Imatges de pÓgina

reprinted, as an interesting exhibition of practical religion, and an eminent incentive to pious persons, to let their light so shine before men, that others might see their good works, and glorify their Father which is in heaven. And should you see it right to present some of them to the readers of the "Orthodox Presbyterian," I conceive you could scarcely present them with any thing more tending to edification. Though the style of a writer of one hundred and seventy years ago may appear in some things quaint to a modern ear, yet there seems to me to be a manliness and force in the writers of that generation that far surpasses in strength the compositions of the present day.

I trust I have said enough to induce you and your readers to take a sample of one of my favourite authors; and should you like the specimen, I shall have pleasure in furnishing you, from time to time, with such farther supplies as may be consistent with the pages you can devote to this department. In the meantime my prayer is, that the God of all grace may pour out his Holy Spirit on this attempt, and render it effectual to the conversion of sinners, and the advancement of his people in holiness and comfort, through faith unto salvation.

I remain, &c.,

J. "From the Common Gaol at Ivelchester, June 13, 1663.

“To my most dearly beloved, my Christian Friends in Taunton, salvation.


"I shall never forget your old kindnesses, would I never so fain forget them; yet I could not, they are so continually received, for there is never a day but I hear of them; nay, more than hear of them, I feel and taste them. The God that hath promised, they that give to a prophet but a cup of cold water, shall receive a prophet's reward, will recompense your labour of love, your fervent prayers, your care for my welfare, and your bountiful supplies. I do and will bless the Lord as long as I live, that he hath cast my lot in so fair a place, to dwell in your communion; and especially to go in and out before you, and to be the messenger of the Lord of hosts to you, to proclaim his law, and to preach his

excellencies, to be his spokesman to you, and to woo for him; to espouse you to one husband, and to present you as à chaste virgin to Christ. Lord! how unworthy am I of this glorious dignity, which 1 verily believe the brightest angels in heaven would be glad of! I cannot repeat, notwithstanding all the difficulties that attend his despised servants, and that are likely to attend them; I have set my hand to his plough; and when I was entered into the sacred office, I told you, Most gladly do I take up this office, with all the persecutions, afflictions, difficulties, and inconveniencies that do and may attend it.' And blessed be God, I am, through his goodness, of the same mind still; and my tribulations for Christ confirm my choice and resolution to serve him with much more than my labours.


"Brethren, let them take up with the world that have no better portion. Be content that they should bear away the riches, and preferments, and glory, and splendor of the world. Alas! you have no reason to envy them-verily they have a lie in their right hand. Ah! how soon will their hopes fail them, how soon will the crackling blast be out, and leave them in eternal darkness! They shall go to the generation of their fathers; they shall never see light. Like sheep, they shall be laid in their graves, and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning.

"But for you, my brethren, I am jealous that none of you should come short of the glory of God. I am ambitious for you that you should be all the heirs of an endless life; of the inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled, and that fades not away.

"Ah! my brethren, why should you not be all happy? I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy, lest a promise being left you of entering into his rest, any of you should come short of it. O look diligently, lest any man fail of the grace of God. How it grieves me, that any of you should fall short of mercy at last; that any of the flock, over which the Holy Ghost made me overseer, should perish, when Christ hath done so much for you, and when we (through his grace) have done somewhat to save them. Ah, dear brethren! I was in great earnest with you, when I besought you out of the pulpit, many a time, to give a bill of divorce to your sins, and to accept of the mercy that, in the name of Almighty God I did there offer you. Alas! how it pitied me to look over so great a congregation, and to think that I could not, for my life, persuade them, one quarter of them to be saved! How it moved me to see your diligence in flocking to the most hazardous opportunities, since the law forbade

my public preaching; and to think that many of you, that went so far, were like to perish for ever, for want of going farther. How fain would I carry you farther than the outward profession! O how loath am I to leave you there! How troubled to think that any of you should hazard much for religion, and yet miscarry for ever by the hand of secret pride, or untamed passion, or an unbridled tongue, or, which I fear most of all, a predominant line of the world in your hearts! Alas! is there no remedy? Must I carry you to heaven's gate, and leave you there? O that I should leave the work of your souls but half done; and bring you no farther than the almost of Christianity! Hear, O my people, hear! Although I may command, upon your utmost peril, in the name of the Lord Jesus, that shall shortly judge you; I beseech you, I warn you, as a father doth his children, to look to the securing of your everlasting condition. Take heed of resting in the outer part of religion, but be restless till you find a thorough change within, and that you are quite new in the bent of your hearts, for here is the main of religion. For Christ's sake, for your soul's sake, look to it, that you build upon the rock, that you unfeignedly deliver yourselves to the Lord, to be under his command, and at his disposal in all things. See that you make no exceptions, no reserve; that you cast overboard all your worldly hopes, and count upon parting with all for Christ; that you take him alone for. your whole happiness. Wonder not that I often inculcate this. If it be well here, it is well all: if unsound here, the error is in the foundation, and you are undone.

"Brethren, I see great trials coming, when we shall see professors fall like leaves in autumn; therefore is it that I would so fain have you look to your standing, and to secure the main. O make sure, whatever you do; get and keep your evidences clear. How dreadful would your temptation be, if you should be called to part with all for Christ, and not be sure of him neither ! Get a clear understanding of the terms of life which I have set before you, in that form of covenanting with God in Christ that I commended to you. I would that none of you should be without a copy of it. Be much in observing your own hearts, and cry mightily to God for assurance. Be strict and watchful in your whole course, and I doubt not but you will quickly have it.

"I cannot conclude till I have given you my unfeigned thanks for your most kind and gracious letter. Sure it shall be in store with me, and laid up among my treasures. That God


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is pleased to make me of one for your edification, is matter of highest joy, as also to see your steadfastness in Christ, your unshaken resolution, notwithstanding all the tempter's wiles. Go on, my dearly beloved, and the Lord strengthen your hands and your hearts, and lift you up above the fear of men. The Lord strengthen, establish, settle you; and after you have suffered a while, make you perfect. I leave my brethren in the everlasting arms, and rest your ambassador in bonds,



THERE is not one of the divine commands more continually transgressed than the one above-mentioned. The rich and the poor, the young and the old, have all their own way of dishonouring that day which God, in his infinite wisdom and love, has set apart for holy exercises. Even the Christian, who professes to take the law for the rule of his life, though not for the ground of his hope, is, from ignorance, or some other cause, lamentably defective in the due observance and improvement of the Sabbath. And while we must deplore, that the law of the land is not duly executed to prevent the outward violation of the command of God, let us each consider what we might do, as individuals, as members of society, to promote the more strict observance of the Sabbath in our own families, and among those around us; and to this end we shall point out, first, some of the ways by which God's holy day is most generally profaned, and then consider some of the duties contained in the command,-" Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy."

The divine command prohibits all work from being done on the Sabbath, which exclusively and properly belongs to the week-days. The command runs thus: "Six days shalt thou labour, and do all that thou hast to do, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God, in it thou shalt do no manner of work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the

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Sabbath-day, and hallowed it."-Exod. xx. 8, 9, 10, 11. Are not those, therefore, guilty of a most awful breach of the Sabbath, who, though they outwardly appear to have ceased from their worldly labour on the Sabbath, are yet secretly carrying it on? Is not this the case with those who, though they pretend to have their shop-doors closed, will admit customers secretly, and give them what they require rather than disoblige them? Do not those profane the Sabbath, who neglect to provide on the Saturday what is necessary for their families on the Lord's day, and who, in consequence of their neglect, are obliged, on that day, to send their servants to purchase what they require, and thus are doubly guilty, by not only breaking God's law themselves, but also teaching others to do so? Are not those guilty of Sabbath-breaking, who entertain their friends on the Lord's day, which, besides occupying much of their own time and attention, causes their servants to labour as much on this as on any other day of the week, to the great injury of their souls? And even where there are no strangers invited, is it proper or necessary that the servants should be employed on the Lord's day in preparing meat for the family, when this work might be done on the preceding day without any inconvenience? What a lamentable thing it is, for the master and mistress of professing Christian families to keep their servants up to a late hour on the Saturday evening, in consequence, perhaps, of having had a party of their rich friends and neighbours on that day, (by which practice the hours of the holy Sabbath are often encroached upon,) and when they enter upon the Lord's day, still required to go on with their work, little or no difference being made in the table on that day from the other days of the week. The boiling, and baking, and roasting, go on as usual. It is true the servants in such families may have time allowed them for attending the public worship of God in the morning, but this is all; there is no time for secret prayer, or reading the Scriptures; no time for meditation on what they have heard. Assuredly these things should not be so. The command which prohibits the master from working, is binding on him also, with regard to his servant, ("thou and thy servant;") and in this is included not only the daily labourer or mechanic, but also the servant, who ministers more immediately to our personal comfort. And may not this be one cause of the absence of religious feeling which is generally deplored among the domestics in such families? The morning and evening sacrifice may be regularly offered up, but no good

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