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Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising; thou understandest my thoughts afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.”—Psalm cxxxix. 1-4.
The world “ When one is dead, all is over.”
But God says: “The dust shall return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.”—Eccl. xii. 7. “ It is appointed unto men once to die; but after that the judgment.”—Heb. ix. 27.
The world says: “One cannot be always praying.”
But God says: “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance.”—Eph. vi. 18. “Pray without ceasing."1 Thess. v. 17. “ Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.”—Col. iv. 2. “Jesus spake a parable unto this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.”Luke xviii. 1.
The world says :
“Do the best that you can, and God's mercy will make
the rest." But God says : “Without me (Jesus Christ) ye can de nothing.”—John xv. 5. “Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to think anything as of ourselves ; but our sufficiency is of God.”—2 Cor. iii. 5. “By grace ye are saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.”—Eph. ii. 9. Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”—Gal. ii. 16. “ What must I do to be saved ? Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved."— Acts xvi. 30, 31. « Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ."-1 Cor. iii. 11. “ For when we were without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly."-Rom. v. 6. “ Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."-Acts iv. 12.
The world says: “I know my religion very well.”
But God says: “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.”—John xiii. 17. “ That servant who knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.”—Luke xii. 47. “Who is a wise man among you, and endued with knowledge ? let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.”—James ii. 13.
They profess that they know him; but in works they deny him.”—Titus i. 16.
The world says: “Religion is a dull and melancholy thing."
But God says: “Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.”—Prov. iii. 17. “Godliness is profitable unto all things; having the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come."-1 Tim. iv. 8. “Rejoice in the Lord alway: again I say, Rejoice.”—Phil. iv. 4.
Reader ! it is written, “ No man can serve two masters. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”—Matt. vi. 24. “Choose
you this day whom you will serve."-Josh. xxiv. 15. “O taste and see that the Lord is good : blessed is the man that trusteth in him.”—Psalm xxxiv. 8.
THE ENGLISH MONTHLY TRACT SOCIETY,
27, RED LION SQUARE, LONDON;
J. F. SHAW, BOOKSELLER, SOUTHAMPTON ROW, LONDON.
J. & W.Rider, Printers, Bartholomew Close, London.
« Such an humble portion of the universe as ours could never have been the object of the high and distinguishing attentions which Christianity has assigned it.” This is a sentiment avowed by not a few, whose understandings appear to have been miserably perverted by the genius of infidelity which possesses their soul. “God would not have manifested himself in the flesh, for the salvation of so paltry a world. The monarch of a whole continent would never move from his capital, and lay aside the splendour of royalty, and subject himself, for months and for years, to perils, and poverty, and persecution; and take
his abode in some small islet of his dominions, which, though swallowed by an earthquake, could not be missed amid the glories of so wide an empire; and all this to regain the lost affections of a few families upon its surface. And neither would the Eternal Son of God,—he who is revealed to us as having made all worlds, and as holding an empire, amid the splendours of which the globe that we inherit is shaded in insignificance,-neither would he strip himself of the glory he had with the Father, before the world was, and light upon this lower scene, for the purpose imputed to him in the New Testament. Impossible, that the concerns of this puny ball, which floats its little round among an infinity of larger worlds, should be of such mighty account in the plans of the Eternal, or should have given birth in heaven to so wonderful a movement, as the Son of God putting on the form of our degraded species, and sojourning among us, and crowning the whole scene of humiliation by the disgrace and agonies of a cruel martyrdom.” The eloquent author who has thus stated the difficulties which have been started in the
of the Christian revelation, has not, in so doing, created ideal objections to the system, which carries with it the most abundant proof of its heavenly origin.
Mr. R—(relates a clergyman) was a gentleman of small but competent income, who resided, for a short time, in the house of my tutor. His time was chiefly spent in the pursuits of science and philosophy. Natural history spread before him
a copious volume ; in poring over which he never felt weari. ness. His learning, however, was not disfigured by pedantry or affectation; nor, in the acquisition of knowledge, did he neglect the arts by which esteem and friendship are procured and preserved. Unhappily, however, he drew unwarrantable conclusions from the data afforded him in his favourite book of nature; and dazzled, instead of illumined, by the lights it afforded, he ventured to reject Revelation, as inconsistent with the attributes of the Deity,—as the invention of good, but mistaken men, and as, therefore, destitute of the authority it claims over the faith, the principles, and the practice of mankind. He freely conversed on these topics with my tutor; unfolded all the doubts which led him into the dreary fields of infidelity; and was ever furnished with arguments to defend the system which he had embraced, and to impugn that which he had renounced. He would insist on the irreconcilableness of the scheme of redemption laid down in the Scriptures, with the majesty of the Eternal. He would seem ready to go along with the psalmist's exclamation : “ The Lord is high above all nations, and his glory among the heavens.” But a spurious humility prevented him from adding, “Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high; who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven and in earth?" He would often
say, “I never can bring myself to think, that the mighty Being, who is occupied in sustaining and governing unnumbered worlds, can condescend to take a minute notice of me and my puny interests; or that he can, without demeaning himself, open his ear to my petitions ; much less that he can be swayed by my entreaties.
The microscope was Mr. R.'s constant companion in his walks; by the aid of which he examined, with enthusiastic ardour, all the minuter forms of created objects. It was, indeed, an occasion for wonder and lamentation, that every individual of the millions of objects thus brought within the reach of his contemplation, did not throw a beam of light into his mind, and rebuke him for the absurd and criminal inconsistencies of his unbelief. It might have taught him, that no minuteness, however concealed from the ordinary notice of the human eye, is destitute of some proofs of an immediate connexion between itself and God; and that, therefore, he involved himself both in guilt and unhappiness, by inferring that he was the object of no Divine attention, and hence exempt from moral responsibility. It might have taught him to make better use of discoveries which should have heightened every conception of God, than to sit in judgment upon him-and to pronounce such a sentence as, under the profession of high regard for him as a most exalted being, really brings him down to the standard of man's own limited imagination.
Well would it have been for Mr. R. if he had seen this; if he had allowed his mind to perceive, how that the arguments he used, went far to degrade that God whose existence he acknowledged, and on whose attributes he professed to dwell in ineffable wonder and reverence. He spoke of “the mighty Being, who was occupied in sustaining and governing unnumbered worlds;" but the perverse interpretation which he put upon
the fact, that God could diffuse the benefits of his power and goodness over such a variety of worlds, was, that he could not, or would not, bestow so much goodness on one of those worlds, as a professed Revelation from heaven implies. Yet there were not wanting hours when his mind seemed somewhat open to conviction, and to a reception of the truth, if he could have seen it in all its bearings; nor was he without a kind and skilful friend to aid him in his inquiries. Often did he and that friend sit together, in close argument, till, with much emotion, Mr. R. would say, “I would give worlds, if I had them, to believe as you do,—but I cannot.” Infidelity had established its strong hold in his mind, and was never brought to surrender its tyrannizing usurpation over his understanding. The peculiar doctrines of the Gospel were too humbling for his pride, and demanded the subjection of his reasoning powers to the reception of the evidence of their Divine origin in vain.
But his infidelity might be traced to another source than his philosophical studies. His youthful days were criminally neglected by his parents; and the painful levity with which, in