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flames of cruelty, that lead to the fire of hell. See the fire of love in God's promises, burning till all the sin and error on earth shall be consumed, and the black portals of hell be destroyed, and her “adamantine key” lost in the general ruin of the kingdom of darkness : and Christ filling the world with flames of love; for our God is a consuming fire. All these things show the efficacy of prayer. In answer to prayer you may seize the blessings of salvation, and rise to immortal glory. Amen.

BIOGRAPHY.

For the Methodist Magazine.

MEMOIR OF MR. JAMES DAVIDSON, A Local Preacher in the Methodist Episcopal Church, who departed this life in the 42d year of his age, in the city of New York, June 15, 1827.

« Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear;
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,

And waste its sweetness on the desert air.is The subject of the following memoir was a native of Scotland, and was born in a small village called Hadden, in the parish of Sprouston, county of Roxburgh, on the 13th of March in the year of our Lord 1786. His parents were poor, but honest, industrious, and strictly moral, being members of the Church of Scotland. James was the oldest of two sons, and followed the farming business with his father until he was fourteen years of age, when it pleased God to deprive him of his parents both in one year.

Brother Davidson has left behind him a manuscript of one hundred pages folio, which he drew up some years since, and which contains many interesting particulars : I shall avail myself of these memoranda, for the purpose of ascertaining facts and dates, and occasionally give such extracts as are deemed appropriate and useful.

From these papers it appears, that when our departed brother was about three years old he very narrowly escaped death. He was standing at the stable door when eight horses were going in; the first one knocked him down, and all the rest passed over him. His mother beheld the scene without being able to help him, but the providence of God watched over him for good, and not a hair of his head was injured. At the age of six years he was put to school.

66 This was a period which," says he, “ I had long wished for; for even then, I had a strong desire to learn. I thought that if I was but able to read the Bible I should be much respected by all good people.” The price of tuition in Scotland at that time was, one shilling per quarter for being taught to read ; eighteen pence for reading and writing; and two shillings for reading, writing, and arithmetic : 50 that it was a rare thing even in those days, to find in Scotland, a farmer's boy who could not read his Bible.

In one year from the time he commenced going to school he attained the object of his wishes; he could read his Bible. The character of the future man was now formed; for in all the wanderings of folly, and in all the vicissitudes of his after life ; on the sea, and in the army; before conversion, and after conversion, and even in the time of his “ backslidings,” the treasures of God's word, which at this early period were laid up in his memory, were prized by him as a most valuable acquisition. And if he valued himself on any thing, it was on this national distinction of character so peculiar to the Scotch, " which,” as Mr. Irving says, “maketh them ever an acceptable people in the four quarters of the earth." For “Knowledge of the Scriptures," as the author last quoted observes, “is the only wisdom which shall elevate a man's conceptions, while it purifies his principles and sweetens his temper, and makes his conduct bountiful to all around.” Attachments formed in youth are not easily overcome, and habits acquired at that period are not soon broken off; and if these habits and attachments are such as the word of God sanctions, though they may seem to be lost in the hour of temptation, yet ever and anon they will struggle for the mastery, and in general, sooner or later, through the mighty operations of convincing, assisting, and converting grace, victory will be decided in favour of virtue and happiness. But“ give the enemy the spring season, and you generally give him the summer, the autumn, and the winter of life, with all eternity to boot.”

In the eighth year of his age, the Spirit of God moved upon his mind in such a manner as to produce conviction and alarm. There was an uncommon fall of snow in the month of December, which happened in the night, “ when deep sleep falleth upon man.' When he awoke in the morning the house was in total darkness, by reason of the drifted snow, which had blocked up

the windows. This alarmed him, for he thought the last day was come; and having often heard that that day would be “a day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness," and very terrible to the wicked, he felt alarmed and in great consternation, “because,” says he, “ I was not prepared to meet the Judge of quick and dead.” During his ninth year he commenced the study of arithmetic, and made rapid progress therein, for he was passionately fond of it, and being of an aspiring disposition, and blest with a strong memory, he soon gained the esteem of all who knew him. Towards the latter end of this year, a powerful inpression was made upon his mind, that he should one day become a minister of the gospel; and he often used to retire to some lonely place, and there pronounce the texts of Scripture he had learned, and try to personate that character which he admired above all others. Nor did be stop here, but went so far as to enter into a negociation with his father on the subject of fitting himself for the ministry, and asked him how much he thought the expense would be; and proposed to work half his time, that he might go to school the other half, in order that he might, as he then thought, be fully qualified for the duties of the ministry; and so intense was his desire to accomplish this object, that he had not patience to eat his food, unless the Bible or some other good book lay open before him. His mother saw with concern the ardour of his mind, and feared for the health of her son ; and through the evil counsel of some overweening neighbours, she prevailed upon him to relax his labours; and the consequence was, vain songs, and idle stories, and mere trash, supplied the place of sober studies ; and the sparks of temptation falling on the corruptions of nature, a war of passions was kindled, and the fire of unhallowed tempers broke out, which brought trouble on the son, and distress on the mother and on her officious advisers.

In his eleventh year he was advanced to the dignity of the first scholar in the school ; a circumstance which he has noted, as being highly gratifying to his youthful pride. In his twelfth year he discovered a taste for gardening, and the study of botany; and remarks, “if

I had had proper information and instruction, I should soon have made some proficiency in the knowledge of this science." In his thirteenth year he finished his scholastic course, having arrived at that pitch of honour in which the master himself confessed he could give him no farther assistance; which is a cir

cumstance the more to be regretted, as his mind was evidently of that cast, which if it had been sufficiently cultivated, would have done honour to any seminary of learning, or either of the honourable professions which flourish in our days.

We come now to a period of his life which to him was rendered memorable, by the circumstances of his leaving home for "service," as it is called on that side of the Atlantic, and by the death of his father and mother. His first employment was to carry the 'mail ; and his situation was made very pleasant by the kindness of an indulgent master and mistress with whom he lived. From this situation he removed to another, where he staid but a short time, and from thence he was persuaded to encounter the perils of the ocean ; accordingly he bound himself in an article of agreement to serve four years on board a brig owned by a Mr. George Smith of North Shields. His first voyage was to Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, where he arrived soon after the memorable battle, in which lord Nelson so distinguished himself, as a naval officer of the first talents. The desolations of war, which our brother then witnessed, made a strong impression on his mind, which he records in a very feeling inanner. From Copenhagen, the vessel on which he was aboard sailed for Hamburgh, and from thence returned to

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England. The next voyage, which was rather a disastrous one, was from Shields to London. Nine days they were out at sea, and after making the French coast and running aground three times, they at length, by the good providence of God, arrived safe in London. From London they returned to Shields, and again set sail for Hamburgh. - While in port they received the news of Peace with France,” which was a matter of joy to him; but the demonstrations of joy which he witnessed among others on that occasion were “according to the course of this world.”

About the middle of March in the year 1803, being then in his 17th year, his curiosity was gratified in beholding the buildings and the manners of the people of Memel in Prussia. But though his curiosity was gratified, his heart was at the same time pained, (though it was the heart of a sailor,) at the abominable and excessive wickedness of the place. Leaving Prussia, they embarked for Dublin in Ireland, and when off Scotland they experienced a severe gale, which obliged them to put in at a place called Lough Shell in the Lewis' island. He describes this island as having only two houses of any note on it; one for the custom house officer, and the other for the excise man, whose business it is to inspect vessels and to hunt out whiskey distillers and smugglers, lest they should defraud the government of its just revenue. After tarrying a few days in harbour they proceeded to Dublin, and from thence sailed for Archangel in Russia. Our young friend was greatly astonished to find that in these northern regions. the air was cold in July, and that the sun continued above the horizon until eleven o'clock P. M. He describes the manners of the Russians as fol. lows : “ The men are a dirty, slovenly set of beings; the women are quite the reverse; cleanliness and modesty is their true character.” Returning from Russia they experienced great stress of weather; the vessel sprung a leak, and but for the mercy of God a watery grave had been their portion. In his distress James called upon the name of the Lord, and begged to be delivered from the dreadful ocean ; the Lord heard and answered his prayer, and at length after encountering additional trials, which continued for the space of three weeks, they arrived safe in harbour at Hull in Yorkshire, on the very day that their provision and water were entirely expended. He was now sick of the bloody flux, and had suffered extremely for some months past with a violent headach, which together with other reasons induced him to abandon the seafaring life.

But though he had renounced the seafaring life, and with a glad heart escaped the perils of the ocean; new and far different trials awaited him ; and from the dangers of the sea in the life of a sailor, he had to encounter “perils on the land” in the character of a soldier. It was during the administration of Mr. Pitt that "war with France” was renewed, and an army of sixty thousand,

same name.

called the “ army of reserve," was suddenly called for, and it was his lot to “serve," though greatly against his will.* Serve therefore he must, or pay a penalty of twenty pounds sterling; and as he could not do the latter, the former was his unwelcome portion. So on the 19th of August in the year 1803, being then in his 18th year, he reluctantly took the oath to serve bis majesty five years during the war, and with forty other young men was marched off, first to Edinburgh, then to Linlithgow, capital of a county of the

After the regiments were formed and officers appointed to command, then came the “exercise," or military discipline, in the cold frosty mornings of November. The cold musket must be handled without gloves. The drill sergeant comes forward with his cane and applies it to their fingers, without the least backwardness on his part; no reply must be made on the part of the private soldier; not a murmur must be heard, but what admits of no remedy must be endured. Such is the life of a soldier when in quarters! what then must be his lot when on the march, or in the field of battle? And moreover, to the unavoidable sufferings and many privations of a common soldier is often added the insolence of proud and domineering officers. Many instances of this kind were witnessed by our worthy friend when in the army. “I have known,” says he, “ several privates flogged, and to receive three hundred lashes, because they passed by an officer without saluting him; and one for letting his firelock fall out of his hand, when the sergeant struck him across the fingers in a cold frosty day; and another because he had not shaved himself clean." It would be a happy circumstance if suffering was the only evil to be complained of in the army; but it is not so: sin as well as suffering prevails to an alarming extent; and it is possible that the sufferers seek relief in sin : sad proof of the depravity of our fallen nature. The crimes that are most prevalent in the army are drunkenness, lewdness, and profane swearing; and strange as it

* England at this time was in a perilous situation. The commencement of hostilities with France was followed by an insurrection in Ireland. Nothing but the most vigorous measures could save the country. On the 6th of June, Mr. Pitt, in a debate on the militia bill, earnestly recommended the ministry to consider on the best means for the safety of the state, “but,” said he, “ do it effectually; and to do it effectually you must do it soon. The question now is, Will you save your country? Save it in the best and most prudent way, if you can; but save it! If any prejudice should arise against you—if any temporary odium should attach to your measures—if it be for the safety of your country, or for its honour, pursue it :- pursue it, although you may have to contend with prejudice :-pursue it-although you may have to subdue resistance! Do it! for the country must be saved !" Life of Pitt, p. 219. Accordingly, in addition to the volunteer companies, the army of reserve was raised. Every parish in the united kingdom had to furnish its proportion of men, and every man balloted must serve or pay the fine, and the parish must find a substitute: where no substitute could be found, the sum was to be paid to the colonel, to be given in bounty to recruits. Brother Davidson was one of the number balloted to serve. Vol. XI. January, 1828.

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