of winter. No; it causes the seed to spring up, the leaves to put forth, and the fruit to ripen in your neighbour's ground, as in your own. Every spot, and every region about you, has a proportionate share, and feels its permanent efficacy. It may produce greater effects in one place than in another, according to varying circumstances; yet its influence, so far as it regards itself, is not momentary, is not partial; but steady, equal, general. So it is with God. Your heavenly Father looks equally upon all his children, and looks in mercy too. The influences of his spirit, are steady, equal, general. As you can hide yourselves from the light of the sun, so you may bide your

selves from the kind influences of God's grace. The fault here lies with yourself alone. God is equally every where, and every where good ; always ready to bless, when you would ask a blessing. Should you, in faith, ascend into heaven, you would find him there, and find him merciful. Should you take the wings of the morning, and fly to the uttermost parts of the earth, you would find him there, and find him merciful. He has caused the sun of righteousness to arise, and its gracious influences are unconfined. It does not elect one of you, and pour all its benignant power upon you alone, leaving your neighbour without a ray of its glory. No. You have it in common with others. It is given to shine upon one as it does upon another. Eảch one can feel its energy. Each one may be cheered by its warmth through the pilgrimage of life, and each be guided by its light to the very gate of heaven.

The last similitude we shall mention, is the cheerfulness brought by the sun. What more joyous than to see

the morning spread upon the mountains ??) to see the solitary place made glad, and the desert made to rejoice? The sun seems to bring glad tidings.” Every voice speaks gratitude; every eye sparkles with delight, and every heart expands with benevolence. You, who are amidst the glories of creation, let these scenes awaken your minds to thought, and make your souls happy. May you remember, that the general joy around you is but a faint testimony of the goodness and love of God. A goodness, and a love, which pervade things you cannot see, and which flow on forever. A goodness, which all this rich eloquence of nature cannot show forth, which man's utmost powers cannot estimate, which the heaven of heavens cannot contain, which began with his being, and which will be consummate with his immortality.




In the beginning of the sixteenth century, the Portuguese adventurers, enthusiastic to extend their military glory and propagate their religious faith, discovered a body of Christians near the Malabar coast. They were retired within the mountains, withdrawn from intercourse, for a long time, with any Christian nation; exhibiting a distinct, original character, and quietly enjoying peculiar civil and religious privileges. This singular pen

ple were rich and happy; amounting in number to one hundred and fifty thousand, and possessing one hundred and ten churches, built after the manner of those in Judea, in the days of the apostles. In these, they regularly worshipped the God of their fathers with the spirit of faith, in gratitude and in Christian obedience. They appeared to reverence God and love one another. Here, then, seemed to be pure Christianity. All traditions and all the Malabar records agree, that these Christians had been known and settled there long before either the Arabs or the Jews; and they yet use the Syrian or Chaldee langırage in their religious offices. Their records carry us back to four hundred and twenty years after Christ. The rest is uncertain. There was a tradition, that St. Thomas the apostle was the founder of this sect; as he preached, they say, in India, and suffered martyrdom at Maliapoor, now St. Thome. They were governed by a patriarch, or elder, or, as we will call him, a bishop, who was always styled Mar Thomé, when chosen to this high station, in compliment to that person, who is said to have been their great founder, and first chief, or bishop. This bishop was strictly obeyed in civil and ecclesiastical matters, being a person distinguished for learning and goodness. In civil cases he appointed arbitrators or judges, whose decision was final; but they never condemned any brother to death. They were remarkable for neatness and abstinence. Their weddings were celebrated with great profusion and show. Husbandry was their principal occupation. Their attachment to the Sacred Scriptures was astonishing, for they believed they had them as they came from the hands of the apostles.

This was the happy situation of this favoured people, at the arrival of the Portuguese in India. The exultation of these visitors at the discovery of the St. Thomé Christians,was momentary ; for they found that they did not acknowledge the supremacy of the Pope of Rome! This was enough, if nothing more, to rouse the resentment of bigoted invaders. Every resourse was exhausted to reclaim these forlorn sons to the bosom of the church of Rome. Mild and conciliatory means, however, proved fruitless, and never would they have succeeded, so steadfast did the St. Thomé Christians adhere to their faith, unless open force had been employed. Their ruling Bishop, Joseph, [Mar Thomé] living in one of their villages, called Angamalee, being induced neither by bribes nor menaces to acknowledge the Pope, was seized and sent to Rome. The St. Thomé Christians soon obtained another, Abraham. Joseph, by some means, persuaded his accusers, that he had come over to their faith, and was accordingly sent back; but on his return declared his adherence to his for

« 上一頁繼續 »