Page images

ence for good the rising generations of young men all over the world, and specially where the English language is spoken. It represents a young man in the busy ranks of life realizing a spiritual concern, and becoming a decided Christian. This was the starting-point of his career of godliness and of usefulness. Having this, he was prompted by new motives, and lived for new objects. He was no more his own. He rose to the true dignity of his being. He was a Christian :

“ A Christian is the highest style of man.

This state elevates us to the noblest position, and it develops our character for the highest service and richest engagement. It is the true relation of man to God,--the true affection of man for man. It makes man worthy of his origin and happy end. It gives him the true manliness among his fellows. It makes him love the truth so as to die for it; it makes him love his brother so as to sacrifice for his welfare. This is the high ideal worth attaining.

In this life we see the earnest Christian acting. As soon as he finds the blessing of true piety, he must be up

and doing something to commend it. He would not be rich alone, he would invite others to share that joy which made not himself the poorer.

Hence his eagerness to preach, and his zeal in preaching. He was such a minister as Cowper would have described,

“ Would I describe a preacher such as Paul,
Were he on earth, would hear, approve, and

Paul should himself direct me; I would trace
His master-strokes, and draw from his design.
I would express him simple, grave, sincere;
In doctrine uncorrupt, in language plain,
And plain in manner; decent, solemn, chaste,

And natural in gesture ; much impressed
Himself, as conscious of his awful charge,
And anxious mainly that the flock he feeds
May feel it too; affectionate in look,
And tender in address, as well becomes

A messenger of grace to guilty men." Mr. James gave himself to his work with a zeal, perseverance, and energy, that could not, and did not, fail to make impression. He was fitted for his office, and laboured in it like a man that knew what he had to do and was determined to do it well, and reap the success which his soul desired. He was like the warrior whom the poet celebrates, who

“ Where'er he fought
Put so much of his heart into his act,
That his example had a magnet's force,

And all were swift to follow whom all loved." He gave the stimulus to many, and influenced by what he appeared to them to be, they are toiling on to make the world better than they found it. Young men, give yourselves thoroughly to your Christian work. Live it out. Use it for the best advantage. Make the most of it in your positions, relationships, and fellowships. As in business, the man of energy, character, and perseverance is generally successful and influential, so must it be in religion. Be out-and-out what you profess. Be not ashamed of your religion any more than of your business. Push it to do good. You are in a world that needs all your goodness in earnest, loving action. By such means is it to be transformed. It is not so much by splendour of genius as by practical power of goodness. This was emphatically the kind of influence which the great Redeemer sent forth in his apostles.

" It was not,” says Dr. Stanley," by intellectual power, like the philosophers of Greece, nor by arms and statesmanship, like the con

querors of Rome, nor by the influence of a sacerdotal order like the priestly castes of India and of Egypt, nor even by the patriotic zeal and unshaken endurance of their own Jewish ancestors, that the supremacy of the apostles was established. It was by the transforming energy of simple goodness, devoted with childlike faith through a whole life to the service of God and man. One main cause of our difficulty of entering into their writings is the difficulty of realizing to ourselves the style and language of men suddenly called from the lowest and most uneducated stations to speak on the loftiest subjects which can exercise the mind of man. They stand the first and the greatest in that long-protracted warfare in which the weak things of the world have confounded the things which are mighty; in which the palaces of Acre gave way

before the unlettered slaves who herded in the Roman Catacombs; in which the kings and philosophers of Europe have been instructed by the peasant from the plough, the workshop, and the mine."

Judged by this test, Mr. James was a successor of the apostles! He made the goodness of his own character the great commentary upon his teaching. His pastorate of fifty-four years did not weaken that testimony, though he lived among men of business, quick in discernment, and though he was a man of wealth among those who made wealth their all. His consistent energetic goodness is the great desideratum of the world, and it is within the reach of all through a believed gospel and the free grace of the Spirit.

“ Fair are the feet which bring the news

Of gladness unto me;
What happy messengers are these
Which my blest eyes do see?

These are the stars which God appoints

For guides unto my way; To lead my feet to Bethlehem, Where


dear Saviour lay.

These are my God's ambassadors,

By whom His mind I know; God's angels in His lower heavens,

God's trumpeters below.”




HE early coadjutors of Wesley and Whitfield

have long held a conspicuous position among

the memorable; but those who were later in the field, and belonged to the second period of Methodist history, have scarcely received their meed of praise; their lives have not been sufficiently studied, nor have their examples been so influential for general good as they are fitted to become. This is being remedied now, and just as the lives of Wesley and Whitfield have been re-written, so the stories of Coke and Adam Clarke have just been reproduced by the pen of an eloquent biographer. In the study of Dr. Coke's career of evangelism, there is much fitted to instruct and animate the Christian, whether a member or a minister of the Church, -much to rebuke the coldness of zeal; the littleness of effort, which amidst the revived piety and extensive evangelization of those times belong to so many.

Thomas Coke was born on October 9, 1747, at Brecon, in Wales. He was the son of an apothecary, and alderman of the borough, highly esteemed by his fellowtownsmen. In the sixteenth year of his son, the worthy parent entered him a gentleman commoner in Jesus Col

« EelmineJätka »