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would admit. Violent remedies were applied by Mr. Wilson immediately on his arrival, and all that skill and experience could do to subdue the raging fever was done; but fever, and in such a frame as the farmer's, was not easily subdued; and for days his state was truly pitiable.
pared for the judgment which must follow. Again, there are others who, either from the loss of those dear to them, or from having long lain on a bed of sickness, have no longer a relish for the vanities or even the occupations of the world, from which they have been by necessity or choice totally secluded, and who therefore conclude that Had his mind not previously been harassed, and they are waiting as Christians should for the his thoughts not turned so entirely into one melan- change which to them must (they think) be cer choly channel, Mr. Wilson gave it as his opinion tain of gain; as though unfitness for the world that his vigorous constitution would have been able that now is constituted fitness for that which is to to throw off the attack (violent as it was), brought come. This is a dangerous delusion, and one to on by his own imprudence, and that he would be guarded against the more, both by the sick and have rallied. As it was, there was too much by those whose duty it is to lead them in the right “method in his madness" for us to entertain much way, because it is one often employed by the father hope; and when, hour after hour, and day after of lies to lull the one into false security, and to day, the poor man continued raving, either about deceive the other as to the source whence that his daughter or her husband, who seemed to haunt seeming security springs; while the semblance of him as a frightful spectre, or their child, of whose reality which there is about it, because the more death-agonies he appeared ever to be the wretched deceptive, renders it the more baneful: the nearer witness, the most sanguine felt that despair was the counterfeit coin approaches in appearance to taking possession of their minds. His brain, the real, the more dangerous its circulation beindeed, was for so long a time disordered, that fear comes; for none but the most wary can then diswas entertained that, without one lucid interval, tinguish the one from the other; and many receive his soul would be called before its Maker; but the and pass on the baser metal, from sheer ignorance whirlwind had its mission: there was mercy in the of the marks by which it may be detected. In like stroke; and Kyle lived to own that it was so. manner, there is a kind of counterfeit piety, which His devoted wife, who, during the whole of his is often believed to be genuine by those who feel illness, never quitted his bed-side, except to take it, and which is generally regarded as such by those the little repose which she felt she must submit to, who witness its effects: I mean the species of deathor her strength would fail, and she herself would bed piety which is sometimes visible in those who, be laid up, and would thus be unfitted for the task having lived without God in the world, yet at the of attending upon her charge, had at length the close of life express great exaltation of feeling, and happiness of perceiving that she was recognized entire readiness, or even longing, to depart hence, by her husband. One evening, as she was ad- and, as they say, to "be at peace." Now, I am ministering the soothing draught, so frequently afraid that, unless their life has been the life of the tendered by her gentle hand, Kyle murmured, righteous, their death will not any the more be "Martha ;" and instantly the grateful creature the death of such from their experiencing satiety fell upon her knees, and thanked God for his and weariness of life, and readiness to end it, of goodness. From that time the sick man had but which the charm is of course gone, when the solittle return of the frightful delirium; but his ciety of friends, the fresh air of heaven, and the strength never rallied: the severe illness through pleasures of the domestic hearth can no longer be which he had passed had completely destroyed enjoyed. A death-bed repentance, at the best, is his constitution, and shattered his aged frame; but a poor offering to make to the Author of our and when I first visited him I saw death plainly being, whose we are, and whom we were bound written on every feature. His decay was, how-to serve all the days of our probation; and, when ever, very gradual: many weeks he lingered; and the time so given was improved to the purpose for which, doubtless, by a merciful Father it was Vouchsafed; and pain and anguish, days of "tossing to and fro," and nights of restless watching, were blessed to the immortal spirit shrouded in that ruined tabernacle. David Kyle was indeed an altered man! During the last days of his sojourn upon earth I visited him constantly; and each time I saw him his heart seemed more dead to the world, and more alive to his eternal interests.
Now, mere indifference to, and estrangement from, the world, or the things thereof, are frequently to be observed in those who are in great pain, or who feel death to be at hand, and as marks of real Christian readiness for the dread summons they are not to be relied on. Acute pain deadens the feelings and sensibilities: it of Course incapacitates the sufferer for taking an interest in what is passing around; and death even, as a means of rescue from its tortures, is hailed as a blessing; and those who in their misery declare they long for its approach are often the least pre
it is unaccompanied by the deep self-abasement which should mark the sinner's return by Christ to his justly-offended God, when it appears to produce only excitement of feeling, it should be regarded with distrust and apprehension.
Such, I humbly yet firmly trust, was not the repentance which was vouchsafed to Kyle upon the bed of languishing. Deep, heartfelt contrition for his past rebellion against God's holy will bowed his proud spirit to the very dust; and for many days after the conviction took possession of his mind that he had grievously sinned, and that, while his body was in danger of dissolution, his soul was in peril of eternal damnation, his only prayer was that of the publican, his only thought how duly to approach the Saviour, through whom alone he knew the mercy which he craved was to be obtained. The first time I was admitted into the sick man's chamber, the sense of his own unworthiness seemed a burden almost too heavy for him to bear: he appeared crushed under the weight of the painful and humiliating feelings which it produced; and, without offering me his hand, or uttering one word
of welcome, he covered his face with the bed-,
dismay the doors of his prison lying open,
O, my dear friends, what an earnest and awakening call must that have been which had such power to arrest a sinner so suddenly in his crime, and to convert him so effectually unto God! And yet why should not the same blessed effects be produced now, when (as Ehud said to Eglon) "I have a message unto you from God;" the same, the very same to each of you, which Paul gave to his former overbearing master, but his now humbled follower? It is true, indeed, that an inspired apostle was then the speaker; but keep in mind that he nevertheless was a feeble mortal-so feeble, that it is written, he BY THE REV. BEAVER H. BLACKER, M.A., might preach, but after all it was God alone
DO THYSELF NO HARM:
Curate of St. Mary's, Donnybrook, Dublin.
who gave him utterance, and gave the increase. It is likewise true that, when Paul spake, a mighty wonder was performed; for the bars of iron were broken, and the well"But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thy-chained prison-gates were burst asunder. Be
ACTS xvi. 28.
self no harm; for we are all here."
THIS, brethren, was the earnest and effectual appeal of the apostle Paul to the terrified jailor at Philippi, the circumstances of whose case, you may remember, were simply these. Having been suddenly aroused at midnight by a mighty earthquake, and perceiving with
assured, however, that the same Spirit is now equally present to perform as great a wonder; since he, "who alone worketh great marvels," is ready to pour down upon both minister and people the continual dew of his blessing, in order to break within us the iron bonds of sin, with which we all are shackled, and thus to set Satan's miserable
captives free. Doubtless, it is not to be expected, nor is it necessary, that this marvellous change should instantaneously take place. Though still as possible, yet, if we judge by the usual method in which grace proceeds, it is not probable; and therefore we need not expect to see sinners at one moment terrified, and at the next in peace, because believing. For surely it matters not when this needful change may be effected: it is only important to be sure that it has begun, to be careful that it be complete. And hence it follows that this message to you from heaven-to "do yourselves no harm"ought to be as effectual in rescuing you and others from destruction, as it was when first delivered, though the speaker was an apostle, and miraculous the scene.
I shall endeavour to show that this message is sent to each of you, and is most applicable to us all. And may the Lord, the Holy Spirit, convince you of this important truth, and arouse you, one and all, that, amazed at the depth and greatness of your guilt, and the imminency of your danger, you may heartily respond, and say, "What must I do to be saved? Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"
of course makes him subject to all the threatened terrors of the wrath of heaven.
Now, viewing the requirements of the divine law in this scriptural light, who can expect to be clear of sin in that day when God shall appear in judgment, with power and great glory? Believe me, "no man living shall be justified" in his sight. "We have all sinned, and come short of the glory of God," offending against light and knowledge, against innumerable mercies and repeated warnings, omitting duties, and transgressing express commands. Need I, then, hesitate to take up the words of the apostle, and say to every one here present, as I would to him prepared for self-destruction, "Cease: stop thine hand: do thyself no harm"? I need not speak as though I were addressing the hardened and offending inmates of a prison, or those pitiable sinners, who openly "deny the Lord that bought them"-those moral suicides, who openly blaspheme God's holy name. Such language would sound. strangely within these sacred walls, where order and regularity prevail, and where at least the semblance of piety is so plainly seen. But, though we hear of no horrid blasphemies among you, no murders, no such like What, I ask you, is the "harm" against offences, forbidden by the express letter of which it is my duty to give you speedy warn- the Decalogue; though as members of soing? Brethren, it is sin-sin in general, sin | ciety your morality may be commended, yet under every form and shape. Accordingly do not imagine vainly that therefore you are we are told in scripture that "sin is the trans- exempt from the apostle's declaration to the gression of the law," and that it is sin which trembling jailor. O, do not imagine, I bebrings the soul of man into danger and ever-seech you, that I need not lift up my voice lasting ruin. We know that sin is the viola- after Paul's example, to testify against your tion of that code of laws delivered by him guilt, to exhort you to fly instantly from danwho is holy, just, and good, and with whom ger, to call upon you to "do yourselves no it is impossible to err. We know that this harm"! law condemns not only the outward violation, but even the secret lust or passion from which the atrocity arises; that this sacred law, which came from heaven amidst vivid lightnings and pealing thunders, exercises control over the most secret thought, because all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do;" that the least deviation from the path marked out by infinite holiness and wisdom is an offence; and that, if no atonement had been made, death and destruction must have been the inevitable consequence. We know too that our first parents did merely eat of the forbidden fruit, and (to single out but one more instance of the sad effects of what the world may consider slight and venial of fences) that Uzzah merely touched the Lord's ark; and yet they died! From all which, we may infer that the slightest wilful transgression against the divine law brings in the offender guilty before his God, and
Let us now examine with respect to our obedience; and for this purpose let us take the decalogue in brief succession.
Though you, beloved, may not at any time have atheistically denied the being, existence, or power of him who inhabiteth eternity, yet examine and see whether you have not loved, or desired, or trusted in any other save in God; for example, in yourselves, or in your own imagined righteousness; thereby, like many others, making the creature, and not the Creator, the object and end of all your fondest hopes. Have you ever trusted in yourselves, when Christ alone should be your rock of safety? Have you amidst alarming threatenings been careless, under blessings unthankful, under tribulation discontented? Alas! should such be your state of mind, though nominally believers in a Triune God (i. e., in one God in Trinity, and in Trinity in Unity), you are in fact breakers of the first commandment; and, in deep anxiety for
your spiritual and eternal safety, I call upon you to withhold your hand, to cease from sin, to "do yourselves no harm."
I may, I think, say that you have never worshipped a graven image, and that you wonder at the blind ignorance and superstition of so many fellow-creatures, who, in despite of scripture and reason, continue so to do. But are you therefore certain that you stand acquitted of all violation of that commandment which forbids such senseless adoration? O, dear friends, whom it has so long been my happy privilege to address, before you would be sure, ask yourselves whether you have formed no unscriptural conceptions of the divine nature of your God, either of his holiness or of his mercy; whether you are in the habit of worshipping him, as you ought to do, with regularity, with becoming reverence of body, with heartfelt submission of soul; in short, whether you are serving him in all the appointed means, avoiding superstition on the one hand and cold indifference on the other.
Most probably you have not blasphemed the holy name of God by perjury or profane swearing. To most of you there is no temptation; and a general sense of propriety has raised you above this horrid vice. But perhaps unmeaning and careless prayers in Jesus' name have been uttered by your lips: perhaps you have, either at home or here, irreverently read or lightly thought upon his blessed word: perhaps you have neglected Christ's holy ordinances, especially the sacramental supper; or perhaps you have profaned this holy place by worldly, or vain, or wandering, nay, wicked thoughts: thus sinning, as did the Jews of old, when they made God's temple "an house of merchandize, and a den of thieves."
In obedience to the fourth commandment, you do not neglect the public and decorous observance of the sabbath-day. But with respect to yourselves, before the service of the sanctuary begins, how are you employed? Is the rising sun, rejoicing to run his course, an emblem of your awakening souls? Do you carefully call to mind why this day was instituted?-to commemorate weekly the creation of the world, and the resurrection of the world's Redeemer. Does serious and devout meditation upon these grand events bring you here with minds prepared to receive the full benefit of the public ordinances of religion? Does rest from worldly business give certain evidence that you are actually and actively engaged in spiritual exercises? When your devotion here has ended, how proceeds the day? Is it sanctified in your homes? Do all around you, over whom you have con
trol, learn by your precept and example, to "call the sabbath a delight"? to "remember to keep it holy"? Or, on the contrary, do you come here with careless hearts, and leave it without profit, to pass the remaining hours of the day in idle talk, unnecessary business, or indolent self-indulgence? O, such things ought not to be! If thus you act, you are manifestly strangers to heartfelt piety: you are "doing yourselves great harm;" for, notwithstanding your appearance here, and your punctual observance of this appointed duty, you would of course be moral suicides, plunging into ruin your immortal souls.
Let us proceed in like manner through the second table of God's commands. And with regard to the fifth, which stands first upon it, let me examine you: I should rather say, let me assist you in self-examination.
I may be speaking to some whom death has recently deprived of their tender parents, or who, loving them affectionately, have always served them dutifully and with willing hearts. Yet, let not even such persons persuade themselves that they must therefore stand acquitted in God's sight of all wilful violation of this first commandment with promise; for perhaps, brethren, you have been inattentive to, and unmindful of the other relations, which connect you with your fellow-creatures, besides your father and your mother, such as the various connexions which exist between king and subject, between superior and dependent. Viewing, then, the precept in this extended light, who can expect to receive the promised reward? Who has punctually fulfilled the various duties which that precept has enjoinedhonour, submission, and reverence to all, to whom they are justly due?
Again, I think that I am addressing persons clear of all blood-shedding; persons who have never wilfully harboured designs against the life of any man. Yet to how many present may I point out the sixth commandment, and exclaim, as I would to a murderer or suicide, "Do thyself no harm"! You are violating, you have often broken this precept, against which angry judgment has been denounced, if you have ever wished for the death of those who have interfered with your own advancement; if you have ever unreasonably quarrelled with a neighbour; if you have cherished envious or malicious sentiments; or if you have omitted to cultivate meek, forbearing, and forgiving tempers.
Again, I do not here accuse you of gross and flagrant violations of the next divine commandment; but, after our blessed Saviour's example, I warn you to judge your
selves as strictly by the spirit as by the letter. | inclinations. We do so, whenever we pine Ask yourselves whether, with all your out- for the honours, or wealth, or comforts of ward purity of conduct, the secret lust of the others; whenever we envy those who are in heart, indulged and cherished unknown save prosperity; whenever we undervalue our own to God and each individual, has not ranked gifts, and are forgetful of divine favours; or you amongst even flagrant sensual offenders. whenever our pursuit after earthly possessions For, take the commandment in an extended interferes with our religion, and induces an sense. Has any carnal worldly wish been inattention to spiritual concerns. O, how indulged and left uncurbed, as regards either deep and searching are the holy commands appetite, or conversation, or habit? O, how of God, who trieth the very hearts and reins that all-searching eye, which "neither slum- of all his creatures! How incontestably do bers nor sleeps," must have detected crime in they prove that every man living is day after every heart! How many characters, appear- day "doing himself great harm"! ing to human eye temperate, and mortified, and chaste, must seem to God impure, and utterly unfit for the sanctified abodes of men, who have been made perfect in the blood of the Lamb!
Again, it is written, "Thou shalt not steal." Have you ever incurred a debt which you did not fully expect to be able to repay? Have you ever wasted your sub stance? exacted more than what was due? withheld a just demand? availed yourselves of another's wants? or taken advantage of his ignorance? Have you violated any trust, or abused any loan? If you have, brethren, you have sinned against the eighth commandment, and therefore are doing your selves great harm."
When the terrified Philippian was convinced of this, he acted in a manner which, having been recorded for our learning, well demands our closest imitation. He gave up at once his plans of self-destruction: he called for aid: he eagerly sought counsel: he inquired of Paul and Barnabas, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
Now, it has been written for our admonition, that "to be carnally-minded is death" by nature we are all so: how many, alas! remain in their original condition!); that "without holiness no man shall see the Lord" (how many are without this necessary holiness, and seem not to value it!); that "as the tree falls, so must it lie;" and that in the state in which we die, in the same preYou are solemnly forbidden to accuse any cisely shall we rise again. Well then, inman falsely. Have you observed this law-deed, may each of us, in the sad and bitter you, who never took an oath in public, or contemplation of our manifold sins, look never gave false evidence upon a formal trial? anxiously to our own circumstances, as well Before you venture to reply, consider well as to the state of those around us, and, like what are your daily habits. Perhaps in the panic-stricken jailor, inquire, "Is there social intercourse you have mis-stated facts, no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician have maliciously or uncharitably reported of there? O! is there not a remedy? What a neighbour, have published without neces- must I do to be saved?" sity another's faults? or perhaps you have underrated the good, and overrated the bad, and, without giving testimony of their worth, have suffered the innocent to be traduced.
But who can stand the test of the tenth commandment, which St. Paul declares to have first convinced him of his own sinful nature? "I had not known sin," he says, "but by the law; for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet." Brethren, who, tell me, is innocent? or, as article xi. of our church expresses it, "accounted righteous before God." The scriptures declare that none are righteous, no, not one." We are commanded not to covet; and yet have we not, one and all, detected ourselves offending? In fact, we do so, whenever we murmur against the dispensations of heaven, so many of which are past our finding out, and are so trying to our faith, because so much opposed to our natural
To all such awakened sinners, to all so penitent and distressed, there is indeed a most cheering message, as revealed to the world in the Lamb's book of life. though you have come short of the glory of God, and a curse deep and total is impending over you, you nevertheless need not be disheartened. It was said to the penitent jailor, and through him to you, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." The transgression, it is true, is universal; but so is likewise the remedy, being free to all. "For, if by one man's offence death reigned by one, much more they which receive abundance of grace, and of the gift of righteousness, shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. "Therefore, as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners,