Page images

EXPOSITION. 'The following exposition of a An old writer on Providence says, passage in the Psalms appears to “ We sometimes see religious men us to be very judicious; yet should (though it is a hard task I would it not be entirely authorized, it at not willingly be employed in itleast contains a valuable moral. to reconcile hardness of heart to

Psalm IIxvii. 25, 26.--" I have religion;) yet so it is, that we been young, and now am old; yet sometimes find persons who seem have I not seen the righteous forsak- to be devout and religious, yet en, nor his seed begging bread; (26) when you come to them for an act He is ever merciful and lendeth; and of charity, Oh! it grateth them; a his seed is blesseil."

sixpence comes at two or three Interpreters of scripture have pulls, and with many a grudge and found some difficulty in reconcil- excuse. You may possibly see ing the 25th verse to matters of such a inan decay (God distributes fact; for it is admitted that some his estate because he would not) truly pious persons bave been re

and such a man's seed you may see duced to extreme want; and that begging bread; but for “a good their children have been under the man," one that disperseth abroad necessity of asking alms. Some

Some and giveth to the poor”-"one commentators have therefore said who is ever merciful and lendeth," that although this be a fact, yet it David never saw such a man's seed was one which never came under begging bread. It is no wonder the personal observation of King that thousands of men grow poor David: others have confined the by lending; but he that by giving assertion to the Old Testament to the poor “lends to the Lord," dispensation, the promises of which never lost by that lending. The were chiefly temporal blessings. great God “never yet failed, nev

But perhaps the difficulty arises er yet was unfaithful." from disjointing the two verses, Let not the wealthy fear that the 25th and 26th; and indeed in- | they shall themselves be impoverpumerable mistakes arise from the ished, or that their families will detachment of passages which are be injured by their liberality to the closely connected in sense, but poor; it is “the surest way of unhappily separated by figures. In thriving,” and the best expedient the present case, it is only neces- in the world to enrich their chilsary to enquire, who is the "right- dren. “Here is his bond, and it eous man” intended in the 25th must be a good onc, if the scripverse? We are informed in the tures be the word of God. The 26th, it is he “who is ever merci- richest man in the world may, for ful and lendeth;" it is he who aught we know, be poor to-morrow, “ disperseth abroad, and giveth to or he may prove unfaithful to his the poor;" and to such persons word; but the Lord is the everlastthere are many precious promises. ing possessor of heaven and earth, The God of truth hath said (Prov. and, he cannot lic, nor deceive xis, 17,) "he that hath pity upon any one that trusts in him. God the poor lendeth tu the Lord; and will be sure to pay what is given that which he hath given will he to the poor at his command, with repay him again." Do we believe great increase. The greatest usthis? Another promise (Prov. urer on earth cannot make so much xxvii. 27,) is still inore to the pur- of his money as the man that gives pose, “He that giveth to the poor to the poor." shall not lack.'

Lon. Ev. Mag.

ON REVIVALS OF RELIGION. When they are older they will No. X.

feel their incapacity to instruct In the two last numbers profes- them much, and they will find sors of religion were called upon great difficulty in engaging their to consider the importance of a attention to what they attempt to revival of religion to themselves teach. Children are very quick, as individuals, and to the church sighted to see what their parents to which they belong : and sever- have most at heart ; and seeing al topics of reflection were sug- them manifest no solicitude on the gested to assist them in obtaining subject of religion, they will fee a suitable sense of its importance justified in the indulgence of their in these respects. It may now be natural inclination to disregard it . observed,

Thus, after a few feeble attempts, III. Let them consider its im- parents will be likely to do little portance in relation to their chil- or nothing towards the religious dren,

4. It is important to their chil. the children will grow up in aldren, in order to secure their be most total ignorance of the great ing instructed in the things of re- truths of the gospel. But this will ligion. In a time of declension not be the worst. Their minds, this will not be done, I do not though destitute of correct views mean that absolutely nothing will of religious truth, will not remain be done effectually. The efforts vacant. The native depravity of that are made will be few, in com- their hearts will predispose them parison with the importance of the to the belief of 'error; and their object-they will not be well di- intercourse with the wicked will rected, nor uniform, nor steadily furnish them with abundant inpersevered in. The church as struction in its principles. And body will be likely to neglect the before parents are aware of the subject altogether, as is usually danger their children are in, the the case ; or if they cannot ex- children have become confirmed in cuse themselves entirely, they the belief of the most pernicious will be likely to acknowledge and destructive heresies. How their duty in words, and adopt a often have parents to lament this few resolutions, and then sit down result, when it is too late to prosatisfied, without carrying them vide a remedy! To guard against into effect, Parents will feel such a result, a revival of religion very little of the importance of is all important. It would stimupaying personal attention to their late the church to do their duty, children, and will meet with a and it would stimulate parents to multitude of discouragements in do theirs. Let the church be in the attempt. Having little or no the lively and vigorous exercise of sense of the amazing responsibili- the Christian graces, and they ty which attaches to them in re. will not regard the welfare of the lation to the souls of their chil rising generation with so much indren, they will see but little of difference. Let them be awake, their duty and will be disposed to and they will feelihat the admisfind excuses for neglecting that, sion of children under their care little. When their children are by baptism has some meaning young, they will conclude it is in they will feel that there are some vain to attempt to teach them, be- duties which grow out of it, of secause they cannot understand. Trious and solemn import. Let pa


rents be awake, and personal at- liable to fail in this duty. “Fooltention to the religious instruction ishness is bound in the heart of a of their children will not be ney-child." They are depraved by lected. Let them feel the worth nature. They will desire a thouof souls, and the souls of their own sand gratifications which are inchildren will not be disregarded. I consistent with the law of God. in the morning they will sow their | They will choose the society of seed, and in the evening they will the wicked, and eagerly learn not withhold their hand. Both their evil ways. In a time of dewill be watered with their tears ; clension, many things come into and both will be accompanied with practice under the specious name their prayers to God that he would of innocent amusements, which give increase. Their children will are well adapted to attract the atsee that their parents are in earn- tention and interest the feelings est, and will be convinced that of youth, and lead them further it is a matter of importance. They and further from every thing of a will be prevailed upon to give serious nature. At such a time, patheir attention to the subject, and rents find it extremely difficult to to store their minds with those restrain their children from partruths which are able to make them ticipating in these gratifications, wise unto salvation. From early though they are sensible of their childhood they will know the holy injurious tendency. Not having scriptures, and will be effectually well established their authority guarded against the seductions of over their children, and finding error. They will understand the that the children of othere are in: great doctrines of the gospel, and dulged freely in these things, it reKnow the evidence by which they quires too great a struggle to resist are supported. And although their solicitations. And having their inclinations may still be on but little sense of the evil of sin, the side of error, their understan- and of the danger of indulging ding and their conscience will be in it, they try to satisfy their too well informed for them ever conscience by expressing their to embrace it.

opinion on the subject, and then 2. Let parents consider how permitting their children to folimportant is a revival of religion to low their own inclinations. After their children, in order to secure having thus, in a few instances, their being restrained from wicked- felt their own weakness, and exness. In a time of declension, pa- posed it to their children, they rents will be still more likely to be become sensible that all their

powdeficient in the government of their er to restrain them is gone, and children, than they are in their that every attempt to interpose is instruction. To establish paren- only making the matter worse.tal authority over the minds of They cease, therefore, even to children, requires so much pains, make faint struggles, and their such continued attention, such children are completely let loose. firmness of purpose, and such an These first walk in the counsel of habitual regard for ultimate con- the ungodly, then go in the way sequences, that parents, who are of sinners, and are soon qualified not under a constant sense of to sit in the seat of the scorner. their accountableness to God, How soon does the rising generaand who have not their eyes stead. tion, under such circumstances, ily fised on the eternal welfare of grow up a generation of vipers, their children, will be extremely' and become proficients in every

[ocr errors]

evil work! Does the Christian


confidence of their fellow men, rent dread such a result? Nothing and contribute very much to their can prevent it but a revival of re- success in life. But, on the conligion. A revival in the hearts of trary, those who grow up without parents would make them sensible religious instruction, and destitute of the importance of guarding the of religious and moral restraint, souls of their children from the who form habits of insubordina. snares to which they are exposed. tion, and of disregard to truth and It would make them feel the im- integrity, who are addicted to low portance of establishing their au- gratifications, and are sordid and thority over them when young, and selfish in their pursuits, take the of exercising that authority to course which leads to disgrace in keep them from the influence of this world, as well as ruin in the wicked companions. A revival next. If parents regard only the also would render this much easi- temporal welfare of their children, er, by its influence upon all class- therefore, they will feel that a es of society. When a revival revival of religion is of great imbecomes general in any place, the portance. wicked are overawed. The pres- But 4. Let parents consider ence of God is so visible, that how important is a revival of rethey feel a powerful restraint. -ligion to their children, in order They dare not indulge in their to secure the salvation of their wicked practices so openly. That souls. Let no revival take place, thoughtlessness and lightness of and they are inevitably lost. Let mind, which were before so gen- no revival take place in the hearts eral among the youth, gives place of parents, and they will not pray to seriousness and solemnity.-- for their children so as to prevail; Those vain and sinful amusements they will not set before them a which before presented so many suitable example, nor instruct and so strong temptations to the them faithfully, nor restrain them young, now decline and die. It from wickedness. Let no revival is easier, then, for Christian pa- take place, and their children will rents to restrain their children go on in their sins, treasuring up from wicked company and wicked wrath against the day of wrath. practices, and to train them up Let parents sleep on, and their in the nurture and admonition of children will soon become ripe for the Lord.

destruction, and the vengeance of 3. Let parents consider how an angry God will cut them important is a revival of religion down, and sink them to the reto their children, in order to se- gions of endless despair. But let cure their preparation for useful- a revival take place, and their ness in the world. A faithful souls may be saved. Let parents course of religious instruction and awake, and call upon God, and religious restraint, will have a their prayers may prevail. Let powerful tendency (even if they them faithfully instruct their childo not become pious) to form their dren in the things which belong minds to such habits of thinking to their peace, and affectionately and acting as will make them re- and earnestly press divine truth spectable and useful members of upon their conscience, and God society. Habits of subordination, may bless the means of his own ot' truth, of integrity, and of re- appointment, and save their souls gard for the welfare of others, will alive. secure for them the respect and

A Friend to Revivals.


| were done, because they repented

not: Woe unto thee Chorazin! woe nswer to the question of Mathe

unto thee Bethsaida : For if the tes (p. 405) respecting Matthew mighty works which were done in xi. 21. Woe unto thee, Chorazin!

you, had been done in Tyre and woe unto thee, Bethsaida : For Sidon, they would have repented if the mighty works which were

long ago, in sackcloth and ashes." done in you, had been done in

-It is here plainly asserted by Tyre and Sidon, they would Christ, that the means, which had have repented long ago in sack- been used with Chorazin and cloth and ashes.

Bethsaida without effect, would It is granted, that "human de have brought Tyre and Sidon to pravity, in every age, and in all repentance; and hence he leaves places, is the same. By human us to draw the inference, that Chodepravity is here meant, moral razin and Bethsaida were more depravity, which belongs, exclu- wicked than Tyre and Sidon: Insively, to the heart or will, and deed, be draws the inference himconsists in that selfishness, which self: v. 22, “ But I

say unto you, is the opposite of such love, as the It shall be more tolerable for Tyre Divine Law requires. The native and Sidon at the day of judgment, moral depravity of mankind, is than for you." total; i, e. all the affections, voli- The difficulty presented by the tions and actions of unrenewed passage, lies in reconciling our men, are selfish and sinful. But Lord's assertion and inference, it does not from hence follow, that with the nature of human depravunrenewed men are all equally ity and the necessity of the special depraved. There are degrees of influence of the Holy Spirit, in total depravity, as well as of per- every case, to bring men to true fect holiness. Unrenewed men repentance. are more or less depraved, accord- The word repent sometimes exing to the capacity which they pos- / presses that change of mind, which sess and the light which they en

arises from love to God, and somejoy. Though human depravity is times that change of conduct,which always the same in nature; yet it

arises from fear of punishment, exists in different degrees, in dif- | It is used in the former sense, ferent men.

It may be added, when it is said, that “ godly sorthat as total depravity admits of row worketh repentance unto salvarious degrees ; so it becomes vation :" It is used in the latter more or less visible, and exhibits sense, when it is said, that “ Juitself in different ways, according das repented, and brought again to the different circumstances in the thirty pieces of silver.” which men are placed, and the Now, in order to remove the number and force of the restraints difficulty suggested by the queswhich are laid

tion of Mathetes, a difficulty It was manifestly the design of which has been felt by many, I our Lord, in the passage under

would observe, consideration, to represent the in- First. There is reason to think, habitants of Chorazin and Beth- that Christ uses the term repent, saida, as more depraved and ob- in this place, to express that stinately wicked, than the inhabi- change of mind and conduct, which tants of Tyre and Sidon." Then flows from slavish fear. He had began he to upbraid the cities preached the gospel, as never man wherein most of his mighty works preached it, to the inhabitants of

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

upon them.

« PreviousContinue »