« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
The benevolent principles of christianity prevail in every breast. Every man is willing to receive or impart ivstruction. All are gasping for that salvation which the divine goodness, hath made manifest to all. Places of public worship are open, and invite the pious worshipper. The chiming bells are heard on every hill : it is the very spring-time of devotion—and happy is the man who seizes the golden opportunity which every village affords.
The complaints of David, when deprived of the public worship of God, are beautiful and pathetic.
" As the hart paiteth after “ the water-brooks, so panteth my soul * after three, O. God! My soul thirsteth for
God, for the living God: when shall I so come and appear before God!” Ps. 42. * How amiable are thy tabernacles, O “ Lord of hosts! My soul longeth, yea,
fainteth for the courts of the Lord : my heart and my flesh crietlı out for the tis living God.” Ps. 84.
I shall be pardoned for introducing in this place the beautiful simplicity and amiable piety of the following stanza, which 2
is delivered in the assumed character of the solitary tenant of an uninhabited island :
“ Religion! what treasure untold
“ Resides in that heav'nly word ! 6. More precious than silver or gold,
" Or all that this earth can afford.
“ But the sound of the church-going bell
66 These vallies and rocks never heard, “ Ne’er sigh'd at the sound of a knell,
" Or smild when a sabbath appear’d*.”
He who can, un noved, hear the invitation of instruction repeated every sabbathday, who can shut hinself up in his counting house, or wander about his farm, rew gardless of this important mean of salvation, is in a more forlorn and deserted state than Alexander Selkirk on the island of Juan Fernandez.
My brother! you pretend to be a Christian, and hope for happiness in another life; you hope for it too in the way which Jesus Christ has appointed. Is it not then a part of his religion to hallow his sabbaths ? How can you profane this holy day by a thousand iinproper amusements and employments ? How can you profane it by actions that are unlawful upon any day? It is a strange profession of religion which will encourage a person to expect the blessed hope of everlasting life, the substantial rewards of virtuous conduct, who yet disobeys those precepts and slights that faith, which affords the only sure foundation for such an expectation. Shew yourself then, my friend ! my brother! sincere in your professions. Accept the precious offer of this holy day; it may be unto thee a day of grace and salvation. A time
A time may come when a day, an hour, will be valuable indeed. “ The world passeth away and " the lust thereof, but he that doth the will
of God abideth for ever.”
On the Death of the Righteous.
The chamber where the good man meets his fate,
Tue influence of habit on the actions of men is of so great importance to their happiness, that the moralist seizes upon this post when he wishes to recommend the practice of virtue. So sensible are we of this truth, that, in many instances, we chuse rather to retain an evil custom than to be at the labour of changing it. The fatal effects of inveterate evil habits are the subjects of daily lamentation : whilst we sometimes happily behold, as a counterpart to this dark picture, the beneficial consequences of progressive goodness.
It is in this light that the gospel opens its treasures to a good man,
It does not at once, as in the case of St. Paul on his journey to Damascus, enrich him with its graces; but it follows the course of nature, and gradually makes him sensible of their value, before it bestows the fulness of its gifts. For this reason, christian perfection lies more within the reach of man. Не does not behold it at an unapproachable distance, but feels himself, through the operations of divine grace, making a gradual advance towards it. He does not cease from the pursuit, conscious of his own inability to attain it, but relying on the certain, thoughi insensible, assistance of the Holy Spirit of God, he proceeds along the sacred road, nor doubts that all his efforts will be crowned with success. His ardour in this pursuit is not damped by a reflection on his own unworthiness; for he considers the nature of that perfection required by the gospel of Christ; and is satisfied that it consists not in having no failings, no imperfections of nature, but in the constant resistance which the good man makes to