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of time that might otherwise be lost. You seem to understand what you are about; but while repairing your nets to catch the fish in the river, have a care that you are not caught yourself. Satan is a cunning old fisherman, and knows well, not only how to make a net, but how to use it when it is made.
Jasper. You are right enough there, sir ; but though Satan knows how to make it, God knows how to break it; if it were not for this, we should all of us be caught : “ As the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them,” Eccles. ix. 12. But, blessed be God, there is another net beside those which are spread by the enemy of souls; for we read in St. Matthew's Gospel, that the kingdom of heaven is like a net cast into the sea, which gathers of every kind, Matt. xiii. 47. That is a net which will never break with us; and when caught in it, the faster it holds us the better. I read the tract you left with me, and a sweet spirit runs through it. It has often been a wonder to me, how the human heart, which is “ deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked,” Jer. xvii. 9, can be so changed by Divine grace, as to pour out, as it sometimes does, so much warm-hearted love and spiritual
affection ; but what is there that our heavenly Father cannot perform?
Visitor. Wha: indeed! So long as we look to him, the snares of the evil one will be spread in vain. How gloriously the sun is setting, and how beautifully bright is the heaven above us!
If thus the sky above or head,
I shall leave you “ The Fisherman ;” and, even if you have read it before, it will not hurt you to go over it again. Farewell. ,
CALL ON A PIOUS YOUNG PERSON. You are reading your Bible, then, Joseph ; ay, there's nothing like it. Make hay while the sun shines, for what you learn in youth will, with God's blessing, be a comfort to your latter days.
The bud is fragrant on the tree,
The blossom on the thorn ;
And balmy breath of morn.
So fresh and fragrant rise,
In heavenly wisdom wise.
• There are a thousand books in the world, written to lead the youthful mind in paths of usefulness, piety, and peace; but all of them put together do not contain one half of what is written in the Bible to reprove the wicked, to strengthen the weak, to encourage the doubtful, and to confirm the believer in the goodness of God; therefore, let the Bible be your bosom friend. If I wanted to give a young person the most valuable present in the least possible compass, I would give him the Bible; for the truths it contains are worth more than a king's ransom.
Let the book be your guide, in word, deed, and behaviour,
In light, and in darkness, whate'er may befall,
And cling to the cross as your life and your all.
In joy and in sorrow, in glare and in gloom ;
And stronger, the nearer you draw to the tomb.
One reason why I wish you to love the Bible is, because you cannot, then, help loving God. If you do wrong, the Bible will rebuke you ; if you do right, the Bible will commend you. No bad man ventures to be a Bible reader; and no good man dare become a Bible neglecter. The Bible is honey to the humble believer, but gall to the proud infidel. It is weakness to him
who trusts in himself, but strength to him who depends on God. With the Bible, youth may become wise ; without it, old age may be passed in folly. Read, then, your Bible; pray over it, weep over it, rejoice over it, and love it; for it tells us of that merciful Redeemer who shed his blood for transgressors. If we have an interest in him, we may rejoice in the hope of everlasting life; if we have it not, we may tremble with the fear of eternal death.
CALL ON A DOUBTER. Visitor. I hope, Richard, that the clouds and darkness which have so long hid from you the face of the Redeemer, beaming with Divine compassion, are passing away, and that you can rejoice in the hope set before you.
Richard. No, sir, that is not the case. I feel, notwithstanding all the promises of God, that I am too unworthy to hope for mercy.
Visitor. Too unworthy! You must be unworthy indeed, if you are worse than those whom redeeming grace has already pardoned. Paul considered himself to be “the chief of sinners,” and yet Paul found mercy.
“ Come, ye weary, heavy laden;
Lost and ruined by the fall
You will never come at all."
Richard. There are many precious invitations in God's word, certainly, but none of them seem addressed to me.
Visitor. No! that is rather strange too, if you feel the weight of your unworthiness. What do you think of these invitations : “ Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” Matt. xi. 28; “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price?” Isa. lv. 1.
Richard. But my heart is too hard; it is as hard as a stone.
Visitor. Is it? then there is a promise in the Bible that will just suit you: “I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and will give you an heart of flesh,” Ezek. xi. 19.
Richard. Sins such as mine, in my opinion, are not to be pardoned.
Visitor. The word of God, which is better than the opinion of man, says, “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous : and he is the propitiation for our sins," 1 John ii. 1. “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,” 1 Tim. i. 15.
Richard. I am not only a sinner, but a backslider.
Visitor. It is indeed a grievous thing to be a