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VERSES; COMPOSED FOR A COMPANY OF SINGERS, AT AN ANNUAL FEAST.
THY love, dear Jesus, doth appear,
Accept, O Lord, our thankful songs
THE ASTONISHED ATHEIST.
An atheist, being asked by a professor of Christian ity, How he could quiet his conscience in so desperate a state? replied, "As much am I astonished at yourself, that, believing the Christian religion to be true, you can quiet your conscience in living so much like the world; did I believe what you profess, I should think no care, no diligence,no zeal enough." Alas! that there should still, by Christians, be so much cause given for the astonishment of atheists!
AFFECTING INSTANCE OF PRIDE.
AN ancient father, being invited to dine with a person of rank, learnt, when he came to the house, that the lady
had spent three hours in dressing herself. It so affected him, that when she entered the room, the venerable man was dissolved in tears. Inquiring the cause, he turn d to her, and seriously replied, "I weep that you have spent more hours in gratifying your pride, and ruining your soul, than ever I spent together in saving mine."
RETIR'D from noise, my silent thoughts
On things celestial muse;
Reflection calmly looks behind,
Here all is rest, and sweet repose,
Here all my sorrows cease;
GREAT DIFFERENCE IN PREACHERS.
A GENTLEMAN in Scotland, having been to hear the late Mr. Whitefield preach in the open air, was met, in his way home, by an eminent minister, under whom he usually sat, and who expressed great surprise that he should go to hear such a man. The gentleman gave him this answer; "Sir," said he, "when I hear you, I am planting trees all C the time; but, during the whole of Mr. W.'s sermon, I never got time to plant one."
EVIDENCES BY WHICH TRUE AND FALSE IMPRESSIONS UPON THE MIND MAY BE DISTINGUISHED.
SATAN quoted scripture in order to corrupt the mind of Christ, and draw him from the path of duty. Some carnal professors do the same; and wrest the scriptures to their own destruction. The way in which the Holy Spirit impresses the mind, is not by making a new revelation; but by a suitable application of the truths already revealed,according to our state and circumstances. Though some persons may be deceived by sudden impressions, for want of a due inquiry from whence they come; yet the suddenness itself is no proof that they are false. The Lord can, and many times in distressing cases, does help speedily, and even instantaneously. He who called to Abraham at the very instant when he was about to sacrifice his son, can, if he please, instantly relieve the mind by a suitable word, when in the greatest distress.
But, seeing the mind is capable of receiving false impressions from satan, inordinate self-love,&c. to distinguish the true from the false, is a matter of the greatest importance. For example: Suppose the mind should be impressed with this scripture; "Son, thy sins be forgiven thee." Before a person can conclude that this impression is from God, he should seriously ask himself such questions as the following.
1. Do I possess that spirit to which the general tenor of scripture promises forgiveness? Before David received a sense of divine mercy, he earnestly sued for it, and confessed the depravity of his nature, and the transgressions of his life. Nor did he merely plead for pardon, but also for renewing grace; "Create in me a clean heart, O God;
and renew a right spirit within me." Under the gospel dispensation, we are directed to seek mercy in the name of Christ; pleading his blood and mediation, through whom God hath promised forgiveness; for, "Whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins." What is my character with respect to these things?
2. What effect has a sense of the forgiving mercy of God produced in my mind? Do I possess a holy love to God, who hath magnified his mercy, and to Christ, through whom I enjoy the invaluable blessing? She who had "much forgiven, loved much."*
3. Am I influenced by the love of God, to devote my soul and body to him, that I may be his servant for ever? "Now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life." If such be my spirit and character, I may be assured that the blessing contained in the passage of scripture thus impressed belongs to me. The concurrence of the things impressed with the general sense of scripture, and with the holy effects produced in the heart and life, are, in all cases, a criterion by which we may distinguish the operations of the Holy Spirit from all false impressions. The latter, whether proceeding from satan, or from human depravity, though accomplished by means of some passage of scripture; yet, the intention being to corrupt and misapply that passage, they are condemned by the general voice of scripture; and, if acceded to, will be productive of nothing but error and sin.
Satan frequently suggests wicked men that God is merciful. This is a glorious truth; anas proper effect
* Luke vii. 47.
Rom. vi. 22.
is to encourage a returning sinner to hope for mercy. But as it is here suggested, its tendency is to lull the sinner asleep in security, persuading him, that though he continue in sin, yet it shall be well with him at last. Again; satan sometimes suggests to a carnal professor, that the sheep of Christ shall never perish. This is true; but the design of satan is, to persuade him that he shall get to heaven, though he hate the path which leads to it. It seems as if satan could have access to the human mind in sleep; for some persons have a misrepresentation of their state in dreams, whereby they are strangely infatuated. Yet Gods sometimes speaks this way, but always agreeably to his written word.
Once more; satan frequently suggests to a person under convictions, that he is the chief of sinners. But his design is, to drive him to despair, and to persuade him that his sins are too great to be forgiven; whereas, the tendency of the like suggestion from the Spirit of God is to lead the sinner to apply earnestly for mercy.
SAYING AND DOING ARE TWO THINGS.
MR. Erskine, in one of his excellent sermons, mentions a little anecdote, which, however trifling in itself, may af ford a very useful hint, of a practical kind, to every hearer of the gospel.
A person who had been to public worship, having return. ed home, perhaps somewhat sooner than nenai, was asked, "Is all by another of the family who had not been there, done?" "No," røpted he,all is said; but all is not done." No, indeed! saying and doing are two things. How little is commonly done of all that is said; however well said!