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For man is a sympathetic creature; and what he sees others neglect, he is in danger of growing negligent in himself. If the reader goes through the service as though the great business for which they are assembled is not yet begun, the people will soon feel thus themselves. The minister should take occasion frequently to impress upon the people the importance of the work in which they are engaged. It is not enough to take it for granted that they feel this. We must take nothing for granted. Man needs to be reminded of everything, for be soon forgets everything. Monotony must be above all things avoided. The mind is vagrant: monotony cannot recall it. There may be continued vehemence, while the attention is not excitedit is disturbance and noise; there is nothing to lead the mind into a useful train of thought or feeling. There is an opposite error to vehemence. Men of sense and literature depress devotion by treating things abstractedly. Simplicity, with good sense, is of unspeakable value. Religion must not be rendered abstract and curious. If a curious remark presents itself, reserve it for another place. The hearer gets away from the bustle and business of the week : he comes trembling under his fears; he would mount upward in his spirit; but a curious etymological disquisition chills and repels him. In truth, we should be men of business in our congregations. We should endeavour both to excite and instruct our hearers.
We should render the service an interesting affair in all its parts. We should rouse men; we should bind up the broken-hearted; we should comfort the feeble-minded; we should support the weak; we should become all things to all men, if by any means we may save some.
The first duty of a minister is, to call on his hearers to turn to the Lord. • We have much to speak to you upon. We have many duties to urge on you.
We have much instruction to give you, but all will be thrown away, till you have turned to the Lood.”
WHEN a minister loses his gravity, the company will take liberties with him. Yet, with a right principle, we must not play the fool.
Gravity must be natural and simple. There must be urbanity and tenderness in it. A man must not formalize on everything. He who formalizes on everything, is a fool; and a grave fool is perhaps more injurious than light fool.
The infidel has always had something about him, which has ascertained his obliquity to the eye that has not been dimmed
by the moral indisposition of the heart.-On Infidelity and Popery.
SOLITUDE shows us what we should be : society shows us what we are.-On Religious Retirement.
I would urge young persons, when they are staggered by tbe conversation of the world, to dwell on the characteristics of a spiritual mind. "If
you cannot answer their arguments, yet mark their spirit; and mark what a contrary spirit that is which you are called to cultivate.”- On a spiritual Mind.
A CHRISTIAN may decline far in religion, without being suspected. He may maintain appearances. Everything seems to others to go on well. He suspects himself: for it requires great labour to maintain appearances; especially in a minister. He is sound, indeed, in doctrine; perhaps more sound than before ; for there is a great tendency to soundness of doctrine, when appearances are to be kept up in a declining state of the heart. À speculative turn of mind is a snare : vain confidence thinks himself in no danger: he knows the truth: he can dispute for the truth! “What should we fear?” Why, that we have no fear. It is a symptom of decline, when a man will unnecessarily exposes the imperfections of the religious world. A violent sectarian spirit is a sign of religious declension. Aversion from reproof marks a state of religious decline. In short, the symptoms may be this or that, but the disease is a dead palsy.-On Declension in Religion.
Christ is an example to us of entering into mixed society. But our imitation of him herein must admit of restrictions. A feeble man must avoid danger. If anyone could go as Christ did, then let him go : Let him attend marriage-feasts and Pharisees' houses. It is a Christian's duty to maintain a kind intercourse, if practicable, with his relatives. And he must duly appreciate their state: if not religious, they cannot see and feel and taste his enjoyments: they accommodatethemselves to him, and he accommodates himself to them. It is much a matter of accommodation on both sides. Avoid disgusting such friends unnecessarily. Avoid vain jangling. There is a disposition in such friends to avoid important and pinching truth. If you will converse with them on the subject of religion, they will often endeavour to draw you on to such points as predestination. They will ask you what you think of the salvation of infants and of the heathen. All this is meant to throw out the great question. Seize favourable occasions-not only the-“mollia tempora fandi ;” but when public characters and public events furnish occasions for profitable reflection.-On Associating with the Irreligious.
THERE is a true apostolicism in the character of St. Paul. It is a combination of real and love. The zeal of some men is of a haughty, unbending, ferocious character. They have the letter of truth, but they mount the pulpit like prizefighters. It is with them a perpetual scold. This spirit is a reproach to the Gospel. It is not the spirit of Jesus Christ. He seems to have laboured to win men. But there is an opposite extreme. The love of some men is all milk and mildness ! There is so much delicacy, and so much fastidiousness! They touch with such tenderness! and if the patient shrinks they will touch no more! The times are too flagrant for such a disposition. The Gospel is sometimes preached in this way, till all the people agree with the preacher. He gives no offence, and he does no good. But St. Paul united and blended love and zeal. He must win souls : but he will labour to do this by all possible lawful contrivances. “I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some." Zeal, alone, may degenerate into ferociousness and brutality; and love, alone, into fastidiousness and delicacy: but the Apostle combined both qualities ; and, more perfectly than other men, realized the union of the fortiter in re with the suaviter in modo.—On the Character of St. Paul.
The man who labours to please his neighbour for his good to edification, has the mind that was in Christ. It is a sinner trying to help a sinner. How different the face of things if this spirit prevailed! If dissenters were like Henry, and Watts, and Doddridge; and churchmen like Leighton ! A hard man may be reverenced, but men will like him best at a distance: he is an iron man: he is not like Jesus Christ. Even a feeble, but kind and tender man, will effect more than a genius, who is rough or artificial. There is danger, doubtless, of humouring others; and against this we must be on our guard. It is a kind, accommodating spirit at which we must aim.-Miscellanies.
The union of Christians to Christ, their common head; and by means of the influence which they desire from Fim, one to another ; may be illustrated by the loadstone. It not only attracts the particles of iron to itself, by the magnetic virtue ; but by this virtue, it unites them one among another.
WHEN a Christian is truly such, he acts from a nature—a new nature-and all the actings of that nature have the ease and pleasantness of nature in them.
HUMILIATION is the spirit of our dispensation-not a creeping, servile, canting huinility ; but an entire self-renunciation.
Let it be considered what consequences would follow from a man's disclosing all the evil he knows. The world would become a nest of scorpions. He must often mistake, and of course calumniate ; He seems rather called on to be silent, till circumstances render it a case of duty to remain silent no longer.
An idle man has a constant tendency to torpidity. He has adopted the Indian maxim-that it is better to walk than to run, and better to stand than to walk, and better to sit than to stand, and better to lie than to sit. He hugs himself in the notion, that God calls him to be quiet !-that he is not made for bustling and noise !—that such and such a thing plainly show him he ought to retire and sit still. A busy inan is never at rest : he sees himself called so often into action, that he digs too much to suffer anything to grow, and waters so profusely that he drowns.
Ix studying the word of God, digest it under these two heads : either as removing obstructions, which keep God and thee asunder; or, as supplying some uniting power to bring God and thee together.- Appendix.
INDULGE not a gloomy contempt of anything which is in itself good: only let it keep its place.
THERE is in sin, not only an infinite mischief done to the man, but it is accompanied by an infatuation that surpasses all description. When the heart declines from God, and loses communion with Christ, the man resembles one in a consumption, who is on the brink of the grave and yet talks of a speedy recovery! A death will come on the spirit, which will be perceived and felt by all around : yet, when the most affectionate friends of such a man attempt to expostulate, they often find bim not only insensible, but obstinate and stout-hearted. He who, like Samson, the champion of Israel, lays his head in the lap of temptation, will rarely rise again as hé lay down : he may say, “I will go out, as at other times before, and shake myself: but he wists not that the Lord is departed from him! Strangers have devoured his strength, and be knoweth it not !”
Growth in grace manifests itself by a simplicity-i.e., a greater naturalness of character. There will be more usefulness, and less noise : more tenderness of conscience, and less scrupulosity: there will be more peace, more humility : when
the full corn is in the ear, it bends down because it is full. The rigours of superstition are from man The voice of God
“ Come unto me, all that labour and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest !"
A PERSON who objects to tell a friend of his faults, because he has faults of his own, acts as a surgeon would who should refuse to dress another person's wound because he had a dangerous one himself.
Who is the most miserable man on earth ?-and whither shall we go to seek him ? not to the tavern: not to the theatre! not even to a brothel !—but to the church! That man who hath sat Sabbath after Sabbath under the awakening and affecting calls of the Gospel, and has hardened his heart against these calls. He is the man whose condition is the most desperate of all others.
When we read the Bible, we must always remember that, like the holy waters seen by Ezekiel, it is, in some places, up “to the ankles ;” in others, up“to the knees ;" in others, up “to the loins ;" and, in some, “a river" too deep to be fathomed, and that “cannot be passed over.” There is light enough to guide the humble and teachable to heaven, and obscurity enongh to confound the unbeliever.
“Thus saith the Lord :” good sense will hesitate to push what is said to all its apparent conclusions, for “ It is written again.” Here ends all dogmatism with a wise man.
Both food and medicines are injurious, if administered scalding hot. The spirit of a teacher often effects more than his matter. Benevolence is a universal language ; and it will apologize for a multitude of defects in the man who speaks it; while neither talents nor truth will apologize for pride, illiberality, or bitterness.
WHENEVER any extraordinary display of human intellect has been made, there will human curiosity, at one period or the other, be busy to obtain some personal acquaintance with the distinguished mortal whom Heaven had been pleased to endow with a larger portion of its own ethereal energy. If the favoured man walked on the high places of the world ; if he were conversant with courts; if he directed the movements of armies