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Oh! it is sad to think of all the short-comings and sins even of those who profess to know and love the Saviour! One can scarcely bear to dwell upon it, even scantily as we know and understand it all, compared with what God does.
Now, we must awake to all this. We must take to it, each one for ourselves. And this must lead,
II. To confession and supplication before God. We must confess our nation's sins, our rulers' sins, our Church's sins, our own sins. “ The priests, the ministers of the Lord, must weep before the porch and the altar, and must say, Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them.” Your first and uppermost thoughts at Church must be the many sins to be confessed. The same feeling must be present in family worship. The meditations of the day, and of the waking hours of the night, must take this turn. A broken and contrite heart must ever be working. Sighs, and tears, and groans, as well as prayers, must ever be going towards the mercy-seat: and, then, who knows but that God may be jealous for his land, and pity his people; may return, and leave a blessing behind!
III. And lastly; Christians must be impressed with the conviction, that if ever there was a time in which it behoved them to have their lamps trimmed and their loins girt, it is the present.
Depend upon it, a time of thick darkness is at hand. But there is such a thing as being able to exult in blessed confidence, and say,
Though I walk in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me.” No foe, but sin, can reach the indwelling Comforter. No foe can touch the peace which Christ gives his disciples, amidst the world's tribulations. Oh! then, my readers, you must part with all that would grieve the Spirit, and rob you of his support, when the world's tribulation cometh. As in a storm at sea they lighten the ship that she may ride with less danger on the waves that rise mountains high-her chests of gold or of silver-it matters not how costly, they stay not to inquire or select--all must go
overboard, if the ship and her crew are to be saved so we must throw overboard our most besetting sins and our dangerous weights. The miser must renounce his covetousness-the man of pleasure his bubbles--the sensualist his lusts-all, all must be parted with, if the soul is to be saved in the day of the Lord's visitation and righteous vengeance.
And Christ must be our All. We must grasp him, and cling to him as our all : as much our pattern and example as our atonement. We must get nearer to him in spirit, in likeness, in love. We must furnish ourselves with the honest testimony of our conscience, that we have forsaken all for him: our sins—all that was gain to us—all now loss for Christ.
Thus will the lamp burn bright, and no outward darkness can hurt us. The prince of darkness may cause a fearful struggle, but our inward light will keep us safe and peaceful. Yea, though our mountains be cast into the depths of the sea, and the earth be removed-though there be an uprooting of all our valued institutions, and every thing human crumble into dustChrist, in our hearts the hope of Glory, will be our riches, which no man can take from us, which will survive the wreck of all things, and be our glory and satisfying portion when time shall be no longer.
“BLESS THE LORD, O MY SOUL!” From a thought, on God's word for each day in the month, in words
of one syllable. By the Rev. E. Dalton. Dalton: Cockspur
Street, London.* We have much to bless the Lord for; more, much more than we know. We know a part of his ways of love, but how small a part. Who can know the whole? who can tell all his love?
It is as wide as the poles, high as his throne of state, and deep as the hell
* We hail with a hearty welcome all successful efforts at plain simple writing for bad eyes and bad scholars. This is an admirable work, and we cannot too strongly recommend it for general use.
from which he saves us. We get out of our depth at once when we try to think of his love. Bless the Lord, then, O my soul; for it is good to give praise, and speak good of his name. They that wait on the Lord shall not want the thing that is good. Is not this a cause of praise? Like Job of old, we may lose our all; yet we shall not want the thing that is good. Like St. Paul, we may have to put up with the loss of all things for the name of Christ; yet we shall not want the thing that is good. God has said it, and it must be true. "Oh! is not this a cause for loud praise? When our path in life is a smooth one, and we have all that flesh and blood could wish, a home of peace, kind friends, health of mind and limb, food and clothes, it is not hard to trust God, and to think that our faith is strong. But the hard thing is to bless the Lord when all seems wrong to the eye of sense, and flesh and blood fail, and the heart quails at the dark clouds that come down on our tent. If death stares us in the face, can we then cry out, ** Bless the Lord, O my soul”? If he strikes down one of our friends, or a child, can we say, as we go with the cold corpse to the mouth of the grave, “ Bless the Lord, O my soul”? If bread fail us, and we know not where to turn for a meal, can we then lift up our eyes with hope to God, and say, “Bless the Lord, O my soul”? Ah! these are the times to prove us.
Can we at such hours cast all our care on the Lord, call to mind proofs of his love, and bless Him from the ground of the heart? Can we at such times, when all his waves roll round us, and the winds beat hard on our heads, hold fast by his word, and cling to the great truth that they who trust in Him shall not want the thing that is good? Would that we all of us had more of this strong faith. Does God tell the hairs of our head? and will He let our souls be spilt out on the ground ? Not He. He cares for us; yes, and we may trust Him with as firm and sure a hope in the worst as well as in the best of times; in the least, as well as in the great things of life.
All our care we may cast on Him, and He will not fail us. He will do all things well. Let us pray that the lamp of faith may burn in our hearts at all times, and that no rough wind may blow it out, and no high wave may quench it; but that on the bed of death, as well as in the prime of life, by the sick couch, as well as in the house of God, in the depths of grief, as well as on the mount of joy, we may say with all our heart and strength, “ Bless, O bless the Lord, O my soul.”
MARK xvi. 15.
creature.” What a privilege it is to attend the dying-bed of the believer--to hear the praises of Jesus from lips almost silent in death-to witness the power of divine grace in supporting the departing spirit—to receive the last testimony to the faithfulness of the Saviour! To behold this triumph over death and the grave, rejoices our heart-it strengthens our faith-it increases our loveit brightens our hope, and we go away "desiring to die the death of the righteous, and praying that our last end may be like his. But such scenes as this do not always await us: sometimes we are called to the chamber of the unbeliever--the hardened the rebellious--the despiser of Jesus and His Gospel. This is often a cross to the Christian, and he is almost ready to exclaim, “who is sufficient for these things?” But let us remember, that he who hath appointed the cross, will be with us, and help us to bear it. “Our strength is perfect weakness; but through Him we can do ,all things.” He has graciously condescended to encourage us to go on in the path of duty, by many great and precious promises; and when our faith takes hold on these, our hearts revive, our strength increases. We love to visit the houses of the pious; we love to speak of the things of God to the godly, but we often shrink from the company of the worldly, the sensual, and the profane, and so we should; for we are commanded to come out from among them; but whilst we hate sin
WATA a perfect hatred, and refuse to take part in it, we must pity the sinner, we must imitate the compassionate Redeemer, who, when he beheld the unbelieving city, wept over it. He came to die for many there, and his heart yearned over them, when commanding his disciples to go into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature:" he expressly added, "beginning at Jerusalem."-Jerusalem! the seat of his enemies, his persecutors, his murderers! “tell them first, that I am exalted to give repentance and forgiveness of sins, even to the guilty inhabitants of Jerusalem!" O matchless love! O boundless grace! The command still exists, and it is our duty to obey it; not only to carry the glorious message of salvation to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, but to every creature. Ministers may be faithful to their congregations, but how many thousands of human beings are there, in our own favoured land too, who never go to the house of God? We must go to them, we must follow the unconverted sinner with our prayers, our entreaties, and our tears; till, by the mighty power of the Spirit, he is subdued and brought to the feet of Jesus. Suppose a fellow-creature hastening unconsciously to the verge of a frightful precipice; suppose him just on the point of plunging into the awful abyss; what would you think of that man who could witness this, knowing the consequence would be death, and yet remain unmoved. Should he not stretch forth a hand to save him ? Should he not raise his voice to warn him ? How many immortal spirits are falling into eternity every moment! incomprehensible eternity! “without a bottom or a shore !". Are we doing all we can to warn them? Are we doing all we can to save them? or, must we exclaim with one of old, “verily we are guilty in this matter ?” We must visit the haunts of vice, revelry, and dissipation. We must cry aloud, and
spare not: we must tell the sinner of the wrath to come,” and point him to the “city of refuge.” In the dwellings of poverty, disease, and wretchedness, let us speak of the dear Saviour, who left his Father's glory, and for our sakes became poor : He is the great Physician, the sin-atoning Lamb. Let us make known