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IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNING

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in one thing as in another. Did he ever give a more plain or positive command than, This do in remembrance of me.' It was his dying precept, and gratitude and love, if duty were out of the question, should lead you to obey his command. But in the life you wish to lead you would neglect this precept, and thus live a life of rebellion against the Lord Jesus Christ, whose last command you would habitually violate. Such conduct in any case is a dreadful sin; but in you the sin will be aggravated by the profession you have made. Have not you solemnly confessed the Saviour? Have not you, in private and in public, declared that you devoted yourself to the Lord? and would you fly from these solemn engagements? Have you vowed to the Lord, and would you go back? O, were you to live henceforth free from all other sin, yet this one of refusing and neglecting this sacred ordinance, would bring a dreadful load of guilt upon your soul. Surely you could not say to your Redeemer, Lord, thou hast commanded me to remember thy dying love, in thy own ordinance; but I will forget it, and slight thy appointment. Thou hast taught me that I should be united with thy flock; but I will forsake it, and cherish no such union.' You could not, I know you could not, say this in words; but depend upon it the eternal Judge reads this as the language of your present wishes. In his sight as well as in ours, actions speak louder than words.

"Think whom you are pleasing by your present conduct. Not your God. In his sight obedience is better than sacrifice. Not your Redeemer ; for he says, 'If a man love me he will keep my words.' But be sure, as the wolf is delighted when he sees the sheep straying from the fold, and exposing itself to his assaults; so are those infernal spirits pleased with your conduct, who watch for your halting, and wait for your de

struction.

"Consider also what will be the probable consequences of the step you are taking. I cannot but fear that it will lead to entire backsliding. A deceitful heart and a deluding enemy may persuade you, that there is no danger of this kind. You may think, I will keep on attending at the house of God;" but when you are persuaded to neglect one part of duty you will soon be persuaded to neglect another. I fear the step you are taking, will prove in the issue a principal step in your

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way from your Redeemer to destruction. While leading a life of disobedience to his institutions, if he should vouchsafe you any of his blessing, you have no reason to expect it in such a measure, as if you faithfully followed him, and therefore will probably soon forsake him altogether. You will also be deprived of the watchful care of every religious friend. If you fall now, there are those who are willing to raise you up; if you stray, who are anxious to bring you back; but when separated from the flock of Christ, every advantage of this kind will be lost to you. You will be numbered again with the unconverted world, and most probably will walk in the way of the multitude. And should your conduct, as it most probably will, end in total backsliding, surely you know who has said, The latter end of such is worse than their beginning.

Think also how you will view your conduct at another day. If you disregard this faithful warning; if by degrees you fall from the truth, oh, what bitterness and anguish will seize upon you, when at death you review your conduct. Then when your spirit is just quitting its mortal tabernacle; when your flesh and heart fail, how will you mourn the fatal hour when you began to slight the Redeemer's will! how wish that you had been faithful to your Lord, whoever may be unfaithful! Even if your present conduct should not lead to these sad consequences; if its issue should not be total declension; if you should keep up some of the form, and even feel some of the power, of religion; yet would it not fill your last moments with doubts and fears, to remember that you had led a life of wilful and obstinate disobedience to one important part of the blessed Redeemer's will. Will not those excuses which now satisfy your mind, then appear but vanity and folly? And after all, what are those reasons, those excuses? Are they such as will stand the test of the judgment bar of Jesus Christ? Alas, does not conscience tell you that the true reason of all is, that you are not so much alive to God as you once were; that you are less concerned about eternal blessings; and, at least in heart, fallen from what you once enjoyed."

The fears expressed in this letter appeared afterwards too well founded. The young woman by degrees dropped every thing like the form of religion; and a few years after her

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IMPORTANCE OF CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP,

withdrawel, it was stated to the writer, that she had even par ed with her Bible, as she declared it would no longer be d any use to her. Thus the way of the wicked seduceth them.

CHAPTER XVI.

ON DISPLAYING CHRISTIAN LOVE, ON GLORIFYING GOD

BY DOING GOOD, AND ON LOVE TO ENEMIES.

§ 1. TO a serious mind connexion with the flock of Christ will appear the most honourable of earthly connex ions. In it a union is commenced, which strengthens when other unions dissolve, and which will be continued through eternity. However despised by many, however slighted by many more, a vital union with the flock of the Redeemer is a union with the family of God and the heirs of heaven. If you have entered into this sacred connexion, having first given yourself to the Lord, and then to his church, your own happiness, the honour of religion, and the comfort of those connected with you, will much depend upon the manner in which you discharge the duties of so important a relation. You may be loved, and prized, and honoured, or else will be pitied, and disliked. There are many in the flock of the Saviour, who pursue a steady course of consistent piety, from the day they enter the church below, to that which removes them to the family above. Humble and kind, watchful and holy, beloved and loving, they move forward with a steady step to the home on which their best affections centre. Their light shines more and more unto the perfect day; nor then declines, but shines brightest at its setting; and when it sets, sets to rise brighter in eternity. Their pastors and their Christian friends never mourn on their account, till they mourn their departure hence; and with such sorrow mingle gladness at the remembrance of what they were, and in the confidence of what they are. How different from those professors of reli

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gion, whose inconsistences excite many a fear that they are strangers to converting grace; whose harsh, or unkind, or conceited, or selfish ways, are calculated to provoke disgust Father than win affection; and whose departure is darkened with a cloud of apprehensions, that they are perhaps lost for ever. That you may be a happy, and useful, and act as an honourable, member of the church of Christ, pay peculiar attention to the numerous precepts addressed immediately to his disciples, with which the New Testament abounds.

§ 2. Consider that Christianity is peculiarly a religion of love. Holy love is its heart and soul. Love was its origin in the breast of the Eternal. Love directed its progress, when the Son of God assumed our nature to atone for sin. Love governs its sincere votaries—the constraining love of Christ; and love will swell the triumphal songs of heaven. Cherish this godlike disposition, for love is of God.

§ 3. The following are some of the ways in which this heavenly disposition must be manifested to those who are travelling with you to heaven, and wherever applicable to those who are not so.

By rejoicing with them in their comforts; by sympathizing with them in their sorrows; and according to your utmost ability relieving them in their afflictions. "Let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith."a 66 Rejoice with them that rejoice, and weep with them that weep." "b "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ." "C "Comfort the feeble-minded, support the weak."d "Whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?"e

In pursuing such labours of love, the Christian's time and strength are to be employed to administer to the comfort of others, as well as to his own. The apostle Paul said, "So labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive."f So far should the Christian be from heaping up superfluities for self-gratification, that he is to deny himself for the sake of promoting the benefit of others.

(a) Gal. vi. 10. (d) 1 Thess. v. 14.

(b) Rom. xii. 15. (e) 1 John iii. 17.

(c) Gal. vi. 2.
(f) Acts xx. 34, 35.

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WAYS OF DISPLAYING

hיי

"g

"Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not," To those who act this part, in the day of final account the Judge and King will say, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.' Το those who act not this part, whatever may have been their profession, or their knowledge, or their zeal, or their gifts, the King will say, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal."

Christian love to brethren in the Lord is to be shown, by bearing with their weaknesses, by subduing a selfish spirit, and seeking their welfare. Instead of being, as multitudes of professors are, only intent upon their own advantage, the real Christian is to cherish an interest in the welfare of all his fellow-pilgrims.

"We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. For even Christ

Would Christians, imbibing the Spirit of the Saviour, and hearkening to this precept, sell even articles of comparatively little importance to their comfort, for the sake of promoting the comfort of others, how much more extensively might many minister to the relief of their suffering fellow-pilgrims: and how much more might they do to diffuse religion in the world. If, for instance, ministers or private Christians, who have extensive libraries, and many books of which they make little or no use, would sell such books, and with such money purchase religious books or tracts, to distribute among the ignorant and unconverted, what extensive blessings might many become, who are now doing little to promote the Saviour's cause. Books thus purchased with the price of those that were sleeping on their shelves, would probably prove the instruments of leading many an immortal but perishing creature into the way of life and peace. How much better would this be, than to look at the backs of such books while they live, and to leave them to their heirs when they die!

() Luke xii. 33. (h) Matt. xxv. 34-36, 40. (i) Matt. xxv. 41-43, 45, 46.

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