Page images

message of forgiveness. As “the conflict; and I, though deeply fallen, Lord turned and looked upon Peter,” and stained by the sin of a wilful disso did he look kindly on his servant loyalty and rebellion, though defiled David. He brought him to a con

with the dark blot of blood-guiltiness sciousness of the evil of his doing and -I, through a large measure of the its melancholy result, in giving “ the same grace, shall escape from the just enemy, cause to blaspheme;" and visitation of eternal wrath, and shall when

the penitent king unhesitatingly enter on that same rest that remaineth admitted it all—"I havesinned against for the people of God—I shall go to the Lord”-he was met by the un- him! Yes! it is a mercy indeed, that speakably gracious assurance, "the a sinful man is permitted thus to enterLord hath put away thy sin.” The tain a well-grounded hope of once ground then, on which he stood was more indulging the natural affections, that of forgiveness, the free uncon- and cherishing, through forgiveness, ditional pardon of sin. He had no in the hour of bereavement, the prosclaim of moral merit; most probably pect of meeting again those whom we he had none previously; but if ever he have loved and wept on earth. thought he had, where was it now? But this is not all. Neither could His safety for a future world lay in this alone be satisfactory to the forthis only—“But there is forgiveness given soul. God, in his mercy, speaks with thee;" and mark the holy effect peace to the transgressor, and revives of such a consciousness, when God within his breast the hope, that he speaks it within the heart; not that shall yet be where the angel of his he might take a licentious encourage- little one always beholds his heavenly ment for further transgression, but Father's face. But that very thought “that thou mightest be feared.” It tells of something more and more is not so much the punishment as it blessed than a reunion with the deis the pardon, that revives and perpe- parted; there is the hope that Job so tuates the fear of God in the heart. distinctly cherished, “In my flesh There is, at least, one of David's shall I see God.” This to the enwritings which speaks directly to his lightened and believing mind is the state of mind immediately after the grand expectation. God has manivisit of Nathan the prophet; and fested himself for forgiveness, through surely it would not be easy to find any the extraordinary dispensation of an where more striking evidence of con- incarnate and humiliated Redeemer. trition, or a more earnest longing after No man hath seen God at any timerenewed holiness, than the 51st Psalm the only-begotten Son, which'is in the exhibits ; nothing can be more pleas- bosom of the Father, he hath declared ing than the writer's consciousness him. And it is this fact, and the and avowal of the need of entire and glorious consummation which is proabsolute dependance on mercy only, mised in connexion with it, which and the utter inaptitude of any ability now animates the soul and cheers it of his own to amend his circumstan

on its way. It is not merely that we “ Thou desirest not sacrifice, are come to "the general assembly of else would I give it thee; thou de- the church of the first-born, whose lightest not in burnt-offering ; the names are written in heaven;" but we sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, are come to Jesus the Mediator of the a broken and a contrite heart, O God, covenant, and to God the Judge thou wilt not despise.”


[ocr errors]


of all.” The illimitable God, who Now it is standing on this specific inhabiteth eternity, shall be fully maground, that the penitent king de- nifested to the forgiven soul in the clares over the corpse of his infant, glorified person of Jesus. This is “ I shall go to him.” The lot of my the height of human felicity, when infant is unquestionable happiness in God reveals himself to man, through the bosom of God. The mercy of man, to the utmost extent to which God has secured to him, as a fallen man can possibly know him : creature, the rest, the inheritance, the shall see him as he is ;" we shall see, joy, without the humiliation and the face to face,” we shall “know, even

66 We

as we are known.” Can any lot be for the perpetration of deeper crime, conceived more glorious than this ? how awful the thought of meeting in And yet it is the privilege of every a world of retribution! The rich real Christian. A guilty and defiled man in the parable, who knew well creature, wholly pardoned, plucked as the character and influence of his own a brand out of the fire, raised to pre- example, trembled to meet his bresent acceptance and communion with thren : and probably if there is an God, seeing the objects of his affec- agony more deep than any in that tion successively snatched from him in world of pain, it will be the merciless judgments, and yet in mercy, and as and eternal lash of mutual reproach; he sheds over their bier the tears of if there be a pang now more painful natural sorrow, anticipating the day than others to shoot across the breast, when he shall not only rejoin them, it is the dread of encountering it. but see, adore, and love, with unre- There must be in some minds the served affection, the Author of all his gloomy consciousness, that this person mercies, both in time and eternity, or that, has gone down hopeless to made fully known to him in the glori- eternal despair, accompanied with the fied manhood of his brother the man soul-harrowing thought, “I must go Christ Jesus.

to him.” The dark lot of the victimLet one additional thought close the seduced, the betrayed-seems too the subject. David could say of his likely to be the destiny of the vicchild, “I shall go to him.” So may timizer, the seducer, the traitor. What any serious Christian say of his rela- a range of speculation this opens out tions who have died in the faith. to the men of this world. Dwelt on, There is a hope of meeting arising out it is too much for endurance. Shall of the moral assimilation. The peo- that hand be grasped again, that ple of God meet again in an appointed tongue be heard, that eye be met resting place. But how tremendous again in hell? Oh may that practical is the other side of the picture, when anticipation of the horrors of its deepthe ungodly man thinks of the depart- est woe lead men, while it is called toed companions of his iniquity, “I shall day, in unreserved humiliation and go to him.” When scenes of passion, bitterness to the cross of Christ. violence, or dishonesty have occurred,

LATIMER, and a mutual influence has combined



MY DEAR YOUNG FRIEND,—Believ- eth more and more until the perfect ing as I do that you can join the day. Psalmist when he says" with my You will, however, soon find that whole heart have I sought thee;" your varied and extensive sphere of (Ps. cxix. 10.) I doubt not that you usefulness will need much general will be enabled to add—“I will delight information. In the great work of myself in thy statutes, I will not forget bringing back again the lost sheep to thy word.” (Psalm cxix. 16.) This the fold of God, an enlightened precious guide will, I trust, lead you knowledge of human nature is rethrough every difficulty and danger; quired; and although your own obsermay you have grace to give it that vation and daily experience will assist prominence which it ought to have

you, yet you may be greatly aided by in all your pursuits ; that your path that of others, who have gone before may be that of “the just, which shin. to their heavenly rest. Let some valuable piece of Ministerial Biogra- one caution; do not think so much of phy form a part of your daily reading. what will please as what will profit the This will tend to realize in your own


Remember that your mind “ their deep felt obligations;" responsibility extends to the watching and when domestic cares or parochial for souls, as they that must give difficulties seem ready to overwhelm account; never lend that which will you, you will often find that they have sanction any error amongst your had the same, but out of them “ the people. The counteraction of evi), Lord delivered them.” They will and the establishment of God's truth, often cheer you by the unexpected is your work. It is awful to think how

discovery of a truth we so frequently much error is propagated by the in. doubt, that “no temptation hath taken cautious lending of books, by really us but such as is common to man;

Christian friends! I would affecand you

will find the faithfulness of a tionately urge you not to admit into covenant-keeping God verified in their your own library any works which experience. I shall not give you any have even a doubtful tendency. Relist, because I would rather refer you collect that by your people any book to a chapter in Mr. Bridges' “ Chris- on your shelves, or on your drawingtian Ministry” on “ General Study.” room table, is considered to have Indeed you will find the whole work your approbation, or to be chosen by a great treasure, and it will furnish you. During a morning call a word you with much subject-matter for may not be said about it, but there meditation, conversation, and prayer. may have been an impression left in Ten minutes spent every day in read- the mind of a young person, which ing it, will be abundantly compensated will have an eternal influence. I know for by an elevated and enlarged view that you may be placed in a situation of the great work with which you are which renders it a duty, in the spirit now connected.

of prayer, and in simple dependence As spirituality of mind, and fitness upon Divine teaching, to examine for your many duties, rather than where the evil lies in books which personal attractions, are, I trust, what have injured or are likely to injure you seek for, I mention particularly your young people. But whenever those books which have the greatest this is the case, remember that you tendency to promote them. You will are treading on most dangerous find Mr. Bickersteth's series on the ground, and be quite sure that a call “Means of Grace,” such as his of duty, not a feeling of curiosity, “ Scripture Help,” “ Treatise on leads you to it; otherwise you have Prayer,” &c., great aids in your own no right to rely upon Divine support. religious improvement and in your Never indulge the idea that you are “ labour of love.” From them you too well established “to be injured by may gather many a hint, which may it;" but recollect that you have still be profitably given in your daily inter- a “ heart deceitful above all things course with your flock. And here let and desperately wicked” to contend me mention, that I think the lending with, and a great enemy ever on the and recommending solid and profit- watch to infuse his deadly poison. able works to young persons in the How often does he now succeed middle and higher classes of society, through the medium of some book a most important part of your duty; written in a style to fascinate the imanever derive benefit from any publi- gination, before Christian principle cation, without thinking of some one can defend the heart! It is not long to whom it may be useful. If you since that we heard of a young person adopt this plan, you will be astonished having joined the Church of Rome to find how often the suitability oc- from this very cause, and the remark curs. In my own sphere this has sur- made by a friend was—"she was prised me. I have so frequently found never convinced, she was only captithat a useful book lent tome, or read by vated !Satan only aims to accomme, has been needed by some one of plish his end, the means are matter of our flock. Here, however, I will add indifference to him; but in these days,



whilst he succeeds through the under- must add one work to my list, which standing of one, he does so through is, “Milner's Church History." I the affections and imagination of a know you have read it, but do so hundred others. You may, however, again and again; as it will assist you be asked your opinion of one of the to point out when and where the books to which I allude, by a really various heresies crept into the visible “anxious enquirer,” who has her face Church of Christ; at the same time towards Zion; it then becomes your your own mind will often be benefitduty to see where the danger lies, and ed by the Christian experience of to point it out. You will often find an those, who, in all ages, have constituterror so serious at the commencement ed the invisible one. The standard of the book, as to make it needless to of opinion there raised, is not that of waste your time upon it. In other even the most devoted Christians, cases the evil is not less fatally, but not of martyrs themselves, but of the more artfully mixed up. You would infallible Word of God. From the find Bishop Mc Iwaine's Oxford perusal of such works as these, you Divinity compared with that of the will, I trust, always turn with a fresh Roman and Anglican Churches,” an relish to your Heavenly Guide, and invaluable help to you, and if you will

be enabled to say, read it two or three times through, you will always be able to detect error, “Lord, thou art truemand oh, the joy, and you will see the awful evil of the

To turn from other words to thine! whole system of Tractarianism, at

To dig

the gold without alloy,

From Truth's unfathomable mine." the same time you will observe the importance of guarding against every With affectionate Christian remempart of it. It is by reading small brance, and a sincere prayer that all portions of this system, written in a your pursuits may be blessed by captivating style, and by not seeing Him who alone can make them prothem in their true connection, that so fitable,

Believe me, many are injured by them.

Your attached Friend, I cannot in this letter enlarge much more on your general reading, but I Bristol, July 6th, 1845.

“ WHEN the love of God has been even from his shortest walk, deposhed abroad in the heart by the Holy sited a few that he had gathered safely Ghost, the very smallest of his kind- in his room before he joined the breaknesses are associated with the hand fast table. Often would he say, as he from whence they flow, and knit the enjoyed their fragrance, 'How good heart to Him with bonds of increased is God to us! What should we think tenderness.”

of a friend who had furnished us with This is strikingly illustrated in the a magnificent house, and all we needfollowing quotation from the “Life ed, and then coming in to see all had. of Wilberforce:"

been provided according to his wishes, “ He loved flowers with all the should be hurt to find that no scents simple delight of childhood. He

had been placed in the rooms? Yet so would hover from bed to bed over has God dealt with us.-Surely flowers his favourites; and when he came in, are the smiles of his goodness !'




(For the Christian Guardian.)


HARD by the river banks you see Then wherefore come they, knight and That stately house of God

priest, The holy threshold—that should be As kindred throng a household feast?

By kindly brethren trod; Where, sheltered from our changeful Oh, there was haste and there was skies,

throng, Should burn the truth that never dies. At third hour of the day,

When multitudes, astir for wrong, The ancient door is opened now,

To Pilate went their way: And many an image cold

On many a palm was dark the stain, Is kindled by the morning glow, When Pilate washed his hands in As it were burnished gold,

vain. On carved wood and sculptured stone The glittering shafts of light are Why should the servant fear to go, thrown.

Where once the master stood,

By the same path, that long ago Angels, whose watch is never done, Was clearly marked in bloodAre imaged at the shrine,

Think you the cross is heavier now And quaint hard blossoms, many a Than when it rose on Calvary's brow?

one, Round stems of marble twine ; And yet, thou hast a fearful doom, The craftsman's garlands, fair to sight, Priest, in a Christian land, That feel no frost by day or night. Shut out from every Christian tomb,

And, by a brother's hand, The wind moans at the ancient door, Cast forth, beyond the vineyard wall, But enters not I ween;

Where fiery showers unhindered fall. And never on the marble floor The drifted snows are seen ;

No darker doom than now is thine, But keener far than wintry winds, To early martyrs came; Are stony hearts and evil minds. Torn, by thy brethren, from the vine,

Bound for the quenchless flame; Was it not for our Father's praise If earthly hands could tear away,

That stately house was made, From the true vine, a living sprayWhen Christian men, in other days, The stones in order laid ?

They cannot, and thou art not riven Surely for pray’r and praise they come From the fair tree of life; Thus early to their holy home. Thou shalt put forth thy leaves in

heaven, Long since the matin bell was rung,

Where storms are not at strife; "I'was heard at break of day; The fruit, that thou wilt die to keep, Not at this hour the mass is sung, No wind shall from the branches Not at this hour they pray.


*William Sautre, the earliest martyr for the Reformation in England. On this account his degradation was performed with great exactness in the cathedral, where he appeared in his priestly vestments. At first, through weakness, he had abjured his opinions, but afterwards proved steadfast unto death.

« PreviousContinue »