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obedience to his command:-We also hold with washing one another's feet, praying over the sick, and anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord Jesus: - We hold to appoint judges, and such other officers among us, to settle any matters according to the word of God. We hold not to the shedding of blood; and think ourselves forbidden to go to law one with another before the unjust, but settle any matters we have before the saints: We are forbidden to swear at all; and account ourselves bound not to eat blood, for it is the life of a creature: We abstain from things strangled, and from meat offered to idols: We are forbidden to wear costly raiment, and what would be superfluous: We are bound to submit ourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, whether it be to the king as supreme, or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him, for the punishment of evil-doers, and for the praise of them that do well. To avoid fornication, we permit none to keep each other, except they be married, according to the word of God. If a slave, or a servant misbehave to their owners, they are to be dealt with according to the word of God. If any one of this religion should transgress and walk disorderly, and not according to the commands we have received in the covenant of our Lord, he will be censured according to the word of God. If a brother or a sister should transgress any of these articles written in this covenant, so as to become a swearer, a fornicator, an adulterer, a covetous person, an idolater, a railer, a drunkard, an extortioner, or should commit any abominable sin; and doth not give satisfaction to the church, according to the word of God, we hold that such a one should be put away from among us; and we must not keep company, nor eat with excluded persons. We hold to all other commandments, articles, covenants, and ordinances recorded in the Holy Scriptures, as are set forth by our Lord and Master Jesus Christ and his Apostles, and to live to them as nigh as we possibly can, agreeably to the word of God. "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, herein is my Father glorified that ye bear much fruit, so shall ye be my disciples." This is his commandinent, "That ye love one another as I have loved you." "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man should lay down his life for his friend." "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you."
1. BURNING THE BIBLE.
A SOCIETY of gentlemen, most of whom had enjoyed a liberal education, and were persons of polished manners, but had, unhappily, imbibed infidel principles, used to assemble at
each other's houses, for the purpose of ridiculing the Scriptures, and hardening one another in their unbelief. At last, they unanimously formed a resolution, solemnly to burn the Bible; and so to be troubled no more with a book which was so hostile to their principles, and disquieting to their consciences. The day fixed upon arrived: a large fire was prepared, a Bible was laid on the table, and a flowing bowl ready to drink its dirge. For the execution of their plan, they fixed upon a young gentleman of high birth, brilliant vivacity, and elegance of manners. He undertook the task; and after a few enlivening glasses, amidst the applauses of his jovial compeers, he approached the table, took up the Bible, and was walking resolutely forward to put it into the fire; but happening to give it a look, all at once he was seized with trembling; paleness overspread his countenance, and he seemed convulsed. He returned to the table, and laying down the Bible, said, with a strong asseveration, "We will not burn that book till we get a better.”
Soon after this, the same gay and lively young gentleman died; and, on his death-bed, was led to true repentance; deriving unshaken hopes of forgiveness and of future blessedness, from that book he was once going to burn.
2. METHODISM DETECTED.
A YOUNG lady, who had heard the Methodists and their doctrines censured, happened, in opening her prayer-book, to fall on the Articles of religion. She ran to her mamma with the book: "Here," says she, "Mamma, I have found all the Methodist doctrines. Surely, these cannot be the true Articles of the church." Her mother, a wonderful good sort of woman, frowned upon her, and bid her never more busy herself in such matters; for these were Articles which nobody now believed.
3. REMORSE OF CONSCIENCE.
A GENTLEMAN of vast fortune, sent for a friend to PallMall, being very indisposed, to settle some affairs; and while they were together, he walked to the window, and observed a chimney-sweeper's boy, with his brass-plate and sack, passing by. His friend was surprized to see the tears burst from his eyes; and clasping his hands, with an oath, he swore, "Now would I give every shilling 1 am worth in the world (he had ten thousand pounds a year) to change beings with that little sweep. -Sic transit gloria mundi.
4. A POPISH FAST,
I KNEW a zealous Roman Catholic, who kept always a strict fast on Saturday; but before he went to bed, constantly indulged in an excellent meat-supper; for which be impatiently waited, with his watch on the table, till the hand pointed twelve, when he instantly fell to it voraciously.
ON CONFORMITY TO THE WORLD.
Addressed to serious persons of her own sex.
My dear young Friends,
WITH the sincerest affection and concern for your present and eternal welfare, would I now address you, on a subject [ conceive truly important, and peculiarly necessary in the present day. I humbly hope, there is implanted in your hearts, as is recorded of Abijah, some good thing towards the Lord God of Israel; by which I mean, a sincere desire to be devoted to him; not partially, but altogether: that you have been led by the teachings of his Spirit, to consider it not only your reasonable service, but your privilege and happiness; and after seriously counting the cost, you have deliberately determined, through grace, to be for him, and not for another. I congratulate you on making so wise a choice. May you be enabled stedfastly and consistently to follow the Lord fully, so that neither the frowns nor smiles of an ungodly world may draw your feet from the consecrated path! Suffer the friendly admonition from one who wishes you God-speed; and, in the apostle's words (Rom. xii. 2.) desires to warn you against being conformed to the world.
Remember what our Lord says, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me*." Does this not imply the opposing those things in particular which are suited to gratify the pride and vanity of corrupt nature? and the seeking to have our inclinations towards them subdued, by the power of his grace, who has left us an example that we should tread in his steps? Granting that far more is intended in the apostle's admonition, of not being conformed to the world, than in the mere article of dress,- let Conscience answer, whether this be not implied: and if so, Will not the giving place to one breach of duty lead to another? Is it consistent with deadness to the world, and having no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness? Are we not calied upon to crucify the flesh? to mortify our corrupt inclinations to walk, not as others, in the vanity of their minds; but to reprove them, by redeeming the time for nobler purposes ourselves, abstaining even from all appearance of evil †? Did Christ give himself for us, on purpose to redeem us from the love of these things: and shall we follow the vain and indecent fashions of the present day, in return for his great love and condescension, merely because we would avoid being sin
Mark viii. 34. + Col. iii, 3. Eph. v. 11. Gal. v. 24. Col.viii. 5、 Eph. iv. 17. Thes. v. 22. Gal. i. 4.
gular? Does not Conscience shudder at the thought, and with holy indignation, reply, No; let us rather take up our cross, and follow the steps of our divine Master, who was content to be despised and rejected of men; and, though Lord of the universe, emptied himself of all his glory, that we, through his poverty, might be made rich? Let us spend and be spent in his service, seek to improve our time and talents for the good of those around us; so shall we prove our love to him, not in word and in tongue only, but in deed and in truth.
Listen not, my dear young friends, to the insinuations of the grand enemy of souls, who probably may suggest, that these admonitions are unnecessary for you, and by no means suitable to the station you are in. Beware of giving ear to any temptation which would draw you from the dictates of unerring wisdom; but thither may you continually resort for divine instruction! Remember, the more public the line of life you are in, the more important the example you set, and the more influence will it have on the minds of those around you. The Chistian, in such a situation, is like a city set on a hill, which cannot be hid; and should covet to be like the light-house on the sea-coast, an instrument to warn others of their danger, and to point out the path to the harbour of eternal felicity.
Pray then, my dear friends, for wisdom and grace to walk circumspectly, that you may adorn the doctrine of God your Saviour in all things. Make not the conduct of any your pattern, farther than you see them following your divine Master. Trace him from the cradie to the cross, and pray for the same mind to be in you as was in him: that your walk may be an exhibition of his spirit and temper; and then, though in every thing you will have reason for humiliation, yet while his love constrains you to make his glory your aim, your labour shall not be in vain.
Let not the example of professors lead you astray, nor suppose that a sufficient warrant for you to act as you see them do. On the contrary, be nobly ambitious of setting before such a different pattern; and, at the same time, see that it be done from principle; for no sacrifice whatever is acceptable to God, but that which springs from love. And do this not from my advice merely, but humbly and earnestly pray the divine Spirit to grant you a true discernment of the path of duty, that you may not err therein; but, through his divine influence, willingly and obediently follow the light, as he vouchsafes it. So shall you enjoy the testimony of a conscience void of offence towards God and man; for if any do his will, they shall surely be taught of him.
But let not my young friends think, when they have escaped these snares, that the enemy has no more power over them: this would make you at once an easy prey to his devices. is no uncommon thing for him to suggest, that since we have
so manfully taken up our cross, in not only differing from an ungodly world, but also from the majority of the religious world, how much holier we are than they! For should we listen to the voice of the flatterer, the consequence would surely be, that, instead of keeping in the narrow path of humility and love, we should at once get into a way of vainglory and self-confidence; which as certainly leads to ruin as any other. Pray then to be also clothed with that armour which shall render you proof against all the attacks of the adversary; cleave to the Lord, his word, and his throne, and he will keep you in the hour of temptation: remember, it is from him alone all your gifts and graces spring and are maintained. If more is given, you are only more indebted, and under greater obligations to pity and pray for those whom you conceive led captive by the suares which you have escaped; and let your gratitude be manifest, by tenderly, meekly, and affectionately endeavouring, at every seasonable opportunity, to shew them the folly and pernicious tendency of their conduct, both as it respects themselves and others. With regard to the former, they grieve the Spirit of God by acting contrary to his commands; and, therefore, need not wonder they do not enjoy those comforts which are inseparably connected with walking closely with God. But some will probably say, that they have no more pride in conforming to a fashion, &c. than others have in wearing what differs from it. Such, I fear, are not sufficiently attentive and watchful over their own hearts, to distinguish between the insensibility arising from a careless walk, and that victory over inbred corruption, which the Christian is commanded and encouraged to aspire after; neither do they consider how others are drawn aside by their example. Since then we are called to let our light shine before others for their instruction*, how careful should we be of leaning to our own understanding! In all our ways, let us acknowledge him who has promised to order the steps of such, and to make their way aceptable to himself; that our walk may be as becometh the gospel of Christ; that the way of truth never be spoken evil of, on our account; and that our conduct may not occasion the stumbling of others +.
Sone there are, who make a profession of godliness, yet plead for a certain degree of conformity to the world, as if they had that complete victory over themselves that they could go just to the precipice of danger, and no farther; but this is equally presumptuous and absurd: "Ye cannot serve God and Mammon."
Resolve then, to shew the world, by your exemplary walk,
Matthew v, 16.
† Psalm xxxvii. 23.
Phil. ii. 15.