Page images


versation according to godliness;" place yourself under a faithful and searching ministry; and especially make a spiritual and profitable use of the entire sabbath. There is the fullest encouragement to expect help for these exercises, and a blessing in them. “ Ask, and


shall receive; seek, and shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. How much more shall your Heavenly Father give his Holy Spirit to them that ask him.” “Then shall ye know, if ye follow on to know the Lord;" and as he is come like “ the early rain," softening the heart and convincing you of sin ; so shall he come like “the latter rain," making you fruitful and joyful to his praise.

VII. LET YOUR THOUGHTS AND EMOTIONS FIND EXPRESSION IN A FIXED RESOLUTION, BY THE AID WHICH GOD HAS PROMISED, TO DECLARE YOURSELF ON THE LORD'S SIDE. Do not delay. If you can delay, you are not sincere. Till you are prepared for this, you will want an indispensable sign of your conversion. Do not pause on conditions. Say not, Is it hard, or is it easy? what shall I lose, or what may I retain ? All have indolent wishes, and partial desires ; but none who have so sought to enter into a state of salvation have succeeded. The exercise commended to you is not easy—it is hard! unspeakably hard! If you enter in—it must be by striving, by earnest effort. The gate is so strait-the

way is so narrow, that they will admit nothing but yourself; your cherished sins and pretended righteousness-all that

you have-must be cast away, and left behind.. You must enter ALONE, or be shut out for ever!. But can any thing be thought hard, or be called a sacrifice, when compared with the object ? It is your LIFE! and every thing beside is as nothing to your life! When the question is, whether. you with your sins, or lose your souls can you hesitate for a moment ? What, keep your sins, which bring you brief pleasure and everlasting pain ! and lose your soul, which is YOURSELF, and which should be the residence of the Holy Ghost, and the subject of eternal felicity and glory! O strive to enter in ! for many

shall seek, with partial wishes and divided affections, to enter in, and shall not be able ; and “ without" is darkness, despair, and endless death !

will part





VIII. IN ONE WORD, BE THOUGHTS REST ON ANY OBJECT SHORT OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, AS HE IS PRESENTED TO YOU IN THE Gospel. If, under a deep and penitential conviction of your sinfulness, you are ready to exclaim, “What shall I do to be saved ?" then the one simple, scriptural response to this inquiry is, “ Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved!This faith, however, is not a mere admission of the facts, that the Bible came from God—that Jesus Christ is the true Messiahand that he died to bring life into the world : many have consented to these and similar truths, who nevertheless have lived and have died in their sins. Living faith is a dependence on Him--a trust in Him-a submission to Him. As we commit our life to the physician, and our cause to the advocate, so are we to commit the keeping of our souls into the hands of Jesus the Mediator. Faith sits at His feet, as the Great Teacher ; relies on His sacrifice, as the Great High Priest; and submits to His laws, as the King invisible and immortal. You must not suffer any consideration to withhold you from this exercise. No confidence in any resolutions you have formed, nor in any tears you have shed, must prevent you from an instant acceptance of Christ, and an entire reliance on Him for salvation. Nor must you allow any discouragement to tempt you from this end. You are not to stay away till you are better, but come to Him that you may be made so.

No sense of your unworthiness — no sense of present temptation and sin must keep you away. The worse your state is, the more you need his help. He came to save sinners. His arms are open-his invitations are free-his love, his pity, are boundless. He will in no wise,—on NO ACCOUNT-cast you out! Wait then for nothing! Cast your objections and scruples to the windaccept Jesus Christ to your heart as your Saviour and Sovereign, and yield yourself up to Him as a devoted servant, and an affectionate child, in the bonds of an everlasting covenant. Nonem NO, NOT ONE—who so trusts in Christ shall ever perish.

IX. Finally, think it not enough that you have read this address;



We will not say a whole day, though that is desirable if it can be done; but say the evening, the long evening of a day, at the earliest opportunity. “Enter into thy chamber, and shut thy doors.” Exclude ordinary cares, and deal only with your spiritual concerns. Read penitential portions of Scripture;* humble yourself before God in the free confession of your sin; meditate at large on all the points here submitted to your attention. Be sensible, that however necessary prayer, and penitence, and faith are, they are the gift of God by Jesus Christ. Look up to Him, from your helplessness, for the grace of His Holy Spirit, under a conviction, that if you ask you shall receive. Relying on this assistance, give yourself to prayer, and supplication ; for “the kingdom of heaven is entered by violence.” Make a solemn surrender of yourself, body, soul, and spirit, to the Lord Jesus Christ, to be his, and his alone, for ever.

And, whatever may be the hope and joy of these salutary engagements, still remember, that he who falls short of a REAL CONVERSION, is in a state of POSITIVE AND PRESENT A LADY in Paris, moving in the higher circles of life, of cultivated mind and of elegant manners, but a disciple of the infidel philosophy, lost, in a fatal duel, a few years since, her son-her only child; “ and she was a widow.”


* Ps. xxxii.; Ps. li.; Isaiah i.; Jer. xxxi.; Luke xv.; John üi.



J.&W.Rider, Printers, Bartholomew Close, London.

The Countess of a lady not only professing Christianity, but giving decided evidence in her life of the influence of real religion over her heart, sought her bereaved friend. She found the widow on her couch, cold-silent - restless-melancholy – and on the verge of despair. The philosophy which she had embraced, had left her destitute of any comfort in that time when most she needed solace; it afforded no stay for her sinking spirit—it brought no balm to her stricken heart. It had banished, long since, from her thoughts, the only real source of consolation; and having led her to renounce God, it offered her now no compensation for the absence of Him, who is, to those who fear Him, “the strength of their heart and their portion for ever." It was a distressing scene, and naturally suggested to the mind of her visitor the course, the only course — which could be adopted to relieve her sorrow effectually. This was to bring before the attention of the mourner, the scriptural representations of God, as a being whose nature and attributes render him the worthy object of his creatures' confidence, whose greatness and goodness encourage their dependence, and should excite their expectations, when

every other resource is proved to be powerless. The Countess, therefore, began to speak of Him as a refuge for the distressed soul-a description which, in a rich variety of forms, is repeated in the Sacred Volume.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble,” Ps. xlvi. 1. “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved,” Ps. lv. 22. “ The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him,” Nahum i. 7. Thy Maker is thy husband; the Lord of Hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; the God of the whole earth shall he be called,” Isa. liv. 5. “My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of

my heart, and my portion for ever,” Ps. lxxii. 26.

Whilst she was thus employed in pointing out the repose which the soul may find in addressing itself to God from the very depths of affliction, the wretched parent turned upon her a

vacant stare, and said, Did you speak of God? Who is he? Where is he? I know nothing of him! Struck by such an awful instance of infidelity, the Countess answered not. She felt that nothing short of Divine agency could avail to restore such a moral ruin. “ Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts,” Zech. iv. 6. Her interval of silence was therefore an interval of prayer that God would take this mighty work into his own hands, and that the Holy Spirit would condescend to illumine the darkness and remove the distressing ignorance of her friend's mind. Acting in this spirit of prayerful dependence on Him, who deigns to bless the instrumentality of his people for the accomplishment of his own purposes of wisdom and love, she opened a New Testament, and begged to be allowed to read a few passages from a book, which, she said, had been very useful to herself in deep affliction through which she had recently passed.

The portions which she selected were from the Evangelists. There was wisdom in this choice. The history of our Lord and Saviour Jesus, as described by the pen of these inspired men, abounds in passages which are well adapted to arrest the attention of those whose bleeding hearts need the application of whatever can mitigate by kindness and soothe by sympathy. The sufferer may discover there One who suffered likewise; who was, indeed, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; who was distressed and afflicted; and this, not in consequence of any demerit in himself, but in the endurance of that humiliation to which he had voluntarily

surrendered himself on behalf of guilty man; for “He was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our sins," Isa. liii. 5. The spirit that asks for sympathy, will there discover One, who, having undertaken the work of human salvation, united, in a mysterious manner, His Divine nature with that of the lost beings he came to save, that a lasting bond of sympathy might be established between himself and the dependants on His grace ; that the assurance that He was in all things made like unto them—that they “ have not a high priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of their infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as they are, yet without sin,”might encourage them to “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that they might obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need,” Heb. ii. 17; iv. 15, 16. The mourner must indeed be conscious that his own case has been considered and provided for, when he hears the voice of Him, who spake as never man spake, announcing, “ The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor ; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deli

« PreviousContinue »