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delaying sinner, is the plain language of thy conduct. Thus strong is the aversion which it expresses to religion, to the service of God. That he must be exceedingly displeased with such a course, must be obvious to your own mind. You have then great reason to fear, that your day of grace has almost expired, that God, will soon swear in his wrath, you shall never enter his rest. How groundless must be your hope of a future conversion; how small the probability, that, if you refuse to hear God's voice to-day, you will ever become religious! You ought to feel as if this were the only accepted time, as if your day of grace would end with the setting sun, as if all eternity depended on the present hour, on your immediate obedience to the voice of God.

Thus have I stated some of the reasons which should induce you to commence, immediately, a religious life. To crown all, permit me to remind you, that it is the express command of God. God now commandeth all men, every where, to repent, Acts xvii. 30; and the Holy Ghost saith, Obey God's command, hear his voice to-day, and do not harden your heart against it. Heb. iii. 7, 8. This command, O sinner, I lay as a terror across thy path. You cannot proceed one step farther in an irreligious course, without trampling it under foot; without practically saying, God now commands me to repent, but I will not repent; the Holy Ghost saith, Hear his voice to-day, but to-day I will not hear it. If tomorrow's rising sun find you out of the narrow way of life, it will find you where God expressly forbids you to be, on pain of incurring his severest displeasure. He has said, rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as idolatry; and if you disobey his voice to-day, you will be guilty both of rebellion and of stubbornness. We might almost venture to say, it would scarcely be more sinful to commit murder, than to defer repentance; for why is murder a sin? Because, you will reply, God has said, Thou shalt not kill. And has not the same God said, with equal clearness, Repent now, and believe the gospel? To violate this command then, is no less a direct act of rebellion against God, than it would be to take the life of a fellow-creature And will you, can you, dare you, then, be guilty of it? Has any reader already reached such a pitch of impiety and wickedness, as to dare trample on a known command of God, to commit known, wilful, deliberate sin, when he has assured us, that if we sin wilfully, after we have received a knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin; but a certain fearful looking-for of judgment and fiery

indignation? Heb. x. 26, 27. My friend, if you dare do this, it is too late to exhort you not to harden your heart; for it is hardened to the utmost already. I am, however, aware that you will not see, or at least, will not acknowledge this to be the case. I am aware that you will have many excuses in readiness, to prove that you are not guilty of wilful disobedience. But what will these excuses avail at the last day? They may serve to quiet your conscience, to harden your heart and buoy you up with deceitful hopes now; but they will answer no purpose then; nay, you will not then dare to offer them; for God has declared that every mouth shall be stopped. Besides, you cannot find a single instance in the Bible, in which God has ever paid the smallest regard to the excuses of sinners. We read of some, who, when they were invited, as you now are, to the gospel feast, began, with one consent, to make excuse. And what was the consequence? God declared that not one of them should taste it. We read of another, who attempted to excuse himself by pretending that he was not able to do what his Lord required. And what was his Lord's reply to this excuse? Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. This is the excuse which many secretly make. say, I do not become religious to-day, because I am not able, and I must wait till God assists me. Of all the excuses that sinners can make, this is the most foolish, the most groundless, the most provoking to God. If you can make no better excuse than this, you had much better make none, and say at once, I will not obey God. Groundless and impious, however, as this excuse is, I would pay it some attention did you really believe it yourself. But you do not believe it. The resolutions and promises, which you often secretly make, that you will repent to-morrow, or on your dying bed, prove that you do not believe it; for none ever resolves or promises to do what he knows he cannot do. These promises and resolutions, then, show that you suppose yourself able to repent.


Be persuaded then to listen and obey, while God and Christ and the Holy Spirit-while death, and judgment, and eternity, and heaven, and hell, continually cry, To-DAY HEAR GOD'S VOICE, AND HARDEN NOT YOUR HEART!



J. & W. Rider, Printers, Bartholomew Close, London.



THE Holy Ghost has borne honourable testimony to Zacharias and Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptist, that they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless." Luke i. 6. The character here ascribed to them, so excellent and desirable in itself, is especially deserving the regard and imitation of all who are united by conjugal ties. As this union is the source and basis of all the social relations, the character of those who "are no more twain, but one flesh," must necessarily exert a powerful influence, not only over the domestic circle, but through all the ramifications of human society. In the following pages it will be my object, to consider and illustrate the character here described.

The first thing which demands attention in the character of this truly excellent and happy pair, is, that they were righteous before God. This, my readers, is a great thing. It is, indeed, very easy to be righteous in our own estimation; nor is it very difficult to be righteous in the estimation of our fellow-creatures; but it is by no means equally easy to be righteous in the estimation of God. He is constantly with us, he sees our whole conduct, nay more, he reads our hearts. To be righteous before him, then, is to be really, inwardly, and uniformly righteous. It is to be the same person in every situation, and on all occasions; the same at home and abroad, in solitude and in society. But much less than this will suffice to make us righteous in the estimation of our fellow-creatures. They are not always with us, they do not see the whole of our conduct; and of our hearts, our motives, they know almost nothing. Of course they know very little of our real characters. How

little, for instance, do the nearest neighbours really know of each other! How many characters which now stand fair, would be blasted in a moment, were every part of their outward conduct only, laid open to public view! And how many husbands and wives, who are supposed to live happily together, would be found mutual tormentors, were they fully known to the world! How wretchedly then are those persons deceived, who flatter themselves they are righteous before God, merely because their characters stand fair in the estimation of men! And yet how many flatter themselves in this manner! how many feel and act as if they were to be judged by men only, and not by the heart-searching Godas if that part of their conduct only, which is known to the world, was to be brought into judgment, and not every secret action, thought, and feeling!

My dear reader, permit me to warn you against this ruinous delusion. Remember, that in order to be really righteous, you must be righteous before God. Remember that no man, who would not be thought righteous by his fellow-creatures, if his whole conduct and his whole heart were laid open to them, is righteous before God. Do you start at this assertion? A moment's reflection will convince you that it is strictly true. The whole conduct, and the whole heart of every man, is perfectly known to God. Now if God, knowing a man thus perfectly, judges him to be righteous, then his fellow-creatures, did they know him as perfectly, would judge him to be righteous. Hence it follows, that every man is unrighteous, whom his fellowcreatures would judge to be unrighteous, were they perfectly acquainted with his conduct and his heart. Try yourselves by this rule. Would men think you righteous, did they know you as perfectly as God knows you? Then you are righteous. Would men think you unrighteous did they know you thus perfectly? Then you are unrighteous. It may, however, be necessary to remark, that in making these assertions, I proceed on the supposition, that men should judge of you by the rule of God's word, the rule by which

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