Imágenes de páginas

lar ; who does as he would be done by, in buying and selling?

2. Family religion is wanting in many branches. And what avails public preaching alone, though we could preach like angels ? we must, yea, every travelling preacher must instruct the people from house to house. Till this be done, and that in good earnest, the Methodists will be no better.

Our religion is not sufficiently deep, universal, uniform : but superficial, partial, uneaven. It will be so till we spend half as much time in this visiting, as we now do in talking uselessly. Can we find a better method of doing this than Mr. Baxter's ? If not, let us adopt it without delay. His whole' tract, entitled Gildas Salvianus, is well worth a careful perusal. Speaking of this visiting from house to house, he says, (p. 351.)“ We shall find many hindrances, both in ourselves and the people.”

1. In ourselves, there is much dulness and laziness, so that there will be much ado to get us

to be faithful in the work.

2. We have a base, man-pleasing temper, so that we let them perish rather than lose their love : we let them go

[ocr errors]


quietly to hell, lest we should offend them. 3. Some of us have a foolish bashful.

We know not how to begin, and blush to contradict the devil.

4. But the greater hindrance is weakness of faith. Our whole motion is weak, because the spring of it is weak.

5. Lastly, we are unskilful in the work. How few know how to deal with men, so as to get within them, and suit all our discourse to their several conditions and tempers : To choose the fitest subjects, and follow them with a holy mixture of seriousness, terror, love and meekness ?

But undoubtedly this private application is implied in those solemn words of the apostle, I charge thee before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing, preach the word; be instant in season, out of season : Reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering.

O brethren, if we could but set this work on foot in all our societies, and prosecute it zealously, what glory would redound to God! If the common luke. warmness were banished, and every zhop, and every house busied in speak.

[merged small][ocr errors]

ing of the word and works of God; surely God would dwell in our habitations, and make us his delight.

And this is absolutely necessary to the welfare of our people, some of whom neither repent nor believe to this day, Look round, and see how many of them are still in apparent danger of damnation. And how can you walk and talk, and be merry with such people, when you know their case? When you look them in the face you should break forth into tears, as the prophet did when he looked upon Hazael, and then set on them with the most vehement exhortations. O, for God's sake, and the sake of poor souls, bestir yourselves, and spare no pains that may conduce to their salvation !

What cause have we to bleed before the Lord that we have so long neglected this good work! If we had but engaged in it sooner, how many more might have been brought to Christ? And how much holier and happier might our societies have been before now? And why might we not have done it sooner? There were many hindrances : and so there always will be. But the greatest hindrance is in ourselves, in our littleness of faith and love.

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

But it is objected, I. “ This will take up so much time we shall not have leisure to follow our studies.'

We answer, 1. Gaining knowledge is a good thing, but saving souls is a better. 2. By this very thing you will gain the most excel. lent knowledge, that of God and eternity: 3. You will have time for gaining other knowledge too. Only sleep not more than you need ;

" and never be idle, or triflingly employed.” But, 4. If you can do but one, let your studies alone. We ought to throw by all the libraries in the world, rather than be guilty of the loss of one soul.

It is objected, 11. “The people will not submit to it.” If some will not, others will. And the success with them, will repay all your labour.

0 let us herein follow the example of St. Paul. 1. For our general business, Serving the Lord with all humility of mind: 2. Our special work, Take heed to yourselves, and to all the flock : 3. Our doctrine, Repentance towards God and faithi towards our Lord Jesus Christ : 4. The place, I have taught you publickly, and from house to house : 5.

The object and manner of teaching, I ceased not to zpiel rn every one, night and day, with

tears: 6. His innocence and self-denial

herein, I have coveted no man's silver or gold : 7. His patience, Neither count I my life dear unto myself. And among all other motives, let these be ever before our eyes : 1. The church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. 2. Grievous wolves shall enter in; yea, of yourselves shall men arise, speaking perverse things.

Write this upon your hearts, and it will do you more good than twenty years study. Then you will have no time to spare : You will have work enough. Then likewise no preacher will stay with us who is as salt that has lost its savour. For to such, this employment would be mere drudgery. And in order to it you will have need of all the knowledge you can procure, and grace you can attain.

The sum is, Go into every house in course, and teach every one therein, young and old, to be christians inwardly and outwardly ; make every particular plain to their understandings; fix it in their minds ; write it on their hearts, In order to this, there must be line upon line, precept upon precept. What patience, what love, what knowledge is

« AnteriorContinuar »