« PreviousContinue »
pursued by the hawk, and I need his wounds for a refuge; I am a feeble vine, and I need his cross to lay hold of and wind myself about; I am a sinner, and I need his rights eousness; I am naked and bare, and need his holiness and innocence for a covering; I am in trouble and alarm, and I need his solace; I am ignorant, and I need his teaching simple and foolish, and 1 need the guidance of his Holy Spirit.
"In no situation, and at no time, can I do without him. Do I pray? he must prompt and intercede for me. Am I arraigned by Satan at the Divine tribunal? he must be my Advocate. Am I in affliction ? he must be my helper. Am I persecuted by the world? he must defend me. When I am forsaken, he must be my support; when dying, my life; when mouldering in the grave, myTesuTreetion. Well, then, I will rather part with all the world, and all that it contains, than with thee, my Saviour; and, God be thanked, I know that thou too art not willing to do without me. Thou art rich, and I am poor; thou hast righteousness, and I sin; thou hast oil and wine, and I wounds; thou hast cordials and refreshments, and I hunger and thirst. Use me then, my Saviour, for whatever purpose and in whatever way thou may est require. Here is my poor heart, an empty vessel; fill it with thy grace. Here is my sinful and troubled soul; quicken and refresh it with thy love. Take my heart for thine abode; my mouth, to spread the glory of thy name; my love, and all my powers, for the advancement of thy honour and the service of thy believing people. And never suffer the stedfastness and confidence of my faith to abate, that so at all times I may be enabled from the heart to say, 'Jesus wants me, and I him; and so we suit each other.'"
I HOPE TO BE A CHRISTIAN. You do? Why, then, do you not seek to be a Christian? "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." (Matt. vii. 7.) "Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye search for me with all your heart." (Jer. xxix. 13.)
Are you seeking for God with all your heart? No man ever yet escaped from the thraldom of sin and Satan, who did not earnestly struggle to be free; no man ever entered the strait gate who did not strive to accomplish that glorious end. Carelessness and inattention afford no
foundation for a hope that you are to become a child of God.
You hope to he a Christian. Why, then, do you not give up your sins, renounce the world as your portion, and cheerfully surrender yourself to Him who is the way, the truth, and the life? He is ready and willing to receive you. He gave his life a ransom for sinners. He free gives his Spirit to all who earnestly ask him: he has filled his revealed word with invitations and encouragements to those who desire his grace: he has long been knocking at the door of your heart for admission. How then can you ever hope to be a Christian?
You hope to be a Christian. When? Not now. You are too busy, or have something in view which must first be accomplished, or are so indisposed to give yourself to the work, that this is not felt to be the "convenient season." After a while, when you have accumulated a fortune, or passed the period when you can partake in the world's pleasures, or when there is a revival of religion, or, at furthest, on a dying bed, you hope to be a Christian. But God's commands and promises are for the present. He gives no encouragement to wait for a future season. You have no assurance that there shall be any season beyond the present. Before the expected time comes you may be in eternity.
You hope to be a Christian. So multitudes of others like yourself, who were living in siu, have hoped; but where are they now? Long ago have they been cut down as cumberers of the ground. Their day of grace and day of life have closed. They lived without Christ, and they died without him: they trifled away their precious time on earth, in the delusive hope that some day or other they would be Christians. That day never came to them, and never will come. "The harvest is past, the summer is ended;" and they are not saved.
CONFIDENCE IN GOD. Confidence is the foundation of affection. Until we cast from us all distrust of the Lord, we cannot love him as we ought, nor feel happy under his dispensations. But, when once the rejoicing feeling of perfect reliance is formed, then we repose on his arrangements without murmuring or complaining. Our souls find peace. We know him to be the Almighty, doing as he will in heaven and earth; and, with regard to ourselves, the heart's willing declaration is at all times, "Be it unto me, 0 Lord, according to thy word."
My God a God of pardon is,
His bosom gives me ease:
Yet mercy him doth please.
But lo t a fountain springs
And speaketh better things.
My sins have reach'd up to the heavens;
But mercy's height exceeds:
Above my sinful deeds.
Or sands upon the shore;
Are infinitely more. :.,
My sins in bigness do arise
like mountains great and tall;
Covers these mountains all.
A sea without a shore;
Mercy abounds much more.
Manasseh, Paul, and Magdalen
Were pardon'd all by thee:
For thou hast pardon'd me.
What trembling will be there!
Will be the sinner's prayer.
But the Lamb's wrath they need not fear.
Who once have felt his love;
Shall dwell with God above-
Yet still my song shall be,
And merciful to me.
CHRISTIAN CONSISTENCY IN TROUBLE.
The believer in Christ—the true, upright, and sincere follower of the Saviour—will sometimes fall into difficulties and troubles in business as do other men. The unexpected failure of a bank, or a large mercantile concern, or some other contingency of trade, will involve many persons of every description in ruin. To some such cause was to be attributed the embarrassments of Mr. G—. The declarations and implications of God's word with respect to this matter are so plain, that the great wonder is how mis
Mav, 1862. r
takes can possibly be made, and that men should marvel and distrust when they experience in themselves, or witness in others, the failure of earthly schemes and the fading away of earthly hopes.
Mr. G— was a warm-hearted Christian, one of those who, though comparatively unseen and unknown, are enabled to accomplish a great deal of good in the active service of Christ.
He failed in business and was made a bankrupt; and, as a matter of course, a messenger or some inferior official of the bankruptcy court was " put in possession," as it is called. In other words, he was placed in Mr. G—'s house as a guard and protector of the property which was no longer Mr. G—'s, but his creditors'.
And now we may give that man's story in something like
his own words.
* * » »
I was very well used to that kind of business; I had been brought up to it; and when I took my place on the outside of the ooach down to H (it was before the time of railroads), I knew what I had to do.
Mr. G—of course expected me: it was scaroely necessary to show him my instructions: I did this, however, as a matter of form, and then I took possession.
I had no particular liking to my employment, but I had long before rubbed off all fine, sentimental feelings, as I should then have said, about sympathy for people in trouble; and I was honest enough not to pretend to them.
At the same time, however, I was rather struck with the manner of Mr. G— at our first interview. In my transactions with bankrupts I had been generally accustomed to two sorts of people, with various modifications of course. The first class was of those who brazoned out their misfortunes; professed to care nothing about the disgrace which had befallen them; hinted that it was the best thiug that could have happened; and tried to coax themselves into my confidence for purposes of their own. The second class consisted of those who almost sank beneath the blow; gave way to foolish and useless lamentations; hid themselves from the eyes of the world; and looked upon me, who had no hand in their misfortunes, with mingled dislike and dread.
It was evident to me that, in Mr. G—, I had to do with another description of bankrupts. He received me with a