Page images

and pray for them. Let it be seen in all my conduct, that I regard Thee and Thy holy word, and that I study to act in agreement with Thy will. Enable me to consider and to own the claims of all, and cheerfully to act under a due sense of them, that I may adorn religion, enjoy Thy presence and favour, and have true satisfaction and peace

in my own soul. Grant this, I beseech Thee, O heavenly Father, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Redeemer and Advocate. Amen.



A Christian dwells, like Uriel, in the sun;
Meridian evidence puts doubt to flight;
And ardent hope anticipates the skies."— Young.

“As soon as an alarm is given, I cast my eye over the leading evidences of the Scriptures . . . I likewise contemplate facts and experience ..... and soon obtain

repose. Like a man who is told that the foundaion of his house is in danger, I call for the key of the vaults on which my dwelling stands. I light a candle, walk down stairs, and pass very deliberately through the arches : I examine very particularly the arch suspected; and after having satisfied myself, that the foundation remains perfectly safe, I walk up again, lock the door, hang up the key, put out the candle, and quietly go about my business, saying as I go— They may raise an alarm, but I find all is safe.”— Cecil.

Supposing you, my young readers, to be established in piety, I cannot be blind to the fact, that you will be exposed to various trials of which at present you have no conception. It is therefore, a matter of great importance, that you should be fully convinced of the excellence of your choice, so that you may be completely persuaded in your own minds, that you have every reason, whatever may occur, to proceed in your righteous course, through divine grace, with steadfast hearts and with unwearied feet.—Here, then, let me suggest a few thoughts, which, if duly improved, may induce you to cleave to the Lord with full purpose of soul through all the changes of this mortal life,

1. Be fully persuaded that the foundation of your faith is firm. Those who are hostile to the gospel, and indifferent about spiritual things, insinuate, or openly assert, the equality of all religions, and consequently that it is impossible to know what religion to choose. This is overthrowing Christianity at once. I have not spoken in this work on the subject of Evidence: but I would here observe, that it may be useful, if you have time, talents, and opportunity, to read some work on Evidences. As real believers, you do not want this for yourselves, since the divine work of the gospel on your own souls is to you a proof of its divine origin-you have the witness in yours selves. Can the book that has brought salvation to your souls, that has raised you from death to life, from slavery to liberty, from earth to heaven, be a human fabrication? Undoubtedly it cannot. But to guard you against the sophistry of vain persons,


bę well for you to see that Christians believe in what rests upon clear, strong, and manifold evidence. You will find, on thought and inquiry, that you ought never to be in the slightest:

degree affected by the bold and rash assertions of the sceptie. The speculations of science respecting our globe-the history of the human species—the traditions and customs of all nations—all sound investigations of the moral world—the analogy between the constitution of things and the doctrines of revelations—miracles—the fulfilment of prophecy—the moral character and operations of revelation-in a word, the whole world without, and the whole world within, declare, with a voice that cannot but be heard by all, excepting those who are wilfully deaf, that the Bible is from God. The more you study this subject, the more clearly will you see, and the more powerfully will you be convinced, in the joy and gratitude of your hearts, that the believer has ample evidence for those truths on which he builds his eternal hopes. It is not for us to say by what unhappy process, mental and moral, the sceptic, who proudly boasts of reason, is led to believe that that book is false which has the strongest and most accumulated evidence of being true. It is certainly difficult to reconcile such disbelief with any thing that deserves to be called reason: nor can the disciple, or rather the victim, of it be entitled to much attention. He may excite in us feelings of astonishment and sorrow: but we must be weak, if he have any power to shake our faith in revelation. Make a right use of your faculties: and as you admit that truth is the mind of God, so you will admit that

powers of its

the mind of God is deposited in the Scriptures, through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.

2. Be fully persuaded that the spiritual reception of the gospel in the riches of its mercy, in the


and in the holiness of its practical requirements, is the only saving reception of it. It is the proud boast of many, who admit the truth of revelation, that they are rational Christians: and it is their calumny against those whom they are pleased to denominate Evangelicals, or Methodists, or Calvinists, that they are irrational Christians—strict, excessive, fanciful. But never shrink for a moment at being accounted irrational for believing what the Bible reveals, for seeking what the Bible offers, and for doing what the Bible enjoins. Assume that the Bible is from God; and it follows, that he acts most truly as a rational and intelligent creature, who forms his mind, heart, and life by the Bible;—not he who bends and modifies revelation according to his own will. If God be our Teacher, it is rational to hear Him: if God be our Lawgiver, it is rational to obey Him;-understanding here by the word rational, that which is conformable to right reason.

There are those who idolize what they call Reason: but the true and right Reason, and the blind, erring, and perverted reason of separate individuals, are very different things; exactly as the holy God and corrupted man are different beings. The true Christian submits to God; and he is the truly rational

« PreviousContinue »