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come. And, oh! there is yet a more thrilling consideration to follow. That man, standing as he now is on the verge of eternity, may not be at peace with God!
WHETHER we may be taking note of the number of our days or not, they are numbered in the book of God. The amount of their duration is registered on high. The very moment of our departure from the body is irrevocably fixed in the Divine counsels; and, when that moment arrives, prepared or unprepared, we must obey the call.
I would also remind them of the sympathizing tendernesss of Christ, the sinner's friend, the mourner's comforter._" He has borne our griefs,” and He knows their bitterness. He has “ carried our sorrows,” and He pities us under their pressure. He has drunk the cup of anguish to the dregs, and He can solace those who are disciplined in the school of woe.
By ill advice to walk ;
Where men profanely talk;
His business and delight;
And meditates by night.
With timely fruit does bend,
All his designs attend.
Within this earthly frame,
How glorious is Thy name!
Nor fully reckon'd there;
Thy boundless praise declare.
HARD names are bad substitutes for solid arguments.Bickersteth. Domestic Portraiture, 36. (1837.)
Be consistent; cheerful, but not light; conversable, but not trifling.-Richmond, 55.
In company be cheerful, but not gigglers. Be serious, but not du]l. Be communicative, but not forward. Be kind, but not servile. Beware of silly thoughtless speeches: although you may forget them, others will not.
Remember! God's eye is in every place, and His ear in every company.-64.
Do not disesteem good people on account of their foibles, or deficiences in matters of little importance. Gold, even wben unpolished, is far more valuable than the brightest brass. Gentility and piety form a happy union ; but poverty and piety are quite as acceptable in the eyes of God; and so they ought to be in ours. Beware of the critical hearing of sermonis preached by good men. It is an awful thing to be occupied in balancing the merits of a preacher, instead of the demerits of yourself.—67.
RELIGIOUS gossipping is a deceitful thing, and deceives many.-90.
My child, dread all decays, and may the flame of spiritual piety never grow dim amidst the mists of unworthier speculations.-93.
We are apt to lay the blame of our indiscretions and failures on our circumstances, and to suppose that we should act differently under other influences; but this is a great mistake; for circumstances, though I adınit they have a powerful influence on our conduct, do not so much form as discover our character.— Bickersteth, 103.
You must not try how much poison your constitution will bear, or risk your soul's health for the sake of any temporal advantage.-107.
I CANNOT approve of whole evenings passed in company where it is understood that God is never to be referred to, and where the least observation connected with eternity creates a silence, if it does not provoke a sneer, an opposition of sentiment, or a feeling of distaste. To be much in society of this kind, beyond the demands of duty or necessity, is surely po better than constructive treason against our Lord and Saviour.
To read yourself blind, deaf, stupid, and nervous, is really a great folly, and a kind of suicide.-119.
DISEASE and the methods of cure lie within the province of a medical attendant, and under certain circumstances it may
not be proper to interfere with him. Yet when there is little or no reasonable expectation of recovery, there is a degree of cruelty in keeping up a delusion, and thus encouraging a patient to delay turning to God till he cannot turn in his bed. It is unjustifiable on any principal of reason or revelation. The practice may be traced to an indifference to religion, or an ignorance of its real character.—226.
AMIDST the living, let us not forget the dead.-Richmond, 288.
NEVER think yourself too old to learn ; the most valuable period of education is perhaps from twenty to forty years
“ The matured mind is fittest to become the little child.”—309.
MERE knowledge of religion, without a corresponding feeling and practice, often issues in a fatal apathy, and forms a character which becomes at last impervious to every sacred impression. - Bickersteth, 323.
WILBERFORCE.-PRACTICAL VIEW, &c. (1826)
Too many religious works have to overcome obstacles on the score of obscure, technical language, a style inelegant and heavy, a phraseology uncouth in the ears of the educated and refined. Others are open to the charge of an excessive use of certain religious terms, rendered trivial, and even repulsive, by repetition. Such theological treatises, of whatever merit in other respects, have to work their way up to the notice of the well-educated and fastidious through the mists of prejudice. -Wilson. Introductory Essay, 8.
It is the duty of every man to promote the happiness of his fellow-creatures to the utmost of his power; and he who thinks
he sees many around him, whom he esteems and loves, labouring under a fatal error, must have a cold heart, or a most confined notion of benevolence, if he could withhold his endeavours to set them right, from an apprehension of incurring the imputation of officiousness.--Wilberforce. Introduction.
BOUNTIFUL as is the band of Providence, its gifts are not so bestowed as to reduce us into indolence, but to rouse us to exertion.-80.
The whole subject of religion is often viewed from such a distance as to be seen only in the gross.—169.
RELIGION may be considered as the implantation of a vigorous and active principle; it is seated in the heart, where its authority is recognised as supreme, whence, by degrees, it expels whatever is opposed to it, and where it gradually brings all the affections and desires under its complete control and regulation. • GoD requires to set up His throne in the heart, and to reign in it without a rival; if He be kept out of His right, it matters not by what competitor.-178.
It is indeed a most lamentable consequence of the practice of regarding religion as a compilation of statutes, and not as an internal principle, that it soon comes to be considered as being conversant about external actions rather than about habits of mind.-183.
Love and humility will concur in producing a frame of mind not more distinct from an ardent thirst of glory, than from that frigid disregard, or insolent contempt, or ostentatious renunciation of human favour and distinction, which we have some. times seen opposed to it. The renunciation in these cases, however sententious, is often far from sincere ; and it is even made, not unfrequently, with a view to the attainment of that very distinction which it affects to disclaim. These latter qualities may not unfrequently be traced to a slothful, sensual, and selfish temper; to the consciousness of being unequal to any great and generous attempts ; to the disappointment of schemes of ambition or of glory : : . . In some other of these instances the over-valuation and inordinate desire of worldly credit, however disavowed, are abundantly evident from the merit which is assumed for relinquisbing them, or from that sour and surly humour, which betrays a gloomy and a corroded mind, galled and fretting under the irritating sense of the want of that which it most wishes to possess. But far different is the temper of a Christian. Not a temper of sordid sensuality, or lazy apathy, or dogmatising pride, or disappointed ambition :
.. it forms a perfect contrast to Epicurean selfishness, and to Stoical pride, and to Cynical brutality. It is a temper conpounded of firmness and complacency, and peace and love; and manifesting itself in acts of kindness and of courtesy : a kindness not pretended, but genuine; a courtesy not false and superficial, but cordial and sincere. In the hour of popularity it is not intoxicated or insolent; in the hour of unpopularity it is not desponding or morose ; unshaken in constancy, unwearied in benevolence, firm without roughness, and assiduous without servility.--217.
That only is Christian practice which flows from Christian principles ; and none else will be admitted as such by Him who will be obeyed, as well as worshipped, “ in spirit and in truth.”—227.
Let it not be thought that, in the foregoing discussion, the amiable and useful qualities, where they are not prompted and governed by a principle of religion, have been spoken of in too disparaging terms. Nor would I be understood as unwilling to concede to those who are living in the exercise of them their proper tribute of commendation : “ Inest sua gratia.” Of such persons it must be said, in the language of Scripture, " they have their reward.” They have it in the inward complacency which a sweet temper seldom fails to inspire; in the comforts of the domestic or social circle ; in the pleasure which from the constitution of our nature accompanies pursuit and action. They are always beloved in private, and generally respected in public life. But when devoid of religion, if the Word of God be not a fable, “they cannot enter into the king. dom of heaven." True practical Christianity (never let it be forgotten) consists in devoting the heart and life to God; in being supremely and habitually governed by a desire to know and a disposition to fulfil His will, and in endeavouring, under the influence of these motives, to “ live to His glory." Where these essential requisites are wanting, however amiable the character may be, however creditable and respectable among men; yet, as it possesses not the grand distinguishing essence, it must not be complimented with the name of Christianity This, however, when the external decorums of religion are not violated, must commonly be a matter between God and a man's own conscience: and we ought never to forget how strongly we are enjoined to be candid and liberal in judging of the motives of others, while we are strict in scrutinising and severe in questioning our own.—233.
ABOVE all, let us guard against the temptation, to which we