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to define those shades which rest over earthly views, from the light which broke upon spiritual ones.
Love to the brethren made me desirous that those, in whose society I weekly joined in worship, should acknowledge our relationship. Having heard the vicar say, “ that Christ's family are equally precious to Jesus, and equally members one of another, whether in a state of grace on earth or of glory in heaven;" I felt the full force of the observation. This sentiment impressed me with so much confidence in the kindness and enlargement of his heart, who had received it ; that I resolved to address our minister, in the hope of procuring a recognition of my claims among those “ who follow after righteousness.” Having discovered my heritage, I did not like to remain as an alien in my father's house. The errand of my letter gained it a courteous acceptance: for the Lord put his affirmative to my Christian credentials.
I can testify to the profit as well as the pleasure of cultivating the good will and attention of that preacher, whose instrumentality has declared the Gospel to our souls. Such an intercourse, so hallowed in its commencement, and so appropriated in its progress, is separate from the frail tenure of our usual associations. It harmoniously connects the narrative of time with the solemnity of eternity. I love to get into the company of Christ's honoured servants, and join their conversation as they talk together; relating “how he expounded to them the scriptures, and how he is known unto them, in breaking of bread and of prayer.” But while I value such glad confederacy, I should be sorry to prize these things, but as secondary and subordinately: the higher claim is that which hath for its entrance, access, and sure enjoyment; the blood of Christ opened and kept open before the mercy seat. Christians with exultation may transfer the privilege of the chief Captain, and establish our right in his words; “ with a great sum obtained I this freedom.” Therefore let us do, by such a costly investiture, as those who know their birthright; let us live constantly up to its prerogatives. If we give Christ our first confidence, the Lord will open a channel of introduction to the exertions and benefit of our fellow creatures, whose prepossession in our favour will be so much the sweeter, when we know from whose blessed in
fluence to trace their affection. In such a frame of experimental faith, our intercourse with each other will be profitable; but I am little inclined to encourage that tendency to what is called pious communication ; which is made up of all that passes within, and which is more likely to be the offscouring of our natural hearts than the pellucid residium of divine grace.
In this age of general profession, I find it a holyday to meet with some lover of the Gospel, who is yet uninstructed in the nomenclature of religion; to whom the distinction of particular sects, and disputed definitions, whether of modern or forgotten notoriety, appear uninteresting. And I have found it good, because such docile minds are willingly ignorant of differences, which may be more apparent in statement than in fact : more in our misconception of each other, than in our varied or perverse apprehension of Scripture. It is probable, that many who follow such darkened tenets, when apprized of the errors of free-will doctrines, would be led to search the word of God for themselves; and, I conceive, that not a few instances of mistaken believers will be discovered, like embers of a fire yet glowing beneath the ashes of erroneous opinions. The cloud on their single ray of faith is ultimately dispelled by the light of meridian truth.
That advancement in knowledge, that strengthened vision of the understanding which St. Paul made the subject of prayer for the church, cannot mean our attainment in the science of polemics, nor our proficiency in a lesson on controversial terms, invented by man to elucidate human assertions; and frequently adopted by Satan to engender endless strife. The Lord hath appointed champions in holy things, whose fitness for the exposition of truth is their best evidence of a heavenly instructor. When He, whose wisdom formed the instrument, directs its efficacy; the abilities of the learned are blessed to the apprehension of the simple. But a student in Godliness is rarely synonymous with a student in theology. The philosophy of divinity, falsely so called, establishes the dominion of reason; whereas Gospel scholars are taught that every power of the human mind must be brought under the supremacy of faith,
While the kingdom of grace is thus liable to frequent incursions from proud enemies and insidious friends, I covet to walk in the cool sequestered vale,” adapted to feminine habits. Handmaids of the Lord are especially placed where their attentive eye can catch the Master's look. They sit around Jesus waiting till their names are pronounced for a daily portion, and having received the bounty they are blessed ; the avocations of their station sanctified, its duties apparent, the transitory pleasures of time rescued from evil employment; the fears and cares of existence are now enwrapped in a mantle of mercy. Thus strengthened they go on rejoicing; but their joy is neither in themselves, nor the feast provided, but in “ Him who loved them, and gave himself for them.”
Female converts cannot be more elegantly characterized than by borrowing our Lord's image of the flower in the field On the verge of barren wastes we shall find the rose of the wilderness, and the perfumed violet will lure us to its shelter beneath the recesses of a rock. The more public and cultured gardens of the church have attendants to nourish and admire their beauties; but when Christ will himself cherish a delicate flower, he decorates the heath of the desert with its charms. No human hand supports the nursling; no enclosure pro