« PreviousContinue »
4. In the permission of any advance towards a superstitious use of the Holy Sacraments, or a superstitious regard of the priesthood.
5. In all the more flagrant departures from holiness, which may have prevailed with God so far to withdraw His Holy Spirit, as to allow of the inroads of mere ritualism and error in the Church.
III. Confession of sin in our several flocks in the different points in which we may be able to discover it.
IV. Personal humiliation for these several subjects.
I. For the gift of the Holy Spirit in more abundant measure upon the Church
1. To quicken many with increased spirituality.
2. To purify the heart and enlighten the mind of many, as regards the doctrines of faith.
3. To render many more holy, and more bold in manifesting a godly separation from those who follow worldliness.
4. To raise up many true witnesses for the simplicity that is in Christ.
II. For preservation from the devices of those who are advancing the ritualism of the present movement in the Church—
1. That the devices may be overruled for good to those who are sincere.
2. That the persons who devise them, and those who are their instruments, may be pardoned, and brought to spiritual life.
3. That ministers may be raised up to preach boldly the truth as it is in Jesus, in order the more effectually to counteract the false teaching of ritualists.
III. For preservation from Romish errors and abominations, and from the spirit of apostacy—
1. That the false doctrines of the Papacy may be exposed and reprobated.
2. That none of those who hold them may continue professing members of the Church, but may be led to manifest plainly their true condition.
IV. For the United Church generally; and for our beloved Queen and her Royal Family; that she may be blessed with spiritual life herself, and may be preserved from the influence of ritual principles.
V. For a blessing upon all who are joining together in this arrangement for prayer.
THE HOME OF THE MAYHEWS.
GAY HEAD is a bold and striking headland, forming the western end of the Island of Martha's Vineyard. An old pilot, who had been tossed about all these coasts for half a century, gave me the first opportunity I enjoyed of visiting this romantic spot. His little craft was like “a thing of life," and himself the most expert water-fowl in these parts.
Or the visitor may go by land from Holmes' Hole, some sixteen miles through some forty pairs of bars, and sundry fording-places and roughnesses of the way of sober reality, yet with here and there views of the island and the sea that will well pay him for his trouble.
This headland is known by the name of Gay Head, from the various coloured ochre which makes the high cliffs appear very beautiful at a great distance, both on the land and on the sea, when the sun shines upon them. Sunshine and shower, lavish as they may have been ever since the days of our fathers, have not destroyed the splendid scenery of this romantic spot. These clay cliffs vary from twenty to a hundred and fifty feet in height. As you pass along the hard beach at the bottom, and look up, having an afternoon sun pouring its rays upon the sides of the cliffs, you will have all the colours of the rainbow beautifully developed before you. The different ochres present you with a snow-like whiteness, the most brilliant yellow, the deepest red, and black, blacker than any Indian that ever gazed on this patrimony of his fathers. The rains, and various springs in the sides of the cliffs, have worn out ravines of greater or smaller depth, which give an agreeable variety to the scene, which is not a little increased by the green grass and bushes which hang over the summit, and by the light-house, which is a fit crown-piece for the whole, as it lifts its lofty head above the cliffs, on the borders of which it stands.
These cliffs abound with interesting fossil remains, and it appears from Professor Hitchcock's report on the Geology of Massachusetts, that there is scarcely another spot in the State where the geologist and mineralogist can find so much to excite his attention, and reward his careful examination. The clay which abounds here is carried to different parts of the country for potteries, making alum, &c. It is an amusing scene when the native Indians are employed, men, women, and children, in digging it out, and transporting it to the shore for exportation.
From the summit of these cliffs, and especially from the lantern-deck of the light-house, there is some of the finest scenery afforded by the the Atlantic coast. Looking south, the vast ocean spreads itself before you.
"Great Ocean! strongest of Creation's sons;
That roll'd the wild, profound, eternal bass
The little island called No Man's Land, is the only speck upon this splendid mirror. Westward, nothing appears but the illimitable sea.
To the north-west is dimly seen Newport light-house; nearer at hand, and forming the northern boundary of Vineyard Sound, is the chain of Elizabeth Islands, about seven miles distant. Eastward, the eye rests upon the Sound, the sandy shores of both sides of Martha's Vineyard, and the little farms and houses of the native Indians, sprinkled in pleasing variety over the west section of the island. In all these regions of the sea, may be seen the countless snow-white sails of commerce, adding greatly to the other beauties of the scenery.
The Indian population is between two and three hundred, most of them living at no great distance from Gay Head. Among their ancestors, the venerable Mayhews laboured with the zeal of apostles, and with something like their success. Thomas Mayhew, in 1641, having obtained a grant of Martha's Vineyard, the Elizabeth Islands, and Nantuckett, his son Thomas commenced the first English settlement on this island. He gave up himself with his whole soul to the work of evangelizing the natives. Many hundred souls were gathered by his ministry into the fold of the Great Shepherd. For the purpose of furthering the object so dear to his heart, the advancement of the Gospel among the Indians, he sailed for England in 1657. He was never heard from, the vessel in which he sailed having foundered at sea. This was a loss most deeply deplored by the natives, who, through his labours, had just begun to emerge from the gloom of heathenism. It was chiefly owing to this eminent man's labours, that while the savages were often committing horrid ravages elsewhere in New England, the natives of this island could never be induced to take any part with them.
His father, Thomas Mayhew, though now far advanced in life, came into the work so successfully commenced by his lamented son. The number of Christian Indians in Nantuckett and Martha's Vineyard, in 1664, was about 3,000 souls. The first Indian Church organized on this island was in 1670, and an Indian, named Hiacooms, was ordained pastor. He was an eminent servant of God, and blew the trumpet of the Gospel among the hills and valleys of the island, with great power and success. Of him, Cotton Mather thus writes: Once, particularly, this Hiacooms received a cruel blow from an Indian prince, who, if some English had not been there, would have killed him for his praying unto God." And afterwards he gave this account of his trial in it. Said he, "I have two hands: I had one hand for injuries, and another hand for God; while I did receive wrong with the one, the other laid the greater hold on God." On another occasion, the Indian "powawes," [magicians,] pretenders to witchcraft, were persecuting the Christian Indians; and boasting that, by their machinations, they could kill, if they would, all the praying Indians. Hiacooms, in the spirit of Luther at Worms, exclaimed, Let all the powawes in the island come together, I will venture myself in the midst of them; let them use all their witchcrafts; with the help of God I will tread upon them all."
The venerable Thomas Mayhew died in the year 1681, in the 93rd year of his age, having in his character, as Governor of the island, and minister of the Gospel, exerted the most happy influence on the temporal and spiritual interests of the natives.
John Mayhew, a grandson of the above, and son of the one who perished at sea, succeeded his grandfather in the care of the Indians, and laboured ably and usefully both among them and the English, He died 1845-MAR.
at Chilmark, at the age of 37. A dying remark of his was, that "he was persuaded God would not place him with those after death, in whose company he could take no delight in his lifetime."
He was succeeded by Experience Mayhew, his eldest son. Cotton Mather, in his Magnolia, thus honours him: "In the Evangelical service among the Indians, there is no man that exceeds this Mr. Mayhew, if any that equals him." He translated the Gospel of John and the Psalms into the Indian tongue. He was the author of a very valuable, but now very scarce work, containing biographical sketches of thirty of the early Indian ministers, and eighty other Indian converts; a work replete with striking testimonies of the power of sovereign grace among the natives. The following is the inscription upon his tomb: "The Rev. Experience Mayhew was born Feb. 5th, (N. S.) 1673, and died of an apoplexy, Nov. 9th, 1758. He was a man of good understanding, sincere piety, humility, and charity, and spent about 63 years of his life in the Gospel ministry, chiefly among the Indians on Martha's Vineyard."
Another Mayhew, the Rev. Zechariah, closes the Mayhew line of ministers on this island. He died March 6th, 1806, in the 88th year of his age.
It is an interesting fact, that five generations of Mayhews were engaged in the missionary work on this island. The age attained by several of the Mayhew family is remarkable. The first, Thomas, died at the age of 93; Experience, 84; John, grandson of the first John, 89; his brother Jeremiah, 85; Dr. Mathew, 85, and Zechariah, 89.
Several of these fathers lie buried in the graveyard at Chilmark. It was my privilege, not long since, to stand upon an eminence overlooking the spot, and near the ruins of one of the ancient places of worship. The sun was just sinking into his ocean bed of glory. There was the great wide sea, at that hour unruffled by a wave. Like a molten lookingglass, it reflected the fading glories of the expiring day. What an image of the boundless vastness and majesty of Jehovah! There are the hills and valleys once peopled by the red men, and traversed by the footsteps of those venerable apostles of the Christian faith. And yonder is their last resting-place. A mighty congregation slumbers around them. Burning and shining lights were those Mayhews in their day.
"Lo the poor Indian! whose untutor❜d mind
Saw God in clouds, and heard Him in the wind;"
And saw Him, too, as His spiritual glory was reflected by the piety of those holy men, and was forced on his mind by the Gospel they faithfully preached. How many of them have had kindled in their bosoms the flame of holy and everlasting love to God by these soldiers of the cross! I see yonder their humble sepulchres surrounding those of their honoured and beloved teachers; the monuments themselves fast crumbling with those of their pastors' to the dust. But monuments in heaven are their redeemed spirits of pastoral fidelity, and as such will shine as the stars for ever and ever.
Befitting place, thought I, is this last resting-place of the dust of those venerable men. They were buried among their own people; loved and longed for, and saved in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ. They are buried fast by the shore of that strongest of creation's sons,
the boundless ocean. Their eyes had often rested upon and gathered from it vast ideas of the God they served. They had often pointed to its awful scenery, when tossed by storms, to image forth the displeasure of the Almighty; and taught from its bright, broad, magnificent expanse, when the winds were hushed, the quietness and peace of that rest that remaineth for the people of God. Befitting it is, that on its shores should be their place of burial, its ruffled bosom an emblem of the trials and sorrows of this earthly life; its unruffled bosom a splendid image of the heavenly quietness their redeemed, glorified spirits now enjoy.
FROM THE AUTHOR OF "CHRISTIAN RETIREMENT."
MY DEAR FRIEND,-It gave me real pleasure to find that the Lord has so wonderfully blessed your endeavours in establishing a Bible Society at Kendal. * * * * * * We know from Scripture, and I humbly hope, from experience too, that the Word of God is quick and powerful. It is the mighty hammer which shall break in pieces the hard rock of error and superstition. It is the grand instrument in the hand of the Spirit, for enlightening, converting, and purifying the hearts of sinners. We know also, that all events, even to the falling of a little sparrow, are known unto God; yea, that they are all under his sovereign direction and control. Surely, then, when we behold a nation catching, as it were, one general flame for the diffusion of God's Holy Word, throughout the world; societies, like "streams in the desert," breaking out here and there; must we not hope, that the desert will ere long blossom as a rose," and rejoice that God hath once more "visited his people." In the midst of dark and gloomy dispensations, awful catastrophes, wars, and rumours of wars, it is a matter of great comfort to the sincere Christian, that God is all the while carrying on his purposes of grace, and making every thing subservient to the good and welfare of His Church. Let us then adore his sovereign power, and acknowledge that He doth all things well. * ***** Oh, how happy is that soul, which feels no wish beyond the will of God! This is to possess the mind and spirit of Christ: but ah! how difficult to attain. Our carnal, rebellious wills are ever seeking to be gratified; and thus prevent our enjoying that peace of God which passeth understanding.
Religion, my dear Friend, is an inward work. It consists not in mere outward observances, but in that deep humility of heart, that lively faith in the promises, that ardent love to Christ, and that cheerful obedience to His will which nothing but the almighty Spirit of Jehovah can create in the soul. For these blessings we are graciously commanded to ask; and are sweetly assured, on the truth of Him who cannot lie, that if we ask in the name of Christ, believing, we shall receive them. Let us then take encouragement, remembering that He is faithful who hath promised, who also will do it; yea, that He is exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance unto Israel, and forgiveness of sins.