« PreviousContinue »
Richard. You do not know my weakness; I have no strength in me.
Visitor. If I do not know your weakness, I know my own; and if you really have no strength in yourself, perhaps you will be the more ready to say, “In the Lord have I righteousness and strength."
Richard. I am always in bondage through the fear of death.
Visitor. Alas! that is the case with thousands; but if you are desirous to get rid of this fear, call upon the name of the Lord, and he will give you faith, as he has given it to thousands of fearful saints before you, to say, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil : for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they com
Richard. If I had that faith one hour, I verily believe that I should depart from it the next.
Visitor. Not if God's promises to his people are true, for the Lord of life and glory hath said, “I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me."
Richard. You seem to have a salve for every sore ; but after all, I fear that Jesus Christ will not be willing to save
Visitor. I do not know what proof of his willingness you require; but if the fact that he offered up himself a sacrifice on the cross for sinners, be not a proof strong enough, it is not likely that you will ever be favoured with a stronger. Richard, Richard, take these things to heart. Dishonour not God by unbelief. the rone of grace humbly, hopefully, confidingly, that doubts and fears may be taken away, and that hope, and peace, and joy, and praise may abide with you continually.
Call on a young Reprobate. A word in passing, Richard. A day or two ago I saw you making game at the poor idiot boy who lives in the neighbourhood. I had no time to stop and speak to you then, but one word I will leave with you now.
To see an idiot moping away the hours of his youth, without the power of doing anything for himself, or those around him, is a sad sight; but for all that, it is a much sadder sight to see a boy blessed with his faculties, and endued with the ability and opportunity to serve himself and others, wasting his youth in idleness and sin; leading his companions to ruin, and plunging himself headlong to destruction This is a sight at which men may well tremble, and angels look on with wonder and abhorrence. The poor lad that you ridiculed is entitled to pity; but when I call to mind the youth you are wasting, the blessings you are abusing, and the punishments you are bringing on yourself, I cannot help thinking that you, Richard, are a greater idiot than he is.
Call on a simple-hearted Child. Is little Mary at home? Oh, I see you are here, sitting at your book all by yourself, though I dare say that your mother is not far off. I believe that you are a simple-hearted, teachable child, and I wished, as I passed by, just to tell you something pleasing of another young person.
A little girl, about eight years old, brought up by pious parents, came running to her mother one day, weeping:
Mother,” said she, “I am very unhappy; for though I read my Bible, and pray to God through Jesus Christ, my heart is very heavy. Sometimes when I look up at the clear blue sky, I think that I shall go there; but at other times my mind is dark as night, and then I think that I shall go to a wicked place. If God loved me, I do not think he would let me be tried in this way. No; he would tell me, at once, that I should be sure to go to heaven.”
My child,” replied the mother, “whom God loveth he chasteneth, He knows that his children are too weak to bear much, and therefore he does not tell them all his mind. He gives them fears to make them afraid of hell, and precious promises that they may long after heaven.
“Thus God, beneath his watchful eye,
His children still will keep,
And hopeful when they weep.
No doubt need e'er remain;
With Christ above shall reign.”
The little girl wiped her eyes, and cleared her cloudy brow. “Thank you, mother,” said she, “I understand it now, and hope that I shall never again want to know what God thinks it right to keep back from me, but go on trusting Saviour's
for ever.”—I see, Mary, that this little account has pleased you, try to remember it, and one of these days, perhaps, I may call round and tell you
of something else.
Call on a positive Man. You were too positive by half the other day when I left a tract with you. I thought at the time you
wrong, but since then I have been convinced of it. Now, do try to get the better of your positive spirit. It is no disgrace to own a mistake, though a very great one to persist in it. The other day I met with the following paper, written by an humble-minded man. I will leave it with you for your future benefit. “Some people find it a very
hard thing to
say, mistaken;' and will persist in error rather than give up a point, or alter a practice, even when convinced that they were wrong.
This is a very foolish sort of pride. The wisest of men are most deeply convinced of their own ignorance and liability to err; consequently they are the most humble and candid. He who owns himself to have been in an error, only proves himself wiser than he was before; but
seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? There is more hope of a fool than of him.' My whole life has been spent in discovering my own ignorance and mistakes, and endeavouring to correct them; and now that I am an old man, instead of finding more reason than formerly to trust myself, I am every day more and more convinced of the necessity of praying for constant guidance, instruction, and correction from God. This is my daily prayer: 'Search me, O God, and know my heart : try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.' Í hope and trust I shall not be found mistaken at last."
STOP THIEF! “STOP thief! stop thief!” cried half-a-dozen voices at once. “Stop thief? stop thief!” cried out as many more
in addition ; but the thief was not at all inclined to be stopped by them, for he ran on with all his might, never so much as once looking behind him, until he had left all his
pursuers at a distance.
As the people returned, after their unsuccessful chase, I had the curiosity to inquire of them what it was that the thief had stolen, when they told me it was a cotton pocket handkerchief. Thus the silly, as well as sinful rogue had broken the laws of God and man, run the risk of being dragged to a jail, and set to work three months at the tread-mill
, and all for a sixpenny or an eightpenny pocket handkerchief. If rogues were not blind to their own interest, they would take heed to the words, “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth," Eph. iv. 28.
As I walked away, the young man who had been robbed passed me, and I heard him tell a companion, with an oath, that he did not care two straws for his handkerchief, but he was vexed that he could not have his revenge. This plainly proved to me, that he was a thoughtless, irreligious character; and I could not help reflecting on his folly, as before I had reflected on the folly of the thief.
What a hubbub had he made about being robbed of an article that cost but little, and for which he did not care two straws, while, at the same time, he was daily and hourly robbing himself of what was of far greater value.
As a thoughtless character, he no doubt robbed himself of time, by foolish pursuits; that time, for an hour of which, many on their death-beds would gladly give all they possessed. “Walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil,” Eph. v. 15, 16. And as an irreligious man he robbed himself of comfort, and hope, and joy, by not attending to the things that belonged to his peace. An unread Bible, a neglected throne of grace, and a despised Saviour, gave him no uneasiness. Thus could he quietly be content in robbing himself of what was worth more than diamonds, while he put the whole neighbourhood in a ferment, because he had been robbed of a cotton pocket handkerchief. Reader ! are you robbing yourself, or are you putting up such a prayer as the following ?
Almighty God, thy grace bestow,
That I thy laws may hold,
Of dross and glittering gold.
What foolish men adore,
To praise thee evermore.
The lady ap
WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED? THE following circumstance was communicated to the writer by a lady, who had been long accustomed to district visiting :
She was walking one day in the neighbourhood of Stowbridge, and had wandered to some distance from her usual. district; when, in passing a cottage door, a loud scream from within attracted her attention. She rapped at the door; but no answer was returned; and after standing a few minutes, the scream was repeated. She then opened the door, and saw a woman standing by the side of a cradle, in which lay a child, just expiring. It was she who had uttered those piercing shrieks. By the fire-place sat a tall man, dreadfully emaciated, and apparently in the last stage of consumption, with anguish in his looks. proached him, and addressed a few words of consolation, supposing his grief to arise from the state of his child; when he suddenly interrupted her, and laying his wasted hand on her arm, exclaimed, “If you are a Christian, tell me what I must do to be saved.” His dying child was forgotten; the state of his own soul occupied all his thoughts ; he felt that he must shortly die, and the dread of losing his soul swallowed up every other fear and sorrow. The infant died, and its sorrowing mother turned her attention to her afflicted husband, whose anguish of mind seemed to increase. It was the happy lot of the visitor to be an instrument in the hands of God of conveying the glad tidings of salvation by Jesus Christ to this house; and the man died shortly after, humbly trusting in the Saviour of sinners.
The relater of this true history would earnestly beg all who may read it, not to defer the important question, “ What must I do to be saved ? ” till sickness enfeebles the frame, and death approaches. It pleased a merciful God to reveal