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We hear a good deal said about the anxious seat. Concerning the propriety of the thing signified by that not very elegant expression, we will not now dispute, especially since that seat is at present pretty much vacant every where. I only wish that the piace where Christians sit were a more anxious seat than it is.
Neither will I engage in pending, controversy about measures, new and old. What I fear most from the controversy is that it will cause many to become no measure men.
I do not know why we want so many measures, if we will only make good use of those we have. There are two measures, which, if generally adopted and faithfully applied, will, I think, answer every purpose. You may call them new or old. They are both. They are old, yet, like the new commandment and the new song of which we read in the Bible, ever new. The first is, the measure of plain evangelical preaching “in season, out of season,” and “not with wisdom of words.'' The other is the measure of united and fervent prayer, such as preceded the memorable events of the day of Pentecost. I am for these old, yet ever-new measures. O that the brethren of every name would take fast hold of these measures and hold on to them. I think then we should not want many more measures. Praying and preaching used to be "mighty, through God, to the pulling down of strong holds." I am sure they will never fail. Let us employ them.
17. Do you Pay for a Religious Newspaper ?
I was going to ask the question in another form. • Do you read a religious newspaper ?"'- but then I reflected that many read a religious newspaper who do not themselves subscribe for one, they being in the habit of borrowing from their neighbors, and after sending and respectfully soliciting the loan of the
paper before the family have read it, and not unfrequently keeping it a length of time greater than the golden rule will exactly justify. Then I had like to have thrown the question into this shape: "Do you subscribe for a religious newspaper ?" but it struck me all at once, that some subscribe for a paper, but do not pay for it. I have heard this complaint made, and I have no doubt there is foundation enough for it. I, for my part, would advise such persons to take a moral newspaper, if they can find such a thing. That is the sort of paper they require A religious newspaper is quite too far advanced for them. I don't know, and cannot conceive why these non-payers want to read a religious newspaper. I should suppose they would be satisfied with secular newspapers. I can imagine that they may desire, notwithstanding their delinquency, to know what is going on in the world, but why they should care to know how things go in the church, I cannot conjecture. What do those who do not give any thing for value received, want to know about revivals, missions, &c. ? Here are persons who would starve editors, publishers, printers, and paper-makers-the whole concern-into a premature grave!—who say, “Send me your paper,” implying of course that they will send the money in return, yet never send it; and yet they want to know all about the progress that is making in converting souls to God, and what is doing among the heathen. Is not this strange, that having never learned as yet to practice the first and easiest lesson of honesty, they should wish to read every thing about godliness and vital piety! So I concluded to head the article, “Do you pay for a religious newspaper ?'' Do
you, reader ? If you do, continue to take and read, and pay for it; and be slow to withdraw your subscription. Give up many things before you give up your religious newspaper. If any one that ought to take such a paper, does not, I hope that some one to whom the circumstance is known, will volunteer the loan of this to him, directing his attention particularly to this article. Who is he? A professor of religion? It cannot be. A professor of religion and not taking a religious newspaper! A member of the visible church, and voluntarily without the means of information as to what is going on in that church! A follower of Christ, praying daily, as taught by his Master, " Thy kingdom come,” and yet not know. ing, nor caring to know, what progress that kingdom is making! Here is one of those to whom Christ
said, “ Go, teach all nations;" he bears a part of the responsibility of the world's conversion, and yet, so far from doing any thing himself, he does not even know what others are doing in promoting this great enterprise! Ask him about missionary stations and operations, and he can tell you nothing. He does not read about them. I am afraid this professor of religion does not love “the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.” Ah, he forgets thee, O Jerusalem!
But I must not fail to ask if this person takes a secular newspaper. O, certainly he does. He must know what is going on in the world; and how else is he to know it? It is pretty clear then that he takes a deeper interest in the world than he does in the church; and this being the case, it is not difficult to say where his heart is. He pays perhaps eight or ten dollars for a secular paper_a paper that tells him about the world, but for one that records Zion's conflicts and victories, he is unwilling to pay two or three! How can a professor of religion answer for this discrimination in favor of the world ? how defend himself against the charge it involves ? He cannot do it; and he had better not try, but go or write immediately and subscribe for some good religious paper; and to be certain of paying for it, let him pay
in advance. There is a satisfaction when one is reading an interesting paper, to reflect that it is paid for.
But perhaps you take a paper, and are in arrears for it. Now suppose you was the publisher, and the publisher was one of your subscribers, and he was in arrears to you, what would you think he ought to do in that case? I just ask the question. I don't care about an answer.
18. Detached Thoughts.
It is not every broken heart which constitutes the sacrifice of God. It depends on what has broken it--whether the experience of misfortune, or the sense of sin—the sorrow of the world, or the sorrow of God. Both break the heart, but it is a different fracture in one case from what it is in the other. God values the latter; and hearts so broken he mends and makes whole.
Some sinners repent with an unbroken heart. They are sorry, and yet go on, as did Pilate and Herod.
A sinner must come to himself, as did the prodi gal, before ever he will come to Christ.
The consummation of madness is to do what, at the time of doing it, we intend to be afterwards sorry for; the deliberate and intentional making of work for repentance.