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what we find in Palfrey's History, and elsewhere, we should think the glow of the last passage needs toning down ; yet, after all, it is clear that amidst early troubles the little canoe-like State managed to right itself amidst stormy waters ; and certainly, looking from first to last, it has made “ a prosperous voyage by the will of God.”
It is a curious thing, that the founder of Providence and Rhode Island State should have held office in the community only for a short time. He was Governor in 1656 and 1657. He was assistant in 1664 and 1670. Yet Providence was settled in 1643, and Williams did not die till 1683. He could therefore have exercised but little official control over his much-loved commonwealth : though in great emergencies, as when a charter was needed, and matters in England had to be settled, he certainly took a very promi. nent and useful part. Also in the midst of Indian troubles, as we shall notice hereafter, he was a great benefactor to the State. His religious and ecclesiastical, like his political career, was curious. He had been a pastor at Salem, and there, as at Plymouth, had been nominally Congregational ; but a predilection for Anabaptist views had appeared in this versatile person before he left the pilgrim colony. In 1639 he established a Baptist Church at Providence-the first of that denomination in the United States—but he did not continue pastor beyond a few months; and when he ministered, it was in no public edifice, but in a private room, as in Abbott's House, or, in fine weather, under the shade of a tree. He came speedily to distrust what are commonly called outward ordinances, and to question the authority of all ecclesiastical organisations. He had no sympathy with any denominations, whether Baptist or Congregational, Presbyterian or Episcopalian. He held controversy with the Quakers, and challenged George Fox. In short, he adopted ideas resembling those of our Plymouth Brethren, yet going beyond them in his extravagant individuality. For “he set himself upon a way of seeking (with two or three of those that had dissented with him) by way of preaching and praying; and with these he continued a year or two, till two of the three left him."
Free from office in the State, and from all the responsibilities of a pastoral career, he appears to have been occupied as an Indian trader, or a colonial agriculturalist-only to supply his own necessities, not to accumulate wealth, which was ever an object the furthest from his thoughts.
"What can I do?"
" “What can I do?” asked M., adding, “I am a poor, feeble, erring creature. I know nothing aright till I am taught of God. I find my strength to be perfect weakness. My wisdom is folly. I make many mistakes. When I would do good, evil is present with me.”
Now, dear M., let me say a few plain things for your guidance and encouragement. It is true that, if you are left to yourself, you are as
weak as water. But God's plan is to make the feeble like David, and the house of David as the angel of God. Think as little of yourself as the truth will allow, and yet say, “Surely, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength.” Look away from yourself. You have no doubt often trusted in yourself in a foolish and sinful way, forgetting that “even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fail, but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles ; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” We cannot be too much emptied of self; we cannot too confidingly trust in the Lord.
A just sense of your weakness, therefore, so far from being a disqualification for usefulness, is really a preparation for it. “When I am weak, then am I strong,” is true of the people of God in all their ways and duties.
Let me advise you never to put yourself in a state either of indifference or of hostility to any good work or plan. It is impossible for every man to give effective aid in every enterprise. But let him not discourage or hinder others, who can push it forward.
Be careful, too, lest, while you are doing nothing good, you are doing something wrong. Some good people do a world of mischief. They display such carnal affections, are so much like men of the world, practise so little prudence, so often allow their good to be evil spoken of, and manifest such want of tenderness of conscience, that they give great occasions to the enemy to speak reproachfully.
If you would be useful on a large scale, take these hints :
1. Whatever your hand findeth to do, do it with your might. Pursue no good thing with languor. Feeble exertions court opposition and create embarrassments.
2. Believe assuredly that God can and will bestow a blessing on right plans rightly conducted. Be not faithless. Take God at His word. It is never relied on in vain.
3. Be patient and not fretful and restless. The husbandman hath long patience and waiteth for the precious fruits of the earth. Many a scheme cannot be executed in a day or a nionth. If a man would raise a forest of oaks, he must not expect to see his desires fully accomplished in even one long lifetime. Let us sow seed.
Let us plant acorns.
4. Do not try to control Providence, but find out and conform yourself to its plans. Men may sometimes dream of making water run upwards, but they never succeed. “ Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate."
5. Be not easily discouraged. Hope on. Hope ever.
experienced labourer says that he has frequently seen the happiest results flowing from labours performed under the greatest discouragements. Many have said as much. Look not much at discouragements.
6. Pray much. “To pray frequently is to pray fervently." Pitch your tent hard by the mercy-seat. Pray without ceasing. Never be at ease in Zion. “The voice that rolls the stars along spake all the promises.” Plead them before God. Adopt the language of one of old: “I will not let Thee go except Thou bless me.”
7. Enlist, so far as you can, the progress and co-operation of others, especially of humble good people. Waiting on the great for help and patronage is very tedious and discouraging. Hardly anything is more so. People of good sense and ardent piety, in the middle walks of life, are commonly the best coadjutors.
8. Having done your best, cast yourself and your endeavours wholly on God's great mercy in Christ Jesus. Seek to have yourself and your labours washed in atoning blood. Freely admit that you are nothing,
. that you deserve nothing, and that all you dare to hope to be and to obtain, is wholly through God's sovereign grace. Be humble.
W. S. PLUMER.
Escape from the Sack of Magdeburg.
(TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN.) The fall of Magdeburg, in 1631, was one of the sorest distresses to the Protestant cause, and one of the most cruel massacres on record. The forces of the Catholic League, under Tilly, numbering about 40,000, beseiged the place. It was defended by the noble Falkenberg, a field-marshal of the heroic Gustavus Adolphus, who himself was hastening forward to save the place. There were but some 5,000 armed men within the city, yet they held out bravely till, suddenly, Tilly stormed the walls with success. Falkenberg was slain. The place was given to free plunder and license of the victorious soldiery. Some 20,000 of the citizens were missing, of whom about 7,000 were found dead in the Elbe. Fifty persons, chiefly women, were butchered in the cathedral where they sought refuge. Many virgins sought death to escape a worse fate. Gustavus Adolphus felt bitterly this surprise, and justly blamed the Saxon and Brandenburg princes, who made no effort to prevent it.
A lively picture of hair-breadth escape from these tragic scenes is left by Christopher Thodanus, second pastor of the Church of Catharine, in Magdeburg, which was then a thoroughly Protestant city. The words of Thodanus are as follows :
“ After I had preached my visual weekday sermon, on Tuesday, the 10th May, 1631, and was returning home, some people from the parsonage of St. Jacob brought me the fearful news that the enemy was now on the wall and in the city.'
“ We were much excited and alarmed, but at first could not believe the tidings which, alas ! soon proved but too true. Full of anxiety, I left my house open, and went with my wife and maid to my colleague-the senior pastor of St. Catharine-Malfius.
'I could not remain here long, for I was summoned to visit one of the officers on our side, who lay grievously wounded at the hotel of “the Long Neck. My wife entreated me most sadly not to leave her, but it was impossible to neglect the sacred duties of my office. I went with a heart full of wretchedness, and with a presentiment that we should see each other Do more in this life.
“ In the open street I was surrounded by many ladies and girls, whe anxiously asked me what they should do. I could give them no other advice than to make their refuge in prayer to God.
“ Amid this confusion, my wife and the maid came to me into the room of the hotel. She dragged me forcibly out of the chamber, which was full of soldiers' weapons, and before whose windows the foe were pouring a fire so hot that it was quite filled with smoke.
“We went into the yard behind, and entered a shed for refuge. Scarcely had we secured ourselves there, when the Catholic soldiers beat loud on the bolted door. At the command of the hotel-keeper we had to open, and in rushed the armed force.
“ They at once demanded of me money. I had a small bag with six or seven thalers in it, and this I gave up to one of them. But as there was no gold in it, he was enraged. Yet he heard my excuses, took the silver, and departed.
"Meantime everything in the house was searched and spoiled. Among the soldiers was a young man who appeared not to be unfeeling, and my wife implored him, for God's sake, to protect us.
“ The first anxiety was now over, and we flattered ourselves with the hope that now all peril was past. But we deceived ourselves. A fresh company soon arrived, again requiring of us money. We satisfied them with two thalers and two silver spoons, which our maid had hidden. Others followed them, of whom one was a truculent fellow, and carried two nuskets, while from his mouth, full of bullets, his hoarse voice stammered, ‘Parson, give money-give money, parson.' I told him the impossibility, as I did not belong to this house.
“ The man persisted that he must have gold and silver from us. My wife at last cut away the silver hooks froin her upper dress, and gave them to him. Another clamoured for money, and I found in my pocket three old Bohemian groschen. I assured him I had no more. He seemed to believe my words, and left us.
" To escape further visits and demands we resolved to leave this room, and seek safety in the higher storey of the inn. Here we were safe for some time. But, oh God! how great was our fear and deadly anguish at the horrid shouts of the soldiers in the streets, the shrieks of the townsfolk, and, in the lower rooms below us, the sound of murderous violence. There was some comfort amid it all to hear our own German language spoken by
“When all was destroyed in the lower rooms, the soldiers began to ascend to us. We placed ourselves by the stairs that they might see us at
One of the first company would have struck me to the ground with a great pointed club, but his comrade stayed his hand, saying, “What are you doing? Do you see that he is a preacher ?' This remonstrance so worked that he changed his mind and went away.
Scarcely had he gone, when another came running up the stairs with a naked sword in his hand, and fearfully wounded me on the head, and with passionate threats demanded money. Because my wife loudly complained of the injuries done to me, he would have made her feel his resentment, and would have thrust her through, only his sword slipped aside. I was bleeding fast, and my white surplice, as well as my robe, was full of blood. This, combined with our patience, seemed to affect this man.
I took the opportunity to tell him the purpose which brought me to the house, and to pray him to go with us to our own home, where we would give him all we had. He accepted my offer, and said to me, in broken German, 'Well, then, come along, parson. Give me money, I will tell you the pass-wordand the word is “Jesus Maria"-only say that, and the soldiers will leave you alone.' My wife held by his cloak, and so we went forth again together.
“ When we reached our house, we found it full of soldiers, who were busy at plunder. At the officer's order they at once quitted it, and to preserve us from further molestation he gave us two of his bodyguard as a watch, and told my wife to attend to my wounds. He left us with a promise to return soon.
“Meanwhile we remained safe, and as the watch told us that their comrades were making rich booty while they stood idle at our door, we gave them each two rosenobles, which quite satisfied them.
“Our protector returned soon, as he had promised, though he went away again to take measures for extinguishing the fire, which was gaining ground. He was scarcely gone, when he came back, and said to my wife, 'Lady, take my horse's bridle, and your husband's hand, and lead me out of the city, or we shall all be burnt,' for the fire was spreading mightily on every side. We saw the black smoke rising just behind our church.
“My wife led the captain's horse by the bridle, and because all the city gates were amid the fire, we took our way to the fishermen's bank of the river. It was a terrible journey.
“At last we came along by the high bulwark of the city, which, steep as it was, we had to descend, and so we arrived at the enemy's camp.
“As we passed through the camp we received much abuse and ridicule from the soldiers. Only one officer said to me, in Latin, 'I feel for you ;