Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

carly picty in a child is any proof of the training | record every remarkable occurrence of the day, hints exercised by the parents. At all events, the elements for improvements in knowledge and piety, an account of godliness were found in this child at a very early of authors read, and occasional extracts of such period; no small evidence of which is the language passages as deserve particular notice. It should of filial tenderness in which, when he was very young, also register plans of study to be pursued, business to he speaks of his father and mother. The favour of be transacted, resolutions to be performed, errors to God, which so clearly rested on this youth, in his be amended, and duties to be discharged.” future life, may surely be conceived to have descended Mr. Wilson speedily left Ireland for the curacy of on him, in no small degree, from the dutiful spirit of Winwick, in Lancashire: here his stipend was exhis early childhood. Such was the character of Him tremely small; but, in being quite contented with it, who, in the youthful days of his earthly sojourn, went he acted upon the belief of one of his favourite down, and "was subject to his parents.” Mr. Wilson maxims, “ Nature wants little, and grace wants less." received his early tuition from Mr. Harper, a school His views were so far from mercenary, that the emolumaster in the city of Chester; and, having laid a solid ments of the clerical office were never thought of by foundation under his care, entered at Trinity College, him; and out of a very small income, he set apart Dublin, with the intention of studying physic. But one-tenth for the poor. He fixed on a certain proHe who, aforetime, had “called Luke the physician, portion of his income, which he would dedicate to the whose praise was in the Gospel, to be an evangelist ends of charity ; upon this fund he never infringed; and physician of the soul,” saw fit to divert the incli- , and he strictly confined his personal wants within the nations of Mr. Wilson into a different course. This limits of the remainder. And thus, what might be change of purpose was the result of the persuasions termed “deep poverty (as far as regards his receipts of Archdeacon Hewetson, who afterwards gave him from the Church of which he was a minister) abounded great assistance in his studies. Enough is not re unto the riches of his liberality.” The remarks of corded of this period of his life to enable us to set it the same biographer on this head are well worthy of forth as an example to students : by its maturer fruits, attention. however, we may decide, with tolerable certainty, that “ To suppose that little good can be done without this period was well laid out. He was remarkable in money is a gross error. The world is indebted to the after-life for the orderly distribution of his time ; and, instrumentality of men, who possessed neither silver when we consider how many and important were his nor gold, for the richest and noblest benefits that acquirements, we may feel sure that methodical ar were ever conferred on mankind. The minister of rangement formed a part of the discipline, as well as the Gospel, however destitute of that “trash which being the habit, of his earlier days. Whether Mr. has been slave to thousands,' is entrusted with the Wilson experienced any marked change of sentiments true riches, and is constituted a dispenser of treasures at the time of his fixing upon the clerical office, does which never fail. If he be faithful to his trust, if he not appear. There are some whose views with regard • walk worthy of the high vocation wherewith he is to that office have been either so unworthy, or so un called,' he has no reason to envy the highest of the defined, that it is indispensable before men can put sons of men. No titles can be more honourable than any confidence in them, or they in themselves, to find those by which he is designated. He is styled . the out what have been the motives that drew their steps messenger of the Lord of Hosts,' an ambassador towards the ministrations of the sanctuary. But to from the King of kings, and a steward of the myslook for a change in all candidates for the sacred teries of God. His employment is the noblest in office, would be an impertinent demand. Some have the world. It is directed to the most important ends. been given to God from their mother's womb, and It is designed to restore our fallen and depraved nature have “ feared the Lord from their youth ;" and these to its primitive purity and dignity, to reconcile sipners need only to have their principles deepened, and to their offended God, to proclaim the unsearchable their minds farther enlightened. This was the case riches of Christ,' and to convert this barren wilderof Mr. Wilson, whose humility in the view of those ness into a nursery for heaven. To the eyes of a prequalifications which he undoubtedly possessed in a judiced and unbelieving world, he may appear mean, high degree, as well as his solemn approach to ordi- destitute, and afflicted; but he shines gloriously in nation, proved that the “ preparation of his heart was the eyes of his Lord and Master ; and may justly be of the Lord."

described in the language of the apostle. As poor, After finishing his studies at the University of yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet Dublin, in the year 1686, he was ordained deacon by possessing all things.'” Dr. Moreton, bishop of Kildare. In a memorandum After being ordained priest, and renewing, in the book, given him on the day of his ordination by his most express manner, his vows of self-consecration to friend Archdeacon Hewetson, he recorded the devo. the sacred office, he recommended himself to the tions of that interesting day.

esteem of William, earl of Derby, who, in 1692, made " A more valuable gift (says one of his biographers) | him his domestic chaplain, and tutor to his son, Lord could scarcely have been bestowed on him than such Strange. His salary for this office, when added to a register, or a more useful plan suggested to him another sum, which he received from the mastership than that for the execution of which this gift was of the almshouse at Latham, made him the possessor bestowed the recording the principal events of his of 501. per annum ; an amount which he looked upon life. The advantages of this plan are numerous and as forming a superabundant fund for his private and important. It contributes, in a high degree, to in official wants; and one-fifth of which he dedicated to tellectual, moral, and religious improvement, and to holy uses. the effectual advancement of the temporal and spiritual interests of the writer. It constrains to self

The following memorandum testifies to this fact:observation, and leads to self-knowledge. A faithful

Easter Day, 1693. diary discharges the office of a guardian and monitor.

" It having pleased God, of his mere bounty and At the same time that it marks what has been already goodness, to bless me with a temporal income far done in the great business of life, it discovers how above my hopes and deserts, and I having hitherto much still remains to be done, and prompts to higher attainments and further proficiency. There is scarcely

given but one-tenth part of my income to the poor ; any book, which the writer himself will find more in

I do therefore purpose, and thank God for putting it teresting or instructive, at a future period, than an

| into my heart, that of all the profits which it shall exact diary of his past life. The journal should be please God to give me, and which shall become due uninterrupted. Nulla dies sine lined. It should to me after the 6th of August next (before which

time I hope to have paid my small debts), I do pur- | may justly expect that God, who raised me (it may be pose to separate the fifth part of all my incomes, as I for this very purpose), when I am found so backward shall receive them, for pious uses, and particularly for in his service, will level me with the meanest of my the poor."

father's house. My fortune is in his hand entirely; And, after this memorandum, occurs the following

and he that could find a way to raise me without myScriptural quotation, which shews that he had no self, can find out a way to ruin me in spite of my best false notions respecting the merit of acts of bene- endeavours. And since, in my conscience, I know ficence:-" Though I bestow all my goods to feed that I have not the least pretension to what I enjoy, the poor, and have not charity, it profiteth me but all is owing to his providence and goodness, I am nothing." Mr. Wilson soon had an opportunity of shewing

his debtor for it; and I have no other way of making that his sense of pastoral responsibility was not super

a return, but by doing my duty honestly, and leaving ficial. Lord Derby offered him the valuable living of the event to God. Baddesworth, in Yorkshire, wishing him still to re " And may that eternal goodness inspire me with a main with him as chaplain and tutor to his son; but

resolution answerable to this good and great design! he refused the proposal, saying, that he should violate

May no weak and cowardly apprehensions fright me his conscience were he to take the living on such terms. He raised himself in the opinion of his patron

from my duty! May I fear Him only who has power by this conduct, and in due time received his reward ;

over my soul as well as body, to destroy them both, if but he had first to go through an afflicting interval in I am disobedient to the heavenly command. Inspire his history. Soon after this he was nearly brought to me, O God, with a zeal and courage becoming my the grave by a malignant fever ; but God mercifully

profession, that I may rebuke vice boldly, and disraised him up, that he might add to his life many

countenance wickedness wherever I find it, and be years of usefulness and conscientious service. An occasion soon presented itself, which threw

jealous for thy glory in the presence of the greatest great lustre on his character. Having witnessed, men on earth. Above all, O Lord Almighty, make with sorrow, the embarrassed state of his noble me to do some good in this station, in which, by thy patron's affairs, and seeing that his habits of extrava. providence, is my present lot; that when thou shalt gance would only involve him in deeper difficulty,

please to remove me (whether for the better or worse, Mr. Wilson resolved, at whatever hazard, to discharge his conscience by expostulating with his patron.

thy will be done), I may not repent of having done The thoughts of his heart on this occasion may be

nothing which thou requirest of me. Grant this, o seen in this paper, entitled, “ Reflections on my pre | my great and bountiful Lord and Master, for the sake sent circumstances, Oct. 21, 1696:"

of Jesus Christ. Amen." " It has pleased God to call me out of a family, Nerved by these resolutions, Mr. Wilson approached which (though its honesty and industry, by God's Lord Derby, who received his remonstrance with blessing, has secured it from poverty, yet) is far attention, investigated his affairs, and, by the aid of from being rich, to a post which my own merits and

his chaplain, arranged them. Mr. Wilson was no less prudence could never have brought me to. The se

faithful in the discharge of his office as a tutor, than Veral steps I have made to this place have been very

he had been in that of chaplain. Ke strove to impress

upon his noble pupil the duty of referring every parextraordinary, and such as plainly appear to have been ticular of his conduct to conscience. An instance by the direction and goodness of God: from which I occurred, when the young lord was about to sign cannot but conclude, that since God has thus raised | a paper he had not r

| a paper he had not read: his tutor dropped some me, it must certainly be for some wise and good end;

burning sealing-wax on his finger, the acute pain of

which raised his anger at first; but it quickly suband that I might be obliged, by all the force of in

sided when Mr. Wilson explained the motive of what terest and gratitude, to do my duty in this state of

he had done. He might have evidenced the good life to which I am called. It is true, it may at first fruits of this severe rebuke, had his life been spared; sight appear very hazardous to use that liberty and but he soon died: an event which was speedily folfreedom which may seem necessary to advise and re lowed by the removal of Mr. Wilson to a field of more claim that great man whom I serve. But, then, I am

important labour.

The bishopric of Sodor and Man, in the patronage to consider, that were I really to lose all my expecta

of Lord Derby, had become vacant, and Mr. Wiltion, as well as what I have gotten, I am but where I son was pressed to accept it; but his extreme humiwas when God at first shewed me his favour. Nay, lity, and the sense of arduous responsibility which my education will still set me above my father's

that office would entail upon him, concurred to produce a refusal. He is another instance of that purity

of motive and unselfishness of spirit which (as we saw “But this is not what I ought to fear: for cannot

in another case—that of Cranmer) lead the true serGod, who raised me without myself, cannot he raise vants of God to decline offers of advancement, which, me, or keep me up, though my ruin should be de if accepted, would put them in an envied position of signed and attempted? And perhaps it may never

wealth and splendour. The see would have lapsed to come to this; for who knows but God may give a

the crown, had not the patron at last filled it up. In blessing to my honest endeavours? And then I am

this emergency, he again importuned his chaplain,

who was thus, as he says, " forced into the bishopric," sure it will be the greatest advantage, as well as

| upon the duties of which he entered in 1697. The honour, of my life, and an ease to my soul all my people were, in many respects, rude and uncivilised : days; and if he only falls out with me, and discharges his efforts were therefore directed to refine their manme his family, I have the glory and satisfaction of

ners, as well as to instruct their hearts. He moved having done a great good work.

about in every part of his diocese, enlightening the "Now, if I neglect this, which I take to be my

ignorant, counselling the inexperienced, and relieving

| the necessitous. “ His life was singularly useful : it duty, or, for fear of danger, or any temporal con- abounded in the labour of love, the work of faith, and deration, put it off in hopes of a better occasion, I the patience of hope:" it united the benefits of the

house.

active and contemplative life. From his closet he senting himself to the congregation. His private redaily came forth, clad " in the whole armour of God," | ligion kept pace with his official energies. Secret prepared to fight the good fight of faith, and to obtain prayer, self-examination and confession, as may be a complete conquest over his spiritual adversaries. | known from his Sacra Privala (already alluded to), In a life so holy and heavenly as his, the sweetest | formed the habit of his hours of retirement. pleasures are intermingled, and “joys with which a The Manks language (the mother-tongue of the stranger intermeddleth not."

natives of the Isle of Man) is a branch of the He now proposed to enter the marriage state, but Celtic, which was once the universal language of not without seeking the Divine guidance in his choice. Europe. The bishop took much pains to gain a Of the importance of such direction, his biographer knowledge of the Manks, and was thereby enabled thus speaks :

to address the poorer people in the colloquial phrase “No deliberation or circumspection can be too

which they best understood. In the year 1699, he great in a transaction of such importance as the choice

published a book in English and Manks, called of a partner for life, Quod statuendum est semel, deli

** The Principles and Duties of Christianity;" the berandum est diu.' An error here leads to the most

first book ever printed in that tongue, and specially awful consequences: it is fatal and irretrievable. The

designed for the use of that diocese. He afterwards Christian is concerned, in a particular manner, to

took measures for the accomplishment of a translation proceed with peculiar caution in forming this delicate

of the Four Gospels and Acts of the Apostles into and important connexion. No personal attractions,

Manks, and printed them mainly at his own cost. no brilliancy of talents, no elegance of manners, no

His conduct towards the clergy of his diocese was polish of education, should induce him to form such a

most exemplary; for a year before their ordination connexion, till he has unquestionable evidence that

he took them to reside in his family, that they might these pleasing qualities are connected with real and

be fitted for their work: he directed, and took part genuine piety. This is the gem which sparkles with

with, their studies. In his sermons and charges and undiminished lustre in the darkest seasons of adver

| pastoral letters he unceasingly held up to their view sity, and in the broad sunshine of prosperity, which

a high standard of ministerial character, and enjoined illumines the cottage and adorns the palace, which

which them, above all things, to prosecute their pastoral outshines the brightest diamonds upon earth, and

visits. " There are no parts of his ministry (says which will emit eternal splendour from the crown of

one of the bishop's biographers) which the pastor glory in heaven. The possession of the pearl of

will recollect with greater comfort on his death-bed great price' is essentially requisite to the enjoyment

than the hours he has spent in pastoral visits; and of conjugal felicity; but an abundance of this world's

no omissions of duty, of which the remembrance will goods' is far from being requisite."

be more grievous to him, at that awful period, than

the omission of this momentous duty.” But his matrimonial state was destined to be short: A memorable epoch in his life now approached. seven years was its duration. The records of Chris In consequence of the flagrant misconduct of an inditian resignation will not furnish any brighter instances vidual in his diocese, the bishop, in the exercise of his than the conduct of Bishop Wilson under this be function as an ecclesiastical judge, had sentenced the reavement. His prayers and meditations on this offending party to a temporary banishment from the occasion are well deserving perusal.

Lord's table until the fault should be confessed. A His views of the qualifications for the episcopal temporising clergyman of the diocese, meanwhile, adoffice were most sublime, drawn from the writings of mitted the offender to the sacrament: the bishop susthe primitive Christians, out of whose sentiments he pended him for canonical disobedience; upon which had collected that standard which he had adopted for Captain Home (an arbitrary and tyrannical governor himself. “In simplicity of manner and sanctity of of the island at that time) sentenced the bishop and life, he bore a near resemblance to Ignatius and Poly his two vicars-general to a fine, which they refused to carp, Chrysostom and Basil. Like them, he was in

pay. They were accordingly committed to Castle cessantly occupied in his Master's service, watching Rushen prison, closely confined there, and treated for souls, as one that must give an account." His with every species of contempt. The mourning of the Sacra Privata exhibit his views of the episcopal office, people was universal : they assembled around the priat the same time that they give a deep insight into son, and listened to the addresses of the good bishop, the state of his own temper and spirit. The income who restrained that indignation which would have led of his see was small, not exceeding 3001. per annum ; them to demolish the governor's house, and besought but he was economical, and it was found amply suffi them not to return " railing for railing, but, contraricient for his family, as well as for the exercise of a | wise, blessing." Like Paul, he wrote several circular liberal charity. He was a lover of hospitality towards | letters during his imprisonment; and so far from the poor. more than the rich: he turned to useful losing bis weight with them by his degradation, they account the medical knowledge he had acquired in I gave him fresh tokens of affection, and followed up his youth, and “acted in a great measure as the phy his plans with zeal. After his release, his cause sician of his diocese." He attended to the advance having been heard by the king in council, the bishop's ment of agriculture throughout the island, and was character was fully vindicated, and the whole weight anxious to countenance all improvements in the use of the disgrace turned on the head of his adversaries. ful arts of life. He was specially careful to provide The bishop visited Scotland in 1710, and London in for the instruction of the poor, urging the same upon 1711, and received the highest marks of love and his clergy in his charges. He founded a charity reverence from the clergy, as well as the nobility and school at Burton, the place of his birth, and assisted gentry, in both parts of the kingdom. In 1735, visitin establishing several others, paying minute atten ing England again for the last time, he was introtion to the details of the regulations of each school, duced to George Il. and Queen Caroline. This queen, Nor did he forget the ministerial in the midst of the who well knew how to appreciate true piety, solicited episcopal office. It was said by one of the old martyr him to reside in England for the remainder of his bishops, when he stood at the stake, “Hell is filled life: this he declined, saying, "I will not leave my with unpreaching prelates ;” but such omission could wife in my old age because she is poor." The Isle of not be charged on Bishop Wilson. He either preach Man was now visited by two severe scourges - a geed, or exercised some public ministration, every Sun neral scarcity and an epidemic disease. To supply day during the fifty-eight years he resided in the Isle the wants arising from the former, he bought all the of Man, frequently riding on the Sunday morning to corn that could be procured, and sold it at a low price a distant part of his diocese, and unexpectedly pre- | to the people ; to arrest the latter evil, he put forth

his medical knowledge, which proved most im- | fell asleep, all things continue as they were portant. As the life of this godly man drew to its close, his

from the beginning of the creation.” Jude character shone with increased lustre. As the “out

also forewarns us of such : “But, beloved (he ward man decayed, the inward man was renewed day says), remember ye the words which were by day.” His countenance was more joyful, his beha- | spoken before of the apostles of our Lord viour more kind, his conversation more heavenly, and

Jesus Christ ; how that they told you there his prayers more fervent, as the time drew on when he was to put off his earthly tabernacle. A student

should be mockers in the last time, who should (a candidate for the ministry) who slept in a room ad- walk after their own ungodly lusts : these be joining the bishop's chamber, often heard him at mid they that separate themselves, sensual, haynight occupied in prayer, and ascending on the wings

| ing not the Spirit.” They take delight in layof matured devotion to that state on which he was ere long destined to enter. For a short time before his

| ing themselves out to corrupt the principles death, the powers of his mind (from his great age) | and practice of others, making their boast of were slightly obscured. He suffered an attack of de- sin, glorying in their shame; " who, knowing lirium, which lasted some weeks before his departure :

the judgment of God, that they which commit but though his intellect was eclipsed, his piety shone brightly; and the spirit of devout aspiration, which,

such things are worthy of death, not only do almost more than any other, had been the distinctive

the same, but have pleasure in them that do feature of his personal religion, remained vivid to the them." There are others who see the neceslast. He finished his career in the year 1755, having sity of a certain attention to moral conduct, lived ninety-three years, the last fifty-eight of which were passed in his diocese. “Blessed are the dead

but look with a sullen, contemptuous, sceptiwhich die in the Lord, and their works do follow cal eye upon revelation, and with an affected them."

D.

compassion, which their conduct often but ill exemplifies, revolt at the notion that the be

neficent Creator should visit with severity the THE FOLLY OF MOCKING AT SIN: frailties, as they term them, of his suffering

creatures; forgetting, indeed, what the world A Sermon,

actually presents of sorrow and suffering. BY tie Rev. B. E. Nicholls, M.A. .

Revelation does not make a man miserable, it

finds him so, made so, continuing so, by his Curate of Walthamslow.

own wickedness; and its object is to restore Prov. xiv. 9. .

us to happiness, by bringing us back again to " Fools make a mock at sin.”

God.

2. But, turning from such, whose lusts on In treating of this subject, we propose con- the one hand, or whose pride on the other, sidering, I. What it is to make a mock at lead them to ridicule the authority and sancsin : and, II. The folly of doing so.

tion of the revealed will of God, we will proI. Sin, we are told by St. John, and a most ceed to notice that which comprehends a much important definition it is, is the transgression larger class of mankind; we mean those who of the law (1 John, iji. 4); doing what God mock at sin by " trifling" with it. They forbids, or omitting to do what he commands. I particularly do this by suffering almost any The law requires perfect obedience in thought, thing to set aside obedience to God; they word, and deed ; supreme love to God, and | expose themselves unnecessarily to temptathe love of our neighbours as ourselves; and tion ; they frequent companies and places, whoso offendeth in one point is declared by involve themselves in employments, which are James (ch. ii. 10) to be guilty of all, because likely to lead them to sin, and yet mock at it is equally a violation of that authority on the idea of danger from them. They do not which the whole law rests.

give the law of God, in reference to the reguThe term "mock," as applied to the law of lation of their daily conduct, a thought either God, may include, 1. ridiculing; or, 2. trilling one way or the other. They are neither with its authority and sanctions ; or, 3. palli- alarmed by its threatenings, nor allured by its ating and excusing the breach of it.

promises : uninformed and unconcerned on 1. There are some who scoff, openly pro- | the subject, they practically consider it unfane, set at defiance the law of God; laugh worthy of their attention, at least of their imat the notion of God's threatenings and judg-mediate attention; habitually transgressing the ,ment as declared in the Holy Scriptures. Of law of God, yet they see no danger in it, they this sort there are two classes, the one urged | are hardly aware of doing so, because their by their sensual appetites, the other by their conduct is accommodated to the standard of intellectual pride. The former are of the right and wrong which those about them class described by Peter, in 3d chap. of his adopt. They are not worse than their neigh2d general cpistle: “Knowing this, that there bours; what, then, have they to fear ? shall come in the last days scoffers, walking

When Noah, the preacher of righteousness, after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the forewarned the world of the ungodly of the promise of his coming ? for since the fathers wrath of God just ready to fall upon them, the more educated and reflecting part pro- 1 of the word of God does not agree with their bably thought it could not be, that God should preconceived notions on the subject. Desweep away every human being but Noah and ceived by false reasoning, and the deceitfulhis family from the face of the earth. They ness of sin, in direct opposition to the whole might argue from philosophical principles, as tenour of Scripture, they contend there is more they thought, that, in the nature of things, good than evil in the world ; a few of mansuch an event as an universal deluge could kind may be wicked, but the greater part are not happen; forgetting that the laws of nature only chargeable with infirmities; one breaks are but the expressions of His will who at any | down a little in his temper, another is too moment may alter them. In their wisdom, fond of money, a third inclines to pride : but as they thought-in their folly, as the fact these are thought but little of. In their views proved—they laughed at Noah's ignorance of doctrine they confound the Law with the and credulity. While the greater part pro Gospel, supposing that the Gospel dispensabably gave the subject no thought whatever ; tion has lowered the requirements of the Law,

ad their business to attend to, their and that sincerity is now accepted instead of families to provide for. It was not that they perfection, Christ making up the deficiency, deliberately wished to treat religion with dis- | if indeed there is any. Now is not this, my respect; these triflers with its authority and dear friends, to mock at sin, by supposing its sanctions imagined that they had no time for it. I guilt can be removed on such terms? And the Noah building the ark, was a subject for con- effect of these errors in doctrine appears in versation, for dispute, or criticism, when they the mitigated terms in which they speak of had nothing else to talk about. “ They ate, sin. The profligate is called gay, a man of they drank, they married and were given in pleasure ; the glutton and the drunkard, marriage, until the very day Noah entered into 1 jovial ; the sceptic, one who thinks for himthe ark." Alas! how much more inexcusable self. This affected charity, however, is very are many in the present day, who, calling much confined to sins where the honour of themselves Christians, have (not from the in God seems principally concerned ; for influence of deliberate scepticism, but from stance,—you may take God's name in vain, mere thoughtlessness) never once applied you may violate his Sabbaths, neglect his their attention to the awful declarations of sacraments, at pleasure, and be thought none Scripture respecting the condition of those the worse of, even be complimented with the who are not repenting of their sins and be possession of a good heart, provided only you lieving in Christ; as though those declarations be a man of natural kindliness and benevocould never for one moment be supposed in lence of disposition: rob your Maker and any measure to apply to themselves. Is this Redeemer, as often and as grossly as you will, the case with any of you? What! my dear of his glory, but cheat your neighbour only friends, has your Master told you to be con once, and your character receives a stain it stantly watching, for that at such an hour as never recovers. No man mocks at those sins ye think not, he will come in flaming fire, of others which break in upon his own worldly taking vengeance on them that know not God, comfort. We do not complain that the world and obey not the Gospel ? Is the Judge at is too good-natured, too little disposed to the very door, and are you triflers, and thus censure, but that they mock at sin as such; mocking his message?'

that is, at sin considered as a breach of God's 3. Again, there are others who may be said law. If they do not see bad effects to themto mock at sin by “excusing or palliating it.” | selves or to society immediately arising out of Commentators inform us the original expres- it, they disregard it. The man is then said sion will bear this interpretation. Such are to be nobody's enemy but his own. they who pay attention to the subject of reli- II. But let us consider the folly of such gion, but explain away, sometimes not without mockers. a degree of violence to their feelings, the plain | What justifies, 1. ridicule ; 2. trifling; 3. declarations of Scripture about sin, as to its palliation ; and does this apply to sin ? universality, malignity, consequences. “All 1. We ridicule what it is beneath argument have sinned,” says the Bible: the “ heart is to confute. Ridicule is, indeed, at all times a deceitful above all things, and desperately | dangerous weapon, seldom befitting the spirit wicked;" “the wicked shall be turned into hell, of a real Christian. It is a two-edged sword, and all the people that forget God.” When these which may even wound the hand that wields declarations are urged on their consciences, it. It is by no means the surest way to the they elude their force by ascribing it as your heart; that is, if we wish rather to win than view of the subject--they think differently: wound it. Absurdity is the object of ridicule. they do not dispute the authority of Scripture, But what is there of absurdity connected with but practise dishonesty of mind in the inter- the law of God, that we should laugh at the pretation of it, because the plain interpretation breach of it? The right of obedience to his

« ПредишнаНапред »