« PreviousContinue »
chief of sinners, or even a very great sinner, you certainly do not say so, because you do not believe it. Then while you hold this opi. nion of yourself, I repeat it, you will never come to Christ. None but great sinners come to him. But if you never come to Christ, you will never be saved. You see, now, why it is that your heart must be laid open. It is, that you may learn to know yourself aright; that you may estimate your character, not as you do now, by what lies upon the surface, but by what hides itself in the depths of the soul; that you may judge of yourself as God judges of you : till this is done your case is hopeless." Camberwell.
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will
give you rest.”—Matt. xi. 28.
The Saviour I heard, in sweet whispers of love,
Thus utter the wide invitation:
Come ask, and receive full salvation !"
Then I thought of the drunkard, and why won't he hear?
Alas ! 'tis the cup interposes
While, senseless, he on it reposes !
And a sight of the group was heart-rending:
While their journey to ruin is tending.
Then I thought of the numbers who formalists are
Who seem'd to make good their profession-
They have not the inward possession.
Here lost in deep musings-time stole on apace,
Till creation became its own tomb,
All these characters, 'waiting their doom :-
The sound seem'd the heavens to sever!
And close on these rebels for ever!"
Narratives, Anecdotes, &c.
THE CONDEMNED MURDERER.
AN AWFUL WARNING TO DISSIPATED YOUNG MEN, AND THE
PERSECUTORS OF GOD'S CAUSE. “ Verily there is a God that judgeth in the earth.”—Psalm lviii, 11. Although justice does not always overtake the persecutors of God's people in this life, still he is pleased sometimes to visit with signal judgments the opposers of his cause. I could mention several in. stances of this kind which occurred in my native town; let one suffice. It is that of a young man who had proved the enmity of his heart against God, by persecuting his people.
While I was pastor of the Baptist church, Crediton, I heard he was sent to the county gaol for the murder of a young woman. He was tried, found guilty on circumstantial evidence, and ordered to be executed. Knowing him, I felt interested in his case, and determined, if possible, to gain admittance to his cell. For this purpose I went to Exeter; consulted with my revered friend, the late Rev. S. Kilpin; and gained admittance into the gaoler's house, where the magistrates were then sitting. I addressed them in the following language:“Gentlemen, will you have the kindness to permit me to see Philip Chapple, who is under sentence of death ?” “Sir, who are you?” "A Dissenting minister.” “Of what persuasion ?” “The Baptist. “Oh, the Baptist; he is no Baptist; he does not want to have his mind disturbed with your dogmas; he has the chaplain; but he is a hardened villain; he will not confess his guilt; and what do you suppose you can do ?”
“Gentlemen, it will be no credit to me, nor to the denomination to which I belong, to proselyte a poor, condemned malefactor; but he possesses an immortal spirit, that will enter eternity on Monday, to give an account for the deeds done in the body, to God the judge of all men. If therefore you, gentlemen, believe in the existence of a Supreme Being; if you hope for salvation by the atoning blood of Christ; if you feel any compassion for a guilty sinner, permit me to see him.” Some replied, “It is contrary to the rules of the gaol,-no Dissenting minister can be allowed to visit any of the prisoners, except they send for him; and he has not sent for you.” I again pleaded with all the energy I could exert, and in the most solemn manner appealed to their hearts; when the sitting magistrate rose and said, “Sir, I believe you are very sincere; you shall see him.” I then went to the turnkey and said, “Have the goodness to conduct me to the condemned cell of P. C.” The sound of the locks, the dismal grating of the massive iron gates, and the rattling of the heavy chains echoing through the long stone passages, caused a chilly thrill to pass over me. But when I entered the gloomy cell, and was locked up with the prisoner, I cannot describe what I felt. There stood a fine grown young man, in the prime of life, but a murderer, and a persecutor of God's people,-one whose days and hours were numbered, and who was to end his short and sinful career by a violent and ignominious death. But no time was to be lost. I therefore set before him his awful state as a sinner against God, and exhorted him to repent and seek forgiveness through faith in the blood of Christ, which cleanseth from all sin. I took him by the hand, and fervently and affectionately entreated him to confess his guilt, and I would, by prayer with him, implore God's pardoning mercy. He hesitated, equivocated, and would fain have evaded the subject; but, in a solemn manner, I warned him of the danger of dying with a lie in his right hand. He at length confessed and related in what way he perpetrated the horrid deed. On the morning of his execution, I spent several hours with him in his gloomy cell. I will not occupy these pages by entering into detail respecting these solemn hours; but oh, it was an awful and an anxious time. Often did I kneel by his side, and endeavour to pour out my soul to God in prayer for him, and earnestly entreated him to utter some expression of prayer; but, alas, in vain. I said, “C. do say, 'God be merciful to me a sinner;' ” but his lips were sealed in silence. I asked him to write the words in a hymn-book I lent him. He took the book, and wrote, in a good hand, “God be to me a sinner.” He was told he had left out the word merciful. He took the book, and again wrote, “God be to me a sinner.” Every hour the deep-toned prison clock struck on our ear, it seemed as if a voice from the eternal world cried, “Prepare to meet thy God!” The last hour struck, and, in sepulchral tones, proclaimed, “Time no longer!” The sheriff appeared at the cell gate, demanded the body, and the javelin-men guarded him to the fatal drop. He leaned on my arm till we arrived on the scaffold; and when the rope was fixed around his neck, I bade him a final farewell, and left the heart-sickening scene with mingled emotions of disgust and deep distress.
Often, while I was with him in his dismal cell, did he wring his hands, and in bitterness of spirit, cry, “Oh, I little thought it would come to this; I little thought it would come to this !”
And is not this the case with thousands of young persons, when they throw the reins of reason on the neck of their lusts ? They little think to what it leads, and where the scene will end. Listen, oh, listen, ye thoughtless ones to the warning voice of inspiration, “Flee youthful lusts.” Death, probably, is the most distressing evil suffered in the present world. But what is death compared with that death which never, never dies? How dreadful the thought, how inexpres. sible the agony,
that will be endured by the lost soul! To die to-day, only as the prelude of a severer death to-morrow! To die through thousands and tens of thousands of years; to spend an eternity in
dying; and that in a state compared to a bottomless pit, which burns with brimstone and fire! Oh, my fellow sinners, have you fled for refuge to Christ our hiding-place? Is your account ready? Are you prepared to draw the curtains around your bed, and retire to die? God himself says, “Deliver him from going down into the pit; I have found a ransom. The Saviour says, “The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Come, then, my guilty brethren, come, lost and ruined as you are, and find salvation through his precious blood; for he says, " Whosoever cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out.” “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool;” for “the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin.” Amersham.
“HERE J. TAKE THIS BIBLE, I NEVER MEAN TO
READ IT AGAIN.” So said a young man to the writer, and that young man was the writer's own brother. Dear reader, with deep affection, and intense desire, we ask you to give heed to this phrase, in the spirit which it manifested, and the state of mind it indicated, when first uttered.
W., my brother, had received a strictly moral and religious training, and, before he was fourteen years of age, had given indications of hopeful piety; often would he retire to read his bible in private and kneel before God in prayer; his fond parents looked at these buddings of promise with joy; with trembling anxiety, mingled with hope, they waited for the opened flower.
W. went to the metropolis when his apprenticeship expired; there, amidst infidel companions, he lost all his serious convictions, gave up all his religious duties, and became in heart an infidel. On his first return home on a visit, he gave the writer his bible, uttering the words at the head of this article, as he avowed his infidelity. Alas, how changed that young man in all his habits now, and what grief of mind it cost his family!
Months rolled on, and W. revisited his home, still steeped in infi. delity, and, bringing with him a large number of infidel tracts and pamphlets, he seemed farther than ever from God and truth, deeper sunk in guilt.
In the course of two or three years the writer went to reside in London too, as a student in a Dissenting College. W. lived near; but he would neither visit his brother, nor receive a visit from him, so enraged was he that his “enthusiast brother should have given up a good business, to proclaim the grossest error."
The hand of God was laid on W.-he was very ill; his brother sought him, and was received by him; still however did he cling to his infidelity, but in sullen silence, and not in vain boasting; disease continued, and at length developed itself in “consumption;"—then, when death was certain, and not far distant, his principles gave way, infi. delity cast no ray of light upon the dark valley,—he asked for his bible, the very bible he had before refused to read, - he received it with pleasure,—he read it with eagerness-he prayed over it,_he wetted its pages with his tears as he read amidst increasing weak. ness,—he burned all his infidel publications-he sought mercy from that Saviour which the bible proclaims,—and he sought not in vain, he sheltered and found peace through the blood of atonement.
W. drew near to the grave; its terrors were gone; turning to his brother, he said, “I find more solid pleasure in one verse of this blest book, than I ever found in infidelity; for I never was happy while an infidel, no, not for one hour.” He died rejoicing in Christ, leaving to the writer his once despised bible.
Dear reader, you cannot be happy in health, you cannot find peace, even in life, if you reject the bible. To you we present Appeal.” To you we make our appeal, let the dying words of W. be regarded by you, never abandon the bible,-death may visit you, not in the form of pale consumption, but of raging fever, and hasty dissolution,mand how will you encounter death,-how stand at the bar of God, how face the God of the bible, if you spurn that blessed book ?
You cannot live happily, nor die safely, if you reject the bible. “Am I become your enemy because I tell you the truth ?” Lynn.
J. T. W.
THE WORTH OF THE SOUL. A minister of the gospel was once sitting in a public room, where a few young men, strangers to him, were conversing. Their conver. sation was upon worldly business-stocks, interest, purchases, &c. After the minister had listened a while in silence, he turned to one who had taken the most active part in the conversation, and observed to him that, having listened with much interest to what had passed, he was desirous of proposing a question connected with the subject of their remarks, and would be glad if a few moments' thought could be devoted to it. The young man answered politely, and begged to hear the question. The minister then requested that, as he seemed accus. tomed to calculations of interest, and questions of profit and loss, he would endeavour to ascertain what it would profit a man, if he were to gain the whole world, and lose his own soul ? deep silence ensued. The question remained unanswered. It spoke to the conscience, and by the conscience it was heard. The young man retired, apparently unaffected; but the question ceased not to speak, and constantly to require its answer, till the immeasurable worth of the soul, and the utter insignificance of every human pursuit, in comparison with that