Page images

for spiritual life ; your actions, for good works. Make deductions for all the alloy of human nature which you have mingled with them.

“ That which is born of the flesh is flesh: and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." What is derived from above constitutes the reality of piety. If you are timid and doubting, you may sink below your measure of reality: if you are animated and volatile, you will be apt to outstrip it. A right view of this subject will keep you from thinking more highly of yourselves than you ought. It is far better to grow slowly under the care of your living Head, than to grow with apparent rapidity by the fervour of the excited heart.

6. Remember Activity. True piety is practical. This you see and feel. Most undoubtedly you are not to reduce religion to notions, feelings, and imaginations. “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit."

Beware of idleness : be young labourers in the vineyard. In your sphere, and according to your means and opportunity, adorn and recommend the gospel by doing all you can for the glory of God and the benefit of man.

7. Remember Prudence. Show me an instance in which our blessed Lord was imprudent either in word or deed, and I will blot prudence. out of the vocabulary of religion. Peter was imprudent: and you see in him something of what an impru

" He

dent character is. By imprudence in language, in conduct, in adopting opinions, in forming connections, what sad work do many young Christians often make in religion! Always let Knowledge go before you, and show you the path in which you are to walk. Feelings are good helpers ; but they are miserable guides. The all-wise God can only approve what is wise in His children. Own this practically. Admit the supremacy of Wisdom: converse much with her: then let the affections be kindled, and they will give the heart a salutary glow,

8. Remember Fear, Humility, and Dependance. “ Blessed is the man that feareth always." giveth more grace to the humble.” “ Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths." By Fear, I mean a Reverence for God; and a fear of falling into sin : by Humility, a just sense of man's sin, fulness, weakness, and frailty : by dependance, a true reliance on God for all blessings. Christian fear is not slavish dread, but salutary filial awe. Christian humility is not a mean and dispiriting feeling, but a just sense of ourselves. Christian dependance is not inactive recumbence, but an habitual reference to the source of all good, compatible with the fullest exercise of all our active powers. Such a frame of mind is a Christian frame of mind, pleasing to God, happy as to oure selves, and beneficial to others,

it, you

Thus I have shown you what I think to be the wise and judicious course; of which, if you adopt

will receive the benefits in due time. Religion is perfection: perfection as to truth, life, and order. This cannot be denied: and therefore it must be perverse in any of us not to attend to that perfection, but to corrupt it or distort it by the errors of our minds, by the fervours of our hearts, by the vagaries of our imaginations, and by the irregularities of our conduct. Further, we are most happy and prosperous in religion, and we most adorn it and promote its interests, when we walk wisely, and carefully watch over our wayward hearts. It is only by attending to Wisdom that we shall inherit substance. Prov. viii. 21.


O Lord, we beseech Thee mercifully to receive the prayers of Thy people which call upon Thee; and grant that they may both perceive and know what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfil the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord." Amen.


O Gracious Lord God, Thoụ knowest my

weak, ness and perverseness, and how unable I am to proceed in a right path without Thy special grace. Thou hast in Thy great mercy brought me from a state of slavery and sin into the kingdom of Thy dear Son. The light of day is around me: a region which it is delightful to contemplate lies before me. I am in many respects a new creature, in a new spiritual condition: but there are many seeds of evil within me. How, then, shall I conduct myself aright, advancing in prosperous piety, and adorning the Gospel? It is only by wisdom from above that I can be truly wise-only by power from above that I can be strong-only by Thy grace that I can rule myself, and act as a true disciple of the blessed Jesus. O merciful Father, perfect that good work which, I humbly trust, Thou hast begun in me. Keep me from a heedless and unreflecting mind, from vain talk, from foolish fancies, from imprudent conduct, and from a proud spirit. Make me thoughtful, cautious, and silent; sober, prudent, circumspect, and humble. Let me study, and pray, and strive to be such in all respects as I ought to be: and thus may I be a follower of Christ with wisdom and consistency, as well as with simplicity and sincerity of mind and heart, to Thy glory, the good of my own soul, and the benefit of others. O grant that I may duly improve Thy goodness to me, firmly persevering in substantial piety, that I may at all times bless and magnify Thee for Thy sustaining, controlling, and guiding power. Mercifully hear and answer my petitions, for the sake of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.


« Not virtue's self is deified on earth ;
Virtue has her relapses, conflicts, foes ;
Foes, that ne'er fail to make her feel their hate.
Virtue has her peculiar set of pains.
True friends to virtue, last, and least, complain ;
But if they sigh, can others hope to smile?
If wisdom has her miseries to mourn,
How can poor folly lead a happy life?”— Young.

“Our Christian merchant labours. He prosecutes the dictates of spiritual wisdom, with a work of faith, and labour of love. It is not empty wishes, and velleities, yawning and drowsy desires, that can make a merchant or Christian rich: much pains must be taken with an evil heart, a sluggish spirit, a stubborn will, impetuous passions, and active enemies."

Bp. Reynolds.

You may have observed, my young readers, that
I address

in what


be called a cautionary method. I have been led to this from my experience of human life, and from the observations that I have made on what I have seen and heard. I rejoice to see feeling, courage, and decision shown by the pupils of divine truth: but if I see

« PreviousContinue »