Page images

guished from him who " sorrows something must be done, for all after a godly manner,”-the in- around is dark and threatening. quiry is, how Jesus Christ offers His soliloquy is, “ How must I ob. even to this character repose and tain relief! As heaven and hell are happiness. It is conceived, that before me, how can I escape the the offer is made, inasmuch as there one ; how can I aspire to reach the is no partiality, no exclusiveness, in other!” Then, perhaps, sins long the general invitations of the Go. since committed, fash upon the spel.: “ Whosoever will, let him conscience, and he may be ready take the water of life freely.” Bring, to give up all as lost. Assume, therefore, this disappointed, mur. however, that he is able calmly to muring lover of the world to the inquire, by what mysterious means Cross, wbich,“ once seen, is death,” Christ can impart rest unto the soul not only " lo every vice,” properly of a creature so guilty, so abject as so called, but to every emotion of himself. If the inquiry were addiscontent. He may, indeed, ask, dressed to me, I might answer, with the scorn and incredulity na- “ You think your sins great, and tural to an unsanctified heart,“ What great they certainly are, far viler will Christianity do for me? Tell than even your fears suppose them : me specifically, what are the ad- . but are you an exception to the univantages which it will confer upon versal offer of forgiveness? Is every me”-I think the reply would be, mourner to be comforted but you? It will give you the very thing Did Jesus Christ endure the sharpyou now want,- peace of miod; it ness of death, the thorny crown, the will ensure you what you have been scourge, the scorn, the cross itself, hitherto seeking in vain,-content- the curse and the punishment of ment; it will take a range beyond sin, but not for you? Come, then, even this, for you shall repose your- to Calvary, make a surrender of self on the hope of eternal glory ;- your soul and body before Him who but, in whatever terms the conse- is there lifted up. He will teach quence of your submission may be you, by his word and Spirit, that he described, assure yourself that the is able to save to the uttermost those Gospel brings what will quiet and that come unto God by bim; he satisfy your restless soul for ever; will assure you, that his blood was

- pardon, resignation, hope, and shed to redeem you from the guilt fervid anticipations shall be yours on and punishment of your iniquities; this side the grave : whatever may he will reveal himself in all ihe ful arise during the remainder of your ness of his mediatorial character, as eartbly existence, there will ever be a Ransomer, Deliverer, Saviour; as this to sootbe and elevate your mind, a Surety and a Pledge; and as havthat Jesus Christ is your guardian ing, by one offering, perfected for and friend, your confidence, and ever them that are sanctified; and your exceeding great reward. this shall be rest unto your soul!" If this be not rest unto the soul of a We are all nearly and eternally worldly man, and distinct, so far, interested in this great subject. I from the fulfilment of the promise to know not that I could select an ina penitent, (though every worldly dividual, either among my immeman, if saved, must be a penitent), diate connections, or among such it is difficult to ascertain how the persons as the accidents of vicinity invitation of Christ may be termed or business bring under occasional universal.

observation, whom I could not ad. I would now pass on to the more duce as a living evidence of the gepromising subject of this invitation; neral weariness which characterises pamely, the man of a broken spirit. this present world. An exception, . This person, whatever be his anx. indeed, is to be made with regard iety of alarm, is convinced that to those who, through the infinite


grace and mercy of Jesus Christ, desolation of mankind. I symparepose their souls on the solid peace thize with you, as with all sufferers already in their possession, and on beside'; but I'am not sure that, the glorious hopes of what is here. had your earthly destinies been conafter to be realized. Yet it is dis- trouled by my wishes, I would have cernible, that whenever these per. permitted you to reach maturity sons make a deviation, not evident, without a sigh or a tear. A youth perhaps, to the world at large, such of uninterrupted gaiety is purdeviation is followed by a propor- chased at 100 costly a rate. It furtionate return of the weariness from nishes no preparatory discipline for which they still, in the main, have future days; and there is no heaescaped. If an enlightened Chris- venly wisdom in that popular philo, tian is betrayed into any thing like sophy, which teaches us not to desin, and wanders from the direct stroy the paradise' of young persons path of holiness, his peace must be by warning them that their Eden deranged, because, in deserting must quickly be lost, or råther by Christ, he turns aside from the the assurance that no paradise can source of all tranquillity; and, in- be opened in the wilds of this stead of finding rest among the plea. world but by the grace of God in sures of sin, those delights are iurn- Christ Jesus. The invitation of the ed into vexation, remorse, and an- Saviour of mankind to the weary guish. The yoke of sin feels hea- knows no distinction of age; and is vier, much heavier, than it was in indeed peculiarly worthy of the acthe days antecedent to his illumina. ceptation of immortal creatures in tion, and the burden is more intole. the morning of life; when they are rable to be borne.

soon to enter the world; a period Young people, to whom life is requiring decision of conduct, and a fresh, to whom "all that sparkles spiritual hardihood or inflexibility in the eye of hope” is as exhilarat- of soul. When they have once ening as “ all that pants in the bosom tered, the choice cannot be long suse of suspicion” is hateful, will indeed pended : and there is no neutral listen with incredulity to the assur- territory between the kingdoms of ance, that all do labour and endure light and darkness. this general weariness; and they It might be well for young promay probably urge the falseness or bationers (whose minds are so far at partiality of this doctrine, by citing least illuminated as to be able to iheir own gay feelings in evidence discern the sanctifying effects of reof the contrary. But I should not ligion in some, and the entire abdespair of convincing even them (I senre of those effects in others), to will not say beyond the hour of con- select, as a kind of spiritual study, viction), that “the whole creation an example of irreligious old age. groaneth and travaileth in pain to. If ever compassion be called to its gether until now.” Inexperienced fullest exercise, it must surely be as they are, the majority of them summoned to the contemplation of have not escaped some practical ex. a man who is weary and heavy perience of the real nature of the laden on the verge of the grave, present state of our existence. I wilb no bright prospects beyond it. would ask my young fellow-travel- Strange and melancholy as the exlers, whether they have lost no pa. pression may appear-this man has rent, brother, sister, or companion ? lost both time and eternity! By Have they never languished under his own confessions, complaints, and sickness, or sunk under the pressure retrospective upbraidings, the proof inferior distresses and disappoint- mises of the world have ended in mentsOh, yes! You also have disappointment; and by bis insensighed and wept, and have had, at sibility, or silent alarms, he has seleast, a minor's share in the general cured no celestial reversion in the


life to come. The sight of such an confounded, by witnessing the apaccumulation of ruin as this, might, parent self-congratulation and confifor a moment, persuade even the dence with which notoriously irrelilibertine to forget his pleasures in gious persons have appropriated ensympathy or terror; and how much couraging and highly spiritual pasmore may it strengthen the convic- sages of Scripture; passages, in tions, and awaken the exertions of truth, which many exalted believers those who view in this painful spec. have either been too humble to tacle the consequences of a wasted apply to themselves, or, when they day of grace!

have applied them, have received Although Jesus Christ introduced them as a self-convicted traitor his invitation by that awful address, would receive favours from his so. I thank thee, o father, Lord of heaven vereign. I appeal to any clergyand carth, because thou hast hid these man conversant with the religious things from the wise and prudent, it state of the majority of his parishiois yet very credible, that he wept ners, whether he has not been fretears such as he wept over Jerusa- quently embarrassed and pained by lem, when contemplating the cha- misapplication of the promises. racters and habits of the wise and The error indeed is sufficiently naprudent sages of the world; and tural; for we are all ready to come particularly when he witnessed any for the wages before we have doue individual among them who had our work : we are expert in selectreached hoary hairs in the prejudices ing what will bring pleasure at no of a Pharisee, or in the sensuality of expense of suffering, and would the Sadducees; in either case weary waste the children's portion at the and heavy laden, without hope, and table of strangers. But the symmebeyond conviction. Not that old try of the Gospel is not formed by age is universally impenetrable human rules of proportion. If there by Divine grace; for instances are

are "exceeding great and precious 20 be found where the loiterers of a promises,” there are also the threatlong life have laboured in the vine- ening “terrors of the Lord.” Jesus yard during the eleventh hour; but the Saviour will quickly assume the the examples are few, although nu- severe attributes of a Judge; and merous enough to forbid despair, they who now slight or reject the and too rare to flatter indolence. offer of salvation, will find no

I have frequently been struck, shelter in the unreal peace which when attending at the Holy Com- they imagine themselves to have demunion, with the indirect commen- rived from the consolations of the tary prefixed by the Church to the Scripture,-no shelter from “ the passage which forms the basis of the wrath of the Lamb” in the day of present paper:—Hear what comfort- his final appearance; " and these able words our Saviour Christ saith shall go away into everlasting puanto all that truly turn to bim; nishment: but the righteous into “ Come unto me," &c. The pre

life eternal.”
caution here is very observable.
The invitation is termed
fortable; but to such, and such

To the Editor of the ChristianObserrer. only, as turn, and truly turn, 10 In casting a literary mite into your Christ. It is thus, as it were, guard well-slored treasury, there is aled from the touch of those who re- ways this comfortable consideramain in an unconverted state. The tion; that the donor may be perexample of the Reformers in confin- mitted to conceal his name, and put ing the consolations of the Gospel to any mark upon his offspring which penitent and self-condemned souls may be the most agreeable to his calls for our imilation. I have own parental sensibility. This permismyself been distressed, and indeed sion is peculiarly acceptable to pero CHRIST. OBserv, No. 146,




[ocr errors][ocr errors]

sons who are led to speak of them- formers, who term it, the most comselves; because the world is ever fortable Sacrament of the body and ready to ascribe to vanity, the offer. blood of Christ. A very thin atings which the humble minded are lendance marked the ignorance and anxious to devote to Gou. But the religious indifference of the congreChristian, more especially if he be gation. At this moment I felé exa minister of religion, cannot be acily what Philalethes and many silent, when the Great Lord of the valuable pastors have pathetically vineyard blesses his labouss. He lamented; but how to produce a Joves to recount the mercies of Oin. change, was the great point of innipotence. He asks no praise as quiry. The first step which I took the instrument in the hand of God: was, to converse with the aged perhis sole object is to magnify the sons in my parish, judging that with name of the Lord.

many of thém the shades of even. I have been led to make these ing must be drawing towards that preliminary observations, from a solemn hour of night when the larecollection, that so long ago as the bourer can no longer work. Å spimonth of March, 1812, a corres- rit of grateful inquiry was soon pondent of yours, signing himself raised;-several of these venerable PuilateThes, proposed several ques. travellers on the road of life retions respecting the Sacrament of sorted to my study; and there, with the Lord's Supper; which questions the Bible open before us, we conhave not, I think, received an an- versed upon the nature, the importswer. Your correspondent lamente ance, and the privilege of attending ed the slow and unwilling move- the Sacrament of the Lord's Supments of his flock towards that per. From this period our commuHoly Table where the true believer nicants gradually increased. They receives the symbols of the body who attended the holy ordinance and blood of Christ, and, with them, found inuch spiritual comfort and an inward and spiritual grace to refreshment: others who hesitated, strengthen and refresh his soul. on account of their unworthiness, Ilon, and in what manner, asks could not be satisfied, until at Philalethes, are the poor and igno- length they were

assured, that rant people in a parish to be per- Christ, who died for the ungodly, suaded to come to the Lord's Sup- would receive them. By prayer and per? Hoping that some more ex- self-examination, they gave themperienced shepherd would have selves to God. Thus the good leagiven the desired information to his ven diffused itself; and from very inquiring brother, I have been hi: few communicants, the Lord's Table tberto silent: nor will I now ven- is now attended by sixty persons, ture to advise; but will merely who have made these holy mystestate the plan which I was led to ries the subjects of prayer and much adopt, some years ago, in a country bumble inquiry. village, with the happy effects In a country village, every step which have resulted from my un- which is taken by a minister and worthy labours.

his parishioners is soon known and Entering upon the discharge of publicly canvassed. The attendmy clerical functions in a venerable ance of many persons at the Sacra, parish church, where two or three ment, their serious deportment, and were literally gathered together in careful manner of life, quickly beGod's name; ì shortly gave notice came the subjects of conversation : that the Sacrament would be ad- and I should not, in justice to three ministered to all those who were se- valuable Societies, forget to mention, riously and devoutly disposed, and that I believe much good arose from in my sermon endeavoured to en- the distribution of the following force the expression used by our Re. books :

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Ist, The pious country Parish- him to consider bis ways, and to ioner instructed how to spend every turn to God; another, that the priDay in the Year; and Bishop Wilson vale perusal of a book on the Sacraon the Lord's Supper; sold by the ment brought him to the Lord's Ta. Society for promoting Christian ble; a third, that his faith came by Knowledge.

hearing the conversation of his pious 2dly, The Homilies, which were neighbours. Many attributed their seread to the communicants every rious impressions to advice received Thursday evening, and then distri. in time of sickness; whilst one young buted amongst them, in single tracts; person, who is now a constani comwith many Common-prayer Books, municant, dated her serious impresobtained from the Prayer-book and sions from the day on which she Homily Society; and,

took upon hersell, in confirmation, 3dly, Bibles and Testaments, pro- the vows and promises which had cured at a very moderate price, from been made for her at her baptism. the British and Foreign Bible So

Sensible that every good and perciety.

fect gift cometh down from the Fá. li is iaconceivable the good which ther of lights, with avhom there is no may be effected by public explana. variableness, neither shadow of turnlion and private reading. If, for ing; and that God, who giveth grace instance, on the Sunday before the to his ministering servants, can alone Sacrament, the minister preaches on pardon their manifold imperfections, that holy ordinance, bis sermon will, and accept their unworthy labours, by the Divine blessing, do more than for the sake of the Great High the same sermon preached on the Priest of our profession; and wishing sacrament Sunday ; because a week to ascribe all praise to God, is given to the awakened conscience

I remain, &c. to reflect and meditate upon the

R. P. B. truths proclaimed by God's ministring servant. If again, on the even

No. LXII. ing, in the week before the Sacrament, the Exhortations in the Prayer. Matt. xiii

. 3.Behold, n sower went book are read and explained, with

forth to sow; and when he sowed, the account given by each Evange

some seeds fell by the way side, and list of the institution of the Sacra

the fowls came and devoured them ment; taking occasionally St. Paul's ир. . 1st Epis. to the Cor., ch. xi., where he In this parable, our Lord represents delivers to his converts the instruc- the effect which the preaching of his tions which he himself had received: Word would have on several different - Iftbus employing our time in ne- kinds of hearers; whom he compares cessary preparation we draw down to several different kinds of soil, in the blessing of Him who alone giveth which seed is sown. The first kind of wisdom to the simple, we shall have hearers are those whom he compares reason to rejoice when we partake to the way-side or road; that is to of a still more spiritual banquet in say, those careless hearers on whom the kingdom of God. Conversing the Word of God makes no more with these communicanis, I have impression than seed would do on been curious to know, how and by hard road, which, not being broken what means they were awakened to by the plough, would afford no lodgsee the importance and the duty of ment to the seed scattered upon it; frequent communion. The result of and therefore, the fowls of the air my inquiry has always proved the would soon come and devour it. Of truth of the Apostle's words, " that this class of bearers there are some in there are differences of administra

every assembly, who, either from bations, but the same Lord.” One has bit or a regard to character, contisimply told me, that a sermon led nue to come to the house of God;


« PreviousContinue »