Images de page
PDF
ePub

that you need his Spirit, and can do nothing right without his aid. This is to be sought fervently and constantly. With a believing, importunate spirit, you are to implore this precious gift, this fruit of Christ's mediation, that the Spirit may help your infirmities, and work in you all holy, pious, and devout dispositions, and the work of faith with power. Your prayers upon this subject are especially to be prompted by the “exceeding great and precious promises” of the Spirit's aid : “ Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be

pened unto you."* “ If ye then, being evil, Anow how to give good gifts unto your children, now much more shall your heavenly Father give ine Holy Spirit to them that ask him ?”'t Is this precious, all-important gift to be obtained by asking? How, then, can one in your circumstances abstain from asking, or forget to ask, or refuse to ask ? since, without it, your heart cannot be thoroughly and savingly turned to God.

4. Another means which you are to employ, it you desire to be converted, is, hearing the gospel preached. This is a divine appointment for the express purpose of converting sinners. God has sent his ministers to preach his gospel to every creature: and if it is their duty to preach, it is a corresponding duty on your part to hear; to hear it constantly, seriously, attentively, and with devout prayer that it may convince and convert you. But how should you either believe or be saved, if you do not hear the gospel with immediate selfapplication? “Faith cometh by hearing.”+ Christ has commanded his ministers to preach

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

the gospel to every creature. This is the public announcement of God's mercy, of Christ's love, of the fulness, freeness, and sufficiency of the promised pardon. Can you neglect it now without neglecting your own interests, without injure ing your own souls? You have abundant oppor. tunities of hearing God's testimony of Christ by the gospel. You can scarcely be placed in any part of the land but it is within your reach. Perhaps you have even a superabundance; you have a choice out of many faithful preachers. Take heed, then, both of hearing with an unbelieving heart, and with a reserve for a future day of salvation. Listen to that minister who most faithfully reproves sin, most affectionately warns you of the danger of continuing in impenitence, and most scripturally sets forth the Saviour, in his divine ability, his full redemption, his love to souls, and his grace sufficient for all. I conceive that I need not enlarge further upon this topic. Surely, if you are desirous of being converted, you will readily find a minister to direct you to Christ. Only hear for salvation, and, looking up to God for his blessing, you will not hear in vain.

5. And, lastly, I notice under one general observation here, there are miscellaneous means which you may use, and which, though important, can receive only a short notice in this brief treatise. They are such as these : Next to your Bible, consult such books as are appropriate to your state of mind, and in which you may find the truth of the gospel enforced in a manner appropriate to your case. At the same time, avoid opening any book that might divert your mind from the great subject of your salvation. Even though such works might be innocent, instructive, and proper enough at another time; yet, if you feel concern for your soul, you must pursue the subject with an ardour not to be quenched; with a daily thirst to find the water of life. You must make this the great business, which is to be pursued with the utmost avidity, with the deepest anxiety; and till you find Christ formed in your heart the hope of glory, you ought not to rest, nor allow any thing to divert your mind from the one great object.

Let me add, God has placed within your reach another important means of assisting you, in the advice and encouragement of Christian friends, or ministers. Some such, I am to suppose, you may find near you; and I think I may venture to say, you will find them glad to advise you on your soul's concerns.

Moreover, it is important to avoid all company of an opposite kind, especially that of the thoughtless, the gay, or the wicked. Flee from such, as from your worst foes. Their levity may be infectious; their examples may betray your soul into perdition. Avoid, too, whatever engagements, or amusements, or recreations might divert your mind from the one subject which you ought to have ever before you. The salvation of your soul should be your earnest, supreme, and con• stant pursuit.

Remember, too, how important are fortitude and resolution under the frown or scorn of frivo Tous and gay associates. You must brace up your purpose to withstand all such assaults, for you may be exposed to severe trials in these respects. Your former worldly friends will not part with you without making you feel their contempt for your new and strange notions. But you have to

consider and determine in your conscience, which is easiest to be borne, the scorn of your fellowmen, or the just and everlasting displeasure of God. Consider, I entreat you, who has said, 6. The friendship of the world is enmity with God."* “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me."'t “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”+ Some have not been steady in their resolution, nor firm against worldly snares. Two young men, deeply impressed with the importance of salvation and the value of their souls, commenced a religious course together. For some time they kept their vows, and steadily pursued the great object both professed to have in view. But all at once a change took place in the conduct of one of them. He began to neglect public worship, and became shy of his pious companion. Shortly after, the backslider was invited to attend a fashionable ball, and assented to the proposal. His companion was greatly distressed at the intelligence, but still felt firmly resolved, for his own part, to seek the salvation of his soul, or perish with the publican's prayer upon his lips. Upon receiving the intelligence that his friend was going to the ball, he waited upon him, and, with tears in his eyes, endeavoured to dissuade him from his purpose, inviting him to go that same evening to a meeting that was to be held for prayer. But he pleaded in vain. On parting, he said to his pious companion,

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

that he must not give him up as lost, for that after he had attended that ball, he intended to make it his business to seek religion. The evening arrived. One went to the prayer-meeting, the other to the amusements of the ball-room. Soon after the opening of the religious meeting, the heart of the young inquirer was set at liberty, and his soul was made to rejoice in the Saviour's love. Soon after the ball opened, the other was standing at the head of the ball-room, holding the hand of a young lady whom he was to lead down the dance. The music was just commencing, when this young man fell backward a lifeless corpse upon the floor. The other was immediately sent for to assist in convey. ing him to his father's house. These two young men were brothers. Reader, learn the peril of trifling with convictions, the danger of yielding to worldly friends, the ruin that may lurk in a return to worldly pleasures, the judgment that may impend upon a looking back to the Sodom from which you have once escaped. “Remember Lot's wife.”*

CHAPTER V. THE POSSIBILITY OF YOUR CONVERSION. DEAR reader, if you are convinced that you are yet unconverted, let me entreat you now to attend to a few remarks, which may serve to show that the important and happy change signified by that word may take place; that it is a thing quite possible, and not the less so, though you should think it impossible. Unconverted persons, when they are brought to think at all seriously upon this

* Luke xvii. 32.

« PrécédentContinuer »