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Another source of serious danger to religious impressions arises from the character of our associates. Light, frivolous conversation with ungodly companions has often been the cause of the destruction of very deep religious convictions. Let young persons, who have been awakened to perceive their spiritual danger, beware of ungodly society. Rush not, dear friends, I implore you, as you value the salvation of your immortal souls, into the company of the giddy, the volatile, and ungodly. There you can get no good, but incalculable harm. Let every awakened sinner specially guard against the influence of unholy associations. Go, awakened sinner, to your closet. Draw near to God. Open your heart to him. Court retirement. Solitude is the nurse of thought. Engage in no pursuit calculated to divert your attention from the concerns of your soul. Avoid every scene adapted to produce a habit of lightness or frivolity. Let your main concern be to possess yet more penetrating views of Divine truth-more deep, serious, and solemn impressions of those things that are unseen and eternal.
Finally, dear friends, beware of lingering upon your convictions. This is the way in which many stifle and destroy them altogether. Rest nowhere but in Christ. Be decided. Delays are proverbially dangerous, but in nothing so dangerous as in religion.
"Be wise to-day; 'tis madness to defer."
A tender and compassionate Saviour waits to receive you. Abuse not his long-suffering. Flee into the arms of his love. Never can you enjoy solid peace till you have taken refuge there. You have been aroused to perceive in some degree the gathering storm of Divine wrath. Will you be so mad as to linger undecided till it shall overtake you? You perceive you are in the broad road which leads to eternal ruin. Will you be so infatuated as to proceed a single step further in such a perilous course? Has God opened your eyes to apprehend your danger, and will you be so insensate as to shut them again, and post on recklessly to the frightful precipice before you; or waste your precious time in culpable hesitation, whether you will turn and live, or go on and perish eternally? Be not satisfied with mere religious impressions: it is good, no doubt, to have them, but they are valuable only as a step in the progress of the soul to Christ. Conviction is not conversion, but must go before it. Hail it, then, with thankfulness to God, and be sure ye improve the mercy which it implies by joining yourselves unto the Lord, in an everlasting covenant, never to be forgotten. Thus, the conscience sprinkled with the blood of Christ will smile upon you; the disquietude and sense of danger, arising from conviction of sin, will give place to inward quiet, a sense of pardon, and the hope of glory; and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds, by Jesus Christ.
ing spirit light and life, animation and joy. Whatever changes there may be in our lot, whatever afflictions we may be called to bear, if we live in fellowship with the Friend and the Saviour of sinners, our rejoicing will be that he ever liveth; and that beyond this transitory scene, and the many clouds which now intervene, there is an unchanging paradise and an incorruptible inheritance, where "our sun shall no more go down; where the Lord shall be our everlasting light, our God, our glory; and where the days of our mourning shall be ended."
The wisdom of God appears in the production, if we may so speak, of the greatest power at the least possible expense of means. By a few strokes of affliction on a single individual he paves the way for the advancement of his holiness and joy, and thus fits him for extensive usefulness. While he muses his heart burns; he hears of the afflictions of others; his own sorrows are relieved in giving vent to his feel
MUCH of the word of God is applicable to a state of trouble, and can only be understood in circumstances of trial. The Gospel of Christ throws light on the most mysterious events of time. He who so loved us as to give himself a sacrifice for our sins, when we were sunk in rebellion, can never cease to care for us. In the midst of all the trials and conflicts of the wilderness, he is showing us the utter emptiness and vanity of the present world, and the insufficiency of the soul to its own happiness, that he may draw us to himself, and lead us to repose on him as our ultimate rest and satisfying portion. And what blessings are the most painful and complicated troubles if the heart is thereby weaned from the transitory objects of sense, and if every stroke of affliction impels the soul more powerfully towards Him who is the inexhaustible fountain of all genuine enjoyment. It is thus that we profit by the heaviest pressures which embitter this state of tribulation. Such views of the wise and gracious, but often mysteri-ings; he rejoices in soothing the anons providences of God, in connection with the gospel of peace, serve to dissolve many of those clouds of perplexity and error which mislead and depress the heart; and they free from that painful uncertainty which, by its distressful agitations, greatly injures at once the holiness and the peace of the soul. They serve to infuse courage and to impart consolation when all human help is unavailing; when, in the last hours of weakness, languor, and pain, flesh and heart fail; and even in the dark vale of death, when nothing else could yield to the depart
guish of the bleeding heart; the comforted again seek the benefit of more ; they request him to cast his gift into the public treasury for the general benefit; and as he does so, he says, with the blended feelings of pious gratitude and benevolent joy, "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of all mercies, and the God of all comfort, who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God!"— Russell.
"He knoweth the way that we take;" he is privy to every feeling of the heart, and he enters into our every trial; for "the very hairs of our head are numbered." And why should men presume to mark out what is great and what is little? Are not the most important events suspended on matters apparently trivial? Witness the histories of Joseph and Mordecai. And unquestionably the same Providence which regulates the greater must, necessarily, regulate the smaller. This is a doctrine fraught with the richest consolation when connected with the infinite wisdom, the inviolable faithfulness, and the immutable love of "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." How sweet the repose of that heart which rests in the Lord! We are not left to be the sport of blind chance in a fatherless world; we are the objects of the care of Him who is everywhere present, who orders the movements, and satisfies the wants, of his innumerable offspring.-Russell.
It seems strange that men should admit a general, and deny a particular providence. They speak as if the Almighty were too great to concern himself with the petty affairs of individuals, though in extraordinary cases he may interfere in what relates to the interests of nations. They even speak as if, amid the greatness and the multitude of the affairs of his government, he could not bend to the interests of individuals so mean and insignificant. But what strange ideas of greatness are these! Do they not degrade the Almighty, and lower our conceptions of his grandeur? Whatever it was worthy of his power to create, it cannot be unworthy of his greatness to preserve and to superintend. Does not true greatness consist in a capacity of lending the most particular attention to the minute, whilst it embraces the vast? It is this capacity, surely, which presents the most overwhelming view of the omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence of God. How delightfully are greatness and goodness blended PATRIARCHAL MEETING. together, when we are told that he who counts the number of the stars, and calls them all by their names, is the same who bindeth up the broken in heart, and healeth the wounded in spirit! While his eye and his arm are abroad upon all worlds, he watches the solitary steps of the wanderer, pities the bereaved mourner, visits the lonely cottage of affliction, and makes all the bed of the afflicted sufferer. Soothing, indeed, is the reflection, that we are not overlooked in the crowd, but that our individual concerns are as much regarded as though we were the only care of the Almighty Jehovah.
CASE OF RESTITU
TION. WHILST thousands of juvenile voices were exclaiming, "Please to remember the fifth of November!" at Husband's Bosworth, Leicestershire, an aged couple, Thomas and Anna Barfoot, celebrated the day as the fiftieth anniversary of their marriage. All their children were present on the occasion, and many of their grandchildren and great grand-children. An interesting and affectionate address was presented to the honoured pair by their eldest son, in the name of the assembled family, which contained a
review of many years' enjoyments, as well as sorrows. But one particular circumstance struck us, as we afterwards read the document, as being of peculiar interest. Many years since, the shop of this good man was robbed, he and his family brought into great distress, and at the same time, going to a neighbouring market, a pocketbook was stolen from his coat pocket, containing monies belonging to the Baptist church, of which he had long been a consistent member, and for which he was going to purchase some articles. On the following morning the book was returned per post, emptied of its contents, with 1s. Sd. postage. A rumour was raised, and gained credence, that the thief was himself, and under this reproach he remained for fifteen years. One morning an unknown gentleman called, made inquiry about the robbery, and returned the money with the interest for fifteen years, and gave the following account of the transaction; that "the man who had stolen the money was now dead, but that on his death-bed he bound the bearer by an oath to take the money, with interest, and deliver it to Mr. Barfoot himself, and to make known to him his dying confession that he knew at the time he was robbing an honest man."
THE PRAYER-MEETING. To many the prayer meeting does not possess the excitement of a preaching occasion; but to the sincere believer in Jesus, and lover of Zion, it abounds with blessings. He feels that a service for social prayer is necessary and useful; he seeks them not merely for his own profit, but rather the good of
the Redeemer's cause; and in his intercessory breathings for Zion he finds his own heart enlarged and blessed : "They shall prosper that love thee."
The prayer-meeting is the means of promoting a healthful state of mind. Social prayer, rather than preaching, has this tendency: there is something searching, influential, and corrective about it. It leads to selfexamination-to a looking within, and to a looking unto Jesus. It checks our worldly-mindedness, sharpens the spiritual appetite, enlivens the affections, and fosters a devotional spirit. It promotes our humility, faith, love, joy and hope:
"Here we prove the power of prayer
To strengthen faith and sweeten care."
The prayer-meeting is often the means of revivals. Here we have felt our cold state, confessed our guilt, asked forgiveness, and pleaded the promises. Here we have sought the Father's face, the Saviour's love, the Spirit's grace and power. Here the dew of Divine favour has descended, our hearts have been refreshed, enlarged, and constrained. It is a Bible fact, that when God disposes the heart to pray, he has peculiar mercies to bestow. A spirit of prayer, therefore, is a sure indication of good. "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength."
The prayer-meeting has a tendency to unite the hearts of believers. Here the children of God meet-meet around the mercy-seat-meet to seek Him who has loved them with an everlasting love, and promised them " mercy, and
grace to help in time of need." Prayer is the utterance of the heart as prompted
by the Spirit; and under his unctious power we feel a cordial response to the petitions of the brother leading the social devotions; our union of heart is strengthened thereby, and we can say, "Truly our fellowship is with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ." The prayer-meeting has proved a blessing to many. Strangers to real prayer those who have felt an aver-in the snow. "We must stop and sion to it-have come, and there have help him," said one of the travellers. felt, have wept over their sins, and Stop and help him!" replied the have been led to the cross. 66 Seek- other; you will never think of ers after Jesus, who have long been stopping on such a day as this! We in legal fetters and gloom, there lost are half frozen ourselves, and ought to their burdens, obtained light and be at our journey's end as soon as liberty, "joy and peace in believing." possible." "But I cannot leave this There the broken-hearted have been man to perish," rejoined the more healed, the mourner comforted, the humane traveller; "I must go to his tried succoured, and the strong in relief;" and he stopped his sledge. faith blessed. "For there the Lord "Come," said he, "come, help me to commanded the blessing, even life for rouse him." "Not I," replied the other; "I have too much regard for
Upon a very cold day in the winter, they were driving along in a sledge, wrapped up in furs from head to foot. Even their faces were mostly covered; and you could see hardly anything but their eyebrows, and these were white and glistening with frost. At length they saw a poor man who had sunk down, benumbed and frozen
Prayer-meetings, then, are profit-my own life to expose myself to this able. The presence and grace of freezing atmosphere more than is Father, Son, and Spirit are the cause. necessary. I will sit here, and keep Short, fervent, appropriate exercises myself as warm as I can till you come may be deemed helps. Means, how- back." So saying, he resolutely kept ever, must not be rested in-must be his seat, while his companion hastened looked through, and the heart fix on to the relief of the perishing man, Him who giveth times of refreshing. whom they had so providentially disThese "times of refreshing from the covered. The ordinary means for presence of the Lord," what favoured restoring consciousness and activity moments! Happy seasons! Blessed were tried with complete success; but the kind-hearted traveller was so intent upon saving the life of a fellowcreature, that he had forgotten his own exposure; and what was the consequence? Why, the very effort which he made to warm the stranger warmed himself!-and thus he had a twofold reward. He had the sweet consciousness of doing a benevolent act, and he also found himself glowing from head to foot by reason of the exertion
opportunities! How near to heaven!
"Here, men of grace have found Glory begun below."
THE WAY TO BE HAPPY. A STORY is told of two travellers in Lapland, which throws more light on the art of being happy than a whole volume of precepts and aphorisms.