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believer, respecting the danger of apostatizing from the faith.'
'But is there not a difficulty, (I said,) to the cordial reception of this doctrine, in the cases of those unhappy persons who die by their own hands, and, as is generally supposed, from the effects of religious melancholy?'
'Not the least, (replied my friend,) by those who consider the subject in a proper point of view. It is the grossest mistake to ascribe such instances of suicide to a religious melancholy, when in fact they are induced altogether from the total want of religion.
'Men, from the awakenings of conscience, and from the dread of divine displeasure in the recollection of a mis-spent life, may be driven to despair; and, if there be no grace given to them of God, to make application of the sweet promises of the gospel in the hour of temptation, but left to themselves, may be prompted to do an act at which nature shudders! But who would presume, but a fool, to put this down to the score of religion, when every cir cumstance tends but to prove the very reverse, in the total want of all religion. Let us only suppose a case in point, which is enough at once to answer all the childish observations which the world hath made on a subject of this nature.
Let us suppose a man, under the immediate pressure and alarms of a guilty conscience, in the prospect of the wrath to come, feels the rising temptation to make away with himself. Let us suppose further, that in this distressed state of mind, some precious revelation and promise of the Gospel is, through divine grace, revealed to his heart; that he hears and believes what that Gospel graciously proclaims that though his sins are as the scarlet, they shall be made white as snow; though red as the crimson, they shall be as the wool; that the blood of JESUS CHRIST cleanseth from all sin:' is it not evident, that if the mind of such a man is brought to believe in this precious promise, there can be no despair, and consequently there can be no self-murder? And will prejudice itself, even the grossest prejudice, venture to say, or even believe, that a single instance of suicide was ever committed under such circumstances?
Hence, therefore, you see, my brother,' continued my friend, that it is not faith, but the want of faith; not from religion, but from the total absence of religion, that a melancholy pervades the mind, which sometimes terminates so fatally as in self-destruction.'
I was about to reply, when the voice of one singing attracted my attention. It was an husbandman at his labour, busily engaged in ploughing the field, and at the same time exercising his mind in strains of melody. From the solemnity of the tune, I was induced to believe that it was a psalm or hymn that he was singing. How mercifully, (I thought with myself,) hath the LORD provided for the labouring part of mankind; that while the hands are engaged day by day on things of the earth, the heart is unfettered, and able, through grace, to soar among the objects of heaven! As we approached nearer, we paused, and could very plainly distinguish the words: and thus he sing
Arise, my soul, my joyful pow'rs,
Awake, my voice, and loud proclaim
My friend whispered in my ear,- Do you recollect what the Prophet predicted of the last Gospel days? In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE
LORD? Such shall be the gracious prelude to that day, when there shall be no more the Canaanite in the land, that the highway and the way of holiness shall be so plain, that the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err thereint.' -The farmer still sung;
'He rais'd me from the depths of sin,
And fix'd my standing more secure
Is not this strange doctrine?' I cried to my friend. Ask him yourself,' he said, for if he sings with the spirit and with the understanding also,' he can explain.'
'Are you not mistaken, honest man,' I said, in what you are singing? Oh, no, Sir,' he immediately answered, 'He that raised me from sin, preserves me now from falling;
The arms of everlasting love
The city of my bless'd abode
* Zech. xiv. 20, 21. † Isaiah xxxv. 8.
Satan may vent his sharpest spite,
Does this seem strange to you, Sir?' continued the countryman. Surely, you ought to know better than I but for my part, 'I thank God, I know enough to know, that they are safer that are kept by grace, than they who never fell. The angels, who kept not their first estate, fell from having no security but their own strength. And our unhappy first father, who had more strength of his own than ever any since of his fallen race have had, soon manifested what that strength was when left alone. -I do therefore desire to bless GoD, that my strength is in another, and not in myself. Oh! it is a sweet morsel to my soul, which says, '0 Israel thou hast destroyed thyself, but in me is thy help. Besides, Sir, had Adam continued in his original state of uprightness, and all his children have partaken in the same; this would have been no other, after all, but the righteousness of the creature. Whereas now, 'the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD. He is the LORD our righteousness; and therefore he is himself our strength in the time of trou* Hosea xii. 9.