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will excuse it; but you see I have cut the part clean away where the mouse has been.'
“I received the loaf at the hand of my unknown benefactress, expressing, as well as my feelings would allow, my thankfulness for the gift : and, slipping a shilling into my hand, she left me, almost overwhelmed with emotions of astonishment, and gratitude too strong for utterance, O sir, can I ever again distrust my heavenly Father's care ? Elijah was fed by ravens; and I have been fed by a mouse ! in a manner less direct, indeed, but not less effectual; for, had it not been for that mouse, this loaf would not have been brought to me. Yes, sir, in order to shame my uns þelief, the Lord has caused even a pilfering mouse to be the means of administering to my necessities.”
“Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the Lord," Psa. cvii. 43. Trifling as this incident may appear, it will easily suggest, to the mind of a serious christian, many instructive and encouraging reflections. A few of these only shall here be adverted to.
i. How obviously does God appear to be the hearer and answerer of prayer. To his believing people he says, “ Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me," Psa. I. 15. And when did he ever fail to make good this promise ? He may see fit to delay for a season that interposition which they desire; but it is only to make them more sensible of their dependence, to exercise their faith and patience, and to render their deliverance the more signal and complete. What a resource, then, has the christian, under all his trials and difficulties ! Let him never lose sight of it, but ever come boldly, to the throne of
grace, and find grace to help in time of need,” Heb. iv. 16.
2. How wonderful is the care of Divine Providence, especially as exercised towards the Lord's people. The poorest and the meanest of them are no less the objects of this care than those who are the most distinguished among men. It extends to the most minute circumstances of their' lives, and those which have even the remotest bearing upon their interests, making “all things,” however gloomy in their appearance, or painful in their endurance, to "work
that he may
together for their good,” Rom. viii. 28. And the most unlikely means are often selected to convey to them a benefit in answer to prayer, in order that the hand of God may be the more apparent in its bestowment, and his wisdom and goodness the more strikingly displayed.
3. We may learn from this incident to be ever ready, according to our ability, to relieve the wants of those who are in affliction or distress : by so doing, we may frequently be the honoured instruments of imparting that needed blessing which had been the object of fervent prayer to God from some humble, afflicted, and, perhaps, almost desponding saint, whose spirit such an act of kindness may revive, and occasion, through him, many “thanksgivings to God.” Let those who have abundance think of this, and never waste upon an inferior animal, or in any other way, that food which might satisfy the cravings of nature in a fellow creature, and perhaps cause “the widow's heart to sing for joy.”
4. What encouragement have pious visitors of the sick to persevere in “their work of faith and labour of love ;" and what inducements are held out to other christians to engage in it! The word of inspired truth declares that “it is better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting,” Eccles. vii. 2; and every christian must, more or less, have found it so. Some may be discouraged on account of their supposed incapacity to address to the afflicted a word in season. But this, in a great degree, arises from their want of practice. Let them but make the attempt, in humble dependence upon Divine assistance, and they will gradually acquire more confidence and greater facility in the imparting of instruction and consolation. If the object of their compassion be an unconverted person, let them remember, that “he who converteth the sinner from the error of his way, shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins," James v. 20. If a child of God, let them keep in mind the Saviour's gracious declaration, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me,” Matt. xxv. 40. These words, in their connexion, show what great stress is laid by our Lord upon acts of kindness done to his poor and afflicted disciples, as evidencing sincere attachment to himself. The same thing is elsewhere represented as constituting, in the sight of God, a prominent feature of genuine religion: “ Pure religion and undefiled, before God and the Father, is this; To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world," James i. 27. Essex.
LAST YEAR I WOULD HAVE SOUGHT THE REDEEMER. RELATED BY AN AMERICAN MINISTER, IN “HENRY'S LETTERS TO A
FRIEND,” p. 102. AN accomplished and amiable young woman in the town of , had been deeply affected by a sense of her spiritual danger. She was the only child of a fond and affectionate parent. The depression which accompanied her discovery of guilt and depravity awakened all the jealousies of her father. He dreaded the loss of that sprightliness and vivacity which constituted the life of his domestic circle. He was startled by the answers which his questions elicited; while he foresaw, or thought he foresaw, an encroachment on the hitherto unbroken tranquillity of a deceived heart. Efforts were made to remove the cause of disquietude ; but they were such efforts as unsanctified wisdom directed, The Bible, at last—0, how little may a parent know the far-reaching of the deed, when he snatches the word of life from the hand of a child !—the Bible, and other books of religion, were removed from her possession, and their place was supplied by works of fiction. An excursion of pleasure was proposed and declined. An offer of gayer amusement shared the same fate. Promises, remonstrances, and threatenings followed; and the father's infatuated perseverance at last brought compliance. Alas! how little may a parent be aware that he is decking his offspring with the fillets of death, and leading her to the sacrifice, like a follower of Moloch? The end was accomplished : all thoughts of piety, and all concern for the immortal future, vanished together. But, in less than a year, the gaudy deception was completely exploded! The fascinating and gay LM- was prostrated by a fever that bade defiance to medical skill. The approach of death was unequivocal ; and the countenance of every attendant fell, as if they had heard the flight of his arrow.
I see, even now, that look directed to the father, by the dying martyr of folly. The
glazing eye was dim in hopelessness; and yet there seemed à something in its expiring rays, that told reproof, and tenderness, and terror in the same glance. And that voice—its tone was decided, but sepulchral still—“ My father! last year I would have sought the Redeemer. Fath-er, your child is- Eternity heard the remainder of the sentence, for it was not uttered in time. The wretched survivor now saw before him the fruit of a disorder whose seeds had been sown when his delighted look followed the steps of his idol in the maze of a dance. O how often, when I have witnessed the earthly wisdom of a parent banishing the thoughts of eternity, have I dwelt on that expression, which seemed the last reflection from a season of departed hope, “ Last year I would have sought the Redeemer !"
THE THEATRE. “HE that is not satisfied,” says Bishop Wilson, that plays are an unlawful diversion, let him, if he dare, offer up this prayer to God, before he goes, “Lord, lead me not into temptation, and bless me in what I am now to be employed.” — There are many other occupations and amusements alike inconsistent with prayer; such as races, fairs, cards, &c., &c.
RELIGIOUS CONVERSATION. IT is truly useful and edifying, when they that fear the Lord speak often to one another of Him, of his
his majesty, his love, his mercy; when they point out to one another the glorious truths of the gospel; when their hearts burn within them as they make mention of the mercies they themselves have experienced; when they point out the dangers of our way through this wilderness, and show us the distant mansions of everlasting rest, where Jesus our Forerunner is entered; when they strengthen the weak out of the armoury of the gospel. How different a conversation is this from that which is called “religious conversation !" Conversation in which the opinions of our neighbours, rather than the truths of the Bible, are dwelt upon; in which preachers are criticised, and all the little religious gossip of the day dwelt upon.
A DEMONSTRATION OF THE DIVINE INSPIRATION
AND AUTHORITY OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES. AS I was born in a christian land, and born of christianı parents, it highly becomes me to give some account why I believe the Bible to be the word of God.
I have four grand and powerful arguments which induce me to believe the Bible cannot be the invention, either ofgood men or angels, bad men or devils; but it must be from God : namely, miracles, prophecies, the goodness of the doctrine, and the moral character of the penmen. All the miracles flow from Divine power; all the prophecies flow from Divine understanding; the goodness of the doctrine flows from Divine goodness; and the moral character of he penmen flows from Divine holiness.
Thus I see christianity is built upon four grand pillars ; namely, the power, understanding, goodness, and holiness of God. Divine power is the source of all the miracles ; Divine understanding is the source of all the prophecies ; Divine goodness is the source of the goodness of the doctrine; and Divine holiness is the source of the moral character of the
penmen. May not a short and clear argument, as follows, be posed to prove the Divine inspiration and authority of the Holy Scriptures.
The Bible must be the composition either of good men or angels, bad men or devils, or of God.
1. It could not be the invention of good men or angels; for they neither would nor could make a book, and tell lies all the time they were writing it, saying, “ Thus saith the Lord,” when it was their own invention.
2. It could not be the invention of bad men or devils; for they would not make a book which commands all duty, forbids all sin, and condemns their own souls to hell to all eternity.
3. Therefore we must draw the conclusion that the Bible was given by Divine inspiration.
HEAVENLY MELODY. METHINKS when we are singing the praises of God in great assemblies, with joyful and fervent spirits, I have the liveliest foretaste of heaven upon earth, and could almost