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Everton, Nov. 17, 1784. DEAR AND HONOURED Sır,-1 received your favour of the 8th, conveying a friendly hint to myself, and some friendly relief for the poor. You have my thanks for both. An elbow nudge, seasonably given, is of more use sometimes than a sermon, for preachers often study to say smart things; and letter-writers, too, which yield more pleasure than profit : but elbow hints bring close and secret instruction to the heart. Pray, Sir, do not part with your elbows, but reserve them for myself and others on needful occasions. What a mercy you may daily seek and find Jesus on your knees, when you cannot always trace him, where you might expect him, in a disciple's letter! Yet what is a Christian letter without Christ, but a disciple without his Master? Where Jesus dwells, he will at length become Lord paramount, all in our love, and trust, and hope, uppermost in our preaching and hearing, praying and singing, writing and talking. Grace is best discovered by the value it gives us for Jesus; and where he is duly valued, he will engage our adoration, love, and trust, and these will command a cheerful obedience. As grace groweth,
“ Christ will increase, and we must decrease.”—John iii. 36. He will rise higher in the love, trust, and value of the heart, and self will sink lower, till Christ becomes all, and we become nothing. What a blessed exchange is here of self for Christ, i. e., of folly for wisdom, of weakness for strength, of beggary for riches, and death for life! Your Joseph showeth, when grace entereth a bosom, Jesus becomes the darling of the heart, the joy and trust of it; and all obedience without this, only nourishes self-righteousness and self-applause, and will end in shame and woeful disappointment. Joseph also showeth, when Christ becomes a sinner's chief joy, self is felt the chief of sinners. But what could the religious sort mean by asking Joseph whether a saving change was wrought in him ? We used to say at Cambridge, that the fellows of St. John's College had a receipt of their own for making Latin, it was such crabbed stuff; and it seems this religious sort have a receipt of their own for making Christians, else why did they ask Joseph about his change of heart, when it plainly appeared by his words, looks, and whole conduct, that his heart was changed, truly taught to love Jesus, and trust in him alone for salvation. This is regeneration, the new heart that makes a child of God; and without this all convictions of sin and present reformation will come to nothing. This is the true circumcision, mentioned by Moses, when he says, “ The Lord will circumcise thine heart to love him with all thine heart and soul, that thou mayst live.” And this regeneration, like circumcision, is an instantaneous operation. It will be well if Mr. Bowman is prevented from publishing a sequel to Mr. Newton ; otherwise it may stir up some animosity between the Gospel clergy and dissenting ministers. Dr. Mahew will certainly step forth to the fight again--it seems to be his element; and Mr. Bowman, I fear, has too much pepper, or spleen, to endure chopping with the Doctor's cleaver.* Through mercy I have neither ability nor inclination for con
* This doubtless refers to a pamphlet which Mr. Newton published in the spring of 1784, entitled, Apologia : Four Letters to a Minister of an Independent Church. By a Minister of the Church of England. To this there appeared a reply in the course of a few months, entitled, An Apology and a Shield for Protestant Dissenters in these times of instability and misrepresentation. Four Letters to the Rev. Mr. Newton, &c. By a Dissenting Minister. This duodecimo volume was published anonymously, but this seems to attribute it to “Dr. Mahew.” We have no knowledge of such a writer, and conjecture that Mr. Berridge might mean Dr. Mayo, who was a tutor at Homerton about that period. Mr. Bowman was one of the irregular clergy connected with Lady Huntingdon, and with Mr. Shirley and Mr. Glascott preached for some time at the Tabernacle, Norwich.
troversy, which often proves a Gospel bear-garden, where the combatants are bruizing each other, and he that deals hardest blows seems the cleverest fellow. By birth and education I am both a churchman and a dissenter-I love both, and could be either, and wish real Gospel ministers of every denomination could embrace one another. And though I do think the best Christianity was found before establishments began; and that usually there are more true ministers out of an establishment than in it; and that establishments are commonly of an intolerant spirit, and draw in shoals of hirelings by their loaves and fishes; yet I am very thankful for an establishment which affords me a preaching-house and an eatinghouse, without clapping a padlock on my lips, or a fetter on my foot. However, I am not indebted to the mercy of church canons or church governors for itinerant liberty, but to the secret overruling providence of Jesus, which rescued me at various times from the claws of a church commissary, an archdeacon, and a bishop, and kept up my heart by a frequent application of these words, “They shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail against thee, for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord."-Jer. i. 19. Hitherto the Lord has delivered me, and I trust will deliver. No weapon formed against me has prospered. May this gracious Lord be evermore your mighty protector, and fill your heart and fill your house with his blessings! With becoming respect and gratitude I remain, your affectionate servant,
JOHN BERRIDGE. To John Thornton, Esq.
DEVOTIONAL COMPOSITIONS OF LORD FRANCIS BACON.
TO THE EDITOR.
My Dear Sir,- In a thick folio volume of Lord Bacon's works I found the following prayers, (together with a few theological pieces,) almost buried beneath a large mass of legal documents, charges, speeches, and letters, chiefly connected with the high offices he sustained as Attorney-General and Lord Chancellor. Thinking that these prayers might prove interesting to many of the readers of your journal, I have copied them out, and now place them at your disposal.
As compositions, these devotional pieces are marked by the originality, force, and beauty which usually distinguish Bacon's style. As prayers—as effusions of the heart before God, they are an instructive specimen of simple and earnest devotiou.
But apart from their intrinsic worth, they are valuable as throwing more light on Bacon's real character—a character which I conceive has never yet been fairly portrayed. In one of the latest sketches of his life, for instance, the writer, while admitting Bacon's great powers, dwells almost entirely on his faults, and says nothing of his piety. Faults he assuredly had, and great ones, too; but if the force of these prayers may be regarded as the utterance of his sonl, Bacon appears to have been painfully conscious of his failings and sins, and deeply to have bewailed them in the sight of God, as the great Searcher of hearts. Indeed, a thorough investigation of his character, in which the varied and seemingly contradictory elements of which it was com
posed shall be duly balanced, is a work still much to be desired in the English language.
In the second and the third prayers, Bacon indicates the frame of mind which the student and the author should habitually cultivate; and may we not hope that this was the frame of his own mind while pursuing and publishing his almost boundless researches in every department of creation, science, art, law, politics, and theology ? researches prosecuted too amidst the toils and cares of office, and under the dis. advantage (as he tells us) of infirm and delicate health.
Hoping that your readers may feel as much interested in these extracts as I have been, I am, my dear Sir, cordially yours,
FRATER. London, Feb. 17, 1845.
A PRAYER OR PSALM MADE BY THE LORD BACON, CHANCELLOR OF ENGLAND,
Most gracious Lord God, my merciful Father, from my youth up, my Creator, my Redeemer, my Comforter ; thou, O Lord, soundest and searchest the depths and secrets of all hearts; thou acknowledgest the upright of heart; thou judgest the hypocrite; thou ponderest men's thoughts and doings, as in a balance; thou measurest their intentions as with a line; vanity and crooked ways cannot be hid from thee.
Remember, O Lord, how thy servant hath walked before thee; remember what I have first sought, and what hath been principal in my intentions. I have loved thy assemblies; I have mourned for the division of thy church ; I have delighted in the brightness of thy sanctuary. This vine which thy right hand hath planted in this nation, I have ever prayed unto thee that it might have the first and the later rains; that it might stretch her branches to the seas and to the floods. The state and bread of the poor and oppressed have been precious in mine eyes; I have hated all cruelty and hardness of heart; I have (though in a despised weed) procured the good of all men. If any have been my enemies, I thought not of thein; neither hath the sun almost set upon my displeasure; but I have been as a dove, free from superfluity of maliciousness. Thy creatures have been my books, but thy Scriptures much more. I have sought thee in the courts, fields, and gardens, but I have found thee in thy temples.
Thousands have been my sins, and ten thousands my transgressions ; but thy sanctifications have remained with me, and my heart (through thy grace) hath been an unquenched coal upon thine altar. O Lord, my strength, I have since my youth met with thee in all my ways, by thy fatherly compassions, by thy comfortable chastisements, and by thy most visible Providence. As thy favours have increased upon me, so have thy corrections; so as thou hast been always near me, O Lord, and ever as my worldly blessings were exalted, so secret darts from thee have pierced me; and when I have ascended before men, I have descended in humiliation before thee. And now, when I thought most of peace and honour, thy hand is heavy upon me, and hath humbled me according to thy former loving-kindness, keeping me still in thy fatherly school, not as a bastard, but as a child. Just are thy judgments upon me for my sins, which are more in number than the sands of the sea, but have no proportion to thy mercies ; for what are the sands of the sea ? earth, heaven, and all
these are nothing to thy mercies. Besides my innumerable sins, I confess before thee, that I am debtor to thee for the gracious talent of thy gifts and graces, which I have neither put into a napkin, nor put it (as I ought) to exchangers, where it might have made best profit, but misspent it in things for which I was least fit; so I may truly say my soul hath been a stranger in the course of my pilgrimage. Be merciful unto me, O Lord, for my Saviour's sake, and receive me into thy bosom, or guide me in thy ways.
THE STUDENT'S PRAYER. To God the Father, God the Word, God the Spirit, we pour forth most humble and hearty supplications ; that he, remembering the calamities of mankind, and the pilgrimage of this our life, in which we wear out days few and evil, would please to open to us new refreshments out of the fountains of his goodness, for the alleviating of our miseries. This also we humbly and earnestly beg, that human things may not prejudice such as are Divine; neither that from the unlocking of the gates of sense, and the kindling of a greater natural light, any thing of incredulity, or intel. lectual night, may arise in our minds towards Divine mysteries. But rather, that by our mind thoroughly cleansed and purged from fancy and vanities, and yet subject, and perfectly giving up to the Divine oracles, there may be given unto faith the things that are faith's. Amen.
THE WRITER'S PRAYER.
Thou, O Father, who gavest the visible light as the first-born of thy creatures, and didst pour into men the intellectual light, as the top and consummation of thy workmanship, be pleased to protect and govern this work, which coming from thy goodness, returneth to thy glory. Then, after thou hadst reviewed the work, which thy hands had made, beholdest that every thing was very good, and then didst rest with complacency in them. But man, reflecting on the works which he had made, saw that all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and could by no means acquiesce in them. Wherefore, if we labour in thy works with the sweat of our brows, thou wilt make us partakers of thy vision and thy Sabbath. We humbly beg that this mind may be stedfastly in us; and that then, by our hands, and also by the hands of others, on whom thou shalt bestow the same spirit, wilt please to convey a largess of new alms to thy family of mankind. These things we commend to thy everlasting love, by our Jesus, thy Christ, God with us. Amen.
THE CHARACTERISTICS OF SPIRITUAL HEALTH.
“ Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”—3 John, 2.
In forming an estimate of our state, it is essential that we should know what test we are to apply, and by what rule we are to judge. There may be no outward appearance of disease---many things may produce what will pass for the flow of health ; but if the reader will act honestly with himself, he may perhaps ascertain that there is disease instead of health : let him fairly apply the tests which we will now supply.
N. 8. VOL. IX.
1. “The healthy know not of their health, but only the sick"—this is the physician's aphorism. Where there is health, "each organ will perform its part unconsciously, unheeded.” When the elements of life are fitly adjusted there will be unity in the movements. Thus sometimes the state of health is denoted by a term expressive of this unity; he who enjoys it speaks of himself as “whole.” He can recollect the period when the body, instead of being the prison-house of the soul, was like the creature of the thought, altogether obedient to its will. We remember how the blood used to leap in our veins. Our existence was like the freshness and melody of spring. We were ignorant of the anatomy of the human frame, -health and sickness were to us as traditions ; for through all our avenues of sense came enjoyment. It is so with the inner man ; with the soul that is in a healthful state, there is unity and oneness, deep melody unbroken by a discordant note. We breathe without difficulty, we run without weariness, we walk without fainting,—to live, is to enjoy. We live, yet not we, for the living Christ is in us : our life is hid, we know not how we live; but we know that we do live. When our power becomes enfeebled, the harmony is broken, the symptoms of disease are apparent, and we doubt the reality of our spiritual existence.
2. It is said, “Of the wrong we are always conscious ; of the right, never.”
True obedience is silent, it is the doing of the will of God from the heart. It is not some unnatural putting forth of powersome violent effort. There is the will, and the act follows, God working in us both to will and to do. The healthy man lives in the Spirit, and consequently walks in the Spirit. He is not weary in well doing; it is as his natural existence, it awakens no wonder, it excites no pride; it is a thing of course, it cannot but be so. When the whole moral apparatus is in motion, the heart will not condemn. If our heart condemn us, disease it at work.
3. If society were in a healthful state, there would be no necessity for minute regulations touching the conduct of one man to another. The principles from whence these regulations proceed would be instinctively recognised and acted on. The very necessity for a code of laws, and for commentaries on those laws, prove that the harmony, and therefore the health, of society is impaired. In a family, where there is mutual affection, there will be no necessity for laws to teach one member how to act towards another ; love will be the fulfilling of all law. If the body be in health, its members will perform their functions without understanding the laws by which they are governed. There will be no necessity to study the anatomy of the human frame. It is the diseased man who has these inquiries forced upon him ; he must study the way in which he is to act, and there must be certain regulations by which he must shape his conduct. The spiritual man has only to follow out spiritual principles; and if there be the vigour of spiritual