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course, how overwhelming are tho calamities which are coming uport us, and wbich are making haste to devour us. O my brethren, cons sider, if Cbrist be not revealed in you, whose image you wear. If his spirit and character be not traced in your hearts and lives, you reflect the image of the great apostate. He works in the children of disobedience, and never fails to produce his own likeness. You are not only his bondmen, and led captive by him at his will, but his children, partakers of the same nature, and breathing the same spirit. Be intreated to put off the works of the flesh, and to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Let bis grace transform your souls into his blessed image. Now is the accepted time and the day of salvation. Give not sleep to your eyes nor slumber to your eyelids, until you have satisfactory evidence that the Lord Jesus has taken up his residence in your hearts; until you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man, which, after God, is created in rigliteousness and holiness. Soon the season of changes will have terminated. The devil, your grand adversary, will hold undisturbed and everlasting possession. o break bis bonds and blot out his image in your souls. Flee, flee for your lives, to him who died for you. He stands knocking at the door of your hearts. When will you give him entrance? When will you receive into your souls the treasures of divine grace? May the Spirit of God touch your hearts. Without this all will be in vain. Under luis forming hand may all your corruptions be subdued. May you be transformed into the divine likeness. Then when the believer's life shall appear, when he shall come to be glorified in bis saints, you will be with him where he is, and participate in his glory.
For the Panoplist.
INFLUENCE OF PRINCIPLES ON CONDUCT.
It is very common to hear men exclaiming “I believe, this, or the other, fact to have existed, or such an opinion to be true." No difticulty is found in learning a man's every day notions, or what he perhaps would rather choose to dignify with the name of principles, if his declarations are received as sufficient evidence; but I am more inclined to look at the life, as affording a surer index to the sentiments of the heart. Should any one tell me, he firmly believed in the declarations of the Bible, respecting a future state of retribution, and nevertheless, live as carelessly as avowed infidels, it significs little what he may say respecting his belief.
Let me not be supposed to mean, “that it is no matter what a man believes, provided his life be right.” This silly dogma is worthy of those, who imagine, in the first place, that no degree of guilt in the impenitent will be sufficient to exclude them from heaven; and in the second, that opinions or sentiments do no harm, because some individtals are found, whose notions may be more detestable than their known practice. But to any one who looks toward the untried world with a steady eye, and at the same time contemplates the actions of his fellowtravellers and examines his own, the enormous disagreement between professed principles and actions presents a most affecting spectacle.
When I look at my employments of this day, consider the influence they may have had on those around me, their various tendencies, and the bearing they have had on my eternal destiny, I am astonished at the apathy which can believe the sublime and tremendous consequences of living in this world, to be as represented in the word of God, and yet can live as idly, as if this momentary residence were of eternal duration.
In a season of cool reflection I am sometimes disposed to ask myself the question, "Do I fully believe, as I pretend? Am I apprehensive, that my whole existence on earth is but for a moment, and that eternity is my proper home?” It must appear to others, as it often does to myself, that my conviction of the plainest truths is but partial; that I do but half believe wbat I acknowledge to be certain beyond a doubt. Sensible objects are always at hand, and from the necessity of some attention to them excuses are easily formed for giving them my time, my labors, and even my affections. I see others living almost as careless of their souls as I of mine, and thence am ready to say, these people think not much more about death, judgment, and eternity than myself. In this condition, a foolish and stupid indifference comforts itself with the miserable delusion, that one cannot be very unsafe, while such numbers around him are in equal danger. In every contest between the judgment and the inclinations, the latter take part against God and his holy law. The atheism of the heart sometimes adopts the desperate subterfuge of imagining, that the Almighty will not execute his threatenings; as if the numbers of bis enemies presented an obstacle to his power, or would induce him from motives of policy, like men, to connive at the crime, because of the multitude of offenders.
The structure of the human mind undoubtedly gives present objects a strong hold of it, in preference to those either distant or future. But this influence is not so powerful as to prevent the imagination from expatiating in distant regions, or from wandering down the current of years, wlicnever the affections demand it. No one finds it difficult to give a permanent attention to the call of inclination or interest. The man who is firmly persuaded that his treasure is laid up in heaven, should find no more reluctance in thinking of the condition of that happy region, and constantly preparing for it, than one whose possessions are in a foreign country, and whose daily employments are preparations for departure, and securing the proper titles to the expected inheritance. I have said, that such perfect regard to the future world is clearly the duty of the Christian. Were his thoughts directed to that abode of purity, with a becoming intensity, the duty would be bois delight; no prompter would be required to quicken bis recollection; no repeated exhortations to accelerate his march. Not only adopting the language, bis whole soul would be animated with the sentiment of the apostle, who exclaimed, we walk by faith, not by siglit.”
The tide of popular feeling, like that of the ocean, has an incalculable power in impelling along its current whatever falls within its reach. But fiere and there are found a few rocks of stability enough to resist the force of the surrounding element; while multitudes of lighter substances obey the impulse of every wave. Whenever the habits of society, or the maxims of the age, are at open war with the
precepts of the Gospel, the man, who lopes for a better world, needs constantly to recal first principles. When he forgets these principles, temptations have a superior power. He does not fly to the only safe Refuge; from the storms which beat upon him he has no shelter; and unless divine inercy interpose in an extraordinary manner, which he has no reason to expect, lie is irrecoverably lost.
For the Panoplist.
ON EARTHLY ATTACHMENTS.
A VERY little reflection on the constitution of the human mind, shows the value of the affections, and the connexion between their exercise and the happiness of the possessor. No intellectual being can know the meaning of the terın enjoyment, if he have not found an object on which to repose the more amiable feelings of his nature, to allow a full communication of his kindest sensibilities, and between whom and himself the expression of those sensibilities may be reciprocal. He who has learned to live for no other purpose than self-gratification is, in his best moments, a truly miserable being.
serable being. Though surrounded by his species, aud mingling in their society, still he exists alone: Like the oyster he clings to his native rock; but for no other purpose, than to sponge the means of gratification from whatever comes in contact. His isolated heart knows no sympathy for others; nor derives even a momentary delight from any thing beyond the narrow limits of the spot to which he adheres.
To a superficial observer, it might seem desirable, that the objects demanding superior attention, should be those immediately surrounding the person whose good is consulted; that the employments necessary to his subsistence would be adapted to communicate happiness; or, at least, to conduct bim in the shortest path to the attainment of it. Were the present state designed by God as an abode of happiness, or, did our existence terminate at the grave, such a conclusion would seem unavoidable; but the man who adinits the benevolence of the Deity, and credits the declarations of his word, will not expect to gather the blossoms of paradise, in a region bearing the marks of Almighty displeasure.
The decisions of prudence appear to require a conformity of our desires to our situation. If less happiness, on the whole, is enjoyed in the present world, than is desirable, an acknowledgment of the attributes of the Creator, involves an obligation to look for other sources of enjoyment, beyond such an unpropitious clime. It is not necessary to detail the causes of wretchedness in a world fertile in all evil; nor enumerate the failures of those, who expect pleasure in the various pursuits, which successively demand their attention, excite their hopes, employ the energies of mind and toils of body. Nothing can be plainer than the fact, that a great majority of men have a decided love of the world. In such as pretend to doubt of any hereafter, this conduct, though equally dangerous, is not so utterly inconsistent with their principles, as with those of the Christian. That one who hopes for a world of unspotted purity, who thinks his treasure is laid up in heaven, VOL. XV.
and that a crown of glory awaits him beyond the tonfines of the grare, -that such an one should pursue the gilded toys of children, witli as much avidity as the mere slave and drudge of the world, is a monstrous absurdity of conduct. And yet how very rare are the professors of the religion of Jesus Christ, who obey his precept, which forbids them to lay up their treasure on earth. Could a being be found, unacquainted with the wrong propensities of our nature, and were he the impartial spectator of human actions, he must suppose, that some fatal necessity compelled us to lay up all our treasure on earth; to live for the purpose of present gratification, and to expect an eternal residence in this land of sorrows.
An habitual disregard of a state of retribution, is indeed one of the great evils of life. When that single truth is forgotten, that “God will bring every work into judgment,” the mind is ready to embrace any delusion which falls in its way. Those most eagerly grasped are such as allow the abandoned wretch to pursue his pleasures, the miser to accumulate his heaps of shining dust, the gay to flit awhile like insects in the sunshine, the foolish slaves of ambition to perform the unreasonable service of such a hard master. Every unholy disposition meets a plausible temptation suited to accomplish its captivity.
Few things can be more universally known, than the attachment to whatever has cost us much labor. Strong as is the love of wealth, no inconsiderable degree of its strength arises from the toils it has cost the possessor. Although the man may powerfully feel his disappointment, in failing to realize the expected delight which prompted bis schemes of aggrandizement, still, he cannot endure the thought of relinquishing a treasure purchased at the expense of so much calculation, so many days of torturing anxiety, and nights of carc, while sleep fled from his eyes, and tranquillity was a stranger. If bis conviction of its emptiness be complete, nevertheless he bugs it closely as the means of attaining bigher objects, and which, to his bewildered imagination, give fairer promise of felicity.
To those who have long experienced the inefficacy of temporal enjoyments, the Savior's invitation to the weary and heavy laden would be supposed, on rational principles, peculiarly welcome. Their many mortifying defeats should have taught them a salutary lesson. Did they not love the trifles of a moment incomparably better than the proinised blessings of the Gospel, they would at once abandon such an unprofitable labor. They have learned by sad experiment, that the busks of the world afford no nutriment to the soul. The decisive command is, «Love not the world.” Hating the method of salvation revealed in the Bible, beyond all other objects, they adopt the daring expedients of their own fancy. Unhappy now, they fly successively to hundreds of false refuges, rather than take shelter in the ark of safety. If God would allow them to tread the circle of criminal pleasures forever, they would exult in the delusive hope of being the artificers of their own happiness. The acknowledgment of the least obligation to their Maker is an irksome task; compliance with his will an unsupportable burden; to endure forever the presence of a Being of uncontrollable power, whom they hate witi all their heart, would be absolutely intolerable.
EXTRACTS FROM THE DIARY OF THE REV. COTTON MATHER.
(Continued from p. 58.)
Dec. 20, 1712. 1. Good Devised. I renew my consideration, that it is a point of great consequence to be inculcated on my fluck, and will compendiously obtain those good ends upon the people, which I most of all desire to see obtained; for them to be sensible, that they have to do with God, in their various exercises and calamities; and that nothing ever can have any power to hurt them, except it be given from above..
2. G. D. One special action which I am now doing in relation to my children, is the furnishing of their libraries. I would make it a sweet occasion of encouraging them to read things that may be of the greatest advantage unto them. One expedient, among others, I intend shall be this. When I bestow any new book on such of them as are able to write, the condition of their becoming the owners of it shall be, their first of all writing out of it into their blank book, such passages as I shall assign unto them. And they, who are not old enough to write, may learn soinething by heart.
3. G. D). In this cold season, I would keep a particular eye on the health of my aged parents, and advise them therein the best that I can. And whereas there are many so remotely akin to me, that it must be a piece of pleasancy to own the kindred, I would yet endeavor to enumerate them; and as my circumstances are such that they will not account themselves dishonored by my claiming the relation, I would present a book of piety to each of them, and render the tender of it acceptable, by letting them know on that occasion how willing I am, that they should consider me as under the obligations of a kinsinan to them.
4. G. D. The impieties of Christmas revels are likely to prevail among some of the young people. My lecture falling out on the very day of Christmas I would make it an opportunity to bear a decided testimony against such impious practices. May the Lord accept and prosper this testimony.
5. G, D. There are services which I would put others upon doing. I would write unto some capable hands in England, that they would give to the public a martyrology of the English dissenter's. I would write unto some in Scotland, for the like performance on the behalf of their sufferers. I would promote a letter of thanks from the ministers here, unto Mr. Pierce, for his noble performance in vindication of the Dissenters, addressed in the Latin language, Ad Fratres Exteros.
Dec. 25. Thursday. In the beginning of this week I was much perplexed in my mind what subject I should choose for my lecture; inasmuch as it fell out upon Christmas holiday, and there would probably be among the people much notice taken of what I should say on that occasion. The words selected for the text were these: ungolly men, turning the grace of God into wantonness. Having revolved the subject in my mind, I enjoyed a most gracious and sensible assistance from heaven in des