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whom the Almighty Lord of heaven and earth may doom to die this year, let me be admonished to "set my house in order."
First, by heartily repenting of the sinfulness of the years that are past, and, humbly bewailing the weakness of my purposes of amendment! May I no longer trust to my own strength, which has so often failed me, but turn unto the Lord my God, carnestly beseeching his pardon for the past, and his grace to help me for the future !
Secondly, Let me daily pray for this help of the Holy Spirit, that, by it, I may be enabled to avoid a repetition of my sins, to live a more useful and pious life for the time that may yet be spared me; and, as that time may be very short, and cannot, at the utmost, be very long, let me remember that religion is." the one thing needful;” that, though I must be industrious, and careful to " do my duty in that state of life unto which it has pleased God to call me," I must yet be diligent, above all things, to "work out my salvation with fear and trembling :" with“ fear,” lest I should be overcome by temptation, and should fall: with “trembling," lest by continuance in sin, I should be deserted by God, and lose my salvation. The better to avoid this, let me resolve to take a part of every day to study a portion, if only a very small onę, of my Bible, that I may learn the way in which I should walk, and become wise unto salvation--that I may see the threatenings which a just God denounces against careless, impenitent, and hardened sinners'; -and all the blessings, and joyful, hope, which a merciful God offers to all who truly turn unto bim with full purpose of heart, to live henceforth in obedience to his most holy laws, in true humility and watchfulness.
Thirdly, Knowing by long experience how unprofitable are my best services, may I, in the deepest sense of my own infirmity, and in firm and joyful trust in the promises of the Gospel, look unto Jesus, the
author and finisher of my faith-the blessed Mediator between my sins, and my God. And, while I endeavour to set my house in order, and to live in duty and obedience, should longer life begiven me-may I rest on this only Rock of my salvation, and be thus prepared to die in humble confidence that, through the merits of His atopeinent, 1 may rise in glory, and live with him for ever!
“ From step to step, O Lord, direct my way,
And give thy grace, like manna, day by day.
A CONSTANT READER,
OBSERVATIONS ON MATT. III. 14. Our blessed Saviour came from Nazareth, to be baptized in the River Jordan, by John the Baptist. John was sure that Jesus was the Christ, the 'true Messiah, who was to come into the world, and he therefore knew that this sinless Saviour required not the washing of Baptism ; but he felt the need of himself receiving from his Lord and Master that baptism of the Holy Ghost, which the mighty power of Christ was able to bestow. John, therefore, forbade him to come unto him, and said, “I have need to be baptized of Thee,' and comest Thou to me?" Jesus, answering, said unto him, “Suffer it to be so now, for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.' If these words of our Lord were taken alone, they might seem to say, “that it becomes us to do every thing that is righteous and godly, and to aim at all holiness and obedience in our life and conduct." This is indeed true; and, in this sense, the words contain a lesson of most important, religious, and moral instruction. When, however, we
consider the particular circumstances under which they were spoken, we shall see, that, by fulfilling "all righteousness” is meant, in this
place, to observe all the religious ordinances which God has appointed. Thus “ Baptism” is appointed by the Al. mighty. We are all born in sin, and require the washing of the Holy Ghost to cleanse us. But Baptism is an outward and visible sign of that purity, which is given by the regenerating power of the Holy Ghost. But our Saviour did not, in his own person, require this, because he was without sin. 'Yet still be submitted to the rite of Baptism, that he might shew how important he considered it to do all that the law commanded, and that, by himself strictly observing every appointed ordinance, and thus " fulfilling all righteousness,” he might shew his followers that they all must do the same.
How grievous it is to see any, in our day, partaking of the Sacrament of Baptism without considering what a solemn 'work, what a scriptural work, and what a responsible work, they are engaging in!
Dr. Doddridge makes the following reflections on the passage which we have been considering. “Let our Lord's submitting himself to Baptism, teach us a boly exactness and care in the observance of those positive institutions, which owe their obligation merely to a divine command;" for “ thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness," lest, by breaking one of the least of Christ's Commandments, and teaching others to do it, we become unworthy of a part in the kingdom of heaven. Jesus had no sin to confess, or wash away, yet he was baptized : and God owned that ordinance, so far as to make it the season of pouring fourth the Spirit upon him. And where can we expect this sacred effusion, but in a conscientious and humble attendance on divine appointments ?
LETTER FROM A FATHER TO HIS SON, AN
APPRENTICE BOY. MY DEAR Boy, WHOEVER reads the history of Edward the Sixth, is grieved to think that he lived for so short a time; and it is still more melancholy to find that his successor was one of the most cruel and wicked persons that ever wore the crown. This was Queen Mary, his eldest sister, commonly known by the name of Bloody Mary. We saw how much good was done, in the reign of King Edward: but we shall now see that Mary undid it all. She was a bigotted Papist, ; . and she set herself against all the good and pious men who had been the means of bringing about the Reformation ; and she encouraged all the violent
and cruel people who were the enemies of the Protestants, and who were desirous of bringing the nation back again to all their old bad customs and errors. There were two bishops, Bonner, bishop of London, and Gardiner, bishop of Winchester, both Papists, and great enemies to the Reformation. I think I told you before, that these Bishops had been sent to the Tower. Queen Mary set them at liberty, and they lent all the aid they could to assist her in persecuting the Protestants. Some of the best and most pious men in the nation were burnt to death during these cruel persecutions ; five bishops, twenty other clergy, and some hundreds of people besides; and all this because they would not agree to support a religion, which, in their consciences, they knew to be wrong.
You have heard of those truly pious and worthy men, bishops Ridley, and Latimer. These two aged servants of God were put to death at the same time and place. . When Ridley was brought to the stake to be burned, he, found that his old friend Latimer was there before him. They helped to comfort one another in this trying hour; and they were wonderfully supported from above, and enabled to undergo, for the sake of the truth, all the torments which their enemies could inflict; and they died, encouraging one another, and offering up their prayers and praises to God. These were truly devout and excellent men ;-- and they were great and learned men besides; and they had done much bý their writings, to spread the knowledge of the Gospel, and to further the work, of the Reformation.
Soon after, that good and learned man, arch-, bishop Cranmer was burned to death. Once, this excellent man had, in an evil hour, been tempted by the love of life, to sign a paper, declaring that he was no friend to the Reformation. But, if a good man, at any time, by the power of temptation, does fall into a sin, his conscience will not let him