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science is now, I may presume, on the right side. But can you venture to stifle conviction, to banish good thoughts far from you, and to turn to the world, and there seek your idols, treasures, and delights, even at the moment when you see and admit that such conduct is unreasonable and perverse in itself, and ruinous in its results ? If you are capable of such conduct, I can only lament that you
should be such victims of delusion, that the deceitfulness of sin still prevails within you, and that after all which has been advanced, after all your good thoughts and feelings, you are yet unprepared to make the right choice-unprepared to enlist with all your heart under the banner of the Cross, henceforward “not to be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified, and manfully to fight under his banner, against sin, the world, and the devil; and to continue Christ's faithful soldiers and servants unto your life's end."
Once more I say, You have a Choice to make. Will you be the slaves of sin and of your spiritual enemies? Shall the transient pleasures of sin be your portion here, and the second death, the wages of sin, your portion for ever ? Or will you be the servants of righteousness, having here the favour of God, and then enjoying the pleasures which are at His right hand for evermore ? You have a Choice to make : and may God enable you, in the riches of His mercy, and by the power of His grace, to choose the good part, which shall not be taken from you, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
“ O God, the strength of all them that put their trust in Thee, mercifully accept our prayers; and because through the weakness of our mortal nature we can do no good thing without Thee, grant us the help of Thy grace, that in keeping Thy commandments we may please Thee both in will and deed; through Jesus Christ our Lord." Amen.
O Holy and Blessed God, I plainly see that good and evil are set before me; that different masters, ways, objects, and ends are proposed for my consideration.
The world invites me, and offers me its pleasures; and my heart and fancy are too prone to be delighted with the prospects which it unfolds to my view. But Thou callest me to Thyself, to be wholly Thine: and my conscience testifies that I ought to obey Thy call. The gracious Saviour says, “Follow me :" and I know and feel that I ought to follow Him. Can I hesitate as to the choice that I shall make what master I shall serve, what path I shall walk in, what pleasures I shall seek, and what object I shall strive to obtain ? My judgment and my conscience would lead me to the right decision : how then can I hesitate! How can I linger in deciding! It is hard to renounce so much, and to engage in a service so new and different from that in which I have been living. Yet the renunciation must be made, or I shall live, great God, under Thy displeasure, and finally be banished from Thy presence. O pity my blindness, weakness, and perverseness. I thank Thee for the grace which Thou hast already given me, by which I have any right thoughts and inclinations : but, of thy abundant mercy, give me more grace, that I may not doubt and delay, but may choose Christ and His Gospel for my portion, so that I may be enabled to say in future
life be prolonged, that I have served the Lord from my youth. Enlighten my mind, I beseech Thee, and strengthen my convictions, and fix my resolves, and enable me henceforward to act in agreement with them. I would say, I will serve the Lord :" the gospel of Christ shall be my teacher, guide, and ruler. Be it so, O gracious Father: and let me henceforth live as one who accounts the salvation of the soul to be the one thing needful. Thus bless me, I humbly beseech Thee, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Redeemer and Intercessor. Amen.
66 As for me,
“ Chains of my heart, avaunt I say“
Pursue the bright track ere it fade away,
“Never yet did any one fully embrace the gospel, who did not desire to deny his own wisdom, as an empty lamp; his own will, as a dangerous guide ; his own imagination, as an erroneous rule ; his own affections, as deceitful counsellors ; and his own gratification, as an unworthy end.”
Buddicom's Christian Exodus.
I will suppose that you are inclined to meditate on what has been advanced in the preceding chapters. You reflect on things in a serious manner: you converse with your own hearts, in the remembrance of Him who searches the heart. May I not suppose that you retire from the world, and thus, in solitude, give utterance to your thoughts and feelings?
“I have been addressed, clearly and fully, on a most important subject. I have been solicited to stop in my course, and to examine the most weighty matters that can be submitted to the attention of human beings. Shall I banish them from my mind, retain my former sentiments, and proceed in a worldly mode of life? Shall I say, At a more convenient season I will consider them? My conscience and my reason tell me that these things ought not to be postponed.
“ The character of the young has been put before me, not in repulsive colours, but according to truth. I have been led to contemplate my heart and life ; and I cannot contradict any thing which has been said. My virtues and amiable qualities have not been denied: my sinfulness and lack of true piety have been asserted.
“I have been directed to consider human life, not such as it is according to the dreams of fancy, but such as it is in reality. I have seen it in its relation to another world and to eternity. Why should I dislike a statement that is unquestionably true ? I am here to-day: tomorrow I may be in another world. I am not to be always here: and every hour as it passes, brings me nearer to an eternal and unchangeable state.
“ I have been instructed how to regard religion. The aversion of the human heart to it has been pointed out to me; and I have also seen what it is in itself. I admit the truth of that aversion which has been stated; and I admit the excellence, as well as the importance, of religion: so that the aversion to it which is felt by the human heart is extremely unreasonable, and