« PreviousContinue »
I slighted the conviction; I was convinced of my need of Christ, and of the readiness of Christ to par
ABSOLUTION. don and save; but, alas ! I followed not the conviction. My brethren, remember this-slighted convictions Ir a man be truly a penitent, the promise of God
renders his absolution certain. If not, though a are the worst death-bed companions. There are two things especially which, above all others, make a
priest may pronounce him absolved a thousand times, death-bed very uncomfortable :
his guilt remains. It is the sole prerogative of God 1. Purposes and promises not performed.
to give repentance and remission of sin. The priest 2. Convictions slighted and not improved.
can do neither. The man who relies upon the abso
lution of a priest, is like an imprisoned and conWhen a man takes up purposes to close with
demned malefactor, who in the night dreams that he Christ, and yet puts them not into execution; and when he is convinced of sin and duty, and yet im
is released, but in the morning finds himself led to
the gallows. proves not his convictions, o this will sting and wound at last!
Now, therefore, hath the Spirit of the Lord been at work in your souls? Have you ever been con
Fragments. vinced of the evil of sin-of the misery of a natural state-of the insufficiency of all things under heaven to help-of the fulness and righteousness of Jesus Christ-of the necessity of resting upon him for par
MONEY.-A philosopher has said, “ Though a man don and peace, for sanctification and salvation ?
without money is poor, a man with nothing but Have you ever been really convinced of these things money is still poorer." O then, as you love your own souls, as ever you hope Worldly gifts cannot bear up the spirits from faintto be saved at last, and enjoy God for ever, improve ing and sinking when trials and troubles come, no these convictions, and be sure you rest not in them more than headache can be cured by a golden crown, till they rise up to a thorough close with the Lord or toothache by a chain of pearl. Jesus Christ, and so end in a sound and perfect con- Earthly riches are full of poverty.-Augustine. version. Thus shall you be not only almost, but altogether a Christian.-Mead.
WHY WE PRAY.-We do not pray to inform God of our wants, but to express our sense of the wants which he already knows. As he has not so much
made his promises to our necessities as to our reLINES
quests, it is reasonable that our requests should be VRITTEN AFTER A SLEEPLESS NIGHT DURING SICKNESS. made, before we can hope that our necessities will
be relieved. God does not promise to those who How welcome shines the morning light want that they shall “have," but to those who Within the casement clear,
“ask;" nor to those who need that they shall " find," As, after dull and tedious night,
but to those who "seek.”—Hannah More. It comes arrayed in colours bright,
Now! Now !--As it is never too soon to be good, The sick man's couch to cheer !
so it is never too late to amend; I will, therefore,
neither neglect the time present, nor despair of the O thus, when life is ebbing fast,
tiine past. If I had been sooner good, I might, per
haps, have been better; if I am longer bad, I shall, Lord, leave me not forlorn!
I ain sure, be worse. That I have stayed long time But as my night of woe rolls past
idle in the market-place deserves reprehension; but That night of sin and pain the last
if I am late sent into the vineyard, I have encourageUpon thy suffering servant cast
ment to work : “I will give unto this last as unto Beams of eternal morn!
We should never estimate the soundness of prin.
ciples by our own ability to defend them, or consider “ CHRIST IS MINE."
an objection as unangwerable to which we can find
no reply. MANY of our readers must have heard of the gen- INCONSISTENT PROFESSION.- To have an orthodox tleman who tonk a friend to the roof of his house belief and a true profession, concurring with a bad to show him the extent of his possessions. Waving life, is only to deny Christ with a greater solemnity. his hand about, “ There,” said he, “ is my estate." FAITH THE RESULT OF A RENEWED WILL.-Men Pointing to a great distance on one side, “ Do you must love the truth before they thoroughly believe see that farm? Well, that is mine." Pointing again it; and the Gospel has then only a free admission to the other side, “ Do you see that house ? That also
into the assent of the understanding, when it brings belongs to me.” In turn, his friend asked, “ Do you great faculty of dominion that commands all—that
a passport from a rightly-disposed will, as being the see that little village out yonder ? Well, there shuts out and lets in what objects it pleases, and, in lives a poor woman in that village who can say more a word, keeps the keys of the whole soul.--South. than all this.” “ Ah! what can she say?" Why, HEART DEPRAVITY.-Human nature is like a bad she can say, CHRIST IS MINE!” Indeed she was the clock-it may go right now and then, or be made to richer of the two.
strike the hour; but its inward frame is to go wrong.
-Adam. Striving against nature is like holding 1 “How vain a toy is glittering wealth
weather-cock with one's hand; as soon as the forre If once compared to Thee ?
is taken off, it veers again with the wind.-Ibid. Or what's my safety or my health,
LICENTIOUSNESS.—The freedom of some, is the Or all my friends to me ?
freedom of the herd of swine that ran violently down Were I possessor of the earth, And called the stars my own,
a steep place into the sea, and were drowned.Jay. Without thy graces and thyself,
Faith. — When Latimer was at the stake, he I were a wretch undone."
breathed out these words: “God is faithful."
TIE CHRISTIAN TREASURY.
THE MISSION, THE TRIALS, AND THE CLAIMS, OF THE EVANGELICAL MINISTRY.
BY THE REV. W. M. BUNTING, LONDOX.
ISAIAH lii. 7.
(CONTINUED.) How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him, feeling, both in the pulpit and out of it? Of
that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace, that the temptation to substitute a critical for a derout bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation, that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! – daily use of the Scriptures, and to mistake fur:
vour and elevation in public exercises for a II. In the exercise of this ministry, faithful heart right with God? Of the deadening effect “Men of God” encounter some PERSONAL HARD-on frail minds of a necessary professional fami- || SHIPS AND HUMILIATIONS. These, however, the liarity with the same routine of sacred studies Prophet presents under so veiled and modest and services; unless it be counteracted by al. an aspect, that we shall do no more than just most painful habits of watchfulness and private glance at them. Nor is it needful; for “ye devotion ? Of the misgivings, or positive disgusts. know what manner of men” your Ministers are excited by contact with certain fanatical abuses. "among you, for your sake.” In carrying the or profane counterfeits of religion, more easily good tidings abroad, their 'feet are upon the detected than dealt with? Of disappointment, mountains :' they traverse, so to speak, a (itself apt to become selfish and sordid,) at the rough, difficult, dangerous, and wearisome road; want of ministerial success ? Of frequent most and the effects of such a course of life are not acute trials of temper, and that in situations of seldom painfully apparent. We sorrowfully most serious responsibility ? Of not infrequent allow that many, who assume what is called exposure to still more fearful forms of tempta " the Sacred Profession,” incur but little incon- tion; particularly in seasons of sociality, or phyvenience by the rigidness of their fidelity to it. sical exhaustion, or that insidious relaxednesa We gratefully acknowledge, on the other hand, of mind, which is the common reaction of in| that the most suffering servants of Christ and tense public excitement ? In a word, who can
His Church have their daily helps and solaces, not understand, and sympathize with, a solemu. as well as the prospect of a great reward. Still, habitual anxiety, often wrought up into a dis the general proposition is affectingly true, nor tressing fear, on the points of personal charac: would any pious or honourable mind desire to ter, the welfare of the work of God, and the lessen its force—that the Evangelizing and Pas- anticipated final appearing of “every one of toral Office, (especially in some Communities,) us," at once with his soul and his surrendered has, when consistently sustained, its peculiar ministry,“ before the judgment-seat of Christ” ? and its inseparable trials.
O brethren ! such considerations appeal, not so Were we to touch, however delicately, any much to your generous feelings, as to your piety one string, what heart would not vibrate in and brotherly consideration. “Pray for us;" – quick and intelligent sympathy?
not less frequently than you are wont to do for 1. Should we touch on the Spiritual exercises our physical vigour, our acceptance, or our use. of Ministers,—whom would not the words re- fulness; but more frequently for our personal mind, for instance, of daily conflicts with un- holiness, our power day by day to 'crucify destroyed, though subdued, sinful nature, ever fleshly affections, as well as ‘ lusts,' our support threatening to break out in pride, selfishness, under spiritual depressions, and our excelling uncharitableness, unbelief, and the like, in all in all sanctity and virtue. “Behold, we are, their subtle and changing forms! Of either according to your wish, in God's stead;' yet, oh! a harassing sense of insufficiency, or an en- remember, 'we also are formed out of the clay.' snaring tendency to self-confidence? Of the felt 2. Or should we touch on the Temporal mortidanger of envy in some circumstances, and of fications of the Ministerial lot in most Churches, arrogance or assumption in others ? Of a constant - you would think, for instance, of long hours and a conscious liability to mix up animal pas- of toil and exposure, frequently embittering sion or personal motives, with inspired religious those of after rest and retirement: for Christ's
No. 9. *
inessengers must “ endure hardness;" must be shadow of death;" for what else but its projected “ in journeyings often;" must labour in the and forewarning shadows are frailty, affliction, word and doctrine”—both in studying and and morbid gloom? Lives so spent as, in these teaching the truth; and must be “instant in urgent and unmerciful times, “ God's” true. season and out of season;" with much absti-hearted “Men” must spend them, (unless under nence, and slight and rare recreation. When special advantages of temperament or location), not actually straining all their strength to lift may be expected to wear apace. They are “in high the healing Cross, they must be seen bear- deaths oft;" graves gape at every step of their ing it about on their shoulders, in readiness for way; and what wonder, if they stumble into the next opportunity,-yea, and, if they would one of them-as in the instance of the Miswin souls, must be heard singing under their sionary, or the Methodist, Ministry—long ere blest burden.
they have numbered their “ threescore years You would remember, too, that your Minis- and ten"? Fellow-messengers ! we track our ters are, for the most part, poor men, and ex- course across “ the mountains” by the footperience the usual inconveniences of compara- prints of some of our predecessors, but by the tive privation. It has in their case, however, burial-mounds, or the bleached bones, of others; some peculiarities, and some aggravations. It and, if We follow, it should be in the solemn. is the tax of their entire self-devotion to the and devoted spirit of Thomas, “Let us go, that service of God and man; a" calling,” for such we may die with” them,-or of Paul, “ I am it is, which forbids them, if the Church be but ready to be offered, and the time of my de able to afford them a simple subsistence, to parture is at hand”! ' entangle themselves with the affairs of this life,' In estimating the external trials of Christiar or grow rich by its honourable enterprises. Ministers, you will be reminded, beloved bre Again, the constant claims of Christ's house-thren, by the supposed peculiar allusion of the hold on their time and care will seldom allow Prophet, of their diversified defects, infirmities them either to economize or to enjoy what they and often mean appearance in society. Some of possess, to superintend domestic education, to them betray defects of practical judgment luxuriate in domestic love, or to husband their others of intellectual energy, or refinement scanty savings for the future necessities of the others of natural sensibility, or ardour; others widow and the fatherless. And, once more, of original or acquired strength of character: the casualties of their station create unusual while others, again, are found wanting in the wants, and require a larger private outlay; comparative trifles of rhetoric, melody or power while the spirit of their station prompts them of voice, a commanding person, an impressive to “spend,” as well as “ be spent, for” the poor physiognomy, or a graceful gesticulation; or of their flocks, and the cause of God, often be out of the pulpit, in polish, or perhaps open. yond their ability: not to say, that the delicacy ness, of manners. We have known the abof their relation to certain parties, both in and sence of these, with now and then a touch, out of trade—(who boast themselves Christians, of what was positively unpleasing - though and not “ law”-ridden Israelites, in whom is no amounting to no more than a little dust on "the guile—though their own system is by no means feet,” or a little disorder in the dress, or a slight without its beggarly elements)—lays open many awkwardness in the gait, or deformity in the a generous and gentle-minded pastor to resist person, of a King's messenger- we have known less and ruinous imposition.
them quite enough to make the preaching and To hard mental or bodily labour, and to presence of many a holy and benevolent man straitened finances, your candour would not not only uncourted, but distasteful. Hence omit to add frequent ill-health; with its inci- have grown up, in some unsanctified, and sdents of pain, languor, and nervous irritability, cretly unhappy, professors—(unhappy, because or depression. Adverse as these sensations are still dependant on these very men for guidance to the comfort and even energy of an unremit- and comfort in “ the cloudy day”)—those fri ting, and in many cases unpensioned, service,- volous prejudices and dislikes, which, we should they often intrude during its active discharge, all be warned, just in proportion as they lessen are often occasioned or aggravated by it, and the influence of our Ministers, are spiritually must often be uncomplainingly endured in de injurious to ourseltes. ference to its imperious requirements. Nor could your thoughts visit the sick-room of one, III. “But ye have not so learned Christ." who has once and again visited yours in more You acknowledge that you owe to His serthan thought, without some sense of “the
vants A TENDER AND RESPECTFUL CONSIDERATION
THE MISSION, &c., OF THE EVANGELICAL MINISTRY.
99 OR THEIR INFIRMITIES, IN DEFERENCE TO THEIR yet, “let the elders be counted worthy of ALLING AND CHARACTER. “ How beautiful are double honour.” Lives there the man, who he feet of him, that bringeth good tidings !" can despise spent old age, or overtaking poverty, Crusting that such is your sentiment, we pre- or a sickly frame, or a sorrowful spirit, or even ume to ask from you a threefold manifesta- waning pulpit attractions, when associated with ion of it.
a still healthful, experienced, and spiritual mi1. In the first place, you will habitually and nistry? Execrable inhumanity and ingratitude ! arefully guard against an opposite treatment, or “ Beloved, we are persuaded better things of
pinion, of faithful Ministers, because of their you.” Deal by such men, speak of them, feel sometimes humiliating circumstances, or exte- towards them, elders or not, as Scottish Christians, rior. Ashamed of them because of these-you and those most worthy of them in sister-churches, ould not be! Why, they owe them, probably, are reputed to have ever done—and as their to their love for you, and their zeal to bring you services and sacrifices deserve.
For you, or good tidings! Instead of grasping at the world, for your brethren up and down the world, they or spending life in the cultivation and indulgence resign much, risk more, travel far, toil hard, of purely literary tastes, or even burying their are in some instances strangers at their own ministry and their souls alive under heaps of fire-sides, in no few instances go in mean clothes, scholastic lore, they prefer, and they profess, to and live on coarse food; and, after exhausting study the Bible, and the heart, to preach repen- their strength and spirits in the zeal of the tance to sinners, and to watch over the Churches Lord's house--either sink early into the sepulof Jesus Christ. Ashamed of them because of chre, leaving their wives widows, or their these-impossible! As soon could you spurn widow-mothers childless or else live to bury from your door the famished and supplicating almost all their kindred and companions, and soldier, because disfigured with the scars and to see the once verdant village-church-yard fractures incurred in defending you and your covered all over with the hoof-prints of the country from aggression, plunder, and blood- pale horse of Death, until, amidst the multitude shed. As soon could you refuse to take the of graves, their own is with difficulty found, hand of an honest artisan, because tanned and and scarcely affords depth of earth sufficient hardened with the drudgery of preparing for for their shrunk and lone remains. And this, your accommodation the comforts and luxuries we blush to add, often without any competent of life. As soon could you deride the physical provision, while they survive, for the comfort infirmities, the deranged intellects, and the pre- of declining years,—and always with more or mature decay, of the men, whose midnight-la- less of the forlorn feeling, not only of poor bours in the study, or the senate-house, have old men,' but of laid-aside, unserviceable, i enriched your literature, or matured your poli- “supernumerary,” Ministers! Said I, despise tical Constitution. Alžnost might you reproach not such men ? I say rather, reverence them; an Apostle with his “thorn in the flesh," or a honour their humiliation; think the better of Confessor with his prison-attire. Nay, might them for every token and trace of self-denial. you not be ashamed of Him, who was cradled Venerate that brow, bearing, in almost legible in a manger, 'had not' in lonely manhood lines, the faithful transcript of the Church's where to lay His head,' was arraigned and chequered and troublous history—that voice, condemned as a felon, and was “crucified be broken with publishing to you the “good news tween two thieves”! But no—“Blessed is he from a far country”--that hand, tremulous and whosoever is not offended in Me”! For“ surely faltering, as if with having been “ all the day He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sor- long stretched forth” to gather men to Godrows." "How beautiful were the feet of Him," that step, tottering, even now, under other and who, not only brought the Gospel of our salva- heavier burdens than its own! • Beautiful be tion from the very lips of Eternal Mercy, but the feet of them that preach, while yet the * by Himself purged our sins," and obtained for clods at the grave's edge are crumbling and us a plenteous redemption! How sacred His giving way under them, the long-loved 'Gospel passion! How glorious His shame! How of peace!' precious the blood of His Cross ! - Now, re- 2. Secondly, bear their burdens, who bear the member the words of the Lord Jesus, ad- Lord's, and yours. Do this by continual prayer dressed to His chosen Ministers,—“ He that on their behalf; by standing up for them despiseth you, despiseth Me.” But despise' against the workers of iniquity, and working not the learl of these.''Let no man despise with them in every righteous and useful under. their youth, if comparatively young they be; ' taking; and by a systematic contribution, ac
eording to your ability, but for conscience' one or the other. Romans 10 ch., 15, 16 v.; sake—for the love of the Master—in the Ezekiel 33 ch., 30, 31, 32 v.) 'They have just name of the prophets'—not only towards the the same sort of feeling under the preaching of support of those who, with your own approval, the Gospel, by a man of persuasive address, as still “labour among you,” but towards the under the 'enchantment of a well-executed alleviation of a hallowed old age, when they sacred song, or recitative, on the same subare worn out, and so domestic pressures and ject. Now, in the name of God, who will judge anxieties, when they gather up their feet' to you, and of Christ, who shed out the blood die. On whatever branch of Christ's One of His broken heart for your reconciliation, Church you are honoured to bear fruit, be for- have done with trifling about serious things! It ward to sustain those resources, whether pro- is no musical or poetic passion, that we ask duced by a generous literature, or by direct from you; it is no merely personal complaappeal, which are at once the temporal and cency towards your Ministers, that we yearn to spiritual joy of “the husbandman.” In more elicit; but “the obedience of faith” towards ways than one, they will “ abound to your ac- their Gospel, and towards their God. "Believe count.” No Church-scheme of this age is more our report'-embrace our Saviour_have signally just to man, or more certain of accept- Him to rule over you'-esteem His rule a ance with God, than that now nearly consum- good thing,” yea, a “great salvation”-break mated by the Free Church of Scotland,—and league with all His enemies--cast yourselves consummated chiefly through the self-devotion on His merits, and obtain His mercy-and of a beloved Brother, whose name her late fiery “ So shall you bless His pleasing sway, trial bas burnt in upon the heart of her every
And, sitting at His feet,
His laws with all your hearts obey minister, member, and friend,—by which she
With all your souls submit." proposes, having first built up her broken altars And so shall ye be our rejoicing, and we throughout the land, to rekindle a hearth-fire yours, in the day of the Lord Jesus? To Him in the neighbourhood of each, for those who be glory and dominion for ever. Amen! serve and have suffered for them. May God perfect the success of that scheme, and Him-ON THE NEW PLANET ASTRÆA, AND THE SELF have all the glory! 3. Above all, in the last place, compensate When the celebrated Kepler was a very young
HARMONY OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM. them for their personal sacrifices by receiving their official message. Give them “ the the solar system, he attempted to discover if
man, and began to speculate on the harmony of joy,” for which, in lowly and distant imi- there was any regular proportion observed in tation of their Adored Master, they endure the size of the orbits of the planets. Having the cross, and despise the shame.' 0!'hear failed in this attempt, and finding that there them gladly.' Some commentators understand was an extraordinary distance between the the text to represent the people, to whom the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, he supposed that a
new planet existed between these two;* but messengers are sent, as standing on the highest
even with this assumption, he did not succeed mountains of their country, and looking out for in discovering any regular progression in the their arrival. Hence the exclamation of the Pro- distances of the planets. phet : “ How beautiful,” or gladdening, to those Nearly a century ago, the ingenious M. Lamthus elevated and expectant, “ are the feet” bert of Mulhausen, suggested the probability of the first distant appearance, “ of him that a planet existing between Mars and Jupiter;
and in the year 1772, Professor Bode of Berlin, bringeth good tidings! Thy watchmen”
published his celebrated Law of the Planetary they who have been on the watch for him
Distances, which depended on the existence of “ shall lift up the voice, with the voice together such an undiscovered planet. This curious law shall they sing !” Christian hearers, realize will be understood, if we place in a row the this refreshing imagery. Look out for the following numbers, each of which is double of “ Preacher;" value and desire his instructions; the one which precedes it :anticipate every Sabbath and every sermon 0 3 6 12 24
96 1921 with delight; oft as Christ's “ peace” is “ pub- If we now add four to each of these, we shall lished” and assured to you, let your spirits have the following series of numbers, which re. sing for joy; and as 'we preach, so do you present, with tolerable accuracy, the relative believe.' Alas! many there be, who, while distances of the planets from the Sun. they acknowledge, how beautiful are the feet 4 7 10 16 28 52 100 196 of the messenger, and even the words of the message, will not believe' and 'obey' the
* Brewster's Martyrs of Science, p. 208.
Mercury Venus Earth