Page images
PDF
EPUB

'creation, and the triumphal resurrection of his Lord and Saviour. It reminds him of the great kindness of the Almighty in making such a merciful provision for his creatures. He hears the heavenly voice saying, Soul, come up hither ; bid adieu to the anxious cares of the world for a while, and rise into ardent contemplation and blissful thought. It calls him to worship, to hold communion with his Lord, and to devote him. self with increased zeal to his service. It teaches him to anticipate an eternal sabbath of rest, where he hopes to enjoy the divine presence, and be employed in celebrating divine praises for ever. Whatever others think, and however others neglect this day, he finds it by experience so truly advantageous and interesting, that if even there were no command for its observance, he should still think it is his happiness to devote a seventh part of his time more especially to the service of God. It is not a weariness to him, as it often proves to those who have no delight in spiritual exercises. He finds it to be a day of pleasure, and of profit too. From the instructions he receives, and the happiness he experiences on this day, he is better prepared to go forth and main. tain the conflict with his enemies. He is enabled to carry a savor of divine things into his business through the week. It fortifies him against surrounding evils, and raises himn in some measure above the world, even while he is in it.

From public ordinances he derives much benefit. He visits the sanctuary not for the sake of curiosity, but for the purpose of instruction; not as one influenced by custom, but as one desirous of having his heart impressed, and his devotion

excited. It is to him the house of God, and the gate of heaven. He can truly join the Psalmist, and say, “ 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 be. hold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple. How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of Hosts! Blessed are they that dwell in thy house; they will be still praising thee. For 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." Ps. xxvii. 4. xxxiv. 4. 11. Here it is that he repairs with willing feet. Seated in the divine temple, his mind is filled with reverence ; he is humbled under a sense of his own imperfections. He now views the world through a proper medium: all the turbulent passions of the soul are hushed into silence; the guilt that he had contracted gradually diminishes as the cross is presented to his view, truths that he had almost for. gotten are recalled to his mind; the powers which lay almost dormant are awakened ; " serious meditations suggested, good dispositions raised, and the heart adjusted to a composed and tranquil frame.” When we thus consider what invalua. ble blessings the christian derives from hence, it is no wonder that we hear of expressions of strong attachment to the house of God, and such holy lamentations of grief when deprived of attendance on public ordinances. “ As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before. God? My tears have been my Nature of religious meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God? When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me; for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holy day. O God, thou art my God, early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee, in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is, to see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary." Ps. xlii. 1, 2. lxiii. 1, 2.

In singing the praises of the Almighty, the christian is often supported and refreshed. The remembrance of past mercies, present enjoyments, and the hope of future good, furnishes abundant matter for his gratitude. The sacred song of praise is therefore congenial to his feel. ings. Pleasure arises in his soul as he celebrates the goodness of his Saviour. And if he have not the vocal powers as many have, yet his heart is attuned, and he can cheerfully join in the sentiments inspired by the grateful recollection of divine mercy. To the lively christian there is no part of divine worship more agreeable or profitable than this, in which praises are sent up to heaven from the congregations of the saints. Here he experiences much happiness. For a while he forgets his cares, his heart is touched with a sense of love divine, he imagines himself in a little heaven, and would fain sing himself away to everlasting bliss. But it is not in the public assembly only that the christian finds hap.. piness in this delightful work. The place of his abode resounds also with cheerful strains, and his

family becomes a society of harmony and peace. The hours of retirement likewise are employed in this heavenly work. Even here the christian passes away the moments pleasantly by singing the praises of his God. The mind, abstracted from the world, and mounting up to heaven, catches the celestial fire, rejoices in the divine favour; and thus retirement is sanctified by communion with him.

Phe calm retreat, the silent shade,

With prayer and praise agree, .
And seem by thy sweet bounty made

For those who follow thee.

There, if thy Spirit tuuch the soul,

And grace her mean abode,
O with what peace, and joy, and love,

She communes with her God!

There, like the nightingale, she pours

Her solitary lays,
Nor asks a witness of her song,

Nor thirsts for human praise.

Thus the christian finds happiness in this heavenly exercise, whether in the public assembly, the family, or in retirement. The saints in all ages, more or less, have found it useful and animating; and the scriptures abound with testimonies to their warm feelings and grateful strains. “ The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation. Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage. I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever: while I live will I praise thee, O Lord; I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being." Is. xii. 2. Ps. cxix. 54. Ixxxix. l. cxlvi. 2.

The ordinance of the Lord's Supper is found to be exceedingly pleasant and profitable to the christian. Here he commemorates the dying love of his adorable Saviour. He considers himself as brought into his banquetting house, whose banner over him is love. He sits down with pleasure to the feast. He louks to Calvary by faith, and on the cross beholds this delightful motto, “ The blood of Jesus cleanseth us from all sın.” He finds it good to be here. It is the place of refreshment by the way. All taken up with the Saviour, he thus meditates: “ Blessed Lord! and was it for me that thy blood was shed ? for me! so unworthy, so vile, so sinful! Was it for me thou wert crowned with thorns, nailed to the tree, and pierced to the heart? Was it for me that thou didst bear such indignity, suffer such pain, and at last die such an ignominious death? Was it for my sins that thou wert deşerted of the Father, insulted by men, tormented by Sa. tan, and left by all ? Was it for me that thy holy soul was so exceeding sorrowful, thy face marred, and thy character vilified ? Ah! Lord, was it for me that thy, sufferings were so bitter, and thine agony so great as to sweat, as it were, great drops of blood? Then let me be thine. Thou hast a just claim to my body, my soul, my powers, my time, my all. Whatever I forget, let me never forget thee. To thee, O Saviour, I desire to dedicate myself. On thy merits I depend. Thy presence I implore. O that I may be thiné! May I never glory but in thy cross! There may mine eyè be fixed; there may my hopes centre! There may I live, there may I die, and there may I rest for ever!”

« EelmineJätka »