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Mortification of Sin
with God. It is good to say within oneself, This year I may die; is my house in order ? Not
Not my household merely, but the inner house of my soul? Am I staid upon God? Do I abide in Christ? Is
heart sincere for him ? Am I resolved to live for him? Am I seeking the glory of my Saviour, or the things that I call my own? It is good to put these questions—to put them kneeling before God, beneath the light of his countenance, by the lamp of his word, and beseeching his grace, that the soul may answer them sincerely.
It is good also to have such a day for prayer; to say unto God, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me;" to draw out the soul in holy importunity; to engage God, as it were, in a covenant, to be with the soul and never leave it, through every day and hour in the year. It is good to pray against temptation; to plead the mercy of the Saviour for a long time to come; tö go over with one's deficiencies and sins the past year, and to weep over them, and to take warning from them; to plead with God for grace, to prevent and overcome them for the future. It is good to look upon God's mercies, and to enter the year in a fresh exercise of gratitude in view of them. It is good to look forward over future prospects, and to say, I know not what may befall me this year; but, Lord, thou knowest, and that is enough.
“ My times are in thy hand,
My God, I wish them there!" It is good to take a view of heaven; and so to begin the year in the savour of heaven: to say, I am a year nearer my everlasting home-a year nearer my Saviour and my God -a year nearer the heavenly Jerusalem, and the innumerable company of angels, and the general assembly and church of the first born, and God the Judge of all, and Jesus the blessed Mediator. Is my spirit ripening for heaven, in proportion as I draw near to it? Am I more weaned from the world, or more wedded to it, than I was one year ago? Has the discipline of God with me the last year caused me to grow in grace, so that I am better prepared this year either for God's service or God's presence? Have my trials been sanctified? Is the hold of my affections on earth any more broken; and am I seeking my all in God ?
It is good to say, also, I am a year nearer to death and the grave. I am so many years, so many days also. I have passed through so much of the space allotted to man’s life, but have never yet met that event which is hid for me in one of the days of my mortal pilgrimage; that event, which is to change time into eternity. By so many days as have been, in the past year, taken from my probationary sum-by so many probabilities is it the more likely that I may meet that last great event in one of the days in the year on which I am entered. This year I may find that day for which all other days were made. God may have said concerning me, This year thou shalt die. Am I ready for death and eternity? Is there oil in my lamp, and is it trimmed and burning; that when the bridegroom cometh, and the cry is made, “Go ye forth to meet him," I may arise and go in with him unto the marriage? Do I mind what my Lord hath said: “At such a day and
know not, the Son of man cometh ?” but this know; that if the good man of the house had known in what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and could not have suffered his house to be broken up. So, if I know a day and an hour in this year, in which death would come to me as my Lord's messenger, with what watchful diligence should I be waiting on God; with what faithfulness in all my duties; with what depth of feeling, with what earnestness in prayer?
Now these suppositions, and these questions, help to shew us, in a very striking manner, how we should begin the year with God. Dear Christian reader, just so as you would wish to be found living, when the cry is made, Behold the bridegroom cometh! go ye out to meet him! just so begin to live now; so begin this year with God, as you would be found living and walking with God, when the message of deliverance from the toils and dangers of this sinful world comes to you. In
hour as ye