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and do you feel your dependence on God ? Have you learned that he claims all you have to be kept for his service-to be used for his glory? Your means of aiding his cause have been crippled of late. Do you purpose to employ your property in future as the agent of the Redeemer, should God be pleased to prosper you, and according as he shall prosper you? Will you use your influence to prevent the growth of the spirit of mad speculation in the community? You can do much towards it. You can do much to save our land from the repetition of former trials. May God give you grace to weigh well your solemn responsibilities, and to act like wise and faithful stewards!
PORTION OF THE SOUL. Thou art my portion, O Lord.—Psalm cxix. 57. There is nothing on earth that can satisfy the desires of the immortal spirit. Wealth cannot do it, nor pleasure, nor knowledge, nor fame, nor power. There is an inextinguishable thirst, which the streams of earth cannot quench. There are irrepressible longings, which nothing short of heaven can satisfy. God is the only suitable portion for the soul. Here alone can our conceptions of excellence, our capacities for reverence, and our desires for sympathy find an adequate object. Here is a portion adapted to the wants of the soul for time and eternity. Can you conceive of a want that is not supplied in God? Can he lack anything who has God for his portion? The Bible says to those who have God for their portion, “all things are yours.” Happy the man who can exclaim, “thou art my portion, O God.”
And how sad the condition of the man who has but an earthly portion—who, when the fire has consumed his wealth, or sickness dashed the cup of pleasure from his lips, exclaims with Micah, "ye have taken away my gods, and what have I more?” And how intolerable the condition of the portionless spirit in the future world! Reader, have you found in this world any real, substantial good, anything that has fully met your expectations and wants, anything the possession of which has left you nothing to desire? Are you happy, completely, constantly, increasingly so? Or do you feel, at times at least, that earth's objects are “stale, flat and unprofitable,” and are you disposed to ask, “who will show us any good ?” Do you feel restless, and dissatisfied, and fearful, and unhappy? My friend, you need a portion--a portion for your immortal souleven God.
LETTERS OF SAMUEL DALE.*
Framlingham, May 16, 1833. MY DEAR CHILDREN,~I am sorry for your numerous afflic. tions, but hope by this time you are all recovering. We had one death on Sunday of a person aged about thirty, another on Monday, aged about sixteen, and an infant on Tuesday. It has been a very sickly spring. We hear from London that the influenza has been more fatal than the cholera was.
O my dear children, we see and hear what sin has done and is doing. What a lovely religion is the religion of Jesus Christ! so calculated to sweeten troubles, to give support under affiictions, succour under temptations, patience under trials, and victory over death. You know the Apostle saith (1 Cor. xv. 55, 56.) “O death where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Here (in Christ) is a supply for every want, a remedy for every disorder, and all for the asking for. (James i. 15.) If we know ourselves aright, we want every thing that is truly good, and there is fulness in Jesus Christ suitable to all our wants, and we have it for the asking for. Wherever we are, if we lift up our hearts to God, he knows our thoughts and he can answer thoughts as well as words.
I lately heard two ministers preach upon prayer. They both brought in private, public, social, and family prayer. Neither of them mentioned ejaculatory prayer, which, I think, is one of our chief privileges, as well as duties; for whenever we read, we should lift up our hearts to God for him to give us understanding to understand the Scriptures, that we may know their meaning, enjoy their blessings, and believe their records, and practise their precepts. And wherever we go, we should pray for grace to guide us.
I hope, as these must be expensive times with you, you will accept a small present. We all join in love to you both, and the dear children. Your affectionatefather,
Framlingham, Sept. 23, 1830. Dear CHILDREN,— We long to hear how you are, for we have not heard from you since Samuel was at yours; but we hope that little James is better, and you and the rest of the family are all well. Poor mother has been very sadly, but is better now. Through mercy I am as well as can be expected, considering my age and weakness. We have reason to be very thankful for the blessings we enjoy, for we hear of frightful calamities, sudden deaths, and grievous afflictions, which surround us.
* See his memoir, page 113.
These things should stir us up to pray, with the Psalmist, “so teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” We are passing through a world which yields us many and abundant blessings, for which we ought to be very thankful; but sin has beset the passage with temptations of various kinds, afflictions of every description, dangers from different quarters, enemies in many places. Death, the last foe, will soon close these earthly trials. But what a mercy—amidst all these fearful considerations, the Scripture tells (John iii. 16.) “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life;" and (1 Tim. i. 15.) “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” Omy dear children, if you never see me more in this world, pray to Jesus, for he saith (Matt. xi. 28.) “Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” It is only real religion, that can sweeten our trials, make life comfortable, and death happy. (Rom. viii. 28.)
Samuel, Susan, and the family are as usual, We have ne account from Oxford for some time. Our kindest love to you both, and the dear children. We hope the children learn the Scripture hymns, psalms, and catechisms. We hope Hannah has learned the sixth chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians.
Your affectionate father and mother,
S. AND R. DALE.
We hope you get as many of your family together as you can in the morning, to return thanks for the mercies of the night. Confess, and
pray for the pardon of your sins, through the blood of Christ; entreat, for his sake, Jehovah's kind protection, grace and wisdom, to fill up every station in life (according to his word) with a single eye to his glory: likewise to be defended against all temptations, dangers, errors, and enemies of every description : and return thanks in like manner at night. (See Jeremiah xvi. 25.) “Pour out thy fury upon the heathen that know thee not, and upon the families that call not on thy name.
(From D'Aubigne's History of the Reformation.) Luther was ordained to present his nation with the written word. The wants of the Church loudly called for this service, and Luther's deep experience fitted him to render it. Those manifold bonds which had for ages chained down and silenced all Christendom, were burst asunder, and man could raise his head freed from all authority (in spiritual things) save that of the word.
“Would that that book alone,” he exclaimed, “were in all languages_before the eyes—in the ears—and in the hearts of all!” Admirable words! which a well known Society* engaged in translating the Bible into the vernacular dialect of every nation under heaven, has, after a lapse of three centuries, undertaken to realize.
“ Scripture,” says he again, “Scripture without comment is the sun whence all teachers receive their light.”
The great work of the sixteenth century was now placed upon a rock whence nothing could remove it. The Bible, restored to the people, recalled the mind of man, which had for ages wandered in the endless labyrinth of scholastic teaching, to the heavenly springs of salvation: God shewed himself, and man was seen as nothing. The Reformer placed The Book in the hands of his contemporaries. Thenceforward each would hear God speaking to him; and as for himself he mingled in the crowd, placing himself among those who came to draw from the common fountain of light and life.
It wrought an entire change in the aspect of society: not alone in the priest's presbytery-in the monk's cell_but in the dwellings of the nobles, citizens, and peasantry. When Christians began to read the Bible in their families, thence ensued changed habitsimproved m Is—other conversation-in short-a new life with the publication of the New Testament. It seemed as if the Refor. mation passed the threshold of the cottages, and took its proper place on the hearths of the people.
THE CONVERTED AFRICANS.
Is it the lowly whispering breeze,
As it sweeps o'er bush and plain ?
Which whitens on the main ?
Its call from dale and bill,
The British and Foreign Bible Society,
Is it the murmur of the crowds
Who bend to stock and stone,
With ever-futile groan?
Upon the gathering breeze,
Of new-born prayer and praise.
Which throw their lengths along,
Pours forth the Christian song.
Thrill with the hymn of peace,
Which gives its notes release.
Of nation or of time;
O'er each sin-darkened clime!
Which saints rejoice to own-
My joy in hope to crown.
Nought but the pangs of toil,
From life and home their spoil:
Peace breathes her gentle balm-
In sunlight, soft and calm.
Your wayward sons of shame,
The all-triumphant name.
O’er wood, and hill, and vale,
N. J. M.
A. FOSTER, PRINTER, KIRKBY LONSDALE.