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He slept in his smile
And rejoiced in His word.
Are early brought nigh:
To a Saviour fly.
Do you ask me for pleasure ?
Then lean on His breast,
And weary find rest.
You will triumphing cry,-
'Tis pleasant to die!""
Such thorough devotedness and such consuming philanthropy-such love to the Lord Jesus, and such zeal for the salvation of souls as are manifested in the life of Robert M'Cheyne make him indeed a burning and a shining light among the stars in the ministerial firmament. They show what men can attain in Christ likeness, and what ministers may become in their holy and responsible vocation. Great demands have of late been made for a ministry of higher gifts and greater power;
and no less loud has been the call for men of ardent piety and earnestness in work. The life we have sketched encourages all in the sacred office to seek more grace in order to be more useful, to live very near to Christ in order to do Christ's work more effectively, to be more dependent upon the Holy Spirit that their preaching may be accompanied by the Spirit's blessing.
He liveth long who liveth well,
All other life is short and vain;
Of living most for heavenly gain.
All else is being flung away;
Of true things truly done each day.
Waste not thy being; back to Him
Who freely gave it freely give, Else is that being but a dream,
'Tis but to be and not to live.
Be wise, and use thy wisdom well;
Who wisdom speaks must live it too: He is the wisest who can tell
How first he lived, then spoke, the true.
Be what thou seemest; live thy creed;
Hold up to earth the torch divine ; Be what thou prayest to be made;
Let the great Master's steps be thine.
Fill up each hour with what will last;
Buy up the moments as they go; The life above, when this is past,
Is the ripe fruit of life below.
Sow truth if thou the true wouldst reap;
Who sows the false shall reap the vain; Erect and sound thy conscience keep;
From hollow words and deeds refrain.
Sow love, and taste its fruitage pure;
Sow peace, and reap its harvest bright; Sow sunbeams on the rock and moor, And find a harvest-home of light.
THE REV. EDWARD BICKERSTETH,
MISSIONARY-SECRETARY, AND RECTOR OF WATTON, HERTS.
CCASIONALLY in the Christian ministry some
of the most burning and shining lights are
found in those whose antecedents and preparatory experience gave no promise of usefulness, and still less of fame in the sacred office. None would have thought that THOMAS Scott or JOHN NEWTON would have become eminent divines. They had no university education, or early inclination to ministerial work, were in occupations of a secular kind, and their moral character was by no means correct. Yet in a Church where high value is placed upon learning, and where the office of a minister is generally an object in early life, these men obtained a place, and exercised their gifts with great credit to themselves and advantage to many others. Their personal character became striking illustrations of the power of Divine grace by a believed gospel, and their public work has been a great boon to Christendom from the singularly judicious commentary of the one, and the important letters of the other.
EDWARD BICKERSTETH belongs to this class, only his principles were never heterodox nor his conduct immoral. But he went from business into the ministry without the
usual course of study, and became one of the most exemplary clergymen of the Church of England and one of the most voluminous authors of his day. Possessed of very moderate gifts, little learning, and no patronage, he attained a high and influential place in the esteem of the Christian public, and achieved a great work for God by his untiring labours in the pulpit and by the press. His life on these accounts deserves our careful study, and is specially calculated to keep before the minds of ministers the great object for which their order has been instituted by Christ, and which they professed to follow when they gave themselves to the work. For holiness of character, industry in the ministry, public spirit, and literary usefulness, few ministers of modern times surpass, and few equal the beautiful example of Edward Bickersteth.
We shall endeavour to set before our readers the story of his career.
EDWARD BICKERSTETH was the fourth son of Henry Bickersteth, Esq., a surgeon in Kirby Lonsdale, Westmoreland, and was born on the 19th March 1786. He was favoured with parents, wise, judicious, and wellprincipled, who endeavoured to rule their family well, and who were amply repaid by the conduct and success of their sons. Their eldest was lost at sea; the second, after spending some years in the Post Office at London, entered the University and became a parish minister; the third was the senior wrangler of his year at Cambridge, afterwards an ornament of the English bar, and was made a peer of the realm and Master of the Rolls; the youngest followed his father's profession and obtained high repute as a physician and as a Christian in Liverpool. Edward was intended for a situation in the Post Office, and, after a good education at the Grammar School of his native town, found an opening in the Dead Letter Office in London where his brother John was engaged. While from home he retained all his domestic feelingsprofound respect for his parents, whom he consulted on all occasions, and a tender regard for his brothers and sisters. He endeavoured to spare expenditure on the part of his parents, and to conduct himself as morally as if under their eye. For some time he had not any decided religious impressions, and he had not seen anything more than a good morality at home. But it pleased God to awaken him to more serious concern. It was only legal service, but it brought him into contact with the word of God and the preaching of the gospel. His inquiries and efforts were sincere and practical. He, therefore, found his path brighten as he advanced.
“I do not recollect,” he wrote, “what first gave me more serious impressions of religion. I think that it was Hervey's 'Dialogues' (Theron and Aspasio), at least I have reason to bless God for them, as they much opened my mind on the nature of religion. However, whatever were the means, God, my God, was the cause, and to him be the praise. I read much of the Scriptures, at least, three or four chapters in a day. At this time I was more earnest in prayer, more strict in religion, perhaps (though with much ignorance), than I have been since. I enjoyed much of the comfort of religion. I had many delightful thoughts in lying down, that I might awake in heaven, and
many comfortable sacraments.” His new views and feelings influenced his conduct. His conversation, correspondence, and demeanour were decidedly Christian. Some of his relatives thought he was too much occupied