Page images
PDF
EPUB

but encouraged all around her to “ Take the lantern, and keep in the straight path." Often do we wonder when God taketh

away

the

young and the strong from among men, and spareth the aged and the feeble; but “His ways are not as our ways;" he can make the aged abundantly useful in proclaiming the lovingkindness of the Lord: doing more, like Samson of old, in their latter end, than they did in their youth. Thus Mary Wilson, in her old age, was an instrument of good to many, warning them of sin, encouraging them by the promises of God, and urging them to Take the lantern, and keep in the straight path."

Oh that thousands, who have wandered in the shadowy and dark pathways of ungodliness, could hear a voice crying aloud, “ Take the lantern, and keep in the straight path.' What clouds would be dispersed! what difficulties would be removed! what misery would be avoided! and what happiness would be attained, if the word of God was accounted by us as grateful as our necessary food! Surely happy are they who are in such a case; Happy are they whose God is the Lord.??

Robert Baxter found, when he had no lantern, a dark night, a rugged road, and a bewildering wood; Maria Horton found, when she was not guided by God's holy word, disappointed hopes, unexpected evils, faithless friends, and a mind overwhelmed with darkness and fear. And thou, reader, if thy heart be not right with God, if thou art not bowing down at the cross of Christ, and making the word of God the guide of thy steps, wilt find darkness around thy paths, bewildering troubles, and endless perplexities. Thy hope will perish, and fears will come upon thee. Like Robert Baxter and Maria Horton, may thy mind be directed to heavenly things, and the Holy Spirit dispose thee to take the lantern of God's holy word, and seek the teaching and guidance of God the Holy Spirit, to enable thee to walk in the straight path that leadeth to everlasting life; so shall thine eyes see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living, and thy feet be kept from every evil way. So shalt thou, through the sufferings and merits of thy Redeemer, attain to mansions of bliss, whose inhabitants need no lantern to guide them, for there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun, for the Lord

God giveth them light, and they shall reign for ever and

0.

ever.

TEMPERANCE. THE following facts are taken from a letter by the Rev. John Edgar, Belfast :

“ On going out one day, I saw a neighbour coming down the street reeling drunk. This was nothing new with him; for as he and his fellow-labourers received every day from their master two glasses of spirits each, it was not wonderful that his health, and property, and character had already gone to ruin ; and that his family, in addition to the brutality of a drunken head, were condemned at times to the hard lot of subsisting on the generosity of their neighbours. Next day I took him to task : he, of course, professed great penitence, and promised amendment; but, as is usual in such cases, he complained bitterly, not of the quantity, but of the quality of the whiskey which he had taken. 'Oh! it was abominable stuff.? Well,' I said, 'if, as you say, you are really desirous, by joining the Temperance Society, of escaping the temptations which moderate spirit-drinkers are throwing in your way, I shall put you for a month on probation; and if, during that time, you furnish good evidence of a sincere desire to reform, your name shall be enrolled with those of a multitude of the most excellent characters living, who, for reclaiming poor drunkards, and preventing the young from becoming drunkards, have united in refraining from distilled spirits, and promoting temperance. His name was enrolled : it is about two years ago. He had then literally nothing, and none of his family were in attendance at school or the house of God. He has been true to his trust; and fully has he been repaid. Himself and family are well clothed and well fed ; his children are in regular attendance at a Sabbath-school, and in company with him at the house of God. On going up my pulpitstairs to preach a temperance sermon, on the last great anniversary of temperance, happening to look through the back window, there to be sure was a great fat pig of his hanging, which he had killed on Saturday, for the market on Monday, and which he has since replaced with two others. On Monday he brought me 21. 10s. to keep for him, intending to purchase another horse ; for he has one horse and two carts already. So well is his wife satisfied with the change effected for her by Temperance Societies, for the prosperity of which she has offered up many a prayer, that she came forward publicly on an occasion of my preaching for temperance, and registered her name as a member, in company with her eldest son.

With what delight,' said a worthy minister to me, 'did I see the two young sons of the widow with whom I lodge enrol their names on the list of the Temperance Society! for,' said he, ' I first taught them to drink. Desirous of showing them kindness, I invited them to my apartment, on Sabbath evenings, and treated them to a tumbler of punch. Well do I recollect that the first night they came, neither of them knew the way to make punch; but I taught them. Had I not reason to be glad, therefore, to see them enrolled in the Temperance Society ? For, oh! had one or both of them gone on to drunkenness and ruin, how could I have borne the thought-I taught them!' On the same temperance roll with the names of these young men, stand the names of a mother and her daughter. That mother was, for many years, an infamous drunkard ; and ofttimes that daughter, through her mother's solicitations to drunkenness, was seen in a state of violent madness in the streets of her native village. The mother has been for above two years a consistent member of the Temperance Society, and of the church of God; and her daughter is now a most zealous and efficient teacher in a Sabbath-school.

THE CHRISTIAN'S FEELINGS. THE christian, while the world is calling him an enthusiast, and saying again and again, “ You go too far; you think too much of religion; you are quite mad upon that subject,” truly feels and mourns his coldness, and, compared with their everlasting moment, sorrows for his sad and much to be lamented indifference and unconcern to spiritual and eternal realities. He feels that he is still weighed down by the sleep of worldliness, and the dreams of earthly things. He is feeling and exclaiming with all the impression of fresh light, “I am but half awake.”. O for more life, more zeal, more love to God, more devotedness to Christ! Yes, my brethren, I speak the mind of many a christian when I say, our dulness in the things of God is our continual burden; we groan under our spiritual insensibility. The confession and the prayer of the believer is, My soul cleaveth to the dist; quicken thou me according to thy word.” O that I could constantly rise above that vain world to which my affections are so often sinking! O that I could constantly realize the presence and the love of my blessed Lord and Saviour! O that I could always perceive, clearly and fully, the unsearchable riches of his grace, and the completeness of my soul in him ! O that I could live in the enjoyment of the sweet truth of his electing love, his freely justifying grace, and my adoption into his family! O for a constant and realizing view of his speedy coming, as one of my richest hopes, and abiding with him in glory, in that "house not made with hands,

66

eternal in the heavens!” I find a spiritual drowsiness ever and anon creeping upon me; I resist it; but still it prevails again and again, and of those things which I feel to be of supreme and eternal magnitude, I far too much lose sight.

Be comforted, O believer, your conflict will not last long. Soon the light of glory will come. Soon the Sun of righ teousness will shine in full splendour on your soul. Soon what is sown in weakness shall be raised in power; and what is sown a natural body will be raised a spiritual body; and as you have borne the image of the earthy, you shall bear the image of the heavenly.

But in the mean time awake from the lethargy which the very air of this world occasions, and arise and let your light shine before men.

BICKERSTETH.

NEWTON'S LETTERS. [We have been favoured with some letters written by the late

Rev. John Newton to the Rev. R. Johnson, while chaplain to the colony of New South Wales, to which office he was appointed on the first settlers being sent thither. Some extracts from this correspondence, no part of which has hitherto appeared in print, will probably interest our readers, and will be inserted occasionally. We shall be glad to follow it hereafter by other letters from characters of similar piety and eminence.]

Extracts from a Letter, 13th May, 1788. YOUR letters of the 20th August from Rio Janeiro, and of the 23d October from the Cape, came safely to hand, and are now before me. I thank you for them; they gave me pleasure on your account, and if I can make a proper use of them, they will do me good.

“The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof." You are a branch of his great family, and you are but removed into a different apartment in his great house. Distance is nothing in spirituals. The same sun shines upon you and upon me. The same throne of grace is equally near to us both; and if we meet there, how can we be far from each other? I often think of you, and on the return of Saturday evening I believe I have not once forgotten you since you left Spithead. Saturday at nine in the evening is about eight on Sunday morning at Botany Bay. So then your Sunday is closing when mine begins. Í frequently amuse myself with accommodating our hours to yours. When I am awake, you are often asleep, and vice versa. Thus we may watch and pray for each other alternately,

May you be deeply impressed with a sense of your dignity,

you

which will feel in proportion to the humility and dependence of your spirit in the sight of the Lord. If your eye is fixed upon the Lord, the peculiarity of the service in which you are engaged warrants you to expect, in all similar circumstances, the guidance of that wisdom which directed Moses in the wilderness, the support of that power which accompanied the ministrations of Elijah and Paul, and that nothing shall be impossible to you that falls within the line of your duty, however extraordinary the difficulties and dangers around you may appear to the reasonings of flesh and blood.

Mr. Thomson favoured me to-day with a sight of your letter to him, which has made me more sensible than I was of the difficulties that await you. It requires me to be very cautious how I write. I will only observe that your success and influence will not depend so much upon the manner in which you express yourself, as upon the general impression which your character makes upon the people you are with. If Captain Phillip, the officers, seamen, and convicts, conceive of you as one devoted to God, firm in his cause, meek, humble, and compliant in all cases where conscience is not concerned, and at the same time, as standing upon higher ground than to be influenced by the fear of man, or of any danger or hardship to which duty may expose you, this will give a weight to what you say, and the Lord whom you trust and serve, and who has all hearts in his hand, will stand by you, and work wonderfully in your favour. They will be compelled to reverence you in their hearts. Some who appear enemies shall become your friends; and those who continue your enemies shall not be able to hurt you. You may, perhaps, on some occasions, be sharply tried ; but faith in exercise will bring you through all. Whatever concessions you make, in this spirit, with a conviction upon your mind that you do what appears to be best upon the whole in the sight of God, will do you no harm. But should you be either bribed by smiles or intimidated by frowns, to withdraw your dependence from God, and to permit the thoughts of what an arm of flesh can do for or against you, to govern your resolves, every concession of this kind will encourage them to press further upon you, and they will not let you be quiet, till you

have given up every thing that does not please them. While you abide in your high Tower, you will be an overmatch for them; but if they can draw you from it to meet them upon a level, and consult with flesh and blood, they will be too hard for you, and you will probably plunge yourself into greater inconveniences than those which you wish to avoid. Nor will you be either comfortable in yourself, or useful to them, till the Lord mercifully leads you back to your strong Refuge again.

« PreviousContinue »