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The sluggard is admonished to “go to the ant," in order to receive instruction and reproof. The bees are a wise community; they are careful to lay up store for the time to come.
However shameful is this disposition, and however deplorable are its results to society, there is a much more common manifestation of it in that sphere of duty which man, as a rational and accountable being, was intended to adorn. There are thousands of the children of this world as active and wise in making temporal provision for the future as the ants and the bees, who nevertheless are sluggards where the interests of their souls are concerned ; they have fallen asleep, and dream that without striving to enter into the narrow way, they shall be translated to the joy to which this avenue of much tribulation leads; that, without knocking, the door of mercy will fly open to receive them; that, without seeking, they shall find eternal life; that, without fighting, they shall be crowned as conquerors; that, without running, they shall gain the prize; that, without doing the Will of His Father, they shall be acknowledged by Christ, as soon as they accost him with their devout language of " Lord ! Lord !”
The acknowledgment of faith in Christ by the slothful man, is denied by his conduct; that is not faith, but delusion, which works not by love. Time must be redeemed ; it must not be suffered to run to waste. Every energy of soul, mind, and body ought to be put in requisition in serving the Lord, seeing there is no repentance or work in the grave. Be intreated to let the things which blind and intoxicate be set aside in health and vigour; for at the approach of death, like the spider's airy web, they are broken and dissolved. Your Judge is not arbitrary, but righteous; he does not seek to reap where he never sowed ; but the seed of the Word was sowed in your land, and he looks for the fruits of the Spirit in you. Your Judge is not an austere and rigorous enforcer of that which he would not touch with his finger; He is a generous benefactor; He gave his life to put you in a condition to become heirs together with him of that life which, through conquest in the way of obedience, he earned. It is the Lamb of God, who is made wroth by your doing despite to his grace, which ought to lead you to repentance.
They who came under the judgment of the Law in the time of Moses were infinitely less culpable; they suffered under the testimony of three witnesses; they could from justice appeal to mercy; from the justice of the lawgiver to his grace; but there is no appeal from slighted love, that cannot befriend, which you
have converted into an accuser. You are then taught, but too late, that not the ignorant, but privileged unbelievers, hypocrites, liars, &c., are excluded from those blessings which the virtue of Christ's obedience had power to procure for the world. Your name, as one for whom Christ died, was in the book of life; but in rejecting the love which brought salvation, He shall blot your name out of the book of life. “ He that overcometh shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot his name out of the book of life; but I will confess his name in the presence of my Father and the holy angels.”
THE HUMAN HEART.
This heart represents one who has had a sight of death and judgment. Many must be laid on beds of sickness before they permit themselves to think on this alarming subject. When the sinner, conscious of guilt, expects to be launched into a new and eternal state of existence, for which he has made no preparation, the things of the world, which so absorbed his mind, recede from his view, and leave the parting soul, as it were, a stranger, shrinking from an undiscovered state.
The Holy Spirit is ever ready to act in concert with the first emotion of contrition and repentance. Sometimes a continued will to sin repels and quenches the strivings of the Spirit of Truth, which like a kind friend would lay open the dark cells of the heart to its enlightening and regenerating influence. In other cases the Spirit is admitted and its stay secured by using the appointed means for growing in grace.
It is in vain to dream that the influence of the Spirit should produce the desired effects on the heart and mind, without the co-operation of the affections and the will. When the ploughshare of affliction has deeply impressed the heart, its softened affections will receive the truths of revelation. They take root in the understanding, and yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness.
Watchfulness and prayer are equally necessary, as the means of guarding the heart against the readmission of its former guests.
“ Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation." If these duties on our part could be dispensed with, why are they so solemnly and repeatedly urged upon us by our Heavenly Father? Would he say, “ My son, give me thine heart," if it were not in our power to
Pature of a Heart which has just toen in propovered with the view of Ilh'ľ. piudgment by the striving of the Holy Spirit for intramu.
Men and brothern "What shall 1dw w be saved” Bebiére in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be served