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in this you must exercise patience. Do pilgrim, sit down and count the cost. not measure yourself by a false standard. Your journey is up-hill every step of There are no doubt giants in the Chris. the way. You have foes within, ready tian world, but would you be a giant to join with foes without, to hinder, at once? Do not be satisfied to be a perplex, alarm, and distress you. Wisdwarf; but remember there must be dom in the fight, is only to be gained time to grow.'
by fighting. If the young convert could Question to Mr. C. respecting dress. learn from the old Christian, what ex“Answer : ‘Religion takes root in the perience alone can teach, he might have heart, and when it has once got deeply a far easier journey; but each one must rooted, it will be sure to regulate every learn it for himself, and often by very thing without. It will so occupy the painful discipline. Nor must we think mind, that every thing else will begin to our case bard, if we are made to pass lose its importance. Religion puts every through much tribulation; since it is thing in its proper place; and makes the way of all believers--nay of Christ present things lighter than vanity himself. Even business, or literature, or science, “ • No doubt God could have led bis if any one of these takes full possession people by an easier method. But since of the mind, it makes dress a very in. he has chosen this, it must be the best. significant thing; and often neglected He could have brought the Israelites even to slovenliness. How much more into the land of promise by a shorter indifferent will religion make us about and a smoother way: but what he did it. Nevertheless, it is good to avoid was intended to prove them ; to shew singularity of habit. No real Christian them what was in their hearts--and to can give into the butterfly fooleries and be a lesson to us. extravagances of dress,-any more than ««• Take care that you never harbour they can run into the dissipation of hard thoughts of God. It is one of worldly company. Religion does not Satan's chief devices, to make you bid you turn hermit, but rather to orna- think dishonourably of God. Nothing ment your station.
is more displeasing to God, nor more in. "Be careful, in your commerce with jurious to the life of religion. See the the world, to act up to the character slothful servant in the Gospel. you profess. Do not put on a Phari- “• Throughout tbe Scriptures you see saical manner of, 'Stand by, I am how gracious God is: how he stoops holier than thou. Yet let it appear, to the poorest creature that comes to that while you are under the necessity him through a Mediator: how small an of hearing their vain conversation, you offering he will accept ; if there can be have no taste for it; no delight or in- but a small one. A single sigh from a terest in it. A humble, kind silence contrite heart will penetrate his ear. often utters much.
Wherever God gives faith he will “* None can pretend to say how far try it; and whoever becomes a follower you may intermix in worldly company, of Christ, must deny himself, and take and get no stain or soil. Situation, cir- up his cross—must make great sacri. cumstances, &c. must all be taken into fices such as right hands, and right consideration. But this may be said, eyes: must expect opposition, persecu. that he only mixes with the world with tion, mortification, cruel scoffings,-not safety, who does it not from inclination, only from the world, but from nearest but necessity.
and dearest friends. A man's sharpest “•As to amusements, and what are and bitterest foes are those of his own called recreations, a really awakened household.' You must set your face Christian will neither find taste nor like a fint against threatenings, and leisure for them. Religion furnishes against allurements. the mind with objects sufficient to fill “ ' But I would warn you of another up every vacancy. Yet as you name danger arising from a quarter you may them, I would have you mark carefully least expect--namely, from the religious every thing that disposes or indisposes world itself. There are stumblingthe mind to holy pursuits. Persons of blocks even in the church ; there are tender health are very careful to avoid many professors, who when they see a whatever is hurtful; such as damps
person setting out in religion, will adinfectious rooms – blighting winds. vise, one this course, and one that. They attend to the injunctions of their One sort says, 'religion is in its best physicians, the cautions of their friends, estate among us.' Another sort says, &c. If people were but as careful 'among us ;' - and the young convert, about their spiritual health as they are having a tender conscience, desirous of of their bodily health, we should see being right, is often greatly perplexed ; much stronger and taller Christians. for he finds that in the religious world
" Above all, before you become a there is a party spirit. Instead of ob.
taining the milk of the word, he has to There is nothing which young Chrisdistinguish between bones of doctrine ; tians are more apt to fall into than inn. till at last he begins to doubt if there patience. If they do not immediately be any true spirit of religion at all. see an answer to their prayers, they
“. Do not form too high expectations say, “The Lord does not hear—he does from the professing world. Do not be not regard. Whereas, you must fix in haste to form connexions to make your faith in the promise and word of acquaintances to place confidence-to God; which declares, he does hear, turn to every professor and say, Lead whatever appearances may be. He may
not answer your prayers in your time, " " Do not enter into the list of religious but he will answer them in the best gossips ; who may not only puzzle you time. Do not judge from your frames about hard points of doctrine, but may and feelings, but by the word of God, lead you to waste your time to no pur. which says, “I will hear them that ca í pose, in going from house to house, upon me.'
- Faithful is he that hath talking, instead of getting into the promised.”' spirit of unity. There are too many of " Ques. How far those persons are this sort ; whose chief religion lies in right, who insist upon our ascertaining going from church to church to hear, the precise time, and manner, when the and from house to house to prate; but pardon of sin is actually received ? who are too seldom in their closets, too
• The best evidence of the seldom in close converse with God. pardon of sin, is, that we bring forth Retired Christianity is the truest. It the fruits of righteousness. Evidence is easy to fill the head with notions; is the child of experience. Those who but to sit still like Mary, at Christ's talk of sudden and instantaneous assufeet, and be a learner, is far better. rance, talk at random. Assurance is a Always be afraid of a specious religion. fruit and effect of righteousness. It is
« • However high the cost may be of progressive.' becoming a pilgrim, do not be dis
How far I might, with heartened. Remember, greater is he safety, indulge my strong passion for that is for you, than he that is against music? you. The Gospel requires nothing “Mr. Cecil replied with solemnity, which it does not give you strength to • You may indulge that as well as every perform. You must either wear Christ's other taste, as far as it tends to the glory yoke, or the devil's yoke; and it need of God, and does not interfere with the not be told you which is the easiest.
progress of the soul in divine things.'' Godliness is great riches even in this “ Friday, Jan. 1, 1790. Had a visit world; and what shall you share in the from my revered father in the Gospel, next? If you be heartily on God's who, as he always does, gave me the side, he will be on yours.'
richest instruction; which though I “Ques. But suppose I should be in cannot recollect, as to the expression, the number of such as shall 'seek to is, I trust, as to the substance, engraenter in, and not be able ?'
ven on my heart. " Ans. Observe, there is a material “ • Rejoice,' he said, 'rather than difference between one that only seeks despond at the discoveries you obtain of to enter in—and one that strives to the deceitfulness of your heart. It may enter in. It is said, strive to enter be painful to you, but it is safe. Chris in at the strait gate; for many shall tians must fight, not faint. Such as get seek, and not be able.' Here striving the deepest knowledge of their indwell. is distinguished from seeking. Do not ing evils, are better grounded in reli. be a listless uncertain seeker : but strive gion than those who only see the sur, determinately-constantly-earnestly: face. Observe what views David had Be like the merchant, whose head and of his sinfulness. heart are always on his merchandise. Take care of reading what is He watches wind and weather-seizes called Christian experience. Very few every favourable turn in business. He of such books are well written,' i. e. is all energy-all pursuit-nothing can have the experience simply stated : only divert him from his point. They that mark the difference between the chathus strive to enter in at the strait gate, racters given us in the Bible, and taking God's way and help, shall never the characters usually drawn by man. fail.
God gives the true, simple account "But the Christian must wait as well of the character. He writes down as pursue. He must exercise faith and the defects as well as the excelpatience as well as diligence. The hus- lences. But when man undertakes to bandman waiteth long for the harvest. write, he gives the best side of the You must have patience with yourself. story : he generally dresses out the chaYou must have patience with God. racter in all its excellencies, and casts
the defects into the shade. Do not, to have nothing said but what is encou“ therefore, take your standard from bu- raging and comforting. Such resemble man observation, but divine. Do not persons in weak health, who would be take another person's conscience for the always taking cordials, which, though rule of your own; for there are innu- they may for a time raise the spirits, merable cases wherein one cannot judge yet secretly undermine the strength. for another. Study the scriptures with A Christian should not only regard the prayer, and a teachable spirit, and you Scripture promises, but the Scripture will never greatly err.'
threatenings, warnings, and reproofs. April 10, 1790. Favoured with a The whole of Scripture is Scripture ; call from my revered minister, My not a part.' heart burns within me when I hear the Wednesday, Feb. 16, 1792. In reinstruction and conversation of the turning home from Long-Acre Chapel godly. Let me here record Mr. C.'s this evening, among other things, my advice and remarks.
revered minister, with much solemnity “ Advice. Do not read the Bible. said — Whatever your path in this world with notes only. It is a loss to confine may be, whether smooth or thorny, I yourself to any commentator. Read it trust you will never be suffered to dewith prayer, and listen simply to the part from God, or be unstable in your best Teacher, the Holy Spirit; wbo profession. Any thing but that. May will sometimes so shine upon the word, I never become a witness against you in as to afford you an insight and under- the day of judgment. Any thing but standing of the Scriptures such as no that!' commentator upon earth can give. Then “July 1, 1792. Was favoured to-day you will not only understand it, but lay by a visit from my honoured minister. hold of it.
• There is no such thing,' said be, in " Ques, respecting withdrawment the Christian life as standing still. If from the world.
we do not get forward, we must lose “Ans. Christian courage does not ground. If a child should be no larger consist in a disposition to retire from in its growth at eight years old, than it the world into absolute solitude; but in was at four, we know at once that there mixing with it, and yet living above it ; is something the matter. So it is with in being in the world, but not of it; in the soul.' making a bold stand for Christ; being “ Wednesday, March, 1793. Was as the salt of the earth. Yet retirementagain much benefited by the conversaat certain seasons, should be secured. tion of my revered minister. We should endeavour to preserve such “Mr. C. spoke on the dangerous naa spirit in society as to make us relish ture of error. • Beware,' said he,' of er. retirement; and so improve retirement, ror ; its force and energy are indescribas to make us useful to society. Our able; and when it once gets entrance troubles arise not from our living in the into the mind, it eats as doth a canker. world, but from the world living in us. “ • That error is the strongest which One part of the world is that of inordi- is built on some truth: half the truth nately coveting the praise of our fellow- is a lie. All the errors of the different creatures.
religious sects have been owing to their "* • Endeavour to go into the world, separating and twisting to their own as far as you are called so to do, putting purpose some single truth ; such perhonour upon your Christian profession; sons, by taking unconnected Scriptures, and if any ask you a reason of the bope may make the Bible speak any thing. that is in you, tell them meekly, ••• Error is never solitary: it is always It is the blood of sprinkling.'”
attended by a thousand others. Burnet “Nov. 7, 1791. Returned to London. says, while profaneness is the broad My heart is made glad by seeing again my road to hell, error is the bye-path.'" honoured minister after his return from “ Thursday, May 5, 1796. Was faBatb.
voured by a visit from my revered mi"• Shun,' said he, 'matters of con- nister. His conversation has left a troversy, and points of doctrine, too solemn effect upon my mind. high for young converts, who should be “Mr. C. observed, 'the attacks made fed with the sincere milk of the word, upon the soul by sin and Satan resemble and not with strong meat.
waterfloods surrounding a house, and Many professors, instead of convers- incessantly working in at one place or ing upon vital and experimental religion, another. No sooner is one inlet secured,
ever disputing about doctrines. than the water makes its way in someSuch are like persons that are sick, and where else. having no appetite for solid food, amuse “ • Satan is a constant enemy, never themselves with turning over the bones. ceasing to buffet us; but whatever bows
" • Some bearers of the Gospel like down the soul, we must bring it to
Christ, whether the attack be from the If one asks, What do you weep for? world, the flesh, or the devil.
Why my apple-leaves are gone.
But “ Prayer is the key that unlocks have you not your apples left ? Yes. every blessing. Beware of general re- Very well, then do not grieve for a few quests; it is a sign of a cold, unfeeling, leaves, which could only hinder the heart. Come and specify what you would ripening of your fruit.' have ; carry your real concerns to Christ; " Pardons and promises that cannot and be satisfied with his care and manage- fail, lie at the root of my dear daughter's ment of you. The government is upon profession; and fruits of faith, hope and his shoulders, not yours.
It is enough love, that no one can question, have long that be undertakes for you ; therefore covered her branches. The east wind trausact all your affairs with him. A sometimes carries off a few leaves, though Christian who is sometimes found sit- the rough wind is stayed; and what if ting still as a man of faith, is at other every leaf were gone? what if not a times found wrestling as a man of single earthly comfort remained ? Christ prayer.
has prayed and promised that her fruit 2. The above passages are from
shall remain ;' and it shall be my joy to
behold it through eternity. Mrs. Hawkes's vivid recollections
“ Past eleven' o'clock, and time for of his remarks; we will now give poor sleepy preachers to go to bed. But some from Mr. Cecil's letters to I shall sleep better for having dropt a
word or two, though it be but saying old
things over and over again.
• May, 1796. “But the morning cometh, a morning " My dear Daughter,—The uneasi
without melancholy. To-morrow mornness I feel when I see any thing which I ing, you and I shall walk in a garden think amiss in you, obliges me to write a where I hope to talk with you about every letter, though you know I am no writer thing but sadness; and if I even forgot, of letters except when absolutely com- and began upon the subject, you would pelled.
immediately reply, 'Sorrow and sighing “ Now as you are a fruitful plant in are fled for ever. my vineyard, and one that I have had
“ So they do now, as faith is in exerthe honour and pleasure of planting, I cise. I received amazing benefit from cannot be satisfied if I suspect any in- Hill's tenth sermon, on 2 Kings iv. 26. jury whatever which may impede your • She answered and said, It is well ;' growth.
which I read walking home from you “But I do suspect an injury. I do yesterday. I went and bought the book, think I see one enemy, and that, an and shall return you yours directly, and enemy at the very root of your health beg you will go through the same serand comfort:- It is a little mischievous
mon, and pray that it may be as much worm called melancholy. It is engen- blessed to you as it was to me. With dered by constitution and ill health ; and kindest regards to Mr. Hawkes, believe makes both worse. I say this from ex
me your very affectionate father, perience ; but then what is only acciden
“ R. Cecil.” tal in my case, is almost constant in yours; and I cannot but observe this
“ While at Cowes, 1798, Mrs. Hawkes with great pain. First, because I do not
received a letter from Mr. Cecil, in which think you are sufficiently apprised of the
he writes as follows: evil. It strips you of the only ornament “ Past eight o'clock on Saturday evenof the Christian profession I ever saw ing, and weary with sermonizing, I take you want, -I mean a permanent joy and a resting moment to say, that though we peace in believing. I know you have are far asunder, I have communion with such humble views of yourself, that you you in spirit. We are begotten to the will consider me a very partial judge : same high and inestimable privileges ; but on this subject, I cannot think I am we shall sooy escape from a world of sin incompetent to judge ; and I do not and sorrow. I meet you also at a allow myself (I humbly hope) to say throne of grace, where the foot of the what I do not really think.
latter stands; and though, as you know, “ I know every thing that occurs is seemingly very cheerful, yet I have my capable of wounding a sensibility such as melancholy abstractions ; when the world, yours. But the world is nothing to you. and all it has to offer, appear not only Come, I will give you a bit of an old illusions, but tasteless and impertinent man who writes better than I can ;- to the last degree. You, I know, well
“. We may compare an afflicted be- understand this; and are too ready to liever to a man that has an orchard laden meet me her3. But • Hence, loathed bith fruit, who, because the wind has melancholy,' as Milton says; why lown off the leaves, sits down and weeps. should the children of a King, go mourn. Christ. Obsery. No. 16.
ing all their days ?' We have ten thou- believer's inventory, and ready for his sand times more cause for rejoicing than
whenever he can use them. Of this for mourning; and shall soon meet where we have infallible certainty : we acknowit shall cease for ever.
ledge it, and then sit down and wish. “I am deeply impressed with this "O God,' says Mr. Adam, 'give me truth, that there is but one subject what thou knowest to be good, and thou worth conversing upon,-namely, that alone knowest ; and if that is the reverse Jesus Christ is the true God and eternal of what I ask, give me that reverse, and life ; and, having given himself for us, let it not be undone by my prayers.' will withhold from us nothing that is “ We are, in short, all wrong till we good.
are in this state of mind ; while the list“And now, pray, what is Holloway ? ening to our own suggestions, and the [he alludes to her husband's overwhelm- leaning to our own understandings, is but ing pecuniary losses] what is any thing? walking with fools and robbers, the trained who would get up to a window to look gang of old • Lord Will-be-will,' that after dirt ? I will not waste any more wicked one, which my little daughter so time and paper with so much as convers- cries out against." ing about it.
“ My dear Madam,-As I cannot stir " Let me advise you to consider your without my horse, and as it is dangerous case the more easy, because it is so diffi- to venture out in such a frost, I add a cult. Easy things we are ready to under. line with the rest, this morning, to say, take ourselves, and find we cannot manage that whatever pain the letter you received them ; difficult things we are forced to yesterday might occasion you, [announcleave, or commit to God, and thus find ing the probable loss of her small pecuthem easy. Now, by this logic, (which I niary supplies,]--and of course it would believe to be very sound,) I have proved give us pain on account of your feelings ; that you are a woman in easy circum- - yet I confess to you that we have a stances.
secret satisfaction in every movement “I hope your next letter will be to which has a tendency to place you again assure us that you are coming back soon. in your old quarters. From thence I My wife desires me to scold you for stay- most sincerely wish you may never be reing so long, and to say how very solitary moved, till you enter the House not she is without you ; and this I know is made with hands, eternal in the heavens.' what she really feels. She joins me in I am also happy to observe, that we are warmest expressions of regard."
not more desirous to have you for a per“ Chobham, Aug. 26, 1805. petual guest, than my daughters are to “ My dearest Daughter, I was think. administer to your many, and often paining, (after reading your letter to Mrs. C., ful, infirmities ; nor do I believe that any received this morning,) of the new symp
piece of news,-not even the defeat of tom of your disorder, and the long ab- Buonaparte,-would give them so much sence of Dr. Fearon, and that I should pleasure as your return. send you a line ; but it occurred, What
* I have had a thought upon your have I to write about ? especially on a
affairs, which I will communicate as soon Saturday, when I ought to think only of
as I can. Till then, I am glad you have my sermons for the morrow. Yet I ought taken no step. I remain most truly to recollect, that I have some reasons also yours,
“ R. Cecil." for writing. Are you not one of the
plants of my own hand, and children of “ Friday morning, Dec. 9, 1803.“ my prayer?' Are you not passing through
3. We will now give some of a very trying dispensation, though, as my wife says, the very happiest woman in
Mrs. Hawkes's remarks upon the the world ? Is there, as you remark, a character of her esteemed mipissoul left in town, &c. &c.
ter, whose delicate letter of gene“ But I must tell you, my dear daugh
rous friendship just quoted was ter, that I have received considerable benefit from passing through the marked eminently characteristic. parts of · Adam's Thoughts,' (which in- “1806.—How great have been my ad. deed are almost all marked in my book,) vantages, in having so long before my and particularly with respect to the en- eyes the example of my afflicted, suffertire resignation we should make of our ing minister! How often have I seen own will and choice, as to things and him bear up under pain! What lessons events. A believer seems quite to forget of humility, faith, patience, holy forti. himself when he begins to wish. The tude, cheerful submission, resignation, ' such and such things,' (such I mean as and even thankfulness, has he constantly Fortunatus's cap and purse, and the ten exhibited! How has he seized every inthousand things beside, which the unfor. terval of ease for the good of the church ! tunates pine after in vain,) are all in the labouring often under extremity of pain,