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the hearts of the whole nation as the heart of one man, so that they sent this word unto the king, “ Return thou, and all thy servants.” So the king returned, and the church was delivered out of the hands of her enemies. Therein we do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. Nor shall the voice of praise grow cold in our mouths, though a hundred years are now elapsed since the day when this mercy was vouchsafed unto us; but seeing that thereby we have once more beheld Sion in her beauty, we will give thanks unto our Lord God, as if the king had this morning made his triumphant entry, amidst the acclamations of his exulting subjects, " impatient,” as the noble historian expresses it, “to fill their eyes with a beloved spec- . “tacle, of which they had been so long deprived.”
The result of the whole is this. If the Lord loveth the gates of Sion more than all the dwellings of Jacob, so should we. If, in the revolutions of states and empires, his eyes are upon the church, ours should be there too, according to the example set us by the faithful of old time; who being led into captivity,“ wept when they remembered Sion;" being redeemed therefrom,“ were glad when” their breth
” ren said unto them, “Let us go into the house of
'the Lord.” If God's dealings with a people are regulated by their dealings with his church, then the state of the church is always the best criterion whereby to judge of the true state of the nation where she is planted; and there are no greater enemies to their country than those who endeavour to alienate the minds of kings from her; since he who cannot lie hath said concerning her, “ No weapon that is
“ formed against thee shall prosper,
every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgement thou “ shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the serv
ants of the Lord. Those that honour me I will “ honour; and such as despise me shall be lightly “ esteemed. Let them all be confounded and turn“ed back, that hate Sion.” For her prosperity, therefore, we and all the world ought to pray, as the Psalmist most earnestly entreateth every one of us to do:—"O pray for the peace of Jerusalem,” be
they shall prosper that love thee.' Peace, then, Othou city of God, the peace of union and charity “ be within thy walls, and plenteousness" of grace and glory “ within thy palaces.” And while
" we thus pray for the church with our lips, let it be our unfeigned endeavour to adorn her by our lives. So shall we make the proper return for the mercies we have received ; so shall we draw down more and more of the divine favour continually upon our king and our country, the university and ourselves ; so shall we convince the world of this great and important truth, that the Christian is the loyal subject, and the churchman the true patriot.
THE WOMAN TAKEN IN ADULTERY.
JOHN, VIII. 7.
He that is without sin among you, let him first cast
a stone at her.
A WRITER of great note in the philosophical and medical world tells us, that he never saw a criminal dragged to execution without asking himself, “ Who “ knows whether this man is not less blameable than I “am?" a question which we should all of us do well to ask ourselves, when we hear of, or see, any person brought to shame and punishment for sin. The sufferings of others might thus turn greatly to our advantage, by humbling and leading us likewise to repent of our transgressions, which, perhaps, equally deserve the rod, and escape only by not being known. On the contrary, the falls of our brethren too often produce no other effect in us than pride and uncharitableness. We are pleased to think it is not so bad with us, and criticise without mercy upon characters which, take them for all in all, are perhaps not worse than our own. What the behaviour of people generally is upon such an occasion, and what it should be, we are shown in the chapter of which
the text is a part, where we read of a person taken in a grievous offence, and brought by the Scribes and Pharisees to Christ. I shall, therefore, go over this whole history, and make some suitable remarks on each part of it.
As our Lord was teaching in the temple, "the " Scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman "taken in adultery; and when they had set her in “the midst, they say unto him, Master, this woman " was taken in adultery, in the very act.”
There is in human nature (however we are to aecount for it) a great curiosity to discover, and an equal desire to publish, the faults and infirmities of others. Somo spend half their time in inquiring and
. listening after all that is stirring in this way. Not a breath of wind but strikes their ear, if it be loaded with scandal. And then when once they have heard a story, which demolishes a reputation, how eager they are to make it known to their acquaintance! Tidings like these are frequently uttered with as much joy and triumph, as if the event were the best that ever befel the ulterers in their lives. But how is this ? Are they the better for their neighbour's crimes; or can they really take a pleasure in the thought, that a fellow-creature, and one of the same religion, has been seduced to offend God, and is in danger, without his grace, of perishing eternally? Does this delight their hearts, and make their eyes sparkle? Evil spirits rejoice at the fall and destruction of mankind; but angels mourn, and so should
Let them suppose their own relations or themselves in the same situation, and then see how their
behaviour appears; and let them learn, that sin, which pierced the heart of their Saviour upon the eross, can afford no matter of joy and triumph to any of his disciples. Let them be as diligent in searching after their own sins, to confess and amend them, as they have been in searching out those of their neighbours, to publish and expose them. They will find work enough, and work that will reward their labour.
“This woman,” say the Scribes and Pharisees, “ was taken in adultery'-a foul and deadly transgression, but not the only one in the world. When we see the woman "standing in the midst,” put to open shame, and hear these men accusing her, what holy and good men are we led to think them? What haters of sin ? How zealous for God and religion? They, to be sure, are quite pure and meek, and pious and charitable. Alas ! how mistaken should we be, if we thus judged of them! Some pains, doubtless, have been employed to white-wash the sepulchres, and the outsides of thein make a very creditable appearance. But let us only approach, and uncover them, and we shall soon be taught, that it is not always safe to judge according to appearance. For this wretched criminal is brought forth, not for the punishment of sin, and the glorification of God,but merely to lay a trap for Christ, that he might be accused, persecuted, and put to death.
" Moses in the law commanded us, that such “should be stoned: but what sayest thou?” The design was, to set Moses and Christ at variance, and they thought they had laid their snare in such a man