Imágenes de páginas

I am

here, we have particular need of remembering the words “ Do This." We must not suppose that it is enough for us merely to attend the public worship of the Church: we should be aware of the advantages to be derived from doing so, and we should seek to make the most of our opportunities. Our minds must be engaged in the work; and, to keep our minds thus engaged, we should, in common consistency, make use of every method which is likely to fix our

attention to the subject before us. aware that it will be said that it is by Divine Grace alone that the feelings of devotion are planted in the heart, that the Scriptures declare that "the preparations of the heart are from the Lord,” and that our Church teaches us to look above for “meek hearts and due reverence,” and an earnest desire to “mark, learn, and inwardly digest" the instruction of the Holy Scriptures. Far, very far, indeed, would it be from us to deny, or for a moment to doubt, this allimportant truth : but we cannot help seeing that there is much danger in waiting for this grace of God, without using the means by which that grace may be reasonably expected to assist us. We ought then to consider well what methods are calculated to encourage that sacredness of mind which should belong to public worship: and these methods we should adopt. We ought, too, to ask ourselves what is likely to check this right disposition, and this we should avoid. Now there are many little habits that people are apt to get into without consideration ; but which have a great tendency to check the growth of devotion in the mind. This is true in our every day condact; but I am now speaking of Sabbath duties. One which I would mention is a constant “habit of being too late at Church.” Now, not to mention the interruption which this causes to the devotions of others, it cuts off the opportunity of deriving benefit from the first very important part of our service, and it leaves us but

[ocr errors]

ill prepared for that which is to come. Dr. Johnson used to say, “I make it a rule to be at Church before the service begins, that I may get my mind in a proper state for devotion.” This is a rule well worth our observing. It teaches us

to go to Church-to go earlyand to consider what we go for. Do THIS.

Another important matter is, to endeavour to “approach” the Church, in a proper spirit of devotion. Some persons will talk of the most trifling fooleries up to the very door of God's House, and then begin what they call their worship; and, as soon as the service is over, they will instantly return to their idle conversation, and thus get rid of every chance of improvement which they might bave de rived from the opportunity which has been afforded them. A few Sundays ago, I was going to Church not many miles from London, and I was glad to see a large company going in the same direction. I hate listening, but I must have been deaf not to have heard the conversation of two gentlemen who were just before me:--the price of stocks, the new play, and the foolish jokes in the Sunday Newspaper, were all discussed during this walk to Church. Now it requires - no great wisdom to see that this must be a grievous hindrance to the growth of religion in the mind. After Church, too, I was sorry to hear, among the crowd, several very idle questions and remarks, which seemed to shew that but little impression had been made on the mind, by what had been heard, and done within the Church. And this, I am sure, was not the fault of the Clergyman, for a more impressive sermon I never heard, and on a subject well calculated to fix the attention of every Christian, "seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.' Here the worthy Vicar pressed upon us, in the most earnest manner that the pursuit of a heavenly kingdom should be the first and great business of our lives;

he pointed out to us the righteousness of Christ for our justification, the necessity .of personal holiness for our preparation, the need of divine grace to give this, and the sure and certain hope that, with these, we should not fail of attaining the eterpal kingdom of God. Now these are truths well worthy to be heard, well worthy to be attended to; and indeed if we would expect to profit by them, or by any of the great doctrines which we hear on the Sabbath, we must endeavour to keep them in our minds, and thus to apply them to our conduct. Let us think of these things ; let us consider for what public worship was appointed, for the praise of God, and the preparation of our own hearts for that kingdom which he bas promised to those who are his faithful followers upon earth. Whoever would receive the benefit of the Sabbath, let him

think well upon its design and its duties. “ Do This."



A LATE eminent and pious writer has aptly styled that portion of our lives, which God has expressly commanded us to dedicate to his service, “Holy Time.” It is indeed “holy" in its institution; “ holy" in its design; and, if we use it as we ought, it will be a means of promoting that “holiness, without which no man can see the Lord.” To every one of us a portion of this sacred leisure is entrusted, it is a precious deposit; and, for the improvement of these golden bours, we must give an account at the day of judgment.

Little do they know of the nature of the day of rest, who spend it in idleness or sloth; and still more. do they pervert its design, who employ the leisure it affords in the indulgence of sinful pleasures. Of those

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

who thus wilfully break the commands of their Maker, is it too much to say, that they are promoting the interests of his kingdom, who rejoices in the iniquity of the children of men?

In this favoured land we are without excuse, if we neglect the duties for which the Sabbath is set apart. While the benighted heathen are prostrating themselves before their images of wood and stone, and lifting up their hands in sapplication to idols wbich cannot save them, we are invited to “worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness," aud to seek for His mercy who has declared himself a “God mighty to 'save. The sanctuaries of God are thrown


and the church, like a tender mother, seems desirous of ga. thering her children for' awhile under her wing, and shielding them from the devices of the enemy of souls. In her beautiful forms of devotion, she teaches them to confess their utter helplessness without the aid of Divine grace; and, when humbled and depressed, under a sense of guilt, they are directed to är behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world,”. and consoled with the assurance that, as long as the Brazen Serpent is exalted in the wilderness, no wound is incurable." The rewards and punishments of a future state are set before them; they are warned of the dangers and difficulties of their outward course; bat being encouraged to look up to an Almighty Protector, who bas

promised " never to leave them, or forsake them,” they are enabled to "

go on their way rejoicing. " How frequently does the Church enable her children to commemorate the love of their dying Redeemer at his holy table! In the sublime hymn with which she concludes “these Holy Mysteries," we seem to join in the songs of Heaven, while with angels and archangels, and all the company of Heaven, we laud and magnify God's holy name.

Great indeed are the blessings which await us in

[ocr errors]

the house of God; and perhaps many of us may never feel their value, till the opportunity of enjoying them is lost for ever. Let us entreat the Giver of all good things to pour into our souls the enlightening influences of His spirit, that we may see what our real interest is ;-then shall we rightly estimate our privileges ;-our duties will be easy and delightful; and every, Holy-Day, a day of joy and gladness.

But there are other ways of employing this “Holy time,” besides those above alluded to. The cessation from every-day business gives us leisure for retirement, meditation, and prayer. The world loses half its power over our souls when we calmly reflect on its insufficiency to give us real happiness. Its tempting pleasures seem less than nothing, when calmly weighed in the balance with eternity. If we really feel that God is our best friend, we shall gladly seize the opportunities which the Sabbath affords for more undisturbed communion with Him. If, as soldiers of Christ, we have, in the midst of our callings during the week, been fighting manfully under his banner, against “the world, the flesh, and the Devil,” how welcome will this temporary rest from worldly cares appear ! If we are strangers and pilgrims upon earth, how gladly shall we bear of our better home! And, if we are “ running with patience the race that is set before us,” we shall rejoice in the return of a day in which we can keep the end of our course more stedfastly in view. We may be assured that it is more or less the desire of every sincere Christian, thus to hallow the “ Holy time" allotted to him; and it is a source of pain and grief to him to reflect how very much he falls short of his wishes ; for “the corruptible body presseth down the soul :" but let him remember who it was that said “My grace is sufficient for thee.”—And take courage; for he who asks for the best gift which God can bestow, will not ask in vain. A few more Sabbaths, and his warfare will be ended; he

« AnteriorContinuar »