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THE PULPUT GALLERY. In December, 1820, Mr. Raffles was
created Doctor of Laws, by the Senatus
Academicus of the Marischal College and REV. THOMAS RAFFLES, LL.D. University of Aberdeen, from whence he
had previously received the degree of
Master of Arts. His testimonials on “ Ever was he seen being created a doctor were signed by the A faithful pastor. In admonition warm, Dukes of Sussex and Somerset, as gra. Oft did he caution the too thoughtless tribes duates of the same degree in the English Against each sin that easily besets
universities. The heart; and oft, more anxious than their
Dr. Raffles has been the author of sesires, Taught the surrounding innocents, who loved Memoirs of the life and ministry of Spen
veral useful and important works-his His friendly smile, the lesson to be good.
cer is a beautiful piece of biography—his Tour through France and Switzerland is
often used by travellers through the roDr. Raffles was born May 17, 1778, mantic scenery of Savoy. The doctor in the parish of Christchurch, Spital- has also published two volumes of Lecfields, London, where his father was an tures on the doctrines and duties of the eminent and highly respected solicitor. Christian religion, and sundry discourses The early part of his education he receiv. delivered on public occasions. ed at Peckham in Surrey, under the Rev. His talents as a preacher are of the M. Ready, from whence he removed to a first order: the crowds which attend his situation in the Bishop of London's re- ministry—the affection which is felt for gistry, in Doctors' Commons. While him by the members of his church, and at school he was introduced to the Rev. the universal esteem with which he is Dr. Collyer, who, perceiving his great regarded by all classes of society, are the predilection for the ministry, strongly best tributes to his talents and his virtues, encouraged it, and, in conformity with and the brightest and best rewards he the doctor's advice, he returned to the can hope for, or desire, on this side of academy at Peckham, and entered upon eternity. a course of preparatory studies, previous We close this sketch with an extract to his admission into the College at Ho- from a work by the Rev. Calvin Colton, merton, which took place in 1804. He entitled “Four Years in Great Britain.” remained there rather more than four On Mr. Colton's visit to England he years, and on leaving the college was or- landed at Liverpool on a Sunday; in the dained to the pastoral office over the Con- evening of the day of his debarkation he gregational church at Hammersmith. went to Great George street chapel to
Mr. Raffles continued in this scene of attend divine service, and heard the sublabour for two years, when, in conse-ject of this sketch preach. The following quence of the melancholy event which is his account of the man and the occadeprived Liverpool of the excellent and sion: lamented Spencer, he was invited, with “ At the appointed hour a clergyman other ministers, to supply for a few ascended the pulpit, knelt, and offered weeks the bereaved church. In Novem- his silent prayer—a custom most befitber, 1811, Mr. R. preached on three Sab- ting and impressive, but not practised in baths in Newington chapel, Liverpool, America, except by two denominations; and shortly after received an unanimous and then, opening the Bible, he read the call to become the pastor of the congre- twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew with gation late under Mr. Spencer's charge. great pertinency and pathos of expression, This invitation was accepted, and in the in silvery and subduing tones. From the April following he took up his residence first opening of his lips he seemed moved in Liverpool, which has been the scene from his inmost soul. I could have imaof his active labours ever since. gined, though ignorant of the cause, that
the deep fountains of feeling were opened ocean to the haven of eternal rest, and within him, and that some mighty sym- then applied himself to the proper thems pathies were working there, and I thought of his text, in application to his hearers, too that the congregation were ready to be and in view of the mournful event which with him in feeling; but still I knew not had suggested it— Be ye also ready.' the occasion. • Is that Dr. Raffles ?' “I had heard of Dr. Raffles, and entersaid I in a whisper to the gentleman on tained a high opinion of his powers. He my right, as the preacher began to read. is unquestionably an eloquent man; and • Yes, sir,' was the answer. After the a man of good sterling sense, of pure usual introductory services, and a prayer taste and sound discretion; he is sure to which breathed the soul, and seemed be pertinent; and in these attributes, and communion with the skies, a fellowship others akin to them, great. He demonwith heaven, and fitted well to raise the strates a perfect honesty. It is his full heart that wished to be with God, the soul that speaks out, and no one doubts following text was announced :-There-it-all feel it; and this is eloquence. fore be ye also ready: for in an hour that Take, then, a theme like the fate of the ye know not the Son of man cometh.' Rothsay Castle, and give it such a man,
" Nearly twenty years have rolled before an audience whose acquaintances away since I have had the pastoral charge and dear ones perished there, and let him of this congregation,' said the preacher, bring heaven and earth, time and eternity, (and these were his first words after probation and the judgment all together, reading the text,) and never have I as they stand connected with such a been called to mingle my tears with the scene, and in the light of Christianitybereaved of my charge, in any instance, and none who can hear can be indifferent. for a work of death so astounding to pri- And there were none indifferent on that vate and public sympathy as in the late occasion, 1 dare to say. It was not the and ill-fated doom of the Rothsay Cas- voice of man alone. Man only gave a tle.' And here, at the end of the first palpable utterance to the voice of God. sentence, the secret was all opened to « In the midst of the sermon, and at a me, and I felt myself at once a mourner moment when the minds and hearts of with the mourning, and was ready to the audience were entirely captive, under claim a full part in the deploring enact the guidance of the preacher, and with ment of that solemn hour. For I had him meditating on death, judgment, and passed in full view of the scene of death, eternity-abstracted from earth, and rapt and had heard the story for the first time in thought of a coming world—a sudden, that very day. Three members of Dr. protracted, and apparently an expiring Raffles' church, Mr. Lucas, his wife, and groan came from a distant part of the galtheir daughter, were of the number who leries, reaching every part of the house, perished: and that evening it had de- and penetrating every heart. It was a volved on the pastor to stand up before a startling, thrilling expression of distress, sympathizing people to tell the story, and augmented a thousand fold by the cirtry to impress them with the practical cumstances. The self-possession of the lesson of the awful event; and he did preacher, however, in a measure quieted tell the story in the outset—the simple the apprehensions of the audience, by story. He did not begin a great way off, stating that it was a person taken in a fit; and deliver a lecture on the abstract truth, and the individual having been carried till his hearers were tired of a discussion, out, after a pause of two or three minutes as it is too apt to be the fashion on such the doctor proceeded. What was the occasions; but he told the simple story real cause of suffering I know not. But as the exordium of his sermon. He the shock at such a moment when the briefly noticed the character of those feelings of the audience were under the whose sudden and awful death they la- highest excitement, and borne away by mented; traced the pathway of their spi- the most powerful sympathies for the rits through the stormy waves of the dying and the dead, and forced to think
DEATH-BED OF AN AGED BELIEVER.
of future and eternal events—was abso- | brighter, the spirit of the gospel expands lutely appalling.
and diffuses itself through all the facul“Occasionally in the progress of the ties and affections of his mind, so as it sermon the doctor was exceedingly pow- has never done before ; and a conviction erful-his thoughts and manner, and the of the divinity of his principles, the safety tones of his voice, all befitting each other. of his state, and the grandeur of his progThe interest of the occasion was itself pects, gets to be more and more impressintense; and when the amen was pro- ive and absorbing ; till, at length, every nounced, that perfect stillness which had bystander feels himself to be quite on reigned for the hour, excepting only the the verge of heaven ; or says to his neighspeaker's voice, was succeeded by that bour, Mark the perfect man, and behold the singular bustle which an instantaneous upright, for the end of that man is peace ; change of position in every individual of or ejaculates the fervent prayer, Let me a great congregation, after having been die the death of the righteous, and let my long chained by eloquence in fixed and last end be like his._Dobson. motionless attitudes, produces."
the Newcastle collieries, thirty-five men There is not a more sublime and inte- and forty-one lads were driven into a disresting spectacle than the death-bed of an tant part of the pit, from which there was aged and consistent believer. It is inde- no possibility of return until the water scribably interesting to listen to his last should be drawn off. While this was conversations, and to mark the heavenly effecting, though all possible means were aspect of his countenance; it is unutter- used, the whole number gradually died, ably grand to observe with what tranquil from starving or from suffocation. When and fearless composure he sinks to the the bodies were drawn up from the pit, rest for which he has been prepared by seven of the youths were discovered in a the influence of a lively faith, and by a cavern separate from the rest. Among course of uniform and exemplary godli- these was one of peculiarly moral and ness; and, while contemplating such a religious habits, whose daily reading of scene, it is almost impossible not to com- the sacred Scriptures to his widowed pare it with the glorious sunset of an mother, when he came up from his laautumnal evening. The light of Chris-bour, had formed the solace of her lonely tian experience and character, reflected condition. After his funeral, a sympaby the venerable saint as he approaches thizing friend of the neglected poor went the close of his career, seems to throw to visit her; and while the mother show back a hallowed radiance upon all its ed him, as a relic of her son, his Bible preceding stages; a hope full of immor- worn and soiled with constant perusal, tality triumphs over every doubt, and he happened to cast his eyes on a candleputs to flight every fearful apprehension, box, with which, as a miner, he had been whereby his soul may have been afore-furnished, and which had been brought time beclouded—his enjoyments inter- up from the pit with him; and there he rupted—or his usefulness in any measure discovered the following affecting record counteracted; the felt presence of a di- of the filial affection and steadfast piety of yine Redeemer gives energy and anima- the youth. In the darkness of the suffotion to his voice, imparts a more than cating pit, with a bit of pointed iron, he mortal lustre to his eye, and gilds the had engraved on the box his last meschamber where he languishes with the sage to his mother, in these words :glories of a better world; and in propor- “ Fret not, my dear mother; for we were tion as he nears the moment of depart- singing and praising God, while we had ure, his moral greatness becomes increas- time. Mother, follow God more than I ingly apparent evidence that all is well did.- Joseph, be a good lad to God and with him, for eternity grows brighter and I mother.”
THE NEARNESS OF DEATH.
BY THE REV. THOMAS MACCONNEL.
“There is but a step between me and death.”—1 Sam. XI. 3.
That solemn and startling event,* the In prosecuting my object I shall ob serious consciousness of which sits deep serve, on every countenance, and speaks im 1. That this solemn assertion was seem pressively to every heart in this numerous ingly true concerning David. assembly, calls loudly upon us all to shake II. That it is really true with regard to off our drowsy disregard to death, and many now living in the world. And, rouse us to the serious and salutary task III. That it may be true with regard to of numbering our days. The shepherd some here present. numbers his sheep; the miser numbers I. It was seemingly true concerning his gold; the general numbers his sol- David. His affecting story is soon told. diers; and the sovereign numbers his When, owing to Saul's disobedience of subjects;—but we omit to number our God's orders, the Spirit of the Lord dedays. Is this because our days are of parted from him; an evil spirit, of which less value than sheep, or gold, or soldiers, kind there are many, came upon him, and or subjects ? Certainly not; but because a horror of great darkness brooded over we have no disposition to so necessary his distempered imagination. Royalty a work. It is true that we are too prone was now, as it has not unfrequently been, to number days that we presume are yet splendid wretchedness and magnificent to come, while we criminally neglect to misery. Music was recommended to disnumber those which are gone by, and pel the oppressive melancholy, and the which, correctly speaking, only are ours. son of Jesse was named as a superior perA momentary exclamation at the swift- former on that sweet and ancient instruness of time, a passing shock, is, for the ment, the harp. He was introduced most part, all the effect produced by events played, and pleased. After this, and the like that we are assembled to improve, slaughter of Goliath, he was taken into upon guilty mortals, who are any thing great favour, and became Saul's ar
armourbut prepared for the awful summons. bearer. Returning from the field of batThe necessity of preparation for our mor- tle and of victory, the beautiful women tal exit is now forced upon our attention of Israel chanted his praises, in strains by this dispensation of Providence. It is more laudatory than those in which the perfectly identified with the text—" There monarch was eulogized. Saul was of. is but a step between me and death.” fended, and from that day he watched DaThis is the declaration of David to Jona- vid with unslumbering jealousy ; struck than, whose father was now, with un- a javelin at his unsuspecting and defencewearied assiduity and savage determina- less enemy, whom, having missed, he tion, seeking to take away his life. hunted now like a partridge on the moun
* Wreck of the Rothsay Castle steamboat, tains, determined to kill him. Surroundin which about ninety persons were lost. ed by numerous enemies eager to slake
their cruel thirst in his blood, he exclaim- | when the earliest sunbeams play upon ed in his extremity to Jonathan, his only their pillow, turn away from the oppressfriend, “ As the Lord liveth, and as thy ive glare, and long for the evening, are soul liveth, there is but a step between slowly dying; they are given up by their me and death." But this was not cor- physicians, and their decease daily exrect; there were many steps between him pected ;--- there is but a step between and dissolution. He lived many years them and death." after this; composed many psalms; fought 2. Go into the gloomy cells of conmany battles; entered into many alli- demned criminals, whose life must pay ances; wept over the deaths of Saul and the forfeit of their crimes on the coming Jonathan his son, in a matchless monody; morning: see them, by the dim light of ascended the throne of Israel ; died full the lamp, spending the little time that of riches, and honours, and years; and remains to them in devotional exercises; Solomon his son reigned in his stead. - there is but a step between them and
'This teaches us how liable we are to death." be wrong in our judgments. We can 3. Look at the combatants that are only judge from appearances; therefore now preparing for deadly battle; their we should draw all inferences of import- country's cause palpitates at their heart, ance with caution. Yet this judgment of and burns on their tongue. They are David's, perhaps, was the instrumental buckling on their armour; but they will cause of his preservation. It made him never unbuckle it. They are destined to cautious. How many evils, which we fall in the struggle. " There is but a dread and prepare for, never come upon step between them and death." us! And how many, that we never had 4. Listen to the cries of those mariners the slightest idea of, overwhelm and con- in distress; “ they are going up to the found us! Thus Providence sports with heavens, and now down to the depths.” our calculations; “ man knoweth not his The ship is unmanageable; her hold is appointed time, but is like the fishes in- filling with water ; she is sinking; the snared in an evil net,” &c. &c., says poor wretches are climbing to the shrouds. Solomon.
“ There is but a step between them and
death.” “ Safety consists not in escape
5. View those men of apoplectic strucFrom dangers of a frightful shape;
ture. How precarious the hold they have An earthquake may be bid to spare
of life! Fresh and hale one minute-the The man that's strangled by a hair;
How true it is, with regard Fate steals along with silent tread, Found oftenest in what least we dread,
to some men, that “there is but a step
between them and death !" Frowns in the storm with angry brow,
III. The declaration in the text may But in the sunshine strikes the blow."
be true with regard to some of us. Let II. The text is really true concerning us make good our ground at every step, some individuals now in the world. It is 1. Sentence of death has been passed calculated that nine hundred millions of on all men, “ because that all have sinmen might be found in both hemispheres ned.” Death, which in poetry is called of the inhabited globe. It is computed the king of terrors ; in philosophy, the that one individual dies every moment. negation of existence; in infidelity, anniTime treads a man to death at every step. hilation; in law, capital punishment; in How true it is, then, that there is but a theology is the “wages of sin." In step between many and death."
Adam, our federal head, we all fell; and, 1. Let us, in the first place, look at the when he was sentenced to die, we his great number of the sick scattered over descendants were sentenced also. “In the face of this well-peopled world. The Adam all die, and in Christ shall all be poor emaciated invalids who, during the made alive." We read the record of our wearisome watches of the sleepless night, sentence in the Scriptures, which, though long for the dawning morning, and who, they be thousands of years old-yea,