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himself into his nostrils, and thus formed the human spirit. Hence the soul is the offspring of God directly, and in a sense peculiar to itself. It is this that chiefly distinguishes us from the inferior creation, and resembles us to our almighty Maker. And this being, so noble in its origin and alliance, is possessed of vast powers and capacities. To ascertain these, we should look, not at the minds in which they have lain dormant, but at those in which they have been exercised, in men of thought and learning. With what
man to be the happy possessor of all possible temporal good, as sound and lasting as such good can be; let him be sprung from parents and ancestors of worth and renown, and be possessed of mental powers and capacities of no moderate standard, softened by most amiable tempers, and adorned and improved by extensive learning; let his person be as pleasing as his constitution sound; let him enjoy the advantages of opulence, and let the sun of his prosperity never be clouded, but shine out in uninterrupted splendour; let him live in the affections of a happy neigh-rapidity will the thoughts fly from object to bourhood, and possess many, and sincere, object, outstripping the lightning's flash, and and beloved friends; let his wife be the leaving the light behind! They will traverse adoring choice of his warmest love, and let the poles, and visit the moon, and sun, and their clustering children be all they could planets, and pass to the remotest stars, and desire;—and let all this brightness continue will visit them all in a moment of time. to the close of his career, and then let him How much is the soul capable of knowing! pass away from the scene, like the sun sink- It becomes familiarly acquainted with the ing beneath the western horizon unobscured nature of a thousand things around it, and by a cloud. This man would, perhaps, have discovers such of their properties as it may gained all the temporal good this world can make subservient to its interests. It searches bestow. But let us suppose another case. the depths of the ocean, and the bowels of the earth, for their hidden treasures. Nor does it confine its knowledge to our globe, but measures the distances of the sun and planets; casts its girdle around them, and determines their size; throws them into its balances, and weighs them. And it rests not here, but presumes to scan the attributes of God, and learns something of the wonders of his character. The soul's faculty of memory is a wonderful power. That the ethereal spirit should smile at distance and possess understanding, is, perhaps, less surprising than that it should lay up its acquisitions in a treasure-house, where it may review or produce them at pleasure. What is more wonderful than our mental power of recalling, in fresh and vivid colouring, scenes that have long faded from existence, and evoking, as with a magic spell, and holding converse. with those who have been long numbered with the dead? Again, its powers of enjoyment and suffering are peculiar and great. We all know we are capable of much bodily suffering. If pain so excruciating is produced by the exposure of a diminutive nerve in a tooth, how much misery is the entire nervous system capable of inflicting! and yet the mental powers of inflicting and enduring anguish are doubtless far greater; "for the spirit of a man may sustain his infirmity, but a wounded conscience who can bear?" And hence the son of Sirach desired any sorrow rather than the sorrow of the mind. Whilst an instance of self-murder from bodily pain has been seldom known, what numbers of miserable beings have hurried themselves into eternity to escape from mental misery, however produced! Remorse, and apprehension, and
We will suppose a man to be sprung from an illustrious dynasty of princes, and to be possessed of a greatness of powers of mind and body, of a majesty of soul, fitting him for empire; let the world be his kingdom, and let "all people, nations, and languages," be his subjects; let his treasury be full, and let the world be prosperous, and happy, and loyal, under his sceptre; let the cares of government be light on his brow, and afford only pleasing employment to the vast energies of his gigantic mind; let him so temper his enjoyments as to receive from them pleasure without satiety, and let his joyousness be unsaddened by fear or remorse; let the partner of his throne and majesty be also the happy object of his love, and let their royal son be fitted for his high destiny ;-let this felicity be prolonged through a protracted life, and when he leaves the world, let it be saddened and in mourning at his departure. He will, perhaps, be generally allowed to have gained all of temporal good this world can bestow-he "gained the whole world." Let us now pass on to inquire, in the second place,
II. What is the loss of the soul? We have gazed on one side of the medal, let us now examine the other; we have viewed the gain supposed to be acquired, let us estimate the price at which it is purchased,that price is the loss of the soul. But what is the soul? It is the immediate offspring of God. Whilst the glorious Creator spake the material world into being, and by his word peopled it with its unintelligent inhabitants formed out of its substance; when he gave to man his soul, he breathed it from
disappointment, and revenge, and despair, form a whip of scorpions, by which the soul may be lashed into madness, even when its powers and capacities are weighed down, and their acuteness blunted by its fleshly casement; but when this is thrown off, doubtless the spirit's powers are inconceivably enlarged, like those of the eagle that was chained and cramped in its den, but now, at liberty, mounts through the heavens, drinks in the sun at its glance, and leaves the winds behind him and the clouds below.
But that which most invests the human soul with dignity and value is its immortality -this is the crowning jewel in its worth. The rainbow may be glorious, but its arch is soon broken, and its lovely hues gone; the human body is "fearfully and wonderfully made," but the beautiful machinery can endure only a space, and then lies in the loathsome ruins of dissolution; the world itself-so ponderous in its bulk, so glorious in its wreck-will but accomplish its time, and then its place shall no more be found: but the soul will live on through eternal being, surviving every peril that may threaten it, and all the mutations of the material universe-it will live on, and survive the conflagration of the world-it will live on when the sun is extinguished by the almighty hand that lit up its fire-it will live on through the endurance of new-formed worlds, or successive systems, or whatever eras may mark out the future periods of eternity; and it will know the approach of no end of its being, and will suffer no diminution of its powers. The idea of this immortality we cannot fully comprehend, any more than of infinite space or infinite number-it is too vast for our feeble capacities. We may, however, conceive of it as some long duration. The earth has been created about six thousand years, which, to the mind that wanders through its generations from Adam to the present, will appear of formidable length; and if you add to this number till a million of years have passed through your thoughts, you will find the mind burdened under the vast amount. Suppose the world were one vast globe of sand, forming its hills, and mountains, and plains, and mass; and suppose one grain-one single grain-to be removed in a million of years, how inconceivable is the period that will be required to exhaust and transfer the earth! But when a period so vast shall have passed away, eternity will still lie before us unlessened, and we shall be but entering its threshold, and no nearer to its end than at the first. The soul's immortality is its existence through this eternity; and though it is so dignified in its origin and nature, and so vast in its
capacities, yet still it is this, its immortality, that renders its value infinite.
Now it is of the loss of this being that our text speaks. May this being, then, be lost? Alas! it may. This is a fearful, a most fearful truth. Did the loss of an immortal spirit mean, that, like a comet breaking utterly away from its eccentric illipse, it is destined to wander on endlessly through the blank regions of space, we must lament its destiny; or did its loss mean the extinction of its powers and being-its sinking into its original nothingness, we must regard its destruction with sorrow and dread. But its loss is really something far more terrible than this, it is to retain its being, but in misery; and its powers, but to be its tormentors; and its locality, but in a prison of fire. The accounts given us in the inspired volume of the condition of a lost soul are exceedingly terrible. It is said to be overwhelmed with "everlasting destruction from the presence of God and from the glory of his power;" to be enduring "everlasting punishment" in " unquenchable fire," and the gnawings of a "worm that dieth not," in an abyss called hell," where there is weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth," and with the dreadful companionship of malignant fiends. On this part of my subject it is painful, brethren, yet necessary, to dwell. Our blessed Redeemer in his Gospel of mercy has lifted the veil from the perils that threaten us, and it is our duty to gaze on them and receive warning. We have before seen how "mighty to suffer" is the human soul; but can we apprehend its torment when its powers are stretched to the utmost, and writhing under the wrath of an almighty Avenger? In the soul's fearful loss, its greatest glory, its immortality, becomes its most withering curse; for if the perpetuity of their happiness augments the highest joys of celestial beings, not less must the eternity of their misery give point and poison to the bitter anguish of the lost. Their howlings of despair would be lulled and intermitted, could one ray of hope pierce through the thick and tangible darkness that shrouds infernal woe; but this is forbidden by the awful words, "For ever!" with which the divine signet will close their cavern. "For ever, and for ever!"—this is the worm that never dies; this is the second death, armed with his deadliest shaft; this is to lose the soul.
and then should die, and lose his soul, what shall it profit him? Profit him! my brethren: I should mock you, did I put this question by way of simple inquiry. It is not meant so, but rather to intimate his unutterable loss. "He loses himself, and is cast away." He sells himself for nothing. He barters his everlasting inheritance, and dooms himself to the rack of unending misery for a momentary satisfaction. How many of us, my brethren, are making this bargain! How many of us are exposing ourselves to all its consequences! How many of us are taking the world in barter for our souls! Do you say, my brethren, "But I am doing this only for the present; and by and by I shall reverse it, and, I hope, save my soul," then at this hour you confess you make and stand to this bargain, and now, at least, mean to choose the world, though you should lose your soul. Oh! what shall it profit you? If each one of you could gain all the world, what would it profit you? But this not one of you can do. It is not for all the world that lose you your soul, but for a small and vile portion of it, for its "riches, that take to themselves wings and fly away”—for its pleasures, that leave the heart hollow and corrupt-for its cares, that oppress you with a yoke "grievous to be borne;"-it is for these that men barter their own souls. What doth it profit them? Ask Haman, the wealthy and powerful prince of Persia, and he will tell you, "All these things profit me nothing." Ask the wisest and richest sovereign that ever swayed a sceptre, and he will answer, "The profit of all these things is but vanity and vexation of spirit." Ask Dives, whom our blessed Lord has shewn us enduring the loss of his soul, and he will point to his scorching fires, and say, "I am tormented in this flame."
Let us remember, my brethren, it is our own soul that is at stake-that soul whose salvation the Son of God humbled himself unto death to secure, it is our own soul whose loss we endanger. Let me entreat you, my brethren-let me conjure you allby the value of your souls, and the terrors of their loss, resolve this day by Divine grace to save them. Come humbly as sinners, but come believingly, to that blood of sprinkling which was shed for our salvation. Remember that the agonies of Gethsemane and Calvary were endured that we might not lose our souls. Then will you lose them? Oh that the Divine Spirit would so apply his word to our hearts, that each of us might save his soul, though he should lose the world!
CONVERTS FROM INFIDELITY.-No. IV.
GEORGE, LORD LYTTELTON, GEORGE LYTTELTON, the eldest son of Sir Thomas
Lyttelton, Bart. of Hagley in the county of Worcester, was born at Hagley, Jan. 17, 1709. He was sent to Eton when very young, where he speedily distinguished himself; and on his removal to Christ Church, Oxford, he continued to pursue his studies with ardour, of "Blenheim," and by composing, the "Progress of and to testify his genius for poetry, by the publication Love." Here he also sketched the plan of his "Persian Letters." Having left Oxford when nineteen, he set out on the tour of Europe. On his arrival at Paris he became acquainted with the hon. Mr. Poyntz, the British minister at Versailles; who was so much pleased and struck with his abilities, that he invited him to his house, and employed him in several political negotiations, which he transacted in the most satisfactory manner. After remaining for a considerable time at Paris, he proceeded to Lyons and Geneva, and thence departed on his route. At Rome he studied with much intenseness and success the works of art abounding in that city, and arrived at a thorough architecture. knowledge of the merits of painting, sculpture, and
"During the whole of his travels," says Mr. Crichton,* "his moral conduct appears to have been highly correct and exemplary, and he displayed a literary enthusiasm rarely to be met with among young men of fortune. Instead of spending his time at the coffee-houses frequented by the English, and indulging in all the fashionable vices and follies of the countries through which he passed, his constant practice was, to divide his hours alternately between study and the society of men of distinguished character or literary acquirements. By such habits alone he considered that the great object of travelling,—the enlargement of the mind,-could ever be effectually accomplished; and this object he never ceased to pursue with the most laudable diligence and zeal. With his relations and friends at home he regularly corresponded. Se
veral of his letters to his father are still extant, no less admirable for the elegance of their composition than for their expressions of filial affection and duty; and they display acute judgment and sound principles, as
well as tender attachment to his relations."
It is to be feared, that far different use of foreign travel has been made by many who have set out on it for the enlargement and improvement of the mind; and that too much of that laxity of religious principle, and licentiousness of conduct, which is the bane of our country, may be traced to imbibing continental habits, and imitating continental customs. The youth sent to travel enters on very dangerous ground; snares and temptations meet him at every step of his journey; and any mental culture, any enlargement of views, which may be gained by visiting the continent, will be far more than counterbalanced by the adoption of principles which have a tendency to relax those restraints which religion imposes. It will be seen, that even though not engaged in the licentious scenes which lead too many to visit the continent, Mr. Lyttelton's principles were not improved by his tour.
On his return from the continent in 1729, he was made page of honour to the princess royal, and soon after elected M.P. for Oakhampton, for which place he was returned for several parliaments, with the entire approval of his constituents, and without expense to himself. He joined the list of Sir Robert Walpole's opponents, and distinguished himself for his oratory, and full knowledge of the measures on which he spoke. He became secretary to the Prince of Wales, father of George III., who, being driven • Converts from Infidelity, by Andrew Crichton
+ See some excellent remarks on this subject, in sermons by Mr. Jelf, Canon of Christ Church
from the court in 1737, became the head of the oppo- | sition. He still continued his love for poetry. In 1741 he married the daughter of Hugh Fortescue, Esq. of Filleigh in Devonshire: she lived but for a few years, leaving behind her one son and two daughters. In three years afterwards he married a daughter of Sir Robert Rich; but imprudence on the part of the lady led to a separation by mutual consent.
It is not suitable to our pages to follow Mr. Lyttelton through the various grades of his political career-to approve or disapprove of his views: suffice it to say, that he relinquished office in 1757, and was called to the upper house, by the title of Lord Lyttelton, Baron of Frankley, in the county of Worcester.
It unfortunately happened, that the mind of Mr. Lyttleton had for a long time been in doubts as to the truth of the Christian religion; he may, in fact, be regarded as having been nearly an infidel. "Of these doubts," says Mr. Crichton, "it is not now easy to ascertain the origin or the cause: they arose, in part, most probably, from a superficial acquaintance with religion, as he appears to have studied the subject only so far as to discover that it contained mysteries which he could not comprehend. In the pride of juvenile confidence, which is impatient under difficulties that impede the ardour of mental pursuit, and forgetting the impotence of human reason to scan the works of the Almighty, or penetrate the secrets of infinite wisdom, he was disposed to reject revelation, as propounding things hard to be understood; without considering the tendency of its doctrines, or examining the evidence on which they were founded. In this state of imperfect knowledge, and presumptuous reliance on the supposed omnipotence of reason, it is not surprising that he should have listened to the blandishments of infidelity. Entering into the world with these sceptical tendencies, the society with which he mingled unfortunately contributed rather to confirm than to remove them. It does not appear what influence his visit to the continent had upon his religious principles, although it is more than probable that he could not breathe in so tainted an atmosphere without imbibing a portion of its contagion. Certain it is, however, that the companions with which he associated strengthened his prejudices against the Christian religion; and if they did not succeed in making him an avowed infidel, they sapped the foundation of his faith, and impressed his mind with scruples and objections that remained with him for years."
Let it be borne in mind, that these companions, as has been already stated, were not the gay and voluptuous, for with them we have seen he did not associate but perhaps as much evil may arise where no evil is looked for-from the philosophic literati of a country-as from its most abandoned voluptuaries. Probably as many have been ruined by the one class as by the other; and of the latter the greater hope of amendment may be entertained. There is a dogged sarcasm, an unflinching superciliousness, which generally mark the philosophic infidel, which, while they render him an object of pity, fail not at the same time to call forth feelings of disgust. It is hard to say which are the more powerful enemies to the reception of divine truth-the pride of the understanding, or the carnality of the heart.
At the age of thirty-seven, Mr. Lyttelton appears to have become uneasy as to the nature of his principles, and to have been anxious to have many doubts removed, and many difficulties solved. A conversation with his friend Mr. West, at Wickam, induced him to "search the Scriptures;" and with him, as with the people of Berca, that search was made with eager anxiety to ascertain the truth. At length light broke upon his soul; scruple after scruple disappeared; argument after argument was weighed; and under the guidance and teaching of the eternal Spirit, he was at
length led to believe the Gospel to be the revealed word of God. Well would it be, were infidels in general to follow the example, and to imitate the candour, of Mr. Lyttelton. Most, almost all of them in fact, have never read the volume they condemn, or entered honestly on the investigation of the evidences of Christianity this is a notorious fact. Flippancy of remark is substituted for argument; wit and raillery turn the subject of religion into ridicule. This, in their view, may be all very well; but is this to act on right principle, as men of candour and com
There is no statement more true, or borne out more fully by daily experience, than that they who are brought to a just apprehension of the Saviour's religion, are most anxious that others should be brought to the same just apprehension. He that has tasted of the well-spring of the water of life, will delight to roll away the stone from the mouth of the well, that all may freely partake of that living water. Selfishuess is a principle utterly at variance with a Christian state of feeling and it was the desire to set forth the truth of the Gospel, which induced Mr. Lyttleton to publish his "Dissertation on the Conversion of St. Paul." The University of Oxford, to testify their regard, proposed to confer on him the degree of D.C.L.: this, however, he declined, lest it should seem as if he coveted worldly honours; and that should he, at any future period, publish a work of a religious character, it might not seem as if he did so from worldly motives. His father was much pleased with the work, as may be learned from the following letter:-"I have read your religious treatise with infinite pleasure and satisfaction. The style is fine and clear; the arguments close, cogent, and irresistible. May the King of kings, whose glorious cause you have so well defended, reward your pious labours; and grant that I may be found worthy, through the merits of Jesus Christ, to be an eye-witness of that happiness which I doubt not he will bountifully bestow upon you. In the meantime, I shall never cease glorifying God for having endowed you with such useful talents, and given me so good a son."
"Of this Dissertation, published in 1747," says Mr. Crichton, " we need only observe at present, that it is the best and most original of all Lyttelton's works. It was written by the advice of Mr. West, in consequence of a suggestion dropt by his friend in conversation, that he thought the conversion and apostleship of St. Paul alone, duly considered, was of itself a demonstration sufficient to prove Christianity to be a divine religion; independent of all the other proofs of it, which might be drawn from prophecies in the Old Testament; from the necessary connexion it has with the whole system of the Jewish religion; from the miracles of Christ; and from the evidence given of his resurrection to all the other apostles. A proof so compendious, Mr. West was persuaded, might be of use to convince those unbelievers who will not attend to a longer series of arguments. To this hint we owe the excellent Observations on the Conversion and Apostleship of St. Paul.''
After retiring from public life, Lord Lyttelton's time was chiefly spent in literature; one of the fruits of which was his "History of Henry II."
Of his last illness and decease, a full account has been handed down by his physician, Dr. Johnson of Kidderminster :-" On Sunday evening the symptoms of his lordship's disorder, which for a week past had alarmed us, put on a fatal appearance, and his lordship believed himself a dying man. From this time he suffered by restlessness rather than pain; though his nerves were apparently much fluttered, his mental faculties never seemed stronger, when he was thoroughly awake. His lordship's bilious and hepatic complaints seemed alone not equal to the expected mournful event; his long want of sleep, whether the
consequence of the irritation in the bowels, or, which is more probable, of causes of a different kind, accounts for his loss of strength, and for his death, very sufficiently.
"Though his lordship wished his approaching dissolution not to be lingering, he waited for it with resignation. He said, "It is a folly, a keeping me in misery, now to attempt to prolong life." Yet he was easily persuaded, for the satisfaction of others, to do or take any thing thought proper for him. On Saturday he had been remarkably better, and we were not without hopes of his recovery.
"On Sunday, about eleven in the forenoon, his lordship sent for me, and said he felt a great heaviness, and wished to have a little conversation with me, in order to divert it. He then proceeded to open the fountain of that heart from whence goodness had so long flowed, as from a copious spring. Doctor,' said he, you shall be my confessor. When I first set out in the world, I had friends who endeavoured to shake my belief in the Christian religion: I saw difficulties which staggered me; but I kept my mind open to conviction. The evidences and doctrines of Christianity, studied with attention, made me a most firm and persuaded believer of the Christian religion. I have made it the rule of my life; and it is the ground of my future hopes. I have erred and sinned; but have repented, and never indulged any vicious habit. In politics and public life, I have made public good the rule of my conduct. I never gave counsels which I did not at the time think the best. I have seen that I was sometimes in the wrong; but I did not err designedly. I have endeavoured in private life to do all the good in my power, and never for a moment could indulge malicious or unjust designs upon any person whatsoever.' At another time he said, 'I must leave my soul in the same state it was before this illness: I find this a very inconvenient time for solicitude about any thing.'
"On the evening when the symptoms of death came on, he said, 'I shall die; but it will not be your fault.' When Lord and Lady Valentia came to see his lordship, he gave him his solemn benediction, and said, Be good, be virtuous, my lord; you must come to this. Thus he continued giving his dying benediction to all around him. On Monday morning, a lucid interval gave some small hopes, but these vanished in the evening; and he continued dying, but with very much uneasiness, till Aug. 22, 1773, when, between seven and eight o'clock, he expired, almost without a groan."
to the foot of the cross for pardon,-than had he reached the highest summit of political greatness. The eloquence that entranced the senate has passed away; but the touching appeal to the unbeliever's conscience has not passed away; and the most valuable record that Lord Lyttelton left behind, was that little volume, which the infidel cannot read without a qualm, and the believer without gratitude to that God who enlightened the eyes of the author's understanding, and enabled him to bear his testimony to the truth of the Gospel.
There is something peculiarly delightful in observing the triumph of divine truth over the scepticism of the natural heart. Such a triumph is eminently calculated, in the dispensations of divine mercy, to produce a beneficial effect on the hearts of infidels; and there is abundant proof that Lord Lyttelton's work has been greatly blessed in awakening serious inquiry in the mind of many deeply opposed to revelation. We are far from maintaining that Lord Lyttelton's views of the grand fundamental truths of the Gospel were clear; there is no evidence that they were so but God forbid that we should affirm that they were not. He is now brought under our notice, as one who, from a sceptic, was brought to believe the truth of the Gospel as a merciful revelation from heaven. Certainly, much better advice might have been given than" be good; be virtuous." Alas, what will human goodness and human virtue avail us on a dying bed, where the sinner's hope must rest on Him by whose stripes we are healed! Should his work have been the instrument in the conversion of one unbeliever, it cannot have been written in vain. It will be a far greater source of enjoyment to the author, in the day of the Lord Jesus, that through his instrumentality one wandering soul has been reclaimed, one perishing sinner saved, one doubter led
AUTHORITY OF CHRIST'S MINISTERS.--What though the winds of doctrine and opinion should be let loose from every quarter of the heavens, to fight against the honour of the Church and the authority of her ministers;-what though a feverish thirst should come (as it undoubtedly has come) upon the intellect of man, and many a hand should eagerly be stretched out towards the tree of knowledge, even while the tree of life is often scornfully passed by? What do these signs tells us, but that we are fallen upon days in which the word of authority must be uttered in no faint or languid accents, if we would have it stir the spirits of the people? It must be uttered as if it came forth from a heart in which the truth of God is enshrined. It must sound like a response from the sanctuary inhabited by Him who sitteth between the cherubim. We hear much of the perils which array themselves against the bulwarks of our Zion: but the sound of this warning should speak to us only of increased faithfulness and zeal. It should admonish us not to pace round the towers of our fortress, and to number them with a proud and indolent security. It should prompt us to strengthen and adorn them by our own labours, that all who look upon them may "Of a truth, this is a city compact together, and at unity with itself; a city whose walls are salvation, and her gates praise." It is indeed a noble thought, that Christians form a royal priesthood to the whole human race, and that Christian ministers are the priesthood to this holy generation. It is awfully glorious to think that, if Christian people are the elect of God, the Christian clergy are" the chosen of his choice, the elect of his election." But what would all these privileges and glories be, but a burning reproach, if those who wear them should seem to set them at nought, and cease to magnify the office to which they have been consecrated? And how can they better magnify their office than by shewing that it is an office which hath brought their own spirits into perpetual communion with heaven-and hath taught them to go forth, strong only in the majesty and power of God? What is it that men expect to see when they come into the presence of a Christian minister? A reed shaken by the wind; or a goodly cedar of the Lord, whose roots are deep enough to defy the tempest? Do they look for one clothed in softness and self-indulgence; or for one who is familar with toil and self-denial? Do they not look for a prophet, yea, and for more than a prophet? for the least of the ministers in the kingdom of Christ is greater than the messenger who was sent to prepare his way. But I will cease from these words of exhortation, which it might better perhaps become me to listen to than to deliver. I stand in the midst of men who need not to be told by me, that if the words of eternal life are to be spoken with authority, they should be spoken by lips which may seem to have been touched and purified by fire from the altar. You have not to learn, that nothing could so effectually silence the thunders of a Boanerges, as the slightest suspicion among the people that faintness and lukewarmness had come upon the spirits of his brethren and fellow-workers in the minis.