Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

onions, and the garlick.” One writer observes, “ There is nothing more vexatious than to see those who are called Christians, hankering after enjoyments which they yet profess to be base and unsatisfactory. What is the world to think of such conduct? Can any thing more effectually belie our professions, and reproach our religion? We have pleasures of our own. Religion takes nothing from us that is worth retaining. All that is really innocent in life we can enjoy in common with the world, and with a double relish; and, in addition to this, we are introduced to the uncloying, sublime pleasures, connected with our spiritual existence. O let us not pawn this birth-right for a mess of pottage! Let us rise into the enjoyment of religion! The spirit of the world must be opposed by its master-spirit. The Christian, who is properly under its influence, looks on worldly objects as mean and despicable."

Those who indulge in the pleasures of the world, whatever may be their opinion about themselves, render their religion suspicious in the view of all judicious Christians : they fear that their hearts are not right with God; however great their terrors or joys have been, as they allowedly indulge themselves in unhallowed amusements, they fear that, sooner or later, it may be said of them, “ the dog is turned to his own vomit again, and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire."

VII. It is inexpedient, in view of the great things which await them. This world, where Christians now dwell, will eventually, with all its glory, be consumed by fire; and, when that day shall come, they shall be transformed into the divine likeness. “We know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." As the scaffolding of a house is subordinate to the house, and will immediately be knocked away when the building is completed, so is the material world subordinate to the church ; and, as soon as the purposes of God's grace are accomplished on earth, with regard to our guilty race, it will be destroyed. “ The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also, and all the works that are therein shall be burned up.”

In view of this awful desolation, the apostle inquires, “Seeing, then, that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be, in all holy conversation and godliness ? Looking for, and hasting unto, the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire, shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat : nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” He then adds, by way of exhortation, “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that you look for such things, be diligent, that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.” Be diligent in what? Not in dancing, “ for bodily exercise profiteth little,” but in breathing the spirit, and practising the duties of religion ; “ Godliness is profitable unto all things; having the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”

Christians ought to be diligent in their endeavours to advance Christ's interest on the earth, and to lay up for themselves treasure in heaven; the time is short, “ in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh ; blessed is that servant whom his Lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing.”

Is it possible for any, who stand in the love and fear of God, who realize the approach of that awful desolation foretold by the apostle, and who see how much service there is need of doing for their Divine Master, willingly to spend any of their precious time in dancing for vain amusement ? Must not the deeply interesting scenes which await them tend to stifle all their feelings for this kind of pleasure, and to awaken their sensibilities, not only for themselves, but for a world lying in wickedness? “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God; and, if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God ? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and sinner appear ?”

Instead of casting a stumbling-block in the way of others, I would say to you, my daughter, “ If ye then be risen with Christ," as ye hope, “ seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." If you are indeed a Christian, you are “ bought with a price”-a great price. You “ were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold; but with the precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without blemish, and without spot;" therefore, “ glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.” As a Christian, your limbs, and every faculty of your body and soul, are to be used for His glory. Conduct yourself in this way, and you will spread a sweet savour around you, and find, at last, that in keeping the divine commands there is a great reward. It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom: the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly : if you deny yourself for Christ's sake, and by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory, and honour, and immora tality, God will render unto you eternal life. What are the most fascinating things on earth, compared with those which “ eye hath not seen, nor ear heard ?" and of which it “ hath not entered into the heart of man to conceive ?” What are the songs of earth to the anthems of heaven ? What is it to dance with the gay, and to share with them in all the dazzling pleasures of the ball-room, to what it will be to mingle with pure spirits, and to share with them in drinking happiness at the fountain-head?

You will not think, my daughter, from these remarks, that I suppose religion requires us to be gloomy. On the contrary, I would adopt the words of inspiration, and exhort you to “ rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice." But express your joy under a realizing sense of your exalted nature, as made for immortality. Remember, you are not always to continue in the flesh. Keep in view your high vocation as a Christian, and the spectators of your conduct, not only on earth, but in heaven. Ever bear in mind the words of the apostle, “ Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of wit

nesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us."

Shall Christians linger to gather fading flowers by the rivulets of time, or press forward to gather those which grow beside the “pure river of the water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and the Lamb ?"

I well know, if they conform to the world, by sharing in its vain amusements, and dancing a little, if it be only at weddings, they will be highly commended for their liberality of sentiment and conduct, their freedom from superstition, and from a methodistical or puritanical spirit. But how much will this commendation be worth in a dying hour? That hour, with all its awful solemnities, is near at hand!

The death-warrant is signed against our whole world, and its execution may be speedy. Who knows but it is written in the decree of heaven, with respect to the dancing professor, “ this year thou shalt die!" or even “this night shall thy soul be required of thee!”

My dear daughter, be wise for yourself; remember, that “the friendship of the world is enmity with God.” Seek not its laurels, but desire the plaudit of your Judge. Hath he not said, “ Behold, I come quickly ; hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown."

Treat the world wisely, while you live in it: give to the young, the gay, and the fashionable, all that belongs to them; but see that it is your constant desire to imitate Him who “ went about doing good." While some of the professed friends of Christ are led astray by the fascinations of the dance, may you adorn the doctrine of God your Saviour, by a well-ordered life and conversation. Visit the widow and the fatherless. Look into the cottages of the poor, whose neglected occupants will sometimes need a piece of bread, at others, to be taught how to make or mend a garment. Some will need a tract, others a Bible; some to be taught industry, honesty, temperance, and kindness; and many to be shown the way for sinners to be pardoned through the blood of Christ. The biography of the late excellent Mrs. Graham will afford much to encourage and animate you in such a course of life. Let your examples be what hers were ; that when you come to lie on your death-bed, you can wish your children to imitate them. The part you are to act in this probationary state will be short; therefore, work while the day of life lasts ; “ for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave, whither thou goest.” Soon, very soon, the shroud will cover you, and the grave swallow you up! Let the world be better for you while you live. Realize the fact that your children are travelling with you to the world of spirits, and lead them on their journey, in the narrow path, praying that their lives may be full of mercy and good fruits. Keep your accountability in constant view. Look at the crown at the end of the race, and “ so run that you may obtain." With my best wishes to your husband and children,

I remain, my dear daughter,

Your affectionate Parent.

DEBT AND CREDIT.

(We recommend the following article to the serious consideration of those who are just setting out in life. The facility with which young men can get in debt, or, in other words, obtain upon credit whatever their vanity prompts them to desire or permits them to be flattered into the belief that they need, proves the most frequent cause of ruin in their worldly circumstances. Credit is sure to create extravagance, and extravagance embarrassment and want, whereas, the practice of paying for every thing as it is purchased, is sure to induce a rational economy in expenditure. What a happy circumstance it would be for many, if they had never permitted their names to go into a day book or ledger -EDITOR.]

I DISLIKE the whole matter of debt and credit ; from my heart I dislike it; and think the man who first invented a ledger should be hung in effigy, with his invention tied to his feet, that his neck might support him and his works together. My reason for thus sweeping at the whole system is, not that I believe it totally useless, but that I believe it does more mischief than good, produces more trouble than accommodation, and destroys more fortunes than it creates honestly. These opinions are not of recent date with me; they are those upon which I set out in early life, and as I grow older I become more and more confirmed in them; not that I changed my practice while I held fast my professions, and got my fingers burned at last by thrusting my name in a day book, nor did I do this because I could not see the evil effects of credit around me in every shape and form.

But a visit to my old friend, Timothy Coulter, called the subject up so forcibly, that I concluded to write a line on it. His last cow was sold this very morning for about one half of its value, and they have not left him an ear of corn in his crib, or a bushel of rye in his barn, much less any of his stock : it was what is called the winding up of the concern; and he is now on his good behaviour, for I heard one of his creditors say, that if things did not go on very straight, he would walk him off to the county prison. Thus has ended Timothy's game of debt and credit. When he first commenced farming, he was as industrious and promising a young man as was to be found; he worked day and night, counted the cost, and pondered on the purchase of every thing. For a year or two he kept out of debt, lived comfortably and happily, and made money; every one that knew him was ready to make a polite bow ; each knew him as one of your “cash men," and liked his custom; the mechanic shook him by the hand and begged his company to dinner, hoping to get a job from him; and even the lawyer, in contemplation of his high character, tipped his beaver as he passed him, as much as to say, “ Tim, you have more sense than half this world, but that is no consolation to us.”

By some fatality, however, Timothy found out there was such a thing as credit. He began soon to have many running accounts ; it soon followed, that the inquiry, “Do I really want this article ?" before he bought it, was neglected; then he began to be careless of pay day, his accounts stood; he disputed them when rendered ; was sued, charged with costs, and perhaps, slily, with interest too, and he became a money borrower before long; but his friends, after a law-suit had brought them

their money, were ready to credit again. The same farce was played over and over, until now the end of these things has come; and, poor fellow, he is turned out in the wide world, without a friend, save a wife and six miserable babes.

I asked an officer for a sight of the execution, and he showed it to me. It was issued by young 'Squire Bell, and I could not but recollect how different was the history of this man and that of Timothy. Young Bell was a poor boy ; commenced this life with nothing but health and a trade; but he adopted as a sacred maxim, “ Pay as you go ;' and he told me he found little difficulty in sticking to his text. The necessaries of life are few, and industry secures them to every man ; it is the elegancies of life that empty the purse, the knick-knacks of fashion, the gratification of pride, and the indulgence of luxury, that make them poor. To guard against these, some resolution was necessary; and this resolution is much strengthened and guarded by the habit of paying for every article we buy at the time. If we do so, we shall seldom purchase what our circumstances will not afford.

This is exactly the manner in which Jack Bell proceeded. Habit, strengthened by long continuance, and supported by reason, become second nature. His business prospered ; his old purse became filled with silver and gold; all his purchases being made for cash were favourable ; and by always knowing how he stood in the world, he avoided all derangement in his affairs. He is now the 'Squire of a village, with good property, a profitable business, and enjoys the respect of all who know him.

ANON.

ENEMIES OF THE BIBLE SOCIETY.

BY THE LATE REV. JOSEPH HUGHES, A.M. We must be allowed to cherish an emphatic regard for the British and Foreign Bible Society, and deeply to regret that it has been, and still is, variously counteracted. Among its principal foes, we discern bigotry, avarice, and indifference; not that we cast the imputations which these words imply, on any man, merely because, when our plan is noticed by him, he demurs or even objects : “ let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.”

1. Soon after the sons and daughters of peace had begun to interchange their congratulations on being assembled in greater numbers, in sweeter harmony, and for the winning of a nobler prize, than had ever stimulated and combined them on former occasions, a formidable band arrayed itself against them. Let reasonable excuses be made for ignorance, prejudice, and morbid jealousy; and let us guard against confounding avowed opposition to the Society with conscious opposition to the Bible and to God. The first kind of opposition may be distinguished from the second. There is, however, in every land, such a thing as fell Bigotry; and his attacks, particularly abroad, have been widely prejudicial. He invariably resists overtures for union, except as union may involve faction. When his devotees are urged to convene on neutral ground, there to concert and forward measures calculated to advance the welfare of immortal souls,

« VorigeDoorgaan »