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these, in all probability, may be a blessing ?* As you yourself grow in knowledge, and find the ad. vantage of an acquaintance with divine things, are there no sick poor whom you can visit, relieve, and instruct? This you will find useful to your own soul, “ for it is better to go to the house of mourning than the house of feasting.” Consider, too, how many necessitous cases there are in your neighbourhood, how many wretched families, how many naked children about the streets; yes, reader, and among the rest ask, Is there no poor minister whom you can assist ?t Consider how many of them, with their wives and families, are living upon a miserable pittance. They have left the world to be useful in the church. They have relinquished all advantages from the exercise of secular callings, in order to be more devoted to the important service of doing good. The wants of children must be supplied. They know nothing of a father's aching heart, and a mother's anxious care. They look up with confidence to their parents to be supplied. They must have food. Clothes must be found to make them at least de cent. A habitation, however small, is required to screen them, with their parents, from the cold and wet.
* Within a few years this mode of doing good has been greatly suca cessful. The Reports of the Religious Tract Society are highly encouraging and interesting.
† Some ministers with small salaries find it difficult to live so as to be free from incurring debts; and rather than do this, they somea times are obligated to forego the comforts of life. One, whom I well know, after every attempt to make both ends meet, told his wife that they must still retrench, in order to pay every one their own. She replied, that she could not tell how it could possibly be done, as they always used the utmost frugality. He said, however, “ It must be don e:” accordingly they agreed to give up tea and butter, now and then using a little dripping instead of butter! Wealthy professors, instead of making tours for pleasure, perhaps would do better if they would now and then take a journey of benevolence, in order to find out poor and worthy men whose exertions are actually cramped by penury.
Now consider how many shillings you have spent at a play; how much you have laid out in adorning your person ; what sums have been devoted to purposes of the most useless nature. O, what a noble exchange, if now your feet are directed to these abodes of necessity, and the hand of liberality is extended to smooth the rugged road of adversity, and alleviate the wants. of the poor and indigent. Perhaps you have connexions in afluence : where you have opportuni. ty, stir them up also. Be piously bold and prudently active in using your interest with them; you may find greater success than you expect. The hearts of all are in God's hand, and his
peo. ple have been pleasingly disappointed sometimes in finding sanction from quarters they little thought of. But my readers may be placed in different situations, and possessed of various talents : let them remember, however, that they are all God's stewards, to be employed in different parts of his house. Some may have learning; then such are the more capable of instructing others : and it is a considerable advantage when genius and knowledge are sanctified for the purposes of advancing truth in the world. Some never know what it is to be visited with disease and sickness; then such should devote their health and strength, for these are talents, to God's service. Oihers, again, have a wonderful facility of communication ; then how easily may they learn to speak a word in season. In fine, whatever our talents are, we must use thcm. God never bestowed them that we should
hide them in a napkin. Much prudence and caution, indeed,* will be necessary here in the young christian ; but with a dependance on God for direction, a close application to the scriptures, judicious advice from experienced characters, a humble sense of our own unworthiness; there is nothing like an attempt at least to do good. But, my dear reader, take this advice : Do not think of doing every thing at once, nor expect to see your talents increased in an hour. Be not, however, disheartened; begin in an humble way: sow one grain to-day, two to-morrow, three the next day, and thus advance gradually. It is the way in which God himself works. Creation, providence, and grace, are all systems thus carried on. And, o, what a pleasure will it be, by and by, to look back and say, Five, ten, twenty years ago, I endeavoured to cultivate that field, to break up that -barren ground, to sow that seed; and now behold what a crop. One comes and says, “ The word you spake upon a certain occasion became the word of life to niy soul.” A second rises up,
“ That tract you put into the hand of that ignorant man has, under God, saved his soul.” “ That school you instituted (says a third) has been a nursery for God, and many are-praising God in heaven, who there first learnt to praise him on earth.” But, behold a crowd surrounds your door; and who are these? These are the children of those indigent parents, who, now grown up to maturity, are come to testify their gratitude to their kind benefactor ; and to say,
* See next chapter.
- Let a thousand blessings rest upon his head, for he visited us in the day of our calamity, and lent an ear to the tale of our distress. He pitied our sorrows, and raised us from misery and ruin. The God of peace be with him, and, when he comes to the grave, may it be as the ripe shock of corn in its season. Amen."
Finally, cultivate a spirit of joy and gratitude in the midst of all the comforts and blessings God has bestowed upon you.
Where is it that the christian is seen in his glory? Where is it that he shines and resembles most the inhabitants of the celestial world? It is in the valley of humility where joy inspires his heart, and grateful strains are poured forth from his lips. Sing the praises, therefore, of your God and Saviour. You are travelling to heaven ; you shall soon join the general assembly above. The mercies received, the blessings you now enjoy, the hope of still greater favours, are matter of the strongest gratitude. Go on, therefore, in his way, and, as you pass on, lift up your head with joy, and sing:
Cautions as to Pride. Volatility. Loquacity. Forward
ness. Forming connexions. Marriage. Unhappy partners, and conduct towards them. As in the preceding chapters we have given some general directions relative to doctrines, experience, and practice, let us now proceed to suggest some suitable cautions.
For as the world is full of snares, and the heart ever ready to turn aside from the right object, we stand in need of being warned as well as directed.
And first, my dear reader, beware of high and conceited thoughts of yourself; for, notwithstanding you have been humbled under a view of your own depravity, you will still find a sad propensity to this evil. Nothing is more common than for young christians to be vainly puffed up after they have been some short time in the good way; and the reasons, perhaps (as one observes,) may be these :-“ 1. Partiy because the suddenness of their change, coming out of darkness into a light which they never saw before, amazes and transports them, and makes them think that they are almost in heaven, and that there is not much more to be attained.—2. It is partly because they have not knowledge enough to know how many things there are that they are yet ignorant of.---And, 3. It is because the devil doth with great industry lay this net to entrap young converts.” This is the first thing, therefore, you must watch against. It will assault you in various ways, in every place, by every circumstance. Legal hope VOL. I.