« ÎnapoiContinuă »
Father, his own reconciled Father in Christ Jesus; who is, according to his own appointment, mediator, peacemaker, Redeemer: and the Holy Ghost, by the same appointment and order-the Lord, the Sanctifier. Whenever the sinner considers himself as reconciled, by dwelling upon his happy deliverance, his escape, his blessed situation, and prospects; by viewing the grace by which he is delivered, and his obligations to his deliverer, he becomes grateful: according to the order of this same well-ordered covenant, he receives favour to become the child of God. John, 1st chapter. 'To as many as received him, gave he power to become the sons of God; even to them who believe on his name.' It is the finished righteousness of our blessed Surety that redeems us from hell and death, and gives us a title to eternal life; but our comfortable views of this, our steadfast hopes, our higher or lower attainments in the divine life, our God has made, in some measure, conditional. If we make a bold, full profession -if we are diligent in the use of means-if we cultivate communion with God, by reading, meditation, and prayer, we are likely to become rich in faith, and holy in heart, life, and conversation. But if we, through shame, and the fear of contempt, conform too much to the worldbe timid sneaking Christians, ashamed of God's method of salvation, and covering our Christian motives under the cloak of philosophy, benevolence, &c. &c. we need not be surprised if the Lord deny us the testimony of his Spirit, witnessing with our own heart that we are born of God; or if, through indolence, love of the world, and unnecessary enlargements and weights, we neglect. prayer, reading, meditation, the means of conversing with God, we need not be surprised if we are cold and languid, afraid of death, afraid of a thousand evils, which the Lord may permit to haunt us; have little enjoyment in religion, and little happiness: added to this, much chastisement and affliction. Some Christians are saved, so as by fire; some reach the haven through mists, storms, tempests, without the cheerful sun, and arrive safe, through the merits of that Redeemer, who never failed one that hung upon him; but they arrive like a poor shattered bark, that has hardly escaped shipwreck; others
go through this world, doing the will of God, and suffering the will of God-fighting against corruption within, and temptation without, in faith and full confidence that they have grace to help in every time of need. They ask, and they receive; they fall often when unwatchful, but they rise again, and renew the fight, having an advocate with the Father, and a merciful High-Priest, who is touched with the feeling of their infirmities. They confess, ask forgiveness, believe that they are forgiven, still hold fast their confidence; the Lord, whose prerogative it is to bring good out of evil, making their very failures the means of more steadfast walking, by making them more humble, more dependant, more watchful, more prayerful. At length they overcome, and have an abundant entrance into the kingdom of their Lord and Saviour. Like a stately ship in full sail, with wind and tide, they enter the haven of eternal rest.
Oh! my brother, be not a Christian by halves-believe confidently, join the Lord's people fully and openlywatch, pray, fight against corruption within, and temptation without; ask, and believe, and you shall receive needful grace-go up through the wilderness, leaning on your beloved; casting all your care on him, who hath promised to care for you, and to make all things work together for your good. He has said, 'Leave your fatherless children; I will preserve them alive, and let your widows trust in me.' He is the Father of the fatherless, the Husband of the widow, the stranger's shield, and the orphan's stay; take hold of this promise, ensure it by trusting in it for wherever there is a promise held up to our faith, according to our faith shall it be. I think I mentioned in a former letter that it had pleased the Lord to take to himself dear little Isabella Smith, one of the loveliest, sweetest babes I ever beheld. The stroke was
severely felt, but resignation was given. She is not lost, but gone before, with many others dear to us. It will be but a little while, my brother, till we shall all have done with every thing here. Oh! let us dwell upon the purchased inheritance, and get above this vain, empty, ensnaring world. Let us try to lay aside every weight, and as every one has some besetting sin, and that often the least known to himself, let us search it out, and pray
that it may be realized, that we may put a mark upon our besetting sin, and a double watch, that we may be able to lay it aside, and to run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, despised the shame, and is now set down at the right hand of God,' where he rules over all, for the good of his people, who shall soon follow him, and be made partakers of his blessedness. Give my love to my dear sister and Agnes, and all the
MY DEAR SISTER,
I HAVE just received my brother's letter and yours. Sorry, sorry am I to find my dear brother in such a broken state of health. I say I am sorry-flesh and blood is so: for no affliction for the present is joyous, but grievous; and I love my dear brother with a very tender affection. But there is a better principle, which says, 'the will of the Lord be done-Good is the will of the Lord. The Lord hath said, "I will bring you into the wilderness, and there will I plead with you-I will bring you
ithin the nd of my covenant, and ye shall be mine, saith the Lord.' O how good! I desire to bless God for all my mercies; but in my present view, (next to the gift of his Son, and eternal life,) my afflictions have proved the greatest. So it may prove with my dear brother. You have seen good deal of affliction in your family: but a little time will show you that you could not have been well without it. I have had my share appointed me by my own Father. I felt it at the time bitter; yet even then not altogether so, for my mourning days have been my best days through life: even they are most comfortable proofs of our Father's love; "Of all my blessings, stands this the highest, that my heart has bled." " I bless God that my dear children are all in his Covenant; that all comes to them from a Father's hand, through the channel of the Covenant. I experience the same kind
of exercise with regard to your family; you are both of the seed of the righteous-the children of many prayers. Rest in the Lord, my dear sister and brother; receive all as coming directly from him.
Love to your dear children. May the Lord himself educate them for his own kingdom.
A Letter from Viscountess Glenorchy to Mrs., Graham, alluded to in her Life, page 24. Barnton, December 27, 1781.
I RECEIVED your letter last week, and also one some time ago from Mrs. Walker, in which she desired me to send you my sentiments upon the alteration you had made, and still thought of making, upon your plan.
I have since endeavoured to consider, with all the attention of which I am at present capable, the arguments that may be brought on both sides of the question; and with regard to the first point, viz: the practisings, I will frankly own, that, could you send your young ladies to one where girls only are admitted, I should more readily yield my opinion of the matter, to those Christians who have advised you to it. But, as I learn that it is a pro miscuous dance of boys and girls, I must in conscience say, that I look upon such a meeting, as equally perni cious in its effects upon the minds of young people, as balls and public assemblies on persons of riper years. When you mentioned the subject to me first, I thought it had been a practising of girls only, else I should then have given you my sentiments fully upon that head.
As to the reading of plays, or any part of them, to your young people, I must own, it does not appear to me to be expedient: it may be productive of bad consequences, and the good arising from it, is, (at most,) uncertain. It is, no doubt, very desirable to enlarge young people's minds, and improve their taste, as well as their persons: but such is the state of things in this world, that to attain this to the degree wished for by every person of refined taste, some things must be sacrificed of much greater
value-for example, a girl cannot acquire the smart, polished air of a person of fashion, without imbibing too much of the spirit of the world. Vanity and emulation must be awakened and cultivated in the heart, before she will apply herself with diligence to outward accomplishments; neither can her mind and taste be much improved in polite literature, without losing its relish for simple truth. I grant you, there are a few Christians in the world who have acquired the outward accomplishments of it; and have, by Grace, been enabled to turn these to good account; who, like the Israelites, having spoiled the Egyptians, have made use of their jewels in adorning the tabernacle but this can never serve as an argument on your side of the question. If the Lord sees fit to manifest his power and Grace by plucking a brand from the burning; this is no reason why children should be initiated into the ways of sin and folly, in hopes that, some time or other, He will bring them out. We are never to do evil that good may come: and this brings the question to a short issue.
Do you think it lawful for Christians to attend public places, or to spend their time in reading plays? Do you think these things tend, either immediately or remotely, to promote the glory of God? If you do not, I cannot see how you, as a Christian, can have any hand in introducing young ladies to the one, or in giving them a taste for
This, dear madam, is my view of the matter: but I do not wish you to walk by my light. I believe all the children of God are taught by him, and ought to follow the dictates of their own consciences: I therefore pretend not to advise you, but shall endeavour to pray that the great unerring Counsellor may give you divine wisdom to be your teacher, to lead you into all truth, and to keep you from every thing inconsistent with his holy will.
I have met with so many interruptions since I began this letter, that I fear it is hardly intelligible. I shall be sorry if I have said any thing that gives you uneasiness; your spirits seem low, and your business not going so well as could be wished: perhaps, I ought rather to have employed my pen in the way of consolation and encouragement, than by throwing in fresh matter of per