« VorigeDoorgaan »
We are happy to be able to say, that our efforts, so far as they have yet been made, have been attended with very encouraging success, of which the present number affords satisfactory evidence. Besides those friends to whom we have already applied, or may apply, there are no doubt others, not known to us, who are well qualified to render us assistance. These we respectfully invite to favour us with their contributions, however few and far between, and so assist in a work which cannot be carried on successfully without variety as well as unity. With a view to induce competent writers to give the Repository the benefit of their services, the Conference has set aside a small fund, which has been increased by the liberality of two of its members, "to pay for papers calculated to raise the tone and increase the usefulness of the Magazine." This is but the partial introduction of a practice which, it is to be hoped, will ultimately, and at no distant period, become a general rule,that of remunerating contributors --which is only carrying out the Scripture principle, that“ the labourer is worthy of his hire.” Till this practice be established, remuneration may, in certain cases, be a necessity, since without it some whose time and talents are their capital, may not be able, however willing, to give their labour even to the best of causes.
As the Magazine is intended to be a medium of information relating to the Church, as well as of instruction in her principles, we have thought it desirable to seek supplies from other sources besides those of our own social connection. With this view we have entered into communication with several intelligent members of the Church abroad, and we expect to be supplied by our correspondents, from time to time, with such information relating to the Church and to the progress of opinion in other lands as may be interesting to the readers of the Repository; while their communications will bring us into agreeable and profitable communion with our distant brethren, who are labouring in the same cause with ourselves. Dr. Tafel, it will be seen, heartily responds to our invitation, and in his first letter gives us an earnest of what we may look for in future.
With this assistance, present and prospective, at home and abroad, we have some good reason to hope that the Repository will be plentifully supplied with suitable and valuable matter. The periodical of the Church has important work to perform, and it is highly desirable that it should be done with earnestness and intelligence, with zeal and discretion. The first and greatest object is the edification of the Church; and this is to be effected by the united improvement of the hearts and understandings of her members, or the equal growth of charity and faith. To do this adequately, it is necessary to aid the soul in its pious
aspirations, as well as to direct the mind in its intellectual inquiries, to bring the affections under the influence of genuine goodness, as well as to bring the thoughts under the direction of genuine truths.
As the general principles of charity and faith are made up of numerous graces and virtues, the mind can only grow in charity and faith in proportion as their constituent elements are nourished and strengthened. Poverty of spirit, godly sorrow, meekness, mercifulness, purity of heart, peace-making,—these are among the graces to which our Lord attached the blessing of eternal life. To assist the members of the Church to cultivate these graces, is the best way to promote the advancement of the Lord's Church in genuine and pure religion; these, therefore, are fit themes for the pages of a publication whose leading aim it is to “feed the Church of God.” A second, and secondary, object of our periodical is to extend the influences and disseminate the principles of the Church to those beyond her pale. This is a work which it can most successfully perform-not so much by refuting the errors of others as by exbibiting in their light and beauty the truths which we ourselves possess; or, if it is expedient to point out the false doctrines that are opposed to the truth, by doing so in the spirit of charity.
It must not be supposed that the character and usefulness and success of the Magazine depend on the Editor and Contributors alone. The members of the Church generally have, in all these respects, a large share of influence over it. To a great extent, the character of the work is in their own hands. The supply of matter, in quality, and even in quantity, is very much regulated by the demand. The minds of the readers react upon those of the writers. Authors
under a not obsure perception of the appreciation of their work by those for whom they write. The tone and intelligence embodied in their articles by writers for the Magazine, must find a response in the tone and intelligence of its readers, or they cannot be sustained. Readers have, therefore, their duties as well as their privileges. One of their duties is to cultivate that state of mind which appreciates what is excellent ; and this will have its effect in producing the excellence which they estimate and crave.
All parties in this matter are influenced by each other. It is, therefore, the duty of us all alike to do our best to make the Magazine what we all alike abstractly desire it to be an instrument of usefulness to ourselves, as Christians seeking advancement in the heavenly life, and to the holy and blessed cause which is the only means of restoring order, peace, and happiness in the earth.
A SERMON FOR THE NEW YEAR.
By the Rev. O. PRESCOTT HILLER. LUKE XIII. 6–. He spake also this parable :—"A certain man had a fig-tree
planted in his vineyard, and he came and sought fruit thereon and found none. Then said he to the dresser of his vineyard: Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none; cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he, answering, said unto him: Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it; and if it bear fruit, well; and if not,
then after that thou shalt cut it down." ANOTHER year has passed away! Time, ever moving, has brought us another stage on our journey-our journey towards the eternal world. Is it, or is it not, a journey towards heaven? That is the great question. Have we, during the past year, made progress in goodness? We may have grown richer, we may have grown wiser—that is, have grown more knowing, increased our knowledge of truths,—we certainly have grown older ; but the question is, Have we grown better? For, after all, that is the one question ; that is the test to which all other things about us will be brought, by which all else that concerns us will be tried, -namely, the state of our hearts, our will, our love. The will is the man; the understanding is altogether a secondary principle, and bodily things are nothing. When our death-hour comes (and how soon that may be we know not) we shall drop the body, and with it, riches, houses, lands, business, and all earthly concerns.--and rise up in the bare spirit into the eternal world. Then, if we are not found rich in truth and love, we shall be poor indeed.
Look back, then, on the past year. Let us examine ourselves ; let everyone look into his own heart, and back on his own experience. Look first into the family circle—into the daily household life. Are we conscious of having made improvements in temper this year? Are we more amiable, more obliging? Have we made efforts to control our temper, to check the angry word coming to the lips, to restrain the evil passion rising in the heart, to control cross looks and words, and unkind acts, as they were bursting forth, and to compel ourselves to speak gently and mildly, looking up, at the same time, in inward prayer to the Lord, to remove the infernal spirits who were finding entrance into our hearts? If we have done this, we have done well-we have done much. For ill-temper is the fiend of the family circle, blasts domestic peace, makes home miserable, and, if long indulged, draws around us a cordon of infernals from whom it will be hard to escape. We have need to pray daily against ill-temper.
Secondly, in regard to our business. Have we pursued it in an honest, upright, just manner; striving in all things to do unto others as we would they should do to us; taking no advantage, using no deceit, but seeking to be fair and truthful in all our dealings? If we have done this, we have done something, and, it may be said, a good deal. The man who, in this age of competition, and over-reaching, and fraud, is enabled to pursue a strictly honest course--never swerving from the path of right, however strong the temptation,-never forgetting his good principles in the midst of the world's evil practices-never allowing himself to do, in the smallest particular, otherwise than an enlightened conscience approves—has reason to be thankful to the Lord for the strength given him so to do, and to pray that he may continue to be upheld amid the world's slippery paths.
But honesty alone is not enough ; kindness needs consideration, and patience and forbearance are quite as much needed. This is the case especially with employers. Even honest employers are sometimes harsh and hard upon their workmen,- let out their temper upon them; disregard their feelings; require of them sometimes what is unreasonable; do not make sufficient allowance for their difficulties and trials, their weakness of body or dullness of mind, and expect perfection of them, forgetting how far from perfect they themselves are. Divine Master were as tyrannical over us as many even upright and church-going, yea, spiritual-minded, masters are over those they employ-woe be to us! We should be ground to atoms. We need to remember those solemn words of the Lord—“If ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Heavenly Father forgive your trespasses." We need to be watchful." For every idle word,” says the Lord (much more for every angry word), “ye shall give account at the day of judgment."
But, now, in the third place, we need to make a much more searching examination, than as regards either our temper in the household or our conduct in business. These are comparatively external things. We need to look into our hearts, and see how we stand in relation to the Lord our Maker and Saviour,----what is our prevailing tone of thought and feeling in regard to Him, His Word, and His Heaven, -whether we respect Him in all that we do, and think, and feel, in public and in private,—whether we remember that His
upon us,-realise that His presence is with us,-need thus fear to do aught that is displeasing to Him. Each one has his own peculiar hereditary will, his own special tendencies to sin ; and the business of each is to examine himself, to discern what those particular tendencies are, and then, when known,
to keep watch over them, and to struggle against them. This is the only way to make spiritual progress. You can plainly do nothing unless
you know what is to be done; and you cannot know what is to be done, in regard to the improvement of the heart, without searching and examination. The truly spiritual, the truly religious man is always examining himself, always watching himself: no one knows so soon as he when he has spoken a wrong word or done an unkind or unjust act. And he notes not only his words and acts, but also his thoughts: he perceives the rising passion before anyone else perceives it, --- he discerns the coming storm, and is inwardly terrified at it, and prays for help to restrain its outburst. He is accustomed to observe himself, and note the first thought of evil, and seeks to check it. So is his inner man kept pure in the Lord's sight; and he is more anxious about this than about his appearance before the world. In his morning prayer, he looks up to the Lord for strength to perform the duties and fight the battles of the day; for he knows that this life is a warfare, and he goes constantly armed for the combat. His weapons are the truths of God's Word ; and that these may be kept furbished and bright, he never fails to go each morning afresh to that Word, and by poring over it for a time, bring his soul into conjunction with Heaven, and nerve it for the work of the day.
This is the way of the spiritual man-of the man who reflects that he is living for heaven and for eternity, and not for this world only. Have we done thus ? Let us look back over the past year, and ask our. selves-Have we looked up daily in prayer to the Lord ? Have we asked Him continually for strength to do our duties and overcome temptations? Or, have we, forgetting Him, gone forth in the morning in our own strength, taking our chance of standing or falling, yet fancying that we were secure, and not expecting a fall until we found ourselves down, the poor victims of temptation yielded to, the miserable slaves of the infernals? No man who goes forth prayerless to his work has a right to expect any other result. Prayer is the safe-guard of the soul.
So, likewise, in regard to the Scriptures ;-have we, without fail, read a portion of the Lord's Word each day? Have you taught your chil. dren to read it? Have you gathered them, at least once each day, round the table, and either read to them yourself or allowed them in turn to read aloud that sacred book which connects the spirit with Heaven, thus bringing angels around their young hearts, and teaching them in the days of their childhood to " draw near to their Creator, and early learn the path to eternal life"? Have you, one and all, done