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constant in the discharge of all the relative and social duties of our holy religion—if we are honest in our dealings and trustworthy in whatever is committed to our care, we shall certainly silence the opposition of gainsayers, and probably remove their prejudice against the gospel. None are so blind as not to perceive the contrast between light and darkness, good and evil. And it is always humiliating to be found engaged in evil, while others are doing good ; to be groping in darkness, while others are walking in the light.
It may, also, be the means of inducing them to embrace the gospel. The apostle speaks of husbands, who would never have attended to the written or preached word, being won by the good conversation of their wives. And that heart must be hard indeed, that can reject the holy influences of Christianity, when its divine attractions are displayed in the daily conversation of his best friend on earth; when he daily sees before his eyes a luminous body, that is drawing him with the cords of love, and the bands of a man. From the history of the church in all ages, we know that there are many who owe their first impressions of religion to the consistant conduct of some eminent saint, some devout Christian ; nor can we doubt but that if the dispositions and character of religious people more uniformly corresponded with their holy profession, the word would have a freer course, and would be much sooner glorified in evangelizing the world ; reformation would succeed reformation, till the light and salvation of the gospel, like a tide of glory, would sweep over the whole earth, and mankind would be brought to the saving knowledge of the truth from the rising of the sun to its going down. This is the mode in which God designed that the truth should work its way to the hearts and consciences of men, for in this way
the gospel proves a universal blessing to mankind. When it ceases to make men virtuous and honest, it ceases to be a blessing.
Finally, it cannot fail of stimulating many to increasing activity. The force of example is exceeding great. Many, very many, for the want of associates in well doing, are discouraged and attempt but little, because they think but little can be accomplished. But, when they see a person more abundant in labors than themselves, they are stirred up to a holy emulation ; they blush at the view of their own unprofitableness, and whilst they are thankful to God who has given such grace unto men, they strive with redoubled ardor to serve and glorify their God. The age in which we live is characterised by great diligence and activity in the cause of God, and the march of truth is onward. It is hoped, and confidently believed, that the active zeal which has been kinJled in modern times in the Christian church, will be the means of exciting holy emulation generally among professors of religion, and that they all will come up in one solid column to the help of the Lord against the mighty. What an astonishing influence would be exerted were this to be realized !
What a mighty change would be effected in the world!
It would be the ushering in of the millenial glory! It would be the occasion of a new song in the celestial choir.
1. In the conclusion of our remarks on this subject, we will endeav. or to show how you may become lights of the world. On this subject many entertain erroneous views, and, consequently, labour with little or no success. They teach men who are immersed in sin and sensuality to become the lights of the world by living pious and godly lives; in other words, they place the candle upon the candlestick, to give light before it is lit up. But we are informed by our Saviour, that the candle must first be lit: Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick ; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. A candle may as well be under a bushel, as on' a candlestick, before it is lit; the candle must first be lit, before it can give light to others: so we ourselves must become the children of light, before we can give light to the world. In order to become the children of light, we must believe in the light. Hence, said our Lord, Believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. Jesus Christ opened his mission by preaching the doctrine of repentance and of faith. And this doctrine is everywhere insisted upon in the New Testament as a prerequisite to the gospel salvation. The Apostle Paul informs us that he was sent to the Gentles, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive for. giveness of sins, and inheritance among them that are sanctified by faith that is in me. Indeed, nothing can be more evident than this truth, that we ourselves must first be called out of darkness into God's marvellous light, before we can become the lights of the world; and this change is wrought in none but penitent believers. To believe in the light, is not to be understood as though a bare assent to any truths whatever would sanctify the soul : it is to be understood as directing us to the gospel, and to the Lord Jesus Christ as revealed in it. It is to look for salvation entirely through him, whom God has sanctified and sent into the world for the redemption of mankind; it is to live by faith on him, and to make him our all in all. This living faith unites us to Christ, renders our union with him productive, and leads to our perfect renovation after the divine image. It is by this faith that we are justified ; and through this faith we are sanctified by the truth of God. To every true believer, God, therefore, imparts the light of life. Hence it is be. lievers, and believers only, who enjoy the power of living faith, that are the lights of the world. They are the children of the light, and should walk in the light as he is in the light, and all who walk in the light, will shine indeed as lights in a dark world ; and God himself will be glorified in them.
2. Those of you who have obtained the honor of becoming the lights of the world, should let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Remember, my dear friends, that the eyes of all are upon
you, and that God's glory in the world is very greatly effected by your conduct. Any fault in you will be readily seen and noticed by the world. They who pay but little attention to the stars that shine in their orbits, will yet be observant enough of a falling star: and, in like manner, they who overlook the radiance of ten thousand saints, will mark with triumph the fall of a professor, and derive from it an argument against all serious religion. You should, therefore, be on your guard against every thing which may either eclipse your light, or cause it to shine with diminished splendor. Avoid, in your intercourse with mankind, the appearance of evil, and give no offence to either saint or sinner. Maintain that seriousness and gravity in your deportment, that becomes an heir of the grace of life. Put away from among yourselves all foolish talking and jesting, which are not convenient, and let your conversation be as becometh the gospel of Christ. In maintaining this character, you must submit to some labor, and expect to be exposed to some inconvenience and danger from those who cannot bear the light; but neither indifference nor fear ought to prevent you from discharging a duty which the great Father of lights has imposed upon all his children. Has God furnished you with talents, or placed you in circumstances which has enabled you to acquire juster notions of religion than what are possessed by other men ; endeavor to communicate your superior knowledge to your brethren, by every fair and honorable method in your power, and at every season when you are likely to be heard. Say not the work be. longs to others—I have no call to engage in it-I leave it to those who are better qualified. Providence, which has given you more light, has, at the same time, given you a call to distribute it to all who are in darkness; if you keep it under a bushel, you make an ungrateful return to that Being from whom it was derived ; you defeat the purpose for which it was bestowed, and adopt the maxim of that corrupt church, which thinks it for the happiness of mankind to keep the world in ignorance.
On the Knowledge of Time.
Knowing the time."--Romans, xiii. 11.
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. Such is the declaration of the wisest of men-a declaration worthy the highest consideration of all who would become useful to their fellow-creatures. There are many states and conditions in the course of human life, which call for instruction and reproof, conso
lation and support. He who would be a useful minister of the gospel, should not only be qualified to meet the moral wants of individuals, in the various conditions of life, but should also be possessed of wisdom to afford assistance when it is needed. Childhood and youth are periods of great and sacred importance-periods which should be eagerly grasped by parents and guardians, instructors and teachers of youth, to store the unfolding mind with the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Instructions which are communicated and received at this age of life, leave a more lasting and abiding impression upon the mind, than at any subsequent period. Children should be taught to govern their passions and chasten their appetites, to subdue their tempers, and resist the temptations of a delusive and fascinating world, to cultivate piety, and cherish religion, and to reverence, adore, and worship the Majesty of Heaven. Much depends upon the moral and religious instruction of the rising generation. Train up a child, says Solomon, in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. All who have the care of youth, should know the time, this important, this critical time of life, and not let it slip unimproved.
There is a time when the attention of the community is alive to the subject of religion, to the welfare of the soul, and to the cause of God; when the vast concerns of eternity, and their future wellbeing, press with tremendous weight upon the anxious and solicitous mind; when, in the deepest compunction of heart, the penitent soul earnestly inquires, what must I do to be saved ? This time, this favorable time for religious instruction, should be eagerly sought and diligently improved by every minister of the gospel; for, at such a time as this, his instructions will be heeded, and his counsels, admonitions, and reproofs, will be attended with a salutary effeci. It is then that the attention is arrested, the sensibility alive, and the heart prepared to receive an indellible impression.
But, as man stands constantly connected with time, and as every moment of time is big with important events, perhaps we cannot more profitably employ the present hour, than by offering a few suggestions on this important subject, for our present meditation, and future reflection and improvement. i I. In the first place, then, we shall notice : That knowledge of time, which we should be so solicitious to secure.
1. We should know time in its signification. Various are the definitions which have been given of time. It has been defined by one to be “a fragment of eternity broken off at both ends." By another, “ finite and successive duration, distinguished by the past, present, and future; and measured by the revolution of the heavenly bodies, which God has appointed for the end." The description of a third is
Time, in its nature, is fleeting-ever on the wing. Like the revolution of the heavenly bodies, it knows no rest, neither does it seek any. It moves onward in majesty and triumph ; its course cannot be arrested, nor its power abated. It will march onward in splendor and triumph, till all are conquered by its invincible hand, and levelled with the dust. Uncertain—Its future page is sealed; its tales of wo and joy are all unknown. Who can tell what a day will bring forth? what a night will disclose ? Important-As the future page of time is unfolded, it will reveal important eventsevents deeply interesting to us all. “It is pregnant with all eternity can give."
2. "We should know time in its use. Time is a blessing, and is bestowed upon man for an important end; not to waste in idleness, or consume in folly. But, alas! what multitudes squander away their precious hours, and waste their golden moments in idle pursuits, or in sinful pleasures; and thus the duties of life are neglected, and no preparation is made for the eternal world, till a voice is heard speaking to the soul, time shall be no longer. Every moment of time has its duties. By performing these duties, we secure im, portant blessings, and by misimproving time we neglect these duties, and by neglecting these duties we lose important and distinguished blessings. The path of duty is the path of safety, and the ways of wisdom are pleasant, and all her paths are paths of peace. Great peace have they that love thy law, and nothing shall offend them. In keeping the commandments of God there is great reward. When time grows heavy, and we invent means to kill and destroy it, we may rest assured that some important duty is neglected, and some distinguished blessing will be lost. Let us make the anxious inquiry, whether our time is properly filled up with activity and usefulness; whether our precious moments are employed in doing or receiving good.
3. We should know time in its value. But, alas! who can estimate the value of time? By what rule shall we measure it? or in what scales shall we weigh it? There are various ways by which men reckon the value of worldly goods. (1.) Sometimes by their scarcity. Of such are gems, pearls, and precious stones ; and even the articles of life become more or less valuable, according to their plentifulness or scarcity. If we reckon by this rule, time must be be exceedingly valuable ; for there is but one single moment in the world at once, and another is not given till this is taken away. The clock strikes not to inform us that we have so much time, but that so much of our time is irrecoverably gone; for this reason the poet calls it “The knell of a departed hour," which rings but for the death of another portion of our time. Many of the bounties of nature are poured upon us in such rich abundance, that we may hoard them up; but time is dealt out in particles, or in drops, like some precious invaluable oils, that not one of them might be wasted. (2.) Sometimes we deem a thing to be valuable, in proportion as