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more impossible I might find it, for the very effort often rendered it impossible, but still to look to Jesus,-to read in Him the expression of God's will,—to feel in Him the outpourings of God's love; and thus by looking to Jesus,—to Jesus living, praying, and dying on the cross, to save me, and every wretched, perishing soul,—to love God because He first loved us.
“It is impossible to pass through such a time as this has been to me, without learning many things of which I knew nothing before, and some of the lessons which I have learned of late, are, I think, such as are seldom alluded to or spoken of among Unitarians. Indeed, from the tone of their preaching and writing—with few exceptions, such as Mr. Martineau--one would suppose them to be men brought up in comparative innocence and purity, and having had little experience of inward struggle. Unitarian preaching and devotion will help one through many sorrows and trials ; will comfort one in many afflictions; will strengthen and purify and bless the heart; but it will not in general enable one to pass through the seasons of fiercest struggle with the devil, and of reckless, hopeless despair. At least, so I have found it. Even such a book as Henry Ware's, describing as it does most beautifully, the Christian temper and character, and urging many reasons for its cultivation, does not lead one out of oneself to fix a steady gaze on the cross of Christ, as we lie wounded and bleeding at its foot. There are times when struggle with oneself—the resistance of evil —the habit of self-control-should be preached and enforced. But to lead any one to wish to struggle with himself, to wish to resist evil, to wish to exert his power of self-control, in a word to hate all sin, and to long after a holier life at whatever cost, can only be done by urging and inviting him to look to Christ. Until he feels that Jesus, and Jesus only, can save him, and lead him to the Father, -until he feels a personal interest in the Saviour, and is led by this to lay hold of Him, and cleave to Him, and hang upon Him, and unconsciously to receive the virtue which flows forth from Him on all who touch His garment,-he will never know what it is to be born of the Spirit, and become a new creature in Christ Jesus,
“The tendency of the Unitarian religion is to be entirely subjective. I say the tendency, because Unitarianism is not by any means of the extreme character that I mean by entirely subjective.
“This weakening tendency was at one time so strong within me, that I hardly though it was right for us to be called Christians. Christianity, I thought, was one of many spiritual influences, the most powerful and the holiest. The object of Christ's life was to do and to bear the will of God; and by sympathy with such a life I imagined that we also might be assisted, greatly assisted, to do and to bear that will in our lives.
It was by awakening this desire to live in harmony with the Divine will, and not by calling disciples to follow Him, and look to Him, and devote themselves to Him, that I thought Christ sought to save the world; and hence it seemed to me a departure from the Christian spirit to call ourselves by the name of Christ. It was, as I thought, Christian sectarianism, which sprung up with the apostles. It almost amuses me to write these thoughts, so light and idle are they; and I am thankful to say so entirely past. But I fear the tendency to this extreme still exists amongst many Unitarians; and nothing but the saddest individual experience, the deepest conviction of sin, and the feeling of utter worthlessness and nothingness unless converted and saved from some power from without, will ever lead them to throw themselves at the foot of the cross, to receive the salvation which Jesus brings, and to be washed in the blood of the Lamb.' And if ever we are to have power to convert others, I am persuaded that it must be in this, by preaching Christ and Him crucified, and calling on all men to look to Him that they may be healed. The moment they look, and look with faith, all their past transgressions are blotted out. If they were to die, they would be accepted, and go-like the thief—to paradise. If they live, they will start on a fresh course; their spirits will be renewed; they will be clothed with a righteousness not their own, but which comes to them & healing, sanctifying power-as long as they look and pray in faith, and is taken from them as soon as ever they trust in themselves.
Most wonderful are the messages and revelations streaming to us from the cross. The self-denying, self-sacrificing love, and perfect devotion to the will of God, which should dwell in the hearts of all the followers of the cross, is one, the overflowing love of God for all His children, even those who have most wickedly rebelled against Him, in sparing not His well-beloved Son, is another,--to me the most powerful, most constraining of all the influences by which man is reconciled to God. The perfect and inviolable sanctity of that law which demanded precepts so heart-searching and thorough as are given in the Sermon on the Mount, and in every part of the gospel-an example so pure and spotless as is seen in the life of Christ-a sacrifice so great, and a ransom so precious, as was offered in His death, in order that it might be known and obeyed--this revelation of God's justice, and holiness, and hatred of sin, is another most solemn and awful revelation of the cross. The wrath of God is not at variance with His love, neither does His justice contend against His mercy :-that justice must be satisfied, that wrath must be appeased.* The sinner knows it, and feels it; and when he sees--in the life and death of Christ; in the very plan by which God's justice is satisfied, and His wrath appeased
- His infinite love and mercy shining direct upon his own soul, he can no longer resist its influence. Then it is, when love is seen shining forth from the midst of wrath, and mercy from justice, that its power is infinite to cast down and to build up, to destroy the old and to create the new.
"One other message I hear ; but I would through life sit at the foot of the cross, and hear many, many more ;-what must be the value of the
* Many would object to the word “appeased,” but it will be remembered that Mr. Madge had already said, “I mean nothing revengeful or passionate by the word wrath." - ED. C. W.
soul for which such a sacrifice has been made, such a ransom paid, such boundless love displayed? And what ardent zeal should fill the minds of all disciples of Christ, for the conversion of the souls of those for whom He died !"
We do not propose to follow the history of Mr. Travers Madge. Consumptive tendencies revealed themselves while he was yet a boy, and his life was one continuous struggle with death, till the struggle ended in 1866. Peculiarities of constitutional character, and peculiarities arising probably from his habitually morbid physical condition, affected, we should judge, his usefulness. But if self-forgetfulness and self-sacrifice, unworldliness and devotior. of spirit to God and man, are the elements of a high Christian character, very few Christians may be compared with him. And of his “changed thoughts” his biographer says: “ They became inexpressibly dear to him. In his letters he constantly dwelt upon them. The love of Christ and His sacrifice for sin; the love of God in sending Christ to save sinners, of whom he, too, like Paul, felt himself to be chief, sometimes quite overpowered him. These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God.' These deep words, better than any others, pourtray his faith in, or rather, perhaps, sense of the Atonement. From this time forth such thoughts took bold of his heart, with an intensity he had never felt before.”
And of his dying experience it is said :—"The one absorbing feeling from which all others flowed, was the love of Christ. This filled his soul and illuminated his life. As he grew weaker he could only bear to have a single verse of Scripture repeated at a time—or a verse from some hymn he knew and loved. Still he would sometimes sit up and write a little. One day it was this he copied, saying it was the story of his own life :
“O Saviour, I have nought to plead
In earth beneath or heaven above,
And thy exceeding love.
Exceeding great but quickly o’er;
And lasts for evermore!"
THE LATE REV. THOMAS ADKINS, OF SOUTHAMPTON;
Abridged from the Funeral Sermon by Dr. Ferguson. THOMAS ADKINS was born at Ravenstone, in the county of Buckingham, on the first day of April, 1787. Though naturally quick, he exhibited no particular genius. At the age of five, he was sent to school in his native town, and was the only boy in the school to learn Latin while so young. When only eight years of age, he was particularly forward in his education,
and thus early attracted the notice of the poet Cowper, of whom, and of whose poetry, he became in latter years an intense admirer. To the questions which the Poet and the Rev. T. Bull, of Newport Pagnell, were wont to put to him, young Adkins returned such answers as at once astonished and delighted them, almost as much as they did his fond parents. While yet a boy, however, his waywardness and his self-will often led him into difficulty, if not into more immediate danger, and thus awakened the solicitude of his parents on his behalf. If either his father or his mother remonstrated with him, or told him that he would never be of any use if he went on in such a course, he would say, " Oh, yes, I will; you shall see one day.”
After reaching his twelfth year, he was sent to a school in Newport Pagnell, in which he soon rose to the rank of a teacher; and such was his proficiency in various branches of knowledge, that at the age of seventeen he became classical tutor in a large school in the town of Northampton. During his absence from home, his mother, who appears to have been a woman of eminent piety, kept up a constant correspondence with him, in which she most lovingly pressed home the claims of religion upon his heart, and assured him again and again that she was willing to lay down her own life if it might avail anything for his salvation. Her letters were such as to lead him to more serious thought. He became the subject of deep spiritual conviction, and resolved to give immediate heed to the great concerns of his soul and the world to come. God drew him by the power of his fatherly love to the foot of the Cross, where he soon found life and peace. With the growth and progress of the inward life, came the desire to consecrate himself to the service of Christ. With this view he entered Hoxton Theological Academy, then under the presidency of the Rev. Dr. Simpson, at the
age of twenty, in which he not only secured the esteem and affection of his tutors, but such was his proficiency in study and attainment, that he was very soon sent into the villages to preach the gospel of salvation. Three years
terminated his collegiate course. He had it then in contemplation to spend two or three sessions in the University of Edinburgh ; but on referring the matter to his tutor, he dissuaded him from taking any such step. To make up for this loss--for a loss it
to intenser application and study in private. In 1810 he went to Southampton to occupy the then, vacant pulpit of the Congregational Church. In the following year, he was ordained to the pastorate. His ministry proved increasingly acceptable to the congregation, and by the force of his character he lived down the rather strong feeling which revealed itself in opposition to his settlement.
Soon after his settlement he betook himself to regularly preaching in the surrounding villages, and nothing gave him greater satisfaction than this kind of labour in his Master's service. He loved to carry
message of Heaven's mercy to the homes and the hearths of the poor and neglected peasantry; and with a fulness and a freeness characteristic of the Gospel which he preached, he set forth the riches of God's grace in connection
with the sacrificial offering of His Son, and the regenerating power of His Spirit. Nor can we wonder that in his walks into these rural districts, with his friends or relatives, he was wont to point to a cottage here and to a cottage there as the sphere in which he loved to move and act as an ambassador for Christ. He was the first, too, to establish a Sunday-school in Southampton. Such an institution was unknown in the town prior to his time; and it was an institution in which, with all its agencies and operations, he never failed to take the liveliest interest as one of the most effective means for the regeneration of society and the increase of God's Church,
He was an earnest student; and for study he rose early. He was never in bed, summer or winter, after four o'clock in the morning, and deemed himself late if he exceeded that time by even half-an-hour. His mornings were spent in the study of the classics, in reading theology, in preparation of
sermons, and in making himself familiar with the literature of the day. He read largely, and made himself master of every subject to which he bent his mind. He was a good linguist; and had not only a perfect command of his mother tongue, but considerable acquaintance with the Latin and French languages, as also with the Greek of the New Testament, and the Hebrew Bible. But his piety was more conspicuous than his learning. He walked with God, and his devotion burned as a living flame on the altar of his heart. In labours he was more abundant; and the Spirit of God did not leave him without the seal of His approval.
Nor did he shrink from difficulty, conflict, or suffering, in the performance of duty. The emancipation of the slave, the freedom of trade and commerce, the reformation of Parliament, the education of the people, the evangelization of our rural population, the extension of Foreign Missions, and what. ever affected the interests of universal humanity, found in him a warmhearted friend and supporter. When the question of negro slavery had taken full possession of the public mind, and when the nation demanded, as if with the voice of one man, that the chain which fettered and fretted eight hundred thousand human beings, of one blood with ourselves, and living under the same rule, should be at once sundered, and the slave set free at whatever sacrifice and at whatever price, Southampton was not then what Southampton is now. It was a comparatively small, quiet watering-place, in which retired merchants and West India planters took up their residence. In the absence of that commercial enterprise and activity which now obtain in the town, there was less of public spirit; and the pro-slavery party piqued and plumed themselves on the vantage ground which they occupied. But a meeting was called in favour of emancipation, which Mr. Adkins attended, and at which he spoke on behalf of the trodden-down children of Africa, with an eloquence and a power which are remembered to this day, and to the utter dismay of his opponents, who had assembled in great force, and exerted their whole influence to defeat the object of the meeting. Nor this only. When in the year 1841, upwards of six hundred ministers of