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have too much fear of entering into the other world, to have any such thought.”

12.-His language was much the same as before. In the afternoon he said he could not live long

13.-He was very early up, but went to bed again. Rose again, and was pretty quiet through the day, during which time we spoke a good deal. He said, “ Never one was in my condition, for they have had a horror for their sins, but I have had a horror for my odd thoughts about my not being chargeable with my sins." I asked him, if ever any of his dissolute acquaintance had argued with him in such a strain? “ Never,” said he. I bade him be watchful against these thoughts. “I have,” said he, “put on a resolution not to argue about these things at all, but to believe what the scriptures have said.”

About eight o'clock, he went pretty quiet to bed, but was up about twelve, and said, when he awaked, he was in the greatest uneasiness imaginable. He walked a while, and then went to bed again.

Next morning, I asked how he did; “I cannot," said he, “ be worse in this world; I am ready to sink under the different passions of my mind. O! a bad conscience is a sad thing. I sometimes sweat through horror, till you might wring my shirt. A lad that is come of religious parents, and had a religious education, to be a cast-a-way!" Here we had some conversation, which quieted him. He was pretty quiet through the day, and sat easy.

Next day, after he had been walking, he came and sat down, and said, “ Lord forgive me! for I was tempted to throw myself out at the gun-room port, as there was nobody beside me; but I thought this would be undoing myself at once."

Next day, being Sabbath, 16th, he was very uneasy, and extremely troubled, full of doleful complaints : “ O!” says he, “there is a great difference between a good and a wicked man; the one has noble thoughts, which the other has not.” He complained often, that he could not have honourable thoughts of God as he should, but that his heart rose up in rebellion against God, and how would he have mercy on him! Whereupon I spoke a little to him. He said, he was all in a ferment within.

(To be continued.)


The annunciation of the Birth & Character of

John the Baptist, to Zacharias.

(Continued from page 425.) I HE angel Gabriel also announced to Zacharias the Character of his forerunner. This was

IV. His Message. Verses 13–17.

It contains the promise of a son; of joy at bis birth, together with a portraiture of his future greatness.

The promise of a son. Verse 13. Thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.

Hitherto Zacharias and Elizabeth had no child, because that Elizabeth was barren: and they both were now well stricken in years. But natural obstacles vanish before the promise of Jehovah. In order to maintain the faith of his Church in his al

of the pros and shall cannon, in which Abraham

mighty power, and prepare the mind for admitting the fact of the miraculous conception of Jesus Christ, many eminent instances occur in Scripturehistory, of God's making the barren woman to keep house, a joyful mother of children*. It was proper that the forerunner of Messiah should, like Isaac, be a child of promise. This extraordinary event was calculated to excite a recollection of the similar instances which had formerly occurred in the birth of several very remarkable persons, and to cherish an expectation of the speedy accomplishment of the promise, Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuelt.

In the same city, Hebron, in which Elizabeth now dwelt, Sarah, in her old age, presented Abraham with his son Isaac, in whom God's covenant was renewed and confirmed. Rebekah, too, and Rachel, and Hannah, and the wife of Manoah, became mothers as it were by miracle ; and their several sons were all eminent men in the Church of God. No less eminent was the son of Zacharias and Elizabeth. His name, John, was divinely appointed, and revealed to his father before his conception in the womb. It

was accordingly significant. Iwarins, from the He* brew, 72or signifies the grace of God. “ God will

u be gracious in answering thy prayer for the ad“ vent of Messiah, in whom are grace and truth; " and thou shalt call thy son, who is to go before his face, by the name of John.”

Verse 14. Thou shalt have joy and gladness, and many shall rejoice at his birth.

The birth of children is naturally a source of joy to anxious parents and expecting friends. But, many a father and a mother would weep at the event, could they foresee the history of their offspring. In this case, however, there was no room

* Psalm cxiii. 9. † Isa. vii. 14.

for fearful apprehensions. Assurance was given before the birth of John, that his life should be spared until he came to years; that he should be made the happy instrument of publicly introducing the kingdom of heaven in the evangelical dispensation, as also of pointing out to the Church the Redeemer of Israel; and that his own personal character should be such, as to correspond with the remarkable office which he was divinely called to fill. Under these circumstances, both the parents and the pious friends might fearlessly rejoice at his birth.

The heavenly messenger also presents to the father, a

PORTRAITURE of his son. Verse 15. He shall be great in the sight of the Lord. EYWTION 18 Kugis.

John was admitted to the high honour of immediately preceding in his ministry, the Lord Jesus Christ. He went went before his face to prepare the way. He was therefore “ officially great;" and he was, besides, a great man. However he may stand in our opinion, in the sight of the Lord, this is his character :-Among them, that are born of women, there hath not risen a greater thanJohn the Baptist*. It is the decision of that Judge, from whose sentence there is no appeal.

The character of this great minister, as described by the angel Gabriel, is marked by temperance, piety, the rapid success of his ministry, a peculiar force of mind, and the continual influence of the highest motives of action. Thus was his eulogy pronounced before his birth.

1. John was temperate through life. Ver. 15. He shall drink neither wine nor strong drink, is the prediction respecting him.

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The law given by Moses, prescribed rules for the conduct of those who should voluntarily separate themselves, for a certain time, from the common enjoyments of life, for religious purposes. These persons were called Nazarites, (Separatists,) and were prohibited the use of strong drink. Sampson was by divine direction a Nazarite through life. While the Nazarites, by their vow, separation from the world, purity of manners, and constant attention to religious objects, were emblematical of the ministry of reconciliation, they more immediately prefigured the Redeemer of men in his devotedness to God for our salvation. It was fit, therefore, that John, the forerunner of this great Nazarite, should be himself literally a Nazarite: and such he was from his mother's womb. Abstinence from sensual enjoyments was habitual to him. Educated in the desert, the hill country of Judea, he was preserved, both in body and mind, from that debility which is the consequence of delicate living, amidst the false and corrupt refinement of the fashionable world. Taste for either food or raiment inconsistent with his penitential ministry, he did not indulge. His wants were few, and his desires were regulated by his wants. The austerity of his selfdenial overawed the licentiousness of the age, and exceeded the strictness of which the Pharisee boast-", ed, although it existed only in pretence. He was no parasite, clothed in soft raiment. He had his garment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins ; and his meat was locust and wild honey*. He bore in his personal appearance, the character of that ministry of penitence, which was committed to him. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven

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