Imágenes de páginas

the predictions of the prophets, the ministration of John, and the most glorious Dispensation of the Gospel. Beware of such publications as have a tendency to create a disrelish for these Sacred Writings. Consider what the state of our religious knowledge would have been without them; and look at those parts of the world which have not had the benefit of the Scriptures; or in which the reading of them has been greatly restrained. When this comparison is fairly made, I believe we shall find abundant cause to be thankful to the God and Father of all our mercies, for the benefit we enjoy, in having free access to these testimonials of his ways and will respecting the children of men. Let them be fairly compared with the various systems of religion in the world; and then, although there should be some difficulties, which may not at once be fully comprehended, (and in what science are there not such difficulties?) then will the transcendent excellency of Christianity be felt and acknowledged; and gratitude will fill the heart, for the unmerited love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Having fairly appreciated the general principles of Christianity, those which are peculiar to our religious Society, and of which you make profession will, I believe, rise in your view with esteem and attachment. Their consistency with the Christian Religion has been already shown; and, presuming you to be sensible of this consistency, I affectionately entreat you to be faithful in your adherence to them. Attend to that Divine Light, that saving Grace, that good Spirit, which is placed in your hearts. This, if attended to, will preserve from the temptations incident to early life; and be your guide and support through the various trials and probations, which, now or hereafter, may be your allotment. O! my dear friends, receive this heavenly Visitant in the way of his coming. Give not up your minds to the pleasures and enjoyments of this world, which will draw away your obedient attention from things

which make for true peace, and things by which you may edify one another. Be willing to take up the daily cross; and to bear the yoke of Him, who said : "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls; for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." *

Let those who have been habituated to sinful or dissipating pleasures, and have afterwards been brought to taste of the good Word of Life, and the powers of the world to come; let these say, whether more of the real comforts and enjoyments of life, are not to be experienced in the humility and self-denial of a Christian, than in all the gratifications which sin and folly afford. When we take into consideration the Divine peace, which, we are told, " passeth all understanding," + and a degree of which is at times the experience of the faithful followers of a crucified Lord; when we also consider the comfortable prospects of another and eternal state of existence; there will be found sufficient inducements, in every reasonable point of view, to prefer a life of religion and virtue, above that which is devoted to the indulgence and the pursuits of folly, dissipation, and sin.

The same principle of Divine Light, which led our predecessors out of the vain and sinful pleasures of the world, also let them see the corruptions which had taken place in religious worship and ministry; the inconsistency of war with the Gospel Dispensation; and the impropriety of divers other matters, in the external deportment of professing Christians. For their testimony on these accounts, and the conduct consequent upon them, they suffered deeply, in an age when religious liberty was claimed by all, but was given by few or none who came into the possession of power. Read the relations of the patient sufferings for the cause of

* Matt. xi. 29, 30.

+ Phil. iv. 7.

Truth, and the testimony of Jesus, of those who have gone
before you;
* and faithfully bear your testimony, even in
those things that you may be ready to call little. Let not
the singularity which a conduct consistent with your prin-
ciples may produce, discourage you from a faithful adherence
to them; but submit to bear that cross, which will crucify
you to the world, and the world to you, and redeem you
from the various corruptions with which it abounds.

The principles and practices of our Society are now, in
general, so respectfully treated, that the temptation to desert
them is much lessened. Prize your privileges; consider how
differently our forefathers were circumstanced; and let this
consideration excite in your minds increasing faithfulness
and dedication to all parts of your religious duty. Follow
the example of our blessed Redeemer; remember the re-
proaches which He endured; and be willing
up the
cross and despise the shame; then you may become par-
takers of that crown of righteousness, which is the reward of
all who have fought the good fight, and kept the faith, and
who love His appearance.

[ocr errors]

Before I conclude this address, I wish a little further to open the subject of Christian Redemption, so far at least as to turn your attention to that work, which the depraved state of human nature renders universally necessary, and in which our Lord thus instructed a ruler among the Jews: "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."+ Whatever our religious profession, whatever our outward appearance and demeanour may be ; all will fail to procure us Divine favour and acceptance, if the heart is not renewed after the image of Him that created us. "Marvel

* The Author wishes to turn the attention of the youth to the Sufferings of the primitive Christians, and of the early reformers from popery, as well as to those of the members of our own Society.

+ John iii. 3.

[ocr errors]

* John iii. 7.


not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again.' was the language in which our Saviour repeatedly inculcated this doctrine to Nicodemus ; and O! my dear young friends! neither marvel at it, nor withdraw from it. Examine the state of your own hearts, and the occasion for it will soon be seen and felt. Dwell, therefore, I entreat you, under those Divine convictions and Influences, by which "the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost"+ are experienced. The work is generally slow and gradual; therefore be not discouraged if you cannot always perceive its progress; but, as you abide patiently under a right exercise of mind, you will find that the work will in time proceed, until the new creation in Christ Jesus unto good works is known. But when this is in measure attained, still watchfulness and prayer should be the companions of every mind. The command to watchfulness is of universal extent "What I say unto you, I say unto all, watch.” I Again, "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation." § When this disposition of mind is rightly abode in, it preserves from formality in religion; keeps the soul alive to God; and makes living members and bright examples in his Church, and among his people. In this state of religious exercise the experience of the primitive believers is attained 66 By one Spirit are we all baptized into one body; and made to drink into one spirit." || Here also right qualifications are received for religious service, and a capacity to fill up the measure of suffering or labour, which may be allotted in the Church of Christ: a Church, the members of which are thus described by an inspired apostle : ❝ Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." I

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

I 1 Peter ii. 5.

§ Matt. xxvi. 41.

As one of the objects of this publication, is to convey information to persons who are not of our religious persuasion, I request that they would follow the example of the noble Bereans, and "search the Scriptures whether those things are so." * It is not probable that we shall all be brought to think alike on these subjects; but if we can see, that so much may be said by those from whom we differ, as to produce an increase of Christian charity, something, and something important is gained. I am not a favourer of that false charity, which would destroy all religious zeal, and make all professions of religion immaterial. "Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind ;" + and, having endeavoured to obtain that persuasion from due consideration, let him support it with zeal, tempered with "the meekness of wisdom." Thus, notwithstanding the variety of opinions into which the Christian world is divided, the light of the Gospel will increase in the earth; and we may together promote the coming of that day, in which the Divine promise and prediction will be fulfilled: "From the rising of the sun, even to the going down of the same, my Name shall be great among the gentiles; and in every place, incense shall be offered unto my Name, and a pure offering." Then will "the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever." §


*Acts xvii. 11.

+ Rom. xiv, 5.

W. Alexander & Son, Printers, Castlegate, York.

Mal. i. 11. § Rev. xi. 15.


« AnteriorContinuar »