O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
I can well remember a portion of a sermon which I heard when I was only five years of age. I recollect the cast of the preacher's features, the colour of his hair, and the tone of his voice. He had been an officer in the army, and was in attendance on the Duke of Wellington during the great battle of Waterloo. That portion of the sermon which I can so well remember was a graphic description of the conflict which some pious souls have experienced with the powers of darkness before their final victory over the fear of death. He illustrated it by drawing in simple words a vivid description of the battle at Waterloo. He told us of the cool and stern nature of the "Iron Duke," who seldom manifested any emotion. But the moments came when the Duke was lifted out of his stern rut. For a short time the English troops wavered, and showed signs of weakness, when the Duke anxiously exclaimed, "I would to God that Blucher or the night had come!" After a while a column of the French was driven before the English guards, and another column was routed by a bayonet charge of an English brigade. Wellington then calculated how long it would take to complete the triumph. Taking from his pocket his gold watch, he exclaimed, "Twenty minutes more, and then victory!" When the twenty minutes had passed the French were completely vanquished. Then the Duke, again taking out his watch, held it by the short chain, and swung it around his head again and again. while he shouted, "Victory! Victory!" the watch flew out of his hand, but he regarded gold as only dust compared with the final triumph. This graphic description made a powerful impression on my childish mind. Young as I was, I at once saw the aptness of the illustration. I often dreamt about it, and told other lads the story. When I was a weeping penitent, praying for pardon, and struggling with unbelief, the scene of Waterloo came before me; but the moment the light of the Saviour's smile fell upon my heart, I instinctively sprang to my feet and shouted, "Victory! Victory!" Many times, since I have been exclusively engaged in conducting special services, my memory has brought before me the preacher and the part of the sermon which I heard when I was only five years of age, and this has had its influence on me in my addresses to both old and young.
So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. —
I. OF WHOM DOES THE APOSTLE SPEAK? Of those —
1. Who are enlightened.
2. But still under the law.
II. WHAT DOES HE AFFIRM RESPECTING THEM?
1. That they naturally approve the law.
2. Yet serve sire
III. WHAT IS THE NECESSARY CONCLUSION?
1. That there is no deliverance by the law, or by personal effort.
2. But by Christ only.
(J. Lyth, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?