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I would through you, Sir, inform the young of your congregations the rock on which I split, yiz : -NEGLECT OF PRIVATE PRAYER--neglect of the very source whence we receive strength to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil. I fell by little and little until sin, as it were, became natural to me, and I drank it in like a food. There is scarcely a crime of which I have not been guilty. O, Sir, tell me is there mercy for snch as me,-one who knew his duty and did it not. I am hall inclined to think that there is. The Sermon you preached last Sunday week, brought forward and exhibited the loving kindness of God in such a forcible manner, that a ray of light burst in upon my soul, and I have almost dared to hope amidst my doubts and fears. But that sermon has had other effects besides these. There were men present-stout, able-bodied men, that would consider it unmanly to show any signs of weakness, but the lookers-on would observe the silent tear gushing forth and rolling down their manly cheeks; evidently the outward signs of deep heart-felt sorrows, or delightful joys. One young man with whom I am intimately acquainted informed me that after returning home, before retiring to bed, he got down upon his knees for the first time the last seven years, and all he could say, was (although there for an hour and a half,) 'Lord teach me how to pray.' And this young man, sir, was previously a confirmed Infidel, very intelligent, and had a mode of placing things in a light so strong, as in my opinion) throws Barker entirely into the shade. Į scarcely know how to come to a close, nor yet what led me to write my own case, but that I had not an opportunity of conversing with you privately when here.
And now I must beg, sir, that you will excuse the garbled manner in which I have put things together, for I am only a poor working man, belonging to that class of men, viz: working bakers, who have not the opportunities offered them of improving their minds which niost men belonging to other trades have. I likewise beg to apologize for the writing. It was my intention when starting of making it as plain as I could; but time is on the wing. It is now nearly ten o'clock, I have to be at my work at two o'clock in the morning, so I must now bring this note to a close by subscribing myself
MY DEAR SIR,
Your letter deeply affects me, and at the same time fills me with hope for you. Apology was needed, neither for the act, nor the manner of your writing to me. An opportunity of being of service to my fellow-men never comes unwelcome; although a frequent pressure of duties too ofteni pre.. vents that promptitude in reply, which is so much needed when men's eternal interests are at stake. A working man can understand this, if others cannot ; and I feel assured that I shall not in vain throw myself upon your generosity for an interpretation of my silence. The mainer of your writing, both mechanical and mental does you credit, and makes it manifest that you have well-improved some of your leisure
' moments. If indeed, as you tell me, many of them have been ļost in listening to lower calls; there is a forgiveness for the past, the enjoyment of which will give you strength and heart for the cultivation of your higher nature; and you will find that, under the sunshine of mercy, your intellect, as well as your affections and conscience, has its most rapid growth.
All the more is this required, that there is so much depressing in your physical condition. It is humiliating to reflect, that, in this age of
a as that to which you belong, subjected to so many and terrible priyations. It speaks loudly of deep neglect, if not of criininal selfishness, somewhere. Such
protracted labour, and the physical debility which it engenders, must expose working bakers to those powerful temptations to dissipation and recklessness, which to so wide an extent abound in all our large towns. Their condition de mands not the barren
sympathy merely, but the instant and vigorous aid of their fellow-countrymen. With that aid, and determined resolution to be free on their own part, the day of their emancipation will speedily dawn.
I am thankful that you have a clear conception of the way in which you lost that deep, spiritual peace which you once enjoyed. Communion with God is as essential to spiritual life, as daily bread is to physical. And your conviction of this will lead you to the only source whence you
supplies of strength for the hour of need. The gloom, the desolation, and the sin of the past have all sprung from forgetfulness of the true character of God, and
ceasing to hold fellowship with Him, in whom, spiritually, “we and move and have our being.” It is well that memory robs sin of its pleasures, and hedges up your way, if you would again be happy, to that "fountain of living water, ” where alone you can quench your thirst. You have felt the bitterness of alienation from God, and have for yourself solved the problem, "Is it possible for man to find his highest good without possessing the friendship of his Creator ?" You deeply feel how, like a vessel without rudder or compass, a
wtthout God in the world," drifts away into the loneliness and darkness of spiritual death. In many cases losing all self-control he is driven upon the rocks of recklessness, and at once makes shipwreck of character and peace.
You wish through me to inform the young of the congregations that I have the privelege of addressing, of the rock on which yon split. This to some extent I have done; but more fully to make your case a beacon, whose lurid beams, thrown athwart the horizon of the future, may warn the unwary voyager, I have taken the liberty of publishing your letter with this reply. Many a young man will learn from it the danger of a self-reliance that does not originate in reliance upon God, and the evil of restraining prayer before him. It will show how little are to be trusted for purposes of morality the unsubdued and unregulated impulses of our own nature. There are youths who seem to think it wise and fashionable to talk largely of virtue as independent of scriptural religion. Your case will go far to convince them, if they think at all, that real religion is the surest guarantee, and the only foundation of a true and a heart-morality, and they will dread a loss of the fellowship and friendship of God, as threatening to undermine the basis of noble, and unselfish character.
You ask if there is mercy for you. Doubtless, my friend, there is abundant mercy. Amid your wanderings and your sufferings Jehovah has never forgotten you. Strong as has been your opposition to his will, stronger far has been his compassion toward you. Deep as has been his abhorrence of your sin, equally deep has been his sympathy for your soul. His is a love which many waters cannot quench, and which delights to be merciful-a practical love, which weariës not of blessing its enemies, till that blessing no further avails, anıl the highest good of universal being demands that justice shall take its course. Conceive with what feelings will a noble father receive a repentant prodigal, and you may have some faint idea of the joy with which you will be received by the everlasting Father. Nor does justice, great as has been your guilt, interpose any barrier to your acceptance and forgiveness ; for every demand of law has been met and satisfied by the voluntary self-sacrifice of God
This historical manifestation of pardon is the very thing which your case so loudly demands. How vain would it be to tell you to im prove the future, if you are haunted by the memory of the past, and that remembrance is unaccompanied by those thoughts of pardoning merev, which will fill your heart with a holy contrition, bind it with stronger ties to God and to duty, and brace it with a firmer resolve, and a mightier strength, always to do that which is well-pleasing in his sight.
No, my friend, you must not despair. “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." "He is able to save unto the uttermost those who come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” For yourself, look upon him in this glorious relationship; regard him as your Saviour, and the “ peace which passeth under. standing" will again overflow your heart. Think of your God as revealed to you in Jesus of Nazareth, and the faint ray which has begun to dawn upon your soul will brighten to the full noon-tide of perfect confidence and unbroken repose ; and saved from the consequences of sin, in the strength of the Divine Spirit, you will triumph over its power ; your heart will be full of gratitude, your lips of praise, and your life of service to God and man.
Be assured I shall ever be glad to hear of your well-being, and ready to help you under any difficulties, and believe me
Yours, very truly,
Sunbeams of Thought.
Sublimer in this world know I nothing than a peasant saint, could such now anywhere be met with. Such a one will take thee back to Nazareth itself; thou wilt see the splendour of heaven spring from the humblest depths of earth like a light shining in great darkness.—CARLYLE.
“Some sink outright:
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« Weekly Magazine,
OF CHRISTIAN EXPOSITION AND ADVOCACY.
Who knows not that truth is strong, next to the Almighty; she needs no policies, nor stratagems, nor licensings to make her victorious, those are the shifts and the defences that error uses against her power.—MILTON.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 20, 1855.
EIGHT OF THE ARTICLES. A Progressive Revelation.. 33 Is Owen among the Prophets ?
40 The Christian and the Infidel in the Hour
The Credulity of the Sunderland Secularists 42 of Danger
Do the facts of Christianity warrant Dissent ? 44 Decision of Character 39 Milton's Triumphant Faith
45 Sayings of the Fathers
A PROGRESSIVE REVELATION,
The Bible is not unworthy of our confidence as a moral guide, because both its spiritual and moral truths have come to man by a gradual and not by an immediate revelation. That all the truths necessary to the perfection of man as an individual or a race, under a remedial scheme, should not at once be presented in their highest manifestation is not only analogous with what we see in the intellectual world, but it is also in complete fitness with our constitution and state. It is not in the twinkling of an eye that the full light of science bursts upon the mind. Ages sometimes have passed in preparation for great discoveries. For long years has the philosopher almost day and night pored over the book of nature ere it has yielded up its secret. Its characters however beautiful and simple when once deciphered, have been the subjects of widely differing opinions, have been rendered in contradictory senses, and centuries have ofttimes elapsed ere their true import has been known. It needs not then, be a matter of suprise that to man's moral and spiritual nature there is a progressive revelation.
He is but a poor teacher, who does not adapt his instructions to his pupil. He is likely to continue unsuccessful till he studies the capacities and cap
No. 3, Vol. 1.
abilities of his scholar. Who would think of explaining the integral calculus, or the doctrine of logarithms to one who has not mastered the simplest rules of arithmetio : who could expect any one to understand the way in which the distance of the stars is computed, who knows nothing of the simplest propositionis of geometry? You would not put the Hebrew Bible into Mr. Barker's hands for the translation of a difficult passage if he was not master of the paradigm of its verbs, or even of its alphabet.
So in the moral history of our race you may expect a teaching of men as they are able to bear. To us, living amid the light and splendour of the new dispensation, the means and appliances for the moral and spiritual culture of the Jews may appear rude and rudimentary enough, but the question, the only question, which the true philosopher and honest critic will ask is, are these appliances adapted to the condition of the people among whom they were used ? That they were, no one who examines the question can for a moment doubt. If a multitude of external ablutions were enjoined the Jews were certainly as far advanced as Mr. Barker, who talks so largely of the tendency of cleanliness to ennoble a man; and an enlightened Jew would go a great way further than he, in recognising these divers sprinklings or baptisms as so many attestations of the necessity, and provision of an all purifying Agent to create a clean heart, and to renew a right spirit within him,-to cleanse all the thoughts and motives of his inmost soul. Nor would he fail to get a far brighter idea of the relationship of man to God, and of the doctrines of prayer and providence, than any which Mr. B. has recently given his infidel audiences. While his conceptions of man's nature and destiny, would be immeasurably higher than those of the greatest philosophers or lawgivers of antiquity, and even than those of some of the most noted and popular infidels of the day.
The Mosaic institute we frankly admit was not absolutely perfect, but it might be relatively so. It was not the best that could be, but the best under the circumstances. The clay was not yet prepared to be put into a finer mould, and become the moral chef-d'ouvre of the all-wise potter. That economy was therefore, necessarily temporary and ephemeral. It was a schoolmaster to preparë man for a higher and better culture. It was the moral infant-school of our race.
But has it therefore to be despised ? Has the man of genius no affection for the rough but honest dominie' that taught him his letters: or does he set himself relentlessly to destroy all the old grammars and dictionaries, which his father, grandfather, and great grandfather used before him