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stand at the latter day on the earth. The world which now
“ With Jesus' merits for my robe,
And in my heart his image wrought,
I smile tascend the heav'n I sought !!!
fire !!! Wild confusion now spreads around! - horror and dis. tress imprinted in every countenance! - multitudes run to view the im pending danger ; but how few, comparatively, to assist the unhappy sufferers, or to attempt to quench the flame! Alas! my soul, the case of every unbeliever, rightly considered, is much more alarming, even while he thinks himself secure from every danger. Here is only a danger of bodies, or effects being consumed: but every sinner out of Christ, every unbeliever, is running directly into a much more terrible flame, - a fire that cannot be quencieri! - and yet, how many do we see with calm and composed countenances, not at all apprehensive of the mighty
storm that hangs every moment over their heads, ready to burst upon them! - an awful proof of the depravity of human nature ! It shews us to be shockingly insensible in an affair of the greatest concern, our spiritual and eternal welfare! That reasonable creatures, in the pursuit of happiness, should so widely mistake the mark, and run so eagerly in the path that leads directly to eternal misery ; and that no remonstrances, no persuasives, should be of any effect to open their eyes to see the imminent danger, and turn them into the path of life, is a striking proof that they are without God in the world, and that “ the imaginations of the thoughts of their hearts are only evil continually!” Miserable creatures ! to what a deplorable state has sin reduced us! But, thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ, there is yet a way to escape the wrath to come!
- J. M.
ADVICE TO THE LAITY;
ÖR, REMARKS ON HEBREWS XIII. 10--18. Mr. Editor;
The Paper in your Magazine for January, entitled, Consilio ad Cléros, is truly excellent : it displays a spirit of genuine humility and zeal for the best interests of man. I hope many of the writer's brethren will derive considerable benefit from an address, at once affectionate and seasonable : for myself (who am not worthy to be called a Brother) I beg him to accept the best thanks of a grateful heart. Permit me now, in the hope of subserving the same good cause, to suggest a few hints of advice to the serious hearers of the gospel, on the passage referred to in the title. I shall endeavour chiefly to comprize my thoughts in three heads of exho:tation, viz. Benevolence, Obedience, and Prayer.
1. Benevolence. “But to do good and communicate, forget not.” That benevolence is a Christian's duty, I shall take for granted ; yet the claims of benéyolence apply to all Christians. The poor and middling classes are not to be excused from attend. ing to them, any more than the superior orders of society. Bea nevolence is founded in the nature of the gospel, and transfuses its spirit more or less through every precept that respects our fellow-creatures; and, therefore, a Christian should carefully avoid the sin of forgetting to do good when he is called to observe it. In what directions our benevolence should flow, and low far it should extend, we must be guided by prudence property, and the spirit of the gospel. The spirit of an individual as a man, or as a party-man, ought not to obtrude its selfish and sectarian reasonings'; for they are ever inimical to the noble philanthropy the gospel inculcates : yet Clericus refuses his mite for propagating the Gospel with Dissenters, because he is an Episcopalian, and for fear his diocesan should know of it! Does not this appear as if the gospel, and prelacy, and all the rest of it, were at
In whate tend, we snel.
ihe gospel incaichley are ever inimibtrade its selfisi
variance, and that each had separate interests to maintain the Again, Baptismos sometimes withholds his aid from the claims of his brethren of another persuasion, because he must support his own first. Charity, it is said, should begin at home. But this, in many cases, is the dictate of selfishness, or the suggestion of a narrow mind. Certainly, it does not accord with the genius of the gospel ; for “ Charity never faileth !" These strictures allude to sectarians, and not to the prevailing spirit of any sect or party.
In doing good there is much to be thought of, and much to le communicated. If your hearts are set on this object, you will be ready to communicate knowledge, talents, time, property, and influence for promoting the temporal and everlasting welfare of man; and even if you cannot assist in every good object of benevolence, you will communicate your prayers and recommendations for its success. But some professors there are, who can hardly be civil to those who call on them to remind them of the apostle's precept. O take care that you do not forget to do good, lest for that very reason the Lord should seem to forget you, in some future instance of his goodness or mercy! . The apostle suggests this impressive motive to benevolence; (6 for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” He knows and observes the nature of the sacrifice you offer, whether it be a thank-offering or a free-will offering, a liberal or a stingy one. If the sacrifice be a good one, and free from blemish, – if it be such as God and man reasonably expect from you, you shall have your reward. Your fellow-creatures are sure to applaud every such act of beneficence; and, what is infinitely better, God is well pleased! He takes a pleasure, a complacency, in those actions in which you resemble him; and you prove to the world that you are a partakers of a divine nature.” Surely, these considerations, duly weighed, were enough to keep the altar of benevolence ever smoking, ever burning with our sacrifices !
2. Obedience. “Obey then that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves.” This duty, my fellow-Cliristians, is urged on you respecting your own pastorsand ministers. It is as clearly their duty to rule, as it is yours, to obey. They are required to rule well, that is, according to the letter and spirit of the gospel; and if they do this, you are to obey them as your spiritual guides and rulers; - to obey them wheneyer, as God's ministers, they enforce his commands upon you. Yet Pride is apt to arise and revolt at these commands, however plainly revealed, or prudently brought before you. Then some of you are ready to charge your minister with Legality and Arminianism, when in fact he is only enforcing what St. Paul and all the apostles have done before him. But why not be honest and speak out, in the way one professor has done? This person being reminded of a precept of St.James, replied, “ As for James, he seems to have been a poor legal pian.” I strongly suspect, that if this apostle were on earth now, he would be often called to account, and meet with many a rebuff for his supposed legality. 0 ye proud and disobedient professors ! remember our Lord's language: -" He that despiseth you, despiseth me; and he that despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me.” Against such a spirit of pride the apostle seems to guard you, by exhorting you to submit yourselves, - submit to all the kind and seasonable reproofs of your pastors, and to all those necessary rules of church-discipline which you once thought to be reasonable and scriptural. I admired the spirit of Penitens, who, when some sin he had committed came to light, submitted himself to his pastor, and even thought that the honour of the gospel required his exclusion from the communion of the church. Diotrephes, on the other hand, was as detestable as the penitent was humble; for though justly brought under the censure of the church, would make no conccssion, no gubmission to his minister ; but set himself to raise a party, and at length triumphed in obliging him to resign Iris .charge. “Woe be to the world because of offences; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!”
Observe the reasons that are alleged for your obedience and submission to your respective ministers. Reflect on the nature of their duty," for they watch for souls.” What watchman is there who does not tremble lest he should be unskilful and unfaithful ! Chrysostom says, he never read these words without trembling, though he often preached several times in a day. Take care, therefore, that you do not interrupt your ministers in their watchfulness and fidelity. Consider the responsibility-attached to their office, “ as they that must give account.” This they often do in their closets, when the labours of a Sabbath are over; this they will do at death, when they resign up their ministry and life; and this they must do at the judgment-day, when ministers and their hearers shall receive their final sentence from their Judge. Then the history of every church under Heaven will be reviewed, and the conduct of each minister and each member will be fairly estimated ; and the reward or condemnation will proceed accordingly. Remark, farther, their affectionate concern for your happiness; “ that they may do it with joy and not with grief.” How often in private and in public have they been grieved with your conduct! how often, on a death-bed, has a minister mourned over the spirit of perverseness with which some of his bearers bave been actuated ! Observe, finally, your own sad interest in their grief; “ for that is unprofitable for you.” If they grieve, you will sooner or later grieve also. 66 With what measure ye mete out to others, it shall be mcted to you again," either in this world or the next. If you occasion the grief of ministers, you will suffer for it. Drs. Owen and Doddridge thus explain the latter part of the verse : “ This must refer to the present discharge of their office ; for it is not possible for any perverseness of the people to prevent a faithful minister's giving up his account with joy. Not can aniya grief be mingled with their triumphant songs : but their Master will remember what they suffered by their people's means; and the account may sit heaỹy on them when the sorrows of their faithful pastors are all over, - not to say that great present da: mage to the people would proceed from those things which are grievous to their faithful and affectionate spiritual guides. If the apostle refer, as I am inclined to think, to the surrender of the ministerial office, either in life or at death, when it is made with grief, the dreadful consequence will almost, iti every in• stance, be sure to succeed: the church will be rent with disputes and factions, to the great injury of every Christian characters and the lasting reproach of the cause of Christ in the world! I might cite many instances in point, both in the Establishment and out of it, - but I forbear the melancholy recital; for faction belongs to man, and not to any body of men. It arises fromi the natural pride and stubborn insubordination of the human heart. May every religious society beware of grieving those who faithfully watch for their souls, lest the Lord in just anger depart from their assemblies, and write Ichabod on their walls !
3. Prayer. "Pray for us." This request, I should say precept, more particularly applies to all Christians, who know the worth of prayer, and to whom is given the spirit of prayer and supplication. " Pray for us,” says the Apostle. 16. Pray for them,” says the Spirit of Inspiration. This St. Paul powerfully urges in his Epistles to the Ephesians *, the Colossians t, and the Thessalonians ; and he expresses his confidence in the latter, “ That ye do, and will do the things we command you,” referring to the duty of prayer for the apostles. St. Paul and his fellow-labourers, though se eminently favoured with gifts and grace, intreated and commanded Christians to pray for them; - and for what purposes ? That utterance might be given them, that they might open their mouths boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, and that the word of the Lord might have free course, and be glorified. Noble objects indeed! What mimister, whose heart is in his work, but would join the apostle in such a request, and urge such a command, Pray for us! and where is the Christian, whose heart is in his closet, and whose convefsation is in Heaven, wbo can refuse compliance with such a request, backed as it is by such motives! Had you been Thessalonians, you would have prayed for the apostles. O theni consider, ye British Christians, with how much more fervour and frequency ought you to pray for his successors! If the apostles stood in need of prayer, how much more do they need it who follow them under so many disadvantages! Ia social and public prayer, it is customrary to pray for them: but hit me ask a question that will put many of you to the blush : -Do you al
* vi. 18, 19.
+ iv. 2-4.
I 2-Thess, jjj. 1.