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from the evil, has chosen the evil and rejected the good, and, consequently, the just condemnation of God is upon every such son of man. “The soul that sinneth it shall die.' This, my dear reader, is the state in which you have been from infancy; and, unless Divine grace has wrought a change of nature upon you, the state you now are in; your future conduct can do nothing for the past, it will be far enough from satisfying from the future. Now the crime is committed, the sentence passed, you must bear the punishment, or procure some one to bear it for you. Refuge there is none, but in the work of the Lord Jesus Christ, applied to your soul to procure pardon; and his Spirit given to effect sanctification, holiness, fitness for heaven. 0! if you have never gone before, go to God now, and ask that this salvation may be applied to you. He will receive you graciously, if you truly come to him; because he is God, and not man. He never said to any returning sinner, Seek
face in vain. Perhaps the consideration that prayer is desire, may afford an answer to the many complaints we hear of unanswered prayer. Prayer is desire; but our prayers are not always desire; and words without desire never reach the altar from whence the rich incense accompanies the prayers of saints. If the heartfelt desire of the soul only be prayer, only be what God answers ;-the Searcher of hearts knows that those who love Him most have abundant cause to lie low in shame and confusion of face, on account of the want of this frequently in their transactions with God.
It is possible that some poor sinner who may have read thus far is still determined not to pray? How awful such a state! The determination that you will never pray, carried out, means that you will live and die an enemy to God, and encounter fearlessly his wrath in a coming world! Surely your own soul recoils when you read this your own resolution! Have you an arm like God? Can you bear his wrath ? Consider your state! The sentence of condemnation has long since been pronounced against you. The execution has been delayed in much long suffering, that delay might lead to repentance. Were you engaged in a quarrel with a government which had a criminal charge in abeyance, ready at any time to imprison you upon, if you continued to stand forth in opposition to them, you would tremble; but you might flee to another country, and escape beyond their jurisdiction. God has not a charge in abeyance which might possibly not be proved; but the sentence is gone forth: you might escape from one country to another, but where can you flee from God? No change of country puts you beyond his jurisdiction. Heaven, earth, and hell are alike open to his eye, and equally under his government. No mountain
nor cleft of the rugged rock can hide you from him. O, hearken to the voice that bids you kiss the Son to-day: tomorrow how vain it may be to warn; we may have to speak to the dead! But nov turn, turn and pray, for without prayer there is no salvation. When Paul was converted, it was said of him, “Behold, he prayeth!” And so it has been with every converted soul since; and so it will be with you, or you will never see God's face in mercy.
However proudly your hard and rebellious heart may lift itself up against prayer, remember, that all the difference between the man that now prays and you, is merely a point of time. He now prays, you will pray. But that apparently small point-these small words-include in them consequences how important! He has prayed in time, in that period during the existence of which God promises and offers salvation. You, if you pray not now, WILL, like the rich man, pray in hell; pray, when the door is shut and the guests sat down; pray, when the sentence is pronounced, when prayer is unavailing; pray, not to be answered ! Choose you this day whom you
you will continue to “rise up and lie down like the beasts,” or whether
you will accept of a free pardon, of the Spirit of holiness, of religion here, and heaven hereafter.
This may be the last warning, in the providence of God, that you may ever receive. The choice is with you to-day; you may accept, you may reject; but were kingdoms in the balance, the turning of the beam might be looked upon as unimportant compared with your present resolve.
Choose the Lord Jesus Christ, and accept of his salvation, and you may yet be--you will be—you are-saved !
Reject the Lord Jesus Christ and his salvation, and you must be--you are-condemned !
EXTRACT OF A LETTER FROM LUTHER TO HIS
MOTHER, A. D. 1531. “GRACE and peace to you from Christ Jesus, our Lord and Saviour! Amen.
“MY DEAREST MOTHER,—Having received a letter from my brother James, apprising me of your illness, I write to say how deeply I feel grieved on your account; and the more so, as I find myself reluctantly compelled to be absent from you in the body, though in spirit I draw nigh to you with my whole family; in token of which I present you with this letter. Although I am fully persuaded that you are possessed of, and intimately acquainted with the word of God, and enjoy its rich consolatory promises, and that you are well provided with human instructors and spiritual comforters, yet I
feel bound to perform also my part as a dutiful child to an affectionate mother; remembering that the same Almighty Lord has created us both, and that we are under mutual obligation to each other by the most sacred and endearing ties. On this account I wish to add my mite of service for your encouragement and comfort.
* And first, my dear mother, you have been taught, by the grace of God, to know that your illness is his parental rod, yet ministered in great tenderness and mercy, when compared with those severe chastisements with which he not unfrequently visits the ungodly; yea, sometimes even his own beloved children, some of whom have been beheaded, and some burnt alive, while others have been drowned, or otherwise put to death; so that they cannot but apply to their own case the apostolic declaration, “For thy sake we are killed all day, we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.' Let not therefore this illness affect you too grievously, but receive it thankfully as a gracious visitation from God; and remember how light your afflictions are (should they even terminate in death) compared with the sufferings of his own dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who, unlike ourselves, did not suffer for any transgression of his own, but for us and for our sins.
Secondly, you know, my dear mother, who is the grand Object of our faith, and the sole Author of our salvation; on whom alone you depend for comfort in this and in every other affliction, even Jesus Christ, the chief corner-stone, who is immoveable, and can never fail us. Firmly fixed on him, we cannot sink or perish. For what his name implies he actually is, a Saviour of all poor sinners who, in trouble and death, rely upon him, and call upon his blessed name. He says, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.' Now, the very same Saviour who overcame the world, has also overcome the prince of the world, with all his might and power. Christ died, that, through death, he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver them who, through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage.' We are expressly commanded in his word, joyfully, and with thanksgiving, to appropriate to ourselves such comfort; and every Christian who refuses to receive these cheering assurances, dishonours the heavenly Comforter, and disgracefully doubts his ever-faithful promises. Away with such unworthy fears and doubts! Should they obtrude themselves upon us, we are bound to fortify our minds against them, and thus encourage ourselves individually.
“ O my soul, how canst thou act so mean a part! Knowest thou not, O sin! 0 death! that thou art a conquered enemy? Is that mighty Conqueror unknown to thee, who said, I have overcome the world! I will not, therefore, regard thy frightful appearance, nor listen to thy terrific voice, but rather attend to the cheering words of my Saviour, 'I have overcome the world.' He is the conquering Hero in whose victory I participate; in him I abide ; his consolatory sayings I appropriate to myself; in full reliance upon them I depart. He never can nor will deceive me. With such holy boasting St. Paul opposes himself to the terrors of death : “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death! where is thy sting? O grave! where is thy victory ?' Frighten thou canst, like a spectre; but the power of slaying
me is taken away. Thou mayst show thy teeth, but thou canst not devour. Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.'
“Cheered by considerations like these, you cannot but acknowledge, with unfeigned gratitude to God, his mercy in enlightening your mind with the knowledge of the truth, and rescuing you from the delusions of Popery, by which we were taught to found our hope of salvation upon our own good works, and the merits of monastic holiness; to the neglect and depreciation of our only Saviour, who was represented to us rather as a cruel judge and tyrant-to escape whose frowns it was needful to flee for refuge to Mary and to the saints—than as a most compassionate and merciful Redeemer. But now, by the infinite goodness and mercy of our heavenly Father, we know and rest assured that Christ is our Mediator and our Propitiation, our Advocate with the Father, who is daily making intercession for all who believe in him, and call upon his name; and who will prove
himself a severe Judge to those only who refuse his grace and consolation, and reject him by unbelief. So far from accusing and threatening us, he has made an atonement for our sins, and pleads our cause by the merits of his death, and of his precious blood shed for us; so that we need not fear him with a slavish fear, but can draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, and address him with such endearing names as these : 'My beloved Saviour, my blessed Comforter, thou faithful Shepherd and Bishop of my soul.'
“May the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort, grant you, by his holy word and Spirit, such a firm, confident, and cheerful faith, that you may be enabled triumphantly to overcome this and every other affliction and trouble, and to evince, in your own happy experience, the truth of your Saviour's declaration, ‘Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.'
"To his mercy I commend you both in body and soul. My Catherine, and all our children, which are yours, remember you in their prayers.”
HOW nimbly doth that little lark mount up singing towards heaven in a right line; whereas the hawk, which is stronger of body and swifter of wing, towers up by many gradual compasses to his highest pitch. That bulk of body and length of wing hinders a direct ascent, and requires the help both of air and scope to advance his flight, while that small bird cuts the air without resistance, and needs no outward furtherance of her motion. It is no otherwise with the souls of men in flying up to their heaven; some are hindered by those powers which would seem helps to their soaring up thither; great wit, deep judgment, quick apprehension, send men about with no small labour for the recovery of their own incumbrance, while the good affec tions of plain simple souls raises them up immediately to the uit of God. Why should we be proud of that which may slacken our way to glory? why should we be disheartened with the small measure of that, the very want
TRACT MAG., THIRD SERIES, NO. 77. MAY, 1840.