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In some countries, when a traveller has occasion to pass through an intricate forest, to cross a mountain, or traverse a plain where the paths are not easily discovered, he takes care to provide himself with a guide. This guide is a man who has by long habit made himself well acquainted with the way: one whose knowledge enables him to avoid the dangerous places—who knows where shelter may be obtained if a storm should come on, and who can at the same time point out every object worthy of notice.
Were the traveller rash enough to proceed without taking this precaution, he might reasonably expect to meet with some disaster, even if he should escape with life. If, likewise, after having engaged a guide, he were to act in direct opposition to his advice, he might very probably suffer for his self-will.
Two young men were once journeying together over the Alps. They were alike interested in the pursuit of some object which had attracted their attention, when suddenly and somewhat unceremoniously they were bidden by the guide to follow him. The elder of the two, though unacquainted with the cause for alarm, trusted to the judgment of his conductor, and by this means reached a place of safety just as a heavy cloud, laden with electric fluid, burst over the spot he i had quitted. His companion, however, refused to accompany him, because he did not see the danger, and was killed, thus falling a victim to his presumption and self-sufficiency.
Reader, you are a traveller through this world, and you stand as much in need of a guide as he who journeys through the forest, over the mountains, or in the pathless desert. You are placed on a spot where there is much that is beautiful to attract the eye, to please the ear, and to furnish the mind with materials for thought. The blue firmament, with its myriads of stars, which are supposed to be suns in the centre of systems as vast as our own; the down of the butterfly's wing which the microscope has discovered to be minute feathers, as perfect in their form as those which deck the ostrich or the bird of paradise; the rich foliage of the lofty oak which strikes its roots deep and far, and thus for centuries braves the stormy blast, each and all bespeak creative wisdom and creative power: they tell you there is a God,
" And if a God there is, that God how great !" But the light of nature is not a guide to heaven.
The book of providence will in most instances shadow forth. the directing hand which moves unseen in all the affairs of men. You perceive sin working out its own punishment by bringing misery, disease, and death upon the sinner; and the pious, the honourable, and the upright braving the shocks of adversity, and standing erect amid the storm. But God's ways are at other times inscrutable and dark to mortal vision. The widow and the fatherless frequently pine in want, whilst their oppressor revels in the riches of which he has unjustly deprived them. The prodigal forsakes the home of his childhood, and breaks the heart of the mother who nurtured him, and for a time at least wears the appearance of a reckless enjoyment of his wicked career. The book of providence cannot, therefore, teach you how you may attain everlasting life.
Conscience, that “inner self" which whispers to the soul, giving its verdict on every thought, word, and action, will in many cases point out the path you ought to follow. It will say, • This is the way, walk ye in it.” Or when you have swerved from the straight line of duty, it will thunder forth its terrors. But this is all it can do. It cannot reveal a way whereby reparation can be made for past offences. It cannot expiate, though it may condemn. The light of conscience is not therefore a sufficient guide.
DO YOU WISH FOR A GUIDE ?
conduct you safely to eternal bliss, God has provided a sure and unerring guide. This is his revealed word—the BIBLE, applied by the Holy Spirit. Whatever may be your age, sex, or condition in life-whether you are ignorant or schooled in the learning of this world, it is alike your highest privilege, as well as your bounden duty, to consult this guide. Without it you will be exposed to dangers far more terrific than those which lurk in the forest, impend amid the mountain passes, or meet you in the desert. Without it life will be to you a maze, full of doubt and perplexity, and death (to quote the dying words of a celebrated infidel) “ a leap in the dark.”
The travellers' guide spoken of already may fail in performing the task he undertakes. He may occasionally err in judgment, and consequently lead those who confide in him into the very dangers he professes to be able to avoid. Others may be treacherous to their trust. This is not an uncommon occurrence. Guides have been sometimes leagued with banditti, and have decoyed their unsuspecting victims into murderous hands. The Bible is, however, an infallible guide. It was never yet known to mislead any one who sought its direction by the aid of the Holy Spirit, with a real sincerity, and in a really humble and teachable spirit. It is a faithful guide, because it proceeds from the Spring of goodness as well as knowledge. Your confidence in it may therefore be unbounded.
In the “ Pilgrim's Progress," Christian meets, in the first stage of his journey, with Evangelist, who represents the word of God. He it was who pointed out to him the way to the cross. Divine illumination may come through the medium of a book, a sermon, or the conversation of pious persons; but it always springs from the same source. Ask the Christian writer whence he derives the elevated orals which adorn his pages, and he will answer, “ From the Bible. Ask the faithful preacher whence he is furnished with t pics which bear on the interests of all ages and all conditions of men, and he will reply, “ From the Bible.” Turn to the Christian portion of society, and inquire what is the spring of their joys, consolations, and hopes; ask them whither they fly when in affliction, whence they seek strength to resist temptation, and where they gain a true knowledge of themselves and of God. They, too, will answer, “ From the Bible.”
The Bible, with the aid of the Holy Spirit, is the only unerring guide on earth.
The young man of whom mention has been made, lost his life through a disregard of the warning and counsel of his guide. But you, reader, are endangering your immortal soul if you are neglecting the warnings and counsels contained in the word of God.'
There is no excuse in this land for any person, however poor, being without a Bible, and awful are the responsibilities of those who have this privilege, and prize it not. When Bibles were so scarce that they were chained in the chancels of the churches, people would walk several miles to read or hear a few pages from them. Many of the martyrs shed their blood, or perished at the stake, for no other crime than that of possessing a Bible, and making its contents the rule of their faith and the guide of their lives. We are not subjected to these dangers; there are now no prison bars to inclose, nor fagots kindled to burn the readers of the word of God; but, alas! there is an eternal prison-house, and there are everlasting burnings for those who refuse to read or obey it. It is not a light matter to disregard the advice given by this heavenly guide.
faith and the guthere are now. Jes Pof the
The question, then, put to every reader, in the title of this tract, is “Do you wish to have a guide ?” Perhaps, by the grace of God, you have already made this Book of books the “ man of your counsels;" if so, happy are you, for “ the Holy Scriptures are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus," 2 Tim. iii. 15. But, if you are pursuing a course contrary to the Divine will, it is far more pleasing to endeavour to persuade by the gracious declarations of the Scriptures, than to terrify by their threatenings.
The Bible abounds with invitations and promises of mercy and love, whereby to draw wandering and perishing sinners to flee from ruin and to lay hold of eternal life; by the grace of the Holy Spirit to repent and believe the gospel of the grace of God in Christ Jesus.
Hearken to this gospel, and you will share in its infinite joys. “ Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sinis covered."-"I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye,” Psa. xxxii. 1, 8. “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth,” Isa. xlv. 22. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life," John iii. 16.
WHICH WILL YOU CHOOSE? FRIEND and reader-Two masters, two conditions, two courses, and two eternal abodes are set before you in the Bible. Which will you choose ?
The two masters are God and Satan; the two conditions, life and death; the two courses, the broad road of sin and infidelity, and the narrow path of repentance, faith, and holiness; the two abodes, heaven and hell. Which will you choose ?
God lays claim to your services; and he invites you to give them. His claims are just and strong; his invitations are full and free. He demands your entire obedience, because it is his right; he invites it, because it would promote your own welfare : - Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind;" “ Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve,” are his requirements. “My son, give me thine heart;" “ Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me;—for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light;" My “ways are ways of pleasantness," and all my "paths are peace." These are some of his invitations, promises, and inducements; Luke x, 27; iv. 8. Prov. xxiii. 26. Matt. xi. 29, 30. Prov. iii. 17. SATAN seeks your services, and allures you to give them. His