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to me a sinner!" It is certainly a singular fact-more singular than that a young man should have to bear one of the burdens of the old—that the memory, perfect in all other respects, should be utterly useless when the poor sinner would recall God and his truth to mind.
You supposed you had a perfect explanation of this young man's difficulty, as you read of his failure to remember the publican's prayer. “His disease-oh, yes! his disease-blunted his faculties and
« divided his attention; and God will not hold man responsible for the effects of disease.” Reader, don't be deceived; for, if it were a result of his disease, it would take nothing from the urgency of the command, “Remember now thy Creator;" for then the reason would be, “because the days will come when disease will destroy your memory.” But was it disease that destroyed his memory? It was active enough upon other subjects. He could remember the length of time between my visits, though six days had intervened; he could remember what had passed before his eyes while he lay trying to recall the promises of God; he could remember when I had read to him from the Bible, and when I had left “ James's Anxious Inquirer” for his instruction; he could remember when I had prayed with him, and when I had left him to pray for himself with God's printed words before his eyes, but he could never recall the words nor show me the place of their record. He could remember the paragraphs and advertisements of the weekly newspaper, which he read till the week of his death; he could remember when he saw one neighbour and another pass upon the street; he seldom failed in giving notice to his attendants of the hour for taking his medicine. Reader, he could remember any thing save his Creator and his Creator's teaching. Even his dying words assure us of the fact that it was not a fault of memory in general that shut the door of darkness upon his closing life; neither was it the difficulty of the subject that prevented the light of God's truth from entering the poor sinner's soul. • Oh, if I could only remember that prayer he taught me !" Poor man! he could remember that I had taught him a prayer; he could remember he was a sinner, and must pray if he would find mercy; he could remember that he had not yet made peace with God; but he could not remember “that prayer." “What was that prayer ?” Why, dear reader, it was only seven short words; there were only two persons mentioned in it,—“God” and “me,"—and then a character to each,—“God, merciful,” and “me, a sinner,”—and then two words to join them together, “be” and “to." What could be more simple in language or thought? But he could not remember “God be merciful to me a sinner!" Oh, is there not meaning in that command of the Holy Spirit,—“Remember now thy Creator”?
3. Reader, pause, and consider again this history. You are trying to forget God, and you have tried it long. Let me say to you, as one who has stood by the open grave to see the fact veri
fied, and oh, how sadly, YOU WILL SUCCEED. The task is not so hard as you imagine, and the time may be briefer than the span of life. It will not be long before you will not only be able to cast him out of all your thoughts, but when the very effort to remember him will be pain and sorrow. Yes, you can succeed in forgetting God. How much of His precious truth you once knew has already departed! how many gracious promises you were once able to repeat you now know not where to find ! how many prayers recorded in God's word for just such poor sinners can you now recall if your necessity require it? Your memory may still be quick enough; old age may not yet have dimmed your vision and shut you up to nurse dead remembrances of childhood, while it refuses to allow you to retain any thing profitable; sickness may not yet have closed the door upon you and set you to watch the hands of the clock as they slowly measure the hours of your ending life. But God says, “My Spirit shall not always strive," and without that Spirit your memory will be as the lamp blown out, and it will be midnight with your soul. Two-and-twenty circles of your rejection of God's command may leave you with a terrible remembrance of your guilt and an utter forgetfulness of his mercy. You may
be able to remember that “the wicked shall be turned into hell, with all the nations that forget God," and yet be wholly · unable to recall that other assurance, though just as simple,—“He that seeketh findeth, and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” You are able to remember to-day that positive promise," I love them that love me, and they that seek me early shall find me." Oh, then, heed the teaching,—“Remember now your Creator,” lest the “evil day" come speedily, when you shall strive in vain to repeat the publican's prayer, —“God be merciful to me a sinner.' Repeat it now! Go alone and repeat it:-“God be merciful to me a sinner!" Repeat it day by day until you feel its meaning, lest, when
you descend that dark way from which none return, a voice come, as the groan of a soul without a memory,—“Oh, if I could only remember that prayer!”—“What was that prayer he taught me?"_“God”—“be”. * and the doom of the forgetful be yours !
S. C. LOGAN. CONSTANTINE, Mich., December 6, 1855.
THE GADARENE DEMONIAC.
LUKE VIII. 26–36.
THERE are some pictures and some characters, some scenes in nature and some themes in religion, which only grow upon us from a repeated contemplation. This inspired portraiture of a demoniac is one of them. The description, you perceive, is twofold. First, we see the devil in the flesh, the culminating point of his
power on earth; and, secondly, we behold the demoniac restored and sitting at the feet of Jesus. In the first we have the foreshadowing of what this earth would be if given up to Satanic influence; in the second, what it will be when Satan is cast out of the world and confined in the abyss of hell.
Gathering together, from Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the features of this demoniac, and grouping them in one picture, we find
1. He was possessed of devils or unclean spirits. He was no longer master of himself. An alien power had possession and was ruling in the high places of his soul. A legion of devils had takenpossession of soul and body. A Roman legion, one in spirit yet many in number, was a fearful instrument of oppression and power. Before its thick and serried ranks the most formidable opposition quailed. Such a power, strong, inexorable, and cruel, had entered this man's soul, and was lording it over him.
2. The second feature is given by Luke. " And he ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs." Naked, stripped, utterly despoiled by the usurper! His home was deserted, and he was shrieking and howling among the tombs, the monument of the power of the fierce spirit of hell that was reigning in his bosom.
3. “And no man could bind him, no, not with chains : because he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces." The human frame, under the influence of disease, is capable of exertions that seem almost fabulous. In the present day, maniacs are known to break the strongest bonds and even chains; and, notwithstanding the constant action of mind and body, seem daily to increase in muscular strength. We are not then surprised to hear of the supernatural strength of a demoniac. 4. No man could tame him. “And always, night and day, he
, was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.” "Exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.” Who can tame the devil ? who make social a spirit of the pit? Christ himself, although he has hurled Satan as “lightning from heaven," has not yet completely subdued him.
Such, then, was the Gadarene demoniac. Possessed of a legion of devils, endowed with supernatural strength, exceeding fierce, naked, cutting himself with stones, he wandered, howling night and day, among the mountains and the tombs, attacking with hostile violence whoever dared enter his domain. Bishop Warburton, in his “Cross and the Crescent," states that, “Descending the sides of Mount Lebanon, I found myself in a cemetery, or Moslem burying-ground. The silence of the night was broken by fierce yells and howlings, which I discovered proceeded from a naked maniac, who was fighting with some wild dogs for a bone. (A dead man's bone.) The moment he perceived me, he left his canine comrades, and, bounding along with rapid strides,
seized my horse's bridle, and almost forced him backward over the cliff by the grip he held of the powerful Mameluke bit.” If such is the maniac of that country, what must the demoniac have been ? What would this world be if all were possessed of the devil ? Yet such it would be were religion banished from among men. Like the Gadarenes, who besought Christ to leave their coast, we madly cry out against the power that shields us from the tyranny of Satan.
Having seen Satan in the flesh, let us now contemplate “God manifest in the flesh,” destroying the works of the devil, by casting out the evil spirits and making the heart in which they dwelt the “temple of the Holy Ghost.” In the beginning God, in the heavens, looked upon the chaos of our world, and said, “Let there be light.” “And there was light.” Order, beauty, and life, sprang forth from out that undefinable, unutterable confusion. When Christ came was the “hour and the power of darkness.” The world was in ruins. Then God, in the flesh, looked upon the chaos, rebuked the devil, and restored order. “Torment us not before the time," cried the evil spirits; “let us enter the swine.” Jesus suffered them. The devil can only go the length of his chain. He cannot possess the brute creation, much less man, without the permission of God. No man could tame this man, but Christ has tamed him; his friends find him “sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind.” What a contrast! Just now the slave of Satan, now the child of God. Just now the most miserable, now the most happy; now trampled under the foot of Satan, and now sitting at the feet of Jesus, gazing calmly up into that beautiful and divine face that had looked upon him in his ruin and restored him to liberty. And, as he gazed upon that face, the first spot that in calm complacency he had looked on for many years, he loved Christ, and asked permission to accompany him. But Jesus sent him away, saying, Return to thine own house, and show how great things God hath done unto thee.” Thus his request, though seemingly denied, was in reality granted; for to labor for Christ is to be with Christ.
Thus Christ restored the possessed. And may we not take his restoration as a pledge of the deliverance of all things from Satanic influence ? " Man is cursed by being subject to Satan's power. But the earth and all animals are cursed. May not the lower creation be subject to the same power? “ The whole creation groaneth:” Rom. viii. 22. But why does it groan? Because bestrid by the devil, and under him as little capable of putting forth its real virtues and capacities for production as the body and mind of man are capable of using their original powers while subject to Satan. And may we not look upon this miracle as the foreshadowing of that time when the earth, in every department, shall be delivered from Satan's restraining and malignant power ? May it not be the foreshadowing of a time of which our apprehensions are, it is true, indistinct, but not on that account the less animating? May
it not point us to a time when the incubus of hell shall be lifted from off this groaning creation, when the long-promised deliverance shall dawn, and when the stupendous unveiling of the resources and secrets of nature promised in prophecy shall take place, -a time when the whole material system shall be splendidly renovated, when all things, animate and inanimate, shall reach one common deliverance—one common, glorious, and eternal jubilee? For the year of their redemption shall come. This earth and all things in it shall be disentangled, disinfected of the malignant presence of Satan. There shall be a new earth and a new heaven. Every thing shattered by sin shall be magnificently rebuilt, every pollution cleansed; and this creation, tenanted by a holy priesthood, a peculiar people, shall be “hung with new majesty and enamelled with fresh beauty.” For thus saith the Lord by the mouth of his apostle:-“The creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God;" and thus by the mouth of his prophet :-" Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me; for I have redeemed thee. Sing, O ye heavens; for the Lord hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified HIMSELF in Israel."
CONTROVERTED TOPICS OF DIVINITY IN THE PULPIT.
SET controversies, whether upon the platform or through the press, are not always productive of good; and never ought the controversial spirit to be known in the sacred desk. But, when candour and conciliation accompany it, we see no objection, but rather advantage, in having the controverted topics of Divinity” discussed in the pulpit.
Excluding these, we should be shut up to a narrow round of subjects, which would forbid that variety that is always important.
Certain it is that the provision in our theological seminaries contemplates this; for there we have the departments of both didactic and polemic theology:-didactic, in which the students are taught what doctrines to preach; and polemic, in which they are instructed how to defend their doctrines.
Every part of the system of divine truth is important. What the Holy Spirit has seen fit to reveal we ought to regard worth our while to proclaim. Some points are, indeed, more strictly vital than others, and therefore should have greater prominence. But nothing in the Bible should be wholly excluded from the pulpit.
The masses are not readers; they depend chiefly upon the teachings of the sacred desk for their stock of theological knowledge. The consequence, therefore, of altogether shutting out from the