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of God, forbid the thought. Courage! then, fellow Christians, courage!" the Lord's arm is not shortened,-his ear is not heavy," -his love is not changeable, his spirit is still striving by the ..Missionary Society. Be importunate in your prayers, enlarged in your expectations, zealous and persevering in your actions, for the cause is not of man, but of GOD?"
No. CXXI.-TO READERS.
As you have been taught to read, I hope you read your Bible, for too many love to read almost any book rather than the Bible. Read the word of God,-read it often,-read it as the word of God, -read it as a duty you owe to God,—read it alone,—and read it seriously.
Read the word of God with a desire to UNDERSTAND it.
Some read and "hear the word of the kingdom, and understand it not." They do not meditate or think on it, and inquire into the meaning of it. Converse with persons who can explain it to you; ask them questions with a teachable mind. Do not be ashamed to own your ignorance.
Pray to God to enlighten your understanding by his grace, as David did, in these words, " Open THOU mine eyes, that I may understand the wondrous things of thy word;" and as he prayed, on another occasion, in the following words: “Lead me in thy truth, and teach me."
Hear the gospel preached. God commanded his apostles to “go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." Then it is the duty of every creature to hear it, if he can. Hear those ministers in the church or meeting, which preach most of CHRIST and of salvation by grace. Hear those ministers that preach plainly and earnestly the love of Christ to sinners, and teach you what you must do to be saved.
Faithful ministers preach the gospel as men that believe it, enjoy it, and earnestly desire to make their hearers feel the truth. Such ministers in the church and meeting are often called Methodists, and by other names of reproach. Do not wonder at this; for Christ and his apostles were represented as madmen, because they preached as those who felt the truth. They warned sinners to flee from the wrath to come. They said to their hearers, "Except yee repent yee shall perish. He that believeth shall be saved; and he that believeth not shall be damned," Mark, xvi. 16.
Jesus Christ said, "yee must be born again: for except a man be born again he cannot enter into the kingdom of Heaven."
Do not hear ministers that preach in language which you do not understand; or such as would full you to sleep in your sins. But hear those that show you your danger, as lost sinners, and direct you
Such ministers are not satis
to Jesus Christ, as your only refuge. fied that you go to church or meeting, and say your prayers; but they earnestly desire that you may so "hear that your souls may live."
Exercise your MEMORY.
Endeavour to fix in your memory the invitations and promises of Christ. John vi. 37, "Whosoever cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out;" Matt. xi. 28, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,"-rest for the soul; Rev. xx. 17, "Whosoever will, let him come, and take of the water of life," that is, the blessings of salvation, "freely."
Christ invites you to come to him, as sinners to a Saviour. He is able and willing to save all that come to him. He 66 says, Come, for all things are ready. Behold! now is the accepted time: behold! now is the day of salvation."
Consider the necessity of BELIEVING the word of God.
Without faith, you cannot please God. Without faith, you cannot receive profit from reading or hearing the word of God. He that believeth is not condemned. He that believeth shall be saved. Without faith you cannot repent; that is, hate your sins, confess and forsake them.
Without faith you cannot PRAY; for how shall you call on him in whom you have not believed? If you believe not in Christ, he says you shall die in your sins.
Be careful against mistakes.
Some persons go to hear the word preached and do not read it, nor hear others read it to them. This is an error in practice.
Others read the Scriptures, and think that it will save them.This also is an error; for thousands read the Scriptures, who live in lying and dishonesty; they swear, or are drunkards; they break the Sabbath, or live in whoredom.
Such persons are worse than those who cannot read; for they know the Lord's will and do it not. They read without faith, without repentance, without obedience: and remember, though you read the Scriptures, without holiness, no man shall see the Lord.
Many read the Scriptures, and think that if they reform their conduct, it is enough. This is a great mistake.
They trust for salvation in morality, or good behaviour to their fellow-creatures.
If they are sober, industrious, honest, and charitable, they shall be saved.
This is the religion of a Pharisee, who trusts in his own righteousness, instead of trusting in the sufferings, and promises, and grace of Jesus Christ. Read Mat. xxiii, and you will learn, that the publicans and harlots, that believe in Christ and repent of their sins, enter the kingdom of Heaven before the Pharisees. Read Luke xviii, and instead of proudly thinking you shall be saved
THE LATE REV. JOHN COOKE.
because you are better than others, cry with the penitent publican, "God be merciful to me a sinner."
No. CXXII.—UNION TO CHRIST.
UNION, vital, spiritual union with Christ the son of God, the mediator between God and man, reflects the highest glory on the moral law and government of God; as it secures the perfect holiness of the soul that is "joined to the Lord, and is ONE SPIRIT" with him. In this admirable plan, " God is JUST, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus."
This method of doctrinal, experimental, and practical goodness, had its origin in infinite love, was arranged by infinite wisdom, and is rendered effectual by infinite power. These perfections shine in creation and Providence, but here they shine singly and collectively in the highest degree.
"Here, his whole name appears complete;
Nor wit can guess, nor reason prove,
The power, the wisdom, or the love."
Other unions may prove injurious, although promising in appearance, whether civil or political, relative or federal, what evils are entailed on the posterity of Adam, by their natural and covenant union with him. How complicated the miseries resulting from the matrimonial union, in husbands and wives, parents and children! What personal and domestic woes are felt from union of worldly interests in partnership! and even the union of friendship may prove the occasion of some of the greatest afflictions of human life."
Where such unions advance our interest and comfort,-unexpected changes in life or death, dissolve them; not excepting the closest union of body and soul.
But no external condition, no personal sufferings in body or mind;-not death itself, can dissolve the union formed by the Spirit of Grace, between Christ and real believers; for "Blessed are the dead, that die in the Lord."
The importance of union with the Lord Jesus, appears from the dignity of his person,-the perfection of his character,—the influence of his offices, his works, and his salvation. He is the Creator and Governor of the world;-the Saviour and Judge of the world! His glory, his love, and his merit, are celebrated on earth and in heaven; and fallen angels feel his power, and dread his sentence. To be united to him by the indissoluble bond of "the Spirit of Grace," is the immediate source of wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption! A soul united to him, is alive unto God,”—
is pardoned, justified, sanctified, accepted, and assured of all the grace, strength, comfort, essential to its perseverance and final happiness.
Let not the unbelieving, the self-righteous, the unholy and hypocritical professor, presume on his birth of christian parents, his baptism in the name of Christ, his attendance in the house of God on divine ordinances, his gifts of talking and preaching, his party zeal, and his ostentatious liberality. Pride and envy, resentment of reproof, lust of power, and zeal for a party, may induce unsanctified professors to blaze in public meetings, and contribute to the support of charitable institutions. Detect their hypocrisy, reprove their malignity, expose their avarice, their dishonesty, their falsehood, their slander, their love of power, or their craftiness in deceiving the simple, and they will crucify Christ in his members and ministers, supporting the cause of Christ in one place, to ruin it in another.
But the Christian who is one in judgment, affection, interest, and aim, with the Redeemer, can he refuse to unite his exertions with the benevolent societies, instituted to advance the cause of revealed truth, the cause of the Saviour, the cause of man, the cause of God? Impossible! He will, he must lend his aid to the Missionary Societies, the Bible and Tract Societies; he must pray for and assist the Village and Sunday School Societies;-He must be a friend to those Academies which have for their object, the qualification of young men for the work of the Christian Ministry.
It is remarked of Fisher Ames, of America, that what gave peculiar force to his eloquence was, the strong SELF-CONVICTION which he always manifested.
How important,-how very important this self-conviction to a minister of the gospel! "To delineate genius, one must feel its power." To delineate the influence of the gospel on the heart, and speak of it in an impressive manner, it must be felt in its certainty and power.
No. CXXIV. DEVOTION.
Or the importance of unfeigned devotion to God,--the sanctification of the heart, in union with simplicity of dependence on Jesus for pardon, and eternal life,-let conscience speak. Why those fears and hopes, sorrows and joys, in retirement? Contemplating death, a judgment day, and an eternal state. Will a man's opinions, his gifts, or the opinions of others satisfy his,conscience? No: his anxious uncertainty, his sighs and complaints in secret, are occasioned by his defects in character. The defects of his duties, his heart and life, are the principal things that affect his
peace and hope. Let his conscience testify that his heart is right with God, and this is his rejoicing not as the foundation of his faith and hope; but the evidence that they are unfeigned, and of his union with Jesus.
No. CXXV. THE WORLD.
THE world appears nothing but a large and gloomy prison, in which lie millions of distracted criminals and rebels against their creator, under sentence of condemnation, whom death, one by one, is privately executing. Who knows the power of God's anger against them? and the less they know of it, the more reason they have to dread it. To see sinners eating and drinking, buying and selling, following their diversions and employments, with the curse of God covering them as a garment, and mingling with all their business and all their comforts; and to reflect, that they are all the while, on the brink of eternity, and for aught they know, with not a step, not a hand's-breadth, not a hair's-breadth, between them and death, between them and damnation! They know not, but before they sleep, justice may seize and imprison them for ever, and yet they are thoughtless of their danger.
No. CXXVI. PEACE AND HOLINESS.
CHRISTIANS are men of peace, and are charged to follow peace with all men, and holiness. If peace and holiness are to be united, we must not seek peace in sin-nor peace with sin. It is not indifference to the authority of Christ and the voice of conscience not the peace of those who sleep, much less a peace resembling the quiet of a church-yard, where all are dead; but a peace which is consistent with a faithful discharge of duty to our Lord and Saviour.
If the men of the world are offended with us for a faithful discharge of duty, let them be offended; our rule of duty is plain,— "we ought to obey God, rather than man." When Paul and Silas preached the gospel at Thyatira, they were brought before the magistrates with the following charge:" These men being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city," Acts, xvi., 20. Some of our modern christians would have advised the apostles not to disturb the city, and draw on themselves a host of persecutors; but so far was this faithful soldier from listening to the suggestions of such cold, hypocritical prudence, that he consulted not with flesh and blood." The apostle respected magistracy as an ordinance of God; but be would not surrender his conscience to the magistrate. Alas! how many christians in our day, unite with the men of the world, in