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leges, salvation was brought near to it. The Saviour himself proclaimed in it, “the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” But this, instead of proving a blessing to it, was the means of thrusting it down to hell! And such must be the inevitable doom of all those that obey not the record which
God has given of his Son, notwithstanding their being favoured with the is light of divine truth. Although they have enjoyed the greatest advan
tages that can possibly be bestowed, instead of being of any advantage to them, they will only tend to aggravate their condemnation. What did the plenty with which Samaria was supplied, signify to the unbelieving lord upon whose hand the king of Israel leaned ? instead of gratifying his appetite with food he perished in the midst of plenty. The king assigned to him the charge of the gate into which the provisions were brought;
and while he was surrounded with plenty, and amidst the joyful acclama2tions of the people, he was trodden under foot. And those who have - despised the gospel of the grace of God shall be treated in like manner.
Amidst the shouts of men and angels, the unbelieving world shall be È trodden under foot. Yes; while the righteous are extolling the wonders
of redeeming grace, the ungodly shall be trodden under foot amidst the Es joyful tumult.
Oh, my dear hearers, it is truly awful to trifle with eternal things, to despise the riches of divine grace, and the offers of mercy contained in the gospel; instead of these blessings being of any avail to you they will only increase your guilt, if you continue to neglect them. You may enjoy the greatest advantages, and die at last! Yea, you may live in the time of the millenium, and yet perish, and perish for ever!
THE WAY TO SUCCEED.
BY THE REV. JAMES SMITH. "They helped every one his neighbour; and every one said to his brother, Be of good
courage.”-Isaiah xli. 6. If the object had been good, the conduct would have been excellent. As it is, it reads us a lesson, and presents us with an example. Let us endeavour to learn the one, and copy the other. Here is a sinking cause, but a courageous people. They were not to be cowed. They would not
easily give it up. They would not resign without a struggle, and a des. perate struggle too. All went to work, and kept at work. They united
their efforts, and concentrated their energies. They watched over each other to assist and encourage. None were overtaxed, because all were ready to help. None were allowed to give up, because each encouraged the other. Thus idolatry spread, and thus idolatry was sustained. Idolators are generally linked together; and their determined efforts to support a bad cause, is a pointed and powerful reproof to us. Let christians but do as they did, and our little churches would increase, our sinking churches would rise, and the gospel would spread and be successful. God prospers the industrious. He blesses the loving, united, well-directed
efforts of his people. He ever honours those who thus honour him. E Here is a church in a low condition,-its members are few, its resources ; small, its hopes feeble, and its friends are discouraged. What is to be - done? Give up ? Never! Are there differences ? Settle them. Are
there strifes ? End them. Are there jealousies ? Bury them. Is there any bad feeling ? Let each one act upon Matt. v. 23, 24. Let brother go to brother, and seek instantaneous reconciliation. Let no one fear he shall stoop too low. Let no one refuse to bend. Let every one endeavour to carry out the Saviour's own command, “Love one another, as I have loved you." The love of Jesus was a strong affection,-it was free from prejudice. It was a love that pitied the weak and erring,—that could bear with the ignorant and uncultivated, that could forgive the unkind and guilty, and that breathed pure benevolence toward all. He loved the most imperfect of his people, and loved them back from all their erring ways. Let us strive to imitate this love. It is our duty, for Jesus commands us. It is our happiness, for the very essence of holiness is in it. It is our honour, for hereby we resemble our Lord, and prove our. selves his disciples. Is all peaceful? Let all be really united. Daily meet around the cross. Often meet together for prayer and praise. Let each one set his heart upon raising the cause. Pursue this object as a prize. Keep it constantly before the eye. Let every one work, and every one help his neighbour. - Give time to the business. Do not say, I have no time to spare. Your time is the Lord's. It is to be consecrated to him. It is to be used for eternity. Time, judiciously given to God's cause, and spent in God's work, can never be lost. Nor will any one on a sick bed, on a dying pillow, or before the judgment-seat of Christ, regret that he has spent so much in God's service. If a neighbour's house was on fire, we should find time to help to extinguish it. If a friend's child had fallen into the river, we should find time to endeavour to rescue it from a watery grave. If we saw a herd of cattle destroying a relative's corn, we should find time to drive them out and close the gate. And shall we say, when souls are perishing for lack of knowledge, when the cause of God is declining for want of energetic action and hearty co-operation among its members, “You must excuse me, for I have no time”? Oh, no! let us be honest, let us speak the truth, and say, "I have no heart.” For if the heart was right, if the heart was in the work, the time would be found. Give property to the cause, and give in the proportion that is required. God claims your property. He says, “The silver and gold are mine.” He has made you stewards. You are to give of the Lord's money, to the Lord's cause, just in proportion to what you are entrusted with, and what is required. The Lord does not require you to hoard for him. Some have saved in life, to endow the Lord's cause at death; but the Lord has very seldoin let his blessing rest upon such endowments. They are more frequently a curse than a blessing, a hindrance than a help. You are to spend for God, what you receive from God. Lay your property beside your coffin, and ask, When I lie in that narrow house, what part of my property will tell upon my best interests, that which I have spent for the furtherance of God's cause, or that which I have hoarded for myself and family? Never let God's causé want, or God's poor starve, while you have any of God's property in your hands. Too many professors say, “It is not in my power to give,” when they should say, “I have not the heart to give.” They say, “I cannot;" but if they were thoughtful and honest, they would say, “I will not.” Give your influence to the work. Influence, rightly employed, is more than time, it is more than money; but he who gives his influence to further the interests of the church, will never withhold either time or money. By influence we may bring persons under the gospel, and so fill the house of prayer. By influence we may bring children to the Sunday school, and so find employment for all who are willing to teach. If every one helped his neighbour with his influence, we should have few empty pews, and no small classes. People may be induced to come and hear the word, if we only rightly use the means; and children will go to the school, if the members of the church try to induce them. Perhaps there are members in some of our churches who never brought a person under the word, and some who never induced a child to go to the Sunday school. If so, is it any wonder that our chapels are thinly attended, or that some of our Sunday schools are small ? Let no one say, “I have no influence,” for every one has; and not only so, but every one is constantly exerting it for good or evil, to help or to hinder God's cause. Reader, which are you doing? Which? The Lord knows, notes, and will remember which. Oh, that all our church members had the heart to use their influence for God and the advancement of his cause. Give yourself to prayer for the prosperity of Zion. Time, property, and influence will be inefficient without prayer; but to pray and not give our time, property, and influ. ence, proves a want of sincerity. If those who only do the former are legal, those who only do the latter are hypocritical. Every good gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights; but it comes down in answer to prayer, and is received in the way of obedience, or when engaged in the work of the Lord. The man who can give no time to God, must not expect to receive the sanction of God. The man who withholds his property from God, must not expect to be enriched with the blessing of God. The man who will not use his influence for the good of others, must not expect the Holy Spirit to exert his influence in him. Such persons are selfish. They live for self, they labour for self, they lay up for self, they only seek to gratify or aggrandise self, and the Lord cannot sanction selfishness. They profess to live for God's glory, but they make it evident that self is their object and end. Many of them would go miles for a job of work, who would not go as many yards to endeavour to bring a soul to Christ. They can rise early to be in time for market, but they cannot rise to plead with God to pour out his blessing on his church. They can make time to gratify the senses, but they have no time instrumentally to save souls. The fact is, the spread of the gospel, the salvation of sinners, and the glory of God, is not their grand object, for if it was, the generality of professors conld never act as they do. Has prayer power with God ? Sincere, hearty, believing prayer always has. Let us then give ourselves unto prayer, and determine to give the Lord no rest until he pour out his blessing on his churches.
Beloved, the cause of God generally is low; some few honoured indi. viduals are striving to sustain it, to raise it, and they need your sympathy and assistance. The ancient heathen have set you an example. Shall it be lost upon you? “They helped every one his neighbour; and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage.” Did they act thus in the cause of Satan, and shall we be indifferent in the cause of God ? Shall it be said that heathenism furnishes stronger motives to activity and selfconsecration than christianity? Is fear more powerful than love ? Are heathen wiser than the disciples of Jesus ? Shall the heathen rise up in the judgment and witness against us, because they employed and united all their energies in support of gloomy superstitions, while we allowed ourselves to be indifferent, and neglected to co-operate to spread the truth and extend the kingdom of Christ ? Brethren, you have heard of what the heathens give to support their idol worship, you have heard the tortures they inflict upon themselves to please their cruel deities, you have heard of the journeys they take, and the influence they exert, to obtain pardon and a prospect of rest beyond the grave,mallow me to ask you, affectionately and faithfully, have you ever given, or suffered, or done anything like this for the cause of Christ? If ye say it is not required, have you shewn anything like the same zeal to do what is un. questionably required of you? Surely, the blinded papist, and the de. graded heathen, will rise up in judgment against many, and will condemn them; for they, misled by error, and influenced only by superstition, have done more to support and extend their miserable systems, than these have, with the bible in their hands, and the gospel sounding in their ears, to support and extend the cause of truth, holiness, and God. Brethren, awake! arise! and come forth to the help of the Lord. What enchants you ? By the honour of Jesus, by the sighs of the saints, by the dejec. tion of God's ministers, by the thousands that are sinking to hell, by the hopeless groans of the lost, I beseech you to awake, arise, and “let every man help his neighbour,” for there is work for all; and "let every one say to his brother, Be of good courage,” for many are discouraged and fearful. If you have any faith in Christ,-if you have any zeal for God, Lif you have any love for souls,—if you have any sympathy with God's ministers,-if you have any attachment to the truth,-if you have any wish that Jesus may be honoured, and that God may be glorified, in our world, and in our day, awake, arise, and “help every one his neighbour;" for it is by individual effort, and loving co-operation, that the church of Christ must rise.
“FOLLOW ME.” These beautifully simple and touching words were often repeated by our Lord in the course of his ministry on earth, and cannot be too often remembered by his disciples.
They are applicable to the most trying circumstances. If difficulties and dangers beset our path, so that our weak faith is ready to give way, this gracious invitation inspires us with fresh courage, and animates us with renewed hope. Should temptations assail us, and Satan whisper that there is no profit in serving God, this tender appeal from our loving Redeemer recals our wandering hearts, and, without hesitation, enables us to respond, “Lord, we will follow thee.” Are we persecuted, and is our good evil spoken of? “Follow me” is the command, through evil as through good report. Are we poor and needy? Still must we follow Him, who, though he was rich, for our sakes became poor, and had not even where to lay his head. It is enough that the disciple be as his Master, and the servant as his Lord.
But there is a class, unhappily a large one, who do not attend to these words. The characters who compose it are varied, and the reasons of their neglect many. Some never mean to follow Christ; they “care not for these things." Others intend to do so, but not now; like those to whom the Lord addressed these words, they wish to do something else first, and after that is accomplished, they would devote themselves to Him. These forget, that He who said, “Follow me,” said, also, “Now is the accepted time.”
Others, again, entertain mistaken notions of duty, and think they may follow the Lord in secret, without openly professing his name. They urge want of time to attend to the public duties they deem incumbent on professors. Our young men especially, plead that business occupies them fully; while some go so far as to say, that in these days of competition, a man cannot earn a living unless all his time and energies are devoted to that object. Our Lord foreknew this, for immediately after uttering the command, he asks, “What is a man advantaged if he gain the whole world and lose himself?” While on another occasion, as if to remove from the minds of his disciples any latent fears that might exist as to their tem
poral circumstances suffering through attention to spiritual concerns, he says, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” It is because man reverses God's law, and puts the temporal before the spiritual, that the former require 80 much time, and cause so much anxiety. God will bless in his own appointed way, but only in his own way; and without God's blessing, it is in vain for man to rise early, or to sit up late, in order to procure daily bread.
The way of man is ever in opposition to that of God. We see a striking instance of this in the Book of Haggai the Prophet: “Go up to the mountain, and bring wood and build the house,” was God's command to his people then; but what said they ? “The time is not come that the Lord's house should be built;" and what was the consequence ? That God, whose word they despised, called for a drought upon the land,-upon the corn, the vine, the oil, and all that the ground brought forth; yea, further, a blight rested upon the men themselves, and upon their cattle, and upon all the labour of their hands; the result of which was, “ They sowed much, but brought in little; they eat, but had not enough; they drank, but were not filled; they were clothed, but not warm; and he that earned wages, earned them only to be put in a bag with holes.” On the contrary, no sooner had they performed the required service, than God de. clares to them, “From this day will I bless you."
Be not deceived, dear friends, the time refused to God cannot be profitable to man. Rather than make excuses for disobedience, let your language be, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ?” And when Jesus says,
Follow me,” let it be your care to imitate those who "straightway forsook their nets and followed him.”
But perhaps some may say, “The case was altogether different with the first disciples; they were but fishermen, and poor ones too.” True; but they forsook all, and had they possessed the wealth of the Indies they could not have done more; in the sight of God the sacrifice would have been no greater. It required as much self-denial, and as much faith in God, to enable Simeon and Andrew, James and John, to cast away their humble means of procuring subsistence, and depend on Jesus alone, as the young man needed who turned away, preferring his great possessions here to treasure in heaven. All must take up the cross; none can do more; and whatever we think of ourselves, how content soever any may be with thinking they are secret disciples, the Lord himself declares, that “whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple” (Luke xiv. 27).
Oh! remember that God is not a man that he should lie; you cannot despise his word and be guiltless. Listen, then, to his voice now, and give yourselves no rest till you can say with Peter, “Lord, we have left all, and have followed thee.”
AN EVENING THOUGHT.
Reflected in the lake, I love
To mark the Star of Evening glow :
So restless on the wave below.
Thus, heavenly Hope is all serene,
But earthly Hope, how bright soe'er,
As false and fleeting as 'tis fair.