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The New Zealand Evangelist



The following remarks were in type for last number.

Satan has been unusually active and successful with his temptations among us during the past month, and has hurried two unhappy men to self-destruction. This is a crime so repugnant to the page 241 feelings of the human mind, that perhaps no one, in his calm and sober moments, thinks it possible that he could commit this outrage on humanity. It is not a little striking that it was a crime almost unknown among the children of Israel. The whole of the Scripture History, though so faithful in recording the sins as well as the virtues of God's chosen people, furnishes only, we think, five instances of suicide; Saul, his armour bearer, Ahitophel, Zimri, and Judas. Such was the effect of true religion and the belief of a future state in preserving men from this crime. On the other hand so common was self-destruction among the Romans, arising from false views of honour and erroneous ideas of a future state, that suicide was a boast; and a Roman death; the common name for self-murder. Nations like individals have their besetting sins, arising from various causes; ignorance, erroneous beliefs, physical constitution, and other circumstances. It is deeply to be deplored that this horrid crime of self-murder is with us, as with the ancient Romans, a national sin; and we have long sustained this unenviable character. More than a century ago, Addison wrote as follows; “Melancholy is a kind of demon that haunts our island, and often conveys herself to us in an easterly wind. A celebrated French novelist, in opposition to those who begin their romances with the flowery season of the year, enters on his story thus:—“In the gloomy month of November, when the people of England hang and drown themselves, a disconsolate lover walked out into the fields, &c.” The same tinge of melancholy still adheres to our natural temperament, and follows us with more inveterate fatality fatality [sic: ] to the very ends of the earth. Melancholy as the great enemy both of religion and happiness, and Satan adapts his temptations with consummate skill to make this mental state subservient to his malignant purposes. Every one should watch and pray against melancholy. Intoxicating drink, by irritating and injuring the delicate texture of the nervous system, beclouding the mind and searing the con-page 242science, tend fearfully to produce melancholy. The pleasures of pure religion are the best antidotes. The heaven-inspired harp of David was the most successful remedy for driving away the evil spirit of melancholy from Saul; and it was not til after Saul had banished from his court the sweet psalmist of Israel, with his divine songs and sacred music—not till he had left God and sought to Satan, that he sunk into despair, and ended his days by suicide.