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coure ready to ourself, perha you really
backslider; but grievous as it is, the forbearance of God extends itself to this case also. “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely," Hos. xiv. 4.
Richard. You do not know my weakness; I have no strength in me.
Visitor. If I do not know your weakness, I know my own; and if you really have no strength in yourself, perhaps you will be the more ready to say, “ In the Lord have I righteousness and strength,” Isa. xly. 24.
Richard. I am always in bondage through the fear of death.
Visitor. Alas! that is the case with thousands; but if you are desirous to get rid of this fear, call upon the name of the Lord, and he will give you faith, as he has given it to thousands of fearful saints before you, to say, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me,” Psa, xxiii. 4.
Richard. If I had that faith one hour, I verily believe that I should depart from it the next.
Visitor. Not if God's promises to his people are true; for the Lord of life and glory hath said, “ I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me,” Jer. xxxii. 40.
Richard. You seem to have a salve for every sore; but, after all, I fear that Jesus Christ will not be willing to save me.
Visitor. I do not know what proof of his willingness you require; but if the fact that he offered up himself a sacrifice on the cross for sinners be not a proof strong enough, it is not likely that you will ever be favoured with a stronger. Richard, Richard, take these things to heart. Dishonour not God by unbelief. Seek the throne of grace humbly, hopefully, confidingly, that doubts and fears may be taken away, and that hope, and peace, and joy, and praise may abide with you continually.
CALL ON A YOUNG REPROBATE. A word in passing, Richard. A day or two ago I saw you making game at the poor idiot boy who lives in the neighbourhood. I had no time to stop and speak to you then, but one word I will leave with you now.
To see an idiot moping away the hours of his youth, without the power of doing anything for himself, or those around him, is a sad sight; but for all that, it is a much sadder sight to see a boy, blessed with his faculties, and endued with the ability and opportunity to serve himself and others, wasting his youth in idleness and "sin'; leading his companions to ruin, and plunging himself headlong into destruction. This is a sight at which men may well tremble, and angels look on with wonder and abhorrence. The poor lad that you ridiculed is entitled to pity; but when I call to mind the youth you are wasting, the blessings you are abusing, and the punishments you are bringing on yourself, I cannot help thinking that you, Richard, are a greater idiot than he is.
CALL ON A SIMPLE-HEARTED CHILD. Is little Mary at home? Oh, I see you are here, sitting at your book all by yourself, though I dare say that your mother is not far off. I believe that you are a simple-hearted, teachable child, and I wished, as I passed by, just to tell you what I think will please you.
A little girl, about eight years old, brought up by pious parents, came running to her mother one day, weeping. “Mother,” said she, “I am very unhappy; for though I read my Bible, and pray to God through Jesus Christ, my heart is very heavy. Sometimes, when I look up at the clear blue sky, I think that I shall go there; but at other times my mind is dark as night, and then I think that I shall go to a wicked place. If God loved me, I do not
think he would let me be tried in this way. No; he would tell me, at once, that I should be sure to go to heaven.”
“My child,” replied the mother," whom God loveth he chasteneth. He knows that his children are too weak to bear much, and therefore he does not tell them all his mind. He gives them fears to make them afraid of hell, and precious promises that they may long after heaven.
« Thus God, beneath his watchful eye,
His children still will keep,
And hopeful when they weep.
Yet fear not thou; though doubts arise,
No doubt need e'er remain;
With Christ above shall reign.”
The little girl wiped her eyes, and cleared her cloudy brow. “Thank you, mother,” said she, “I understand it now, and hope that I shall never again want to know what God thinks it right to keep back from me, but go on trusting my Saviour's grace and mercy for ever.” 1 see, Mary, that this little account has pleased you; try to remember it, and one of these days, perhaps, I may call round and tell you of something else.
CALL ON A POSITIVE MAN. You were too positive by half, the other day, when I left a tract with you. I thought at the time you must be wrong, but since then I have been convinced of it. Now, do try to get the better of your positive spirit. It is no disgrace to own a mistake, though a very great one to persist in it. The other day I met with the following paper, written by an humble-minded man. I will leave it with you for your future benefit.
“Some people find it a very hard thing to say, 'I was mistaken;' and will persist in error rather than give up a point, or alter a practice, even when convinced that they are wrong. This is a very foolish sort of pride. The wisest of men are most deeply convinced of their own ignorance and liability to err; consequently they are the most humble and candid. He who owns himself to have been in an error, only proves himself wiser than he was before; but seest. thou a man wise in his own conceit? There is more hope of a fool than of him.' My whole life has been spent in discovering my own ignorance and mistakes, and endeavouring to correct them; and now that I am an old man, instead of finding more reason than formerly to trust myself, I am every day more and more con