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From the Wesleyan Methodist Magasine.
(By the late Rev. CHARLES WESLEY, A. M.) Lord of the wide-extended main,
Infinite God! thy greatness spann'd Whose power the winds and waves controuls, These heavens, and meted out the skies ; Whose band duth earth and heaven sustain, Lo! in the hoMow of tbine band Whose Spirit leads believing souls:
The measur'd waters sink and rise ! For thee we leave our native shore,
Thee to perfection who can tell ? (We whom thy love delights to keep,)
Earth and her sons beneath thee lie, In other worlds thy works explore,
Lighter than dust within thy scale, And see thy wonders in the deep.
And less than nothing in thine eye. Tis here thy unknown paths we trace,
Yet, in thy Son divinely great, - Which dark to human eyes appear!
We claim thy providential care; While through the mighty waves we pass, Boldly we stand before thy seat; Faith only sees that God is here.
Our Advocate bath plac'd us there. Throughout the deep thy footsteps shine; With Him we are gone up on bigb, We own thy way is in the sea;
Since he is ours and we are his ; O'eraw'd by Majesty Divine,
With him we reign above the sky, And lost in thy immensity.
Yet walk upon our subject seas. Thy wisdom here we learn t'adore,
We boast of our recover'd powers; Thy everlasting truth we prove,
Lords are we of the lands and floods; Amazing heights of boundless power,
And earth, and heaven, and all is ours, Unfathomable depths of love!
And we are Christ's, and Christ is God's.
THE SONG OF A JEWESS.
(Ascribed to SIR WALTER SCOTT.) When Israel, of the Lord belov'd,
But present still, though now unseen, Out from the land of bondage came,
When brightly shines the prosperous day, Our fathers' God before her mov'd,
Be thoughts of Tbee a cloudy screen An awful guide in smoke and fame.
To temper the deceitful
ray. By day along th' astonish'd lands
But, 0, when stoops on Judah's path The cloudy pillar glided slow;
In shade and storm the frequent night, By night Arabia's crinsom'd sands
Be Thou, long-suffering, slow to wrath, Return'd the fiery column's glow.
A burning and a shining light!
There rose the choral hymn of praise,
And trump and timbrel answered kcen, And Zion's daughters pour'd their lays,
With priests' and warriors' voice between.
Forsaken Israel wanders lone;
And Thou hast left them to their own.
Our barps are left by Babel's streams,
The tyrant's jest, the Gentile's scorn; No censer round bur altar beams,
And mute are timbrel, trnmp, and horn.
The flesh of rams, I will not prize ;
Are mine accepted sacrifice!"
THE WORLD TO COME; A HYMN. (From BOWRING's “ Matins and Vespers, with Hymns," &c. p. 242.) If all our bopes and all our fears
Where not a sun-beam breaks the gloom, Were prison'd in life's narrow bound;
And not a flowret smiles beneath : If, travellers through this vale of tears,
Who could exist in such a tomb.We saw no better world beyond;
Who dwell in darkness and in death?
And such were life, without the ray
'Tis this that makes our darkness day: O who could then endure to live ?
'Tis this tbat makes our earth a heaven. Were life a dark and desert moor,
Bright is the golden sun above, Where mists and clouds eternal spread
And beautiful the flowers that bloom, Their gloomy veil bebind, before,
And all is joy, and all is love, And tempests thunder overbead:
Reflected from a world to come.
FOR FEBRUARY, 1824.
MAN MAGNIFIED BY THE DIVINE REGARD :
A SERMON :
BY THE REV. RICHARD WATSON.
(Concluded from page 13.) Having shown what Man is, according to the scriptural account, and how God hath “ magnified” him, we proposed,
II. To point out the practical improvement whicù flows from facts so established, and so illustrative of the divine benignity,
1. We are taught the folly and voluntary degradation of the greater part of the unhappy race of mankind. God hath “set his heart" upon them; but they set not their heart upon God, and add to their sin the guilt of the deepest ingratitude. “Ye that forget God” is their sad, but accurate description ; for how obviously true is the charge! His works, magnificent, and numerous, and curious as they are, bring him not to mind; nor their daily mercies received from him; nor their occasional corrections. In the world which God bath made and filled with his glory, man is “ without God;" and in the world which he hath redeemed and filled with the sound of the glad tidings, he is “ without Christ.” His thoughts are not won by the wisdom of the redeeming mystery; nor his affections, by its display of love ineffable and boundless. He has, as we have seen, the greatest capacities of nature, --capacities, to the improvement of which no bound can be set,--and he wholly occupies them in trifles. The greatest good is set before him, the pardon of sin, the favour of God, and the renewal of his nature; but he has “ no heart to it;" and the invitation of his Saviour is disregarded, because his taste is vitiated, and he neither “discerns," nor affects “the things of God.” They open to him the highest pleasures, because they secure the manifestation of the divine favour to the heart, the presence of the Holy Spirit himself as “the Comforter" and access to God in prayer, and solemn transporting meditation; but Vol. VII.
he prefers vain society, vain shows, vain converse, and animal gratifications. Even eternal life, with all its nobleness and grandeur of prospect, awakens no desire, and excites to no effort. “Lord, what” then “is man," that thou art still mindful of him," or “ the son of man, that thou visitest him!” Why art thou not wearied with his perverseness, his delays, his insensibility! O infinite forbearance and patience! Still thou settest thine heart upon him; still thou sayest, “How shall I give thee up!" Still thine inviting voice, “Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord,” pursues him through all his wanderings from thee! Still thou triest every kind and persuasive art, and every monitory correction, to subdue his will
, and regain his alienated heart; intent only upon his rescue from the danger, which he himself seeks in the madness of his heart, and in the error of his ways. We need nothing more to heighten the glory of thy grace, and nothing but our own insensibility to mark the depth of our own depravity. " To abhor ourselves as in dust and ashes,” is the first lesson we are taught by these facts ;-to return to God with weeping and with supplication ; and to be ashamed and confounded even in the day when he is pacified towards us for all that we have done."
2. The subject affords an instructive test of our religious pretensions.
What is religion? It is that by which Almighty God, in his infinite goodness, magnifies man, morally magnifies him, and makes him truly great.
(1.) By the noble and elevating knowledge which it imparts. Is this the effect with us? Do we rest in the barren and ill-understood generalities of doctrine, looking into the perfect law of liberty, as a man beholding his natural face in a glass, and going away and forgetting what manner of person he is; or do we continue therein ? Do we“meditate, on these things?” Are we led out by a hallowed curiosity to inquire "what is that good, and perfect, and acceptable will of God;" and knowing it, do we often return to feed upon this truth in holy musings ? Are these the subjects to which our spirits fly with affectionate ardour from the little vanities of life? Do we catch their spirit, do we take the impress of their sanctity ?
(2.) True religion makes "great,” by the relation it gives us to God, -the relation of
Is this our character? Have we so "believed on his name, that we can claim this “
power, right, privilege, “to become the sons of God;" and do we wear in our spirits this abiding testimony, that we are " the children of God
(3.) By the restoration of our nature to the divine image. Are we thus magnified ? Has the image of the earthly passed away, and given place to the new, the heavenly impress? Look into your hearts; are the characters of the new man there visible and
distinct ? Look into the course and tenor of your life; does the fulness of the renewed principle pour its sanctity and.odour through your meek and healing speech, through your righteous and beneficent actions ?
(4.) By the new and elevated ENDS for whish it teaches us to live. How low are the objects and pursuits of worldly men! For gild, and adorn, and hide them as they please ; let them give to trifling the air of business, and to selfishness the aspect of public good, and regard to the social benefit of others; the whole may be resolved into the Epicurean maxim, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die;"ma selfish and temporary gratification and interest is the sole epitome. But the ends of living proposed in our religion, and which are seriously kept in view by every true Christian, are of a kind as ennobling, as those of worldly men are debasing and destructive ;—the approbation of God; regard to his will as our only rule in all things; living not for ourselves but for others; and the final acceptance of our persons, in " the day of his appearing." By these ends true religion magnifies man; but have they caught our eye, and do they fix our undeviating regards?
(5.) It magnifies him, by its singular principles of faith and love. --By its faith, which is not the mere assent
of the judgment, but the trust of the heart. It is the evidence of unseen things ; that which makes visible the invisible God, as Witness, Ruler, Judge, and Saviour, “near at hand, and not afar off," so that we learn to walk with God, and to fear nothing but him, and to hope in nothing but in him. It is that which unveils too the invisible world, as well as the invisible God, and teaches man to try all present things by measures taken from eternity, and to refer all actions to their fruits and effects there.-By love; as singular a principle, and as peculiar to Christianity as faith ; for it is not a philosophic approbation; it is not admiration of God merely, nor esteem for his perfect and holy character; but it is ardent attachment to him as the Supreme Excellence; it is an infinite gratitude to him as to an infinite benefactor; it is delight and joy in him as our Father; it is the principle which leads to intercourse and communion with God through the Holy Ghost, and which sensibly unites every soul, made vital by regenerating grace, with the vital influence of God. It is not necessary to stay, to point out what is so obvious, that such principles must, wherever they vigorously exist, be the source of great and high thoughts, purposes, affections, powers, and enjoyments. B't do these magnifying principles exist, and operate, and abide in you?
These are all points of serious and most important inquiry; for if the goodness of God is expressed in his gracious purpose to "magnify” us by the instrumentality of religion, and we are unexhalted, and unrenewed, his kindness has hitherto been frustrated by our own obstinacy and resistance. Art thou, then, who
now readest this declaration, " that God has magnified man, and set his heart upon him,” in the midst of a religious system where all is magnificence of purpose, mean and grovelling still? Is thy spirit dark amidst this splendour ? dead, though often the voice of the Son of God has invited thee to live? in bondage, when thou mightest walk in liberty from sin ? a slave, when thou art called to be a són? Earthly in thine affections, when the spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus are arranged and displayed to excite desire and effort, what "part or lot hast thou in this matter?” Boast not of the truth of the Gospel; for the light by which thou walkest not, only discovers the more clearly that thou art" ignorant and out of the way;" a base worldling with a christian name; a miserable self-deceiver, taking words for things, and saying unto Christ,“ Lord, Lord,” without one operative principle of abiding faith, love, and obedience. Take away the veil of thy religious profession, and see and feel that thou art poor, and miserable, and blind, and naked ; and, withal, that thou hast been so besotted by the deceitfulness of the world, the flesh, and the devil, as to have said, to this moment, I am rich and increased in goods, and have need of nothing." Yet if thou awakest fully to thy danger, despair not. Upon thee, even thee, false as well as sinful as thou hast been,-false to thyself, false to the Church, false to Christ,-God hath “set his heart." He remembereth that thou art man, an immortal man, one whose sins were laid upon Him who was “ delivered for thy offences, and raised again for thy justification ;” and he wills not that thou shouldest perish. His hand is upon thee for mercy and not for judgment; suffer him to raise thee, to “set thee on high," to put thee among the princes of his people, to make thee "great” in his salvation. Hear his voice with thy inmost soul, calling thee to "glory, honour, and immortality;'_"to-day” hear it, and “harden not thy heart."
3. We are taught by our subject to form a proper estimate of our fellow men, and of our obligations to promote their spiritual and eternal benefit.
Our text asks, “What is man?” and if the answer required were the actual moral condition of mankind, how sad a reply must be given! What are the majority of professing Christian men? They have a “form of godliness,” but deny its power, or live in utter disregard of it. “This is their condemnation,” their peculiar and aggravated condemnation, that light has come into the world; but they love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil.” What are Jewish men ? "Blindness has happened unto Israel;" the veil is upon their hearts; they search the Scriptures, but their prejudices have taken away the key of knowledge," and they find not Hiin of whom the Law and the Prophets are full. They are uncovenanted, “ desolate, and forsaken." What are Mahometan men, of whom many millions are