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6. We should reflect frequently upon our obligations to Divine love and mercy. "Who am I," said David, "that thou hast brought me hitherto." "Less than the least of all thy mercies," said Jacob. "Less than the least of all saints," said Paul. The greatness of God's mercies should impress us with the greatness of our obligations to Him, and the conviction that we can never discharge them, should be marked by the greatness of our humility.
7. God has testified His abhorrence of the proud, and His approval of the humble. A host of characters arise before us. Pharaoh, the infatuated insolent King of Egypt; Jezebel, the persecutor of the prophets; Nebuchadnezzar, the lofty ruler of Babylon; Haman, the prime minister of Ahasuerus; and Herod, the vain governor of Judea. On all these are written, God resisteth the proud. While, on the other hand, Moses is extolled as the meekest man; Hannah is honored for her sorrowful spirit; the Publican is justified rather than the Pharisee, and Mary Magdalene hears the Saviour proclaim, "Thy sins are forgiven."
8. What promises are made to the humble. "I dwell in the high and holy place," saith the Lord," with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for their's is the kingdom of Heaven." We have every thing to encourage us to cultivate this disposition, if we consider also that peace of mind by which it is accompanied, and the estimation in which it is held by the wise and the good.
9. Let the young especially aspire to be humble, that they may be beloved of God, and agreeable to men. This only will truly exalt them, and enable them to appreciate rightly their talents and advantages. This will teach them to render all their due; honor to whom honor, fear to whom fear; and instead of glorying in a beautiful complexion, a fine figure, and costly apparel, an elegant carriage, or splendid talents, they will glory in the Lord. Religion will be their chief pursuit, prayer their constant delight, and Christ the object of their ardent love.
A VISIT TO AN INFIDEL.
"Then He is gracious to him, and saith, Deliver him from going down into the pit, I have found a ransom."
IN one of my walks to examine into the state of the poor some months ago, I happened to enter a small cottage, where the first object that presented itself was a suffering fellow creature, whose pale visage proclaimed that he was laboring under a malady slow in its progress, but fatal in its termination. An interesting female sat near the fire rocking a cradle, and affording assistance to two other small children. After some friendly salutations, I sat down by the bedside, and looking earnestly at the invalid,
"You appear," said I," to be extremely ill."
"Very ill, sir, I do not expect to recover."
"Indeed! and you are quite conscious that your earthly existence will be soon finished?"
Oh! yes, sir, my stay here will be very short."
"And are you prepared to leave the world? It is a solemn thing to die! Have you considered the worth of your immortal soul? Do you know whither you are going?"
Looking confused, he said, "Not so much as I should have done." I intreated him to reflect upon his state as a sinner, and the necessity of pardon through the blood of Jesus; assuring him that Christ was able and willing to receive him, and God for Christ's sake was ready to forgive.
In a few days after I repeated my visit. There was an air of seriousness about him which gratified me. He received me
with evident satisfaction.
"Have you thought of the questions I proposed to you," said I.
"I have, sir, but I must confess to you that before I saw you I was totally careless as to my situation. I felt so uneasy after you were gone that I sent for a person whom I had known before, and requested him to read and pray with me; I found the visit very profitable."
"Have you been in the habit of attending a gospel ministry ?"
"Not recently. To speak the truth, I have for a long time
entertained deistical sentiments, and, for many years have neglected public worship, and violated the Sabbath-day. But I find that infidel sentiments will not do for a sick bed; I must have something better to support me in the view of death and eternity."
"What has been your usual mode of life? Whence did you imbibe these opinions ?"
My father was a serjeant in the army, and I accompanied him with the regiment in its various routes. He was very exact in his attendance on public worship, and took me with him to the different chapels as well as to the established church. I was afterwards placed out as an apprentice, and during the term my master enforced my attention to religious duties, but when I was free from these restraints, I fell into the society of some irreligious young men, who lent me some deistical publications which poisoned my mind, and eventually caused me to forsake every thing that was good, and abandon myself to all that was vicious and dishonorable. I parted with my Bible and addicted myself to drinking, which plunged me into great pecuniary difficulties; and added to all the rest, I became an unkind husband, and a thoughtless father!"
"One crime leads on to another."
“I found it so, and bitterly lament my former conduct." "It is a consoling truth that God 'pardons them that truly repent and believe in His Son Jesus.'"
"That is my only hope. Your question, 'Are you prepared to leave the world?' produced such an effect on my mind as I cannot describe."
"There is no other preparation but an interest in the blood and righteousness of Jesus. Do you understand my terms?"
"Seek then, by earnest prayer, that grace which God has promised to give to them that ask Him.”
“I trust I shall; my time is short, and my soul must not be neglected."
I commended him to the mercy of God, and took my leave. Soon after I had occasion to call upon him, to enquire if he
had a Bible or Testament?* and if not, whether he would wish to have a copy on loan?
"Most gladly and gratefully, sir, should I receive one; but had you asked me that question six months ago, I should have scornfully replied, If you let me have a copy I will burn it.”
“How awful! but it proves how wicked is the human heart which desperately rejects the greatest mercies; and for what? Not for peace of mind-not for solid happiness-not for glory and renown, for these are not within the grasp of an infidel; but alas! for misery, disgrace, for ruin and infamy!
The streams were floating you along,
"Blessed be God that your eyes have been opened to see your danger, and I trust to apply to the remedy."
“I hope I have done so; this is now my only concern.”
I had the delight of hearing him express his simple and entire dependence on Jesus for salvation; and thus he continued till he was summoned into the world of spirits!
This is the second instance that has occurred within a few years of, what I trust will be recognized in eternity, the conversion of an infidel from the error of his ways: and it most strikingly illustrates the fine sentiment of Cowper,
God moves in a mysterious way
A visit from one of the committee of the board of health, deputed to examine the state of the town and its inhabitants, with a view to provide against the direful effects of cholera, discovers an infidel languishing under disease, and dying in his sin. He asks him a few plain questions; directs him to the Saviour; admonishes him to flee to him for pardon, and to lay hold on the hope set before him.--Grace prevails, and infidelity quits its captive. “Is not this a brand plucked from the fire!" IGDALIA.
This arose principally from the benevolent design of the British and Foreign Bible Society, to furnish those persons who were destitute of the Scriptures with the New Testament and Psalms of David, on loan.
THE WONDERS OF THE HEAVENS.
It is a delightful and instructive employment for the christian to trace the exhaustless displays of divine power and wisdom in the works of creation. "The works of the Lord are great," says the psalmist," sought out of all them that have pleasure therein." The writer can conceive of nothing calculated to afford us so grand and overwhelming an idea of the majesty and power of Jehovah, as a view of the wonders of the heavens. A general glance at the amazing concave presented to us, independently of the truths which astronomers have discovered, can scarcely fail to impress the most careless and uninformed spectator with solemnity and awe. But when we investigate with attention, all the astonishing facts that compose the great and complicated system, unfolded by modern astronomy, we obtain an idea of the extent of creation, and the exercise of power and intelligence, inconceivably more sublime and wonderful.
In order to have our minds impressed with some conception of the magnificent objects of creation, perhaps the best mode that can be pursued is to commence with the earth on which we dwell; to proceed from this to the planets of our system; and then, by degrees, to the whole extent of creation. It is folly to talk of forming definite ideas of those things our minds can never reach, yet it is instructive to endeavor to place before our imaginations the amazing objects embraced by the science of astronomy, which, though above our comprehension, are yet the results of demonstrative reasoning.
The globe we inhabit is a vast object for our contemplation. There are works of human art which astonish us with their grandeur and magnificence; there are natural objects immensely surpassing all that has been produced by the labor and industry of man; but the most stupendous of these sink into insignificance, and form but a minute point when contrasted with the earth on which they stand. Let us bring before our minds, for a moment, a body eight thousand miles in diameter, revolving daily on its axis in the immensity of space, and we shall find that we can form but an imperfect notion of its magnitude. Then if we consider the sun, eight hundred times larger than our earth, at the distance of ninety-six millions of miles-the other planets of the VOL. VI. 3d SERIES.