« AnteriorContinuar »
lation. What an incentive to exertion. Study the nature of Popery in the Scriptural description of it, in the pages of history, in the murders of the Inquisition, in the fires of Smithfield, and take alarm. You are among the persons who are to defend the poor against the power of antichrist, by teaching them to read, furnishing them with Bibles, and storing their minds with Scripture. Fill the land with Bibles, and with Bible readers, and with Bible knowledge, for this is the best defence from Popery; antichrist is afraid of the Bible. Teach the children the doctrine of regeneration by the Spirit, and justification by faith, train them thoroughly in these momentous truths; render them as familiar with these doctrines as they are with their letters. This will also, and equally, protect them from the delusion of Puseyism, that semi-popery, which is now spreading like a moral pestilence over the land.
Sunday-school teachers, dwell upon these things. 'Are they not sufficient to induce a fresh surrender of yourselves to your work this year ? Up and be doing; gird yourselves again for your work. God and his Anointed demand it of you; the church demands it of you; the present, and all future generations of mankind demand it of you. Yield to demands so numerous, so solemn, so just, so sacred.
I remain your friend and fellow-worker, Birmingham,
J. A. JAMES.
ON CHARACTER ;
OR, COUNSELS FOR THE YOUNG. CHARACTER is always important: it is important to all classes of persons; but especially to the
young, to whom this paper is more immediately addressed.
Character is the development of principle, the manifestation of those peculiar qualities by which one individual is distinguished from another; but good character must have religion for its basis, and is inseparable from a name for wisdom and goodness, with all such as are wise and good.
A character, or name sustained by Christian conduct, is “better than precious ointment," and “ is rather to be chosen than great riches ;" it will afford more substantial satisfaction to the mind; it will make its possessor a more useful member of society; and it will prepare him to realize all the gains of godliness in the eternal world.
The honourable testimony borne to the character of Mary by our Lord, was infinitely more valuable than the precious ointment, with which she anointed him; and he who daily recommends religion to others, by the meekness of his spirit, and the holiness of his conduct, is a greater benefactor to society, than he who relieves the temporal wants of the needy, or mitigates the sufferings of the body, or saves a sinking mariner from a watery grave.
Character, formed on Christian principles, supposes inflexible integrity in all the intercourse and transactions of life; a keen sense of moral honour; great tenderness of spirit; and the exercise of that prudential carefulness, which is as anxious to avoid injuring others as not to be injured by others.
A good name, or Christian character, supposes also the exercise of moral courage in defending the cause of truth and holiness; the discovery of sincerity in all our motives; the development of benevolent feeling and effort; and the well
founded hope of the honour and happiness, which are prepared and preserved for all such as live and die under the hallowing influence of the fear of God.
Character is important in the estimation of all classes of persons : even the vicious value it, when its influence is discovered ; and without it, it is next to impossible for any individual to rise to distinction, or to occupy any responsible position in society.
In the choice of a legal or medical adviser, of an instructor of youth or of a man of business, of a servant or a guide, there is generally much emphasis laid on character.
How important, then, it is, that the young should pay great attention to the first steps which they take on entrance into life; and how diligent and anxious and prayerful should they be, that they may preserve their conduct without reproach.
An established character is not acquired at once: years must elapse, and many difficulties and temptations must be endured and resisted, before a good moral reputation can be obtained, before public interest and confidence can be elicited; and what it has required years to obtain, may, in one moment, or by one rash or imprudent act, be completely lost, and lost never more to be regained.
Good character is important, because it is beneficial in its influence.
It will guard the young from many suspicions; it will protect them against the slanderous insinuations of wicked and designing adversaries ; it will promote self-respect; it will assist in the pursuits of this world; and it will prevent that deep and distressing remorse, which a tender and
delicate mind must experience, as the consequence of a blighted character.
My young friends, good character may be regarded as capital; it is a treasure worth possessing and protecting; it makes friends where they did not exist before, and it produces a disposition to show friendship ; it makes duty comparatively easy, and lessens the power of temptation; in fine, he who has a good character, feels that he has something to take care of; something that is worthy of his most vigilant effort that it may not be injured; something that renders it needful that he should daily plead for upholding grace, for guiding and preserving mercy.
The formation of character is not the result of force, but of deliberate choice; there may be many classes of means in constant, and some in invisible operation, yet still every one feels that he has power to refuse or assent, to act or not to act, as his judgment may dictate.
An individual may be constrained to act, but he cannot be compelled to think contrary to his prevailing inclination; he may be coerced or bribed to defend a cause which he does not approve, but he cannot be brought voluntarily to identify himself with a cause which his judgment condemns.
General character may be modified by circumstances, as in the case of Herod, who, for a season, was deterred from killing John, because “he feared the people;" but Christian character is perfectly voluntary, it is cultivated by the individual himself as the result of Divine teaching ; that teaching which, through the instrumentality of Divine truth, transforms the soul, enlightens the judgment, and sanctifies all the affections of the mind.
In order to the maintenance of good character, there must be much prayer to God; there must be great carefulness in the choice of companions, and in the selection of books; and there must be diligent attention to the means of grace, and a conscientious avoidance of all improper recreations.
Think, my young friends; think seriously of the immense importance of these things; for as character is formed in this life, so it will be found in eternity. · The character with which you live and die, will rise up with you in eternity, and will be eternal; then you will reach the perfection of eternal felicity, or endure the unutterable torments of eternal despair. “ Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Consider your ways.”
MEMOIR OF MISS SELINA SHERMAN.
[The Rev. James Sherman was called, in November last, to the trying and distressing duty of preaching a Funeral Sermon for his daughter; of whom at the close of the Discourse, he gave the following interesting' account.] SELINA SHERMAN was born at Reading, March 3rd, 1824. Her constitution was healthful and robust till the age of three years, but from that period she exhibited symptoms of great weakness. To her sainted mother she was an object of much solicitude and affection. Her quietude, patience and cheerfulness, at that tender age, endeared her to all who knew her. When about eight years old, she was supposed to have an