Page images

and make it honourable, that its authority shall not be impaired, nor his regard for it made to seem less and his holiness doubtful, when he forgives the transgressor. He comes, too, in the person of Jesus, that he may bridge as it were the chasm between ourselves and Him; that he may manifest before us his wisdom and his holiness, the might of his power, the fulness of his knowledge, the perfectness of his love; that he may bring to the mind the spiritual truth that concerns it most nearly; that he may leave a perfect example for our imitation; that by his ascension from the grave, he may establish the fact of the resurrection and the future life; that through his assumption of human nature he may open a living way by which we may arise into union with the Divine: and finally, that through the influences of the Holy Spirit sent to us from above to consummate his work, we may be renewed in the spirit of the mind, and prepared completely for his presence in heaven.

It is manifest, then, that in order that any soul may be profited by Christ, it must give itself to him, to learn of him, to be guided by his law, to do his will, to be filled with his Spirit, to be transformed into his likeness. An intellectual conviction of the reality of his mission, or of its majesty and wonderfulness, will of itself profit one nothing. An earnest desire to be saved through him, if it lead to no act of self-dedication, can be of no avail or value. The most intense convictions of sin, the most over

whelming and blinding view of the terrors of the future, or the most rapturous emotions in view of an unattainable heaven, cannot save or help the soul one jot or particle, if it do not freely, in the exercise of that sovereignty over itself with which God has endowed it, devote itself, without reserve or limit, for time and for eternity, to Christ and to his service.

And if it does this, the natural and certain effect is easily apparent. It is received into the favour and love of God. The benefit of the redemption which Christ has made inures to it. For his sake to whom it is now devoted it receives forgiveness of its sins, and the complete remission of the penalty it has incurred. Its personal relations to God, as well as its legal or forensic relations, are also at once reversed. Because it has given itself to Christ, God welcomes it as a child. It has no longer the spirit of bondage to fear, but the spirit of adoption, and can cry henceforth,“Abba, Father.” Prayer thus becomes to it, so soon as it wakes to the perception of its own state, an inestimable privilege. The Scriptures are invested with 'strange and celestial light, as God is felt to be speaking through them. A sweet serenity and tranquil peace-the peace of God which floweth like a river - enters the mind. A new life opens before it; a life not of worldly engagements or pleasures, but of prayer, and faith, and effort for Christ. For the first act of free self-dedication to the Redeemer, from its very na. ture, will commence a series that never can close. Through life the

soul that has truly chosen Christ as its Master and Friend, must seek frequent and ever new communion with him it loves. It will thus feel him near it in its silent musings. It will find him at times as an almost visible Presence, in the words he spake of old to his disciples. It will long for nothing so much as close and constant union with him. When death comes, therefore, it may be welcomed as sent to release the spirit from its clay, and to usher it into the perfect knowledge, the consummated love, the full and radiant glories of Him whom it has here loved, with whom it has communed, whose partial presence has been its joy. A life like this, heaven must close-a heaven of rapturous union with the Saviour and with the Deity in him, and of a participation of his heirship and life, perfected and eternized.

The question, how much feeling is necessary to enable one to be a Christian, is easily answered under the light of the foregoing remarks. He that has perception enough of his own need of salvation and of heaven, to be willing, freely and unreservedly, to give himself to Christ, that he may do his will and be like him, has feeling enough to be a Christian; and if he waits for more, he perils his soul's eternal welfare.

The question, how much influence of the Divine Spirit is needful that one may be a Christian, is answered as readily and with equal clearness. Indeed, the whole history of the Spirit's influence, and the reason of its necessity, comes clearly to view

at just this point. That influence is needful, and it is given, not to supply the want in man of any constitutional faculty which he had not, or now has lost, but just to lead him to be willing to do what otherwise-except as thus awakened and impelled-he would not have the heart to do; to lead him cheerfully to renounce the world and its enjoyments as his chief good, and give himself to Christ. Whenever he feels himself impelled to this, he has the evidence of the presence within him of the Spirit of God. And whenever he does the act to which he is thus drawn, he shows the work of the Spirit accomplished upon his heart.

It will not be understood, of course, that in the preceding remarks we have sketched accurately the conscious experience of every Christian. That experience will be modified, in a degree, by the constitutional temperament, by the previous education, &c., &c. With some, the moment at which they first definitely devote themselves to Christ may be unknown--the purpose forming within them and unfolding itself in action as silently as a ray of light streams from the

With others, it may stand out always, as a distinctly defined and luminous point in their past history. With


may not be faith enough at first, in their own change of purpose, or their acceptance before God, to enable them to enter fully the joy of believers. And others may pass at a single step out of the darkness of the past into the light and blessedness of a clear hope.


[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors]


ABOUT forty years ago one of my children in the Lord called at my cottage with a request from an aged dying man that I would go and see him. His residence was eight or nine miles from where I resided, and it was an awkward road to it, but my friend said he would go with me, as he was well acquainted with the place. When we arrived at the sick man's dwelling, he expressed his great thankfulness to me, and said he would tell me at once why he had wished to see me, and proceeded in the following manner :

“I have a sister who lives in your parish, and about two or three years ago I went one Sunday morning to see her. When I was leaving her, one of the family informed me that you were to preach at Little London that afternoon; and as that village was in my way home, I was pressed to hear you. I did so, and you preached from Eph. ii. 1, and I was deeply impressed, so as I had never been before, while hearing that sermon. I was taught by what you said that we were all in a sinful and lost state, and the only hope there was for us was in the great salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ. From that day Jesus Christ and his dying love have been my only trust; and I have sent for you to tell me whether I am right. I did not send for the curate of our village, when I felt myself a dying man, because I knew how he would speak to me. He would have said, 'James, you have nothing to fear; you have

been an honest, hard-working man, and none have come to church and the sacrament more constantly than you,' &c., &c.

I rejoiced with this penitent sinner, read the word of the Lord, and prayed with him; and after an hour's refreshing conversation, returned home with the poor fisherman who had accompanied me. In a few days I went again to see this heavily-afflicted old man, and to my surprise, and his own astonishment and joy, I found him recovering. I went again, and found him downstairs, and gradually regaining his strength. “Now, Mr. Greatbatch," he said, “I have a request to make to you. This house in which I live is my own, on a lease during my

and I wish you to come and preach here, that my relatives and neighbours may hear the same gospel truths which have been such a blessing to me.” As soon as I could I arranged to do this, and went for a considerable time on the Lord's day in the afternoon, and returned to preach at Churchtown in the evening. I had been dangerously ill a little time before this, and a kind gentleman of Liverpool (Peter Hope, Esq., still living) had made me a present of an Iceland pony; and when it was found that this rather curious little horse was not able, after the morning service, to carry me to Formby, and bring me back in time for my evening sermon, the curate of our parish, who kept a horse of speed, kindly lent his nag to me.

One-half of the inhabitants of Formby were Catholics, and we met with some violent opposition ;



[ocr errors]

but we persevered, and after awhile I hope, by love, to this good work, began a Sabbath-school in a shop and may Jehovah continue to prosbelonging to the kind old man. We

per them! got a little help from Liverpool, We continued our preaching and and one Lord's day our able and the school until the pious old man's ever-willing friend, Dr. Raffles, death, when the premises fell into came to preach there. He has often other hands, and our labours ceased. told me with pleasure that he and I preached my last sermon when he the friend who brought him, on was dying in the chamber above their way to Formby, got their me. When I went to see him, I dinner under a rural hedge. It is found him in a sweet composed delightful work-I know it by ex- frame of mind, and exhorting the perience—thus to love and serve relatives who were about him to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. seek the Lord Jesus while he might

Our Sabbath-school was the first be found, and to call upon him ever attempted in that place. The while he was so near them, in the minister of the Established Church word, and where Christ was being and his friends began a Sunday-'| preached. G. GREATBATCH. school after this, and it continues Southport, to this day. They were provoked,

May 3, 1858.

Biblical Illustration

LEPROSY. “The leprosy, therefore, of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed,

for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow."

2 KINGS V. 27. This was denounced by Elisha ceive any reward or present from a against Gehazi, because he ran person infected with leprosy. after Naaman, who had been cured There are many children born of his leprosy, and told him that white, though their parents are his master had sent him to receive quite black. These are not lepers,

a talent of silver, and two changes but albinos, and are of the same of garments," of which he actually class as the white negroes of Africa. took possession.

To see a man so unlike the rest, There is an account in the Hin- almost naked, walking amongst the doo book, called Seythu-Purana, natives, has an unpleasant effect on of a leper who went to Ramiseram the mind, and induces spectators to to bathe, in order to be cured of his suspect that all has not been correct. complaint. He performed the re- Their skin has generally a slight quired ceremonies, but the priests tinge of red, their hair is light, their refused his offerings. At last a eyes are weak; and when they walk Brahmin came : in the moment of in the sun, they hang down their temptation he took the money, and heads. The natives do not consider immediately the leprosy of the pil- it as a disease, but a birth,—that is, grim took possession of his body! something produced by the sins of

This complaint is believed to a former birth. It is considered to come in consequence of great sin, be a great misfortune to have a child and therefore no one likes to re- of this description, and there is

reason to think that many of them
are destroyed.

The parents of such an infant
believe ruin will come

to their family; and the poor object, if spared, has generally a miserable existence. His name, in Tamul, is Pandan, and this is an epithet assigned to those also who are not white, for the purpose of making

The general name for Europeans in the East is Pranky, which is a corruption of the word Frank-(there is not the letter F in the Tamul alphabet). Hence those white Hindoos are, by way of contempt, called Pranky. Should a man wbo is going to transact important business meet one of them

on the road, it will be considered a very bad sign; and he will not enter into the transaction till another day. Should a person who is giving a feast have a relation of that description, he will invite him; but the guests will not look upon him with pleasure. Women have a great aversion from them, yet some of them marry them; and if they have children, they seldom resemble the father. I have only heard of two white Hindoo females,-a circumstance which leads me to suspect that such infants are generally destroyed at their birth; for, were they allowed to grow up, no one would ask them in marriage.-Roberts.

them angry.


The Counsel Chamber.

[ocr errors]



WITHOUT DELAY. 1. CONSIDER to whom you are to 12. You have more advantages turn-to God.

than former ages or nations. 2. Consider to what you are to 13. Delaying runs a hazard; life turn-to holiness.

is uncertain-grace is uncertain. 3. Consider from what you are

14. It increases your sin. to turn-from sin.

15. It increases God's anger 4. Delaying shows you would

against you. never part from sin, if you might 16. It may damn the soul and your own will.

body for ever. 5. What a case you are in while 17. Time lost by delays is an inthus delaying!

conceivable loss. 6. Delaying gives great advan- 18. God has given no time to tage to the tempter.

spare. 7. It abuses Christ and the Holy 19. Consider the greatness of the Spirit, who may leave you.

work to be done. 8. What is it you stay for ?

20. Many perish, and few turn, 9. The longer you stay, the harder who wilfully delay. the work will be.

21. If turning be necessary, the 10. Sin gets a victory daily by sooner the better. your delay.

22. If you will not, you are with11. Age has inconveniences,youth out excuse. advantages, therefore it is folly to 23. Consider how long you have delay.

stayed already.

« PreviousContinue »