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note, when they have the same promise of the Lord's presence and blessing at their own place *. Nor is it at all uncoinmon for hearers of this cast to feel much more pleasure in' running after a fresh preacher, or even in attending their own, than employing one half hour in secret prayer, meditation, self-examination, and communion with God, without which, it must be allowerl, the best sermons' and preachers are lost upon us, and all pretensions to profiting yain and delusive. Nothing appears more remote from the reflections of such, than the observation of an eminent divine, that “ the more spiritual any duty is, the more liable it is to be overlooked, and the less inclination will be found for it.” Preaching and preachers, of even an evangelical description, may prove gratifying to nature, where there is no grace, as well as where there is ; but private duties never will, except where they are observed for the purpose of self-righteousness, &c. " Public duties," observes the excellent Mr. Pavel, “may get us a name with 'men, but without the diligent and conscientious use of private ones, the soul will never thrive with God;" and it may be profitabiy added, the manner in which the latter are regarded, may probably furnish a good rule to determine how far we are influenced by right motives in the former; for if our pleasure be mainly confined to these, our sincerity in the other may be justly questioned, or at least becomes proportionably doubtful. *Hypocrites,” says the same writer, “are not so much for the closet as the synagogue ; for they will always prefer that which requires least pains and self-denial, along with most show and appearance t. .
In a word, every hope or idea of profiting without as much attention to secret as to public duties, will be found to originate in the deceitfulness and unbelief of the heart. With a regard, however, to the sufficiency and faithfulness of Christ, more than to the wisdom and talents of men, united with frequent fervent supplications, our profiting may be as really expected under this as that faithful minister of the word. But where these are want. ing, we shall be liable to the same caprice and error as the weakest of the Corinthians ; our partiality will be the proof of our ignorance and carnality; and our choice and preference inore resemble that of children than adults, who usually fancy themselves best served when most gratified and pleased. We shall be without the discernment requisite to improve an important apostolic remark, “ Neither is he that planteth any thing, nor he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase.” The word
* The reader inay find an affecting instance of this in a memoir of that eminent servant of Christ, Mr. Edmund Jones, in Vol. ll. of this Magazine. page 179. “ The good man was cordially devoted to the interest of his flock with ferveut prayers and inany tears; but, alas! these things are overlooked and can be easily dispensed with by too many bearers, if they can only be accommodated to their mind in the preaching part." + 1 Sam. XV, 20-22.
I 1 Cor. iii. 17.
preached did not profit the church in the wilderness; not from a defect in the doctrines delivered, though no clearer than those of Aloses, but from the barren state of their mind; for they wanted faith, meekness, and true spiritual desire*. ..
I would only remark further, that a preacher is liable to something of the same error in regard of a fresh congregation it may fall in his way to visit; for he inay as readily imagine them much better to preach to, and more likely to attend under himself than his own charge. This has probably misled many in their hasty removals : for what is more natural than a conceit that we can be more acceptable with another pcople, merely from some trivial incident of an unpleasant nature at home, or of a flattering one abroad, produced by an occasional sermon or two? But, while some hearers, like the foolish Corinthians, may be every now and then exclaimning, “I am for such and such preaching, and such a preacher;" and others, “ I am for another:" and some preachers themselves, “I should like such a pcople," which God has not given them,-Does it not appear to savour of more sound wisdom and true faith in God to be able to say,
I am for that preacher or that people which he has appointed and provided for me; because he knows better than myself how to suit me; and if I cannot be happy, satisfied, and benefitted with his provision and appointment, neither shall I with my own:" The one is to be carnal, and walk and talk as men; the other is to be spiritual, and to walk as Christians t.
ent of aned by an solish Coruchi and Sharath
James i. 21; 1 Pet. ii. 2.
+ 1 Cor. iii. 1-4.
-- For my days ure vanity. --Job vii. 16. The human mind was formed for great attainments : it has in it a restless desire after knowledge, and the accomplishment of some favonrite and proposed pursuit ; and the thing which every man proposes to himself as the object of that pursuit, and the means whereby he endeavours to attain it, constitutes the morality or immorality of his character.'
Lite, and the engagements of life, awake in every individual n consciousness of innumerable duties, — duties which demand our attention, and which are not to be dispensed with. On the diligent and faithful discharge of these duties depends that respect which distinguishes men in a state of society. The truly virtu. ous and pious man seldom fails reaping his deserved reward, Pro, vidence having so ordered, in the present state, that trials shall, in general, be the means to prepare for happiness. Humility is the way to honour; and an haughty spirit gocs before a fall.
is not affairs." Ohe most
Our pursuits in the present life are frequently interrupted by disasters, or dispensations which becloud our prospects, and throw at once a serious gloom over the most pleasing and prosperous circumstances of our affairs. Of this Job is an eminent instance. Virtue untried is not known, its lustre is hid. The school of Adversity is the best school to form men; and it appears essentially requisite, from the imperfection of our nature, that we should pass through great evils to attain great good. "A spirit chastened by adversity and affliction is no little acquisition or ornament...
Perhaps the words in the sacred text are designed to express, by Job in his sufferings, the want of health to discharge the duties, or accomplish the schemes which he had projected, or the not retaining that situation which Divine Providence had formerly and prosperously placed him in. As if he had said, “A little while ago I was in a state of dignity and grandeur, surrounded with a numerous attendance, whom, when the ear. heard it blessed, and when the eye saw, it gave witness to: but now I am the ridicule and contempt of the most abject wicked men, severely chastised, and suspected by my nearest kinsmen and best friends." Changes like these astonished himn; and in iris dark afflictions, perhaps he conceived the end for which he was created was not accomplished, or to him, so unaccountably frustrated, that he was utterly at a loss to explain either the equity or the design thereof. The order of present affairs sometimes embarrasses and perplexes the wisest of men ; of present things, Solomon concludes, “ Vanity of vanities, all is vanity !” The incompetency of human reason to comprehend the administrations of Providence, frequently casts the mind into a state of perplexity, in - which it is our duty to submit, be silent, and adore. It is one part of the Christian character to commit his concerns into the hand of his God; for when he has tried him, he shall come forth as gold purified.” We cannot understand the infinity or equity of the divine operations ; but a good man, under the most frowning providence, will, with complacence, confide in him, knowing that virtue is the best in. heritance, and godliness has a sure and eternal reward.. i
THE GOOD MAN, As described by Modern Fashionable Writers. ri One thing extremely obvious to remark is, that the good man, the man of virtue, who is necessarily presented to view ten thousand times in the volumes of these writers, is not a Christian. His character could have been formed though the Christian revelation had never been opened on the carth, or though all the copies of the New Testament had perished ares
since; and it might have appeared admirable, but not peculiar. There are no foreign unaccountable marks upon it that could, in such a preclusion of the Christian truth, have excited wonder what could be the relations or the object of such a strange but systeinatical singularity, and in what school or company it had acquired its principles and its feelings. Let it only be said, that this man of virtue had conversed whole years with the instructions of Plato, Cicero, and Seneca, and all would be explained ; nothing would lead to ask, “ But with whom then has he conversed since, to lose so completely the appropriate character of his school, under the broad impression of some other mightier influence ?”
“ The good man of our polite literature never talks with affectionate devotion of Christ, as the great High Priest of his profession, as the exalted Friend, whose injunctions are the laws of his virtues, whose work and sacrifice are the basis of his hopes, whose doctrines guide and awe his rea. sonings, and whose example is the pattern which he is earnestly aspiring to resemble. The last intellectual and moral designations in the world by which it would occur to you to describe him, would be those by which the apostles so much exulted to be recognized, a disciple and a servant of Jesus Christ, nor would he (I am supposing this character to become a real person) be at all gratified by being so described. You do not hear him avowing that he deems the habitual remembrance of Christ essential to the nature of that excellence which he is cultivating. He rather seeins, with the utmost coolness of choice, adopting virtue as according with the dig. nity of a rational agent, than to be in the least degree impelled to it by any relations with the Saviour of the world.” – Foster's Essays, vol. ii. p. 189.
FAITH AND HOLINESS. Mr. Editor, As I observe that you occasionally admit into your useful and entertaining
Magazine Extracts as well as original Compositions, you will oblige a Constant Reader, by inserting the following Extract, from a Sermon, preached by the Rev. R. Venning, one of the ejected ministers, and entitled, “ The Way to True Happiness ;'and which having been published a century and a half ago, must now be in but few hands. The Sermon is founded on Matt. vii. 21,“ Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven ; but he that doth the will of my Father, who is in Heaven;" whence he draws this conclusion : « That they, and none but they, who do the will of God, shall enter the kingdom of Heaven;" on which he thus expatiates :
"By the will of God, we are to understand faith and holiness, good works or the obedience of faith ; not either, but each of them; the doctrine of faith, or things to be believed, and the doctrine of holiness or things to be done and practised. As faith does not exclude doing, so doing does not exclude faith; for as faith without works is dead, so works without faith are dead also, as it is impossible that faith without works can please God, so it is no less impossible for works without faith to please him; and, therefore, what God hath joined together, let no man put asunder. Believing is expressly called the l'ill of God *. - This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whoin he hath sent.” “This is the will of him that sent me, that every one that believeth on the Son, should have everlasting life.” Now, if this be his will, that believing on him we have everlasting life, then it is his will that we believe on bim in relation there. unto; so that as well believing on him for everlasting life, as everlasting life to believing on him, is the will of God. Yea, it is expressly said, ** This is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his Son,
Jesus Christ +;" so it is not barely that which is called Good Works that is to be understood by doing the will of God, but believing in or on the Lord Jesus Christ ; also, this is the work, this is the will, this is the command. ment of God: and I ground it further on this rule, That the Scripture doth often, yea, very usually, put particular duties for all religion ; and, therefore, annexeth salvation to distinct graces. Soinetimes, it is “ He that believeth shall be saved ;” elewhere, “ He that calleth upon the name of the Lord shall be saved ;' here it is, “ He that doeth the will of God." Now all these and the like are comprehensive propositions, and contain more in them than they make shew of (for God speaks much in a little) acts and duties of religion (as moralists speak of their virtues, inter se connexe) linked together in a golden chain. Religion is not this or that piece, but the whole, which is ösually expressed in a word, or sometimes two, as in that of Solomon, " Fear God and keep his Commandments;" for this is the whole of man I ; so that if we could suppose a man to be a believer, and to be a believer alone, it would not save him, as the apostle James saith, * What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have no works?, Can faith save himn ? No; no more than the saying,“ Be ye filled, will fill any; or, Be ye warmed, will warm any :" " for faith without works is dead ;" and what is said of this, may be said of the rest ; so that when the Scripture speaks of salvation as annexed to any one thing, it supposeth that to contain the rest. The reason is evident; “ for the graces of God as saying are not parted." There is no believing to salvation without repentance; nor any repentance to salvation without believing: there is no calling upon the name of the Lord will serve, without departing from ini, quity ; nor can any savingly depart from iniquity that call not on the name of the Lord. It is not any one thing, but things, that pertain to the kingdom of God $. It is not a thing, but things, that accompany (or, as it may be better read, contain) salvation; and he that takes one for all, without all, will find himself awfully deluded. The great fallacy with wbich Satan deludes many is, when he gets them to take Religion to pieces; and then takes one piece for religion. One cries up God, another cries up Christ, another Faith, another Good Works; but what is God without Christ, or Christ without Faith, or Faith without Love, or Love without Works? But now take God in Christ, by faith, which worketh by love to the keeping the Commandments of God, and this is true religion : it is the whole, that is, the whole of man!”
To the Editor. On reading the following passages in the Life of William Julius Mickle, Esq. prefixed to the late edition of his Poetical Works, by the Rev. Mr. Sim, I could not help exclaiming, with one of your Correspondents *, -“ What an advantage has Christianity over Deism !” Mickle was not only eminently distinguished as a peet, but by his masterly defence of Christianity, in his “ Voltaire in the Shades," and his able and animated Vindication of the Divinity of our blessed Saviour, in a Letter to the late Dr. Harwood. Mr. Mickle, writing to his brother Charles, then in a deep decline, thus addresses him :
“I beg you would repress every anxiety. Read the glorious sixth chapter of Matthew, from the 25th verse : it lies open before me ; and I trust you will read it as I do now, with tears of trust and reliance. Oh, Charles, what are all the boasted works of Greece and Rome, when compared to the writings of the illiterate fishermen of Galilee! Those afford, indeed, the most elegant en tertainment in the sunshine of case ; but how would one - Spurn them away as vain trifles in the day of distress! Where the heart is