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the saints of old-how to the commonalty of Christians her oracles have fallen into a household commonness, and her visits into a cheap familiarity; while by the multitude she is mistaken for a minister of terror sent to oppress poor mortals with moping melancholy, and inflict a wound upon the happiness of human kind!
For there is now no express stirring up of faculties to meditate her high and heaveniy strains—there is no formal sequestration of the mind from all other concerns on purpose for her special entertainment-there is no pause of solemn seeking and solemn waiting for a spiri. tual frame, before entering and listening to the voice of the Almighty's wisdom. Who feels the sublime dignity there is in a saying fresh descended from the porch of heaven ? Who feels the awful weight there is in the least iota that hath dropped from the lips of God? Who feels the thrilling fear or trembling hope there is in words whereon the eternal destinies of himself do hang ? Who feels the swelling tide of gratitude within his breast, for redemption and salvation coming, instead of flat despair and everlasting retribution ? Finally, who, in perusing the word of God, is captivated through all his facullies, and transported through all his emotions, and through all his energies of action wound up? Why, to say the best, it is done as other duties are wont to be done : and, having reached the rank of a daily, formal duty, the perusal of the Word hath reached its noblest place. Yea, that which is the guide and spur of all duty, the necessary aliament of Christian life, the first and the last of Christian knowledge and Christian feeling, bath, to speak the best, degenerated in these days to stand rank and file among those duties whereof it is parent, preserver, and commander. And, to speak not the best but the fair and common truth, this book, the offspring of the divine mind, and the perfection of heavenly wisdom, is permitted to lie from day to day, perhaps from week to week, unheeded and unperused; never welcome to our happy, healthy, and energetic moods; admitted, if admitted at all, in seasons of sickness, feeblemindedness, and disabling sorrow. Yea, that which was sent to be a spirit of ceaseless joy and hope,
senger of hell !
within the heart of man, is treated as the enemy of happiness, and the murderer of enjoyment; and eyed askance, as the remembrancer of death and the very mes.
Oh! if books had but tongues to speak their wrongs, then might this book well exclaim--Hear, O heavens! and give ear, 0 earth! I came from the love and embrace of God, and mute Nature, to whom I brought no boon, did me rightful homage. To man I came, and my words were to the children of men. I disclosed to you the mysteries of hereafter, and the secrets of the throne of God. I set open to you the gates of salvation, and the way of eternal life, hitherto unknown. Nothing in heaven did I with bold from your hope and ambition; and upon your earthly lot I poured the full horn of divine providence and consolation. But ye requited me with no welcome, ye held 'no festivity on my arrival: ye sequester me from happiness and heroism, closeting me with sickness and infirmity; ye make not of me, nor use me for your guide to wisdom and prudence, but press me into a place in your last of duties, and withdraw me to a mere corner of your time; and most of ye set me at nought and utterly disregard me. I
the fulness of the knowledge of God; angels delighted in my company, and desired to dive into my secrets. But ye, mortals, place masters over me, subjecting me to the discipline and dogmatism of men, and tutoring me in your schools of learning. I came, not to be silent in your dwellings, but to speak welfare to you and to your children. I came to rule, and my throne to set up in the hearts of men. Mine ancient residence was the bosom of God; no residence will I have but the soul of an immortal; and if you had entertained me, I should have possessed you of the peace which I had with God, 16 when I was with him and was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him. Because I have called and you refused, I have stretched out my hand and no man regarded; but ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof; I also will laugh at your calamity and mock when your fear cometh: when yon fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh
as a whirlwind, when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me but I will not answer, they shall seek me early but they shall not find
From this cheap estimation and wanton neglect of God's counsel, and from the terror of this curse consequent thereon, we have resolved, in the strength of God, to do our endeavour to deliver this congregation of his intelligent and worshipping people--an endeavour which we make with a full perception of the difficulties to be overcome on every side, within no less than without the sacred pale; and upon which we enter with the utmost diffidence of our powers, yet with the full purpose of straining them to the utmost, according to the measure with which it hath pleased God to endow our mind. And do thou, O Lord, from whom cometh the perception of truth, vouchsafe to thy servant an unction from thine own Spirit who searcheth all things, yea the deep things of God-and vouchsafe to thy people “ the hearing ear and the understanding heart, that they may hear and understand, and their souls may live!”
(For the Monitor.]
Continued from page 265. But he is destined to furnish more ample proof, that all his former religion was spurious. After the lapse of a few years, he is again confined to the sick chamber, with the slenderest hold on life possible. No joy lights up his countenance now; the writhings of despair are depicted in every lineament. He is forced to confess, that he is not almost a christian, but almost a demon; and with a mind tortured even to agony he dies. I will not venture to describe the intensity of suffering which preys upon his departed spirit, ere the forsaken clay is quite cold with the chills of death. It is enough to know, that he once was almost persuaded to be a christian, but never was wholly determined to be so; and that he died, not with a hope full of immor
tality, but with a mind bereft of all its hopes, and crowded with images, borrowed from the world of despair. Every time the mourning groupe look upon his coffin, they read this inscription : “ Beware, lest you too, be only almost persuaded to be christians ;" and there circulates through the funeral procession, at least the secret thought, how dreadful it must be, to die with a preparation for heaven not quite complete. The opening grave gives lectures to all its living visitants, upon the remediless condition of the man, who dies with a single offence unpardoned. Could we analyze the feelings those, who are retiring from the field of graves, we might find hundreds of resolutions to be christians almost formed. Could we read, what passes in the mind of each spectator, when separated from the throng, and pursuing alone his homeward way; we might find many in silent supplication, who had not thought of sin, nor death, for weeks in succession till now. But is it possible that the tender impressions, created by a scene so solemn, will not be permanent ? Can it be, that the last words of the dying sinner, so terrific and overwhelming, will ever be forgotten? At least, while the habiliments of mourning betoken his departure, will a single day pass, and the thought of death not find a lodgement in the mind ? It is possible; and the fact proves beyond controversy, that few only are entire christians., though hundreds in every place, are “almost persuaded to be christians." Another season in which many are 66 almost persuaded to be christians,” is during a revival of religion. When the thoughtless sinner makes a solemn pause, and yields himself up to the impressions of God and eternity--when those, who have been his associates for years, perceive the chasm that is made in their number by his absence ; the awakened sinner then becomes the topic of conversation throughout the village. A second report tells, that the man of sorrow has become the joyful citizen of Zion, and speaks the language of the redeemed. Some, it may be, have a dia. bolical hardihood enough to sport with the agony, which bis conviction produced, and call his present
feeling fanaticism ; but in the silence of retirement, when time and eternity are compared, there are not a few among the impenitent, who will envy the man, who has recently become a christian. A few weeks pass by, and there is a movement of the spirit of God upon the hearts of hundreds. Some from almost
family are alarmed or hopefully converted. The impression now begins to be felt, that this season of revival will fix the characters of many for endless ages; and that soon the spirit of God will take its final departure from the hearts of many, who now feel its convicting influence. The place sacred to devotion is thronged with every variety of character, and scarcely a vacant mind is to be found in all the crowd; but a little while since, this very place was almost deserted; a few heaven born spirits, were all that remembered the hour, appointed for prayer and religious conference. Why is it, that multitudes resume a service, that had become obsolete? Why do the Gospel's most sacred truths command the breathless attention of many, who have all their lives contemptuously rejected its overtures, and spurned at its authority; There is but one cause, and what that is, is obvious. They now are "almost persuaded to become christians.” The aspect of society is changed--there is apparently a moditication of feeling among most of the impenitent, indicative of a more pliant disposition. The pious citizen would believe, if he could, that the church will soon embody the community; but ere one half
year volved, the mass of the meeting-going multitude have closed every avenue of their hearts against conviction; and the sanctuary and the conference room are alike abandoned. What proof more luminous can there be, that this multitude were only s almost persuaded to be christians.”
If "the christian is the highest style of man,” and none but he is destined to exchange earth for heaven; it is folly in the extreme, to form a character, that in the least diverges from christian morality. That man would be thought devoid of reason, who in the mid