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The end of all His holy dispensations and chastisements is, to induce man to fly to the only refuge which is in Christ-to that which is our only true happiness. As they have departed from Him in their own evil ways, it is to bring them into His own holy way again. The end of affliction is, that we may humble ourselves in the sight of God, and that we may acknowledge the justice of his dealings, and return to Him in Christ Jesus, cleave to his mercy in that Saviour, and depend upon his goodness and power. When afflictions are attended with these effects to the soul, they become truly profitable, and happy are they who are thus profited; for then their title to the kingdom of heaven is made manifest. But woe be to them who take to rebelling more and more against Him, as it was with this king Ahaz. His history is related in this chapter. The son of a pious man seated upon the throne of David. Yet he threw off the cords of God's discipline; yea, he forsook the covenant of his God, and fell into gross idolatry, practising the abominations of the heathen. To punish this man, God gave him into the hands of the king of Syria. This heavy punishment one would have thought, would have humbled him. But instead of this, Ahaz sent to the king of Assyria, while he wasted his house to pay him.
When all hopes from man failed, he sent to strange gods, but they were the ruin of him and all his race. This deluded man, instead of crying to God, tried every means but the right one. He plunged deeper and deeper into sin, and the
effect of his conduct is an example
If men's worldly schemes are blasted, they engage the more in business. If their idols are cast down, it makes them fretful. If the hand of God lies heavy upon them, it makes them fly in the face of his justice.
It is said in the Revelations that under his judgments "they gnawed their tongues with pain and repented not of their sins.'
If conviction of sin is upon them, they fly to pleasure and drunkenness, to seek relief, to every thing rather than to the blood of Christ, which can alone purge
away sin. Or else they rest in some of those wretched schemes of
religion which rob God of his glory, or they reject the Bible and take refuge in the cold bosom of infidelity. In short, like King Ahaz, they harden their hearts against God. And they who refuse like him to profit by warnings will find God their enemy.
While the sincere church of God is walking in newness of life, multitudes depart the farther from him, but dreadful will be their condition that depart, and who make that which should be for their soul's health, to be the occasion of their condemnation. They will find to their confusion what an evil and bitter thing it is to fight against God.
Let it be your care, my brethren, to apply what has been said. You have heard what it is the Lord means by his dispensations, especially those that are afflictive. You all have trials. Have you profited by his merciful dispensations? Have they brought you to a throne of grace with the publican's in mouth? prayer your 66 "God be merciful to me a sinner!" Have they made you trust in the merits of Christ, for the remission of sins, to follow him in holiness of life. Then is the gracious design of God's giving afflictions answered You must not be without
a daily cross. Let it work a sense work of the importance of eternal things, and having a joyful hope of the glory to be revealed. Bless his holy name, that he will not let you find what you would, in earthly things. Be thankful, that as he alone is worthy of your heart, that he will not let idols reign in your breasts. Some that hear me, may not have profited to this day. God has caused you to be troubled, but you have not returned by repentance. He hath foiled your schemes, but this has only put you to follow other false schemes, without your -being convinced that true happiness is only to be found in the blood of Christ, which alone can purge the conscience from guilt. You have had a sense of your iniquities, but this has made you seek to establish your own righteousness. You, like Ahaz, have plunged more into the world, murmuring and complaining under the rod, taking refuge in false religions, and you are hardened in sin, proof against the most alarming judgments; but woe to you if this be the case, for the judgments of God intended to restore you, have had a
contrary effect; they have hardened you in wickedness, and thus it would have been good for you if you had never been born. Some of you may have fallen from seeking his grace after tasting that the Lord is gracious, return to the Lord again, that you may not stand like that King Ahaz, whom no correction in providence could reclaim. You must when hedged up in your ways by providence, be persuaded, that your pursuits of pleasure turn to gall and bitterness, and that they will end in affliction; for the newick ed are like the troubled sea, which can never rest. You may be at this time a prey to evil affections, temptations, and passions, which now make your bosom like a troubled sea. Thus it will be until you repent and fly to the blood of Christ, submit to the word and spirit of God. The longer you delay your returning the worse will you feel, unless you take refuge in a system of lies, in which you may continue to be, till in hell lift up your eyes in torments. But may the word have due effect. cease from sin, lest lest he belie angry and ye perish for ever. hud 240-19
THE CENTRAL HOUSE OF CORRECTION AT NISMES
THIS building was erected by Louis XIV. on the ruins of a former fortress, with the object of bridling the Protestants, who are very numerous in the South of France, and who in this town amount to more than half the whole population. After the French Revolution, it was used as a refuge for mendicants, and latterly as a house of correction. Two temples were
xeba Sundays and Thursdays, and con ducts an elementary school, on the reciprocal plan.
The prisoners are estimated at eleven hundred, of whom about forty only are Protestants by birth, Their service however has for some time past been remarkably well attended by Catholics, so that at length the Protestant temple was unable to hold those who desired admittance. The responsibility of the
fitted up by government, nearly's situation, and the
contiguously situated, for Protestants and Catholics, and separate wards in the hospital, with appro-" priate chapels, were allotted to the" two persuasions. The Protestant chaplain is M. Emilier Frossard, who celebrates divine service on metis medi dguoud; bus .estitque
encouraging prospect this held out," will be appreciated by every Christian. Perhaps there is no position in the life of a sinner, so well calcu lated to impress him that he is such, asla residence ‹in a place of this
THE HOUSE OF CORRECTION AT NISMES, IN FRANCE. 471
kind. But it does not need wall and bolts to make a prisoner, for remorse is a prison, nor can any thing immure a man so fast, as the conviction of sin under the spirit working upon the soul, till the command is issued, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound. In consequence of the crowds that thronged the entrance to the Protestant temple, the authorities interfered a few months ago, not by enlarging the place of worship, but by rescinding a standing rule which enjoined that every prisoner should attend one chapel or other, and allowing them to remain in the courts if they pleased. The consequence was, that the attendance fell off in both temples, but the Protestant still reckons above a hundred hearers, who remain like so many grains of wheat, after the
the chaff has been winnowed away. Sixty of these were Roman Catholics by profession a little time back, and of this number fourteen were received at the communion of the Lord's Supper on the seventh of July. These persons had given every proof of good conduct since they were brought to the prison, their at tendance on public worship was constant, and their application in the school was most diligent.
On one occasion, M. Frossard took for the text of his communion service, Acts xi. 26. The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch. He spoke with force and with hunction, on that indispensable part as well as proof of evangelical life, that whoever lays hold of Christ by faith, must
me a new creature. His words were attentively listened to and believed, and he received the most gratifying assurance of their good,, effect. Soon after the conclusion of his discourse, the following inte, resting letter, addressed to him by his was put into techumens,
To M, Frossard, pastor of the Church of Nismes, chaplain of the Central House of Correction, and of the Royal College.
M. PASTOR,We are come this day to testify our gratitude for all the trouble we have cost you, as well as for all the pains you have taken with us. We are also come to request you will not forsake us. We have taken a decided resolution to follow the evangelical religion, which you preach from a Christian pulpit. Yes, the word of truth which you have spoken has moved our hearts, and awakened us from the sleep of death into which we had long been sunk. How happy for us was that day, on which God by his grace opened our hearts, as he did that of Lydia, to understand the scriptures! We are come, beloved pastor, to protest to you before God, that we will henceforth follow the Divine precepts contained in the Book of Life, which we are so fortunate as to possess. Do not omit to join your prayers to ours, now that we are going to approach the holy table,, for the purpose of asking grace and forgiveness from God, and of reconciling ourselves, to him. Well request you also to invite all charitable persons to unite them-i selves to us by their prayers; that so we may, when our confinement is over, become new men and zealous servants of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; proclaiming loudly the great bene-it fit he has conferred upon our souls, in sending you among us to make us choose the one thing t needful May God make us sig nal instances of his grace in this world, and after our death receive us into heaven!, May God also open the heart of all our com-/} panions in misery, so that they in their turn may understand the scriptures, and through them attain
How precious is the book divine,
"born again." The best and holiest of Christians have the greatest appetites, and keenest de sires after this food of the soul; thus Job declared, even in his afflictions, "I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food." David, in the same strain, affirms, "how sweet are thy words unto my taste, yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth.' "I found thy words, and I did eat them, for they are the rejoicing of my heart." “Moreover, by them is thy servant warned, and in keeping of them there is great reward.' While the word of God is thus nourishing to the soul of the real Christian, by the disuse or neglect of it, the most: vigorous appetite is subject to faint and pine away. and pine away. But as in bodily diseases, although from this cause there may be no relish for wholesome food, yet it will, nevertheless, when taken, nourish and strengthen; so will the word of God really do us good, far more good and benefit than more high seasoned food, which while it pleases the palate, weak ens and impoverishes the system its was taken to benefit: Dear rea¬ni
sot,mid ca prog 10 9 By inspiration given;
IN the Holy Scriptures the igno- of which Peter speaks, by which
rant r learn all requisite know-
'This book can make the simple wise,
It is said that Dr. Martin Luther wished all his books of devotion were burned, when he perceived that many who valued and were fond of them, neglected their Bibles. Believers in Jesus should not leave the fountain for the streams; it is both unwise and unthankful to choose to read God's word, rather in any other book than his own; the entrance of his word giveth light. Search the Scriptures," said the Saviour, "they testify of me." Reader, remember this declaration. The word of God is compared to seed; that deathless incorruptible seed,
der, let the sober life-giving, soulsatisfying streams of divine truth be precious, and chosen by you, may you say with Dr. Watts.
Should all the forms that men devise,
We may confidently expect God's blessing on his own institutions; and we cannot surely ask any thing more agreeable to his will, than a competent understanding of that book, in which he has made known his own will for our guidance and his glory.
St. Augustine used to say, I delight in the Holy Scriptures. I lay them up in my memory as a most valuable treasure, and by tasting and feeding upon those delicious descriptions of another world, I take off great part of the bitterness of this.' Many saints in modern times, like Augustine in old times, have found the same. "The word of God hath been bread indeed to their souls, yea, THE BREAD of life." On it they have fed, and forgotten their cares, proving by sweet experience,
Good Tertullian, one of the fathers, used to say, We feed our faith, raise our hopes, aud establish our reliance with the sacred word. Truly the word of God is an anchor to the soul; sure and stedfast, it is perfect, it is tried, and proves a rock to all who delight therein. Oh, how blessed is the description given by David in the first Psalm, of such as meditate therein day and night. "Whatsoever such an one doeth, shall prosper," the word of God received into the heart aright, will be a fruitful source of glory to him, for its effects will be seen, and the Holy Spirit will make it a spring of holiness in us, then we shall not be forgetful hearers or readers of the word, but blessed in our deed; it will be evident, that the word hath a place in our hearts, which the temptations of Satan, the deceits of the world, or the trials of life,. have neither been able to subdue nor stifle.
IN accordance with my promise, I now proceed to inquire what may be the expectations justified by the word of God, in regard to the result of missionary exertions.
The opinions of religious persons are beginning to be much divided on this subject. Some years ago most of those who cordially promoted missionary labours, entertained hopes, that the conversion of the world was to be effected by means of the various institutions now in operation; and many of our plat form advocates are still wont to encourage the same hopes. Oft late however, numerous individuals appear to have become less ardent in their support of these institutions,
and in some instances even to be opposed to missionary exertions altogether. I consider these to be the unequivocal symptoms of some spiritual disease: for surely no pious Christian can seriously consider Matt. ix. 37, 38. and Mark xvi. 15. and not conclude that it is his duty and privilege to co-operate: in preaching or sending the gospel to every creature. Indifferences therefore and aversion betray, that there is something morbid (if Et may so say) in the spiritual system; and it becomes our first business - །་ to endeavour to trace the effects to the cause onetsiz
Though two classes (of persons/ exhibit these anti-missionary sympt