Page images
PDF
EPUB

B

96

PRAYER CONTINUED. below. I would sit at thy feet, and learn of the thee; and, while I trust thy death, would wear ro's thy image, and reflect, in some humble degree, thoa thy lovely likeness. Like thee, may I be patient, humble, meek. Like thee, may I requite evil with kindness, and enmity with love. To thee may my life, my all be consecrated; and may death appear but a kind messenger, sent to me fetch me to thyself. From this hour may, my youth, my health, my strength be thine. May thy love animate me; thy precepts guide, and thy example direct me; thy promises cheer, and thy cautions warn me; thy hand support me; boom and, at the last, let me lean my dying head on thy compassionate arm, and find death swallowed up in victory. - Then may I praise thee in those brighter courts, for that grace which discovers to me the way of life, and which inclines du me now to yield my fair but fleeting youth to Be thee.

But what, great God, am I! and what my ble solutions and desires ! Alas! I am weak as * L reed, and my resolutions have been like me morning cloud or the early dew; yet, let plead with thee, for thy promised Spirit. His " thou not promised, that thou wilt give the home Spirit to them that ask thee? Bestow on me sacred influences. With them water and refreshed my soul. Let his holy motions incline me to every gracious act and desire. My soul is Dalu, au rally like a dark and barren desert; but, biasa with his influences, the darkness will disperare la and the wilderness will blossom as the rose. ! must teach me to know thee, or I shall 1 know thee aright. He must teach me to love the thee, or divine love will be for ever a stranger

[ocr errors]

CAUTIONS AGAINST FALSE HOPES. 97 de lemne to my breast. He must discover to me all the Froid = excellencies of my great Redeemer; for, without ble de his teaching, all other would be in vain. Great be more and blessed God, give me thy Holy Spirit, and

let me yield my heart to his sweet and gentle 702 guidance. Let him lead me into all important - ADB truth. Let him fashion my soul anew; and De son create in me a clean heart; and renew a right

mye spirit within me. By him, may all those dispoTane. Wisitions that shall flourish in heaven, be formed guide wilbin my soul during its abode on earth. cheas Father of all mercies, hear and grant my re00272 quests, for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen.

CHAPTER V.

CAUTIONS AGAINST SOME DE

AGAINST SOME DELUSIVE SUPPORTS, ON WHICE TOWANY REST THEIR HOPES TO THEIR ETERNAL RUIN.

[ocr errors]

dition. Like a captive

[ocr errors]

heaven, till death puts an

It is extremely evident, from the word od, that many fatally deceive themselves, respect to their spiritual state. They themselves, Peace, peace; while God deThere is no peace to persons in their con

Like a captive, who dreams of liberty; akes and sees the horrid walls of bis dun.

d him: so they indulge the hope of till death puts an end to the deceitful

they awake in eternity, and find themfor ever undone, Such is the deceitfuli the human heart, that you cannot too sosiy guard against its delusions, and those World, that would blast all your hopes of

less, and cover you with confusion and utor, when expecting joy and glory.

[ocr errors]

dream; they awake

ness of the human licitously guard

happiness, and cover

98 CAUTIONS FROM THE HISTORY

$ 2. One of the most common is, the belief, that all those are Christians who bear the Christian name, whose lives arę virtuous, and whose deportment and temper are lovely. But, alas! White all this is found in thousands, who know nothing of real religion; and, with respect to eternity, then all these fair appearances and pleasing recommendations will avail not, if there be not true plety within. Perhaps this can scarcely be made more evident, than by referring you to the history of one, who possessed these qualifications in no common degree, but who still wanted the one thing needful

In Matt. C. 19, Mark. C. 10. or Luke, C. 11, an instance of this kind is recorded. “When the Lord had gone. forth into the way, there came one (a young ruler) running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good master, what shall do, that I may inherit eternal life?He was so moral a person, that he could say, with respect to boli many of the commandments of God (at least as I far as his outward conduct was concerned), as Wondy these have I observed from my youth.” “Anda de Jesus beholding him, loved him; and said, uue thing thou lackest; go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shall claim have treasure in heaven; and come, take up cross and follow me. And he was sad at that the IL saying, and went away grieved. He was very hot sorrowful, for he was very rich." There cannot be be a reasonable doubt, that this young man was. state of sin and death, notwithstanding all the seemed so promising and fair; and, perhaps, the tenth on little history is recorded, to show how far a persones may go in morality and a concern for religion, and yet fall short of heaven. There are but in omna

s young man was in a stal ser

[ocr errors]

ding all that

[ocr errors]

OF THE YOUNG RULER, MARK, X.: 99 in the morning of life, so amiable, and, according to worldly views, so good as this young man; and, yet, with much that was lovely, he was a stran. ger to real piety. He came running to the Lord, to inquire how he might reach a better world. Thus he manifested earnestness and humility. He was not ashamed to seek instruction, but went to Jesus with that most serious question, “ What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” His thoughtfulness about eternity was the more observable, as he was rich, and exposed to the snares that accompany wealth. Justly bas it been observed, “that his concern about his soul was not a sick-bed meditation, for he was in health; nor a melancholy qualm of old age, for he was young; nor was it the effect of his being discontented and out of humour with the world, for he was rich and prosperous.” The manner often recommends the action; and there was much that was pleasing in his manner. Though possessed of wealth and honour, and coming to one that appeared poor and despised; yet, he used no haugh. ty freedom, but approached his instructor with humility and respect. Besides all this, there was something more substantial in his character. In. stead of running into licentiousness and riot, he had attended to the divine commandments. His life had been moral; he had been a dutiful son; was most probably affectionate and kind; and doubtless had secured the esteem of his friends; when even the Lord saw so much that was pleasing in him, that, beholding him, he loved him, But, when the blessed Saviour put him to the test, whether he would part with all for Christ and hea. ven, then his heart failed him: and he showed, that with so much that was lovelv about him, he still 100 CAUTIONS - SPECULATIVE KNOWLEDGE. was in reality a lover of this world; and if any man, young or aged, wicked or virtuous, "if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." Yet, even the manner of his departure proved the interest he took in the question he had proposed; he went away grieved, and was very sorrowful. In short, he was such a one, that we may readily wish all young persons were like him; and, yet, he was such a one, that we must wish then to be much more than he was. In the general, you may learn from this affecting little history, that all which may gain the esteem of man, will be of no avail, as to the salvation of yourimmortal soul, if that true piety, which leads the soul to count all things loss for Christ, be wanting.

Having taken a brief view of this instructive case, let me lead your thoughts to a few more particular cautions.

3. Guard against their dreadful delusion, who put a knowledge of some sacred truths in the place of religion itself. Many such self-deceiv. ers abound in the world. They can discourse on the hallowed themes of the gospel; but, are strangers to its influence and power. To hear them talk, you might think them Christians; to see them act, you might suppose them heathens. The word of God declares, that all knowledge without charity (or love), is vain, and that its possessor is nothing. Fallen and infernal spirits probably know much more of some sacred subjects than the most eminent Christians in this life, yet they are devils still.

§ 4. Watch against resting your eternal hopes on outward privileges. You live in what is term

1 John, ii. 15. Cor. xiii. 2

« PreviousContinue »