ePub 版

Oh! let us thus keep near to Jesus, and then nothing can hurt us. He foretold tribulation, but he spoke of his peace also. He is indeed the Rock, in the clefts of which we may lie safely while the divine judgments are passing by. He is indeed a Refuge for us; and nothing but the want of faith can rob us of the supporting influence of his presence.

I fear there are few who know what it is to live upon Christ. They talk of him and they seem to value him, but they know not the reality, the practice of faith. Oh! that the looking for those things which are coming upon the earth may rouse the sleeping followers of Jesus to trim their lamps and to get into them more of the oil of faith; that they may be ready to say, in the whirlwinds of trouble that may await them-"though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him."

My dear Readers, I give you, not only your daily texts as usual, but a text to carry along with you through the year; and may the Lord help us all constantly and patiently to act upon it

[ocr errors]

"Trust in the Lord, and do good."



"What! heathen in England!" methinks I hear some of my readers exclaim: "I thought heathen were those who have no God, who pray to idols of wood and stone." Very true, I answer, yet for all that, there are heathen in England; there are those who live just as if there were no God; who live only for this world; and if they have heard that there is a God in heaven, never confess him with their lips, or acknowledge him with their hearts. Perhaps you will say, "prove it." My dear readers, I am very willing to do so; in the hope that those among you who have been led to receive the truth as it is in Jesus, may endeavour to do more and more for the good of the poor perishing souls around them; and that those who are still sitting in darkness and the shadow of death, may find their own condition described, and take home to their hearts by God's blessing, the fearful responsibility they incur by living as heathens in the midst of a Christian land.

In a beautiful part of our Island, I was called by duty to take up my abode one autumn. I had often visited it in former times, and admired the lovely scenery, hill and dale, wood and water; but I was then content to ramble about the lanes and fields without an object, and to look on the finest prospects, while forgetting in nature, nature's God. Now I had become concerned about my own soul; for that great change had taken place within me, which all must experience who would enter the kingdom of heaven. A change marvellous as that from darkness to light; and which it is in the power of no man to attain, except by earnest persevering prayer for the Spirit of God, the enlightener and sanctifier of the heart. I seized the first leisure hour for a walk into the village. It contained about 700 souls-700 immortal beings were here travelling on to eternity, and how? were they concerned about the things of salvation? were they diligent in the care of those souls that would so soon be the companions of angels in glory, or of devils in hell? It was a melancholy reflection that the utmost charity could not hope to find more than 200 out of the 700 who were striving to walk along the narrow way, and to enter by the strait gate into the kingdom of heaven. There was but one Noah at the time of the flood, but one Lot in Sodom; and in all ages of the world, the people of God have been a little flock, blameless and harmless in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation among whom they shine as lights in the world. Two hundred I hardly hoped for-but I was grieved and astonished when my utmost researches could not discover any. Those of the better class (I mean in this world's goods) were without exception given to the cares of this life and the deceitfulness of riches; servants of mammon, and spoilt by pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness. The poorer sort were either wholly taken up with the care of the body that is to perish, rising early, late taking rest, eating the bread of carefulness: "What shall we eat and what shall we drink, and wherewithal shall we be clothed?" their sole enquiries: or else openly breaking every one of God's commandments, which we all break in our hearts, and for which we can only find forgiveness through the blood of Christ. Every farm and cottage bore marks of industry and care in some respects, but I looked in vain for the care of the soul. The world was in their houses, in their words, in

their thoughts; but where was God, or Christ who died for them? Never acknowledged, or mentioned except in swearing or vain conversation. This picture is a true and faithful one. I could not think it so till I heard it confirmed by the minister of the parish; he was a pious man who had lately become resident curate, and he assured me I should search in vain for a true follower of Christ. "I have been here about three months," he said, "and the prospect every day appears worse. If ever a missionary was wanted, it is in this benighted village. Young and old are every where given to idolatry, not indeed to the worship of images of wood and stone, but to covetousness and a worldly mind, to labour for money or the enjoyment of it. Sabbath after Sabbath comes round, some attend church, others sleep at home to rest from their week's labour, few or none read their Bibles, and it appears indeed as if the god of this world had blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, lest the light of the glorious Gospel should shine into them and save them from death."

Reader, do you ask again, "is this true?" Go search for yourself among the populous parishes around you, and say, "cannot you find one that resembles this? I could name many; but blessed be God, the number is decreasing; God is pouring out his Spirit upon the poor and the unlearned, and choosing the weak things of the world to confound the mighty, that no flesh should glory in his presence. Reader, are you living like these poor English heathen? O remember it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah, at the day of judgment, than for you. You have privileges to answer for which they never enjoyed. You have the precious word of God, to be to you a savour of life unto life, or of death unto death. O consider, I beseech you, your immortal soul! Death is coming, eternity is at hand, you have no time to lose. Flee to Christ, who offers pardon to all the repentant. Trust only in him for your salvation. Ask of him that new heart, and that right spirit which can alone fit you for his presence, and may he fulfil his promise, "to all that ask, it shall be given." Or have you learnt to love your Saviour and his word? then shew your love by endeavouring to spread the knowledge of the Gospel of salvation around you; by endeavouring to bring souls to Christ and above all, be much in prayer that God, whose Holy Spirit alone can convert


any heathen from the darkness of nature, would be pleased to pour out that Spirit abundantly, and increase the kingdom of his dear Son upon earth, till it is established for ever in heaven.

T. P.



London, November, 1669.

The day in which we live, as it is a season of wonderful dispensations, so it is a time of great misgivings, from whence come decayings on the spirits of most, from whence again proceed breaches in poor Zion which are lamentable to behold, and sad to consider, especially in this place, by which my heart hath been almost broken. And were it not that the Lord doth a little uphold me, in hopes that He that alone doth wondrous things, will bring life out of these distressing deaths, my soul would faint with its burdens. I hope these bad things are good signs of a near approaching glory, when Zion shall be made a quiet habitation. At present there seems a threatening cloud hanging over the Lord's heritage from the rage of the sons of violence. It may be the Lord will by such things awaken the sleeping virgins, and purge away the filth of the daughter of Sion. I cannot give you a distinct account of the state of affairs because they are variously represented. Some say the Clarendonian interest is rampant at the coast, that Lord Roberts is sent for to come away from Ireland, and that Manchester, Hollis, Cooper, and Travers, are to be turned out of the council, that a professed Papist is a chief Bishop in Scotland, that the Papists boast that they will have Mass openly said in Westminster-Abbey by midsummer next. Others say that some stop is put to such hasty proceedings, that the Lord Roberts is again commanded to stay, &c.-What the event of these various proceedings will be, time will make manifest. Let our eyes be to the Lord, and let us prepare to meet Him who is coming in the way of His judgment to shake terribly the earth. It is supposed that the next summer will produce some notable discovery of the designs of the great men of the earth-but Jehovah sitteth King for ever. The Lord keep thee, my dear Brother, steadfast and immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. The Lord help you to help one another in the way to heaven.

I remain

Thy affectionate brother in the dear obligations
of the Gospel,

To Mr. Cary,



AMOS iv. 12.

"Prepare to meet thy God."

Listen! 'tis our Father's voice
Speaking from the worlds above;
Listen! and with fear rejoice,
In the message of His love:
Hark! it beckons us to prayer,
Heed the warning, and prepare!

Old, your days of life are few,
And those few will soon be past;
God in mercy sends to you,
Willing to be found at last;
Death may strike you unaware,
Come then quickly, and prepare.

Young, it is the voice of love,
Calling your affections hence;
Set your fond desires above,

You shall find a recompense;
Pleasures never-ending there,
Give your heart then, and prepare.

Rich, the gems of earth will fade,
Lose their lustre, waste away;
But your treasures may be laid
Where nor moth nor rust decay;
Glorious crowns are yours to wear,
Only seek them, and prepare.

Poor and friendless, 'tis a Friend,
Rich and kind, who calls you now;

He will to your wants attend,

Smooth your path and hear your vow;
All His treasures you may share,
Hush your murmurings, and prepare.

Mourner, list; it speaks relief,
Rise and dry your tearful eyes;
There is balm for every grief,
Bought by costly sacrifice;
Jesus hears
your broken prayer,

Bow in meekness, and prepare.

Wanderer, to your God return;
Think upon eternity,

Where the fire shall ever burn,
Where the worm can never die:
While 'tis called to day, beware;
There is mercy yet-prepare.

« 上一頁繼續 »