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authority of God,- let the utter powerlessness of all your duties be contrasted with the perversity of your stubborn and unmanageable desires,—and the case is seen in all its helplessness; you despair of salvation in one way, and you are led to look for it in another. The question, whether salvation is of grace or of works, receives its most decisive settlement: when thus driven away from one term of the alternative, you are compelled, as your only resource, to the other term. You feel that nothing else will do for your acceptance with God, but the acceptance of the offered Saviour. You stand at the foot of the cross-you make an absolute surrender of yourself to the terms of the Gospel.
And we know not a more blissful or a more memorable event in the history of the human soul, than when convinced that there is no other righteousness than in the merits, and no other sanctification than in the grace, of Jesus Christ: it henceforth glories only in his cross; and now that every
other expedient of reformation has been tried, and has failed of its accomplishment, it takes to the remaining one of crying mightily to God, and pressing, at the throne of grace, the supplication of the psalmist—"Create in me a clean heart, O God; renew a right spirit within me.”—Psalm li. 10.
One thing is certain;—you are welcome, at this moment, to lay hold of the righteousness which God has promised in Christ Jesus—you are welcome, at this moment, to the use of his prevailing name in your prayers to the Father-you are welcome, at this moment, to the plea of his meritorious obedience, and of his atoning death_and you are welcome, at this moment, to the promise of the Holy Spirit
, given to all who ask-(Luke xi. 9–13) —whereby the enmity of their carnal minds will be done away; God will no longer be regarded with antipathy and dislike; he will appear in the face of Jesus Christ as a reconciled father ; he will pour out upon you “ the spirit of adoption.”—Rom. viii. 15. You will walk before him without fear; and those bonds being loosed, wherewith you were formerly held, you will yield to him the willing obedience of those whose hearts are enlarged, and who run with delight in the way of his commandments.Psalm cxix. 32.
THE ENGLISH MONTHLY TRACT SOCIETY,
27, RED LION SQUARE, LONDON ;
J. F. SHAW, BOOKSELLER, SOUTHAMPTON ROW, LONDON.
J. & W.Rider, Printers, Bartholomew Close, London.
TOWARDS the close of a fine autumn day a carriage was seen winding down the road which led to C- It drove to the door of one of the pretty cottages ornées, which studded the valley towards the mouth of the river. Two gentlemen were seen to alight from it; and neither of them such as we pass without observation. The elder appeared to border on fifty years; tall, not robust, yet apparently athletic in frame, with a countenance of lofty and intellectual expression. The other individual was a young man, seemingly not more than two or three and twenty, slight and graceful in figure; resembling the elder, but fair and florid, perhaps hectic in complexion, lofty and intellectual too in expression. As they descended from the carriage, and turned to gaze on the beauties around, it was evident the younger of the two was warm in his admiration, and would fain have lingered to gaze on a scene so lovely, had not the elder gently forced him to the house.
The clergyman to whom this district was intrusted, alike unwilling to be obtrusive or neglectful, made it a part of his duty to gain sufficient knowledge of the circumstances of those who visited C- to enable him to offer such aid as might be most useful.
He called, as was his wont, in a few days : “ Not at home,” was the answer. In a day or two he repeated his visit: “The gentlemen were at dinner :"-cards were left at their residence. He called again, but was not admitted—it was evident his visits were declined. In a common case he would probably have rested here, feeling he had done his part; but some intelligence he had received from a friend at Oxford had deeply excited his interest. From him he had learned that the elder of the two was a man whose character for talents, for high and honourable feelings, for intellectual powers, was of the highest order. But, alas ! the one thing which could sanctify and direct all to the best ends was wanting: he was an infidel. Left early a widower, by the death of an adored wife, who expired in giving birth to his only son, his whole soul had centred in him. And he, though his father knew it not, was already doomed to an early grave; hastened thither by the very efforts to fulfil his father's wishes, in his attainments at the university. And he, too—the young, the talented, the beloved of all hearts—he too, on the very verge of the tomb had been
educated an infidel ; or, at any rate, had never been instructed in religious principles, other than as a matter of speculative philosophy—a system devised by man to rule the niultitude. Could it be a marved that one who watched for souls set his whole mind and thoughts on seeking to win him, ere too late, to the fold of his Master—the great Shepherd of souls ? But days and even weeks passed away, and no opening
He was almost desponding, and grieved to the soul as he marked, at intervals, increasing appearance of disease, when Providence brought his wish to pass, in a mode and time least expected.
He had been riding some distance, and was returning, towards evening, when, in turning a corner of the road, he perceived the two objects of his solicitude before him. The elder had apparently been thrown from his horse, and hurt; for he was sitting on a bank, bleeding from a cut on the forehead, and seemingly in much pain : his son sitting by him and sup porting him. He instantly alighted to offer assistance. It was thankfully accepted ; and this event insured the introduction which had been so anxiously sought.
It was some time before the suffering parent was able to resume his rides, and the young man was glad to have so intelligent a companion as the curate of C- They soon were accustomed to ride together daily: geology, botany, scientific pursuits of various kinds, drew them together; as well as that enthusiastic love for nature, under all her varied forms of beauty, which formed so strong a bond of union. As winter drew on, their rides were interrupted, but not their intercourse; and when, after Christmas, the father was forced to attend his parliamentary duties, and it was considered advisable for his son to pass the spring months in the West of England, he left him happy in the society and under the care of his new friend. And well was it for him that that friend was one who united to the most earnest and exalted piety a mind of the highest powers, and an intellect refined and acute.
The colder weather soon produced painful increase of disease to Henry D, although he was himself unconscious of any dangerous tendency; but cold upon cold, and almost constant cough, rendered confinement to the house necessary. And need I
hour to be spared from pastoral duties was devoted to this unconscious victim ? and closely had his many excellencies of natural character entwined him round the affections of his friend, whose anxiety for him daily increased. Already he had so ordered their course of reading as that religion had been brought before him; and different thoughts were
say that every
excited from those which he had imbibed. Still Henry never made any observation that could provoke discussion ; and, but for what he had heard from undoubted authority, his companion might have construed his silence into tacit assent.
It happened one day that he did not come as usual to dinner Henry was ill, and even depressed in spirits. He missed his friend-never had he disappointed him before: but hours passed away, and he came not. Henry at length despaired of seeing him that night; when about ten o'clock he entered. “I have been,” he said, “ since noon attending a death-bed, under peculiarly painful circumstances. But I am somewhat agitated, and will say no more to-night: it is your bed-time, and I am fatigued, so farewell till to-morrow.”
Henry urged him to take some refreshment; but he refused, saying he needed to be alone.
“ Tell me only who is dead.”
Why, he was in perfect health a few days since !" “ He was; and now his mortal frame, lately so full of life and vigour, is inanimate clay; his spirit has passed away into eternity. But I will say no more now: farewell.”
On the following day, it was evident the event of the preceding night had been a cause for reflection; Henry was thoughtful, and seemed almost afraid of touching on the subject. But the event had roused his friend to a determination to let no more precious time pass without bringing forward the one great object of his desire. He related to him that the deceased had taken cold a short time previously; but, engaged in the pursuits of pleasure, he neglected it; went to a party, from whence he had walked home heated with dancing: rapid inflammation followed: all medical aid was vain; and he died after a few days of acute suffering.
After dinner that day, as they sat together sad and thoughtful, Mr.M-suddenly rose, and, after walking up and down the room for a few minutes, seated himself near his friend, and, looking at him earnestly for a moment, said, “ Henry, I have something very serious and solemn to speak to you about. Are you well enough for a lengthened conversation ?"
Henry was evidently agitated by some unusual and undefined emotion; but after a pause replied, “ Yes, dear M- -, I am quite equal to listening to anything you have to say." M.
“ Then I will speak, and relieve my mind from a weight which presses on it very heavily. Our acquaintance is not of very long date; but our constant intercourse has given us a greater insight into each other's characters than years might have done, under different circumstances. But, alas, I fear, that in the one thing needful, in the pearl of great price, you are wanting-that, in a word, you are not a Christian!”
He paused in deep agitation. There was a long, a painful silence. At length he resumed :
“ Henry, my friend, my very dear friend, is this true ? In feelings, in tasies, in pursuits, in sentiments, rarely have I met with one to whom I could feel my whole soul so closely united, as yourself. Dear, very dear you are to me; and in all things connected with this world only, most worthy of the love I bear. you. Is it indeed true, that in those higher and nobler aims which relate to eternity, I must hope for no sympathy from, you ? Henry, answer: can it be, that, with a mind so imbued with a love for all excellence, you are not a Christian ?”
Another pause. Then Henry replied, in a low distinct tone: “ It is true I am not; nay, until within the last few weeks the subject has never presented itself to my mind as a thing of sufficient importance to merit the consideration of a rational mind.”
M.—“ And yet you have lived for years in a Christian land., You have, at the university at least, attended Christian ordi
Is it possible that these incongruities have never awakened speculations in your mind-you, so true, so dear a lover of truth?” H.-“ From
my childhood I was led to believe that all these were mere conventional forms, for the benefit of the weak and ignorant—for the mass, who needed some outward tangible forms, some motives of fear and hope, to deter them from vice.”
M.-" And you could believe that a system which professed to make the good of mankind its aim, and holiness the basis of that aim, could make falsehood its own ground of action; that to teach the multitude that truth was essential, it was necessary for the teachers themselves to be living lies ?."
H.—“You must recollect, my dear friend, that I told you it was but recently that my thoughts had been drawn to the subject. Nor, when you consider what are the effects of early impressions, and still more, what the lives of many professing Christians are, can you be surprised if, absorbed in literary pursuits and youthful amusements, I heeded not what I was taught to believe a necessary delusion. But the subject, if once seriously entered upon as a matter of investigation, is far too important for hasty decision. If such a mind and such a cha racter as my dear father's is averse from your doctrines, it.