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thou art my trust from my youth ?" If so, we need not fear; God will not leave us. If he has been our guide when young, he will not cast us off when old. He that feeds the birds of the air, will not starve the babes of grace and the heirs of his love. Still less will he starve those who are young men in Christ. Still less, those who have grown grey in Christ, old men in Christ. No, no. Well may Christ say to those who doubt it, “ Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me?” We do wrong when we grow old in the fold of Christ to doubt his love. True it is, when we look round us, we find all our props fail us. We once had friends. Where are they now?

Where are they who once ate of our bread and drank of our cup?they are most of them dead, while part of them have gone far from us, and left us to wear out the storms of life as we can. But we ought not to have made these our props.

Our stay should have been God and none else. But why should we doubt him now? Why should we think he would cast us off now in our old age? Was he wont to do so ? Has he cast off one of his saints from Eve down to her last son who had faith ? No, not one. What did one of old say,

“I will

go

in the strength of the Lord God.” 66 What, some will say, you are too bold; how do you know that God will give you his strength ?” The man of God who wrote these words had no doubt of that. He knew that God was true to his word, and he could trust him. God had said, As thy day, so shall thy strength be;" and he felt he could say, "I will go in the strength of the Lord God.”

And the hope we may have in God for our own souls, that God will not cast them off in our old age, we may have too for the whole church of Christ. True it is, if we look round on the church of Christ, we see much that ought not to be; we see much to make us weep. We see God's Vine laid low in the dust, while all they which pass by the way do pluck her, the boar out of the wood doth waste it. We see too much of the world in some of those who ought to watch and feed the church of Christ; so that we think we can all but hear the voice of God as it speaks to them in wrath: “Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed, but ye feed not the flock.” (Ez. xxxiv. 3.)

When we see all this, we fear for the flock of Christ, and dread that his Church will be lost, and we cry out to the Lord, “ O cast her not off in the time of her old age." But what does God say ? “ I will both search my sheep, and seek them out. They shall lie in a good fold. I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down: I will seek that which was lost, saith the Lord God." .

(Ez. xxxiv. 11--15.) We need not fear for Christ's church. But you will tell me, I know I ought to have faith at all times-strong faith in Christ: but how can such a poor weak sheep as I am have strong faith? Faith, my friend, is the gift of God; and we must not think that we can draw it up out of some well of our own. We 'must go to God for it day by day. Want of faith is a sin; we ought to say, “ though he slay me, yet will I trust him.” When our heart sinks, and

says, “my way is hid from the Lord,” we should hear God's voice speak to us with its soft tones,

Your life is hid with Christ in God.” As we ought to feel this firm trust in God for our own souls, so quite as much for the whole church of Christ. We should love all who love Christ; we should feel one with them. When we pray, when we sing, when we read God's word, we should think of the church of Christ as one flock, one fold. God has made man, not to be like a string of slaves bound by harsh chains, but to be free, yet one, bound by cords of silk, the soft bands of love. Beasts feed in flocks and herds, the birds chånt forth their hymns of praise in choirs, flies ply the wing in swarms, the fish in shoals swim forth in the broad seaso man was made. The tints of the bow all blend in one to form the light of day; so are the saints in the church of Christ. All are one in Christ. The light does not rob the sun of one ray of his beams, they all do their work. So Christ will take care not to lose one soul that, like a ray of light, he has set in the crown that binds his brow. If then your soul cries, “ Cast me not off in the time of old age " the word of Christ to you is, "Fear not, for I am with thee."

REASONS FOR NOT GOING TO CHURCH BRIEFLY

CONSIDERED,

AND ADDRESSED TO THOSE WHO MAKE THEM.

I. Want of good clothes.
II. Bodily infirmities, especially deafness.
III. “I can do as well at home.”
IV. Sunday the only leisure day for pleasure.
V. "I have a family of small children.”
VI. Friends staying on a visit.

VII. Offence against the Clergyman, MY DEAR FRIENDS,—There are few things more grievous or heart-sickening to the minister of a parish than to see among any of his people a constant and almost habitual desecration of the Lord's day, by their absence from church; and few more saddening than to hear the generally mistaken and false reasoning on which they defend their negligence. It is not because he wishes to have the church crowded with such as go to be seen of others, in that they love the praise of men more than the praise of God, that their neglects affect him with sorrow; nor is it because he would build them up in the vain notion that the mere habit of going to the house of God, and honouring him only with their lips and bended knees will save them, that he anxiously presses on them the duty of going there constantly, and the great sin in God's sight of those who are, as far as man can see, utterly careless about it. It is rather that keeping the Sabbath holy, and frequenting God's house, is the express command of the Lord of the Sabbath, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day* is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the

* It was changed to the first day after our Saviour's Ascension, in commemoration of that event.

seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it.” (Exodus xx. 8—11.) And again, “Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary.” It is because he knows that their neglect (unless it arises from unavoidable causes) shews oftentimes that their heart altogether is not right with God, and their religion but an empty name. It is because he feels that although this appears but one trifling fault, yet it is like the hole by which the cankerworm has eaten its way through the surface of an apple, very small of itself, but, alas! too sure a proof that the very core, the heart and centre, has been blighted and eaten away by the insect; or if not that, that their religious principle is only just enough to make them think lightly of disobeying God's commands, and that in part leads them to shelter themselves under their fancied blamelessness in other respects, as a cloak which is broad enough to cover their failing in this, forgetting how the inspired apostle St. James once wrote: “He that offendeth in one point is uilty of all.” It is, lastly, because he sees that the devil cheats men with false names, and makes them put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter, and is leading them to this same state here, by softening down a little of God's command, by cutting away a little from the strictness (as he would make you believe) of religion, and adding a little to the seeming goodness of their reasons for staying away from God's house, in order that he may blind their eyes so completely in this world, that they are never opened until hell is yawning before them. On these motives, then, the writer of this paper asks those of you who may be in this way breakers of the Sabbath, to turn aside a few moments, and hear how foolish the reasons are which have hitherto kept you from church. And may

God give us his blessing. I. You say that you have no clothes good enough to appear in, and that as you cannot be as well dressed as your neighibours, you had rather stay away. Now, my friend, if this is not an idle excuse, by which you mean nothing in reality, but you are actually destitute of necessary articles of clothing to go in, do not you think that if you were truly anxious to shew your fear to God, and your love to Christ, you might save a few halfpence, or a shilling, now and then, to buy yourself what you need? You have before this, I doubt not, saved quite as much as would purchase what you want, to spend on something you had set your heart on; and were you really interested, now, you would feel it easy to submit to many little sacrifices in order to attend. Or if you really cannot afford this in any way, and no kind friend will help you, should you therefore allow your mean garb to keep you from God's house? Consider what you are doing. Putting your immortal soul in the balance, and bartering it against a tarnished bit of silk, or a soiled ribbon. The King of kings, the Lord of heaven and earth, looks not on your dress; and should you mind your neighbours or your friends looking on it? Besides, they whose friendship you really value will love you as much as ever whatever is your dress, and surely you need not be hurt at the remarks (if any) which they make whose friendship is not worth caring for. But I do not think that any of your friends would say what a shabby cloak you had on. Alas! poor soul! in the day of judgment the lack of a good hat, or cloak, or bonnet, will not save you from the fire which is never quenched, as though it gave you the liberty of breaking God's commands. But tell me, conscientiously and honestly, would you keep away from some grand sight which was to be seen near you, at which all your neighbours had their best clothes on, and ladies their gayest trimmings, while you were dressed in your commonest attire? Your interest in the sight would outweigh your feelings of shame. And in going to church, God looks only at the heart; and yet, instead of asking God to make clean your heart within you, your thoughts are engaged with clean clothes and a gaily dressed body. Do not, then, let your want of clothes, I beseech you, hinder you any longer from worshipping God, and hearing the sound of his word in his own house and on his own day.

II. But you say, These are not my reasons. “Mine are much more solid; for I am so deaf, that I can only hear the clergyman very imperfectly at best, and therefore I stay away.” You can read, I see, although you are deaf, by the books on yonder shelf. Now, I will suppose you cannot hear the minister in entire sentences at all, but only a few words here and there in each-(for I take almost the worst case, because what I am going to say will apply with more force continually, according as your hearing is less imperfect)—and this is the reason of your absence.

But
you

should remember that one great part of public worship is to pray yourself to God, as well as to hear his word read and explained. And surely you may at all times follow the Church prayers in your book. If you did so, with all your heart lifted up to ask for the blessings they direct you to, you would reap more benefit, and your soul gain more

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