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and conduct, are alike exposed to the eye of God. Man can deceive himself and others, but he cannot deceive God. Wherever we are, whatever we do, let us not forget God nor cease to serve Him. His eye is upon us, and a day of reckoning is before us. O let us be ambitious of His commendation then! “ Well done good and faithful servant."
The second motive is encouraging—“If thou seek Him, He will be found of thee.” He must be sought in His word, in His ordinances, at a throne of grace, and in early life. Thus Samuel sought Him. Thus Josiah sought Him, and thus Timothy sought Him. Thus sought, He will be found; found as a portion, found as a helper, and found as a rewarder. Surely God is a better portion than the world, a better helper than man, and a better rewarder than Satan!
The third motive is alarming-—“If thou forsake Him, He will cast thee off for ever.” God is forsaken by forgetfulness, by the love of the world, and by disobedience, and evil company leads to all these. If we treat an earthly parent in this way, how can we prosper? Much less can we prosper, if we thus treat our Father in heaven. He will leave us to ourselves, and like Solomon, let us die under a cloud. “Give glory to the Lord your God, before He cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains."
NECESSITY OF CONVERSION.
“ Verily, I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little
children, ye shall not enter the kingdom of heaven."-Matt. xviii. 3.
The disciples of Christ sighed after worldly greatness, and earthly distinction, when they were ignorant of the nature of His kingdom. In order to humble and instruct them, He set a little child before them for a pattern, and said, “Except ye be converted.”
Jesus requires conversion — “Repent ye, therefore, and be converted.” The mind must not be fixed on worldly objects, nor engrossed with them, as if they were the chief good. It must rise above them, and be illuminated by the word and Spirit of God. The mind, naturally dark and ignorant, has its darkness dispelled by the truth of the gospel ; and ignorance removed, is the first step in conversion. Conversion includes also a change of heart; “I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you.” In our natural state, the heart loves sin, and prefers evil; but when converted, the heart loves Christ, and prefers good. It breathes in a new atmosphere, pants after new objects, and sighs for a new world. Conversion also implies reformation of life. The pursuit of evil is given up, and the practice of sin abandoned. The commandments of God are obeyed, and the duties of religion observed. My reader, is thy understanding enlightened, so that religion appears in a different light from what it once did ? Does thy heart prefer good to evil, and relish spiritual, and eternal things ? Is thy conduct regulated by the word of God, and does it bear some resemblance to the conduct of Christ ?
Jesus gives us the pattern of conversion—" And become as little children.” Children are generally docile, and anxious to receive instruction. They are harmless, and guileless, like Nathaniel. They are free from ambition, and careless about the world. If their wants are supplied, their cares are light, and they are as well pleased with a trifle, as with a large fortune. They speedily forget injuries, and do not keep up grudges against their companions. They are also very sensible of their own weakness, and when injured, or alarmed, speedily run to their parents for protection. A little child, believed to be dying, was asked, Where would you like to go when you die? “To heaven.” What makes you wish to be there? 6. Because Jesus is there.” But what would you do if Jesus should leave heaven ? “I will go with Him, and He will give me a golden crown?” What will you do with the golden crown? “I will take it, and cast it at the feet of Christ.” Thus, little children are the pattern of conversion, and if we are truly converted, we
NECESSITY OF CONVERSION.
will, in all these things, resemble little children, and enjoy the love and commendation of Christ.
Conversion is absolutely necessary—“ Verily, I say unto you, except.” Jesus knew what was in
He knew what man required, in order to prepare him for a better world, and therefore He sought to get at his heart. Hence, He insists on the necessity of conversion. Besides, unless we are converted, we cannot get to heaven ; “Ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Heaven is a holy place, a region suited only to holy beings. The unchanged in heart and life, could no more live there than they could live in a fiery furnace; its burning glories would consume them, and its unsullied purity would overwhelm them. If the ungodly, in the judgment, shall call on the rocks and mountains to cover them from the face of the Judge, how could any unconverted person gaze on the radiant glories of the upper sanctuary! We may change from one opinion to another, and from one church to another, and from one country to another, but if we are not changed in heart and life, if we are not changed from the love of the world to the love of Christ, and from the love of sin to the love of holiness, we can never join the innumerable company in heaven, nor sing their lofty songs.
“Redeeming the time because the days are evil."-Eph. v. 16.
HERE We have an invaluable privilege, an important duty-and that duty enforced by a powerful motive.
The invaluable privilege given to us is—“Time." God has brought us into being, and is continuing us in being, and giving us days, and months, and years, not to waste but to improve, not to be idle but to be diligent. These are passing away with amazing rapidity, like the rushing engine, the fiery rocket, or the eagle's flight. Time, as it passes, causes great changes in churches, in families, in individuals, in the world. But time’s rapidity, and time's changes, are not so alarming as time's uncertainty. We are not sure of a day. We cannot tell what is to be to-morrow. The present moment only is
How great may be the value of a moment! On one moment may be suspended the soul's happiness or misery for ever. O my soul, if thou art not yet happy, let this moment decide thy happiness and salvation, for no measuring line is needed to compute the number of my aays. “Behold Thou hast made my days as an hand-breadth, and mine age is as nothing before Thee."