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vent in spirit, serving the Lord.” Diligence in our worldly affairs, is no hindrance to activity in our spiritual concerns. Some of the most devotedly pious characters have been the most industrious merchants and tradesmen. The man of God finds time for all things. When the heart is engaged, the head, the hands, the feet, will all cheerfully and ardently contribute their full quota of service. “The hand of the diligent maketh rich, (Prov. x. iv.) and shall bear rule.” (xii. 24.) The substance of a diligent man is precious. “The soul of the diligent shall be made fat.” (Prov. xiii. 4.) “ The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness." (xxi. 5.) “Diligence,” says Dr. Blair, “is an important duty in all, especially the young. Knowledge can never be acquired without it, and no fortune or elevation of rank exempts us from it; it is the demand of nature, of reason, of God.” The Lacedemonians hated indolence so much, that, although they were a humane and kind people to all in real distress, they never gave alms to common beggars.
Prudence and economy are additional steps to prosperity. Prudence dictates the necessity of guarding against evils, and preserving that moderate course, which is the best guide to safety. It informs the understanding, and regulates the will, and warns us against prejudice and precipitation. “Without prudence," says Voiture, "love is indiscreet; fortitude weak; zeal blind, and knowledge almost useless.” “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself.” If a speculation, apparently advantageous, be presented. to you, prudence will suggest the importance of caution, induce you to ponder the path of your feet, and to look well to your goings. You will not rashly incur unnecessary expenses, but see the propriety of economy in all your expenditure. You will live within
your income, and purchase nothing for which you cannot pay! The reverse of this conduct is ruinous, and consequently, an inseparable bar to prosperity. Economy should commence at an early period of life; it is intimately connected with prudence, and must be observed in every transaction and pursuit, even in those which appear, at first sight, trifling and unimportant. The
small leak will sink a great ship,” is applicable to the circumstances of many, who, regardless of small expenses, indulged in the first instance, become at length embarrassed, insolvent, and sink into a state of bankruptcy. There are many
well known adage,
who have ability to get riches, discretion to keep them, and life and health to possess them, and yet have not a heart properly to use and enjoy them. They have become masters of the wealth which others had, but they are slaves to their own. Prudence and true economy will preserve you from parsimony and prodigality, and lead you on to permanent prosperity, which is not to be tested by the abundance which may be possessed, but by the way in which it has been obtained, and the use to which it is applied. A little that a righteous man hath, is better than the riches of many wicked.
I might extend this letter to a prodigious length, but I shall only add one remark more. The way to prosper, is to be liberal. Consecrate your gains to the Lord. To do good and to communicate, forget not. Listen to the cry of distress, and fly to relieve it. Feed the hungry, clothe the naked. Freely you have received, freely give. The most prosperous men have been the most liberal men, and in them the promise has been verified, “Give and it shall be given to you, good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal, it shall be measured to you again.” (Luke vi. 38.) “ Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase; so shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine." (Prov. iii. 9, 10.) Again, “ There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth, and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, and it tendeth to poverty.” (Prov. xi. 24.) Encourage then a liberal spirit; be ready to communicate. “God loveth a cheerful giver." The cause of God requires to be supported. Sunday schools and benevolent societies claim your pecuniary aid. When solicited, do not shelter yourself under the vain refuge of the covetous, and say, “ I cannot afford it;” but give, as God hath given to you, liberally, freely, cheerfully. No man is more contemptible in the sight of God, than he who is constantly receiving but never gives; who spends all upon his own gratification, but offers nothing in return to God and his cause,
“ That man may last, but never lives,
Persevere, my dear James, in following the Lord. “As long as Uzziah sought the Lord, God made him to prosper.” Live to God, seek his glory; act prudently and consistently; let integrity preserve thee, and you will eventually know, that this is
THE WAY TO PROSPER.
Your affectionate Father,
SYMPTOMS AND PROGRESS OF CONVERSION. The very first question of the penitent thief to his fellow-sufferer, proves that the work of the Spirit was wrought in his heart. “Dost thou not fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation ? and we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds."
By this question, “Dost thou not fear God?" is plainly implied, that for his part, he did fear God. Well then," the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom." But how came that fear there? Why, says God, “ I will put my fear in their hearts ;" there is no fear of God in any heart till God puts it there.
And what did this fear teach him? Why, to own and confess his sins ; it struck him with conviction—" we indeed justly.” There is no palliating of his crimes, but he owned his sentence was just, and the due reward of his deeds. This was repentance unto life. Though the Socinians say he was not so bad, having only stolen a little, a long time ago ; yet he does not say so—No!“We indeed justly."
And by his asking his companion, “ Dost thou not fear God ?" he
proves that his convictions were of the right sort; for whoever has the fear of God in his heart is far from a selfish, contracted spirit, but is always desirous that other people should have it too. This made the apostle Paul wish himself accursed for his brethren's sake; and this made this thief ask the other, “Dost not thou fear God ?"
But does he rest here! No; that Spirit who had led him to see his sins, soon let him see his Saviour too; for he said unto Jesus, though he had just before called him a man, “LORD! remember me, when thou comest into thy kingdom !” Amazing! Was ever faith like this! To cry, “Lord !” to a poor despised, agonizing, dying man, whom he had heard all the nominally-religious people in Jerusalem insult and reproach, and whom he himself had a little before upbraided with the same opprobrious language! And now, to say unto Jesus, “Lord !" Be astonished, 0 heavens! and wonder, O earth! Was there any thing in that mangled figure, whose face was more marred than any man's—was there any thing that could discover to this poor dying thief, that there hung the Lord, PROPRIETOR OF HEAVEN AND EARTH?
“ Remember me, when thou comest into thy kingdom !”—not “God's kingdom ;" but “The kingdom !" which our Lord had declared he was king of, before Pontius Pilate, which Paul says, was “ witnessing a good confession.” This proves Christ to be the mighty God; and this is the faith of all God's elect. The Spirit always shews him to the converted soul as the God of the whole earth, for so, says the prophet, shall he be called.
And what answer does our Lord make,—“Verily," (he puts his amen to it, the very oath that binds the Eternal God,)“ Verily, I say unto thee, this day shalt thou be with me in paradise !”
CONFUSED IDEAS OF TRUTH.
Your moral church and chapel-going formalists will tell you, that they believe the whole Bible from Genesis to Revelation, but will give you just such a definition of any text as that blind man I once heard of, did of colours, with whom some virtuosos took a great deal of pains to teach the distinction of colours; and when they thought he had made some proficiency, they asked him what some particular colour was like? “It's like—it's like," says he, “the sound of a trumpet !” And just as preposterous is the answer of every spiritually-blind person in the world, with regard to sacred truth.
IN 1735, Count Zinzendorf, travelling through Germany to Switzerland, visited Count Von Gersdorf, and according to his custom conversed with him till towards midnight. When about to retire to rest, he felt impelled to continue his journey, and being
assured that it was his Saviour's will, he ordered a carriage, took leave of his friend, and set off without suffering any thing to detain him. Scarcely had he left the place when the ceiling of the room in which he was to have slept, suddenly gave way, and fell down upon the place where the bed stood, so that it would have crushed him if he had been there. This made a deep impression on Count Gersdorf, who frequently related the circumstance. I have also inspected the room with feelings of gratitude towards our Lord and Saviour.
WEIGHING IN THE BALANCE, (From Jamieson's Parton's Illustrations of Scripture.*) DAN. v. 27.-" Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting." The interest which the subjects of the Mogul felt, or rather pretended to feel, in his personal prosperity, was long manifested by a very curious ceremony. On his birth-day, in obedience to an ancient custom, he is weighed in the balance in the presence of his principal nobility. The ceremony is performed in a spacious apartment of his palace, into which none are admitted but by special permission. The scales in which the emperor was weighed, when Sir Thomas Roe resided at his court, were plated with gold, and the beam on which they hung, by great chains, was made of the same precious metal. The emperor, sitting in one of these scales, was weighed first against silver coin, which was immediately afterwards distributed among the poor; then he was weighed against gold; after that, against jewels. By his weight, of which the physicians kept an exact yearly account, they presume to give an opinion relative to the present healthful state of his body; of which, whatever be their real sentiments, they always speak in flattering terms.
* We hail with great pleasure the appearance of the second volume of this admirable work. We had been accustomed to consider the original publication as one of the most complete and valuable of its kind, but Mr. Jamieson has shewn us that it admitted of considerable improvement. The additional illustrations which he has collected, apparently by great research and study, form a very considerable and highly acceptable portion of the volume now before us, as well as of its predecessor.