Imágenes de páginas


would give you concerning yourself and but he must ascertain whether this is your duty in this case, is simply this, consistent with the gospel or not. “Seek you must now turn to him from whom ye first the kingdom of God, and his righyou have revolted. You must bring the teousness, and all other things shall be affections you have taken away. You added unto you.” “I have been pursuing must restore the moral sacrifice which my worldly schemes,” you may be ready you have plundered from God's altar. to cry, “if I relax, there must be a defiYou must not be found in coldness of ciency of my gain. Must I retain all prayer, and then in all the activity of my worldly circumstances-occupy the your character giving yourselves to the ground upon which I stood previous to world; but there must be such a return knowing the gospel, after I have become to him as will return all which you have acquainted with it? Yes, I must still be taken from him. Then shall you be made found giving all my time, and energies, free in the liberty wherewith Christ and powers, to business.” Has Jesus makes all his people free. Do you sup- been so long time instructing you in the pose

that the Redeemer has died to leave duties you owe to him, and yet hast thou you all your lifetime subject to bondage ? not known him? “We have occupied a No. He gave himself for the purpose of certain elevation, and we must attend to casting a light round such a case-to that elevation. O! we must not sink, illuminate the mind with the knowledge because we have professed godliness. of the glory of God, as it shines in the We have around us certain establishface of Jesus Christ. We have only to ments, certain channels of business, cerlook away from earth. We have only tain profits, and, in the midst of all, we to look to the mansions that Christ has must acquit ourselves like men. I prepared in the skies. We have to see would say to such, while you would disin them that which will draw our affec- charge the duties that belong to you, see tions from earth, and raise them to hea- that they are in consistency with your

Constant and habitual contempla- christian profession. Let this be ascertion on the things of God, will be found tained. Make this the standard by which to promote fervent supplication. Let the you judge, or else we must say to you, full tide of moral power, whether in dark- Have I been so long time with you, and ness or in light, in the midst of man's yet hast thou not known me?" energy or comparative imbecility, be di- But, to illustrate this part of the subrected to the Redeemer's throne, and it ject, let me remind you of a practical will be found to be rolled back with a When the apostle Paul preached sanctifying influence, which will quicken to the inhabitants of a Pagan city, they all the graces of our spirit.

were filled with superstition. 5th. Let me address this question to those find that these individuals, after they had christian characters who, amidst the many embraced the gospel of Christ, took the cares of the world pressing upon their spi- ground that is frequently taken now? Did rits, give themselves to those cares without they say, notwithstanding they had made remembering that the LORD Jesus has a profession of the gospel, we must still bought his people by his blood, from the stand high in the estimation of men;-let world, as well as from the vengeance of us cast our salvation on Christ, and let his Father's wrath. We would say, then, us be found still maintaining a respectable to such, “Have I been so long time with appearance before men? This was not you,” that, in the midst of worldly cares their argument; but they came with their you should be found not to know that he property, and nobly committed it to the presides over you?

fames, as an evidence of the all-important It is sometimes said that a parent's fact, that they had given themselves to care for his children should never be God, while they rested on his Son for slackened by his profession of the gospel. acceptance. They had nothing left; they Now, I must confess, that this appears were compelled to seek for some honest to me to be

position that should be calling, instead of obtaining their livelitaken with certain qualifications. We hood by the polluting circumstances in should ascertain what was his care over which they had previously been engaged. his family before he made a profession of But they shewed by this devotion of the gospel. Was it not an undue care? property to the great cause of God, (for He has laid down a certain elevation consuming it was a devotion of it,) that which he must arrive at for his family, they had adopted new views from the


Do we

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

is and

gospel, and so became new men in Christ. creasing imbecility—as our distance from They were ready to run in a new race, God is creating a still greater distance and previously to doing so, they rid as all the habits we are forming are inthemselves of every incumbrance, that creasing—let us cast them all off, let us they might run with greater alacrity in burst our trammels and escape to that the race set before them. I do not say liberty which is given us by the Son of that you are to give up every thing ; but God, and by which we shall be enabled I do say, that every thing must be given to cry, “ ABBA FATHER !” We have no up that is inconsistent with devotedness time to lose in this great question. to the Lord, or else we must put the We cannot arrest the progress of our adquestion, Have I been so long time with vancement, and tell our souls to remain you, and yet hast thou not known me?" in their present circumstances, till events He that loveth father or mother, sister or more favourable shall come round, and brother, house or land, his own life itself, enable us to make a bolder step in the (is there any thing beyond this that can spiritual warfare. Our ignorance of the come within the description of temporal Lord Jesus must increase while we allow peace ?)—" he that loveth any of these it to remain. It is said, “ Possession in more than me, is not worthy of me,” is law gives right;" and it may be said, in the principle laid down by Jesus Christ. precisely the same way, with regard to. “ Have I been so long time with you,” our minds, that the possession of the impressing upon you this lesson, mind by certain habits, makes the mind yet hast thou not known me?”.

more effectually the creature of those haBut without dilating further upon this bits. If, then, we would give the mind part of the subject, let me briefly notice, its freedom, and rise above the controul

II. THE IMPORTANCE OF AN IMMEDI- ing influence that keeps us down; and ATE AND DIRECT APPLICATION OF THIS since Jesus has been so long time with QUESTION TO THE CASE OF EACH OF THESE us, if we would now know him, let us CHARACTERS.

rend asunder every chain by which we Has Jesus been so long time with you are bound ; let us cease to look down and yet hast thou not known him? If upon the world, lest some unworthy obthis be the case with regard to any who ject attract our vision, and expose us to do not believe in his name; with regard eternal ruin, while our hearts should be to the formalist who professes to believe engaged looking upwards. The wife of in his name; with regard to those who, Lot looked back: she stood fast, and her from the order of their spirits or other condemnation was sealed; in a moment, circumstances, are risen above the dead- she became a pillar of salt. This may ness of formality; with regard to Chris- be the case with us, unless there is a bold tians themselves, who entertain mistaken decision upon this great and interesting views of the master they serve, then let question. If the Redeemer is saying to me say to all, is it not time to adopt Have I been so long time with you, strong mental decision with regard to and hast thou not known me?” let our this all-interesting question of the Re- reply be, We admit the accusation : thou deemer? Does he not tell us from the hast been so long time with us, but yet, word of his truth, the voice of which is from the vileness of our character, we equal to the authority of the skies, that have not known thee. But if other lords he has been so long time with us, and yet and other gods have had dominion over we do not know him? And if our con- us, we will henceforth yield ourselves to sciences feel that the declaration concern- thee, LORD, and to thee alóne. Then ing our case is founded on truth and there will be the relief which is given by justice, we have not a single moment to a full and entire surrender of our powers lose in coming to a decision. Shall we into the hands of Him who will keep them wait till he arraigns us before his throne, for the enjoyment of everlasting life. and tells us, that he was with us, and While we divide our allegiance with the we knew him not? Shall we wait till Redeemer and the world, while we dithe descending cloud discovers him to our vide our affections with God and Christ, view before we are convinced that he was and the things that perish in the using, with us, and we knew him not? Or

we are found halting between two opirather as our time is so short-as our nions. We are not ready to be offered time is so uncertain as the darkness is

up, though the time of our departure is 80 thickening--as our imbecility is in- at hand. We shall not look with unhe



sicating firmness to our march across has to aim to dispel the mists of error, to Jordan, expecting that our great high- sow the seeds of truth, and carefully to Priest will dry up the streams, and pre- watch their growth, and to train the pare our way to the Canaan that lies be- youth committed to his charge, for the fore us. This division of our lives will mansions of heaven. In a very imporsecure our rejection at the portals of hea- tant sense he feels ven. Let us, then, give ourselves wholly

“ 'Tis education forms the tender mind; to the Redeemer; and if we have not Just as the twig is bent, the tree's inclined." known him, let us now know him in the attractions of his own personal excellency,

In the discharge of his important duties in the attractions exhibited in the great

the teacher has many discouragements. ness of his doings, and in the perfection

The seed frequently continues long in the of his Father's purposes. Then we shall

ground before it springs up, and he somefind perfect repose. Then we can say,

times fears that the chilling blasts of sin when the king of terrors pays us his visit,

have entirely destroyed it. In many inLord, thou hast been long time with us,

stances he never sees the fruit of his and we have known thee. The time of

labours; and yet he continues to work in our departure is at hand, and we are

this holy vineyard, partly because he ready to be offered up. Our decision has

knows that such is his duty, and partly been made; our hopes, our desires, our

because he now and then sees that his

best and most ardent desires are accompowers, our feelings, all tend heavenwards.

This message is only in keeping plished in the salvation of sinners. It is with our general wishes; he has come to

my happiness now to glance at a few fulfil our desires, and we are ready to

facts in the history of a female Sabbath depart with him.

scholar who belonged to my congregaThis is a freedom of spirit that gives

tion, and who has lately exchanged worlds, to the whole character a spiritual supre

at the age of fifteen years. macy over the things of the world, and

It is now eight or nine years since she relieves it from every thing by which the

was first admitted a scholar. At that men of this world are bound down; and

time there was nothing remarkable in her whilst their consciences have their smit

character or conduct. She was mild in ings, and their bosoms their throbbings,

her demeanor, and rather dull than otherwe shall feel ourselves free from the

wise in the character of her mind. She world. We have nothing to do, nay, we

manifested little or no desire to make are ready to wait for the general confla- progress in her learning, and evidently

filled gration, and rise untouched by the flames

up her place only to obey the by which it must be effected, when the

wishes of her parents, or as stimulated kingdom of our God shall come, and thosc.

by the hope of reward. that know Jesus, will find themselves at

It is now about three years ago, that the right hand of his everlasting throne.

her teachers began to observe a gradual AMEN.

but marked change in her conduct. She was not talkative or obtrusive; but she

evidently increased in her attention to THE SABBATH SCHOLAR.

her duties, and became deeply interested

in the engagements of the school. She Hosanna, my glad voice shall raise, Hosanna to my King:

manifested an ardent respect for her Should I forget my Saviour's praise,

teachers ; would frequently ask,in a simple The stones themselves would sing.


but touching manner, the meaning of

scriptural passages she read, and paid an Next to the office of the christian mi- undivided regard to the addresses denistry, I know of no one more responsible livered to the scholars on their eternal in its nature, or important in its conse- interests. The Bible became her faquences, than that of the Sabbath school vourite book; with the tickets given her teacher. He is a teacher of babes. In for her punctuality and attention, she some instances he has to instruct those purchased a copy of this sacred volume, who are altogether neglected by their and committed to memory the far greater parents, and in some others to eradicate part of the evangelical histories, and principles, which by their example, they some portions of the inspired epistles, have instilled into the minds of their besides several hundred hymns. children. In all cases the pious teacher All these are facts which proved pleas


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

" me.

ing to her teachers; but they were not "Well, you seem very ill, Ann, do you only gratified by her regular attendance think you shall die?" and her increasing attention, but by her Yes, Sir, I think I shall.” apparent sense of the importance of reli


afraid of death?" gion, and her devotion in the services of “ When I think, Sir, that I have been the sanctuary.

such a great sinner, I am afraid someA few months since she was taken ill times; but when I think what a great with a disease, or rather with a compli- friend to sinners Jesus Christ is, I am cation of diseases, which ended in her not afraid.” death. In the early part of her illness, “ Yes, Jesus Christ is a friend to those though weak and faint, and sometimes who believe in him ; but have you any unable to reach home after school, with- reason to believe that he is your friend? out the assistance of her school-fellows, For you know, Ann, it would be a very she would never, if possible, be absent. awful thing for you to be mistaken on so And on being asked why she was so de- important a subject." sirous of being there, she said, she loved Jesus Christ, Sir, has said 'Whososo much to hear about Jesus Christ. I ever will, let him come, and I will in no think, too, another reason might be as- wise cast him out:' and my Testament signed, she had a Bible of her own, and tells me, he came into the world to save she loved it; she had a brother who was the chief of sinners, and I pray to him, about going to sea, and as he did not and hope he will save me. possess this inestimable treasure, she was Do you think he will save you bedesirous of giving him one, and to accom- cause you have not been so wicked as plish this object, she probably attended some other girls ?” school longer than it was quite prudent No, Sir; I have been very wicked, for her to do so.

but I have been sorry for it. I know But it was most conspicuous on her Jesus Christ only saves sinners, because dying bed, that Ann had tasted the bless- he is so very good. He has saved many ings of Divine mercy. She was, till within great sinners, and I trust in him to save a few weeks of her death, backward to talk of her religious views and feelings, “ Is it not, think you, a great mercy lest she should say too much, and express

that the blessed Saviour ever taught you more than she had felt. As, however, how you might be saved? she drew nearer to the gates of death, Yes, Sir; I can never be thankful and tasted more of the gracious commu- enough that I went to the Sunday School, nications of heaven, she was ever ready for that was where I first heard about to bear her simple, but delightful testi- Jesus.' mony, to the honour of the grace of God. This is the substance of the conversaFrom conversations held with her by tion; but I cannot communicate to my myself and her teachers, I will present reader the interest of the scene; I cannot the reader with a few sentences.

depict her emaciated form, nor describe In the commencement of her illness, the avidity with which she hung upon she described herself as feeling so much my lips, or the artless simplicity of her of the depravity of her heart, and the whole deportment. In subsequent conwickedness of her conduct, that she feared versations she evinced her love to the the Saviour of sinners would not regard Scriptures and to prayer. She lamented her. She thought she should die, and that she was too ill to read, but said she feeling she was a sinner in the sight of could lie, and be happy in thinking of God, it cannot be a matter of surprise what she had committed to memory when that her fears were excited, and that she she was well; and though she could felt a wish to continue in the present life. not kneel to pray, she could lift up her After her views of the gospel method of heart to God as she lay on her bed. She salvation had become more enlarged and delighted greatly in the company and more clear, her fears were gradually prayers of her teachers; begged that all removed, and her confidence in the Re- her companions might be exhorted to deemer was strengthened.

love Jesus Christ; and was perfectly reIt was about this time that I first signed to the will of God, willing to live visited her, and a conversation, as nearly or die, as should best please him. like the following. as memory can furnish, I cannot omit to state, that the nearer took place :

she approached an eternal state, the more


[ocr errors]

concern she manifested for the spiritual | digested plan of study, and a regular interests of others. She was heard more method of pursuing it. Without these, than once, privately praying, with great whatever may be the anxiety of such a earnestness, for such of her relatives who

person to increase his knowledge, and as had never seriously attended to the Bble, whatever his diligence in seeking its well as for her schoolfellows and teachers. acquirement, he will make but little real

A few hours before her death, I was progress; he will be ever learning, and called on to visit her for the last time. never come to a knowledge of the truth. I entered the chamber of death, and found Desultory and unconnected reading, howall stillness. I found her mother weep- ever frequently repeated, will tend but ing over her daughter, who was reduced little to the attainment of a sound knowtoo low to speak, excepting in a scarcely ledge of the plan of the Divine economy, audible whisper. Ann's hymn book and as exhibited in the Scriptures, or to lay “ The Young Cottager” lay on a chair at open the numerous and unrivalled beauties the foot of the bed, and I could not but be of the Bible, and the beneficentcontrivances struck with the similarity between my of God our Saviour, for securing the present young friend and her whom the sainted happiness and final salvation of his peospirit of a Richmond has immortalised in ple. We would not willingly distress or that delightful tract. I asked her if she discourage, for a single moment, any one felt happy now. She whispered “ Yes." who, under the influence of the Divine “ Is Jesus precious ?” Her pale dim Spirit, has been led to embrace the glorieyes seemed for a moment to renew their ous truth revealed in the oracles of God, lustre as she again whispered,


that whosoever believeth on the Son of Oh! yes!”

• You feel you are dying, Godmowever scanty his learning, howand are you afraid of death?"


ever incompetent he may be to adjust Her teacher repeated shortly after, these the respective claims of conflicting interlines of Watts.

pretations, to reconcile apparent contra“ Jesus can made a dying bed,

dictions, to answer critical enquiries, or Feel soft as downy pillows are ; While on his breast I lean my head,

sceptical objections—that whosoever beAnd breathe my life out softly there,” lieveth on the Son of God has passed and asked her if she felt them true; for from death unto life, is accepted in the the last time she pronounced the delight- beloved, and is complete in him. We ful “ Yes.” As her teacher left her bed- would not purposely discourage the mind side, Ann presented a short petition for of any such person by overcharged repreher happiness :-she spake no more, but in sentations of the necessity and importance a few hours entered, I doubt not, the of scriptural learning, and the studies mansions of glory, where many of the necessarily connected therewith. But children of the poor have been led by the while we would studiously avoid this teachers of Sabbath schools.

on the one hand, we would not, on the No pomp marked her funeral. She other hand, disguise the truth or hide it was attended to the grave by her teachers,

from his view, that to neglect the means who hope to meet her at the last day, at of obtaining a comprehensive and accuthe right hand of God.

J. B. rate acquaintance with every part of the

Holy Scriptures betrays a lamentable

indifference to the high and authoritative BIBLICAL ESSAYS.

claims of revelation, and to the divinely appointed and exclusive means of promot. ing and increasing our own personal happi

ness and the glory of God. We fear that it “For this cause also thank we God without ceas. ing, because, when ye received the word of God,

is by no meansuncommon for religious prowhich ye heard of us, ye received it, not as the fessors to imagine that there are other word of man, but, as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

sources of spiritual instruction, other 1 Thess. ii. 13.

instruments for promoting personal holi

ness and conformity to the divine image, THERE are few things of more import- than the written word; that the influences ance to a person who is but partially of the Holy Spirit, which they seek for in acquainted with the diversified contents private and social prayer, are conferred of the Holy Scriptures, and who is desir- upon the devout worshipper independently ous to augment his stock of biblical of the holy Scriptures; and therefore, knowledge, than the adoption of a well

that although these are good and valua



« AnteriorContinuar »