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dom is not of this world" said Christ; and his faithful subjects must drink into his spirit. No, my readers, we must be seeking to advance that kingdom of God which is within us; and which consists in righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. We must be seeking after more of a oneness of interest with our blessed Lord, whose is the kingdom, the power, and the glory. Our work is spiritual; our kingdom is heavenly; the weapons of our warfare are not carnal. We must meddle not with them who are given to change; we must be quiet and passive observers of what is going on around us; mourning over the many whose thoughts are not raised beyond their fancied interests in this fleeting world; and exulting in all the tokens we can gather of our Lord's advance.
And we have another work. What can stop the invasion of our own national mercies; the overthrow in this country, as in many others at the present moment, of our peculiar privileges and blessings; what but the righteousness of the nation! we must therefore bestir ourselves, not only to keep our own garments unspotted by the flesh, and to come out from the wicked and be separate; but we must do what in us lies to stem the overflowings of ungodliness around us. Oh! I tremble for my country, because God has a right to expect more from it than from any other country under heaven; and yet, what may be called our national sins and negligences have risen to a most fearful height. Because of Sabbath breaking, and drunkenness, and fornication, and swearing, the land mourneth. All classes, from the highest to the lowest, are involved in the general guilt. The remnant of the faithful sigh in secret and cry for the abominations which prevail, but we see no amendment. But still, my readers, we must do what we can. Let us look well to our children, to our servants, to our neighbours. Like Noah, let us lift up the voice of warning in our respective spheres. Let us tell the wicked of what is coming on the earth. Let us in our lives and conversation be preachers of righteousness. Let us respectfully but urgently petition our rulers, not to hurry us into the visitations of the Most High, by neglecting to exert their important influence for the removal of
our national scandals. The slave trade and Sabbath breaking for instance: how much might they do for the removal of those evils; and how much they must do, if they wish the Almighty still to smile upon Britain !
But if the measure of her iniquity is filled up, and the Scourge must come, the faithful people of God who have lifted up their voice against the prevailing abominations, and have been God's witnesses on earth, will at all events have nothing to fear. There will be for them a little Zoar, a Goshen of safety. The jewels shall not be lost in the general wreck. They shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them as a man spareth his own son that serveth him." Malachi iii. 17.
If you dread the loss of the comforts and the desirable things of life, it is only because your souls are yet in some degree cleaving to the dust. Call to mind your principles your profession as strangers and pilgrims on the earth, whose affections are set on things above, not on things on the earth! Remember, if this be your profession, you must be willing practically to live up to it; and with Paul to suffer the loss of all things. And oh! never, never till we are stripped of all earthly comforts, and deprived of all earthly and artificial props, can we, I believe, fully understand the substantial blessedness of the Redeemer's grace, and of the life of faith. As we pray not to be led into temptation, it is not for us to plunge ourselves into it; but the faithful may rest assured, that if in the course of Providence the fiery trial is sent, it will only bring to light an experience of divine faithfulness and love, such as at present we can have no conception of.
Then, my fellow pilgrims, let us go forward in faith and peace. And may the Lord make me a helper of your joy! I would bless and praise him for deigning to employ me hitherto for good; and oh! may he strengthen me to rise to the level of my reader's wants, and help me to speak the word in season.
It is not a day when Christians can safely be off their posts. Already there is the noise of war the soldiers must be ready; the soldiers of Christ must put on the
whole armour of God, that they may be able to withstand
O may we all with one consent
O turn us, turn us, mighty Lord,
Great God of Hosts, deliverance bring,
Or should the dread decree be past,
Whatever be our destin'd case,
Give us his Gospel, and his grace,
Despair is a high point of atheism; it takes away God and Christ both at once. Judas in betraying our Saviour was an occasion of his death as man; but in despairing, he did what lay in him to take away his life as God. If Christ will have us pardon our brother seventy times seven, can we think he will enjoin us more than he will be ready to do himself; when in case of shewing mercy, he would have us think his thoughts to be far above ours.
It was a high piece of ingenuity and clemency in Augustus, that having promised by a proclamation, a great sum of money to any that should bring him the head of a famous pirate; did yet, (when the pirate who had heard of this, brought it himself to him, and laid it at his feet) not only pardon him, but reward him for his great confidence in his mercy. Truly thus doth God; though his wrath be revealed from heaven against all sin and unrighteousness; yet when the soul itself comes freely, and humbles itself before him, he cannot stretch forth his arm to strike that soul which gives such glory to his mercy; and this the contrite heart doth.
"Who can tell how oft he offendeth ?"
The conscience of man, though never so inquisitive and diligent in examining and revising his ways, is unable to take a just account of his sins. As one that would tell the first appearing stars in the evening; before he can reckon them, others appear, and confound his memory with their number; so, when conscience is seriously intent in reflecting upon itself, before it can reckon up the sins committed against one command, innumerable others appear. -Dr. Bates.
Wilt thou look to reign, and not expect to suffer? Christ himself went not up to his glory, until first he suffered what king ever went so willingly to be crowned as he to be crucified? who so gladly from execution as he to it? what man was ever so desirous to save his life as he to lose it? witness that speech, "I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I straitened till it be accomplished;" his mind was in pain till his body and soul came to it; and to him that dissuaded him from it, he used no other terms than, "get thee behind me, Satan." Wilt thou (as St. Cyprian saith) be impatient by seeking present revenge upon thine enemies, when Christ himself is not yet revenged of his? Though (saith St. Chrysostome) Christ hath in many particulars commanded us to follow his example; yet in no place he inferreth we shou'd be like our heavenly Father but in doing good to our enemies.
EXTRACT FROM MEMOIR OF DR. PAYSON.
Christians might avoid much trouble and inconvenience, if they would only believe what they profess,-that God is able to make them happy without any thing else. They imagine that if such a dear friend were to die, or such and such blessings to be removed, they should be miserable; whereas God can make them a thousand times happier without them. To mention my own case,God has been depriving me of one blessing after another; but as every one was removed, he has come in and filled up its place; and now when I am a cripple, and not able to move, I am happier than ever I was in my life before, or ever expected to be; and if I had believed this twenty years ago, I might have been spared much anxiety.
If God had told me some time ago, that he was about to make me as happy as I could be in this world; and then had told me he should begin by crippling me in all my limbs, and removing me from all my usual sources of enjoyment; I should have thought it a very strange mode of accomplishing his purpose. And yet, how is his wisdom manifest even in this! for if you should see a man shut up in a close room, idolizing a set of lamps, and rejoicing in their light; and you wished to make him truly happy; you would begin by blowing out all his lamps, and then throw open the shutters to let in the light of heaven.
Suppose a son is walking with his father, in whose wisdom he places the most entire confidence. He follows wherever his father leads, though it may be through thorns and briers, cheerfully and contentedly.-Another son, we will suppose, distrusts his father's wisdom and love; and when the path is rough or uneven, begins to murmur or repine, wishing that he might be allowed to choose his own path; and though he is obliged to follow, it is with great reluctance and discontent. Now the reason that Christians in general do not enjoy more of God's presence, is, that they are not willing to walk in his path, when it crosses their own inclinations. But we shall never be happy, until we acquiesce with perfect cheerfulness in all his decisions, and follow wherever he leads without a murmur.