Kazlitt Arvine.

Cyclopedia of moral and religious anecdotes: .. online

. (page 133 of 150)
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XIV, was greatly esteemed by tiiat
monarch, and by his prime minister,
Cardinal Mazarin. He would iiave
made a great fortune, if he had been a
Roman Catholic ; and he received sev-
eral letters from the queen and from the
cardinal, wherein they exhorted him to
change his profession, and thereby re-
move the obstacle which lay in the way
of his advancement. They also offered
him a marshal's staff, and a considerable
government, provided he would become
a Roman Catholic. His answer was,
that if he could resolve to betray his
God for a marshal's staff, he might be-
tray his king for a less advantage ; but
that he would do neither of them, being
contented to see that his services were
acceptable, and that his religion was tlie
only reason why lie was not rewarded
for them.

FICED.—" A gentleman," says Mr.
Knill, missionary at Petersburg, " res-
ident on tiie shores of the Caspian, who
once cared nothing about Christ or his
cause, has, within a few years, become
a warm-hearted disciple. Knowing his
character, I wrote to him to assist me in
the distribution of the Holy Scriptures.
To my request he jovfully agreed ; but
he did not think it sufficient to contribute
towards it himself, but he tried to enlist
others also in the good work. He men-
tioned it in particular to a pious lady
of his acquaintance, who had just before
received a present of a hundred roubles,
to purchase a pair of ear-rings. Fired
with the hope of promoting the eternal
happiness of her fellow creatures, she
determined to sacrifice her ear-rings to
the cause of God, and sent the hundred
roubles to me. Perhaps this was the
first time that ever her attachment to
the Savior had called for a sacrifice ;
and it must be unspeakably gratifying
to her mind, when reviewing the trans-
action, to feel that she could part with !
her orname its for her adorable Redeem-
er "

RIOUS MARTYRS.— Julius Palmer,
in Queen Mary's days, had life and pre-

ferment off(;red him, if he would recant
his faith in Christ. His answer was,
that he had resigned his living in two
places for the sake of the gospel, and
now was ready to yield his life on ac-
count of Christ.

William Hunter, when urged by
Bonner to recant, replied, he could only
be moved by the Scriptures, for he reck-
oned the things of earth but dross for
Christ; and when the sheriifoff^-ed iiim
a pardon at the stake, if he would re-
nounce his faith, he firmly rejected it.

Antonius Riceto, a Venetian, was
offered his life, and considerable wea. h,
if he would concede but a l.^ .lo ; and
when his own son, with weeping entreat-
ed him to do so, he answered, that he
was resolved to lose both children and
estate for Christ.

The Prixce of Conde, at the mas-
sacre of Paris, when tiie King assured
him that he should die within three days,
if he did not renounce his religion, told
the monarch that his life and estate were
in his hand, and that he would give up
botii rather than renounce the truth.

AN. — Mr. Weed, in one of his letters
from Scotland, says :

" While at Libcrton, which place is
about two miles from the centre of Edin-
boro', I was informed of an instance of
theological patriotism that would have
made the old " Cameronian cow-feeder,*'
were he alive, leap for joy. Observing
a dozen stone masons actively engaged
in putting up the walls of a small edifice,
at which as many persons were lookers
on, my cabman informed me that they
were building a new Kirk for a " non-
intrusionist minister," and on further
inquiry, I ascertained that this humble
temple was designed for an eloquent
preacher who, with a devotion worthy
of " Reuben Butler," or even of the
stoutest Cameronians, who hid them-
selves in caverns during the " persecut-
ing times," had renounced a living of
$3,500 per annum, with a fine parson-
age-house and glebe, rather than com-
promise his principles."

VERTS. — The simplicity of many of
the heathen, when they receive the truth
of Gk)d in the love of it, is often very

403, 104


admirable. Rev. W. M. Harvard stales,
in his narrative relative to Ceylon, that
when he was once addressing a native
congregation in the government school-
house at Pantura, from 1 John iii. 8, he
endeavored to show that the Kappooa
system was one of the works of the
devil which the Son of God came to de-
stroy ; and urged their immediate re-
nunciation of all confidence in their vain
charms, and to commit the keeping of
their bodies and their souls to God.
Appealing to their understandings and
consciences, he inquired, " Which of
you will now cast away these works of
the devil, and place himself under the
protection of the Son of God ?" He
looked round upon the congregation, as
for a reply. Presently a charm was
handed up to the pulpit, which had been
broken off for that purpose. He held it
up, and gave thanks to God, that in that
place he had begun to destroy these
works of the devil. He then repeated

the inquiry, " Who next ?" &c., and
two or three more abandoned charms
were handed up in a similar way. Be-
fore the close of the service, a handful
of them was in his possession.

missionary in India says, " 1 rode lo
Nallamaram, and saw some people of
the congregation there, together with
the catechist. The clothes of one of the
women were rather dirty, and I asked
her about ' . " Sir," said she, " 1 am
a poor woman, and have only this single
dress." " Well, have y.\i always been
so poor ?" " No, I had some money
and jewels, but a year ago the Maravers
(thieves) came and robbed me of all.
They told me," she said, "If you will
return to heathenism we shall restore you
every Ihi7ig." "Well, why did you not
follow their advice ? Now you are a
poor Christian." " O, Sir," she replied,
" I would rather be a poor Christian than
a rich heathen,'^


GATION. — A worldly man began to
taunt a celebrated preacher, and, among
other things, told him it was true his
congregation was large, but it was
chiefly made up of servants and low
people. " I know it is," said the saga-
cious divine ; " my church is composed
of such converts as Jesus Christ and
his apostles gained ; and, as for ser-
vants, I had rather be instrumental in
converting them than their employers."

" Why so ?" inquired the man.

" Because," observed the minister,
" they have the care of all the chil-

The Abbe Barruel, in the account he
gives of the closing scenes of Diderot's
life, tells us, that he had a Christian
servant, to whom he had been kind, and
who waited upon him in his last illness.
This servant took a tender interest in
the melancholy situation of his master,
who Avas just about to leave this world,
without preparation for another. Though
a young man, he ventured one day,

when he was engaged about his master's
person, to remind him that he had a soul,
and to admonish him, in a respectful man-
ner, not to lose the last opportunity of at-
tending to its welfare. Diderot heard
him with attention, melted into tears,
and thanked him. He even consented
to allow the young man to introduce a
clergyman, whom he would probably
have continued to admit to his chamber,
if his infidel friends would have suffered
the minister to repeat his visits. Let
us be encouraged to attempt good under
the most unpromising circumstances,
and, in our different stations, to remem-
ber we are commanded to labor for the
welfare of those with whom we are

— Philip Melancthon, who is univer-
sally known as one of the reformers,
was highly esteemed for his great gene-
rosity. Indeed his friends were aston-
ished at his liberality, and wondered
how, with his small means, he could
afford to give so much in charity.
It appears to have been principally


40 1, 103

owing to tlio car; and good manage-
ment of an excellent and faitliful ser-
vant named John, a native of Sweden.
The whole duty of provisioning the
family was intrusted to this domestic,
whose care, assiduity and prudence am-
ply justified the unbounded confidence
reposed in him. He made the concerns
of the family his own, avoiding all
needless expenditure, and watching with
a jealous eye his master's prope:!-y.
He was also the first instructor of the
children during their infancy. John
grew old in his master's service, and
expired in his house amidst the affec-
tionate regrets of the whole family.
During a service of thirty-four years,
how much usefulness was effected by
honesi John, and by his master through
his instrumentality ! Melancthon in-
vited the students of the university to
attend the funeral of his faithful ser-
vant, delivered an oration over his grave,
and composed a Latin epitaph for his
tombstone, of which the following is a
translation : —

" Here, at a distance from his native land,
Came honest John, at Philip's first command ;
Companion of his exile, doubly dear.
Who in a servant found a friend sincere ;
And more than friend — a man of faith and

Assiduous soother of his master's care.
Here to the worms his lifeless i)()dy's given.
But his immortal soul sees God in heaven.'

day, in my travels," says Mr. Jay, " I

heard of a servant who had attended a
VVesleyan chapel. Tiiis offended her
master and mistress, who told her that
she must discontinue the practice, or
leave their service. She received the
information with modesty, said she was
sorry, but so it must be ; she could not
sacrifice the convictions of her con-
science to keep her place. So they
gave her warning ; and she was now
determined, if possible to bo more cir-
cumspect and exemplary than ever;
determined that, if she suffered for her
religion, her religion should not sulfer
for her. Some time after tliis, the mas-
ter said to the mistress, " Why, this is
rather a hard measure with regard to
our servant ; has she not a right to
worship God where she pleases as wp'I
as ourselves ?"

" Oh, yes," said the mistress; " and
we never had so good a servant ; one
who rose so early, and got her work
done so well, was so clean, and was so
economical, never answering again."

And so they intimated that she might
remain. Some time after this the wife
said to her husband, " 1 think Mary's
relision does her a cjreat deal more
good than our religion seems to do us ;
1 should like to hear her minister."
And so she went, and was impressed ;
and prevailed upon her husband to go,
and he was impressed ; and now they
are all followers of God, and have the
worship of God in their house.

405. SIN.


persons," says Mr. Brooks, " were stu-
dying what were the best means to
mortify sin; one said, to meditate on
death ; the second, to meditate on judg-
ment ; the third, to meditate on the
joys of heaven ; the fourth, to meditate
on the torments of hell ; the fifth, to
meditate on the blood and sufferings of
Jesus Christ; and certainly the last is
the choicest and strongest motive of all.
If ever we wouM cast off our despairing
thoughts, we inust dwell and inuse
piuch upon, and apply this precious

blood to our own souls ; so shall sorrow
and mourning fiee away."

SIN. — Count Godomar, a foreigner of
note, often professed, in the declining
part of his years, when death and the
eternal world seemed nearer, " That he
feared nothing in the world more than
sin ; and whatever liberties he had for-
merly taken, he would rather now sub-
mit to be torn to pieces by wild beasts,
than knowingly or willingly com.ir.it
any sin against God."


405, 406


words that Archbishop Usher was heard
to express, were, " Lord, forgive ray
sins, especially my sins o^ omission."

At a missionary station among the Hot-
tentots, the question was proposed, " Do
we possess any thing that we have not
received of God ?" A little girl of
five years old immediately answered,
'^ Yes sir siTi "

DER." — A poor villager in England
supplied an answer to the cavil of an
unbeliever ; he said, " Time was, when
I got amongst a set of people who would
not believe the Bible, and I heard all
their objections, and some of them did
me great hurt ; for I was not able to
answer them, and my belief became
almost as bad as theirs. I felt all the
time I was wrong, and I could see the
folly of some of their objections. They
asked me one day, how it could be sup-
posed that God would destroy Adam
and his descendants, only for eating an
apple ? In my worst state I could see
that there was nothing in this often an-
swered and weak objection ; it was not
that our first parents had only eaten of
some kind of fruit ; it was that they
had disobeyed God ; it was sir," .said
the poor man, " that they broke the

" Many have puzzled themselves," says
Mr. Newton, " about the origin of evil ;
I observe there is evil, and that there is a
way to escape it, and with this I begin
and end."

406. Sin Against the Holy Ghost.

SION.— Mr. F , the subject of the

following narrative, was a respectable
inhabitant of one of the northern towns
of Pennsylvania. About seven years

previous to his death, Mr. W , a

missionary, visited the town where Mr.
F resided. Under his faithful la-
bors, a revival of religion commenced,
in which numbers were hopefully born
into the kingdom of the Reedemer.

The attention of Mr. F was also

arrested. He was led to see his
sinfulness and danger, and to inquire,
" what he must do to be saved." His
convictions of sin were pungent for
some time, but, after a kw months, hi3
seriousness began to abate. Levity and
profaneness succeeded, and, like the
unclean spirit who walked through dry
places, seeking rest and 'inding none,
Mr. F returned to a state of stu-
pidity seven times more dreadful than
before. He soon adopted the sentiment
of Universalism, and thence, as a na-
tural course, he descended to infidelity;
and, at length, boldly denied the in-
spiration of the Scriptures, and became
an avowed Deist. In this situation, he
was often asked by those acquainted
with his previous .seriousness, what he
thought of his former convictions. He
uniformly imputed them to enthusiasm
or the work of the devil. The conse-
quence was, as might have been ex-
pected, he became more and more con-
firmed in his infidel principles, until
about four or five months previous to
his death. It was at this time that the
writer first became acquainted with
him, and it was from his own lips, and
from his neighbors, that the above ac-
count of his life was received. On
reading to him the first nine verses of
the sixth chapter of the Hebrews, and
the last four verses of the second chap-
ter of the Second Epistle of Peter, he
was again awakened. The above
words were like " a sharp two-edged
sword." His infidel principles ap-
peared in a surprising manner to leave
him, and to be succeeded by a dreadful
sense of the threatenings of the Divine
law. The view which he had of his
sinfulness was great, and such an aw-
ful feelingof danger pervaded his mind,
that he trembled with fear. Great
pains were taken to instruct him into
the way of salvation by Jesus Christ,
and prayer was literally made inces-
santly for him. But all availed nothing,
his distress increased every day. After a
few weeks he appeared to be verging
fast to a state of complete despair. This
appeared to *e accelerated by a fixed
opinion that he had committed the un-
pardonable sin. Fr'- -nme time he re-



fused to tell the sin which he considered
unpardonable. After much importu-
nity, however, he said it consisted in
imputing to the devil his previous reli-
gious impressions. He was informed
that it might have proceeded from an
error in judgin(?nt, and not from delibe-
rate malice of heart. He decided that
this could not be the case, for when he
said that his former convictions were
enthusiasm and from the devil, he knew
they were produced by the Holy Spirit ;
ihat the above declaration proceeded
directly from enmity, and had sealed
his perdition. His distress and horror
of mind increased, until they arose to
*he most alarming degree. At times he
appeared to be in as much mental
agony as he could possibly endure and
livu. He often declared he felt the
very pains of hell in his bosom, and
tliat if his soul and body were then in
everlasting burnings, he could not suffer
more. All means used to relieve him
appeared only to increase the misery
and aggravate the horror of his mind.
Often with a countenance distorted with
all the features of despair, he would
entreat those present never to quench
the Spirit, never to deny the work of
the Holy Ghost, or embrace the senti-
ments of infidelity, especially never to
impute revivals and awakenings to the
devil. His sufferings soon impaired his
health ; he lost his appetite for food,
and sleep entirely forsook his eyes. A
fearful earnest of future misery took
deeper and stronger hold on his mind,
till at length reason reeled .from her
throne, and he died by his own hand.
We suppose this to be a ])lain in.stance
of the sin against the Holv Ghost.

DELUSION.— There are instances of
distressing fears on this subject, fears
which, as the event shows, were unfound-
ed. The following case is one ; and one
of the many which might be cited to show

the truth of this. Mr. L had en-

'oyed the privilege of sitting under an
able and successful ministry. His
heart had been touched ; and, during a
remarkable period, in which he saw
many of his friends embracing the hope
of salvation, his own convictions in-
creased. Not long after his fediuijs of

impatience became sensitive. His at-
tention was subsequently turned from
its own proper object to one more nearly
connected with our natural selfisiiness.
He ceased to be an inquirer and be-
came an objector. It is hard to stop
here. Opposition succeeded a habit of
objecting. An apparent bitterness of
prejudice and malevolence of expres-
sion, were observable whenever he
opened his lips on the subject of reli-
gion. Still the past day of conviction
was a memorable time to him. Five
years atlcrwards he was again roused
to a sense of his danger. And with the
alarm came the frightful recollection of
his former conduct. Language which
he had uttered — and which appea. ed
nearly allied to blasphemy — returned
fresh to his memory. He accused him-
self of having committed the unpardon-
able sin. All efforts to persuade him
to the contrary were unavailing. The
impression was daily deepening. His
mind lost its elasticity ; and a moody
temperament succeeded. His friends
were alarmed. A suspicion was started
among them, that his conclusions might
be just. This he marked, and labored
to confirm it. He seemed to take a ne-
gative satisfaction in stating the despe-
ration of his case ; and in watching the
fallen countenance of sympathy.

Many months had transpired, during
which he was the subject of religious
gossip with some, of a kind of supersti-
tious dread with others, and of fervent
prayer with a few of the remainder ; —
when the case was stated to a judicious
minister, whom Divine Providence had
called into the neighborhood. He waited
on Mr. L., who, far from being averse
to any conversation relative to his own
state, seemed rather to court it. Fie
was fluent in all his details of time and
circumstance ; and always ended his
narrative with a declaration that he had
ceased for ever to pray. After a pre-
paratory interchange of remarks, he
was a.sked, " You believe your.self
guilty of the unpardonable sin ?''

" I am sure of it."

" In what did the crime consist ?"

" I opposed tlie work of God."

."So .did Saul."

'* I denied .Tesus Christ."



" So did a disciple afterwards honor-
ed by his n aster."

" I doubted the power of Jesus Christ
after strong evidence in his favor."

*' So did Thomas."

" What? are you attempting to prove
by such examples that I am a Chris-
tian ?"

" Not at all: I am only inquiring in-
to the nature of your guilt; and thus
far I see no reason for despair."

" I have hated -God," rejoined the
self-condemned, " and openly avowed
my enmity in sight of his Divine ope-

" Thus far your case is lamentable
indeed; but not hopeless still. Our
hearts are naturally at enmity with
God. And I do not see why the open
avowal of this, drawn out by the sight
of the Law into visible form, must ne-
cessarily and always constitute the
guilt of which you accuse yourself."

" I feel that I am cut off from salva-

" It is difficult to reason against your

" But are they no proof on the pro-
sent subject ?"

" Let me inquire whether you desire
the pardon of your sins ?"

" Assuredly, if it were possible."

*• Do you regret the conduct of which
you accuse yourself?"

" Certainly."

" Do you sincerely desire repent-
ance ?"

" I would give the vvorld if it were
mine to be able to do so."

" Then it is not possible that you
have been guilty to an unpardonable
extent; for these are chaiACteristics ot
a state of mind faithless, but far from
being desperate. And they come with-
in the design of the Gospel invitations."

There was something simple and
touching in this mode of ministeri.ky to
a mind diseased. And it produced an
effect which, probably, no other process

would have accomplished. Mr. L

did not long survive this interview.
But his living and dying were those of
a favored Christian. Alas, that many
persons laboring under a like delusion
I'especting the sin against the Holy
Ghost, should not be enlightened by si-,
milar instruction ! Doubtless not a ^evf
who never committed this sin, have
lived for years, and then died under the
horrible conviction, that they had thus
sinned away the day of grace.


NY. — " If any one speaks ill of thee,"
said Epictetus, " consider whether he
has truth on his side ; and, if so, reform
thyself, that his censures may not affect
thee." When Anaximander was told
that the very boys laughed at his singing,
" Ay," says he " then I must learn to
sing better." Plato being told that he
had many enemies who spoke ill of him.
" It is no matter," said he ; " I will live
so that none shall believe them." Hear-
ing at another time that an intimate
friend of his had spoken detractingly of
him, " I am sure he would not do it,"
said he, " if he had not some reason for
it." This is the surest as well as the
noblest way of drawing the sting out of
a reproach, and the true method of pre-
paring a man for that great and onlv re-

lief against the pains of calumny — a
good conscience.

The celebrated Boerhaave, who had
many enemies, used to say that he never
thought it necessary to repeat their cal-
umnies. " They are sparks," said he,
" which, if you do not blow them, will
go out of themselves. The surest method
against scandal is to live it down by
perseverance in well-doing, and by
prayer to God, that he would cure the
di.stempered minds of those who traduce
and injure us."

Adrian, the coadjutor of Ximenes in the
government of Castile, was much dis-
turbed at the libels which flew about
against them. Ximenes was perfectly
easy. " If," said he, " we take the



liberty to act, otliers will take the liber-
ty to talk and write : whi-n tlioy chartfo
us falsely, we may laugh ; when truly,
we must amend."

■ — Dr. VVaugh, of London, had a great
dislike to every thing bordering on slan-
der or defamation. The following is
an illustration of his character in this
point : —

One of his people had traveled all
the way from Newton to his father's
house, where he usually resided, to
communicate to him an unfavorable
; ""^ort concerning another member of
the congregation. Some friends being
with h'li, this person was requested to
stay and dine with them. After dinner,
he took occasion, in a jocular manner,
t® ask each person in his turn, how far
he had ever known a man travel to tell
an evil report of his neighbor ; when

Online LibraryKazlitt ArvineCyclopedia of moral and religious anecdotes: .. → online text (page 133 of 150)