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your guilt if, through you, any soul should be led into eternal misery!
SHOPKEEPERS! are you careful to have just and equal weights, and to take no undue advantage of those who deal with you? Do you remember that a false balance is abomination unto the Lord, but a just measure his delight ?” Awake to this, or you are asleep to your eternal interests!
SWEARERS AND SABBATH-BREAKERS are asleep! they sleep the sleep of death! unless awakened by the Spirit of God they arise, shake themselves from their sinful habits, and begin a new life.
But not only open sabbath-breakers are asleep, so are many who profess to regard the sabbath; those who spend its precious moments in decorating the body, feasting the appetite, in slothfulness, in sleeping, in ordinary occupations, and idle gossipings. Awake, ye sleepers, to your immortal interests! Remember, time is short! life uncertain ! eternity without end! and that you must spend it in happiness or misery 0, sleep no more! awake, prepare for the coming of the great Judge, who sends his messengers to make ready his way before him. Consult
best friend on earth, the Bible; it will teach you how to be ready for Christ's appearing ; how to find an entrance into the courts above. Assemble in God's courts to pray and sing his praise! Call your families together daily, to thank him for his mercies past, and to seek his protection for the time to come. Look constantly to your Saviour; he is at God's right hand, interceding for his saints, and presenting the daily incense of their prayers and praises !
THE CHRISTIAN TAUGHT TO PRAY. AFFLICTION is often made to answer this gracious end. We say, “Lord, teach us to pray;" and Christ says,
And then, down into the grave goes one of our children; or, away into heaven flies the most beloved of our friends; or sickness comes and withers our health; or, the iron hand of adversity presses us down. You remember how Absalom treated Joab. He wished for an interview with him, and he sent for him, but Joab “would not come to him;" and when he sent again the second time, he would not come.' What was to be done ? See,” said Absalom to his servants, “Joab's field is near,
and he hath barley there ; go and set it on fire.” They did so, and the end was answered. Joab was immediately in the house, and by the side of his friend. “Why have you done this,” he said. “Because," said Absalom, "You refused to come to me, and I had no other way of bringing you here.” So, brethren, when we restrain prayer before God,” when we seem, in the hurry of the world, to have half forgotten how to pray, when the Lord calls again and again to us,
Seek ye my face,” and calls in vain; then comes the fire on our corn; then comes some dispensation of Providence that destroys, or threatens to destroy our earthly comforts, the fruit of our labours, or the object of our hopes; and then, at last, we fly to our God; then we know, once again, what prayer means; a second spiritual youth is given to our souls; they feel with all the energy of their first feeling; and pray with all the fervour of their first supplications, and become, at last, so earnest, so pleading, so much like what sinful and needy souls ought to be, that we bless the affliction which has quickened us again to life and consciousness. Prayer is the design of trouble. God has an end in afilicting us, worthy his wisdom and his goodness, and this end he accomplishes : he brings the people whom he loves to his throne. “I will go and return to my place,” he says, “ till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face; and then,” he adds, “ in their affliction they will seek me early.”
ARE YOU A PRAYING MAN ? “ A WORD fitly spoken.” About two years since I first became acquainted with Thomas C
man whose bodily afflictions prevented his engaging in manual labour, and who sought a livelihood by the sale of tracts and other small articles. I occasionally conversed with him. He was but slightly affected with religious concern, and his mind appeared unopened to Divine truths. I was obliged to consider him as one respecting whose state there was at least great uncertainty. After an interval of many months I again met him, and I found an altered man. “Oh, sir," he exclaimed, “I am glad to see you! I have so much to tell you of. You will recollect that we used to talk on religion : but I knew nothing of it then. I have since found a new world; I have found that I was a deep sinner;
I have found a Saviour, and I enjoy peace with God!” I was delighted to hear him express the overflowings of an awakened and grateful heart. I will not detail more of his conversation, but merely state that it consisted of expressions by him, of the deepest sense of the goodness of God, and wonder at his merciful loving-kindness; and I urged him to hold on his way rejoicing in the Saviour he had found. I was much interested in ascertaining by what instrumentality it had pleased our heavenly Father to effect such a change, and I asked him to detail to me the circumstances connected with it. He then told me, that subsequently to our last meeting he had for some time gone on in the same unheeding course, and affliction and misery seemed only to make his heart harder and colder towards God. However, in one of his calls at a house to dispose of some articles, a lady addressed him with kindness and sympathy. She doubtless was a christian. She inquired into the cause of his distress, and heard the tale of his sufferings. He told her he was indeed an afflicted man;" “but,” replied the lady, “ though you are an afflicted man, are you a praying man ?” and urged on him the necessity of seeking the help and favour of God. The remembrance of this conversation, perhaps, soon passed away from the mind of the lady, but not so with Thomas C- It was the message of God to his soul. “Are you a praying man ?” followed him every where. He could not banish it from his mind. Instead of murmuring, as he was accustomed to do, he was obliged to admit he had no right to do so, for he was not a praying man. “My father,” this poor man said to himself, “I know was a praying man; and I have often heard him pray for me; but I am not a praying man myself.” By God's grace he determined that he would begin to pray; but how to pray, or what to pray for, he scarcely knew. In deep agitation of mind, at length he was brought to his knees, and day by day he sought God! Weeks passed in deep anxiety, under the terrors of an awakened conscience; but the promises of God remain sure ; and the same grace which led this poor man to seek, ultimately brought the blessing which is connected with an earnest pursuit. Light dawned on his mind! The preciousness and fitness of “ Christ's holy gospel,” was experienced by him, and he could at length rejoice under a sense of forgiveness of sin, and acceptance with God! He became, and still continues, a member of a christian church; and the fruits of his faith soon were shown in his endeavours to bring others to the same Saviour! He hopes that a fellow lodger has also been turned from gross darkness to become “a praying man;" and in the house in which this poor man lodges, in a miserable alley, several assemble to pray and to praise together; and, independently of the tracts which he sells towards his livelihood, he has been enabled to purchase others for his own distribution.
THE PAGAN VOICE OF PRAYER. A MISSIONARY was once travelling in India, in the midst of heathen idolatry; he came weary and exhausted to a little hut, where he put up for the night. Only a thin curtain separated his apartment from another, in which others slept. In the night he was awaked by a human voice in the other
He listened, and he heard some one praying with great earnestness to Jesus Christ. Yes, in that land of idols, in the midst of pagan idolatry, in the silence and darkness of the night, that soul was lifting up strong crying unto Him who is able and willing to save; and who hath said, “ Ask, and it shall be given you ; seek, and ye shall find." And how had .he learned of Jesus ? Not by a minister or a Bible; he had none; but by a tract some one had given to his child.
SERIOUS THOUGHTS ON ETERNITY.
From a Clergyman. IT will be gratifying to your committee to learn that there is every reason for hoping that the tract entitled,
- Serious Thoughts on Eternity," has, under God, been the means of awakening another careless sinner.
W. L., of U- in the county of G- was for a third time committed, for poaching, to H- jail. He had been previously living (as he has himself since told me) “without God, and without Christ in the world," not entering a place of worship often for months together, sometimes from year's end to year's end; and when by any chance there, so utterly ignorant was he of every thing connected with his soul's concerns, (though able both to read and write,) as to come away scarcely knowing the meaning of any thing he had heard. The gospel which fell on his ear, was hid from his heart: his natural man received not the things of the Spirit of God.
Being committed to HM, he found, on entering the prison, that the first of his three months confinement, was to be spent in solitude; the other two on the treadmill. Anxious to render this first month as little irksome as possible, he eagerly sought, among the prisoners in the jail, any books they would lend him. A few religious tracts were alone to be had ; and with these as his only companions, he was shortly after shut up. Among them was that on eternity. He read it; and it was carried like an arrow to his inmost soul. He read it again and again. He told me “he could not put it down; he could not sleep under the reflections it awoke.” He saw his awful state as a sinner; his unpreparedness. [Thus the month passed : the next saw him on the treadmill. His good conduct procured a mitigation of his sentence; and during the third he was employed in mending the jail dresses. I mention it as affording some ground of hope, that already grace was bringing forth buds.
Returning home, he began a new course. He now frequented the house of God. Visiting the church of O-, a village adjoining U-, he heard a sermon on 1 Pet. iv. 18, “ And if the righteous, &c.;" and it pleased God to make use of it to the deepening his serious impressions. The Saviour was now more clearly manifested to him: his finished work for sinners was discerned. He laid hold of the hope set before him; and, believing, was justified by faith, and began to have peace with God, through Jesus Christ. God's people now became his companions. His feet are found walking in the ways of holiness. He is regularly in his place on the sabbath. He is at the prayer-meeting. His own soul, and those of his wife and children are his care. His Bible is studied; and the Lord hears in his house the voice of prayer and praise. The man who told me that, before he went to jail, he could carry nothing away when occasionally he attended a place of worship, now says, (as he simply answered, on being asked whether he profited under the ministry he attends,) " I make, sir, my sabbath evening family prayer from the sermons I have heard in the day; I mean, I try to do so in my poor way."
With this man (so lately a notorious poacher) I knelt to-day at the table of the dear Redeemer; and believe that angels rejoiced in heaven, as we on earth, over this repenting sinner. Before the communion I preached from the words, Isa. xl. 1, “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God;" and it · was with mingled emotions that, both under the word, and at
the table, I saw the tear of penitence and love fill his eye. The Lord of his goodness build him up, and hold him up to the end, and crown him with salvation : and may
he encourage you (by these facts) “to abound in the work of the Lord, &c."