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It is the first day of the week, and all rest from toil; why do they do it? The labourer rests not this morning in every land; why does he in England ? These are interesting questions. The answers are easy and certain.
The disciples of Christ early set apart this day for His worship. Their example has influenced the whole community. It has done so wherever the Gospel has been freely preached. Whaterer gospel blessing civilized nations have refused, they nearly all receive at its hands their weekly day of rest. The origin of this day is very interesting to all. It was set apart to commemorate a victory. The greatest victory ever won. A victory which concerns not merely one or two nations, but all nations. A victory gained by one man, for all men and every man. This day commemorates not a victory by death but over death. This day's victory did not leave thousands slain, thousands wounded, thousands captives. On the contrary, it has delivered thousands from the fear of death; it has healed the Founded, and liberated the captive. It was fought by one man alone; yet countless myriads triumph in it. Though unnoticed by the world at the time, it now stands forth as the victory of victories. The victory which has altered the destinies of heaven and of earth. This our weekly day of rest commemorates the victory of Jesus over Death and the Grave ! Think of the fact as his disciples saw it. They saw Jesus die on the cross. They saw him taken down, wound up in spices, and laid in a tomb, in a cave cut into a rock. They saw the huge stone over its mouth sealed by jealous priests, and a guard of soldiers placed over it
. “Now,” thought the mighty, “we have that deceiver safe; in three days, he said, he would rise again: we will see what will become of his prophecies.” And they did see. This first-day morning came, — with it came the affrighted guards into the city, they hasten to the priests,—and what is their message? “An earthquake struck us to the ground, an angel flashed down from heaven, he rolled the stone from the grave. We! what were we? The buried One is gone; we dared not even venture into that tomb to look.” No, they dared not, but others dared. Wondering disciples soon entered ; no marks there of haste and of confusion. The grave clothes were laid by in order; they had not been put off and left in haste. Soon Jesus himself appears,- first to the women,-then to the disciples singly,—then to them all together,-while the doors of their meetingplace were shut through fear of the Jews; yes, to all his friends, the dead One, the buried One, appears this day. No possibility of delusion. He walks and converses with some, appears to all at once, eats and drinks
with them to shew them that he was not a mere appearance, and at last bids unbelieving Thomas put his hands on the very wounds in his hands and feet! No, all was real. One man had for once completely vanquished the cruel enemy of all. Never had it been done before. Well might they “hardly believe for joy and wonder.” None before had “laid down his own life and taken it again himself.” Mark, reader, this man was not merely a man, but the man. The Man whose triumph concerns us all. The Man who rose not for his own sake but for ours. The Man who will delight to give you a resurrection as happy as his own ! The Man who will one day raise you from the dead by the same power by which he raised himself. “All that are in the graves shall hear his voice and shall come forth."
Now, how do you keep this day of holy and of joyful victory? A holiday means a holy day. True believers in Christ regard this day as such. They call it the Lord's-day, not their day. (Rev. i. 10.) They have always used it for His worship. Are they not right ? Are not Sunday triflers wrong? Has the worship of Christ's resurrectionday no charms for you ? how, then, can you enjoy a sure and certain hope of a yful resurrection ? The joy of the resurrection-day will be the worship of Christ, and the sight of Christ's glory. Have you, then, joy in his worship now?
A SUMMER EVENING'S CONVERSATION NEAR
Old Man.-“Fine castle, sir.”
Gentleman. “Yes, very. I am taking a rest on this gate to have a look at it.”
0. M. “They say some parts of it are as old as Julius Cæsar.”
G. “Indeed. Then they must have seen many changes in Old England.”
0. M. “Aye, sir; most of us see changes in shorter time than that."
G. "Have you seen any in your time?"
0. M. “Plenty, and in all parts of the world. I have visited many shores. I was on board the 'Victory' when Nelson fell.”
G. “Were you, indeed ? It was well you came out alive. Nelson's death has always seemed to me very mournful.”
O. M. “Why so, sir?"
0. M. “Aye; he told Captain Hardy that he was a sinner, but not a very great one, and so could die easy.'
G. “Well, what do you think of that?”
0. M. “It was true enough. He had a better chance than most of us; for though he had his faults, he was a fine fellow."
G. “I do not question that. But whatever difference there may
be between one man and another, the best will find he has nothing of his own to stand on when he appears before a perfect God.”
0. M. “I dare say that's true.”
G. “Jesus Christ was always pleased with what was fair in a man's conduct; but he told the best of people that they could not be saved without the righteousness of another.”
0. M. “Do you mean, then, that small sinners are damned as well as great ?”
G. “Why, no sin is so small as not to expose the man who commits it to the wrath of God,--and what that is, I hope neither of us will ever know. What does the bible say?-_*He that offendeth in one point is guilty of all.' You seem to think that hard. It is just what is done in our own country. When a murderer is seized, is he let off because it is his first offence? Does he not suffer the penalty for that one act?”
0. M. “Then, as far as I can see, none of us can ever escape, do what we may, for we have all done something wrong.”
G. “You are right. Let one do what he may for the future, he never can touch his past sins. A man lying under sentence of death, does not expect to be saved by his good behaviour. He knows his offence cannot be blotted out in that way.”
0. M. “What, then, are we to do ?”
G. “Since you seem to ask that question seriously, and for your own sake, I shall be happy to read you, in few words, God's own answer to it:- Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight. For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.' What then? 'Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in CHRIST JESUS. “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law ? of works ? Nay, but by the law of faith. Therefore, we conclude that a man is justified by faith, without the deeds of the law.' We shall be saved, "if we believe on him who raised
Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification (Rom. iii. 20—31; iv. 24, 25).
The old man promised to read these verses at home. Reader, do the same. They show the way to life. Liverpool.
C. M. B.
OUR DESIRE FOR THE WORKING CLASSES. “Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for you is, that you might be saved” (Rom. x. 1). Such was Paul's desire for Israel, and such is our desire for you. We wish you to be happy, to be happy for ever. We wish you to rise to honour, to the highest honour. We wish you to escape from evil, from all evil. Therefore we desire that you may be saved. You are by nature lost; therefore, you are not happy; nor can you he really happy except you are saved. Salvation is the greatest blessing you can receive. It is the greatest favour which even God can bestow. It is that blessing without which you cannot really enjoy any other blessing. It comprises all you need at present, and all that is requisite to make you eternally happy. To be saved, is to be created anew in Christ Jesus.” It is to have the heart thoroughly changed; in consequence of which the life will be reformed. It is to be pardoned, to have every sin forgiven; in consequence of which the conscience will be peaceful and happy. It is to be pronounced righteous by God himself, and so to be acquitted of all charge of crime. This is done, because God places the obedience of his own Son to our account. For, the moment we believe in Christ, and commit our souls to him, that moment his perfect work is placed to our account, and we are acquitted from every charge of sin. It is to be supplied with every thing necessary for our real welfare, to be preserved from every thing that would eternally injure us, and at last to be introduced to God's presence and glory.
This is what we desire for all the working classes. Our desire for every mechanic,—for every farm labourer,—for every female servant, -for every lass that works in a factory,—and for all the children of the poor is, that they may be saved. God can save them. But God alone can.
He saves by his gospel, and therefore it is that we are so anxious that every soul should hear and read the gospel. Salvation is the one thing needful. There are thousands of good things, but all together are not so good as this. We could write upon a variety of subjects, but we want you to be saved. We know that you cannot enjoy true contentment, or solid peace, or real joy, or lasting pleasure, except you are saved: and as we most heartily wish you to be contented, and peaceful, and joyous, and thoroughly happy, therefore we desire that you should be saved. O that you saw the value of sal. vation! O that you felt the importance of being immediately saved ! O that you were willing to be saved by free and sovereign grace! God is willing to save every one that is willing to be saved by the Lord Jesus. No one perishes either because God cannot save him, or is unwilling to save him; but just because he is not willing to be saved in God's way, and therefore he will not seek salvation at God's throne.
Beloved reader, what is the state of your mind? Are you willing to perish in your sin, or are you willing to be saved by the Lord Jesus ? Are you despising your own soul, or seeking its salvation with full purpose of heart? We may desire your salvation, we may pray for it,—we may write to you about it; but if you do not desire it, all will be in vain. If you are not saved, you must be lost: and if you are lost, your destruction will be entirely of yourself. God will have no hand in your ruin. If you die the second death, it must be by your hand; no one can ruin you eternally but yourself. But you can do it. If left to yourself you will do it. May God in his mercy prevent it. We are striving to prevent it,—therefore we pray for you,—therefore we preach to you when you will come and hear us,therefore we write thus to you,- and therefore we put this little Magazine into your hand. Our heart's desire and prayer to God for you is, that you might be saved. We can desire for you nothing better; we can be satisfied with nothing less. We wish to lighten all your present burdens, to soothe all your present sorrows,—to redress all your present grievances; but we wish most of all, to see you saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation. To see you saved immediately, and enjoying your salvation. Hear the Saviour, he speaks to you, he says, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” Fix your eye on his cross, where he died for sinners; lift up your heart to God's throne, where he pleads for sinners; and look and pray until he says to your soul, “I am thy salvation.” Then you are made for eternity. New-Park-Street, London.
WHY MUST MY HEART BE LAID OPEN?
“Do you ever go to the house of God ?” “Why should I go?” “ That you may see your heart laid open.” “That is the very reason why I do not go. I have been, more than once or twice, but seldom, if ever, without being specially pointed at, and preached about, not to be sure by name, but in such a manner as to make it plain, at least to myself, that I was the person intended. Why is my heart to be laid open, and my character to be made the topic of public discourse ? Why cannot I be permitted to go to the house of God without being thus singled out as the subject of special animadversion ?” “For this reason: because until you know yourself, and know yourself as a depraved and ruined creature, you will not come to Christ for salvation. At present you have no adequate, and therefore no just, views of your sinfulness, or of the extent to which your nature is defiled and corrupted. You admit that you are a sinner. Whatever opinion some may entertain of the perfectibility of human nature, you, I suppose, would not plead an exemption from the common taint of sin which lies upon us all. But this general admission stands for little. And for little it is meant to stand. It does not imply any deep, bitter, overwhelming sense of guilt. You do not intend by it that you are a lost creature, totally fallen from God's favour, and justly condemned by God's law. It is not a confession of absolute, and, as far as you are concerned, of irretrievable apostacy, of cherished and inveterate depravity. It means that you are a sinner as all are sinners; but as to any thing more than that, as though you thought you were the