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ness. We read of our being “alienated from him for spiritual and everlasting deliverance. the life of God, through the ignorance that Hence, says the Evangelist, speaking of the is in us, because of the blindness of our signs which Jesus did truly in the presence hearts;" and we are told that “the God of of his disciples—“ These are written that ye this world hath blinded the minds of them might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the that believe not." Our Saviour sends Paul Son of God; and that, believing, ye might "to open their eyes;” the Apostle prays for have life through his name.” Rejoice, therethe Ephesians," that the eyes of their un- fore, that He who raised the dead can quicken derstanding may be enlightened;" and David those who are dead in trespasses and sins prays for himself, “ Open thou mine eyes, that He who healed the leper can cleanse the that I may behold wonderous things out of soul from all unrighteousness,—and that He thy law."
who opened the eyes of the blind can lead inIf a blind person were to say, “I see,” we quirers into all truth. should be disposed to censure or pity him; Did he refuse this man? Did he ever rewe should suspect that he was influenced fuse any who applied to him in distress? Had either by pride or insanity; and be satisfied he rejected but one suppliant, it would have that if a trial were made, the result of it been the means of discouraging some to the would
prove that what he affirmed was false. end of the world; they would have feared that “ Let him work—see where he seeks for his there was something similar in their own instruments, and how he uses them. Let him case. But what can we say now? We see walk-see whether he can escape that stum- that his actions spoke the same language blingblock or that pitfall. Desire him to pull with his gracious lip—"Him that cometh a mote out of a brother's eye. Show him a unto me, I will in no wise cast out.”—“Come fine painting, and ask him to mark its beau- unto me, all ye that labour, and are heavy ties." Men may deny their ignorance; but laden, and I will give you rest.” This is to their lives and actions prove it. For instance: characterize him in every age: he is "the “ He that loveth not, knoweth not God.” same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.” He And do men love God? Is he in all their is therefore equally willing. thoughts? Is their meditation of him sweet ?
“ But I am so poor
Many of Are they inclined to speak of him? The Sa- my fellow-creatures, who are only raised a viour is “fairer than the children of men; little above me in circumstances, despise me. yea, he is altogether lovely”—but they see And will the King of glory concern himself “ no form nor comeliness in him; no beauty in my affairs ?" Yes; he condescends to men that they should desire him." Though de- of low estate. He preached the Gospel himstruction and misery are in their paths,” they self principally to the poor and to show you see them not; " and the way of truth, though that your mean condition is no disadvantage revealed in the Scripture, have they not in applying to him—behold him pausing, and known.” Is not this blindness?
listening to a beggar in the road. « This Though Bartimeus was surrounded with poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and landscapes, they were nothing to him. Though saved him out of all his trouble.” the sun shone upon his head, he saw nothing But you say, he is no longer here. Oh! of its lustre. He saw not the guide that led were he now on earth, dwelling among us, him to and fro: he never saw his own fea- how happy should we be to betake ourselves tures; and had he been possessed of the finest to him in all our difficulties and distresses ! mirror in the world, it could not have shown but the heavens have received him until the him what manner of man he was. Thus blind restitution of all things. Yet though no longer is man; thus unacquainted is he even with visible, he is still accessible; though not to himself: thus ignorant is he, under all the be seen, he is to be found—to be found in his advantages of external helps, and even of the word, and upon his throne, and in his house : Bible too-without divine teaching. “The we read of the goings of our God and King natural man receiveth not the things of the in the sanctuary;" he is now passing by," full Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto of pity, joined with power;" address him. him ; neither can he know them, because Bartimeus only heard that he was passing they are spiritually discerned. But he that by; he did not see him when he addressed is spiritual judgeth all things; yet he himself him. Address him, then, in the same circumis judged of no man."
stances, and you will soon find that he “is Secondly. BE PERSUADED THAT, WITH RE- nigh unto them that call upon him, to all that GARD TO THE REMOVAL OF THIS BLINDNESS, call upon him in truth.” YOU ARE IN AS HOPEFUL A CONDITION AS THIS Take therefore a Third admonition. BE
In all these miracles our blessed PERSUADED TO IMITATE THE IMPORTUNITY OF Lord holds himself forth as the all-sufficient THIS BLIND BEGGAR, IN CRYING FOR MERCY. helper of sinners. By the cures which he For this purpose reflect upon the sadness of wrought on the body, he shows how able your present condition. Think what a dehe is to save the soul; and they were per-graded, uncomfortable, unsafe state you are formed and recorded on purpose to lead us to in, and how certainly, unless you are deli
* Seek ye
vered from it, you will soon pass from the the praises of him who hath called you out darkness of sin into the darkness of hell. And of darkness into his marvellous light." Folthen consider the happiness of those who low him, then, as an imitator of his example. have been delivered from the kingdom of Follow him as a servant, to obey his orders darkness. “Blessed is the people that know and to bear his reproach. Follow him, to the joyful sound ; they shall walk, O Lord, in spread his fame and to be a witness of his the light of thy countenance. In thy name power and his goodness. shall they rejoice all the day, and in thy What an affecting sight must it have been righteousness shall they be exalted; for thou in the days of his flesh, to have seen him art the glory of their strength, and in thy fa- moving about, followed by a number of pervour our horn shall be exalted.” Pray there- sons whose complaints he had removed, and fore that you may be made a partaker of the who acknowledged that to him they owed all inheritance of the saints in light.
the happiness they enjoyed to hear one say. And especially let your importunity, like ing, He restored my son—another, He unthis poor man’s, appear with regard to two stopped my deaf ears and a third, He opened things. First, like him, seize the present mo- my blind eyes! He is not alone now in our ment. Let not the opportunity afforded you world. There are some who are following be lost by delay. You know not whether you him in the regeneration. They are the will have another. Your indifference may trophies of his free and almighty grace. They provoke him to withdraw in anger, resolving were once sinners, but are now renewed in to return no more. Your heart may be hard the spirit of their mind. They were once ened through the deceitfulness of sin. You darkness, but they are now light in the Lord, may be deprived of reason. This very night and are all looking to him and saying, “ Not your souls may be required of you! How unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy many are falling around you in the bloom of name give glory, for thy mercy and for thy life! How many are called away without truth's sake!" warning! And are you secure ?
But what will it be, when he will be seen the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon in company with all his people on the heahim while he is near." Secondly, like him, venly plains! What a day when the Rebe not silenced by discouragement and oppo- deemer will be seen with all his captives; sition. Many may try to check you. Infi- the Physician of souls with all his patients; dels may
tell you to hold your peacemand and all of them acknowledging that by his say, “It is all delusion.” Philosophers may grace they are what they are! What a multell you to hold your peace—and say, “It is titude ! How full of joy, and how full of all enthusiasm." Physicians may tell you to praise! And on his head will be many hold your peace and say, “ It is all nervous crowns! He will inhabit all the praises of depression-away to company and the thea- Israel ! “ Then he shall come to be gloritre.” Even divines may warn you to be sober-fied in his saints, and to be admired in all minded, and to avoid being righteous over them that believe !" much. Formalists may tell you, “ It is needless to be so warm.' Companions, friends, relations, may surround you with objections, DISCOURSE XXXVIII. entreaties, insults, threatenings—And you~ what will you do under all this? Do!-why say, This is a case in which another is not
WINTER. to judge for me. It is a personal concern- Thou hast made winter.–Psalm lxxiv. 17. and it is an affair infinitely, everlastingly important. I must succeed or perish. Lord, And he makes nothing in vain. Winter help me!"
therefore is as worthy of our attention, as Fourthly, If he has healed you ! If you can either of the former seasons which have say, “One thing I know, that whereas I was passed under our review. blind, now I see"- -LIKE BARTIMEUS, BE The scenes indeed all around us, which CAREFUL TO FOLLOW THE SAVIOUR.
we lately beheld, have assumed a new and This is the best way to evidence your cure. chilling appearance. The trees are shorn of None follow him blind: but those whose eyes their foliage. The hedges are laid bare. he has opened, see so much to admire and so the fields and favourite walks have lost their much to desire in him; they feel such a de- attractions: and the garden, now it yields no pendence upon him, and such an attachment perfumes and offers no fruits, like a friend in to him; that they are willing to forsake all, adversity, is forsaken. The vegetable creain order to follow him whithersoever he goeth. tion looks dead. The tuneful tribes are dumb. And every proof of your conversion, separate The cattle are grave, and no longer play in from this adherence to the Saviour, is falla- the meadows. The north wind blows. "He cious and ruinous.
sendeth abroad his ice like morsels; who can This is also the best way to improve your stand before his cold?"—We rush in for deliverance. Thus you will “show forth shelter.
But let us take some particular views of | are less abroad, we have more intercourse this subject.
within. If rural pleasures are diminished, And First, Winter belongs to the plan of social ones are increased. heaven, and is a season indispensably neces
"O Winter! sary. It aids the system of life and vegeta- I love thee, all unlovely as thou seem'st, tion; it kills the seeds of infection, and de- And dreaded as thou art!" stroys pestilential damps; it refines the blood;
“Compensating his loss with added hours
Of social converse and instructive ease, it gives us vigour and courage; it confirms And gath'ring, at short notice, in one group the nerves, and braces up the relaxed solids. The family dispersed, and fixing thought, Snow is a warm covering for the corn;
Not less dispers'd by daylight and its cares
-I crown thee king of intimate delights, and while it defends the tender blades from Fire-side enjoyments, home-born happiness, nipping frosts, it also nourishes their growth.
And all the comforts that the lowly roof
or undisturb'd retirement, and the hours Isaiah remarked this long ago; and speaks Of long uninterrupted evening know." of “the snow-coming down from heaven, and watering the earth, to make it bring forth
Yes, there are amusements to be found, and bud.” The case is this. When the without having recourse to noisy, public dissnow thaws, it melts into genial moisture;
sipations, in which health, innocency, and sinks down into the soil, and leaves the ni- peace, are frequently sacrificed; where vitrous particles with which it is charged in the rendered incapable of relishing genuine plea
cious passions are cherished, and persons are pores. Thus the glebe is replenished with that vegetable nutriment which will produce the bloom of spring and the fertility of autumn.
"-Cards are superfluous here, with all the tricks
That idleness has yet contrived Winter therefore is only the needful re- To fill the void of an unfurnished brain, pose of Nature, after her labours for the wel. To palliate dulness, and give time a shove." fare of the creation. But even this pause is “Discourse ensues, yet not trivial, yet not dull,
Nor such as with a frown forbids the play only to acquire new strength; or rather it is
of fancy, or proscribes the sound of mirih: a silent and secret energy of preparation to Nor do we madly, like an impious world, surprise and charm us again with fresh
Who deem religion phrensy, and the God
That made them an intruder on their joys, abundance. Nor has the Creator forgotten Start at his awful name, or deem his praise our well-being and comfort during this period : A jarring note."
For Winter is, Secondly, & season which Thirdly. Winter is a season in which we has its pleasures. I love to hear the roaring should peculiarly feel gratitude for our resiof the wind. I love to see the figures which dence, accommodations, and conveniences. the frost has painted on the glass. I love to Things strike us more forcibly by comparison. watch the redbreast with his slender legs, Let us remember how much more temperate standing at the window, and knocking with our climate is than that of many other counhis bill to ask for the crumbs which fall from tries. Our winter is nothing, when we turn the table. I love to observe the husbandman to the Frigid Zone. Think of those who carrying forth the provender for his harmless live within the Polar Circle: dispersed; excharge-while the creatures of his care, not posed to beasts of prey; their poor huts furwith boisterous impatience, but with waiting nishing only a miserable refuge; where eyes turned towards the place of their sup-linger months of perpetual night and frost; plies, ask for their “meat in due season" and, by the absence of heat, almost absolute and I here see one of the many ways in which barrenness reigns around. " HE openeth his hand and satisfieth the de- When the French mathematicians wintersire of every living thing.”
ed at Tornea, in Lapland, the external air sudIs it not pleasant to view a landscape denly admitted into their rooms, seizing the whitened with snow? To gaze upon the moisture, became whirls of snow; their breasts trees and hedges dressed in such pure and were rent when they breathed it; and the consparkling lustre? To behold the rising sun tact of it with their bodies was intolerable. labouring to pierce a fog which had enveloped We read of seven thousand Swedes who pethe heaven and the earth, and gradually suc- rished at once, in attempting to pass the mouncessful in dispersing these vapours—so that tains which divide Norway from Sweden. objects by little and little emerge from their And while our Winter reigns here with obscurity, and appear in their own forms, great comparative mildness, how many blesswhile the mist rolls up the side of the hill ings distinguish our portion from that of others and is seen no more?
around us, and demand our praise ! We A few things also brave the rigour of the have a house to defend us; we have clothes season and remain evergreen. The box, the to cover us; we have fire to warm us; we laurel, the yew-tree, the laurustinus, are have beds to comfort us; we have provisions grateful exemptions from the law of desola- to nourish us ;—“What shall we render? tion. Nor should we forget the curling ivy, Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all aor the crimson berries of the wild hawthorn. his benefits.”
Winter affords recreation for the under- Fourthly. This season calls upon us to standing, as well as for the senses. If we exercise Benevolence. Sympathy is now more powerfully excited than at any other | ruptions—it is therefore favourable to appli. period; we are enabled more easily to enter cation. Let us read, and study, and prepare into the feelings of others less favoured than for action and usefulness in life. ourselves. And while we are enjoying every And let us not pass heedlessly by these conveniency and comfort which the tender- subjects of reflection and improvement, which ness of Providence can afford— let us think the very season itself yields. How instrucof the indigent and miserable. Let us think tive, for instance, is the goodness of God, of those whose poor hovels and shattered not only in the preservation of the human panes cannot screen them from the piercing race, but in taking care of all the millions of cold. Let us think of those, whose tattered animals during a period which threatens to garments scarcely cover their shivering flesh. destroy them! What a number of retreats Let us think of the starving poor, who, after does he provide for them! Some of them, a struggle which to relinquish, give up their by a singular instinct, change the places of small pittance of bread to get a little fuel to their residence. Some of them are lulled warm their frozen limbs. Let us think of the into a profound sleep for weeks and months. old and the infirm; of the sick and the dis- Some live on the fat they have replenished eased. When the evening draws on, let us themselves with during the summer. Some reflect upon the scene so exquisitely touched carry their provisions beforehand, and lay by the pencil of sensibility
them up in their cells. * God takes care for "Poor, yet industrious, modest, quiet, neat,
oxen; and hears the young ravens that cry." Such claim compassion in a night like this,
And all this teaches us, First, to resemble And have a friend in every feeling heart. Warmed while it lasts, by labour all day long
him, and be kind to every being. If we learn They brave the season, and yet find at eve,
of him, we cannot be cruel to the brute Il clad, and fed but sparely, time to cool.
creation. We cannot be indifferent to their The frugal housewife trembles when she lights ller scanty stock of brush-wood blazing clear,
shelter and nourishment, when we rememBut dying soon like all terrestrial joys.
ber, that “his mercies are over all his The few small embers left she nurses well: And, while her infant race, with outspread hands
works."-Secondly, to trust in him. He who And crowded knees, sit cow'ring o'er the sparks, provides for animals, will not abandon chilRetires, content to quake, so they be warm'd.” dren. “Behold the fowls of the air : for they
Let“ the blessing of them that are ready sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into to perish come upon us.” Who would not barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth “ labour, that he may have to give to him
them. Are ye not much better than they ?" that needeth!" Who would not deny him
The season is also instructive as an emself superfluities, and—something more
blem. Here is the picture of life-thy flowthat his bounty may visit “ the fatherless and ery spring, thy summer strength, thy sober the widows in their affliction !"
autumn are all hastening into winter. DeAh! ye unfeeling, ye worldly-minded, that cay and death will soon, very soon, lay all "stretch yourselves upon your couches—that waste. What provision bast thou made for chant to the sound of the viol—that drink the evil day? Hast thou been laying up wine in bowls, and anoint yourselves with
“ treasure in heaven ?" Hast thou been la the chief ointments, but are not grieved for bouring for that meat which endureth unto the affliction of Joseph !"-oh! ye, who can
everlasting life ?" repair to every avenue of dissipation, and Every thing decays except Holiness. This trample on so much distress, and shut your this shows us that he was designed for a re
therefore is the true character of man; and ears against so many groans in your way thither-on what do you found your title to ligious state rather than any other. Pursue humanity ?"_" Thy judgment is to come.” this then as “the one thing needful; and Or do you lay claim to religion ? Merciless choose that good part that shall not be taken wretch, can knowledge or orthodoxy save away from you.” thee?“Whoso hath this world's good, and
Soon Spring will dawn again upon us, seeth his brother have need, and shutteth
in its beauty and its songs. And “we, achis bowels of compassion from him; how cording to his promise, look for new heavens dwelleth the love of God in him? My little and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteouschildren, let us not love in word, neither in ness.” No winter there but we shall fourtongue, but in deed and in truth. If a bro-ish in perpetual spring, in endless youth, in ther or sister be naked, and destitute of daily everlasting life! food, and one of you say unto them, Depart
"Then let our songs abound,
And every tear be dry; in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwith
We're marching through Immanuel's ground, standing ye give them not those things which
To fairer worlds on high." are needful to the body; what doth it profit? even so, faith if it hath not works is dead,
DISCOURSE XXXIX. being alone.” To conclude. Winter should improve us
CHRISTIANS NOT OF THE WORLD. in knowledge.
They are not of the world.—John xvii. 14. It affords leisure, and excludes many inter-) Many have a form of godliness while thev
deny the power thereof. Many also walk very | tify the familiarity. The authority of God unanswerably to the demands of their holy forbids it." Save yourselves from this unprofession. And these things very much dis- toward generation. Have no fellowship with parage the Gospel, and perplex the minds of the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather inquirers.
reprove them. Wherefore come out from What in such a case are we to do? Let us among them, and be ye separate, saith the abide by the judgment of God, which is al- Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and ways according to truth. Let us examine the I will receive you, and will be a Father unto Scriptures. There-real religion is held forth you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, in its unbending dignity and matchless puri- saith the Lord Almighty.” The peace of his ty. And let us remember too—that in every fellow Christians forbids it. Such bold intiage there have been some, though compara- macies with the world would grieve the tively few in number, and generally little strong, and throw a stumblingblock in the known, who have embodied their principles way of the weak; and “when ye sin so in their lives, and “ adorned the doctrine of against the brethren and wound their weak God our Saviour in all things.” And the Sa- consciences, ye sin against Christ.” He viour sees them, and knows them, and con- therefore cannot say as some do, in justifyfesses them: and said to them all, in his in- ing his worldly freedoms—“I do not regard tercessory prayer—"I have given them thy what others think of me, my own conscience word; and the world hath hated them, because does not condemn me.” He considers others they are not of the world, even as I am not as well as himself; and never supposes his of the world."
conduct innocent in the sight of God while It is the middle clause only of this passage it is censurable in the eyes of men. Oh! to which we would now call your attention. what a noble, what a delicate, what a self-Christians are not of the world. Let us, denying disposition does the Gospel proI EXPLAIN AND ESTABLISH THE TRUTH OF duce! " Wherefore,” says the Apostle, " if THE ASSERTION; and, II. APPLY THE REFLEC- meat make iny brother to offend, I will eat TION TO SOME USEFUL PURPOSES.
no flesh while the world standeth, lest I I. When our Saviour says—"They are not make my brother to offend.” The welfare of the world”—we can hardly suppose that he of his own soul forbids it. “Can a man intends a total abstraction from the world, or take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be rather a separation from it, in all respects. burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and What then does he mean? A consideration his feet not be burned ?" Why did God of four articles will be sufficient to answer warn the Jews of old not to mingle with the this question.
surrounding nations ? Because he foresaw First. They are not of the world, because that such intercourse would seduce themthey are not attached to their party. We and so it fell out—"They were mingled should be exceedingly mistaken were we to among the heathen, and learned their works; suppose that religion requires us to seclude and they served their idols, which were á ourselves wholly from society; for many of snare unto them.” And it is owing to such its instructions suppose various connexions intimacies with the people of the world, in with our fellow-creatures, and are designed our day, that “ the love of many waxes to regulate our intercourse with them. cold;" that they are drawn off by degrees
In many cases therefore it is lawful to as- from the house of God; and yield up one sociate with the people of the world. Such thing after another, to avoid giving offence, are cases of necessity-when we are com- till their profession becomes not only their pelled by our situations to live among them. disgrace, but their burden, and they comSuch are cases of business in which we pletely throw off the restraint. are called to trade with them. Such are And here, my young friends, I would parcases of charity and piety—in which we en- ticularly address you! Beware of wicked deavour to relieve their temporal distresses, company; beware of infidels; beware of or to awaken their minds to religious con- sceptics; beware of those who deride the cerns. Such also are cases of civility and leading doctrines of the Gospel, or even the affinity-for godliness does not make us rude; infirmities of the people of God. Your senor does it banish natural affections; nor dis- ducers generally begin very remotely from band the relations of father and child-hus- the place where they mean to leave off. band and wife-brother and sister, which While they are endeavouring to obtain your have been established by nature and Provi- regards, they often conceal what, if divulged dence.
at once, would shock your feelings; but, But further than this a Christian will not when they have engaged your affection and go. He cannot choose the people of the confidence, they will draw you on, till you world as his companions and friends; he look back with horror upon the distance you cannot seek after intercourse with the world have passed ; or, what is worse, be given up when it depends upon his own option, and to "a reprobate mind!” Break off therefore none of the afore-mentioned reasons can jus- such connexions-your safety requires it.