« PreviousContinue »
friend, the character which you sustain ? or do you view it as one too highly elevated for your desires and aims? If you do, will you in the last hours of life maintain the same opinion ? When this momentary scene of care and vanity is closing upon you for ever; when it no longer matters what you suffered or what you enjoyed; when the overwhelming scenes of the eternal world are ready to burst upon your soul, will you then think that piety could be too elevated, or the Christian
upon earth too nearly like the Christian in heaven? If
you do seriously believe that, in your dying moments, you will think it possible to be too pious; if you do indeed believe that, when going to meet your God, you will think it possible to love, or serve, or honour him too much; then slight the advice this little book contains. If you can suppose that when you have plunged into the unseen world, and are fixed in happiness or woe for more myriads of millions of years than there are drops in the ocean ; that then you will think you could be too earnest, too prayerful, too diligent, in preparing for an everlasting state; if
you can indeed think so, then read no further. But if, instead of this, you feel convinced, that when you die and come to meet your God, you will think all faith weak, all love cold, all diligence carelessness, all labour idleness, and all piety scarcely worth the name, compared with that faith, and love, and zeal, and piety, which the eternal God, the eternal Saviour, an immortal soul, and an endless heaven demand; if you will think so;—and will you not as surely as you are born to die?-0 then aim at nobler piety than that which satisfies so many! Stay not in the vale beneath, but, as at death you will wish to have done, soar to the heights above. O learn to live as having soon to die, that you may die assured of living with God for ever!
The principal object of this little book, is to assist you in your Christian pilgrimage, though at times it may contain a few lines more suitable to those who are strangers to religion,
PREFATORY ADDRESS than to those who have embraced the gospel; for perhaps some that know not God, may glance over the following pages.
Let the writer be permitted to add, that in drawing up this small volume with the design of assisting youthful piety, he has endeavoured to draw instruction from the Sacred Volume, that only fountain of real wisdom.
That holy book declares, that neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase. To his all-important blessing the writer therefore now commends this little volume.
Derby, July 16th, 1823.
A BRIEF SCRIPTURAL DELINEATION OF THE ATTRIBUTES AND PERFECTIONS OF GOD, AND ON CHRISTIAN DEVOTEDNESS TO HIM.
§ 1. WERE you, my young friend, going to spend one
hour in England, and then never to see it more, but afterwards to pass threescore years in India, of which country would you desire the most extensive knowledge ? Would you not reason, The knowledge that will benefit me but for one hour in a country, which after that I shall never visit again, is unworthy of a thought, compared with that knowledge, which will be useful to me for sixty years ? Were you to spend that one hour in company with persons, whose favour or displeasure would render it either a happy or a wretched hour; and were you to pass the following sixty years with those, whose smile or frown would make them all years of happiness or years of pain, whose favour would you be most anxious to enjoy? Would you not argue, The smiles or the frowns of those who can cheer or embitter but one hour, and whom then I shall leave for ever, are of little moment; but their friendship, who must render me happy or wretched for sixty years, is ten thousand times more important ? Apply these thoughts to your state in this world, and the next. Here you have a little while to spend, but compared with the endless life which awaits you there, it is infinitely less than an hour, when compared with sixty years. Of which world is the knowledge most important to you? Of that where your life is the twinkling of an eye? or of that where eternal ages lie stretched before the view of the astonished soul? The friendship or displeasure of your fellowcreatures may cheer or embitter life's short hour: the friendship of your God will brighten and bless your whole eternity; or his displeasure make eternal years one scene of darkness, bitterness, and woe. How worthless, to a creature born for eternity, is all knowledge, compared with a holy acquaintanc
iii CHAP. 1. A brief scriptural delineation of the attributes and perfections of God, and on devotedness to him
7 2. On the nature and love of the Lord Jesus Christ, and on love to him
33 3. On the personality, deity, and influences of the Holy Spirit 69 4. The Christian life a life of faith
82 5. The Christian life a life of prayer
94 6. The Christian a pilgrim upon earth, and a member of the family of God
119 7. On Christian holiness
132 8. On the mortification of sin
145 9. On humility, resignation, patience, and contentment 176 10. Various Christian duties.
194 11. On the choice of companions, and on marriage
210 12. On family duties
225 13. On the Sabbath, and its improvement
241 14. On prizing and searching the Scriptures
254 15. On the Lord's supper
261 16. On displaying Christian love, on glorifying God by doing good, and on love to enemies .
272 17. On the spiritual conflicts and sorrows of the disciples of Christ
296 18. On backsliding .
323 19. Consolations and encouragements for the Christian in his spiritual pilgrimage