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importance, in order to your “ glorifying God in body and spirit; which are his,” have you formed a right estimate of a profitable ministry? Do you judge that to be the most profite, able, which is most searching and humbling? Do you value that ministry as most profitable, which gives you an insight intothe geruine mind of the Spirit in the Scriptures? or do you love a pretty conceit, which discovers something new and wonderful in Scripture, no matter whether true and solid or not? Do you think yourselt' most profited by a grave, serious sermon, which sends you home silent and secretly praying ? or do you prefer one that is noisy, dazzling, and droll! Are you best pleased when you return full of the preacher, exclaiming, what a fine man! or when you can think of nothing else but your own salvation, and the glory of him who died for sinners ? Are you of the mind of him, who said to bis friend, 'You do not know what you lost in not hearing my preacher to-day; if you had, you would never have relished another i' or would you, like the wiser friend, have replied, Then I am determined I never will hear him; for give me the preacher who will teach me to relish the gospel wherever I hear it in truth?
4. Then when you have formed right sentiments of profitable hearing, ask whether the profit you seemed to derive from occasional hearing did not arise from its novelty,
-as a new dish on your table might seem nicer than any thing you erer ate before, but if it were repeated every day, you might soon find it inferior to the old. Examine whether those who constantly hear the preacher, under whom you seemed to protit, be more intelligent, consistent, holy, and zealous Christians, than those with whom you are in coinmunion. Be assured, that mere preference to person, manner, or voice, would not have been thought, in the apostles' days, sufficient cause for shifting from one church to another. After all, I would intreat you to consult personally and impartially the wisest and most holy Christians you know,
know. Lay the whole case before them, which is more than you can do in a Magazine. And why not consult your own minister himself in a serious, humble, and affectionate manner. Above all, consult the Wonderful Counsellor;" and be assured, that if you cominit your way sincerely to him, he will perform the promise, “ I will instruct thee, and teach thee in the way which thou shouldest go, and will guide thee with mine eye.
SIGNS OF THE TIMES.
To the Editor. Tue observations made by your correspondent Gaius, in his Essay on Political Self-righteousness, in a late Number, appear very just and highly seasonable, consequently worthy the
attention of all the Lord's praying people; for surely they have great need to watch, as well as pray, against every species of self-righteousness, knowing his declared abhorrence of it, as set forth in the sacred pages. But there is another class of your readers, who ridicule the idea of the French invading our island; and who, of course, can never pray sincerely for its preservation. Should you think the following extract calculated to arouse them from their criminal security, and to put a cry into their hearts, “ Lord, save our country, or we perish !" you will insert it in your miscellaneous and very useful work. It is taken froin Bp.Newton's Dissertations on the Prophecies, 2d vol. 18th chap. the last part, where he is treating on our Saviour's prophecies relating to the destruction of Jerusalem. He observes, “ That seldom any state is ruined, but there are evident signals and presages of it. Few people have their fate particularly foretold by prophets like the Jews; nor indeed can the fate of any people be so particularly foretold; the time, the manner, and all the circumstances preceding and succeeding, without divine inspiration. So many passages and circumstances cannot be particularly foretold, unless particularly revealed: bur in the general, without the spirit of prophecy, it is no difficult matter to perceive when cities and kingdoms are tending towards their final period and dissolution. There are as certain tokens and symptoms of a consumption and decay in the body politic, as in the body natural. I would not presage ill to my country ; but when we consider the many heinous and presumptuous sins of the nation ; the licentiousness and violation of all order and discipline; the daring insolence of robbers and smugglers, in open defiance of all law and justice; the factions and divisions; the venality and corruption, the avarice and profusion of all ranks and degrees among us; the want of public spirit; the ardent passion for private ends and interests ; the luxury, and gaming, and dissoluteness in high life; and the laziness, and drunkenness, and debauchery, in low life; and above all, that bare-faced ridicule of all virtue and decency; and that scandalous neglect, and I wish I could not say contempt, of all public worship and religion ;-when we consider these things, these signs of the times, the stoutest and most sanguine of us all must tremble at the natural and probable consequences of them.”
May the Author of every good gift eleign to all his dear praying people a double portion of the spirit of prayer, to enable them to wrestle mightily in behalf of this our distracted isle, with bin who is alone Almighty, to avert his judginents! for it is he only can turn us, a disobedient nation, to bimself. He also can turn the hearts of our enemies, as rivers of water are turned; or, in the issue, cause us to come off conquerors ; and thus prove better to us than our deserts and fears.
LETTER FROM A DUTCH FISHERMAN,
IMPRISONED AT CHATHAM,
TO THE REV. MR. SLATTERIE, IN CONSEQUENCE OF SOME TRACTS SENT TO HIM AND HIS
FELLOW-PRISONERS. Beloved Friend,
I cannot forbear to write a few words to you. I heartily thank you for the awakening address you have sent to us poor fisherinen here in prison. Might we see with our own eyes that the Spirit of God was poured out on the inhabitants of this place of confinement to the conversion of sinners, then it would cease to be a prison, and become a temple of God; our bonds would not gall us, nor would we any longer walk about, as people deprived of our senses, under this heavy judgment; but we should be constrained to cry out, “ O Lord, thy doings are judgment and truth! We would kiss the rod, and believe that a healing balsam adhered to it; but how ought we to lament that the Dutch and Flemish have despised and neglected so many calls from God! for how repeatedly has he called us, both in the way of judgments and blessings, and yet we remained unchanged! This we witness in our bonds : how often must I cry out, 'Is this a prison? Ah, no; it is a scene of debauchery and voluptuousness! Alas! should we not rather mourn and howl? Should we not lay to heart those bereavements of our dear wives and children, and our usual occupations? God knows how my wife and children fare: if the Lord does not care for thein in a wonderful manner, then they cannot stand it long. Ah, dear Friend, who can help mourning under these judgments of the Almighty God! Indeed we ought every one of us to plead guilty, saying, I am the cause of this thy wrath being moved. Alas, dear Friend, what hardness of heart do we witness every day in this country; for often we are moved to testify to the people of their sins, by which they have drawn upon themselves their chastisements, shewing them, that unless they be converted, and inclined to take upon them the easy yoke of Jesus, the wrath of God abideth upon them; and they ought to wish, ia this case, that they never had been born, or that they never had heard of Jesus. Oh what a Hell in Hell will their remorseful thoughts create! Our souls are frequently vexed at the sights of wickedness around us; for know, dear brethren, there are many in this place that do not even profess extervally to know Jesus. However, our desire is to gain souls for our Saviour; and how great will our satisfaction be, if we should not have been quite in vain here! Twice a day we have opportunities to draw near unto a mercy-seat by prayer. You can easily imagine, dear friend, what peculiar grace we stand
in need of, seeing we are unlearned men, who can do nothing without the assistance of the Spirit of God. Dear Friends in Christ, for so I hope I may call you (I trust it was not done in a corner) and that you well remember both time and place where you pledged yourselves io live alone for Jesus, and to be saved by his grace alone. Ah, may we be enabled to feel over again what we have felt in those days, when, for the first time, we tasted the inexpressible happiness of the nearness of Jesus !
Who cau describe the love of Jesus, felt in a situation similar to that of Mary; when, with her tears, she wetted his feet, and afterwards dried them with her hair? Ah, my Friends much beloved in the Lord, how various are our leadings! one of God's children is at liberty, whilst the other lies in prison. We have now an opportunity of enquiring, 'How is it now with me! Can I say now, “ Lord, not iny, but thy will be done !" Such a word, in our circumstances, requires much grace, for flesh and blood cannot teach it.
But God is faithful to his promises ;“ he will in nowise leave me nor forsake me;" in whatever circumstances he may place me, still he is faithful, notwithstanding our unfaithfulness. But often we are obliged to ask the questions, Where are we? how are we distinguished from the world ? Ah, Friends, how does sin bring in unbelief! How soon might one lose sight of Jesus, and conform to the world! nay surpass it in profiigacy, if the Great Father of Mercies did not keep us! Whose heart does not take five at the view of the stupendous work of the sinner's redeinption in all its various parts! who does not call out, Lord, what was it that moved thee to look out for such a vile criminal as I am?' But, my good Iriend, how can we account for it, that even under such judgments as have befallen us, the men of this world turn a deaf ear unto the gospel ?
How painful is the consideration, that our former idols are the cause of our misery! Would to God we could deny this charge. We are not even at liberty to pray for the deliverance of our country; for then we must pray against you, whom we look upon as friends and brethren. This would be impossible for us to do: on the contrary, we have sent up to God a thousand sighs for the prosperity of this country, where we now are prisoners. Gladly, however, if I should be set free and I know if this depended on you, my bonds had been broken already, and I bad been sent to my family. All I expect from you, dear Friend, is to have an interest in your prayers := this is a duty from which you cannot disengage yourselves, seeing you have been the first to seek our acquaintance, and to discover your sympathy with our woes, by alleviating them as much as was in your power.
Let us contide in him who is a God that can do beyond what we are able to ask and understand; and let us persevere to the egd in our fasih.
(Signed) A. P. H-
EXTRACT OF A LETTER FROM THE LATE WM. COWPER, ESQ. TO THE REV. WM. UNWIN.
To the Editor. Some months since, you favoured us with two or three Letters of the ex.
cellent Mr. Cowper: a third volume having just appeared, I trouble you with an Extract which may be useful to some of our gentry who are about setting off to the watering places; and the insertion will much oblige
Your constant reader,
P. P. My dear William,
"I give you joy of your safe return from the lips of the great deep. You did not indeed discern many signs of sobriety, or true wisdom, among the people of Brigbithelmstone ; but it is not possible to observe the manners of a multitude, of whatever rank, without learning something : I mean, if a man has a mind like yours, capable of reflection. If he sees nothing to imitate, he is sure to see something to avoid ; if nothing to congratulate his fellow-creatures on, at least much to escite luis compassion. There is not, I think, so melancholy a sight in the world (an hospital is not to be compared with it) as that of a thousand persons distinguished by the name of Gentry, who, gentle perhaps by nature, and made more gentle by education, have the appearance of being innocent and inoffensive, - yet, being destitute of all religion, or not at all governed by the religion they profess, are none of thein at any great distance from an eternal state, where self-deception will be impossible, and where amuseinents cannot enter. Some of thein, we may say, will be reclaimed: - it is most probable indeed that some of them will, because mercy, if one may be allowed the expression, is fond of distinguishing itself, by seeking its objects among the most desperate class; but the scripture gives no encouragement to the warınest charity to hope for deliverance for them all. When I see an afflicted and an unhappy man, I say to myself,“ There is, perhaps, a man whom the world would envy, if they knew the value of his sorrows; which are possibly intended only to soften his heart, and to turn his afflictions toward their proper centre.” But when I see or hear of a crowd of voluptuaries, who have no ears but for music, no eves but for splendor, and no tongue but for impertinence and folly,- I say, or at least 1 see occasion to say, “ This is madress! this persisted in, must have a tragical conclusion! it will condemn you, not only as Christians, unworthy of the name, but as intelTigent creatures. You know, by the light of nature, if you have pot quenched it, that there is a God; and that a life like
yours ca9004 bę according to his will."?