Page images
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

the sea.

As there is a civil commerce amongst men for the preservation of human society, so there is a natural commerce which God hath set amongst the other creatures for the maintenance of their common being. There is scarce anything, therefore, in nature which hath not a power of attracting some other. The fire draws vapours to it; the sun draws the fire; plants draw moisture; the moon draws

So the senseless stones and metals are not void of this active virtue. The loadstone draws iron; and the jet, rather than nothing, draws up straws and dust. With what a force do both these stones work upon their several subjects. Is there anything more heavy and unapt for motion than iron or steel ? Yet these do so run to their beloved loadstone, as if they had the sense of a desire and delight; and do so cling to the point of it as if they had forgotten their weight for this adherence. Is there anything more apt for dispersion than small straws and dust ? yet these gather to the jet, and so sensibly leap up to it, as if they had a kind of ambition to be so preferred.

Methinks I see in these two a mere emblem of the hearts of men, and their spiritual attractives. The grace of God's Spirit, like the true loadstone or adamant, draws up the iron heart of man to it, and holds it in a constant fixedness of holy purposes and good actions. The world, like the jet, draws up the sensual hearts of light and vain men, and holds them fast in the pleasures of sin. I am thine iron, O Lord; be thou my loadstone. Draw thou me, and I shall run after thee; knit my heart unto thee, that I may fear thy name.

UPON A SPRING OF WATER. How this spring smoketh, while other great channels are frozen up! This water is living, while they are dead. All experience teaches us, that well-waters arising from deep springs are hotter in winter than in summer; the outward cold doth as it were keep in and double their inward heat. Such is a true Christian in the evil day; his life of grace gets

more vigour by opposition : he had not been so gracious, if the times had been better. I will not say, He may thank his enemies; but I must say, He may thank God for his enemies. O God, what can put out that heat which is increased with cold? How happy shall I be if I may grow so much more in grace as the world in malice!

Bishop Hall.

THE MEDIATION OF CHRIST. HE who charged even his angels with folly, Job iv. 18, could have no gracious intercourse with guilty men, except through a Mediator, divinely commissioned, and adequately endowed, who might stand between the dead and the living; and through whom communications of mercy might pass from heaven to earth. On this fundamental principle of revealed religion is built the whole ministration of love between the Most High, and sinners in the gospel. There is one Mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ. Unprovided with such a friend, hope would be presumption; expectation of mercy, a refuge of lies; and God himself a consuming fire. Not more safely might we abide the terrors of his coming, than the heavens and the earth shall endure the fierceness of that flame which his breath shall enkindle in the day of judgment.

The love of Christ passeth knowledge, in its length and breadth, and depth and height; but its gracious exercise has been proved by his holy incarnation; by his holy nativity and circumcision; by his baptism, fasting, and temptation; by his agony and bloody sweat; by his cross and passion; by his precious death and burial; by his glorious resurrection and ascension ; and by the coming of the Holy Ghost.” With unparalleled meekness did He endure the contradictions of sinners against himself; and overcome their evil with good. Nay, when crucified by the very people whom he had adopted, and among whom he had preached the riches of salvation, the cry of his expiring agony was mingled with a prayer for his murderers, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” So pure, so perfect was his disinterestedness, that he preferred the redemption of transgressors to the rest and glory of his abode, in the bosom of the Father, and on the throne of heaven. So ardent was his zeal for dying men, and for the glory of that law which sin had outraged, that he even longed to be baptized with the fearful baptism of his cross.

Never does he refuse to present the supplications of those who come unto God by him.

We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous : and he is the propitiation for our sins," 1 John ii. 1, 2, In the sufficiency and compassion of that Redeemer, whom Divine

mercy has given us in Jesus Christ, we have our only access to heaven. By him, however, we may

come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need,” Heb. iv. 16.


CALLS OF USEFULNESS. Call on one accustomed to sit up late at Night. HARK you, Francis; I understand that you have lately got into the habit—and a bad habit it is—of sitting up late at night. Now, I want to speak one word to you about it, as I pass by; and I hope you will remember what I say, for if you do not regard it now, the time may come when you

will call it to mind with bitterness.

He who sits up late at night, makes provision for lying a-bed in the morning. He who sits up late at night, enters into a conspiracy against his eyesight. He who sits up late at night, does his best to injure his health. In short, as a good man has said, He who sits up late at night, not only lights the taper of life at both ends, but runs a red hot poker through the middle of it. If, then, you value your eyesight and your health, and wish to live long in the land, go to bed soon at night, and rise early in the morning.


on a bad Husband. Visitor. It is not an easy matter to mount up your stairs, Giles, for they are so dark and so narrow, that I was obliged to get the lodger below to set her door open to give me a little light. And how are you going on now?

Giles. Nothing to brag of; work is slack enough, and wages little or nothing; and my Turk of a landlord will have his rent if we lie on the boards. I mended a pair of shoes last week that I can't get paid for; and my wife plagues my heart out, because I can't keep her like a lady.

Visitor. But how wretchedly you keep your room, Giles ! The bed not made, the room unswept, the window un

opened! I wonder how you can live in this plight; there can be no comfort in it.

Giles. You may say that, sir; my wife has no comfort in her. If she can get a drop of gin, then she's happy; but when she can't, there's no peace. She is either scolding the lads, or rating me like a pickpocket from morning to night. A wife ought to know better.

Visitor. I dare say she does know better; the misfortune is that she does not do better. She should make you comfortable.

Giles. Yes, sir, so every body says. What is a wife good for, if she can't see things properly? A wife ought to be industrious, and not to let the grass grow under her feet. She ought to be as clean as a new penny. She ought to stay at home, and not to go out gossiping and tattling by the hour together. She ought to keep her room like a little palace. She ought to see that her husband's things are kept tidy, and the children's things too. She ought to attend to her own business, and set a proper example. She ought to

Visitor. Well, well, well! Giles, that's quite enough about your wife, in all conscience. You seem to know very well the duties of a wife, but are you quite as well acquainted with those of a husband? and do you practise them ? Ay! ay! Giles, no one knows where the shoe pinches so well as he who wears it. You tell me by your looks, if I did not know it before, that your conscience is very far from being clear on this point. It is the duty of a husband to set his wife an example of industry, sobriety, integrity, and piety. If you are idle, your wife will be idle too; if


drink gin, gin will be drunk by her , if you run in debt needlessly, she will be sure to help you; and if you live without God in the world, unless Divine grace arrest her steps, she will accompany you to destruction. If you will read this tract, Giles, and think a little less of your wife's failings, and a little more about your own, I shall not despair of seeing you more comfortable the next time I call. Giles, ask forgiveness of God, seek the grace of the Redeemer; for when we rob God of his glory, by our neglect of his commandments, we rob our own souls of that peace which none but God can bestow.

Call on a retired Christian.
How do you do, Stephen ? reading a tract I see.


little messengers of love flutter their wings, and fly about on errands of mercy every where now.

What is that one you are reading, Stephen ?

Stephen. It is Burder's tract“On the Lord's Prayer;" and a good thing it would be if every one read it who repeated that prayer, in our own country and in other lands.,

Visitor. I think so, too, Stephen ; and let us be thankful that it has been read by thousands and thousands of people. The Christian finds prayer a comfort in all he does, whether for his own good or that of others. What a mercy it is, that

we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities,” but, on the contrary, one who suffers us to “

come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy,

and find grace to help in time of need!” Heb. iv. 15, 16. Are we poor? The silver and the gold are his, and the cattle on a thousand hills. Are we weak? He is mighty, yea almighty,

“ And strong to deliver

And good to redeem,
The weakest believer

That hangs upon him.” Are we ignorant? His Scriptures are able to make us wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus. Are we friendless ? He is a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother. Are we in trouble ? He is the comforter, the God of all consolation. In life, in death, in time and in eternity, he is all-sufficient. Well, then, may we pray to him.

“The prayer inspired by Him above,

Who rules and reigns, whose name is Love,
Will tranquillize the suffering soul,
When waves of worldly trouble roli.
Prayer is a bless'd employ, that throws
A heavenly beam on earthly woes,
And gives the wretched and oppress’d

Assurance of eternal rest.”' “They who pray most in the spirit, obey least the motions of the flesh. May we then be helped by Divine assistance to pray without ceasing."

THE VALLEY OF EXTREMITY. MANY are the valleys which are mentioned in the word of God. There is the valley of Siddim, where Sodom and

« PreviousContinue »