Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]

to travel, I left them when very young and went through many countries in the military line, in which I met with more encouragement than I could have expected. I was reputed an honest man, and sustained a fair character, till about three years ago, being reduced to poverty by the non-payment of different sums of money due to me, led afide by ill company, and above all by my own desperately wicked and deceitful heart, I followed a course of life the most openly sinful and profane, and went on from evil to worse, till I was at last left so far to myself, as to commit the crime for which I am condemned; and condemned justly, for I receive the due rewards of my deeds. But though till lately, I could not have been condemned by the laws of men, 1 see myself all along a breaker of the law of God, as it requires perfect love to God and our neighbour, Miat. xxii. 37, 39. I see myself to have been a wilful transgreffor of both these commandments, and all my fins in this respect appear to me very dark and dismal, and now very evil in my fight. After I was condemned, I was struck with horror from a fenile of my dismal state, labouring under a dreadful weight, and at the point of despair, through a view of the greatness of my fins. In this situation I was visited by some persons, who I doubt not meant well; I informed them that I


much disturbed and felt a great weight at my heart, and wanted to prepare myself for another world, and that I could not get myself made easy, by prayer, mourning over my fins, and all' my attempts to please God. They told me they were very glad that I felt myself uneasy for my sins, and desired me to be busy with God and use all my endeavours to make peace for myself with him ; but I still continued very uneasy, for no prayers or tears of mine could atone for one single fin, let be so many. In this state I remained, so anxious to make my heart better, that I would willingly have plucked it out of my bowels, if this would have answered the purpose, and rendered me an object worthy of pardon; but all my attempts were vain, till God was pleased po to order it, that a certain person came to see me : tie asked me how I found myself: I answered that I was endeavouring to work a very hard work, for I felt a great load at my heart; he replied, It is a very hard work indeed, if you be working any thing to make atonement for your sins; that work is done already; it is finished by Jesus Chrift;, and whosoever believes in this shall be saved. For proof of this, he marked down many passages of Scripture, and desired me to mind God's word and not man's. Even when I first heard this, I was somewhat eased in my mind; but when, after examining the Scriptures,

I found



I found it to be just and true, I was so much eased of the bur den at my heart, that it was almost new life unto me. Now I rejoice when I find it written, John, ii. 16, that “God sa loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that who foever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” And I account it" a faithful saying and worthy of all ac ceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save finners, of whom I am chief." So I see that God gave his son freely to die for our fins, because there was no other ransom could ía tisfy his justice, and sore provoked anger; fo vile were we and full of fin, that it was necessary that God himself thould be manifest in the flesh, being born of a virgin, and, by his death on the cross, fuffer for us. Thus, Isaiah says, chap. liii. 5. “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities : the chaktisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed.” See the whole chapter, And in John, xix. we have an account of his sufferings, fufe ferings far beyond my power to defcribe ; but in particular at the 30th verse: “When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, it is finished ; and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghoft.” Now it was from this very word that I at first took all my joy ; for I am assured that he hath completed all salvation for the guilty, and hath confirmed this by raising him from the dead, and committing unto him all judgment. I am also afsured, that, “ whosoever believeth on him, shall not perish ;"? and therefore though I am a great finner, though I acknowledge myself to be one of the chief of finners, yet I find I have no room for despair ; nor am Ilocked up from God's grace, though I be chained in bars of iron. The scene before me indeed is folemn : I am just going to launch into eternity, and to face that great and terrible God against whom I have finned, and Jesus fitting at his right hand, who is able to save and to destroy. The change will be great and the very thought of it is so affecting, that it must long ere now have deprived me of my senses, had not God, who is rich in mercy, opened mine eyes by his word and spirit, to see his glory as revealed in the gospel, that he is the juft God and the faviour, and that even such a wretch as I, is fully warranted to hope in his mercy. This, and this alone, gives strength and confolation to my soul. I go to Christ my Lord and saviour, to his judgment-seat who died

upon the cross for finners ; to him I commit my cause ; to him I look for salvation. I am also encouraged to hope in the mercy of God from the many instances recorded in the Scriptures, fach as Mary Magdalene, Zacheus, the jailor at Vol. III.



Philippi, and above all, the thief on the cross, which fo exactly applies to my case, that it gives me a great deal of comfort. Thus when I consider the goodness of Christ, I love him : this leads me to call on his name, and to wish I could do any thing to serve him, or his people: and indeed it is only through the knowledge of him that all true love arises either to God or man. When I ponder in my mind what is recorded of the woman who kissed the feet of Jesus, washed them with her tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head, and what the Lord said about this to Simon the Pharisee, I admire the grace

of the saviour. I wish it were in my power to kiss his feet; with what joy and transport would I wash them with my tears, and wipe them with the hairs of my head! But why Tould I fay fo? The blessed Jeļus needs none of my washing, It is I, a poor polluted finner, that need to be washed; and I praise and magnify his name, that he hath washed my soul in his most precious blood. ... Now this is the confession of my faith and hope, which I am persuaded none who regard the Bible will disapprove of, seeing I have received so much comfort from it, and given God's own word for the truth of all that I have said; and it is my earnest defire, that all who see this, may examine the ground of my confidence, and apply to this my remedy, which will never fail

. To conclude, I die in peace with all men; heartily forgiving all who have injured me, and afking forgiveness from all whom I have injured. I also return my hearty thanks to my lawyers and agent for their disinterested zeal in my service; and also to the captain of the tolbooth, and the inner jailor, who, while they were very strict and exact in their duty, behaved to me with kindness and compassion. But above all, I return thanks to those who were inftrumental, by the grace of God, in enlightening my mind in the knowledge of the Scriptures ; and as I cannot express what service they have done


I leave it to the Lord to recompenfe them, knowing that for his fake they shewed me kindness. And

now, O Lord Jesus, I turn to thee. These are my last words : Remember me, now that thou art in thy kingdom, and be merciful to me this day, as thou waft to the tbief who called to thee on the cross, and grant that my soul may be with thee in Paradise, that I may be blessed in the enjoyment of thee to all eternity. Amen.


It may be proper to observe that the publisher, Henry David Inglis, above mentioned, received from William Mills,

a few


á few days before he died, the speech he intended to be published, written with his own hand, in order to correct any inaccuracy, and leave out any repetition of sentiment. The above speech contains the substance of what was thus received from him ; not only the ideas being exactly preserved, but as much as possible, his own words being retained. This {peech was examined by Wm. Mills, and was signed by him before it was printed : and so anxious was he that his own speech should go abroad into the world, that he instructed the jailor to apply for an interdict against all printers, except the person employed by him, and he read over the speech after it was published, on the day that he suffered, that he might be satisfied that no miltake was committed. (See the first article in the poetry.)


[ocr errors]

TOUR having been pleased to tavour me in the publishing

the life of Jonathan the Jew, am therefore encouraged to recommend for your insertion, the following dissertation on the fign of the prophet Jonah, wrote by the same celebrated author; and, according to his statement thereaf, it appears that no part of the Sacred Writings more conspicuously holds forth and illustrates the grand article of the Christian's creed, that “God is love," that " he is good to all," and that “his tender mercies are over all his works.'

This piece being now out of print, I thought it too valuable to remain in oblivion, especially as it is esteemed by some who have thought much upon the subject, to be the best illus. tration thereof extant.

I am, Sir, yo'ırs, &c.


Matt. xii. 38-44, $ Then certain of the scribes and Pharisees answered, faying, Master, we would sec a sign from thee. But he answered. and said to them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign, and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly, so shall the son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation



and shall condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of 1 Jonah, and behold a greater than Jonah is here.” Ch. xvi. 3, 4.

« Oye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky, but can ye not discern the signs of the times ? A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a fign, and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah."

Luke, xi. 30. “ For as Jonah was a sign unto the Ninevites, fo shall also the fon of man be to this generation."

Chrift's telling the Jews, that no sign should be given to them but the sign of the prophet Jonah, plainly calls for our attentive confideration of the history of that prophet. And though the resemblance to the Meffiah was especially in his preaching repentance to the Ninevites, in consequence of his being three days and three nights in the belly of the great filh* (κοιλια τα κητους) yet we may find feveral circumftances in the account we have of him wherein he may be considered as a fign, in close connection with this leading view.

SECTION I. 1. If we take notice of the city from whence Jonah came, and by which he is designed, we shall see the vanity of that objection which the Jewish leaders made against Jesus being the great prophet, when they said to Nicodemus with an air of triumph, “ Art thou also of Galilee? Search and look, for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet." John, vii. 52. For it is manifeft that Jonah was a Galilean, of Gath-kepher, a city situated on the sea coast of Galilee, in the portion of Zebulon; compare 2 Kings, xiv. 25. with Joshua, xix. 13. So in this instance, the Pharisees, these blind guides, thewed themselves as grossly ignorant of the Scriptures, as in that other quoted by Matthew from Isaiah, xi. 1, 2. Matt. iv. 15, 16. « The land of Zebulon and the land of Naphtali, by the way of the sea, Galilee of the gentiles : the people who sat in darkness faw great light, and to them who fat in the region and shadow of death, light is sprung up:

2. Jonah is the firft prophet sent to preach repentance to the idolatrous gentiles, even as he was sent with glad tidings of re. lief and enlargement to the house of Israel, by the recovery of their ancient border, when they had been reduced to the greatest distress by their apoftacy from the true God to the worship of idols, 2 Kings, xiv. 26, 27. The reason annexed to the

See Parkhurst on the word Kore


« AnteriorContinuar »