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mestic temple, and his train of worshippers? There the master's authority is softened, and he feels respect for the servant who is kneeling at his side, and « free indeed.” There the servant's submission is sweetened, and he loves, while he obeys, a master who is praying for his welfare. Here the father, worn down with the labour of the day, is cheered and refreshed. Here the anxious mother hushes her cares to rest. “If any thing in the day has been diverted from its course, now all finds its place, and glides along in its wonted channel. If the relative affections have declined during the day, the evening service, like the dew of heaven, revives and enlivens them. If offences have come, they are easily forgiven, when all are asking for pardon for themselves. Every angry word, every wrong temper, every petulant feeling, flies before the hallowing influence of social devotion."
must address myself to those who perform it. I beseech you, brethren, “ suffer the word of exhortation.”—Beware of formality. God is a spirit. He looketh to the heart.-Beware of tediousness and length. “Use not vain repetitions as the heathen do; for they think they shall be heard for their much speaking.” “God is in heaven, and thou upon the earth ; therefore let thy words be few.” God cannot be fatigued: but he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.-Beware of lateness. When langour and drowsiness and listlessness prevail, you would bless your households more by suffering them to retire, than engaging them in services irksome to the performers, and insulting to the receiver. “ If ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if
ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil ? Offer it now unto thy governor, will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person ? saith the Lord of hosts. But cursed be the deceiver which hath in his flock a male, and voweth and sacrificeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing: for I am a great King, saith the Lord of hosts, and my name is dreadful among the heathen."
I must not overlook those who are living in religious families. The lines have fallen to you in pleasant places : you have a godly heritage. From how many snares are you secured! What opportunities of instruction and improvement do you possess ! What pious excitements, and encouragements, and aids do you enjoy! But your responsibility grows with your advantages. To you much is given. From you much will be required. For “ to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." There may be wicked servants in religious families : such an one was Gehazi, who waited upon Elisha. And there may be wicked children in religious families : such an one was Ham, who called even Noah his father! But if you abuse or neglect your means and privileges, your guilt and your condemnation will be greater than those of Pagans. “It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for you”_" there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth when ye shall see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of God, and ye yourselves shut out.”
Finally, there are some who reside in irreligious households. You we sincerely pity. Whatever temporal advantages you enjoy, they can never compensate for your spiritual privations. How sad, and how awful, to see the Sabbath polluted; the house of God forsaken; every book read, but the Bible. To hear, instead of prayer, profane swearing, and the taking God's name in vain, instead of praise. Or, if no gross immoralities prevail, to witness, lying down and rising up, no acknowledgment of God; but a practical, if not verbal rejection of him ; every thing really saying unto God, “Depart from us, we desire not the knowledge of thy ways.”
Surely such a situation, since you have known God, or rather have been known of him, . has not been the object of your choice. But you may have been providentially placed here. You have perhaps been called here, being a servant; or you have been called here, being a child. Be mindful of your danger, and “watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation."
Look to him who preserved saints in Cæsar's household, and Abijah in the family of Jeroboam, that he may secure you. You are much observed. Therefore walk circumspectly. Be harmless and blameless. And not only be without rebuke, but hold forth the word of life—not by stepping out of your sphere-not by talking (though a word fitly spoken, 0 how good is it!) but by your tempers, your behaviour, your character.
And thus you may be the instruments of introducing religion where you ought to have found it. Not only have wives thus won their husbands without the word, but servants have removed prejudices from their masters and mistresses, and induced them to attend the gospel.
And thus children have conveyed religion to those from whom they ought to have derived it. 66 Well,” said a mother, one day, weeping, her daughter being proposed as a candidate for Christian communion I will resist no longer. How can I bear to see my dear child love and read the Scripture, while I never look into the Bible-To see her retire, and seek God, while I never pray-To see her going to the Lord's table, while his death is nothing to me.”—“Ah!” said she, to the minister who had called to inform her of her daughter's desire-wiping her eyes—« Yes, Sir, I know she is right, and I am wrong. I have seen her firm under reproach, and patient under provocation, and cheerful in all her sufferings. When in her late illness she was looking for her dissolution, heaven stood in her face.-0! that I was as fit to die! I ought to have taught her ; but I am sure she has taught me. How can I bear to see her joining the church of God, and leaving me behind—perhaps forever!" From that hour she prayed in earnest, that the God of her child would be her God, and was soon seen walking in company with her in the way everlasting. Is this mere supposition ? More than one eye in reading this allusion, will drop a testimony to the truth of it. “ We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen." May God bless us, and make us blessings ! Amen.
THE CHRISTIAN, IN THE CHURCH.
" Thou that mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in
the House of God, which is the Church of the living God.”. 1 Tim. iii. 15.
The connexions of life are many and various; and they have all their appropriate claims and advantages. Some of these relations are natural; some civil ; some commercial; some intellectual and literary. But the most important of all alliances are those of a religious quality. The bonds of these are not flesh and blood; but faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. These regard the spirit in man; and fall under the power of the world to come. All other connexions have their sphere only in this life; but these aspire after “new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." All other unions, however firm, or however tender, having answered the destinations of Providence, will be dissolved by death ; but though christians die, they are still related. The separation between them is only temporary; a period of re-union will assuredly and speedily arrive. Yea, it is only partial ; even now
“ The saints below, and all the dead,
“ But one communion make;
“ And of his grace partake.”