Page images

among us, and the consequence is, we are surrounded with those who profess to bear it. But the flock of Christ is still a little flock, the way to life is as narrow as ever, the gate as strait, and they that go in thereat, are still few.

O, who can tell whether we are among these few! When we look into a professing world, how easy does it appear to be a Christian! but how difficult, when we enter our closets, and look into the Word of God! Which shall, in the end, prove a discerner, cannot be doubtful. God will be true, and will manifest his truth, though every man should be found a liar. What matters it to me, then, that I think myself a Christian? -I am not to be my own judge. What matters it to me, that my neighbours think me to be a child of God?-I am not to stand at their judgment-seat. God is the Judge of all, and he will be my Judge, and will try me, not by my own standard, not by the opinion of the world, but by the law, and the testimony, and by the declaration of his own Word. Let me, therefore, search my heart, and try my thoughts by the same rule now, by which I shall be searched and tried hereafter. And what if the Bible should condemn me? Let me not shut my eyes to the truth. What if it should tell me, that I must part with my beloved sins, or give up my hope of glory? Is it not better to have iniquity cast out in this world, though it be with bitterness and tears, than to have it torment me for ever in the next? Is it not better to lose a lust, than to lose a soul? to give up the pleasures of sin, than to sacrifice the joys of heaven? Is it not more profitable to cut off a right hand-or pluck out a right eye-to have one of my members perish-than to have the whole body cast into hell?



OUR whole life should speak nothing but thankfulness; every condition and place we are in should be a witness of our thankfulness; this will make the times and places we live in the better for us. When we ourselves are monuments of God's mercy, it is fit we should be patterns of his praise, and leave monuments to others. We should think life is given us to do something better than to live in; we live not to live; our life is not the end of itself, but the praise of the Giver. God hath joined his glory and our happiness together; it is fit we should refer all that is good to his glory, who hath joined his glory to our best good, in being glorified in our salvation. Praise is a just and due tribute for all God's blessings; for what else do the best favours of God especially call for at our hands? How do all creatures praise God, but by our mouths ? It is a debt always owing-always paying; and the more we pay, the more we shall owe. Upon the due discharge of this debt, the soul will find much peace. A thankful heart to God for his blessings, is the greatest blessing of all. Were it not for a few gracious souls, what honour should God have of the rest of the unthankful world! which should stir us up the more to sound the trumpet of God's praise, in the midst of his enemies; because this (in some sort) hath a prerogative above our praising God in heaven, for there God hath no enemies to dishonor him.



If there is a sufficiency in God, it is our duty to depend upon him. The greatest honor we can give to God at present is to believe his word, to rely on his wisdom, grace, faithfulness, and power; to go to him for what we want; to look to him as our all, that he is, and has engaged for us; and if so, how should we be humbled, that God is no more honored by us in this way;-what sinful staggerings-what provoking ingratitude-what perplexing distrust!-The Lord pardon our folly, and give us that wisdom which leads the soul into more intimate union with him, and cordial dependence on him!




WHERE is the man, whose condition does not give him a claim on the forbearance of his brethren? numerable evils are compassing us about. Pain and sickness, disappointments and trials, losses and troubles, are day by day the portion of our cup; and when we have struggled through a few more years of care and sorrow we, shall lie down in the darkness of the grave. Shall we then, in such a situation as this, delight in harassing each other? Shall the mariners, whom a raging tempest is tossing, and whose vessel is about to be dashed to destruction, spend the few fearful moments of life that are left them, in mutual animosities and insults? Is man so happy, and is his life so extended, that he needs our persecutions, to remind him that he is fallen and guilty? Alas, no! So wretched

is his condition, that the very God, who is afflicting him, pities him in his sufferings, and calls upon his brethren to pity him also, to be tender-hearted towards him, and, for his sake, to share his burdens, and weep with him in his sorrows. Let our common miseries, then, put an end to our contentions. Let us regard each other as suffering and dying, and be anxious to lessen, instead of aggravating, the ills which assail us. Let us not wound the criminal who is groaning on the rack, nor bruise, to-day, the worm that will be crushed to-morrow.



WERE the object of prayer to make God acquainted with our wants, prayer were a ridiculous exercise; for the Omniscient is better acquainted with our wants than we are ourselves. Were its object to recommend ourselves to God, then it were a presumptuous exercise; for prayer includes in it a confession of guilt and misery. Were its object to press our case on the notice and feelings of God, then it were an impious exercise; for it would be a reflection on his mercy, and would seem to imply that he did not care sufficiently for us. But, the object of prayer is, to acknowledge our dependence upon God-to put his goodness to the proof. Prayer is not confined to men, nor to Christians; the inferior parts of the creation also engage in it. The ravens 66 CRY" to God, and he heareth them creatures "WAIT" on him, that they may receive their meat in due season. There is a desire in all who live and breathe, and this desire, according to their capacity, is prayer to the Author of their being. The


neglect of prayer is a most dangerous feeling in the human mind; it springs from pride, and it is a denial of the homage due to God. The lamb kneels as it sucks its parent ewe; to teach man to bow before the source of all his supplies. This homage of our minds must precede our reception of the various blessings of Divine mercy. Those who are hungry and thirsty, will most relish meat and drink; the sick will most value health; those who are in bondage, will be most eager for liberty; and a sense of want will make us best relish the blessings of salvation. It is painful to a minister of the Gospel, who has laboured many years among a people, to see any deficiency in this respect, and to be obliged to urge the necessity and importance of prayer; but the depravity of the human heart seems to render this often necessary.


EJACULATORY prayer differs from all the rest in that it is not dependent upon either place, or time, or occasion.

It is dependent upon no place. Prayer is founded upon a full conviction of the natural perfection of the Almighty; his omnipresence, omniscience, and omnipotence. On the conviction that the object of prayer is every where present, that he is ever near, ever ready, ever inclined to hear those who put their trust in Him, and that we may in every place make known our requests; the industrious mechanic, while the sweat of labour is pouring from his brow-the sailor, while he walks the deck-the soldier, when he stands on watch the watchman, while he walks his rounds, and all around are sunk in balmy sleep-the merchant, either when he enters the exchange, or attends to his numerous avocations-the solitary traveller, while passing through a lonely or dangerous journey-each,

« PreviousContinue »