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How then are we to OVERCOME these and all other hindrances to embracing Christ, and securing our salvation? Say to them unhesitatingly, " Hinder me not."
God commands your immediate repentance and submission to Christ. He says to you as to Lot, "Escape for thy life." "Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin." "God now commandeth all men everywhere to repent." "Submit yourselves therefore to God." In this urgent and forcible manner the Lord of heaven and earth commands you to turn to him. He who has made you, and given his Son to die for you, who claims your obedience by the most tender and overpowering obligations, bids you forsake your sins and embrace the Saviour.
Think of the numerous mercies and favors which God has bestowed upon you. How constantly has he preserved your lives from destruction. With what powers of mind has he endowed you, with which to love and serve him. What rich means of grace has he conferred upon you. How has he opened the way for you to come to him for salvation through the blood of his Son. And how has he followed you with the pleadings of his Spirit and of his word, saying to every sinner, as he said by the prophet to Israel, "Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby you have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye." Ezek. xviii.: 30-32. Resolve in the strength of the Lord,
"Through duty and through trials too,
Hinder me not, for I am bound
Consider the alarming providences of God. A once blooming young woman, of high hopes, who had often joined in worldly scenes of dissipation, but who at last felt the chilling hand of death upon her, said, "Oh, what shall I do? I am not prepared to die. I have been such a sinner there is no mercy for me. Could I live to get well, I would make it my first business to obtain religion, to secure an interest in Christ; but I cannot attend to it now." These were her last words. In a few minutes she expired. Hasten your return to God, if you would not be arrested in a similar manner, and die without hope.
You have a great work to do. In matters of earthly business, men exert themselves according to the greatness of the work they have in hand. Thus, the long distance of Abraham's servant from home made him the more anxious to return imme
diately. You have a great work in hand; you are far from God, and far from that home which is eternal in the heavens. Turn, then, lest it be for ever too late. Seek the Lord Jesus Christ, believe in him, and begin a new life of loving obedience. If you grieve the Holy Spirit, and he leave you to your native blindness and obstinacy, you will never see the face of God as the God of grace. Fear will soon come upon you as desolation, and destruction as a whirlwind.
Let the difficulties of the way excite you to break through all hindrances at once. Dangers lurk in your path. The snares of the adversary are spread beneath your feet; the world without, and evil propensities within, like so many enemies, lie in wait to destroy your soul. These difficulties are already formidable, and by delay will soon become insurmountable. Hasten to the Lamb of God, without delay, or you will never enter the mansions of the blessed.
You are intrusted with immortal interests, with the care of the undying spirit. If saved, who can number its joys while the vast periods of eternity are passing on? If lost, who can count the billows of wrath which shall roll over it in that lake which burns with unquenchable fire? Will you not instantly throw yourself on the mercy of God in Jesus Christ, receiving and believing the promise of God in him? You defer at your peril. You put to hazard your soul and your eternal interests, of more value than worlds and the universe. May the Holy Spirit lead you to come to the Lord Jesus Christ, whose blood cleanseth from all sin.
DOES GOD DWELL IN YOUR HOUSE?
DO YOU READ HIS HOLY WORD MORNING AND EVENING, AND PRAY WITH YOUR FAMILY? God has made you the head of your house for the purpose of training up your family in his ways and for his service. Of Abraham he said, "I know him that he will command his children and his household after him, that they shall keep the way of the Lord." Gen. xviii. 19. Joshua said, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Josh. xxiv. 15. God constituted the family relation, "that he might have a godly seed." Mal. ii. 15. The everlasting happiness of your family depends on their being servants of God. You must be destitute of the best of feelings, if you do not desire the welfare for time. and eternity of your wife, children, and servants. God says, "These words which I command thee this day, shall be in thy heart; and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." Deut. vi. 4-9; and by Jeremiah, "Pour out thy fury upon the families that call not on thy name.” Jer. x. 25. Philip Henry used to say, "If the worship of God be not in the house, write, 'Lord have mercy on us,' upon the door, for there is a plague, a curse in it." His son Matthew said, “A family without prayer is a house without a roof, open to every storm, and exposed to the wrath and curse of God."
DO YOUR CHILDREN AND SERVANTS REGULARLY ATTEND UPON FAMILY WORSHIP? It is of the greatest importance to form a regular habit for them. To do so, you must be very particular in requiring their attendance. Neglecting this duty to your servants, by their influence and example they may undermine the principles you would cultivate in your children, and defeat all your exertions. Few persons properly estimate the influence of servants upon the children of a family: it will be felt by them until they die.
DO YOU MAKE CONSCIENCE OF SECRET PRAYER? It is a good plan, not only to pray for yourself, but for each member of your family by name, for whatever you think they need. Pray for the church you attend, its minister and members, and always that the Spirit of God may accompany the word preached with power to the hearts of sinners. Your love for, and practice of secret prayer, is one of the best tests of the honesty and sincerity of your religion. God does not forget secret prayer. Matt. vi. 6. You cannot wish ill to any man, if you sincerely pray, "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors." Ministers of the gospel need your prayers. They want praying people. By prayer we bring God to our help. No money, however liberally given, can buy the gift of the Holy Ghost; but prayer enters heaven and draws
down the gracious influences of that blessed Spirit. A poor praying member of a church is a greater blessing to it than the influence of many rich ones. Urge your children and servants to pray in secret for the influence of the Holy Spirit to renew and sanctify their hearts. Endeavor to teach them the true nature of prayer, that it is not any form of words, but the offering up of the desires of the heart to God, in the name of Jesus Christ, for things which are agreeable to his will. Give each of them a Bible for their own use, and urge them to read a portion of it every day. Teach them about God-his true character, and their duties to him. Do not let any child or servant go out of your family without a Bible.
HOW DO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY SPEND THE LORD'S DAY? It is the Lord's time. It is the hem of the week. Don't waste it. It is more precious than other days. Do you rise as early on it as on other days? Do you use diligence in improving its sacred hours? Let no unnecessary work be done. Leave none of your Saturday's work that may delay you in entering upon the sacred duties of this holy day. You cannot rob God of his day without loss.
Get all your family ready, and take them to the house of God in good season. Require all to go that are able. Don't let trivial excuses keep any away, and while there keep them under your own charge. Some secure themselves a seat in the house of God, but care not where their children or servants are. A parent or master's duty is as binding in the church as at home.
TEACH YOUR CHildren to reveRENCE AND LOVE GOD'S HOUSE? It is the place where he has promised to meet and bless his people. We should love to be where God has said he will be, and should be anxious to appear before him. "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." Matt. xviii. 20. The Psalmist said, "Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honor dwelleth." "One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple." "My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord." "Blessed are they that dwell in thy house." "A day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a door-keeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness." Psa. xxvi. 8; xxvii. 4; xxxiv. 2, 4, 10.
IS THE SERVICE OF CHRIST YOUR DELIGHT? Do you desire for yourself and children an interest in him, more than all earthly good? You labor to provide food and clothing for yourself and them do you use as much diligence in seeking the Saviour and striving to lead them to him? All labor for your bodies will soon be over : what have you done, and what are you doing for your souls? O, what thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.
Should you neglect to provide food for your family until they died from starvation, you would rightly be judged guilty of their death. How much more guilty, and how much more terrible will be the judgment due to you, who, as a parent or master, have made no provision for the eternal welfare of the souls of your children and servants! In that great and dreadful day, when they shall stand before God, and charge their ruin upon you, what answer will you be able to give? Will you be able to call God to witness how you longed for their salvation; how diligently, and carefully, and regularly you trained them in the knowledge of the way to heaven? Will you be able to point to the days and nights when you plead with him for a blessing upon them? Will they bear witness for you, remembering the family altar, the prayers, and the example which you set before them? Will they say, "We were taught the knowledge of God, to reverence and keep holy the Sabbath-day; were prayed with, and prayed for, and entreated to seek and serve the Lord, and prepare for heaven ?" Or will they, in that day, stand before God your judge, to upbraid you for your unfaithfulness and neg
lect of their souls?
If their souls are cast into hell, under the wrath and curse of God, how aggravated will be your anguish, to hear one and another charging you, their parents and masters, before an assembled universe, as being instrumental in their damnation ! “Oh, if it had not been for you, this would not have been our place. You never prayed with us, nor for us. You never taught us to read God's word, or to keep his holy Sabbath. You never led us to the house of God, nor taught us that we must worship him. You did not pray with us nor for us, either in your family or in your closet. You never told us that we should prefer eternal things to the perishing things of time." Some may then say, We saw you read the Bible at times, and go to the house of God, but you never urged it upon us. One single word from you as parents and masters, might have kept us out of the evil company into which we were led, and one word from you might have directed us to the Bible, and the Sabbath, and the house of God; but you never spoke to us one word about God and our souls. Now all these opportunities are over; now it is for ever too late. We are ruined, without hope. We chose our own wicked ways and our wicked companions, and you never restrained us. Now, warnings can do us no good. We are lost; LOST FOR EVER, without remedy. But our blood is upon you.— A visit to your Family.