Honoré de Balzac.

American Baptist memorial: a statistical biographical, and ..., Volume 15 online

. (page 76 of 96)
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which is a transcript of himself, and
they have proved their hatred to Christ,
by despising and rejecting lus gpspeL
The command io aU men everywhere to
repent, was made by him who well knew
that no one would repent, but those to
whom the grace of repentance is given ;
but this command was intended to test
the disposition of men toward the
gospel plan of salvation, and thus to
take away the cloak under which the
sinner thinks to hide, by pleading the
too great severity of the law.

When God was about to destroy the
old world, and had positively declared
his determination to do so, he commis-
sioned Noah to preach to that ungodly
generation during one hundred and
twenty years. By the building of the
ark, and the promise of God to Noah,
that for his righteousness sake he would
save his family with him in that ark, he
made known in a figure the gospel plan
of salvation by Christ ; and thus was
Noah a ''preacher of righteousness."
For it was the Spirit of Christ that
preached in him to " the disobedient,"
whose spirits are now 'Mn prison."
Let us enquire what was the purpose
which God intended to efifect by this



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261



preaching. Certainly it was not to save
heae sinners, for be had previously de-
treed their destruction ; but it is posi-
iyely declared, that " by i( he condemned
he toorid ; this very preaching was " a
lavour of death unto death in them that
Krish ;" it became, and was designed to
je the last and condemning " witness"
tgainst those who had proved already
;hat " every imagination of the thoughts
of their heart was only evil continually/'
A certain class of preachers seem to
suppose that Noah actually invited
those that perished in the flood to enter
ihe ark; that he told them there was
plenty of room, and that it was doubt-
less tlH9 desire and intention of God to
save them. Had he preached such a
gospel — or had he, on the otLer hand,
concluded that if it was not the design
of God to deliver ihein, it would be of
no use U> preach ai aU — would he, in
either case, have " preached the preach-
ing 1^ God had bidden him 7''

A young man, in conversing with a
friend, expressed a great desire to preach
to sinners. " What do you intend to say
to them ?** said his friend, '' I wish to tii-
9iie them to repent, and to offer Christ to
them," he replied. " By what authority
would you incite the impenitent?" " Why,
what should I say to them?" said he.
** You should eommand them to repent
in the name of the Lord, sir, upon the
penalty of eternal death." The next day
the same persons met again, when the
young man said, ** I have been thinking
of our conversation yesterday, and be-
lieve I now understand the subject. If
I am invited to a friend's house, I can go
or not as I choose ; but if I am sum-
moned before a court martial, by legal
authority, I must go, or pay the fine"
^ Just so, sir ; and let me advise you, in
iddreesing sinners, always to remember
the court xnartiaL"

Some very excellent people tell yon
they dare not hope ; why do they not
dare to hope ? To me it seems much
&IOM impiottg to dart t« despair.



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As BZBMPLIPIBD IN THB LiFB OP THl hLTM

Jambs C. Cranb, Dbaoom op thb Fibst
Baptist Church, Riohmono, Yiboimu.

bt bbv. j. b. jbteb.
** Not ilothful in hunnett ; ferveni in
tpirit; iervtHg the Lord," — ^Rom. zii; 11.

ONE of the most common, plausible
and influential excuses for the neglect
of religion is, that its claims are at va-
riance with the business and cares of
life. We urge men to embrace the goa*
pel — ^to consecrate themselves to the
service of Christ — to make preparation
for a coming eternity. We enforce oar
exhortation by motives drawn from
duty and interest — from the law and the
gospel — from the grace of the Father,
the sacrifice of the Son, and the sancti-
fying influence of the Spirit — from the
earth, hell and heaven. They hear ua
respectfully — admit the truth and impor-
tance of all our remarks — and then
quiet their consciences in the neglect of
religion by the flimsy pretence, that the
butdness and cares of life, of necessity,
engross their time and thoughts. It
would be well, if this sophistry were
confined to men of the world. But ^o-
fessing Christians frequently justify
themselves in the neglect of the plainest
duties, and satisfy themselves with the
most meagre religious attainments, on
the delusive plea, that their worldly occu-
pations absorb their energies, and unfit
them for higher pursuits. The ftitility
of this excuse, whether it would be
used to palliate a total, or partial n^
lect of religion, may be easily made to
appear. The plea is based on the as-
sumption, that the proper business ot
life is inconsistent with earnest piety.
If the assumption is true, the excuse ia
vain. Were the interests of this life,
and the interests of the life to come, in
conflict, then reason, conscience, and
revelation demand that the former shall
be sacrificed for the latter. The less
vhoqld yield to the i^reater. IJu^twlMl



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AlCERIOAN BAPTIST IfEMORIAL.



fe first in importanoe, shoyld be first in
attention. No man, who admits the
inspiration of the Bible, can doubt the
transcendent worth of the "things
above, where Christ sitteth at the right
hand of God ;" and no man making
this admission can decline seeking these
things, in preference to the " things on
the earth/' without subjecting himself
to the charge of moral insanity. The
command, *' seek ye first the kingdom
of God, and his righteousness," is not
more plainly dictated by divine wisdom,
than it is urgently enforced by human dis-
cretion. But the assumption, on which
the plea rests, is false. The just claims
of the world are in ferfect harmony
with the superior claims of piety. A
man need not be an ascetic to be a
Ohristian. Lawful business is no neces-
sary hindrance to devotion. There is,
indeed, a love of the world, which is
incompatible with the love of God. "If
any man love the world, the love of the
Father is not in him." Supreme devo-
tion to the world is rebellion against
God. He, who seeks from the world
his chief good, is an idolater. He ren-
ders to the creature the homage, which
is ^e only to the Creator. He puts the
wcVld where God ought to be, and puts
God where the world ought to be.
^Te cannot serve God and mammon."
Where Christ reigns, he must reign sole
monarch. It must be conceded, too,
that there are employments, accounted
among men legitimate and honorable,
which are entirely inconsistent with ear-
nest piety. They originate in depra-
Tity, minister to its gratification, and
are clearly condemned of Grod. To af-
firm that such employments are in har-
mony with piety, would be to obliterate
the distinction between right and wrong,
holiness and sin. Such occupations, iar
from behig needftil, are a curse to those
who engage hi them, and a reproach to
society. But all avocations, which are
demanded by the interests of the com-
munity, which ftimish no unavoidable
toocotiTB to linftil indulgence^-infring*



no right of man — and transgress no law
of God — may be pursued, with dili-
gence, earnestness and efiSciency, with-
out, by one iota, compromitting the
claims, or diminishing the fervor of true
piety. The spirit of inspiration, who
requires that Christians shall be "not
slothful in business," demands that they
shall be "fervent in spirit." I am
aware that some critics propose a differ-
ent rendering of the first clause of this
verse — "as to diligence not remiss."
This change, however, does not mate-
rially affect the sense of the passage.
According to either rendering, it har-
monizes with the counsel of the wise
man — " Whatsover thy hand findeth to
do, do it with thy might." As God
does not require of his creatures impos-
sibilities, we may bo certain, that the
utmost fervency of spirit, in the service
of the Lord, is consistent with a due
and laborious attention to the pursuits of
this life. A

The podtion, which has been dis-
cussed, does not exhaust the whole truth
on this subject. A proper attention to
secular interests, far from bemg opposed
to the religion of the Bible, constitutes
an important element of it. " Whether,
therefore, ye eat or drink, or whatso-
ever ye do," said St. Paul, " do all for the
glory of God." This text inculcates
entire consecration to God. We should
serve him, not only in devotions, but in
our labors ; not only in our mortifica-
tions, but in our indulgences. Plowing,
if performed from a right motive, is as
pleasing to GK>d as prayer or praise.
This principle converts every place into
a temple of the Lord, every occupation
into the service of the Lord, and every
day into a day of the Lord. The
laborer in the field, the mechanic in
the shop, the merchant in the store, the
statesman in the legislative hall, and the
judge on the bench, may serve God as
truly and acceptably, as the Christian
in the closet, or the minister in the pul-
pit. So far is piety from unfitting ui
for a proper and tfftotiTe attention to



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263



secular interests, that she pronounces the
man, who wilfully neglects them, utter-
ly unworthy of her favor and compan-
ionship. '* If any man provide not for
his own, and specially for those of his
own house, he hath denied the faith, and
is worse than an infidel.'' The family
relation is of divine appointment. "God
setteth the soUtary in families.'* He has
devolved on the head of the family the
responsihility of making provision for
its nourishment, education and happi-
ness. To secure the fulfilment of this
duty, he has implanted in the parental
bosom an affection, which makes care
light, toil easy, and sacrifices sweet.
Impelled by this affection, infidels, who
reject the word of God, and spurn the
restraints of moral obligation, provide
for the sustenance and comfort of their
offspring. Now, if any man, professing
to be a Christian, fails to provide for
those, who, by the ordinance of Heaven,
claJM his support — in vain does he
plero, in excuse for this neglect, the fer-
vency of his private devotions, and the
eamcfttness of his attention to the pub-
lic duties of religion. His prayers, his
praises, and his sacrifices are an abomi-
nation to the Lord. The man's conduct
is a virtual denial of the Christian
faith, and is worse than that of an infi-
del. I will not af&rm the impossibility
of the salvation of the lazy and indolent;
but the scriptures seem fully to author-
ize the exclamation. How hardly shall
they enter into the kingdom of heaven I
On the subject under consideration,
our observation agrees with the teach-
ing of revelation. There are few pas-
tors, I presume, who have not seen
among their flocks beautiful and instruc-
tive specimens of the harmony between
fervent devotion and diligent labor.
Some years ago, in the regular course
of my pastoral labor, I prepared and
preached a sermon on the text placed at
the head of this article. The theme
was " The compatibility of diligence in
business with fervency in devotion."
In the discussion of the subject I had '



' in mind the life of Deacon J. C. Crane,
then one of my constant hearers. Of
course, I drew the picture so as to con-
ceal the original. The recent death of
Mr. Crane, having removed the restraints
under which I then labored, I have con-
cluded to re-produce the picture, with
such emendations as reflection may sug-
gest, and my changed relations to the
departe«l may authorize. In this labor,
I am actuated alike by a sense of justice
to the dead,- and a desire to benefit the
living. "The memory of the just shall
be blessed." We should deem it, not
merely a sacred duty, but a delightful
service, to gather up, record, and trans-
mit, as a fragant memorial to future
generations, thcr excellencies and labors
of the departed worthies, whom we have
known and loved. Especially does it
seem desirable that tue lights which
grace has kindled, and which have
shone so brightly and beneficently, in
the narrow sphere to which providence
has assigned them, should be brought
forth, and set ou a higher pedestal, that
they may irradiate and bless a wider dr-
cle. The great have their panegyrists
Wh> should not the good have theirs
The great shine too often but to dazzle,
bewilder and ruin: the good shine ^nly
to enlighten, to encourage, and to exalt.
Deacon Jas. C. Crane was " not sloth-
ful in business." He was a merchant.
And permit me to say, in passing, that
merchants are a noble class of society.
They are not all deserving, but among
them are to be found many of the finest
specimens of probity, liberality and
public spirit. To this respectable class,
Mr. Crane belonged, and never did any
act of his bring on it "the shadow of a
spot." During the greater part of his
life, he carried on a pretty extearfve and
active business. "Ro^Ba connected with
several companies, for insurance, inter-
nal improvement, and other purposes ;
in several of them he held responsible
offices. He was, emphatically, a man
of btuiness. If he was not a genius,
he posswed a large measure of common



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AMERICAN BAPTIST MEMORIAL.



sense. His perception was quick, bis
jv pigment clear, his utterance ready, and
hi.; movements were nimble. If intri-
cate accounts were to be settled, or busi-
ness documents to be drawn up, none
could do it better than be. He was in-
dustrious, earnest, punctual, considerate,
and persevering. Early and late, he
was in his counting room. No man
could charge him with the neglect of
duty in any department of business.
Among all the men of his day, who
fought their chief good in the world,
there was not one more active, diligent
and efficient than he. He was just such
a citizen as every virtuous, well ordered
community would co^. His piety,
which was concealed from none who
knew him, did not diminish his labors,
his success, or his respectability. Nay^
it certainly promoted his influence and
patronage in business. All were fully
pursuaded of the integrity and fairness
of his dealings ; and were therefore not
ifraid to trust him. His word was ac-
eounted as his bond, and his bond as the
bill of a specie paying bank. But on
this subject, I need not enlarge. Suf-
fice it to say, that he was a Christian
merchant, earnestly and vigorously pros-
ecuting his business, attending to every
interest, performing every duty, and by
a long course of uprightness, punctual-
ity and beneficence, winning and re-
taining the confidence, admiration and
esteem of the community in which he
lived.

Mr. Crane was "fervent in spirit."
In his youth he made a profession of re-
ligion; and a life extendei to half a
century furnished indubitable evidence
of the sincerity of his profession. He
was, as Tcug Seen Sang, the Chinese
evangelist expressed it, ^^a hot hearted
Christian.'' A moA consistent example
of piety than that which he exhibited,
it would not be easy to find. He was
humble, conscientious, kind, liberal, de-
vout and active. He was, indeed,
adorned with all the graces of the
Spirit i and his life was an instructive I



and beautiful illustration of every Chris-
tian principle. But his various excel-
lencies demand a more particular notice.
Contemplate him in the famUy, He
was blessed with a well-ordered, inter-
esting and promising family. In the
much loved domestic circle, his piety
shone with pleasing and ceaseless lustre.
He learned, according to the apostolic in-
junction, " first to show piety at home."
It was impossible to spend a day in his
house without being impressed with the
religious influence pervading it. Piety
presided over all the domestic arrange-
ments. Every pleasure, engagement and
interest was regulated with strict refer-
ence to the enjoyment of his religious
privileges, and the performance of his
religious duties. He was profoundly
interested in the education of his chil-
dren. He spared neither pains nor ex-
pense to have them properly trained for
a sphere of usefulness and respectability;
but he was chiefly anxious that^ey
sho«ld be brought up '* in the nurture
and admonition of the Lord.'* He priaed
knowledge, but most of all, the know-
ledge of salvation. He manifestly and
carefully endeavored to educate his chil-
dren for dod and heaven. His library
and his centre table were well furnished
with books ; not such as are frequently
found in the houses of professing Chris-
tiana, mere literary trash, corrupting
alike to taste and to morals — but well
selected volumes, fitted to instruct as
well as interest, with a predominance of
the most attractive and valuable reli-
gious works. The family conversation
was free, genial, cheerful, sometimes fa-
cetious, but invariably chastened by the
religious element, and frequently, with-
out the slightest violence, directed to
sacred themes. Mr. Crane was passion-
ately fond of singing — an amateur in
the art — ^attentively instructed his chil-
dren in both vocal and instrumental
music — ^but earnestly aimed to conse-
crate the attainment to the worship and
glory of Christ. His house was the
abode of a generous, flowing hospitality



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out whoever might be his guest, Christ
was sure to find a welcome at his table.
No conversation, no temper, no appetite
was indulged, which would exclude the
guest who graced the marriage supper
Df Cana in Galilee. The family worship,
which took precedence of all pleasures,
and of all other duties, was spirited, so-
lemn, instructive, brief, and varied to
suit the changing circumstances of the
household. ITiose who knew the family
before it was broken by aflfliction, can
bear testimony, that it was a bright,
joyous and hopeful circle, in which au-
thority was exercised with wisdom and
kindness, and submission was yielded
with reverence and cheerfulness ; and of
this charming circle. Deacon Crane was
the sun whose light and warmth im-
parted life, vigor and gladness to all
around.

Notice Mr. Crane in the church. Like
his Lord, he loved " the gates of Zion
iior^^an all the dwellings of Jacob.'*'
None could sing more heartily and p^-
inently than he,

" I love thy kingdom, Lord,

The hoaae of thine abode,
The ohnroh oar blessed Redeemer saved
With his own precious blood.

*' Beyond my highest joy

I prize her heavenly ways,
Her sweet commnnion, solemn vows.
Her hymns of love and praise."

At all the meetings of church, for
worship or business, he filled his place ;
IT could furnish some valid reason for
is absence. His attendance on public
eligious worship was not permitted to
depend on chance or convenience ; but
:e so arranged his business, and so regu-
ated his movements as to be sure of
enjoying the privilege. Nor was his
presence in the house of worship a mere
formality. He waited on the ministra-
tions of the gospel, as a new bom babe,
desiring " the sincere milk of the word,"
that he might grow thereby. He sat for
the following picture, taken from the
Mirror, p. Ul^:



** I once had the pleasure of number-
ing Brother Lively among my constaut
hearers. He always took his seat near
the pulpit, and listened to the word
preached with intense interest, and a
heart responsive to all its claims. His
absorbed attention, the variations in his
countenance, and his flowing tears,
evinced the warmth of his feelings.
Nor did his emotions die away with the
sound of the preacher's voice, but sub-
sequently showed themselves in the spi-
rituality of his conversation, the fervor
of his devotions, and the activity of his
efforts in the cause of Christ. If on the
face of the earth there was a church
composed of suc# members as Brother
Livdy, 1 should delight to be their
pastor."

For many years Mr. Crane was a dea-
con of the First Baptist church; and
using- the office well, he purchased to
himself " a good degree, and great bold-
ness in the faith which is in Christ
Jesus." The Deacon had that happy
combination of firmness of purpose,
with suavity of manner, which rendered
him invaluable in church discipline. He
shrunk from no resjionsibility, and from
no toil, demanded by the welfare of the
church. In his exercise of ecclesiastical
authority, his spirit prompted him to
the use of mild rather than severe mea-
sures ; to heal rather than to amputate ;
to win rather than to force. None en-
tered more fully into the spirit of the
inspired counsel, or more faithfully
obeyed it. "Brethren, if a man be
overtaken in a fault, ye which are spi-
ritual, restore such an one in the spirit of
meekness ; considering thyself, lest thou
also be tempted." With those fierce and
morose disciplinarians, who take plea-
sure in excommunicating and anathama-
tizing the faulty, he had no sympathy.
He contributed of his substance, liberally
and cheerfully, for the support of the
church. Though not rich, his name
generally stood among the first on the
list of contributors. Were all church
members imbued with the free, Mlf-ia«-^



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AMERIOAN BAPIDSr MBMOBUL.



rificing spirit which characterized him,
means for the support of pastors^ the
erection, and improvement of houses of
worship, furnishing Sunday schools, and
promoting in other ways the cause of
Christ, would, in few cases, bo wanting.
In meetings for social prayer, his pre-
sence created delight. His gift in prayer
was rich. His supplications appro-
priate in matter, simple in language,
and earnest in spirit — were almost cer-
tain to yibrate on kindred chords in the
hearts of his fellow-worshippers. Some-
times their tears would flow responsive
to his own. Nor was he more gifted in
prayer than in pious exhortation. He
could instantly seize op. a text of Scrip-
ture, a passing incide*, a casual remark,
or a flitting thought of his own, and ex-
pand it into an instructive and impres-
sive discourse. Not unfrequently, on
these occasions, his remarks would be
most felicitous and thrilling. Many
years he was a leader of church music ;
and had his labors and influence been
confined to this department of useful-
ness, he would have been an invaluable
church member. He possessed a fine,
musical, well cultivated voice, and ex-
cellent taste, judgment and taet, which
enabled him, with a moment's notice, to
select, for any occasion, the most appro-
priate tune and hymn. He was a noble
specimen of a church membir. Any
pastor would rejoice to have such a help-
er. In any church, such a deacon would
be a pillar, an ornament, and a leader.
In the Sunday school Mr. Crane was
at home, and found his most congenial
employment. He was trained in the
Sunday school. Here commenced that
self-discipline for which he was ever dis-
tinguished — here he began to lay up
those spiritual treasures, in which he be-
came so affluentT-and here wus laid the
Ibundatian of that usefulness, which was
erected into so fair and spacious an edi-
fice. The pupil soon became a tuacher ;
and it were difficult to say, whether the
ficholars or the master were the more
|)enefited by his iu&tructions. He dili-



gently sought knowledge to impart it,
and imparting, he increased it. His
qualifications quickly marked him out
as fitted for the office of superintendent.
Much the greater portion of his mature
age was spent in performing the duties
of this responsible office. In this post,
indeed, he won his highest meed. He
was a model Sunday school superinten-
dent. Punctuality, earnestness and affec-
tion distinguished him in this depart-
ment of labor. His soul, body, time,
purse^ influence, were all enlisted in the
work. None knew better how to win
the hearts of children, or inspire teach-
ers with zeal, than he. The success of
the schools, at difierent times, and in
different places, under his charge, bear
decisive testimony to this important of-
ficer. His zeal in this cause was not
limited to the schools under his imme-
diate instruction. He resigned the su-
perintendency of a flourishing school,
that he might devote himself,^ the
claims of business should pciflR, to
vfsiting other schools, encouraging such
as were feeble, and organizing them
where they were needed. As a Sunday
school lecturer, he had few equals. His
thorough knowledge of the Sunday school
system, its history, the details of its ope-



Online LibraryHonoré de BalzacAmerican Baptist memorial: a statistical biographical, and ..., Volume 15 → online text (page 76 of 96)