« EdellinenJatka »
A corespondent wishes to learn, whether it is Scriptural to believe that every justified person knows the exact time at which he received justification.
Perhaps what occurred to myself may meet the difficulty. I well remember at my outset in the divine life, being greatly dis. tressed and harassed in the same way. I had long been under the strongest convictions of sin: ah, no one knows what arrows stuck fast in me, and what trouble and heaviness gat hold upon me. But under the enlightened ministry and private counsel of my beloved school-master, I was thrown into the only way of peace, through faith in the blood of our blessed Saviour. I was gradually led to understand and to appropriate the truth that God can be just, and yet the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus. But I saw the blessed truth and admired it, before I could appropriate it: and never shall I forget the memorable day when walking out with my dear tutor, and engaged in the most unreserved communications on religious subjects, I put the question to him; "and when may I take to myself the comfort and joy of believing that all this blessedness is mine? When may I hope that I have that faith which makes it over to me?" "When, (said he, in his wonted smart and decisive manner,) when? Now-this very moment. What are you waiting for? God has emptied you of all self dependence. You see all you want in Christ. You look to him, you call upon him as all your salvation, and all your desire; and it is your duty as well as privilege to believe, and to rejoice in the belief that all your sins are pardoned-God reconciled, heaven secured. willing to accept Christ as he is offered in the Gospel. willing to give himself to you, as he has done for you; and what more do you want?" It was like as if the heavens had opened unto me, and the voice of God had spoken to me. Never, never can I forget the thrill of ecstacy and delight which went through my very soul at that moment. It was the breaking of the dark and angry clouds, and the sun shining upon me in its splendour, and every thing afterwards was tasteless and uninteresting, save communion with God by faith and prayer, and the prospect of one day seeing Jesus as he is in heaven. Now some would say that that was the moment of conversion, as well as justification and acceptance with God. But I should not say so. It was the set time, the mo
You are Christ is
ment to banish fear, to give joy and peace in believing, but justification, I doubt not, had taken place before, though not till then the sensible joy and sweetness of it.
"Whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlatsing life." And what is believing in Christ, but a reliance upon him to do that for us which we fail to get done in any other quarter; to do that, without which we perish; to do that which his word assures us he is most willing to do. Then as the slightest glance,
the feeblest turn of the eye to the brazen serpent healed the Israelite, so the weakest faith in Jesus, if genuine, that is, grounded in entire self renunciation on the one hand, and on the other in a full conviction of his power and willingness to save to the uttermost, saves; or, in other words, justifies: and if we die, only touching the hem of his garment, he will take us with him to heaven. It is not the degree of faith that justifies, but the genuineness of it. And here many make a great mistake, resolving the whole of saving faith into the high exercises of the full assurance of faith. Rejoicing in the full assurance of faith is to be coveted and aimed at (the Scriptures warrant t); but the humble resting on the oath and promise, the two immutable things, of Him who cannot lie, keeps the soul safe, though we are strangers to joy, and though all is sad and sorrowful and dark within us. And that after all is the strongest faith which trusts where it cannot see; which simply leans on the word of promise spoken, and hopes even against hope.
I trust I may have met in some measure my correspondent's case; and oh! that we may all have our feet well shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace, to walk over the rough and dangerous road that is before us. May faith be our breast plate and hope our helmet! Satan is fearfully vexing Christendom with his last struggle, seeking if it were possible to deceive the very elect: and happy, happy they, and only they who know whom they have believed, and are persuaded that He will keep that which they have committed to him against that day!
PRESENT GAIN PREFERRED TO FUTURE GOOD.
NANNY.-Really, Betty, how silly you are to keep your child on at that school there; why, I should like to know what good it does you?
BETTY. Why, Nanny, I think I am very wise in planning that
she should keep to her school. I do not wish to think of my own good; for, surely, if I love my children, their good should be nearest to my heart.
NANNY.-Well, for my part, while my girl can earn but a few pence a week to keep herself, she shall. It seems hard to have to send my child to school, and to pay for schooling, instead of letting her earn some little matter at home.
BETTY. Now, Nanny, I really think I may say of you, penny wise and pound foolish." You are losing sight of the child's good, and only thinking of your own. Youth is the time for children to be taught; and I always think that keeping children pottering at my work at home, instead of sending them where their minds may be attended to, is like robbing the poor dears of their seed-time for learning.
NANNY.-True, Betty, I know children can learn far better than grown-up folks. But, really, where can we, poor people, find the money, if we could find the time, to send our children constantly to school?
BETTY.-O! as for that, the money their schooling costs will never ruin us, Nanny. "Where there's a will there is a way;" and where do poor people find money to buy tobacco and snuff with? No, no. See my girls; how they have turned out. I have sent them to school from the time they could talk, and I kept them steady on at it too; and they got such nice scholars: and look at them now! At school, they learnt to read, write, sew, count, and then they went to service; and now, poor dears, they are rewarding me for sending them, and paying their pennies when they were little. They are always sending me what they can spare out of their wages, to pay my rent, and so on.
NANNY.-You say right, Betty. I wish any of my children had turned out like one of yours. But look at Sarah and Mary, the best of the lot! Here they are at home; true, they earn, perhaps, two shillings a week each; but what good do they do me? Why, they make my heart ache, and are always being enticed out on Sundays, and other days, too, instead of minding their proper business. As for their mother, they only mock her. Really, Betty, I often wish they were under the eye of some good mistress.
BETTY.—There, now, that is just as I think. I believe, keeping one's children at home is a very expensive plan. No, I stick to this: let them have the best advantages while they are young;
and make up your mind, that it is to be their time for learning, and not your time for gaining. And then when they are old énough, if they have behaved themselves well, they will get good places. Why, depend upon it, if your children deserved it, our parson's wife would try and get them good places, as well as others. NANNY.-Well, I think I will try your plan with my younger ones; for, I must own, yours have all turned out well. And perhaps the reason my big ones cannot get to place if they would, is, because they have always been idling at home.
BETTY.-Well said, Nanny. Come, you are not so stupid as I took you to be. Now, mind, when you send them to school, you get the mistress to push them on with their sewing; plain sewing, I mean.
NANNY.-O! I fear my girls would not like that. They are fonder of a bit of fancy work, you know.
BETTY. O, nonsense. Fancy work! what good does it do them at the end? No, no. Here has been the secret of my girls getting such nice places: they have been good, neat sewers.
NANNY. Very well, Betty, I will remember what you say.
BETTY. And then, dear neighbour, I hope that while you are alone at home, you will pray that while your children are learning what will be so useful to them through this life, they may not for. get to prepare for another world.
Which of these two
Let me beg you to your present gain.
Parents! I have a question to ask you. women are you most like-Nanny or Betty? think of your children's future good, before Remember, refusing your children their schooling, is like robbing them of advantages which God has offered them. Depend upon it, you seek to become like friend Betty, you will never repent it; and, instead of being poorer for it, in time you will be much richer. And if any read this who have been too long drinking into Nanny's opinion, I hope they will be as open to reason as Nanny was; and settle in their minds, that from this time they will begin to try whether "Betty's plan" with their children will not succeed.
I have heard of a great nobleman in the north of England, who used to boast of his great riches. He once said to a gentleman who accompanied him in a walk, "These beautiful grounds, as far as your eye can reach, belong to me; those majestic woods on the brow of the distant hills are mine; those extensive and valuable mines belong to me; yonder powerful steam-engine is employed by me in obtaining the produce of the mines; and those ships in conveying my wealth to other parts of the kingdom; fire, water, earth, and air, all are tributary to me." "Well, my lord," replied the gentleman, "do you see yonder little hovel that seems but a speck in your estate? There dwells a poor woman, who can say more than all this; for she can say, 'Christ is mine.' In a very few years, your lordship's possessions will be confined within the scanty limits of six feet by two; but she will then have entered on a far nobler inheritance than your lordship now possesses; an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for her, who is now kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation."
Sermons are not always preached from the pulpit; for I unexpectedly heard a very good one under the portico of a theatre. It was an odd place; but a shower had driven me there for shelter, and soon after an old man took shelter there also, who began to talk of the best things. "I am eighty-two years of age," said he, "and God has graciously given me, among many mercies, the mercy of being made sensible of his goodness. I remember in my boyhood, hearing an aged minister declare from the pulpit, that when he was forty years old, he considered himself so good, that he believed the temptations of Satan had no power over him; but when he was three-score and ten, he was obliged to confess that Satan has a bait for old birds still. I am, as I told you, eightytwo; and as the minister found at three-score and ten, so I find at eighty-two, that I am a poor, weak, worthless creature, totally dependent on God's goodness and grace, feeling every day of my life, that "Satan still has a bait for old birds!"
The Rev. H. M'Neile, in a lecture recently delivered by him, introduced the following anecdote: "I will tell you a circumstance which occurred lately in this town. A journeyman house-painter, who had long entertained infidel sentiments, and was addicted to