« PreviousContinue »
“HAVE FAITH IN GOD."
invitations, lest the sentence should go forth, “ Thy soul is required of thee," and the fleeting vanities of time give place to the misery and torments of the lost in eternity !--C. F., aged twenty, a gay and thoughtless girl, a lover of pleasure more than a lover of God, on a Saturday was quite well, and her last act that night was to prepare a very gay dress, in order to go to the tea-gardens on the following day. At six o'clock on Sunday inorning she was taken ill with brain-fever, and died in less than forty-eight hours. Little did she think that the dress prepared for pleasure was so soon to be laid aside for the shroud; and the tea-gardens give place to the grave!
Pleasure-loving, Bible-neglecting, and Sabbath-profaning reader, repent, seek to “have faith in God,” lest you too should be cut short in your plans and purposes of sinful enjoyment, and be summoned, like poor C. F., into the presence of God.
“ Ye sinners, seek His grace,
Whose wrath ye cannot bear;
And find salvation chere!" Infidel, “ have faith in God." Yes, though you have denied, perhaps blasphemed the Book by which He has, in thousands of instances, wrought a mighty change in the characters of your fellow men, cheered them in life, and supported them in death, yet we would still follow you with its truths, and entreat you to “ have faith in God,” believe his word, and seek his grace. Rejecting this you must perish, and hopeless and irretrievable will be your ruin; for remember, it is not what you believe, but what is really true ; and, whether you believe it or not, by that word you will be judged. It has been said, “ Infidelity may do for a living, but not for a dying man;" and experience has often proved the truth of the latter part of the remark, as in the following instance:
R. W. made no secret of his infidel principles. He made a jest of sacred things, and religious persons were in his estimation either fools or hypocrites. He was frequently reasoned with; but he answered with ridicule, not argument. This was while he was in perfect health; but from this state he was suddenly called to lie on a dying bed. He quarrelled with a grown-up son, and blows followed words; the parent was much injured internally in the scuffle, he was conveyed to his bed, and shortly after mortification of the injured part ensued. On being visited, he, with an agonized countenance, said, “Oh, sir, though I have often spoken against the Bible, I find I never believed what I said: is there mercy for such a wretch as I have been ?” The way of salvation was pointed out to him, and he was directed to Jesus as able to save to the uttermost all who come unto God by him. But, alas! death was even now grasp
ing his prey! His eyes became glassy and heavy, stupor followed, and in a short time he entered an eternal world.
Contrast this death with that of a devoted servant of God, the Rev. W. Leechman, who, when on his dying bed, thus addressed one who visited him: “ You see the situation I am in. I have not many days to live. I am glad you have the opportunity of witnessing the tranquillity of my last moments; but it is not tranquillity alone; it is joy and triumph, it is complete exultation. And whence does this exultation spring ? From that book," (pointing to a Bible,) “ from that book, -too much neglected indeed, but which contains invaluable treasures: treasures of joy and rejoicing; for it makes us certain that this mortal shall put on immortality.”
Infidel reader, how is it that infidelity thus shrinks from, and, if possible, would avoid encountering death, while Christianity calmly meets the foe and overcomes him ? Ponder the question, and ere it be too late seek to “ have faith in God;" for there is forgiveness with him, that he may be feared, Psa. cxxx. 4.
Christian believer, you who have been shown the sinfulness of sin, and have fled for refuge to the hope set before you in the gospel-you to whom Christ is precious, to you too we would say, “ Have faith in God.” Are you weak? He is strong, Phil. iv. 13. Are you in trouble? He is your refuge, Ps. xlvi. 1. Are you afflicted, perplexed, or tempted? His grace is sufficient for you, 2 Cor. xii. 9. Are you a labourer in his vineyard, and is your soul discouraged ? Still “ have faith in God.” “Let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not,” Gal. vi. 9. Whatever your state, fellow pilgrim, remember that “all things work together for good to them that love God," Rom. viii. 28. Have faith, therefore, in Him, and eventually you shall be more than conqueror through Christ who loved you, Rom. viii. 37.
In conclusion, reader, whatever may be your name, character, or circumstances, may the Lord the Spirit work faith in your heart! May that precious grace which works by love and purifies the heart, Gal. v. 6, and 1 John iii. 3, cheer you in life, and illumine the valley of the shadow of death!
“ Vain are our fancies, airy flights,
It' faith be cold and dead;
To Christ, the living Head.
By a celestial power;
In the decisive hour."
PRIZE THE BIBLE. God has placed in our hands a treasure of inestimable value; that treasure is the Bible. Men, distinguished for their learning and knowledge, have declared that that book has no equal. The value of the Bible springs from the importance of the knowledge it imparts. It reveals to man his true condition, discovers a Saviour, opens to view life and immortality, and points out the path that leads to heaven. An eminent Christian remarks:-"I am a creature of a day; passing through life as an arrow through the air; till a few moments hence I drop into an unchangeable eternity. I want to know one thing—the way to heaven; how to land safe on that happy shore. God himself has condescended to teach the way. For this very end he came from heaven; he hath written it down in a book. Oh! give me that book; at any price give me the book of God. I have it. Here is knowledge enough for me.”
Would you be truly wise ?-prize this knowledge. Amidst the trifles that amuse, and the cares that weigh down the mind, religious truth claims the first attention; yet, alas ! multitudes are pleased with fictions, and intent on trifles light as vanity, while they neglect knowledge of eternal importance. Would you
enjoy salvation ?-shun this common sin, and let your thoughts dwell on the momentous subjects connected with God, with Jesus, with redemption, with your own soul and eternal life. Prize the Bible. Meditate on it with prayer for the teaching of the Holy Spirit. The truly blessed are represented as delighting in the law of the Lord, and meditating therein day and night, Psa. i. 2.
The EFFECTS of such meditations are most happy. The devout reader of the word of God brings forth the fruits of holiness. He is like a tree planted by the rivers of water, in a dry and thirsty land. These feed its roots, and cover it with verdure and fruit when all around is burnt up and desolate. Divine truth, as revealed in God's word, has a power to sanctify, which does not belong to the knowledge derived from his most amazing works: “ The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge." But what do they proclaim? They reveal the eternal power and Godhead of their Maker, but they do not show the way to happiness. Their teachings change no sinful heart. Great as are their splendour and magnificence, their instructions and influence are confined within a narrow space. They reveal a Creator; they show him wise and mighty; and there their lessons end. But the teaching of His holy word does not stop there : “ The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb," Ps. xix. 7–10. These descriptions of the effects of Divine truth should impress on every mind the importance and necessity of searching the Scriptures, and of praying for the Holy Spirit's blessing on their regular and frequent perusal.
When David lived, only a small part of the blessed volume of heavenly truth was written, and a still smaller portion when, as a means of securing prosperity, God enjoined on Joshua the perpetual study of his word, Josh. i. 8. All that could be in his hands was the Pentateuch, and perhaps the book of Job. David had but a small portion of our Bible. The New Testament was unknown to him. Many of the books of the Old Testament did not then exist. Even the small portion of the Scriptures that these ancient saints had received contained so much truth, as to be more precious “ than much fine gold,
Nlightener: the one to be also thambof the effance
PRIZE THE BIBLE.
make those who received and loved it “wise unto salvation." How much then should we, who are fayoured with the whole of the sacred volume, prize the inestimable treasure, and seek heavenly wisdom from it, as the great depository of the precious truth that promotes love to God, and universal holiness. If you read but one book, let it be the Bible. If you read many, make the Bible the first, and never neglect it. Meditate on the truths revealed, as the most important help in the way to heaven. A soul without meditation is like a garden adorned with some flowers, but overrun by many weeds. The Son of God himself retired at times from his labours of love to scenes of solitude and silence,-to a garden or a lonely mountain. Yet he had no inbred corruptions to detect and subdue. How much more must his imperfect followers need the salutary influence of occasional solitude and meditation, with all their sins and imperfections.
The blessed effect of heavenly truth exists in every glorified spirit, that, taught from the Scriptures, enlightened by the Holy Ghost, and guided by Jesus, has passed from earth to heaven. It is displayed also in the life of every genuine Christian upon earth, who walks with God, and brings forth the fruits of holiness, which are by Jesus Christ. The Scriptures furnished the seeds of all those excellences, Luke viii. 11.
The blessed effects of the Scriptures are further seen in domestic and general society, where numberless pleasing facts attest the value of the Bible.
“Two men were travelling to the far west in America, one a sceptic, and the other a Christian. The former was ready on every occasion to denounce religion as an imposture, and its professors as hypocrites. According to his own account, he always suspected persons who made pretensions to piety, and took particular care of his property when those he called saints were about him.
“On this journey he and his companion had travelled late one evening, and were in a wilderness. They at last came to a solitary log hut, and rejoiced at the prospect of a shelter, however humble. They asked leave to go in, and were allowed. The hut seemed almost as dreary and comfortless as the surrounding wilderness, and there was nothing pleasing in the look of its inhabitants. These were an elderly man, his wife, and two sons -sunburnt, hardy, and rough. They were however seemingly hospitable, and welcomed the travellers to such homely fare as the forest afforded.
“But this air of kindness might be put on to deceive their guests, who became seriously afraid of intended evil. It was a lonely place, suited to deeds of robbery and blood. In case of