« PreviousContinue »
sent you; he had set his love upon me; and though Satan strove hard for me, there was One on my side greater than Satan. Oh! if you knew what happy nights I have with my Saviour, how near he is to me, and how with some sweet word he settles Satan when he tries to tempt me either to doubt or fear, you would not wonder at me feeling quite safe."
On the Saturday preceding her death, when visited by her minister, though almost speechless, she evidently joined with deep feeling in the last prayer she was ever to hear from his lips; and when the anxious enquiry was once more made, "Are you still resting in Jesus, in full assurance that you are his ?" the answer was, "Happy, happy!"
On the Monday morning, having learnt that she was still living, we saw her once more. Her lips were almost sealed in death, yet with an effort they unclosed, to whisper a parting blessing, and a warm pressure of the hand followed.
Should this simple memorial of the Lord's goodness meet the eye of any who, either in receiving or in doing good, are ready to "faint because of the way," let them take courage the Good Shepherd is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever; and no labour of love, no sign of penitence, is ever unheeded by him.
THE great object in the Christian life, so far as it regards the believer himseif personally, is sanctification, or spiritual growth. This is vital to every thing. It is by this chiefly that he is to glorify God. "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit." And what is fruit, but increase in grace? "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace," &c. Professing Christians are the living representatives of Christ and his cause. As they live, he will be honoured or dishonoured before the world. His religior is identified, in the eyes of the world, with their character. "Some of the members of
your church do not live according to their profession,' said an ungodly man to the writer, as he urged him to attend to the claims of God upon him. The inconsistencies of those who bear the Christian name, are stumbling-blocks in the way of sinners. of sinners. Their usefulness in the cause of Christ is, in a great measure, dependent on the measure of their sanctification. The more holy they are, the greater will be their power in prayer, and their influence over their fellow-men. Hence it is, that we sometimes see one man, who, by the simple power of a holy life, will accomplish more for the cause of Christ than a whole church. This is the secret of the influence and fruitfulness of such men That man possessed no extraordinary talents; but he maintained a lively, ardent, and growing piety, with a hearty devotion of all his powers to the service of his Master. This was the secret of his wonderful success.
It is the small measure of grace possessed by the great mass of those who bear the Christian name, that renders the church so comparatively powerless. If the millions of professed Christians in this land, possessed the crucifixion of sin, the deadness of the world, the holy joy in God, the ardent love to Christ and his cause, the burning zeal for the salvation of souls, the sustaining, overcoming faith, which seems to have characterized the primitive disciples, there would be power enough in these churches to shake the world. With the present resources of the church, what could she not do, if possessed with the primitive spirit? And is it not the want of spiritual growth-the neglect of those who have taken upon themselves the Christian profession, to follow on after a constant work of sanctification, that leaves us to cry out of our leanness, and to lament over the departure of the Holy Spirit?
And why is this? "Who," says one, "can set limits to the Christian's growth in grace, or to the increase of his spiritual joy? May not one, who every day sets himself, with all the activity of intense desire, to make advancement in the divine life, expect daily to get for
ward?" And with such provision for spiritual growth as Christ has made for us, why need we always remain spiritual dwarfs? Why may we not ever maintain a growing, active, zealous piety? Why need any one be a great portion of his time, in a cold, dull, lifeless state, in which he can neither enjoy religion himself, nor persuade others to embrace it?
In carrying out these suggestions, we do but imitate the prudence of worldly men, who "are wiser in their generation than the children of light." The man of business keeps a vigilant eye continually upon his accounts, to see that no mistakes are made, and he is not running into ruinous measures. But he does not stop here. Every night, before he closes his eyes to sleep, he counts his money, views his scales, and examines his accounts, to see that everything is right. Without this, he could not sleep in peace. And shall we be less mindful of the transactions of every day, when they are to pass a solemn review before the tribunal of heaven?
But the merchant is not satisfied with this. He has stated seasons when he pauses and takes a review of his position. He takes an account of his stock, reviews his trade, and estimates his profits and losses. This he does to escape the danger of bankruptcy and ruin. And shall we be less afraid of the failure of our hopes and expectation of immortal felicity?
What man is there who would rest easy while there was a doubt of the validity of his title to his earthly estate? How then can he rest at ease, whose title to the heavenly inheritance hangs in doubt?
Some will doubtless say, "I desire to feel thus-to be happy in religion--to have the light of God's countenance always shining upon me, but I find my affections cold and languid, and know not how to attain such a state of feeling." But did you ever seek after a high state of spiritual enjoyment, and strive to maintain a zealous, glowing, and active piety, with the same steadiness of purpose, diligence, and perseverance, that you manifest in pursuit of the things of this life?
deceived; God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption: but he that soweth to the spirit, shall of the spirit reap life everlasting."
It is as true in spiritual as in temporal things, that "the hand of the diligent maketh rich;" while "the soul of the sluggard desireth and hath nothing."
"I SHAN'T BE HANGED."
"I DON'T care whether I get my work done or not: they won't know any thing about it, and I shan't be hanged for it." So said a foolish young gardener to his fellow-workman. Now it may be that he was not found out to have idled away his time; and it is quite certain he would not get his neck into a halter. These are not hanging days, neither would his offence have ever led to such a punishment. But Matthew was a silly lad for going to work in such a way, and quite lost sight of what he ought to have borne in mind. “I shall not be hanged for it:" no, indeed, he won't: but is there no evil to be dreaded besides hanging? What says the Bible? and what says Jesus Christ, who is The Truth itself? Hear him speak: "Fear ye not them who can kill the body; but fear him who can cast both body and soul into hell."
Then he matter for Master Matthew to decide is this: is there any thing in his idleness and heedless indifference to do his duty out of sight which may well lead him to fear, not the death of the body or the gallows, but of soul and body in hell? This is the question, And I think there is. Just consider for a moment. God has mixed up our duty to man with our duty to himself. He has laid down his law for man. That law contains our duty to our neighbour, as well as our duty to God. And with respect to that law, he says, "This do, and thou shalt live." And on the other hand, "Sin is the transgression of the law;" and, "The soul that sinneth it shall die." Now the law says, "Thou shalt not steal." And this does not forbid stealing only in the highway or breaking into a dwelling house, but stealing any of your master's property. And your time is your master's property. So if you idle it away, and don't mind about doing what he has a right to expect to find
done, you rob your master, and in so doing, break the command, "Thou shalt not steal." And there are other passages of Scripture which directly apply to your case. One says, "Not with eye
service as men-pleasers." (Eph. vi. 6.) Now if your master was in the garden, you would not dare to make such a silly speech, or to fail to finish your job. Then another says, "Not slothful in business." (Rom. xii. 11.) Thus you run in the very face of God's holy Word, and so merit eternal death, which is far worse than hanging. You may get your neck into a halter, and die a penitent, and through the blood of Christ be saved from hell, and get to heaven. The thief on the cross did so; but the other death which God inflicts on those who break his law, is the death both of body and soul, which leads to endless and unspeakable misery, and can never be got over. O think of this in time! Never forget that there is something more to be dreaded than hanging, namely, God's frown, God's anger with those who break his law. strive to be out of sight what you are in. always be with you-" Thou God seest me." so much what man thinks of you as what Refer all your conduct to him: your "Against thee only have I sinned." Your duties; and strive to live in the fear of God, and the love of God, all the day long.
Let that solemn thought
Remember it is not God thinks of you. and say with David,
Fear him, ye saints, and ye shall then
Have nothing else to fear:
Make ye his service your delight,
He'll make your wants his care.
"A STILL SMALL VOICE."
1 KINGS xix. 12.
IN God's dealings with his creatures, he is often pleased to make use of very trifling events to effect his benevolent purposes towards his wayward and erring children, to alarm their consciences, to check them in their career of sin and sorrow, and bring them back H has a humbled penitents to their Father's house and arms. way every where, and he can touch the heart when a mother's tears and a father's counsel, when friends and ministers, and sickness and suffering, and prosperity and adversity, have all failed.
The following anecdote will illustrate this, as related by Audubon,