« PrécédentContinuer »
between acute and chronic diseases : science in relieving distressing sympin the former, if danger attend the toms; the great advantage, as well patient, and the powers of the sys- as duty, of a .contented mind; the tem are rapidly exhausting and dis- direction of a patient's reading, and solution is approaching, to withdraw the recollection that in a feeble the props on which that system rests state of the brain and nervous sysin hope is to sink it inevitably, with- tem this cannot be exclusive, in order out any thing like a compensating to its being beneficial ; the one great good; and the individual who does cause of sin and suffering; and the so is accessary to the destruction of hopes and consolations of religion, body and soul, if that spirit is un- to all those who will embrace her prepared to meet its God. In these invitations; will afford so many chanstates of acute suffering the patient nels through which the attention is almost always too much occupied may be steadily awakened to its siwith disease to think at all—or to tuation and responsibitities, to its think correctly—and the appointed present duties and coming prospects. medium for the reception and con- But even through these natural apveyance of thought, the brain and proaches the subject is to be intronervous system, is too much under duced with delicacy, and at proper the influence of excitation or depres- opportunities; or it will fail of prosion, according to varying conditions ducing a good effect upon the mind; of malady, to rely upon its manifes- while its injury to the body is most tations.
unwarrantable. Nothing can exceed But in the lengthened attendance, the extensive mischief which arises the varying forms, the languor, the from injudicious management of progress, the gradual exhaustion of these advantages, to the patient and chronic ailment, there are abundant surrounding friends; and yet in opportunities for leading the patient proper hands they may be so employed to a consideration of the brevity and as to produce a good effect: and to uncertainty of life; to the frequent neglect such opportunities, is as criunfortunate issue of long-continued minal, as to destroy life, in the former organic disease ; and to the necessity instance, by ill-timed appeals to of preparedness for every event, how- powerful feelings. In these instances ever much we are bound to hope, to the patient sometimes asks his atseek, to pray for restoration, in sub- tendant for his opinion as to the mission to Him whose power we probable issue of his maladies. The daily acknowledge, and to whose best answer to this question will be appointments we constantly, and found in balancing the probabilities often unthinkingly, say, “ Thy will for the successful termination of sibe done,” when the heart secretly milar cases of organic disease, and adds, “ so far as it is in conformity then drawing the conclusion, that, with my own." The wisdom and where such uncertainty exists, the prudence of trying both sides of a only safe conduct is to live in hope of question which involves uncertainty the blessing of God upon the means as to its issue, may always be intro- employed, but in preparedness for duced. The goodness and mercy of another result, should it be the will God in afflicting his children, and of God. And this is easily shewn thus calling their attention to serious to be the usual mode of human prothings, to the solemn realities of an ceedings : we insure our houses from eternal world ; the natural reflec- fire ; we protect our families, by life tions of a sick room, and of abstrac- insurance, from the present pecution from all the enjoyments which niary evils involved in the loss of health and activity confer; the kind active life: and is it not equally, attentions of friends ; gratitude for nay, more, imperative to protect ourthe constant supply of the wants of selves from the moral evils involved an invalid ; the aids of medicine and in the loss of life,“ by laying up treasures in heaven, where neither certain that such an impression upon moth nor rust doth corrupt?” Surely your mind must paralyse your exerdeath is not the only evil from the tions for my recovery; and therefore, consequences of which we should painful as it is to me, I am obliged, not seek a safeguard. From very in justice to myself, my family, and large experience I can safely say, friends, to seek other advice, more that adopting the other line of con- calculated to restore me.” And then duct, and telling the patient that in the patient is thrown under the care his individual case there is no pro- of some individual who has not the spect of recovery, is utterly un- friendly interest of long-standing availing as to the intended result: connexion to energize his moral usually he does not believe the com- efforts for the sufferer, who falls a munication, and his confidence in victim to the proceedings of the unthe opinion of his medical friend is blushing empiric. And what advandestroyed, and then all hope of use- tage is thus gained ? Nothing, but the fulness is gone.
loss of the most valuable influence I have been informed that clergy. of the medical friend, and the early men oftentimes complain of difficul. destruction of feeble life. Whereas, if ties thrown in the way of their pro- the line of conduct recommended fitable visitation of the sick by the had been pursued, there would have conduct of medical men. It may be been some hope of leading the paso in some instances, where the line tient to consider his ways; while his of conduct recommended has not confidence in his medical attendant been pursued : but I would suggest would have remained unbroken, and to pious clergymen, whether this consequently his influence would difficulty is not more apparent than have continued available for the real; and whether it does not rather moral benefit of the sick. This is arise from the natural recoil of the no imaginative picture ; it is the human heart against serious things, on truth of large experience; and that the one hand; or, on the other, from experience advisedly states, that it the equally natural desire of finding is impossible to convince the masome obvious cause, on which to jority of consumptives that they will throw the evil of failure. Let me not recover. affectionately entreat them to look Take an instance on the opposite at the evils which arise on the oppo- side, of organic disease of the stomach, site side of the question—and these or the liver, or the heart; where evils will be of a different character. gloomy or unreal or fearful images according to the malady of the pa- predominate, according to the affected tient, and its physical unseen asso- viscus. Here hope is the most imciations with cheerful or with gloomy portant anchor on which can be images. As an example of the grounded the chance of recovery : former, take a case of regular con- take away that anchor, and the pasumption. As would be desired by tient is driven hither and thither on some persons, the medical friend the ocean of futurity; tossed by the takes away the prop of hope, and billows of fearful and conflicting tells the patient he cannot recover. emotions; or hurried by fierce winds This produces at the moment consi- upon the rocks which every where derable mischievous emotion: but no abound; or is lost in the darkness ground has been gained ; for, by and desolation which surround him. the next day, the physical asso- And still nothing has been gained ; ciations of hope predominate; the for although he will now be ready patient has laid hold of some flatter- to listen to his spiritual adviser, and ing symptom, and is again looking to embrace with eagerness all that forward to recovery : Surely, my he states : it is the pis-aller of him dear sir, you must be mistaken in who has no longer hope from present your judgment: at all events it is scenes : it is flying from the evil to
come, rather than giving up the munion, which is but too common. heart to God: it is the drowning and too fatal in its influence to all man catching at straws: it is the really serious thought. If the medihypocrisy of the human heart, which cal man be responsible for leading will seem to repent and to seek his patient to the only Source of Christ when there is no other re- real peace, and hope, and rest, and fuge from impending calamity; but joy, and confidence ; and if in so it is seeking him in fear, not in love; doing he is bound to direct his atembracing him as a Saviour from tention to the ministers of religion, the penal consequences of sin, not as the source of more information, as the Purifier and Sanctifier of the more extensive and juster views heart. And what has now been than he can give; they become awgained ? Apparent attention to fully responsible for their employtruth, apparent reception of spiritualment of opportunities thus created counsel, apparent flying from the for them; deeply criminal if they negwrath to come ; and yet the heart lect them ; most deeply and cruelly remains unchanged—aye, hardened criminal if they deceive the sick, in the hypocrisy of its own self- crying Peace, where there is no peace. deception, and blinded, by appro- Often has it happened to me to hear priating to itself the consolations the result-doubtless through inof religion, to which it has no claim. advertence or misapprehension How different might have been the the opportunities thus created. In result under a judicious treatment answer to my inquiries if they had of the patient ! How true this attended to my request, they replied, picture is, experience largely shews, Yes; they had had a visit from by the fact of the self-deceiving hy- the clergyman, and he had given pocrisy of the immense majority of them the sacrament, and read praydeath-bed repentances, where life ers to them : they had now done ; has been restored, and health re- they had made their
with God; gained, and the apparent disciple of they could look back upon a wellsickness has relapsed into the wilds spent life; they had committed no of carelessness.
great sins; and they trusted in the This danger of hypocrisy would mercy of God to make up their deficihave been avoided by quietly pur- encies: so they had nothing to do but suing the plans recommended in a to wait their coming change. Dread
Yet even here violent ful delusion! The prayers of the cleremotion should be avoided; for violent gyman, and receiving the sacrament, emotion is not a necessary character rendered the means of pardoning sin, istic of religious impression; and its and of placing the sinner in such a continuance would rapidly exhaust, state of reconciliation with God that perhaps would be sufficient very his infinite mercy would make up early to destroy, feeble life; to pro- the deficiency of good works! How long which is as sacred a duty as awful the responsibility, even where can be conceived, and to destroy this effect has been undesignedly which by any means, whether "li- produced through inadvertence, or censed or unlicensed, involves from a fancied want of time fre. breach of the Decalogue. Religion quently to visit a distant patient and has a power, elsewhere unknown, thoroughly to investigate his state! of gilding the stormy clouds, which Want of time is commonly the abattend even the early evening of life, sence of inclination; for time may with hues of inimitable beauty; and be created, in some way or other, by it is upon these the attention of the introducing order and method into patient should be fixed. But while our arrangements, for every real call we thus speak of the consolations of of duty. It is my firm conviction religion, we do not intend that mi. that we shall all one day feel the serable abuse of the holy commu- great criminality we have contracted, CHIST. OBSERV, No. 353.
OF THE REV. ROBERT HALL.
under this plausible excuse, from the of grief abated, lest it swell beyond neglect of a most important talent the bounds of Christian moderation entrusted to our cultivation.
and overwhelm the soul. How faHaving used the expression “law. vourable to mourners is the blessed ful means," it only remains to say Gospel ! Gaze not, therefore, on the what means are lawful for the me
dark side of the cloud. The black dical man to employ for the recovery and sable dispensation is tinged with of his patient; and to this it may be radiant beams of the Sun of Righsaid, any medicine, physical and moral, teousness, which portend a glorious which does not produce an injurious coming day. Could you hear the influence upon his bodily or mental dear departed spirit, her language system, and which does not infringe would be, · Refrain from tears; I am the law of God and the law of well : weep not for me.' love.
Consider, my dear friend: He Such, Mr. Editor, are my passing who gave her, reserved a superior reflections on this subject ; and if I right to her : this she, through grace, am wrong, I shall be glad to be set sweetly acquiesced in: and though she right by any of your judicious cor- gave herself to you : for a time, yea, respondents.
till time with her should be no more;
she gave herself to the Lord in ever.
sent his chariot to convey her home, To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
saying, ' Arise, my fair one, and come The following copy of a letter from away. ' the late Mr. Robert Hall to a friend My friend, you will likewise of his, was some time since found consider, that you and she are not among some papers of a deceased far separated; for although all comrelative. It has never appeared in munication be now broken off, you print, but is well worthy of being are yet, and will for ever, continue preserved from oblivion; and there in the same house, even the house of can be no impropriety, now that the mercy; that divine, capacious, and writer has entered into his rest, in beautiful structure which Jehovah publishing this truly consolatory hath said shall be built up for ever.' epistle.
G. F. B.
In that house are many mansions.
We are in the lower apartments, To Mr. H. on the Death of Mrs. H. while she is admitted to the large
My dear friend,-I cannot ex- upper room, where Jesus keeps the press the emotions of soul which I feast with his disciples ; and by and felt on receiving from your valuable bye I hope the Lord will give us a son an account of the death of his gracious token, and say, ' Come up dear mamma.
I often realize in my hither.' mind, and think I see you in various You know, sir, it is an evil time; postures, and with indications of a gloomy prospect attends the land : heartfelt sorrow and pungent per- her righteous soul may in mercy plexity. Oh! the piercing pangs
be taken from the evil to come. of grief attending such a separation! However, it is in the Lord's hands, They cannot be expressed nor pic- who says, “ Be still, and know that tured, but in idea. I have felt, I I am God.' Difficulties and increasing daily feel, for you and your dear cares, it is true, devolve upon you; but children. Your and their loss is know that the Lord is all-sufficient. It greatindeed. More-But stop, my makes not much, whether burthens friend : the sluices of sorrow ought be lessened or increased, if strength not to be kept open, but the torrent be but in exact proportion; and He
who cannot lie hath said," My abundant in the Lord : Desire goesstrength shall be perfected in thy in search after celestial productions ; weakness; and, as thy day is so Hope stands on tiptoe to view them; shall thy, strength be.' Creatures Faith goes to receive them, and are like candles : very useful, and brings them home. Thus, the just always most prized, when the sun shall live by his faith; for what Faith is absent; but if he arise, we can do brings, Love cordially receives, and without them. May the Lord arise Volition bids it welcome. Joy sings, and shine, and his glory light upon and makes sweet melody; Peace you and yours ! As death does not possesseth ; Rest receives; and Fear separate from the Lord, neither does ceaseth to quake, and Jealousy to it divide the saints from one another. tremble. How well is it for the soul, Your spirit and hers daily meet at when tribulation worketh for her, the same throne; she to praise, and and when every grace is active in you to pray: therefore, in that sense, her! Angels encamp about her, and though absent in the body, you are God rejoiceth over her to do her present in the spirit; and after a while good.— I would not be tedious : exyou will meet in person, to part no cuse my prolixity. more; for 'they that sleep in Jesus I remain, your affectionate and will the Lord bring with him.' In sympathizing friend, and I hope the mean time, we are called to walk brother in the kingdom and patience by faith, and not by sight; and He, of Christ Jesus,
ROBERT HALL. in whom we may safely confide, hath declared, · All things work together for good. It was once a reconciling thought to me in great ON THE INCREASE OF DISSENT. trouble, that afflictions are compared to the Editor of the Christian Observer.. in Scripture to workmen ; all employed, and busy in the Christian's In reply to your correspondent E.S.L., behalf. They work for you : it in your Number for February, i might have been against you, as is admit that the piety and activity of frequently feared. They work to- a clergyman may for a while increase gether; not separately, but in happy the ranks of Dissent. My own obharmony. I then thought, the more servation has often brought me to the better, if God direct and point this conclusion. The chief cause I out their employment; for the end to conceive to be the following :-A mibe accomplished, is ' far more ex- nister, we will suppose, enters upon ceeding and eternal weight of glory.' a spiritually neglected parish; where As persons take pleasure in review- he finds a number of Dissenters, toing the industrious workman, so the gether with a far greater number of Christian, with Paul, may rejoice, ignorant, careless, and irreligious not only in the Lord, but in his tri- churchmen. To the latter, his mi. bulation also. “I take pleasure in nistrations are especially directed. afflictions also,' &c. If God send a He discovers in them a vague attachgreat affliction (thought I), we may ment to the Church, propped on the then view it as a fresh workman, one hand by mere prejudice, and on engaged in our favour ; and not only the other hand by a hatred of any so, but look upon it as one who, in thing that bears the name of Meconsequence of singular strength, thodism. But as he is a consistent will dispatch business (though of a Churchman, and a clergyman, they heavy nature) at a great pace. Thus can urge no fair objection against those for whom they are employed him; and they begin to listen to his will grow rich at last. Among scriptural instructions; and, by the others, let patience have her perfect blessing of God, and the influences work : she is a pensive, but a pre- of the Holy Spirit, are convinced of cious grace. Have, likewise, labours sin, and brought to the Saviour and