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for their happiness, not in God, but in the things of time and sense-in that which is created. And because these things may in themselves be honourable or lawful, therefore such are ready to conclude that all is well. But no. He that is of God is spiritually-minded; he finds, or habitually desires, his felicity in an increasing acquaintance with Godwith his book, with his laws, with his people, with his eternal inheritance ! while he that is not of God seeks it in those things and employments which he must for ever leave behind him when he dies. Which of these is your character ?
Your day of probation is fleeting away. Every hour you are viewed from on high, as filling a cup of mercy, by following Jesus ; or a cup of wrath, by neglecting “ the great salvation.” When your day is over, and your cup is full, you will be at once borne away, by holy or unholy spirits, and numbered with the hosts in glory, or precipitated amongst the crowds of the damned! Your sentence may be delayed, but the cup is filling. The righteous frequently complain that their days of trial and suffering are prolonged—but oh! they have no cause for complaint-for their sanctified sufferings are but strengthening them to receive an exceeding weight of glory. The unregenerate, on the contrary, laugh and rejoice that their days are prolonging ; and when a new year comes round, how glad are they in their convivial meetings! But have they any cause for this joy ?—this maddened mirth? No verily. Their cup of anguish and of woe is rising higher and higher ;-and the longer it is of reaching its climax, or greatest elevation, the more fearful will be its draught throughout eternity. Why then, O reader, do you delay, if you still remain under this impending wrath ? Are you not a contradiction to yourself? Do you not admit the truth of these realities, while the whole tenor of your life is a practical lie? Are you not resisting the convictions of your own conscience, and rendering yourselves more and more morally incapable of being influenced by the truth of God? But whatever be the extent of your guilt hitherto, we entreat you to believe that Christ is exalted to save-he waits to receive you. His name, his character, his finished righteousness and shed blood-his present attitude to every sinner, on this side of eternal burnings--all declare, as with the sound of a trumpet, that he desires your life and glory, and not your destruction ;-that he awaits and longs for your return more vehemently than did the father of the prodigal for his long-lost son! Why, then, we ask you, in the name of God, why will you die ? O reader, if you perish, your blood will rest on your own head ; not with the Lord. He declares with an oath that he hath no pleasure in your death, but rather that you should “turn and live.”
• Be wise today: 'tis madness to defer."
Another year has now begun its rapid course—who can see to its termination ? A celebrated general of ancient times, it is said, erected a lofty scaffolding, that from its height, he might take a view of his mighty army,—and, if possible, see to its utmost boundary. But when he ascended, he could not discern on either side, the terminating limits ; -the ranks on ranks stretched out till they seemed lost in the distant horizon. He sat down to weep, that in a limited period the whole of this army would be with the clods of the valley. He saw no further than this world—and the funeral pall of everlasting oblivion covered his last thoughts of them. Reader, may we not even in imagination, stand on an eminence, and contemplate the many, who, by the kind providence of God, shall receive this address into their hands; and who, ere long, shall be numbered with the dead ;-not one left behind ? But our eyes, by the wondrous grace of God, extend farther than that of the general of old ;--and by the light of Him who hath brought life and immortality to light by the Gospel, we are enabled to look beyond death and the grave into the world to come ; where each one of our readers shall dwell throughout eternity-either in ineffable blessedness or inconceivable agony and hopeless despair. Say, have we not cause to weep more bitterly than did the soldier in such a contemplation? Oh! is it not to be feared that many, many whom we now address, shall go on in their sins to destruction, and never see the land of glory but at a mighty distance ? to whom death shall not be the entrance to a state of oblivion, so earnestly desired by the finally awakened conscience—but to a state of being—to a suffering compared with which all death and all suffering in this world, from that of righteous Abel to the present moment, dwindle into nothing. Reader, if this becomes your awful state, you will remember that you were warned against descending into that “place of torment;" that you were pointed again and again to the “ Lamb of God who taketh away
the sin of the world”—whose blood “ cleanseth from all sin."
But in the midst of these dark and fearful forebodings, we rejoice to contemplate not a few of our readers, as having been enabled through the grace of God, to renounce the
world as a portion, and all its sinful enjoyments;—and by faith to receive the Lord Jesus into their hearts as the sum of their blessedness, and the foundation of their hopes for time and eternity. Beloved in the Lord, the year that is past may have been to you one of conflict and difficulty, but fear not, —these are but the landmarks in the way to glory. The Captain of your salvation fought his way to his eternal crown: and so must each of his followers. He has triumphed over principalities and powers not to exempt them from the warfare, but to insure their victory, and make them “
more than conquerors."
Another year has dawned upon your pilgrimage ; ere it has passed away, you may be called to leave this world of sorrow. But if you are really joined in spirit to the Lord seeking your delight in the communications of his grace, and fervently desiring the glory of his name—you have no cause to fear the hour of your departure. The world of spirits is but another part of the empire of Him “whom having not seen, you love.” All its regions, however dark or unknown to us, are open to his gaze and under his control. At your dying couch he will stand by, to finish the work he has begun in your hearts, and to welcome you into the everlasting sunshine of his countenance! Happy prospect! Thrice blessed anticipation! With such brightening hopes before you, we charge you in the name of your Lord and Master, to give your whole heart and soul throughout this year, to the concentrated pursuit of vital holiness, and to the promotion of that cause for which the Redeemer shed his blood. Look around you, and when you perceive (as you may on every side,) multitudes training themselves for the abodes of everlasting woe ;-oh, ask individually again and again, what have I done hitherto_what can I do for the salvation of these immortal beings? But a little, and you or they shall be removed from praying ground.—“Whatsoever, then, your hand findeth to do, do it with all your might—for there is no work-nor device-nor knowledge-nor wisdom in the grave, whither thou goest.”
THE ENGLISH MONTHLY TRACT SOCIETY,
27, RED LION SQUARE.
J. & W. Rider, Printers, Bartholomew Close, London.
THE JUDGMENT TO COME.
In the seventeenth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, we are informed that “ God hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead."
In the present state, God hath not left mankind without evidence of his existence, and of his “eternal power and Godhead,”-though in infinite sovereignty he has permitted many of the human race to fulfil the desires of their carnal hearts and reprobate minds, to despise his authority, to provoke his long-suffering and mercy, and thus to treasure up to themselves “ wrath against the day of wrath," and the revelation of his righteous indignation against sin. But though God has suffered them to walk in the ways of their own hearts, he has not been an indifferent spectator of their actions. Their conduct has been strictly and impartially scrutinized by Him; their deeds are recorded in the book of his remembrance, and in their own consciences, ready to be produced in evidence; and in this and similar passages, we are assured that he will one day summon all mankind before his tribunal, demand an account of their stewardship, and judge them in righteousness according to their works.
In the present dispensation, the ways of God often seem perplexing and unequal. The wicked appear to be the favourites of Providence. They pass their days in undisturbed tranquillity and affluence. They have apparently no bands in their death, but go down to their graves in peace; while those who fear God, who are the salt of the world, are chastened every morning, and tried every moment. They are often reviled and despised by the men of the world, and are subjected to their most inveterate hatred and persecution. They are familiar with poverty, disease, and wounded feelings. They are sometimes led, in desolation of heart, to exclaim, “ Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness,”. to weep for their children, because they are not,-or, in still deeper anguish, to mourn over those of their family who are walking in the broad way which leadeth to destruction. They are sometimes even tempted to exclaim,