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of jealous displeasure; or cloud, with one passing frown that countenance, in whose smile of love all your earthly happiness is centered.
Can your love be less than this, if it is to be such as the Church of Christ should shew to Him, who bought her with His blood? Let me, then, affectionately intreat of you to peruse, with deep and devout attention, those beautiful verses in the Epistle to the Ephesians, where this standard for the regulation of a Christian's wedded love and life, is so endearingly held up. The prayerful study, and faithful application of the rule there given, would render every other superfluous, for securing the happiness of the marriage state, with the children of God.
Seek, then, to live abidingly under its sweet and sanctify. ing influence. Remember, that in whatever measure you are made instrumental, under the divine blessing, in drawing each other nearer to Christ, to partake more fully of His Spirit, drink more deeply of His love, walk more faithfully in His footsteps, and be conformed more closely to His character, you are bestowing on each other the greatest possible proof of affection, and promoting in each other the highest possible degree of happiness, of which you are capable.
Habituate yourselves, therefore, from the very commencement, to converse together, freely and unreservedly, on things that belong to your eternal peace. Confide to each other, in all the sweet, full confidence of holy wedded love, all your spiritual experiences of hope or fear, joy or sorrow. Watch over each other's spiritual welfare, with all the mingled faithfulness and tenderness of Christian love; exhorting, encouraging, counselling, and comforting one another, as occasion may require, so as thereby to be indeed to each other a ministering spirit of holy peace, and joy, and consolation.
Deal honestly with each other, in all things connected with your advancement in the divine life; and whatever you may discover in each other's character, inconsistent with the spirit and temper of Christ, endeavour, in all the meekness and gentleness, but, at the same time, with all the truth and faithfulness of that love, which is modelled after Christ's, to correct the fault, or remove the blemish; not so much because it offends you, as because it displeases God,-not merely because it alloys your domestic happiness, but chiefly because it dishonours your beloved Redeemer's name.
Oh! cultivate, carefully, this affectionate jealousy for your Redeemer's glory. It will be your best preservative from that sin, into which you are in peculiar danger of being ensnared, and which is peculiarly displeasing to a jealous God, I mean idolatrous love for each other.sodob Against this most subtle and seductive sin, I most solemnly warn you; and conjure you, as you desire to enjoy the light of God's countenance, shining on your souls, and shedding a heavenly halo round your earthly happie ness, watch, strive, pray, that you may be preserved from even wishing to be idolized by each other...
Only think how dreadful to have your wedded love turned from a blessing into a curse, by your seeking to be to each other in a Saviour's stead; to find in each other's smile that supreme happiness only to be found in His, and thus becoming to each other a stumbling-block,-an occasion of sin, depriving each other of heaven's choicest gifts, intercepting from each other's soul the streams of divine love, the rays of divine glory, flowing from the Fountain of all blessedness a Saviour-God.
To guard your souls more effectually from this snare, in addition to your united family, and separate, personal, devotions, habituate yourselves to pray fervently and fre quently together, that you may be made increasingly, in a spiritual sense, a blessing to each other; and that all your wedded love and happiness, being every day more and more sanctified, may become, with you both, a more powerful attractive towards the source and sanctifier of all your love and all your happiness, drawing your affections continually closer, and fixing them firmer, in grateful adoration, on your covenant-God.
Be it also your daily habit to study the Scriptures to. gether, and to converse in a devout, practical, self-applying spirit, concerning their precious contents, as the charter of all your most glorious privileges, the foundation of all your brightest hopes, your comforter on earth;→→→ your guide to heaven. Let your domestic hearth be as a consecrated altar, where the pure flame of holy love will be constantly kept bright and burning, fanned by the breath of affectionate religious conversation.corpf
How many, alas! even of the children of God, converse, ⠀1o persuasively and profitably, on religious subjects, every where more than at home; and thus enlighten, animate, and gladden every circle into which they come, more than
the dear, domestic circle? This is surely a sad inconsistency; for however far the flame of holy conversation ought to fling its heaven-imparted radiance, home is the hallowed spot, marked out by God's own hand, as the place where it should burn clearest, brightest, strongest,-enlightening, gladdening, warming all around.
If you thus dwell together as fellow-heirs of eternal life, rejoicing together in the smile of a Saviour's countenance, and resting together under the shadow of His wings; spending your time happily together in His service on earth, and looking forward to the blissful prospect of spending your eternity together, amidst the fulness of joy, in his presence in heaven; your earthly home will be, indeed, a little type and miniature of that heavenly home, towards which each day is bringing you nearer; for it will be the abode of holy and heavenly love, and peace and happiness. Sorrow may come, but it will only come to make that heavenly home more dear: death must come, but it will be only to admit you to that heavenly home for ever. One may reach it a few days before the other; but both shall there meet at last, to be united, in pure and perfect love and happiness, for eternity.
"Know ye not that Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”
REPROBATES! that is, disapproved and rejected of God! In the Church of Corinth, too, where such various and resplendent gifts abounded? Reprobates! Hearing the Gospel? Hearing a Paul preach? Reprobates! After joining in Church communion at the Lord's table? Reprobates! After two epistles of instruction and admonition? Reprobates! After convictions, sorrows, persecutions, the good opinion of the members of the Church? Reprobates! After witnessing the fall of some professors, to warn us, and the power of grace in others, to encourage us? Reprobates! After visiting the sick, taking our turn in prayer, at the prayer-meetings? Reprobates! After the reproofs we have given to saints and sinners, and after the reproofs we have received ourselves, in sermons, personal and relative afflictions? Reprobates! After the
fears which have agitated us, the means of grace we have attended, and the vows we have made? Prayed in the family, the closet, and yet Reprobates! Conversing on religion, with good men, reproving bad men,-singing the praises of God with the congregation, with a loud voice, and Reprobates! Instructing the ignorant in Sunday-Schools; sanctioning the Missionary, Bible, and Tract Society, by my presence, my voice, my purse, and yet a Reprobate! In the office of a settled minister, an elder, a deacon, and a Reprobate! An admirer of ministers, bringing others to hear the Gospel, and a Reprobate! Sound in my sentiments, regular in my attendance on ordinances, mourning over the negligence of others, and a Reprobate!
Instrumental in the conversion of souls, by persuading them to hear the. Gospel, by my example in hearing it, by giving them Bibles, and a Reprobate! Speaking against sin, opposing self-righteousness, encouraging weak believers, and bringing them to the Lord's table, and a Reprobate! Reading the Word of God to, praying with the sick, and affording them temporal relief, and yet a Reprobate!
Yes, all this may be said, and felt, and performed, and yet we may be Reprobates!
Pride, self-righteousness, unbelief, the lust of the flesh, the lust of money, the lust of power, the lust of reputation, the lust of singularity, the lust of party, the lust of self-exaltation over all, may govern us. We may trust in "the littleness of our sins, and the sufficiency of duties to counterbalance them;" and, after all our advantages, and professions, and feelings, be a Reprobate, a castaway, a rejected character!
But, granting that my present character is such, that a holy God must disapprove and reject, may I not repent and believe, and be saved?" We rejoice to tell you, "all things are possible with God;" and He may convert your soul.
Then, why use so awful a term as that of reprobate, in describing my state? The answer to this objection is easy; God himself thus describes your state in his Word, as that which will expose you to final reprobation, if you die in this condition. And the word reprobate is no more awful, than charging you with impenitence and unbelief: or, saying you are unholy, you are a hypocrite, you are
in an unconverted state; for such characters God must reprobate. Yet, as you may be converted, why speak of you as already a reprobate, as if you never should repent? Because, though your conversion be possible, it is not probable; considering that God generally converts souls, under the first years of their learning the Gospel; and that you have so long tried the remedy in vain! You have conquered the calls, the warnings, and encouragements of the Gospel. You have felt deep convictions, powerful impressions of the truth,-felt "the powers of the world to come;" and now, you hear, and read, and converse on religion, without feeling, or with much less feeling, as if you now doubted the truth and importance of the Gospel. What is now to impress your soul? There is no other remedy to try on your spirit. Can any statement be more alarming, you ask? Does it not tend to produce despair? It is alarming; and we wish you to take the alarm, and flee for refuge to the Saviour, as "the hope set before you."
If your alarm should produce the anxious inquiry, reprobate as you are, "what must, I do to be saved ?" Our answer is ready, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." Acts xvi. 31. But, if you continue in sin,-if you rest in cold notions, however Scriptural, if your attendance on the means of grace is accompanied with habitual indifference, and the love of sin, what can you expect, with your Bible before you, but the execution of Christ's sentence, "Ye shall die in your sins; and where I am, thither you cannot come." Lay this to heart, ye children and youth, who are growing up under the Gospel, in an unconverted state. Lay this to heart, ye who are grown up to manhood, or entering old age, with nothing more than " a name to live, while ye are dead." Harden not your hearts by familiarity with sin, and the truth of God, at the same time, "Behold! now is the accepted time! Behold, now is the day of salvation." SCRUTATOR.