« VorigeDoorgaan »
troduced him to the most respectable families in the my life, and was so struck with the oddity of some par.
After visiting Philadelphia, and some other ticular passages in it, that I formed a design of commitplaces in America, he returned to England in the sum- ting them to writing. Indulging that thought one might
in bed, I was seized with an unaccountable shivering
, mer of that year. On his arrival in London, he sought out
and sudden fear, arising from I know not what, which a young lady to whom he had been long attached. They so agitated both my body and mind, that the bed shook were mutually desirous of being united in marriage, but underneath me. I rose up in a most dreadful horrar, the state of Mr Sheriff's finances did not permit of such and asked myself with agony and amazement, What was a step being taken. An opportunity now offered of the matter? I felt no pain in my body, neither was ! going out to Turkey in a mercantile capacity, and with apprehensive of immediate dissolution. I endeavoured
to compose myself, but in vain. An uneasiness of mind the most flattering prospects of soon realising a fortune.
increased, and trembling again seized me. Terror erSituated, however, as he was, it was mutually arranged compassed me about, and I thought I felt the blend between him and the young lady, who was engaged to freezing in my veins. Something suggested to me that become his partner in life, that he should return to Scot- this was the terror of the Lord, and that the swurd land and finish his studies for the ministry. This plan he of his vengeance was ready to be bathed in my blocú. lost no time in executing, and having passed his trials, Hell, I thought, was gaping to receive me; and a thou. he was licensed by the Presbytery of Haddington in
sand horrid devils were solacing themselves with the March 1773. However laudable his wish to fulfil the hopes of my speedy destruction. Benumbed with to
ror, and deprived of recollection, my animal spirits engagement under which he had come, it is lamentable failed me, and instead of roaring out in despair, I suri to think that no other, no higher motive should have into a state of childish insensibility. Sleep, or sorgeactuated his mind in entering upon the solemn office of thing like sleep, overpowered me, and when I awoše the ministry. Neither did providence permit the ac
I remembered my fears, and was able, in some measure,
to reason on their cause. complishment of that very object which he had thus un
I considered what hoses ! warrantably pursued. A rival came forward, possessed views I had of religion, or my notions of redemption,
had beyond the grave, and found I had none. The of an independent fortune, whom the young lady pre- instead of affording me comfort, deprived me even á ferred, and she being herself actuated by 10 proper hope. Instigated by a sullen pride, and no longer able principle, was allured by the tempting bait, and proved to endure these distracting thoughts, I cried out, If er: unfaithful.
days are numbered, let me be damned, for there is The disappointment to Mr Sheriff was remarkably remedy; or, if my days are lengthened out, 171 endes painful; but grief gave place to indignation at the un
vour to prepare. After this impious ejaculation, 1 k.
a sudden calm. I rose with some degree of composta, worthy conduct of one whom he had formerly held in and betook myself to prayer ; but the substance of 1. so high esteem, and to promote whose comfort in life prayer I have entirely forgot. After breakfast, I we had been the object of his utmost anxiety. Being thus to take a solitary walk upon the banks of a canal, wil baffled in the supreme desire of his heart, the thought-a design of inquiring more particularly into my kr less youth sought comfort, not in those objects which night's fears. The first question that occurred to can alone impart true peace to an immortal spirit, but was, Is there a God? The sun was then shining upet in the follies of an idle and inconsiderate world. He
the water with peculiar splendour, and I thought that resorted to all kinds of carnal amusement, frequenting 1 durst not harbour the thought one moment, for an!
every one of its dazzling rays cried out against Atbriz. the company and joining in the laugh of the ungodly resistible conviction of the Divinity totally overpower. and profane. His friends having failed, as might well I then asked, Is there a Trinity in this Godhea have been expected while he held such a character, in Insurmountable objections I thought immediately #obtaining an appointment for him to a parish, he ac- peared against the belief of it. The Socinian principles cepted, by the advice of the Rev. Dr Robertson the
came into my mind, that Christ was not very God, bu historian, the offer of a situation as chaplain to one of But this opinion I hastily rejected, and saw through ta
a great prophet, endued with extraordinary pomen the Scotch regiments in the Dutch service. He was ac- absurdity of it. A finite being, however high in le cordingly ordained at Haddington in the year 1775. On gree, can never approach nearer to an infinite Bea joining the regiment, he was surprised to find that than a finite being of a lesser degree ; so that if Chs among the officers there were several distinguished for
was not really God, his death could never be meritttheir piety, and that all of them despised a clergyman intinite. This idea, trifling as it may seem, entirely set
ous, because nothing can merit from an infinite butts whose character was not in unison with his high and fied me; and I felt a certain pleasure arise in my mind in holy profession. In these circumstances, he found it the hope of being confirmed in the truth of the doctron necessary to be remarkably guarded in his conduct of the Trinity, and by having some fixed principles tvar While outwardly decent, however, Mr Sheriff was still upon, I conceived hopes of being delivered from all tires unacquainted with the truth as it is in Jesus, and un- for the future. Solacing myself with the beliet!? impressed with the importance of vital godliness. At God, and the belief of the Godhead of Christ, a length the Almighty interposed in his behalf
, and, by the Holy Spirit, which was at this time marvele the direct and powerful operation of his Spirit, took homeward, and as I walked alone, I appeared as 3 ..
opened up to my soul's understanding, I bent es measures for bringing him under the influence of the insignificant thing, when conscious that I was unde" Gospel. He was not permitted to wander on in spirit- immediate eye of the supreme God, or glorious Triual darkness, but the eyes of his understanding were But this did not spring from any sense of my o*T** opened, and he was effectually turned “from darkness worthiness by sin, or from any particular convicts unto light, and from the power of Satan unto God.'
its ugliness, as being immediately opposite to the The earliest steps of the process by which he was re
nature of God, but rather from a consciousness iš ! claimed may be best recorded in his own words.
low state I held in the scale of beings. So thai, ar
to the unsubdued pride of my heart, and its latura e “Some time in the month of April 1776, while in mity, I did not make the proper improvement of Ypres in Flanders, I was meditating on the past part of discovery of the Godhead, but manifestly dres nye
myself a greater load of guilt. Most justly might God | displayed. But I neither durst allow myself to hope have for ever delivered me over to a reprobate mind; for any share in it, nor did I know the means of applyfor, bad I not had the most stubborn and accursed | ing for the benefits of it. Burdened to the ground heart, I must have fallen down upon my face, and cried with sin, and ashamed of my deformity, I again ven. out, Unclean! Unclean! before the Majesty of heaven, tured to pray. so conspicuously displayed. But his mercy in sparing “ After groaning out my miserable case, and acknowme, more abundantly marks bis patience, and his wil- ledging the justice of God, though he should damn me lingness to save."
that very moment, I was overpowered with a strong Thus was the mind of Mr Sheriff roused, at all events, sense of his mercy, in and through the sin-pardoning to reflection. He had begun to think seriously; and blood of his dearly beloved Son. I remained for some although he endeavoured to stifle the rising conviction, almost deprived me of speech. When I rose from my
time astonished at the view, and an indescribable joy yet ever and anon the idea recurred upon him, that his knees, I flew to the Bible with great earnestness: the heart was not right with God. While his mind was in first words that I read were in Lam. iii. 57. Thou
this state of Auctuation and uncertainty, the regiment drewest near in the day that I called upon thee: thou bi received orders to march down to Nimeguen, a garrison saidst, Fear not.' From these words, I preached to
in Guelderland. His character and feelings while at myself a sermon of love. I saw that the prophet was this new station he thus describes :
lamenting the miseries of Jerusalem ; but I felt a higher * When I arrived at our new garrison, I was much
one than the prophet, even thc Spirit of the living God, more attentive to my outward walk and conversation. speaking to all the distressed ones of the earth. I read Though I had as little regard for God and my soul as other passages of the same book, with a particular ferever, yet I was insensibly led to pray more regularly, your, especially chap: v. 21. Turn thou us unto thee, and to read the Bible more frequently. I formed some
O Lord, and we shall be turned.' I saw the necessity connections among the inhabitants, which were rather of the Lord turning me; for, instead of being able or unfavourable to devotion. I was frequently engaged in willing to turn myself, I was only running farther from parties of pleasure, and often forgot my flimsy resolu- him. What a glorious privilege it appeared, to be turntions. Reflection now and then stung me, but repeated ed to the Lord; and what condescending mercy it dis. amusements deprived it of its force. In the month of covered to be turned to him, even after the soul bad so August, I proposed to administer the sacrament of the grievously revolted from him! Uncertain whether this Lord's Supper. I was more than commonly concerned knowledge of the Scripture was real, or only a delusion, about the solemnity of the work; and as it was the first I looked into the New Testament, to see whether it time I had had an opportunity of dispensing this ordinance spoke words of comfort, and whether it was equally vince my ordination, I was particularly careful about the intelligible. The first passage I read was the eighth external part of it.' Every thing was carried on with chapter of the epistle to the Romans. Of the words, he utmost decency, and my discourses and exhortations
* There is no condemnation to them who are in Christ were somewhat evangelical. Some of the communi- Jesus,' I could form no distinct notion. To be in cants afterwards told me, that they enjoyed much of the Christ appeared incomprehensible ; but if it was such
a desirable thing to know Christ, how ravishing must presence of God upon the occasion. It had this effect upon me, that it removed from my mind many doubts it be to be found in him! The very idea of not being concerning God and divine revelation, and made me
in him, was more grievous to me than the condemnainore attentive to private duties, and more conscien
tion threatened; but again, I knew not how to be found tious in discharging the duties of my office. I likewise in him, or the evidence of it. However, I read on began, in some measure, to relish religious conversation, with an increasing delight, till I came to the 26th verse, and spoke freely upon various subjects to one or two
'Likewise also the Spirit helpeth our infirmities; for of the regiment, whom I knew to be God-fearing but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us, with
we know not what we should pray for as we ought; people."
Thus far no other change was produced upon the groanings that cannot be uttered.' Here, I thought, mind of the young chaplain, but a reform in his external | all darkness. None other but the ever-blessed Spirit
was a remedy for all my difficulties, a light to remove character and conduct. His heart was still unrenew- could make intercession for such a one as me. He ed; and had not the Spirit of God carried forward the knew best all my sins, and the sin of my nature, and he work which was evidently begun, “he must,” to use only could teach me those things which I knew not. I his own language, “ as he had lived a Pharisee, have thought I felt something of the power of such an inreaped merely a Pharisee's reward.”
He was not per
tercessor, and the need of him. The glory of the Tri. mitted, however, to remain long in this condition, for nity, Jehovah, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, was in
some measure revealed to me; and I thought I saw the he thus proceeds to state the remarkable deliverance blessed Three rejoicing in the salvation of sinners. which was wrought out for him by the Almighty :- The Father's willingness to save, the efficacy of Christ's
“ About the beginning of the year 1777, my former blood to save, and the power of the Spirit to draw sinfears and apprehensions began to attack me. I often ners to be saved, were most sweetly held forth to my culied in question the solidity of the foundation upon soul's understanding. I appeared as nothing in mine which I built. I dared not to examine it minutely; own eyes, and my vileness and unworthiness made me for whenever I entered upon it, doubts, dreadful doubts doubt if the power of the Godhead could ever make
These were sometimes so severe, that I could me fit for being in Christ. I read over several other have wished to have changed my existence with the passages of Scripture, and great was my joy to find cilest of creatures.
them all concurring to exalt the glory of free grace, in Sins came rushing in upon me from every quarter the salvation of sinners. The Bible now appeared to Joods upon floods, and each of the commands seemed me the richest treasure. I no longer found it dark and harged with the thunderbolts of wrath. The original incomprehensible. I held it fast in my arms, calling it cpravity of my nature was held forth as the woful all my own, and expected to find wonders rising upon ource of these pestilential streams; and I stood con- wonders in it. I therefore resolved to make it my essed the child of the devil. Then, and not till then, principal study, to read it morning and evening and
felt the necessity of a Saviour; then I saw the pa- mid-day, to pray three times a-day statedly, and to emence of God in sparing such a wretch; and then, in brace other opportunities, and to allot a daily portion of ome measure, the glorious scheme of redemption was time for sericus meditation. I likewise proposed to
havé a fast-day every week, and to be denied to the dispense the ordinance to 400 of his people, to whom
In a day or two after the communion he was taken
Lady Glenorchy, to whom we are indebted for a of my comfortable views. However, I ventured upon it, and soon afterwards went to bed. When I lay down, very interesting notice of Mr Sheriff
, has given a full I'never experienced so much joy and inward tranquil, first he enjoyed much spiritual comfort and peace, but
account of the state of his mind on his dying-bed. At lity. I could have almost wished never to have seen the morning; and this not owing to an assured faith, his prospects were occasionally clouded by doubts and for in all this time I did not know what faith was; but fears. It will be satisfactory to our readers to quote to a secret fear of losing sight of such a glorious scheme
some passages from the sketch drawn up by that pions of salvation,
lady, under whose roof he died. Her ladyship thus The different style of preaching which Mr Sheriff
writes :now adopted was quite apparent to his audience, and
“ Upon offering one day to read to him a passage in many of the officers were so offended, that they absent- one of Hill's sermons, he said, “O no, read the Bible ; ed themselves from the Church. Most of them, how all other writings are insipid to me--they are the works ever, returned, and the attendance of the officers, gene- of men, and some of them are good ; but the Fords of rally, was more regular than ever. A fellowship-meet- God are my delight. One promise gives me more com
I have no relish for ing was soon formed; which was productive of much fort than all the writings of men. benefit ; a spirit of inquiry began to be manifested in any book or conversation, that does not bring them to
my remembrance.' He would often say to those about the regiment, and the chaplain bad the happiness of him, "Well, have you got any sweet promise to tell me finding that his now strenuous exertions in the cause of?' And upon one being mentioned, he would geneof the Redeemer were accompanied with a blessing rally say, 'Othat is sweet and comfortable to fiy soul from above.
On Tuesday, the 3d of May, he said, “0 how I linger In consequence of a letter which Mr Sheriff wrote at
here! When shall I get home! I must now pray day this time, to a pious friend in Edinburgh, tidings reached and night for submission and patience; to wait the Lord's
time without murmuring. He has hitherto given me some of his former acquaintances of the remarkable
the grace of patience : glory be to his name for it.' change which had been wrought on his heart, by divine
“ He was now so emaciated, that he could not with grace. They naturally felt a deep interest in the con. out much pain turn himself in bed. He frequently o version of one who, they had feared, was an apostate served what a sad situation his would be, were it net from the truth. Lady Glenorchy, who had lately built for a glorious prospect of life and immortality berond a chapel in Edinburgh, and was anxious to secure & the grave; adding, What would have become of me, faithful and efficient pastor for it, was induced to turni God in truth! how impatient should I hare been! bov
had I lain in this condition before I knew the grace of her attentions to Mr Sheriff, in consequence of the re
miserable in tlie approach of death and judgment! 0 presentations of some of his former college companions. what a mercy is it, that I did not take this disease to He was, accordingly, invited to supply the chapel for years ago!' some months, in the view of being settled over the con- "On Thursday, the 11th of June, having passed the gregation if he proved acceptable to them.
whole night in great distress of body, quite speechless un willing to quit the present scene of his labours, as the and to all appearance just dying, his hands and eres Lord was evidently prospering his exertions for the good broke out; about ten o'clock, with these words: 0
being almost constantly lifted up as if in prayer, be of souls. His health, however, having begun to decline, what a glorious prospect there is before me_eternal the doctor of the regiment advised him to try the effect glory!-All is love,—all is love. O he is a gracious of his native air for a few months, and taking advantage God,—the Father of mercies.' Then, lifting up Lis of the kind invitation he had received, he came to Edin- eyes to heaven, repeated with uncommon sweetnes. burgh. On his artival in September 1777, he took up him, and said, "When He who is my life shall appes
Father ! Father !' He then looked round to one per his residence at the house of Lady Glenorchý, and commenced his labours in her chapel. The few sermons
I shall appear with him in glory, and shall be ever with
the Lord. Because he liveth, I shall live also.' which he preached were attended with remarkable suc
“ After lying quiet for a few minutes, he began spain His career, however, was brief, though deeply to speak in a low voice. One could only for some tie interesting.
distinguish the words, Eternity! Glory! Gracioss' He had not officiated more than a few weeks in his Blessed be His name! But again raising his voice, he new charge, when symptoms of consumption began to said, “The Lord is waiting to be gracious. Tell every appear. Still he continued to discharge his duties both body, that he waits to be gracious. Call upon ali ta in public and private, with much satisfaction and bene- praise him. seek him while he may be found, as
upon him while he is near; he is found of them w fit to his people. Being anxious that sealing ordinances seek him; seek him diligently night and day,' should be administered in the chapel, he devoted several “ He continued for a considerable time exhortins weeks together to the examination of his people, and around him, and praising God in so fervent and a often said, If I can but have the satisfaction of seeing ing a manner, that some of those who were pres the ordinance of the Lord's Supper administered to a
could not refrain from weeping. Upon seeing this sus body of serious Christians in the chapel, I shall willing thinking it proceeded from sorrow, he said, • :ly take to my bed next day, and never rise more.
cannot you bear a Gospel whipping? You are pe This much wished for privilege was granted him.
to be the disciples of Christ, if you cannot give up
On for him. He knows when to use the whip; be last the 15th of March he was enabled to go to Church and on for our good. Were there not formerly times, sa
you bore with patience many difficulties, disappoint- done for me, a poor wretched sinner! I went into all ments, and trials for his sake ?--these were times of sin—yet he had mercy upon me—a vile worm. Oh I love.' Then turning to his mother, he said, “What cannot express what he has done for my soul! For. the blood of bulls and of goats could not do, the blood give me, Lord, for doubting one moment of thy love! of Christ has done; it has made reconciliation with O the sin of doubting! O the compassion of Jesus !' God. O believe it, and receive him; tell my father to Some hours after this, he was again assaulted by the receive him.' Then, addressing himself to another per- enemy, and cried out, “I am undone, undone—where am son, he said, "What a blessed thing is it to be employed I going—the Lord has withdrawn himself. But, upon in the Lord's work! Blessed indeed are they who live being reminded what had happened before, and that to himn. O go on, go on, rejoice in Christ, bless his the Lord who had delivered once would again deliver, name; rejoice evermore.
for he was mighty to save_he gave a sudden spring up "After speaking for more than an hour in this strain, in bed, and getting hold of the person who spoke, said, he lay quiet, and tried to sleep; but his heart was so Yes, yes, my dear friend, he has saved me, and he full of the love of Christ, that he could not continue will also save you.' long silent: he soon began again to speak to the praise “ Soon after this he took leave of those about him, of his glorious grace, extolling the Lord Jesus for what saying, “ Farewell, I shall meet with you in glory; I he had done for his soul, and for the mercy now freely shall speak no more to you here.' But some time afheld out to sinners in the Gospel. He continued in ter, seeing one in tears, he held out his hand, and said, this strain of praise and thanksgiving, till near ten o'clock Submit, submit, it is the Lord's doing. We shall at night; often exhorting those who were present, and meet again, and live together with him in glory. He also those absent friends, with whom he had been in- then turned up his eyes, and moved his lips as if in timately connected, as though they had been present, prayer, but was unable to speak aloud; his counteaccording to their different situations; some to come to nance expressed a sweet serenity and holy fervour of Cbrist, and believe on him for salvation ; others, who soul, until he was seized with a pang of death, which had already believed, to cleave to the Lord with pur- affecting his looks, a person asked him, if all was well pose of heart, to follow him fully, and not to be ashamed with his soul? he answered, 'Yes, yes.' After anof his cause. He in a very particular and affectionate other short struggle, the same question was repeated, manner addressed himself to some of the officers of the to which he replied with difficulty, yet so as to be unregiment to which he had belonged, exhorting them to derstood, an is well--well—well-breathing his last, be good soldiers of Jesus Christ, not be ashamed of with these words upon his lips, and this so gently, that his Gospel, but to go on in the good ways of the Lord, one may with propriety say, he fell asleep in Jesus, at and to be faithful unto death. He seemed to mourn nine o'clock, the 12th of June 1778, aged 28." over one of them, who had once made a profession of In looking back upon the brief but eventful history religion, but was gone back into the world; he besought which we have attempted to sketch, there are many
him to return to Christ, who was yet willing to receive · him, and would heul his backslidings; he assured him profitable reflections which naturally crowd upon the
that Christ waited to be gracious, and he entreated him mind. At Mr Sheriff's first outset in the world we 1 to be reconciled unto God.
find him apparently ardent and enthusiastic in his “ After having, in very strong terms, expressed his attachment to habits of piety, and the company of assurance of eternal glory, he was suddenly tempted to pious men. By degrees, however, he is overcome by doubt that he might be under a delusion. He cried the influence of temptation, and, at length, by his out in an agony, O what if I should yet be deceived whole character, he showed that though he had for-O my past life stares me in the face I am afraid I am afraid all is wrong-1 never felt any thing like merly had a name to live, he had been, in reality, this----what will become of me, if I should be deceived spiritually dead. He plunged into iniquity of every at last!' He wept bitterly, and seemed in great fear kind, and was even guilty of living, for a time, in and horror of mind. A person who was present said, habitual profanation of the sacred office of the mi"Surely you have long ago renounced all dependence nistry. Had he been cut off in this state, how upon your own righteousness ; you have fled for refuge awful his condemnation! But it pleased the Alto the hope set before you in the Gospel; you have believed on Jesus as your righteousness and strength : mighty to spare him a few years longer, and to pluck why then should you be afraid ? Is he not able to save
him as a brand out of the burning, thus rendering to the uttermost all that come unto God by him? him a trophy of redeeming mercy, and a signal monuHave you not again and again committed your soul unto ment of the riches as well as the sovereignty of dihim for salvation ? and he is the same yesterday, to-day, | vine grace. and for ever.' · Yes, yes,' he cried out,'' he is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. 0 why did I doubt his love? how dreadful is the sin of unbelief! I never
OUR LORD'S ENTERTAINMENT AT THE telt any thing like this before ; it was a fiery dart, but HOUSE OF SIMON THE LEPER. the Lord hath delivered me from it.' Upon this he was
BY THE Rev. Robert JAMIESON, reminded of having said some months ago, that he had no experience of Satan's fiery darts, and that he sometimes
Minister of Westruther. felt uneasiness at not having had this evidence of being
"Now, when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the lea child of God; he answered, “It is true, but now I per, there came unto him a woman having an alabaster-box of know what they are ; it is a dreadful thing to listen to
very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at the suggestions of the enemy, and to doubt of Christ's love. O pardon me, Lord ! Indeed it was a fit of jeal. A NARRATIVE exactly similar, though much more cirnusy. After this conflict was over, he seemed more cumstantially related, is to be found in the 12th chapfull of faith and love than ever. He could not find ter of the Gospel of John; and from the order in which words to express the joy and triumph of his soul. Jesus it bas been introduced by Matthew, an opinion has prewas his continual theme. Often did he call upon all to vailed among the most eminent commentators, both in believe his goodness, his compassion, his willingness to ancient and modern times, that the entertainments to save, saying, “Now he stands crying out to all, behold which Jesus was invited, were given by a person who, nel behold me! and will ye not look unto him, all ye as he is here called Simon the leper, was one of those ends of the earth, and be saved ? O what has he not ten whom our Lord had recently cured of this malignant
meat."-MAT, xxvi. 6—7.
disorder. It is of no importance to determine whether, considered no longer dangerous, and the persons were this incident was the same, or happened at a different readily admitted into society ; so that, on either hypotime from the one mentioned by John, otherwise than thesis, we need not be surprised at our Lord and the as it is always desirable, when it can be attained, to people of Bethany repairing to an entertainment in the shew that the accounts of the sacred historians harmo- house of a leper. nize with each other; and as there can be no doubt, What particularly rendered this feast memorable, vas from the testimony of two independent and inspired the conduct of the woman who acted so conspicuous a witnesses, that some such occurrence did take place, part to the illustrious guest. She seems to have ca. we are led, by various considerations, to suppose that tertained the most profound respect for Christ; and the entertainment, mentioned by Matthew, is inserted her eagerness to lavish her assiduities on the object of out of the chronological order, and was the same as her reverence was inanifested in a manner which, whethat of which John has also preserved an account; for ther we consider the action itself, or the liberties taken both evangelists agree that the transaction occurred in in the house and presence of a man of consequence, the village of Bethany, in the house of Simon, and in appears strange and anomalous to all our ideas of procircumstances so nearly similar, that no one, who duly priety. A little attention, however, to the peculiariconsiders all the circumstances, can hesitate to come to ties of oriental society will shew that there was, in the conclusion, that the two narratives, though con- neither of these respects, any deviation from establish. taining some points of dissimilarity, refer to one and ed usage; for as to the action of Mary, it has from the same transaction. This conclusion, besides esta- time immemorial been considered in the East a luxury blishing the harmony of the sacred bistory, leads to to have strong-scented ointments, and, consequendy, a another-not less important that the occurrence must high token of respect for one person to give them to have taken place in the evening of the Sabbath. For another. Perfumes have at all times been held in the John expressly tells us that it happened six days before greatest estimation by the people of the East; ard the passover; and as our Lord was crucified on the pre- these are so easily obtained, either from the animals, paration-day, that is, the day preceding the celebration gums, or vegetables which their genial climates preof that national festival, the feast in Simon's house duce, that all classes enjoy them, and are scidom a must have been given on the evening of the previous never without them, even on the most ordinary octaSabbath. We are led to notice this particularly, as sions. But at festivals,-probably to counteract the it affords an opportunity of directing attention to the effects of tco copious a perspiration,--they nse them so peculiar sanctity with which the Sabbath was celebrat- profusely, that, as Roberts observes, an Englishmaa ed among the Jews. At that sacred season, they reli- can scarcely bear the odour; and in mixing in crowds on giously abstained from all manner of servile employ- their great religious festivals, he had often been most ments; and as the preparations for their necessary food anxious to escape into the open place. Various allo. were commanded to be made the night before, that not sions are made in Scripture to this practice. But that only they themselves, but also strangers living with passage in the 45th Psalm, where the Psalınist gives a them, might enjoy an unbroken interval of repose, it prophetic description of Messiah, may suffice to convey was not till sunset on the Sabbath which was the ter- an idea of the manner in which perfumes and strope. mination of their day--that they were at liberty to in- scented ointments were used among the Jews. He de dulge in the pleasures of the table. Hence we read scribes the fragrance of Messiah's garments to be such that, as on that day they were particularly enjoined to as if the aromatic woods had been the very substore cultivate a benevolent and liberal disposition, they were out of which the robes were made. And if we consder accustomed, from an early period of their polity, to ce- what Jolin adds to the account of Matthew, that the lebrate Sabbath-feasts, which they honoured with the woman poured the ointinent on the head and feet of best and most delicate viands, and to which the weals Christ, as he sat at meat, we shall perceive the transis thier classes were in the habit of inviting strangers and tion in the house of Sinion to be a lively commentars
The entertainment of Simon seems to have on the prophetic language of the Psalmist. In to been of this description ; and as our Lord was then tra- houses of the wealthier Jews, servants were emplos velling to Jerusalem, and was remaining during the Sab- to sprinkle the guests with these perfumes, at cerut bath at Bethany, as a convenient stage ; and moreover,' periods of the banquet, and this is conformable to uta as Lazarus and his family, with whom he was accus- we are assured, by every traveller, is the custom in the tomed to lodge, were but indifferently accommodated, East at the present day. Maillet, when entertained by they were invited by their more opulent neighbour to some of the chief officers of Egypt, as consul of France, partake of bis Sabbath-feast, which, according to Jew- was regaled with sweet odours, odoriferous waters de ish custom, was specially designed for the poor and way. ing poured over his hands. Clarke, too, when enterfaring man. The circumstances of the landlord en- tained by the Turkish governor in Cyprus, saw a no abled him to shew this weekly hospitality to the poorer pass rapidly round and bespatter the faces, hands, ad villagers of Bethany; nor was it contrary to the ideas clothes of himself and companions, a complimeat so of the age and the manners of the country, to accept little expected at the time, and so zealously administered of it froin a person in the bodily condition imputed to that they were obliged to wipe from their eyes the Simon, who either had been miraculously cured of his honours which had almost blinded them. And Hann leprosy, by the benevolent interposition of Jesus, and mentions that at a feast at which he was present, be was consequently restored to the pleasures of society, was surprised, having never seen the practice belus, or his disorder had arrived at that stage, when the pro- by some slaves coming round to him and dashing or scription and exile of the leper was no longer required. his head and clothes a profusion of rose-water and abr For according to the Mosaic law, as is justly observed aromatics. The action of Mary, therefore, to Chris by an eminent German critic, leprosy was considered far from being an uncommon or impertinent office, infectious only in its first stages, that is to say, while an almost universal mark of attention paid to guests su the pimples and ulcers continued to spread, for during such houses as that of Simon, and it owed all the se that time the persons infected were either shut up till tice taken of it to the costliness of the article, together the priest saw no further reason, or dwelt without the with the character and circumstances of ber who * camp, having their heads bare, and a covering on their stowed it. The perfumes then, and still, most in rem upper lips, while on the approach of any person, they in the East are rose-water, aloes-wood, cassia, ex were commanded to warn the passenger of his danger, mary, and the various well-known spices of Indis sed by exclaimning, “Unclean, unclean.' But when the Arabia, and they were preserved either in little bass whole body became leprous, and dry, and scaly, it was of gold, or, what was far more common, in Little ori