Glorious day! wnen the Son of God shall come It is evident, that the mind can seldom be duly preagain—when the grave and the sea shall give up pared for a service which requires such high qualificatheir dead—when the redeemed of the Lord shall tions, while yet in the first stages of early youth. A come together to Zion, from the east, and from ples of his own; he takes his sentiments

, in general,

child can scarcely be said to have any very fixed princithe west, and from the north, and from the south, from his parents and instructors; and, in the ordinary and shall sit down together in the kingdom of course of things, cannot be expected to have examined God—when the great redemption shall be com- for himself, or to have adopted his religious principles pletely finished when the children of God shall from the deep and enlightened conviction of his underall be one-shall all be blessed in one great and

standing. undivided society—when the infirmities, the strug- dedication is not to be rigidly fixed by the number of

But let it be observed, that the period of this selfgles, the bereavements, the sorrows of mortality-years which a professing Christian has passed ; because the varieties in their lot, in their attainments, in the operations of divine grace are not thus limited.their tempers, and in their expectations—shall all Alas! there are many, who, though far advanced in age, be lost in the vigour and triumphs common to

are mere infants in the Christian life. They have yet them all, and in the fulness of eternal joy.

to begin their preparation for heaven, and are altogether Amen. Salvation to our God and to the Lamb! there are others, who, though youthful in years, are ra

ignorant of the nature of Christian communion. But Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, to pidly advancing towards manhood in religious attainhim who sits upon the throne, who liveth and ments; and shall we venture to restrain the ardent dereigneth through eternal ages, and to the Lamb for sire which these young aspirants feel to lay the first ever and ever! Amen and Amen.

fruits of their ingenuous hearts on the altar of their Saviour, when he himself has said, “ Suffer little children

to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is FORM OF ADMITTING CATECHUMENS the kingdom of heaven?"

No, my friends! Not by the number of their years, TO THE PRIVILEGE OF PARTAKING OF THE LORD'S SUP

but by the preparation of their hearts—by the progress PER, USED IN THE PARISH OF RUTHWELL ON THE

they have made in Christian principles and Christian SATURDAY PREVIOUS TO THE COMMUNION SABBATH, practice-must we determine the period when thos

who have been already devoted to God in baptism,

should be anew devoted to him at a communion-table. BY THE Rev. Henry Duncan, D. D.,

So soon as they have examined themselves with underMinister of Ruthwell.

standing hearts, to discover the nature of their faith, the

sincerity of their penitence, the fervour of their love, Those young persons, who propose to join with us, for the firmness of their resolutions, and, after such an exthe first time, in obeying the dying injunction of our amination, can look up to heaven, and say, with humble common Saviour, by partaking of the Lord's Supper, are confidence, “Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief," now about to give a public profession of their faith, and -- from that moment delays become both dangerous and of their solemn resolution to devote themselves hence- sinful. To these, whatever be their age, the table of forth to the service of their divine Master.

their Saviour is open—they are permitted—they are inBut, before we proceed to this important duty, it may vited—they are commanded, to partake of the feast prenot be unsuitable to say a few words, with regard to pared for believers, at the foot of the cross. the circumstances which ought to determine the period I have said that scriptural knowledge and Christian when the young Christian should first unite with his piety are essential qualifications for this solemn service; fellow-worshippers in surrounding a communion-table. but think not that it will be any acceptable excuse for

It seems sufficiently obvious, that, before any person the neglect of your Saviour's dying command, that you can be duly prepared for this sacred duty, he must un- are destitute of these qualifications. Ignorance and inderstand its nature. It is a feast of commemoration. difference in such a case are themselves sins, for which This is easily comprehended. The most simple may be no apology can be pleaded ; and it were folly to attempt made readily to understand what it is to celebrate to excuse the commission of one sin by another. Rethat is, to call publicly to remembrance, at stated sea- ligion is the one thing needful for a being such as man, sons-a great and amazing event, in which his happi- born as he is for immortality, but standing on the brink ness is intimately concerned. But this is not enough: of eternal misery. We live in a land of Christian light; we must also know, how our happiness is concerned in and, if we do not know the things which concern our that event. Now this implies an acquaintance with the everlasting peace, it is because we voluntarily and pergreat scheme of salvation ; it supposes a deep convic-versely shut our eyes. Let no man, then, satisfy himtion of our fallen and naturally ruined condition, and self with the plea of want of knowledge, or of devoan enlightened knowledge of the means by which we tional feeling. We invite him not to come forward in are“ brought from darkness unto light, and from the such a frame of mind; but we tell him, earnestly yet power of Satan unto God.”

affectionately, that he is altogether inexcusable for beBut further: Though knowledge is necessary, it is ing in this frame, or continuing in it. “ This is the not all that is necessary. Not only should our under- condemnation, says Jesus emphatically, “ that light standing be informed, and our judgment be convinced ; has come into the world, and ye have loved darkness but, before we can be duly prepared to do this in re- rather than light, your deeds being evil.” The amplest membrance of Jesus, our hearts must be affected; and means for your instruction are provided. You have the religion—the faith of the Gospel must become the Scriptures of truth in your hands-you have the minismoving principle of our conduct.

ters of the Gospel at your doors--you have the Holy Such considerations as these serve to fix the period, Spirit asking admittance into your hearts. Make use when it becomes the duty of the worshipper to unite of these means, and God will shed his grace on your with those who surround the table of their crucified Lord. souls, to prepare you, according to the preparation of This service was suggested by the practice of the Genevese

the sanctuary Church, and the form still used there has been partly adopted. That From such aids no period of life is excluded. They Church is endeared to Presbyterians as the modern birth-place of their own; and though its pastors have degenerated from the faith

are equally the inheritance of hoary age bending over of their fathers, its forms are still worthy of our affectionate regard. his staff, and trembling on the edge of the grave-of


[ocr errors]

manhood toiling amidst the bustle of a world full of which is made perfect in weakness, do you now solemuly care, and of unripe youth passing through slippery paths. promise, assiduously and faithfully, to perform? Whosoever hath ears to hear, and an understanding to [ The Catechumens again express their assent.] perceive, and a heart to feel, to him is the invitation In consequence of these declarations and promises

, given. But youth is the season when religious impres- which I pray that the Holy Spirit may bless, I do now, sions may be expected to be deepest and most perma- in the presence of Almighty God and before this assennently stamped on the soul. Then the affections are bly of his people, admit you to the high privilege of peculiarly warm, and the heart, devoted at that early sitting down with your fellow Christians at the table of period to the service of the Saviour, glows with charac- your common Saviour, that you may partake with them teristic fervour, and moves in the path of duty with a of that holy Supper which commemorates bis sufferings gracefulness all its own. How beautiful was the cha- and death, and from which believers, in all ages, bave racter of Timothy, of whom it is said that from a child received spiritual nourishment and growth in grace. he knew the Scriptures! He remembered his Creator May Jesus be made known to you in the breaking of in the days of his youth : his soul was ennobled by the bread! exercise, and as he grew in stature, he grew, like his My young friends,—whom I shall so soon be enabled divine Master, in favour with God and man.

to address by the still more endearing title of tellow You, my dear young friends, have “chosen that bet. communicants,-remember, I earnestly beseech you, the ter part, which shall never be taken away from you. importance of the engagements which you have this day You come this day publicly to declare, that you have formed, or rather which you have now formally and taken the God of your fathers to be your God--the publicly renewed. Your vows have been made not to Saviour of your fathers to be your Saviour---the hope, man, but to God the Searcher of Hearts, and to Christ the contidence, the joy of your fathers, to be the only the Saviour of sinners. On the genuineness of the faith treasure of your souls. If these be indeed the senti- which you have now professed, and on the manner in ments with which you are animated, we do most sin- which you adorn that profession in your life and concerely congratulate you: For what is our crown of re- versation, depends your happiness or misery, not in joicing ? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord time only, but in eternity. Live, then, as becomes those Jesus Christ? In this hope, I now call upon you to who name the name of Jesus. “Let your light so make a public profession of your faith.

shine before men, that they, seeing your good works, [The Catechumens here stand up.]

may glorify your Father in heaven. Pray without QUESTIONS.--Ist, Are you deeply convinced of the ceasing.' Read assiduously the word of God. Watch truth and importance of the Holy Scriptures? Do you that ye enter not into temptation. Avoid evil commu. acknowledge them to be the inspired Word of God, re- nications. In devoting your first years to your Receiving thein as the only rule of your faith and practice? | deemer, you will soon become accustomed to that serIn particular, Do you believe in God the Father Al- vice which is perfect freedom, and will find, by happy mighty, the preserver and governor of all things in experience, that lris yoke is easy, and his burden light

. heaven and earth; in Jesus Christ his only begotten God will bless you. He will give you that peace which Son, our Redeemer ; and in the Holy Ghost, our com- the world cannot give. His eye will be upon you to forter and sanctifier ? Do you acknowledge, that you good. His ear will be open to your call. “The blood are fallen and guilty creatures, naturally in a state of of Christ will purify you from all sin. Be not afraid: sin and inisery, from which you cannot save yourselves ; greater is he who is for you, than all that can be that there is no other name under heaven given among against you. You will be enabled to pass through life men whereby you can be saved but the name of Christ; | in the fear of God, and to perform the duties which that he died for your sins, and rose again for your jus- you owe to your brethren of mankind, and to your tification, and ever liveth to make intercession for you ; own souls. And at the hour of your dissolution, when that he will come again to judge the world in righte- the world, with all its vanities, shall have vanished ousness, and will bestow eternal blessedness on his from your view, and every earthly prop shall have talservants, while he says to those who reject his salva- ed, you will be supported and cheered by a sense of tion, “ Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire ?" the divine presence. Through the valley of the shadow All these things do you solemnly profess to believe ? of death Christ himself shall bear you in his arms, and

[ The Catechumens here express their assent.] carry you safe into the abodes of everlasting joy. 2dly, Are you resolved, in humble reliance on the Amen, aids of the Holy Spirit, to perform the duties which these doctrines imply, and which Scripture enjoins; to

CHRISTIAN TREASURY. impress upon your hearts the obligations which you lie under to God as your creator and lawgiver, and as in The Habitation not made with Hands.—Through Christ Jesus, your never failing benefactor and friend, the great goodness of the Lord, my poor clay tabi morning and evening to kneel before him, and pour out nacle is in tolerable good repair, although the beams and your souls in thanksgiving and supplication ; on all oc- ratters seem to grow weaker. When the Builder izcasions to remember that he is present with you, and to tends taking it down, I know not; and as I may and bow, submissive and resigned, to his holy will? To ought to expect that the time will shortly arrive, wbcz strengthen and increase your piety, are you resolved to I must quit my present habitation, I desire, wish, ad search the Scriptures diligently, and to be regular and pray that my next house may be built of better mate devout in your attendance on divine ordinances ? As in rials, and not subject to any decay. I sometimes take the holy communion you profess to be members of one a peep at the place where my new house is to be buil; body, are you resolved, as much as in you lies, to live but through the dimness of my sight, and the weaknes in peace and charity with all men; to love your neigh- of my understanding, I cannot as yet comprehend the bours as yourselves, and to do to others as you would beauty of the situation, nor rightly understand the that they should do to you? Do you, from the bottom form of the house; but I am informed by the Builder

, of your heart, now renew your baptismal vows, hy that he will make it like his own habitation. I have which you are bound to renounce the vanities of the somewhere read about the form of the city, and the world, to dedicate your lives to the service of your God beauty of the streets; and the description is su ecoand Saviour, to keep a constant guard on your appe- gantly grand, and glorious, it is enough to stir up 3 de tites and passions, and to live in the uniform exercise of sire and a longing in the heart to be there. I an toute temperance, holiness, and piety?

farther, that there is a vast number of inhabitants in All these duties, in a devout reliance on that strength the place where my house is to be built ; and also, that

[ocr errors]

they all live in love, and in peace, and no foe can en- | cloth, the threads of which, from end to end, through ter the city, so that the inhabitants live without fear; the whole length of life, are comforts; but the warp, and I am farther assured, that their employ will be from beginning to end, filled up with crosses, Surely it

praising the Builder of the city; and as you and I love is so, for though we are favoured with days and spaces in 1 singing, I humbly hope our voices will be properly which we can hardly say we have one cross from the hands

tuned, for I should like to sing as well as the best, for of the Lord, we have, in default of these, an unhappy te really no one will have greater cause to sing than I. ingenuity in contriving and making up crosses for our

Now, I being a tenant at will, the owner of my taber selves. A word, a look, or the holding up of a finger, is

nacle has a right to turn me out at a moment's warn- sufficient to disconcert us in our smoothest hours, to spoil thing, nay, without any warning at all; therefore, I daily the relish of a thousand blessings, so that the sun shines

pray that I may be enabled to obey his commands, and upon us almost in vain. We suffer much from imagithat is, to be “ always ready." I find a vast number nary evils, as much perhaps from apprehension of wbat of things want rectifying and altering in my poor taber- may never happen, as from the impression of what we nacle : but I humbly hope, that as the Builder, I trust, truly feel. Thus we put loads on our own shoulders, intends my tabernacle for a habitation for himself, he and then we say, “ Alas, how heavily I am burdened !” will subdue every thing contrary to his good pleasure, So great is the goodness and faithfulness of God, that and cleanse the house thoroughly, making it a fit and we are usually enabled to stand under heavy trials.

proper habitation for himself. The glorious Builder of Such likewise our weakness, that we are frequently ä my house has left upon record exceedingly encouraging ready to sink under small ones. Could we see the

words of promise, to comfort the wayfaring man while hand of the Lord equally in the great and the small, on his journey to the desired city. He has also set up and consider every thing we meet as designed to pracway marks, and given proper directions, insomuch that tise and forward us in the lessons we profess ourselves if the traveller keeps his eye upon the directing post, desirous of learning, we should be much more happy. and walks according to the plan marked out, be will not We are called to die unto self, to cease from man, to greatly err; besides, there is something more encourag- learn that all things are uncertain and vain, to forgive ing still: the traveller has for his guide One who is injuries, to overcome evil with good. And the events perfectly acquainted with the way to the city, and also of life are adjusted so as to give us a frequent opporknows all the dangers, enemies, and difficulties of the tunity of discovering and proving our proficiency in way through which the traveller has to pass; and the these lessons. But we would rather suppose ourselves guide is more than a match for all the foes that infest patient without having any thing to bear; disposed to the road; nay, he has the power over all countries in- forgive without any thing to forgive, and possessed of a vested in his hand, and all his enemies, and his fol. spiritual mind, while, at the same time, we are pleasing lowers' enemies, will shortly, and for ever, be put under ourselves with the hope of a sort of earthly paradise of his feet. You, dear madam, have had a taste of the enjoyments. Yet we believe that our Lord was a man fruit of this upper and better country, and the taste of sorrows; the object of contempt, and that in this makes you long to feast more bountifully upon the situation he wept over his enemies, and prayed for his beart-cheering, soul-comforting viands. The earnest of murderers.--Newton. your future possession you have already received, which Suffering, the Portion of Believers.-Remember, beis a token or seal, that the full enjoyment shall be ex- liever, when the lamb was eat, it was with bitter herbs. perienced in due time ; in the meantime, it is the pil. -ASHBURNER. grim's duty and privilege, to be desiring, hoping, watch

Christ is Willing to Save.--Mercy looketh downing, and striving, till the time of deliverance comes ; and as the heavenly manna is daily spreading round ward, and can quickly spy a sinner in the dust ; but

cannot leave him there, nor deny him compassion and your habitation, I humbly hope and pray that you may relief. Art thou cast out as helpless, wounded by experience abundance of increase, that you may daily thy sin, and neglected by all others that pass by ? rejoice in full assurance of hope, of for ever enjoying Thou art the fittest object for the skill and mercy the house not made with bands, in a kingdom that of Him that washeth sinners in His blood, and tenshall never be moved.--THE LETTER OF A POOR BUT

derly bindeth up their wounds, and undertakes the Pious MAN.

perfecting of the cure, though yet thou must bear the Difference between the Christian and the Man of the surgeon's band, till his time of perfect cure he come. World. The grand difference between the Christian Now thou perceivest the greatness of thy sin and misery, and the man of the world is, that the burden of the one thou art fit to study the greatness of his mercy; and is gathering while he proceeds, while that of the other with all saints (to strive) “ to comprehend what is the is becoming lighter and more easy. The man of carnal breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know mind and worldly affections elings more and more to the love of Christ which passeth knowledge.” Now his beloved earth, and new cares thicken around his thou hast “ smitten upon the thigh," and said, “ What death-bed: his burden is collecting as he advances, and have I done ?" Thou art fitter to look upon him that when he comes to the edge of the grave it bears him was wounded and smitten for thy transgressions, and to down to the bottom like a millstone. But the blessed consider what he hath done and suffered: how he Spirit, by gradually elevating the Christian's temper “ hath borne thy grief and carried thy sorrows, and was and desires, makes obedience become more easy and de- bruised for thy iniquities; the chastisement of our light ful, until he mounts into the presence of God, peace was laid upon him, and we are healed by his wbere he finds it “a service of perfect freedom.”- stripes; all we like sheep have gone astray; we have Wolfe's Remains.

turned every one to his own way, and the Lord hath On the Every Day Sorrows of Life. This is a laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Art thou in doubt chequered life, and the changes are mercifully accommo- whether there be any forgiveness for thy sins; and whedated to our circumstances. Continual comfort and pro-ther there be any place for repentance ? Remember that sperity would be unsafe for us. Continual atfliction would Christ is “ exalted at God's right hand to be a Prince be hard upon us.

Therefore our gracious Lord appoints and a Saviour, to give repentance unto Israel, and forus changes. Comforts and trials are interwoven in our giveness of sins;" and that he himself hath spoken it, dispensations, and so closely that there is hardly an that “all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven hour passes in which we have not many causes for unto men, except the blasphemy against the Spirit.” thankfulness, and some exercise for faith and patience. And this forgiveness of sins thou art bound to believe as I am pleased with a passage in Bishop Cowper, in which an article of thy creed, that it is purchased by Christ, he compares the life of a believer to a piece of worked and freely offered in the Gospel.–BAXTER.

[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors]

husband that their boy might perhaps be drowned in SACRED POETRY.

the well. Both parents ran together to the well in

quest of their child; and on descending the few steps TRUST IN THE SAVIOUR.

which led to it, Mr Peebles observed something in the

water. Nor seldom, elad in radiant vest,

With a trembling heart he pulled it out, when Deceitfully goes forth the morn;

to his astonishment, and that of his wife, it was not Not seldom evening, in the west,

their boy, but the minister's son, Thomas Randall ! On Sinks smilingly foresworn.

mentioning this striking event to an intimate friend, Dr

Davidson remarked, “ the preservation was of God; The smoothest seas will sometimes prove

can a sparrow fall to the ground without our heavenly To the confiding bark untrue;

And if she trust the stars above,
They can be treacherous too.

An interesting Reminiscence. The late Dr Samuel

Martin, minister of Monimail, in a letter to a friend af. The umbrageous oak, in pomp outspread,

ter Dr Davidson's death, having noticed the above Full oft, when storms the welkin rend,

anecdote, this speaks of that pious and devoted man, Draws lightning down upon the head

whose memory is hallowed in the minds of all who It promised to defend.

knew him :-" He studied divinity at Glasgow College, But thou art true, Incarnate Lord !

Thomas and I lived together, companions and fellow. Who didst vouchsafe for man to die;

students; and I being some years older, was considerad Thy smile is sure, thy plighted word

as a kind of guardian. On looking back to that No change can falsify.

period, in reviewing fully sixty years intercourse and I bent before thy gracious throne,

friendship, I ever found in him, from first to last, And ask'd for peace with suppliant knee;

genuine and unaffected piety, affection, benevolence, reAnd peace was given,-nor peace alone,

gular, exemplary, amiable deportment. I recollect, with But faith, and hope, and ecstacy.

pleasure, the family devotions of our little society. I WORDSWORTH.

well remember an exclamation, on one occasion, to me,

after rising from prayer—a striking proof of his characHOPE IN THE REDEEMER.

teristic humility, gratitude, and tenderness of conscience,

* 0, Martin, it is the divine goodness, of all things, tant Yes! it was true, my Saviour died

humbles me most!'” To rescue man from sin and wo!

The Faithful Minister's Dying Declaration. When My heart at once the truth applied,

the late Rev. Sir Henry Moncreiff Well wood, Bart., And could not, would not let it go.

was on his death-bed, his attached friend, Dr Thomsos, I felt it was my last lorn hope

of St. George's Church, Edinburgh, was much with A stay to the lone shipwreck'd given;

him. On one occasion, it being the Sacramental SabAnd grasp'd it with a drowning grope,

bath, Dr Thomson was engaged to officiate in the pul. As sent to me direct from heaven.

pit of St. Cuthbert's, at the evening service, instead of In confirmation, word on word

Sir Henry, and before doing so, he called to inquire for Rose sweetly, too, from memory's store; his dying friend. He found him in a very weak state, Truths, which in other days I heard,

and after conversing with him for a short time, he nelBut never knew their worth before.

tioned his intention to occupy his pulpit for him tha: Lodged by a pious mother's care evening. Immediately the old man seemed to revive

, In the young folds of thought and sense,

and his eye assumed, for a moment, its wonted animaLike fire in flint, they slumber'd there,

tion. “ I shall never preach to my people more," said Till anguish struck them bright from thence.

he. “O! I could go through the whole world preachin;

salvation through the Cross of Christ."
The beacon lights of Holy Writ,
They one by one upon me stole ;

The Effect of Missions. The Rev. Dr Philip,
Through winds and waves my pathway lit,

the Cape of Good Hope, states, that the Honourable And chased the darkness from my soul!

Justice Burton informed him, after a circuit tour, tha: CAMPBELL.

he had made three journies over the colony as a circon judge; that, during these circuits, he had nine hundred

cases before him, and that only two of these cases were MISCELLANEOUS.

connected with Hottentots who belonged to missionary

institutions, and that neither of them were aggravated A Valuable Life Saved. When the late Dr David. On a comparison of the population at the mison, formerly Mr Randall, of the Tolbooth Church, sionary stations with that of the rest of the colon; Edinburgh, was a child, he experienced a remarkable which was under the jurisdiction of the circuit cours, preservation from death, which he sometimes men. the fact stated by the judge makes the proportion of tioned to his friends, and always in terms of the live-crimes as one only to thirty-five. liest gratitude to the Almighty, who had so evidently interposed to rescue him from going down to the grave. Published by JOHN JOHNStone, at the Offices of the Scott*** In the neighbourhood of the manse at Inchture, where CHRISTIAN HERALD, 104, High Street, Edinburgb, and 19, GB his father, Mr Randall, was for some years minister,

ford Street, Glasgow; JAMES Nisbet & Co., HAMILTON, AD

& Co., and R. GROOMBRIDGE, London ; D. R. BLBAKLST. Dabab; there was an open well, which often gave rise to and W. M'COMB, Belfast ; and sold by the Booksellers and Lecil much apprehension and dread in the minds of parents, principal Towns in England and Ireland.

Agents in all the Towns and Parishes of Scotland; and in the lest their children should fall into it. One day, Thomas Subscribers in Edinburgh and Leith will have their copies of Randall, when amusing himself near the well, fell in. livered at their own residences regularly, by leaving their

address There being no person at hand when the accident oc

with the Publisher, or with John Lindsay & Co., 7. South S

drew Street.-- Subscribers in Glasgow will, in like manner, bare curred, the child must have perished but for the follow- their copies delivered, by leaving their addresses at the Pubble ing remarkable circumstance: The parish schoolmaster,

Office there, 19, Glassford Street. Mr Peebles, and his wife, both very worthy persons, 1s.6d. -per half-year, of twenty-four weeks, 3.- per year, or for the

Subscription (payable in advance) per quarter, of twelve meals and who had a large family, happened to live in the im eight weeks, 6s. - Monthly Parts, containing four Numbers each mediate vicinity. Mrs Peebles one forenoon missed

stitched in a printed wrapper, Price Sixpence. one of her children. She expressed great alarm to her type Illatre of Thomas Allan & Co.

Printed at the Steam-Press of Ballantyne & Cor from the Sters


[blocks in formation]

ations will be realized. The existence of the evil ON THE IMPERFECTION OF THE PRESENT

among the good gives occasion for the exercise of CONDITION

graces which would be otherwise unknown, and By the Rev. Hugh Ralph, LL. D.,

thus forms a kind of gymnasium of moral training

for a better state. The existence of the good Minister of the Scotch Church, Oldhan Street, Liverpool.


the evil, restrains their excesses, stimulates Perfection is not the character of the present by example, and leaves them without excuse if scene. It is placed before us as a point after which they remain as they have been. To accomplish we are to aspire, but, like the horizon, it eludes our ends such as these, which appear the more mograsp whatever advances we may make towards it. mentous the more we consider them, God has The painter has before his mind's eye a more per- wisely constructed our present condition so as that fect idea of beauty than is embodied in the works it should be our nature and duty to aspire after, of the first masters which he studies, and yet he is though we never arrive at, perfection. The atunable to transfer conceptions, even so embodied, tainment of it, universally, were a subversion of to his canvass. Harmony, more accurate than they the whole purpose of the present state of being. give expression to, is always sounding in the ears That imperfection characterises the purest Chrisof the most accomplished musicians. Nor will the tian association, is graphically illustrated in the statesinan succeed in applying merely abstract views parable of the tares. It is drawn from a familiar ocof government. Human nature continues to pre- currence in husbandry. A noxious plant, approachsent features to which theories do not bend; so ing nearest our darnel, and not at all to be conthat, on the most refined principles of legislation, founded with our wholesome and often useful tares, room enough is left for the discontented to cavil. is wont to grow up, along with corn, in Palestine,

The Church of God is not excepted from the so reseinbling it in leaf and ear, that it is not his influence of this universal law. The marks of its easily distinguishable from it until it blossoms.

members, plainly enough laid down, are sufficient While, therefore, the weed was immature, there to guide us in pronouncing on our own characters, would be danger in endeavouring to extirpate it. and holding intercourse with our fellow men. Ne- It were better to wait until it could be removed vertheless, as in the world of nature, the animal with safety. Out of materials so simple is depasses by such imperceptible shades into the ve- lineated the peril of an attempt to mark, with ungetable kingdom, that we are unable often to con- failing precision, the line between the precious clude to which, particular objects belong ; so, in and the vile, in the visible Church of Christ. the visible Church, some Christians are so feeble, May we imbibe the lesson; and, lest we should and some hypocrites are so plausible, that it is injure one " for whom Christ died,” let not our difficult to distinguish between them. God's care judgment be too severe, or our discipline go beover the former is such, that, rather than that they yond knowledge and profession. In searching for should be endangered, the latter are allowed to be the mind of the Church, at the anxious season of confounded with them. Not even the Church is a communion, the wisdom of these few words, in perfect. It is yet, like every thing else, in a pre- explaining a well known part of her service, has paratory state of being.

often guided and cheered me : “ But if there hath This fact is one of the many proofs of the fool- been an imprudent and uncharitable exercise of ishness of God being wiser than men. Our idea discipline, in debarring of some wrongously, then of things in the present world is, that our concep- the pastor's doctrinal opening of the tables, and tions of it should be immediately transferable to inviting such from the Word of God to approach, actual existence. But, on this supposition, many although debarred by the key of discipline, may important ends would be unattainable. The mind nevertheless comfort themselves in the Lord, who of man, through its inability to reduce its own will be a little sanctuary unto them who are thus theories to practice, is kept continually on the roughly and indiscreetly treated by the watchoutlook for a condition in which its finest imagin- | men. From all which we may gather, that it is

« VorigeDoorgaan »