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I render to thee, O Lord? I will love and praise my God while I have my being,"
Think again of his " preserving and holding thy soul in life" through many days and years, even till now, and of his doing this, even while thou wert forgetting him and his goodness. Think of his waiting still, till thou wouldest open thine eyes and look up. How gracioushow forbearing-how full of pity was this! How must it excite thee to "love and good works!" How must it lead thee to confess thy sin, and say, "Thou, Lord, art good and gracious; thou sparest when we deserve punishment, and in thy wrath thinkest upon mercy. Oh! let me love
and bless thee for ever!"
Thy Maker hath no need of thee: he made thee, and gave thee all things of his mere goodness, that thou mightest rejoice in his love, partake of his happiness, and taste of the "pleasures which are at his right hand for evermore.' Think of this, and look up to the never-fading, the ever-flowing fountain of all goodness, saying, "Can I ever forget thee, O my God; can I ever love any thing but thee, the bountiful Giver of all good gifts? Oh! enable me to love thee supremely and fervently, to adore thee in thy gifts, and to use them all to thy glory!"
Often think of the particular mercies which thou art, as an individual, receiving from God: of the health and strength of thy body, of the understanding which he has bestowed on thee, and on the power he has given thee of knowing and loving him: of his preserving thee so much and so long from pain, from sickness, and from death of his carrying thee through so many troubles, affording thee so many comforts, and delivering thee from so many dangers above all, of his bringing thee to the knowledge of Christ, and giving thee" all things pertaining to life and godliness" think how he took thee for his own child in the blessed sacrament of baptism, invites thee to feed on Christ in the other blessed sacrament of his body and blood, and continues to thee the use of all the other sanctifying and saving means of grace. Think of these things, admire the richness of his goodness, and say, "The Lord is good; his mercy endureth for ever: Oh! that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and declare the
1835.] THE WAY TO ATTAIN THE LOVE OF GOD. wonders that he doeth for the children of men! thou the Lord, O my soul; and forget not all his benefits." Reflect on the unworthy returns thou hast made for all these great and mighty benefits; how little thou hast considered them; how seldom thou hast acknowledged and shown thyself thankful; how often thou hast abused all this mercy, disregarded the teachings of God's word, the warnings of his ministers, and the motions of his holy Spirit; how often thou hast misspent his Sabbaths, turned thy back on his sacraments, and neglected opportunities of private prayer and public worship; how often thou hast been unkind, if not unjust, to thy neighbour, in thought, in words, and in deeds; how frequently less sober, as well as more heady and high-minded than thou shouldest have been in thyself; think of the duties and the charities thou hast omitted, as well as of the grievous sins thou hast committed, in return for all those lovingkindnesses; then wilt thou be ashamed and confounded for thy misdeeds, thou wilt "bear the reproach of thy youth," and the shame of thy riper years with humility, with a broken and contrite heart: thou wilt "return to the Lord, that he may have mercy upon thee, and to thy God, that he may abundantly pardon.'
What thanks, what praise, what love is due to him who still hath pity on thy soul, and would make thee "wise unto salvation;" who would still draw thee to himself by the patience of his love, the hope of his promises, and the bounty of his providence! His forbearance waits till the fire shall kindle within thee, and awaken thee to diligence and perseverance. Oh! slumber not, lest, "coming suddenly, he find thee sleeping." Muse; and the fire of divine love must and will kindle in thy heart; and, with a soul overflowing with gratitude, thou wilt say, "How unspeakable, how unwearied is thy goodness, and how wonderful thy mercy to me, O God! Gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness art thou! O give me grace to offer my heart and soul, all I am, and all that I have to thee!" Then, and then only, shalt thou find rest unto thy soul, and enjoy that peace which the world can neither give nor take from thee.
C. P. F.
QUESTIONS FROM THE COLLECTS. [Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them; that by patience, and comfort of thy holy word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.]
THE Collect for the second Sunday in Advent is a prayer to be used before reading the Scriptures.
Question. Who caused the Holy Scriptures to be written?
Answer. Our blessed Lord.
Q. For what purpose?
A. For our learning.
Q. What do we pray the blessed Lord to grant? A. That we may read, mark, and inwardly digest the Scriptures.
Q. What shall we obtain by a diligent use of the Scriptures?
A. Patience under trials, and comfort in affliction.
Q. What else shall we embrace ?
A. The blessed hope of everlasting life.
Q. What should we do besides embracing everlasting
A. We should hold fast our hope.
Q. Through whom is everlasting life given?
A. Through our Saviour.
Q. How does this Collect divide itself?
A. Into the address; to the blessed Author of Scripture: The petition; for deep and serious attention to the word of God.
The purpose; peace here and everlasting life hereafter. And into the acknowledgment, that these blessings are freely given through Christ.
Q. What is the meaning of the word learn?
A. To commit to memory.
Q. The meaning of the word mark?
A, Impress, to fix a mark, to rivet one's attention in such a manner as shall enable one to distinguish the real character or meaning of the subject.
Q. What is the meaning of the word digest?
A. Digest here signifies to arrange in proper order, it is an intellectual effort to place together similar things,
THE HAPPINESS OF HEAVEN.
and to separate those that are dissimilar; if we do not digest our thoughts, we shall not think correctly.
Q. What effect will the word of God have upon us, if we digest it?
A. If, through the assistance of God's Holy Spirit, we digest his word, it will nourish our souls, as wholesome food does our bodies.
Q. What is everlasting?
A. Extending into futurity: that which is everlasting, has neither interruption nor cessation; it has no end. Q. When was this Collect composed?
A. In the year 1549.
Q. Point out the passages in the Epistle from which it is taken?
A. Rom. xv. 4. 13.
To prepare us for Christ's coming, the Church sends us to the Scripture.
Q. Whose example does she follow?
A. She follows our Saviour's example.
Q. In what Scripture are we warned how to hear?
Q. Where have we an example of successful attention
to the Scriptures?
A. Acts xvii. 10-12.
THE HAPPINESS OF HEAVEN, AND PREPARATION FOR IT. "HEAVEN," observes Mr. Newman, in one of his sermons, "is not like this world. I will say what it is much more like,-a church. For in a church we hear solely and entirely of God. We praise Him, worship Him, sing to Him, thank Him, confess to Him, give ourselves up to Him, and ask His blessing; and therefore a church is like heaven; because, both in the one and the other, there is one single sovereign subject, religion, brought before us." Now, if we believe this to be any thing of a true picture; if we confess that a church is like heaven itself, or, as it has been beautifully described, "like a little heaven below," (Watts,) what ought to be our con1 That is to say, in the Church Service.
duct, our practice, our feelings, with regard to so sacred, so excellent a place? How constant should be our attendance at church? How anxiously should we strive always to be in time, lest we lose any part of the service, and of the benefit to be derived from it! How devout, how serious, and how heavenly-minded, should we endeavour, with God's help, to be, whilst present during the service! In a little address, which was inserted in a former Number of the Visitor, (for April 1834, p. 126,) I endeavoured to point out how we ought to behave ourselves in church. But I think this subject can scarcely be brought too often to our attention; and therefore I shall transcribe some lines which I have lately met with in a work written by that eminent Christian of former days, the Rev. George Herbert of Bemerton, which seem to be most admirably fitted to remind us of the importance of a constant, frequent, and proper attendance on the church service. The excellent writer's remarks will perhaps be more pleasing to many from their being in poetry, and thus, as he himself observes,
A verse may find him who a sermon flies,
For the same cause, also, they will be more easily impressed on the mind, and, being held by the memory, be always ready to keep us from falling into sin. They are as follows:
Sundays observe. Think, when the bells do chime,
Who would not haste,-nay, give, to see the show.
Twice on the day His due is understood;
When once thy foot enters the church, be bare;
And be to Him all reverence and fear.
Resort to sermons; but to prayers most:
Oh! be drest!
Stay not for tother pin. Why, thou hast lost