Imatges de pÓgina

are only strangers and sojourners here before the Lord, as were all our fathers, and that we are called upon to look for an eternal habitation, whose maker and builder is God, where no sin, nor sorrow, nor trouble shall ever enter to dise turb our heavenly joy. Let us feel, let us act like Christians, who are destined to an immortality of existence beyond the grave; let us ask ourselves, what are the pleasures, the possessions, and things of this world, upon which we too often place our hearts and our hopes of enjoyment? do they not deceive us when we expect to derive happiness from them? are they not frequently to us sources of vexation and of bitter disappointment, even when they are not wrested by what we call misfortune from our hands? Why, then, should we lament the dispensations of heaven, when a portion of that which we possess is wrung from us; has not God been the giver, and has he not also a right to be the disposer; what can we call our own that has not been bestowed upon us by our heavenly Father; and why should we murmur if he should resume the disposal of that which is his own? Let man think but for a moment upon what he is, and where he is going, and the fairy chain of delusion which binds him to this world would burst asunder, and he would assert the immortality of his nature and the end of his being, by aiming at a life of holiness which would terminate in glory, and by letting nothing deter him from following his Redeemer in that path which leads to happiness and heaven. In a few more revolving years, those who now bustle with so much toil and anxiety in world will be removed om it for ever-other feet shall tread their dwellings and echo in their lonely habitations, when theirs are mouldering in the grave-other hands shall toil amidst their possessions, when the icy chilness of death has unnerved their own--and other eyes shall gaze upon the beauties of the coming spring, or upon the solemn grandeur of nature's, autumnal decay, when theirs have been closed in the dreary night of that darkness which awaits them. The old and the young, the weak and the strong, will soon be called upon to submit to one common fate, when the dust shall return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return to God who gave it. Let man not boast of what he possesses here; let him not be too anxious about it-in a few years he must leave all behind him; and when God does occasionally wrest from his grasp a portion of that which he vainly calls his own, it should teach him to think upon the time when he will be compelled to part with all that is dear to

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him here, and be hurried from time into eternity. That time will soon arrive--there is but one way in which we can make preparation for it, and that is, by embracing a Saviour, by believing in him, and by obeying him; for he is the way, and the truth, and the life, and no man cometh unto the Father but by him. Let us supplicate the grace of God to strengthen our belief, to work in us the meetness for the inheritance of the saints in light, and then we will be able, in the assurance of faith, to exclaim, that we reckon the sufferings of this present time as not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.


It is our duty to trust in God in a time of trial, because, during a period of affliction, we may be enabled to know ourselves, to know the foundation upon which we have built our hopes, and to know whether we be able and willing to suffer all things for the sake of our Lord and Saviour, who has endured so much for us. It is said the Lord trieth the righteous, and this is one method by which he tries them: when they are in affliction, when they are in distress, when the chastening hand of God has been laid upon them, to purge away their dross, then comes the trial of their faith, their patience, and their resignation; and if they faint not in the day of their calamity, deny not God, disbelieve not the saving grace of their Redeemer, Jehovah, their covenant God, will make it to the world for his own glory, that they are something more than mere worldlings, who build their hopes and their happiness upon a foundation weak, and frail, and perishable as themselves. Those upon whom God has bestowed his saving grace, find abundant need for it at such a period, and enjoy, perhaps, clearer evidences of their Christian hopes and of their spiritual state, than they ever did before during the hours of their greatest earthly prosperity and their highest worldly joy. When the sun is shining in the unclouded lustre of his brightness, pouring forth his glorious flood of light upon the loveliness which surrounds us, and scattering, as the agent of his Almighty Maker, the smile which brings into existence the fruitfulness of nations,-the starry world beyond his sphere is hidden from the beholder's gaze; but when night comes on, and when darkness has spread her mantle over nature, then can the eye wander in delight amidst the million worlds that circle themselves around the base of Jehovah's everlasting throne. So when the day of prosperity has been turned into darkness-when our joys have been clouded by gloom and disappointment-when the sun of our earthly happiness has gone down amidst sorrows and

bereavements, we are enabled to look farther into the dispensations of our God, and to behold that which, in the days of our earthly enjoyment, had been hidden from our eyes. When that with which we are immediately surrounded is taken away from us, then we look farther along the prospect to meet with some other object upon which we can rest our eye; so when the things world are removed from us by our God, and we have them no longer to engross our thoughts and our affections, then do we begin to strain our intellectual gaze to penetrate the visions of eternity that are opening before us, and to think of that hour, and to make preparation for its approach, when we must be gathered to our fathers and sleep with them in the dust. Soon will this hour come upon us-we know not whether we will see the termination of the year upon which we have now entered; let us then direct our thoughts to the things which are unseen and eternal;" for now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation; that when death does come upon us we may be enabled to say, even on the verge of the dark valley, we fear no evil, for God is with us; his rod and his staff they comfort us.




HAVING read in your last Number a Review of the Life of Renwick, the last of the Scottish Martyrs, I send you the following pathetic lines, which I found in a collection of Scottish poetry of a very old date, as an imaginative description, which, in all probability, gives too true a picture of the acute feelings of a suffering mother in those days of intolerance, when the spirit of Presbyterianism enabled our forefathers to lift up a testimony which we fear is not duly appreciated by their descendants.


When the sun gaes ower the hill at e'en,.......
An a' to rest are gane,

Its then that I sae waefu sit,

Beside the Martyr's' stane.

Its then the tears come in my ee,
As I sing the sweet psalm tune;
But there's nane to join the melody,
But blythe angels aboon.

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SINCE I had the pleasure, in the year 1831, of occupying, during twelve months, your first pages, on the subject of doctrine and experience, under the title resumed at the head of this article, I have often thought that a series of papers, showing the influence of personal religion in its practical effects in the various relations of life, would tend to complete the former series, and afford a variety of interesting instruction to your numerous readers. While contemplating this subject, it has frequently occurred to me, that a reprint of a small work, almost entirely unknown to the present generation, entitled, "Alleine's Christian Letters," with occasional notes, would meet the object as effectually as any original papers would do. The Rev. Joseph Alleine, the author of these letters, is well known to the religious world as the writer of "An Alarm to the Unconverted," a little work, than which, perhaps, none other was ever more eminently blessed of the Lord to the awakening of careless sinners, and the pointing of them to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. The book is well worthy the study of every pious minister, that he may examine and imitate the means employed by one of the most successful labourers in the Lord's vineyard, in trying to reach the hearts of unconverted men. In the introduction to his Alarm, he states the object, which he

seems constantly to pursue, and which every pious minister should prosecute with unwearied diligence.-"I am not playing the orator, in order to gratify you with a learned. speech; but these lines are directed to you on a weighty errand, indeed, viz., to convince, to convert, and to save you. I am not baiting my hook with rhetoric, for the purpose of obtaining your applause; but I am labouring for the security of your souls. My aim is not to please but to profit you. I have nothing to do with your fancies, but my business is with your hearts; and if I gain not these, I lose my purpose. If we speed not with you, my Brethren, you are certainly lost; if we cannot get your consent to arise and come away, you perish for ever; since without conversion, there can be no salvation." The man who pursued this course, understood well his Master's business.

What a melancholy reflection, that this great light should be put under a bushel! And yet this was the case, as he was ejected, in consequence of the nefarious act of uniformity, which took place August 24, 1662, and which involved a multitude of the best ministers any country ever enjoyed in the same catastrophe in England.


And yet it is delightful to observe how the God of all grace brings light out of darkness, and order out of confusion. Had Baxter not been an invalid, we should, perhaps, never have had "The Saint's Rest," which has helped so many of the children of God on their way to their eternal home. Had Bunyan never been imprisoned in Bedford jail, he would probably never have found time to write the "Pilgrim's Progress," which has warned so many of Zion's children of the dangers to be shunned on the right hand and on the left, in their path to glory. And had Alleine been at liberty to prosecute his ministerial labours without interruption, we should never have had those eminently pious and practical letters which he wrote to his people from prison, to lead them to take heed lest any of them should fail of the grace of God, and to press forward the truly pious in the heavenly way..

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We might expect letters written by a devoted minister, under such circumstances, to his beloved people, would have a peculiar unction about them, and so, indeed, in an eminent degree, it is. So much was I struck with this circumstance many years ago, that I have, from time to time, read select portions of these letters, and pressed them on the attention of a monthly meeting of some of the more serious of my flock. I have often wished to see them

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