Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors]


be the sons of peace. • Do all things without murmurings and disputings,' and thereby approve yourselves to be ' blameless and harmless, the sons of God without rebuke.' 'Murmurings and disputings' are the foul risings of the discontented, restless, and factious mind, either against the government of God or the wise and upright conduct of men. These are ulcers, which corrode the heart, and which make the breath offensive as an open sepulchre. The seeds of murmurings and disputings are sown in our very nature. 'Do ye think that the Scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy ? Envy at a brother's talents, at his acceptance in the cburches, at his distinguished zeal and success in any good work, will nourish this murmuring and factious temper. Now where envy and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. Vanity, or the lust of being noticed, will create inward jealousy of being overlooked and not duly honoured; of our importance being sunk, and our assistance not courted;--- hence also murmurings and disputings. The lust of being uppermost, disturbed even the family of the meek and lowly Redeemer, and introduced murmurings and disputings: • There arose,' saith the historian, 'a reasoning or disputing among them, which of them should be greatest.' Undue attachment to matters less clearly revealed, or in their nature of sinaller importance, leads the mind of the weak and the intemperate to murmurings and disputings. It may possibly be a device of Satan, at this time, to fan the flame of unscriptural zeal for the tithing of mint, cummin, and anise, that by dividing our hearts and weakening our exertions, the weightier matters of the law may not be sent to the heathen. “Do all things without murmurings and disputings :' ask of God, from whom cometh down every good and perfect gift; cultivate in your own minds, and exemplify in your conduct, a frame of spirit which is placid, forbearing, and peaceful. These tempers will impart dignity and lustre to any character; they bring us nearer to the Son of God, wbo, with an unruffled mind, endured much contradiction against himself, and who hath taught his ministers that the servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle unto all men, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves.' Now the best security for our vaunted union among ourselves, is our conformity in temper and disposition to the temper and disposition of the Son of God. The nearer our hearts approach to him, the more closely shall we cleave to each other, and the more effectually shall we exclude those turbulent principles which would create murmurings and disputings among us.”

The subject of this serinon appears to have been selected in reference to the fundamental principle of the society, which we have seen was framed by himself, and is justly considered of the first importance to its prosperity. He therefore embraced this public occasion to guard the members against that jealousy which might have kindled an unhallowed fire in a body formed of so many classes of Christians, or dissevered the

bands of their fellowship, before they had been strengthened by that thorough knowledge of each others' characters, which is so necessary to insure esteem and confidence. His affectionate admonitions to his brethren were uniformly enforced by his own personal example, both in the committee and at the public meetings of the society; and thus, by evincing on every occasion that the chief object of his solicitude was to avoid giving offence, and to diffuse around him a spirit of peace and conciliation, in all their discussions, he secured to his opinions a weight of influence which no talents alone, however pre-eminent, could have commanded.

“ It cannot be forgotten,” says the venerable Mr. Burder, in a communication now lying before us, “ that Dr. Waugh promoted, in the outset of the Missionary Society, that spirit of Christian union by which it has ever been distinguished. He was the person who drew up its fundamental principle, and to this principle he uniformly adhered in the whole of his exertions on behalf of the society. Indeed, to his kind, conciliatory temper, united with the congenial spirit of Mr. Hardcastle the treasurer, the society is probably indebted, under the God of peace, for the general harmony and good-will which have marked its whole progress. On all occasions, for thirty-three years, Dr. Waugh was 'uniformly · the peace-maker.'”

At this time he was in the habit of writing very frequently to the compiler of these papers; and so much was his heart occupied about this subject; that there is scarcely one of his letters in

which he does not advert to the zealous exertions of the society to promote the salvation of the heathen.

Allsops' Buildings, Oct. 15, 1796. “ The Missionary Society has occasioned more conversation about religion than formerly, and diverted people's minds from the unprofitable and irritating discussions of politics. The news of our proceedings you will see detailed with tolerable accuracy in our magazine. My time has been greatly occupied in attending the meetings; and the continued lameness of my foot made the attendance more fatiguing. I fancy I need not tell you that neither Mr. Jerment nor myself sat down at the Lord's table with the directors and missionaries before the ship went away. This, in regard to myself, however, was not owing to principle, for I could join with perfect freedom in every act of fellowship with the Otaheitan church, and in this light the matter was taken up. Mr. Jerment assisted in the ordinations, and gave an excellent charge at the last one.

.“ Our friends in the south of Scotland have done wonders in the way of contributing to our support. Dr. Snodgrass has sent last week 201. worth of his sermon. He is our best friend in Scotland.”

February 22, 1797. “ Enclosed is Mr. Hardcastle's receipt for 201. from your congregation. Nothing new in our society. Tell your worthy and liberal people that we feel very grateful for their benefaction. What do you think? Mr. Hardcastle tells me that Scotland has sent us more than 15001., of which I am sure the Burgher Seceders have sent a third."

May 17, 1797. “ The God of peace has preserved peace, and increased our zeal at the annual meeting of the Missionary Society last week. Mr. Bogue of Gosport read a sensible memoir regarding the formation of seminaries for providing the society with missionaries. Mr. Cowie read a memoir on the subject of a mission to Hindostan, particularly to the Malabar coast, and the countries that lie contiguous to Delhi. We had a memoir from Mr. Greatheed on promoting the knowledge of Christ in the British colonies in North America, in the province of Canada particularly, and in Newfoundland and the island of St. John in the Gulf of St. Laurence. A very solemn call was made on Friday evening to the ministers present, to consider of the propriety of some of them devoting themselves to the missionary work. Messrs. Bogue, Haldane, Greatheed, Wilks, and others, spoke with much good sense and warmth on the business. You will see an account of it in the annual report prefixed to the sermons of this year. Of my sermon I can only say, that if my humility had been greater, my anxiety would have been less. May the God of heaven make it and my brethren’s useful, and then all is well.”

December 28, 1797. “We are sending out four missionaries to Jamaica. We want men of good sense, some learning, of great compassion, and of an accommodating disposition. Men of some standing will be most desirable. We expect every hospitable attention from the planters, at whose desire the missionaries are to be sent over. The society allows 801. a-year to each, and, if they have wives or children, will insure their lives, that there may be a respectable support, in case of death, to the widows and orphans. I wish you would mention it to the members of Presbytery, and look around for some proper persons, if they can be found in our connexion. I have written to Mr. Lawson to the same purpose. I would fain hope, that while so fair an opportunity offers of doing good among 350,000 poor Africans, the opportunity will not be slighted on every side. We are almost as far from the apostles of Jesus Christ in fervour of spirit as we are in distance of time, or multitudes would have offered themselves to the Lord long ago.”

« ZurückWeiter »