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"Bnilt upon the foundation of too Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone."
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THREE IN HEAVEN.*
BY THE 1ATE BEV. J. A. JAMES.
"thbbe in Heaven." So said, with rapture, an individual who had been the instrument of sending them there; and this one thought will, throughout eternity, yield him more delight than all his victories will to "Wellington. Who was this happy individual P Not an eloquent preacher, nor a learned author, but 'plain,poor man. How did he accomplish this noble work? Kead what follows, and you shall know. Some years ago a gentleman residing in one of our cities 'SB deeply impressed and grieved by seeing the multitudes who neglected public worship; and he determined to make the effort to induce some of the Sabbathnreakers to frequent the house of God. It required some little effort at first, but he overcame his timidity. One Lord's-day evening he went forth with this holy purpose, and meeting a young man who did not appear to be on his way to • place of worship, he respectfully addressed him, got into conversation with him, and persuaded the stranger to accompany him to worship, and as an inducement offered him a seat in his own pew. Succeeding in this case, he was emboldened»nd encouraged to proceed in this line of Christian activity and usefulness. And now mark! with what a blessed result. He was the means of leading one hundred young men to become stated attendants at the sanctuary, many of whom have been truly converted to God.
A minister of the Gospel mentioned this at one of his prayer-meetings, when theidea was caught up by some persons present, who at once said, "How admiJableaplanthis is for doing good!" Alittle association was immediately formed, tailed "The Invitation Society." In sixteen months two hundred persons were pmnaded by eight or ten of its agents no longer to forsake the assembling of TMuselyes together.
One of these agents, an earnest Christian in humble life, devoted himself to
P work, and was the means of bringing forty to hear the word of life. Nor did
1 confine his labours to the act of bringing them to the house of God. In the
»eek and on the Sabbath-day, in the streets and in their own homes, he ceased
lot to "beseech men to be reconciled to God." To adopt his own simple lan
fj'ge. "I urge them," he said, "to give themselves up to Christ at once. I
Ph others would work on in this way by prayer. Why should not this place
Wrring to the chapel in which he was relating his labours) be full P" Some
I TMe forty he has visited on their death-beds, and of three he has good hope
PT are in heaven.
fhe writer of this tract once had, in the church under his pastoral care, a poor
°tnanwho employed herself in this way, and five persons, who by her influence
ere "ought under the sound of the Gospel, were added to the church.
Biiu***the k8' U'tle tract written by the revered John Angell James, of Carr's Lane Chapel,
John Williams, the well-known missionary to the South Sea Islands, when loitering about on a Sabbath evening in early life, was persuaded to go and hear a sermon; by the grace of God upon that sermon he was converted, and becai one of the greatest missionaries of modern times.
Another case may be mentioned. A traveller was passing through Bilston, Staffordshire, a year or two since, and observed the shops closed as generally on a Sabbath. Presently a funeral came by, which was attended by the cler| and other ministers of religion, the magistrates, and many of the respecta inhabitants of the town. Who could be the distinguished person to whi memory such tokens of public respect were paid? It was John Etheredge, unmarried man of eighty-four years of age, who had recently died in the same house in which he had lived from his birth. He kept a little shop in which ha sold various small articles of ironmongery, toys for children, marbles, and other petty matters, and also Bibles and religious tracts and books. He expended nine or ten shillings a week upon himself, and devoted all the rest of his profit! to works of piety and humanity. Among other ways of doing good, he used to go out a little before church-time, and if he saw a man loitering about the strei would get into conversation with him and take him to church, and having fo him a seat would set out to seek for other loiterers. Thus lived John Ethere< to whom these honours were shown. A monument to his memory either erected by public subscription, or is about to be, in the churchyard of the tow.
How much good might be done by one man, whose heart is set upon doingifc and how he is honoured!
Christians, these examples speak to you. What are you doing to save the souls of your fellow-creatures? Now here is a most effectual way of doing good —inducing people who neglect public worship to attend the house of God. Ill other ways of usefulness are omitted in this tract, not because they are unimportant, but because its design is to fix your attention upon this one.
Do consider the need of such exertions. How awful is the neglect of tie house of God. In the town of the writer there are 270,000 inhabitants; ol these there are never more than 40,000 at one time, exclusive of Sunday-school children, hearing the preaching of the Gospel whereby they may be sated. Dreadful idea! Souls are perishing all around you by myriads, going down to the pit within sight of the Cross of Christ, and under the very sound of salvation! Dying eternally at your very doors! Care you nothing for this widesweeping ruin before your eyes; this torrent of perdition rolling down yo* streets P Where is your zeal for God? Where is your sympathy with Christf Where is your concern for your fellow-oreatures, if you will not give yourselves] a little trouble to pluck some of these sinners, as brands from the burning? It was the reproach which an infidel cast upon your lukewarmness when he said^ "Christians, if they are not the most inhuman people in the world, cannoS believe what they profess, that men without repentance and faith must perish eternally, or they would be more earnest in endeavouring to save them. If I believed what they profess to do, I should scarcely cease day or night to want them of the wrath to come." Let the reproach enter into your souls, and rousa, you to action. You need not ask what you can do. These pages tell you what you can do; you can go out on a Sabbath-day and search for the neglectors ol public worship and take them to the house of God.
But who shall do it P Who? You, young man, who have health and strength, who have courage, who have no claims of a family to keep you at home. Bn especially you of the working classes of society. Here is a way of doing gooi great good, by you. Here are means of saving souls placed within your reach. You have not much money to give, and are sometimes ready to suppose that very little opportunity is afforded to you for doing good. But here is a means pf usefulness more entirely within your reach than that of the rich. You h»Ti, i readier access to each other and each other's homes than they have. No feeling of shame or ceremony need keep you from calling on a neighbour for this purpose. There are greater multitudes of your condition and station than of theirs who are living in the neglect of public worship. In regard to this method )f doing good, we are ready to say, "Happy poor! favoured members of the arger if the humbler class; value and improve your privilege." Females here, rithout any violation of propriety, may be useful. Remember what has been •ecorded of the poor woman who was the means of saving five souls by bringing hem under the sound of the word. Why, you may perhaps lead the inhabitants if a whole court, or half a street, to attend the house of God.
Do you ask how you should do it? I answer, heartily, as if you delighted in the work; kindly, not reproachfully or with scolding, but making the objects of your solicitude feel that you love them; prayerfully, looking up to God for the help and blessing of his Holy Spirit; and adding to your efforts the power and persuasive of a holy and consistent example.
Do consider how many inducements there are to undertake this business. It a lawful work. You have a warrant for it. Yea, it is your duty. "Let him hat heareth say, Come" (Sev. xxii. 17). Not merely him that preacheth, but rim that heareth. It is easy work, requiring neither wealth, nor rank, nor great alents. It is welcome work to the objects of it. One young man said, with surprise and gratitude to the person who invited him, "No one ever invited me Wore." He complied, and exchanged the public-house for a place of worship. It is pleasant work. How delightful to see a person listening to the sound of salvation brought by you; to mark his fixed attention; to see the tear of penitence in his eye, the smile of peace upon his countenance, and the change in ill his conduct. It is hopeful work. Turn back to the instances mentioned at the commencement of this tract. You will be sure to do good. Now, read the *ords of the Apostle :—" If any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him, let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins" (James v. 19, '20). Wondrous words! Glorious event! Save a soul from death! A greater wrk than saving a thousand bodies from death! A work which, whenever it is done, fills all heaven with new joy, for the angels rejoice over one sinner that repenteth. Oh, have you holy ambition? Here is room for it. By bringing persons under the sound of the Gospel, you may be the means of setting all heaven rejoicing with new delight, and filling eternity with the praises of your fellow-creatures, and adding to the happiness of your own soul through everluting ages!
BT THE KEY. S. S. PTJQH.
And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people, as a il ■"'ennpou tne grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of
^wnrcoss differ so widely as to the exact Pjaon of this prophecy, that I cannot do P* than suggest what maybe its probable *'pretation. Some parts of it very eviPBj refer to an anticipated oppression of J Israelites by their enemies, and to a ***>& of captivity amongst them. If the TMmi» |», as is most probable, to the ■J wptivity, the interpretation of these "v* » obviouB, and also deeply interest
dew from the Lord, as the "men.'*—Micah v, 7. •
ing, as showing in what way the Jew was made to be, what he ought from the first to' have been, a power for good, a witness for the truth among the nations of the earth.
The book of Daniel clearly shows us how he was so in the days of the captivity.1 Men like Daniel and his companions, who on account of their talent and integritywere raised to offices of importance in the State, and who, when there, maintained
faithfully their allegiance to Jehovah—who by these means vindicated his honour and tore testimony for him amongst the heathen, and whose holy and noble lives exercised an influence for good upon all those with whom they came in contact—these were among the people "as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass," refreshing, fertilizing, helping thus the development of the fruits of righteousness in them.
This, I confess, seems to me the most obvious and direct meaning. It fulfils the idea of the passage, and avoids the difficulties which arise if we oonsider the prophecy as relating to a time still to come. At the same time, it may have that meaning: it may refer to the time of which the Apostle speaks, when "the receiving" of the Jews, now scattered among many nations, into the fold of Christ, shall be " life from the dead "; when they again shall be, as some of them were in the first ages of the Church, but in fuller measure than ever before, as a dew from the Lord, the ministers and heralds of that faith which they
But my purpose iti selecting this passage is, to point out what I conceive to be the principle of it, important in all ages, to the Christian as well as to the Jew—yea, to the Christian more than to the Jew, since " to whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required"—the principle that wherever the servants and friends of God dwell, they should, and in proportion as they are faithful will, exercise upon those around them an influence of mercy and blessing. Whether as these Jews of the captivity, exiles in a strange land, or having for a time, for any cause, a residence among strangers, or in the circle of life, small or large, important or insignificant, as it may seem to them, in which God has placed them, wherever they are, wherever their lot is cast, whatever the external condition of their life, this will be true of them, that they will be as the refreshing dew and fertilizing rain, exercising unconsciously and unostentatiously an influence for good, and in doing Bo, "tarrying not for man, nor waiting for the sons of men," having their life and doings regulated not by popular opinion, whether of the Church or the world, but by the Divine life in them.
I. Let us take the fact, prophesied of the Jews, and which ought, therefore, as I have said, in a larger measure to be true of us, that good people, the servants and friends
of God, who are faithful to him, do net wherever they are placed an influence for good.
The conduct of the Jews in the time at, the captivity has been already alluded t< but there is one characteristic of the witn! they then bore for God and his tat which strikingly accords with the suggotion of these words, as to the nature ( that witness. It is this—their calm, mode unobtrusive manner in their adherence what was right. Take, for example, i case of the three Hebrew young recorded in the third chapter of the of Daniel, particularly their reply to king, verses 16-18. What calm, ti courage speaks in every word! lil Luther's, "Here I stand, I can do no ol God help me." Or, again, the caie Daniel himself, recorded in the sir chapter, when he made no difference in conduct because of the peril which envii him, any more than he had before gone of his way to show off his piety, but simp? "kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime." And we mij learn something from this, too—that their firmness was displayed about things ril were worth being firm about, not about trivial things, as if they wanted people to see how consistent they were. Than m no morbid conscientiousness, arising fa"11 over-weening self-consciousness, as *e too often find now-a-days in people 'ho "strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel Unobtrusively, calmly, with a digniH and modest reserve, not seeking publicity, yet, when principle was involved, not shrinking from it, they maintained their allegiance to Jehovah, and won thereby, from the king himself, an acknowledgment of him as the true God.
We must remember, too, to their honour, that the circumstances under which they thus exercised a gracious influence on thou around them were very unfavourable. They were in a strange land, away from the influences of home, of a settled order ol worship, as if we, for example, should fine ourselves prisoners in a land in wbiob. Popery or Mohammedanism prevail
The same principles which guided then there may guide us in all our life. For example, you are many of ydu called to mix with worldly men—men of business, who have no thought beyond the presen life, some of them honourable men, a"1 some evil men—who indulge in sin them Ires, and would be glad to see you do le same. The test of your Christian laracter, your Christian principle, then, ii be found in this—Do you exert a good Juence upon these men? Do they reret jour principles in your honest mainnance of them? Do they feel that your tsence is a rebuke to their sin? Do they el the influence of your example in check-■ that? Do they recognise in your mper, your language, your conduct, in our justice and righteousness, in your entieness and forbearance and charity, in our willingness and readiness for every ct of kindness and generosity; do they see
0 jour very looks and manner, the proof u»t you are living a higher, holier life than bey; so that they are compelled to bear titnesa that in you at least religion is a »1 thing? Or, on the contrary, are they
1 reason of your worldly, selfish, grasping "•position, your hardness and unkindness "id want of charity, your ill-tempers and Mrshnesj and pride, taking up a reproach ■JWst the Gospel you profess from your
Oh! my brethren, it is not only in the jpuse of God and on Sunday we work for TM and speak for him. We are, if we PI truly his, speaking for him in every «ti living for him in every relation of life. J«r looks, our manners, our tempers will iu testify to it: and alas! for us, if the testimony be not for God, not on behalf of lue religion we profess, but, on the contrary, gainst it and him.
Wis do exert, I say, if we are faithful, an nfluencafor good. Men "take knowledge I us that we have been with Jesus," and »! if this is possible, if we may do so (and •eknow we may), how does it call upon B to seek earnestly and faithfully that ■ do not fail of our high calling, that ^rever we are, we may " adorn the docme of God our Saviour in all things "? .Forlet us remember that "none of us "eth to himself." Every day of our lives p influence will be for good or evil on *ose around us, who daily observe our "toons, who come daily into contact with "• All our social relationships bear witgj of this. We are linked together by TMtle chains of affection and habit, and TM electric influence thrills through all Mo are thus united. We are continually giving and giving off influence, contriTM6ug to the power of good or evil in the c'rele in which we live, holping to oreate rae moral atmosphere which surrounds us.
Christian men among their neighbours, Christian masters and mistresses among their servants, Christian servants in their work at home, Christian employers of labour among their workpeople, Christian parents among their children, are all in their several spheres operating upon those with whom they live, influencing their opinions, their modes of thinking and acting, awaying them for good or evil, in favour of religion or against it; perhaps, and how fearfully thus does the responsibility press upon us, helping to form their character and decide their destiny for eternity. We may be to tbem like the refreshing dew and fertilizing rain, helping them, encouraging them by our example, to bring forth the fruits of righteousness; or we may be like the scorching or chilling blast, burning up or freezing out the tender germs of a better life in them. May God help us, Christian brethren, both at home and abroad, more faithfully to consider our responsibility in this matter as to those whom God has placed for the time within the oircle of our influence!
II. Let us endeavour to point out the condition of exercising such a wise and holy influence on those around us; let us ask ourselves what is of chief importance in order to our exerting as Christian men and women a wise and good influence which shall help to shape and direct the lives of others for good?
The answer may be given in one word, ie good. It is what we are, rather than anything we say or do, which will decide what sort of influence we are really exerting. It is the spiritual that shapes the external; it is what we are that shapes for us what we say or do, that decides the nature of those looks, and tones, and slight unconscious actions, which reveal our true character to others, and which exert on influence for good or evil upon many who are unable to analyze that influence, or show in what way and to what extent we have affected them.
Somewhere or other that which we endeavour carefully to conceal from the eyes of men will reveal itself. Somewhere or other what we are really and truly in the sight of God will manifest itself, and decide what our influence on others will be. If, therefore, we would exert an influence on others, we must be not only careful of our outward conduct, how we act and how we speak, sedulously avoiding this thing and that lest we should sin, but