Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

when beholding a fellow-creature burst the bonds of sin and pursue the path that leads to his everlasting home. Hasten onwards, then, to those tranquil habitations where a Father's arms are open to embrace you—to that fountain of grace, whose waters had not learned to flow but for the sacrifice of Christ ;-refreshed by the exhilarating draught, and cleansed in that pure stream from the pollution of the past, “go on your way rejoicing.” Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow,"—and though a higher recompense may await thy brother, who has been contented and happy in the innocent pursuits of his father's house, yet will joys beyond the reach of your present conception crown your future services, if they begin in repentance and close in reformation.

[ocr errors]

CHRISTIAN PRINCIPLES,

(From the Christian Register.)

David's Resolutions,

In these resolutions the reader will find much to admire and imitate. For a king or a Christian, commencing his respective course of life, never were principles more admirably adopted.

David was now proclaimed king of Israel. It is the ubject of my present number to develop that course of conduct, which, on his accession to the throne, he professed it his intention to adopt. The hundred and first psalm is supposed to have been written on that occasion. He commences with the development of the just and merciful principles, by which he meant to govern the kingdomn ; and he expresses them as in the presence of that Being, who had approved his former character, and raised him to the royal elevation he now enjoyed ; I will sing of mercy and judgment; unto thee, O Lord, will I sing. Mercy, justice, and integrity shall be my guiding lights, and I will walk in them as under the immediate inspection of the Omniscient.

After this exordium, David makes allusion to himself to the resolutions he had formed respecting his own behaviour: I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. This is the first and grand aim of every good man.

He looks at home. He examines his own motives of action. He views his own proficiency in obedience. He ascertains his own departures from that luminous path. For a person who desires to be a Christian, there is no propensity more offensive or fatal, than a scrutinizing or condemnatory spirit;-a spirit more disposed to intermeddle with the affairs of a neighbour, than to pronounce at home that startling admonition of the prophet :-Thou art the man. Let me intreat you, therefore, if you imagine you have embraced the pure doctrines of the cross, to be satisfied with that peace in believing: let me intreat you to abstain from every unchristian word and work against your neighbour. Let not your best of trees produce the worst of fruit : that would be a miserable recommendation of the infallibility of your faith. You say that your belief is more scriptural than that of other denominations. This may be true, and it may be a mistake. But allow it to be correct. Then, to employ the language of a poet, let those denominations

[ocr errors]

That as more pure and gentle in your faith,
Yourselves are gentler, purer. Ye shall be
As gods among them, if ye thus obey
God's precepts.”

Imitate the resolution of David : conduct yourselves wisely in a perfect way.

You will feel your insufficiency, indeed ;-but, like him, repair to the fountain of wisdom and strength. With him address the Supreme Being, almighty and all-gracious,–0 when wilt thou come to me ! Be sensible of your dependance upon him. Supplicate his presence, protection, and blessing.

David proceeds in developing the principles, by which he purposed to regulate his conduct: I will walk within my house, or my court, with a perfect heart: To my family and kingdom, I will discover perfect integrity of heart and life; in my personal intercourse, setting a praiseworthy example, not from prudential, not from political views alone, but from a firm conviction of God's eye being upon me, and through desire to promote his glory. I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes : I will have no unjustifiable aim. My honor shall not be corrupted by reasons of state. I hate the work of them that turn aside: I execrate the crooked policy of the artful, the designing,

the interested: it shall not cleave to me. No such unworthy motives shall adhere to my soul, or debase my highminded views. “I consider myself, though king of Israel, as a subject of God, and sin as treason against his supremacy. A froward, stubborn, or rebellious heart shall depart from me. Such a disposition I will neither indulge in myself, nor tolerate in others. I will not know a wicked person; an infamous character shall be no friend or intimate of mine: no royal favor, no royal munificence, shall he experience.

The next character that excited the animadversion of David, is more troublesome and mischievous than any mentioned in the whole psalm, and he threatens the delinquent with merited punishment and reprobation. It is in truth a delinquent hateful to God and man; a character that sows more discord, and spreads more dissatisfaction in the field of the world, than almost any other. Need I say that the Psalmist alludes to the busy-body, the intermedler, the whisperer, the talebearer, the slanderer, the propagator of falsehoods and unfounded rumours ? Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off,-severely punish, discard, or banish from my court and dominions. He that worketh deceit, says the royal admonisher, shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies, shall not tarry in my sight. No calumniator, no informer, shall remain in my service. Against the base insinuations of mischief-makers, against the poisonous breath of defamers, I will manifest the most unrelenting sternness, the most unmitigable severity. I will early, or invariably, destroy all the wicked of the land ;--all such evil-doers, such criminal characters, such disturbers of the peace and harmony of society, I will cut off from the city of God.

A noble resolution, but of most difficult accomplishment. Human nature continues the same in all ages. Where there is no religion, no moral principle, there will be lying ; where ignorance and bigotry exist, there will be a fondness for misrepresentation; a love of wild rumours and wild surmises ; a relish for calumnious tales and miscreated suspicions; a welcoming of the marvellous, the incredible, the impossible; a thirst for the waters of strife, evil speaking, clamour, malice, bitterness; an exclusive spirit, defamatory suggestions, uncharitable and unchristian judging:

This is an appalling catalogue of crimes. Individuals of this irreligious temper, persons of a high look and a proud heart, who are insensible to their own imperfection and unworthiness, but who fabricate or retail slander against a neighbour, David declares that he will not suffer or endure. Moses had made a similar proclamation by the command of the Most High: Thou shalt neither raise nor receive a false report. Solomon is equally explicit against this criminal habit :-He that hides hatred with lying lips, and he who utters a slander, is a fool. In the multitude of words, there wanteth not sin; but he who refrains his lips, is wise. But the most awful denunciation against this vice, which I remember to have seen, you may find in the Revelation. Observe with what characters the author classes liars, and the tremendous doom of all; and whenever you feel disposed to employ falsehood, to misrepre

« AnteriorContinua »