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much in the evils which lie around him, as in those which spring up within him. The control of sinful appetites and desires does indeed demand his constant care and vigilance; but it is the pride of his heart which presents the chief obstacle. He cannot bear to be told that his nature is a corrupt, a fallen, a sinful nature; that the carnal, or in other words the natural, mind is at enmity with God; that if he seeks to be reconciled with God, he must seek it alone through the merits of a Redeemer. To Him, not to his own doings, however diligently he may labour in the regulation of his own mind, or in the service of his fellow-creatures,-to his Saviour he must refer the whole merit and the whole efficacy of his salvation. That Saviour hath said, that he came to seek and to save them that were lost.' And every man who would be his disciple, let him be the wisest and the most virtuous of men, must believe that he himself was one of those lost creatures whom Christ came to save. He must not only acknowledge with his lips, but in his heart he must feel, that in the sight of God his best deeds are nothing worth; that however they may tend, as they certainly will tend, to make him happier upon earth, they have no power whatever to raise him to heaven.
"Nay, more than this, if he trust to himself, if he indulge himself in setting a value before God upon any thing that he does, these very deeds will be the instrumental cause of his ruin: they will lead him from that gate through which alone he can enter, and will carry him farther and farther in a wrong direction. His good works will never bring him to Christ; but if he lay hold on Christ in sincerity of faith, He will easily and quickly bring him to good works. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He is emphatically called the Door of the kingdom of heaven. No man cometh to the Father but by him.
CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 246.
If then there be in any man's breast a secret longing after self-righteousness; if there be a disposition, however faint, to justify himself by his own performance-any lurking conceit that he, being so much better than others, stands less in need of that atoning merit than the worst of his fellow-creatures; let not such an one think that he will receive any thing from the Lord. He may perhaps, upon examination, find that he has exercised himself in doing what he thinks his dutythat he has abstained from excessthat he has dealt justly, and worked diligently for the good of mankind-that he has even practised many of those virtues which are most truly Christian-that he has been kind, patient, humble, charitable, meek, forgiving; yet if his heart be a stranger to God, giving its affections not to things above but to things on the earth-if he suffer it to plead any one of these services as entitled to reward from God, or as fit even to bear his inspection, he is still in his sins-be will be left to wander on according to his own wayward fancies, and will never find the gate of salvation.
"Such was of old the pharisaical pride which provoked the severe rebuke of our Saviour; Verily I say unto you, Even the publicans and the harlots enter into the kingdom of God before you.' The case of gross sinners is less desperate than yours. It is possible they may be brought to a sense of their wretchedness, and may throw themselves upon the only Refuge that is open to them; but you who not only neglect this help, but who wilfully betake yourselves to another, are altogether without hope. Ye shall die in your sins. Be your deeds what they may in the sight of men
be they just, upright, benevolent, liberal, humane-while they spring from a corrupt and unregenerate source they cannot please God. For without faith it is impossible to please him; and without holiness no man shall see the Lord. 2 Y
"If now we reflect on the prevalence of this proud spirit among men, on their proneness to value themselves upon their own worth, on the unwelcome and humiliating confession required by the Gospel from the best and wisest of mankind, as well as from the wickedest and the most ignorant, we shall not wonder at the strong comparison by which our Lord illustrates the straitness of that road through which we must pass to salvation. For not only our sinful appetites, but, what is much harder, every high thought and vain imagination that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, must be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.'
"Neither have we yet described the full extent of that humility to which the heart of man must bow before he can be a disciple of Christ. And the part which remains to be told will perhaps to many minds appear much harder than what has been already stated.
"For in thus turning from the lying vanities of self-righteousness to the true and living God, he must not flatter himself that the change is his own work. He must not take credit to himself for the victory, but must give God the praise for having called him out of darkness into his marvellous light. No man cometh to me,' saith our Lord, 'except my Father draw him.' To God then be our thanks and praise rendered, as the Giver not only of our natural but of our spiritual life. He is, as our church often confesses, the Author of all godliness. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth.' It is God that worketh in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure.' His grace brought us to the knowledge of the truth; and unless we resist or neglect his gracious influence, in spite of all the powers of darkness his grace will preserve us in it."
Tothe Editor of the Christian Observer.
A CONSTANT reader would be much obliged to any correspondent who would favour him with a sober and scriptural definition of the expression, "The leadings of Providence," and point out under what circumstances a person may be said to follow those leadings. That a good and useful meaning may be attached to the expression, there can be no doubt; but is it not often employed in a rash and enthusiastic manner, so as to favour a sort of superstitious dependence upon uncontrollable circumstances, (at least when those circumstances happen to fall in with the inclination of the party,) instead of the exercise of an impartial judgment, and a careful examination of all the particulars of the case, with prayer for the Divine blessing and direction? I remember once asking a clergyman, who spent the greater part of his life in wandering from place to place, instead of confining himself to the quiet, unostentatious duties of his parish, when he should return home to his flock, and being told in reply that he must watch the leadings of Providence, which might direct him to some distant part of the kingdom, where his presence might be wanted. He accordingly, a few days after, accepted a casual invitation to pass some months with a friend who promised him "a sphere of usefulness." To my mind, the leadings of Providence clearly pointed my reverend friend to his "few poor sheep in the wilderness ;" and I cannot but think his own conscience would have told him so, and have goaded him homeward, had he not satisfied himself with a plea which not only often favours indolence and indecision of character, but allows of the gratification of almost every preference and impulse, under the plau sible semblance of implicit submission to the providential arrangements of the Almighty.
A CONSTANT READER.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. To the Editor of the Christian Observer. I HAVE had occasion to remark that some professed Christians entertain very lax ideas respecting the nature and extent of the Moral Law. Though they admit the authority of that code, they hold it right to do many things which appear to me quite inconsistent with Christian obedience to it, as a rule of life. The point which especially attracts my attention, is obedience, on Christian principles, to the laws of the land, as part of the Moral Law. Many there are who think, or seem to think, that laws not founded on the express letter of the Decalogue, are not entitled to respect for conscience-sake, and that all that is necessary is to avoid detection in the breach of them. I refer, in particular, to buying game or smuggled goods; sending letters in parcels, in cases in which it is prohibited to do so under a penalty; marrying by banns without residence; evading an assessment for articles subject to taxes; giving receipts on unstamped paper; and similar practices; most of which have been often and justly reprehended in your pages.
PERMIT me to add to the remarks which have lately appeared in your work on the regular performance of the church service, a few observations on an impropriety of which some ministers are guilty; I mean that of sitting in the vestry during the reading of the prayers. This manifest impropriety I have witnessed principally in my own church, the pulpit of which is not unfrequently occupied by some of the more popular and eminent preachers of the day. I am aware that fatigue is sometimes pleaded in excuse; and sometimes the necessity of a little quiet recollection: but what are such apologies as these, when opposed to the evils which manifestly arise from the practice? The formalist is disgusted, and will probably transfer his disgust from the preacher to his doctrine. The man of the world feels contempt for that apparent spirit of selfindulgence to which he attributes the practice, and that egotistical preference which he considers the preacher as evincing towards his own performance above the established ordinances of the church. The mere" hearer of the word" is encouraged in his slight attention to the devotional parts of the service, and confirmed in his notion of the almost exclusive importance of the sermon. And, not to mention any further evil consequence, "the hearts of the righteous are rendered sad," especially in times like these, when it is so emphatically the duty of the clergy to urge upon their people by example, as well as by precept, the importance of prayer and a devotional frame of mind, not to rest satisfied with knowing, or even delighting in, the truths of the Gospel as a system, but to study to imbibe the real spirit of Christianity, and a love for communion with God,
The view take of the subject is this; That Christians are bound, as such, to obey every law of the land which is not repugnant to the law of God, as fully and as conscientiously as if that law were expressed in the Ten Commandments; and that whenever the law enacts that an act shall not be done under a certain penalty, it is to be regarded, in foro conscientiæ, as prohibiting that act altogether; and that the committer of the act is not, in foro conscientiæ, excusable by his willingness to pay or suffer the penalty in case of conviction.
These matters are not, I think, sufficiently considered or understood; and I could wish therefore that the hints thrown out by two of your correspondents, in your Numbers for last September and December, were followed up by a
fuller discussion of the subject, with special reference to the guilt of such practices as a breach of the Moral Law.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. THERE are no parts of Scripture which more require illustration to a Northern reader, than those in which allusion is made, and that often incidentally and almost imperceptibly, to the habits and climate of Oriental nations. Our commercial and military intercourse throughout the world, with the many modern publications in the line of voyages, travels, and biblical criticism and illustration, have however rendered foreign manners more familiar to us than they were to most of our forefathers; and almost every new publication of any value from the pen of Oriental tourists, is adding new accessions to our riches in this interesting department of sacred literature. The following extract from the recent travels of Signor Belzoni, in Egypt, appears to me to deserve insertion in your pages, as affording an interesting illustration of those numerous passages in Scripture which speak of the miseries of a thirsty and parched land, and the perils of a tropical desert. Let the reader, as he peruses the passage, imagine to himself the children of Israel in their perilous journey from Egypt to Canaan, and he will obtain a lively idea of that "land of deserts and of pits, of drought and of the shadow of death, a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt," which Jehovab chose as the scene of their trial, "to prove them, and to know what was in their heart, whether they would serve him or no;" where he displayed his providential care and guidance in all their necessities, and through which he conducted them at length to the promised in heritance; apt emblem of the present world, and of the perils which
beset the Christian pilgrim in his journey to the heavenly Canaan ! E. W.
"It is difficult to form a correct idea of a desert, without having been in one: it is an endless plain of sand and stones, sometimes intermixed with mountains of all sizes and heights, without roads or shelter, without any sort of produce for food. The few scattered trees and shrubs of thorns, that only appear when the rainy season leaves some moisture, barely serve to feed wild animals, and a few birds. Every thing is left to nature; the wandering inhabitants do not care to cultivate even these few plants, and when there is no more of them in one place, they go to another. When these trees become old and lose their vegetation, the sun which constantly beams upon them, burns and reduces them to ashes. I have seen many of them entirely burnt. The other smaller plants have no sooner risen out of the earth than they are dried up, and all take the colour of straw, with the exception of the plant harack : this falls off before it is dry.
"Generally speaking, in a desert, there are few springs of water, some of them at the distance of four, six, and eight days' journey from one another, and not all of sweet water: on the contrary, it is generally salt or bitter; so that, if the thirsty traveller drinks of it, it increases his thirst, and he suffers more than before. But, when the calamity happens that the next well, which is so anxiously sought for, is found dry, the misery of such a situation cannot be well described. The camels, which afford the only means of escape, are so thirsty, that they cannot proceed to another well: and, if the travellers kill them, to extract the little liquid which remains in their stomachs, they themselves cannot advance any farther. The situation must be dreadful, and admits of no resource. Many perish, vic
tims of the most horrible_thirst. It is then that the value of a cup of water is really felt. He that has a senzabia of it is the richest of all. In such a case there is no distinction. If the master has none, the servant will not give it to him; for very few are the instances, where a man will voluntarily lose his life to save that of another, particularly in a caravan in the desert, where people are strangers to each other. What a situation for a man, though a rich one, perhaps the owner of all the caravan ! He is dying for a cup of water-no one gives it to him: he offers all he possesses-no one hears him; they are all dying -though by walking a few hours farther they might be saved. If the camels are lying down, and cannot be made to rise-no one has strength to walk: only he that has a glass of that precious liquor lives to walk a mile farther, and perhaps dies too. If the voyages on seas are dangerous, so are those in the deserts. At sea, the provisions very often fail; in the desert, it is worse: at sea, storms are met with; in the desert, there cannot be a greater storm than to find a dry well;-at sea, one meets with pirates-we escape-we surrenderwe die; in the desert, they rob the traveller of all his property and water: they let him live perhaps, but what a life! to die the most barbarous and agonising death. In short, to be thirsty in a desert, without water, exposed to the burning sun without shelter, and NO HOPES of finding either, is the most ter
rible situation that a man can be placed in, and one of the greatest sufferings that a human being can sustain: the eyes grow inflamed; the tongue and lips swell; a hollow sound is heard in the ears, which brings on deafness, and the brains appear to grow thick and inflamed: all these feelings arise from the want of a little water. In the midst of all this misery, the deceitful morasses appear before the traveller at no great distance, something like a lake or river of clear fresh water. If perchance a traveller is not undeceived, he hastens his pace to reach it sooner: the more he advances towards it, the more it goes from him, till at last it vanishes entirely, and the deluded passenger often asks, where is the water he saw at no great distance? He can scarcely believe that he was so deceived: he protests that he saw the waves running before the wind, and the reflection of the high rocks in the water.
"If unfortunately any one falls sick on the road, there is no alternative: he must endure the fatigue of travelling on a camel, which is troublesome even to healthy people; or he must be left behind on the sand, without any assistance, and remain so till a slow death come to relieve him. What horror! What a brutal proceeding to an unfortunate sick man! No one remains with him, not even his old and faithful servant; no one will stay and die with him: all pity his fate, but no one will be his nion."
REMARKS DURING A JOURNEY
(Continued from p. 291.) WHILE visiting a friend in New York, I was informed that it was in
the adjoining room that the agents of the African Colonization Society, and their supporters, assembled for prayer the night previous to the sailing of the first expedition, of whose melancholy fate