Page images

any reward, Mr. Stennett, finding against himself for his ingraing an indictment was laid against titude and perjury, as well as him, on the Conventicle Act, against those who had employed founded on the oaths of several him, and absolutely refused to witnesses, and being well assured go; so that when Mr. Stennett that nothing but perjury could came to Newbury, neitber prosesupport it, was resolved to tra- cutor, nor witness, appearing verse it, and accordingly did so. against him, he was, of course, The assizes were held at New- dismissed. His wife was Mrs. bury; and when the time drew Mary Quelch, whose parents near, there was great triumph in were of good repute in the city the success which these gentle of Oxford. By her he had sevemen proposed to themselves; ral sons, and one daughter. His when on a sudden the scene was eldest son, Jehudah, afterwards changed ; news came to the jus, an eminent physician at Henleytice, that his son, whom he had upon-Thames, wrote an Hebrew lately placed at Oxford, was gone Grammar, at nineteen years of off wiih a player; the concern age, which was printed, and well whereof, and the riding in search received by the public. Another of him, prevented his attendance son, Benjamin, was a valuable in the court. The clergyman, and useful minister, but died a few days before the assizes, young. His daughter, chiefly by boasted much of the service which the instructions of her brother would be done to the church and Joseph, acquired such skill in the neighbourhood by this prosecu- Greek and Hebrew languages, as tion, and of his own determina- to consult the scriptures in their tion to be at Newbury to carry it originals, with ease and pleasure. on; but to the surprise of many, She was an excellent woman, and his design was frustrated by sud. was married to a worthy gentleden death! One of the witnesses, man, Mr. William Merton, of who lived at Cromish, was also Knaphill, in the county of Bucks." prevented by being seized with a From the church-book of the violent and sad disease, of which celebrated Francis Bampfield, of he died. Another of them fell London, we find that Mr. Jehudown and broke his leg, and so dah Stennett resided in London, was hindered. In short, of seven in the year 1686, and was one of or eight persons engaged in this the members of the church, at wicked design, there was but one Pinner's Hall. Mr. Joseph Stenleft who was capable of appear- nett joined it soon after. A meing; he was a gardener, who moir of this celebrated man will had been frequently employed by appear in our next number. Mr. Stennett, as day-labourer, but Mr. Edward Stennett and his never lodged in his house, nor wife died at Wallingford, and the was admitted to the religious as following epitaph, written by their semblies beld there. They son Joseph, is inscribed on the thought to make him, as he was tomb erected for them :a servant to the family, a very

“Here lies an holy and an happy pair; material evidence, and kept him As once in grace, they now in glory share:

They dar'd to suffer, but they fear' to sin ; in liquor for several days for that

And meekly bore the cross, the crown to win: purpose. But coming to his rea- So liv'd, as not to be afraid to die;

So dy'd, as heirs of immortality. son, just as the assizes drew on, Reader, attend : though dead, they speak to thee; he went about the town exclaim- Tread the same path, the same thine end shall be.




each other; or, that similar ac

companiments and consequences CHRISTIAN FORGIVENESS. attend them both. It may not

be unprofitable to notice, in this

place, those circumstances of disThe nature of Christian for- l'agreement which exist between giveness is a subject of the highest Divine and Christian forgive. importance. Life or death, hea. ven or hell, are attached to the 1. Divine forgiveness is soveexercise or the neglect of it. reign. « He hath


on Though the pardoning love of whom he will have mercy.' On God, through the Lord Jesus the contrary, we are commanded Cbrist, is the only source of a to forgive, under a penalty of resinner's salvation, yet the forgive-ceiving“ judgment without ness which we are required to mercy.” And our obligation is exercise towards each other, is as universal as it is peremptory: explicitly stated to be a term of “ If any one have a quarrelagainst that salvation. “If ye forgive any." men their trespasses, your Hea- 2. Divine forgiveness is the venly Father will also forgive you: spontaneous effusion of love to but if ye forgive not men their “ God so loved the world trespasses, neither will your Fa- that he sent his only-begotten ther forgive your trespasses.” Son," &c. The essential happi.

In a brief discussion of this ness of God would not have been interesting subject, three ques-disturbed, had man been contions present themselves for our signed to merited perdition; nor consideration :- What is Chris- is the communication of pardon tian forgiveness ?- What are its beneficial to any but the unwor. pre-requisites ?--and, In what thy objects of it. On the conmanner, and to what extent, is it trary, while Christian forgiveness to be exercised?

is our duty, it is also highly adI. WHAT IS CHRISTIAN vantageous to ourselves.

Its FORGIVENESS ? Forgiveness is exercise is a luxury, which an cxercise of benevolence to

but those wlio feel it wards an offender, wherein the can appreciate. “ It is a man's punishment strictly applicable to glory to pass over a transgreshis crime is remitted : in order to sion.” Present peace of mind constitute it Christian forgiveness, and Divine forgiveness are its inthe motives inducing its perform separable attendants. ance must be drawn from the merciful man doth good to his forgiving love of God, as com- own soul.Hence it is evident, municated through Jesus Christ. self-interest, though not the ruling “ Be ye kind one to another, for- motive of a Christian, in the giving one another, even as God, exercise of this grace, is essenfor Christ's sake, hath forgiven tially promoted by it. you."

3. Divine forgiveness is invaIt does not appear certain, riably accompanied by reconciliahowever, that the forgiveness tion, and a restoration to former which“ belongeth to God," is to friendship. It is the prerogative be considered as an exact pattern of Deity to change the heart, to of that forgiveness which we are convert the adversary to a friend, called upon to exercise towards the sinner to a saint. God is not


16 The

described as being reconciled to opportunity presented itself, he man, but as reconciling man to should not repeat the offence. himself. (Rom. v. 10. 2 Cor. v. The rejection of such a proposal 18.) This, however, is not in our as this, would be fully compatible power; and cases requiring our with the exercise of Christian forgiveness will occur, wherein forgiveness. It would resemble reconciliation would be totally the conduct of a judicious byimpracticable. For example : stander, who would naturally Two friends gradually, though and justly reason, “ If this man almost imperceptibly, lose their is capable of betraying his friend, esteem for each other. Circum- I will not be his friend." And it stances occur, which eventually would be preposterous to require occasion an entire separation. more confidence and familiarity Thus situated, one openly abuses (which are included in reconcithe other. On reflection, he is liation) from one whose friendship grieved for what he has done; and had been abused, than from an (though not, as formerly, on terms indifferent and uninjured person. of friendship, neither can be, We ought rather to profit by exowing to other circumstances,) perience, and, while we must not thinks it his duty to acknowledge withhold our forgiveness, canhis offence, and to express his tiously avoid the pit into which sorrow on account of it. On we have fallen. This is a maxim this acknowledgment, forgiveness of prudence, inculcated by the ought to be exercised ; yet no wisest of men: “He that goeth one will plead, that, in order to about as a tale-bearer, revealeth constitute it genuine forgiveness, secrets: therefore meddle not it must be accompanied with with him that Hattereth with his reconciliation.

lips.” Again : As, in some cases re- If these remarks are correct, it quiring forgiveness, reconciliation will follow, that Christian forgivewould be impracticable; so, in ness is a remission of punislıment others, a restoration to former due to an offence, including, friendship would be equally un- where it is practicable and safe, safe. Treachery, forinstance, espe. a renewal of former friendship cially if repeated, renders it ne between the offender and the cessary for the injured party to party against whom the offence stand aloof. Forgiveness must has been committed. certainly be exercised with re- These observations, while they ference to the particular offence prove our obligation to exercise which is acknowledged and de- Christian forgiveness towards plored; but we are not required, those who have offended us, are after the discovery of repeated also calculated, it is hoped, to instances of treachery, or, indeed, console the minds of many conof a single instance, to renew scientious Christians, who, beformer familiarity: this would be cause they cannot at all times nothing less than to re-admit into feel at liberty to renew former our bosoms one who had betray- familiarity, are fearful lest they ed the most sacred trust; one should be defective in the exerwho could give no security that, cise of that important grace; but at some future period, when the who, nevertheless, could they first strong feelings of compunc- ascertain that forgiveness and retion had subsided, and another conciliation were distinct graces,



could, with holy confidence, ap-would be a difficult task to enupeal to the Searcher of hearts, merate every offence, or, indeed, es Lord, thou knowest all things : every kind of offence, daily octhou knowest that I forgive !" curring between man and man,

It may be necessary, however, so it must be equally difficult to to observe, that though forgive- assign to every species of offence ness and reconciliation are dis- its appropriate treatment.* But tinct graces, yet they are not so it may be remarked, distinct, but that the latter may, 1. It is necessary that the ofin many cases, and in some in- fender exercise repentance. The stances must, accompany the exhortation of Peter to Simon former. Like two amiable sisters, Magus, proves the necessity of they generally go hand in hand, repentance before the commuand he who entertains one, loves nication of Divine forgiveness. the other : but they are not inse-“ Repent,” says he, “ and pray parable.

God, if, perhaps, the thought of Having stated my ideas on the thine heart may be forgiven thee." nature of Christian forgiveness, I This is also applicable to Chris. proceed to inquire,

tian forgiveness. Our Lord says, II. WHAT IS REQUIRED " If thy brother trespass against FROM THE OFFENDER BEFORE thee, rebuke him ; and if he re

BE CON- pent, forgive him.” At the same

COMMUNICATED time, as we cannot penetrate TO HIM?

the heart, we must be satisfied It may be remarked, generally, with a profession of repentance, that this will materially depend unless circumstances clearly upon the degree of turpitude evince it to be insincere. attached to the offence, or the 2. It is necessary, and naturalpeculiar circumstances attending ly arises out of repentance, that it. Our code of laws justly sup- the offence be acknowledged. If pose different degrees of guilt to men refuse to acknowledge their exist in accidentally killing a man, faults, it would be preposterous and murder. And, in contem- in them to profess their repentplating offences between men, ance. We are informed in the we are not to look so much at page of inspiration, “ He that the effect, as the intention. Some covereth his sin shall not prosoffences may be committed inad- per." “ I acknowledged my sin vertently, others designedly: unto thee,” says David, " and some may be the effect of folly mine iniquity have I not hid. I and indiscretion, others of malice: said, I will confess my transgressome, through an unforeseen sions, and thou forgavest the failure, may have existed only in iniquity of my sin.” And this is intention, and, consequently, pro applicable to the offences beduced no actual injury; while tween men ; since without it there others, having been acted out, can be no evidence of repentance, have produced consequences ir

* Doubtless there are offences hourly reparable. It requires no very : great penetration to perceive, or inattention, to which no importance

occurring, either through inadvertence that the requisitions previously can be attached. These cannot be into the communication of forgive cluded in this inquiry; and, for the most ness must, in each of these cases, part, ought to be passed by, without any be different. As, however, it that they were not unobserved,

1, or, at most, with an intimation

and, consequently, no claim to then will I hear from heaven, forgiveness.* The acknowledge and forgive their sin." “ Let ment here intended, must exclude the wicked forsake his way, and all reserves, or even attempts to the unrighteous man his thoughts,” palliute or extenuate the fault. A &c. « Whoso confesseth and frank acknowledgment is abso- forsaketh his sins shall find merlutely necessary to prove our re- cy.” And though no man can pentance. DUPLEX had long guarantee, that at some future accustomed himself to betray the period he shall not be guilty of a confidence reposed in him, sup repetition of the offence, it is but plying any deficiency of materials just that he should manifest, at from the repository of his own least, an intention to forsake what malevolence. At length, a dis- is offensive, otherwise he is again covery threatened a complete deficient in evidence of his reexposure of his character. He pentance. denied hesitated extenuated 4. In cases where it is appliblundered an acknowledgment cable and practicable, restitution --retracted-confessed partially ought to be made. By this was

recriminated — apologized the sincerity of Zacchæus's conand, at length, through dint of version manifested: he restored threatening, acknowledged all four-fold. that had been discovered, and 5. In cases where character is hoped he should not be exposed. injured, it is required that the ÎNGENUQUS had also committed offender counteract the evil. Una great sin against God and man, less he is willing to contradict the though not very extensive in its slander he has uttered, bowever consequences. It burdened his painful it may be, he has yet to mind-it was insupportable. At prove the sincerity of his repentlength, with a heart ready to ance, and his reluctance would burst, he frankly acknowledged justify the suspicion, that his apwhat, in all probability, would parent compunction is merely on never have been discovered ; account of consequences. evinced genuine contrition, and To some these will be hard implored the forgiveness he sayings, especially as the terms scarcly presumed to expect of human forgiveness. They The reader will easily determine would have no objection to conwhich acknowledgment was ex- fess to God; but they cannot see pressive of repentance.

the fitness of stooping and cring3. In order to constitute our ing to men, perhaps no better than repentance genuine, it must be themselves. They cannot endure accompanied by a determination that so much should be made of to abandon the offensive conduct. a few rash' words, of no conseThe gracious declarations of Je- quence whatever. No, indeed, hovah are accompanied with this they cannot see so much harm condition, If my people shall in what they have done; and if turn from their wicked ways, it was not exactly the thing, al

lowances ought to be made-no * « Claim to forgiveness.” This ex. pression is used merely with reference

one is infallible! Thus it is that to human forgiveness; as it is not to be thousands manifest that they imagined, that the most sincere and have not a single feeling of concomplete repentance constitutes for a trition for what they have done. sinner any claim upon Divine forgive. Who does not perceive, that in


« EelmineJätka »