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"THOU, GOD, SEEST ME!"
"Ilave I also here looked after him that seeth me?"GEN. xvi. 13.
O GOD, unseen, but not unknown!
To nothing am I long allied,
Now, I am one amidst a crowd
Of life and action hurrying round;
They came, they went, and are not found.
Even from myself I sometimes part
Unconscious sleep is nightly death;
To prompt my pulse, inspire my breath.
Of all that I have done and said
How little can I now recall!
With thee they live-thou know'st them all.
Thou hast been with me from the womb,
Nor wilt thou leave me at the tomb-
The moment comes the only one
Of all my time to me foretold
Yet when, and how, and where, can none
That moment comes when strength shall fail,
And shade of death, with thee alone.
Exchanged for immortality.
Then, when the unbodied spirit lands
Be mine eternal portion this-
And be for evermore with thee.
The Mount, near Sheffield, December 16, 1845.
BY GEORGE REDFORD, D.D., WORCESTER. No. I.
"The sinners in Zion shall be horribly afraid." JS was the child of professing parents, and his mother was a woman of no ordinary character for knowledge, piety, and holy courage. Their son had been early conducted to the house of God, and as soon as he became the master of a house, became a regular contributor to the support of the Gospel. For more than half a century, he was a leading man in all the temporal concerns of the place of worship which he statedly attended, both on the Sabbath service, the week-day lecture, and the prayer-meetings. He never was a very consistent professor, it is true, and no experienced Christian gave him credit for true piety; still he was favoured with all the richest means of grace-with the preaching and society of one of the most fervent and faithful ministers of the day; and with the friendship and society of many who lived in the faith, and of many whose end he witnessed to be peace and joy. It ought to be noticed that he never made a profession of that devotedness to God which should characterize a true Christian, except, indeed, that in two instances, more than thirty years apart, he wished his minister to propose him to the Church for membership. In both these instances the faithful minister frankly told him he would be refused.
Thus we retrace the history of fifty or sixty years-a round of outward duties, a busy attention to the affairs of life, the, politics of the day, and to all the parochial business and squabbles which arose. In this way-by a round of engagements-life was stolen away, until the days drew on in which the windows became dim through age.
The conduct of this aged man having been peculiarly offensive to his minister at this time, he very faithfully reproved him, and the reproof of friendship gave such offence that he would not see his old friend and minister for some weeks.
Conscience, which had been hardened by repeated force put on it, and which had slept in the quietness of insensibility, was at length wounded and awakened by a sermon which he heard from the words, "Mine iniquities hast thou sealed in a bag.'
The trouble of mind continued and increased, until his housekeeper, a pious woman, could forbear no longer sending for me. My intercourse with the aged transgressor had been interrupted by the same cause which had broken the long friendship of his minister. I immediately hastened to his house. I found him restless, humble, and greatly distressed. He told me, that a day or two after hearing the sermon above alluded to, sins committed and forgotten
for fifty years rushed into his mind, and all the sins of his long life were in array before him. I cannot lose the sight of them," he said, "and they are more than can be numbered."
I conversed with him, endeavoured to set some great truths before him, and then prayed with him. On the whole, I was pleased with the state of his mind, and the thought greatly cheered me: Well, the prayers of his excellent mother and sister are at length to be answered on his behalf.
As he had made me promise to call again in the evening, I went. I found his mind more awfully impressed, and that every encouraging word which I presented, he only took occasion of to aggravate his own sin. I reasoned with him on the greatness of the sacrifice provided, and on the unbounded fulness of divine mercy in Christ Jesus to the repenting sinner. "Ah!" he replied, "if I could repent, indeed there might be hope." "I trust that you do repent, and that all your present feelings are an evidence of it." No, no," he answered, "I do not repent; my heart is as hard as a rock: what I feel is not repentance it is only the forebodings of damnation. I still love sin, and should sin on if I had the power. There is no change here in this respect. That dreadful sentence will soon be fulfilled: He that is guilty shall be guilty still; and let him that is filthy be filthy still." I felt myself in new and affecting circumstances, and quite unequal to meet all the objections of an old professor, and of one who knew the Gospel in theory, and could have split hairs in divinity; I therefore urged it on him to see his once respected and valued minister. “Oh!" he said, "I have used him so ill, he cannot come to see me." I replied, "He would soon come if he knew you were in mental distress." "But who can I send to him?" "I will go." "Well do," he said; "but how can I meet him, I have done him so much injury?" I called on Mr told him
the state of the case, and he said, "No time is to be lost; I will go directly." I called in the evening on Mr. -, merely to learn what his views of him were. He was out, but his daughter told me, "I never saw my father in such agony before; when he came in from seeing Mr he exclaimed, on entering the study, "O, my dear, the Son of man is coming! poor. is in despair; it will end in derangement;" and she said he literally rolled on the carpet, and sobbed aloud, saying: "All his hearing will end as I have often feared." The prediction proved too true. The poor sufferer could not sleep; conscience seemed already like the gnawing worm. In the course of a few days reason was partially dethroned, and we heard nothing from him but that he had no right to eat-nothing that was brought to the table belonged to him; and we were obliged to adopt many modes, almost of deception, to prevail on him to eat.
One morning, I said "What kind of a night have you had ?" "I could not sleep," he said, "there was such an insufferable smell of brim
stone. Oh," he said, “all, all must be told, to warn others."
The day before he died, I was sent for early. I found him standing against the back of a chair, with nothing on but his night-clothes, where he had been standing for four hours. I endea voured to prevail on him to get into bed. With a horrible whine, he said: "How can you be so cruel as to wish me to get into bed? You know if I do, I shall never see the precious light of the sun any more. Blindness is a dreadful calamity? O my precious eye-sight!" In order to rouse him, I said, "You seem to be more concerned about your eye-sight than about your soul." With what one would conceive to be the yell of a fiend, which chilled my blood, and followed me for weeks, he cried out, "O my soul! that is damned, damned, double damned. O that I had never seen a Bible! O that I had never heard a sermon !"
This was the last effort of reason-he soon went off again to complain of his eyes; he became outrageous; would take no food; was confined in a strait waistcoat; and, without any disease, actually died from starvation.
Awful, awful close to such a life! O my soul! it becomes thee to mourn in secret over the sad exit of one who was once a friend, a companion in worship, and a partaker in many innocent and delightful recreations.
If mercy came to him, it was left in such dark uncertainty as that surviving friends scarce dare entertain a hope. Where, ah! where, shall we find him at the last great day? Tremble, my soul, lest thou shouldst be deceived by the deceitfulness of sin. Lord, what are means of grace, without thy Spirit's influence? How will they become amusements to cheat the soul out of heaven, if the heart be left to itself! O for the grace of means, to give efficacy to the means of grace!
"The memory of the just is blessed, and God regardeth not the rich more than the poor."
WILLIAM ARMSTRONG was first brought to the knowledge of the Gospel by hearing that excellent clergyman, the Rev. William Cadogan at Reading. At this time he was a farmer's ser vant, residing a few miles from that place Many people from the village went to hear this great man preach, and William Armstrong was induced to go with the rest. He had never heard a Gospel sermon before, and was much struck with the difference in manner and matter from anything he had ever heard. After this first taste of the truth, he took advantage of every opportunity-was convinced, melted, believed, and was edified. The lamented death of Mr Cadogan occurred soon after, and Reading was left without a light in the Established Church.
William Armstrong soon afterwards removed to a situation near Maidenhead, and soon found in the ministry of the late Rev. J. Cooke that bread after which his soul fainted. He be
came a regular hearer and consistent member, and a very affectionate and liberal contributor to the cause, in proportion to his means. For a very long series of years he was the faithful and respected servant of the late Mr L. There was so much Christian kindness and affection about him, that he was universally beloved by the Christian Society with which he was connected, and by the venerable pastor, to whom his respect and attachment were bounded only by the deep-felt conviction of the advantages he had derived from his ministry. As the days drew near that this good man should die, one thing was eminently remarkable—his constant and serious attendance on the means of grace. Paroxysms of rheumatic pains, which would have detained most men from the house of God, could not keep him away; for, as he said a few days before he died, "Ah! there's Mr has for a long time absented himself from the prayer-meeting; tell him from a dying man, that I have found my interest in being constantly there."
The disease that was commissioned to hasten this humble saint to heaven was rapid in its progress, and attended with most excruciating bodily suffering. I have seen him, with huge drops of perspiration rolling down his face from the violence of pain, look up with cheerfulness, thankfulness to heaven, and admire the grace which had made him to differ. When he was taken ill, his beloved pastor was in London, consequently he sent for me. I was surprised to find him so ill, as I had noticed him the day before at the Sabbath morning prayermeeting, and at the public service.
He pressed my hand with great fervour, and said: My pain is very, very great; but it is all right. Pray to the dear Lord to give me patience and faith." He then recounted to me the few particulars above named, in reference to his early life, and was overwhelmed with a sense of the mercy of God in bringing him to the knowledge of the Lord Jesus. He was calmly resting on the Redeemer, as most unworthy, and yet most favoured. He said: tan has been very busy during the night, in trying to disturb and distress me; but he can'tthe Lord lifts up a standard against him." He expressed the great advantage and pleasure he had found in the house of God, and spoke of some of his fellow-Christians and fellow-worshippers who had entered into rest; and said: "I shall soon be with them, through the precious blood of my dear Jesus." His heart was filled almost to overflowing with love to Jesus, and to his people.
The next morning, before I was out of bed, I had a message from him, that he wished to see me. I hastened to him. As soon as he saw me, he said: "Oh! my dear friend, I sent for you to pray to my dear Lord to take me home, if it be his blessed will. My agonies are great, as you see by my great sweat; but he enables me to bear it; but I long to be at home."
Then I said: "You do not imagine your soul will have a long journey after it leaves the body, before it reaches heaven?" "O no," he replied; "heaven is only on the other side that curtain" (pointing, to the curtain of his bed). "Absent from the body, present with the Lord," I rejoined. "Yes, that is it; my dear Lord is at hand, and I desire to commit my spirit to him." He then desired his niece to hand me a hymn, and to point out one he meant. She found it, and he said: "Forty years ago, or more, that hymn gave me great light and comfort, and I do not recollect having seen it since, till yesterday, and it brought so many things to remembrance, that I cannot tell you the good it did me. I wish to hear you read it to me." I began
"Jesus, thy blood and righteousness
My beauty are-my glorious dress.
As the hymn went on, rising from thought to thought, from triumph to triumph, he raised his hands higher and higher, while his fixed eye seemed almost to penetrate the sky, and his pains, which perhaps those of a martyr in the fire could not exceed, seemed all forgot.
When I closed, he exclaimed (seizing my hand): "There, my dear friend, that's my hope; won't that do?" "Yes! yes!" I said. "Yes," he rejoined :
Bold shall I stand in that great day;
For who aught to my charge shall lay, When through thy blood absolved I am From sin-the guilt, the curse, the stain ?"Never, never did I see so affectingly illustrated the truth of that text: "This is the vic
tory that overcometh the world, even our faith."
The Lord did not long delay an answer to his, suffering servant's prayer; for, after enabled to commit his soul into His hands, and a few more struggles and sufferings, he was so fall asleep in Jesus.
BY THE REV. PATRICK FAIRBAIRN, SALTON. WHAT are called demoniacal possessions were those cases of distress, so often occurring in New Testament history, in which the unhappy persons afflicted are spoken of as being under the malignant power of evil spirits or demons. The symptoms of the awful visitation are described as partly mental and partly bodily; and for the most part seem to have presented the appearance of a sort of madness, coupled with epilepsy. One of the most striking cases on record, as it is also one of the most fully detailed, is that of the man who resided among the Gadarenes.--Luke viii. 26-40; Mark v. 1-12. (Matthew mentions two, though one was probably so much the worse of the two, as to be alone noticed by the other evangelists.) Like a fierce and gloomy maniac, he shunned the haunts of living men, and tock up his dwelling among the tombs. From his wild and savage ferocity he had become the terror of the whole neighbourhood. The
devils which held possession of his frame were so many, that they took to themselves the name of Legion. They addressed Christ with fear and trembling. He, in return, acknowledged their presence, and commanded them to come out; and as they were obeying his authority, they sought and obtained permission to enter into a herd of swine; which they no sooner did than they drove the herd headlong into the sea, while the man they left was restored to his right mind, and became a humble follower of Jesus. Now, taking this case as a specimen of the whole class, and regarding what it relates, for the present, as true, in the plain and literal sense, there are two points of great importance connected with the work and character of Christ, which would thereby be established and brought distinctly into view. 1. In the first place, such cases clearly proved Christ to be the enemy and conqueror of the powers of darknesswhich he must have been, if indeed the Messiah and Saviour of the world. To bruise the head of the serpent, was from the first the work which he was promised and expected to do in behalf of the Church. And hence, when doing the work, he is said to have spoiled principalities and powers-not as an incidental or subordinate thing, but one that entered into the very heart of his undertaking, and the doing of which carried along with it the execution of the whole work with which he was charged. For these principalities and powers held in their hands the cup of Heaven's wrath, due to the sons of men, and only by lawfully contending with, and spoiling these mighty spoilers, could Christ prevail to bring in redemption for the guilty. And it is not possible to conceive how the truth concerning him in this respect could be more impressively taught, or how his claims to the character of Messiah could be more clearly verified, than by ever and anon meeting with persons oppressed of the devil, and relieving them of their oppression. 2. But further: the same cases, supposing them to be real, render clear as day the essential difference between the character of Satan's working and that of Christ. The subtile device of his enemies to undo the impression that ought to have been produced by his miraculous deeds, was to get up the cry that these were performed, not by Divine, but by Satanic agency; and in particular, that he cast out devils by the power of the prince of the devils. Nothing more was needed to prove the fallacy of this, nothing could have so conclusively and satisfactorily proved it, as the effects of his interposition, compared with the working of the powers of darkness in the cases referred to. The hapless victim of these emissaries of hell, as in the case among the Gadarenes, was rendered a spectacle of misery and ruin; while the moment he came under the operation of Christ's hand, he was restored to perfect soundness both of body and of mind. And to put it beyond all doubt that in their case this was no accidental thing, that wherever the instruments of Satan are permitted to work, the signs and manifestations of their working will be precisely the same, they were allowed to change their abode-after leaving the rational being, in whom they had defaced the image of God, to pass into rational creatures, whom they presently sent headlong into destruction. The evil, in such cases, was not
Christ's, but Satan's permitted, and directed into certain channels, as all evil is, for the accomplishment of an ultimate good. The good here was, to bring out clearly and distinctly, in a manner impossible to be mistaken, the utter contrariety between His working and Satan's-to show that the one was ever exerted to heal, rectify, and restore; the other, to blight, desolate, and destroy. To mistake the one for the other, as some of the Pharisees still did, and ascribe Christ's ejection of the devils to the power of Beelzebub, was to manifest that they had lost sight of the essential distinctions between good and evil-that they confounded heaven and hell, and had reached that state of impenetrable blindness and seared obstinacy to which the grace of forgiveness is not promised; hence, it is in immediate connection with such amazing perversity that our Lord utters the awful warning concerning the sin against the Holy Ghost.-Matt. xii. 31. This, however, does not hinder but that the exercise of Christ's power on those devil-possessed persons was in itself fitted, and in all ordinary cases sufficient, to render manifest the opposition between the character of Christ's working and Satan's, and to prove that he indeed came, not to build up, but to "destroy, the works of the devil."
Then, while we see that cases of demoniacal possession, as first existing and then cured by Christ, were fitted to disclose and verify the truth concerning two points, each of them essentially connected with the design and character of his undertaking, it is in perfect accordance with the other parts of his work on earth to suppose that these should have received the proof and confirmation we speak of; for the whole of Christ's course of action was ordered and arranged so as to bring out, on the visible field of an earthly life, what he came to do in the higher region of a spiritual and eternal life. As Messiah, he did not properly come to operate cures upon men's bodies, but to seek and save their souls. And yet we find a great part of his ministerial life spent, and nearly all his public works performed, with an immediate design of benefiting the body-works performed, therefore, not so much for their own sake, as for the signs and indications they were to give respecting the grand object of his mission into the world; so that, as he himself testified, men might " believe him for the very works' sake." They were mostly miraculous works, not simply because such were necessary to attest his divine character, but also because his work of redemption, which they were designed to throw light upon, and prepare the way for, was to be one glorious and continued miracle-changing at every step the course of nature, and reversing the order of its operations. Dark minds must, by the divine touch, be enlightened, and dull hearts aroused; therefore were the eyes of the blind opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Souls dead in trespasses and sins must be quickened, and their many spiritual disorders rectified; therefore did the grave hear his voice, and diseases of all kinds disappear at his command. So, indeed, in regard to all the great departments of his mighty work of redemption. We have only to look ir-into the deeds of his life to see there the proof of them, and the preparation for them. And unless the two important points formerly noticed the victorious
THE STRANGE APATHY OF PARENTS, &c.
opposition he was to make to the power of Satan, and the entire contrast between the character of his working and that of the prince of darkness—unless these were to have been made exceptions to the general rule, and no light to be thrown on them, no proof to be given of them, during our Lord's ministerial course, it was indispensable that there should have been cases in which the powers of darkness held an usurped possession, and were driven from it by the authority of Christ.
Besides all this, the language of Scripture on the subject is so plain and so decided, that no simpleminded Christian can read what is written with any other impression, than that devils did actually possess the persons in question, and were actually expelled by Christ. If these devils existed only in the imaginations of the people, and the evil affections ascribed to them sprung from other and more ordinary causes, it would be impossible to avoid the conviction that both our Lord and his apostles had encouraged a weak and pernicious delusion, and sought to advance their own reputation by playing upon the credulities of men. Every pious mind will abhor the thought of this; and especially when the shallow nature of the reasons is taken into account which have sometimes been alleged for a different view of the cases in question. Of these reasons there are only two worth noticing, viz., that such possessions were so peculiar and extraordinary, that their existence should not be allowed, unless absolutely inexplicable otherwise, and that the symptoms were such as seem capable of explanation from other and more likely causes.
In regard to the former, we have simply to ask, Was not the time also peculiar and extraordinary must not the circumstances then existing, and the events then occurring, be suitably adapted to it? It was the time in which Heaven's great Messenger appeared, to bring in salvation for a lost world, which was so pre-eminently the work of God, that the execution of it forms the very centre of the world's his tory. "It is the greatest event in the annals of all time; the former ages had been a preparation for it, -the latter unroll from it." But if such was the character of the time, is it not reasonable to expect that peculiar circumstances would distinguish it, and that things would even be absolutely necessary, which at any other time might well have been regarded as out of place as extraordinary or incredible? The field must have been in many respects a singular one, which was properly fitted to serve the purposes and exhibit the character of an incarnate God. And if infinite wisdom needed to be at work through preceding ages, fitly arranging and ordering the time of his appearing, the same wisdom was not less needed to gather around him, when he appeared, the precise combination of circumstances and objects which might render the history of his life and death a suitable instruction for all ages. So that, if such possessions of the powers of darkness were found in no other age of the world, it would argue nothing against their existence then, when, as we have seen, the grandest purposes of God required them.
But, in reference to this supposed singularity of their occurrence at that particular time, we are not sure how far it should be allowed. If we admit that,
for the reasons just mentioned in connection with the work of Christ, such cases of possession were more numerous, or more aggravated then, it is perhaps the whole length we are either called or warranted to go. The symptoms of bodily disease or mental derangement belonging to them may have been, according to the second objection specified, not materially different from certain evil affections, common to all times and ages; but who can tell how far even these may be produced by infernal agency? May not all evil, in some way or another, be produced by the instrumentality of "spiritual wickedness ?" The blessed spirits, we are told, minister in offices of kindness to the heirs of salvation; and may not accursed spirits be even employed in offices of an opposite kind? Satan is the immediate instrument of Job's afflictions, as well as of David's fall. An evil spirit from the Lord troubles Saul, visiting him with what might fitly be called a species of madness-an angel slays the host of Assyria, as he had done, ages before, the first-born of Egypt. In fine, there is no ground for disputing the existence of demoniacal possessions in the age of our Lord, which would not equally go to discredit, in general, the agency of good and evil spirits in the divine government of this world, or their existence altogether as active beings and ministers of God, And no one, we are persuaded, can consistently deny the plain testimony of Scripture regarding demoniacal possessions, without being prepared to adopt the Sadducean creed: No angel-no spirit—no resurrection from the dead. Let us rather say with the father of the possessed: "Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief."
THE STRANGE APATHY OF PARENTS REGARDING THE SOULS OF
How strange it is that the same parent who is so intent on the preferment of his children, in the world, should be so utterly listless of their prospects, nor put forth one endeavour to obtain for them preferment in heaven-that he who would mourn over it as the sorest of his family trials, should one of them be bereft of any of the corporeal senses, should yet take it so easily, although none of them have a right sense of God or a right principle of godliness-that he who would be so sorely astounded did any of his little ones perish in a conflagration or a storm, should be so unmoved by all the fearful things that are reported of the region on the other side of death, where the fury of an incensed Lawgiver is poured upon all who have not fled to Christ as their refuge from the tempest, and they are made to lie down in the devouring fire, and to dwell with everlasting burnings that to avert from the objects of our tenderness the calamities, or to obtain for them the good things, of this present life, there shall be so much of care and of busy expedientwhile not one practical measure is taken either to avert from them that calamity which is the most dreadful, or to secure for them that felicity which is the most glorious!
The man whose heart is set on the conversion of his children-the man whose house is their school of discipline for eternity-he it is, and we fear he only of all other