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II. Let us now consider the spirit the bands and fetters were broken, with which the engagement was en.
and they came
away wounded. tered into, and especially the joy and What joy, then, does it create, what satisfaction which accompanied it. transport, when the light of day beams
No joy is equal to that which ac- upon him; when his fetters and bands companies this transaction, of en- are broken off; and he sits at the Sagaging ourselves to God. We have viour's feet, clothed, and in his right never any true joy, joy of a pure and mind! The path of the just is as elevated nature, till we know what it the shining light : the way of truth is to enter into covenant with God and holinesss approves itself to the by the sacrifice of Christ. Men may mind. The approbation of the inhave pleasure before, but not joy. most soul of man confers upon it its They may have the satisfactions of sanction. the world, transient and unholy ; 2. There is joy also in engaging but the mind is not blessed; the with God, because it is a plain token heart is not filled with intellectual, of good on the part of God. So it moral, substantial joy. Now the was in the case of Asa and his reasons of joy in the case of king people. They saw that God was with Asa are similar to those which pre- them, and had wrought for them; vail in every case.
and others also, perceiving this, 1. There is a joy in engaging so- joined themselves to them, from lemnly with God, because the thing Ephraim and Manasseh, and turned is infinitely right. A good man, saith to the Lord God of their fathers with Solomon, is satisfied from himself— their whole heart. Whereas, when from a consciousness of the propriety God had previously left them to and rectitude of his actions. When themselves, they wandered farther we act agreeably to right reason, and farther from him, and fell into there is a complacency which fol. abominable idolatries.
Their enlows, and of which we are conscious. gaging themselves with the solemOn the contrary, when we act in nity of an oath to return to God, opposition to what is right, we are was a proof that God was with them, rebuked by our own minds; there is a and was blessing them; and this struggle, a conflict within us. Now it was a just cause of joy. Good men is infinitely right to engage ourselves then felt, as they do now, the need to the Lord. It is proportionate to of Divine teaching and influence. It his character, and our state and is said expressly, that the Lord prewants. We can only be made happy pared the heart of the people under by him; we have nothing but what Hezekiah's reformation; and that in we receive at his hand; we owe him, Judah the hand of the Lord was with therefore, ourselves. The character them to give them one heart. If we of God, his unspeakable mercies, the engage to be the Lord's, the hand sufferings of Christ, the grace of the of the Lord has been upon us; our Spirit, the offers of the Gospel, make hearts have been Divinely touched; it unspeakably reasonable to engage it is the token of the favour and love ourselves to His service. We then of God upon us. And this is a cotreat God as he is; we act agreeably pious source of joy. “Blessed art to his nature and our relations to thou, Simon Barjona,” said our Lord him. Till we do this, we act most to Peter, on confessing that he was irrationally ; we walk in a lie. the Christ, the Son of the living
Man is a creature wandering in God; “ for flesh and blood hath not the dark, in the midst of precipices revealed it unto thee, but my Faand falls. Like the man in the Gos- ther that is in heaven.” Such a conpel that dwelt among the tombs, fession was a subject of congratunone can bind him, no, not with lation. Thus every one is blessed chains : many have tried to do so, but that confesses Christ, and binds him
self to his service : the hand of God that he is adopted into the family of is with him, the Spirit of God has heaven, and that all blessings are in marked him for his own.
reserve for him. Only love God, and 3. There is, further, joy in making serve him, and remain faithful to your this engagement, because it is a oath and covenant, and this is a better token of good from God for the security for eternal happiness than a future, as well as with respect to the voice from heaven. A vision of anpast. Those who engage themselves gels would not be so good a security to him, have a pledge of all future for our future peace, as the conscious. blessings. God is pleased to pledge ness that “in simplicity and godly himself to them, as their protector, sincerity, not by fleshly wisdom, but and rest, and peace, and portion. by the grace of God, we have had Asa and his people, in the case be- our conversation in the world.” fore us, had a pledge of the secure 4. The joy of this oath was inpossession of their own land. This creased by the unanimity of those was peculiar to the national covenant who took it—the numbers, the couof God with Israel. “ They had rest rage, the harmonious efforts and reround about,” says the text. They solutions. It is said that Asa took cousat again under their vine and fig- rage, and that he “gathered all Judah tree, none making them afraid ; they and Benjamin and the strangers had the secure continuance of good with them;" and all Judah relaws and government; and the as- joiced at the oath; for they had sworn surance of being free from plagues with all their heart, and sought him and judgments. These, and other with their whole desire.” temporal blessings, were included in What pleasure doth the Christian the covenant of Canaan; and the re- feel when hand joins in hand in the storation of these blessings resulted love of God; when men on all parts, from their obedience in thus en- and with one consent, say, gaging themselves to the Lord. And and let us go up to the mountain of these may be considered as types of the Lord, to the house of the God the spiritual blessings enjoyed, both of Jacob; and he will teach us of by them and by us, in every age, and his ways, and we will walk in his under the Christian dispensation, who paths!” What a pleasure, when devote ourselves to God in his cove- Christians go up to the house of God nant. This peace, and security, and in company; when many flock, and fruitfulness, and freedom from deso- “ ask the way to Zion with their lating judgments, are representations faces thitherward;" when the church of the infinite privileges and immu- is exhibiting the unity and harmony nities of the spiritual church of God. of a body breathing the same spirit, They are the tokens and pledges speaking the same language, anithat there is no condemnation to mated by the same charity! What him that believeth; that the Christian joy will there be one day in the is adopted into the family of God; church of God, when all the followthat all in the Divine Being is ers of Christ shall be filled with love ; pledged for his security ; that Christ tolerating what is indifferent and is his elder brother; and that the non-essential; touched, transformed, Spirit, whose comprehensive breath and sanctified by the living truth of fills the universe and sanctifies the Jesus. church, is his internal monitor, the Let me now, in concluding this internal inhabitant of his heart. subject, observe, that we have all
And can you doubt whether God entered into a solemn covenant with will indeed thus bless those who are God which has the nature of an oath, engaging themselves in covenant with if we are Christians. You are to him? The man who has a heart to renew this on the next Sunday. You serve God, has a witness in himself then renounce the world once more;
ON COMMUNICATING TO THE DYING
you turn your back again upon all its pleasures, and direct your attention to eternal realities. You approach, to behold God upon a throne of grace, to drink into the spirit of his trans
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. forming dispensation : you express In your Number for March, in all your desires and renew all your stating to your readers the sentivows at his table. What manner of ments of Sir Henry Halford on compersons, then, ought you to be, in municating, but sparingly, and with all holy conversation and godliness,” caution, if at all, the real state and who take such vows upon you ! Shall probable issue of disease to the we carry sin into the presence of afflicted, you seem to invite disGod, unrepented of? Can we combine cussion from your correspondents on the living and the dead? “What this highly important and much confellowship hath light with darkness; troverted subject. Leaving such disand what concord hath Christ with cussion with those who are far more Belial; and what fellowship hath the competent than myself to speak to temple of God with idols ? " If we and decide on a point at once consecrate ourselves unto Christ at difficult and so delicate, I beg perhis table, we must come out from mission simply to state, as a specithe world, and separate ourselves men, three facts, which have occurfrom the polluted elements of our red to me in the course of my mipresent state : we must set ourselves nistry. As the circumstances ocapart for the Lord, as we hope God curred in three different parishes, has set us apart for himself--not by and three different counties of Enunnecessary singularity, by instances gland, I should infer that an opinion of weakness and folly, but—by purity, is generally prevalent among medical by simplicity, by watchfulness in all gentlemen, that it is requisite to eximportant things, by universal holi- clude pious ministers as much as
Whatsoever things are pure, possible from the chambers of the honest, true, lovely, and of good sick and the beds of the dying ; report, if there be any virtue, and if grounded on a kind, but mistaken, there be any praise, let us think of motive of tranquillizing the mind of these things.
the patient, " keeping up his spirits," Thus the ends of our profession and preventing his feeling any apwill be advanced by our glorifying prehension of his approaching end God, our heavenly Father, to whom which might tend to alarm him, and we have devoted ourselves; and by to cause a trembling anxiety respectleaving a witness, an appeal, upon ing the state after death, the awful the consciences of men amongst whom day of judgment, and a dark eternity. we live: and in the day of visita- The following facts will prove that tion something they have seen in the sentiment and practice are not us may be the means of awakening only unchristian, but unkind, as their minds to true religion.
every thing unchristian must really be. Our duty and dispensation are It is about fifteen years since, that clear. We are to be witnesses for I officiated in a parish in the county God :
; we are to be holy, as those of N- - The wife of a that bear the vessels of the Lord : spectable and opulent farmer was we are to demean ourselves as the in the constant habit of attendfollowers of Christ, who expect to be ing my ministry. She had often for ever with him, and for ever like expressed high approbation of the him. Amen.
discourses which she heard; but I (To be continued).
had not observed in her any decided marks of a spiritual renewal of heart, or any very visible alteration in her life and deportment. At the expi
ration of one year she became seri- her conscience, and how very anxously ill, and was considered by heriously she desired to see me. On medical attendant to be in imminent this information, I hastened to her danger. In the early stage of her house, and found her husband at illness she had expressed a strong home. He received me civilly, but desire to see me; but this wish, coldly, and said, that he was sorry through the counsel of her medical I had taken the trouble to come, as attendant, was not complied with; he had the most positive directions and I did not become acquainted from her medical friend not to allow with her illness and great danger me, or any one else, to visit her, with for nearly a week, or probably more, a view to converse on the subject of as she did not reside in my parish. religion; with the assurance from him, Her anxiety to see me daily increased, that any additional agitation, under and she earnestly entreated her hus- her present strongly excited system, band not to deny her so great and would prove most injurious, and perso-much-needed a gratification. He haps fatal. I said all I could to refelt, as he afterwards told me, the move his fears, and repeatedly avowutmost readiness to gratify such a ed my full conviction that all the desire, and was deeply distressed in objections of his medical friend to not being allowed to do so; for he my visiting his afflicted and distressregarded her with the tenderest af- ed wife arose solely from his entire fection. But the directions and com- ignorance of the nature of true relimands of the medical attendant were gion, and what would be the result so positive and peremptory, that he of spiritual counsel, reading, or prayer durst not even indulge his own feel- to her now almost overwhelmed soul. ings, or yield to his wife's earnest He manifested great tenderness of entreaty; as he was repeatedly told affection for her during our converthat my visits would tend to increase sation, and evidently laboured under her disorder, and the consequences a severe struggle in his mind, beof excitement from such an interview tween a wish to gratify her earnest might prove even fatal. But, so great desire, and the fear lest his comwas her alarm of mind, and so op- pliance with our united request, in pressive her sense of guilt from opposition to the judgment and dihaving slighted or abused the means rection of the medical gentleman, of grace which God had mercifully should prove more injurious than afforded her, that her state seemed beneficial. I believe that his fear of to counteract all the united efforts injury would have prevailed, if the of skill and medicine, and she evi- pious neighbour before mentioned, dently was daily becoming worse. who was in the sick room and heard Her husband, as he afterwards in- my voice, had not approached, and
had almost daily inquired said with tears, “ I come with a reif he might be allowed to send for quest from your dear wife, that, if me to visit his distressed, and, as he you love her, and would wish her feared, dying wife; but he uniformly either to live or die happy, you would received the same reply from the permit Mr. D. to see her.” Having medical gentleman : “ If you do not said this, she wept aloud. The huswish the death of your wife, keep band now burst into tears, and, his Mr. D. at a distance ; for if he affection prevailing over his fears, be permitted to attend her, I will he said, “ If it must be so, go to my no longer hold myself responsible wife; and may God bl
your enfor the issue, nor would you be giving deavours to do her good !” The kind me or my medicines any chance of neighbour went before me, to apprise
A pious neighbour, how- the afflicted sufferer of the permission ever, sent me word how ill she was, granted to me to visit her, to conand how distressingly alarmed she verse and pray with her. On my felt from the burden of guilt upon entering the room, she made an effort
to raise herself from the bed and to nity. He was sent for by his wife stretch out her hands towards me; before I had left the house ; and on but her weakness prevented this his return to me, he said, “ that she strong expression of her feelings, had sent for him to tell him how and she sank down again. Tears kind it was to allow me to come to and broken words expressed at once her, and to assure him that she was her gratitude, her state, and her now quite happy.” He added, “ It wishes. I need not dwell on par- is indeed truly wonderful to see the ticulars. After a few minutes she difference in so short a time. I am became more calm, and was able to now ashamed and grieved that I ever state to me her convictions, her sor- for a moment prevented your visiting row of heart, and her fears. There my house ; and more especially as was no peculiar difficulty in her case. my dear wife has suffered so much A sick bed had been the means,
distress of mind from my own ignounder the blessing of the Holy rance, and from my too readily comSpirit, of leading her to serious self- plying with the direction of my meexamination, and had brought to her dical friend.” In the evening her remembrance her sins, negligences, medical attendant called, and found and ignorances; the mea of
her lying quiet and composed in bed. slighted, convictions of guilt stifled, On feeling her pulse, he turned, with conscience trified with: so that trans- a smile of satisfaction, and said to gressions, which before had made the nurse, Well, I'had my hopes little impression on her mind, now that your mistress would be better appeared of a crimson die, and were from the change of medicine; but I felt as an intolerable burden on her did not really expect to find her so conscience. By the blessing of God, much improved since yesterday. She I was enabled so to speak, and to is now so composed, and every apply his word to her state, that the symptom is so favourable, that I precious promises which it contains pronounce her decidedly better, and, were received in faith, and embraced as I now hope, out of all danger.” with a willing mind, and found to The nurse only replied, Mr. D. be “the joy and rejoicing of her was here to see her this morning, heart.” The word of instruction and she has been better ever since.”being thus blessed by the Spirit of It may be proper just to add, that God to her soul, prayer was full of she recovered from a lingering ill. power and holy comfort ; and after ness ; and I have great pleasure in it was ended, she said, “ I am now saying that her affliction was blessed quite a new person to what I was to her and to her husband, and they before. I now feel the love of both lived for many years, ornaChrist far exceeding all that I could ments of the Gospel of Christ, and a desire or deserve. I am a wonder blessing to many around them. to myself. What a mighty and gra
The second instance that I would cious change has the Spirit of Christ mention, is that of a relative of mine, wrought in me! God bless you! I in the county of D
I was on am happy and blessed indeed! How a visit, for some weeks, to my friends cruel it was not to allow you to come in that part of the country, and to see me in my distress! but it was had passed some of my time at the all owing to their ignorance of the residence of this relation. During real comfort of the religion of Jesus my stay there, I frequently read and Christ.”—On my return to her hus- prayed with an aged lady, who lived band, I informed him in what a com- in the family; and the subject of this posed and happy state of mind I had account always expressed a strong left his dear wife. He was now most desire to be present at such seasons thankful for the interview, and ex- of devotion. She many a time rose pressed his hope that I would repeat from prayer with tears in her eyes, my visits as often as I had opportu- and has said, “Oh, how I do long to CHRIST. OBSERV, No. 353.