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remembrance of the frailty of the rapidly approaching, where there tie by which we are bound to earth- shall be neither sorrow, nor sighly objects should teach us, is that ing, nor pain; and, to every true salutary degree of self-denial and believer, the present light afilicindifference which is necessary to tion, which is but for a moment, prevent the things of time becom. “ worketh out a far more exceeding a snare to us in our preparation ing and eternal weight of glory." for eternity. Worldly objects, Again: "They that rejoice should whether pleasing or painful, are ac- be as though they rejoiced not;" for companied by many templations. life, at best, is * full of trouble;" Prosperity and adversity,abundance we may, with contentment and moand want, with all the affairs and deration, lawfully enjoy the blesschanges of human life, present ob- ings which our heavenly Father stacles in our religious progress, pours into our cup, while we poswhich can only be overcome by sess them; and it is our duty as living in the world as not of the well as our privilege to do so; but world; watching over our appetites we should stand prepared for those and passions, our bopes and fears, reverses which, in his infinite wisour pains and pleasures, lest they dom and mercy, he may see fit to should become inlets to evil, to the inflict, and that when we least exruin of our immortal souls. If the pect any such painful dispensation: right eye offend, it must be pluck- we should not take too much comed out; if the right hand offend, placency in any earthly good; we it must be cut off: God alone must should beware that it do not draw reign supreme in our affections ; us aside from God, or impede us his will must be our rule; his dis- in our course for heaven. So, pleasure our greatest fear; his ap- also, “they that buy should be as probation our highest reward. though they possessed not;" for all
The subject may be illustrated temporal acquisitions may speedily by a reference to the particulars make to themselves wings and fly enumerated by St. Paul in the pas. away, as an eagle towards heaven; sage already quoted. Thus: “let and even should they be continued them that have wives, be as though to us, they may prove a snare 10 they bad none;" the spirit of which our souls. We should therefore we may apply to all our friendships, enjoy them as though we possessed relationships, and connexions in them not; viewing ourselves but life: we are to be grateful to God as stewards, and endeavouring, with for our social blessings; we are regard to our worldly substance, be not to root out natural affection, or it little or much, to use it to the to be indifferent to the welfare of glory of God, with moderation, those whom it is our Christian duty and under the direction of Christian to regard and benefit: but we are principles of duty. In short, as ever 10 bear in mind that ihe tegureihe Apostle adds, we should in all of life is uncertain ; that this world things “ use this world as not abusis not our rest; and that in all our ing it ;" remembering always how friendships we are to endeavour speedily we may, and must, be sumabove all things to promote those moned to the bar of God, to give spiritual and eternal interests which an account of the deeds done in will last when the few days of this the body, and to be judged for the sorrowful life are for ever ended. use we have made of all our talents, So again," they that weep should opportunities, and acquisitions. bę as though they wept not;" they ll. We are thus led to the seshould not grieve as men without cond consideration from the text ; hope: for as their days are few, namely, that, baving ever before us their afflictions are proportionably the sorrowfulness and brevity of short-lived; a brighter scene is the present life, we should prepare diligently for a future state of eter: Now only is the appointed time; nal duration and enjoyment. This now only is the day of salvation. is a lesson frequently taught us in If, under a false security respecting Scripture. We are instructed so the continuance of life, we are 10 number our days, that we may neglecting to turn to God; to cast apply our hearts unto wisdom. We ourselves as penitent sioners upon are reminded, that “it is high time the mercies and atonement of a to awake out of sleep;” for “ the crucified Saviour; and to live to night is far spent, and the day is the praise and glory of Him whose at hand.” We are exhorted dili- we are, and whom we are bound genily to work out our salvation in duty to serve with all our heart, with fear and trembling; rement and mind, and soul, and strength; bering the counsel of Solomon, what will be our 'excuse should we “ Whatsoever thy hand findeth 10 be summoned, as we may be, in do," -and what have we to do so the midst of our indifference, to apimportant as that for which we were pear before our Omniscient Judge ? expressly sent into the world? Can we hope that the vain plea's s do it with all thy might; for with which we so often endeavour there is no work, nor device, nor to quiet our own consciences, will knowledge, nor wisdom, in the be accepted at the tribunal of the grave, whither thou goest." Searcher of all hearts? Shall we
If the doctrine of the text were dare to urge before our Creator, reversed ; if the life of man werė that we were desirous of enjoyiug uniformly joyful and immeasurably the pleasures of sin for a season; long; if the sipner could protract of following our own ways and de. this short span of existence at bis vices, however contrary to the will pleasure, and say to bis soul, " Eat, of God, so long as health and op drink, and be 'merry," without a portunity should last; and that we possibility of disappointment; yea, purposed at the close of life, when if we could be certain that our day ihe eternal world was just opening of probation will be lengthened out upon us, to apply for that mercy even for a few years; that the heart which we had rejected so long, and will not in the mean time become under such aggravating circumstanfinally impenitent, or the Holy ces of folly and ingratitude? Blessed Spirit be quenched and desert indeed be the mercy of God, that, us; then possibly the man who is if there be any one who has thus Thoughtless of bis salvation might obstinately held ont against his conhave some colour of hope. He victions, but is at lengtli convinced might then say, with somewhat more of his guilt, and is desirous of reshadow of reasonableness than at turning to ibe bosom of his Heavenpresent," I will put off my repent- ly Father, it is not yet too late to ance till the time of sickness, of amend his ways and obtain forgiveleisure, or old age;" though even ness for the Saviour will not cast then such conduct would be dreado out, even at the eleventh hour, any fully presumptuous and absurd, that humbly come to him ;- but no But now, when he knows not what one, who puts off his repentance, a single day may bring forth; when has any warrant to bope ihat such his thread of life may be snapped will be his lot; for the fearful proasunder in a moment; and when all bability is, that, instead of becomthe earthly vanities, for which he ing at length more sensible of his sacrifices his immortal lopes, may unhappy condition, he will be rabe taken away even before life it- pidly hardened by the deceitfulness self fails ; how extreme, bow in- of sin; his conscience will'be searexcusable, the folly of delaying ed; bis long-stifled convictions will the great object of human exist- wear away, or prove to be only a ence the preparation for eternity! vain remorse, not ending in true
repentance and conversion of heart; “ Verily," said he, “ I have cleans till at length, being often reproved, ed my beart in vain, and washand hardening his neck, he willed my hands in innocency. Then suddenly perish, and that without I thought to understand this, but remedy.
it was too hard for me.” And Surely, then, the consideration of how did he at length obtain an the magnitude of our eternal inte- answer to his difficulties ? He rests, and the shortness and uncer- remembered that the time of the tainty of the time of our earthly sinner's triumph is short. “I went," trial, should make us often and se- says he, “ into the sanctuary of riously inquire, " How am I liv- God: then understood I their end; ing? To what am I trusting ? Whi- how thou, O Lord, dost set them in ther am I hastening? And am I slippery places ; thou castest them prepared for that never-ending state into destruction: they are brought which lies before me ?” And the into desolation as in, a moment; practical conclusion from these in- they are utterly consumed with terquiries should be, to delay no As a dream when one awak. longer complying with that sa- eth; so, O Lord, when thou awakcred admonition, " Seek the Lord est, thou shall despise their image." while he may be found ; call upon David felt the same difficulty, and him while he is near: let the obtained the same answer to his wicked forsake his way, and the doubts. “ Fret not thyself,” said uprighteous man his thoughts, and he, “ because of evil doers, neither return unto the Lord,” depending be thou envious against the workers upon his gracious assurance that of iniquity:, for they shall soon "he will bave mercy upon him ;" be cut down like the grass, and “and to our God, for he will abun- wither as the green herb. I have dantly pardon” him.
seen the wicked in great power, and One circumstance which often spreading himself like a green bay: renders men insensible to their best tree; yet he passed away, and, lo, interests is, that they behold the he was not; yea I sought him, but wicked in prosperity; tbey “ think he could not be found.” Man that them happy that deal very trea-' is born of a woman, is of few days; cherously.” No visible infliction of and when these days are ended, Divine vengeance takes place; all awful beyond expression is our conis gay and prosperous ; their sun dition, if we have made this world shives, the air is calm around them, our only portion, and have neglected and their vessel appears to ride the momentous concerns of a neverprosperously over the waves of life, ending life! Time is rapidly passas if proceeding safely to its desti. ing away. How many a fresh adnation. But contemplate the me. dition is daily made to the inhabilancholy reverse. That giddy bark tants of the tomb! how inany, who will not ride in safety long; the but as yesterday were hoping, or waves shall arise, the heavens shall fearing, or contriving, or weeping, be blackened, and an impending or rejoicing, like ourselves, are now storm shall shatter it to pieces. laid cold and silent in the grave, “I was envious," said the Psalmist till the morning of the resurrecAsaph, “ at the foolish, when I tion! “ Is there not an appointed saw the prosperity of the wicked. time to man upon earth ; are not They have no bands in their death; his days like the days of an hirebut their strength is firm. They ling ?” Life in a few years will apare not in trouble as other men; pear but as a dream; .oh! that neither are they plagued like other when we awake from it, it may be men. Behold, they prosper in the to everlasting joy and happiness! world ; they increase in riches." But to that end we must improve This scene raised the envy of Asaph. our few short hours; we must love, CHRIST. OBSERY. No. 248.
serve, and obey God; we must te pose, but with a view to induce pose, as guilty and helpless sinners, each member of the sacred profesby faith in the atonement of our sion diligently to examine bis own Redeemer; we must live a life of heart and conduct, in order that no devotioti, holiness, and diligence unnecessary obstacle may be thrown in every good word and work. And in the way of bis ministerial usefulif wishing and endeavouring so to ness. Nor will the subject be undo, and trusting to the gracious profitable to the lay reader also, if assistance of God's Holy Spirit to it excite him to take heed how he enable us so to do, we yet feel, as hears ; which is quite as much his we shall, our own weakness and in- duty, as it is the duty of the minisufficiency, we may turn even the sters of Christ to take heed bow affecting declaration of the text to they preacb; and also if it lead the purpose of consolation and en- him to detach the imperfections of couragement, remembering that our ministers from the sacred truths days are few, that our trial will which it is their office to propound, speedily be ended, and that we so as not to suffer any unworthiness shall soon enter into tlie joy of our in the messengers of the Gospel Lord, where we shall be for ever to make him neglect what is essensecure beyond the possibility of tial in their message to his own change or affliction.
Without attempting any regular
classification, a few particulars will For the Christian Observer.
be cursorily suggested, which may, ON THE CAUSES OF WANT OF be expanded and applied at the SUCCESS IN THE MINISTRY.
discretion of each individual to (Continued from p. 333.)
whose case they may be suitable.
1. And, first, one large class of The remarks in my former paper failures in the usefulness of minirelated to those causes of want of sters who are really pious them, success in the mioistry which are selves, and interested in the duties referable (alluding to the parable of their vocation, may be traced of the Sower) to the nature of the to defects of the understanding, as seed and the soil, and to a failure distinguished from those of the in imploring those genial influences heart.- Every good man is not in from above, that " dew of God's all respects a wise man; and the blessing,” which are necessary for want of wisdom will operate injuthe success of the spiritual hus- riously throughout every part of a bandry, and which must be dili- minister's character and conduct. gently sought for by prayer, and in In his sermons especially, the abthe use of every appointed means sence of a sound judgment will be of grace, by all who desire a ge- particularly baneful: for it requires. nuive and abundant harvest. There much wisdom “ rightly to divide is, bowever, to drop the metaphor, the word of truth;" to exhibit tbe another large class of impediments doctrines and precepts of revelato pastoral usefulness, arising from tion in their due proportion; to the frailties and failures of mini- embrace them in all their amplisters themselves; who, being men tude; to illustrate and enforce them of like passions with others, need by suitable arguments and appeals; constantly to pray and study and to discriminate and classify characlabour, that the beneficial effects ters; to adapt the exhortations of of their office be not impeded by the pulpit to the various cases of their own errors or misconduct. It a miscellaneous congregation; to may be useful to tbe clerical reader trace the human heart in its multito specify a few of these causes of plex windings ; lo unweave the nufailure, not for any invidious pur- merous sophistries of the careless,
the hardened, the profligate, the of our fallen humanity, from the self-righteous, the deluded, the infection of nature, wbich remains antinomian, and the evangelical even in them that are regenerated ; hypocrite-in short, to act worthy the flesh striving against the spirit, of an ambassador for Christ, a and the spirit against the Aesh. steward of the mysteries of God, But it is a defect of a most dangerfrom the first exhibition of the cre- ous and insidious character, and dentials of Revelation before the against which every Christian, and, sceptic and avowed infidel, to the if duty admitted of degrees, still highest points connected with the more every Christian minister, is edification of the most advanced bound to watch and pray. It is believer. It is to be feared, that, not enough merely that a servant of among some otherwise conscien- Christ is on the right, and not on tious men, there is often exhibited the wrong side of the line which a very inadequate compliance with separates the children of darkness that apostolic injunction, “ Give from the children of the light and thyself to study;" and the evil con- of the day; he must be diligently sequences are felt in all their mini- advancing in devout affections; he strations. A religious instructor must be striving to acquire a more should be a wise man and “a full refined tasle for spiritual objects, man;" he should be deeply ac- a greater delight in prayer and holy quainted with the word of God, as meditation; he must walk more the foundation of all his other ac- closely with his God, and be more quisitions; and on this he should decidedly a man o fanother world : build as much varied intelligence, for unless he is thus advancing, he connected with the character and is going back, and may finally be actions of mankind, and particular- among them that go back to perly the peculiar habits and necessi- dition.” “ Let the word of Christ," lies of his own Aock, as an inces- said the Apostle, sant course of diligence and obser- richly:" now, for want of this vation can amass. Little can be “ rich in-dwelling," a clergyman, hoped for from the exertions of a even though in the main sincere, clergymao, however devotional his soon relaxes into a frigid, perfuncown spirit, if his parishioners have tory, official spirit. He is not baground to think him weak, or way- bitually in a frame for his sacred ward, or fanciful, or eccentric, or duties. He finds, if summoned unin any respect deficient in sound expectedly to any spiritual office, wisdom and useful knowledge. that a secret preparation of mind,
2. Another cause of ministerial which he would be almost ashamed failure, is the want of greater spi- to confess, is necessary before he ritual-mindedness in the clergy.- can take a due interest in the emTo those who are wholly thought- ployment. He cannot bring into less respecting their own salvation the sick man's chamber, or to the and that of their hearers, these abode of a spiritually - minded remarks are not intended to apply, Christian, the train of feelings for such cases are beyond our pre- which far too habitually colours his sent consideration; but even among thoughts, and occupies his hours. ministers of real piety, there is often His sermons, however excellent in a deficiency in ihose devout spi- other respects, are deficient in that ritual attainments which add lustre almost undefinable charm, which to the Christian and pastoral cha- carries the hearer at once, and with racter. The flame burns indeed, out effort, to boly and celestial conbut it does not buro brightly, and templations: they are not the comit consequently affords but little positions of a man who, so to speak, light to the surrounding world. lives in heaven, and has no employThis failure arises from the infirmity ment so dear to him upon earth, as
dwell in you