Chapter XV

CHAPTER XV.

HYMNS BY THE WAY.
"Tea, they sing in the ways of the Lord."

How often has some sweet singer cheered his own way through the changes of life's journey with snatches of song! Some pretty peep, some quiet nook, or happy turn, or unfolding prospect, or storied way-mark, or remarkable adventure, or impressive event, has touched his soul, and awakened a tuneful tribute or suggested an immortal hymn. And in how many cases such hymns have helped to beguile the journey of other travellers, or furnished the means of lightening the steps of pilgrims of other days on their daily march. No hymnist was ever more open to wayside inspiration than Charles Wesley. His eye was always open to beauty and goodness. His ear was ever delicately alive to kindred harmonies, and his heart was never out of tune, never indisposed to entertain the tuneful thought that touched it. Hymns came welling up from his soul amidst the changes and activities of his evangelizing course, and the habit of wayside composition became so fixed, that in Ms last days, when he had gone beyond his "three score years and ten," and growing infirmity obliged him to perform his street journeys in London on a little pony, he always kept a supply of small cards in his pocket, and as lie jogged along, he might be seen now and then jotting down a stanza; and then on arriving at City Road House, lie was out of the saddle, and might be heard hurriedly calling for pen and ink that he might fix the results of his street inspirations. To him the saddle was the seat of ease and quiet, and had peculiar charms, as a place of poetic study. ''Near Ripley," says he, with a spice of that

sportive humour which is so often showing itself in his and in his brother's journals, "my horse threw and fell upon me. My companion thought I had broken my neck; but my leg only was bruised, my hand sprained, and my head stunned, which spoiled my making hymns till the next day." His journals afford many instructive illustrations of the manner in which his hymns were brought out of real life and passing circumstances. He goes to the Newcastle colliers with his message of salvation, and the fires amidst which he found them labouring awakened thoughts about divine flames, and brought from his kindling soul that stirring hymn—

See how great a flame aspires,

Kindled by a spark of grace!
Jesu's love the nations fires,

Sets the kingdoms on a blaze;
To bring fire on earth He came;

Kindled in some hearts it is;
Oh that all might catch the flame,

All partake the glorious bliss!

Touched, too, at the sight of needy and eager multitudes crowding around him to hear his proclamation of the Sinner's Friend, he utters his feelings in that outburst of beautiful song—

Who are these that come from far,

Swifter than a flying cloud?
Thick as flocking doves they are,

Eager in pursuit of God:
Trembling as the storm draws nigh,

Hastening to the place of rest,
See them to the windows fly,

To the ark of Jesu's breast!

Who are these, but sinners poor,

Conscious of their lost estate;
Sin-sick souls who for their cure

On the good Physician wait;
Fallen, who bewail their fall,

Proffer'd mercy who embrace,
Listening to the gospel call

Longing to be saved by grace?

For his mate the turtle moans,

For his God the sinner sighs; »»4 Hark, the music of their groans,

* * Humble groans that pierce the skies!

Surely God their sorrow hears,

Every accent, every look,
Treasures up their gracious tears,

Notes their sufferings in His book.

He who hath their cure begun,

Will He now despise their pain?
Can He leave His work undone,

Bring them to the birth in vain?
No; we all who seek shall find,

We who ask shall all receive,
Be to Christ in spirit join'd,

Free from sin for ever live.

At another time he is found at Portland. He is on a missionary tour; like his brother John, going first to those who wanted him most. The uncultured and uncared for quarrymen, and their households, had drawn his zealous steps towards their rude and isolated scenes of life. Those to whom every passing glance at St. Paul's Cathedral yields fresh pleasure would think it worth while to visit Portland, as the source from which Wren drew his materials for giving reality to the conceptions of his genius. And all who love to listen to the "testimony of the rocks" would be drawn to Portland by the mysterious voices from the buried forests of its wonderful "dirt bed." But Charles Wesley, though free from sympathy with those who, like one of his preaching followers, "never go a step out of their way to see a curiosity or a wonder," yet kept his main object before him—the salvation of his perishing countrymen. On June 4th, 1746, we find him about nine o'clock at night, after a wearisome journey, arriving at William Nelson's quaint-looking old stonehouse in the village of Fortune's Well. There, on the following Friday, he says, in true Wesley style, "I preached to a houseful of staring, loving people, from Jer. i. 20. Some wept, but most looked quite unawakened. At noon and night I preached on a hill in the midst of the island. Most of the inhabitants came to hear, but few as yet feel the burden of sin, or the want of a Saviour."

"Sunday, June 8th—After evening service we had all the islanders that were able to coine. I asked, 'Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by?' About half a dozen answered, 'It is nothing to us,' by turning their backs, but the rest hearkened with greater signs of emotion than I had before observed. I found faith that our labour would not be in vain.

"Monday, June 9th.—At Southwell, the farthest village, I expounded the Song of Simeon. Some very old men attended. I distributed a few books among them, rode round the island, and returned by noon to preach on the hill, and by night at my lodgings. Now the power and blessing came. My mouth and their hearts were opened. The rocks wero broken in pieces, and melted into tears on every side." And now the inspiration came on the hymnist as well as the preacher; and with the sound of the Portland hammers in his ears, and the sight of broken hearts before him, he cries—'

Come, 0 Thou all victorious Lord,

Thy power to us make known;
Strike with the hammer of Thy Word,

And break these hearts of stone!

Oh that we all might now begin

Our foolishness to mourn;
And turn at once from every sin, ,

And to our Saviour turn!

Give us ourselves and Thee to know,

In this our gracious day;
Repentance unto life bestow,

And take our sins away.

Conclude us first in unbelief,

And freely then release;
Fill every soul with sacred grief,

And then with sacred peace.

Impoverish, Lord, and then relieve,

And then enrich the poor;
The knowledge of our sickness give;

The knowledge of our cure.

That blessed sense of guilt impart,

And then remove the load;
Trouble, and wash the troubled heart

In the atoning blood.

Our desperate state through sin declare,

And speak our sins forgiven;
By perfect holiness prepare,

And take us up to heaven.

The poetic pilgrim finds his way, by and by, into Cornwall, still in search of those who were most in want of truth; and here he finds himself in scenes and circumstances equally, and even more exciting, than all he had witnessed at Portland or in Newcastle. He found poets in Cornwall who could lustily sing their own verses, and serenade him under his window with

Charles Wesley is come to town,
To try to pull the churches down!

This, however, was a mistaken fancy on the part of the gifted mob; he was come not to pull down, but to gather and to build. Nor was he without success, as his journal testifies. A modern RomLL. tourist, who has gone over the line of Wesley's journey, says that "a curious spot in the parish of Gwennap may deserve a visit. An antiquary, stumbling upon it by chance, would be apt to fancy that he had lighted upon a Roman circus in a wonderful state of preservation. It is, however, a pit—so called—of modern formation, with circular seats of turf rising one above the other, precisely after the fashion of ancient amphitheatres, from the area of which the great apostle of Methodism used to preach to assembled thousands." Here Charles, as well as John, Wesley seems to have had the joy of seeing the fields "white unto the harvest." "On Sunday, August 10th, 1746," he tells us, "at Gwennap, nine or ten thousand, by computation, listened with all eagerness, while I commended them to God, and to the Word of His grace. For near two hours I wad enabled to preach repentance towards God, and faith in J esus Christ. I broke out again and again in prayer and exhortation. I believed not one word would return empty. Seventy years' sufferings were overpaid by one such opportunity

Never had we so large an effusion of the Spirit as in the

society I expressed the gratitude of iny heart

in the following thanksgiving :—

All thanks be to God,

Who scatters abroad,

Throughout every place,
By the least of His servants, His savour of grace.

Who the victory gave,

The praise let Him have,

For the work He hath done:
All hcnour and glory to Jesus alone.

Our conquering Lord

Hath prospered His Word,

Hath made it prevail,
And mightily shaken the kingdom of hell.

His arm He hath bared,

And a people prepared

His glory to show,
And witness the power of His passion below.

He hath opened a door

To the penitent poor,

And rescued from sin,
And admitted the harlots and publicans in.

They have heard the glad sound,

They have liberty found

Through the blood of the Lamb, And plentiful pardon in Jesus' name.

And shall we not sing

Our Saviour and King?

Thy witnesses, we
"With rapture ascribe our salvation to Thee!

Thou, Jesus, hast bless'd,

And believers increased,

Who thankfully own
We are freely forgiven through mercy alone.

His Spirit revives

His work in our lives,

His wonders of grace,
So mightily wrought in the primitive days.

Oh that all men might know

His token below,

Our Saviour confess, And embrace the glad tidings of pardon and peace!

Then Saviour of all,

Effectually call

The sinners that stray;
And, oh, let a nation be born in a day!

Thy sign let them see,

And flow unto Thee,

For the oil and the wine,
For the blissful assurance of favour Divine.

Our heathenish land,

Beneath Thy command,

In mercy receive;
And make us a pattern to all that believe:

Then, then let it spread,

Thy knowledge and dread,

Till the earth is o'erflow'd,
And the universe filled with the glory of God."

He who could be thus jubilant over the work of the blessed Spirit upon the souls of sinful multitudes, was not, like some spiritual zealots, blind and heartless towards the beauties and grandeurs of the natural world. He must needs enjoy a visit to the " Land's End." And who would not ?" Such a panorama of lonely grandeur as the Land's End affords to one fond of contemplating nature under her . most sublime aspects, will not be readily forgotten," says a tasteful stranger, who once saw it; " a gentle green slope conducts the traveller to the edge of the cliff so designated. Here the scenery is at once of a sublime and awful character. From the rocks that guard the extremity of the promontory, he looks down perpendicularly upon a raging sea, the Atlantic Ocean bringing the full force of its mighty waves to bear against the iron-bound basement of the coast. All around are vast gigantic masses of granite, in every variety of grotesque form and situation; some hanging overhead, and seeming about to topple from their frail fastenings, and overwhelm the pigmy lords of creation in their fall. It would be difficult amidst this grand scenery not to recognise the striking handiwork of Divine foresight in the barrier which the wonderful cliffs of this tremendous coast oppose to the billows of the wide ocean, which perpetually thunder against their shores." Amidst these grandeurs Charles Wesley once stood; and there, it is said, feeling himself tremulous between the mysterious past and the boundless future, he gave utterance to the hymn which always impresses one with a sense of solemn awfulness—

Thou God of glorious majesty,
To Thee, against myself, to Thee,

A worm of earth I cry;
A half-awakened child of man;
An heir of endless bliss or pain;

A sinner born to die!

Lo, on a narrow neck of land,
'Twixt two unbounded seas I stand,

Secure, insensible;
A point of time, a moment's space,
Removes me to that heavenly place,

Or shuts me up in hell.

The conception of this hymn rising from such a scene is

confessedly very fine; nor, perhaps, is the full sublimity of the hymn itself felt until one tries to sing it on that "awful neck of land." The tradition may be cherished. But Wesley himself says, "Tuesday, July, 29, 1753.—We rode to Zunning, and took up our lodgings at a hospitable farmer's. I walked with our brother Shepherd to the Land's End, and sang on the extremest point of the rocks—

Gome, Divine Immanuel, come,

Take possession of Thy home;
Now Thy mercy's wings expand,
Stretch throughout the happy laud.

Carry on Thy victory,
Spread Thy rule from sea to sea;
Re-convert the ransomed race;
Save us, save us, Lord, by grace.

Take the purchase of Thy blood,
Bring us to a pardoning God;
Give us eyes to see our day,
Hearts the glorious truth t' obey,

Ears to hear the gospel sound,
Grace doth more than sin abound;
God appeased, and man forgiven,
Peace on earth and joy in heaven.

Oh that every soul might be
Suddenly nubdued to Thee!
Oh that all in Thee might know
Everlasting life below!

Now Thy mercy's wings expand,
Stretch throughout the happy land,
Take possession of Thy home,
Come, Divine Immanuel, come."

His thought seems to have turned on Isaiah's expression (chap. viii. 8), "And the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, 0 Immanuel." At all events his heart was set upon his Saviour's glory, and his hopes upon the fulfilment of the promise, "He shall have dominion also from sea to sea." Everything he met with on his way must be turned to account in the pursuit of his great object. He could make the sublimities and beauties of nature pay tribute to his Divine Master; but he had tact and genius enough to turn the freaks and follies of men also into means of blessing and praise.

"Come here," said an old Cornishman, as he took the arm of a visitor in one of our south-western seaports, "come here and look at this house. This is the house in which I was born and reared; and here," he continued, leading his companion up a narrow passage, to an oldfashioned heavy door, with a ponderous iron knocker, "look at these pits and dents in the door, these were made once by the mob as they were trying to break in upon Mr. Wesley, who had taken refuge there. My father used to tell me the story, and put me to feel the marks in the door. Well, the people kept beating the door until they burst it open, and rushing in, they found that the dear little man was in a small room divided from the hall by a wooden partition. They were trying to force the door of the parlour, when up came some sailors from a ship-of-war; and as Jack is always ready for sport or mischief, they forced their way in, crying, 'Avast, boys!' and putting their shoulders to the door, in it went, and in they leaped. There was Mr. Wesley at the upper end of the room, calmly waiting the result. When the sailors got in, he quietly looked at them, and said, ' Who wants me?' They, quite as ready now to befriend the persecuted as they had been ignorantly to aid the persecutors, surrounded the Methodist, and violently clearing the way, and defying any one to touch him, they led him out in triumph, and conducted him to a boat as the safest mode of conveyance from the town."

"Well done, Jack Tars!" said the old Cornishman's companion; "well done! But I have a story about an adventure of Charles Wesley and some sailors, somewhere in these parts, I believe."

"Oh yes, " was the reply; "my father knew all about that, too. Mr. C. Wesley had just begun a hymn in the open air, intending to preach to the gathering crowd, when some jolly fellows, 'half seas over,' as they say, came and struck up a favourite song. Between the hymn and their song it was but sorry music; but the preacher's ear was quick enough to catch the metre of their song, and to master their tune there and then. He challenged them to come again by and by, when he would be there, and sing a song to their tune. They came, and he gave out a new hymn made for the occasion; the new tune was started, and the merry tars very soon found themselves beaten, and giving up the contest, seemed to enjoy the hymn more than their old song. The hymn was this :—

Listed into the cause of sin,

Why should a good be evil?
Music, alas! too long has been

Prest to obey the devil.
Drunken, or lewd, or light the lay,

Flowed to the soul's undoing;
Widened and strewed with flowers the way

Down to eternal ruin.

Who on the part of God will rise,

Innocent sound recover;
Fly on the prey and take the prize,

Plunder the carnal lover;
Strip him of every moving strain,

Every melting measure;
Music in virtue's cause retain,

Rescue the holy pleasure?

Come, let us try if Jesu's love

Will not as well inspire us;
This is the theme of those above,

This upon earth shall fire us.
Say, if your hearts are tuned to sing,

Is there a subject greater?
Harmony all its strains may bring,

Jesu's name is sweeter.

Jesus the soul of music is,

His is the noblest passion;
Jesu's name is joy and peace,

Happiness and salvation.
Jesu's name the dead can raise,

Show us our sins forgiven,
Fill us with all the light of grace,

Carry us up to heaven.

Who hath a right like us to sing—

Us whom His mercy raises?
Merry our hearts, for Christ is King,

Cheerful are all our faces.
Who of His love doth once partake,

He evermore rejoices;
Melody in our hearts we make,

Melody with our voices.

He that a sprinkled conscience hath,

He that in God is merry;
Let him sing Psalms, the Spirit saith, *•

Joyful and never weary.

Offer the sacrifice of praise,

Hearty and never ceasing;
Spiritual songs and anthems raise,

Honour, and thanks, and blessing,

Then let us in His praises join,

Triumph in His salvation;
Glory ascribe to love Divine,

Worship and adoration.
Heaven already is begun,

Opened in each believer;
Only believe, and still go on,

Heaven is ours for ever!

"That's the hymn," said the old Cornishman, "and the tune was 'Nancy Dawson;' and a cheery thing it was to hear my father sing it, just as the old folks, he said, used to sing it. Yes, and I used to sing it with him, and love to sing it now, though he is gone, and my voice is not what it used to be. He and I shall join again, by and by, and then we shall sing as we never could sing in this world—

Heaven is ours for ever!"

It has occurred to some, that one of Charles Wesley's most glorious hymns may have sprung into life under the influence of circumstances distinctive of some remarkable point on his personal way through life. That being supposed, the hymn may be classed with hymns by the way. The hymn in question is the one of which Watts, with great nobility of spirit, said, "That single poem, 'Wrestling Jacob,' is worth all the verses which I have ever written."

"I used often to read that hymn to my family," said a man whose face showed deep lines of sorrow overlying a calm expression of peacefulness, "and often have I called their attention to its wonderful combination of majesty and tenderness, beauty and power, rich music, deep feeling, graphic life, and lofty devotion. But when I used to read it to myself, I felt as if there were something in it as an expression of Christian experience which I could not make my own. Not that I ever adopted the opinion of a critic who thinks that it is a fault in a hymn to be 'in a too elevated strain of Christian experience;' no, Christians are prone enough to grovel. They often need elevated strains to keep them to the height of their calling. But I

seemed to lack the power of singing that hymn with a full relish of its meaning and spirit. Were any peculiar circumstances needed to put me in a condition to adopt it as the felt utterance of my own heart? I prayed that I might understand its full power. Little, however, did I think that my prayer would be answered as it was. I was called to a journey with my household. On the way the hand of the Lord arrested us. The shadow of that hand grew dark, and yet darker. One child I watched as he passed from among us. Another was soon gone; and yet another. Then, last of all, the mother, the wife of my youth, and the light of my home! I was left alone in desolation! What a night was that! I wandered out into the darkness, and, friendless in my woe, paced the margin of a stream. I thought of Jacob, alone with God. Verily I had seen all that was dear to me on earth pass over the brook before me. Was I kept behind to meet with Jacob's God? I raised my eyes upward in silent prayer, and then it seemed as if my soul were seized with the spirit of agonizing prayer. A sense of the Divine power was upon me; and as I tried to fasten my soul upon the truth and love of God, now my only helper, it appeared as if some holy prompter were rehearsing my favourite hymn within me. My spirit seemed to pass through all the deep processes which that hymn records; and now it came gushing from an understanding heart:—

Come, 0 Thou Traveller unknown,

Whom still I hold, but cannot see,
My company before is gone,

And I am left alone with Thee;
With Thee all night I mean to stay,
And wrestle till the break of day.

I need not tell Thee who I am,

My misery or sin declare;
Thyself hast called me by my name;

Look on Thy hands, and read it there!
But who, I ask Thee, who art Thou?
Tell me Thy name, and tell me now.

In vain Thou strugglest to get free,

I never will unloose my hold;
Art Thou the Man that died for me?

The secret of Thy love unfold.
Wrestling I will not let Thee go,
Till I Thy name, Thy nature know.

Wilt Thou not yet to me reveal

Thy new, unutterable name? Tell me. I still beseech Thee, tell:

To know it now resolved I am: Wrestling I will not let Thee go, Till I Thy name, Thy nature know.

'Tis all in vain to hold Thy tongue,

Or touch the hollow of my thigh;
Though every sinew be unstrung,

Out of my arms Thou shalt not fly:
Wrestling I will not let Thee go,
Till I Thy name, Thy nature know.

What though my shrinking flesh complain,

And murmur to contend so long? I rise superior to my pain;

When I am weak then I am strong: And when my all of strength shall fail, I shall with the God-Man prevail. i

My strength is gone; my nature dies;

I sink beneath Thy weighty hand,
Faint to revive, and fall to rise;

I fall, and yet by faith I stand:
I stand, and will not let Thee go,
Till I Thy name, Thy nature know.

Yield to me now, for I am weak,

But confident in self-despair;
Speak to my heart, in blessings speak,

Be conquer'd by my instant prayer;
Speak, or Thou never hence shalt move,
And tell me if Thy name is Love?

'Tis Love! 'tis Love! Thou diedst for me!

I hear Thy whisper in my heart! The morning breaks, the shadows flee;

Pure universal Love Thou art! To me, to all Thy bowels move; Thy nature and Thy name is Love!

My prayer hath power with God; the grace

Unspeakable I now receive; Through faith I see Thee face to face,

I see Thee face to face, and live: In vain I have not wept and strove; Thy nature and Thy name is Love.

I know Thee, Saviour, who Thou art:

Jesus, the feeble sinner's Friend!
Nor wilt Thou with the night depart,

But stay, and love me to the end!
Thy mercies never shall remove,
Thy nature and Thy name is Love.

The Sun of Righteousness on me

Hath rose with healing in His wings;
Wither'd my nature's strength, from Thee

My soul its life and succour brings;
My help is all laid up above;
Thy nature and Thy name is Love.

Contented now, upon my thigh

I halt till life's short journey end;
All helplessness, all weakness, I

On Thee alone for strength depend;
Kor have I power from Thee to move;
Thy nature and Thy name is Love.

Lame as I am, I take the prey,

Hell, earth, and sin with ease o'ercome;

I leap for joy, pursue my way,
And as a bounding hart fly home!

Through all eternity to prove,

Thy nature and Thy name is Love."

The author of this hymn came to the end of his journey at last. His toils, and wrestlings, and hymnings by the way were over; but, true to his calling up to the latest step, even when his feet were " dipped in the brim of the Jordan," he gave forth, as his final hymn by the way, his parting song—

In age and feebleness extreme,
Who shall a sinful worm redeem?
Jesus, my only hope Thou art,
Strength of my f ailing flesh and heart;
Oh, could I catch one smile from Thee,
And drop into eternity!

His prayer was answered. He caught that smile, and now it may be said of him, that the principles and feelings with which he began his course as a hymnist were his principles and feelings up to the end; they were holy and pure. "From the first day until the day of Christ " dawned on him, he had been " steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord." This is more than can be recorded of some whose hymns still give pleasure to every Christian who knows and sings them. There is a touching and instructive tradition about one in particular,, showing that hyinns once given out from a simple loving Christian heart may serve to beguile the journey of many a pious wayfarer, while they now and then, in after days, spring up in the path of their authors to reprove them for denying and forsaking that Saviour of whom and to whom they once so sweetly san^. It used to be more easy to beguile the way with chat in the old coaching days than it is now amidst the hurry, rattle, and screech of our iron roads. It was more possible then to get an occasional bit of agreeable reading too, and, among inside passengers especially, there was, at times, a sort of Old English freedom in the mutual enjoyment of a book. It is said that one day, on one of the well-known roads, a lady had been for some time engaged over one page of a little book, which, in the course of the journey, she had occasionally consulted. Turning, at length, to her companion in travel, a gentleman from whose appearance she gathered, that an appeal on such a question would not be disagreeable, she held the open page towards him, and said, "May I ask your attention to this hymn, and ask you to favour me with your opinion of it? Do you know it?" It was—

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,

Tune my heart to sing Thy grace:
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,

Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some celestial measure,

Sung by ransomed hosts above;
Oh, the vast, the boundless treasure

Of my Lord's unchanging love!

Here I raise my Ebenezer;

Hither, by Thy help I'm come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,

Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,

Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to save my soul from danger,

Interposed His precious blood.

Oh! to grace how great a debtor,

Daily I'm constrained to be;
Let that grace, Lord, like a fetter,

Bind my wandering soul to Thee.
Prone to wander; Lord, I feel it;

Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, Lord, take and seal it,

Seal it from Thy courts above.

Her companion glanced down the page, and made an

p

attempt to excuse himself from conversation on the merits of the hymn; but the lady ventured on another appeal.

"That hymn has given me so much pleasure," she said; "its sentiments so touch me; indeed, I cannot tell you how much good it has done me. Don't you think it very good?"

"Madam! "said the stranger, bursting into tears, "I am the poor unhappy man who wrote that hymn many years ago, and I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I then had."

Poor Robinson! it was he, the victim of eccentricity, love of change, and self-conceit; it was he of whom Robert Hall said, "He had a musical voice, and was master of all its intonations; he had wonderful self-passion, and could say what he pleased, when he pleased, and how he pleased." Like many other men of popular and versatile talents, however, he ran a zigzag course. Now, one of Whitefield's converts, and a student at "the Tabernacle" as a Calvinistic Methodist; now, an Independent minister; now, a Baptist, translating Saurin's sermons, dealing in coals and corn, writing a history of baptism, in which all the jumbled powers and oddities of his character seem to be reflected; and, at last, a Socinian, groping his way downward into the cheerless gloom, to realize the awful meaning of an inspired utterance, "He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto tlie Spirit of grace?"