« AnteriorContinuar »
spirits? The presence of a mere man (the Socinian's Saviour) would not add much to the glory or bliss of Heaven; but the presence of Jesus, will it not impart new vigour to the services? Will it not add a divine melody to the songs of the saints, to behold the man, the God-man, that groaned on Calvary, seated highy on a throne of dazzling light?
"Princes to his imperial name,
To the Editor.
The following interesting Extract from the fifth sermon of the Rev. W.
A FRIEND OF YOUTH.
"ETERNAL GOD! Interpose in favour of the youth who are before thee; and suffer not Procrastination, that thief of time, that child of the Devil, that enemy of all righteousness, to deceive and to destroy the rising hopes of our families, our churches, and our country! Pour down thy Spirit upon our seed, and thy blessing upon our offspring! May one say I an the Lord's, and another call himself by the name of Jacob; and another subscribe with his own hand, and surname himself by the name of Israel! To realize this pleasing prospect, Jet ministers, let tutors, let all unite their endeavours: but O, ye parents, a peculiar obligation devolves upon you. Awaken all your tenderness and anxiety, and give them a spiritual direction: you wish your children to be sober, submissive, and dutiful, but piety is the only sure foundation of morality. You would not have your love for your children be suspected: but wretched are those children who share only in a solicitude which asks "What shall they eat, or what shall they drink, or wherewithal shall they be clothed?" What is the body to the soul? what is time to eternity? what is it to dispose of them advantageously in life, and leave them unprepared for death, unprovided for a new, a never-ending, a changeless period of existence? Are you the barbarous instruments of bringing these hapless beings into life, only to sacrifice them? Such parents are more cruel than Herod. He slew the children of others; these slay their own. He only destroyed the body ;these destroy the soul. His victims died innocent, and were, doubtless, saved;-these parents will not suffer their offspring to die innocent: by their unkind care they guard them till the
season of safety is elapsed, till they are become accountable: and criminal, and expose them when they know their death will be attended with their damnation! Men and brethren, escape this dreadful censure! Distinguish yours, not only from an openly wicked world, but from those modern professors of religion, who are always found in public, hearing serions; but can leave their families in disorder, and take no pains in the pious education of their children. Fear God yourselves, and teach your offspring to fear him. Recommend instruction by example, and crown all with prayer, prayer for them and with them. Thus you will train them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord!" Thus you will rejoice here to see them walking in the truth; and hereafter will lead them to the throne of glory; Behold, here am I, and the child thou hast given me.”
REFLEXIONS ON THE DEATH OF A MINISTER,
OCCASIONED BY THE RECENT DECEASE OF
Ir is the prerogative of God to bring good out of evil, yea, to over-rule evil itself, in many instances, for good. Sin, when it filled the world with wretchedness, introduced Death: a deliverance to the good man from all his miseries! O how unhappy should we be, to be condemned to live for ever in a world like this! And as the world has increased in wickedness, God hath been pleased repeatedly to shorten the age of man; at once to hasten the sinner to his judgment-bar, and the believer to his boson: even the prophets do not live for ever.
When God blesses a man with eminent gifts and usefulness, and makes him, like Abraham, a blessing to all around, it is natural, it is just, it is their duty, to esteem him highly; and that esteem will necessarily make his loss regretted, and his memory lamented; the only evil is, that we are apt to mix sin with our sorrows, as well as joys, and murmur when we should adore.
"Alas," say we, "he was cut off in the prime of life: - he was taken away in the midst of his usefulness, and who shall supply his place?" Admitted. The Lord often takes his ministers away in these circunstances. Do we wish them to outlive their usefulness? When we would gather a flower, do we wait till its beauties fade, and its vigour droops? Do we not rather pluck it in its prime, that we may enjoy its bloom, and exhale its odours? The Lord's ministers are his "pleasant plants;" and shall we dispute his right to do the same?
"But who shall supply his place?" says the voice of Unbelief: "Who shall carry on the work in which he was engaged? Perhaps, no one for the present: perhaps, the Lord, Bay shew his sovereignty in carrying on his own work inde
"pendent of means, or by instruments apparently very inadequate to his work. This he often does, to display his own glory, to prove that the power is his own. Or it may be, he has another instrument in reserve, already formed and fitted for the work; and he hath made the exchange to shew us, that "the residue of the Spirit is with him."
A variety of reasons may be assigned for such afflictive dispensations:- Sometimes they may be to arouse an inattentive and careless congregation, and put them on close self-examination. Sometimes to awaken the fine feelings of Christian benevolence, and afford them full scope, by casting on their care a distressed widow, and a numerous family of orphans. Sometimes, But we need not seek farther. There are two reasons, in all cases, sufficient to account for such bereavements."
1. Ministers are men,—and men are mortal: and if Moses and Joshua, David and Solomon, Isaiah and Jeremiah, Prophets, Evangelists, and Apostles, if these die, shall we not expect our ministers to die also? Alas! how apt are we to forget the slight tenure upon which life is held! We wonder to hear of the death of our friends: may we not rather wonder while they live? The world is Golgotha. Death is continually dealing about his arrows. A thousand fall at our right hand, and ten thousand at our left; and is it not almost a miracle that we stand?
Ministers are saints, at least those of whom we speak,-and saints are born for immortality. Is it surprizing, that when the Lord hath formed a vessel meet for glory, he should take it to himself? We pray that our ministers should grow in grace and holiness, that they may be perfected in every good word and work; and do we not then pray for their removal? Do we expect, do we wish them to remain on earth, when they are fully meet for Heaven? O cruel kindness! Let us rather pray that we also may be prepared to follow; that, as corn fully ripe, we also may be gathered into the garden of Heaven," and so be for ever with the Lord." PHILO.
from the Rev. Dr. DODDRIDGE to the Rev. Mr. SHEPHERD,
Northampton Jan. 27, 1748.
My Dear Friend and Brother,
My heart is very tenderly affected with your very kind, pious, and edifying letter, for which I return you the most cordial thanks; and must assure you, that it concurs with many other things that I have seen and known in you, to unite my heart to you in bonds of the most endeared Christian love. You will perhaps be surprized to hear, that the word which dropped from me last night was quite unpremeditated, and did not appear to
me the effect of any thing that looked like an extraordinary intimation from God; but it has, in the general, been very deeply impressed on my mind of late; and my wife has (as she now tells ine) observed many effects of it; that I must shortly put off this tabernacle; and that whatever I would do for Christ and for souls, I must do it in haste: and I have indeed felt my soul quickened to such earnest desires of doing something for the conversion and edification of those to whom the Lord calls me to speak, whether publicly or privately, as I never felt, especially for such a continuance of time, since I came into the ministry. Whatever may be the intention of Providence, or whatever the event, sure I am, that the thoughts you suggest are very seasonable and weighty; and I receive them with humble thankfuluess to God, and to you, my dear and worthy brother; for as such 1 esteem and embrace you, and wish your good, and comfort, and usefulness, as I do my own; and sympathize with you most sincerely and tenderly under every affliction and discouragement; and pray that the Lord may in great mercy build up your soul, as I assuredly believe he does, and build up the church under your care, and give you many seals to your ministry. If God spare my life, and give me any real opportunities of serving you, I hope you will find my friendship as sincere as I desire, to find that of any of my friends and brethren upon earth. If I die, God will, I doubt not, visit and support you. I adore the divine goodness; my mind is, through grace, sweetly composed and resigned. I can say, "I know in whom I have believed;" and the thought that Christ, my dear and ever faithful Saviour, has the key of death, and the unseen world, reconciles me to the thought of life or death; so that, I bless God, I have never any solicitude about it. But I take great notice of the fact of which you so kindly inform me, which I really think very remarkable. Go on, dear Sir, to pray for me, that whether my life be longer or shorter, it may all be spent for him, who' for this end died, and rose again and revived, that he might be the Lord both of the dead and of the living. Be assured of my kindest remembrance in every circumstance in which I have any cause to hope it may be useful to me; and that you will oblige me by calling freely upon me, and yet more by pointing out any opportunity of shewing you by actions, rather than words, the true esteem and love with which I
Your ever affectionate Brother and faithful Servant in the bonds and work of our common Lord, P. DODDRIDGE.
P.S. Judge of my heart by this hasty letter, and let it abide
with you as a memorial, how I am affected towards you, though I have so few opportunities of personal converse, which I could wish were more frequent.
OBSERVATIONS ON THE STUDY OF NATURE. Thou makest the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice. Psalm lxv. 8.
CHRISTIANS, it is not a vain exercise to make nature and providence your study. You delight, we hope, to dwell on the page of inspiration, and by it you are directed to consult the volume of nature, and to read in it the wonderful works of God. Think not the employment below you; it was the delightful exercise of David, the son of Jesse, and king of Israel: a man who might have delighted himself with the ornaments of finery, and fared sumptuously every day. He is found contemplating the works of God, and admiring those beautiful changes in nature as the effect of the Divine Hand, which men, in general, totally overlook. "Thou makest the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice." Pause here, and learn the propriety and the usefulness of David's employment. When fight arose out of darkness, at the Almighty's command, the angels, the sons of the morning, sang together; man was not yet brought into being; and though he beheld not the first dawn of light, he no doubt, at first beholding the sun, was delighted with that emblem of perfection and purity. What a glorious change, when order rose out of confusion, when light sprang out of darkness, and the sun came forth from the womb of the morning, rejoicing as a strong man to run his race!
The same Almighty Power is unceasingly employed in overruling the changes of day and night. The operations of the divine arm were not suspended when creation-work was finished. In the heavens he set the sun for a sign, and he marks his daily course. "Thou makest the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice." What might not God do unto us for all the evil we have done against him? He might hide the face of the sky, and spread a thick cloud over it for forty days and forty nights, till the bottles of Heaven were emptied on our guilty world. He might allow the sun to rise upon the earth, and smile upon the footsteps of a Lot till he entered his Zoar, and then impregnate the air with sulphurous particles,collect these in clouds of vengeance,-rain them down on our Sodom till the inhabitants were destroyed, and the place of their abode turned into a nauseous lake. But how different are his ways toward us! When man, having rested from his labour, awakes from sleep, he opens his eyes to behold-what? The heavens and the earth passing away, and the elements melting with fervent heat?-the Judge clothed in awful majesty, coming to take vengeance on the wicked inventions of men?-No: he beholds the sun looking from the east, smiling over the face of the heavens and the earth, and pouring his numberless rays of