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SUNDAY SCHOOLS AND FAMILIES.
"O how I love thy law! it is my meditation all the day."-Psalm cxix. 97.
4 M 5 Tu
Let us now fear the Lord our God. He reserveth unto us
THE LORD'S DAY.-Why is the HOUSE OF GOD forsaken ?
This is a FAITHFUL saying, and worthy of ALL acceptation, that
(CHRIST'S RESURRECTION DAY.) Come, see the place where
Oh, that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for
Jer. v. 24.
Neh. xiii. 19.
1 Tim. i. 15.
1 Tim. i. 16.
1 Pet. ii. 24.
Heb. ii. 14, 15.
Matt. xxviii. 6.
Ps. cvii. 8, 15,
15 F 16 S
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteous-
For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul
Ps. cvii. 9.
Matt. v. 6.
THE LORD'S DAY.-The WORD preached did not profit them,
Heb. iv. 2.
19 Tu What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Ps. civ. 23.
Mark viii. 36.
The wages of sin is death.
If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall
Ps. cxxx. 3.
For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in
Jas. ii. 10.
Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which
Gal. iii. 10.
Gal. iii. 13.
Ye must be born again.
John iii. 7.
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For the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth.
Gen. viii. 21.
Rom. iii. 12.
And such were some of you:, but ye are washed, but ye are
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but ac-
1 Cor. vi. 11.
Titus iii. 5.
THE HARVEST IS PAST, THE SUMMER IS ENDED, AND WE ARE NOT
Jer. viii. 10.
The reader will notice that most of the above texts are either adapted to the day of the week, or intended to throw light upon each other.
"IS THINE HEART RIGHT?"
2 Kings x. 15.
Reader, ponder this question well; it is the question of questions. It may be well as to thy bodily health,-well as to thy temporal circumstances,well as to thine outward reputation,-yea, even well as to the orthodoxy of thy creed. The head may be clear, the life may be moral, the character untarnished among men; but "Is thine heart right" in the sight of God? for that is the turning point. And what the apostle said to Simon Magus (Acts viii. 21), is true of every unconverted person,—“Thy heart is not right in the sight of God." Try it by the unerring rule of the law of God, the requisitions of which are summed up by the Lord Jesus Christ, as consisting in perfect love to God and to our neighbour. What! hast thou never had an unholy thought? Was there never a moment in which the heart has not been conscious of perfect love to God? Never a deviation from purity? Never an inclination to evil? Never even a thought of selfishness, of envy, or of anger, towards a fellow-creature? Alas, thou art undone. That righteous law condemns thee. Yet thou mayɛt not be sensible of this, because the fallow-ground of thine heart is not broken up. Art thou a ploughman? Then mark, when thou followest the plough, as the ploughshare turns up the soil, what insects and creeping things are brought to light that were concealed before; or if thou hast seen an ant's nest with a stone upon it, all seems quiet; but only remove the stone, and what a busy, lively swarm will be seen. Just so with the human heart: roll away the stone from the door of this sepulchre; let the light of God's law into this loathsome dungeon, and the cry will be, "Unclean, unclean!"
Try it by the light of the gospel, which requires “repentance towards God, and faith in Jesus Christ." Are these graces there? if not, thou art undone. It may be when an uneasy thought troubles thee, it is quieted for the moment by the reflection, "Well, I am not so bad as many, and if I am not saved, what will become of thousands ?" Or, when a faithful minister denounces sin, dost thou immediately think of some of thy neighbours, that surely they must go to hell? And so thou art like those who told our Lord of the Galileans (Luke xiii. 3). But hear his answer, "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." Try it in the prospect of a dying hour. We have witnessed many death-bed scenes, but never one in which the most virtuous and amiable could feel perfect tranquility and satisfaction in the retrospect of the past,-never one that could say, Here, Lord, is my heart, pure and without a stain." Oh, no, without the precious blood of Christ in that solemn hour, "Thou wilt be weighed in the balance and found wanting." And dost thou say, "What shall I do to be saved?” We say, pray; but perhaps thou hast never prayed, and wilt say, "I
know not what to say." Well, open the bible at the 51st Psalm, there is a prayer, an inspired prayer, ready for thee, and especially dwell on the 10th verse, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." For this new creation, this change of heart, must be experienced before there can be a "good hope through grace;" and oh the folly of postponing this to the hour of dying!-you may not then have your reason,-you may be given up to the hardness of your heart, or if there be some relenting, there is such an awful uncertainty as to the reality of death-bed conversions, that it is madness to rely on them. Therefore, we say, Go to Jesus now; seek for a new heart now. To day, while it is called to day, harden not your hearts, seeing that now is your accepted time, and now is your day of salvation.
"YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN."
John iii. 3.
WHO must? You must, reader, whoever you may be. For, except a man, any man, every man, be born again, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. Every man, woman, and child, must experience the new birth; for regeneration is absolutely prerequisite to glory. It is alike true of the moral and the immoral; the learned and the illiterate; the amiable and the morose. Young people, you must be born again. Aged friends, you must be born again. Those of my readers who are in the prime of life, you also must be born again. No regeneration, no salvation.
WHAT is the change required? Not information, but renovation. Not a change of opinion, but a change of nature. You must be reproduced. The first birth constituted you creatures, the second birth will make you christians. You must receive a new nature, or "be created anew in Christ Jesus." You must be raised from a death in sin, unto a life of righteousness. God must give the new heart which he has promised, and put within you a right spirit. A new nature will produce new views of all important subjects,—a new taste for spiritual and heavenly things, -new desires for God, for the Saviour, for holiness of heart and life,-new fears of the wrath to come, and of offending God on account of his goodness,-new exereises, or inward conflicts, between light and darkness, sin and holiness, truth and error,-and new pursuits, for if born of God, you will follow peace with all men, aim in all things at God's glory, and strive to be useful to your fellow-men.
WHY must this change be effected? Because your nature is depraved, your heart is polluted, and you are disqualified for holy employments and enjoyments. You have no power to perform spiritual duties, nor any fitness for heavenly glory. If you could effect
Think of it seriously.
an entrance into heaven, you never could be happy there; for you have no one qualification for that blessed state. You must be born again, or you cannot be happy here, nor can you be admitted into God's heavenly kingdom. Reader, think of this. If a new birth must be experienced, then Divine agency is necessary. The new birth is from above, it is of God, it is by the Holy Spirit. But if ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give his Holy Spirit unto them that ask him. Deep concern should be felt. You must be regenerated, or perish. You must be born again now, or you are undone for ever. Enquiry should be made, Am I born again? Have I passed from death unto life? Have I the Spirit of Christ? for if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. Caution should be exercised. Let us not decide rashly. Let us not take it for granted that we are christians; but let us have good evidence of the same. Let us make our calling and our election sure. A mistake here is fatal. The decision is for eternity. There is no repentance in the grave, nor pardons given to the dead. If we deceive ourselves now, or allow Satan or any one else to deceive us, we are eternally undone. Therefore, let every man examine himself, and let him do it seriously, thoroughly, and immediately. We are dead in sin, or alive unto God. We are justified from all things, or we are condemned already. We are within a few hours of everlasting glory, or as near to everlasting burnings. May the Lord impress, renew, and thoroughly
sanctify our hearts.
"Gracious Redeemer! set me free
From my old state of sin;
Oh make my soul alive to thee,
Create new powers within.
Renew mine eyes, and form mine ears,
Give me new passions, joys, and fears,
WHAT CAN A BOOK DO-FOR A HUNGRY MAN?
"A book is not bread!" Friend, it is not; would that it could be, if you are in distress; yet a book may be better than even "bread to the hungry!" The writer, a few weeks ago, was conversing, while on the road, with a man who looked very poor, on the late disturbances, and strongly representing the injury done to their own avowed principles by those who talked so much of "physical force." The poor man replied, "O yes, sir, we know, when we think, that violence can do nobody any good; but, sir, hunger drives
reason out of our heads. What would you do, sir, with a wife and four children, and only one meal a day for them? Would not that make you unreasonable?" The appeal to me, who had just the family he mentioned, was heart-rending, and I found the man was no impostor. I mentioned, of course, the duty of the parish to relieve in such a case. “Yes, sir,” was the reply, "but I have always earned my living as yet, and I can't make up my mind to go for relief." O England, be proud of such sons of thy soil, even should their spirit be sometimes misguided!
"A book is not bread!" What could it do for this poor man? What can a book do for the thousands who toil long hours to earn barely enough to satisfy hunger? or for the thousands willing to work, but unable to find it? or for the hundreds who, like the man I have mentioned, love their own firesides so well, that they prefer almost starving at home, to entering the poorhouse? Can it point you to hidden treasure? No. Can it tell you where well-paid work abounds? No. Can it direct your eyes to a wealthy and generous friend? No. Yet we can tell you of a REAL FRIEND. You cannot see him, but he sees you. He has himself felt hunger, and has been without a home. He has lived upon charity, and not had where to lay his head. He was also rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that you through his poverty might be made rich (2 Cor. viii. 9).
Brother, that Friend's name I hope you well know. Forget not him in your poverty. It cannot make you poorer to remember him. It can give you the only comfort within your reach at this moment. It can make you rich for eternity, and happier or less wretched now. Well does He know the weight on your spirits. He has felt it. Among the poor He was born,-among the poor He lived,-the poor were his daily companions,-to the poor He preached his gospel. "He shall deliver the needy when he crieth, the poor also, and him that hath no helper" (Psalm lxxii. 12). How different would the end have been, had the thousands of poor and needy, who (at the instigation of reckless men) met to intimidate their neighbours, but believed this text, and met together to pray, under their trials, to the real Friend of the poor and needy. He would have helped them. He has ten thousand ways to do it. He is Almighty (Isaiah ix. 6). Oh, that want and distress led the sufferers to seek for help in Jesus! Want of work, my brother, and consequent poverty, is your affliction, it is not your fault; but on the part of God it is permitted, to remind you of a poverty which is your fault. Unrepented and unforgiven sin is the true poverty,—it is the poverty of the soul,-it is poverty for eternity. Pardon for sin through Jesus' blood, overcoming sin by his blessed Spirit's help,-these are the true riches. The poorest who belong to Jesus, by their faith in him and their love to him, are infinitely rich, even if perishing for hunger here! The richest who forget or despise him are miserably and eternally poor!