« AnteriorContinuar »
because God has accepted the atoning sacrifice of his Son for every truly repentant sinner. He is spotted over with the leprosy of evil, for all men have become altogether filthy, from the crown of the head to the sole of the feet; but he is wholly clean, because he is washed, and purified, and made white in the fountain opened for uncleanness. He is black as midnight, when considered in himself, but fair as heaven itself when regarded in the Redeemer. And now having explained one riddle to you, perhaps you will be the more ready to find out another yourself. I will, therefore, leave one with you, and you can tell me your opinion on it when I see you again.
The work is great I'm called unto,
CALL ON ONE SETTING A BAD EXAMPLE.
Visitor. Come, I have caught you just as you are going out. How is it, Timothy, that you set your neighbours so bad an example? Here are you, on God's holy day, vending newspapers, as well as all kinds of trumpery publications; thus drawing away the hearts of those around you from Divine things. This is a bad way of
getting a living. You are deceiving yourself, if you suppose that it will answer your purpose. Your father, Timothy, was a God-fearing man, and would have shrunk from setting so bad an example.
Timothy. I do not see what my example has to do with other people. It is not at all likely that other folks will trouble their heads about what I do. If I was a great man it would be another thing.
Visitor. You are wrong, Timothy, altogether; not only in acting as you do, but also in concluding that no one will be injured by it. Look around you, and you will see the effect of example. If a man comes into a neighbourhood and sets up a public-house; if he hoists up the sign of the Fighting Cocks, sands his kitchen floor, keeps a cheerful fire in the grate, hangs the newspaper over the window curtain, piles up his bright pewter pots, so that they may be seen through the opened door, and has “ Dealer in Foreign Spirits” painted on the front of his house, I will be bound for it that you will soon hear the voice of thoughtless beings revelling in intemperance, and soon see the reeling step of the drunkard as he staggers away from his reckless companions. On the other hand, let a place be built for the performance of Divine worship; let a conscientious, faithful, zealous minister of the gospel stand up in the pulpit, and in a few sabbaths you will behold a goodly congregation. The influence of example is great in spreading what is good, or in extending what is evil, and your bad example, I am afraid, will corrupt many, and your bad conduct will injure yourself.
Timothy. I cannot say that I am much afraid of the one or the other.
Visitor. That may be, but you are none the safer on that account. A man's house may be undermined, and he may not know it; a pestilence may be in the air, and he may not see it; an evil may approach, and he may not fear it : but these things are not the less fearful on that account. When the ostrich buries her head in the sand, she does not, thereby, hide herself from the hunter; nor will your despising God's judgments preserve you from the danger of destruction. But I will say no more. This tract, “Sabbath Occupations,” may point out to you a more profitable way of spending the day of sacred rest. Without God's blessing it will do you no good; but with the influence of his Holy Spirit it may remove the scales from your eyes, that you may discern the things that belong to your peace. It is not right with the soul, if it be not looking to Jesus to be saved from all sin. From the power as well as the guilt of sin, good Lord, deliver us.
CALL ON ONE IGNORANT OF HIS OWN HEART.
Visitor. I am come for the tract that I left with you, Jeffrey, and hope that you and your wife have read it, that I may change it for another.
Jeffrey. Yes, I have read the tract; but it tells me a good deal more than I can take in. It tells me that I have got a bad heart. Now, I do not mean to say that I am better than my neighbours ; but my heart is not so bad as this tract makes it out to be.
Visitor. If your heart is not bad, it is the only good one, unchanged by God's grace, that I ever heard of. What the tract tells you is quite true, Jeffrey.
Jeffrey. I believe that if my heart had anything bad in it, I should know it.
Visitor. That is not quite so certain as you may suppose. Many a time have you been in a dark cellar without seeing a single spider or a cobweb there ; but if you had taken a candle and searched it well, no doubt you might have found plenty of both the one and the other.
Jeffrey. Yes, but my heart is not like a dark cellar, wherein one can see nothing. It's more like this room, wherein one can see everything.
Visitor. Well, we may liken it to this room, if you please ; and yet I say that there may be much in it of which you are ignorant.
Jeffrey. I cannot understand that. If you can prove that there is anything in this room that I cannot see in the broad daylight, then I will believe, and not before, that I am ignorant of many things that are in my heart
Visitor. Agreed, Jeffrey. Now, can you see that ten thousand times ten thousand particles of dust are flying about before your eyes, and that the whole room is filled with them ?
Jeffrey. No, I cannot; and for a pretty good reason, for I believe that it is not the case.
Visitor. Come here, then, and look attentively at this sunbeam, which darts into the room through the keyhole. You see that there are myriads of particles all in commotion ; put your hand before the keyhole, and keep out the sunbeam. There ! now you cannot see a speck of dust. Take your hand away again. See, they are as thick as before. The sunbeam has showed you that the room contains more than you were willing to believe. This is just the case with the heart, Jeffrey. The natural discernment is not sufficient to show us the evil it contains ; but when the Spirit of God instructs us, when a beam from above descends upon us, and renders visible the evil within us, we find that the heart is “deceitful above all things, and desperately