« PreviousContinue »
of your rebellion, the end of your warfare with your God, and the stepping-stone to_what we sincerely wish you—A TRULY HAPPY NEW YEAR.
“This thy day."--Luke xix. 42.
Reader, the present is your day. The season given you by rich and sovereign mercy. It is a day, not a year; a period that is limited, it may be a very short day. You cannot say how soon it may close. It is a light season; the gospel shinės all around you. By it you may avoid dangers, and acquire blessings. It is an important period, unspeakably so; for eternity depends on time. As you sow now, you will reap then. It is fast passing away; it never was so short as it is now; but every hour, every moment, shortens it.
“Life is but a moment; death that moment ends;
For on that point eternity depends." The design of this season is, that you may secure salvation. It must be secured now or never. If you are not saved in time, you will be lost to all eternity. That you may form a character-a character which will be an honour to you now, and a credit to you for
That you may benefit others, and you have ample opportunity of doing so. That you may conquer your foes, the enemies of your soul, who seek your eternal destruction, and who can only be conquered by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. That you may obtain a glorious crown, a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give unto all them that love his appearing. This, then, is your opportunity. Now you may be made for ever. You may gain in time more than you can expend in eternity. Lay up for yourselves, then, treasures in heaven. Lay hold on eternal life.
It is your day. The day which God has in mercy given you. The only day you will have. It is an opportunity afforded you of escaping from the wrath to come, obtaining the pardon of your sins, being reconciled to God, and preparing for a better world. The only period allotted between two extremities. Look back, there is a boundless eternity before time commenced; look forward, there is an endless state of existence when time shall be no more. You are placed between the two, and may obtain the provision made for sinners in the past, and secure the glory promised to the saints in that which is to come. Now your choice must be made. You must either choose life, and pursue it until put in full possession of it; or you must choose death, eternal death, with all its horrors, and yield yourself to those evil influences which will infallibly secure it. Your eternal state depends on your present course. It is your day. But thousands neglect it, and through eternity will regret that they have done so.
The value of this your day cannot be estimated. One must know fully what are the joys of heaven, and what the hofrors of hell; what the honour of the saints, and what the disgrace of lost souls; and be able to grasp the extent of eternity, to tell. Its value is beyond compare. Every moment of it is valuable. Oh, that you did but realize its value, its brevity, and its design! Then you would not waste it, as too many do; but improve it for your own benefit, the good of others, and the glory of God. Look to the close of this your day; for already the shadows of evening may be stretching out. Its end may be much nearer than you suppose; for oftentimes the sun goes down at noon.
What will its close bring you ? Rest, rest in the presence and enjoyment of God ? Reward, the reward that remains for the righteous ? Enjoyment, the enjoyment of the presence, commendation, and glory of God for ever? Or torment, the torments of a guilty conscience, a burning flame, and the endless wrath of God ? Shame, the shame of having squandered your day, wasted your opportunity, and wilfully doomed yourself to poverty and woe? Contempt, everlasting contempt, to be the scorn of fallen spirits, and of millions of your own species, who were never placed in such favourable circumstances as you ? Oh, my friend, think; this is your day! Jerusalem had its day, it despised it, and near two thousand years have not repaired the consequences. If you despise your day, the consequences can never be repaired, but you must suffer them for ever; and in terror, torment, and dreadful suffering, which are beyond the power of description. To-day, Jesus is able to save you; he is willing to do 80. May you, conscious of your lost and ruined state, repair to him, and this day may salvation come to your
Reign in eternal silence there."
WHO HEAVED THAT SIGH ?
“He sighed deeply in his spirit.” The Bible is a remarkable book. We may take it up and read on, portion after portion, interested by the story we may have opened upon, or led along by the heart-moving strain of feeling that breathes in its lines.
Reader, are you not touched by the feeling expressed in the line which heads this paper ? I have purposely not marked the part of Scripture from whence it is taken; and if you are not familiar with your Bible you will naturally ask, Who sighed so sadly? what occasioned such sadness? Was it David, King of Israel, when God suffered his darling son to be the instrument of punishing him for his great şin ? or when news was brought that that son had been cut off in his iniquity? Was it Jeremiah, when he saw the awful judgments of the Almighty coming upon his country, and warned and implored his king and people, but all in vain ? Was it Zedekiah, the sin. besotted king, when his city was at last taken by the King of Babylon, his palace sacked, his arms bound, and his eyes at last put out by the cruel tyrant ? Was it Peter, after he had so basely denied his Master, when that Master's looks brought him to himself ? No; it was none of these.
It was no natural heir to sin and sorrow, but even He who is himself the source of all joy; the theme of angels' praise, and whose name shall be for ever. But he once sank into our state and became the “Man of Sorrows.” It was Jesus Christ of whom it is said, “He sighed deeply in his spirit.” Dear Reader, you have known what it is to sigh ; you probably know what it is to sigh deeply in your spirit. What wonder! You share in the sin, and must expect to share in the sorrow of the world. This could not be said of Jesus. But as we
“partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself took part of the same. Why? That we might have a perfect friend in him-one who can “be touched with the feeling of our infirmities” (Hebrews iv. 15). Will you reject such a Friend -- will you despise such a Saviour ?
But what made Jesus thus “sigh deeply in his spirit?” Turn to your Bible and look at the 8th chapter of Mark, the 11th and 12th
You see that it was no evil that had befallen him, nor was it any calamity that had befallen any around him. It was the hardness of men's hearts that made him sigh so deeply. It was the infidelity of the Pharisees that made him sad. He had come from heaven. His birth was a miracle. He had healed the sick, made the lame to walk, the blind to see, multiplied bread to feed a hungry multitude, and now they come seeking a sign from heaven.” Justly he said, “There shall no sign be given unto this generation," and left them. Yet their unbelief and hardness grieved his soul : “He sighed deeply in his spirit” that love of sin and pride of heart should make any to reject
As with the Jews, then, so with men too often now. They choose their own way; they saunter along, or dance all the way down to hell, and when we warn or invite them by the Word of God, they treat it with indifference, or ask for some new proof that it is of God. They seek “a sign from heaven," although the Jew still lives in every land the living monument of its truth. I was once talking to a boat-builder on the Thames, and said something about the Bible and
its word of salvation. Too indolent and careless even to have in. quired about the proofs of its inspiration, he replied to me, “How am I to know it is from God ? If God meant to tell us anything about His will, why did he not write it upon that sun, so that every one might have seen it and been sure they were his words.” Perhaps, my dear friend, you will not talk so absurdly and daringly as this ; but yet you may be one of those who would dictate to God as to how He ought to have communicated His message to you. You have sometimes to send a message to a child when you have been removed from him. You adopt some simple but sufficient means to send the message. But suppose the answer is returned that your child will not believe or receive the communication unless it was sent in some particular way that he chose to think most proper, would you not feel that your proper authority was despised and your affection disregarded ? How must God regard your treatment of His Word !
In one of the parables of Christ, He represents a proprietor sending servants to a distant estate to gather his dues ; but one after another, those servants were ill-treated and sent back. “ Then said the lord, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; it may be they will reverence him." But they cast him out, and killed him; and the
“He shall come and destroy the husbandmen." The Jews rejected the Saviour. He “sighed deeply in his spirit” at their folly, and the consequences it would bring upon them. They were unmoved by his words or by his sorrow. He was melted by their sin and its consequences ; but they were steeled to everything, and now they are scattered to the winds of heaven.
And shall the Saviour feel more than the lost ? Shall He sigh, and you still be at ease ? shall He weep, and you laugh ? shall He have died for sin, and you still resolve to live in sin ? and, finally, having turned from the Saviour, have your portion for ever with the lost ?
J. A. W.
THE MAN THAT NEVER PRAYS.
Ist. The man that never prays is a proud man. Practically, he says, "I am independent of God.” “I want nothing from Him.” “I never mean to ask a favour at his hands.” “Who is the Lord that I should pray to him; and what profit is there in calling upon his name?” “Besides,
"To bow and sue for grace
That were base indeed.'
“To beg I am ashamed.” So says the man that never prays. Say, is he not a proud man?
2nd. The man that never prays is a foolish man. He is his own enemy. He acts contrary to his own interest. He might have an audience of the King of kings; but he declines it. He might consult him with advantage on every point affecting his welfare, but he declines it. He might go and pour out before him his every tale of woe, but he declines it. He might obtain mercy, but he declines it. He might have grace to help him in every time of need, but he declines it. Such is the conduct of the man that never prays. Say, is he not a foolish man?
3rd. The man that never prays is an ungrateful man. From God he has received life with all its capabilities of enjoyment, but he never acknowledges it. By God he has been preserved from infancy to youth, and from youth to manhood, but he confesses to no obligation. By God he has been daily fed and clothed, but there have been no daily thanks. God has given to him a holy law for his benefit, and a glori. ous gospel for his salvation, but he never blesses God for either. God has given him the Sabbath and the Sanctuary, but he values neither the one nor the other. Thus acts the man that never prays.
Say, is he not an ungrateful man?
4th. The man that never prays is a rebellious man. His judgment tells him he ought to pray. His conscience tells him he ought to pray. The pious tell him he ought to pray.
God tells him he ought to pray, and not to faint, but he disobeys the voice of judgment, the voice of conscience,—the voice of the pious,-and the voice of God. He turns a deaf ear to their united testimony. He will not listen to any voice, human or divine. This is the conduct of the man that never prays. Say, is he not a rebellious man?
5th. The man that never prays is a godless man. He is an atheist, a practical atheist. He never confesses the power of God. He never recognizes the wisdom of God. He never testifies to the holiness of Gud. He never owns the justice of God. He never acknowledges the goodness and mercy of God. He therefore lives without God in the world.” He practically says, “ There is no God.” Yes, this is the inan that never prays. Say, is he not an atheist, a godless man?
6th. The man that never prays is a lost man. He is a follower of Satan, for Satan never prays. He is a child of the devil, for his children never make supplication. He is without repentance, without faith, without love, without holiness, and without these “. can see the Lord.” Look, then, at the man that never prays, and say, is he not a lost man? What hope can there be for a follower of Satan, a child of "the wicked one?” What hope can there be for a man without repentance, or faith, or love, or holiness ? None; absolutely none, Reader, you must pray, or you are lost, lost, lost, and that for ever. Tenterden.