« PreviousContinue »
self with the joys and sorrows of his date the same sentiments are flock. The widow and the orphan pressed, but more strongly :
sure of his sympathy. For “ The atonement of Christ is all them he ever prayed most touchingly. my hope. In every relation of life, He had not the means to relieve the I have sinned. I have failed in wants of others, but he had kind every duty, and I know and feel friends who, trusting to his judg. myself to be a guilty sinner: and ment, committed large portions of my only hope for mercy is what their substance to his care, and from Christ has done. On the ground of these it was his joy to help the that, and that only, I look for mercy widows and the poor.
and eternal life." In the Sabbath-school connected Mr. Leslie loved and studied the with his church he took a deep in
Bible most thoroughly.
He liked to terest. It was his custom to go have it read through regularly in his there every
Sabbath afternoon and family, and it was his endeavour to read open the proceedings with prayer, it through in this manner once a year. After the prayer he used to go round The Bible settled every question with to the different classes, noticing the him. Family worship he most rechildren, and saying a kind word to gularly maintained; indeed, his each. He felt very much when children would have thought it as children were about to be sepa
possible to go without their daily rated from their parents, and his meals as without the daily worship. prayers for them were very tender He thought it right that every and earnest. Doubtless
member of the family should be of them listened with moistened present, unless prevented by sickeyes, and even now remember how
The verses of the chapter were Mr. Leslie prayed for them.
read in turn by all present. To III. The Christian man.
prevent weariness, he was never long : Mr. Leslie never liked to say any
and in the evenings he always had
worship early, so that his children, thing about his own experience. He did not keep a diary, as he thought be present and not be sleepy.
even while very young, might always it very difficult, indeed almost im
Mr. Leslie was a
man of much possible, to be thoroughly honest in
fervent prayer. From things he writing a record of spiritual exer- occasionally said, we have reason to cises. But all his life was that of a
believe that he kept a list of the thorough man of God. He had
members of his church and his own lofty views of the holiness of God, personal friends, and that he had consequently he had very low views
regular days on which he prayed for of himself. The atonement of Christ
them by name. A copy
of Clark was his only hope, as he often touch
on the Promises " always lay on his ingly said. In a will written by
table that he might have the promises him during his residence in Calcutta,
at hand to plead in prayer. this passage occurs :
Mr. Leslie ever lived with the “ And lastly, I hereby declare, that prospect of death before him. This the atonement of the Lord Jesus was gathered from his daily prayers Christ, the great God, even our Saviour, and also from his practice of arrangis the only
ground of my hope for the ing his papers and putting his affairs pardon of sin, and for admission in order before leaving home on any after death into the abode of the journey. He had suffered so severely spirits made perfect.”
from the suddenness of his first beAnd in a similar paper of a later reavement, that he seemed afraid lest he should be similarly overtaken one of these special favourites. again. It was therefore his custom, Latin he had studied with great care, and one which he recommended from and French, Italian, and German he the pulpit, to look forward to the knew something of. He loved to impart probability of bereavements. Thus, these his accomplishments to others. when any of his family were ill, he He had a large library and it was very anticipated the possibility of a fatal saddening to see him during his last termination, and prepared himself years stand and look wistfully at his for it by prayer, and was also anxious books. The power of reading them that his family should be similarly with understanding had gone. prepared for God's righteous will. His tastes and habits were very
In his principles, Mr. Leslie was simple. It was difficult to know very firm and uncompromising, both what to give him or do for him. as a Dissenter and a Baptist. Yet When asked what he would like, he he was no bigot. He loved all who would say, "I want nothing: I have loved the Lord Jesus. He did not everything." He used to rise early associate much with those of other
and retire early. He disliked late denominations in Calcutta, but it hours, as they unfitted him for his was not because he did not love work, and whenever he went anythem. He felt that his Church was where to spend the evening, he was his first care, and he did not wish sure to ask for the Bible at nine to get himself involved in frequent o'clock that he might have worship committee meetings, &c., which and leave. would interfere with his pulpit pre- To the natives . he was uniformly parations.
kind and respectful, never receiving Mr. Leslie had a peculiarly refined any little attention even from his and sensitive mind. His attach- servants without kindly recognition. ments were very strong. He loved It was touching to see the numbers to give pleasure to others. Of little of natives who stood on each side of children he was very fond. He the road while the funeral passed, had his little favourites, whom he watching it with sorrowful interest. used to watch for in his daily walks, Thus all through the days of and great was his delight when he health and vigour he was engaged baw them smile at his approach. in doing the will of God; the days
Had Mr. Leslie not consecrated of darkness and silence saw him bearhis life to the service of Christ, he ing the will of God; and now that he would doubtless have taken a high has passed out of our sight, we are position as a scholar. The study of glad to think that the service is rethe classical writers was a passion sumed, and that from the temple of with him. Greek he never wearied our God he will go no more out.of reading, and there were some Abridged from the Calcutta Christian authors he read and re-read with Spectator. ever fresh delight. Herodotus was
Che Spirit Quenched.
A SERMON BY THE REV. JAMES MARTIN, B.A.,
“Quench not the Spirit.”—1 Thess, v. 19. O man could have greater con. yond the reach of human enmity to
indestructible might of the Spirit of of human friendship to foster and God than the Apostle Paul. All sustain, but the energy and might of his heroic boldness in the face of his the Spirit's work cannot be so remany foes, his firmness against the sisted by man as to be ultimately Jew, and his confidence and courage unsuccessful. Not, indeed, that no against the Greek, sprang not out men can put it from them (I have of the natural daring and superior no such notion of irresistible grace wisdom which he unquestionably pos- as this), but that no human power sessed, but out of his implicit re- can really put out the light, or preliance on the Spirit of God. Though vent the ultimate triumph of the other men might think “ his bodily truth. presence weak and his speech con- The reference in the text can only temptible,” yet "strong in the Lord," be to certain kinds of suppression, he cared not, though all the powers
that are within the power even of the of earth and air were ranged on one Church itself. And there can be no side, bolstered up by the wisdom of doubt, I think, that the Apostle's human philosophy and backed by the primary allusion is to those peculiar fiercest fires of persecution, if only modes in which the Spirit so frehe could be sure that on the other quently manifested its power in the side there was the Spirit of the early Church. So that, to underLiving God. “Greater is He that is stand the real meaning of the words, for us than all they that be against and at the same time to see clearly “ The weapons of our warfare their bearing upon ourselves, it will
mighty through God be necessary to trace out as distinctly to the pulling down of strongholds." as possible the marked diversity and
But this renders it the more yet essential unity between the work strange that he should write as he of the Spirit in the days of the does here. Could that bright light, Apostles and the work of the same then, be extinguished, that fire be Spirit in our own. quenched, and the all-subduing be I shall simply arrange what I have itself subdued ? In what sense are
to say upon the subject under these we to understand these words; and two heads :where does the danger lie against I. THE POSSESSION OF THE SPIRIT which we are exhorted to be upon
THE PERPETUAL DISTINCTION our guard ?
OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH. We see, at once, that the words II. QUENCHING THE SPIRIT, THE must be taken with some limits. Not
STANDING only is the living Spirit of God be- CHURCH.
1. The possession of the Spirit the and cloven tongues of fire; but these perpetual distinction of the Christian tongues rested on every head, and Church.—The Day of Pentecost, the from the lips of all the assembled true birthday of the Church, stands Church, as though tuned already to out in the history of the world as the the music of heaven, there burst day when the Spirit was poured out forth a song of celestial praise, which, from on high. Not that this was as it floated on the breeze, carried to the first appearance of the Spirit of every man in his own tongue the God on the stage of the world's his- wonderful works of God, tory. We know, indeed, compara- Nor was it only at the first rush tively little of its earlier work in the that these effects were produced. As world; yet the fact that it has always if to prove that this was no tempo. played å most important part in the rary phenomenon, no class endowmoulding of human character and ment or merely national privilege, life, hardly admits of a moment's the same effects were repeated again hesitation or dispute. It was not and again. At Samaria, Corinth, or only the same Spirit which calmed Ephesus, faith in Christ is followed the troubled waves of the early chaos in precisely the same way by the reand filled their depths with life; but ception of the Holy Ghost. And it gave to Samson his gigantic lest some narrow-minded Christian strength; to Bezaleel, the great should affirm that this marvellous artist, his genius and skill; to David gift was either dependent on the his poetic fancy; and to Elijah his touch of an Apostle's hand, or reprophetic fire. “Holy men of old stricted to the baptized, the Spirit spake as they were moved by the itself set both aside, and fell directly Holy Ghost." And we may even
on Cornelius and all that heard the go further still, and say that the (Apostle's) word, so that they all song of many a Gentile poet, and the spake with tongues. lessons of many a Gentile philosopher It matters not what this gift of were not altogether without an im- tongues really was : whether, as pulse from the same Spirit of the Lord. some suppose, it was the ability to
Yet amidst all this, the gift of the speak in foreign languages without Spirit was the object of a distinct the necessity of learning them, or as promise to the Christian Church : others think, a Divine impulse to apparently as something altogether pour out thoughts and feelings in new, evidently as something un- unearthly or celestial sounds. Whatparalleled before. Christ Himself ever it was and whatever it symbospoke of it as “the promise of the lised, it stood prominently out as the Father:" held it up as the greatest proof of this great fact—that the of all possible gifts, dependent upon Spirit of God had come down to men, His own departure, and worth losing not as an occasional visitant or merely His visible presence to obtain ; whilst to inspire the few, but to dwell in the the Apostles claimed it as the great Church, to inspire men of all classes fulfilment of prophecy, the culmi- and all nations, and to make of all nating glory of the Christian dis- believers temples of the Holy Ghost. pensation, the true sign of "the last If we look again into that early days."
Church, we shall find that the preThe importance of this gift was sence of the Spirit was also manistill further attested by the pheno fested in other remarkable ways. mena which attended its coming. Foremost, of course, would ever be Not only did it come down with the the greatest work of all, viz., the sound of a mighty rushing wind, conversion and regeneration of the
sinner, and the sanctification of the It may be impossible to determine believer.
But while the Apostle how long the gift was continued, never failed to keep this distinctly in and when it came to an end. We view, it is not to this that he is are sometimes surprised that little referring here. And it is not for a is said in the New Testament itself moment because I regard this fact as about a gift of such vast importance one of trifling importance that I pass in our esteem. But for all that, it by with these few words ; but that when we look the facts fairly in the we may give the more direct atten- face, it does appear to us that it tion to the question raised by these would be just as wise to deny the words: What is the Spirit within shining of the sun as to dispute the the Church?
inspiration of the first teachers of Looking back, then, to that early the Gospel. Nothing but this will Church, the first effect of the pre- ever explain the marvellous contrast, sence of the Spirit of God, and the discernible in two short months, one which seems to distinguish it between Peter's ignorance or John's above the church of any later age, despair, and the unfaltering confiwas the special inspiration of many, dence, the clear statements, and the at least, of the heralds or preachers rich fulness of their later words; or, of the truth. There are few questions between the maledictions of Saul, in of greater importance in the present his blindness, and the breadth and day than this. On every hand the harmony with which he unfolds the inspiration of the writers of our Bible whole Gospel of Christ. It is a has been fiercely assailed; sometimes matter of little moment to us to by the absolute denial that they had define exactly how much this inspiraanything worthy of the name, and at tion included, or precisely how many other times by the polite admission were within the magic ring. But it that they were so inspired as to be is of incalculable importance to hold worthy of a place not far removed fast the fact that it was there, enabfrom Socrates, Shakespeare, or Mil- ling the first teachers to unfold for ton. Now, I grant that it is not all time the great truths of the easy to lay down a theory of inspira- kingdom. The Book, from their tion, which will fully satisfy even my hands, comes with the demonstration own mind, to say nothing of the of the Spirit. The truths from their minds of others. Nor do I think lips or pens are not strung together that, amidst all the conflicting for the daws of criticism to peck at, theories that have been proposed, but are words of life, to be received the full solution of the mystery has as the choicest gifts of God; for, been arrived at yet. But perfect like their Master, they speak as theories are not essential to the having authority, and not as the establishment of facts ; and imperfect Scribes. theories do not hinder the clearest In addition to this gift of inspiraperception of a fact. While the few tion, we find the possession of the have been settling the theory of Spirit in the early Church followed light, the light itself has been shin- on a much wider scale, by many other ing brightly, and none but the blind special gifts of miraculous or superhave been unable to rejoice in it.
Not only did the And so it is with the inspiration of old gift of tongues burst out afresh the great preachers and penmen of in the Corinthian Church, and reach the Word of God. We may not be climax unequalled elsewhere, but able to draw the exact line, and say the new life and power of the Spirit ho were and who were not inspired. were manifested in unusnal ability to