« ZurückWeiter »
it is designed for immediate effect-to be received by faith immediately-TO SAVE THE SOUL IMMEDIATELY—and to actuate it in grace and holiness for ever: a secret which many masters in Israel have yet to learn and to believe. "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. To oppose revivals, is to oppose conversions-and is a fearful approach to the unpardonable sin! This is called the age of revivals-it should rather be called the dawn of that age: for in some places almost "the dimness is such as was in our vexation." In some places they are yet calumniated, deprecated, and religiously abhorred, by the very ministry! O when shall this become a world of revivals!-and revivals cease only by blending their spreading circles of blessedness till there is no more "land to be possessed;" till the whole earth is invested with their united glory; till religion, universally revived, permanently lives in the business and the bosoms of the population of the total globe! "And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him."
3. A word to them that are without. "How shall I give thee up, Ephraim ? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as Zeboim ? my heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together! With such sweet mercy moves the bosom of God! And will you be the sinner to resist it? Did you ever once seriously try to be saved-to repent -to pray so as to be heard? Did you ever "strive?" If not, by the death of Jesus and the forbearance of the injured God, I beseech you, begin now! Now "the strait gate" is open; and to enter it, is your duty, your privilege, your interest, your infinite necessity! How can it be your interest to be excused from salvation? God invites you! "How often would I have gathered you, and ye would not?"
which we may not say that he is "not able" when it is shut? Let us mystify both or neither. The matter is too plain for explanation; too obvious for proof; too palpable for illustration: or, if you will, a man's inclination is one thing, and his ability another. The fist of an infant is not able to pulverize a mountain, because it transcends his power when it does not his inclination. You then will be unable hereafter, because the door that is shut will exceed your power, however it may suit your will, to open it: you are able now to enter, and ought therefore to be encouraged immediately to "strive" for it, because your will is all that prevents you. What other means can? The door is open. Others enter -because they strive. No new ability or augmentation of power is given them. They have no faculties that they had not. The change is voluntary. God has not taken away their freedom, by bringing them to use it as they ought. Then why delay? Is it because it seems a sorry thing in your eyes to follow Jesus Christ; because "there be few that find it;" and you prefer to be in the fashion and with the majority? Take care! your views of the majority, both the nature and the fact, may undergo a revolution at the judgment-seat of Christ. Meanwhile, I would tell you in solemn and affectionate truth, that you "shall seek" hereafter, if not here; that you shall seek in vain, if not successfully; that numbers will not help you, when "many shall seek to enter in, and shall not be able;" and that it will be gloomy indeed to begin when it is too late to seek where it is impossible -and offer your first earnest prayer in eternity, where prayer is of no avail, where it is the mere outcry of agonizing desperation, and where it will be for ever rejected, however urgently you may "knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us." Amen.
Now you are able to enter. Do you inquire, in what sense am I able? I answer, in the very sense in which you will have lost your ability, "when once the Master of the house is risen up and hath shut to the door.' For then they "shall not be able." In what very mystical sense must we say that a man is able to enter a door when it is open, in
knowledge God with thanksgiving at your meals, and "command your children and household after you to keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment?"
5. Do you carry the morality, as well as the memory of religion into your secular calling and daily practice, remembering your obligations to universal righteousness, and that Christ has in part entrusted his glory to the keeping of his people?
6. Do you read your Bible, keep your heart, and pray in your closet?
7. Have you a lively hope of salvation? 8. What influence has religion upon your habitual or occasional temper? Are you patient, moderate, self-commanded, and immutable in the truth?
12. Do you cultivate a fervent affection and Christian acquaintanceship towards the whole family of believers, especially those with whom you are more immediately connected in church-fellowship?
13. Are you careful of your manners, especially in the presence of unbelievers? that you do nothing to disgust them with religion; that you say nothing needlessly to wound their feelings, or selfishly to gratify your own; that you avoid all artificial appearances, all affectation, forwardness, cant, bigotry, bitterness, sectarianism, useless disputation, formality, distance, moroseness, levity, extravagance; while you evince a superiority to the sentiments of men, a uniform firmness in the truth, a desire to communicate the knowledge of it, and a readiness to assist others, as a co-worker with God, in its acquisition and obedience?
more knowledge, more experience, more grace, more usefulness?
5. Can you not be just as good without a profession as with it?
6. For what, think you, is the visible church divinely organized and maintained in the world?
7. Are you cordially willing to be subject in the Lord to the oversight of discipline of his house?
8. Do you now desire to be useful in the cause of that blessed Redeemer in whom you have hope?
9. What is the basis, what the warrant, what the evidence of your hope? Is it of the right kind?
10. Do you realize that the act of profession is your own? the responsibility of it yours? that a professor is one thing, and a possessor another; always in idea, often in fact?
11. Have you any hearty, and prayerful, and practical desire for the salvation of souls?
12. Are you willing, in any known respect, to deny yourself for Christ's sake?
13. Are you free to confess Christ wherever and whenever you ought? or, are you ever ashamed of him?
14. Do you expect to renounce the world as your portion when you avouch the Lord in public?
15. Is it your highest desire to be holy and walk with God for ever?
16. Do you love Christians, all Christians, as Christians? and that because they love God, and God loves them?
17. How much do you at heart care for the love of Christ, the glory of God, and the progress of religion in the world? Are you willing to catechize your life, habitually to its close, for an answer?
TO THE UNCONVERTED.
1. Is the responsibility of a man of his own making or of God's? Does your responsibility depend upon your being or not being a professor of religion?
2. Did you ever seriously reflect on the fact that God offers salvation in its fulness to you as a sinner repenting?
3. Are you ignorant of the goodness of God? that he is kind to you? and that it will not be his fault if you are finally lost?
4. Do you not know that you must accept the offered salvation-you must do it, and that cordially and gratefully by faith in the gospel; or necessarily, in the very nature of things, perish, as a rejector of Christ, the only Saviour? and that there is NO DECREE OF GOD IN THE UNIVERSE Contrary to this?
9. Do you not choose to think of death, futurity, or your account at the judgmentseat of Christ? Why? are you not sane? or will you absent yourself from that tribunal? or dispute its jurisdiction? Madness! how can you live at this rate, and call yourself no moral lunatic, or endure your own recklessness, refusing to prepare for eternity-when you KNOW it is coming so fast-will soon be here-may arrive any moment? If there is any truth in religion, is it not A DESPERATE GAME that you are proudly playing?
10. Are you afraid of others, of what they will say, if you become a Christian? If so, do you know any slave of terror equal to yourself? a bondage execrable
and ruinous! your task-masters the most wanton and wilful tyrants in the world! Is it you that call it bondage to be the servant of Christ? Where then shall we go for freedom? Why do you not believe that heaven is a place of misery?
11. Is there any comfort for you, continuing as you are, for which you are not surprisingly indebted to ignorance, stupidity, error, presumption, or forgetfulness? Is there any better solution of the wonder that a man has comfort who is "condemned already," and upon whom "the wrath of God abideth ?" and is this the comfort you prefer to that of the Christian? to that which cherished Paul in duty, and Jerome at the stake?
12. Are you sure that a life of piety is not the best every way? temporally, as well as eternally? if not, is a life and death of impiety the best?
13. If you were truly converted, would it not be a great thing, especially in its relations? If your conversion is infinitely desirable, is not that also of every other sinner? and hence exertions to save souls are infinitely desirable. Will you then oppose them any more? Devils will do enough of this. Why will not you then repent and believe the gospel, and 66 save yourself from this untoward generation? DECIDE NOW FOR ETERNITY!
*** The five preceding articles have been prepared from documents issued by Dr. S. H. Cox, New York, sixteen years ago. They bespeak throughout his brilliant and powerful mind, and are instrumentally adapted to be eminently useful among the churches of Britain. -EDITOR.
Lessons by the Way; or, Things to Think On.
MARKET WORDS.-Dr. William Bates, the accomplished and courtly Nonconformist minister, once complained in the presence of his faithful but unpolished friend Daniel Burgess, that he found very little success in his work as a minister; when his aged brother smartly replied, "Thank your velvet mouth for that too fine to speak market language."
equality introduced amongst ministers, by one degree after another rising to a Papal height. There was granted to one person first a Presidency over others, then a sole power over ordination, then a sole power of jurisdiction over the rest: and that first över all in a city or diocese, then over all in a province, then over all in divers provinces, and then over all throughout the whole world. If this inequality, in the former degrees of it, had not been yielded to, the man of sin could never have advanced himself above all that is called God.-David Clarkson.
SMALL EVILS IN THEIR CONSEQUENCES. A small evil in itself may become a great evil in its consequences. By giving way to the least, we may make way for the greatest. This is evident from all experience. The greatest abominations in the Christian world rise from small beginnings, and such as it would be counted a nicety to scruple at. For instance, the first step to the Pope's throne, was the in
A PRAYER PRESCRIBED FOR PAUPERS.The following form of prayer is found amongst the printed Rules framed for the government of the workhouse of the parish of Waltham Holy Cross, Essex, in 1782. It is a striking
illustration of the degraded state of parish paupers sixty years since:
"MORNING PRAYER.-O Lord accept our humble thanks for thy kind protection of us the last night; make us content in our present situation, an show our thankfulness for thy merciful Care, by readily doing everything in our Power, to lessen the expense of our maintenance and education; instil into those who are set over us a merciful disposition, that we may bless them for their fatherly tenderness, and pray for the welfare of this parish, from whom we receive our daily bread; grant we may improve the opportunities afforded us in this house, to contemplate thy goodness and to learn to provide for ourselves, so that we may become useful members of society, and at the last obtain eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
BAXTER AND HIS CONGREGATION.-If there be one object in this fallen world, to which the eye, jaded by its pageantries and its gloom, continually turns with renovated hope, it is to an alliance such as that which bound together Richard Baxter and the people among whom he dwelt. He, a poor man, rich beyond the dreams of avarice in mental resources, consecrates alike his poverty and his wealth to their service; ever present to guide, to sooth, to encourage, and when necessary to rebuke; shrinking from no aspect of misery however repulsive, nor from the most loathsome forms of guilt which he might hope to reclaim; the instructor, at once, and the physician, the almoner and the friend of his congregation. They, repaying his labours of love with untutored reverence; awed by his reproofs, and rejoicing in his smile; taught by him to discharge the most abject duties, and to endure the most pressing evils of life, as a daily tribute to their Divine benefactor; incurious of the novelties of their controversial age, but meekly thronging the altar from which he dispersed the symbols of their mystical union with each other and their common Head; and at the close of their obscure, monotonous, but tranquil course, listening to the same parental voice then subdued to the gentler tones of sympathy, and telling of bright hopes and of a glorious reward. What a contrast is there between "the village preacher" of "sweet smiling Auburn" who ran his godly race after the fancy of Oliver Goldsmith, and the "painful preacher" of Kidderminster, whose emaciated form, gaunt visage, and Geneva bands, attested the severity of his studies, and testified against prelatic ascendancy. Deeper yet the contrast between the portrait drawn by the Poet, and Baxter's catalogue of his weekly catechizings, fasts, and conferences; of his Wednesday meetings, and his Thursday disputations; and of the thirty helps by which he was enabled to quicken into spiritual life the inert mass of a rude and vicious population-but, truth against fiction, all the world over, in rivalry for genuine pathos and real sublimity. The plaintive, playful, melodious poetry of Goldsmith bears a comparison to the homely tale of the curate of Kidderminster, like that of the tapestried lists of a tournament to the records of a well-fought field. It records one of those moral conquests which bear their testimony to the existence in the human heart of faculties which, even when most oppressed by ignorance, or benumbed by guilt, may yet be
roused to their noblest exercise, and disciplined for their ultimate perfection.-Edinburgh Review.
"IN ALL OUR AFFLICTIONS HE IS AFFLICTED." --He is, we may say, the common heart of his people; for they are one body, and an infirmity in the very remotest and meanest member is felt there and borne there. Let us console, solace, yea, satiate ourselves in him, as, amid afflictions especially, brother does in brother. It is blessed to be like him in everything, even in suffering. There is a great want about all Christians who have not suffered. Some flowers must be broken or bruised before they emit any fragrance. All the wounds of Christ send out sweetness; all the sorrows of Christians do the same. Commend me to a bruised brother, a broken reed-one like the Son of man. The Man of Sorrows is never far from him. To me there is something sacred and sweet in all suffering; it is so much akin to the Man of Sorrows.-M'Cheyne.
THE FIRST AND SECOND COVENANTS.-The first covenant was made with Adam for himself and us: breaking it, he lost his original righteousness, and became subject to death; was at once a bankrupt and a rebel. Now we cannot suppose that the Almighty Majesty would enter into a fresh covenant with an insolvent and attainted creature. It pleased, therefore, the second person of the adorable Trinity to undertake our cause, to become our surety, and put himself in our stead. With him the second covenant was made. He was charged with the performance of the conditions; thereby to obtain pardon and righteousness, grace and glory, for all his people: "I have made a covenant with my chosen," is the language of the Most High. And the terms were, not your worthiness nor mine, but the incarnation, the obedience, the death of God's everblessed Son. Man's part is to accept the blessings fully purchased by the Saviour, and freely presented to the sinner; not to dishonour the Redeemer's gracious interposition and infinitely sufficient performance by hankering after any merit of his own; not to bring money in his hand, but with an empty hand, and like an impoverished Lazarus, to take hold of God's covenant.-Hervey.
THE UPRIGHT IN HEART.-St. Augustine saith, "If you cheerfully embrace the Divine will in some things, but in others would rather prefer your own, you are crooked in heart, and would not have your crooked inclinations conformed to his upright intentions; but, on the contrary, would bend his upright will to yours."
THE HOLY LAND.-But a "better country" than this, earth did not contain. It was "a delightsome" and "a pleasant land;" a "goodly heritage of the hosts of nations." It was variegated and intersected with all the elements of sublimity and beauty; with whatever was bold and gentle. It was prolific without a miracle, and the subject of a periodical one. It was a wealthy place. Aromatic herbs covered its hills, and the purest flowers decked its glens. The rose was in Sharon, and the lily in the valleys. The voice of the turtle was heard in the land. There roamed the vine, and there clustered the date, and there hung the pomegranate. The cedar towered on the mountains, and the myrtle skirted their sides. No human hand could raise the clusters of Eschol. The south winds passing over the gardens caused the spices thereof to flow out. The seasons revolved in their variety, but with a blended sweetness. There was the
upland breeze, in which the fir could wave its arms, and the softer air, in which the olive unfolded its blossoms. The sun smote not by day, nor the moon by night. The birds sang among the branches. The dew lay thick on Hermon. There was balm in Gilead. The lign-aloe drooped from the river-bank. Kedron and Jordan poured forth their streams: the rain also filled the pools. Lakes glistened in the landscape, and cooled the drought. Beautiful for situation was Mount Sion. The cattle browsed on a thousand hills. The excellency of Carmel, and the glory of Lebanon, set their pinnacles against the deep azure of Canaan's sky. The year was crowned with goodness. The Lord God cared for that land, and his eyes were always upon it. At the stated periods fell the early and the latter rain. The pastures were clothed with flocks. The ploughman overtook.
Essays, Extracts, and Correspondence.
AN ADDRESS DELIVERED TO THREE INDIVIDUALS, ON THE OCCASION OF THEIR RECEIVING THE RIGHT HAND OF FELLOWSHIP.
the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that sowed seed. The barns were filled with plenty, and the presses burst out with new wine. The little hills rejoiced on every side. Precious fruits were brought forth by the sun, and precious things were put forth by the moon. The earliest pass, the valley of Achor was a door of hope. The vineyards distilled the pure blood of the grape. The fountain of Jacob was upon a land of corn and wine. The inhabitants were filled with the finest of the wheat. It flowed with milk and honey. Its heavens dropped fatness. It was surrounded with munitions of rock. The deep couching beneath spread its sure defence. The land might be called Beulah. The distant glimpse of its prospect refreshed the dying eye of Moses; and of all thine earthly territory, is emphatically called thy land, O Immanuel!Sermons by R. W. Hamilton, D.D., LL.D.
THERE are some memorable events in one's history-events which may be regarded as important eras in one's lifetime-events which may be viewed as starting-points for future activity. Dear brother and sisters, I look upon the event now transpiring as one that may be denominated with all propriety memorable. In this event I believe God is interested, Christ is interested, the Spirit is interested, angels are interested, the church is interested, and you, doubtless, are interested. May it be a hallowed season to us all. At the church-meeting held on Thursday last, you were received into the fellowship of the church. You have already sat down with us at the table of our Lord, and thus declared yourselves to be one with us in Jesus Christ. But we wish, in a still more expressive manner, to show to you our confidence by giving to you the right hand of fellowship: but before doing so, allow me to address you briefly. Consider,
I. The ground on which_you_have been received into the church. You have been received on this ground,-that you love Jesus. As a church, great responsibility rests upon us. This responsibility consists in our ascertaining your characters by the rule laid down by Christ himself -"By their fruits ye shall know them." Now this responsibility does not rest upon the shoulders of the pastor exclusively, Hoг upon the shoulders of the deacons
exclusively; but upon the church as a church. Whether considered or not, whether felt or not, whether acted up to or not, undoubtedly in the sight of God every member in the church has a share of the responsibility of those three being members with us. But let it be understood, brother and sisters, that you have been received into the church on the grounds of profession of union to Christ, and of conduct in keeping with such a profession. It may be you are deceiving yourselves, deceiving us, and mocking God. At this moment I do not in the least degree imagine that you are doing any one of them. The Lord grant that you may be sincere and without offence until the day of Jesus Christ. Consider,
II. The importance of cultivating personal religion. This observation applies to you individually. It embraces, as you must know, a great variety of topics. A few can only be enumerated.
Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life." This is the most critical part to keep right. There are many avenues to it and outlets from it. It is the citadel which is continually attacked. It is the king which all your enemies wish destroyed. If Christ dwell in your heart by faith, he will keep it for you. Whatever you entertain, see that you have Christ right. Sanctify the Lord God in your heart.
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom." Whatever you neglect, do not neglect your Bible. Let no book stand so high in your estimation