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How long shall we require for that preparation? Have we ever asked ourselves this question? Ought not the whole of our life to be a preparation for death? Does not God require us to love and serve Him all the days of our life? If we neglect this service while in strength and health, will he accept a few hurried prayers at the last? Faith and holiness are the conditions upon which it has pleased Him to offer us the gift of eternal life, and can faith and holiness be obtained without earnest and constant prayer, without trials and chastisements, without watchfulness and self-denial ? Be assured the work of preparation is a slow work, not the work of an hour, nor yet of a day, but of many long years. Bad habits must be overcome--good habits must be formed the heart must be purified, the temper subdued; we must not only cease to do evil, we must learn to do well. It does not consist in the cultivation of one virtue, or the attainment of one grace, but in the possession of that heavenly frame of mind which is the result of an earnest and constant endeavour to obtain all virtues and graces, under the blessed teaching of God's Holy Spirit. This alone can bring a man peace at the last. But this is a work that requires patience and perseverance, and therefore our Saviour exhorts those who seek to follow Him, to imitate the children of this world, who when they desire to build a tower, sit down first and count the cost, whether they have enough to finish it. And St. Paul exhorts the Corinthian converts to imitate those who were eager to gain the prizes given in their earthly games; these competitors did not enter the lists without much preparation; they went through long and painful training, bringing their bodies under, and exercising habits of self-denial and abstinence, to which at other times they are unaccustomed, and in this they are an example to us. What they did to obtain an earthly perishable reward, we must do to gain the high prize of our Christian calling; our bodies must be disciplined, our hearts trained to run steadily in the race that is set before us, and it is only by the continual exercise of watchfulness and self-denial, that we shall be so prepared.

How is it in the common affairs of this life? Why do we think it well to decide early upon the future business or profession of our children? Why is it a point of consequence to know if a boy at eight years old is to be a tailor or a carpenter, a soldier or a sailor? Simply, because it is a great advantage that he should, from the first, be trained in those habits, and be taught those things, which in his future life he will be required to practise. We are quite right in considering it a point of consequence; for it is the best means of ensuring our boy's success, in whatever line of life he is to be placed. The disadvantage of not doing so, is clearly shown in the case of those, who from some unforeseen circumstances, are obliged in after life to change their occupation. Let the man, who has all his life been used to handle the plane and the chisel be given the tailor's shears, and be set to make clothes, will he succeed ? No; yet in all probability had he been from the first taught to use the shears instead of the plane and the chisel, he would have been just as awkward in a carpenter's shop as he now is at the tailor's board. It is the early habit, the long practice, that is wanted. Shall we then take so much pains to learn earthly things, and expect spiritual and heavenly things to be obtained without pains or attention ?

I will here anticipate one objection, which will be made by the idle and negligent; they will say, in the case of earthly occupation and worldly professions, we depend upon our own skill and activity; but in the case of spiritual attainments, it is God that must do the work, and not we, for we can do nothing of ourselves. This sounds plausible; but in neither instance is the statement correct. David says,

David says, “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep." In our worldly occupations, our great dependence should

i Ps. cxxvii. 1, 2.

be on God's blessing; without that all our endeavours may prove useless; with that we cannot fail. In our spiritual concerns God has promised, indeed, to help us, and without Him we can do nothing; but how has He engaged to help us? By a blessing upon our endeavours ; “ Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and ye shall find: knock, and it shall be opened unto you'. Who was it that was cast out from the marriage supper? He who had neglected to procure a wedding garment. Those garments, according to Jewish custom, were given to the guests by the bridegroom, when they applied for them; but the man who was too negligent to make this application, was cast out altogether! What had the servant done who was called an unprofitable servant, and cast into outer darkness? He had neglected to improve the gift which his Master had given to him. What reason have we, then, to expect a reward, if we will not take the pains to make the preparation He has desired, in order to receiving the reward. Do these considerations fail to rouse us? Let us take another view of this important subject. Let us ask, What our own experience teaches us? Let us look back on the past year-let us call to mind the death-bed scenes of those who have been taken from us—is there any one among them whose latter end we can contemplate with pleasure, while we pray,

“ Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my latter end be like his.” Do we admire the faith which we beheld burning brighter and brighter as the feeble lamp of life was glimmering in the socket? Do we wonder at the patience which bore all the extremity of pain and suffering without one impatient murmur? Do we envy the joyful hope which kept the mind not only easy, but cheerful? What, then, was the history of this pious saint? Had he been negligent and careless of his religious duties? Had he lived without God in the world, and now for the first time looked to Him for comfort? No, no; we shall a hear of a life of watchfulness and self-denial ; unnoticed,

1 Matt. vii. 7.

perhaps, by the world, but producing continual and daily fruit. We shall hear of a diligent attendance at church-of honesty and punctuality in business of acts of kindness among his neighbours. We shall find that such a death-bed was the close of a life of faith and holiness.

And we may probably verify, in the same manner, but sadly, the other side of the picture. Were we called upon to watch the agony of despair-to listen to the fearful expressions of remorse-to the exhortations of God's minister endeavouring to rouse the dying sinner to repent even at the eleventh hour, and utter one last cry for mercy to his offended God?

Need I inquire, what the life of this man had been? Let us rather take care that we do not follow in his steps, if we do not wish to be like him at last, lest that awful question apply to us, “What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death."

Death must come at last to all : he will come either as the King of Terrors, or as the Messenger of Peace; and now is the time for us to consider in which character we desire that he should visit us ! The sting of death is sin;". there is no doubt of this. What makes a deathbed terrible? Is it not the fear of eternal punishment, the dread of meeting an offended Judge? Will not the terror be changed into peace and joy, if, instead of an offended Judge, we can look forward to perfect rest in the arms of a loving Father; to meeting face to face that blessed Master, whom we have been striving to serve all the days of our life? to being joyfully recognized and welcomed as a good and faithful servant? Oh, surely, in such a case we shall sing, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus.”

Let us, then, pray God, in the words of our beautiful Collect, “Give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when He shall come again in his glorious majesty, to judge both the quick and dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through Him who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen."

E. A.

THE NEW CHURCH.

THE CONSECRATION.

conse

We are constantly hearing of churches being crated" in different parts of the country, and perhaps we too little regard the meaning of the word consecration; —and if we think of such churches at all, it is too often merely of the style of the architecture, and of the taste displayed in the ornamental parts of the building. Now my desire is to bring the mind to more serious consideration; so that at all times, and especially whenever the letter of our most gracious Queen may hereafter be read k in our churches for the Church Building Society, all who read these few remarks may be led to pray for a blessing upon the exertions made; and whenever they hear of a church being “consecrated," they may remember the meaning of the word, which is, -- "The setting apart a building for holy uses by the bishop of the diocese. I know the best way to make persons remember, is to interest them, to gain their attention if possible, by presenting something, upon which to fix the mind. And what should rivet the attention so much as a narrative of simple truth and fact? I shall, therefore, proceed to lay before you some account of the consecration of a church, which I myself attended,—and in some future number of this Magazine, may communicate some of the blessed effects resulting from that truly Scriptural and beautiful service.

My home, some twenty years ago, was in a large manufacturing district in W

The village in which I lived contained at that time about 3000 inhabitants, and the post-town 8000. There were also two hamlets in the latter parish,-one with a population of 1700 immortal souls; the population of the other hamlet I cannot at this moment exactly state. All these places nearly joined. Up to about the year 1824, there had been only one church in the post-town alluded to, and the two hamlets had no place of worship at all in

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