The Moral Influence of Pestilence
Isaiah 22:2
You that are full of stirs, a tumultuous city, joyous city: your slain men are not slain with the sword, nor dead in battle.

Thy slain men are not slain with the sword. "The words imply something like a reproach of cowardice. Those who had perished had not died fighting bravely in battle, but by the pestilence which then, as at all times, was prevalent in the crowded streets of a besieged city? The law of epidemic disease is found to be this - the conditions which are peculiarly favorable to the development of vice and immorality are exactly the conditions most favorable to epidemic disease. Illustrative references may be made to overcrowding in houses, and to want of cleanliness, and neglect of adequate sanitary precautions. From the picture given in the passage now before us we gather the following sentences.

I. PESTILENCE CREATES FRIGHT. And this prepares the way for the march of the pestilence; partly because those in whom are the seeds of disease go to other places, carrying the evil with them; and partly because fear lowers vitality, and so limits the power of resistance to disease. Fright in time of pestilence was painfully exhibited in the recent visit of the cholera to the towns in the south of France.

II. PESTILENCE BREAKS UP SOCIAL LIFE. By the flight, from the infected neighborhood, of all whose means permit. By the disturbance of commerce, business, education, etc. Worse than this, danger of life nourishes self-interest, so that men are ready to sacrifice others to save themselves. At such times the worst of humanity is revealed in the many, and the best of humanity in the few.

III. PESTILENCE OFTEN LEADS TO RECKLESSNESS. As was most painfully seen in the time of the great plague of London, and as is indicated by Isaiah in the text. Despair flings the reins on the neck of lust.

IV. PESTILENCE MAKES HEROES. Madame de Genlis tells of an incident in connection with the peste at Marseilles. The true nature of the disease was unknown, and could only be discovered by a post-mortem examination, but that was certain death to the operator. All the doctors drew back. Then a young surgeon, named Guyon, of great celebrity in his profession, devoted himself for the safety of his country. He made the necessary examination, recorded his observations, made his suggestions, placed the papers in a vase Of vinegar, retired to the lazaretto, and in twelve hours was dead - a hero made by the pestilence. - R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Thou that art full of stirs, a tumultuous city, a joyous city: thy slain men are not slain with the sword, nor dead in battle.

WEB: You that are full of shouting, a tumultuous city, a joyous town; your slain are not slain with the sword, neither are they dead in battle.

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