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to a good man, will seem many of those differences of opinion, which had before, in the heat of controversy, kept the children of God asunder! Then the great and simple facts of religion, in which all evangelical christians substantially agree, will be all in all. Then the truths agreed in, will be seen to be a basis broad enough, for the most unhesitating confidence and mutual love among christians; and their theories, which constituted almost the entire ground of difference between them, will appear not worth a moment's serious contention. Here we lay down our pen, with the prayer to God, that he would incline the hearts of his ministers and people universally, to “ the things which make for peace, and whereby one may edify another.” The following is the concluding sentence of a valedictory address of Leighton, while at the head of the college of Edinburgh, delivered to the pupils of his charge. “May our dear Redeemer Jesus impress upon your minds a lively representation of his own meek and immaculate heart, that in the great and last day, he may by this mark, know you to be his; and, together with all the rest of his sealed and redeemed ones, admit you into the mansions of eternal bliss.”


A Memoir of Felix Neff, Pastor of the High Alps. By William STEPHEN

Gilly. Boston: Wiliam Hyde & Co. 1832.

It is an interesting fact, and one which clearly shows God's determination to perpetuate his church, and to preserve its purity in the midst of surrounding error, that even during the dark ages, and while the christian world was crushed beneath the vassalage of papal superstition, there were still found little communities of the people of God, distinguished by their adherence to the faith of earlier times, and who could never be made to bow to the unhala lowed domination of the Romish See. Remnants of these churches, it is well known, still exist in the valleys of Piedmont, and among the cliffs of the Pyrenees; and it is delightful to trace in these persecuted servants of Christ, the connecting link between the primitive disciples and the protestant churches of later times. În the volume before us, Mr. Gilly has brought to light another of these little communities, in the Alpine provinces of the south of France. He has traced back as far as the third century, the existence of a christian people in the department of the Hautes Alpes, about sixty miles to the southeast of Lyons; who, though subjected to numerous and cruel persecutions, remained unshaken in their adherence to the “faith once delivered to the saints," and who, retiring before the inundation of popish error and cruelty, planted themselves

at last amidst the topmost cliffs and glaciers of that desolate region, choosing rather to suffer and die amidst storms and barrenness, than to part with the legacy bequeathed them in the word and worship of God. Century after century it was their lot to hold the precious inheritance at the risk of life itself; and God has rewarded their constancy by conferring upon those who now occupy their places, the pastoral labors and example of such a man as Felix NEFF.

This devoted servant of God was born in a village near Geneva, in Switzerland, in the year 1798, and was indebted to his widowed mother for his early instruction. In his childhood, he seems to have had a strong predilection for hazardous feats of enterprise, and for daring achievements. With a firm constitution, braced by the air of his native mountains, he seems to have been thus early trained for the arduous duties which he was afterwards called to sustain. At the age of seventeen he became a soldier, and two years afterwards was promoted to the rank of a sergeant, in which situation he was distinguished “not only as an efficient sub-officer, but as a devoted soldier of the cross." From this it would seem, that he had already chosen God as his portion; but we are furnished in the Memoir with no account of his feelings previous to, or at the time of his conversion, except that he is said to have been of a meditative cast of mind, and averse to frivolity. We wish the author could have given us some delineation of Neff's feelings, at the period of his religious change. It would be interesting and useful to see the workings of such a mind, at so important a period of his life. From his manner of dealing with others in such a state of feeling, we infer, that he had been an accurate observer of his own heart; and we are inclined to believe, that, allowing much to the influence of the scenery in the midst of which he was educated, there must still have been something in his first setting out in the christian life, which laid the foundation of that energy of character and devotion to the high object of his choice, which no difficulties or dangers could impair

. We feel confident that such a religious character as Neft's, in the midst of conflicting feelings still bending all his efforts in one sole direction, was not easily formed; but that many a period of contest, prayer, and victory, must have helped to qualify him for the toils in which he wore out his life in the service of his Redeemer. The importance which Neff himself attached to prayer, and the

scattered notices which this volume presents of his fervent and long s protracted devotions, warrant us, we think, in this supposition. We

may allude to this subject again ; and have dwelt upon it for a moment here, to impress upon our youthful readers the necessity of

cultivating great personal piety, as a preparation for distinguished is usefulness.

The life of a soldier seems to have been discordant with Neff's feelings, and even then he was panting to engage more immediately in the service of Christ. His companions were jealous of his rising merit, while his serious disposition annoyed and reproved them in the midst of their follies. Under these circumstances, he was advised to quit the army and prepare himself for the ministry. We gain some little knowledge of the struggles he underwent at this time, from a short prayer for divine guidance which is recorded in these words,-"Oh, my God, whatever be thy nature, make me to know thy truth, and deign to manifest thyself in my heart.” If we might here venture a conjecture, we should say that he was at this period troubled with doubts, and that this was with him a season of no common fervor and constancy in prayer. This fact is rendered probable, not only by the state of religion in Geneva at this time, but also by the manner in which he is said to have conducted his studies in preparing for the ministry. “He read the bible, with earnest prayers to God, that he might so read as to understand the divine will.” In the answer which he afterwards gave at his ordination to the question, What has induced you to devote yourself to the ministry ? he says, “because, whenever I have directed my thoughts to other professions, I have felt my conscience burdened, and a secret voice has commanded me to announce the kingdom of God.

The first office in which Neff engaged, was that of catechist, of lay-helper to different pastors; first in the neighborhood of Gene. va, and afterwards in other parts of Switzerland. In his twenty fourth year, he was invited to sustain a similar office to the pastor of Grenoble, and again at Mens, in France. In this latter place he remained till he received ordination, and assumed the responsibility of pastor of the Hautes Alpes. While discharging his duty as catechist at Mens, his labors were not however confined to that place. He made frequent and long excursions in the country around, and many interesting incidents are recorded, which occutred in these walks of usefulness. Some idea of his labors may be formed from his own language. “ It often happens that I go several leagues, and perform as many as four or five services in one day. I have not unfrequently been thus engaged in instructing or conversing, from four o'clock in the mourning till eleven at night, and all this without any cough or ailment of the stomach.” The effect of his labors at Mens, and in the vicinity, seems to have been considerable. Says Mr. Blanc, pastor of Mens,

Every where, in Mens and its environs, the name of our friend was never pronounced but with respect; and there were few who did not regard him as a saint, almost exempt from sin. This was a subject of deep affliction to him, because he saw that they attached themselves too

pp. 79, 80.

much to him personally, and too little to the Savior whose servant he was. He said to me one day with deep feeling, “They love me too much; they receive me with too much pleasure; they eulogize me too much ; indeed they do not know me.' During the space of nearly two years, which he spent among us, he did a prodigious quantity of good. Zeal for religion revived ; a great number of persons began to think seriously of the condition of their souls. The Word of God was more sought after, and more carefully read, the catechumens were better instructed in their christian duties, and gave proofs of it in their conduct: family worship was established in many houses: the love of luxury, and personal vanity decreased : almsgiving was more generally practised, and the poor were not so numerous.

His practice here, as well as afterward on the High Alps, was to collect the youth in little circles for catechetical instruction, very similar to the bible classes in our country. In his own Journal, the following little incident is mentioned, which strikingly illustrates his character. It occurred at a place where he had made frequent visits, but had as yet seen no fruit of his labors. He says,

" At my last visit, when I had finished my exposition and my prayer, instead of going away, as they had hitherto done, at the termination of the service, all the people kept their seats, and remained silent. Full of real concern for these, poor creatures, I rested my head upon my hands, and offered up a secret prayer to God in their behalf. They thought I was taken ill, and many anxious inquiries were put to me. I lifted up my head, and said, 'I am not ill, my friends, but I am distressed on your account. I am thinking that most of you have already forgotten that which you have just heard, and it is this which grieves me.'

p. 89.

How admirably is here depicted to us the solicitude of this servant of Christ for the souls of his hearers, and with what touching simplicity is the heart of the man laid open. He has likewise furnished us with a sketch of his method of treating a person under conviction of sin, part of which we extract, as a specimen of the numerous little descriptions which the volume contains. A daughter of his host, and a catechumen, intelligent and much devoted to amusement, had been awakened by one of his sermons.

“She was struck,” says “Neff, by these words, which I repeated more than once : Go to Golgotha, and there you will see how odious sin is to God! For the first time she understood, in the sufferings of our Lord, the terrible demands of the holy law of God. In the bitterness and anguish of her soul she shed many tears during the service, and her heart was on fire when she left the church. * It was in vain that I endeavored to find an opportunity of speaking to her. She avoided me. Her parents and friends tortured themselves to divine the cause of her disquietude. At last, on the Tuesday morning, I made

now find


her search for some passages in my testament, and in turning over the leaves she found the text on which I had preached, Matt. v. 20. It is too true,' said she, “that our righteousness does not surpass that of the Scribes and Pharisees: it is even less than theirs.' * And St. Paul says,' I rejoined, “that no flesh shall be justified by the works of the law.'

I then endeavored to make her perceive how the consideration of the truths of the gospel ought to make us serious. It does not make me serious !' she exclaimed, bursting into tears. I return thanks to God, said I, for the disposition in which I


for those who weep shall be comforted. Be of good cheer; there is a Comforter. He, whom Jesus Christ promised to his disciples, will be sent to you also. His disciples did his will, but as for me, I do not do it, and I never have done it.' His disciples did not only do his will, they believed. Yes, and I do not believe.' They did not believe as much as they ought, for Jesus reproached them with not having faith as big as a grain of mustard seed. But they did as you ought to do: they asked the Lord to increase their faith. . But they at that time had a little, and I have none at all.' Here her tears burst forth again, and all that I said appeared to have no effect

upon She continued all day in such a melancholy mood as to alarm her parents. She could scarcely utter a word ; she avoided company and ate scarcely any thing. The next morning she told me that she was in the same frame of mind, and when I urged her to tell me what it was which so afflicted her, she exclaimed, sobbing, 'I am too proud, I never can be saved.'

At this time, Neff was called to visit a distant neiglıborhood. On his return he says,

I arrived at home, fearing to find Emily in bed and her parents miserable, but I found her full of joy. Oh! how happy I am,' she esclaimed the moment she saw me. You have not left me in the hands of a severe judge. How gracious the Lord has been ! Oh! he is rightly called the Savior :—but what agony! what sufferings! Oh! what he must have suffered! He who drank the cup of bitterness even to the dregs! Now I understand what he meant to say, when he exclaimed,

My soul is full of heaviness, even unto death.' “ I should never have done,” continues Neff, “ if I were to endeavor to transcribe all the expressions of gratitude and admiration which poured from her mouth; from that mouth, which heretofore had been full of the attractions of the world. Not only was her language new, but her air and aspect were changed. The vain and self-important deportment had now given way to modesty and sweetness. My first movement naturally was to bless the Father of mercies and the Savior of sinners.”—p. 86.

This is a precious testimony to the efficacy of those great truths of the gospel, which are in our own land the means of leading so many souls to see their lost situation, and of bringing them to God by the cross of Christ. We love to meet with such examples; the heart will be better for it, and it is no more than



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