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that he performed the office of relieving the distressed. His manner of bestowing relief clearly showed with what sensibility he entered into the sorrows of others. How affecting, for instance, is the account of his restoring to life the son of the widow of Nain, as it is related in the beautiful simplicity of the evangelical historian? When he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow,
"; and much people of the city was with her. All the circumstances in this incident are moving and affecting; and it presently appeared with what tender sensibility our Lord was touched at the sight of so mournful a procession. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not; and he came and touched the bier, (and they that bare him stood still,) and he said, Young man, I say unto thee, arise. And he that was dead, sat up and began to speak; and he delivered him to his mother. * The whole scene of raising Lazarus from the grave, places our Saviour's sympathy in the strongest light. As soon as he came among the mourning friends, although he knew the cause of their mourning was speedily to be removed, he could not forbear partaking of their sorrow; He groaned, and was troubled in spirit ; and when, surrounded by a crowd in tears, he approached to the grave of his deceased friend, it is expressly recorded, to the eternal honour of his feelings, Jesus wept ; and the Jews said, Behold, how he loved him!t-In like manner, when, for the last
+ time, he was about to enter into Jerusalem, though the certain knowledge of all the cruelties which were
* Luke, vii, 12-16.
+ John, xi, 35.
prepared for him there would have filled the breast of any ordinary person with indignation and hatred, instead of such emotions, the foresight of the direful calamities which hung over that devoted city melted his heart; and when he drew near to it and beheld it, ke wept ; pouring forth that pathetic lamentation; O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the Prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! If thou hadst known, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace, but now they are hid from thine eyes !* Thus, as a man, he indulged all the amiable feelings of our nature, teaching us that it is our duty to regulate our passions, not to extirpate them.
Such was Jesus of Nazareth, the founder of our religion. A part only of his character I have now attempted to delineate; many other of his eminent graces
and virtues have been left in the shade. But in what we have now contemplated of his behaviour as a man among men, we behold a perfect model of the conduct we ought to hold in the ordinary intercourse of society with one another. We have seen him attentive to every opportunity of being beneficent and useful; in his behaviour to all men, affable and obliging; to his friends, faithful and indulgent ; to his enemies, generous and forgiving ; to the distressed, full of tenderness and compassion. I might also have dwelt upon the peaceful spirit he displayed on all occasions ; his respect as a subject, to the
* Luke, xiii. 34.-xix. 42.
civil laws and government of his country; discouraging a factious and mutinous spirit; paying tribute when demanded; exhorting his followers to render unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar's, as unto God those which are God's. Enough has been said to show what a blessing it would prove to the world, if this illustrious example were generally followed. Men would then become happy in their connections with one another. This world would be a blessed dwelling; and the society of human beings on earth would approach to the joy and peace of the societies of the just in heaven.
On the Wounds of the HEART.
PROVERBS, xviii. 14.
The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity ; but a
wounded spirit who can bear? THERE are two classes of goods and evils belonging to man; those which respect his corporeal,
, and those which respect his spiritual state. Whatever is of an external nature, is sufficiently the object. of attention to all men. In the health and vigour of the body, and in the flourishing state of worldly fortune, all rejoice: and whatever diminishes the one or the other is immediately felt and lamented. These are visible and striking objects on which our senses and imagination are accustomed to dwell. But to procure an equal attention to what is inward and spiritual, is much more difficult. It is not easy to convince men that the soul hath interests of its own, quite distinct from those of the body, and is liable to diseases and wounds as real as any which the body suffers, and often much more grievous. What passes within the hearts of men, is always invisible to the public eye.
If it be of the pleasing and satisfactory kind, they have no occasion to disclose it; and if it be of a painful nature it is often their intent to conceal it. In the mean time the heart Icnoweth its own bitterness : and from its being secreted from public
observation and concentrated within the breast, it is felt the more deeply. — The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; the natural vigour and courage of his mind may enable him to surmount the ordinary distresses of life; to bear with patience poverty, sickness, or pain, as long as he is conscious that all is right and sound within. But if within him, the disease rankles in his mind and his heart; if that which should sustain him serves only to gall and torment him ; to what quarter can he then look
; for relief, or to what medicine apply, when that which should have cured his other wounds is itself diseased and wounded ? A wounded spirit who can bear?
The spirit or soul of man is wounded chiefly by three causes ; by Folly, by Passion, by Guilt.
I. It is wounded by Folly; that is, by vain, light, and improper pursuits; by a conduct, which though it should not be immediately criminal, yet is unsuitable to one's age, character, or condition in the world. Good sense is no less requisite in our religious and moral behaviour, than it is in our worldly affairs. Whoever departs far from the plain track of sober and reasonable conduct, shall, sooner or later, undergo the consequences of a diseased and wounded spirit. - It often happens, that under the notion of innocent pleasure and amusement, of only following their humour and indulging their taste, while, as they say, they hurt no man, and violate no material duty, many go on for a time, in a course of the most egregious follies, and all along conceive themselves to be, if not very virtuous, at least very inoffensive men. The case is the same with the