Obrazy na stronie
[ocr errors]

jects, however minute and insignificant; however widely scattered in the immensity of creation, all fall within the sphere of our Maker's observation. His eyes are over the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers.

If we faithfully put our trust in him, and sincerely obey his commands; if we refrain from the voluntary commission of sin, and do all we can to promote in ourselves piety and good works, he will most assuredly look down upon us with an eye of mercy and compassion ;-he will pardon our offences, pity our infirmities, relieve our wants, and support and fortify us under all the trials and changes we may meet with in this precarious and diversified scene of our earthly existence. There is no respect of persons in his sight; he regards the poorest man alive, as well as the greatest and most exalted character under the canopy of heaven; nay, the former is by far the most eligible of the two, and will be more likely to receive assistance from above, and in the end, a heavenly ipheritance, if his christian principles and religious habits are better established, more devoutly practised, and in every respect more ardently and fully confirmed by the voice of reason and duty, humility and conscience. The slightest acquaintance with the sacred oracles of God will be sufficient to convince us of the truth of what is here advanced. There," says the learned, venerable, and exemplary Bishop of London, “we are assured that every individual being, even the least and most contemptible, even the sparrow that is sold for less than a farthing, is under the eye of the Almighty; that so far from man being too inconsiderable for the notice of his Maker, the minutest parts of his body, the very hairs of his head are all numbered. These very strong instances are plainly chosen on purpose to quiet all our fears, and to banish from our 'minds every idea of our being too small and insignificant for the care and protection of the Almighty."-In thee, therefore, O God! I will ever put my trust; into thy fatherly hands I will implicitly resign all my cares and interests. Teach me, o blessed Lord, to be always mindful of thy presence, and perfectly resigned to thy holy will in all things. Give me the blessings of health and contentment. Grant me a cheerful disposition, a sincere heart, and a benevolent mind, and, above all, save and deliver me in the hour of death, and in the day of judgment, for the sake and through the merits of Him who now at thy right hand


mercifully intercedes for me, and not only me, but every one, who, by stedfast continuance in well-doing, seeks for glory, honour, and immortality.

Why heholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye,


perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye.---Luke vi. 41, 42.

Gay says very truly-
« In other men we faults can spy,
And blame the mote that dims their eye;
Each little speck and blemish find

To our own stronger errors blind.” Blind indeed! most wretchedly and culpably so; for how often do we condemn that in others which we our. selves practise; and how frequently do we expose the failings and imperfections of our friends and acquaintances without any regard either to decency or truth, and, what is still worse, without recollecting that our own temper and conduct is perhaps a thousand times worse than the persons wlrose characters we have defamed and made so free with, and whom we have so industriously endeavoured to bring low in the estimation of our hearers. If we attended more to the rules and doctrines of christian charity; if we thought no evil of our neighbour, and studied the religion of Christ, (a religion which we all ought to know, . furnishes the sweetest and most engaging morality that can possibly engage the mind of man) we should not be so prone

to behold the mote that is in our brother's eye." It is in the last degree unfair and uncharitable to pre-judge any one; and it is equally reprehensible in us to pry into the secrets and actions of those around us, for the base, treacherous, and detestable purpose of holding them up to the world as objects either of blame or of ridicule.' We have surely enough to do to discover “ the beam that is in our own eye.” The longest life will hardly suffice to shew us what mighty improvements are absolutely necessary to be made in our thoughts, words and actions, before we can hope to enter into the mansions of eternal felicity. It will be time enough “ to pull out the mote that is in our brother's eye,” when

[ocr errors]


Let us put

we ourselves have reached the summit of perfection, Let us not then from this moment speak ill of any one. Let us hide their faults, and amend our own. the most favourable construction on all they do and say, and rather strive to palliate, than blaze what we think is improper, erroneous, or absurd in their private or public behaviour. These are the thoughts, O God! which should, govern and influence us in our journey through life. Assist us, we beseech thee, to improve upon them, and to regard and love our neighbours in the true and evangelical sense which such an important and conciliating duty bears in the sacred writings; for in them we are expressly commanded to love our neighbour, and even to pray for, and do good to those who despitefully use us, and persecute us.

In every thing by prayer and supplication, let your requests be made known unto God.-Phil. iv. 6.

Prayer may very properly be called the key of grace, and, if fervent and sincere, ihe great and successful inlet to good thoughts, and a devout and holy life. It is beyond a doubt, the indispensable duty of all men to temember their Creator, and to be thankful to Him for the many undeserved blessings he is continually showering down upon them. He is constantly about our bed, and about our paths to protect us from danger, and to support us under the vicissitudes and temptations which in this world must always be expected to surround us. To be ungrateful and unmindful of so great a Benefactor, in whom we live, and move, and have our being, in whose hands are the issues of life and death, and from whom we receive every good and perfect gift, must either manifest a very depraved heart, a very unthankful disposition, or the most lamentable ignorance. We are told that the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man drnileth much, and we inay be assured that it is literally the case, and that God will let every thing work together for good to them that love him, and keep his commundments, When we retire to rest, before we recline our heads on our pillows, let us take care to prostrate ourselves before the throne of his Majesty with the deepest solemnity and penitence of heart to supplicate his forgiveness of the errors and transgressions of the past day; beseeching flim to watch over us the ensuing night, and to guard


us from sin and danger of every kind. And when we rise in the morning, let us be equally careful to offer up the incense of grateful hearts for the rest we have enjoyed, and the comfort of seeing the light of another day. But let not this be a cold and barren service; let it be warm, genuine, and unaffected. Let the effects of a duty so awful, sublime, and beneficial, shine forth in our lives and conversations, and influence us to every good word and work. “Let our requests be made known. unto God” under a proper and lasting sense of our own unworthiness, and that, knowing without his grace and forgiveness, through the merits of Him who died for us, we shall inevitably stand exposed to his displeasure here, and his anger hereafter.

It is indeed a very desirable thing to have a taste for devotion, and a mind bent on reading, at proper opportunities, the productions of our ablest divines, which contain, besides the charms of eloquence, and the beauties of language, the best moral philosophy in the world. And here let me add how pleased I am with the proposal suggested in the Orthodor Magazine for the month of January last, p. 67, for reviewing, extracting from, and shewing to its readers specimens of the incomparable writings of some of the greatest luminaries of our church. May God prosper their labours for the advancement of sound religion, and true, undisguised Gospel morality; untainted by fanaticism, and totally exempt from the wild jargon and absurd chimeras of hot-headed and irrelevant paradox preachers. This is my prayer, O merciful God! and I would fain hope that it is the earnest prayer of every good and rational christian.




An Essay upon the original evidence of Christianity.

By the Rev. Thomas LUDLAM, M. A. THE persons appointed by our Lord to be the imme

diate preachers of his religion, were possessed of two very different sorts of knowledge.

I. Such

1. Such as they acquired by the same ways, in which all men acquire it. II. Such as was MIRACULOUSLY bestowed


them ALONE.

For information respecting supernatural matters, that is, matters undiscoverable by the human faculties, and proofs of the reality of such information, can be received ONLY in a suPERNATURAL manner by the persons inspired. Thus, Gideon requested the evidence of sense for a proof of the reality of that information, with which God was pleased to favour him; Judg. vi. 36. In what manner the reality of divine information was ascertained to the prophets and apostles in general, we are not told.

When, then, professor Michaelis (vol. i. p. 72. c. iij. s.i. of his lectures upon the New Testament, translated by Mr. Marsh) affirmed, that “ had the Deity inspired not a single book of the New Testament,” (a single writer of the New Testament, the learned professor should have said; for a writer may be inspired, but a book cannot) “ but left the apostles and evangelists without any other aid, than that of natural abilities, to commit what they knew," (by that aid only) “ to writing (admitting their works to be authentic, and possessed of a sufficient degree of credibility) the christian religion would still remain the true one.” He was not able to perceive, that, the apostles were possessed of these two kinds of knowledge, nor to discern the great difference between; nor to discover, that their knowledge of the doctrines of christianity had no connection, nor could possibly have any, with such knowledge as they were able to acquire by the customary use of their natural faculties. Although men can acquire the knowledge of facts, through the information of their various senses, yet it does not follow, that they can therefore acquire a knowledge of the effects or consequences of such facts by the same way. The Israelites with Gideon (Judg. vii.) saw which of the people lapped, and which bowed down to drink; but, were they therefore acquainted with the consequence of this fact? Peter might have recited all the facts related in his sermon to the Jews (Acts ii. 22. to 36.) without any of that information, which he received miraculously, i.e. by inspiration; and which he neither did nor could acquire by the use of his natural abilities; by the aid of which alone he never could have acquainted his countrymen, that God had madle that same Jesus, whom they bad crucified


« PoprzedniaDalej »