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MARKIAGE OF CHRISTIANS WITH UNBELIEVERS. 345
hear the lamentations which I have heard, from several of those who once scorned my counsel, and disregarded my reproofs, they would, I think, pause in their course, when tempted to associate, or be unequally yoked with unbelievers.
“At this moment, I have one, two, three, cases present to my mind. Methinks I again watch their course of backsliding from the right way; (for back. sliding has in every case followed, either entirely, or for a season,) by which conduct, the deluded individuals have sought and hoped to fix the wavering affections of their partners; but in these hopes they have all been disappointed—I mean those who evidently were objects of the Saviour's love. Their partners turned out cool, unkind, and even cruel; and, when it was too late to be remedied, the poor creatures saw, and felt, and acknowledged, the folly and criminality of forsaking the Lord, the fountain of living waters, to hew out for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that could hold no water. ‘Oh, sir! that I had but attended to your warnings and advice,' have been words uttered many a time in my ears, by individuals broken down in body and mind, under the double weight of an accusing conscience, and the unkind treatment of those they once persuaded themselves would love and cherish them to their live's end. I have NEVER personally known an instance of a young Christian, who has married an unsuitable character, becoming instrumental in winning the stranger over to Christ: but I have known the latter draw off the former completely into the world; and then they have walked together well agreed, and seemed to be about as comfortable as two souls could be, without God and without Christ in the world. This is a result which, of course, every reflecting mind would shudder at the thought of realizing. But in the case of a real child of God, one whom the Lord will not finally give up to the devices and desires of their own heart, he never fails to visit their transgression with his rod. His general course is, either to cut off their idol at a stroke, or, more frequently, to permit the unbeliever to live, and to exercise his unkindness and cruelty on the broken-hearted
backslider. In this way the unhappy mourner is driven back again; and, with a trembling heart, makes confession of sin; and seeks, and at length finds mercy; and dies, and finds an entrance into His presence, 'where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest.' Such have been the real scenes which have more than once or twice passed before my own eyes.”
Fearing that I have allowed my letter to run to too great a length, I remain, Rev. Sir, Your greatly obliged servant,
A JUNIOR TEACHER.
DEATH OF THE CHRISTIAN.
THERE lies the garment which the mortal pilgrim wore through the whole period of his pilgrimage, in sunshine and in rain. O! what thoughts crowd upon the mind when we stand before a corpse—thoughts which come to us at no other time! We could then have so much to say, so much to hear, so much for which to ask forgive
But his ear hears not, his mouth speaks not. How differently should we conduct ourselves to all men, could we anticipate how we shall feel,when they lie before us in their grave clothes upon the bier.
Soul purified in the furnace of affliction, thou art now with God. O! when now the bands fall from thine eyes, when faith is changed to sight, how will it be with thee? When from the mouth of the Lord, upon whose hand thou hast leaned, when thou couldst not see his face, thou shalt receive the welcome, “Come, thou faithful servant, into the joy of thy Lord;” when this joy of thy Lord shall illumine thy spirit, how will it be with thee? The fruit has fallen because it was ripe. Blessed spirit
, it was appointed to thee to ripen upon earth; thou hast learned fully the value of human life, its labours and its sufferings—and hast not learned in vain; what thou hast laboured upon without, has been also laboured within. All thy toil in the world was at the same time a prepa. ration of thy soul for the temple of God. When at evening after a hot day the waggon laden with fruit
enters the barn, all the inhabitants rejoice. Thus I imagine thee, serene, blessed spirit, entering the house of thy heavenly Father, and the inhabitants of heaven rejoice. Since there is so great joy in heaven, lamentation upon earth must be hushed. Could thy voice be heard from the place where thou now art, surely it would say nothing else than, “Weep not!” Therefore must we dry up our tears.
Thou didst not belong to us when thou wast upon earth, thou wast thy Lord's. We should therefore be thankful that thou wast lent to us so long, and hold fast what we have received through thee. Blessed spirit, thou must yet remain among us; from the riches which belonged to thee, hast thou dispensed so liberally to us, that we yet have thee, after thou hast left us. Thou art among us almost in a visible form, that we may take counsel of thee, and thy mouth may teach us, even after death has closed it. Thou hast laboured and watched for us with such fidelity and earnestness, that the blessing of thy prayers is not yet exhausted, but will continue to descend upon us as long as we live, like the dew from God. Even in the contemplation of the Everlasting Light thou wilt not forget us, for eternal light is the light of love, and thy thoughts will be prayers for us.
Thy fight of faith is finished. We have learned from thee that man can hold himself by the Invisible, as if he saw Him; and since we have learned it, we need no longer mourn as those who have no hope. What they have buried, that was not thyself, it was thy vesture; and with the vesture have they laid all thy toils endured in it, and thy tears; and when thou shalt receive it again, renewed by the hand of the Almighty, it will no longer bear any traces of tears. He who has said, “Where I am, there shall also my servant be,” has taken thee to himself; and where he is there it is good to be. Why should we mourn? Thou indeed art wanting to us, but He, who could give such a father, such a husband, such a friend, must himself be a greater father, a greater husband and a greater friend.
When a man is taken from our midst, who, in his whole life seeks only to please the Invisible One, how do
our hearts close over his grave the more toward each other, and the more toward the Invisible. Since we can no longer lie upon thy heart, we will lie upon the heart of our God. It is also a great blessing, that when those die who have been the Lord's, their love influences us even after they have departed. May we meet again! exclaims the longing of the heart; but we know we can come where thou nowart, only by the same road over which thou hast travelled. Alas! we often think of a re-union as a necessary consequence of death, and yet many different roads open beyond the grave. Holy, glorified spirit, we may see thee again, we may find thee again, if we follow after thee in the road over which thou hast gone.
From the last elevation over which we have to pass in life, oh! how small appear the conflicts which lie behind us; yet blessed is he who can say he has not shunned them. When I stand by the corpse of a soldier of God, who has fought the good fight, I say to myselfnow is all over, and yet it seemed to him when in life, so difficult and impassable. With the corpse all is still
. Truly the tranquil peace of the dying hour is of such value, that to secure it we should not shun the conflicts of a long life.
To be consistent, Christians must be devoted; they must not let the world—its fascinations, its pride, its popularity and applause-claim that, which, as Christians, belongs only to God. It will not do to worship every thing in six days, and on the seventh mock God by our apparent sincerity and zeal in his cause, in the sanctuary of his saints. We must keep our eye fixed on the endthe star of Bethlehem our guide—and pursue a straightforward, onward, upward course, with the religion which we profess blooming freshly in our hearts, and bearing fruit daily to the honour and glory of God.
To be consistent, we must be humble; a proud, haughty, overbearing Christian is a complete solecisminconsistent alike to the eye of the world, which marks
his deviations from the standard of Christian excellence, and the omniscient eye of Jehovah, who cannot look upon sin with the least allowance; a spirit not impatient under contradiction, yielding and docile, like the spirit of a little child. Human reason must be laid low, and speculations sacrificed at the footstool of the sublime and mighty mysteries, manifest in the character of the Deity.
To be consistent Christians, we must be persevering. The votary of the world, who would amass wealth, or secure fame, or any worldly emolument, bends all his energies to the achievement of his object, with a zeal worthy a better cause. He is acting consistently with his character, and the objects he professedly is seeking. No trifling consideration should deter the Christian difficulty dishearten him, or paralyze his exertionsrebuffs or disappointments check his ardour, or chill his zeal.
To be consistent, the Christian must be uniform. Uniformity in religion carries a power along with it. It should not be alive to-day, and dead to-morrow—all activity and zeal, and now cold, stupid, paralyzed, spasmodical, intermittent. A want of uniformity and consistency, too apparent in the professors of religion, furnishes infidelity with a more powerful weapon than any other. While listening to a sermon, from the text, “ Ye are the salt of the earth,” I was struck with the simplicity and beauty of the following anecdote the speaker related at the close. He remarked, that in his native village there resided a good old man, whom they called father Pease.
an aged man when he (the speaker) was a boy. When he returned to his native village, after completing his collegiate course, he found father Pease still alive, but he had become totally blind. He, however, persevered, as usual, in attending regularly to the duties of religion, as he had for years, and always regularly attended the church. And although every other one was absent, it was always expected that father Pease would be in his place. There was also in that place a professed infidel--a man of considerable mind, and native talent, but whose heart was completely barred against every truth, and every avenue appeared to be sealed