« הקודםהמשך »
may have it.
ceasing levity in conversation, little scrupulousness in business, the fear of offending man by allegiance to God, and a laxity of general conduct may, with too much justice, be charged upon those who by profession are the disciples of the Redeemer. Pride of station and intellect mar the usefulness of hundreds; and where we look for graces of character which would win respect from the enemies of Christianity, we see principles of action differing from those which govern the world only in being less conspicuously or less frequently at work. Hypocrisy in anything is detestable; what must it be in religion ? It brings discredit on a service declared to be “reasonable," and keeps back thousands from the truest happiness. It confirms the infidel in his wretched philosophy, and makes the worldling look still more coldly on the gospel. “ Believest thou this ?” Be warned, then, empty professor : faith in Christ is something you possess not: pray that you
“ Cease to do evil, learn to do well," and injure no longer the holiest cause in the world. Do we speak harshly? Do
think you are better than this description ? Compare yourself with what the gospel requires, and see if yours is a consistent walk, likely to attract poor perishing sinners, and make them lay hold of the word of life to the salvation of their neglected souls. « Believest thou this?"
And one word to him or her whose heart has been given to the Saviour. Think of your high profession! How is it with you? Christ has died for you, and worked out on your behalf a complete and free redemption. He has promised never to forsake you. He has shown himself to be a kind, a gracious, and a forgiving Master; and has encouraged you to go to him in adversity, in sickness, and in difficulty. “ Believest thou this ?” Why, then, are you so distressed in trouble, so terrified in danger, so trembling in temptation? Why so distrustful in perplexity, so fretful in suffering, and so doubting in trial ?
Be more diligent in prayer. A good man has said, “ You may as soon find a living man without breath as a living Christian without prayer.” We must seek increased communion with God, and strive to influence, with a more serious concern, the poor perishing souls that tread with us the path of our earthly pilgrimage, ever remembering the quaint but truthful words of an old divine : “ A Christian man should be like a piece of hot iron-not only warm his neighbours, but scatter his sparks to those who are far off.” We must be less worldly, and more zealous for God. We must never forget whose disciples we are, and whose name we bear. The Macedonian king exhorted those who bore the name of Alexander to live worthy of the honour; and how much more should Christians strive to walk worthy of Him“ on whose head are many crowns,” and who reigns with undisputed sovereignty “ King of Kings and Lord of Lords !” We must strive to attain a more habitual christian deportment, to possess a greater command over our temper, and a more complete government of our will.
The world will most readily connect with religion the faults of its professors ; careful, therefore, should we be that, neither by our words nor our actions, we give occasion to the Enemy of souls to gain an apparent victory. We must seek more fellowship with Christians, and raise the tone of the society in which we move. It has been well said, “ A united church must be the harbinger of a converted world;" and not until some of the barriers which separate the Redeemer's disciples are thrown down shall we see the triumph of that Gospel which the Son of God died to proclaim.
Oh! that we may all seek with more diligence the help of God's Holy Spirit, that with a blameless life we may pass through this world of sin, and on our journey induce many a wanderer to join our company, and swell the number of the sons of glory. Reader, if you are a true believer in the blessed gospel, lift up your heart to God, that He may give you more earnestness in spiritual things, and guide you safely through manifold temptations. May that grace which is sufficient for you animate you day by day, and, sanctifying every occupation, and softening down every care, prepare you for the employments of that kingdom which is reserved for those who, by faith in Jesus, have inherited life eternal. The most exalted Christian will indeed do well to examine if his daily walk and conversation correspond with the high profession that he makes. “ This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief,” were the words of one truly sanctified by the Spirit of God, but deeply conscious of indwelling corruption. And this is the experience of every sincere believer. He possesses nothing which can give him a lofty opinion of himself; but, on the contrary, everything to prove that what he is he can only have become “ by the grace of God.” With what renewed supplication should he plead the promise of that Saviour who, in his hour of sorrow, consoled his humble followers, “I will not leave you comfortless, and I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever, even the Spirit of Truth ?” Mourner in Zion, “ Believest thou this ? ” Aged pilgrim, “Believest thou this?" Youthful Christian, “ Believest thou this ?” Take it; bind it to your hearts, and join with one voice in the apostle's exultation, “I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor princi. palities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” “ Believest thou this ?”
“ I know that my Redeemer liveth"
Would I loved Him as I ought ;
When that strength is humbly sought.
And hath conquered death for me;
Let thy hope in Jesus be!
And I have no cause for fear;
All the sins committed here.
Hear Him! ye vho mourn afar:
" Come unto me as you are !”
While my daily cross I bear ;
And hath borne the larger share.
I must cast it all on Him;
Paith must be less weak and dia.
What His love hath done for me ;
As thy day, thy strength shall be.”
Par beyond life's troubled shore,
Sing His praises evermore!
J. F. SHAW, BOOKSELLER, SOUTHAMPTON ROW, AND
PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON; AND W.INNES, BOOKSELLER, SOUTH HANOVER STREET, EDINBURGH.
J. & W. Rider, Printers, 14, Bartholomew Close, London.
[COMMUNICATED BY A FRIEND OF THE FAMILY.]
CHRISTIANITY professes to accomplish what no other religion ever did—the regeneration of the soul. The word is used in the New Testament with a profound meaning. It signifies nothing less than a new spiritual birth. The equivalent expressions of a planting and a growth, a burial and a resurrection, a passing from darkness to light, and a translation from the kingdom of Satan into the kingdom of God's Son, point to the same wonderful change; and we cannot weigh such terms without feeling that they signify a thorough alteration in a man's views, affections, and conduct; so that his intellect becomes illumined by faith ; instead of loving the world supremely, he comes to love God with all his heart; intentions and purposes once virtually atheistical become inspired with a devout reference to the Divine glory; and actions formerly guided by no law but some selfish one are brought under the control of the word of God, and the rule of love. And for the most solemn moments of our earthly being, for the inevitable conflict with the last enemy, it professes to prepare all its true disciples, by arming them with a faith victorious over death, and by inspiring them with a peace which no fear of the grave, or of eternity, can subdue. Are these claims to renewing power, and the inspiration of comfort and hope at the end of life, supported by facts ? or does the gospel, when put to the test, fail to produce consequences so blessed and glorious ? Eighteen hundred years have afforded experiments of this kind without number, and never has the assertion been disproved. “The gospel is the power of God unto salvation, to every one that believeth.” Where there has been the pretence of faith, without the reality, salvation has been unknown ; where faith has existed, not in word only, but in power, there salvation has been enjoyed ; in life the man has been a new creature; in death the partaker of an immortal hope.
What in this way has been effected through long centuries, is still going on; and those who are conversant with christian society are daily meeting with practical examples of the undiminished efficacy of our blessed religion. Multitudes of the poor and obscure are renewed and consoled by the truths of the gospel, without exciting any attention, except on the part of the few who form their limited circle of acquaintance; while not unfrequently some who occupy the high places of the earth, and are known far and wide, become signal instances of what Christianity can do, and proclaim to the world its triumphant power. The Earl of Ducie, who at the age of fifty-one closed his earthly course about a year ago, furnished for some years before his death an example of spiritual regeneration ; and in his closing hours an illustration of christian peacefulness, hope, and joy, by far too conspicuous and striking to be passed over without an attempt to direct to the interesting facts of the case the notice of both the Christian and the unbeliever, that the one may be encouraged and the other convinced.
It is well known that Lord Ducie was an eminent agriculturist, and introduced various improvements into farming, amongst which an implement of husbandry, invented through his experience and ingenuity, and known as the Ducie cultivator, is likely long to preserve his name in the memory of British farmers. Nor will the unequalled excellence of his stock breeding, and the admirable arrangemerts of his Whitfield example farm be soon forgotten. But his eminence as a nobleman devoted to the useful pursuits of agriculture, was at length surpassed by his eminence in those respects, which, though little noticed by many, and less esteemed by some, are alone of infinite moment, and are now yielding to him honour and glory in that world where the social distinctions of this life are for ever unknown. In proportion to the vigour of a man's mind, the firmness of his purposes, and the decision of his character, will be the degree of magnitude in the effect produced on other minds by a religious change in his history. One feels that it was no ordinary proof of the power of the gospel, when it vanquished a Paul and a Luther: and it was to the class of strong-willed, earnest men, at the head of which we must place the illustrious names we have now mentioned, that the late Lord Ducie belonged. The fashionable pleasures of the world, and especially the sports of the field, were pursued by him in early life with a characteristic ardour which engrossed his soul. With a clear head and a bold heart, full of kindness and honour, he shone in the circle where he moved, attaching to himself the friendship of many by his generous sentiments and social affections; but at the time of which we speak he was without any sympathies for what afterwards, in an intense degree, drew forth the energies of his thoughtful and active nature. One who knew him well observes, that till “ within a late period, comparatively speaking, he had been a mere man of this world; living in the world, and for the world, and nothing else. His temperament, habits, character, conversation, were all signally of this stamp: to say the least of it, he was naturally and practically as far from God, and in real truth, as much without God, as man ever was.” Some years before his death he became an altered man.