« ПредишнаНапред »
subject of our decease. What is it? but a departure to our home; for the death of the Son of God was connected with his resuming his glory with the Father. “ Now I go to him that sent me.”
The Lord Jesus Christ will at length come attended by a numerous retinue of saints to judge the world! He will call to the heaven above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people. O may we be found interested in his precious blood and perfect righteousness, that we may lift up our head with joy! Meantime, let us meditate on the glory of Christ, and on the unity of his body the church, part of which are in the church militant, and part in the church triumphant, but all shall eventually assemble around the throne of God.
The saints on earth, and all the dead,
But one communion make;
And of his grace partake.
A SLIGHTED PROMISE.
(From Harris's Great Teacher.) What subject did our Saviour equally rely on to console his disciples, and to fill them with expectation in the prospect of His own departure ? He was in search of the strongest solace; and He had an infinite variety of subjects to choose from ; but out of all that multitude, the topic on which He chose chiefly to insist, was the promise of the Holy Spirit. And what lofty things did He predicate respecting Him! What names of greatness and goodness did He bestow on Him! He made Him the great promise of His new dispensation ! And yet what doctrine, what leading doctrine at least, is less insisted on in the church, than the doctrine of Divine influence ? And consequently what promise is less fulfilled to the church, than the promise of the Spirit ? It is true an occasional sermon is preached on the subject, just to satisfy the sense of duty, and an occasional restlessness is observable in parts of the church; but alas! it is a starting in sleep, rather than an awaking out of it; like the spasmodic motions of a person who is visited in sleep by the reproachful remembrance of an important duty, which he has consciously neglected; it is the involuntary agitations of the slumbering church, convulsively answering to the unwelcome reproaches of the unslumbering conscience. Other prophecies are considered; but the promise of tke Spirit, the great unfulfilled prophecy of the gospel, is doomed by general consent to stand over for future consideration. Other blessings are desired; but this, which would bring all blessings in its train ; which is offered in an abundance, corresponding to its infinite plenitude, an abundance of which the capacity of the recipient is to be the only limit; of this we are satisfied with just so much as will save our sleep from deepening into death. Each falling shower-consecrated emblem of Divine influence-the scantiest that moistens the thirsty earth, descends more copiously than the offered influences of the Holy Spirit, and reproaches us with the spiritual drought of the church. And so long have we accustomed ourselves to be content with little things, that we have gone far in disqualifying ourselves for the reception of great things; the revivals of the new world are still regarded by many " as idle tales."
That the doctrine of Divine influence has a place in the creed of the faithful, we admit; but it is one thing to assent to its truth and importance, and a very different thing to have a deep and practical persuasion of it. That the Holy Spirit is at present imparted to the church, to a certain degree, is evident from its existence. For every believer is the production of the Spirit, carries about in his own person signatures and proofs of Divine operations; and thus forms an epitome and pledge of the eventual conversion of the world. But as to the measure in which this Divine influence is afforded—who has not deplored its scantiness? From the earliest dawn of the reformation to the present hour, this has been the great burden of the church. What writer, of even ordinary piety, has not bewailed and recorded it as the standing reproach and grief of his day? Look back, and what do you behold ?-a procession of mourners, nearly all the living and eminent piety of the time, dressed in penitential sackcloth, moving through the cemetery of the church as through a Golgotha, and exclaiming in tears, “ Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain that they may live ?” What do you behold ? “ the priests, the ministers of the Lord sanctifying a fast, calling a solemn assembly," lamenting that so few attend the solemn call, and then advancing a mournful train, casting themselves down, and lying prostrate at the foot of the throne of grace, and as the representatives of the church, exclaiming, “ Behold, O Lord, a poor company of creatures gasping for life! thy Spirit is vital breath ; we are ready to die if thy Spirit breathe not. Pity thine own offspring, thou Father of mercies. Take from us: keep from us what thou wilt; but, 0, withhold not thine own spirit!”.
Such were the actual terms in which the great and pious Howe led the supplications of a solemn assembly, in his day, convened to cry for the Spirit. And has it not been on the lips of the mourners in Zion, an unbroken procession ever since? And does it not express the sense of the church in the present day?
In the gardens of the Palais Royal and the Luxembourg, at Paris, is a specimen of this contrivance invented by one Rousseau. A burning-glass is fixed over the vent of a cannon, so that the sun's rays at the moment are concentrated by the glass, on the priming, and the piece is fired. The burning-glass is regulated, for this purpose, every month.
One of the Readers in connexion with the Moravian Mission in Ireland, thus writes:
“ Visited some families in a distant part of the country, where I had not been before. Most of them I think are Roman Catholics. In one of the houses an old woman said, “ a great many of our sort of people believe that the Priests can pardon their sins, but I do not think they can do any such thing. I have faith to believe that they can lay evil spirits and do things like that better than other ministers, that is what they are the best at; but I doubt it would pinch them to pardon my sins.” I replied she was perfectly right in thinking them unable to forgive sin, for that was not in the power of any man. I read the 33rd chapter of Ezekiel, where the duties of the watchman and of those
he went to warn, are pointed out. "Aye,” said the old woman, less I lie; I just thought they would have to do their part as well as we. But, man, that is very encouraging to the poor sinner to think that if he turns from his sins, the Lord will pardon him.” Turning to a woman who sat near her, she added, “I knowed rightly, that the Priest could only tell us our duty, but could not save us; and well it will be for him if he tells us the truth, because if he does not, you hear he will have to smart for it.”
CHRIST THE TRUE WAY.
Was asked by a Roman Catholic, to whom I addressed my prayers. I answered, “To God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” He replied, “You are quite wrong there for you ought to pray to some of the Angels, who are not just so great as He is. Sure, if you wanted the King of England to do something for you, would you not ask some of his servants to deliver your message, who were in attendance upon him ?” I answered; “If the king made me welcome to make known my case to himself, by sending out a proclamation, that all his subjects were at liberty to come and speak face to face with him and make known to him all their grievances; should I not be foolish indeed, if I trusted to any of his servants to plead my cause before him, when I might do it myself ? Perhaps the servant would forget all I said, or would not take the trouble of telling the king, whereas if I went myself there would be no fear of this. If the poor distressed widow, whose case is related by the Evangelist Luke, had sent to that wicked and unjust judge some servant who did not know or feel for her, no doubt she would have been but little better for it. But she went herself to the judge, and so obtained from him what she wanted. In like manner we should pray to God and Him alone, for we have every encouragement to do so, We no where in the scriptures read of any praying to saints or angels. In the 55th Psalm we read as follows, “evening, morning and at noon will I pray and cry aloud, and He (God) shall hear my voice," I brought forward a great many proofs from scripture to confirm what I had said. To these he opposed the sayings of priests, and broke off the conversation by saying : I
may as well quit you, for I see you will have your own way.” I told him it was the scripture way and not mine, which I so strongly recommended as being the right and only way.
The time of my departure is at hand."
2 Tim, iv, 6.
The strife will soon be over,
The conflict soon be past,
a restless rover,
That warn me hence away ;
Nor shall I long delay!
My heart its care is losing,
Much loss no grieving brings,
Of Heaven and heavenly things ;
With strange yet welcome sighs,
What beckoning forms arise,
Mingles with every joy,
Grief ceases to annoy ;
I wait the Judge of all,
Lo ! I expect His call.
Of my approaching fate,
I have no time to hate.
Are melting fast away, Before the bright revealings
Of Heaven's eternal day.!