Page images

me in the house; and the attend- known by self-denying good works, | ance on the ordinances of worship and not by the rise and fall of the

is, in God's sight, very important. thermometer. (See Heb. x. 25.)

20. Because I know not how many 11. Because, among the crowd of more Sabbaths God may still vouchpleasure-seekers, I see that no bad safe me; and it would be a poor weather keeps the delicate female preparation for my first Sabbath in from the ball, the party, or the con- heaven to have slighted my last cert.

Sabbath on earth. 12. Because, among other pleasures, such weather will show me upon what foundation my faith is

GOOD RESOLUTIONS. built. It will prove how much I love Christ; for true love rarely Who will strive to keep them during fails to keep an appointment. the year 1858, by the assistance of

13. Because I fear that my clothes Divine grace ? might suffer, shows that I think more 1. I will strive constantly to keep of them than of that beauty of holi- in mind that I am not my own: ness which God so approves.

“Ye are not your own: for ye are 14. Because I am Christ's sol-bought with a price; therefore glodier, signed with his cross; and he rify God in your body, and in your is a poor soldier who retreats to his spirit, which are God's," 1 Cor. vi. house because of a cloud.

19, 20. 15. Because, though my excuses 2. I will pray not less than twice satisfy myself, they still must un- or thrice every day this year:“Thou, dergo God's scrutiny; and I must when thou prayest, enter into thy be well grounded to bear that. (See closet; and when thou hast shut Luke xiv. 16 )

thy door, pray to thy Father which 16. Because there is a special is in secret,” Matt. vi. 6; “ Evening, promise, where only two or three morning, and at noon, will I pray, | meet together in God's name, he is and cry aloud; and he shall hear in the midst of them.

my voice," Psa. lv. 17. 17. Because absence from the 3. I will read every day a portion house of God, for reasons which of God's word, for purposes of dewould not keep me from going to votion and self-application : “As buy a pencil on week days, must new-born babes, desire the sincere be discouraging to all true friends, milk of the word, that ye may grow of the church, particularly its mi- thereby,” 1 Pet. ii. 2 ; " The sword nister.

of the Spirit, which is the word of 18. Because an avoidable absence God,” Eph. vi. 17; “Search the from worship is an infallible evidence Scriptures," John v. 39. of spiritual decay. Disciples first fol- 4. I will endeavour constantly to low Christ at a distance, and then, watch over my thoughts, words, and like Peter, do not know him. actions: “Watch and pray, that ye

16. Because my faith is to be enter not into temptation," Matt.


[ocr errors]

xxvi. 41 ; “What I say unto you, I belonged exclusively to sinners." say unto all, Watch," Mark xii. 37. But it is not so. Do we not read in

5. When I know my duty, in God's Ezek. xxxvi. 37: “Thus saith the strength I will do it: “ Lord, what Lord God, I will yet for this be inwilt thou have me to do ?” Acts quired of by the house of Israel to ix. 6.

do it for them?By the house of 6. I will do nothing of the law- Israel-that is, by his people—by fulness of which I have doubts, un- the church. You see that God reless I doubt as strongly the lawful- quires and expects his coverianted ness of its omission : “Whatsoever people to inquire. It is true that is not of faith is sin,” Rom. xiv. 23. saints do not make the same inquiry

7. I will, every day this year, that sinners do. The latter ask what direct at least one thought to Geth- they must do to be saved, whereas semane and Calvary, where Christ the inquiry of Christians is, “Wilt suffered for me; and to heaven, thou not revive us again ?” It is a where he waits to receive me. (See blessed state of things when the Isa. liii. ; Luke xxii., xxiii.; John people of God are inquiring. It is xviii., xix.) “In my Father's house good for themselves, and it has a are many mansions ; if it were not most benign influence on others. so, I would have told you. I go to When the people of God inquire, prepare a place for you. And if I presently the impenitent begin to go to prepare a place for you, I will inquire. That question,“ Wilt thou come again, and receive you unto not revive us?” is soon followed myself; that where I am, there ye by the other, “What must I do to may be also," John xiv. 2, 3; “ For be saved ?Yes, when saints be. our conversation is in heaven, from come anxious, it is not long ere sin.. whence also we look for the Saviour, ners become anxious. The inquiry the Lord Jesus Christ,”. Phil. iii. 20. of three thousand on the day of

8. I will every day call to mind Pentecost, “Men and brethren, what that this year I may die: “This shall we do?was preceded by the year thou shalt die,” Jer. xxviii. 16. inquiry of the one hundred and

9. I will read over these resolu- twenty, who “all continued with tions at least once a week.

one accord in prayer and supplication.” Generally, I suppose, that

is the order; first saints inquire, and INQUIRING SAINTS.

then sinners. And whenever, in I was asked the other day whether any congregation, religion does not I had had any recent meeting for flourish, one principal reason of inquirers. I replied that I had not it is, that the saints are not in quiring. —that there were few inquiring sin- They do not attend the inquiry. ners in the congregation; and I meeting appointed for them. The judged the reason to be, that there saints'inquiry-meeting is the prayerwere few inquiring saints. “In meeting. In that Christians meet quiring saints ! that is a new phrase. together to inquire of the Lord “ to We always' supposed that inquiring do it for them "—that is, to fulfil


[ocr errors]

the promise about the new heart noticing is alone and looks to itself and the new spirit, of which he had for all good. It is an eye that makes been speaking. Now, when this no use of seeing. meeting is crowded and interesting There is a disposition observable -when the inquiry among Chris- in some to view unfavourably everytians is general, and earnest, and thing that falls under their notice. importunate the sinners' inquiry- They seek to gain confidence by meeting usually becomes crowded always differing from others in and interesting.

judgment, and to depreciate what Oh, that I could make my voice they allow to be worthy in itself by to be heard by all the dear people of hinting at some mistake or imperGod in the land on this subject! Ifection in the performance. You would say: You wonder and lamentare too lofty or too low in your manthat sinners do not inquire; but are ners; you are too frugal or too you inquiring? You wonder that taciturn or too free in your speech ; they do not feel; but do you feel ? and so of the rest. Now guard Can you expect a heart of stone to against this tendency. Nothing will feel, when a heart of flesh does not? more conduce to your uncomfortYou are surprised that sinners can ableness than living in the neighsleep; it is because you sleep along- bourhood of ill-nature, and being side of them. Do you but awake, familiar with discontent. The disand bestir yourselves, and look up position grows with indulgence, and and cry to God, and you will see is low and base in itself; and if any how soon they will begin to be should be ready to pride themselves roused, and to look about them, and on skill and facility in the science, to ask the meaning of your solici- let them remember that the acquitude. Oh, that the saints would but sition is cheap and easy; a child can inquire !-W. Nevins.

deface and destroy; dulness and stupidity, which seldom lack inclina

tion or means,can furnish ignorance, A CARPING SPIRIT.

prejudice, and envy with a handle A criticising, carping, detracting of reproach. disposition is one of the most useless and damaging that can be. It is

THE LOCK. always the offspring of depravity, and lives on it. It corrupts all it A lock was shown to Gotthold, touches; it mars all beauty, and constructed of rings, which were labours under the disability of en- severally inscribed with certain letjoying or finding any good. It is a ters, and could be turned round malignantemptiness, having nothing until the letters represented the in itself, and nothing to enjoy in name “ Jesus.” It was only when others. Benevolence can enrich it the rings were disposed in this manself in its estimation of the good of ner that the lock could be opened. others, it can take part in all good The invention pleased him beyond motions; but this leanness we are measure, and he exclaimed, “Oh!















[blocks in formation]



Personal Religion.


The issuing of the first Number of a New Year awakens in our bosoms more than the usual measure of solemnity which always attends that service. Divers circumstances have united of late to bring very near to us that Eternity which we are all approaching and must shortly enter. We every day see more and more the importance of living by the hour, or rather the minute, and in everything of setting the Lord always before us. The children of this world are still wiser in their generation than the children of light. The close of a year among them is always accompanied with great labour, in order to ascertain the state of their temporal affairs. This is the dictate alike of reason and experience, and in the highest degree praiseworthy, since neglect would inevitably prove fatal to the interests of commerce, and fill the world with ruin. Mercantile concerns which, from adverse circumstances, are in peril, by the adoption of timely measures may not only be saved, but restored to prosperity. Wherever danger is possible, the extent of it ought immediately to be ascertained; rather to shun than to search for it betrays something improper, or bespeaks the most culpable infatuation.

Now the principle here set forth applies in the fullest extent to the concerns of the soul. Whatever be a man's spiritual state, no evil can arise from the discovery of it; while to remain in ignorance may be to sink into perdition! Even where all is right, it is a great matter to be assured of it, and correctly to

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »