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not but have been deeply affected with their self-denying readiness to assist each other. At such a time as this the Christian minister has important duties to discharge. He must be found, wherever called upon, by the beds of the sick and the dying, pointing them to the "Lamb of God." It devolves on him especially to direct attention to the source and the designs of the visitation. The writer has endeavoured to do this amongst his own flock; but there are many whom neither his personal ministrations nor those of any one else can reach; and he feels it to be a solemn duty to do what he can in this way to lead them to reflection, to repentance, and to prayer.
these are thy judgments; this evil which is in our city, thou hast done it."
God has a purpose in this dispensation. -Why does he send or permit afflic tion and sorrow? Not because he takes pleasure in suffering, for he is a God of tender mercy, and "he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men." He himself has told us the reason. It is the punishment of sin-chastisement: "You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore will I punish you for your iniquities." "Wherefore should a living man complain-a man for the punishment of his sins?" "Thou with rebukes dost chasten man for his iniquity." Affliction, whether personal or general, is his "rod"—the rod of his correction. And with such declarations as these before us, is it a rash and unwarrantable assumption that such may be God's design in reference to us? Is there not evil abounding in our city, which God must regard with deep displeasure? What profligacy is there! what impurity! what Sabbathbreaking! what neglect of the house of God! what indifference to the soul's everlasting interests! what contempt of the Gospel! "Shall I not visit for these things? saith the Lord." But the end he contemplates is merciful. There is love in the stroke, even though it may be severe. It is "for our profit." Is it not love to seek to wean us from sin-to bring us to true repentanceto quicken us to a sense of duty-to arouse us to seek the salvation of our souls-and to raise our affections to
The present dispensation is, beyond all question, the appointment and the work of God.-We may trace it instrumentally and secondarily to various causes, some of which we may do much to obviate to intemperance, to privation, to filth, to noxious vapours, to the state of the atmosphere, and to many things besides. But we must look far higher -to that Being who sways the sceptre of universal dominion, and whose providential care extends to all his works, but especially to his intelligent creation: "He doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth." "I have sent among you the pestilence," said he, on one occasion, to Israel. "Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?" The prophet Isaiah recognizes general calamities as his judgments: "When thy judgments are abroad in the earth," &c. Apply-heaven? Let us humbly acknowledge ing the principle embodied in these passages to ourselves, as stroke after stroke descends, let us humbly acknowledge, "Lord, it is the blow of thine hand;
his justice in the chastisements he has seen it right to inflict, and adore the goodness which sent them to lead us back to God!
This dispensation is the Lord's voice. "The Lord's voice crieth to the city, and the man of wisdom shall see thy name: hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it." It is his voice who, of all others, has a right to be heard-our Creator, our Preserver, our Judge: "O earth! earth! earth! hear the word of the Lord." And to whom does that voice speak?
The Lord's voice speaks to all who are unprepared for death and eternity.-You have a soul-more precious than the whole world-an immortal soul. That soul is involved in guilt, and is an heir of everlasting woe. But it may be SAVED! No matter what you may have been, there is mercy for you in Christ: "He is able to save to the uttermost." Yet none can be saved unless they repent, and believe the Gospel: "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise PERISH." "He that believeth not shall be DAMNED." And these are acts which can be performed only in life. If you are not saved before you die, you will be LOST-LOST FOR EVER!
The possibility may be a distant one, but still there is a possibility. The present moment is the only period which you can call your own. Now, then, THIS MOMENT, "Escape for your life!" "Behold, Now is the accepted time; behold, Now is the day of salvation!"
Do you say, "It will be time enough when I am struck with sickness to think of these things?" Let me solemnly remind you that it may then be too late. You may not be able then to seek for mercy. Your sufferings may be such as to render anything like thought and reflection absolutely impossible. This is most likely to be the case, should you be attacked by the more malignant form of the disease which is prevalent now. And instances have not been wanting where those who have left their preparation for eternity to a death-bed have then been abandoned to despair. "TO-DAY" how urgently does every consideration enforce the precept!—"TO-DAY, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts!"
The Lord's voice speaks to the drunkard and the profligate.-Is it not a fact that persons of debased and profligate habits have fallen the readiest victims to cholera? If, then, you persevere in your sins, you prepare yourselves as fuel for the flame. Knowing this, should your days be shortened by your courses of folly and vice, you go into the presence of your Judge with the suicide's guilt resting on your heads. And what a
And how brief and uncertain is life! You have been reminded of this by the deaths of your friends and neighbours in the course of the last few weeks. They have fallen on your right hand and on your left. The stroke has come very nigh you. There have been those who began the day in perfect or comparative health, who were smittenwho died-who were even buried-before the shadows of the evening had closed; sad and striking examples of the truth of the Psalmist's description: | doom will be yours! "Hear the rod!" "In the morning they are like grass which groweth up; in the morning it flourisheth and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down and withereth." It is possible such might be your lot.
It calls you to repentance, to sobriety, to chastity, to holiness. Resolve that you will be no longer enslaved by your vices. Seek for strength from Heaven to assert your freedom: "Repent and
be converted, that your sins may be blotted out." Then, as you call to mind the solemn and afflictive season which is now passing over us, you will remember it with joy, as the time when you were "cleansed from all your filthiness," and plucked as " brands from the burning."
more strenuous efforts for their salvation.
The Lord's voice speaks to those who
that it may be the occasion of revival in our churches-that it may arouse the careless, make the trifler serious, reclaim the wanderer, and fill our sanctuaries with anxious inquirers after salvation. Such efforts will be blessed! Such prayer will be heard! And we shall look back to this period of danger and alarm as the time when God began to pour out upon us a blessing so rich, so full, that there was "not room enough to receive it !"
"The Lord's voice crieth to the city, and the man of wisdom shall see thy name: hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it."
This excellent Address is from the
HINTS FOR RELIGIOUS
THY heart will be likely to betray thee by trifling, when it should be effectually meditating. Perhaps when thou hast an hour for meditation, the time will be spent before thy heart will be serious. This doing of duty, as if we did it not, ruins as many as the omisThe Lord's voice speaks to Christians.sion of it. Here let thine eye be al-It is a call to self-examination. It ways upon thy heart. Look not so bids us search our hearts, that we may much to the time it spends in the know whether our hope is really a duty, as to the quantity and quality of hope which maketh not ashamed." the work that is done. You can tell It is a call to more compassionate regard by his work whether a servant hath for the souls of our fellow-citizens, and to been diligent. Ask yourselves, What
If the ravening fowls of wandering thoughts devour the meditations intended for heaven, they devour the life and joy of thy thoughts; therefore drive them away from thy sacrifice, and strictly keep thy heart to the work.
affections have yet been exercised? How this thy love to thy friend? Dost thou much am I yet got nearer to heaven? love Christ, and the place of thy eterThink not, since thy heart is so trifling, | nal, blessed abode, no more than this?" it is better to let it alone; for by this means thou wilt certainly banish all spiritual obedience; because the best hearts, being but sanctified in part, will resist so far as they are carnal. But rather consider well the corruption of thy nature; and that its sinful indispositions will not supersede the commands of God, nor one sin excuse for another; and that God has appointed means to excite our affections. This self-reasoning, self-considering duty of heavenly meditation, is the most singular means both to excite and increase love. Therefore stay not from the duty till thou feelest thy love constrain thee, any more than thou wouldst stay from the fire till thou feelest thyself warm; but engage in the work till love is excited, and then love will constrain thee to further duty.
Thy heart will also be making excursions from thy heavenly meditation to other objects. It will be turning aside, like a careless servant, to talk with every one that passeth by. Where there should be nothing in thy mind but heaven, it will be thinking of thy calling, or thy afflictions, or of every bird, or tree, or place thou seest. The cure is here the same as before-use watchfulness and violence. Say to thy heart: "What! did I come hither to think of my worldly business, of persons, places, news, or vanity, or of anything but heaven, be it ever so good? Canst thou not watch one hour? Wouldst thou leave this world, and dwell for ever with Christ in heaven, and not leave it one hour to dwell with Christ in meditation? Is
Abruptly ending thy meditation before it is well begun, is another way in which thy heart will deceive thee. Thou mayest easily perceive this in other duties. In secret prayer, is not thy heart urging thee to cut it short, and frequently making a motion to have done? So in heavenly contemplation, thy heart will be weary of the work, and will stop thy heavenly walk before thou art well warm. But charge it in the name of God to stay, and not do so great a work by halves. Say to it: "Foolish heart! if thou beg awhile, and goest away before thou hast thy alms, is not thy begging a lost labour? If thou stoppest before the end of thy journey, is not thy travel lost? Thou camest hither in hope to have a sight of the glory which thou must inherit; and wilt thou stop when thou art almost at the top of the hill, and turn back before thou hast taken thy survey? Thou camest hither in hope to speak with God, and wilt thou go bcfore thou hast seen him? Thou camest to bathe thyself in the streams of consolation, and to that end didst unclothe thyself of thy earthly thoughts; and wilt thou only touch the bank and return? Thou camest to spy out the land of promise; go not back without one cluster of grapes to show thy brethren for their encouragement. Let them see that thou hast tasted of the
wine, by the gladness of thy heart; and that thou hast been anointed with the oil, by the cheerfulness of thy countenance; and hast fed of the milk and honey, by the mildness of thy disposition, and the sweetness of thy conversation." This heavenly fire would melt thy frozen heart, and refine and spiritualize it, but it must have time to operate. Thus pursue the work till something be done, till thy graces be in exercise, thy affections raised, and thy soul refreshed with the delights above; or, if thou canst not attain these ends at once, be the more earnest at another time. Blessed is that servant whom his Lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing!
A FEW years since a gentleman died at the age of sixty-three, who had, for twenty years, held on his course as a consistent, humble, and exemplary Christian. His only son possessed those exterior embellishments which attract and please-a noble form and elegant manners. He possessed all those accomplishments which grace the convivial circle, the ball-room, and other places of fashionable resort; but with all these he was an infidel in principle, a libertine in practice, and held in utter contempt the religion of the Bible. His amiable parent sickens, and draws nigh to the gates of death; and the votary of dissipation is called to witness the last struggle. Grasping the hand of the young man, and with his eye fixed steadily upon his unhappy child, the departing saint urges him to weigh well the scene before him; to anticipate his own dissolution; and to be assured, that the same
Foundation which his dying father had built upon, and the same hope which he had so long cherished, could alone render death tolerable, and eternity happy. The parent dies, and is buried; and the survivor, with an increase of property, with proportioned avidity rushes on to destruction. A note, penned by his departed parent a few weeks prior to his decease, containing a solemn injunction that he would, on some suitable occasion, retire to the room in which his father died, and read the fifteenth chapter of St. Luke, falls into his hands. This was soon forgotten: but, at length, after a year had elapsed, on a gloomy Sabbath morning in November, he carelessly sauntered into the chamber to look at his late parent's portrait, and kill the time until he should join a gay party at an hotel. There paternal affection seemed still to smile in the well-depicted features of his deceased father. There was the bed on which the "pains, the groans, and dying strife," were exchanged for the anthems and praises of the heavenly world; and there, too, were the chair and the table on which stood the valuable family Bible, over the contents of which the sainted relative had so often prayed. Here he sat down. A host of overpowering recollections rushed upon his mind; a pale procession of past sins appeared before him, and, like a spectre, whispered in his ear "Judgment!" The note referred to came to mind, and was read. The chapter spoken of was read, too, and that proclaimed, "Mercy!" The dinner party was left to its festivity without his presence. The conviction flashed upon his mind, for the first time, that his departed parent had died cheered