« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
of falsehood and dishonesty, of intemperance and uncleanness, but in worldly-mindedness or covetousness, in selfishness or pride, in malice or envy, in self-complacency or carnal security, in spiritual sloth or lukewarmness; let him be assured that HE is not ready to die.
The great importance of habitual preparation for death is illustrated in the interesting parable of the ten virgins, which, it is lamentable to think, is frequently lost sight of, by an undue attention to that which constitutes the mere drapery of the parable, namely the marriage rites and ceremonies which obtained among the Jews: the moral obviously is, "Watch, for ye know neither the day nor the hour, wherein the Son of man cometh." And therefore "be ye also ready; for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh.' Matth. xxv. 13, and xxiv. 44.
Again, our Lord having discoursed of the awful judgments then impending over Jerusalem, in terms applicable to men in all circumstances, said, "Take heed therefore, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares." Luke xxi. 34.
From these, and similar passages of Scripture, it is undeniably evident, that the persuasion of having believed unto the saving of the soul, ought in no case to supersede the important duty of maintaining habitual preparation for death; and that spiritual slumbering and inactivity, remissness and listless security, an undue degree of worldly care and anxiety, are as really inconsistent with preparation for death, as intemperance, dissipation, and oppression. Let your loins, then, O Christian! be girded about, your light burning, and yourself as a man that waits for his lord. In this case, your affections must be withdrawn from this world as a portion; your religious profession consistent and unspotted; your time and influence, your property and all, employed in conformity to the will, and in devotedness to the service of God: and maintaining the character of a pilgrim and stranger, you must be waiting, looking, yea, longing for," and hasting unto the coming of the day of God." Blessed are those servants, whom their Lord, when he cometh, shall find so employed.
THE ENGLISH MONTHLY TRACT SOCIETY,
J. & W. Rider, Printers, Bartholomew Close, London.
PERSUASIVES TO ATTEND
PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL.
"I HAVE in my congregation," said a venerable minister, a worthy aged woman, who has for many years been so deaf, as not to distinguish the loudest sound, and yet she is always one of the first in the meeting. On being asked the reason of her constant attendance, she answered, Though I cannot hear you, I come to God's house because I love it, and would be found in his ways; and he gives me many a sweet thought upon the text, when it is pointed out to me: another reason is, because there I am in the best company, in the more immediate presence of God, and amongst his saints, the honourable of the earth. I am not satisfied with serving God in private; it is my duty and privilege to honour him regularly and constantly in public.'
The keeping of the Sabbath, and the observance of the public ordinances of God's appointment, is indeed both a duty and a privilege; yea, it is more a privilege than a duty. Our Lord Jesus Christ says, "the Sabbath was
made for man," that is, the Sabbath was made for the benefit of man. But how many are to be found, who, from their own thoughtlessness, derive no benefit from it; who seldom, if ever, attend a place of worship; and who turn that into a curse which was intended for a blessing! My friends, I have long lamented your folly in not taking the full benefit of the Sabbath, which God in his infinite goodness has granted you for your present and future happiness. Some of you may reply, that you do take the benefit of the Sabbath either in resting or amusing yourselves. Well, my friends, this is the way in which vast multitudes spend that blessed day; but that is not an improvement but an abuse of it; it is converting that into a poison which God intended for the health
of your bodies, and for the life of your souls. Hearken to me while I reason a little with you on this interesting subject. That you may know something respecting its origin, and the purposes for which it was instituted, I shall give here a short account of the Sabbath.
God created the heavens and the earth, and all that is in them, in the space of six days, and rested on the seventh day from all the works which he had created and made; and God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it, because that in it he had rested from all his works which he created and made. See Genesis chapters i. and ii., and Exodus xx. 8-11, where we are informed, that God set apart the seventh day of the week, to commemorate his having finished the work of creation, and the satisfaction which he had in it; and that his rational creatures might, in contemplating his wonderful works, enjoy a share of that satisfaction and delight which God had in them; and should on that day, in a peculiar manner, in acts of holy worship, ascribe unto him the glory due unto his name. The works of God are indeed wonderful, and he has made them to be thought upon by them "His eternal power and Godhead," and his infinite wisdom and goodness are declared unto us. "Brutish men, indeed, know them not, and fools do not understand them; but "they are sought out of all those who have pleasure in them;" and all have pleasure in them who have any right understanding of them. As God rejoices in all his works, so also do all his people. " O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all the earth is full of thy riches; so is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts," Psalm civ. 24, 25. The appointment of the seventh day of the week as a holy Sabbath, or day of sacred rest, was not only intended for the glory of the great Creator of all things, but also for the good of man. For it is not only "a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto the name of the Most High," but it is also most sweet and pleasant, delightful and cheering to every true Christian, elevates his soul unto God, and makes him, in a measure, a partaker of the joys and happiness of the angels in heaven. Ought you not, then, to "Remember the Sabbath-day, to keep it holy?"
The day of the Sabbath has indeed been clanged from the seventh to the first day of the week, for the purpose of commemorating another work, more grand and important still than the work of creation; that is, the resurrection of