Page images

ordinary character ; but her value was only well-known minister shortly afterwards called known and appreciated by a select circle. at her father's house, and urged her to cast Those who enjoyed her intimacy can testify, in her lot with God's people. She did so at that never was greater firmness blended once. Her subsequent life presented a lovely with a deeper and more unobtrusive piety; example of Christian excellence. The beauty and yet, withal, she was cheerful and com- of holiness was displayed in her character. municative. For some time before her de. Meekly, and without obtrusiveness, she cease she suffered much, but her mind served her Saviour until He came and called remained strong and unclouded. Her greatest for her. Her end was perfect peace. To the solicitude, as she drew nigh her end, was for ministers of Christ she was strongly at. Divine support to her sorrowing husband, tached ; and in the preaching of the word, who for many years had been daily, and and all the ordinances of the sanctuary, she almost hourly, her inseparable companion. found great delight. Some time before her She lingered in much agony through the last sickness, she recommenced the conremaining weeks of the old year, into the secutive reading of the Scriptures. Accorul. first hours of the new one ; and on its ingly, to her beloved sister she said, just opening morn, the earthly Sabbath, raising before death, “ I have read my Bible to the her weak and attenuated arms, and waving eleventh chapter of the Revelation ; I shall her hands in token of victory, exclaimed, finish it in heaven." The last verse of that “ Farewell ! farewell, all !” and fell asleep chapter is as follows: “And the temple of in Jesus ; thus entering, on the Lord's day, God was opened in heaven, and there wax upon the rest which remaineth to the seen in His temple the ark of His testament." people of God.

Her happy spirit now dwells in the holy W. R. W. place, whero Jesus is the Minister of the

true tabernacle. One of the last things she January 2d. --At Bowness, Carlisle Circuit, requested was, that, from a reserved fund of Mary Topping, aged sixty-four.

She was

money, five pounds should be paid to the born at a farm near Banff. On her marriage, Old Preachers' Fund, and ten shillings to her house was open to the ministers at all each of the poor members in her class. times when they came from Aberdeen to

J. H. Peterhead. Her kindness and attention to them, while they remained under that hos- January 15th. ---In the thirtieth year of pitable roof, will be gratefully remembered her age, Susannah, the sixth daughter of by several yet living. Through feeble health, Samuel Cooke, Esq., of Heald's Hall, she was for many years deprived of the Liversege. When about fourteen, she beenjoyment of the means of grace, excepting came a member of the Methodist Society ; those in her own house, -where her hus- and from that time, to her lamented decease, hand, a Local preacher, conducted service she manifested a warm and growing interest every Sunday afternoon, and the class also in the Redeemer's cause. Her natural dismet. She was a woman of quiet disposition, position was lively, cheerful, and kind; her and a modest Christian. She bore her last mind strong, and her judgment clear and sufferings with composure, and spoke freely discriminating. As a Sunday-school teacher, of her departure ; often saying, “ Come, a Missionary collector, and in various other Lord Jesus, and receive me.

labours of love, she exerted herself both “I the chief of sinners an,

energetically and wisely. During her last But Jesus died for me.

illness, which was long and severe, she

evinced the utmost patience. Although One day her husband was speaking of powerfully assaulted, her faith was vicJesus Christ as the Conqueror of death, who torious. Firmly did she cling to the cross : has opened the kingdom of heaven to all and, in the absence of great joy, was blessed believers. Then,” she exclaimed, “I will with sweet peace and strong confidence ; · Clap the glad wing, and tower away,

which increased more and more as she came And mingle with the blaze of day.'

nearer life's closing scene. Yet was she among

the lowliest. *0," she once exclaimed, Converted in early life, she clave to the “it seems so wonderful, as well as delightful, Lord with purpose of heart. She died in the that I should go to heaven,-), who have full assurance of eternal life, through the done nothing. But I place my hope on the blood of the Redeemer.

W. B. merit of Jesus my Saviour !" The day before

her departure she called to her bedside the January 2d.-Miss Martha Morley, Gar. members of the family then at home, incluilforth, in the Leeds St. Peter's Circuit. From ing the servants, and, bidding them an early life she had been the subject of powerful affectionate farewell

, charged them to pre religious influence, but not until mature years pare to moet her in the heaven to which she did she join the church. According to her was going. She also expressed a wish, if it own emphatic acknowledgment, she would were the will of God, that she might not have gone to class much sooner, had she been spend another Sunday here. That wish was asked to do so. On one occasion she had granted: for, as the holy day was dawning, actually prayed that some person would her spirit calmly passed from earth to spend speak to her about church-communion. A its endless sabbath in heaven! S. R.

[graphic][ocr errors]

1. ARIUS, AND ARIANISM. ABOUT the year 306, just when the churches ought to have had rest throughout all the Roman Empire, on the cessation of the cruel persecutions of Diocletian and Maximian, new troubles arose. At that time Peter was Bishop of Alexandria ; or, considering that his influence and jurisdiction extended over Egypt, Libya, and Pentapolis, we may say that he was Archbishop, and that Meletius, Bishop of Thebais, a province of Upper Egypt, was bis coadjutor. Both of these men were reputed to be sound in the faith. Under the recent persecution, they were both confessors, and, had not the persecution ceased, by this time they might have been martyrs.

By order of the Prefect of Alexandria, Peter was led away in chains to prison, as also was Meletius, by command of the Prefect of Thebais. A crowd of Christians, bishops, presbyters, and laymen, were led captive together; their numbers being slowly diminished by the execution of one and of another, beginning with the meanest in rank, then taking those of higher degree, but reserving the chief persons to the last; the persecutors always hoping that these, intimidated and worn out by the sight of so great suffering, would give up their constaney. Many, of all ranks, did so yield; and, while others joyfully preferred crowns of martyrdom, the weaker ones abjured Christ, and offered sacrifice to idols. But ere the terrors of persecution had well passed over, and as soon as ever an imperial edict gave license to the Christians to rebuild "the houses wherein they had been accustomed to assemble,"* many of these persons returned, and implored their brethren, who still remained in prisons, to receive them back into their communion. Presbyters, soldiers, private persons of all classes, overwhelmed with shame and sorrow, came deploring their sin, and praying to be restored to the church.

The greater number of the steadfast confessors refused to hold fel. lowship with persons who had fainted in the hour of trial, and denied their Saviour. They feared lest the easy restoration of such should seem to justify a like timidity in others. Meletius, Peleus, and several brethren of great zeal and influence, were of this mind; but they did not

* Eusebius, Hist. Eccles., viii., 17. TOL XI.- FIFTH SERIES.

object--if we may believe Epiphanius-to allow the penitents a second hearing, if, after some time allowed for trial, they should have given evidence of sincerity, and proof of new power to withstand temptation.

Peter, on the contrary, a man of deep piety, gentle and compassionate, wished to admit them at once, and not discourage them by the appearance of mistrust, or expose them to fresh danger by delay. Lest,"

,” said he,“ that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed." But neither argument nor entreaty could soften the severity of Meletius and his party, who deemed themselves bound so to uphold the cause of truth. Their self-sufficiency may have worn an air of arrogance. Peter may have been over-jealous of his dignity as Bishop, or Archbishop, of Alexandria. Moved, perhaps, by other emotions than those of pity for the penitents, he threw off his cloak, spread it on the ground in the court of the prison, and bade a deacon cry, As many as are on my side, let them come to me; and they who hold with Meletius, Meletius let them follow."

Bishops, monks, presbyters, and common people, in great numbers, took the side of Meletius. A few bishops and others remained with Peter. There stood the two parties in open schism, face to face. The same prison-walls enclosed them all, but even withiu the prison that fatal signal severed them; and the Meletian schism, as it is called, was in that one moment irrevocably established. They never more united. Even in public prayer, and in eucharistic feast, the cloak of Peter, so to speak, lay between them. Both parties laboured to adore the loving Saviour, and yet they only agreed in the fearful sacrilege of rending that Saviour's garment.

Such, at least, is the sentence which an observer is ready to pronounce. He who alone is Judge soon called Peter into His nearer presence. The gentle bishop was quickly martyred, proving himself sternly faithful to his Master, as well as tender and patient with fainting, fallen, repentant members of His flock.

Meletius, himself sincere, was sent away with a gang of Christian convicts to work in the Phanesian mines. They were of two parties, although rudely huddled into one chained mass. Nothing softened their mutual antipathy; and thus, as they went on their long and wearisome journey, the loosing of their fetters at the resting-places was taken as the opportunity for“ Catholics” and “Meletians” to turn to the right and left, and pray apart. On that journey, when they stopped at any city, each party elected a bishop of its own to occupy the place, hastily taking him from the crowds of Christians who came to meet them. Nay, the whole clergy of the province, with its varieties of bishop, presbyter, and deacon, the Catholic and the Meletian, most pitilessly rent asunder, strangely honoured Christ by devoting their bodies to bonds or death in His cause, and dishonoured Him by enmity among themselves. For many generations Catholic churches and martyr-churches were built asunder, and stood in the depths of

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »