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the Scriptures had been read; a train appears to have been laid, which the Spirit of God put into combustion under the awful circumstances into which he came, and by the further illumination of Divine truth to his soul. "In the morning then sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand; for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good." A fifth lesson is on the point of conversion. With all the provision for Jolin's future growth in religious knowledge, gained by his early education, it would not be right to say that the work of regeneration, or the first teaching of the Spirit of God, much less that of conversion, had begun before he came into prison. But then the work was wonderfully and rapidly effected. It would not be according to the doctrines, or the example of Scripture, to say that conversions of this kind were not real and complete: at the same time every one must acknowledge that as conversion is ordinarily a gradual work, too much attention cannot be given to one which was effected so rapidly as this. I do not know whether any thing like enthusiasm was detected by any one during his whole confinement. In the course of this period, he had only one striking dream, the usual mark of a disordered imagination. This is recorded by Mr. Durell. It was at the commencement of his religious impressions. For some months he had been dreadfully agitated, and could not rest. "I dreamed," he said, "that I was dragged through frightful precipices, till at last, I was brought as into the presence of our Saviour, and there I obtained mercy." This dream was so good an illustration of many of the passages of Scripture which were pointed out to him, that it required no great flight of imagination to fall into it. But beside this, he had no impulse from unusual excitement, or even more than very common reasoning upon the pas
sages of Scripture before mentioned. The first work of the Holy Spirit in his heart was undoubtedly immediate: it may, however, be said of the next work, that of his conversion, that it was not by any means so rapid as those conversions the history of which we have in the Book of Acts; and there was time in it to have the regular stages of growth. I would not, therefore, that this case should be confounded with that of what are commonly called sudden conversions, because I think that it will then lose a portion of its usefulness in losing some evidence of its reality. From first to last, according to the degree of his experience, Jolin was able to give a reason for the hope that was in him, and this ground of hope was founded in the concurrence of his own feelings and convictions with the word of God. He felt the deep sinfulness which it described : he found, as the Scriptures stated, nothing in himself on which he could depend for salvation; and, relying entirely on the merits of Jesus Christ, he obtained a sense of pardon. But not only this; his reliance brought a testimony of its truth, and the truth of the word of God, in the fruit which it enabled him to produce. Love, joy, and peace, sprang up in him, and thus his own conscience gave him witness. In this manner his conversion proceeded, rapidly indeed, but I may say, if pressed into a short time, yet without any deviation from those rules which it pleases God the Holy Spirit to adopt in more ordinary cases. His conduct is the best, as it is the only satisfactory, commentary on the whole work.
A sixth lesson is, the wonderful and blessed effects produced by the possession of real religion. In this case, how speedily it tranquillized the mind! It was like the word of its holy Author, when he said, "Peace, be still; and there was a great calm." How remarkable was its effect in elevating the mind of the prisoner! Those who visited
his abode could not but feel with Mr. Durell, a degree of surprise at their own feelings, when they remembered that they were with one who had been an incorrigible drunk ard, and a murderer. But religion had softened all his character, and created in him those genuine fruits which, as we are taught, spring from the work of the Holy Spirit.
Lastly, there is a lesson of application to our own souls. It may be asked, What is the intimate acquaintance which we have had with the experience which this poor dying criminal passed through? He, being dead, may speak to many of his own age-perhaps with far greater advantages of education and example; or he may speak to those who have seen more years, and yet have not attained to that ripeness of faith, and that full assurance of hope, which inade Jolin climb with such eagerness the gallows hill, and long for the time when he should be with Christ.
This history applies most emphatically to the case of young men, teaching them to avoid sin, even when it may have the sanction of parental example. The Bible, they must remember, and not men, especially ungodly men, should be their direction. By this law we shall all be judged, and must stand or fall. In Jolin's last address, he said, "Avoid bad company, drinking spirits, vicious habits." "I exhort young people, not to violate the Sabbath, but to frequent church, and attend to their religious duties." Would that this tremendous example of punishment might lead every young person who hears it to inquire into his own state, and to remember how soon one act of sin may bring judgment upon him, and how tremendous will be his judgment, if, after this warning, he is found unprepared.
This history also speaks most loudly and awfully to parents. "You see in me," Jolin said from the scaffold," the effect of bad education and example. From early
youth I have been addicted to intemperance. My duty to God was never pointed out to me. Those who have children committed to their care, I beseech to send them regularly to church, and to the Sunday-school, and teach them their duty to God and man.' Let those, then, who are teaching Sabbath-breaking, swearing, passion, habits of drinking, and vice, to their children, by their own example, look at this horrible crime. A parent murdered, and a son hanged, from the effects of a father's example! The case, however, speaks for itself. If Jolin's father, at his last moments, had been given the opportunity of contemplating his own circumstances; if he had obtained a few moments to look around upon his own awful state, upon his son's crime, upon the eternity before them both, what must have been his feelings! Let parents, then, apply this history to themselves.
May we all who read or hear this account apply its lessons to ourselves. Let us adore the astonishing love of God in the case of this poor outcast sinner; His sovereign power, His boundless mercy, His all-sufficient grace. May we seek to lay all the burden of our transgressions upon that Sacrifice in whom Jolin trusted. May we, with him, find the Holy Spirit making us fit to live, as, we trust, he was fit to die so that when we have fought the good fight we shall receive the crown of glory, which, we may trust, this believing penitent has been called to wear*.
REPLY TO DR. WHATELEY.ON THE MOSAIC LAW.
Tothe Editor ofthe Christian Observer.
I BEG to call the attention of your readers to the learned Dr. Whateley's chapter on the abolition of the
Sept. 27, near the top of p. 9, last Number, should be Sept. 23.
Law, in his Essays on the Writings of St. Paul. It seems to be the writer's intention to admit the total abolition of the Mosaic Law, both moral and ceremonial, as limited exclusively to the Israelites; while he asserts, that the natural principles of morality which it inculcates are of universal obligation. Further, he says, that this obligation arises entirely from their moral character, and not from the authority of the lawgiver: and, indeed, he seems to think they have no higher authority than those parts of the laws of Solon or Mohammed, which are truly moral. I am not disposed to dispute that it is owing to their moral character that the laws of Moses are now obligatory upon Christians; but I am persuaded, that the moral precepts of the Jewish Law have an additional authority from the office and inspiration of the lawgiver: and therefore any obligation which was enforced by Moses as of moral authority, cannot now be less obligatory, though the sphere of its requisitions may be enlarged. Moses lays down precise injunctions, founded on certain immutable principles. The Christian who lives under a spiritual dispensation must interpret the law, not by the letter which killeth, but by the Spirit which giveth life. I apprehend, therefore, there is no danger, as Dr Whateley supposes, that the true Christian will content himself with a "literal adherence to the express commands of the law;" or that he will merely enlarge it by such precise moral precepts as he may find distinctly enacted in the New Testament; for he knows that, in answer to the question, "What is written in the law? how readest thou?" he is taught that the law, rightly interpreted, comprehends his whole duty to God, and to his neighbour, in its most extensive sense: and although he also knows that he cannot do this and live, by reason of the imperfection and sin which accompany his very best actions; yet it is by his love to these precepts he
ascertains whether the law is written in his heart. "It needs not be feared," Dr. Whateley tells us, "that to proclaim exemption from the moral law, would leave us without any moral guide;"-"since, after all, the light of reason is that to which every man must be left in the very interpretation of that law." No doubt, without the guidance of the Spirit of God we should go wrong, whether we attempt to lay down a system of morality for ourselves, or whether we endeavour to discriminate between the moral and ceremonial parts of the Mosaic dispensation: but it seems most consistent with that economy of special interference, which distinguishes the dispensations of God, to give man a rule which requires no other effort tnan that which is necessary to separate it from those observances and ceremonies, which had merely a typical signification, or which arose out of special circumstances; rather than leave him to the uncertainty of the dictates of reason and of conscience, which must be as various as the strength of the different understandings and the habits of individuals, which unfortunately so much influence the dictates of our conscience. It is but right to state, that Dr. Whateley lays down a much less objectionable position at his 150th page, than what appears to be generally maintained in his chapter on the abolition of the Law; when he says, "there is a presumption that what was commanded or prohibited is right or wrong in itself, unless some reason can be assigned, which makes our case at present different from that of the Israelites;" but this is hardly consistent with his statement of the case, when he says, that "the Mosaic Law was limited, both to the nation of the Israelites, and to the period before the Gospel :" for, strictly speaking, if it is now, as he says, a code for instruction, though not a "standard and rule of conduct," it ean hardly be said to be limited to the Israelitish nation. If Dr. Whateley would admit it to
be a certain code of instruction so far as it goes, though not reaching the height of the Gospel standard; that is to say, correct in principle as to its enactments, though failing short as to the extent to which those principles are set forth; I for one, should have little controversy with him. But I quite differ from him when be goes on to argue, that though it is obligatory on Christians to worship the one true God alone, yet that the obligation does not arise from any authority emanating from the First Commandment; because he conceives that the expression, "I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt," confines the requisition exclusively to Israel. It is true, this prefatory address is intended exclusively for the Israelites, to whom alone it applies: and though it enforces additional obligation on the Israelites, to obey all God's commands, the other reason upon which the commandment is grounded is of universal obligation, and independent of the particular relation of God to the Israelites, as their Deliverer from Egypt. "I am the Lord thy God" is sufficient to enjoin us to "have none other gods:" and equally applies to all who live, and move, and have their being in him. Again, the author infers, that the Fifth Commandment is intended exclusively for the children of Israel, because the promised reward is, that they shall live long in the land which the Lord their God giveth them. But he forgets that the Apostle St. Paul applies this very com. mandment to the Gentile Ephesians, when he says, "Honour thy father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise, that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth." Now the application of the promise to the Ephesians, and the adaptation of the text by the substitution of "the earth," in the case of the Gentiles, for "the land," which the Lord had especially given to the Jews; not only shews that the original promise CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 338.
was intended for all nations, but it also shews us in what way we may apply the commands and promises of God made to the Jews under the old dispensation to ourselves under the new. And at the same time, it proves that the commandments are of universal obligation (unless the well known object is accomplished), and that the promises will be fulfilled to us, if not in mind, certainly according to the spirit and meaning of the engagement. Our Saviour himself says, "Think not that I am come to destroy the Law or the Prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil." And again, “One jot, or one tittle, shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." I can understand these texts, even in conjunction with the Antinomian scheme, which absolves Christians from all moral obligations, both the moral and ceremonial law being fulfilled in the person of their Surety: and I can see their perfect coincidence in that more scriptural view of the subject, which, while it acknowledges that the Divine commandments have only been perfectly obeyed by "Him who was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin," also teaches us that our Saviour not only pardons sin by virtue of His atonement, but also by his Spirit writes his laws in our hearts and in our minds; and that we have no reason to trust his fulfilment of all righteousness on our behalf, unless we shew the impress of that Spirit which he purchased for us, both in our conduct and in our character: but I cannot understand these texts, if the moral part of the Mosaic code is abolished, and yet man is left to an unwritten and undefined law, for which he may look either into the Scriptures, or into the laws of Mohammed, or of Solon: and what termination can we assign to those moral obligations which are essential to human happiness on earth, and which, if not engrafted on his character, would prevent even heaven being a place of happiness to him hereafter? The
Surety by paying the debt can remit the obligation; but the object of man's salvation is only attained when both the penalty is remitted, and he is sufficiently qualified to enjoy the destiny to which the remission has entitled him.
Doctor Whateley has some valuable remarks on the indisposition of men, derived from our natural indolence, to regulate our conduct by certain principles, instead of precise and formal rules. The truth is, I believe, that men love a system of laws independent of principles, because they can be more easily evaded; assuming that they are at liberty on every point to which the law does not exactly apply; and we may see that in some degree at present, in the conduct of those who, more or less, hold the doctrine of salvation by works, as they often endeavour to prove that they are at liberty wherever they do not find an express prohibition. But our Saviour teaches us, that the commandments and other precepts of the Mosaic code were instances in which the moral principle is applied. "Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart:" "Whoso is angry with his brother without a cause," incurs the guilt and penalty of a murderer. The law here is left in full force; but it is shewn to be grounded on certain principles which must be adhered to, and which principles were as obligatory on the Jews as on Christians; for they were blamed for the narrow construction which they gave to the law, as well as for making it void through their traditions.
The ceremonial law was a means of grace to the pious Israelites, especially to those who could look forward, more or less clearly, to that which was signified; but when the great Antitype appeared, they could be no longer means of grace, and, consequently, they became dead by the body of Christ: and when baptism (the significant em
blem of Christ's death and resur rection, and of our death unto sin, and our resurrection to righteousness,) replaced circumcision - if Christians continued to practise circumcision, which was only the seal of the first covenant by which God was engaged to bless all the nations of the earth in Abraham's seed-then, faith must consequently be
imperfect in him by whom that promise had been fulfilled. There is something very remarkable in the sentence pronounced by St. James, in the college of the Apostles, on the case of the Gentile converts, when he desires that they may be required to "abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood;" and adds, "for Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogue every Sabbath day." I am inclined to think that a distinction was here made between the ceremonial and moral parts of the Jewish Law. The difficulty which was referred to the decision of the Apostles, arose from its being asserted by certain of the sect of the Pharisees, that it was necessary that the converts should be circumcised. The answer, therefore, of the Apostles does not apply to any moral offence, except one, against which there does not appear to be any literal prohibition in the Jewish Law; though, no doubt, it is implied in the Seventh Commandment, and in the injunctions which regulate marriage. But the reference to the reading of Moses in the synagogue in every city, can have no meaning at all, unless the Apostle is understood to say, that, in regard to the question of circumcision, and other ceremonial matters, he would put no other burden upon them than the necessary injunctions which he specifies. With respect to all points of morality, he refers them to the Books of Moses, which are read in the Scriptures every Sabbath-day.
But that my observations may