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ruffed.” Ali, my friend! the persons to whom you allude entered into daily events with piety, and therefore they depart
To advance in the scale of seriousness and importance, what a precious and glorious chariot does the true Christian find the Sabbath, to forward him on his way to heaven. But while he brings from it instruction, refreshment, delight, how many come away without one single grain of any kind of benefit. It is sufficient to account for the difference, that the first went with seriousness, devotion, and attention; they desired, implored, and believingly expected the blessing of Him who has said, “ Remember the Sabbath-day to keep it holy.”
Time itself, with its rapid movements, is but hurrying us on to a never-ending eternity : yet a little while and we must leave it for ever. Blessed be God! there are those who at that solemn period shall find an everlastingly happy home, an abundant entrance into the kingdom and joy of their Lord. They shall appear laden with glory, honor, and immortality; yea, with an exceeding and eternal weight of glory. And, oh! how many will then desire a share in their blessings, as the foolish virgins said unto the wise, “ Give us of your oil for our lamps are gone out." But no; Christ must be received now, as the hope of glory, or he cannot be experienced bereafter, as the fruition of joy.
Suffer me then, my young friends, carnestly to entreat you, since God has vouchsafed you the blessing of reason, not to outrage it by looking for effects without causes, or contrary to every rational expectation. Expect not knowledge without diligence, improvement without docility, esteein without consistency, affection without kindness, domestic happiness without tenderness and forbearance. Expect not peace without piety; Sabbath benefits, refreshment, and delight, without seriousness, devotion, and attention; or the enjoyment of God in another world, without the knowledge of him in this. To enlarge a little on the last point, expect not pardon without penitence, justification without faith, renovation of heart without a Sanctifier, salvation without a Saviour, or glory without grace.
Especially would I urge these considerations, when a fresh. period of our existence is opening before us. A new year is arrived, to bear us on another stage in the journey of life: may I seek admission for a moment into the closet of your hearts, and while conscience presides as your confessor, suggest the enquiry to each, “In what manner have you entered into the present year?” My sincere desire and fervent petition is, that it may prove to you a happy one: but this is an effect which can only spring from adequate causes. Have you set out with personal religion ? then shall you possess true happiness; whether you pass through prosperity or adversity, health or sickness, life or death, it shall be well with you; all things are yours, with the promise that they shall work together for your good if you love God. Has the
been entered on with solemn prayer ? it shall be closed with grateful praise. Self-renunciation and reliance on redeeming mercy, will be followed with sweet assurance of the divine favor; entire dependence on the aid of the Holy Spirit, with a joyful Ebenezer for his help. Beginning with unreserved resignation to God's will, we shall end with a thankful retrospect of the way by which he has led us. Active endeavors to promote the glory of God and the good of man, will turn to holy triumph in the progress of the Redeemer's kingdom, and heartfelt satisfaction at the thought of having been in any measure useful.
Such will be the blessed effects produced by the causes we bave specified. But what treasure can they expect to find in parting from the present year, who have entered it with careless emptiness? This is a serious enquiry; but still more startling is the question, What must be the expectation of those who have come to it laden with evil? Alas! their's will be a portion which they would gladly cast away. How many who have brought vanity and thoughtless mirth, will receive mortification and dissatisfaction; how many for worldliness and selfishness, will obtain disappointment; for uncontrolled passions, wretchedness; for sin, unless divine mercy interpose, unalterable sorrow.
But should any of my young friends wish to prolong these reflections, they may easily extend them to other causes and effects. I must conclude, and in conclusion would only say, hasten, O reader, to examine thy freight, and join me in the prayer, that not merely every year, but every month, week, and day, may be so begun, continued, and ended in God, that when they have borne us through things temporal, we may enter peacefully upon things eternal, and find ourselves enriched with holiness and happiness, yea, with all the unsearchable riches of Christ.
S. S. S.
THE VOICE OF DEPARTED DAYS.
The rapidity with which days and years depart, loudly claims our serious attention, and justifies us in adopting that portion of Elihu's apology to his more aged friends,-) said days should speak.
Departed days direct the mind to a review of the past, and more directly to the hallowed privileges we may have misimproved. Religious means are the merciful interpositions of Heaven, to warn us to flee from the wrath to come; they form the highway to glory. They echo the proclamation of the most High. “For I have no pleasure in the death of him who dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn and live ye."Happy would it be if these tender appeals awakened the slumbering spirit, and pierced the hardened heart; but in how many cases have these means been unblessed and unimproved, apparently answerable to no good purpose: the very repetition has occasioned indifference. Like the manna to the murmuring Israelites—to such is applicable the charge of the Prophet. “ All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people." These privileges should not have been confined to mere profession. The foolish virgins professed ; they had the lamp, the symbol of a principle of grace, but still they were denied admission to the marriage feast. Every sermon, every providence, every expression of parental solicitude, every awakening reflection, every passing year, should have issued in compunction of spirit, abandonment of error and vice, application for mercy through the Son of God, and a submission of our hearts to the divine authority. Let past privileges admonish us of their final departure, and move us to a corresponding activity, lest the period of irreparable misery should suddenly overtake us, and we exclaim-" The harvest is past; the summer is ended, and we are not saved."
Many bereaving providences have characterized the past. Death commenced his destructive warfare at an early period and the first victim of the ruthless monster fell by the hands of his own brother. Thus sin not only destroyed the feelings of fraternal affection, but gave birth to an evil which will exert its baneful influence until the heavens be no more.
Time shall expire, and the creation burn.-How many graves liave been opened to entomb the dead ? How many have writhed and groaned under the wasting hand of the king of terrors !Where is the circle that has not been invaded ? See the parent, the husband, the wife, the children, habited in the garb of grief, pensively pondering over the mysterious providence which removed their beloved companions to the house appointed for all the living
And have not we too, been in the very precincts of death, fearfully hanging over the vast abyss, and perhaps afraid to meet our Maker, and with strong crying and tears sayiug“O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more.”—He heard our cry; we recovered, but with our gradual recovery, we gradually abandoned our religious convictions, our vows and resolves : they all ceased to influence, like the winter's sun, and passed like the midnight vision. But these hours of sickness were the messengers of mercy, the harbingers of our final hour, and silently charge us to be decided in religion, to employ the poor remains of life in working out our salvation, in aiding to evangelize the world, and thus honor the Redeemer.
o Waken O Lord our drowsy sense,
J. c. i.
DAILY MAXIMS FOR JANUARY. 1 The fleeting years glide away. 2 Life gives nothing to mortals without great labor. 3 Honor is the reward of virtuous actions. *4 None have sought God too soon. 5 Pray that you may pray. 6 Despise not the advice even of the meanest. 7 Profit by the misfortunes of others. 8 Anger is a madness. 9 Submit to your superiors. 10 Experience is the best teacher. #11 If religion is worth any thing, it is worth every thing. 12 A man is known by his company. 13 The glory of the world is transient. 14 All good is in the chief good. 15 Late hours are injurious, 16 Love all, 17 Trust a few. •18 Early Piety is acceptable to God. 19 An angel's arm can't snatch me from the grave. 20 Cultivate contentment. 21 Sweet are the uses of adversity. 22 Prayer is the desire of the soul. 23 He overcomes his greatest enemy who conquers his
anger. 24 Man wants but little here below. *25 The happiness of heaven is the constant keeping of a
Sabbath, 26 Consider well the talents you possess. 27 The oak was once an acorn. 28 Associate with the good. 29 Avoid contention. 30 “ Man, know thyself,” much wisdom centres there. 3: Early rising is healthful and profitable.
How rapidly these days are past,
* The days marked with a star are Lord's-days.