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"He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks; till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life. Prov. vii. 22, 23.
IN the plains between Rome and Naples there arises a pestilential miasm or vapour which produces a most violent and generally fatal intermitting fever. So sickly is the neighbourhood, that it is almost without inhabitants or habitations, with the exception of a few farm houses which are scattered here and there
like green spots in the desert. The land however in these plains is very fertile, affording pasture for large numbers of cattle, and growing abundance of excellent corn.
In the harvest season the peasantry come down in large bodies from the mountainous districts, and hire themselves as labourers for the harvest. During this time they usually sleep in the open air, and expose themselves to the influence of the pestilential vapour, which rises out of the earth every night as soon as the sun has sunk below the horizon. This brings on the fever; and so fatal is it, that very seldom more than half of those who come down from the mountains return to their homes: and most of those who do return are in an extremely weak and exhausted state. Notwithstanding, however, these circumstances, and with almost certain death before *their eyes,strange as it may appear, there are found every year plenty of persons to venture on this hazardous expedition, for the sake of the wages they obtain from the landowners.
This appears to me to be a striking illustration of the manner in which the thousands of the children of this world rush on to their ruin, in spite of all warning and admonition. They are assured that "the wages of sin is death; and yet, because they have an inclination towards it, or because they derive some trifling present advantage or pleasure from it, they shut their eyes against their danger, and go on, till, by and by, in some dreadful moment, their foot slips, and they are lost for ever. A. T.
"Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean ; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow," Psalm li. 7.
THERE is a reference to the blood of atonement, and the crucifying operations of the Holy Spirit by which we are made to realize and value the atone"Purge me with hyssop,"-a bitter cleansing herb; yea very bitter to the taste. We are creatures of sense, sight and feeling, all these faculties of the mind are corrupted and perverted by our natural alienation from the fountain of all good; the life of Christ in us is opposite to the natural life, therefore it is that the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, these are contrary the one to the other, so that we cannot do the things that we would by reason of this opposition; but eternal wisdom has ordained for us a process which will crucify us to things seen, that we may more closely and evidently walk in the light of that which is not seen by the natural eye. Hence this prayer, dictated by the Spirit of truth, "Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean." The Lord discovers to us our need of bitter trials, for he has said, "It is through much tribulation that we must enter the kingdom." He answers this prayer by sending fiery trials, the hidings of his health-giving, life-inspiring countenance, causing us to walk in darkness for a very long season; thus the enemy of our souls takes great occasion and advantage against us, in a variety of ways too numerous to cite: in this state it
will appear as though every thorn within and around us tended to render our case desperate. Friends cease to yield us any comfort, there is a death put on all lawful employments, a death on spiritual ones; a death also on the precious promises; while the Lord, in order to try our faith, seems to shut up our prayers and enclose our way with hewn stone. But he has
" he has
thoughts of love and mercy thoughts of peace and not of evil." Whatever befalls us we must hold on our way, knowing that,
'The very hidings of his face
Black as we are in our own sight, yet in God's sight, in Christ, we are whiter than snow, being washed in his precious blood,-"Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow." Goodness and mercy mark our path, unutterable mercy, that notwithstanding all the mountains of our sins and aggravated transgressions, Satan is not permitted to sting our consciences with the guilt of them, this is a convincing proof that he is a chained foe, and can go no further than the length of his chain: Jesus holds him in his own gracious hands, and he pities us in the deep depression of our spirits, but we must remember that by and in these things he is purging us with hyssop that we may be clean.
THE CHURCH MISSIONARY DEPUTATION. (Continued from page 238.)
On Sunday Morning we found ourselves, by appointment, at the spacious and interesting Church
belonging to the ancient town of South Pn. The morning was lovely, it was peculiarly sacred as well as peculiarly suited to our purpose, being an anniversary of the mighty ont-pouring of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost. The congregation was good; and, (what peculiarly struck our attention) the numerous Sunday School Scholars that filled the aisles were remarkable for that behaviour and attention, both during the Prayers and Sermon, which is so strengthening to the ever anxious eye of the Minister of God, as he looks upon that overwhelmingly-interesting part of his flock. Our sermon, listened to with the greatest attention, was taken from Acts x. 44— 48, and was to this effect,
The animating and glorious subject to which the Church this day calls our attention, is strikingly brought before us in this chapter, especially as it relates to Cornelius the first-fruits of the Gentile Church.
The preacher-the Sermon-the God that gave the increase the effect produced--the proof of that effect in the introduction of the hearers into the communion of the Church of Christ.
The Preacher-" While Peter yet spake these words,"--Observe how God prepared him for this his special work by a remarkable vision in which the glorious truth"What God hath cleansed call not thou common;" that God himself had cleansed, (in the purpose of his love,) us, once unclean sinners of the Gentiles-that the distinction between Jew and Gentile which for two thousand years had existed was