victory! through our Lord Jesus Christ.” In this state she continued, with little variation of feeling and with steadfast faith, till, exclaiming, “ Victory! glory to God! more than a conqueror !” she slept in Jesus.


41. Died, December 16th, at Upton, in the Launceston Circuit, Mr. Edward Nicolls, aged eighty-four. In him the benefit of a pious ancestry was manifested, as he feared the Lord from his youth, and was mercifully preserved from wandering into sin. The living purity, peacefulness, and condescension of certain of his own house, won his heart, and became the object of his own imitation and pursuit. As one method of securing this, he joined those whom he believed to be “called, and chosen, and faithful,” and clave to them steadfastly and permanently. Christian communion greatly aided him in working out his own salvation. It was in 1780 that he joined the Methodist society, and the union continued till his death. He had seen the venerable Wesley, and revered his memory; and to Methodism, in its entire system, he was warmly and from principle attached. Conscientiousness and punctuality were alike apparent in his secular engagements, and religious exercises, so that he won the esteem of all. The Sabbath was with him a holy day, the strictest order was observed in his family, no visiting by appointment was allowed, and all his domestics

were enabled and required to attend public worship. Prayer seemed to be his element, and he was frequent and fervent in it. In all the relations of his family he was affectionate and faithful. In the Christian training of his children he was earnest and persevering, Anxious to see them in a right state in reference to eternity, he would say to them, very solemnly, "You will be sure one day to acknowledge the value of religion.” In him worldliness was conquered; earthly things held a subordinate place in his affections; and in the midst of secular pursuits and competency, he would say,-

“ All my treasure is above,

All my riches is Thy love."

He was cheerful without levity, and his seriousness had in it no ascetic moroseness. His dependence on the Lord Jesus was simple and habitual ; and from his intercession he looked for every blessing, and inherited a full and constant peace. During a large portion of the sixty years in which he was a member of the Wesleyan section of the Christian church, he was a Class-Leader; and in this office he was judicious, faithful, and edifying. In all the ways which were in his power, he sought to promote the interests of the cause which he had embraced. He was kindly considerate to his labourers, and never permitted any of his regular workmen to apply for parochial relief: he supplied their necessities from his own resources. The joy of the Lord continued with him to the last, and even increased as his end drew near. He spoke of his approaching decease with coolness; and his ordinary reply to questions concerning his spiritual state, was, “ Happy, happy.” Though bending under the weight of nearly eightyfive years, there was in him none of the peevishness of age. tranquil and grateful, and lived praying and praising. His children, relations, and visiters, he earnestly exhorted to live for God and

He was

eternity. His last utterances indicated the abiding strength of his confidence, and the brightness of his hope. Age and many infirmities at length affected his speech ; but its very falterings seemed to make what he said more impressive. His last words were, “Even so; come, Lord Jesus !" Early brought to experience the saving power of truth, and made a partaker of the salvation of the Gospel, he maintained, throughout his lengthened pilgrimage, an unblemished reputation in the world and the church. His life was holy and useful, and his death happy.


At the age

42. Died, December 28th, aged twenty-three, Felix Tattersall, of Clitheroe. He was the child of pious parents, who from his birth dedicated him to God; and as he grew to years, sought, both by precept and example, to train him up in the paths of piety. of five he was sent to the Sabbath-school; and when he was not there, or at public worship, he would be engaged in profitable reading. He joined the Wesleyan society in his fourteenth year, being at that time deeply convinced of sin, and earnestly desirous of being made happy in God by a sense of personal pardon. This he sought through the Lord Jesus Christ; and the desire of his heart was given to him. His correct and consistent deportment evidenced the truth of his profession. In his family, and before the world, his conversion was seen in its fruits. His Christian experience was delightfully even.

His views of himself were very humble; but his views of Christ, in the all-sufficiency of his merits and grace, were very exalted. Closer union with his Saviour he appeared to be continually seeking. He diligently sought the religious improvement of his mind; and among other means, he regularly attended the weekly meetings held by the Ministers of the Circuit for reading and explaining the holy Scriptures. On these occasions he was generally prepared with suitable answers to the questions proposed as to the meaning of various portions of the sacred word, and gave proof that he was in the habit of so reading them as to compare things spiritual with spiritual.” He was an assiduous and useful Sunday-school Teacher and Tract-Distributor; and evidently sought, while he walked humbly with God, to adorn in all things the doctrine of his Saviour, and by his own example to recommend religion to others. Shortly before Christmas he had an attack of typhus fever; and well it was for him that he had previously

prepared to meet his God;" for the strength of fever was such, that he was scarcely able to speak, or even to think collectedly, from the first seizure to the fatal termination. It was clear, however, that he trusted in Christ, and in full confidence committed his soul to Him. Though he could give no direct dying testimony, (which his friends would have gladly received for their own sakes rather than on his account,) yet there was the satisfactory testimony of his previous character. His

parents say of him, that he was one of the best of sons and brothers. To the church he was an ornament; and to youth, generally, he afforded an impressive example of consistent and unassuming piety.


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“ And God was displeased with this thing ; therefore he smote Israel."

1 Chronicles xxi. 7.

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An inspired Apostle has most distinctly declared, “that whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning;” and from this revelation of the Holy Spirit we are instructed, that the events, circumstances, and truths contained in the Scriptures were not designed for the exclusive benefit of those ages in which they were recorded, but also for the profiting of the world and the church in all succeeding generations. In full accordance with this sentiment, it must be admitted, that the Scriptures of the Old Testament are valuable for instruction, both to nations and individuals. From them we learn the character of God as the moral Governor of the world; that he is just and holy in all his ways; that nations and individuals are entirely at his disposal for mercy or judgment, according to the nature of their works; and that as sin cannot be concealed from the knowledge of God, neither nations nor individuals will be allowed to offend against him with impunity; for it ever has been, and ever will be, woe unto the wicked." From them we also learn that God is not an implacable Being, that he calls offending nations and individuals to repent of their transgressions, and encourages them to do so with the promise of pardon :

: yea, notwithstanding that he is terrible in majesty and fearful in judgment, he is slow to anger, and full of compassion ; ever ready to withdraw the visitations of his displeasure when offenders are sorrowful for and forsake their sin. This gracious and interesting truth is clearly revealed, in the instructive history of Nineveh, and in His merciful dealings with guilty Israel. In that section of their eventful history from which we have selected the scripture we have read, we have an awakening manifestation of the hateful character of sin in the view of God, and are taught that “according to God's fear, so is his wrath ;" yet delighting in mercy, when man becomes sensible of his folly, and implores forgiveness. It scarcely need be observed, that attention has been directed to this portion of sacred truth, in consequence of the sufferings of a number of our fellow-subjects dwelling in various localities of Scotland and Ireland, where famine and disease alarmingly prevail. The why and the wherefore the United Kingdom should be thus visited with destitution and varied distress, demands consideration. Natural, political, and what some are pleased to term accidental, causes are reiterated from the press; but is there not a moral cause deserving notice from the pulpit? That there is, must, we think, be admitted by those who are not prepared to exclude God from the


3 N

world, or make him a cipher on his throne. David in his day was not thus prepared; for in the punishment of his sin, he owned the hand of God; and from his conduct, and the dealings of the Almighty with him and the subjects of his kingdom, we may be instructed in righteousness. In the elucidation of those sentiments which we shall feel it a duty to express, our observations will not be confined to the passage announced at the commencement of this discourse: they will extend over the whole history, as embracing the sin, its awful visitation, with the merciful removal of judgment; collectively manifesting to us the rule of the divine procedure with men. With these preliminary remarks we observe,

I. That the dealings of God with his dependant creatures in the dispensations of his providence have been, and still may be, of a judicial character.

That such was the character of the pestilence “the Lord sent upon Israel,” is evident froin God's declaration, and David's admission. David had sinned, sinned in his kingly office, and a national judgment was inflicted. That we may form correct views of the conduct of the King, and the dispensation of God towards his subjects, it is necessary to notice the sin which displeased the Lord, and the subsequent manifestation of his displeasure. We notice,

1. The sin with which God was displeased.

The offence committed was the act of numbering the people of Israel. Now as this act was nowhere prohibited, its guilty character must be sought in the motive by which it was originated ; and in tracing this act unto its source we discover,

(1.) Pride of heart.

Jehovah had greatly prospered David in his sovereign rule. When he was called to ascend the throne, the nation was in a distracted, desolate state ; it was assailed by outward enemies, and torn with intestine broils; the strength of the land had been slain in war, and their fruitful fields laid waste: but now the kingdom was rich and flourishing, and full of inhabitants. But, unmindful of God's great goodness, David desired to know his own strength and resources. That his motive in so doing could not be pure, we need no other evidence than the name of the being by whom he was prompted to the offensive deed. It is expressly stated, that “Satan provoked David to number Israel;” and from him no good could proceed. This Satan might do in order to inspire David with confidence in his national might, and thus lead him to withdraw his trust and confidence from the Lord his God; and very probably it was to induce him to engage in martial enterprise with the ambitious desire of extending his empire: the folly of ancient Babylon, of imperial Rome, and modern France, would have been equally fatal to Israel as it was to those nations; for God never designed the Jews to be an aggressive people, having limited their boundaries unto that land, of which he had in such a remarkable manner given to them the possession. In this offensive act we also discover,

(2.) Self-will.

Joab, the commander of the armies of Israel to whom the commission was given, though far from being scrupulous respecting the moral character of the transactions in which he engaged, hesitated to commence the work, and that from the purest principles of patriotism; for he loved his country, and was devoted to the interest of his Sovereign. This he evinced by the prayer he offered and the counsel he gave on this occasion; for Joab answered the King and said, “The Lord make his people an hundred times so many more as they be!" He dared also most respectfully to remonstrate with David by inquiring, “Why doth my Lord the King require this thing?" and even intimated that it might be followed with consequences injurious to Israel, saying, “Why will the King be the cause of trespass in Israel ?" Now these prudent intimations on the part of his faithful General should have awakened caution in the mind of David, and have led him to examine with fidelity his motives for desiring to know the number of his subjects. But, regardless of these friendly monitions, he persevered in his purpose ; for the “King's word prevailed against Joab," manifesting the determined self-will of David, that, having resolved, he would not be controlled, -a spirit ever doubtful, and frequently dangerous. In the conduct of David we further discover,

(3.) A forgetfulness of God.

It had been customary in those days, when any project of national interest was designed, for the Prophet of the land to be directed to inquire of God concerning his will; but Gad, David's seer, received no such direction from his Sovereign, nor did David by personal prayer ask counsel of the Lord. No, in the hour of this temptation God was not acknowledged. God also appears to have been forgotten as that mighty Being, in whom alone confidence should be placed in the time of need for deliverance or defence. On former occasions, when placed in circumstances of difficulty and distress, whether many or few, the Lord had saved Israel, and doubtless would have continued to save, had they confided in him. But in this proud, self-willed act, the past interpositions of God's power, and his sufficient aid for the future, were overlooked ; and the language of David's conduct was, “I will know what I can do by my own wisdom and might." No wonder that “God was displeased with this thing," and manifested his displeasure ; and from the effects of that displeasure neither David's station as a Sovereign, nor his character as a professor of religion, could shelter him; for, in all, sin is offensive to God, and none can flee beyond the reach of his power ; a sentiment well-expressed by the poet in reference to David's conduct :

66 The Lord allows of sin in none,
But most abhors it in his own :
These do his Spirit the worst despite,
These sin against the clearest light,
Betray the honour of his name,
Expose their Lord to open shame,
Murder afresh the Son of God,

And trample on his richest blood.”_C. WESLEY. In contemplating the conduct of David, it is possible that we are disposed to censure his deed; but are not we also verily guilty? Have we not as a nation exemplified the same spirit? What pride of heart we have discovered in boastings of our national greatness, our wealth, our prowess, and extensive dominions! What self-will has also been manifested in the determination that certain measures should be accomplished and become the law of the land, without pausing to ask the important question, Are they pleasing or displeasing to God? And what forgetfulness of God all classes of society have shown by

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