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saw it was his duty, he feared not to give reproof. Yet in his friendship he was eminently affectionate, tender, and kind. 3. Benevolence was extremely prominent in his character. He entered into various walks of usefulness with alacrity. Frequently was he known to apply to different parishes on behalf of the poor, and if he failed of success, he would relieve them himself. Such was his concern for the destitute, that, during a period when they suffered much, through the dearness of provisions, he and his family (on all occasions ready to second him in his acts of charity) cheerfully gave up one of their meals daily, to add to his ability of doing good to his neighbours. He sought not his own, but denied himself, that he might contribute to the comfort of others. 4. Humility was also distinctly marked in his character. He was “clothed with humility;” he had put it on as a garment. This temper was visible in all he did, and in all he said. It was at once seen in his countenance, in his language, and in his manners. It was not assumed to secure the applause of men; but his heart was humble; he had low thoughts of himself, and did not overrate his talents or his piety. During his last affliction, when a friend was speaking of his past usefulness in the church of Christ, it evidently gave him pain. He wished to hear no more on that subject; but that all the glory might be given to God, to whom alone it is due. 5. His integrity, as a tradesman, will be long remembered. Of industry, punctuality, and uprightness, he was a striking example. He was free from duplicity; and it was his constant aim, in all his dealings with others, to act openly, and without disguise. Everything that bore even the semblance of imposition was viewed by him with abhorrence. The Lord greatly prospered him in business. Worldly prosperity has not unfrequently been attended by a decay of piety. “If riches increase, set not thine heart upon them.” William Kidger felt the force of this admonition, and acted upon it. He sustained the smiles of the world with Christian simplicity. 6. His attachment to Methodism was firm and cordial. He possessed a comprehensive acquaintance with its doctrines, which he heartily believed, on account of their strict accordance with the word of truth; he had also an accurate knowledge of its discipline, which he received and exemplified, deeply convinced that nothing more closely resembled apostolical simplicity; and he admired its numerous institutions, so admirably fitted to assist and encourage the souls of men in their journey to the kingdom of heaven. Viewing Methodism as a work of God, he afforded it all the help in his power, and liberally supported it both at home and abroad. He possessed a Missionary spirit, and was one of the most zealous advocates for sending the Gospel to the Pagan world, where every form of vice has been consecrated, and held up for the imitation of the worshippers.
7. As'a man of prayer he was very remarkable. In public prayer he was fervent and animated. His gift in prayer was extraordinary and very powerful. Often have I seen considerable effects produced on the minds of his fellow-worshippers, when he has been addressing the throne of grace. His prayer was evidently the effusion of a heart which had been touched with “ a live coal from the heavenly altar.” Divine power accompanied his pleading.
THE GOOD OLD WAY:
(Concluded from page 593.) III. But when we ask for “ the old paths,” we must not forget to name “the good way,” because there is an “old way which wicked men have trodden.”
The way of the ungodly is very ancient. Sin was committed in Paradise ; Cain was a murderer ; and long before the flood, “ all filesh had corrupted its way upon the earth.” (Gen. vi. 12.) After the flood, the descendants of Noah departed from the living and true God, fell into gross idolatry, and gave themselves up to work wickedness. “ Hast thou marked the old way which wicked men have trodden?” Be careful to avoid it; and ask for the good old way of piety and holy living,
The good old paths are safe. There we are placed at a great distance from the destructive snares of a wicked world; we have power over the remaining corruptions of our own hearts; and the wicked one can do us no harm : for“ who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good ?” (1 Pet. iii. 13.) In the paths of piety and holiness we are guarded and protected by Omnipotence, against all the attacks of wicked men and evil spirits. The Lord God is our “sun and our shield.” He is our “ Rock,” our “ Fortress," and our “Delirerer;" and while we trust in Him, we are “as mount Zion, which cannot be removed.” Tempests may rage around us, with dreadful fury; but we have “ a tabernacle for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain.” (Isai. iv. 6.) We have an assurance of perfect safely, in all states and circumstances, while our steps are ordered by the Lord; for he delighteth in our way, and though we fall into deep affliction, we shall not be utterly cast down, because he upholdeth us with his hand.” (Ps. xxxvii. 23, 24.) When pious David was exposed to dangers, he had entire confidence in divine protection. His words on that occasion are both instructive and encouraging: “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.” (Ps. iv. 8.) And that way must be good where we dwell in
safety, both by day and by night, notwithstanding the difficulties which we have to encounter on our journey towards home. Substantial and elevated pleasures are enjoyed in the old paths. While we walk in them, we have peace with God; our minds are calm, and tranquil ; and pleasing prospects open to our view. The temper of a good man is a constant source of refined pleasure. He is meek and gentle, patient and resigned, grateful and thankful; and full of love both to God and men. His conduct towards men is a source of pleasure: he is just in all his dealings, faithful in all his promises, and merciful according to his power. But his conduct towards God affords him the highest pleasures. He loves God supremely, admires him, and adores him. He is guided and directed by wisdom, and “her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.” (Prov. iii. 17.) The reflections of a good man, in the old paths, are pleasant. He looks with pleasure on days which are past, because they have been devoted to the service of God; and he reflects on his present conduct with pleasure, because it is sincere and upright, though accompanied with imperfections. Brutish pleasures are found in the paths of disobedience; but the pleasures of holiness resemble those of angels in the celestial regions. The pleasures of sin are but for a moment; but those of holiness will be eternal. The pleasures of wealth and luxury, of honour and power, are vain and destructive ; but those which arise from union with God, and a title to heaven, are solid and salutary. But if the old paths of piety and holiness were one continued course of affliction, they might be called the good way, because they terminate in a blessed immortality. Present enjoyments are desirable; but if they are denied, we still advance in the path of duty; and every step we take, whether the way be rough or smooth, brings us nearer to our heavenly inheritance. And while we walk in the good old way, we do not live in uncertainty as to the final issue of things. Who would choose to walk in a state of uncertainty 2 That way cannot be good. If we doubt whether we are in the right way, our hearts sink, our strength fails, and we fall in the day of trial: but knowing, that the good old paths, in which we walk, are the paths of life and salvation, we surmount difficulties, brave dangers, and conquer all. It will be utterly impossible for us to perish, if we continue to walk in these ways. While we go on well, we may be quite sure that all will end well. A holy life must end in a happy death; and he who lives and dies in the Lord, shall be with the Lord for ever. Besides, while we walk under the hallowing influence of the Holy Spirit, we have His witness, that we are sons of God; and, as sons of God, we view the end of our journey with joyful hope. IV. That our journey may have this happy termination, we must walk in the old paths, all the days of our life. Vol. W. Third Series, October, 1826. 3 B
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There are many who know the way to heaven ; but few who walk therein. They talk about it, and profess a desire to go to that happy place; but are undecided, and wait for a more convenient season. This is sinful trifling. We should now resolve to enter on the narrow way. To-morrow may be too late. Another lour may put an end to our state of probation. Let us instantly come to some fixed determination. “ How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him.” (1 Kings xviii. 21.) The wavering mind must be decided before we can enter on the good old way.
If we have already entered upon the old paths, let us never turn aside, either to the right hand or the left; for every deviation exposes us to danger, and furnishes matter for bitter repentance. Josiah “ did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or the left." (2 Kings xxii. 2.) And why may not we follow his example ? If we use the means, we shall “ have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” (Heb. xii. 28.) · Walking is a progressive motion ; and the duties of religion carry us forward. Every work of piety, every act of self-denial, and every work of benevolence, are severally steps towards heaven. In the good way, we should never stand still; never sit down; never turn aside; but still advance with heaven in our view. But let us advance steadily. Some run themselves out of breath, and then sit down ; but a steady and regular pace will carry us farther, in any given time, than the irregular efforts of unsteady travellers.
But we should walk in the ways of the Lord with cheerfulness. Gloominess and melancholy in the services of God are, generally, the offspring of blind superstition, and wilful disobedience; but enlightened views, and a steady obedience, inspire the soul with cheerfulness. Though we have trials and temptations in the way, yet our cause is good, our support is sufficient, and our end will be peace. Why, then, are we cast down? Let us put on a cheerful countenance, and recomInend the way to others, by serving the Lord with gladness. Deep seriousness, connected with innocent cheerfulness, promotes the cause of religion ; but stiff formality, connected with gloomy airs, has sometimes injured the sacred cause.
We must walk in the good old paths all the days of our lives. Many have walked in them for a time, and then have turned aside into forbidden paths ; " but he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved.” (Mark xiii. 13.) He who turns aside loses his present reward ; and gives up the joys and glories of a better world. Of all men these are the most miserable. They have forsaken the Lord and his people, and are once more in the way to endless ruin. In this unhappy state, they are afflicted with painful reflections on the past, and fearful apprehensions of the future. Let us take warning, by their example; re
collect that we have taken up religion for eternity; and never indulge a thought of departing from the good ways of the Lord our God.
V. When we walk in the old paths, the good way, we “ find rest for our souls."
Bodily rest, at proper intervals, is very desirable; but it is much more desirable to find rest for our souls. The body rests in sleep, but awakes to new toils and labours. And this will continue to be the case with the labouring man until he sinks into the grave ; but " there the weary be at rest.” (Job iii. 17.) But the soul of a good man enjoys constant rest in God during the present life; and in a future life,“ there remaineth a rest to the people of God.” (Heb. iv. 9.)
Rest for the soul implies a calm and peaceful state of mind, in the enjoyment of God, and of pure and undefled religion. This invaluable blessing may be enjoyed amidst severe trials and persecutions ; for it does not depend on outward circumstances and events. It is the effect of pardon, communion with God, and a blessed hope of immortality. And while the man of God remains in this state," the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keeps his heart and mind through Christ Jesus.” (Phil. iv. 7.)
The man who has walked in the good old paths, finds rest for his soul in the hour of death. Then his journey ends; all his afflictions end ; and he finally leaves this world of sin and sorrow. “ Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.” (Ps. xxxvii. 37.) He dies in peace with God and men; his soul is in a peaceful state; and he rests from his labours. With this view of death, we offer up the prayer of Balaam, “Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his." (Num. xxiii. 10.)
But the man who has walked with God on earth, in the paths of righteousness and true holiness, shall find rest for his soul in heaven. “ He shall enter into peace ;” and that peace will never be interrupted. He will dwell with God and the Lamb, with angels and saints; he will be employed in praising God, for ever and ever; and his rest will be glorious, constant, and eternal. Thus the path of life ends well, and a holy man can say to his God and Father, “ Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy, at thy right band there are pleasures for evermore.” (Ps. xvi. 11.)
To conclude: Let us seriously consider these things, while we have time and opportunity; and let us return to the Lord, while he offers us grace and salvation. Let us not be slothful in this great business; but let us be “ followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises." (Heb. vi. 12.) Let us enter on that course of holy obedience which was pursued by Patriarchs and Prophets, by Apostles and Martyrs, and by all the primitive Christians : with whom may we live and reign for ever, through Jesus Christ our Lord! Amen.