Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

Voses had to proclaim a temporal deliverance. And if the difficulties now are as great or greater than Moses had to encounter, the words, “ Certainly I will be with thee,'' “I am with thee always,” (Exodus iii. 12, Matthew xxviii. 18), should suffice to scatter all fears, and to fill the heart with hope. Let us think much of the willingness of Him of whom Moses was a type. When He saw before Him all He should have to endure, confident in His resources, anticipating the glorious results, glowing with infinite love, He said, “ Lo, I delight to do Thy will, Oh, my God !" He was faithful to Him that appointed Him, as Moses was faithful in all his house : He is worthy of more glory than Moses (Hebrews iii. 2, 3.) Him, the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, let us evermore attentively consider-in Him con- !i stantly glory-and His self-sacrificing love seek to imitate.

I. C.

Is the Spirit of the Lord Straitened ?"

The movements of the Spirit of God upon the soul of man are, in their outward form, remarkably varied. As “the wind bloweth where it listeth,” from the north, south, east, west, and in each case with different! immediate effects; so, in conversion, the Holy Spirit adopts an endless variety of methods. There are, no doubt, some universal principles according to which He is pleased to work: but these are very unlike the narrow 11 lines we lay down—“My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.":

Man is so limited a being, that a little study of his habits enables us to interpret, and, under given circumstances, to anticipate his conduct. But the infinitude of God enters into all He does, and ever baffles our calculation. The essential principles with which His mighty power associates itself are indeed made clearly known to us; but the particular modes of His operation are so little traceable, that if we ever attempt to limit the divine agency within certain pathways of our making, it may be expected that the Lord will avoid all these human boundaries, on purpose to rebuke our prejudice and to widen our views. Indeed, the entire history of the Holy Spirit's work goes to show that our expectations from Him are never large enough. We form a system in our minds which is too contracted for God; hence, we are frequently surprised and put out of countenance by His wonderful doings.

The recent religious awakenings in Ireland may be taken as illustrations of this remark. According to the statements of the most eminent and most sober-minded men in connexion with the Evangelical churches there, it appears that large numbers of persons have been “ renewed in their minds," as if by miracle, and without any other special agency than that of secret prayer.

These conversions have indeed, in many cases, been associated with physical phenomena of a very startling character, and such as to necessitate the most careful inquiry. But such facts are familiar to all who have read the accounts of former great awakenings, as, for example, those which took place under the preaching of Berridge, Whitfield, and others; and there are traces of the same extraordinary circumstances in some of the conversions narrated in the Acts of the Apostles. Moreover, they do not in the least

a

invalidate the real evidence by which the work of the Spirit is to be ascertained—"the fruits of the Spirit” are the true test.

Where these are seen there can be no room for doubt, and it would be most presumptuous, as well as ungrateful, to deny their testimony.

When brethren, on whose judgement there is every reason to rely, send forth the tidings that many hundreds of souls are, in a way quite out of our usual reckoning, brought under the power of Divine grace, the intelligence should be received by the Church of God with joy and thanksgiving.

Nor is this all. A great lesson, and a most welcome one, comes with the good news. Every case of conversion, however effected, reiterates the appeal—“Is the Spirit of the Lord straitened ?” Are we to limit our expectations of His works within boundaries of our own ? Are we ever to allow past experience to discourage our hope, or check our desire ? Cannot the Spirit give effect to a thousand times as much instrumentality as we have yet employed ? If earnest prayer be addressed to Him, may we not look for His coming any where and every where ?

And is there the shadow of a reason for despair concerning the Jew? Whatever difficulties we may see in the way of his conversion, if we are hopeless of it, do we not deny the very power which, at this moment, the God of grace is displaying before our eyes ? Even a discouraging thought must never be allowed, or we shall be saying, “the Spirit of the Lord is straitened." Manifestly our business is, not only earnest labour and unceasing prayer, but large expectation. Those who speak in a disheartened tone little think how they “grieve the Spirit of God.” Even the fear that He cannot or will not convert men of any race whatever, is an offence in His sight. He is ever at work, where we do not look for Him. He would have us seek Him for all, and look for Him every where.

J. G.

Extract from a Paper on Training of Missionaries,

READ BY THE REV. WILLIAM Clough, The Training Agent of the Country Towns' Mission Society, at the Conference on City and Town Missions, held in Birmingham, in the month of November, 1858.

THERE is a race which a missionary ought never to pass by, to which especial promises are made, and for which especial blessings are in reversion, i.e., the Jews. Of these there are various characters, from worst infidel Jews, through the money-getting and self-righteous, to the devout, awakened, and inquiring Jews.

Some thirty years ago, it was with difficulty that a Jew could be spoken to on religious subjects, for where the Saviour's name was mentioned, his evil language and blasphemies were painful to hear. It is not so now; for, as a rule, he will hear what is said, and at times thank the Christian, taking the effort as well meant. The religious sense of the Jew is also quickened. Thirty years ago, the synagogue service was a performance with but little appearance of devotion; now it is as decently conducted as those held in most places of worship. When opportunity serves, the synagogue is visited, and the agent to be trained is shown the why and the how of the Jewish question.

All intercourse with this people amply recompenses itself in an increased knowledge of the Scriptures. Higher and purer motives call to !! evangelic action on behalf of the Jew: he is a living demonstration of the 1 truth of our faith ; his fathers were the prophets, and our Lord waz a Jew. It is written, “ Blessed is he that blesseth thee, and cursed is he that curseth thee."

Our Missions.

IBRAILA. The following extracts are gathered from Mr. Gellert's correspond

ence:

[ocr errors]

66

When passing the banking-office of Mr.

's sons, whose name I have often mentioned to you, last Saturday, I was accosted by one of them, an amiable youth, who often visits me, expressing his father's, as well as his own, desire to hear our determination about the school, which they constantly expect I will open. One of the clerks, named who used to attend my evening classes, soon joined us. He said,

though my time is too limited to visit you now, as I used to do, nor can I attend your service on the Lord's-day, at present, as I wish to do, yet I diligently read the New Testament,” producing it, at the same time, from his pocket. It was a Hebrew one he had bought from Mr. —, colporteur; and pointing out the description given of the human heart, by the Apostle Paul in his Epistle to the Romans, he observed, "How ture every word recorded here ! It corresponds exactly with our own experience.” Though several Jews were attracted by his reading, he continued in the same way. The Testament has the appearance of being much used by him. I have frequent opportunities of conversing with him on religious matters, and promised to give him a New Testament in German, the offer of which he gladly accepted. He is a man of sincere disposition, and very much affected with Gospel truth.

He lately visited me for the Testament I had promised him. We had a long conversation, and when I asked him what had convinced him that the New Testament had the same authority as the Old, he answered: “The whole of the New Testament seems to have been written by simple-minded, sincere men, who knew of no artifice, but wrote what they saw and knew as their conscience dictated, and this is sufficient conviction for me." Though there are still some difficulties in the way of his becoming

publicly a member of the church of Christ, as he himself expressed it, yet nothing is impossible with God: He alone is able to shew us the excellency which is in the truth of Christ Jesus.

I have lately made the acquaintance of a tradesman, who seems to be well off in his business. He lived for some time in Constantinople, and had the opportunity of hearing the Gospel of Christ preached as the only means of the salvation of our immortal souls, by Mr. Konig and other missionaries. He seems to be a secret reverer of Him, and, indeed, I have seldom met with one who paid so much respect to those who come in His name. In the Pass. over feast, he introduced me to a very wealthy Jew, a friend of his.

I was lately visited by a stranger, who came to Ibraila for the purpose of spending the Passover in this place. He ! told me that he was very glad to hear of a Missionary residing here, and inmediately made inquiries for my dwelling, but in an indirect manner, that the Jews might not take notice of it. He further told me, that it was only a year since he left Jerusalem, where he had resided for time. According to what he says, he earnestly inquiredi into the truth as it is in Jesus, and ! feels deeply interested in it. He named several missionaries he knew, among them Mr. Stern. He attended their prayer-meetings regularly, morning and evening.

" That Jesus is the Messiah and God," said he,"is an unquestionable truth with me, and yet, for the sake of my mother, who lived with me in Jerusalem, I felt I could not there make public confession ; but the Mis. sionaries on leaving said to me, 'I should never be happy without my Saviour, and I must confess, that ever since I have wandered about forlorn and miser. able; therefore, I earnestly desire to

me:

embrace Christianity, and I should wish to do so here, if there were a community of Jewish converts, which, I see, is still wanting in your mission. I will, thereforé, go to Bucharest." He visited me several times, and on every occasion his mind and soul seemed much affected, when we conversed on holy subjects.

I am very gratified to be able to state that Mr.

whom I mentioned to you once before, continues zealously to defend the truth in a most convincing and, at the same time, logical manner, though he has not enjoyed the blessing of a liberal education. Not long ago, he said to several Jews : “If idolators were convinced of the superiority of the true God over all others, and cried out, 'the Lord He is the God, the Lord He is the God, by one single miracle performed by Elijah, why should we not acknowledge the divine authority of Jesus, who, as you allow, performed $0 many and nothing will convince me that he did so by the Devil's power, as He taught å doctrine entirely opposed to that of Satan.” The young man,

continues, thank God, to visit me regularly three or four times a week for instruction, and I have reason to think that he really and earnestly believes in Jesus, though, humanly speaking, he is still far from being determined to confess our precious Saviour publicly.

You will feel interested to hear that

our meeting on the Sabbath is much more numerously attended, and as they learn to know me better, and become more accustomed to the simple and truthful expositions of the Word of God, they seem to take deep interest in it. On Easter Sunday and Monday the place was so crowded that there was no room left. A woman, on leaving, said to

“Sir, I cannot refrain from shedding tears of joy to hear Christ preached again, after having so long been deprived of that invaluable blessing;' and, indeed, tears were fast flowing down her cheeks. On every occasion they express their gratitude that the Lord has brought us into the midst of them.

My unceasing prayer in this country is-Lord, help me to proclaim Thy glorious name to Jews and Gentiles, and even to those who are nominally Protestants ! as the name of the Lord must be afresh preached to them.

The longer we are absent from Eng. land the more painfully do we feel being separated from Christian friends whom we hardly appreciated sufficiently when still in that blessed country, and of whom it may be truly said, that they are followers of Him who went about doing good.

We dedicated a part of our Divine service, on the Sunday previous to the anniversary of our Society, to invoke the Divine blessing on all your proceedings.

NUREMBERG. MR. JAFFÉ gratefully records the following: It falls once more to my happy lot One morning, on leaving my house, I to convey to you intelligence of the saw an individual coming with hasty most cheering and delightful character. steps towards me. When near, I recogTwo more souls from among the lost nised Mr.

whose appearance sheep of the house of Israel have been greatly startled me. To my inquiry added to the redeemed, and are now what brought him here, he replied in a exalting and extolling the richness of deeply agitated tone: “The hour of our the grace and boundlessness of the com- tribulation has at last arrived ; our corpassion, which to them has been so free respondence has been discovered, and and glorious,—which have rescued them shame and reproach await us!" He from woe and destruction, and brought then told me that Mr. -, his companion them into the possession of a peace and in suffering, has had to bear deep and joy, of a delight and satisfaction, which, bitter trials since then; but that he has in their natural state, they neither could stood up and maintained the truth with nor would have. I am now referring a firmness and consistency which daun to my two inquirers, Mr.

ted his very opponents ; and that when whose history I have already all attempts to make him recant failed, given you, and to whom it was my high his relatives decided upon banishing privilege and pleasure to administer, him from under their roof. “But," conon the 16th inst., the holy rite of bap- tinued Mr. -, "I will not leave him ; tism. I shall briefly relate to you some his youth, his faith, and his sincerity of the circumstances which attended have linked my soul to his, and if we that important event.

are to become banished ones, we will

and

[ocr errors]

cheer and encourage each other under it. Mr. then earnestly urged me that, as they don't know how soon they may have to leave, and as they feel anxious to confess their attachment to the Saviour before they go, that I should appoint a day for their baptism. Thinking that, under these circumstances, delay might prove dangerous, we agreed upon the place where, and the date when, the solemn rite should take place. But a few days after Mr. —'s return, I received a letter from him, stating, that he finds that they will be obliged to leave much sooner than they had anticipated ; and that I should, for the love of Christ, come without delay, and administer the ordinance. As their baptism was as yet to remain a secret, I appointed them to meet me at a place a few miles distant from their native town ; and, accordingly, on the 16th of this month, the happy and never-to-beforgotten meeting took place. Our assembly was small, but, I believe, the presence and power of God was felt by every one, and each felt happy in the exalted privilege of witnessing the solemn scene. I read the 12th chapter of Paul's Epistle to the Hebrews, and then we knelt down to prayer. This ended, I addressed them from the first part of the 7th verse of the 2nd chapter of the first epistle of Peter ; showing what their state is by nature-a state of depravity, guilt, and utter hopelessness, and what it is by grace,-a state of pardon, peace, and reconciliation. He

was now made precious to them, who
before was taunted, reviled,and scorned ;
and He who formerly was regarded as
a vain pretender, has now become the
groundstone of their hope and rejoicing.
To the questions I put to them, respect-
ing their faith in, and love to, a cruci.
fied Redeemer, they gave clear, distinct,
and highly satisfactory answers, upon
which I baptised them, in the name of
the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, one
Triune-Jehovah; and then commended
them once more in prayer to the gra-
cious care and guidance of our covenant-
keeping God. The scene was, through.
out, solemn and impressive, but none
felt the deep solemnity of it more than
our two brothers, who gave vent to their
feeling in frequent sobs and heavy tears.
A dark future was before them, but
they accepted God's appointed way
with cheerful and resigned hearts. And
what though father and mother may
forsake them, have they not a Friend on
high whose love and tenderness knows
no bounds, and who has pledged Himself !
to be their succourer and supporter
throughout life's dreary journey? Yes!
they felt it and sincerely believed it,
and hence their readiness to commit
their all into His hands. Let Christians
rejoice that two more souls of the woe-
stricken race of Israel have been brought
back to the Captain of our salvation,
and let them be encouraged to pray ye:
more fervently, and labour yet more :
earnestly, for the recovery of God's an-
cient people.

KONIGSBERG, MR. JACOBI's narrative presents an interesting instance of the candour of a Jewish friend, and of the influence of Christian character :

In my last report I mentioned the yet that Christ is to be placed far above case of a Jewish physician, Mr. — Moses, although he believes Moses to and said that he belongs to those who have been a true and faithful servant of are not disinclined towards Christianity, God, firm as a rock in sufferings and and who are not far from the kingdom temptations. I quoted to him 2 Cor. of heaven. According to promise, I iii. 7. The way in which Dr. spent the “Purim with him, and discussed with me on this and really enjoyed his conversation. He other passages of Scriptures gave me assured me that he read the tract, sufficient proofs that he must have dili“Writings of the Rabbi Augusti, gently perused the New Testament. which I had given him, and that the Among other things, he mentioned the little tract has confirmed in him the harsh way in which the Saviour dealt conviction that Christianity does con- , with the Canaanitish woman. I showed tain deep-founded truths. He has been him that Christ, the searcher of the alienated from Judaism more than heart, saw in the woman a little faith, twenty years, and although he has not and willing to raise that little to a great yet arrived at the conviction that Jesus flame, He employed this means. He did is the Son of God,--and therefore can- not send her away empty, after all, for not recoggise and adore Him as such, | at the end of the narrative we read:

« EdellinenJatka »