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for sin. Are you, Mr. Brown, afraid of the guilt of sin because of the punishment annexed to it, or are you afraid of sin itself? Do you wish to be delivered from the power of sin ; do you hate sin because
know it is offensive to a pure and holy God; or are you only ashamed of it because it has brought you to a prison, and exposed you to the contempt of the world ? It is not said that the wages of this or that particular sin is death, but of sin in general; there is no exception made because it is a more creditable or a favourite sin, or because it is a little one. I repeat, two ways of being sorry for sin. Cain was sorry—“My punishment is greater than I can bear,' said he; but here you see the punishment seemed to be the cause of concern, not of sin. David seems to have had a true notion of godly sorrow, when he says, “ Wash me from mine iniquity, cleanse me from my sin. And when Job "repented in dust and ashes, it is not said he excused himself, but he abhorred himself.' And the prophet Isaiah called himself undone,' because he was 'a man of unclean lips ;' for, said lie, 'I have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts ;' that is, he could not take the proper measure of his own iniquity till he had considered the perfect holiness of God."
One day, when Mr. Thomas and Mr. Stock came to see him, they found him more than commonly affected. His face was more ghastly pale than usual, and his eyes were red with crying. « Oh, sir," said he, “what a sight have I just seen! Jolly George, as we used to call him, the ringleader of all our mirth, who was at the bottom of all the fun, and tricks, and wickedness, that are carried on within these walls, Jolly George is just dead of the jail distemper! he taken, and I left! I would be carried
I into his room to speak to him, to beg him to take warning by me, and that I might take warning by him. But what did I see ! what did I hear! not one sign of repentance; not one dawn of hope. Agony of body, blasphemies on his tongue, despair in his soul; while I am spared and comforted with hopes of mercy and acceptance. Oh, if all my old friends at the Greyhound could but then have seen Jolly George! a hundred sermons about death, sir, don't speak so home, and cut so deep, as the sight of one dying sinner.”
Brown grew gradually better in his health, that is, the fever mended, but the distem per settled in his limbs, so that he seemed likely to be a poor weakly cripple the rest of his life. But as he spent much of his time in prayer, and in reading such parts of the Bible as Mr. Thomas directed, he improved every day in knowledge and piety, and of course grew more resigned to pain and infirmity.
Some months after this, his hard-hearted father, who had never been prevailed upon to see him, or offer him the least relief, was taken off suddenly by a fit of apoplexy; and, after all his threatenings, he died without a will. He was one of those silly superstitious men, who fancy they shall die the sooner for having made one ; and who love the world and the things that are in the world so dearly, that they dread to set about any business which may put them in mind that they are not always to live in it. As, by this neglect, his father had not fulfilled his threat of cutting him off with a shilling, Jack, of course, went shares with his brothers in what their father left. What fell to him proved to be just enough to discharge him from prison, and to pay all his debts, but he had nothing left. His joy at being thus enabled to make restitution was so great, that he thought little of his own wants. He did not desire to conceal the most trifling debt, nor to keep a shilling for himself.
Mr. Stock undertook to settle all his affairs. There did not remain money enough, after every creditor was satisfied, even to pay for his removal home. Mr. Stock kindly sent his own cart for him, with a bed in it, made as comfortable as possible, for he was too weak and lame to be removed any other way; and Mrs. Stock gave the driver a particular charge to be tender and careful of him, and not to drive hard, nor to leave the cart a moment.
Mr. Stock would fain have taken him into his own house, at least for a time, so convinced was he of his sincere reformation, both of heart and life; but Brown would not be prevailed on to be further burdensome to this generous friend. He insisted on being carried to the parish workhouse, which he said was a far better place than he deserved. In this house Mr. Stock furnished a small room for him, and sent him every day a morsel of meat from his own dinner. Tommy Williams begged that he might always be allowed to carry it, as some atonement for his having for a moment so far forgotten his duty, as rather to rejoice than sympathise in Brown's misfortunes. He never thought of this fault without sorrow, and often thanked his master for the wholesome lesson he then gave him ; and he was the better for it all his life.
Mrs. Stock often carried poor Brown a dish of tea or a basin of good broth herself. Ile was quite a cripple, and never able to walk out as long as he lived. Mr. Stock, Will Simpson, and Tommy Williams, laid their
. heads together, and contrived a sort of barrow, on which he was often carried to church by some of his poor neighbours, of whom Tommy was always one ; and he requited their kindness, by reading a good book to them whenever they would call in; and he spent his time in teaching their children to sing psalms or say the catechism.
It was no small joy to him thus to be enabled to go to church. When ever he was carried by the Greyhound, he was much moved, and used to put up a prayer full of repentance for the past, and praise for the present.
A DIALOGUE BETWEEN JAMES STOCK AND WILL SIMPSON, TIIE SHOEMAKERS,
AS TIIEY SAT AT WORK, ON THE DUTY OF CARRYING RELIGION INTO
JAMES Srock, and his journeyman Will Simpson, as I informed my readers in the Second Part, had resolved to work together one hour every evening, in order to pay for Tommy Williams' schooling. This circumstance brought them to be a good deal together when the rest of the men were gone home. Now it happened that Mr. Stock had a pleasant way of endeavouring to turn all common events to some use; and he thought it right on the present occasion to make the only return in his power to Will Simpson, for his great kindness. For, said he, if Will gives up so much of his time to help me to provide for this poor boy, it is the least I can do to try to turn part of that time to the purpose of promoting Will's
spiritual good. Now, as the bent of Stock's own mind was religious, it was easy to him to lead their talk to something profitable. He always took especial care, however, that the subject should be introduced properly, cheerfully, and without constraint. As he well knew that great good may be sometimes done by a prudent attention in seizing proper opportunities, so he knew that the cause of piety had been sometimes hurt by forcing serious subjects where there was clearly no disposition to receive them. I say he had found out that two things were necessary to the promoting of religion among his friends ; a warm zeal to be always on the watch for occasions, and a cool judgment to distinguish which was the right time and place to make use of them. To know how to do good is a great matter, but to know when to do it is no small one.
Simpson was an honest good-natured young man; he was now become sober, and rather religiously disposed. But he was ignorant; he did not know much of the grounds of religion, or of the corruption of his own nature ; he was regular at church, but was first drawn thither rather by his skill in psalm-singing than by any grent devotion. He had left off going to the Greyhound, and often read the Bible, or some other good book, on the Sunday evening. This he thought was quite enough; he thought the Bible was the prettiest history book in the world, and that religion was a very good thing for Sundays. But he did not much understand what business people had with it on working days. He had left off drinking, because it had brought Williams to the grave, and his wife to dirt and rags ; but not because he himself had seen the evil of sin. He now considered swearing and sabbath-breaking as scandalous and indecent, but he had not found out that both were to be left off because they are highly offensive to God, and grieve his Holy Spirit. As Simpson was less self-conceited than most ignorant people are, Stock had always a good hope that when he should come to be better acquainted with the word of God, and with the evil of his own heart, he would become one day a good Christian. The great hindrance to this was, that he fancied himself so already.
One evening, Simpson had been calling to Stock's mind how disorderly the house and shop, where they were now sitting quietly at work, had formerly been, and he went on thus:
Will. How comfortably we live now, master, to what we used to do in Williams's time! I used then never to be happy but when we were keeping it up all night, but now I am as merry as the day is long. I find I am twice as happy since I am grown good and sober.
Stock. I am glad you are happy, Will, and I rejoice that you are sober; but I would not have you take too much pride in your own goodness, for fear it should become a sin, almost as great as some of those you have left off. Besides, I would not have you make quite so sure that you are good.
Will. Not good, master ! why, don't you find me regular and orderly at work?
Stock. Very much so, and accordingly I have a great respect for you.
Will. I pay every one his own, seldom miss church, have not been drunk since Williams died, have handsome clothes for Sundays, and save a trifle every week.
Stock. Very true, and very laudable it is ; and to all this you may add, that you very generously work an hour for poor Tommy's education, every evening, without fee or reward.
Will. Well, master, what can a man do more? If all this is not being good, I don't know what is.
Stock. All these things are very right as far as they go, and you could not well be a Christian without doing them. But I shall make you stare, perhaps, when I tell you, you may do all these things, and many more, and yet be no Christian.
Will. No Christian! Surely, master, I do hope that, after all I have done, you will not be so unkind as to say I am no Clıristian.
Stock. God forbid that I should say so, Will. I hope better things of you. But come now, what do you think it is to be a Christian ?
Will. What! why, to be christened when one is a child; to learn the catechism when one can read ; to be confirmed when one is a youth ; and to go to church when one is a man.
Stock. These are all very proper things, and quite necessary. They make part of a Christian's life. But, for all that, a man may be exact in them all, and yet not be a Christian.
Will. Not be a Christian ! ha! ha! ha! you are very comical, master.
Stock. No, indeed, I am very serious, Will. At this rate it would be a very easy tining to be a Christian, and every man who went through certain forms would be a good man; and one man who observed these forms would be as good as another. Whereas, if we come to examine ourselves by the word of God, I am afraid there are but few comparatively whom our Saviour would allow to be real Christians. What is your notion of a Christian's practice ?
Will. Why, he must not rob, nor murder, nor get drunk. IIe must avoid scandalous things, and do as other decent orderly people do.
Stock. It is easy enough to be what the world calls a Christian, but not to be what the Bible calls so.
Will. Why, master, we working men are not expected to be saints, and martyrs, and apostles, and ministers.
Stock. We are not. And yet, Will, there are not two sorts of Christianity: we are called to practise the same religion which they practised, and something of the same spirit is expected in us, which we reverence in them. It was not saints and martyrs. only to whom our Saviour said, that they must“ crucify the world with its affections and lusts." We are called to “be holy" in our measure and degree, “ as he who hath called us is holy." It was not only saints and martyrs who were told that they must be “like-minded with Christ;" that they must “ do all to the glory of God;" that they must “ renounce the spirit of the world, and deny themselves.” It was not to Apostles only that Christ said, they must have their 5
conversation in heaven.” It was not to a few holy men set apart for the altar, that he said, they must “ set their affections on things above;" that they must not be “conformed to the world.” No, it was to fishermen, to publicans, to farmers, to day-labourers, to poor tradesmen, that he spoke, when he told them they must “love not the world, nor the things of the world;" that they “must renounce the hidden things of dishonesty, grow in grace, lay up for themselves treasures in heaven.”
Will. All this might be very proper for them to be taught, because they had not been bred up Christians, but Heathens or Jews; and Christ wanted to make them his followers, that is, Christians. But, thank God, we do not want to be taught all this, for we are Christians, born in a Christian country, of Christian parents.
Stock. I suppose then you fancy that Christianity comes to people in a Christian country by nature ? Will
. I think it comes by a good education or a good example. When a fellow who has got any sense sees a man cut off in his prime by drinking, like Williams, I think he will begin to leave it off ; when he sees another man respected, like you, master, for honesty and sobriety, and going to church, why, he will grow honest, and sober, and go to church : that is, he will see it his advantage to be a Christian.
Stock. Will, what you say is the truth, but 'tis not the whole truth. You are right as far as you go, but you do not go far enough. The worldly advantages of piety are, as you suppose, in general, great. Credit, prosperity, and health, almost naturally attend on a religious life, both because a religious life supposes a sober and industrious life, and because a man who lives in a course of duty puts himself in the way of God's blessing. But a true Christian has a still higher aim in view, and will follow religion even under circumstances when it may hurt his credit, and ruin his prosperity, if it should ever happen to be the will of God that he should be brought into such a trying state.
Will. Well, master, to speak the truth, if I go to church on Sundays, and follow my work in the week, I must say I think that is being good.
Stock. I agree with you, that he who does both, gives the best outward signs that he is good, as you call it. But our going to church, and even reading the Bible, are no proofs that we are as good as we need be, but, rather that we do both these in order to make us better than we
We do both on Sundays, as means, by God's blessing, to make us better all the week. We are to bring the fruits of that chapter, or of that sermon, into our daily life, and try to get our inmost heart and secret thoughts, as well as our daily conduct, amended by them.
Will. Why, sure, master, you won't be so unreasonable as to want a body to be religious always ? I can't do that neither. I'm not such a hypocrite as to pretend to it.
Stock. Yes, you can be so in every action of your life.
Stock. No, far from it, Will; much less to be always talking about it. But you must be always acting under its power and spirit.
Will. But, surely, 'tis pretty well if I do this when I go to church, or while I am saying my prayers. Even you, master, as strict as you are, would not have me always on my knees, nor always at church, I suppose : for, then, how would your work be carried on, and how would our town be supplied with shoes?
Stock. Very true, Will. 'Twould be no proof of our religion to let our customers go barefoot ; but 'twould be a proof of our laziness, and we should starve, as we ought to do. The business of the world must not only be carried on, but carried on with spirit and activity. We have the same authority for not being “slothful in business” as we have for being “ fervent