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cessities? You would not deny them the meat that perisheth. Will you deny them that which endureth unto everlasting life ? You would not refuse to ask a physician to come to their relief, if they were lying upon the bed of death. You could not find it in your heart to do it. And will you refuse to send up one request, in their behalf, to the great Physician of souls? You are a father. You look upon the face of your offspring with tenderness and affection. You can be moved by a regard to their everlasting well being. Will you not, this day, then, gather around you those objects of your love, whose eternal welfare you have hitherto neglected, and open before them the book of the testimony and read to them of Jesus and the resurrection. Will you not tell them of their ruined state-of a Savior's dying love of an accepted time and a day of salvation ? Ought you not to do it? Can you neglect it, and your own conscience not reproach you? Should you do it, would it not be likely to arrest their attention and make a deep impression on their hearts? Would it not be likely to have more influence with them than all the sermons they have ever heard ?
And will you not do more than this ? Will you not, this day,'take those children with you into your closet, and bend your knee before your Maker, and confess to him, in their presence, that you have neglected your duty-neglected your own soul and theirs--that you have not instructed them, nor warned them, nor prayed for them—but have been leading them, by your example, in the broad road of death-that it is infinite mercy that has spared you, and permitted you to come with them now to the throne of grace, and that, henceforth, it shall be your great work to train them up for heaven. Ought you not do this ? Can you neglect it, and your own conscience not upbraid you? Would not the influence of it, on your own soul and on the souls of your children, be such as you would delight to have come to your remembrance in the great day? You ought to do all this, and more. God has enjoined it upon you, and the obligation can never be diminished can never be cast off. You have become, in the providence of God, a father. And the responsibilities involved in this relation, you must carry with you to your grave and to the judgment seat of God.
If you are not prepared to do all your duties to your household, seek that preparation without delay. Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon bim while he is near. You may seek him now, while he yet invites you to his mercy seat. You may find hin the Lord God, gracious and merciful. You may go from the altar of prayer and selfconsecration, prepared to begin every duty, which you owe to your own soul and to the souls of your offspring. And why not do it? Why wait? Time does not wait, but bears thee and thine on to the judgment. The angel of death does not wait, but flies swiftly, to execute his commission. The Holy Spirit will not wait, but may, ere long, depart and return no more. And you and your children, where are you then? Will you longer bar the Savior from your heart and thus exclude him from your house? Will you neither enter his kingdom yourself, nor suffer your dear children to enter ? You ought not to trifle
thus with your obligations to God, nor with those tender ties which bind you to your household. God has constituted you a minister of his grace,
in your own house. And however unmindful you may have been of your ministry-however neglectful of its duties, you are held responsible to the great tribunal, for making your house a house of prayer and for teaching all within it, by your precepts and your example, to offer incense holy and acceptable unto God. No blessing can you be instrumental of conferring upon your household, that may be compared with this. Nothing can you do for them, that you
will think of with more satisfaction, as you pass on your pilgrimage—nothing that will give you more consolation in your dying moments, or fill your soul and theirs with purer, intenser joy, as you greet each other in the presence of your final judge!
What must be the distress of a father, summoned to the death bed of an unconverted son, there to feel, that his neglected duties and his ruinous example have hardened his own son in impenitency, and blotted out his hope of heaven! Now, the afHicted father wrings his hands,
prays, and warns, and watches for some signal of a broken heart. But the son regards not his entreaties. They have come too late. As he lived, so he dies. And over the mortal body, from which the immortal spirit has gone up to God-not there to dwell—the father, convulsed with anguish, cries, “O, my son, my son, MY SON!
Would God I had died for thee! O, my son, my son, MY SON !” Would you never know, by your own experience, the agonies which rend that father's heart, begin, 0, begin every duty, which you owe to your own soul and to the souls of your offspring, today. Come Thou and all thy house into the ark.
Or, think of an unconverted father laid, at an unexpected moment, on his dying bed. His children come around him. But what thorns does it plant in his pillow, what gloom does it bring over his entrance into the world of spirits, to reflect that he has neglected their salvation! He has uttered no warning voice. He has breathed no unutterable desire to heaven. The morning and the evening incense has never gone up from his dwelling to God. And now it is too late. All that he can now do for his impenitent children, is just to give them one parting admonition. And then he must leave them, in a world of temptation and sin, to go away and give up his account. O, the anguish of waking up, at such a moment as this, to the recollection of neglected duties-an abused offspring—a hopeless eternity Would you never know this anguish, by your own experience, begin, O, begin every duty, which you owe to your own soul and to the souls of your offspring, to-day. Come thou and all thy house into the ark.
But there are scenes more heart-rending than these-scenes beyond a death-bed. The unfaithful father must meet his ruined children at the bar of God. 0, what an interview that! The children of his loins—the objects of his tenderest affection, upbraid him, and say, “ Thou wast our father. To thee was committed the care of our souls.
But thou caredst not for them. We never heard thee speak to us of repentance or of a Savior's cross-of this judgment bar or of the weeping and wailing that now await us. Our souls are lost--and LOST through your neglect! Hadst thou been faithful to us, we might now have stood together at Christ's right hand. We might have sung the song of Moses and the Lamb.” O, what must be the cordition of a father, thus doomed, through everlasting ages, to hear the imprecations and reproaches of his own ofispring, and to have them all echoed back from his own upbraiding conscience? Would you be saved from such a doom, begin, 0, begin every duty, which you owe to your own soul and to the souls of your offspring, to-day. Come THOU and all thy house into the ark.
Or turn, for a moment, to a different scene. Methinks I see, at the right hand of the eternal throne, a father in glory, and all his children are glorified spirits around him. They rise up and with united voice call him blessed. “We remember,” say they, “our dwelling on yonder earth, consecrated by thy piety and thy prayers, as the house of God and the gate of heaven. There, thou didst watch over our infancy, and guide us up to manhood. We knelt by thy side at the altar of prayer, and walked by thy side to the assembly of the saints. Thy faithful counsels, thine affectionate solicitude, thy fervent prayers, brought down upon us the blessing of our God. And now, with our robes made white in the blood of the Lamb, we stand apon these heights of Zion to acknowledge thee, our father, as the instrument, under God, of our immortal joy." What tongue can describe, what heart conceive the blessedness of such a father! Would you make that blessedness your own, begin, 0, begin every duty, which you owe to your own soul and to the souls of your offspring, to-day. Come Thou and all thy house into the ark. Fathers, I speak to you. And I speak in behalf of your own soul and the souls of your dear children. Judge ye what I say.
BY REV. WILLIAM B. LEWIS, PASTOR OF THE THIRD PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH BROOKLYN, NEW YORK.
WHY SHOULD THE WORK CEASE ?
“And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I can
not come down : why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you ?”–Nehemiah vi. 3.
As Nehemiah, with his faithful Jews, “builded the walf of the city," he was invited by Sanballat and others, to a consultation upon public matters. Their designs, he had occasion to know, were un friendly. Perhaps they intended, after alluring him into the plain, to lay violent hands upon him. They certainly meant to put a stop to the repairs. And the very least evil that could result, would be the suspe.sion of the work during his absence.
So he declines a conference. At once, Sanballat repeats the preposal ; but with as little success. Four different times, messengers come soliciting an interview: and in each instance, Nehemiah replies, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?
In applying the text to ourselves, as engaged in a revival of religion, I propose the following inquiries.
I. In what respects is this a great work?
It is such, as it requires great effort-demands the power of God is carried on against great opposition, a mighty adversary, with his servants and abettors-reaps blessed results, the quickening of chris. tians, the conversion of sinners, and the praise of divine grace-and,
• The Editor having heard the author preach to his own people from this outline, requested a copy for publication. It was during a revival, in which more than one hundred souls have been hopefully converted, in connection almost exclusively with the united efforts of the pastor and church, which still continues aser three months progress.
because perverted or unimproved, contributes to painful results, the hardening of the hearts and the aggravated ruin of multitudes.
II. In what respects are we doing this great work?
We are not to forget that the efficiency is God's. Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. It is one of the chief delights of the christian in a revival, to feel, and to say, “Lo, THIS is our God!" To exalt the Holy Spirit! To magnify His office, and His work.
Yet in some important respects, we do this work. For, we use the means of its advancement.
We preach the word,—frequently, plainly, and with adaptation to the season, and to the numerous classes which the season occasions. In the inquiry-meeting, and from house to house, we confer with the troubled soul ; explain to him the way of God more fully ; expose his errors; answer his excuses; resolve his doubts; reduce to order his confused thoughts and mingled feelings; and, divesting the subject in hand of all that does not properly belong to it, simplify his duty, and enforce it upon his conscience.
We bring the unconverted to the house of God-all who love their souls can do this and endeavor to place them under all the means of: grace. By evincing an affectionate interest, we encourage them to seek their salvation. We take them by the hand, when impressed, point them to the Savior, and show that “ the elder brother” can favor the return and pardon of the prodigal.”
We pray for them. This we do, in public and in secret; in their presence, and also where they hear it not, and when they know it not.
III. What, in the course of a revival, is to be guarded against, as likely to cause the work to cease? PAST SUCCESS.
Christians count the converted; pronounce on the power and extent of the work; congratulate themselves and each other; and are satisfied.
UNBELIEF. The idea obtains, that God will not save many in so small a congregation ; or in a congregation where the proportion of the unconverted is so small; or without more preaching; or without more powerful or exciting preaching; or with the measures employed. As many have been converted, as in the circumstances, could be expected.
DISCOURAGEMENT FROM THE CHARACTER OF THOSE WHO REMAIN UNCONVERTED. There are but few of them; or they are too hardened; or they are as yet little impressed ; or they have passed through many revivals; or they are fast bound in error; or they make bitter opposition; or they plead so many excuses.
WEARINESS, from continuing in an uniform and absorbing work. The spirit--not merely because the flesh is weak-grows restless. A change is desired: some new excitement, or at least some relaxation.