Imágenes de páginas

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 some 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 sympathized with us in our suffering.

This disposition of our Saviour, to look not so much at the guilt which we have incurred, as at the sufferings into which it has brought us, is everywhere very apparent in His history. Often the greatest sinners came to him; and He never reproached them, unless they came in pride and stubbornness of heart. He always endeavoured to relieve them of the burden of guilt, and to give them assurance of pardon and peace. On one oc

casion, how kindly does he say to a very guilty sinner,


Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more!" Instead of adding 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 labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest!"

Persons who wish to be saved from sin very often distrust the Saviour'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 own case, which should prevent them from coming to him in confidence. This peculiarity is almost always one of two things: 1. That they are not enough in earnest 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 Saviour, 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 Saviour to be; but you have no sufficiently strong conviction, and you think the promises cannot be 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 Saviour must be wearied out with your continual backslidings and sins; and you are ready to give up the contest, and to think that final holiness and peace are not intended for you.

Inquirers after the path of piety are very slow to learn that the Saviour is the Friend of sinners. They will not learn, that he came 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 Saviour: I must have clearer views of my own sins, or deeper penitence, or more 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 Saviour as you imagine the Bible to describe? At the door of one of the chambers in which you reside, you hear a mourning 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. There is one at the next door, who will come in a moment."


Oh, 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." "Oh, 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 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 like the 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 Saviour before you begin them; for, be assured, you will need help.

One great object which our Saviour had in view, in remaining so long in the world, was to understand our temptations, and the contests which they raise 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 mindhis resolutions are forgotten-the presence of the master, the regulations of the school, and the special prohibition to him, all flit from his mind; and after the forbidden act, which occupied but an instant, is done, he immediately awakes to the consciousness of having disobeyed; and looks up, just in time to see the stern eye of his teacher upon him, speaking most distinctly of displeasure and of punishment. Now, if any severe punishment should follow such a transgression, how disproportionate would it be to the guilt! Suppose the boy may indeed have done wrong; -how slight must the wrong be, in the view of any one who could look into the heart, and estimate truly its moral movements in such a case! It is unquestionably true, and every wise teacher is fully aware of it, that, in school discipline, there is constant danger lest the teacher should estimate erroneously the moral character of the actions he witnesses, just because he has forgotten the feelings of childhood. He cannot appreciate its temptations, or understand its difficulties; and many a little struggler with the inclinations which would draw him from duty, is chilled and discouraged in his efforts, because the teacher never knows that he is making an effort to do his duty, ივ

or cannot understand the difficulties and trials which he

finds in his way.

Suppose now that such a teacher should say to himselfand suppose he could, by some magic power, carry the plan into effect- I will become a little child myself, and go to school. I will take these same lessons which I assign to others, and endeavour to keep myself the rules which I have been endeavouring to enforce. I will spend two or three weeks in this way, that I may learn, by actual experience, what are the difficulties, and temptations, and trials of childhood.' Suppose he could carry this plan into effect; and, laying aside his accumulated knowledge, and the strength of moral principle which long habit has formed, should assume the youth, and the spirits and the feelings of childhood. He toils upon a perplexing lesson, that he may know by experience what the perplexity of childhood is. He obeys the strictest rules, that he may understand the difficulty of obedience; and he exposes himself to the unkindness or oppression of the vicious boys, that he may learn how hard it is patiently to endure them. After fully making the experiment, he resumes his former character, and returns to his station of authority. How much better is he now able to sympathize with his pupils in their trials! and with what confidence can they come to him with all their cares!


Now we have such a Saviour as this. "The Word was made flesh," i. e. became man, and dwelt among us. He took not on him the nature of angels, but the nature of man. Wherefore it behoved Him in all things to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful High-priest." "We have not an High-priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are.”

My reader will doubtless observe, that this case is somewhat similar to that of Howard, which I imagined in the

« AnteriorContinuar »