Do you expect to enjoy this sacred rest? Those that believe on the Lord Jesus Christ will enjoy this rest; those that have received remission for all their sins through the cleansing power of Christ's precious blood will enjoy rest. "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life" (John iii. 36). Do you, dear reader, believe? or do you say, "I am afraid I am too great a sinner ?" Listen, "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." (Isaiah i. 18). "Jesus Christ came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." "Whosoever will," is Christ's invitation; therefore, He does not consider you, nor anyone, too vile to come to Him; but those that come to Him must come in faith, believing "that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." "Those that seek me early shall find me." Therefore, if you have not sought Christ and yielded yourself up to Him and His cause, may He bow your stubborn will; for "Behold, now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation."

It is dangerous to delay seeking salvation, for you know not what an hour may bring forth; before this day is past you may be numbered with the dead; you may have left this world-which will be either for the place of everlasting torment in company with the devil and his angels, or to enjoy rest in heaven, there to be continually singing the song of Moses and the Lamb. "When shall I reach thathappy place,

And be for ever blest?
When shall I see my Father's face,
And in His bosom rest ?"

DELAY OF CONVERSION. AN accurate examination into the periods of life in which those, whose lives of godliness give evidence of true religion, first began to be followers of Christ, furnishes an amazing demonstration of the folly and danger of delay! The probability of conversion diminishes rapidly as years roll on.

Make up a congregation of a thousand Christians. Divide them into five classes, according to the ages at which they became Christians. Place in the 1st class all those converted under 20 years of age: 2nd class, all those converted between 20 and 30; 3rd class, all those converted between 30 and 40; 4th class, all those converted between 40 and 50; 5th class, all those converted between 50 and 60. Then count each of the five classes separately. Of your thousand Christians, there were hopefully converted,

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

1. THIS, undoubtedly, is by far the most momentous question that can be considered, asked, or answered. The usual interrogations of human life, "What shall we eat, what shall we drink, and wherewith shall we be clothed," dwindle into utter impertinence and insignificance when compared or rather contrasted with this great question, "What must I do to be saved?"

2. It was the gaoler of Philippi,who had treated his prisoners, the servants of the Lord, with contempt and cruelty, and who, conscience-stricken by the presence and power of God, and apprehending the most fearful consequences, sprang in, trembling, and fell down, saying, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"

3. This is usually the language of those who are newly awakened to a sense of their guilt, misery, and danger; longing to escape, but unacquainted with the real and only

way of salvation, they cry to God and ask of man, "What must I do to be saved?"

4. Very hopeful is the case of such. Whatever may have been the darkness and guilt of former days, or whatever their present errors and gloomy fears, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the faith of Him they may be saved; and there is reason to hope that their deep concern and anxious inquiry are the real beginning of that most blessed and infinitely desirable consummation.

5. But this point of hope is always the point of danger also. The work is not done, nor the victory won, as yet. The soothing language of consolation may possibly be spoken too soon-too soon for the safety of the inquirer-too soon for the honour of Christ's cause. An ardent spirit, longing for the multiplication of converts, in the excess of charity hopes and believes that to be the work of God which is but little more than natural sympathy, or the work of conscience. Oh, it is a great mistake to reckon the bulk of the yield by the quantity of blossom. The most promising appearances are but too frequently the precursors of the bitterest disappointments. Many have asked and learned the way of life who have never walked in it, and many have mistakenly concluded themselves converted and saved, because they once in agony asked, "What must I do to be saved?" Let the sincere inquirer look to a crucified Saviour as the bitten Israelites to the brazen serpent, and he shall be saved; and let him fully follow Christ, and he shall have the

emotions however deep, nor by religious professions however great, but "by their fruits, ye shall know them." J. M. L.

evidence and consolation of salvation; but let the Lord's steward be careful and cautious, prudent and patient as well as hopeful, for not by present



A FEW notices of the above remarkable person, perhaps, ought to be given, and may with the divine blessing turn to some good and useful account, while by means of thirty years' acquaintance it can easily and correctly be done.

The father of Sophia Shearman, Richard Weaver, and her aunt Betty Williams, both of Kingsdon, Somerset, were sweet and excellent Christians in their day, and their offspring and relatives must have inherited a mass of hearty, earnest, and effectual prayers; and, perhaps, to these may be traced many spiritnal blessings by both children and children's children.

[ocr errors]

The subject of this notice was possessed of a strong mind, a clear head, and good understanding, which rendered her exceedingly conversable. She could well distinguish between things that differ, and express herself sensibly on most points, but especially those of the highest importance and consequence.

She constantly attended the Independent Chapel, Langport, and although residing at a considerable distance, the constancy, not to say the persistency, of her attendance was a practical rebuke of the remissness of others, much more favour

ably situated for easy and convenient attendance. But mere attendance was not all, nor half, in her case; she was fixedly attentive, deeply interested, and wonderfully retentive of the great things of the house of the Lord, and was powerfully influenced by them in her universal deportment. Indeed, that she was a real Christian, it would be difficult to find a person uncharitable enough to question. True, one of another and peculiar school of doctrinal views, in discoursing on the heights, if not the extremes of the confidence of faith, declared Sophia to be quite blind; to which she only quietly replied, "Thank God, not quite blind."

Still, she did not long before her death attain to that believing confidence which it is the privilege and happiness of Christians to enjoy. And this was her especial hindrance in respect of church-fellowship-not assured of her interest in Christ, and dreading to eat of the sacramental bread, and drink of that cup unworthily, she was not outwardly united to the church of Christ; a fact justly regretted on her own account, on account of the good cause, and of other persons. But just as we were warranted to expect, "in the

evening time it was light," the dews were dispersed, and she could

"Read her title clear

To mansions in the skies."

Always unmurmuring and thankful, her expressions of gratitude and joy were now overflowing. Calling to see her at this time, and when surrounded by her dear children, she spoke with ecstasy of the goodness of the Lord, and exclaimed, "Boundless goodness! Boundless goodness!" And this holy, happy, heavenly frame continued to the end. In her last night she said, “I shall sup in heaven to-night;" and between four and five o'clock in the morning, her spirit took its flight from the frail cage of mortality to fairer worlds on high, to be for ever with that adorable Redeemer, who was her sole and sufficient trust, both living and dying.

J. M. L.



As I was leaning back in my chair one afternoon, I fell into a dreamy sort of reverie; my thoughts were carried far away to a large mansion, surrounded by everything wealth could purchase. As I approached the house, I evidently saw that something was wrong. All at once I found myself in this mansion; I heard whisperings among the servants; all I could gather from what I heard was, that the master was dying. What use are riches and worldly grandeur-of what benefit are they to this man in his dying hour? I entered the chamber; his wife and medical attendant were there. I saw at once that my sur

mises were correct. This rich man was dying, and his minutes were numbered. Well might the poet exclaim,

"Here tired dissimulation drops her mask,

For here resistless demonstration dwells."

A death-bed is a detector of the heart. He says to the physician, "Cannot you save my life?" He shakes his head. "I will give you half my fortune if you can save me." "My dear Sir," says the physician, "if you gave me the whole world, I could not save your life." Never shall I forget that look of unutterable anguish he cast upon the speaker of these words; he fell back upon his pillow, his breathing was short; suddenly he rises up, he seems in deep agony, he stretches out his hands like a madman, he fancies he is in contact with the Evil One. He attempts to speak; his tongue is loosed, and he shrieks with an unearthly shriek, "I am damned! I am damned!" and his spirit departs to stand before the bar of an offended God. Alas, what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul? This man, whom all the country worshipped, where was his immortal soul? How shocking must the summons of death have been to him; a man who was surrounded by wealth, and expected many years of undeviating pleasure; a man who had spared no expense in decorating his house and estate; but there was one thing of far more importance he entirely lost sight of, and that was the one thing needful-the salvation of his precious, never-dying soul Those beautiful though solemn lines

now rush into my memory on the unhappy close of life:

"In that dread moment how the frantic soul raves round the walls of her clay tenement, runs to each avenue and shrieks for help; but shrieks in vain! How wistfully she looks on all she's leaving, now no longer hers; a little longer, yet a little longer, oh might she stay to wash away her stains, and fit her for her passage! Mournful sight! Her very eyes weep blood, and every groan she heaves is big with horror."

I left this scene, and as I still felt in a contemplative mood, my fancy carried me to a small cottage. There was a little patch of ground in front, which was cultivated in such a manner as to show the taste of the humble occupant of this abode. A little rosy child came to the door with tears in her eyes. I patted her little rough head, and asked her why she cried. "Father is dying; he's going a long way off, to a happy land, far away; and he says he hopes we shall all be good children, and be kind to mother, and perhaps we shall go there, too." "How do you know your father is going to heaven?" "Because he told me so." Ah, thought I, we are but children of a larger growth. This little child knew her father would not deceive her; yet, how prone are we to doubt the loving words of our heavenly Father. I entered the cottage; and the good woman asked me to enter the chamber of death. I approached the bed of the dying peasant; I asked him if he would like to live? "This is not dying," he said; "believers never die; I am just going to enter the presence chamber of my

Lord." And then he repeated that verse of Dr. Watts

66 Jesus can make a dying bed

Feel soft as downy pillows are, While on His breast I lean my head, And breathe my life out sweetly there."

Then he paused; taking me by the hand, he said, "Here I lie, just going to glory;" and then repeated another verse

"A guilty, weak, and helpless worm, On thy kind arms I fall;

Be thou my strength and righteousness,

My Jesus, and my all."

Then he cried out, "Oh, this precious believing on the Son of God. Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered the heart of man to conceive the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. He hath loved me, and given himself for me." Thus he went on, blessing and praising God to the last moments of his life, repeatedly exclaiming, "O Death, where is thy sting? O Grave, where is thy victory ?" He kissed his wife and children, and bade them farewell. On seeing his wife weeping, "Do not cry," he said, "the Lord has promised that he will provide for the fatherless children and widows;" and then he repeated these lines:"Oh, happy day, that fixed my choice On thee, my Saviour and my God."

With a heavenly smile on his features, and without a struggle, his spirit had departed where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest. Well might the preacher exclaim, "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity." Riches proved a snare in the former instance; the rich man

« 上一页继续 »