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THE PROOF OF EFFECTUAL CALLING. Therefore make your calling sure, and by that your election ; for that being done, this follows of itself. We are not to pry immediately into the final event, but read it in the performance of present duty. Though the mariner sees not the pole-star, yet the needle of the compass, that points to it, tells him which way he sails. Thus the heart that is touched with the load-stone of divine love, trembling with godly fear, and yet still looking towards God by fixed believing, points at the love of Christ, and tells the soul that its course is heavenward, towards the haven of eternal rest. He that loves, may be sure he was loved first; and he who chooses God for his delight and portion, may conclude confidently that God hath chosen him to be one of those who shall enjoy him, and be happy in him for ever; for that our love and electiug of him is but the return and repercussion of the beams of his love shining upon us.
MAN'S TENDENCY TO ABUSE WHAT HE POSSESSES. We breathe up and down in an infected air, and are very receptive of the infection, by our own corruption within us. We readily turn the things we possess here to ! occasions and instruments of sin, and think there is no ! liberty nor delight in their use without abusing them. How few are they that can carry, as they say, a full cup even ! that can have digestion strong enough for the right use of great places and estates ! that can bear preferment without pride, and riches without covetousness, and ease ! without wantonness!
TRIALS NECESSARY TO TEST TRUE MEEKNESS. How shall a man know whether his meekness and calmness of spirit be real or not, while he meets with no provocation, nothing that contradicts or crosses him ? But when somewhat sets upon him that is within itself very unpleasant and grievous to him, and yet if in that case he retains his moderation of spirit, and flies not out into impatience, neither against God nor men, this gives experiment of the truth and soundness of that grace in
him ; whereas, standing water that is clear at the top while it is untouched, yet if it have mud at the bottom, stir it a little and it rises presently. THE MAIN DESIGN OVERLOOKED-SUBORDINATES CHIEFLY
REGARDED. This, I say, is the great work, wherein all those glorious attributes shine jointly, the wisdom and power, and goodness and justice, and mercy of God. As in great maps, or pictures, you will see the border decorated with meadows, and fountains, and flowers, &c., represented it it, but in the middle you have the main design ; thus is this foreordained redemption amongst the works of God. All his other works in the world, all the beauties of the creatures, and the succession of ages, and things that come to pass in them, are but as the border to this main piece. But as a foolish, unskilful beholder, not discerning the excellency of the principal place in such maps or pictures, gazes only on the fair border, and goes no farther; thus do the greatest part of us.
MEMOIR OF SARAH ANN ROBERTS.
WRITTEN BY HER FATHER. Twelve years ago Sarah Ann Roberts came with her parents to Manchester, and, residing near Grosvenor-street Tabernacle her brother George, one Sunday, was seen looking through the window of the Sunday school ; he was invited in by Mr. Townend: he went in, and, being received as a scholar, he invited his sister to accompany him, she did so, and she became a scholar too.
In a short time afterwards the late Mr. Ashton, one of the conductors, addressing the school, alluded to the safe ing of the Saviour, " Behold, I stand at the door and knock," and showing how loving and patient the Saviour was, she became so affected as to cause her to decide to give God her heart.
From the time she did so she became a member of the Wesleyan Association, as well as a scholar in the school. Long before it was kpown to the family she went to Mrs. Wilson's class on a Wednesday afternoon, none of the family knowing whither she was going from week to week, and her sister often wondered where she went so regularly 1 at that time.
While she was exceedingly diffident regarding her profession of religion, she was much in earnest and attentive to the school and the house of God, and always anxious to promote the interests of the school and society. Her diligence and attention to what was said to her were deserving of imitation.
On one occasion, Mr. Fothergill, himself anxious to see the scholars attentive to the Word, proposed to give to the scholar a neat Bible who would bring the best written report of a sermon preached by Mr. Patterson, on Sunday, March 26th, 1852. She was anxious to obtain the prize. When the reports were given in, it was decided that Sarah Ann Roberts' was the best. She had the Bible presented to her by Mr. Fothergill, and the gift was much prized by her during her life.
Her illness, which was long and tedious, was not an occasion for murmuring or impatience. Very few have borne their afflictions with greater resignation than she did. She was in temper amiable, and in suffering submissive. When visited by her teacher, Mr. Sanders, or by her conductors, Mr Miller, Mr. Gault, and Mr. Fothergill, she always ex
pressed herself as happy in God. On one occasion, when visited by Mr. Barlow, he asked her what he must pray for. Her answer was, that the Lord would make her entirely His.
As she suffered severely in her affliction, she frequently expressed a desire to depart and to be with Christ, which she said was far better. She was in the habit of taking in religious papers, which, when completed, she had bound. When she found there was but little hopes of her recovery she requested her mother to bring them all out, and, according to the best of her judgment, she gave them, with suitable advice, to her brothers and sister, called up stairs and around her for this purpose. What was said to them severally has not transpired. It is to be desired that her words spoken may be as a nail in a sure place. May it be for their good.
In the course of the day on which she took her flight to heaven she wished to sleep, when her mother remarked that she would soon sleep in Jesus; for this she expressed a lively hope. He father often prayed that her sufferings might not be protracted, if it was the will of God to take her, and that the passage into another world might be easy. And so it was. Not expecting her departure was so near, the family sat at tea, and her sister by her bedside. She desired her father and mother to come upstairs. They did so, and her father inquiring into her wants, she wished to be raised up a little. Her father raised her up, and she, placing her arm around his neck, the mother looking on, without a struggle or a groan she fell asleep in Jesus. Thus departed Sarah Ann Roberts, in the full assurance that in the morning of the resurrection she will again awake to everlasting
PULPIT INEFFICIENCY. For further illustration, we will state what we once heard from the pulpit. The preacher chose for his text a passage which involved the doctrine of the influences of the Holy Spirit in man's salvation. This was his subject. His! design, he intimated, was to prove it. Accordingly he resorts to the works and objects of nature, from whence he drew analogies, to show that such a thing is possible. Three-fourths of the discourse is thus employed, and then he cites a few passages from Scripture, where it is clearly stated, closing with a few sentences, whose meaning was that it would be well to think of this. Now we confess to our being more fully convinced of the truth of the doctrine at the beginning of the discourse than at its end. In the opening, we heard the clear announcement of the apostle, and hoped that, with some quotations, apt, and to the point, showing it to rest firmly upon God's word, he would impress upon us the inestimable value and importance of those influences, their necessity, the means of securing and! cherishing them, their blessed effects in enlightening, directing, comforting, and sanctifying us, the danger of losing them, and of giving away that Spirit by which we are sealed to the day of Redemption, and thus leare us coveting more and more of those gracious influences, and resolved to watch against everything that might quench them. Whereas, in his laboured attempts to prove what the Bible before him so distinctly asserted, and what ninetenths of his hearers admitted at the outset, he left us questioning only, whether a doctrine which required to be thus proved and supported by analogies of nature as something possible, were not, after all, exceedingly doubtful. Our minds were therefore not in as religious a frame, on leaving the sanctuary, as on entering it. Truth had not as much power over us after the discourse, as before it. Surels, this is being very ineffective. Surely, this mode of treating Divine truth, whatever other quality it may possess, cannot be said to be distinguished for efficiency.