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IQB LAtfE ATTENDANCE AT PUBLIC WORSHIP.
ation r and do you not also know what a black mark God set? upon the ineonsideration of his'people ?" The ox," saith he, "knovveth his owner, and the ass his master's crib; but Israel doth not know; my people doth not consider." Others may say, It is only a bad habit they have got;—but bad habits are bad things, and most especially in religion; and the result of bad habits are shame, disgrace, and.ruin. • \\ ill youthen continue in a known bad habit? There may be some who say, I thank God for the hint;; I perceive my error : — That is my design in bringing forward this subject.' This address was delivered with great earnestness and feeling, and produced a correspondent sensation in the minds of the congregation; for the next Sabbath there was a surprizing alteration for the better. Now, Sir, give me leave to observe, That there is one point which such persons totally overlook, and that is, the feelings of their minister. 1 know, at this time, faithful ministers ■whose holy souls groan within them, beingburthened with the misconduct of their people in late attendance; — and, as I also know persons who are sadly culpable in this respect,-who constantly read this Magazine, and whose eyes these lines will meet,—whose consciences will remind them that they are the characters for whom these hints were intended, — i would affectionately remind them, That while they believe that the gospel enriches the soul with the noblest., finest feelings, they should prove, and especially in the sanctuary, that they possess them. I would say to such, You have placed your souls under the guidance of the minister, upon whose judgment and piety you can best depend; you would not have your affection for him to be doubted; but are you not wounding him deeply, and that in the house of his friends? Doubtless you pray for a blessing upon his labours; but are you not yourselves chilling these labours? With what feelings think you doth his eyes mark your late entrance? Let conscience give the answer; and may you have grace to act upon it. How disgraceful such conduct! Siiall a follower of the Saviour be so careless, sp unconcerned about a meeting with Ijim^ while his Lord condescends to stand and knock, and wait at the door of the human heart! Is not the Spirit of God always ready to bless the opening of worship? and do not those who assemble early find that they are blessed in their deed? The excellent Herbert addresses those who came late, on account of the time employed m dressing, thus :—
v To bedrest'!
Stay cot for the other pin. Why, thou hast lost
But, from bitter experience, I know that human argument. fc little worth; I would, therefore, turn from man to God, and jiray that a spirit of conviction of the shame, the loss, and guilt of late attendance upon public worship, may he poured from on high upon the assemblies of the British Israel! that that effect for which ministers now sigh and cry in vain, may Speedily be produced, and each of our places of public worship assemble that holy band, of which Cornelius could say, 'We are all here present before God, to hear all tilings that are commanded thefe of God.' J.Hi
THE PERPETUAL OBLIGATION OF OBSERVING THE SABBATH.
"Pray ye that your Flight be not in the Winter, neither 041 the, ■SabAatkday."— Matt. xxiv. 20.
There are individuals who doubt whether the injunctions for the strict observance of the Sabbath, under the Old Testament dispensation, are not, in some measure, mitigated under the New; •>->- and there are. some who assert their abolition, altogether. The passage quoted above is calculated, I conceive, to settle the question for ever, it will be admitted by most, that whatever was abolished of the old economy, was abolished at the death of our Lord; and a new order of tilings arose with his Resurrection; so that whatever continued to be divinely sanctioned after his resurrection, will continue so perpetually. INow, it is certain that the destruction of Jerusalem did not take place till about forty years after his resurrection, when Paul, and almost all the apostles, were dead. Now mark : —At that period, even forty years after th« resurrection, so sacred was the Sabbath-day, that even flight from a merciless besieging army, was to be deprecated ias a calamity equal to the distress of a flight under such circumstances in winter. If then, forty years after the resurrection, we have divine authority for the undiminished holiness of the Sabbath-day, then of irresistible consequence for ever.
Should this appear to you deserving insertion in the Evai> gelical Magazine, I may, perhaps, trouble you with my thought, at some future period, on the diviae authority for the change of the day. E. L.
The Editor begs leave to transcribe, the Sentiments of thost eminent critics, Drs. Campbell and Mackttiglit, on th-e above text.
Dr. Campbell says, " There is no word in the original to which the word day corresponds. Now, as some expositors maintain that it is the Sabbatical year, and not the weekly Sabbath, which is here meant, the translator ought to pre* serve, if possible, all the latitude of expression employed by the author." His version, therefore, is,' Nor on the Sabbath'
104 ON OBSEBVINO THE SABBATH.
Dr. Macknight, on verses 20, 21, says," But pray that y»ur flight be, not in the winter, when the badness of the roads, and the rigor of the season, will make travelling speedily almost irn.-possMe;'neither on the Sabbath-day, when you will think it unlawful."
He then subjoins the following note:—" In this direction, our Lord by no means approved of the superstitious regard which the Jews paid to the Sabbath; far less does he establish the observation of the Jewish Sabbath under the gospel. He only declares the inconveniences which the superstition of the nation would occasion, if their flight should happen on the Sabbath." .
MEANS AND METHODS OF CONVERSION*TO GOD.
The various meant which God is pleased to employ in bringing careless sinners to a seriolis concern for their immortal souls, and in making them acquainted with the truth as it is in Jesus, are frequently very remarkable; and, wherever tbey are known, occasion many thanksgivings to God. But too often the knowledge of these circumstances is confined to a small circle, perhaps only to1 the intimate friends of the convert himself, or to the church of Christ with which he is united. It has .often occurred to the writer, that the Evangelical Magazine would prove a suitable repository for these histories of converting grace; and the religious public would be much obliged to ministers and others who would favour this work' with short accounts of this description, taking the most conscientious care that the cases transmitted are truly authentic, and known to be so by the persons who send them; — and it would be still more satisfactory, that the cases of conversion so stated, were- such as had been proved to be the genuine work of the Holy Spirit, by a course of holy obedience for a considerable length of time. Such cases will be very acceptable to all who have themselves tasted that the Lord is gracious; and may become very useful, 'as the means .of conversion to .others.
The following 4s a slight Specimen of what is proposed :—
, M. P. of C , was, like all others, by nature a stranger to
the gospel, and an enemy to it. Her mind was tilled with prejudice against the people of God, whom she held in the greatest contempt. She would even strive to-impede them in their private devotions in the house where she resided. But once, listening to hear one of them in prayer, she over- Jicard him praying earnestly for her salvation. This filled her ■with astonishment; and she begau^to fear that all was not ■right tetween God and her «oul.
These impressions, however, gradually declined; but were revived in the following manner: — On a Lord's Day a companion called upon her, and invited her to take a walk. She complied, and passing by a place of worship where the gospel was preached, the minister, then engaged in a solema part of his discourse, was uttering those awful words of the great Judge, —" Depart from me ye cursed," &c. These were the first words that she heard; and they made a lasting impression on her heart: so that she was convinced of her dangerous Condition for eternity, and began seriously to cry "What shall I do to be saved?" At length she learned the way of salvation, and found peace in her soul, by the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus. The change that took place was quickly perceived by her friends; and she endured some persecution for righteousness sake: but the propriety of her conduct took away much of the prejudice excited against her.
A few years after, she was taken ill, and suffered mucb before her decease; but there was abundant reason to believe that she died in the Lord. B.
*.j* It is not meant that the cases proposed should contain a long detailed account of Christian experience, but be confined (Jhiefly to the more remarkable means employed by Divine. Providence, as subservient to the Holy Spirit, inTihe great work of Regeneration.
It haslong been a subject, of lamentation among good men, that charitable and religious institutions must have, what may be called, an Anniversary Frolic connected with them, in order to obtain the support of Convivial Christians, ft has also now become fashionable to have anniversary excursions into ths country, to celebrate, with the forms of religion, the opening of some new chapel, or religious institution. If these convivial meetings are necessary, let them be kept distinct from the sacred name Religion, which, in many instances, appears as if introduced for the purpose of rendering the former palatable to tender consciences. I am not disposed to find fault with all public dinners ; — no, by no means, for some of them are necessary, and also profitably conducted; but. those meetings which maybe termed-Convivial, and sanctioned by the name of lleligion, are what I .conceive to be reprehensible. In a late Number "of your Magazine, some observations on the indecorum of such meetings are introduced. The practice of singing songs is attended with more evil than all the subscription* of such as approve theua can be productive of
106 CONVIVIAL CHRISTIANS.
good*. I remember, when first under serious impnesskms, iri attending one of these meetings, I was greatly discouraged by the conduct or'a religious character then present, who called for a song, and appeared really to enjoy it. I did not know so jmuch of the world then as I now do: if J had, it would have excited pity only. These things are injurious and disgraceful to that cause which they'are designed to support.
* At a public dinner in the city, for the support of a dissenting institution, some weeks ago, several songs were sung, and a great number of toasts were gWen by the Chairman, several of them in bumpers, and with I* three times three!"—What would- Owen, Baxter, Flavel, and other puritans, have said to these nonconformist revellings?
DR. PRIESTLEYS DISCIPLES ANSWEHED.
I Have lately been at C m, to do some business for a
gentleman, with an old rich Quaker, whom I httvc known many years. He is a very sensible man, and highly respected by many considerable persons. In the course of our conversation he told me, that two of Dr. Priestley's disciples, both eminent men, called on him, on purpose to ask What was his opinion of the person of Christ? , In a moment he became remarkably cool and collected, —sat still some little time, and then gave them the following answer :r— ' The apostle says, We preach Christ crucified: to the Jews a stumbling-block,— because they expected a temporal Messiah; to the Greeks foolishness, — because he was crucified as a malefactor; — but to them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the wisdom of God, and the power of God! Now, if you can separate the wisdom of God from God, and the power of God from God, 1 will come over to your opinions.' — They were both struck dumb, and never attempted to utter a single word in reply. •
LIGHT IN BARKNESS.
Some years ago, a respectable tradesman of the city of London, of unquestionable piety, was exceedingly troubled in his mind respecting the safety of his future state. During a bodily affliction, which eventually proved fatal, he became still more doubtful of his interest in Christ, although many friends endeavoured to encourage him in relying on the allsufiiciency of that grace, on which his hopei had been fixed