Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

no more.

his work on you, he will not stop till he has finished it, and he will finish it perhaps far sooner than you expect. Time will roll away and eternity draw near. Time never stands still; it rolls, it flies away like the vapour; like the lightning flash, it appears for an instant and then darts away, to be seen

God's

purposes are ever advancing. Give thanks to him that he does not fail to cause the sun to rise and the rain to descend. He will carry forward the wheels of nature, and the arrangements of his providence, and the designs of his grace, and all his stedfast

purposes. What if the Eternal Word had remained in the bosom of the Father, or Christ should now suspend his work of intercession? He will build up his kingdom and gather in his elect, and bring you to his judgment-seat, and show your naked soul to your own eye and to the assembled universe, and pronounce upon you the irreversible sentence of blessing or cursing, and send you to heaven or hell, where you will sit still no more; where you will do your appointed work, and do it well, and keep doing it without cessation and without end : for so do all in the unseen world. Heaven is ever active. Saints and angels serve God day and night in his temple. They never need and never wish to relinquish their seraphic work. And it is the perfection of their state, that the period will never arrive when they will be inactive. They will work on, and sing on, and shine on for ever. And when they have outlived their own highest conception of a happy eternity, it will be the perfection of their bliss that it is yet to be eternal.

Hell is never still. Devils, and lost men too, have no rest day or night, no rest in sinning, no rest in suffering, while they sink deeper and deeper still in remorse, and despair, and shame, and everlasting contempt :

“ Burning continually, yet unconsumed ;

For ever wasting, yet enduring still;
Dying perpetually, yet never dead;
Where there are groans that never end, and sighs
That always sigb, and tears that ever weep,

And ever fall, but not in mercy's sight.” No, there is no rest in hell, and there never will be; and that is the keenest pang in the sufferings of the lost. When they have groaned out a period longer than their utmost imagination of an eternity, it will be the bitterest ingredient in their cup—the deep still lower than the lowest deep in hell—that it is yet to be eternal.

Have you yet to choose between these two worlds, for in one or the other you must dwell and must work for ever? Why then, 'oh why, sit still? How will you answer the question to your own understanding, to your conscience, to your duty, to your interest, to the world, and to God? To sit still, when property and reputation, and health and life are at stake; to sit unmoved before the lion's paw, at the cannon's mouth, at the edge of the precipice, on the brink of the cataract; this were folly. But to sit idly still in a world of probation on the eve of the judgment, on the brink of eternity, on the dividing line between an eternal heaven and an eternal hell ;- this is madness.

GOSPEL GRACES.

EVANGELICAL REPENTANCE. EVANGELICAL repentance is a choice spiritual gift, uniformly insisted on and set forth in the New Testament, as the sure token and evidence of spiritual life. It is bestowed in due season upon the Israel of God by the risen and ascended Jesus, and thereby they obtain a due appreciation and thankful enjoyment of all other spiritual gifts, especially that of the remission of sins, with which it is coupled by Peter in his discourses to his brethren, Acts ii. 38; iii. 19; v. 31. It is absolutely essential to all acceptable worship of God, according as it is written : “ The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise,” Psa. li. 17. In short, without evangelical repentance, called “ repentance unto life," there can be no spiritual peace or enjoyment on earth, nor any inherent meetness for the sublime blessedness and employments of the heavenly world.

J. L.

FAITH.

Faith is the eye of the renewed soul, and Divine truth is the light by which it beholds its appropriate objects. The natural eye cannot see the various objects of the material world, without the light of the sun, nor can faith discern the sublime realities of the invisible world, without the light of Divine revelation. Hence faith has for its subject the téstimony or word of God, which is therefore called the word of faith, Rom. x. 8–17.

J. L.

BROTHERLY LOVE,

Love one another, John xv. 17. Love is preeminently the affection of union, the basis and cement of the purest friendship. It unites the faithful in one holy brotherhood, Acts iv. 32. It is the source of all their kindly actions towards one another ; and the brightest evi. dence of their Divine sonship, 1 John iii. 10-14; iv. 7 ; v. 1. It is the immediate effect and fruit of faith--the surest proof of its genuineness, or Divine reign, Gal. v. 6. In short, it gives value and acceptance to the operations of all other gifts and graces, as Paul evidently teacheth in 1 Cor. xiii. If love be wanting, all our gifts are but specious or counterfeit. Hence love is put first in Paul's list of the fruits of the Spirit, Gal. v. 22.

J. L.

MILLY JENNINGS; OR, MARRYING IN THE LORD. MILLY JENNINGS was a young woman who had been carefully brought up; she had pious parents, who tried to rear her in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. She had been, at first, when she was little, from her parents' requirement, and then, when she was older, from her own desire, a regular attendant at the Sunday school and at public worship; and the minister, and the teachers of the school, as well as her own parents, hoped, when they saw her appear to love serious religion, that her heart was turned to God. It was said to some professors of old, “ Ye did run well; who did hinder you?The same question, alas ! might have applied to poor Milly; for, by one false step, she ruined the happiness of her future life. In making this step, she did not take the Bible for her guide ; and we are never safe when we venture to depart from the directions of our God.

In the Bible it is said, “ Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers," 2 Cor. vi. 14; and it is enjoined on Christian women to marry only in the Lord," 1 Cor. vii. 39; but when a fine handsome youth, who was in full work, and who seemed likely to prosper in life, professed affection for Milly, and desired to marry her, she overlooked that wise Scripture caution, and though he was quite ungodly, she accepted him. The minister had said to her, “Why, Milly, he is not a man who minds religion ; " and much more besides he had added ; and her pious parents, grieved at heart, had pointed out to her how dangerous and how wrong would be such a union; but all was in vain- Milly married him.

So far there had been no great fault seen in his moral character, and, for a time after their marriage, all went on decently and prosperously as it regarded the things of this world, but Milly did not find her soul prosper. Her husband often kept her from public worship, never allowed her to speak on religious subjects, and often laughed at her for being too particular about her prayers and reading. At first, Milly was grieved at finding herself declining in her walk with God; then, too, she felt how she had sinned against him; and the more she loved her husband the more bitterly she mourned over his ungodly state ; but by degrees she became less and less concerned at his irreligion, and at her own falling back; and then it almost ceased to trouble her. This was a fearful state of mind; but it pleased her long-suffering God to call her back by heavy chastisement.

About this time, her first child was born ; she lay for many weeks in her bed enduring much suffering and illness. At one time, her life was endangered ; and, when the danger was passed, it was very slowly indeed that she began to mend. Her good mother nursed her through her long illness ; and, as she seemed near death, how bitterly did she feel that she had forsaken her God; and now he was hiding his countenance from her. How earnestly, how penitently did she supplicate the pardon of her Saviour, and God's renewing grace. She seemed to be walking " in the valley of the shadow of death," with no Good Shepherd near her, no rod and staff to comfort her. It was long before it seemed to her that God heard her prayers; she thought he refused to grant the pardon for which she groaned. At length it pleased Him to speak peace to her soul ; and how earnestly did she resolve in his strength, if he raised her up once more, to walk in the safe and narrow way! Nor did she break her resolution ; but her path was set round with many a thorn.

In the beginning of her illness, her husband was all kindness and tenderness; but as, from day to day, and from week to week, she was still laid aside, and could do nothing for him, and could give him none of her company, and his cottage was not to him the pleasant cheerful place that it had been before, he, having no religious principles to restrain him, took to visiting the alehouse and associating with the men who met there. At first, he only went in the evenings ; but, as the habit grew upon him, and some of the very worthless men whom he saw there, gained influence over him, they tempted him to come more often and earlier, and, at last, he would go with them whenever they were there ; and the dreadful habit grew so fast upon him that he was scarcely ever sober.

Milly was at this time so very ill that she knew very little about him; and her poor mother, who had done all she could to call her son-in-law to consideration, but in vain, told her of it by slow degrees, as she could best break so sad a fact to her; but indeed as soon as Milly was well enough to learn how things stood, it would have been no easy task to keep it from her ; for, as the habit of drinking grew, his affection for her died away, and he seldom came near her. Money too was now very scarce; and he no longer worked regularly, so that, whilst she much needed comforts, because of her weak state, she could hardly get food.

Once or twice, she tried to bring him to see the evil of his course, and the misery that he was bringing upon himself, and her, and on their child; but he roughly silenced her, and she had nothing left but to betake herself to prayer. Her husband's habit became more and more confirmed, and, at length, his former employers grew so irritated at his frequent neglect of his work, that, even when he had a sober day, he could find nothing to do. Then he took to the wild habits of his drinking companions, and sometimes went with them on poaching expeditions, and sometimes committed thefts with them.

All this was indeed terrible to Milly; how did she now feel the bitterness of having disregarded the will of God in marrying an irreligious man! How did she feel her folly in not taking his holy law for a lamp to her feet and a light to her path! In humility and penitence, she bore her grief, and still sought, so far as she could, to discharge the duty of a wife. It often happened that she had not a bit of food in the house, and no money with which to buy it; and her heartless husband even pawned some of her clothes to supply himself with drink. But, most of all, she grieved to see his hardness of heart, and how very far he seemed from penitence or change. Her only dependence now, for her support, was upon what she was able to obtain by work, which she was glad to take in, when it could be obtained. Then came a second confinement, during which her mother not only nursed her as before, but kept her also ; for now her husband seldom came near his own cottage ; and when he did come, it was only to get her little earnings, or to hide himself from the officers of justice, who were looking out for him,

« ElőzőTovább »