Page images

have I a constitution fitted to endure the trials and the hard-
ships of such a long and dangerous journey?" Did Abra-
ham say,
"Ah! Lord, forgive thy servant in this mat-
ter, for if I go and leave my kindred and my father's
house, it will break the heart of my good old father
Terah? I pray thee have me excused. There is as much
need of my presence here as any where, and thou canst as
easily fulfil thy promise to me here as any where else?" No!
none of these objections did Abraham urge; under none of
these nor any other vain subterfuges did he seek a cloak to
cover his reluctance to obey the Divine command. Such was
his faith in the wisdom and goodness of God, that he was
ready for any sacrifice which the voice of his heavenly Father
required, and, in the spirit of a holy acquiescence, he yielded
a cheerful obedience to the divine command. "So Abraham
departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and he took Sarah
his wife, and Lot, his brother's son, and all their substance
that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in
Haran, and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan,
and into the land of Canaan they came.' Thus did the holy
patriarch testify his regard to Divine authority, and left to
future ages the history of a transaction, not more remarkable
for the blessings which were in the course of providence to
anse out of it, thau for the promptitude and fidelity wherewith
the sacrifices it demanded were met and accomplished.


God's promised blessing is our dependence. "Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it. Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain." If the Divine blessing be withheld, in vain are all our efforts, useless are all our societies,-all our contributions, all our Missionaries, all our sacrifices are in vain. Satan will still triumph over the nations, his dominions will still remain unassailed, and the darkness of spiritual and moral night still cast its lurid gloom over the largest portion of our globe. The best plans may be contrived, the mightiest resources may be opened up, the most powerful talents may be consesecrated to the cause; but still it is, "not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord," that the work is to be accomplished. To obtain the Divine blessing must be our first, and our last, and our supreme object. Neither money, nor men, nor wisdom, nor talents, nor experience, can or will do without this. But how shall we obtain the blessing of God? Let us act towards him and his cause in such a way as to shew that we feel the absolute necessity of his blessing, and are persuaded of the utter worthlessness of our exertions without it. Let our eye be single, and our faith simple,let the measure of our exertions be in accordance with the

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][subsumed][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

extent of our means, and our mode of accomplishing it such as he can approve, let our prayers be frequent, and fervent, and persevering, then, but not till then, may we expect the Divine blessing.

Oh! that we felt more love to perishing souls. One soul is of more value than a thousand worlds. To save such must then be a work unspeakably more important than any that can be engaged in by mortal men. Every other enterprize falls immeasurably short, in point of interest, compared with this. Thousands of immortal beings are daily hastening into eternity. Thousands are descending to people that place where "the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched;" while multitudes, who profess to submit to the authority of Christ, stand by unmoved, without making any effort to arrest their progress, or to place within their reach the means of deliverance. How can we be clear from the blood of souls, if in the face of heaven's high command, and in the view of a perishing world, we fold our hands in idleness, and leave them to their miserable fate? Oh! that this foul reproach were for ever wiped away from all the Churches, and that they, recognizing the duty of sending the Gospel to every shore; would awaken from the slumber of past centuries, and by one great and combined movement of faith, and prayer, and sacrifice, extend the kingdom of the Saviour to earth's remotest limits, and not slacken their hands nor cease their efforts until " the sun of righteousness shall arise with healing in his wings," and diffuse light, and life, and liberty, and joy, among all the inhabitants of the world. JAMES WATSON.


SACRED PHILOSOPHY OF THE SEASONS; illustrating the perfections of God in the phenomena of the year. By the Rev. Henry Duncan, D.D, Vol. II. Spring. W. Oliphant & Son, Edinburgh.

THE special recommendations of this beautiful volume are, that it is so arranged as to carry on the mind, from day to day, in a train of the most useful reflections,—that it discloses, in the most interesting and instructive manner, the wisdom, and power, and goodness of God, displayed in the works of creation,-that it subordinates science to the great purpose of religious instruction,-and that it contains, particularly in the papers designed for the Sabbath day, sound and edifying views of some of the most important doctrines of the Gospel. The God of nature is the God of grace. Whatever, therefore, acquaints us with his doings in nature, ought to induce increased confidence in the arrangements of his grace. And that is a kind of knowledge, greatly to be desired, which may lead us to the habit of looking up from nature to nature's God. While all may peruse this volume with profit and pleasure, it is particularly suitable for the young, who will find much in it to entertain, while it instructs them.

The Harmony of Christian Faith and Christian Character. By John Abercrombie, M.D. Sixth Edition. W. Whyte & Co., Edinburgh. 1837.

It is truly refreshing to find such men as the author of this little volume engaged in the work of Christian instruction. While he stands at the head of the Medical Profession in the Scotch Metropolis, he contrives to save a portion of his time for discharging the duties of an Elder of the Church. It is in this character he has issued the present publication; and a most seasonable one it is. Practical godliness is its subject and object, and this is a theme of which there is special need to be reminded, in these days of agitation and perplexity. The volume is principally devoted to an exposition of 2 Pet. i. 5-7. "And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith, virtue ; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly-kindness; and to brotherly-kindness, charity." Of this important passage there is given an exposition the most sound, philosophical, and instructive. The writer seeks not ornament, but his style is lucid and forcible. The entire production is characterized by manly sense, correct views, deep piety, and enlightened zeal. We rejoice to see it in the sixth edition.

The Culture and Discipline of the Mind. Addressed to the Young. By John Abercrombie, M. D. W. White & Co., Edinburgh. 1837.

WHILE it is pleasing to find the excellent author of this address so much engaged in seeking the spiritual interests of men, it is not less so to observe how highly his services are estimated. He has been elected to the honourable office of Rector, in the College of Aberdeen, and the work before us is the substance of an address to the Students of that University. It is marked by correct thinking and sound counsel. In it there is the dignity of the scholar joined with the condescension of the familiar friend. The young man will find it a safe and useful counsellor in the direction of his studies.

The New Irish Pulpit; or Gospel Preacher. John Robertson & Co., Dublin.

WE have been favoured with the first four Numbers of this New Periodical. It is published every fortnight, and each number contains two or three sermons from the prominent clergymen of the day. The specimens already given are rich in promise. Such a work is, in many ways, useful,-encouraging ministers to labour more for the pulpit, that their printed sermons may be creditable and useful,-perpetuating and extending the Sabbath labours of many eminent and useful preachers,and enabling ministers, throughout the land, to learn and profit by the ministrations of brethren in distant and different spheres of labour.

Todd's Lectures to Children, familiarly illustrating important truth: G. Gallie, Glasgow.

THERE could scarcely be imagined any thing more adapted for the instruction of children than these Lectures. They embrace the most important subjects, while they are level to any capacity. And the author has happily succeeded in so blending entertainment with instruction, that they cannot but arrest the most careless, as well as pour the most wholesome instruction into the captivated mind.j

[blocks in formation]

I WOULD now address a few observations to you, the members of this congregation. You have heard the charge given to your minister; you see the important office he has assumed, and the numerous and arduous duties which he is bound to discharge. Are there, then, so many duties incumbent on him, as your Pastor, and are there not, I ask you, many_correspondent duties incumbent on you, as his people?. I would entreat your patience a little longer, whilst I put you in mind of a few of the most important.

Allow me, first, to congratulate you upon that harmony which you have displayed in the choice of a pastor, and to recommend that peace, unanimity, and good-will, through life, towards your minister and one another, which has characterized your infancy, as a congregation. A united Church,where the feet do not usurp the office of the head, nor the hands the office of the feet; where good understanding and good-will prevail; where every member is found in its proper place, and every instrument at its appropriate work; where the pursuit of personal gratification is swallowed up in the promotion of public good; and where all endeavour to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace;-a united Church, such as this, is like an instrument in tune, and resembles an exquisite piece of machinery, the various parts of which are well adjusted to each other, every wheel performing its wonted revolution, and every part answering its end, under the impulse and guidance of the spring, the original cause of all its movements. Such a Church is the fittest emblem of heaven, where all the discordant qualities of human nature shall be extinct, and holy harmony and love for ever reign. A Church united in the faith and practice of the Gospel is a city set on a hill, which cannot be hid. Many a sinner will be awed at the spectacle, and while from Zion's gates the cry is heard,

"Come with us, and we will do thee good," the response will be echoed from the camp of the enemy, "< we will go with you, for we perceive that God is with you of a truth.' Yes, the harmony and united piety of a well regulated Christian society has induced many a bystander to inquire into the cause, and the happy inquiry has terminated, under the Divine blessing, in an actual conversion to God; and thus the man who at first only gazed on the outward beauties and proportions of the Christian temple, has been induced, after a time, to enter its hallowed door, and to approach its sacred altar, while there, he has offered to God the sacrifice of a broken and a contrite heart, which God will not despise.

Let me entreat you to know him who is this day placed over you in the Lord, and to esteem him very highly in love for his work's sake. He brings you a message which is cal culated to make you wiser and better, the native tendency of which is to purify, and exalt, and perfect your nature,-to make you saints on earth, that you may enjoy eternal glory in heaven. He has renounced an earthly portion among his brethren, and all the gainful walks of life, to become subservient to your best interests; and this, I trust, will inspire you with affection, and gratitude, and esteem.

Permit me now to call your attention to your duty. This day is an era of considerable consequence in the lives of some of you. You will long remember, and, probably, sometimes mention, the active part you have taken in accomplishing this good work; but it will be good to you, only as it is followed up. We have known men discover both zeal and understanding in the election of ministers, who cheerfully employed their time, their influence, their tongues, their pens, and their money, in order to obtain able and faithful pastors, and after they had carried their point, sat down satisfied with their success, without ever thinking of turning it to any good account,-like wanton sportsmen, whose delight consists in running down the game with much danger and fatigue, but who leave the repast it affords to be enjoyed by others. I trust this will not be the case with you. That it may not, and that you may employ your success to the best advantage, let me entreat your attention to the following particulars :

First. If your minister is bound to preach, you are bound to hear. It is quite evident you cannot profit by him, unless vou hear him; and yet by how slight excuses do men endeavour to justify themselves to their consciences for a neglect of public worship, and how fashionable it is now become with

« PreviousContinue »