Page images

The renewal of a child nine years old. This discovery brought to the sorrowing mother greater joy than if there had been conferred upon her and her family a title to all the Indies. It was as though her child had been raised from the dead. The sunshine of hope again rested upon her brightening countenance. The change in the appearance of the whole family was strikingly observable. It was as though a dark cloud had suddenly been rolled away, and the sun had poured in all his effulgence upon the scene.

The language of every individual of the family was, surely “in the midst of judgment God remembereth mercy.” Mr. R now felt that he had received new and fresh proof that where parents give up their children in covenant to God in accordance with the divine will, those children will not be lost. In relation to his own children, he thought he had every reason to hope that the three whom God had taken from him were in felicity. And of the seven that were left him, all but two, in the judgment of charity had been renewed in the spirit of their minds. The various amictions which this family were called to suffer, tended to deepen their piety; and lead them to strive to live, as it were, every moment beneath the eye of the Saviour. This holy living, together with the pious counsel he received, exerted a most salutary influence upon the mind of their youngest son, a lad only nine years old. Seldom have I seen more decided and unequivocal marks of genuine conversion, sustained by a corresponding and continued change of deportment, than were manifest in this instance.

There was only one of his family now that had not been brought in, and in relation to that one, Mr. R remarked, in a communication recently received

“I believe that my confidence in the covenant promises of God, has never been greater with respect to any one of our children than it now is respecting the one who has not ġet; I fear, fully embraced the Saviour.”

Here I wish the reader to pause and ponder these facts: for they are well authenticated facts. If parents did give up their children, when they brought them to baptism, in faith if they held on to the promises of God in relation to their children in after life with firm faith—if they reared up their offspring, not as though they were theirs, but God's children if they continued to believe and pray, and let the light of

The conclusion.

their example shine around the path of their offspring, would not those offspring realize all that is promised in the covenant? Would they not become regenerate and spiritual children of the Lord? Can a solitary instance be shown, where this all this has been done on the part of the parents, and the promise of God has failed ? Does not the baptismal service of the Episcopal Church then, speak a solemn note of war. ning to parents—laying the sin of their children's living and dying unregenerate, at their door? Parents, think of these things!

[ocr errors]

Zion viewed froro three different points.




Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways and see, and ask for the olj paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls."

From the 6th of the Prophet Jeremiah.

We have often found, in surveying some vast and mag; nificent work of art, that the full effect it was calculated to produce, was not known until it had been surveyed from several different positions.

Though in this our walk we have already nearly gone round about Zion,” and seen its “principal towers and bul. warks,” still, we have no doubt, that their beauty and strength will be better understood if they are viewed from other points.

In the present chapter, we propose to invite the reader to look at Zion with its whole assemblage of palaces and towers from three distinct points. Or in other words, we shall spread before him views of three different individuals, as they were impressed in looking at Zion from three different points.

Preliminary to this however, I wish to offer a few consid. erations, showing that in our view, denominational peculiarities are not to be regarded as altogether a matter of indifference.

The remark, that it is of no consequence to what church we attach ourselves if we are only christians,” is so current that it has become quite common-place, and, by many, is re. garded as an axiom involving incontrovertible truth. But if we will take the trouble to analyze this remark, we think it will be found to contain more error than truth. Doubtless the most essential thing to be looked to, in connecting ourselves

The usefulness of christians dependent on discipline.

with any church, is, the evidence of our being truly born of God—the clear indications of the germ, and commencement of that spiritual and divine life which will be perpetuated through eternity. Without this, church-membership is vain. Without this, no matter with what denomination we may be connected, or how admirable may be its arrangements for leading believers on from strength to strength till they come to Moint Zion with songs and everlasting joy. If we have not vital godliness—practical and heartfelt piety—we shall never reach Mount Zion—we shall be driven away forever from the presence of God and the Lamb.

But if we have a principle of piety awakened into life within us, it is of some importance how that new spiritual existence is matured and brought forward.

The church is the nurse by whom, and the nursery in which the children of God are to be trained for Heaven. Parents usually deem it of some consequence, to commit the education of their children to proper hands. These children are educated only for time—the children of God are to be educated for eternity. Is it of no consequence then, to whom their education is committed ?—or how they are brought up! What if through carelessness, or negligence, or mismanage. ment on the part of the nurse to whom they are committed, or from her withholding from them the proper nutriment—instead of growing “ unto perfect men, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ”—they languish in feebleness, are stinted in their growth, pass their days in almost infantile dwarfishness, and finally fall into early decrepitude, will they not personally suffer loss? Will not God be dishonored, and his name reproached on their account? St. Paul tells us of some, who, though they built on the right foundation, and though they would finally be saved yet, inasmuch as they built of " hay, wood and stubble," would suffer loss, and “ be saved, yet so as by fire.”

Again : God purposes to accomplish great things in our world through his people. But his people disqualify them. selves to be co-workers with Him, when they are so carelessly nurtured, that their growth is stinted, and they scarce. ly exceed the pigmy size of mere dwarss. Or in other words when they live on, ignorant and uninstructed in those doc. trinal truths which expand the mind, strengthen the mora)

The importance of growth in divine knowledge. affections, and tend to give more vigor to the principle of holiness—bringing the intellect, the affections, yea, the whole man with all his powers, under the salutary influence of that heavenly discipline which will train and qualify him to take a prominent place in “the sacramental host of God's elect.” Thus do they, who are not under these right influences, not only fail of doing the will of the Lord by helping to prepare the way of the chariot of the Redeemer, but by their limited knowledge, by their neglect of divine grace, by their lack of spiritual growth, and by their low standard of piety, they bring dishonor upon the holy name by which they are called. They lead the enemies of God to blaspheme, and to say in scornful derision, “ These are the people of the Lord, and are gone forth out of his land."*

Now we do know, that almost every thing relating to future character and usefulness, de. pends upon the manner in which children are nurtured, and trained, and educated. And it is no less true, that the character and usefulness of christians depend upon the influences that are brought to bear upon them in the church. This of itself, were there no other considerations, shows that it is of very great importance with what church we unite ourselves. The doctrines must be sound and scriptural—the discipline and worship, such as tend to edification and the promotion of true godliness and enlightened piety—and all its arrangements so manifestly in harmony with the word of God, as to be an epistle of commendation, bearing the broad sign and signature of Christ himself. And farther, we ought not to place ourselves in any church, unless there can be affirmed of it, that it is “a congregation of faithful men in the which the

pure word of God is preached, and the sacraments be duly ministered according to Christ's ordinance in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same.” That the Epis. copal Church is such a church, appears to be the deep and solemn conviction of the writers of the three following communications. They were all of them requested by the author, to give a brief statement of the manner in which they were led to connect themselves with the Episcopal Church, and some of the reasons which prompted them to take this step. The author was led to make this request of them, from the fact, that they had all of them for many years been most exemplary

* Ezek, xxxvi, 13.

« PreviousContinue »