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supplied to his family by a pious orphan, Louisa Schep-tributing to his support, although every contribution ler, whom he had educated, and who being now twenty- they chose, and found it convenient to make for him, lie three years of age, begged, in the most affectionate man- would still cheerfully accept as a mark of their goodner, to be allowed to take the management of his house will; but he desired that they would still continue to hold affairs and his children, asking only one return for contribute, whether in the shape of goods or money, her faithful services, that she might be permitted to for the schoolmasters, and for every other charitable take the name of Oberlin.
object established among them. He himself, with the The arrangements of Oberlin's house were exact- assistance of Louisa Schepler, superintended the distrily of such a kind as might be expected from his bution of whatever was thus contributed, keeping an character. On the door of every room he had some exact account of every article disbursed, whether on pastebvard fastened, containing a verse from the Bible, his own account, or for the public good, as it was a or some useful moral maxim; and to all his visit- constant maxim with him to “ do all things in order," ors he gave, as a welcome, a printed text, such as and to "owe no man anything.”. It may appear sur“ Abide in me, and I in you,” or, “ Seek those things prising, how a man, with so slender an income as which are above." His walls were covered with engrav- Oberlin, could have any thing to spare, much less to ings, portraits of eminent characters, plates of animals, carry on his numerous plans of public usefulness. drawings of minerals, and, in short, with everything His ability arose, not certainly from the abun. calculated to convey to the mind definite ideas of ob- dance of his resources, but from his habits and prinjects in natural history. His meals were always at early ciples, for, having been early impressed, through the hours, exact at the time, and consisted of the simplest writings of Moses, with the laws concerning tithes, possible articles; and during the repast, he frequently he resolved to observe them, and devoted three tithes engaged in useful discourse, having a very happy talent of all he possessed to the service of God and the of improving every occurrence. There was one room poor.
The same habits he had impressed upon his in his house, where he was most frequently to be found, people, and the plan was this, he kept three boxes, and that was his workshop, where he kept his tools, on each of which suitable texts of the Mosaic law were and where be made many things for his people with his inscribed. The contents of the first were assigned to own hands. He had there a turning-lathe, a printing. the erection and repair of the churches and schools, to press, and a press for book binding. His mechanical the support of masters and mistresses for the latter, to turn made nothing come amiss to him; and everything the purchase of Bibles and religious books, and to the he could think of for the comfort of the poor, and the advancernent of every thing connected with the worship temporal improvement of the people, he prepared at his of God and the extension of the Redeemer's kingdom. own expense, and with his own hands, in that workshop. The second box was for receiving funds appropriated
At the breaking out of the French Revolution, Ober- to the improvement of the roads that led to the churches lin was attached to its principles; and his son, who en- and schools, for dinners to the poor, and for repairing tered the service as a volunteer, fell almost in the first of injuries. The contents of the third box were for the Campaign_a loss which he bore with the greatest resig- service of the poor, and for compensation of losses by Dation. Like the rest of the clergy, at that dreadful fire, which were frequent in the district. So scrupuperiod, he was deprived of his scanty income, but it lous was he in discharging his obligations to these boxes, was in some measure supplied to him by the heads of that whenever he heard that the sum was not suficient for bis parish, who made an annual collection for him, by any one of the above purposes, or when he was under going from house to house ; but from the increasing dis- the necessity of taking any thing out for a time, he kept aters of the times, that precarious revenue was dimi- a debtor and crcditor's account between himself and the nished from year to year:
And yet his equanimity and box; so that by the small sums put from time to time his trust in God never forsook him amid his own and into these boxes, he and his people, who were taught to his family's distress. One consolation was left him, imitate his example, had almost always funds at comthat while in the Reign of Terror that then prevailed, mand for any useful or charitable object. erery kind of worship was prohibited, and men of ta- The extraordinary exertions of Oberlin for the public lent, learning, and influence, were thrown into dun- good had long attracted attention ; and when at the gcoas, be was allowed to prosecute bis labours without restoration of the Bourbons, the French Government molestation~a liberty, however, which he owed not to was settled, his claims to some public tribute were the clemency of the Government, but to the remoteness brought under the notice of Louis XVIII., who sent and poverty of his situation. His house consequently him the ribbon of the Legion of Honour. The Royal became an asylum to persons of all creeds, and to in- Agricultural Society of France voted him a gold medal; Eviduals even of the most distinguished rank, to all and what was a greater, and to him more valuable, of whom he opened his hospitable door, without re- honour, the British and Foreign Bible Society made garding the personal risk to which his generosity ex- him their first foreign correspondent, and forwarded to med him. Nor was he ever molested, for, with the him a large donation of Bibles. In the full enjoyexception of one occasion, when he was falsely accused ment of health and domestic happiness, he saw his childof having excited his people against the existing order ren respectably married and placed in honourable sta
things, and from which charge he was speedily tions; and with a mind immoveably resting on the sure dassed, the well-known integrity and Christian Foundation, this venerable man, at the age of fourscore, principles of this great man procured for him an al- looked calmly forward to the hour of his departure. most solitary exemption from the miseries to which Nevertheless he did not abate in his public labours ; he men of public character were then subjected. From went continually about among his people as much as the failure of his income, he was reduced to the ne- his increasing infirmities would allow. When he left cessity of providing some means of maintaining his home, he always wore a cocked hat and the red ribbon he facily; and as soon as the fall of Robespierre and had received from his Sovereign. On the Sabbaths he cther circumstances enabled him to carry his plans into officiated in each of the five churches in his parish by etect with safety, he announced his intention of taking turns; and one of the people of the hamlet where la or twelve pupils into his house. The sons of seve- he was to preach, brought a horse for him, on which he si distinguished foreigners were soon put under his rode in his pastoral robes, some of the principal farmers care, and be had then in a short time in his power an of the district meeting him, each agreeing to enjoy in roEcome, which cnabled him once more to indulge his tation the honour of entertaining their beloved pastor at bez zvolent dispositions. He publicly declared to his dinner. The intervals of public worship were passed in fuck, that he would relcase them from the duty of con- dining with the bourgeois, and afterwards visiting some
of the old and excellent men and women of the place. THE CONVERSION OF AN INFIDEL. On his return to his family, the evening of the Sabbath
WRITTEN BY Himself. was spent in reading the Scriptures, and edifying con
[The narrative which follows, is extracted, by permission, from a versation, concluded by a French hymn, in which all work, consisting of authentic accounts of the power of Divine the household joined. His public services in the way Truth, as exemplified in various cases which have actually occur
red both in the army and navy. The work, which bears the of preaching were not confined to the Sabbath, for,
name of a highly respectable Baptist minister in Edinburgh, Mr “ every Friday evening, he conducted worship in Ger- INNBS, is entitled, “The Church in the Army;" publislied by man for the benefit of people of the neighbourhood who
Waugh and Innes.) were better acquainted with that language than French.” “ I should premise, that ever since I was seventeen His congregation on a Sunday consisted of about 600 years of age I had been an open intidel and deist, havpersons, but on the week days, of about 200 persons; ing been made so at that early age by an old greyand Oberlin, laying aside all form, seemed on such oc- headed gentleman, who attacked me one night at his casions, more like a grandfather surrounded by his chil. house in Hereford, where I was spending the evening dren and grandchildren, to whom he was giving suita- with bis son. The old man, thinking I was an artiess ble instruction, than the minister of an extensive parishi. easy prey, commenced the subject after tea—warily and In order that no time might be lost, he used to make artfully, lest I should be shocked and frightened way. his fernale Learers knit stockings during the service, He tempted me, just as the devil did Eve, by casting not indeed for themselves or their families, but for their suspicious doubts and evil surmises into my mind, till poorer neighbours, as he believed that this charitable he excited my eager curiosity to hear all he had to say; employment would not distract their attention, nor in- telling me it was true wisdom and knowledge, and that terrupt the devotional spirit which pervaded the even- I and all Christians were blinded by priestcraft, &c. As ing assemblies. When he had pursued for balf an hour I knew nothing of the arguments in proof of the authe strain of his retiections upon the portion of Scrip- thenticity of the Scripture and truth of the Christian ture which he had just been reading, he would often religion, he, in the course of a couple of hours, so say to them, “ well, my children, are you not tired ? powerfully tempted me—exciting in me every bad pasHave you not bad enough? Tell me, my friends ?” sion, particularly my pride to gain this knowledge and To which inquiry, his parishioners would reply,_" No, be wiser than the Christian world at large, and that I Papa, go on, we should like to hear a little more ;" might be above all law to God, and sin with impunity though on soine occasions, with characteristic frankness,—that I stretched forth my hand, and did pluck of the the answer was,-“ Enough, we thank you, for one forbidden tree and eat. Instantly the poison began to time;" and the good old man wouid leave off in the work and corrupt within me; for I left him laie, and midst of his discourse, or wait a little, and afterwards re- on going home, finding my sisters had gone to bed, I sume it, putting the same question again at intervals, thought I could not rest till morning to attack them as until he saw that the attention of bis congregation began I myself bad been attacked; and when I gained oppor. to tlag, or until they, perceiving that he spoke with less tunity, endeavoured, by rant, boldness, and boasting, to ease, would thank him for his instructions, and beg poison them with the same abominations I had now imhim to conclude. Nor was it to the pulpit alone that bibeci. this indefatigable minister of Christ confined bis spiritual “ I continued in this state, a proud infidel boaster, till labours. lle used to go frequently among the people I went to a place called Mohill, in the county of Leion pastoral visits, during which he carried with him a trim, in Ireland, on detachment; laving, aias! ere this, book, in which le marked down his observations, as corrupted many a young man with the poison of infito the character and condition of each, under distinct delity: for I had learnt all the jargon, cant, sopbistry, beads, such as the class of “idiers,"
“ bad managers,"
and inpudence of this system of the devil; and to be “promising,” “ decidedly religious,” &c. Another me- thought a clever fellow, and to raise a laugh, I used to thod he took, was to make his remarks on the state of ridicule Christ and his religion_but I own it was more his congregation under the 'Ten Commandments. And out of sinful pride and vanity, than from disrespect in on all these occasions of pastoral visitation, be entered my judgment, or enmity to the character of Christ and in the most familiar and ailectionate manner into con- his religion. However, I did not, and could noi, in any verse with the humblest.
sense, believe His religion or the Bible to be true. I Oberlin's last illness was sudden and of short du had never read any arguments or books of evidences of ration, and he evinced the same placid resignation and the truth of Christianity, por would I read them; but composure of mind which his previous life had mani. I had greedily devoured all the intidel writings I could fested; on the most trying occasions, exclaiming at meet with. The fact is, I did not wish to be convinced intervals in broken sentences, “ Lord Jesus, take me of the truth of the Bible and the Christian religion. I speedily. Nevertheless, not my will, but thine be was an infidel from the love of sin, that I might indulge done. His funeral was attended by crowds from all therein with impunity and liberty, and without fear of quarters, anxious to pay the last tribute to the memory evil consequences; and for the same reasons would of Dear Papa, as he was always styled, and to look have been an open professed atheist, but I could not. on bis venerable countenance, which they were enabled And I believe in my soul that every infidel and atheist to see through a glass lid wbich covered the cofin. As is so solely from the same motives ; and I am persuadthe funeral procession left the house, they placed on the ed that most of this class of men feel as I did, if they coffin the clerical robes of the late pastor, along with would but tell the truth—but they are aslained to do bis Bible, and to the pall was fixed the decoration of so-for, although I launched into all the pleasures and the Legion of Honour. Ten or twelve young females sins of the ungodly worid, I was miserable ; and, like joined in a hymn at the grave. The oldest inhabit-Milton's Satan, carried a hell within me, from which, no ant carried an inscription for the tomb, bearing the more than from myself, could I escape by change of words, “ Papa Oberlin.” And after the procession bad time, or place, or scene.
I knew there was a God, reacbrd the church, and the coffin was placed on the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, holy, rigbteous, altar, beneath which it was to be buried, the Rev. M. and true. I could not but believe and deeply feel, Jaeglè mounted the pulpit, pronounced the funeral ser- though I denied it, that there was a judgment-day to inon, and concluded by reading a paper in the hand- come-a beaven, and a bell. These truths I never writing of the deceased, which he had addressed to all could shake off, and I was, therefore, at times, when his parishioners; and its affectionate and carnest ex- not in the intoxication of pleasure and revelry, miserhortations tended greatly to increase the regret and la- | ably wretched. There were some simple arguments mentation for the loss of so apostolic a minister. which, from their reasonableness and truth, always tor
mented me; and by means of which I was literally my | miring Christianity, and its excellence, so vividly manis own tormentor; or rather my conscience was, which fested in her, I ceased to oppose or ridicule the Chrisindeed makes cowards of us all.' The arguments tian religion. In short, she so won my confidence and were these: namely, If Scripture be true, all my disbe- high regard, that I told her sincerely all my past history, lief and rejection of it can never make it false ; and it my infidelity, ar.d all my present wretchedness. never has been proved false : which, after all the oppo- “ The first time I thus conversed with her, she said, sition, and attacks, and sifting it has met with from ' I have a strong presentiment, and feel persuaded, that every quarter, is a negative and presumptive proof that ere a year is passed you will be a true Christian. I it is true. I reject it solely froin necessity, not from replied, “I most sincerely hope you may prove a true choice of judgment or conscience; for I know its doc- prophetess; for I would give worlds to be a Christian, trines are grand and good, and most worthy of God; as you are'-for I both knew her excellence and virtues, whereas the scheme I have embraced, but cannot fully and that she was ever happy; and my own sin and guilt, believe in, of no future state and annihilation, is put. and that I was ever miserable. ting reyself on a level with the beasts that perish, and “ During my acquaintance with this Christian lady, is lase: now if I were to be bappy hereafter, I should she used every argument to win me over; and shewed naturally wish, like the Christians, to live for ever, as a that pity, kindness, and compassion, which the Gospel recompense for all the pain, misery, and wretchedness proves is the only way to this happy end, in meekness of this world: so that I am forced, through necessity | instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peralone, to wish (for, after all, I cannot so believe it as adventure will give them repentance to the acknow to dispel my fears) to be annihilated at death. I there- ledging of the truth.' The happy result was, that in a fore embrace the infidel doctrines in opposition to the short time I found I had no doubts left of the truths of Scriptures, although I know the infidel doctrines to be the Scriptures, and that I believed them in my conbed in themselves and productive of all evil, and the science, as I did ever before that fatal night the hoaryScripture doctrines good, and productive of all good; headed infidel taught me to disbelieve and reject them. but I reject the Scriptures, because they assert a future During three months I had the privilege and haphell. Take away the hell, and I will instantly embrace piness of this Christian lady's kind counsel and interest and profess Christianity; for I should like, as would in my spiritual welfare, I gradually became more and every model, if he spoke the truth, to go to heaven and more sincerely anxious to become a true Christian, such be happy for ever, whatever that happiness may be. as I knew she was; and to believe with that holy saving Yea, if there should be no happiness, but merely an faith, of which she used to speak, and which she proved exerption from misery, I should like it above all things, from Scripture to be the gift and operation of the lloly and embrace Christianity for the sake of it; for any Spirit on the mind. As yet, however, I could not un. thing is better than an eternal hell; and if there really derstand in the slightest degree the real meaning of the be such a place of punishment, I know I deserve it: nature or power of faith, or of spiritual things generally. and if this be a truth, that there is an eternal hell, then | All was darkness, mystery, and an enigma to me, both my disbelief, or rather my trying to disbelieve it, but as to understanding these things, or feeling their power in vain, and rejection of it, cannot make it less true; on my soul. And this is agreeable to I Cor. ii. 14 : for, if true in itself, it must ever remain so, which is · The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spithe very nature of truth.
rit of God; for they are foolishness unto him: neither “ But, particularly, the following old and simple ar- can he know them, because they are spiritually discerngunent always upset me at once, because it was short ed. Yet she told me, that if I prayed in truth and sinand incontrovertible, and embraced the whole of what cerity, and read the Scriptures in prayer_if I asked, it I lave Lere stated : namely, If the Christian religion be would be given me-if I sought, I should find—and she false, ite Christian will lose nothing by it, but then will was sure I should do so; and that ere long I should only be on a footing with the infidel, provided infidelity possess this spiritual, saving, purifying faith, and be a be true: but if Christianity be true, the Christian will truly regenerated child of God. This she always afgain every thing by it, and the infidel lose every thing; firmed, judging from my sincerity and candour; as I seand then intidelity will be proved to be false, and an riously confessed, with sorrow, that I was a sinner, Eternal hell proved for infidels. In short, come what guilty and miserable, and that I longed anxiously to be wi??, w cichever be true or false, the Christian can lose made a real Christian. noking by embracing his system; whereas the infidel “ At this time I had many convictions of sin, and may lose every thing, if his system prove false: there began to pray in private for pardon, which I had entirely fore the chances are against the infidel, and it is possi- | left off, since the night I was corrupted by the old sinble aad probable he may be cast into bell for ever. ner, the deist: and I also think my Christian landlord
" This argument used to make me terribly afraid used sometimes to read the Scriptures and pray with whenever I would reiect upon the subject; for I clear- I now respected the religion of Christ and his real ly sw, that, as it was more than probable, and natural, disciples; I loved the Saviour (although I could not and rational, there was a hell, it was probable, if I lived call him my Saviour) and his children dearly, however and died an infidel, I should be in it for ever. These poor or mean in life they might be ; and, indeed, had thoughts would put to fight all my boasting, pleasures, gradually done so from the time my first friend took and amusements, and dash down the draught of animal such an interest in my spiritual welfare and happiness. happiness from my lips, or at least so embitter and poi. “ Shortly after this, my detachment was called in to son is, that I was often miserable beyond description ; head-quarters ; immediately upon which I got leave of but through shame and pride, never told my feelings to absence, and went to pay a visit for several months to any one.
my relations in my native island, the Isle of Man. * When I arrived at Mohill, I had the good provi- *« In the Isle of Man I heard the Gospel preached by dence to be introduced to a truly Christian lady; and an old schoolfellow, the Rev. R. Browne, a minister of after I had enjoyed her acquaintance a short time, I be- 2 sweet Christian spirit. In his sermons he dwelt much an to perceive and admire ber great excellence. She on the universal depravity of mankind, the nature and Fras so benevolent and kind, and shewed such a real in- necessity of regeneration, the blood and merits of Christ, terest in iny present and eternal welfare and happiness, and the mercy of the Father through Him to the chief koowing what were my perverted sentiments, and how of sinners, in a very powerful and energetic manner; *Tetched I must be, that I soon became intimate enough and, as his discourses were delivered extempore, they to unbosom my whole soul to her, with all its misery. came with the more power to my heart. By constantly And from the time I first knew her, respecting and ad. I attending his ministry, having the benefit of bis and
other Christian people's society, (who used to meet to death. And why? because he has been assured by the gether for social prayer and reading the Scriptures) Captain of his salvation that he shall gain the victory, and by reading good books and tracts, I gradually be- and come off more than conqueror through Him that came influenced, I trust, by the truth as it is in Jesus. loved him.' Of that he is assured by the immutable As I heard and read the primary fundamental truths on oath of his God and Saviour when he begins the conwhich all real Christians of all denominations agree, I test: and, oh ! surely this will make him fight manlearned to pray earnestly to Jesus Christ, under a sense fully and courageously, even though he were a coward of guilt, now deeply felt, for pardon and salvation, re- before through his doubts and fears and uncertainty of generation and holiness; and I do trust the good work victory." of grace was then begun in my regeneration and conversion of soul to God; for I was sincere and zealous
DISCOURSE. at that time among all my friends and relations, endea
BY THE Rev. R. S. CANDLISH, A. M. vouring to lead them into the truth, so far as I experimentally knew it.
Minister of St. George's Parish, Edinburgh. “ When I was led to see the true nature and grounds - He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool.” of a sinner's justification before God; that it was not
Prov, xxviii. 26. conditional, but unconditional, and through the righteousness of Christ imputed by faith—that is, that the Turs maxim of the wise man is justified by the sinner upon believing is pardoned, accepted, and invest- description which the prophet Jeremiah gives :ed with a title to eternal life, for the sake of the infinite
“ The heart is deceitful above all things and desmerits of Jesus Christ, (who died, the rust for the unjust, to reconcile us to God,)
through the mercy and perately wicked ; who can know it ?" For, if it sovereign grace of God the Father :—when I under- be indeed such as it is there represented, assuredstood and received this blessed truth, I was quite over
ly the heart cannot be very trust-worthy. And whelmed with that joyous grief which ever accoinpanies that it is so, that the prophet's description is true repentance not to be repented of.'. I now saw but too correct, must appear abundantly evident clearly that a repenting, believing sinner is completely to all who have ever sincerely and seriously enand eternally justified, through faith, without the deeds gaged in the difficult task of self-examination. of the law; even through the righteousness of God. The very difficulty of the task (and who that who can be (or appear) just, as well as merciful, while 'the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus; so that
in earnest, not found it difficult ?) to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that jus proves how full the heart which is the subject of tifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted to him for right- it must be of treachery and of secret vice'; and eousness. Now I plainly saw the meaning of, heartily how true it is, that we can scarcely hope to gain embraced, and rejoiced in, these blessed passages, and that complete knowledge of it, which alone could multitudes more of the same nature throughout the warrant our placing any confidence in it. For, Word of God. They now appeared as with a sunbeam ; and I was only amazed at myself in being so sinfully however we may think ourselves fixed in our atblind and obstinate as not to understand and receive tachment to holiness, and our dislike of every thing them before; and that I could have been so long be- that has even the appearance of sin, can we tell witched as to resist or oppose their plain and obvious how much of this specious goodness is the result meaning. “ The immediate effects of this change wrought in of it, on the other hand, is due to the mere force
of religious principle in the soul; and how much me by the Holy Spirit were great. My load of uncertainty, legality, self-righteousness, and unhappiness was
of circumstances, the restraints of society, the abremoved entirely, and my soul filled with peace and joy. sence of temptation? Can we be sure, that no I was brought as into a new world of being ; looked alarming symptoms, no latent tendencies to crime upon the Word of God, religion, and all things in the escape our cursory observation? Do we scrupukingdoms of nature and providence, as well as of grace lously watch over every unhallowed passion in and glory, through a new medium ; old things, indeed, its birth, and check the slight and seemingly inin many important senses, bad passed away, and all things had become new. And as to love to God in significant beginnings of evil ? Do we detect, in Christ, not only for mercies generally, but these sure, each loose desire, the rage and violence of unbrieternally sure mercies, my heart was ready to burst its dled appetite,—in every word and look of causebounds; and now in deed and in truth I felt powerfully less anger, the very spirit of the murderer ? Can the words of Jesus to Mary, Her sins, which are
we guard against those enemies within us, which many, are forgiven her; therefore she loveth much.' Full assurance of faith and hope filled my soul, and I may rise in a sudden hour of weakness and of trial, felt as already in heaven. Now I could say, with Paul, and prevail over all those holy principles and holy
I count all things but loss for the excellency of the resolutions which seem now to be so sure and knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord : and do count strong ? If we can thus thoroughly ascertain the them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in whole amount of our strength, and the real extent bim; not having mine own righteousness, which is of of our infirmities, in that case, perhaps, it may be the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, wise, and prudent, and safe, to trust in our own the righteousness which is of God by faith. Now I hearts. But if not; if it be so hard a task to felt I had power, through Christ strengthening me, to rush into the midst of the battle against the world, the search and know our own thoughts, and motives, tesh, and the devil, and to give a helping hand to and habits ; if we are apt continually to be deothers. Oh! truly they say falsely who affirm that ceived or mistaken; if there be in our secret these are doctrines tending to laxity of moral and spic souls, a depth of depravity which we can never ritual conduct and life: surely they who have felt their fathom; then, assuredly, the wise man's maxim power, (and they only can give an opinion,) can testify is sagacious and sound, and he who trusteth in to the very reverse, and assert that they inspire (under the Spirit's teaching) the Christian soldier's heart to his own heart, must be indeed a fool. begin and continue to fight the good fight of faith unto But, not only is this maxim founded on a just riew of the human heart, it is abundantly justi-ness of his principles, and the strength of his newly fied and confirmed by universal experience, and acquired taste for the beauty of holiness ; his may be illustrated experimentally.
newly formed habits of self-government and self1. One striking proof of the proverb in our text, command. His conversion has been fully tried we have in our proneness to relapse into sins, of and proved; he has ceased to do evil, he has which we fancied, perhaps, that we had long ago learned to do well. What need, then, he asks fairly repented. When the sinner is first convinced himself
, of all that timid caution, which might be of his sin,—when he is, by some signal warning, prudent, perhaps, in the infancy of his religious or some special call, arrested in his thoughtless convictions, but which may surely be dispensed career, and awakened to reflection, and made keen- with now, when these convictions have attained ly and bitterly sensible of the guilt and danger of their full and vigorous maturity ? Why should his evil practices or his evil passions; then, with he still be so very careful and scrupulous ? emotions of deep contrition, and in faithful depend-There cannot, he may flatter himself, there canance on that God whose grace has disposed him not now be much danger of his yielding tamely to to repent, the sinner-fleeing to the cross of Christ, the slightest solicitations of appetites which he and seeing there his sin’s exceeding sinfulness, has learned to subdue, or pleasures which he has grieving over it, and hating it, and turning from it been brought to abhor, or companions whose to the God of love-determines, by a vigorous friendship he has long ago renounced. There exertion of self-denial and holy resolution, to re- seems, too, to be something weak and cowardly nounce for ever the habit which has hitherto ty- in his thus timorously confining himself within so rannised over the powers and affections of his soul. narrow a circle of formal entrenchments and deHe makes at once his prompt, yet firm choice, be- fences ; why not venture boldly to cast aside his tween God and the world. He lingers no longer reserve, and go forth and mingle a little more in reluctant hesitation. He seeks no excuse, no freely with the world, and so boldly put to the compromise. He pleads not even for delay. But test his repentance and his faith? at once and for ever, he consents to break off all Thus, the penitent is unwarily betrayed by the connection with the world's temptations, and to re- very speciousness of his penitence, and that feelmove his feet as far as possible from the fair, but fa- ing of false shame, which is weak man's weakest tal paths, in which before he was wont to go astray. point. He begins to relax at times his vigilance ; He feels his own weakness too, and therefore, to approach a little more nearly and less timidly the industriously avails bimself of all the means of scenes and the circumstances of his former sinful grace. By boly meditation,—by frequent retire- pleasures. And as, perhaps, no immediate or serious ment, by the reading of the Scriptures,-by un- harm may follow, he is fatally encouraged to venture ceasing prayer, he strives to fortify his still feeble still more confidently. He gradually and almost resolution, and to keep out of his mind all thoughts, insensibly diminishes the fervour and the frequency and all desires, in the least connected with his of his devotions,—the pure sincerity of his single former evil course. He shuns his old companions, trust in God; and step by step he proceeds, from and attaches himself to persons of sound religious caution to negligence, from negligence to rashviews. He avoids every place, every amuse
ness, till the feeble barrier is at last broken down, ment, every pursuit, which may tend, however and one sad moment serves at once to prove the Jemotely, to remind him of former liberties, and madness of his high and proud self-confidence, excite again the lusts of his unrenewed nature ; and to blast the fruits of all his watching and his and he labours so to busy himself in works of holy prayers. He finds his old enemy—the evil habit, obedience, as to leave no leisure for his inclina- the unruly passion which once subdued him, tions to wander. He starts at the slightest ap- and which now, he thought, he had at last subproach to excess. He is always watchful, al- dued—he finds it still much stronger than he ways on the alert, and being ever sensible of his imagined ; lurking insidiously within him, even liability to relapse, he never, for an instant, loses when he seemed to have wholly rooted it out ; his devoted reliance on the Saviour, never forgets ready to take advantage of the least departure to look to Him, who alone can carry on the good from strict discipline, and to start up again as Fork begun in his soul.
fresh and strong as ever. He finds, that however Thus warily, thus humbly, thus devoutly— fair the show of reformation might be, yet, when trusting nothing to his own good dispositions, he trusted in his own heart, he was indeed a trusting all to Him who delivers from evil—thus fool. does he for a time go on, and so long does he II. Another practical and experimental proof continue to walk both wisely and safely.
of the wise man's assertion in our text, we have, But soon his evil heart of unbelief tempts him in the various turns of the believer's struggle again to depart from the living God. He finds with indwelling sin. The sins under this head that by divine grace, his rigid self-discipline and referred to, are not, as in the former instance, his pious care have been in some degree success- sins apparently forsaken, into which the penitent ful." He finds, or fancies he finds, his character to may relapse, but rather sins which we may be be now completely and fairly changed. He thinks, even now rainly struggling to forsake—the sins therefore, that he may now calculate somewhat which do most easily beset us. Thus, to select un the sincerity of his repentance, on the sound one example, which may easily be applied to