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commands, which God requires, is a perfectly equitable one, founded on the relation in which we stand to him, as receiving every thing we have and are from him. How rational, then, that where dependence is absolute, obedience should be universal and implicit. Nay, what folly to suppose otherwise! To ridicule, to mock at sin, that you may gratify your passions without restraint, your love of this present evil world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life; what is there of argument here? who cannot see through so paltry a subterfuge? What strong probability, that under the dominion of such sins, you should be, without being immediately conscious of it, mocking at that which, were you in your right mind, would strike you as demanding the utmost seriousness!" You are an infidel because you are a profligate. What no man has been able to prove a lie, may be true; what none but bad men wish to be a lie, must be true."*
It may be admitted, that there is something more specious in the mockery of intellectual pride at the transgression of God's law; because we are, from the depravity of our nature, less susceptible of the enormity of spiritual sins than of sins of the flesh. Ambition and pride, for instance, with the world give a dignity to the character, where drunkenness would excite disgust. But those must be reminded, who depend on what they call reason as their guide in religion, that the use of reason in respect to revelation is to judge of its evidence, not of the propriety of what ought to be revealed. This is evidently beyond the reach of our faculties; so little are we able to see and know of the vast plan of God's moral government of the universe, and of all our relations respecting it. Thus far, however, we may safely affirm, that it is folly to suppose God should permit the violation of his law with impunity. As the dictate of infinite love, it would be cruelty not to enforce it; the happiness of the whole thus requires the punishment of those who transgress it; and of the nature and extent of this punishment, God only can be the proper judge. The anger of God is not a passion, but a principle-it is " a judicial disapprobation, as moral Governor of the world." "There is a tremendous infinity in his perfections." Who but himself knows what infinite justice may require against that creature who would dare to attempt to sully those perfections? who would, as man does, persist in the attempt, after such a dispensation as that of the Gospel has been revealed to him? The character of the present life is indeed not one of retribution, but of long
suffering, of respite, of probation; and this view of it best reconciles the difficulty which the existence of evil presents to inquiring minds. Yet we would ask you, who, because sentence against an evil world is not executed speedily, are fully setting your hearts to do evil, whether, as a question of fact, you see not indications of anger in the present constitution of things, which are calculated to excite awful forebodings as to the future? There are many unequivocal marks even now of the jealousy of God for the honour of his law. The death-bed of many an infidel would confirm this. Nay, have not you had misgivings on the subject, trembling, like Felix, when righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, have been preached to you? O, the folly, then, of affecting to treat that with contempt, which must so soon overwhelm you with shame and everlasting contempt !
2. Again, where is the sense, the wisdom of trifling with sin? Has the breach, or the observance of God's law so little to do with our happiness or misery, as really to be scarcely worth our serious attention? What we are rationally warranted in disregarding, is that which has no important consequences connected with it, or which, if important, we may give ourselves no concern about, because we are fully prepared against those consequences. But neither of these remarks apply to sin. First, then, as to the consequences of sin. Are they unimportant? Let us remember what the holy Scriptures state sin to be, "the transgression of the law." But the law is holy, just, and good; the dictate of infinite wisdom to promote perfect happiness. Sin, then, is the violation of holiness, justice, and goodness; it is opposition to infinite wisdom and happiness. Trifling with such a law, what can this be but folly-the extreme of folly-the forerunner of the most afflicting misery? Some might think, and do think, the sin of our first parents a trifle; but what was the consequence? Why should we conjecture, when we have facts to go by? Not to dwell upon the numberless other sorrows to which human life is in consequence subject, take only that one of death. Where is the man among us that can calmly-I mean not in the hurry of battle, or in the excitement of revenge or folly-but in the stillness of the sick-chamber, when he can look about him in the quiet possession of his right faculties,-where is the man who can calmly mock at such an enemy? And if you can meet him yourself with composure, can you with equal composure see him take all away from you that you love? And O, as we advance in life, what ravages it makes upon s-how many deaths we die in the death of those most dear to us! Yet what has
clothed him with all this terror and power over us and ours? that which you mock atthe sting of death is sin. The mere change of abode, the transition from time into eternity, and from such a world too of contention and sorrow, this is not the source of alarm and anguish; it is the manner of it-the pain of body, the uncertainty of mind, the mystery of that last awful struggle; it is the consequences of it-the apprehension of judgment to come, which makes us contemplate death as the king of terrors. What folly to mock at that which is bringing your body to corruption, and exposing your soul to perdition! And how are you prepared to meet these consequences? To mock at sin, is to mock at God; and what, think you, must be the issue of this strife with your Maker? "Wilt thou disannul his judgments? Hast thou an arm like God, or canst thou thunder with a voice like him? Canst thou send lightnings, that they may go and say unto thee, Here we are? Nay, canst thou so much as make one hair of thy head white or black?" And are you arraying yourself against him, before whom heaven and earth flee away? If there will be no place for them in the great day of his wrath, whither can you escape from his presence or his power? To justify trifling with the law of God, you must prove that you will be able to elude Omnipresence, to overreach Omniscience, to overcome Omnipotence, to dethrone Him in whom you live, and move, and have your being, whose do
minion is the universe.
3. But the folly of excusing or palliating sin is no less manifest. It lessens the abhorrence of sin in our mind. By having low views of sin, we adopt low standards of duty, low aims at usefulness, low views of the holiness of God, of the atonement and love of Christ, and of the necessity of regeneration by the Holy Spirit. To palliate sin, therefore, is to destroy the harmony of the divine attributes, to rob Christ of his glory, Christianity of its motives, and to beguile us into a fatal neglect, or even denial of its fundamental doctrines. There would be no occasion for the Gospel, were sin indeed what you make it to appear to be-if a little apology for its indulgence were all that is necessary to render it harmless.
By palliating or excusing sin, we also encourage the commission of sin in others: as many a parent has found by bitter experience, in screening their children from proper correction, from a foolish regard to the feelings of the moment. Forgetting how great a matter a little fire kindleth, they mocked at the spark till the flames have mocked them.
the cruelty of such folly! When shall we learn the immense importance of keeping
always in view the inseparable connexion between sin and misery; that every deviation from the will of God is a loss of happiness!
Who, indeed, but a fool would mock at that under which the whole creation groaneth and travaileth? There is scarcely an object you can contemplate, which does not bear some affecting proof of the malignity of sin. The very earth has been convulsed and torn by it in the deluge which once swept it; vegetation fades and withers under its blast; the brutes suffer from its curse, both in their treatment from man and from each other. It broke in upon the happiness of heaven itself, and brought irretrievable and endless misery upon multitudes of the angelic host, changing their happy song of praise to blasphemy and torment, where they are reserved in chains of darkness unto judgment (Jude, 6). It drove Adam, and in him the whole human race, from paradise; and, what is infinitely worse, it has, alienated them from communion with God. It has agonised unutterably, and at length crucified, the eternal Son of God; has already sunk millions of our fellow-creatures into hell, and threatens to send thither millions more; and all this because by treating it as of no consequence, they wilfully neglect the only remedy against it.
Are any of you disposed to ridicule, trifle with, fritter away, the plain declarations of Scripture as to the nature and issue of sin? We beseech you to pause. Are you prepared, upon a calm investigation of the evidences for the truth of revelation, to dispute its authority? Can you say, I have, in a spirit of prayer, examined the proofs upon which the Bible claims to be the word of God, and find them not satisfactory? You have entered into no such examination. No; it is your passions, your pride, your love of the world, which alone suggest your difficulties; or, should I not rather say, your excuses? But what is the great scope of the Bible-its peculiar character, as opposed to every other pretension to inspiration? Is it not a declaration to mankind of God's abhorrence of sin, and of his determination to punish it? -a declaration, be it observed, abundantly confirmed by facts. The remedy itself, the cross of the Redeemer, is the loudest proclamation ever yet made of the terrors of the justice of God in the punish ment of sin. You have spent but little of your time at Calvary, you have but little evidence of love to your Saviour, or of your own safety, if you can trifle with that which cost him so much. What mean you by that petition you have so often used," By thine agony and bloody sweat, by thy cross and passion, by thy precious death and burial, good Lord, deliver us?" Who that feels any
thing of the solemn earnestness of such a prayer, can think of trifling with, or palliating any known sin, either of thought, word, or deed, in himself or others; or suffering it, for one moment, to usurp dominion over his heart? We beseech you to reflect, that your mockery, your contempt, your trifling, your excuses, will not alter the reality of the case. Hell is not an imaginary evil, which it requires only a laugh to annihilate. There are times, probably, when you have felt this on a bed of sickness, or on the sudden death of a dear friend. How vain the objects of your eager pursuit appeared then! What compunctions were then felt! What resolutions were then formed! O what a trifler have I been! what excuses have I made for neglect of duty, which I now see were but aggravations of my sin?' What! and have you returned to become again the same trifler? But, why? Is the case altered? No; the quiet to which you have reduced your conscience, you know to be the mere effect of thoughtlessness-of a determination to have present gratification, as you call it, cost what it may.
But, while fools (and surely none but fools) are mocking at sin, and the only remedy which is offered them from its guilt and power, how differently does the real Christian view sin, and his obligations to the Saviour! How he loathes himself under a sense of the defilement of sin! how low he lies at the foot of the cross! "Behold, I am vile," says holy Job. How he groans under its burden! "Ö wretched man that I am," says Paul, "who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" Yet, with this sorrow for sin, what rejoicing, what thankfulness to Him that loved him and has washed him from his sins, justifying him freely by his grace! And thus bought with the price of blood, "the precious blood of Christ," what a holy abstinence from the appearance of evil characterises his daily walk, hating even the garment spotted with the flesh! How earnestly does he seek the influences of the Holy Spirit, crying, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me: search me, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts, and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
The great practical lesson, then, with which I would close this discourse is-TREAT SIN AS THE GREATEST OF EVILS. And now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy; unto the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and for ever. Amen.
VISITS TO AN INDIAN WIGWAM.
THE following striking narrative is extracted, in a slightly abridged form, from the very interesting "Fifth Annual Report," which has just reached us, of the Society for converting and civilising the Indians, and propagating the Gospel among destitute Settlers in Upper Canada." We hope shortly to draw our readers' attention more particularly to the plans and progress of this society, which is under the presidency of the Lord Bishop of Quebec.
In the winter of 1832, I was led to walk from the Indian establishment of Coldwater to the Sault St. Marie, a distance of nearly 400 miles. The lake was well frozen, and the ice moderately covered with snow. With the assistance of snow-shoes, we were enabled to travel a distance of fifty miles in a day; but I was tempted to linger among the thousand isles of Lake Huron. I hoped to ascertain some facts with regard to the real mode of life of the Indians frequenting the north side of the lake. With this view I made a point of visiting every wigwam that we approached, and could detail many distressing pictures of extreme misery. Hunger, filth, and ignorance, with an entire absence of all knowledge of a Supreme Being, here reign triumphant. Near the close of a long and fatiguing day, my Indian guide came on the recent track of a single Indian, and, anxious to please me, pursued it to the head of a very deep bay. At a very short distance from the shore, the track led us past the remains of a wigwam, adjoining to which we observed a large canoe and a small hunting-canoe, both carefully laid up for the winter. After considerable ascent, a narrow winding path brought us into a deep hollow about 400 yards from the bay. Here, surrounded on every side by hills, on the margin of one of the smallest inland lakes, we came to a wigwam, the smoke from which shewed us that it was occupied. The path for a considerable distance was lined on both sides by billets of firewood; and a blanket cleaner than usual, suspended before the entrance, gave me at the very first a favourable opinion of the inmates. The wigwam was of a square form, and so large, that I was surprised to find it occupied by two Indians onlya young man and his wife. We were soon made welcome, and I had leisure to look round me in admiration of the comfort displayed in the arrangement of the interior. A covering of fresh branches of the young hemlock was neatly spread all round. In the centre of the right-hand side as we entered, the master of the lodge was seated on a large mat; his wife occupied the station at his left hand; good and clean mats were spread for myself and my guide-my own being opposite the entrance, and my guide occupying the remaining side of the wigwam. Three dogs, well-conditioned and of a large breed, lay before the fire. At the back of the wife I saw suspended near the door a tin can full of water, with a small tin cup; next to it a mat bag filled with tin dishes and wooden spoons of Indian manufacture; above that were several portions of female dress, ornamented leggings, two shawls, &c.: a small bag and chest were behind her on the ground. At the back of the Indian were suspended two spear-heads of three prongs each, an American rifle, an English fowling-piece, and an
Indian chief piece, with shot and bullet-pouches, and two powder-horns; there were also a highly ornamented capuchin, and a pair of new blanket leggings. The corner was occupied by a small red painted chest ; a mococh of sugar was placed in the corner on my right hand, and a barrel of flour half empty on the right hand of my Indian: and between that and the door were hanging three large salmon-trout, and several pieces of dried deer-flesh. In the centre, as usual, we had a bright blazing fire, over which three kettles gave promise of one of the comforts of weary travellers. Our host had arrived but a few minutes before us, and was busied in pulling off his moccasins and blanket when we entered. We had scarcely time to remove our leggings and change our moccasins, preparatory to a full enjoyment of the fire, when the Indian's wife was prepared to set before us a plentiful mess of boiled fish; this was followed in a short space by soup made of deer-flesh and Indian corn; and our repast terminated with hot cakes baked in the ashes, in addition to the tea supplied from my own stores. Before daylight on the following morning, we were about to set out, but could not be allowed to depart without again partaking of refreshment. Boiled and broiled fish were set before us, and, to my surprise, the young Indian, before partaking of it, knelt to pray aloud. His prayer was short and fervent. It appeared | to combine the manliness and humility which we would naturally expect to find in an address spoken from the heart, and not got up for theatrical effect. On taking our departure I tried to scan the countenance of our host, and I could not mistake the marks of unfeigned pleasure at having exercised the feelings of hospitality, mixed with a little pride in the display of the riches of his wigwam. You may be sure I did not omit the opportunity of diving into the secret of all this comfort and prosperity. It could not escape observation, that here was real civilisation; and I anxiously sought for some explanation of the difference between the habits of this Indian and his neighbours. The story was soon told: He had been brought up at the British settlement on Drummond Island, where, when a child, he had in frequent conversations, but in no studied form, heard the principles of the Christian religion explained, and he had been told to observe the Sabbath, and to pray to the Almighty. Industry and prudence had been frequently enjoined, and, above all things, an abhorrence of ardent spirit. Under the influence of this wholesome advice, his hunting, fishing, and sugar-making, had succeeded to such an extent, as to provide him with every necessary, and many luxuries. He already had abundance, and still retained some few skins, which he hoped during the winter to increase to an amount sufficient to purchase him the indulgence of a barrel of pork, and additional clothing for himself and his wife. Further explanation was unnecessary; and the wearisomeness of this day's journey was pleasingly beguiled by reflections on the simple means by which a mind yet in a state of nature may be saved from degradation.
"Shall I lift the same blanket after the lapse of eighteen months? The second summer has arrived since my last visit; the wigwam on the lake-shore, the fit residence of summer, is unoccupied; the fire is still burning in the wigwam of winter; but the situa
tion which has warmth and quiet to recommend it at that season, when cold is our greatest enemy, is now gloomy and dark. Wondering what could have induced my friends to put up with the melancholy of the deep forest, instead of the sparkling of the sun-lit wave, I hastened to enter. How dreadful the change! There was, indeed, the same Indian girl that I had left healthy, cheerful, contented, and happy; but whisky, hunger, and distress of mind, had marked her countenance with the furrows of premature old age. An infant, whose aspect was little better than its mother's, was hanging at her breast half-dressed and filthy. Every part of the wigwam was ruinous and dirty, and, with the exception of one kettle, entirely empty. Not one single article of furniture, clothing, or provision remained. Her husband had left in the morning to go out to fish, and she had not moved from the spot: this I thought strange, as his canoe and spear were on the beach. In a short time he returned, but without any food. He had, indeed, set out to fish, but had lain down to sleep in the bush, and had been awakened by his dog barking on our arrival. He appeared worn down and helpless both in body and mind, and seated himself in listless silence in his place in the wigwam. Producing pork and flour from my travelling stores, I requested his wife to cook them. They were prepared, and I looked anxiously at the Indian, expecting to hear his accustomed prayer. He did not move. I therefore commenced asking a blessing, and was astonished to observe him immediately rise and walk out of the wigwam. However, his wife and child joined us in partaking of the food, which they ate voraciously. In a little time the Indian returned and lay down. My curiosity was excited; and although anxious not to distress his feelings, I could not avoid seeking some explanation of the change I observed. It was with difficulty I ascertained the following facts: On the opening of the spring of 1833, the Indian having got a sufficiency of fur for his purpose, set off to a distant trading-post to make his purchase. The trader presented him with tobacco and a pipe on his entrance, and offered him a glass of whisky, which he declined: the trader was then occupied with other customers, but soon noticed the respectable collection of furs in the pack of the poor Indian. He was marked as his victim; and not expecting to be able to impose upon him unless he made him drunk, he determined to accomplish this by indirect means. As soon as the store was clear of other customers, he entered into conversation with the Indian, and invited him to join him in drinking a glass of cider, which he unhesitatingly accepted: the cider was mixed with brandy, and soon began to affect the mind of the Indian; a second and a third glass were taken, and he became completely intoxicated. In this state the trader dealt with him; but it was not at first that even the draught he had taken could overcome his lessons of prudence. He parted with only one skin; the trader was, therefore, obliged to continue his contrivances, which he did with such good effect, that for three weeks the Indian remained eating, drinking, and sleeping in his store. At length all the fur was sold, and the Indian returned home with only a few ribands and beads, and a bottle of whisky. The evil example of the husband, added to vexation of mind,
broke the resolution of the wife, and she too partook of the accursed liquor. From this time there was no change. The resolution of the Indian once broken, his pride of spirit, and, consequently, his firmness, is gone he became a confirmed drinker; his wife's and his own ornamented dresses, and at length all the furniture of his wigwam, even the guns and traps on which his hunting depended, were all sold to the store for whisky. When I arrived, they had been two days without food, and the Indian had not energy to save himself and his family from starvation. All the arguments that occurred to me I made use of to convince the Indian of his folly, and to induce him even now to begin life again, and redeem his character. He heard me in silence. I felt that I should be distressing them by remaining all night, and prepared to set out again, first giving to the Indian a dollar, desiring him to purchase food with it at the nearest store, and promising shortly to see him again. I had not proceeded far on my journey, when it appeared to me, that by remaining with them for the night, and in the morning renewing my solicitations to them, I might assist still more to effect a change. I therefore turned back, and in about two hours arrived again at the wigwam. The Indian had set off for the store, but was not returned. His wife still remained seated where I left her, and during the whole night (the Indian never coming back) neither moved nor raised her head. Morning came; I quickly despatched my breakfast, and, leaving my baggage, with the assistance of my guide set out for the trader's store. It was distant about two miles. I inquired for the Indian. He had come there the evening before with a dollar: he purchased a pint of whisky, for which he paid half a dollar, and with the remainder bought six pounds of flour. He remained until he had drank the whisky, and then requested to have the flour exchanged for another pint of whisky. This was done; and having consumed that also, he was so stupidly drunk' (to use the words of the trader), that it was necessary to shut him out of the store on closing it for the night. Search was immediately made for him, and at the distance of a few yards he was found lying on his face, and dead. Picture to yourself the situation of his wife and child. A merciful Providence interposed to save them from destruction."
We could make many comments on this mournful history; but we will only say, that it reads an impressive lesson to us to beware of the first approaches of temptation. The mighty grace of God alone can preserve any man from the assaults of his subtle adversaries: let not him, then, who hitherto hath stood, be high-minded, but fear; let him continually seek the aid of the Divine Spirit, that he fall not after the example of those who perish.
FAITH AND PRACTICE.-That faith and practice are separable things is a gross mistake, or rather a manifest contradiction. Practical holiness is the end, faith is the means; and to suppose faith and practice separable, is to suppose the end attainable without the use of the means. The direct contrary is the truth. The practice of religion will always thrive in proportion as its doctrines are generally understood and firmly received; and the practice will degenerate and decay, in proportion as the doctrine is misunderstood
and neglected. It is true, therefore, that it is the great duty of a preacher of the Gospel to press the practice of its precepts upon the consciences of men; but then it is equally true, that it is his duty to enforce this practice in a particular way, namely, by inculcating its doctrines. The motives which the revealed doctrines furnish are the only motives he has to do with, and the only motives by which religious duty can be effectually enforced.-Bishop Horsley.
THE DAY OF THE LORD IS AT HAND.-Assured by faith of its certainty, we shall see it also to be near. Let, then, the eye of faith fasten upon it, as upon an object no less interesting than certain; obscured, indeed, at present by the foggy atmosphere through which it is seen, but near enough already to fill the whole field of our vision, and brought, as it were, apparently nearer by its own vastness. And, oh! how happy is it for us, that when all worldly things are not only contingent, and may fail, but in a very short time inevitably will fail-how happy is it for us that that event, so joyous to the righteous as to render all others comparatively trivial, never will, and never can fail! Under this conviction, well may they endure all their trials with patience, for the Lord's sake, knowing assuredly, that yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.-Rev. W. Gilpin.
Let not unworthiness scare the children of God. Parents love their children, and do them good, not because they see they are more worthy than others, for it may be far otherwise, but because they are their own.-Abp. Leighton on the Lord's Prayer.
THE FATHERS.-We reverence, indeed, the ancient fathers, as it is fit we should, and hold it our duty to rise up before the hoary head, and to honour the person of the aged, but still with reservation of the respect we owe to their Father and ours, "that ancient of days, the hair of whose head is like pure wool." We may not forget the lesson which our great Master hath taught us? "Call no man your father upon earth; for one is your Father, which is in heaven." Him, therefore, alone do we acknowledge to be the Father of our faith-no other father do we know, upon whose bare credit we may ground our consciences in things to be believed.-Archbishop Usher.
METHINKS that I could trip o'er heaviest soil,
"On foot they went, and took Salisbury in their way, purposely to see the good bishop, who made Mr. Hooker sit at his own table; which Mr. Hooker boasted of with much joy and gratitude when he saw his mother and friends; and at the bishop's parting with him, the bishop gave him good counsel, and his benediction, but forgot to give him money; which when the bishop had considered, he sent a servant in all haste to call Richard back to him; and at Richard's return, the bishop said to him, Richard, I sent for you back to lend you a horse which hath carried me many a mile, and I thank God with much ease;' and presently delivered into his hand a walking-staff, with which he professed he had travelled through many parts of Germany; and he said, Richard, I do not give, but lend you my horse; be sure you be honest, and bring my horse back to me at your return this way to Oxford. And I do now give you ten groats to bear your charges to Exeter; and here is ten groats more, which I charge you to deliver to your mother, and tell her I send her a bishop's benediction with it, and beg the continuance of her prayers for me. And if you bring my horse back to me, I will give you ten groats more to carry you on foot to the college; and so God bless you, good Richard."-See Walton's Life of Richard