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carry me forward in the path of my duty. If I speak one thing in this book, and another in my mind, I am at no loss to reject the inward testimony as false. Not to the light within, but to the light shining in the word of God, we are to direct our eyes : happy for us our guide is not within us! Go in your imagination to the eastern coast of your native land — to the Swin, for instance, a place of singular danger;—the vessel in which you are tossed has a light in her poop; but will that light guide the ship? Look to the westward, and you behold a light-house, which the government, in the exercise of their paternal care, hath erected for the direction and the preservation of her mariners. What a mercy that the light is on the land! and my mercy is, that my light is in the Bible, and not in my own mind. “ To walk after the Spirit,” then, is to walk according to the rules contained in this book.
To attempt to resist temptation, to abandon our bad habits, and to control our dominant passions, in our own unaided strength, is like attempting to check by a spider's thread the progress of a ship of the first rate borne along before wind and tide.
Some persons think if their feelings are worked up to a high pitch, and especially if they are able to shed tears, that they are edified, though perhaps these feelings die with the sound of the voice which produced them; but if not, what good will feeling do? will it clothe that naked family? will it feed that hungry man?
An angel would bend from heaven for half an hour to hear a man, under the pressure of modesty more incumbent than the shades of the evening, reading the Bible at the bedside of that poor widowed thing.
There are many who put down to the score of weakness and enthusiasm every softer and warmer feeling of a religious nature than what their own cold and unbelieving minds are acquainted with. Were this view accurate, we might tear from the book of God almost the whole of David's Psalms, many of the impassioned parts of the prophets, as well as many of the sayings of Jesus Christ himself.
The Devil would not think it worth his while to spend one temptation on you, sinner, save for your connexion with your Redeemer.
It was a saying of Prince Eugene,—“There is no enemy so insignificant that a good general should despise and overlook him, and none so formidable that, with a thousand British spears behind me, I have cause to fear.” Now this sentiment ought to be the maxim of a true Christian.
The Good Shepherd mends, not breaks, his reeds when they are bruised. I have seen a Highland shepherd on a sunny brae piping as if he could never grow old ; his flock listening, and the rocks ringing around him : but when the reed of his pipe became hoarse, he had not patience to mend it, but broke it, and threw it away in anger, and made another. Not so our Shepherd; he examines, and tries, and mends, and tunes the bruised spirit, until it sing sweetly of mercy and judgment, “ as in the days of old.”
“ Come unto me all ye that labour :” and O! the voice of an angel in the ear of a dying saint is harsher than the grating of ten thousand thunders, when compared to the voice of the Son of God, when he says, “ Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” 'Tis divine pity, speaking in the style of heaven — 'tis divine tenderness, compared with which maternal softness dropping tears over a dying first-born is flint ;
_" and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." Whatever be his character, whatever be his state, or however late the time of his approach, “ I will in no wise cast him out.” He rested in his love. No new objects could alienate his heart from them. Their own infidelity and cowardice served but to prove the strength and steadiness of his attachment. Neither the terrors of Divine wrath, nor the shame of the cross, could shake his friendship. Before he would surrender himself to the band of soldiers who came to apprehend him in Gethsemane, he provided for the safety of his followers. When he ascended from Olivet, it was with his eyes of love fixed upon them; and when he entered the heaven of heavens, all its glories could not hide them from his sight.
A good hope through grace animates the soul, and gives life to action ; like the Highland stream, that dashes from the rock, and purifies itself as it pursues its course to the ocean.
“ While I breathe, I hope," is one of the sentiments of the ancient world. It remains for the Christian to give it its proper application. While I breathe, I hope; but when I breathe my last, my hope shall not expire — my hope survives the tomb : it can scarcely be said to live in this world - it is an exotic brought from Paradise, and will thrive better near the throne above.
The sun is the most splendid object in the natural world. At his rising, he draws and fixes the notice of all the dwellers upon earth. At his approach, the moon and the stars hide their heads in the sky. The untutored Indian, smitten with his splendour, bends the knee, and adores; but Jesus of Nazareth is “ the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person. He is the King of Glory.”
The Saviour's mediatorial government is gentle as the falling snow on a fleece of wool, and refreshing as the rain of heaven on the newly mown field.
In the parable of the prodigal son we learn the state of the heart of Jesus Christ towards miserable sinners. Happy in his father's love—the third person at his father's table — next to his elder brother in the family — the mild, gentle sway of his father was oppressive to the prodigal, and he would be his own master. “ Father," said he, “ give me the portion of goods that falleth to me.” The father, for reasons that do not appear in the history, divided unto them his living. Now, master of his fortune, he tore himself from the embrace of his father, went into a far country, and soon squandered, in the haunts of folly and dissipation, the hard earnings of many painful years; till, reduced at last to beggary, he was fain to stoop to the degraded office of a swine-herd; and even in that deplorable situation no man thought of him; for who would take the trouble to care for a swine-herd ? and perhaps some might think it an act of justice to let him suffer, and that to befriend him might be counteracting the designs of Providence. But in this state God met with him, and brought him to himself—for every man by nature is out of himself. It was the morning of the day on which he wrote his confession. Reclining at the foot of a hill, and catching a glance at his squalid countenance in the streamlet below, and looking at his tattered robe, he exclaimed, “ God of Abraham! to what a wretched plight have I brought myself! How many hired servants of my father have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father.” This was wisdom. He arose, and, as he approached, the old man, (who had frequently gone to the spot where he parted with his son many a long year ago, in the hope that one day he should see him return,) walking out from the mansion, descried in the distance a person approaching-but how unlike his second born! his robe tattered - confused in his air, and awkward in his gait: paternal affection, however, is sharpsighted,— he recognised bim, and exclaimed, “ It is, it is my son!” and he ran to meet him, fell upon his neck, pressed him to his manly bosom, and wept over him. His tears destroyed the principle of rebellion in the heart of his son ; for nothing breaks our hearts so soon as redeeming love. And when the son began his confession, the good man, turning to his servants hastily, said, “ It is enough,- it is enough; — the ring !- the robe !- the shoes ! — the festival !”— and all things were immediately prepared to celebrate his return.
It is the duty of all to believe and embrace the overtures of mercy made to us in the Scriptures: it is not at our option. We are not at liberty to embrace or reject the Gospel, as we nay please to decide. No! I am no more at liberty to refuse the Gospel than I am to imbrue my hands in my brother's blood; for the same authority which says, thou shalt do no murder, commands all men every where to repent and to believe the Gospel
The chief desire of a good man is to have intercourse with his God. It is on this account, principally, that he anticipates a future world, where all will suit the dignity