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The murderer's cell.

Sympathy for the guilty.

others? He has tried this in the extreme, and can fully sympathize with you. Do you weep over the grave of a beloved friend? Jesus wept from this cause long before you. In fact, he went about the world, not only to do good, but to taste of suffering, that he might know, with all the vividness of experience, exactly what suffering, in all its variety, is.

We all love sympathy when we are suffering,—but there is one occasion on which we feel the need of it still moreI mean in temptation. We need sympathy when we are struggling with temptation, and still more when we have done wrong, and are reaping its bitter fruits. A dreadful murder was once committed, which aroused the alarm and indignation of an extensive community-every one expressed the strongest abhorrence of the deed, and made the greatest effort to procure the arrest and punishment of the criminal. And this was right. But with this feeling there should have been, in every heart, strong compassion for the miserable criminal.

He was arrested, tried, and condemned to die; and a few hours before the execution of the sentence, I went with a clergyman who often visited him, to see him in his cell.

When we had entered his gloomy prison, the jailor closed behind us its massive iron door, and barred and locked it. We found ourselves in a spacious passage, with a stone floor, and stone walls, and stone roof, and with narrow iron doors on each side, leading to the cells of the various prisoners. We ascended the stairs, and found every story assuming the same rigid features of iron and stone. In a corner of the upper story was the cell of the murderer.

A little grated window opened into the passage-way. The jailor tapped softly at the window, and informed the prisoner, in a kind and gentle tone, that the clergyman had

come.

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Should you like to have us come in?" asked the jailor. The prisoner instantly assented, and the jailor unbolted

The keeper's kindness to the prisoner.

The Savior.

"Here is

and unbarred the door. "Strange!" thought I. a man who has outraged the laws of both God and man, and a whole community has arisen in justice, and declared that he is unworthy to live, and to-morrow, by the hand of violence, he is to die. And yet his very keeper treats him so tenderly that he will not come into his cell without first obtaining permission!"

As we passed through the narrow aperture in the thick stone wall which the iron door had closed, the whole aspect of the room and of the prisoner was one which effectually removed my surprise that he should be treated with kindness and compassion. He was pale and haggard, and he trembled very exceedingly. He seemed exhausted by the agony of remorse and terror. A few hours before, his wife had been in the cell to bid him a final farewell, and the next day he was to be led forth to execution in the presence of thousands. In the meantime the walls, and floor, and roof of his cell-of continued, uninterrupted stone and iron -seemed to say to him, wherever he looked, “You shall not escape." It seemed as if the eye would have rested with a feeling of relief upon a board or a curtain, even if it concealed a stone behind,-with so forbidding and relentless a gripe did this dismal cell seem to hold its unhappy tenant. As I looked between the heavy iron bars of his grated window upon the distant plains and hills, and thought how ardently he must wish that he were once more innocent and free, I forgot the cold-blooded brutality of the crime, and only mourned over the misery and ruin of the

man.

The world does in such cases sympathize with one suffering from remorse; but, generally, men are indignant with the offender if his crime is great, and they treat him with ridicule and scorn if it is small. Jesus Christ, however, pities a sinner. He loved us while we were yet in our sins; he came to save us. He came, not to inflict the punishment which our guilt deserved, but to redeem us from the sufferings into which it had brought us.

The Savior's sympathy.

Common distrust of it.

This is every where very apparent in his whole history. Often the greatest sinners came to him, and he never reproached them when they came with a humble and penitent heart. He always endeavored to relieve them of their burden of guilt, and to give them assurance of pardon and peace. On one occasion, how kindly does he say to a very guilty sinner, "I do not condemn thee, go and sin no more." Instead of intending to add to the burden of guilt by exhibiting coldly the contrast of his own bright example, or by his severe rebukes, he says, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

Persons who wish to be saved from sin, very often distrust the Savior's willingness to receive them. They acknowledge, in general terms, his kindness and compassion, and think that he is, in all ordinary cases, willing to save the chief of sinners; but they think there is something peculiar in their case, which should prevent them from coming to him in confidence. I observed that this peculiarity is almost always one of two things-1. That they do not engage ardently enough in the work of salvation; or, 2. That they have often resolved before, and broken their resolutions.

Do not some of you, my readers, feel unwilling to come to the Savior, because you think that you do not feel a sufficient interest in the subject? You know that you are sinners, and would like to be free from sin. You would like such a friend as I describe the Savior to be, but you have no sufficiently strong conviction, and you think the promises are not for you.

Or perhaps some of you, though you feel a deep interest in the subject, may be discouraged and disheartened by the sins you find yourselves constantly committing, and by your repeatedly broken resolutions. You think the Savior must be wearied out by your continual backslidings and sins, and you are ready to give up the contest, and to think that final holiness and peace is not for you.

Now, there are throughout our land vast multitudes who

Illustration.

Case of the sick man.

are vainly endeavoring to make their hearts better, in order to recommend themselves to their Savior's care You must indeed endeavor by every effort to make your heart better, but not as a means of recommending yourself to the Savior. Come to him at once, just as you are, and seek his sympathy and assistance in the work.

Inquirers after the path of piety are very slow to learn that the Savior is the friend of sinners. They will not learn that he comes to help us while we are in our trials and difficulties, not after we get out of them. How many say in their hearts, I must overcome this sin, or free myself from that temptation, and then I will come to the Savior. I must have clearer views of my own sins, or deeper penitence, or awaken true love to God in my heart, and then, but not till then, can I expect Christ to be my friend. What! do you suppose that it is the office of Jesus Christ to stand aloof from the struggling sinner until he has, by his own unaided strength, and, without assistance or sympathy, finished the contest, and then only to come and offer his congratulations after the victory is won? Is this such a Savior as you imagine the Bible to describe?

At the door of one of the chambers of the house in which you reside, you hear a moaning sound, as of one in distress. You enter hastily, and find a sick man writhing in pain, and struggling alone with his sufferings. As soon as you understand the case, you say to him,

"We must send for a physician immediately; there is one at the next door who will come in a moment.'

"O no," groans out the sufferer, "I am in no state to send for a physician. My head aches dreadfully-I am almost distracted with pain. I fear I am very dangerously ill."

"Then we must have a physician immediately," you reply. "Run and call him," you say, turning to an attendant, "ask him to come as soon as possible."

"O stop! stop!" says the sick man, "wait till I get a little easier;-my breath is very short and my pulse very feeble, and besides I have been getting worse and worse

Jesus Christ a physician.

Struggling with temptation.

every half hour for some time, and I am afraid there is no hope for me. Wait a little while, and perhaps I may feel better, and then I will send for him."

You would turn after hearing such words, and say in a gentle voice to the attendant, "He is wandering in mind. Call the physician immediately."

Now Jesus Christ is a physician. He comes to heal your sins. If you wish to be healed, come to him at once, just as you are. The soul that waits for purer motives, or for a deeper sense of guilt, or for a stronger interest in the subject, before it comes to Christ, is a sick person waiting for health before he sends for a physician. Jesus Christ came to help you in obtaining these feelings, not to receive you after you have made yourself holy without him. You have, I well know, great and arduous struggles to make with sin. Just as certainly as you attempt them alone, you will become discouraged and fail. Come to the Savior before you begin them, for I do assure you, you will need help.

One great object which our Savior had in view in remaining so long in the world, was to understand our temptations, and the contests which they bring up in the heart.

It is very often the case, that persons are struggling with temptations and sins almost in solitude, and those to whom they are directly accountable do not appreciate the circumstances in which they are placed, and the efforts they make to overcome temptation. I presume that teachers very often blame their pupils with a severity which they would not use if they remembered distinctly the feelings of childhood. Perhaps a little boy is placed on a seat by his intimate friend, and commanded upon pain of some very severe punishment not to whisper. He tries to refrain, and succeeds perhaps for half an hour in avoiding every temptation. At last some unexpected occurrence or some sudden thought darts into his mind,-his resolutions are forgotten,-the presence of the master, the regulations of the school, and the special prohibition to him, all flit from his

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