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conspired against; and in plaintive accents would he ery out, "O Christ! O Jesus Christ!" and then complain that he had been abandoned by God and man.' As to Paine, we have it on the evidence of Dr Manley, a respectable physician, who attended him in his list illness, that there was something very remarkable in his conduct for about two weeks before his death. He would call out, during his paroxysms of distress, without intermission, “O Lord help me! God help me! Jesus Christ help me! O Lord help me!" repeating the same expressions, without the least variation, in a tone that would alarm the whole house. How apparent is it from this, that the mind of Paine was convinced of the truth of that religion which he had ridiculed, and whose author he had blasphemed !'
rent speeches, confessions, and resolutions of a change of life. The scene was so novel, that the sailors, though impressed with a sense of the common danger, could not refrain from rushing to that part of the ship where he lay prostrate, and in a state of raving remorse, to behold the wonderful sight of an infidel on board, whom they viewed in the light of an exhibition of some wild beast from a foreign country. When the weather became more moderate, they were enabled to bring the ship into an English port, on a Sabbath morning. Some of the passengers went ashore to attend public worship. The infidel, forgetting his professions of repentance, went in search of a gaming-house and a billiard-table.
"There are, no doubt, many other persons still alive, who have witnessed instances of humbled and trembling impiety, similar to some of those now described. They have beheld the profane and godless, in times of real danger, laying aside their boastful manner, and labourand have heard them calling for pardon and help, on the very Being whom, at other times, they held in derision; and whose existence they even pretended, on many occasions, to deny."
TO A LADY IN DISTRESS OF MIND.
"It has been said, that he who cannot pray should go to sea,' where the dangers of the deep would alarm his fears, and teach Him to call on him who rides upon the waves, and rules the tempest at will. A storm willing under all the agonies of conscious guilt and terror, teach the profanest mariner to pray, and that with continuance and fervency.' When the tempest came down upon the ship which was carrying the prophet Jonah to Tarshish, the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god.' Colonel Gardiner, before his conversion, and when his mind was in its most hardened state, was overtaken by a violent storm, on his passage in a packet-boat between England and France. Being tossed several hours in a dark night on the coast of Holland, he was brought into such extremity, that the captain of the vessel urged him to go to prayers immediately, if ever he intended to do it at all; for he concluded they would, in a few minutes, be at the bottom of the sea. In this circumstance he did pray, and that very fervently too; and it was very remarkable, that, while he was crying to God for deliverance, the wind fell, and quickly after, they arrived at Calais.'
"When traversing one of the North American lakes in a vessel which had been much damaged by a storm, and was every moment in danger of sinking, Volney, the infidel, shewed how little his philosophy could do when nature wanted help from God. There were many females, as well as male passengers on board; but no one exhibited so strong marks of fearful despair as Volney. In the agony of his mind, he threw himself on the deck, exclaiming, with uplifted hands and streaming eyes, O my God, iny God, what shall I do? what shall I do? And yet, in the true spirit of all such, he afterwards said, that these words escaped from him in the instant of alarm, but had no meaning.'
Something similar to this is said to have taken place some years ago, in a vessel which was conveying Lord Byron, and, along with him, Shelly, the poet, and others, from one part of the Mediterranean to another, The noble bard's friend was an ostentatious professor of irreligious opinions. But when a tempest arose, and all on board were in danger of perishing among the waves, his boastful spirit, for a time, entirely forsook bin, and he cast himself down on the cabin floor, where he lay in a dreadful state of mental suffering, criminating himself, and calling on God for mercy, though, at other times, he pretended to own no God but nature. The meanness of the whole of this exhibition of inconsistency, made some, who beheld it, look upon him with pity, and others with contempt.
"An exhibition of the same kind was once witnessed by a friend of the writer of these pages, on his passage by sea from London to Leith. A loquacious advocate of infidelity was on board. A violent tempest arose, and did so much damage to the ship, that it was with the utmost difficulty it could be kept from sinking. Hope began to forsake the most fearless; but none seemed so much distressed as the poor infidel. His loquacity ceased, and he sunk into a state of despair. At tervals, however, he gave utterance to many incohe
BY THE REV. HENRY DUNCAN, D. D.,
DEAR MADAM,-In a former letter, I endeavoured to
You are aware, that of the human race, there are
many to whom the privileges and hopes of the Gospel
are offered in vain, and hence arises a question as to
First of all, we must believe. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved," is the language of the Gospel. But what is this faith? for all who acknowledge the truth of Christianity assert that they believe, yet how many of these are far from the kingdom of heaven? I answer, that it is such a belief in the testimony of God respecting Christ, as influences the desires and affections of the heart. Every motive which directs the conduct, implies a faith of a similar
kind. If I am a miser, it is because I have a faith in the efficacy of riches, which, laying hold of my affections and desires, and receiving its direction from them, induces me to choose wealth as my chief good; if I am a man of pleasure, it is because I have a faith in the value of voluptuous gratification, which, gaining possession of my heart, at once controls and receives its impulse from my affections and desires; if again, I am a man of benevolence, it is because I have a faith in the superior worth and advantage of a regard to the good of my fellow-creatures, which at once corresponding with my natural affections and desires, and influencing them, overpowers other motives, and leads me in that direction. In the same manner, if I am a man of piety, it is because I have a faith in the unspeakable and paramount importance of religion, which operates on my affections and desires.
Belief or faith, then, you see, lies at the foundation of all our actions, for it would be folly to say, that a man can be guided by that in which he does not believe. But then, there are many things, in the truth of which we believe, that have little or no effect on our conduct; for the object of our belief must appear to us to be in some way or other of superior value,-must, in short, be capable of strongly exciting and influencing the feelings of our hearts, before it can become a paramount rule of life.
belief be of the right kind, that is, if it duly influence our heart and affections, it will certainly lead us to consider how far our lives are conformable to our Christian profession. But we cannot do this without perceiving our natural love of what religion teaches us to hate, and our natural hatred of what religion teaches us to love. The more we look into our own hearts and examine our own conduct, the more forcibly will we be struck with the corruption of our natures, and with the unworthiness of our characters, especially when we consider what the perfection is after which we are bound to aspire. When we look from ourselves to God, and discover the nature of divine justice and holiness, and the amazing price which these attributes rendered necessary for the redemption of our souls, our sins appear in a still more aggravated and alarming view as offences against a Creator of infinite perfection, which could only be expiated by a divine being assuming the human nature, and bearing the punishment that sinful man had incurred. Hence, we acquire a true sense of sin, on the one hand, and of the mercy of God in Christ Jesus, on the other : and this leads us to abhor all manner of iniquity, and to love our God and Saviour; while these sentiments, if duly cherished, will induce us to turn to the service of God, to delight in all that he has commanded, this is repentance.
I do not know if you are acquainted with the Shorter Catechism of our Church; if not, I would earnestly recommend you to study it, as it contains a short, but extremely well digested, summary of the principles of our most holy faith; so short, however, as to require some attention to understand its principles, being not only entirely elementary and without illustration, but somewhat formal and scholastic in its instructions, a mere synopsis or text-book, which your own reading and reflection would be requisite to fill up.
This may serve to give you a simple and popular view of Christian faith as opposed to its counterfeit. These professors believe, perhaps, in the loose sense of that word; that is, they do not question the truth of the Sacred Record; but then they do not realise to their minds the infinite value of that truth to them as individuals; they have given their hearts and affections to some other study or pursuit, and have turned away from the consideration of religion with a disgust which is unhappily natural to the unrenewed mind. Hence David prays that God would create in him a clean heart, and "renew" within him a right spirit. We naturally love and desire the things which are seen and temporal; the very circumstance of their nearness to us increases their magnitude in our eyes; they are the objects of our senses, and are continually presenting themselves to our view; they draw our affections towards them far more powerfully than those things which are unseen and distant, though of infinitely greater importance. Burke somewhere eloquently illustrates this fatal propensity of our nature, by remarking, that the little insect which passes near our eye may be mistaken for the eagle soaring on the lofty mountain; and a similar illustration might be taken from the properties of the magnet, which is more powerfully attracted by a steel needle when brought near it, than by that mighty and mysterious influence which, acting more distantly, would otherwise cause it to point to-gulated course of religious study your ultimate comfort wards the pole.
You see, then, my dear madam, where your duty lies in this matter. You must learn to correct your vision, that you may be able clearly to distinguish between the insect at hand and the eagle at a distance. You must remove the little needle of steel, that the loadstone of your heart may yield to those secret influences which will draw it to the pole-star in the heavens.
This leads me to speak of repentance, as the rable companion, or rather as the fruit of faith.
I am not sure that this very short and necessarily defective statement is such as you wished me to give, but if there be any thing else you would have me to explain, you have only to mention it. I have been somewhat more technical than I should have been, had you not requested me to give you a general outline of the Christian faith, which seemed to make a systematic view necessary, and yet I have endeavoured to avoid some of the deeper and more difficult questions, as matters which I think you would do well rather to avoid, in the present state of your mind, lest they should entangle and perplex you.
I could not, conscientiously, advise you to abstain, even for the present, from reflecting seriously and earnestly on the things which concern your everlasting peace, even although I am aware that your mind just now requires not to be too strongly exercised, or too deeply engrossed. I believe, indeed, that on a well re
nainly depends. But prudence is requisite in this as well as in matters of worldly interest. As you acquire more mental strength, the precaution which renders proper the limitation of your spiritual studies, will become less necessary, but, at present, I think it would he desirable to act more, and read and reflect less, than you seem inclined to do. Watch, however, the progress of your mind, in its gradual restoration to its proper tone, and pray for those aids of the Holy Spirit, without which all human efforts are vain, that you may
not relapse into carelessness or security, but may go on from one degree of Christian grace unto another, till vou be prepared for the society of the just made perfect. You mention your having gone to the Lord's table lately with Mr and Mrs. and seem to have some doubt whether or not your joining in that solemn communion was proper in the present state of your feelings. I can have no hesitation in saying, that, judging by the account you give of the impressions under which you were led to obey your Saviour's dying injunction, you acted rightly. The Lord's table is intended to give strength to the weak, to afford comfort to the afflicted, and to restore peace to the wounded and bleeding conscience. Christ came not to bring the righteous, those who think themselves righteous, but sinners, those who feel that they are sinners, to repentance, and his ordinances, especially the most solemn and endearing of all ordinances, were instituted for confirming penitent feelings, and for filling with holy resolutions and pious enjoyment the hearts of those who are ready to faint. I am, &c.
BY THE REV. ROBERT SIMPSON,
Minister of Kintore.
"And let us not be weary in well-doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."—GAL. vi. 9. THAT there is a law in our members warring against the law of our mind, is a declaration of Scripture which universal experience amply confirms. This discordant state of things is daily exhibited in a thousand different ways. In the unrenewed heart its prevalence is evident and habitual. And even where the grace of God has operated a change in the spiritual condition, a bias towards evil is clearly perceptible. After the innate principle of corruption, which we all inherit, has lost the power of prompting us to the allowed commission of sin, it may continue more or less to impede our progress in the attainment of holiness, and to impart a disrelish for whatever is opposite to its own unholy character. Nay, after we may have wholly ceased to find pleasure in doing evil, and have in some degree learned to do well, it will often manifest its remaining influence over the soul, by inducing irksomeness and lassitude in the performance of Christian duties. And this seems to be that peculiar manifestation of our natural depravity, against which the apostle warns and guards us in the words of
in the present life. It owes its origin to the same benign and gracious Being that framed the universe, and constituted the laws which regulate all the departments of nature and providence. his only object in the precepts of his Word, as well as in the moral government of the world, must be the welfare of his creatures, in subserviency to the advancement of his own glory. Fallen man, however, understands not, or undervalues his own true interest, and is ever prone to resist every exercise of restraining authority which would interfere with his mistaken views.
In the affairs of this life, the young and inexperienced are generally short-sighted and misjudging. They would frequently expose themselves to serious difficulties, were it not for the watchful care of those who have acquired a more extensive acquaintance with the world, and who, from a sense of duty and motives of kindness, undertake the direction of their conduct. In the ardour of youth, they take but a partial view even of existing circumstances. Future consequences they are very apt to leave entirely out of sight. And their extreme avidity to obtain the immediate gratification of their wishes, hurries them into daily mistakes and dangers. In order, therefore, to prevent them from rushing on their own destruction, and to secure, as far as possible, their safety and well-being, it is necessary to impose restraints upon their waywardness and folly. These they often bear with impatience, and they can seldom be brought to see either the necessity or expediency of using any such precautions. They consider it a hard bondage to be thus controlled, though for their own advantage. They long for emancipation from every check on their heedless career, and sometimes regard, as their worst enemies, those who most faithfully withstand them in their sinful and pernicious courses.
In all this we have but a just representation of our natural feelings and conduct, in reference to our heavenly Father, and of the treatment he employs towards human perverseness. If children, through ignorance or thoughtlessness, act in opposition to their remote temporal interests; men, through wilful blindness of mind, and inexcusable levity of heart, act still more culpably in opposition to their spiritual and eternal welfare. children are liable to become impatient of the salutary controul exercised over them by parents and guardians; men, and that more absurdly, too often become weary of the restraints which our all-wise and beneficent Maker has seen fit to prescribe in his Word, for the regulation of our lives. In short, in the preference we generally give to things seen, over things unseen, and to present enjoyments, over future promised felicity, we are all but children. The objects of time and sense occupy our thoughts, and engage our affections, while the infinitely important concerns of our immortal spirits obtain only a slight and transient regard. All our efforts to rise superior to the allurements of sinful indulgence, are resisted by that low and grovelling disposition within us, which
would bind our souls down to earth, and limit our prospects to a merely temporal existence.
The requirements of that law which is holy, just, and good, are hard sayings to the natural No principle but that of divine grace can carry us through the arduous struggle of surmounting the opposition of our corrupt hearts. In order to counteract the influence of the carnal mind, we must strive unweariedly to crucify the flesh with its affections and lusts, we must labour strenuously to eradicate from our bosoms every evil propensity, though dear to us as a right eye, we must resolve firmly to abandon every forbidden pursuit, though profitable to us as a right hand. And under a deep sense of our own insufficiency for these things, we must fervently pray for the assistance of the Holy Spirit to help our infirmities, and strengthen us with all might in the inner man.
2. We may be said to be weary of well-doing when we become remiss in the active duties of Religion. Self-denial in refraining from evil, is an important step in the acquisition of Christian virtue. But we must not sit down contented with this solitary attainment. We are exhorted to go on from grace to grace. It would not be enough to yield even a perfect compliance, were that in our power, with the divine prohibitions; we must also obey the positive injunctions of God's Word. And in our endeavours to fulfil this part of our Christian obligation, we have again to encounter the same reluctance and opposition from our infirm and apostate nature.
Christ declared, in a comparative sense, that "his yoke is easy and his burden light." Yet the disciple of Jesus has much to accomplish, if he would approve himself a zealous, and diligent, and faithful servant of his God and Saviour. In the performance of the duties he owes directly to his Maker, he has to maintain a constant struggle with the natural indisposition of his own heart to the cultivation of piety. We are commanded to pray. But how often do we find ourselves unfit for holding devout communion with the Father of our Spirits. Not unfrequently our minds are istless, our attention is distracted, our Own thoughts wander, when we attempt to engage in this exercise. We either experience disturbance from without, or we feel discomposure within. Yet notwithstanding all these discouragements, we must still persevere in our devotions: we "ought always to pray and not to faint." We are enjoined to "search the Scriptures," and to meditate upon them. But when we peruse the sacred oracles, it is not at all times with equal understanding or pleasure. We may formally study the pages of the Bible, and derive little or no benefit from the consolations and instructions they contain. In consequence of a careless or undevout frame of mind, the blessed volume of inspiration may be to us a sealed book, both as to light and comfort, and therefore be disrelished as insipid and uninteresting. Still we must not lay it aside; it must continue to form the subject of
our serious and prayerful meditation. worship is an ordinance of divine appointment. We are required to join with the people of God in the services of the sanctuary. But a regular attendance in the House of Prayer may be given, while our acts of worship there are neither acceptable to the Most High, nor profitable to our souls. Nay, the Sabbath, from the decline of a devotional spirit on our part, may become to us a wearisomeness instead of being our delight. Yet must we not, for such reasons, forsake the assembling of ourselves together, or neglect any of the means of grace, but persist stedfastly in the use of them, and pray more earnestly for a blessing upon them.
Again, in the faithful discharge of our Christian duty towards our brethren of mankind, we frequently meet with severe trials of temper, much provocation, and many instances of ingratitude, which the natural heart fails not to plead as valid excuses for its own selfish reluctance. The superiors with whom we stand connected may be proud and overbearing, harsh and oppressive. We must not, however, return sullenness for their austerity, nor forget the duties of our place. We must be obedient to them in every thing lawful, not only to avert the effects of their displeasure, but also for conscience sake. We must be submissive, as long as the relation subsists, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward and unkind. The equals by whom we are more immediately surrounded, may be troublesome, or disobliging, or unfriendly. Still our obligations, in reference to them, remain substantially the same. Whatever intercourse takes place between them and us must be regulated, as far as we are concerned, by the principles of the Gospel. We must not render evil for evil, but shew forbearance and long-suffering. We must not resent acts of unkindness, but do good unto all as we have opportunity. We must not che rish enmity, even against those who may have manifested a hostile spirit towards us, but endeavour to live peaceably, if possible, with every fellow-creature. Inferiors and dependants about us may be discontented or ungrateful; yet we must not allow ourselves to be easily provoked by their mistakes or faults, we must not hastily cast them off from our favour, or withdraw from them our assistance and protection. Either discontent or ingratitude in them is sinful, and should doubtless be discouraged; but if properly considered, these offences, on their part, against all right feeling, not to say religion, only enhance our condescension and sympathy; because it thus becomes more evident that we are actuated by truly Christian motives, in commiserating their necessities, or promoting their good.
3. We may be said to weary in well-doing, when we begin to repine under the afflictive dispensations of Providence.
The season of adversity is a trying season. None can know the temptations incident to it, but those who have felt its pressure. In the full
conformity to him who accounted it as his meat and drink to do the will of him that sent him, and who went about doing good. Instead of regarding the duties of piety as an irksome task, which from habit or situation we dare not omit, yet have no pleasure in performing, we shall consider the time we spend in religious exercises the happiest portion of our life-we shall consider prayer a high privilege, the Scriptures an invaluable treasure, public worship one of the most delightful and exalted employments in which rational creatures can engage below, and the Christian Sabhath a foretaste of heaven. Instead of regarding the duties which we owe to our fellow-men as an oppression or vexatious burden which the religion we profess and the laws of society unite in impos
enjoyment of health and outward prosperity, we are prone to forget God; in the time of sickness or external calamity, we are in danger of forming improper ideas of his nature, and taking erroneous views of his dealings with us. When visited with misfortune, or laid upon a bed of languishing, the privation of pleasure and the pain of suffering are generally more the subjects of our thought than the important purposes for which these trials are sent upon us. We are therefore very apt to regard, in an unfavourable light, the righteous administration of the Sovereign Disposer of all things. And we are thus led, either in hardness of heart to despise the chastening of the Lord, or in despondency of spirit to faint when we are rebuked of him. We fret under the continuance of affliction, when we should seek to pro-ing, and which we cannot without shame entirely fit from its softening influence. We are more desirous to procure its removal than to experience its beneficial effects. We are ready to deem it rather an expression of the divine anger, than a pledge of our Maker's regard. "Yet whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth." Even when juster sentiments are entertained respecting God's design in afflicting men-when bodily distress is not considered as a great and unmitigated evil, meant only as a punishment, we sometimes become impatient under it, on the plausible ground, that by its enfeebling influence we are rendered unfit for honouring our Creator and Redeemer in the ordi- But though Christians may be thus far privinary duties of piety and benevolence. This, how-leged to participate here in the reward of wellever, is to mistake the essential nature of that service which God requires at our hand. He is glorified by our suffering his will, as well as by our doing it; and to murmur at any form of affliction, is as displeasing in his sight as to omit a deed of beneficence or an act of devotion. In such cases, resignation is the duty we owe; submission is the homage we have to pay. In patience, therefore, let us possess our souls. Let us seek to "be followers of them who, through faith and patience, are now inheriting the promises."
We proceed now, as was proposed, in the second place, to state and illustrate the encouraging motive by which the exhortation in the text is enforced : "In due season we shall reap, if we faint not."
The reward here promised to a patient continuance in well-doing, is in part conferred in this life. When, by the grace of God, our corrupt nature has been renewed, and its evil propensities brought into habitual subjection to the obedience of the Gospel, we shall no longer feel any of the divine commandments to be grievous. When our hearts have been truly purified from the love of sin through the operation of the Holy Spirit, we shall no more deem the restraints of the divine law a burdensome yoke. Our happy experience will then be, that the ways of heavenly wisdom are indeed ways of pleasantness and peace. If we have really been created anew in Christ Jesus ruto good work, we shall be dily growing in
throw off, however disagreeable, we shall esteem the power of promoting the temporal and spiritual welfare of others a precious and important talent, the neglect of which no provocation, or ingratitude, or enmity can justify, and the right application of which, will prove a source of the purest satisfaction. Again, if sickness and adversity be sanctified unto us, they, too, will lead to the most desirable results. "For tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope; and hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us."
doing, the full fruition of the promised recompense
When, however, it is affirmed that we shall reap eternal glory and happiness if we continue stedfast in the profession and practice of godliness, we must not, for a moment, suppose that the heavenly inheritance can be procured as the purchase of our deserts, or that it will ever be conferred on us as a recompense due to our merits. We deserve