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In this life the streams run low, and we are favoured only with a taste; but in Heaven this sacred river will rise high, and flow divively full. Millions have drank, and will for ever drink of its sacred stream, which will flow as tice and full as ever.
This river is also free of access. It was grace, divinely rich and free, that first opened this foundation to the wretched children of men; and the same grace invites the celestia: inhabitants to partake of its fulness. “ The Spirit and bride say, Come; and let him that heareth, say Conie; and let him that is athirst come: and whosover will, let him take the water of life freely."
And now, my soul, reflect on the description which the angel gives of ibis river. It is a pure river. Purity is essential to the Deity; consequently he cannot delight in any thing but what bears his own sacred image ; therefore, those streans of bliss which proceed from himi, must be pure. How unfit then art thou to be a partaker of these pure joys! Lament thine-impurity, and pray ardently for an increasing resemblance to God.
It is the water of life, or living water: water that gives and supports the divine life. The first taste which thou hadst of this water, under the preaching of the word, gave thce spiritual life: thou wast raised from the death of sio 1o the newness of life in Christ Jesus : for saving grace here is effectual to salvation : it is a well of water springing up into eternal life. Thus the sacred life is begun below, and will continue for ever. And when thou, my soul, shalt enter Heaven, this divine life will flourish in immortal vigour. For what is all the fulness of glory? - what are all the unknown extacies of the disembodied followers of the Lamb, - but grace completed! - It is the bud of grace expanded, and in full and everlasting bloom; or, in allusion to the metaphor in these words, it is the slender, silver, stream, expanded into the broad immeasurable ocean, without a bottom or a shore !
It is clear as chrystal. This precious stone is remarkable for its transparency. Thus the joys of leaven are not merely pure, but clear as chrystal : more pure and refined than mortal minds can conceive; and perhaps this idea may be taught us by ibe expression, That all the mysteries of God's word, his ordinances and his providences, shall be explained in that brighter, purer world. Those things, which to thee, my soul, are now dark and inexplicable, shall become transparent, -as clear as chrys. tal. The mind of the saints shall be all intelligence :“ They shall see as they are seen; they shall know as they are known."
This river proceedeth out of the throne of God and the Lamb. Behold the dignity of the Son of God: he is sented on the same throne with his omnipotent God and Father. Being of the same essence, he thinks it no robbéry to claim a full equality.
And is it not evident also, that the presence and smiles of spirits ? The presence of a mere man (the Socinian's Saviour) would not add much to the glory or bliss of Heaven ; but the presence of Jesus, will it not impart new vigour to the services? Will it not add a divine melody to the songs of the saints, to behold the man, the God-man, that groaned on Calvary, seated high on a throne of dazzling light?
“ Pririces to his imperial name,
Bend their bright sceptres down;
To see him wear a crown!”
To the Editor.
I am Sir, yours &c.
A FRIEND OF YOUTA, “ETERNAL God! Interpose in favour of the youth who are before thee; and suffer not Procrastination, that thief of time, that child of the Devil, that enemy of all righteousness, to deceive and to destroy the rising hopes of our families, our churches, and our country! Pour down thy Spirit upon our seed, and thy blessing upon our offspring! Nay one say I ain the Lord's, and another call himself by the name of Jacob; and another subscribe with his own hand, and surname himself by the name of Israel! To realize this pleasing prospect, let ministers, let tutors, let all unite their endeavours : but O, ye parents, a peculiar obligation devolves upon you. Awaken all your tenderness and anxiety, and give them a spiritual direction: you wish your children to be sober, submissive, and dutiful,---but pieiy is the only sure foundation of morality. You would not have your love for your children be suspected : but wretched are those children who share only in a solicitude which asks “ What shall they eat, or what shall they drink, or wherewithal shall they be clothed?” What is the body to the soul? what is time to eternity? what is it to dispose of them advantageously in life, and leave them unprepared for death, upprovided for a new, a never-ending, a changeless period of existence: --Are you the barbarous instruments of bringing these hapless beings into lite, only to sacrifice them? Such parents are more cruel than Herod. He slew the children of others;-these slay their own. He only destroyed the body ;these destroy the soul. His victims died innocent, and were, doubtless, saved ;-these parents will not suffer their offspring to season of safety is elapsed, -- till they are become accountable and criminal, and expose them when they know their death will be attended with their damnation ! Men and brethren, escape this dreadful censure! Distinguish yours, not only from an openly wicked world, but from those modern protessors of religion, who are always found in public, hearing sermons; but can leave their families in disorder, and take no pains in the pious education of their children. Fear God yourselves, and icach your offspring to fear bim. Recommend instruction by example, and crown all withí prayer, prayer for them and with them. Thus you will “ train then up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord!" Thus you will rejoice here to see them walking in the truth; and hereafter will lead them to the throne of glory: “ Behold, liere am I, and the child thou hast given me.”
mard them till the
REFLEXIONS ON THE DEATH OF A MINISTER, OCCASIONED BY TILE RECENT DECCASE OF
THE RETUR. EYRE.
Ir' is the prerogative of God to bring good out of evil, yea, to over-rule evil itselt, in muy instances, tor good. Sin, when it filled the world with wretchedness, introduced Death: a deliverance to the good man from all his nuiseries! O how uns happy should we be, to be condemned to live for ever in a world Jike this! And as the world has increased in wickedness, God hath been pleased repeatedly to shorten the age of man; at once to hasten the simner to his judgment-bar, and the believer to his bosom : even the prophets do not live for ever.
When God blesses a man with eminent gifts and usefulness, and makes him, like Abralıam, a blessing to all around, it is naiural, it is just, it is their duty, to esteem him highly; and that esteem will necessarily make his loss regretted, and his memory lamented; the only evil is, that we are apt to mix sin with our sorrows, as well as joys, and murinur when we should adore.
Alas,” say we," he was cut off in the prime of life :- he was taken away in the midst of his usefulness, — and who shall supply his place:" Admitted. The Lord often takes his ministers away in these circumstances. Do we wish them to outlive their usefulness? When we would gather a flower, do we wait till its beauties fade, and its vigour droops? Do we not rather pluck it in its prime, that we may enjoy its bloom, and exhale its odours: The Lord's ministers are his “ pleasant plants;" — and shall we dispute his right to do the same?
“ But who shall supply his place ?" says the voice of UnbeHief: " Who shall carry on the work in which he was en
pendent of means, or by instruments apparently very inadequate to his work. This he often does, to display his own glory,, to prove that the power is his own. Or it may be, he has another instrument in reserve, already formed and fitted for the work; and he hath made the exchange to show us, that “the residue of the Spirit is with liim.”
A variety of reasons inay be assigned for such aMictive dispensations : – Sometimes they may be to arouse an inattentive and careless congregation, and put them on close self-examination. Sometimes to awaken the fine feelings of Christian benevolence, and attord thein full scope, by casting on their care a distressed widow, and a numerons family of orphans. Sometimes, But we need not seek farther. There are two reasons, in all cases, sufficient to account forsuch bereavements.
1. Ministers are men,- and men are mortal: and if Moses and Joshua, David and Solomon, Isaiah and Jeremiah, Prophets, Evangelists, and Apostles, - if these die, shall we not expect our ministers to die also ? Alas! how apt are we to forget the slight tenure upon which life is held! We wonder to hear of the death of our friends : may we not rather wonder' while they live! The world is Golgotha. Death is continually dealing about his arrows. A thousand fall at our right hand, and ten thousand at our left; and is it not alınost a miracle that we stand ?
Ministers are saints, at least those of whom we speak, and saints are born for immortality. Is it surprizing, that when the Lord hath formed a vessel meet for glory, he should take it to himself? We pray that our ministers should grow in grace and holiness, -- that they may be perfected in every good word and work; --- and do we not then pray for their removal? Do we expect, do we wish them to remain on earth, when they are fully meet for Heaven? Q ernel kindness! Let us rather pray that we also may be prepared to follow; - that, as corn fully ripe, we also may be gathered into the garden of Heaven," and so be for ever with the Lord.”
ORIGINAL LETTER from the Rev. Dr. DoDDRIDGE to the Rev. Mr. SHEPHERD.
Northampton Jan. 27, 1748. My Dear Friend and Brother,
My heart is very tenderly affected with your very kind, pions, and edifying letter, for which I return you the most cordial thanks; and must assure you, that it concurs with many other things that I have seen and known in you, to unite my heart to you iu bonds of the most endeared Christian love. You will perhaps be surprized to hear, that the word which dropped from ine last night was quite unpremeditated, and did not appear to
me the effect of any thing that looked like an extraordinary intimation from God; but it has, in the general, been very deeply impressed on my mind of late ; and my wife has (as she now tells inc) observed many effects of it; that I must shortly put off this tabernacle; and that whatever I would do for Christ and for souls, I must do it in baste : and I have indeed felt my soul quickened to such earnest desires of doing something for the conversion and edification of those to whom the Lord calls me to speak, whether publicly or privately, as I never felt, especially for such a continuance of time, since I came into the ministry. Whatever may be the intention of Providence, or whatever the event, sure I am, that the thoughts you suggest are very seasonable and weighty ; and I receive them with humble thankfulness to God, and to you, my dear and worthy broiler; for as such I estcein and embrace you, and wish your good, and comfort, and usefulness, as I do my own; and sympathize with you most sincerely and tenderly under every afiliction and discouragement ; and pray that the Lord may in great merey build up your soul, as I assuredly believe he does, and build up the church under your care, and give you many seals to your ministry. If God spare my life, and give me any real opportunities of serving you, I hope you will find my friendship as sincere as I desire to tind that ofany of my friends and brethren upon earth. If I die, God will, I doubt not, visit and support you. I adore the divine goodness; iny mind is, through grace, sweetly composed and resigned. I can say, “I know in whom I have believed," and the thought that Christ, my dear and ever faithful Saviour, bas the key of death, and the unseen world, reconciles me to the thought of life or death ; so that, I bless God, I bare never any solicitude about it. But I take great notice of the fact of wbich you so kindly inforın me, wbich I really think very remarkable. Go on, dear Sir, to pray for me, that whether my life be longer or shorter, it may all be spent for him, who for this end died, and rose again and revived, that he might be the Lord both of the dead and of the living. Be assured of my kindest remembrance in every circunstance in which I bare any cause to hope it may be useful to me, and that you will oblige me by calling freely upon me, and yet more by pointing out any opportunity of shewing you by actions, rather ihan words, the true esteen and love with which I am,
and faithful Servant
P. DODDRIDGE, P.S. Judge of my heart by this basty leiter, and let it ibide
with you as a memorial, how I ain atiected towards you, though I have so few opportunities of personal converse, which I could wislı were more frequent.