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religious knowledge their want / six-pence a page, we should nevof sufficient time to devote to er be troubled for an answer ? that purpose. « During six Allowing then twenty-five padays of the week,” say they, ges to a Sabbath, a person will “ we are occupied with our sec-read twelve hundred pages in ular concerns. On the Sabbath, one year. Suppose that a man considerable time is spent in begins this course when he is works of necessity, and much | twenty years of age ; at thirty, in preparing for public worship. | he will have read twelve thousAfter deducting what is neces- and pages. Should he live to sarily consumed, the time which be forty years old, he will have remains is inadequate for ob- read twenty-four thousand pataining that knowledge of reli- ges; if fifty, thirty-six thousand; gion, which we could wish.- if sixty, forty-eight thousand ; But we cannot believe that, on if seventy, sixty thousand, which this account, much blame can be are equal to one hundred and attached to us. It is our duty fifty octavo volumes, of four hunto labor on week-days, for the dred pages each. 'scriptures themselves teach us In addition to this, suppose that we ought to provide a com- that a person hears two sermons petency for ourselves and fam- every Sabbath. If each sermon ilies ; and surely God is not so contain sixteen pages, in a year's hard a master as to exact of us | time he will hear the amount what we cannot perform.” of one thousand, six hundred
How much soever this mode and sixty four pages. of justification may satisfy the But this is not all. The adminds of some, it is unwarrantedvantages derivable from religious by facts, and owes its origin, Iconversation, are by no means fear, to something worse than inconsiderable for obtaining remere error in opinion. That I ligious knowledge. In a vast am correct, can be demonstra- variety of cases, no method is ted, I think, by a very simple more successful. Add to these, computation.
meditations, the dispensations of I suppose that five minutes of Providence in a thousand forms, time, in an ordinary way, is am- and all the nameless sources ply sufficient for one to read and whence à view of the divine understand, an octavo page with character is obtainable, and who such a type as is commonly used. would not adore his heavenly To read twenty five pages, would | Father, who has kindly required occupy two hours and five min- of his creatures, what one would utes. That this allowance is think they could hardly avoid abundant, will appear from a performing. moment's attention to the busi- According to the calculation ness. Who is there, who might which has been made, I think not, extraordinary cases out of it cannot now be denied that althe question, devote two hours most every man, may, if he and five minutes, out of twenty- please, become extensively acfour hours, to reading on the quainted with religious truth.. Sabbath ? Were this reading Every aged man might be a dito afford a pecuniary reward of vine, and every young man con
tinually and rapidly advancing
from the first rudiments in the / either making or receiving visschool of Christ, on to perfec-its, or attending to some other tion.
matters. If they profess to keep If any one, after such a view the evening succeeding the Sabof the subject, be disposed to bath, they retire to rest early excuse his ignorance of religion, on that evening ; receive visits it is evident that the excuse will ) from those who do not keep it, not have its origin in truth, but and are ingenious in devising in the disposition of the excus- methods to relax from the pain er's heart. Until that disposi- of confinement on that day. tion be removed, he must be Thus at any rate, the Sabbath is ignorant stikl. Though such a shortened, and the remainder is man have eyes, he seeth not; employed to little better purpose. and ears, yet he heareth not ; | At meeting, they are perhaps neither doth he understand with asleep; or are thinking on somehis heart. When a person who thing widely different from the professes himself to be a disci- word of God. At home, the conple of Christ, makes this excuse, versation is turned on trivial subhe must, to say the least, bejects, or matters of mere secustrangely deficient in an ardent lar business, or any thing to the love of divine attainments. He exclusion of religion ; or if reit is, who has the strongest mo- ligion be a topic of discourse, it tives to search those scriptures is not unfrequently in such a in which, we think, are contain- manner, that its Author is but ed the words of eternal life. The little honored. inactive disciple should, in a pe These things being so, what culiar manner, take heed to his becomes of the apology for igways, lest having a promise of norance ; for, it should be reentering into the heavenly rest, marked, the persons who thus he should seem to come short. conduct, are the very ones by His calling and election are not, whom the apology is made. Is now, made so sure, as not to not ignorance their choice? Is need, from a holy practice, the it to them a pleasant thing, to evidence of their confirmation. 1 retain God in their knowledge ?
There are many people who Let them come forth and conare contented with their igno- fess the truth, that they are lovrance, because, as they say, they ers of pleasure more than lovers have no opportunity to be other of God; that they cannot say, wise. Their work,' or their a- How amiable are thy tabernapausements encroach on the eve- cles, O Lord of hosts ; a day ning of Saturday. They retire spent in thy courts is better than to sleep at a very early hour, a thousand ? I was glad when and arise at a very late one in they said unto me let us go into the morning. For a considera- the house of the Lord. With ble time before the .close of the my whole heart have I sought Sabbath, they are talking of mat- thee; Oh, how I love thy law ; ters to be done that evening or it is my meditation all the day. the ensuing week ; or are busi-! To these persons I will only ed in dispatching various do- add, that their probationary mestic-concerns, that they may state is rapidly closing ; that have leisure in the evening for l eternal scenes will soon be un
folded ; that the judgment will goods and blessings of the presit, the books be opened ; they sent state ; some of which are will then learn from Him, at the natural supports of life, whose presence Sinai quaked, and the things to which many that unnecessary ignorance can- sacrifice their lives. Here parnot apologize for sin ; but that ticularly, because he has called and they (1.) Worldly riches may be refused, has stretched out his comprehended in the phrase, our hand, and they have not regar- life in this world. These are the ded, but have set at nought his darling pursuit of the men of this counsel, and refused his reproof, world. In obtaining those how he now will laugh at their ca- many have sacrificed their ease, lamity and mock when their fear | peace, and comfort, if not their cometh. To avoid the amazing lives? terror of this dreadful scene, let (2.) Worldly honor may be them flee to the strong hold of comprehended in the life in this safety ; let them diligently | world. search the scriptures, and see if In the hearts of multitudes, these things are not so ; let them honor has been deified, and is cry after knowledge, and lift up it not too much caressed by a their voice for understanding, great part of mankind ? With seeking for her as for silver, and some is not that honor that comsearching for her as for hidden eth from man, their very life? treasures. Then shall they un- Thus it was with Haman : derstand the fear of the Lord, when the king smiled, and adand find the knowledge of God.vanced him to any dignity, he RURICOLA. was exalted beyond expression;
and how highly did he resent it, Thoughts on John xii. 25, last
that Mordecai the Jew would clause.
not rise before him, and do him
honor ?--Are there not many, « And he that hateth his life in the feelings of whose hearts are this world shall keep it unto
consentaneous to his ? Now life eternal."
this worldly honor, which is so TWO questions will here be much idolized, is one thing inI considered, viz.
Icluded in the life in this world.. 1. What may be understood (3.) By this phrase may also by a person's life in this world ? | be signified sensual and sinful
II. What is that hatred of this pleasures. Many, like the beasts life which will be attended with of the field, seem to be governlife eternal ?
ed by their appetites rather than 1. The life in this world may | by reason and religion. This include the animal or natural life is a life of sense ; and therelife-the union of soul and body. | fore sensitive enjoyments inay When the soul and body are be comprised in our life in this separated, this union is dissolved, world. and the body that was animated | May not all these things be by the soul, is reduced to its first included in a person's life in this principles.
world ? Let us now pay some 2. By this life all worldly en- attention to the, joyments may be intended the II. And more important ques.
Vol. VI. NO. 2.
tion viz. What is that hatred of them ; i. e. disesteem them, this life which will be attended when compared with spiritual with life eternal ?
blessings. In this sense, by the 1. Negatively, it is not an ab- laws of Christ, we are obliged solute hatred, that is here in- to hate our friends and near retended ; for a real hatred of life, latives ; not absolutely, but comand its comforts, would be con- paratively, Luke xiv. 26. Every trary to right reason and the good man loves his relatives, as laws of God; and altogether in- in duty he is bound; and yet must, consistent with the duties we and will hate them, in a sense, owe ourselves. Our Saviour i. e. love them less than Christ; himself hath set us an example as Leah is said to be hated, beof love of life : when he was in cause Rachel was loved better. danger in one place, he would 3. By hating the things of this depart to another. So he coun- life, is here meant, the esteemselled his disciples, when they ing them insufficient to make were persecuted in one city, to us happy. How many place flee to another. It is said, he their chief happiness in worldly who will love life, and see good enjoyments ? Who will show days, let him refrain his tongue us any worldly good ? is the from evil. Life is a great language of their hearts : but blessing; and to be cut off in such are so far from hating their the midst of days, is threatened lives, in the sense of this pasas the proper punishment of the sage, that they love life and the wicked. Hence it appears, that things of it, to that degree, as it is not an absolute hatred of to endanger their eternal life. life that is here intended. Nor, | But those who esteem all things is it an absolute hatred of the under the sun insufficient to comforts of this life ; because, / make them happy, or satisfy these are divine blessings, which their souls, have a kind of hawe ought not to hate and des- tred of life in comparison with pise ; but for which we should those who' esteem sublunary give God thanks.
things sufficient to make them Indeed, worldly honor is but happy, or place their affections an empty thing, and not worthy on these things." an immoderate strife to obtain : 4. To hate this life, so as to Yet it is God who exalts to hon- | obtain salvation is, cheerfully or, and men are obligated to im- to part with it, when evidentprove an eminent station to his ly called thereto, for the life of glory. Hence it is easily seen, the soul. He who so hates the that it is not an absolute hatred life of the body, as to venture that, that this phrase imports. for the securing the life of the
2. This hatred is to be under-| soul, from a principle of love to stood in a comparative view. We God, shall find both, to unspeakare to hate this life in compari- able advantage, in the world to son with the love and concerncome. with which we should exer | We cannot be Christ's discicise for a better. Though ab- ples, unless we love him better solute hatred of life, and the than our own lives-unless we things of it, be unwarrantable, had rather suffer the most cruel yet we may comparatively hatel bondage, nay, death itself, thalı to desert Christ, and his sacred | brethren is cast down, which actruths.
cused them before our God day This trial takes place in times and night. And they overcame of persecution in the cause of him by the blood of the Lamb, God, and for righteousness'sake. and by the word of their testiWhen men's lives are threaten- mony, and they loved not their ed, if they will not deny Christ, lives unto the death.” Such a they should hate life, by willing- hatred of life as has been brieily Jy laying it down as a sacrifice pointed out, is accompanied to the honor of their divine Lord with eternal life : for he who and Master. Thus did many of loves and desires Christ more the primitive Christians--they than every thing, and is willing loved not their lives to the death. to give up every thing for him But,
when called to it, shall enjoy 5. This hatred of life includes | him against all opposition from a cheerful parting with every earth and hell. Those who thing that comes in competition honor Christ with their lives, or with the service and favor of | estates, or any way suffer in his Christ. All worldly things and cause, from attachment to him, enjoyments which are incompat- he will honor with a crown of ible with the favorand enjoyment righteousness. It is impossible of Christ, are so hated by the that Christ should hate or fortrue Christian, that they appear sake those, who thus hate life for as nothing. Those who are the his sake. His own unfailing true followers of the Lamb, when promise is, Be thou faithful unto their graces are in due exercise, death, and I will give thee a are willing, according to divine | crown of life. Every one who requirement, to part with every | hath forsaken houses, or breththing that stands in competition ren, or sisters, or father, or mowith the honor and service of ther, or wife, or children, or their dear Lord, being willing to lands, for my name's sake, shall spend and be spent for the glory receive a hundred fold, and shall of Godand the interest of Christ's inherit everlasting life. cause and kingdom. Such a I will close with a few reflechatred the great apostle had, and tions. glorified Christ by it, Acts xx. 1. To overrate this life, and 24. But none of these tining's the things of it, is very prejudimove me, neither count I mycial to the welfare of the soul. life dear unto myself, so that I How many have perished at this might finish my course with joy, door! Says one, many lose their and the ministry which I have re- lives by overloving them. He ceived of the Lord Jesus, to testi- who is so much in love with the fy the gospel of the grace of God. life of the body, and the ornaAlso chapter xxi. verse 13. ments and delights of it, as, for Then Paul answered, what mean fear of exposing thein, to deye to weep, and to break my ny Christ, be shall lose it ; i. e. heart ? For I am ready, not to lose a real happiness in the other be bound only, but also to die at / world, while he thinks to secure Jerusalem for the name of the an imaginary one in this. Siin for Lord Jesus. So also Revelation skin a man may give for liis life, sii. ll, " For the accuser of our but he who gives his soul, his