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Drunkenness was his besetting sin, and at times he gave way to it to fearful excess. And if at any times he refrained from the gross indulgence, his abstinence arose not from any hatred of the sin, not from any feeling of sorrow for having thus offended and dishonoured God, but wholly and entirely from regret that he had wasted so much in the unhallowed enjoyment. For his sin he felt no penitence'; his regret arose merely from the love of money. It was but one unclean spirit driving out an. other. It was but the enshrining of Mammon in the stead of Belial, in the temple of his heart. And yet was this unhappy man the veriest slave of the fear of death. It was to him the king of terrors. God, in his merciful providence, had often visited this man with sore sicknesses, to awaken 'him to a sense of his danger, and to quicken him to prepare for bis removal. But unhappily, they produced not in him this effect. On the contrary, he was more anxious to seek out arguments to soothe his mind with the thought, that there was no such thing as eternal misery, than to flee for refuge to the hope set before him; to the Saviour, provided to rescue from the wrath to come. It was one of his seasons of sickness, that he was visited by an humble neighbour--a plain and unlearned man--but a Christian, who earnestly and affectionately pressed on him the necessity of repentance-his need of a Saviour-and the fearfulness of falling into the hands of the living God, that he made the following reply. (And the way in which he received the salutary admonition, and in which he returned an answer was truly characteristic of the man.) Raising his arm, which was still enfeebled by sickness, so that the shadow of it might be cast by the light which burned before them, on the wall, he desired his neighbour to strike the reflected shadow. With some considerable degree of astonishment, he complied with the strange injunction. He then asked, did that shadow feel any pain? And when answered, nono more, added 'he, can the soul, which is but as that shadow, be the subject of pain or suffering hereafter.
But though he thus reasoned, it was evident his reason. ing did not satisfy himself; nor did it drive away the terror which haunted him at the thought of death, which all his lifetime kept him subject to bondage. When I one day called to see him in his sickness, he admitted the certainty of an immortal state, and promised repent. .ance and amendment of life, if he were spared. But, alas! what avail the best resolutions, if made only in our own strength, or merely under the feeling of pain, or the dread of approaching death The human heart, like a deceitful bow, starts aside from its best resolves. God did spare him. For a time he seemed to remember his sick-bed resolves. It was but for a time;. like the morning cloud, or the early dew, they quickly passed away. To him “it happened according to the true proverb-the dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed, to her wallowing in the mire.” Meeting him after one of his fits of debasing indulgence, I reminded him of his former promises, and of his vows made when the hand of the Lord was upon him. I re. minded him also of his aggravated guilt and deeper con.. demnation, if he proved false to his promises, faithless to his God. From that day he studiously avoided me, and I conversed with him no more till I saw him on the bed of death.
One morning a gentleman called on me to say, he was near his latter end, and that it would be well, were I to visit and converse with him. I did so. On entering the room where he lay, one of the persons attending came forward to me, and said, “ when this sick man wishes for the visit of a clergyman, we shall send for one.” And who are yon, said I, who take upon you to interfere be. tween a Minister of the Gospel and a dying man? Im. mediately he retired, apparently mortified; and he after. wards came to apologize to me before I left the room. When I approached the bed, I observed a young man seated there, earnest in well-meant endeavours to lead him to repentance for his past sins; but the sick man seemed regardless of what lie said. He entreated him to join with me in prayer, and to supplicate God to have mercy on his soul. In this entreaty I also joined. I urged upon him every argument in my power to lead him to repentance toward God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ. I strove to awaken him if possible to a sense of his' danger, beseeching him both by the “mercy and terrors of the Lord,” even at the eleventh hour, to come to Christ. But he met every argument with a cold repulse, and resisted every intreaty to join in prayer, saying, “ not now--not now-to morrow.”
During all this time, the thick convulsive breath, the suppressed groan, the hurried anxious glance, so often, cast around the room, shewed that there was a terrible struggle carrying on within. And whilst I talked of the approaching death, the coming judgment, and the un. changing eternity, before bidding him an eternal farewell, I marked that restless, hurried, wandering loos became fixed, unmovingly fixed on me. And that look I never shall forget. It followed me as I slowly retired.--It was the look of unmixed despair. On the morrow, as I approached his dwelling, he had expired. Like the piercing knell of death, it struck home to my heart the sclemn truth, “'To-day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts." .. “Behold! now is the accepted time.--Behold! now is the day of salvation."
The weak and the worthless rites of Rome were duly performed, and the offerings collected. The mass was celebrated, the prayers were said.But the soul was gone beyond the reach of mortal agency or mortal aid: apd the perishing remains were laid in the narrow bed, there to rest until that awful hour, when the voice of the arehangel and the trump of God, shall call them to appear on the day of final doom.
“The trumpet--the trumpet-the dead have all beard, ; I Lo! the depths of the stone-covered monuments stirred;
From ocean and earth, from the south pole and north,
ORDINATION.On the 9th March, the Associate Presbytery of Belfast ordained the Rev. Robert Wilson to be Pastor of the First Seceding Congregation, in Berry-Street. The Rev. Messrs. M‘Millan, Dunlop, Maxwell, and Coulter, conducted the services of the day.
OBITUARIES. DIED.-Ou the 15th February, aged 61, the Rev. J. Rankin, for 37 years Minister of the Presbyterian Associate Congregation of Monaghan.
On the 15th February, in the 91st year of his age, the Rev. James Taylor, for 65 years Minister of the Presbyterian Congregation of Convoy.
On the 21st February, in the 67th year of his age, the Rev. R. Hall, successively of Cambridge, Leicester, and Bristol. He was one of the most eloquent preachers of the present day.
No. VII. THE COURSE OF A CHRISTIAN NOT CONFORMED TO THE
“Be not conformed to this world.”-Rom. xii. 2.
When we look beyond this world, we find that there will be an awful and an immense difference between the portions that shall be allotted to man. .. On the one side, there will be all the glory and happiness of heaven; and on the other, all the disgrace and misery of hell. That there must be a suitableness of character to these different states, we might infer from analogy. We uniformly find, that places are adapted by providence to the disposition of the creatures.The fish are fitted for the water, the birds for the air, and the beasts to the solid earth. Why then should we not con. clude that there will be a similar accordance between human beings and the different regions which they shall occupy? Whatever then is the difference between heaven and bell, must mark the difference between the characters of the righteous and the wicked; between him that serveth God, and him that serveth him not. But that there should be such a distinction constantly kept up, is most expressly intimated by the apostle, when he exhorts us in the text, "Be not conformed to this world.”
1. The first great point in which we discover an essential difference between the righteous and the wicked, is in their spirit.
The promise of God on this subject is, “a new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” Accordingly the people
of God can say, “we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God.”—1 Cor. ii. 10.
The spirit of the world is proud, leading men to think os themselves more highly than they ought to think; but the Spirit of a Christian is humble and lowly. The spirit of the world is self-righteous, leading men to trust to something they have done for acceptance in the sight of God; but the Spirit of the Christian is self-abasing, leading bim to abhor himself, and to repent in dust and ashes. The spirit of the world is earthly, leading those who possess it to delight only in earthly things; the Spirit of a Christian is heavenly, leading him to desire and delight in heavenly things. The worldly spirit is from beneath, it is partly sensual and partly devilish; but the Spirit of a Christian is from above, and is derived from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variableness nor shadow of turping. As the same fountain cannot send forth sweet waters and bitter, as an evil tree cannot bring forth good fruit, nor a good tree bring forth evil fruit, so from these so opposite spirits must an essential difference of character arise. He therefore who is transformed in the renewing of his mind, cannot, in his spirit, be conformed to this world.
2. A Christian cannot be conformed to the maxims of the world.
There are few things in which men differ more widely, than in the maxims on which their lives are modelled.It is a common maxim of the world, that if we do not injure our fellow-mortals by our sins, there is little evil in them. On this ground, the drunkard and the swearer often vindicate themselves, and exclaim, whom have we offended ?
But the Christian's maxim is directly the opposite. He seels the great evil of sin to consist in its opposition to the will of God; and the language of his confession accordingly is, “ Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight.” :
Another maxim of the world is, that we should first endeavour, by the total dedication of ourselves to the world, to secure a competent portion of the good things of this life; and then, when we have amassed a fortune, or when old age and infirmity have come upon us, to devote ourselves to the service of God. But the maxim of a Christian is, “ Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Hence