between acute and chronic diseases: in the former, if danger attend the patient, and the powers of the system are rapidly exhausting and dissolution is approaching, to withdraw the props on which that system rests in hope is to sink it inevitably, without any thing like a compensating good; and the individual who does so is accessary to the destruction of body and soul, if that spirit is unprepared to meet its God. In these states of acute suffering the patient is almost always too much occupied with disease to think at all-or to think correctly-and the appointed medium for the reception and conveyance of thought, the brain and nervous system, is too much under the influence of excitation or depression, according to varying conditions of malady, to rely upon its manifestations.

But in the lengthened attendance, the varying forms, the languor, the progress, the gradual exhaustion of chronic ailment, there are abundant opportunities for leading the patient to a consideration of the brevity and uncertainty of life; to the frequent unfortunate issue of long-continued organic disease; and to the necessity of preparedness for every event, how ever much we are bound to hope, to seek, to pray for restoration, in submission to Him whose power we daily acknowledge, and to whose appointments we constantly, and often unthinkingly, say, "Thy will be done," when the heart secretly adds, " so far as it is in conformity with my own." The wisdom and prudence of trying both sides of a question which involves uncertainty as to its issue, may always be introduced. The goodness and mercy of God in afflicting his children, and thus calling their attention to serious things, to the solemn realities of an eternal world; the natural reflections of a sick room, and of abstraction from all the enjoyments which health and activity confer; the kind attentions of friends; gratitude for the constant supply of the wants of an invalid; the aids of medicine and


science in relieving distressing symptoms; the great advantage, as well as duty, of a contented mind; the direction of a patient's reading, and the recollection that in a feeble state of the brain and nervous system this cannot be exclusive, in order to its being beneficial; the one great cause of sin and suffering; and the hopes and consolations of religion, to all those who will embrace her invitations; will afford so many channels through which the attention may be steadily awakened to its situation and responsibitities, to its present duties and coming prospects. But even through these natural approaches the subject is to be introduced with delicacy, and at proper opportunities; or it will fail of producing a good effect upon the mind; while its injury to the body is most unwarrantable. Nothing can exceed the extensive mischief which arises from injudicious management of these advantages, to the patient and surrounding friends; and yet in proper hands they may be so employed as to produce a good effect: and to neglect such opportunities, is as criminal, as to destroy life, in the former instance, by ill-timed appeals to powerful feelings. In these instances the patient sometimes asks his attendant for his opinion as to the probable issue of his maladies. The best answer to this question will be found in balancing the probabilities for the successful termination of similar cases of organic disease, and then drawing the conclusion, that, where such uncertainty exists, the only safe conduct is to live in hope of the blessing of God upon the means employed, but in preparedness for another result, should it be the will of God. And this is easily shewn to be the usual mode of human proceedings: we insure our houses from fire; we protect our families, by life insurance, from the present pecuniary evils involved in the loss of active life and is it not equally, nay, more, imperative to protect ourselves from the moral evils involved in the loss of life, by laying up


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treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt?" Surely death is not the only evil from the consequences of which we should not seek a safeguard. From very large experience I can safely say, that adopting the other line of conduct, and telling the patient that in his individual case there is no prospect of recovery, is utterly unavailing as to the intended result: usually he does not believe the communication, and his confidence in the opinion of his medical friend is destroyed, and then all hope of usefulness is gone.

I have been informed that clergymen oftentimes complain of difficulties thrown in the way of their profitable visitation of the sick by the conduct of medical men. It may be so in some instances, where the line of conduct recommended has not been pursued but I would suggest to pious clergymen, whether this difficulty is not more apparent than real; and whether it does not rather arise from the natural recoil of the human heart against serious things, on the one hand; or, on the other, from the equally natural desire of finding some obvious cause, on which to throw the evil of failure. Let me affectionately entreat them to look at the evils which arise on the opposite side of the question-and these evils will be of a different character. according to the malady of the patient, and its physical unseen associations with cheerful or with gloomy images. As an example of the former, take a case of regular consumption. As would be desired by some persons, the medical friend takes away the prop of hope, and tells the patient he cannot recover. This produces at the moment considerable mischievous emotion: but no ground has been gained; for, by the next day, the physical associations of hope predominate; the patient has laid hold of some flattering symptom, and is again looking forward to recovery: Surely, my dear sir, you must be mistaken in your judgment: at all events it is

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certain that such an impression upon your mind must paralyse your exertions for my recovery; and therefore, painful as it is to me, I am obliged, in justice to myself, my family, and friends, to seek other advice, more calculated to restore me." And then the patient is thrown under the care of some individual who has not the friendly interest of long-standing connexion to energize his moral efforts for the sufferer, who falls a victim to the proceedings of the unblushing empiric. And what advantage is thus gained? Nothing, but the loss of the most valuable influence of the medical friend, and the early destruction of feeble life. Whereas, if the line of conduct recommended had been pursued, there would have been some hope of leading the patient to consider his ways; while his confidence in his medical attendant would have remained unbroken, and consequently his influence would have continued available for the moral benefit of the sick. This is no imaginative picture; it is the truth of large experience; and that experience advisedly states, that it is impossible to convince the majority of consumptives that they will

not recover.

Take an instance on the opposite side, of organic disease of the stomach, or the liver, or the heart; where gloomy or unreal or fearful images predominate, according to the affected viscus. Here hope is the most important anchor on which can be grounded the chance of recovery : take away that anchor, and the patient is driven hither and thither on the ocean of futurity; tossed by the billows of fearful and conflicting emotions; or hurried by fierce winds upon the rocks which every where abound; or is lost in the darkness and desolation which surround him. And still nothing has been gained; for although he will now be ready to listen to his spiritual adviser, and to embrace with eagerness all that he states: it is the pis-aller of him who has no longer hope from present scenes: it is flying from the evil to

come, rather than giving up the heart to God: it is the drowning man catching at straws: it is the hypocrisy of the human heart, which will seem to repent and to seek Christ when there is no other refuge from impending calamity; but it is seeking him in fear, not in love; embracing him as a Saviour from the penal consequences of sin, not as the Purifier and Sanctifier of the heart. And what has now been gained? Apparent attention to truth, apparent reception of spiritual counsel, apparent flying from the wrath to come; and yet the heart remains unchanged-aye, hardened in the hypocrisy of its own selfdeception, and blinded, by appropriating to itself the consolations of religion, to which it has no claim. How different might have been the result under a judicious treatment of the patient! How true this picture is, experience largely shews, by the fact of the self-deceiving hypocrisy of the immense majority of death-bed repentances, where life has been restored, and health regained, and the apparent disciple of sickness has relapsed into the wilds of carelessness.

This danger of hypocrisy would have been avoided by quietly pursuing the plans recommended in a former page. Yet even here violent emotion should be avoided; for violent emotion is not a necessary characteristic of religious impression; and its continuance would rapidly exhaust, perhaps would be sufficient very early to destroy, feeble life; to prolong which is as sacred a duty as can be conceived, and to destroy which by any means, whether licensed or unlicensed, involves a breach of the Decalogue. Religion has a power, elsewhere unknown, of gilding the stormy clouds, which attend even the early evening of life, with hues of inimitable beauty; and it is upon these the attention of the patient should be fixed. But while we thus speak of the consolations of religion, we do not intend that miserable abuse of the holy commuCHRIST. OBSERV. No. 353.

munion, which is but too common. and too fatal in its influence to all really serious thought. If the medical man be responsible for leading his patient to the only Source of real peace, and hope, and rest, and joy, and confidence; and if in so doing he is bound to direct his attention to the ministers of religion, as the source of more information, more extensive and juster views than he can give; they become awfully responsible for their employment of opportunities thus created for them; deeply criminal if they neglect them; most deeply and cruelly criminal if they deceive the sick, crying Peace, where there is no peace. Often has it happened to me to hear the result-doubtless through inadvertence or misapprehension — of the opportunities thus created. answer to my inquiries if they had attended to my request, they replied,

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Yes; they had had a visit from the clergyman, and he had given them the sacrament, and read prayers to them they had now done; they had made their peace with God; they could look back upon a wellspent life; they had committed no great sins; and they trusted in the mercy of God to make up their deficiencies: so they had nothing to do but to wait their coming change. Dreadful delusion! The prayers of the clergyman, and receiving the sacrament, rendered the means of pardoning sin, and of placing the sinner in such a state of reconciliation with God that his infinite mercy would make up the deficiency of good works! How awful the responsibility, even where this effect has been undesignedly produced through inadvertence, or from a fancied want of time frequently to visit a distant patient and thoroughly to investigate his state! Want of time is commonly the absence of inclination; for time may be created, in some way or other, by introducing order and method into our arrangements, for every real call of duty. It is my firm conviction that we shall all one day feel the great criminality we have contracted, 2 N

under this plausible excuse, from the neglect of a most important talent entrusted to our cultivation.

Having used the expression "law. ful means," it only remains to say what means are lawful for the medical man to employ for the recovery of his patient; and to this it may be said, any medicine, physical and moral, which does not produce an injurious influence upon his bodily or mental system, and which does not infringe the law of God and the law of love.

Such, Mr. Editor, are my passing reflections on this subject; and if I am wrong, I shall be glad to be set right by any of your judicious correspondents. W. N. F.

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To Mr. H. on the Death of Mrs. H.

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My dear friend,—I cannot express the emotions of soul which I felt on receiving from your valuable son an account of the death of his dear mamma. I often realize in my mind, and think I see you in various postures, and with indications of heartfelt sorrow and pungent perplexity. Oh! the piercing pangs of grief attending such a separation! They cannot be expressed nor pictured, but in idea. I have felt, I daily feel, for you and your dear children. Your and their loss is greatindeed. More-But stop, my friend: the sluices of sorrow ought not to be kept open, but the torrent

of grief abated, lest it swell beyond the bounds of Christian moderation and overwhelm the soul. How favourable to mourners is the blessed Gospel! Gaze not, therefore, on the dark side of the cloud. The black and sable dispensation is tinged with radiant beams of the Sun of Righteousness, which portend a glorious coming day. Could you hear the dear departed spirit, her language would be, Refrain from tears; I am well: weep not for me.'

Consider, my dear friend: He who gave her, reserved a superior right to her: this she, through grace, sweetly acquiesced in: and though she gave herself to you: for a time, yea, till time with her should be no more; she gave herself to the Lord in everlasting covenant, never to be forgotten. The Lord, her first, her best husband, was not willing to bear her absence any longer, and therefore sent his chariot to convey her home, saying, Arise, my fair one, and come away.'

"My friend, you will likewise consider, that you and she are not far separated; for although all communication be now broken off, you are yet, and will for ever, continue in the same house, even the house of mercy; that divine, capacious, and beautiful structure which Jehovah hath said shall be built up for ever." In that house are many mansions. We are in the lower apartments, while she is admitted to the large upper room, where Jesus keeps the feast with his disciples; and by and bye I hope the Lord will give us a gracious token, and say, hither.'

Come up

"You know, sir, it is an evil time; a gloomy prospect attends the land: her righteous soul may in mercy be taken from the evil to come. However, it is in the Lord's hands, who says, Be still, and know that Iam God.' Difficulties and increasing cares, it is true, devolve upon you; but know that the Lord is all-sufficient. It makes not much, whether burthens be lessened or increased, if strength be but in exact proportion; and He

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who cannot lie hath said, My strength shall be perfected in thy weakness; and, as thy day is so shall thy strength be.' Creatures are like candles: very useful, and always most prized, when the sun is absent; but if he arise, we can do without them. May the Lord arise and shine, and his glory light upon you and yours! As death does not separate from the Lord, neither does it divide the saints from one another. Your spirit and hers daily meet at the same throne; she to praise, and you to pray therefore, in that sense, though absent in the body, you are present in the spirit; and after a while you will meet in person, to part no more; for they that sleep in Jesus will the Lord bring with him.' In the mean time, we are called to walk by faith, and not by sight; and He, in whom we may safely confide, hath declared, All things work together for good.' It was once a reconciling thought to me in great trouble, that afflictions are compared in Scripture to workmen; all employed, and busy in the Christian's behalf. They work for you: it might have been against you, as is frequently feared. They work together; not separately, but in happy harmony. I then thought, the more the better, if God direct and point out their employment; for the end to be accomplished, is a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.' As persons take pleasure in reviewing the industrious workman, so the Christian, with Paul, may rejoice, not only in the Lord, but in his tribulation also. I take pleasure in afflictions also,' &c. If God send a great affliction (thought I), we may then view it as a fresh workman, engaged in our favour; and not only so, but look upon it as one who, in consequence of singular strength, will dispatch business (though of a heavy nature) at a great pace. Thus those for whom they are employed will grow rich at last.

Among others, let patience have her perfect work she is a pensive, but a precious grace. Have, likewise, labours

abundant in the Lord: Desire goes in search after celestial productions; Hope stands on tiptoe to view them; Faith goes to receive them, and brings them home. Thus, the just shall live by his faith; for what Faith brings, Love cordially receives, and Volition bids it welcome. Joy sings, and makes sweet melody; Peace possesseth; Rest receives; and Fear ceaseth to quake, and Jealousy to tremble. How well is it for the soul, when tribulation worketh for her, and when every grace is active în her! Angels encamp about her, and God rejoiceth over her to do her good.-I would not be tedious: excuse my prolixity.

I remain, your affectionate and sympathizing friend, and I hope brother in the kingdom and patience of Christ Jesus,



To the Editor of the Christian Observer.

In reply to your correspondent E.S.L., in your Number for February, I admit that the piety and activity of a clergyman may for a while increase the ranks of Dissent. My own ob servation has often brought me to this conclusion. The chief cause I conceive to be the following :—A minister, we will suppose, enters upon a spiritually neglected parish; where he finds a number of Dissenters, together with a far greater number of ignorant, careless, and irreligious churchmen. To the latter, his ministrations are especially directed. He discovers in them a vague attachment to the Church, propped on the one hand by mere prejudice, and on the other hand by a hatred of any thing that bears the name of Methodism. But as he is a consistent Churchman, and a clergyman, they can urge no fair objection against him; and they begin to listen to his scriptural instructions; and, by the blessing of God, and the influences of the Holy Spirit, are convinced of sin, and brought to the Saviour and

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