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of mercy will be past, and your doom for ever sealed. But, happily for you, this fearful day has not arrived, and the season of mercy still lingers. Would you be happy here and hereafter ? Seek the Lord while he may be found. Do you not often feel that you want a friend, to be more than an earthly friend can be
- to direct, to instruct, to comfort in sorrow, to support in death, and to guide at all times ? He is all this to those who put their trust in him, and far more than words can tell, or the heart that has never known him can conceive of. Great and constant is his care for those whom he himself has called his “ little flock.” And would you ask, What is that portion beyond death and the grave ? Go, search his word for a description of the heavenly Jerusalem, for the glory of those who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb;" they need no rest, but day and night cease not praising him, who has obtained so glorious an inheritance for them. And, perhaps, you may ask, Is it faith alone that can obtain all this happiness for time and eternity ? Yes; the words of the scripture are, “ Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” But he who died that you might live requires that, to show your love and gratitude for the great gift he has bestowed upon you, you should live to do his will, and he himself became our pattern to teach us how to live. If you
follow his footsteps, your life will be one of active benevolence, for he went about doing good. If at any time you hesitate, and feel you scarcely know what your heavenly Father requires at your hands, consult his word. It has been the guide of his people in all ages, and under all circumstances; following its dictates, suffering, persecution, and death have been fearlessly met, and even rejoiced in; and it has the same power now, and ever will have, for it is the word of God.
You may not be required to die the death of a martyr, perhaps not even to occupy a distinguished place in the church of Christ; but as a follower of the meek and lowly Jesus, you will be called upon to show the beauty of a life “hid with Christ in God;" to exhibit the dignity of the christian character, by meeting with the little annoyances of life in such a spirit, as will show that your happiness is fixed upon a foundation so high, that these cannot disturb it. Should worldly advantage be offered at the expense of right principle, you
will have an opportunity of proving to all around that you “count all things but loss, so that you may win Christ and be found in him.” Think not that these are small ways of showing your love to Christ, and pass them over as insignificant and inglorious. Remember, the sacrifice of a “ broken and a contrite
heart" is the only one that is acceptable, though thousands of gold and silver were laid at the footstool of the Most High ; and “a cup of cold water given in the name of a disciple will not lose a disciple's reward.” It is in little things, far more than in great ones, that we have constant opportunities of serving the Lord, when none but he who is the Searcher of hearts knows the sacrifices that we make, and when no wish to gain the admiration of our fellow-creatures mingles with our desire to do his will.
Quietly, but earnestly, wishing “to serve the Lord,” your life will become dignified in no small degree, for it is the highest purpose for which you can live, and the only one truly worthy of the devotion of a lifetime.
They also serve who only stand and wait.” And what honour can this world give, equal to that bestowed upon one who is permitted to look for the guidance of Him whom the winds and waves obey? But you are not required to lead an inactive life. You must “ watch and pray,” that you “enter not into temptation ;" for it is only when the assistance of the Holy Spirit is sought, that we can hope to be “guided into all truth ;” and Satan, our evil hearts, and the world, are enemies that require to be battled with. And if you have felt that Jesus Christ is “precious” to you as your Saviour and Redeemer, will not your heart's desire be to make him known to those around you? Can you bear to think of those whom you love being shut out from such enjoyments as are yours, and of being separated from them for ever? then have you not much to do in entreating on their behalf—in studying how you can exhibit the beauties of religion, that others “may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven ?”
Are there not thousands around, living without the “knowledge of God,” ignorant of his love, and striving with his Holy Spirit, and can you do nothing for them ? Yes, whatever may be your circumstances and position in life, your heavenly Father has committed to your care at least one talent, and required you to use it to his honour and glory;" and until you discover what it is, and how you can serve him, you have not discovered the great object of your existence, nor do you know what true happiness is.
J. F. SHAW, BOUKSELLER, SOUTHAMPTON ROW, AND
PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON; AND W. INNES, BOOKSELLER, SOUTH HANOVER STREET, EDINBURGH.
London: J. & W. Rider, Printers, 14, Bartholomew Close.
In the year 1817, when the writer of the following remarks was a medical student at Edinburgh, he was introduced to an interesting young man of the name of Zuckerbecker, a native of Riga, in Russia. His father, who was a Russian merchant, had sent him to this country in order to his prosecuting the study of medicine in the Scottish capital. His preparatory education had been of a very superior character, and soon after his arrival he could converse fluently in the English language. Not only was he master of several of the European languages, and versed in the ancient classics, but he had acquired a considerable amount of general knowledge, and had made proficiency in the study of mathematics, as well as in other branches of science and art. His talents were obviously above mediocrity ; and doubtless his relatives and friends believed that he was destined to occupy an important position in society, and to shine as a bright luminary in his profession. But that which made him beloved and esteemed by all those who knew him, was his modesty, humility, and diffidence. He manifested nothing like forwardness, obtrusiveness, or selfconceit. He did not make an ostentatious parade of his learning and proficiency in the presence of others; and, although he maintained his opinions on certain controversial points with firmness and tenacity, he always displayed that suavity and courtesy in argument and debate, which so remarkably characterized his natural disposition, and influenced his general demeanour.
But with all his native endowments and acquired excellences, this young man was, at the time above mentioned, destitute of religion. It is true, as he afterwards informed the writer, that he had been brought up according the rites and notions of the Greek Church, and was taught as much as the ministers of that religion deemed it necessary for him or any other person to become acquainted with in order to their salvation. It appears, however, that this knowledge exerted no influence over the minds and conduct of those who possessed it. They were virtually infidels. They paid no regard to the holy Bible, which, if in their possession, was never consulted or perused; and as for the sacred sabbath, it was employed either in business or amusement, no one, except the aged, ever thinking it obligatory upon him to frequent a place of worship. As Mr. Zuckerbecker was educated in the principles of the christian system, under circumstances so unfavourable to religious impressions and to the promotion of man's highest and noblest interests, it will not be surprising that at that time he was indifferent to the concerns of his soul and of eternity.
This young man had not been long at Edinburgh before he was introduced to a christian lady, who took a deep interest in the religious welfare of youth, and was in the habit of proffering the very best advice and counsel to those that enjoyed the benefit of her society, and were brought under her influence. This excellent woman not only favoured him with her pious admonitions and exhortations in relation to the things which make for man's present peace and future good, but she earnestly advised him also to commence the reading of the sacred scriptures, and to study daily a portion of God's word. This advice he diligently and carefully pursued. Shortly afterwards he received a copy of the Bible as a present from that excellent man, Prince Galitzin, who, under the patronage of the Emperor Alexander, contributed so greatly to the dissemination of the scriptures in the Russian dominions. The prince enclosed a letter with the present, wherein he briefly set forth the beauty and excellency of the sacred volume, and recommended his young friend to give it a careful and attentive perusal. Having received such a present, from so exalted a quarter, he, of course, was induced to give greater attention and regard to the important truths of divine revelation. At the same time he became a diligent attendant upon the means of grace, and soon after joined himself to a society of medical students, who were in the habit of associating together on the sabbath evening for the purpose of reading the word of God, and engaging in prayer. But, notwithstanding his possession of these religious privileges, and the outward profession of Christianity which he had been induced to make, there is every reason to believe that his heart remained unchanged, that he had not undergone that great change which the word of God insists upon as essential to salvation, and that, like the lovely and amiable youth in the gospel, he lacked one thing, the one thing needful.
About this period, Mr. Zuckerbecker proposed that the writer and himself should meet together once a week for the purpose of reading the New Testament in the original language. The reason he assigned for such an arrangement was, a desire to revive and keep up his knowledge of the Greek tongue, and at the same time to get an acquaintance with the scriptures in one of the languages in which they were first penned. They accordingly commenced, and carried on their weekly readings very punctually for some time. Nothing particular, however, occurred, except that a few occasional remarks were made on various passages as they proceeded, until they came to the parable of the Pharisee and publican, as related by the evangelist Luke, chap. xviii. ver. 9-14. After the reading of this parable, he protested stoutly and warmly against the doctrine deduced by our Saviour from the varied prayers and demeanour of these two men. He affirmed that the conclusion which had been drawn in the scriptures was irrational and absurd ; that it was derogatory to the principles of virtue and rectitude, and that its tendency obviously was to sanction and encourage vice and impiety. He believed that if such principles were admitted, the moral distinctions would be subverted and confounded, and that the foundations of every social, civil, and sacred system would be speedily destroyed. All the pride and enmity of the carnal mind were stirred up, and displayed themselves in the most determined opposition to, and hatred of, that cardinal and fundamental doctrine of revealed truth, the sinful and depraved condition of every man by nature and practice. His self-righteousness had been detected. Like the unbelieving Jews, of whom the apostle speaks in Rom. X. 3, he had been ignorant of God's righteousness, and had gone about to establish a righteousness of his own, not submitting himself to the righteousness of God. As he continued to deny the truth of our Lord's statements, it was all in vain for his friend to attempt to convince him of his error by any lengthened argument. The meeting, which was prolonged beyond the usual hour, terminated in his protesting against the doctrines which had been the subject of discussion ; and by a recommendation on the part of the writer that he should make them the subjects of serious and prayerful meditation until they met again. This he did, and the Holy Spirit carried the truth with power and conviction to his conscience. His mind became enlightened, his prejudices were dissolved, his natural enmity to the humbling doctrines of the scripture was slain, his pride was mortified and subdued, and his self-righteousness was sacrificed. In short, h was made a new creature, and having experienced the quickening and regenerating influences of the Holy Ghost, he passed from death unto life, and from the power of sin and Satan unto God. The simple reading of the interesting parable had been made the power of God in confounding and abasing his pride and carnal wisdom, 1 Cor. i. 19. He now saw that something more than his own righteousness was indispensable to the justification of a sinner, and he embraced the perfect and spotless righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. He now discovered the truth of that proposition contained in Rom. X. 4,