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heart and soul, in prayer and praise. No offering up together the one hallowed sacrifice of supplication and thanksgiving. No walking together to the house of God, as friends in Christ, and fellow-heirs of the same grace,- fellow-anticipants of the same glory. No participating together in communion with a beloved' Redeemer, at the sacramental table; and there feeling that you are one in Christ, not merely for the for ever of time, but the for ever of eternity. No hallowing of all your joys, no soothing of all your sorrows, by the smile of a covenant-God, and the prospect of dwelling together, in His presence, in a heavenly home, for ever and ever. Your domestic happiness all unhallowed by the blessing of your God; –your domestic sorrows all unsoothed by the
consolations of His Spirit !
Child of God, is this the home you are choosing for yourself? Oh! is not this a dark, a dismal prospect,- to reflect that you will not have one joy brightened, one sorrow soothed, by a Saviour's smile ? Can you dare to delight in any joy, so unsanctified ?
How will you be able to bear any sorrow, so unsoothed ?
Were this all, should you not tremble to take the step you meditate ?
But this is not all ! the picture is yet too bright! The shades must be deeper and darker still!
The object of your heart's dearest affections is not a child of God; he must then be,-(if the Bible be true, there is no alternative, he must be a child of Satan! Yes, dreadful thought, the object round whom your every heartstring is entwined, whom you love as another and a dearer self, is an enemy of your God,-a despiser of your Saviour, trampling on that blood of the covenant, in which your sins are washed out,- doing despite to that spirit of grace by which your soul is sanctified. And it will be
ceaseless employment to lavish your love on one, with whom your covenant-God is continually angry, and to minister to the happiness of one, on whom the wrath of the Almighty abideth.
Oh! what a heart-sickening thought for you to cherish, that on the very same object, the smile of your fondest love, and the frown of God's fiercest wrath, continually rest.
Must it not wither and dry up every spring of gladness in your soul, to think that, by all your ministrations to his earthly happiness, you are but scattering flowers in the path that is leading the best-beloved of your heart down into hell ? What agony to feel that you are gladdening him by the smile of your
affection, and cheering him by the music of your voice, on his way to the dwelling-place of despair,-to the blackness of darkness,-to weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, for ever! Is it not enough to shake reason on its throne, to feel that, as each day is drawing the cords of wedded love, which so link him with every thought, and feelirg, and affection, tighter and tighter round your heart, each day is equally bringing the hour nearer, when those cords shall be snapped asunder, by the hand of death, for ever? Ob! what insupportable anguish to be constantly drawn closer to an object, from whom you are, ere long, to be separated for eternity! How,-how,-will you be able to see him part from the morning, when you know not but that, before the evening close, he may be suddenly cut off, without God, without Christ,-without hope; and the next time you may see him, he may be standing among the accursed, at the left hand of Him that sitteth upon the throne, shrinking, in horror and despair, from the burning eye of the Saviour he despised. The next time you hear his voice, it may be calling on the rocks and mountains to hide him from the face of the Lamb. Should be be thus suddenly cut off, or, however long spared, at last taken from you, unchanged, unsaved, who will attempt to speak peace to your widowed heart ?
Where will you turn, in that day of your inconsolable anguish, for one whisper of comfort, one drop of healing balm, to cure a wound, which, with too late repentance, you will feel was self-inflicted, in the hour when you disobeyed the command of God ?
Oh! I cannot bear to dwell longer on the barrowing pic. ture, it is too horrible, even in imagination. Child of God, will you, in defiance of the warning, in disobedience to the authority of your God, run the risk of experiencing the frightful reality of what I have feebly sketched ?
But, perhaps, you will say, you will use, with unwearied assiduity, every affectionate exertion which Christian love can suggest, to win your beloved husband over to Christ. Is the residue of the Spirit then with you? Is the power of chang. ing the heart of a sinner in your hands ? Know you not that this is work for an Almighty arm; that you might as well attempt, in your own strength, to open the eyes of the blind, or raise the dead to life ? But will you pray to be guided, strengthened, and blest, in undertaking the work of bringing about his conversion. Alas, how will your prayers be, as it were, blown back in your face, by the terrifying recollection, that you have undertaken this awfully arduous work, not merely without encouragement from, but in direct disobe. dience to the will and word of God! How then can you bope, how can you almost venture to ask for, His blessing on an undertaking in which you have embarked, in open defiance of His declared command.
If, notwithstanding this agonizing thought, you persevere, but without success, what a crushing weight of woe will press upon your soul, heavy in proportion to the intensity of your love for him you cannot change. If, discouraged by repeated failure, you give up the attempt in despair, what a frightful feeling, to try and reconcile yourself to his being lost for ever. Could a child of God spend a more miserable life, than this horrible alternative must involve ?
I have hitherto adverted only to the influence, which your union with an unconverted character is likely to exercise over your earthly happiness; but I cannot conclude without glancing at the influence it is calculated to have over your own character, in a spiritual point of view—and here, too, the prospect is, indeed, dark and dismal for a child of God.
Let me, then, deal faithfully with you, and ask you, Do you find it so easy to run with patience the race set before you, treading in the very footsteps of your Divine Forerunner, that
you need not fear to encumber yourself with tise heaviest weight that Satan could supply, to retard your progress, if not to prevent you from running the race at all ?
Have your spiritual affections such a tendency to mount upward, such a soaring propensity, that you can safely attach to them the most dangerous clog, the strongest chain, that the God of this world could desire to fasten on them, for the purpose of dragging them down to the earth, and earthly things ?
Do you know or apprehend so little of the desperate deceitfulness of your own heart, as to be willing to entrust its earthly guidance and guardianship into the hands of an enemy of your God; of one,
who will use all his influence over you, (unintentionally, perhaps, in one sense, but not less injuriously,) to wean that heart from the Saviour you supremely love, and fix its affections, absorbingly, and idolatrously, on himself?
Are you so little aware or afraid of the subtlety and power of the tempter, that you are willing to give him access to your inmost thoughts and feelings, through the very channel in which bis temptations will come to you with most seductive fascination; and to provide him with bis most powerful auxiliary, in the person, who of all earthly beings, has, and ought to have, most power over you; and who must, (were it it even unconsciously,) use all that power, as a fellow-labourer with Satan, to accomplish your everlasting destruction, and drag your soul down from God and heaven-Oh! horrible thought-down with himself into hell.
Do you really find it so easy to keep your spiritual graces, hopes, and joys, in a lively and flourishing state, that you
need not fear their being blighted, by being continually breathed upon with the chilling, withering breath of a beloved husband's cold apathy, or cutting scorn, whenever you venture to ex. pose them to his observation or influence
Can you, without trembling for the very existence, not to say increase, of your spirituality of mind and heart, calculate the propable results of constant and close companionship and converse, under the most endearing circumstances, with one, who, so far from sympathizing with you, in all your higher and holier feelings, if you obtrude them on his notice, will either ridicule or reproach you for them ?
Oh! I tremble to think what concessions you may be called upon to make, that you fear are forbidden by that pure and perfect standard, to which you bow with mingled love and veneration, but which the partner of your heart neither reverences nor regards. How many things may be required from you, as proofs of your love and devotedness to him, from which the sensitive purity of the Christian character must instinctively shrink? How many companions unsuited to your renewed tastes, unfavourable to your religious progress, may you be compelled to associate with ? How much conversation, to which you cannot listen without a shudder, may you be doomed to hear from the lips of the being you love best on earth ?
If you venture to expostulate, what constant altercation! If you listen, without one faithful expression of disapprobation, what a consciousness of guilty--whatagonizing upbraidings from the monitor withio! And mark one melancholy feature of aggravation, that will attend your bitter trial.
In all your torturing conflict between your desire to gratify your husband, and your dread of offending your God; in all your fearsul struggles between your duty to him, whom of all earthly beings you are bound to love and honour most, and your higher duty to Him, whom you are bound to love and honour immeasurably more; in all your perplexing solicitude to discover how far you can carry concession to a husband's wishes, compatibly with obedience to a Saviour's claims ; in all this dreadful martyrdom of feeling, you will be continually haunted, and all your sorrows a thousand-fold deepened and embittered, by the
stinging reflection, that the poisoned ingredients in your cup of trial have all been of your own mingling; that the fiery furnace through which you are passing, has been of your own kindling; and how, then, will you feel courage to ask a Saviour with
you through it, and bring you unhurt through its scorching flames; and yet, if He does not go with you through the furnace, how,-oh!-how will you be able, unsupported by Him, to bear its intolerable heat ?
To impress you with a yet deeper sense of the danger to your spiritual interests, in which such a union as you contemplate will involve you, just look somewhat more closely on one or two points of perplexity, by which you will be embarrassed, if once you plunge into the trial, against which your God has solemnly warned you.
Your husban.), not viewing objects in the light of eternity, or weighing them in the balance of the sanctuary, will see no objection to worldly society, and worldly amusements,—the concert, the ball-room, or the theatre. How will you act, in regard to these things? Even suppose he does not require, but only requests you, to accompany bim, how will you decide? Will you refuse, and allow him to go alone into these ensnaring scenes, without even the kind of protection which your presence might throw round him; and will you thus lead him to make ihe dangerous discovery, that he must look for, and can find happiness, in scenes and society you will not share ? What may be the consequences of this discovery ? Will you run the risk of having even your domestic happiness destroyed; his faith. fulness alienated from you; his affections estranged; and his heart wandering abroad in search of that enjoyment, which he once found at home ?
Will you, then, from fear of this result, accompany him into scenes which you believe Scripture condemns? What may be the consequences of this concession to yourself? Oh! can you think, without terror, of the results that may follow from your breathing the pestilential atmosphere of the world, while conscious that you carry about, within your own soul, a fearful susceptibility of infection, and not certain that you will be protected by those preserving influences from above, which can alone enable à believer to breathe, with safety, such a contagious atmosphere; but which a believer can only hope for, wbile exposed to the danger of contamination, in the path of duty, and will you be able to feel assured you are treading in that path ?
Alas! alas ! how may you find that the lamp of spiritual