« AnteriorContinuar »
than that another part should be trifling, giggling, and talking comparative nonsense to each other.
Ever shew the interest which you take in the subjects of schools for the poor, the distribution of tracts, the Bible and Missionary Societies, and all those important topics which so deeply occupy the people of God: and when you can find a congenial friend, talk of heaven and eternity, and your soul and
This will be as a shield to your head and your heart.
ESTIMATE OF CHARACTERS. Look first for grace.
Do not disesteem good people on account of their foibles, or deficiencies in matters of little importance. Gold unpolished is far more valuable than the brightest brass. Never form unfavourable opinions of religious people hastily,—-"Charity hopeth all things.” Prize those families where you find constant family prayer; and suspect evil and danger, where it is avowedly unknown and unpractised. Always remember the astonishing difference between the true followers of Jesus, and the yet unconverted world, and prize them accordingly, whatever be their rank in society.
Gentility and piety form a happy union ; but poverty and piety are quite as acceptable in the eyes of God, and so they ought to be in ours.
Not only are the poor far more in actual number than the rich, but experience proves that the proportionate number of the truly serious amongst the poor is much greater than the corresponding proportion of numbers amongst the rich. Take 1000 poor and 100 rich; you will probably find 10 of the latter serious ; but 200 of the former shall be so at the same time.
Beware of critical hearing of sermons preached by good men. It is an awful thing to be occupied in balancing the merits of a preacher, instead of the demerits of yourself. Consider every opportunity of hearing as a message sent you from heaven. For all the sermons you have heard, you will have to render an account at the last day.
PARENTS. Seek to make them happy in you.
If you perceive that any thing in your ways make them otherwise, you ought to have no peace until you have corrected it ; and if you find yourself indifferent or insensible to their will and wishes, depend upon it yours is a carnal, disobedient, ungrateful heart. If you love them, keep their commandments ; otherwise love is a mere word in the mouth, or a notion in the faney,
but not a ruling principle in the heart. They know much of the world, you very little : trust them, therefore, when they differ from you and retuse compliance with your desires,—they watch over you for God, and are entitled to great deference and cheerful obedience. You may easily shorten the lives of affectionate and conscientious parents, by misconduct, bad tempers, and alienation from their injunctions. Let not this sin be laid to your charge. “ I shall add no more at present, than that I am,
n-Your affectionate father,
• L. RICHMOND."
We reserve the insertion of some interesting letters, address. ed to Mrs. Richmond, for another part of this Memoir.
Detection of an extraordinary imposture by Mr. Richmond
Publication of his Tracts—Review of them— Their great popularity and extensive circulation, fc.-American editions
Remarks on the subject--Mr. Richmond's connexion with the Tract Society.
In the year 1813, Mr. Richmond was the means of detecting one of the grossest impostures ever practised upon the credulity of the public. A woman, of the name of Ann Moore, of Tutbury, in Staffordshire, professed to have lived six years without having taken any solid food, and four years and a half without any liquid. The singularity of the case led persons to visit her from various parts; and on these occasions she maintained an appearance of moral and religious feeling, which left an impression of a highly favourable nature on the minds of those who conversed with her. She ascribed her existence, in this state of inedia, to absorption by the lungs and skin ; and declared that some physicians had assured her of the possibility of the case.
Leaving disquisitions of this nature to medical men, it is, nevertheless, a well-established fact, that after a watch of sixteen days, in the year 1808, during which no discovery was. made of her having taken any food or liquid whatsoever, a strong disposition prevailed, among several physicians and sur-. geons of known talent and respectability, to give credit to her assertions. A second, and stricter watch, was, however, agreed upon, and the arrangement of it committed to the direction of Mr. Richmond, who felt a peculiar interest in the case, and formed a committee for the purpose, composed of several medio cal and other respectable gentlemen. The precautions were so well taken against the admission of any kind of nourishment, that the woman was reduced to a state of exhaustion, and finally confessed the imposture.
An excellent pamphlet was drawn up on this occasion, by Mr. Richmond, containing many valuable remarks of a physiological nature ; but as we feel most interested in the moral view of the subject, we insert the following reflections of the author, arising from the discovery of the hypocrisy and pretended ab-: stinence of this extraordinary impostor. We refer the reader to the pamphlet itself for further information.*
“ 'Those who are accustomed to trace and admire the leading steps of God's providential government in the conduct of human affairs, will not fail to connect together all the links of the chain of occurrences by which this detection was begun and completed. At the same time, other hypocrites and impostors will be taught by the present exposure of guilt, that verily there is a God that judgeth in the earth.'
“But further : this woman pretended to a high degree of veneration for the Scriptures, and the religion of the Gospel of Christ. She had, partly by reading books, and partly by intercourse with various persons of intelligence and piety, acquired a more than ordinary share of religious knowledge She possessed a fluency of speech, and could assume an interesting deportment in conversations of a serious nature.
Hypocrisy is at all times odious, but religious hypocrisy pre-eminently so. Christianity, in its true character and privileges, is a jewel of too high a value not to provoke, from the basest motives, many a specious, though spurious imitation of its excellence. It cannot be denied that the cause of religion has suffered much in worldly estimation through the misconduct of unworthy pretenders. From hence intid: lity takes occasion to triumph; prejudice gains strength; licentiousness grows bolder; and the enmity of the multitude against moral principles and practice, finds a delusive apology for sin in the expo
* By the committee, which consisted of 33 clergy and gentry, with Sir Oswald Mosley as their chairman, it was resolved unanimously-"That the thanks of the Committee be given to the Rev. L. Richmond, (to whose original proposition in November last, and subsequent perseverance in the plan till the present time, the discovery of the imposture has been owing,) for the pains he has ben stowed on a subject which has excited so much public interest. And that he be requested to prepare for the press a statement of facts relative to the supposed abstinence of Ann Moore ; and a narrative of the circumstances which led to the recent detection of the imposture."--See Statement of Facts, Preface,
sure of the bypocritical professor. True Christians will hence learn the indispensable necessity of the most unbending uprightness and simplicity in all the concerns of life; that they may not bring an evil name on the cause which lies nearest to their heart and welfare.
6. Those who are at all acquainted with the secret recesses and operations of corruption in the human heart, will find, in the recent detection of this impostor, a source of convincing and improving meditation. While too many others, perhaps, may indulge in unfeeling and indecorous levity, when contemplating this discovery of sin, wretchedness, and shame; the real believer in the sacred truths which the Scriptures reveal, will view it with far different feelings. Such an one too well knows the awful nature and tendency of sin, to dare even to trifle with it so much as in thought.
“Yet, however implicated the notoriety of this woman's supposed abstinence may have been with her pretensions of a religious nature, real religion cannot eventually suffer by the disclosure of her true character. Had she been even more uniformly consistent in her outward conduct than was actually the case ; yet truth cannot lose its integral virtue because falsehood occasionally assumes its external garb.— The Bible is still the word of God, and loses none of its intrinsic worth, although it once made an ostentatious appendage to the furniture of Ann Moore. Nor has the hallowed name of a Redeemer ceased to be holy, because her polluted lips have often taken it in vain. The infidel and the profligate are in no less danger of the ripening vengeance of God, because they can now point with the finger of scorn at the detected hyprocrite. The invaluable blessings which genuine Christianity ever did, and ever must pour down upon the heads and hearts of its faithful professors, shall still prove their divine origin by the fruits they invariably produce; and the temporary exaltation of impostors and false pretenders shall, in the end, contribute to the lasting triumph of truth.
“ Moreover, that very religion, which this wretched woman possessed not, will direct the hearts of those who are, happily, partakers of its influence, to one contemplation more. They will view her as an object for pity and prayer.
While the world has overwhelmed her name with disgrace, and just indignation has been excited against her offences—while a providential discovery has arrested her iniquity in its prosperous career, and she is now reduced to ignominy and shame, the Christian will pray for her repentance. His abhorrence of the sin, will not diminish his pity for the deplorable case of the sinner. Medi
upon his own liability to offend, as well as a review of the many sad proofs of human depravity which he daily sees around him, will forcibly lead his affections, amidst the occurrences of time, to contemplate an approaching eternity. There, through the medium of the Scripture revelation, he will trace the records of divine mercy; and will feel it to be his privilege and delight to plead, in a Saviour's name, for the pardon of this presumptuous offender. And while thus occupied, his hope and his prayer will be, that where sin hath abounded, grace may much more abound.'
We have already incidentally alluded to Mr. Richmond's tracts, and now resume the subject.
During his residence in the Isle of Wight, some interesting events occurred, connected with his ministry, which he first made known to the public through the medium of the “Christian Guardian."* These communications having excited much attention, he was afterwards induced to publish them in the form of tracts, of which the first that made its
appearance was Dairyman's Daughter.” “The Negro Servant,” and “ the Young Cottager, or Little Jane,” successively followed : and finally, in the year 1814, they were united into one volume, under the title of “ Annals of the Poor,”¥ with the following appropriate motto, from Gray :
Let not ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys and destiny obscure ;
The short and simple annals of the poor. His "Dairyman's Daughter” rapidly acquired an unexampled celebrity. It was read with an avidity that required successive editions to satisfy the demands of the public, and soon became the most popular tract of the day. The author, from the generous motive of ensuring to it a more extended usefulness, was induced to present it to the Religious
Tract Society, by whom it was immediately translated into the French and Italian languages. The writer of this Memoir well remembers a circumstance connected with this celebrated tract, which he will here mention. He was taken by Mr. Richmond, in the year 1811, to attend a committee meeting of the Tract Society, when one of the members rose up, and observed, that as he came with the
* See Christian Guardian, for 1809, 1810, 1811.
| In this edition, considerable additions were made in “ the Dairyman's Daughter."