Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

the sea. His whole family, more- desired to relieve his temporal neover, had been separated from their cessities, and to afford him all the relations by their extremely bad comfort in bis power. He found character. They were disgusted at the poor culprit in a most pitiable the shameful scenes of drunken- state. Overwhelmed and stunned ness exhibited in his father's house. by his situation, he was lying on a It is not easy to conceive a state of heap of straw, and appeared like lower degradation than this young one who had no hope to look to in man had reached, as he himself this world or the next. ' Mr. Pinel confessed. No one, he said, could said to him, “ Young man, I think tell the misery of this state as he both your body and your soul are experienced it. What situation in great danger.” Jolin did not could indeed more completely have answer, but sobbed excessively. He tended to brutalize the mind, to then procured for him a bed, and deaden every feeling of conscience, some comfortable clothing, and put to place a man long habituated into his hands a French Testament. to it in a state without hope, as Soon after, as there was at that time it was without God in the world ? no chaplain regularly appointed to The nature of the crime for which the gaol, Jolin was visited by the Jolin was committed to prison, was curate of the parish, M. Folle. such as to increase the general hor. After some days M. Folle's great ror towards him. This was exhibited occupation in his ministry made by the crowd, in the streets, on the bim transfer this important and inoccasion of his trial; so that it seem- teresting charge to the Rev. W. C. ed to be of him, as is expressed in Hall, a young clergyman residing the emphatic language of the Pro. in the island, who took the more phet, “None eye pitied him, to have immediate care of him, watched compassion upon him; but he was over, and instructed, and finally cast out, to the lothing of his attended him through the dark person." Yet out of this state it valley of the shadow of death, till pleased God to call him. It is true he reached, as I doubt not, the there were mitigating circumstances portal of the heavenly abode. Meanin his case which he might very while the Testament was not negnaturally have urged to extenuate lected by Jolin. He had read it the enormity of his offence; as the nearly through ; but apparently exceeding badness of his education, without understanding the nature the continual discord of his father's of the message which it was de. family, and the state of intoxication signed to convey. His mind, howin which he was when he uninten- ever, was no doubt gradually pretionally committed the crime : but paring by the Holy Spirit to receive these points were scarcely alluded the instruction which He was about to by him in his private conversa. fully to impart to it. On the 22d tions, so completely was the con. of September, about ten days beviction established in his mind that fore his execution, Jolin was visited he had fallen into sin by the wilful. by Mr. Hall and another clergyness of his own heart; that he had man. He was then sitting in his destroyed himself, and that to a bed, and looking as wretched as greater depth of transgression he might be expected under the cir. could scarcely have reached. cumstances in which he was placed ;

After Jolin had been lodged in as Mr. Pinel had stated, “ without gaol, he was visited by a very re- hope for this world or the next." spectable relative, Mr. Pinel, a They immediately entered upon member of the Methodist church. the object of their visit, and spoke He made this visit, as he himself to him of the nature of his offence; testified, without the hope of any of the sin of murder, as condemned spiritual benefit. He, however, by the law of God, and aggravated

in his case, because committed with its appalling circumstances, against a parent ; of its sentence in were not likely to fasten themselves the judgment of men, and its hei. on his mind as if it had been premenousness in the sight of God. They ditated, or as if he had been in full pointed out to him, that, awful as is possession of his understanding, or as man's sentence against this crime, if he, which he himself wished, had how little consideration was due to seen his father's murdered corpse. this in comparison with the con. However, this circumstance afterdemnation which the law of God wards appcared to turn out to his ad. pronounced ; and that this condem- vantage. It prevented him from fixing nation had passed upon him, and his thoughts exclusively on a partithat the execution of its sentence cular sin; and he was thus less hinderof eternal death would be inflicted ed in seeing the sinfulness of all his if he did not repent, and seek help nature and habits, and learning that and pardon through Jesus Christ. lesson which it is often so difficult to All this was manifest, for it was comprehend, that we are not less written in the word of God that condemned by the law of God for murderers should have their part in all our sins, and our alienation from the lake which burneth with fire him, than for any one or more great and brimstone (Rev. xxi. 8); that offences which we may have comdrunkards should not inherit the mitted. Not that this state of mind in kingdom of God (1 Cor. vi. 10): Jolin prevented him from coming to and this condemnation it was also the deepest sense of his own particupointed out, not only extended to lar offence; for as he learned more these crimes, but to that of the thoroughly to understand the nature general alienation of the heart of sin in general, his feeling for his from God; it was the portion of all own crime more deeply penetrated sinners ; : " The wages of sin is in his mind. One other subject death.” (Rom. vi. 23.) One point seemed to produce in him the paappeared particularly to produce roxysm which the mention of his the deepest sensation of pain in this father had done : this was the sin of young man's mind : this was the re- intemperance, which had, as I have presentation of the conduct of God before remarked, been the immetowards him in reference to his diate cause of his crime. Mr. father; that whilst that unhappy Hall, thinking that he might be man had been cut off and sent suffering from the cold, fixed as he almost without warning, with all his was in a large stone-chamber, of sins rife upon him, before the Judge which the window was usually open, who will deal with every man ac- guarded him against seeking to mi. cording to his works, he, the mur. tigate his discomfort by drinking. derer, had been spared, and brought At the mention of this, he went into a prison, where he had oppor- off again into expressions of horror tunity given him to reflect upon his at such a possibility in his tremenstate, to seek for pardon, and where dous circumstances, and of deterthe promise of salvation was open mination that, should he ever have to him if he would turn and seek the opportunity, he would never it. The cry of « Oh my father, again be guilty of this offence. Yet, my poor father!" mingled with his as Mr. Hallobserves, were his resolu. sobs on that occasion. Although tions expressed as if he were smartJolin's crime was so palpable, and ing under the penalty of his crime; he confessed it in the clearest man not as if conscious of his own inner, yet it was committed so uncon- ability to keep the engagement sciously to himself, and he had seen which he was entering into. He no traces of it except in what others spoke as a man strong in his own told him, that the whole seemed strength, and as yet unacquainted like a dream; and the deed itself with the perfect weakness of that determination which is not taken some of its different bearings. He in dependence upon the power of was taught, that sin is the defilement God. On the point of again falling of the whole heart; that the other into the sins of which he had re- sins of his life, and even the sins of pented, three distinct states were his youth, brought him just as much noticed in Jolin's case before his into condemnation before a holy execution. At first, as at this visit, God as his great crime; that eterhe was fully confident that if he nal death was the wages of every were once more to be set at liberty transgression of the Divine law; he should never again become in and that real repentance unto life toxicated. Afterwards, when he required not only a feeling of sorrow came to discover the exceeding for one sin, but for every sin, yea, weakness of his nature, he dreaded for sin itself, as an offence against the possibility of his life being ac- the Almighty. The promises of corded to him, lest he should again God to the chief of sinners were then fall into temptation. And lastly, he pointed out to him from Isa. i. 18, learned to believe, that, having cast lv, 6, 7. The former of these pashimself entirely upon Divine grace, sages remained fixed in his memory, and therefore, using those means of and was a continual source of conwatchfulness and prayer which the solation to his mind. He now word of God prescribes, he needed began to feel that his sins were as not fear, if he were called again scarlet, and to desire earnestly to to life, the temptation of drinking, be pardoned. Two other passages or, if brought to the scaffold, the were at that time referred to, and a trials of that afflicting scene. That good deal dwelt upon. The first the blessing of God attended upon of these was John iii. 14–17, and the last state of mind, is proved its application to the history of the by the courage, nay, the humble serpent in the wilderness, Num. cheerfulness, with which he met xxi. 5—9. From this passage it his melancholy end. On the oc- was pointed out to him, that, as casion of this visit, the fifty-first Moses lifted up the serpent in the Psalm was pointed out to him. It wilderness, so was the Son of Man was in the Prayer-book version, as lifted up; and as the Israelites were there was no Bible at hand. This commanded to look at the serpent Psalm, so remarkably calculated to for their cure, so we are commanded meet the experience of a man feel. to believe in the power of Jesus ing deeply his sins, and more parti. Christ's atoning blood : and morecularly of one implicated as he was over, as this people, if they had in such a variety of vice, struck his rather chosen to trust to other reattention very deeply; and the more medies, or had refused to look at so when the next day it was read to the brazen serpent, or had spent him in the Bible translation, and their time in mourning over their its chief points expounded to him, maladies instead of doing as they He learned a great portion of this were commanded, would never have Psalm by heart: it was nearly the been healed; so the sinner has no last portion of Scripture that he other remedy but Jesus Christ. If repeated; and it became one of the he will not come to him, he cannot subjects of his meditation during have life; and it is not enough to the long nights in which he was think upon his sins, and to mourn shut up alone. The next day, the over their malignity, if he does not twenty-third, two or three passages draw near to Christ, and cast himself of Scripture were introduced to his at his feet as a poor helpless sinner. notice; besides which the more par- One other important lesson was ticular view of the general nature of also gathered from this subject ;sin which had before been explained namely, that “ if a serpent had was reviewed, and considered in bitten any man, when he beheld

the serpent of brass he lived;" and the important doctrines which had in like manner, “ Whosoever be been brought to light. Although lieveth on Jesus Christ shall not Jolin was not a person of uncom. perish, but have eternal life.” Jolin mon capacity, and although these was thus instructed in the mode of passages of Scripture seemed to be pardon before God, through the new to him, yet he apprchended merits of Jesus Christ, and in the them in a manner which gave just efficacy of this remedy, the univer. indication that his heart was under sality of it to all that believe, and the Divine teaching. It is said, the nature of faith, the means by Isaiah liv. 13, “All thy children which it can alone be appropriated. shall be taught of the Lord.” This

The last passage referred to was state of Divine teachableness now the history of the scape goat, con- seemed to have been produced in tained in Lev. xvi. In this his- this poor young man. The power tory we find that Aaron, whilst the of God had made his heart willing, people afflicted their souls (ver. 29), Ps. cx. 3 ; and he came very soon laid both his hands on the head of to understand the doctrine by which the live goat, and confessed on him he might be saved. When the will all the iniquities of the children of of man is not disposed to submit to Israel, and all their transgressions, God, then every doctrine of the putting them upon the head of the Gospel presents difficulties; one goat, and that the goat bore away point is unreasonable, another is with him all their iniquities into a impossible, a third is useless; but land not inhabited. The illustration when the mind is taught of God, it and the application of this subject is astonishing how soon all these to Jolin's own case were then pointed difficulties vanish. The doctrines out. He was told that the people's of the Gospel which seem the most “ afflicting their soul” denoted the hard to understand and to receive, state in which every sinner must are at once comprehended. It is present himself before God; for it is like a change from darkness to light; the broken and the contrite heart and those very lessons of the sinfulwhich God will not despise: the ness of our own heart, of the neces. “ confession of sin ” on the head of sary dependance upon Christ, of the the goat pointed out the first and nature of faith, of the pleasantness necessary duty of the returning of the pursuits of religion, of the penitent; for “ if we say that we delight attendant upon dwelling with have no sin we deceive ourselves, God, are at once received and adoptand the truth is not in us; but if ed, and the whole system of Chriswe confess our sins, he is faithful tianity is discovered to be one exand just to forgive us our sin :" the actly suited to a sinner's own state. laying the sins upon the head of The new view which he gains of rethe goat exhibited the act of faith ligion comes to him as a discovery: by which the condemnation of the and the Bible seems as if it were sinner is transferred to his atoning a revelation to himself. He begins sacrifice ; and the leading away the 10 wonder that others cannot un. goat into the wilderness, the full, derstand it also; forgetting how perfect, and eternal pardon promised little time since he himself was in in the Gospel, of every sin to every the same state of darkness. But repenting sinner.

the willingness of heart which is These lessons Jolin seemed to necessary to a right reception of understand, and to apply to his own religion, we are every where in case. Of this he soon gave abund. Scripture taught, is the gift of the ant proof. The Bible was then Holy Spirit. “It cometh not of marked, and its emphatic words blood,” that is, by descent; "nor particularly pointed out, so that of the will of the flesh,” that is, by easy reference might be made to our own natural inclination; " nor

inner

of the will of man," that is, by the had been, "Save me from the teaching of others; “but of God.” gallows;" but at this period, the “The wind bloweth where it listeth, desire that his life might be spared and thou hearest the sound thereof, seemed to be taken away from him but canst not tell whence it cometh in a most astonishing degree. It and whither it goeth : so is every one was not so with the very zealous that is born of the Spirit.” We see and able advocate to whom his cause then how necessary it is that, if any had been committed, and who very man lack wisdom, he should ask it properly continued to the end to of God; and so much the more, as urge every plea, and to encourage God himself declares, Luke xi. 13, his client to every effort, by wbich his willingness to give his Holy his punishment might be remitted, Spirit to them that ask him. or even delayed. His friends too

The 24th was the day of Jolin's were most kindly anxious on this last trial, at the close of which he point; and they even attempted to was found guilty; and the friends prove him insane, that they might who visited him judged that, after effect their purpose. Jolin might such anxious exertions and suffering, therefore act by their impulse in his his mind would not be in a state to favour, as well as from the instinct admit the quiet intercourse which which he could not but naturally feel. they had desired to have with him. But to those who visited him about But he had asked them to come and this period, he never once alluded see him, and they accordingly went to a desire to escape ; but on the after the trial. They had expected contrary, seemed almost always to at all events to find him, on this refer to his sentence without appaoccasion, in some degree disturbed rent emotion; and towards the end, and agitated in mind; but it was he appeared to long for, and to be earaltogether otherwise. The irons to nest for, its completion. This state which he was sentenced were put of mind was no doubt to be attrion him in their presence, when they buted to two causes; in part, to entered the prison. To this, as the a complete acquaintance with the consequence of his condemnation, state of his own case, and that his he submitted almost without notice. sentence was sealed by his judges ; Indeed, the trial and the condemna. but much more to his new state of tion itself seem to have made as little religious feeling ; by means of which impression upon him as the irons the importance of every other poswhich were put upon him ; for it session, in comparison with the was only by minute and repeated grand discovery which he had now inquiry as to the proceedings of the made, had wonderfully diminished. day that his friendly visitors could A friend had given him the second get him to give any account of chapter of the Ephesians for his them. His mind seemed absorbed consideration, that he might gain in something else ; and what this still further views of his state of was, afterwards appeare.l. His con- guilt and defilement, and that he duct, during his trial, had been re might more clearly trace both the marked by many of his judges as power of Divine grace by which the entirely becoming his awful situa. sinner is quickened, and the bright tion. Indeed, his whole frame of prospect placed before those who mind was now beginning to shew have returned to the Shepherd and that a new principle was at work in Bishop of the soul. The conversa. it, and that the great work of rege- tion of this day led to the subjects neration was taking place. In the contained in this chapter; and more carly part of his confinement, and particularly to the impossibility of indeed very recently, he had wished, man's pardon, but by the free grace as he might naturally, for his es. of God, procured for us by the cape ; and his cry to his advocate death of our Lord Jesus Christ. In

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »