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character, that we may not undo our direct instructions by a spirit that contradicts them, but teach more by deeds than by words.
It is a melancholy circumstance, that good men's families often turn out ill; not that parents are always responsible for this, but, too often, there is a want of wisdom in early management; and God, by His selecting grace, sometimes fetches the brightest saints out of the worst families, to teach us what He would have done in our own, if we had trained our children with due discretion.
Let us, then, look to others as well as to ourselves, that we may say, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord;" and then we can speak with the greater force to our neighbours and to the world at large. How, then, is it with you? Is your mind made up on this question?
Remember, 1st. That it comes to you in an independent spirit, to throw you on your own responsibility, and leaves the matter with you.
2nd. That it comes to offer you a free choice, and presents abundant reasons to secure your attention.
3rd. That there is no second course; it is either God or the world, heaven or hell.
4th. That if you are not yet decided, it demands a decision now, that you should "choose, this day," what course you will take.
5th. That, as it is independent, and appeals to your duty, you should be independent of all the fashions of the world, and decide for yourself, where only yourself is concerned.
And, finally, that you should imitate Joshua, in seeking so to live and act, as that while you will not join others in sin, they may join you in the way of salvation.
THE CARELESS SINNERS.
"Be troubled, ye careless ones."-ISAIAH Xxxii. 11.
THERE have been careless sinners in all ages of the world, and there are many in the present day; and it is our duty to seek their conversion to God. Noah, Elijah, Jeremiah, the Apostles, and the Son of God preached to such, and preached to many of them in vain; for these
careless ones disbelieved their doetrines, despised their warnings, and refused to repent of their sins and turn to God. There are many careless ones in the world at this moment, notwithstanding all the means employed to save them. These are not confined to those who neglect a
place of worship, violate the laws of their country, and live in open sin; but they are also to be found in our Sabbath schools, in families where God is acknowledged, and in the house of God. There are many who hear the Gospel, who are taught the principles of the Christian religion, and are the objects of godly solicitude, who are manifesting no sincere and earnest concern about their salvation. There are godly parents who have ungodly children, Christian ministers who preach to careless hearers, Sabbath - school teachers, who instruct scholars indifferent to the momentous claims of the Saviour. Persons may be sober, honest, and kind, and attend to the outward forms of religion, yet be careless in reference to their true spiritual condition before God. The cold indifference of the heart to the claims of Christ, is one of the great difficulties in the way of the success of the Gospel. Many manifest no active opposition to the truth as it is in Jesus; they do not persecute those who believe it, they may even pay some outward respect to it, but still they do not love it, their hearts are not affected by it, they live on in a state of heartless indifference to it. Were they as indifferent to their worldly affairs as they are to the spiritual interests of their souls, they would soon be involved in ruin, poverty, and misery. Religion requires the heart, and if this is withheld, God will not accept any of our outward observ
The reader of these lines may be living in a state of indifference to the claims of the Word of God, and, if so, the text utters a friendly ad
monition to you. God says to you, by the mouth of his inspired prophet, "Be troubled, ye careless ones." The sins of the Jews brought great trouble upon them. They found that the way of transgressors is hard. And many have found that sin is a troublesome thing. This is a trouble to nations, families, and individuals. Sin leads to misery in this world, and to still greater in the world to come. The Word of God solemnly declares, "Many sorrows shall be to the wicked." And yet, notwithstanding this warning, many continue to hug their chains, to harbour the viper, and to expose themselves to the wrath of God. Are you, dear reader, of the number? Then now awake from your guilty slumbers, ponder the path of your feet, cast away thy sins, be reconciled to God, and seek the offered mercy. The persons addressed are the careless ones. And who are these? They are persons who are careless about the eternal wellbeing of their souls; careless about the glory of God in the world; careless about the glad tidings of the Gospel. They are in possession of a precious jewel, but are careless about its safety. They are under sentence of death, and may fall into hell at any moment, but they live as easy as if they were innocent men. They may appear before God soon, yet make no serious preparation for their last account. They are indifferent to the knowledge, favour, and will of God. All who neglect His house, His word, His throne, His day, His laws, His truth, His claims, His Son, are careless ones. Though in danger of being lost, and lost for
ever, they are careless, manifest no alarm, live on as if all was well. The vessel is in danger of being wrecked, yet they fear no evil. They may be anxious about their bodies, their families, their business, yet careless about heaven, Christ, the one thing needful. There is a race to run, and one involving eternal consequences; but they are indifferent about it. There is a battle to fight, but they refuse to encounter the foe. There is a journey to pursue to the better land, but they cannot be persuaded to commence it. The Gospel holds out a crown of life to their view, but they will not strive for it. They prefer sin to holiness, slavery to liberty, earth to heaven, error to truth, the pleasures of the world to the pleasures of religion. Here is infatuation !
There are many weighty and solemn reasons why these careless ones should be troubled. The eternal God is displeased with them. He is angry with them every day. They are exposed to eternal misery. They will not be able to escape the punishment due to their disobedience. They will have to do with an omniscient, almighty, and eternal God, and when they meet Him in another world, the door of mercy will be closed; there will be no hope set before them, no encouragement to seek salvation. Then, if you would not be troubled in death, at the bar of God, when you hear the blast of the last trump, be troubled now for your sins, and arise and call upon God to save you. Now try and realise your guilty condition in the sight of a holy God; now review your past
life, think of the future before you, and resolve to live to God. Timely consideration will save you many bitter tears, many piercing thorns, many unavailing regrets. The lost find no relief under their trouble, no way of escape, no hope of mercy. The Scriptures show that the careless ones have occasion for alarm, they live in the midst of awful perils, and they will find earnest attention to the claims of Christ their highest wisdom. He knows the worth of the soul, the realities of eternity, the scenes of the last judgment, the advantages of piety, the greatness of the salvation in Him, and He says, "Strive to enter in at the strait gate."
The reader of these lines may be troubled for his sins, and may be anxious for salvation; for you there is hope, for the Saviour of the world is mighty to save. There is efficacy in His blood to cleanse you from all the stains of sin. He can free you from all condemnation, and give you a title to the heavenly inheritance. The trouble you feel is intended to make you welcome the glad tidings of the Gospel, for the more we feel the wound, the more we shall value the great Physician. But it may be that you are still a careless one. Perhaps you have never seriously pondered the misery of your present state, you have never made confession of your sinfulness to God, you have never cried in earnest, "Lord, save me." And will you continue to sport on the brink of perdition? Will you never be wise? Will you never turn from the broad road to destruction? Surely, there is much in your circumstances to induce
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thoughtfulness. Are you a traveller to eternity, and ought you not to think of which way you are going? Are you a condemned criminal, and ought you not to avail yourself of the only way of deliverance? Are you to live for ever, and will you not ponder the question, where? The Gospel seeks to make you wise, wise to win Christ, wise to secure eternal life, wise to prepare to meet thy God. This has made many wise, and can make you wise unto salvation. All who welcome the offer of mercy, all who improve the day of salvation, all who seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, are truly wise, for their conduct is pleasing to God, they are safe for eternity, they are heirs to crown of glory. These earnest ones will escape many evils into which the careless fall, they will enjoy vast blessings for ever, they will spend a happy eternity in the glorious presence of their Saviour. They will enter into the joy of their Lord. H. H.
candle on the table, and sits down beside the bed; and as he hears her assuring voice, and espies the gay comfort in her smiling face, and as she puts her hand over his, the tear stands still upon his cheek, till it gets time to dry, and the smoothing down of the panic furrows on his brow, and the brightening of his eye, announce that he is ready for whatever a mother has got to tell. And as she goes on to explain the mysterious sources of his terror-" That hoarse loud roaring is the brook tumbling over the stones; for the long-pouring rains have filled it to the very brim. It is up on the green to-night, and had the cowslips been in blossom they would have all been drowned. Yes-and that thump on the window. It is the old cedar at the corner of the house, and as the wind tosses his stiff branches they bounce and scratch on the panes of glass, and if they were not very small, they would be broken in pieces." And then she goes on to tell how this very night there are people out in the pelting blast, whilst her little boy lies warm in his crib, inside of his curtains; and how ships may be upset on the deep sea, or dashed to pieces on rocks so steep that the drowning sailors cannot climb them. And then perhaps she ends it all with breathing a mother's prayer, or he drops asleep beneath the cradle-hymn.
THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST. THE presence of Christ can turn a dark night into a night much to be remembered. Perhaps it is time to be sleeping, but the November wind
s out, and as it riots over the misty hills, and dashes the rain-drift on the rattling casement, and howls like a spirit distracted in the fireless chimney, it has awakened the young sleeper in the upper room. And when his mother enters, she finds him sobbing out his infant fears, or with beating heart hiding from the noisy danger in the depths of his downy pillow. But she puts the
And why describe all this? Because there is so much practical divinity in it. In the history of a child, a night like this is an important night, for it has done three things. It has explained some things which, unexplained, would
have been a source of constant alarm -perhaps the germ of superstition or insanity. It has taught some precious lessons-sympathy for sufferers, gratitude for mercies, and perhaps some pleasant thought of Him who is the hiding-place from the storm and the covert from the tempest. And then it has deepened in that tender bosom the foundations of filial piety, and helped to give that parent such hold and purchase on a filial heart as few wise mothers have ever failed to win, and no manly son has ever blushed to own.
Then for the parallel. "As one whom his mother comforteth, so the Lord comforteth His people." It is in the dark and boisterous night of sorrow or apprehension that the Saviour reveals Himself nigh. And one of the first things He does is to explain the subject-matter of the grief, to show its real nature and amount. "It is but a light affliction. It lasts but for a moment. It is a false alarm. It is only the rain-drift on the window-wait till the day dawns and shadows flee away. Wait till morning, and you will see the whole extent of it." And then the next thing that He does is to teach some useful lesson. And during those quiet hours, when the heart is soft, the Saviour's lessons sink deep. And last of all, besides consolation under the trial and peaceful fruits that follow it, by this Comforter-visit the Saviour unspeakably endears Himself to that soul. Paul and Silas never knew Christ so well, nor loved Him so much, as after that night which He and they passed together in the Macedonian prison. And the souls
on which the Lord Jesus has taken the deepest hold, are those whose great tribulations have thrown them most frequently and most entirely into His own society.
"PRAY WITHOUT CEASING." 1 Thess. v. 17.
Go when the morning shineth;
Go in the hush of night.
Fling earthly thoughts away;
To God in secret pray. Remember those who love thee; All who are loved by thee; Pray, too, for such as hate thee, If any such there be.
Then for thyself, in meekness,
A blessing humbly claim; And link with each petition
The great Redeemer's name. But if 'tis e'er denied thee, In solitude to pray, Should holy thoughts come o'er thee When friends surround thy way
Oh! then the secret breathing
Of thy spirit raised above, Will reach His throne of healing, Who is mercy, truth, and love.
Oh! not a joy or blessing
With this would we compare, The power that God has given us, To pour our souls in prayer. Whene'er thou pinest in sadness, Before His footstool fall; And remember in thy gladness
His grace who gave thee all.