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infirmities is so truly divine, that it is comparable to nothing on this vain earth.'
“ He is a Mediator approved of God; for the Father says of him, in whom I am well pleased.'”
“ Yes, true; and the Father hears Him always. Oh that the rich and the great did but know the real value of Christ's mediation, how quickly would they fly to him for pardon and peace with God !
“If all the world my Saviour knew,
Sure all the world would love Him, too.'” “Let us rejoice," I continued, " that we have access to Him at all times.”
“Yes, sir,” she continued ; "and to God, through Him."
Mrs. M- was a very mature Christian. The trying furnace of affliction she had passed through moulded her soul to the will of God, so that she might be well compared to Mary, who had “ chosen that good part," and "sat at Jesus' feet.”
She constantly dwelt on such thoughts as the following: “ The marks of a true child of God,” which she would carefully note down with certain texts, to prove the justness of her conclusions. “A child of God," she would say, “is born of the Spirit,” John iii. 3,5; “is conformed to the image of God, Rom. viii. 29; is chosen to holiness and love, Ephes. i. 1-11; has a lively hope in God's mercy, 1 Pet. i. 1–7; has a reverence for God, and a filial affection towards him," 1 Pet. ii. 2, 3.
“If such is your experience,” I said, “yours is a happy state of mind.”
“ Who can be more happy than I ?" she would ask with emphasis, “when my heavenly Father has adopted me for his child; has exchanged my earthly, perishable inheritance for one eternal, and on high; has taken
family from me, and joined me to the family of heaven; has made me a widow, only that he may be my husband ? He has forgiven all my sins, for the sake of his dear Son, who loved me, and gave himself for me. He has given me a title to the mansions of the blessed, a charter to them, and authority to receive them.”
The last time I called on this true child of God, she was very infirm, but her hope was bright, and she was full of the joy of the Lord, which was indeed her strength. I spoke of the blessedness of Divine forgiveness, and read Isa. xii.
“Ah, sir, the voice which speaks our sins forgiven, to the soul is soft, sweet, and delightful!"
I spoke of the security of God's people, and the certain salvation of the believer.
“ To prove the truth of that,” she added, “ you only need refer to 1 Pet. i. 9;" to which I turned, and read, the Bible being in
my hand. I concluded my observations by a reference to the happiness of heaven, and read Rev. vii. 13–17. Catching the strain, she remarked :
“ Heaven is the rest for my weary soul; it is the home for my wandering spirit; it is the haven for my tempest tossed mind; it is the reward of all my toils and sufferings here."
She was very fond of the following beautiful hymn, which she would repeat with emphasis and grace :
“On wings of faith mount up my soul, and rise,
What endless pleasures in those mansions dwell:
In that blest country can admission gain;
Immortal verdure decks its cheerful sides;
No sickly moon emits her feeble rays;
The exalted Lamb eternal radiance spreads.
Jesus, to thee my longing soul aspires;
When 'leave this earth, and when begin to live?
J. F. SHAW, BOOKSELLER, SOUTHAMPTON ROW, AND
PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON; AND W. INNES, BOOKSELLER, SOUTH HANOVER STREET, EDINBURGH.
London: J. & W. RIDER, Printers, 14, Bartholomew Close.
WHERE SHALL I SPEND MY
I WELL remember having had, in early life, my attention arrested by the following brief but deeply interesting narrative. It presented a powerful illustration of the mournful fact, that one chief cause why many people remain, even under the richest spiritual privileges, practically strangers to God and to eternal life, is INCONSIDERATION.
A devoted servant of God had nearly finished his earthly career, and on his death-bed was earnestly anticipating the great change just at hand. He had no anxiety about his own eternal interests, for he knew whom he believed, and was persuaded that when he breathed his last breath, his happy spirit would, through the merits of his Redeemer, be borne to heaven in the arms of ministering angels. But his chief, his great affliction was, that his only son was yet destitute of vital godliness, and, however amiable in outward conduct, was still seeking, all his happiness in the fleeting and most unsatisfying trifles of this world. On his dying couch he diligently pondered the question, why it was that all the means he had earnestly employed for the salvation of his son had hitherto failed ? He fervently sought divine teaching on this awful question. At length he came to the conclusion, that one principal solution of the mystery was, that his son would never be alone to consider his latter end, nor his prospects for eternity. He saw that he hurried from object to object, from book to book, from amusement to amusement; but solemn, earnest consideration in retirement, he manifestly strove to avoid.
Having again sought the Holy Spirit's guidance, he sent for his son, and announced to him his approaching dissolution. The son was greatly affected, for he loved his parent. The father continued: “I have now but one last simple request to make of you, my son; you can easily comply. Will you promise me, before I mention it, that you will ? It is my dying request.” Had it been any other time, the youth would have determinately refused to answer, till he previously
knew what it was. But, absorbed with grief at the prospect of losing his father, he exclaimed, “ Tell me what it is you wish, and I will do it." The father said, “I shall soon breathe my last : now, on the evening of the day in which I am buried, you will retire alone, for at least a quarter of an hour, and you will spend that little space in answering to yourself two questions ; the first,—What IS ETERNITY ? the second,—WHERE SHALL I SPEND MY ETERNITY? And not only is this to be done that evening, but also every evening for a year after I am buried. You are, my son, to be quite alone at these seasons. to have no book to divert your thoughts, nor, in a word, any one subject before your mind, but the momentous one now set before you, during these short appointed periods. Will you do it ?” “I will,” exclaimed the weeping son.
The father died; and the night after he was buried the son retired to ask himself solemnly, What is eternity ? and, Where shall I spend my eternity? The quarter of an hour appeared to him like an hour or two, so slowly did it pass. Day after day he retired to fulfil his father's dying charge. But soon he felt it so painfully irksome, so gloomy, so intrusive on his comforts, that he was again and again tempted to break his promise. But a principle of honour, in its conventional sense, determined him to persevere, however harassing to his feelings.
In the course of a few weeks a new interest was excited in his mind; the quarter of an hour, insensibly to himself, became doubled, — long increased to an hour, then hours,- till at last the great inquiry became the all-absorbing subject of his thoughts—What is eternity ? and, Where shall I spend my eternity ? What, under God, was the result ? Îhat his father had not been many months in the world of spirits, ere his son had become, under the grace of God, a decided Christian, treading in his father's footsteps, and living for eternal glory.
Such, then, dear reader, were the questions urged, not merely fitfully and occasionally, but daily, on the mind, which once decided an immortal being to flee to the only Saviour for the lost,—the only refuge from the wrath to come. And for this great end you are now most affectionately entreated to ask again and again the momentous question, Where shall I spend my eternity ?—and that with all the urgency, carnestness, and ceaseless importunity, which its stupendous importance demands. The first step to eternal life is CONSIDERATION.
66 Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Consider your ways." Why do people
live habitually in practical ignorance of God and his salvation ? The answer is given from on high-" Israel doth not know, my people do not consider.” And because earnest, self-condemning consideration would for a moment disturb their false peace or comfort, they fly from themselves into the amusements, pleasures, or business of life. It is true they have bibles, places of public religious instruction, and a variety of other means to assist their minds in the grand decision, on which their eternal welfare is suspended. But these are all practically neutralized for want of earnest, oft-repeated, deliberate consideration when alone.
The truths heard or read are not calmly, steadily, perseveringly pondered, according to their importance; and how, then, can they be followed by a blessing from above how can they affect the mind according to their nature and importance ? The mind is so constituted, that it can only be affected permanently by any object or truth as it is steadil or powerfully kept in view.
It is true, indeed, and never to be forgotten, that it is by the power of the Spirit of God that souls are truly converted. But then he is the “Spirit of truth.” He influences men through the truth when it is presented to the mind, and stedfastly considered, -in other words, when the appointed means are employed. Thus we read in the Holy Scriptures, “If thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; so that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treagures; then (and not till then) shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God,” Prov. ii. 1-5.
Now, every reader has it in his power either to keep the truth presented to him before his mind, by silently pondering it, by cherishing the impressions so produced, and by following them up in other impressive ways ;-or, by neglecting the truth, and thus forgetting it, he may neutralize the effect of the whole. You do not require to cast it from you, as many would do,—or express a deliberate judgment against it, in order to lose the benefit,—but simply to allow other subjects, comparatively trifling, worldly, or unnecessary, to enter powerfully and quickly engage the attention. And what then ? These topics of unutterable importance are effectually expelled, and become to your mind as if they had no real existence.
Here, then, lies your responsibility-God has granted you power to give earnest heed to the things which belong to your