Page images

every reason to be thankful for the choice which by divine grace you have made, and to be confirmed in it. Well may you go forward, saying with the Psalmist, “ Happy is the people that is in such a case : yea, happy is that people whose God is the Lord."


O Almighty Lord, and everlasting God, vouchsafe, we beseech Thee, to direct, sanctify, and govern, both our hearts and bodies, in the ways of Thy laws, and in the works of Thy commandments; that, through Thy most mighty protection both here and ever, we may be preserved in body and soul; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." Amen.


O Merciful and Gracious God, I desire to bless and praise Thee for Thy great goodness in bringing me to the knowledge of Thyself in Jesus Christ, and for planting my feet in the way of righteous

Thou hast in great compassion and loving kindness delivered me from the dominion of my spiritual enemies, enriched me with the blessings of redeeming love, and opened before me the prospect of eternal glory and happiness. But it yet remains, O Lord, that I pass over the land of my pilgrimage, the wilderness of human life; in which I shall be subject to various events and trials. How often shall I hear Thy truth verified, and thy faithful people degraded! How, often shall I see the wicked prosperous and triumphant, while Thy servants, and perhaps myself, are depressed and afflicted! Here, O gracious Father, I think of my own folly and weakness and corruption; and look onward to the future with solicitude. But Thou art my refuge and support: Thou canst preserye me, and keep me steadfast in the faith: and this Thou wilt do, if I look to Thee, trust in Thee, and call upon Thee. Help me, then, to commit myself unto Thee unreservedly. Enlighten my mind, strengthen my principles, purify my affections, and grant that my soul may always follow hard after Thee. Grant that by Thy grace I may be strong in the faith, ascribing glory to Thee, enjoying every comfort with a grateful heart, bearing every trial with a truly resigned spirit, and endeavouring in all things to keep my conscience void of offence towards God and towards man.

ness, life,

and peace.

Let invisible things be habitually present to my mind: and let me always act upon earth, unseduced, unterrified, unshaken, unaffected, by all that I see or hear, as one who is looking to, and preparing for, a glorious inheritance in the everlasting Canaan above. Grant this, I beseech Thee, O gracious Father, for the sake of Thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


“ What have I left, that I should stay and groan ?

The most of me to heaven is fled :
My thoughts and joys are all packed up and gone,
And for their old acquaintance plead.

O show Thyself to me,
Or take me up to Thee!”—Herbert.

“ Admit immortal life,
And virtue is knight-errantry no more :
Each virtue brings in hand a golden dower,
Far richer in reversion: hope exults,
And, though much bitter in our cup is thrown,
Predominates, and gives the taste of heaven.”


I am not aware that any one line can be laid down to show the course of an individual from a thoughtless and sinful to a thoughtful and holy life. The history of the first stages of piety is exceedingly different in different persons. Not only is this the case, but the apprehensions of the same truths, or what I may call spiritual consciousness, is during life very different in different Christians. Piety is substantially the same thing in all who possess it; but, from the agency of numberless causes, it has an inconceivable circumstantial variety of complexion and character. Let no true Christian, therefore, be dissatisfied with himself, merely because he does not see and feel all truths exactly in the same manner as some say that they see and feel them.

Further, I do not see how any definite time can be laid down, when Christians are to arrive at peace and satisfaction in piety. Some obtain true repose in a short period: some are a long time before they obtain it. As a general remark, it may be said, that extremes of any kind are not pleasing. They create a suspicion that too much natural feeling is at work, or that human opinions have an undue influence. If the growth be rapid, we ask, Is not Imagination here? If it be too slow, we ask, Is not either error, or indolence, or inconsistency here? Plants that flourish only for a short season, have a rapid growth --but trees that live through ages grow slowly. If, however, there be life, we are perplexed if we do not see sure tokens of it.

I suppose, my young readers, that you have made such attainments in piety as to be satisfied with your having, through grace, chosen the good part. You know so much of the truth, mercy, and power of the gospel, as to be unfeignedly thankful to God for the great things which He has done for you.

Suppose that you view a traveller, or a pilgrim. He began his journey in the morning. The country through which his road lay was strange to him. He had heard odd, vague, and contradictory reports concerning it. He was compelled, however, to enter upon his journey. He left his home. Some laughed at him, and some persuaded him to be satisfied where he was, and some advised him to delay for a season, until he had thought more about his purpose. He probably had some misgiving thoughts, and some anxious feelings; but he listened to no dissuading voices. He set out: and what was the first stage? and how did it end? The sun was only just above the horizon: thick clouds covered its glorious orb: deep mists shrouded the mountains and the valleys: he saw but a very little way before him: his path was sometimes thorny and sometimes miry. He was often perplexed, and often dispirited. But there was a conviction in his breast, that he must go forward: and forward he went with mingled feelings of hope and fear, of calmness and disquietude. He occasionally arrived at a stately tree, beneath whose arms he could repose ; he sometimes saw a verdant and flowery spot that delighted his eyes;: and he sometimes lighted on a spring whose waters quenched his thirst. Thus he was comforted, and he eherished the hope that he should arrive at some altogether pleasing district. He still advanced; and at length the thick clouds begun to break, and now and then he was cheered with the light of the sun: the mists vanished from the hills and valleys; and he found himself on the borders of a fine

« PreviousContinue »