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times domestic devotions are conducted | fessedly religious families even it is frewith a seeming thoughtlessness and want quently neglected. Some urgent call in of solemnity altogether unbecoming. Any- the morning, or the encroachment of thing, a slight mistake in reading, or a business, or too late an hour in the evenfalse note in singing, or an awkward ing, prevents attention to the duty. But gesture on the part of any assembled, this is dishonouring to God. It is offerprovokes a smile, and perhaps calls forth ing to Him the halt, and the lame, and some trifling exclamation, just as if no- the blind. Nothing ought to interfere thing were going on more solemn than with this privilege which can possibly be fire-side conversation. The effect of such avoided; and it will be eventually found apparent irreverence is very far from that prayer in the family, no more than being calculated to impress the mind in the closet, ever hindered any man's with proper and elevated ideas of the work. Divine worship.
Let all the members of the household, Let there be animation and earnestness. who possibly can, be present. We have How often is family worship conducted heard of a minister, who would not allow his as if it were an irksome duty! Little children to be present at family prayer, interest is apparently felt or taken in it. lest they should become hypocrites, by It is looked upon as a decent, and per- engaging in that in which they felt no haps necessary appendage to the usual interest. This was something very like routine of family business. And when straining at a gnat, and swallowing a the time comes for surrounding the camel ! Every Christian parent and family altar, the Bible has probably been master has authority in his own house, mislaid ; or, if reading in course is and it is his duty to request the presence adopted, the proper portion or chapter is of all his dependents at family prayer, forgotten; and other manifestations of a that they may have an opportunity of want of life and earnestness in this domes- hearing the word of God, and observing tic privilege from time to time appear. A his ordinance in a Christian's household. smile of satisfaction, and a look of pleasing It has occurred that an affectionate supearnestness, should beam in the counte- plication at the family devotions in behalf nance of the head of the family, when he of servants has been the means of leading calls the members of his household them to think seriously, and pray for around him to worship God; and it themselves. And children, when they should always appear that the heart and leave the parental roof, never forget a soul are engaged in the service.
father's or a mother's prayers at the Let the exercises be conducted with family fireside, brevity, Protracted religious services of If, then, domestic worship is to be any kind are wearisome to children, and what it ought to be—invested with an not less uninteresting to servants. When interest and an influence which all within the exercises at family worship are too the circle may feel-everything in the lengthened, they are anything but at- shape of formality, indifference, and tractive to the younger branches of the thoughtlessness, must be banished from household; and more likely to produce the precincts of the family altar, and the dislike than affection for the worship of spirit of solemnity, fervour, and devotion God. They may, and ought to be brief, from the inmost soul made to hover without being hurried.
around it. There should be regularity in sur- There are some Christian families in rounding the family altar. Nothing which domestic worship is attended to should be allowed to put aside domestic only once a day. Various excuses are worship, or to interfere with its perform- pleaded for such omission, and some of ance. Yet oftentimes there is a great them apparently plausible. Want of remissness in this matter. In many pro- time--the pressure of business—the diffi
culty of getting the members of the house- | Try it. You know very well how to hold together in the morning—and other address yourself to a friend; why should reasons, are given for such procedure. you not know how to speak to God-your But is any one of them, under ordinary own best Friend, and the best Friend of circumstances, in the sight of God, valid your family? The consciousness of your and tenable? We are persuaded of the personal and domestic necessities ought contrary. Religion is not allowed to have to be to you an unfailing “fountain of its "perfect work” in the family where eloquence" before the throne of grace ; domestic worship is attended to only once and surely neglecting a duty is not the a day. God preserves during the night way to qualify yourself for its performas well as during the day; his mercies And if, after all, you cannot trust are new every morning, and fresh every yourself at first, there are many helps to evening; and morning and evening it is family prayer, and it is far better to use his due to receive the thanksgiving and them with the spirit of devotion, than to homage of the family. Men have time neglect the duty in the spirit of indifferfor business, and time for their meals, ence.* and may not sufficient time be redeemed If then, dear reader, you have hitherto from these, or from relaxation, to wor- not attended to this duty, or attended to ship God with children and domestics? it only once a day, begin now to give it
It is possible that this paper may meet that place in your family duties which it the eye of some Christian professor who ought to have. Avail yourself of the has never yet instituted family worship commencement of another period of your in his household. What objection, friend, existence—the new year on which we have you to erect a family altar under have entered—to start in waiting upon your roof? What excuse do you plead God in this delightful ordinance. Hencefor neglecting to offer up, with
chil. forth let God have an altar in your dwell. dren and servants, spiritual sacrifice to ing—let your prayers and your praises the Lord at your own fireside. You ascend, morning and evening, to the surely cannot plead a want of time, and a throne of the heavenly Grace, that your pressure of business.
If so, where is the household may be a pattern of "piety at evidence that you have ever felt the power home," and that you and they, through of religion in your heart? If the pur- God's blessing, may become meet for suits of the world occupy all your time, spiritual worship in the sanctuary above what is your profession worth? Perhaps —with "the family in heaven." you plead inability to pray. Do you not Oxford.
J. S. pray in your closet? Do you not tell God all your feelings, and wants, and
* As Dr. Morison's admirable volume of desires, in your retirement? Then why
Prayers for the whole Year; Dr. A. Fletcher's not in the bosom of your own family? Family Devotion, &c.
A SOURCE OF HOPE AND NOT OF DISCOURAGEMENT TO THE SINNER. In Rom. ix. 16, we have the following words which have often been exremarkable words: “So then it is not of pounded so as to discourage the sinner, him that willeth, nor of him that run- but which have no tendency in this dineth ; but of God that showeth mercy;"* | rection, when rightly understood. The
apostle's declaration is just as if he had * The outline of this article, and some of said: “Salvation is neither the product its chief illustrations have been suggested by a brief sketch in the late Dr. Nettleton's Select
of man's will, nor of man's effort;"—that Memoirs.
is, no sinner was ever saved by his own
good inclinations, or by his own unaided | TRUTH, THAT MAN'S SALVATION IS NOT OF exertions. The true and only alterna- HIMSELF, BUT OF GOD. tive, therefore, must be—that, “Salva- “It is not of him that willeth, nor of tion is of the Lord.” “ By grace ye are him that runneth, but of God that showeth saved, through faith, and that not of mercy." If anything be asserted in these yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of words, it is this,—that the salvation of a works, lest any man should boast ; for we sinner is not from his own will, nor from are his workmanship, created in Christ his own effort, to obtain it, but from the Jesus unto good works, which God hath mercy of God, freely cherished, and freely before ordained that we should walk in exercised towards him, without any other them."
assisting or co-operating cause. This This view of man's salvation is indeed single view of salvation lays the axe to the humbling to the pride of the human root of every system that would make heart; but shall it be matter of wonder the recovery of fallen man to depend that a lost and sinful being should be un- upon his own exertions. The declaration able to restore himself? or that, if re- of God to every child of Adam, is this :stored, the glorious work should be attri- “Thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me butable to the love and mercy of Him is thy help found." who is emphatically." the God of salva- It may be desirable, however, to estation ?"
blish this doctrine by two or three plain As the doctrine of grace is the only arguments, which may carry conviction sure foundation of hope for apostate crea- to every mind disposed to submit to the tures, it is very important that it should testimony of God. And, be clearly explained, and earnestly en- 1. It may be established by what the forced. This is the more necessary, be- Bible teaches concerning man in his nacause every man, by nature, desires to tural state. become his own Saviour, and to work In vain will you look in your Bibles for out a righteousness of his own. Hence any flattering picture of the present state all the warnings and all the arguments of human nature,—any representations of Scripture against the pharisaical theory of unrenewed man that would lead you to of religion; and hence all its express think of him as inclined to that which is averments, that the recovery of a sinner, good; as seeking after God; as desiring from first to last, is the work of sovereign to be saved; as duly estimating the worth and distinguishing grace. It is God's or peril of the immortal soul. On the prerogative to save. " I will have mercy contrary, the picture of man, drawn by on whom I will have mercy; and I will the hand of inspiration, is dark and have compassion on whom I will have gloomy; the imagination of his heart is compassion. So then it is not of him described “as evil, and only evil, and that willeth, nor of him that runneth, that continually;" both Jews and Genbut of God that showeth mercy.”
tiles are said to be “all under sin ;" In endeavouring to lay open the doc
" there is none righteous, no, not one; trine of Paul here announced, it is pro
there is none that understandeth; there posed
is none that seeketh after God. They
are all gone out of the way; they are I. TO PROVE THAT MAN'S SALVATION
together become unprofitable; there is 13 NOT OF HIMSELF, BUT of God;
none that doeth good, no, not one.” II. To set FORTH THE REASONS OF
If "the carnal mind, then,” be “entulis DISPENSATION; AND
mity against God;"—if it be “not subIII. TO GUARD THE DOCTRINE AGAINST ject to the law of God, neither indeed can THE PRACTICAL ABUSE TO WHICH IT IS be;"—and if “they that are in the flesh EXPOSED.
cannot please God,” it is a matter of ab1. WE SHALL ESTABLISH the GREAT solute certainty, that the conversion of a
sinner can, in no sense, depend upon the merit,--then is it. "not by works of purpose of his own apostate will, or the righteousness which we have done, but effort of his own depraved powers. according to his mercy, he saved us by
The intervention of the work of Christ the washing of regeneration, and the redoes not, in the least degree, contravene newing of the Holy Ghost." If it is seen the truth of this doctrine. It is as true to emanate from the immediate and direct now, as before Christ " died, the just for agency of God, then is it affirmed, that the unjust," that men are “dead in tres- “Of his own will begat he us, by the passes and sins ;" that they love "dark-word of truth, that we should be a kind ness rather than light, because their deeds of first fruits of his creatures.” If it is are evil ;" that "they will not come to viewed as a new and spiritual creation, the light," though it shine so benignantly then you hear Paul, in the name of all upon them; that the Saviour himself the regenerate, exclaiming: "For we bore this testimony of those amongst are his workmanship, created in Christ whom he lived and laboured, “ Ye will not Jesus unto good works, which God hath come unto me, that ye might be saved.” before ordained, that we should walk in
2. This doctrine may be equally esta-them." blished, by what is taught in Scripture It is true, indeed, that all God's people upon the all-important subject of regene- do will, and do run; but this is the effect ration.
of grace, and not the procuring cause of It is unnecessary to waste the reader's it. God first "makes them willing, in precious time, by proving that this great the day of his power," and then, when and vital change is not effected by any out their hearts are enlarged, they do run in ward rite ; " for in Christ Jesus neither the way of his commandments. He says circumcision availeth anything, nor uncir- to them, and not to the world, “Work cumcision, but a new creature." To attri- out your salvation with fearand trembling, bute regeneration to baptism or to any other for it is God who worketh in you both to symbolical ordinance, is to corrupt and will and to do, of his good pleasure,”— vitiate the whole scheme of Christianity; and he that hath begun a good work in and to teach men to rely on ceremonies, you, will perform it until the day of Jesus instead of grace. Nothing is more mani- Christ." The grace, both to will and to fest, from the teaching of the Bible, than do, is ascribed to his own sovereign opethat regeneration is an inward spiritual ration. All the blessings of the new change, affecting all the powers of the covenant are the fruits of sovereign and human mind; not imparting new facul- efficacious grace ; not the result of any ties, indeed, to man, but giving a new favourable tendency on the part of the direction and bias to them all.
creature. “I will put my law into their If this change is spoken of under the inward parts, and write it in their hearts ;" emblem of light,-if the new creation is “I will give them one heart, and one illustrated by a reference to the old, way, that they may fear me for ever;" then inspired men speak of it in the fol- “A new heart, also, will I give to you, lowing striking terms: “God, who com- and a new spirit will I put within you, manded the light to shine out of dark- and I will take away the stony heart out ness, hath shined in our hearts, to give of your flesh, and I will give you an heart the light of the knowledge of the glory of of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within God in the face of Jesus Christ.” If it is you, and cause you to walk in my starepresented as the product of the divine, tutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and not of the human will, then the re- and do them." generate are described as " born not of All this continuous and varied teachblood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of ing of the word of God proceeds upon the will of man, but of God.” If it is the principle, that the great change traced to free grace, and not to human which passes upon all regenerate persons is the result, not of human will or effort, Nothing is more emphatically taught but of the sovereign and effectual grace in Scripture than the powerlessness of all of God. And so clear is the light of instruments and means to change the Scripture on this head, that all that en human heart. “The treasure of the ters into the essence of religion is traced gospel is put into earthen vessels, that to Divine operation. Our calling, our the excellency of the power may be of justification, our holiness, our persever God, and not of us.” “I have planted,” ance, our final glory and felicity—are all said Paul, “and Apollos watered; but attributed to grace. We are "called and God gave the increase.” “Who then is saved with an holy calling, not according Paul? and who is A pollos? but ministers to our works, but according to his own by whom ye have believed ? So then purpose and grace;" we are "justified neither is he that planteth anything, freely by his grace, through the redemp- neither he that watereth ; but God that tion that is in Christ Jesus;" we are giveth the increase." “ The weapons of made holy, " through sanctification of our warfare are not carnal ; but mighty, the Spirit;" we are “kept by the power through God, to the pulling down of of God through faith unto salvation ;” strongholds.” and we obtain mercy of the Lord in that Does not all this style of language inday when the secrets of all hearts shall be dicate, that there is something in the disclosed.
conversion of a sinner beyond the reach If any should be disposed to plead of all created power ;--that it is, in a against the doctrine, " that it is not of pre-eminent sense, the work of God;him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, that the sinner is, in no sense, the author but of God that showeth mercy;" that there of his own translation from darkness to are certain conditions upon which sal- light; and that, therefore, “it is not of vation is suspended in the representations him that willeth, nor of him that runneth ; of Scripture, I would ask, then, what but of God that showeth mercy.” Those conditions they are that are thus pleaded ? who would call in question this grand Is it faith? But is not faith expressly doctrine, have no correct idea of the declared to be " the gift of God?” Is it nature of human depravity ; nor of the repentance? But is not Christ “exalted work of God in regenerating the human a Prince and a Saviour, to give repent- spirit; nor of the place which means and ance unto Israel, and the remission of instruments occupy in the economy of sins ?” Is it love ? But does not God grace. They have yet to learn the deeppromise to circumcise the hearts of his seated corruption which lurks within people that they may love him? Is it them; the mighty power of God in works? But does not God create his quickening those who are dead in trespeople anew unto good works ? Is it passes and sins; and the egregious folly endurance to the end? But does not of relying on the best system of means, Christ say, “ None of my sheep shall without the promised agency of the Holy perish, neither shall any man pluck them Ghost. The new creation is as expressive out of my hand ?”
of omnipotent energy as the first; and And thus it is, brethren, that every all who are made new creatures in Christ scriptural representation of regeneration, Jesus, will be monuments of sovereign and all its blessed fruits, distinctly prove, grace through the countless ages of eterthat “it is not of him that willeth, nor nity. of him that runneth ; but of God that It may now be proper showeth mercy." But,
II. TO SET FORTH THE Reasons or 3. This doctrine may be established, this Dispensation. by what is taught in Scripture respecting Why, then, is it so, that “it is not of the inadequacy of all means to the con- him that willeth, nor of him that runversion of man.
neth, but of God that showeth mercy?”