Thursday, January 29, 2009

One Thing Missing in Heaven

This is a repost from 11/26/08. I haven't had much time to create new posts with the Spring semester and my hospital rotations so I figured I'd repost a few of my favorites until I can put up some new ones. This one is particularly important to me.

Heaven, we cannot begin to comprehend what it is like. There will be joys unspeakable.

Revelation 21:4-5, "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Then He who sat on the throne said, 'Behold I make all things new.' And He said to me, 'Write, for these words are true and faithful.'"

1 Corinthians 2:9, "But as it is written: 'Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.'"

Yet, though we cannot even imagine all the wonderful things our Father has in store for us, there will be one good thing we cannot do in heaven: Lead souls to Christ. (I heard that on 3abn)

That privilege is only available to us right now, while we await His coming. How terribly sad if we waste this one opportunity to draw near to Christ in a way that we shall never be able to again, namely, to participate with Him in His work, to be co-laborers with Him.

How sorrowful we'll be if we miss out on the joy of seeing a person's very soul saved from destruction because they chose to believe in Christ, whom we, through His power, led them to.

Shouldn't evangelism should be every Christian's top priority. Shouldn't we think of the great need of others before our own needs? I'm saying this to myself as much as anyone, because I have been woefully ineffective at uplifting Christ in my daily conversations with unbelievers.

Christ commanded in Mark 16:15-16, "And He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every living creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.'"

Sometimes we feel like we're not good enough to witness, not "Christian" enough to spread the Gospel. When Christ commanded His disciples to preach to all the world, were they perfect? No way, and far from it! They had all just fled from Jesus and then, after He was crucified, thought all their hope was gone. Peter had just denied Christ 3 times, and was still prejudice against anyone who wasn't a Jew! Thomas wouldn't even believe Christ had risen until he saw Him with his own eyes!

I think the problem is that we think that we're doing the work of spreading the Gospel, when, in fact, it is Christ working through us to plant seeds. Then the Holy Spirit causes that seed to take root in a person's mind and grow until it bears fruit. We are only tools. As broken as we may be, if we will surrender our heart to Christ, He is able to use us. So let's try not to get hung up on if we feel worthy enough to evangelize. Just do it and trust the results to God.

So let's pass out Bible studies door-to-door, or leave them at the Dr.'s Office or at work, or let's mention to anyone we talk to how great God has been in our lives, how much He's done for us in spite of our failure and mistakes. Let God's praise be continually on our lips. Let's lend Christian movies to friends and family. Most importantly, let us make unceasing intercessory prayer for those around us. :-)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Loving Our Enemies?

According to the Bible, Christians only have four options available for how we treat those who dislike us, disagree with us, or flat-out attack us:

Matthew 5:44-45, "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust."

So, according to Christ, we can only: love them, bless them, do good to them and pray for them. And notice that it's not a suggestion, it's a command. Christ is not asking us to love our enemies, He's telling us to. Are we keeping within those four boundaries when it comes to dealing with those we don't get along with?

That was a thought that I heard from a preacher called T. Marshall Kelly. I thought it was a pretty profound Christian concept and it made me think about my own struggling Christian walk. I am trying to concentrate on one thing at a time in my quest to return to the Way.

I am most certainly found guilty of not treating nicely or thinking nicely about those I don't get along with. Don't you find yourself sometimes harboring little grudges toward someone for hurting you in some way? Perhaps by wounding your pride? Boy I tell ya, try doing a Bible study on pride sometime, you'll be amazed at how sternly God condemns pride. Pride seems to be directly linked to "self". When self rises up inside us, we stop thinking about others and concentrate on ourselves. We stop trying to understand others, and try to make them understand us.

Let's take a quick look at another scripture I thought went along well with this practical application of loving our enemies idea:

James 2:1-4, "My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or, “Sit here at my footstool,” have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?"

Now, showing partiality is not something that only happens between the rich and the poor? It also happens between those who differ in doctrines. Between those who differ in lifestyle. Even between those who differ politcally. Don't we also show partiality in favor of those we are friends with? Don't we give preference to those with whom we agree and socialize? Let's say you decide to have a Bible study at your house. Would you invite even those people that you dislike, or that dislike you? Those people with which you've argued on various matters? Those people to whom you give only a polite smile when passing each other in Church? Do you invite everyone or do you show partiality?

Imagine you're at a church potluck after the sermon and there is only one spot left at the table at which you're eating. In fact, imagine it's the only spot left in the entire room. A man with which you've always butted heads walks up and akwardly asks,

"Is this seat taken?"

But just then, walking toward the table smiling, you spot your best friend! You reply to man who asked to sit down,

"Yes, sorry. I'm saving this seat for my friend. Here he comes now."

Then your friend walks up and you usher him into the seat and share a wonderful meal and conversation.

What you didn't notice was that since you didn't let that man sit down, he wandered around for a few seconds looking for an open seat, and finding none he stood against the wall to eat his food alone; the whole time hoping no one noticed and feeling the sting of rejection from those who were supposed to be brothers and sisters in Christ.

It's the little scenarios like these that Christians should be especially aware of. If someone doesn't have a seat, get up and give them yours! If someone doesn't have food, share yours! If someone looks lost, show them the way. It's by caring for those around us that we truly show people the Way.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

27 Bible Studies

I just finished posting the first 14 Bible studies in a set of 27 on a new blog I made specifically for the purpose of posting these Bible studies. Check them out at!

The quizzes at the bottom of each study are pretty fun, too.

Lately I've been downloading as many sermons onto my new ipod as possible. Mostly from Dr. Derek Morris, one of my favorite preachers. He does this whole course called the "Life and Teachings of Jesus". Very interesting information I have never heard before...awesome things about the history of the Jewish nation just before Christ was born, the different sects (like the Pharisees, Sadducees, Zealots, etc.), the monetary systems, the different personalities of the disciples (very funny at times), etc. Probably the most comprehensive and well-balanced study on the Life and Teachings of Jesus I have ever come across. What a tremendous blessing! I eagerly anticipate each new lecture as it's downloaded.

I'd HIGHLY recommend either watching or listening to the series for free at the Forest Lake Church website! If you have high-speed, I'd encourage you to actually watch the lectures, because some of his visual aids (such as ones pertaining to traditional Jewish garb) are pretty funny too.

Above all, keep studying God's Word and letting me know what you've found!

Friday, January 16, 2009

I'm Back

Hi everyone! I just got back from doing a week of rotations in a NICU at a hospital in Oregon. It was a very good learning experience as I was able to see 7 or 8 C-Sections and observe and participate in the respiratory care and resuscitation of a lot of newborns. Thank you for all the comments on the messages I set up to post automatically while I was away.

Where is the Power?

What do you think about the following statements?

"Prayer is not powerful...God is powerful. The power is not in the prayer, it's in the God we pray to."

"Faith does not move mountains...God moves mountains. It's not faith in faith, it's faith in God."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Two Extremes

There are generally two extremes that people have a tendency to swing to for Bible study:

1) Taking all Scripture only at face value, only literally, and oftentimes missing the spiritual significance, or application, of certain passages.

2) Taking all Scripture to be speaking only in spiritual language, only metaphors and parables designed to teach truths, but not to be taken literally.

The Bible teaches that we must "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15)

We must understand that the Bible is a literal book. God made men accurately record the history of the Earth and, especially, His chosen people. Many discount the factual accounts in the Bible and thus begin to believe man-made theories such as evolution, or discounting the fact that God really did destroy the entire world with a flood, and made the sun stand still, and made a virgin conceive His Son. This mistake of taking the Bible only on a spiritual level can also lead us to disobey God's commandments. One example of this is that God created the Earth in 6 literal days and created the Sabbath on the 7th day. He intends for us to literally keep the Sabbath holy (4th Commandment, Exodus 20:8-11).

We must also understand that the Bible contains many spiritual truths as well. "But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:14) If we take the Bible only literally, we'll soon be cutting off our hands and plucking out our eyes, or continuing to sacrifice lambs for our sins. We must understand the spiritual significance of things such as the animal sacrifices in the Old Testament, as well as the spiritual significance of the annual holy days such as Passover, Pentecost, the Day of Atonement, Feast of Tabernacles, Feast of Trumpets, and others. These all have have deeper meaning when looked at spiritually. One of the most edifying studies I think you can do is a study of the Old Testament holy days. They all point very powerfully and clearly to Jesus Christ and His plan of salvation. Jesus touched on the spiritual nature of the Ten Commandments when He revealed that to hate is breaking the commandment against murdering, and to look lustfully is breaking the commandment against committing adultery. He clearly identified the fact that in addition to the letter of the law, there is the spirit of the law.

As with most things, the truth is found somewhere between the two extremes. The Bible is a book of both literal and spiritual truth. Many times the same passage of Scripture is both literal and spiritual. Let's keep studying our Bible and digging deeper into the Word, ever finding more precious truths.

God bless you and keep you!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Principles of Bible Study

Let the Holy Spirit be your guide.

"However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth" (John 16:13) We should always pray before we begin studying the Bible. Something like, "Dear Lord, open my mind to see what you have in your Word."

Come to the Bible with the spirit of a child.

"You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes" (Matthew 11:25) Don't come to the Bible to prove your own ideas or prove other people wrong. Pray something like, "Lord, I'm coming to you today, not to superimpose my will on the text, but I'm coming to you so you can speak to me through your Word."

Let the Bible interpret itself.

Let clear Scriptures interpret unclear ones. "Whom will he teach knowledge? And whom will he make to understand the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just drawn from the breasts? For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little" (Isaiah 28:9-10)

Build no doctrine on just one or two verses. Get all the Bible verses on a subject. Remember the fence post principle.

With just one fence post, you have no idea which way the fence is going to go. With two, you have a line and get a clearer picture. When you get 10, 20, 30 fence posts, there is absolutely no doubt where that fence is pointing, then you have clear truth. Each Bible text on a subject is a fence post, you must look at all of them together to get the clearest picture of where the fence points. (see Isaiah 28:9-10)

Use the right tools.

Every good Bible student should have a concordance. One example is Strong's Exhaustive Concordance. A commentary can be helpful, but always remember it is only the opinion of a man (or woman). If you come across something in a commentary that is out of line with Scripture, the Bible gives advice: "Cease listening to instruction, my son, that will lead you to stray from the words of knowledge" (Proverbs 19:27)

One helpful tool while studying the Bible is an idea from Mark Finley. He uses the acronym VIM. As in, "study the Bible with vim and vigor."
"V" stands for visualization. As you read the stories in the Bible, visualize them in your head, try to paint a vivid picture in your mind of what is going on.
"I" is for identification. What would it have been like if I was one of the characters in the story. What would I be thinking or feeling, hearing or seeing.
"M" stands for meditation. Really think about what the story means. What truths can we learn from the story, and how can I apply it to my life.

Be willing to follow whatever God reveals to you.

"If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority" (John 7:17)

Some of these ideas are from Shawn Boonstra's booklet, The Sword of the Spirit, thanks to It Is Written.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


I think it's kind of funny that there are those in other churches who think of Adventists as "sheep-stealers," because such a large portion of those who become Adventists come from other churches. But I don't think you can blame an Evangelist for simply teaching Bible truth. If they want to be mad at someone, they'd have to be mad at God. For He is the author of the Bible and it's truths, not the Evangelists who proclaim it.

I heard a Pastor tell a story once that went something like this:

One day a Pastor from another church came up to me and said, "Stop giving Mr. and Mrs. Smith Bible studies! They are my members!"

To this I replied, "With all due respect, as long as they continue asking for Bible studies, I will give them."

This really made the other Pastor mad. He said, "Oh yeah? Well maybe I'll start giving Bible studies to your members!"

I just smiled and answered, "That's certainly OK with me."

So this Pastor started giving Bible studies to a couple from my congregation. A few weeks later I ran into him again and asked, "How are the Bible studies going?"

"We're not having the Bible studies anymore." He replied.

"Why not?" I inquired.

He answered sheepishly, "Your members know their Bibles too well."

And so it is, if we build our house on the Rock, though the rain falls and the wind blows, yet your house will stand.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Strife and Fighting

I don't like fighting, yet I am naturally a fighter. I don't like arguing, yet I am naturally a debater. A spirit of contention is so contrary to Christ's will for our lives. Even, and especially, in regard to Bible truth, I find myself fighting and arguing. It shouldn't be so! Who am I that I should defend God? It's like a flea trying to defend a lion! My attitude should simply be one of submission to Jesus as Lord and Saviour.

Philippians 2:3-8, "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself." Here is the heart of the matter. If I argue against someone, even regarding truth, am I not placing myself above them? I can present truth, but when presenting truth turns into contending about truth, I need to turn my eyes back to Christ. "Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross."

Galatians 5:22-26, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." Notice the fruit of the Spirit is not compelling others to obey God, nor is it arguing skillfully for truth. "And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." If we esteem ourselves better than others, is that not a clear manifestation of our uncrucified flesh rising up? "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another."

It is my intention to bear fruit, not to force truth on others. The question is, "How am I to bear fruit? Am I to try with all my strength?" Christ, in His last discourse with His disciples before being crucified, revealed the secret to bearing fruit.

After the last supper, while on the way from the Upper Room to the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ said, "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. ... Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." (John 15:1, 4-5)

So we see it's only be abiding in Him that we bear fruit. But how do we abide in Him? What does it mean to abide in Him? That's the million dollar question. Luckily, Jesus gave us some clues. In verse 9 He says, "As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love." So we see some connection between abiding and love. So how do we abide in His love? Well, in verse 10 He answers that clearly, "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in His love." OK, so to abide in His love we follow His commandments...but what are His commandments? In verse 12 He lets us know, "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you." To make sure we get it, He says again in verse 17, "These things I command you, that you love one another."

Christ mentioned "abiding" 10 times in 7 verses (4-10). This is obviously something we should spend much time contemplating. He mentions us abiding in Him, Him abiding in us, His words abiding in us, us abiding in His love as He abides in His Father's love.

I have a tendency to wander during these posts and studies. But my point was something about how we should treat each other, how we should talk to each other. I guess, like everything else, it all boils down to love.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I'll Be Gone

Hi everyone! I just want to let you all know that I'll be gone for about a week, but I have written a few posts that will be published automatically every 2 days at 8am. I look forward to hearing from you all again next week. :-)

God bless you and keep you.

How Hard Do We Have It?

Sometimes I'm tempted to think that it would be so much easier to follow Christ if I was living during the time of the Apostles. A time when God was working so powerfully in the Church. A time when I could mingle with such people as Paul, Peter, John, Luke, Timothy, and the rest. Yet as I read the following verses, I am reminded that there were times, and there are places still today, where followers of Christ endured much persecution.

A Sobering Passage

2 Corinthians 11:24-28, "From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness - besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches."

Just a few verses later, though, Paul gives us hope.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10, "And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Being Content

Philippians 4:11-13, "Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Hebrews 13:5, "Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'"

No matter what we're going through, we should be comforted with the knowledge that He is with us. This old world isn't our home...we are just passing through.

Just something to think about. :-)

God bless you and keep you - wherever you are. ;-)

Monday, January 5, 2009

This Could Be You...

This is a story I read during my conversion to Christianity, some 4 years ago. It had a profound impact on the way I viewed my responsibility to God. It is a solemn warning for all Christians. Read it once, twice, three times. Read it slowly, read it fast. Think long and hard about it.

Penitens was a busy, notable tradesman, and very prosperous in his dealings, but died in the thirty-fifth year of his age. A little before his death, when the doctors had given him over, some of his neighbors came one evening to see him, at which time he spake thus to them-

"I see, my friends, the tender concern you have for me by the grief that appears in your countenances, and I know the thoughts that you now have about me. You think how melancholy a case it is to see so young a man, and in such flourishing business, delivered up to death. And perhaps, had I visited any of you in my condition, I should have had the same thoughts of you. But now, my friends, my thoughts are no more like your thoughts than my condition is like yours."

"It is no trouble to me now to think that I am to die young, or before I have raised an estate. These things are now sunk into such mere nothings that I have no name little enough to call them by. For if in a few days or hours, I am to leave this carcase to be buried in the earth, and to find myself either forever happy in the favor of God, or eternally separated from all light and peace, can any words sufficiently express the littleness of everything else?"

"Is there any dream like the dream of life which amuses us with the neglect and disregard of these things? Is there any folly like the folly of our manly state which is too wise and busy to be at leisure for these reflections?"

"When we consider death as a misery, we only think of it as a miserable separation from the enjoyments of this life. We seldom mourn over an old man that dies rich, but we lament the young that are taken away in the progress of their fortune. You yourselves look upon me with pity, not that I am going unprepared to meet the judge of quick and dead, but that I am to leave a prosperous trade in the flower of my life."

"This is the wisdom of our manly thoughts. And yet what folly of the silliest children is so great as this?"

"For what is there miserable or dreadful in death, but the consequences of it? When a man is dead, what does anything signify to him, but the state he is then in?"

"Our poor friend Lepidus died, you know, as he was dressing himself for a feast; do you think it is now part of his trouble that he did not live till that entertainment was over? Feasts and business and pleasures and enjoyments seem great things to us whilst we think of nothing else; but as soon as we add death to them, they all sink into an equal littleness; and the soul that is separated from the body no more laments the loss of business than the losing of a feast."

"If I am now going into the joys of God, could there be any reason to grieve that this happened to me before I was forty years of age? Could it be a sad thing to go to Heaven before I had made a few more bargains, or stood a little longer behind a counter?"

"And if I am to go amongst lost spirits, could there be any reason to be content that this did not happen to me till I was old and full of riches?"

"If good angels were ready to receive my soul, could it be any grief to me that I was dying upon a poor bed in a garret?"

"And if God had delivered me up to evil spirits, to be dragged by them to places of torments, could it be any comfort to me that they found me upon a bed of state?"

"When you are as near death as I am, you will know that all the different states of life, whether of youth or age, riches or poverty, greatness or meanness, signify no more to you than whether you die in a poor or stately apartment."

"The greatness of those things which follow death makes all that goes before it sink into nothing. Now that judgment is the next thing that I look for, and everlasting happiness or misery is come so near me, all the enjoyments and prosperities of life seem as vain and insignificant, and to have no more to do with my happiness than the clothes that I wore before I could speak."

"But, my friends, how am I surprised that I have not always had these thoughts? For what is there in the terrors of death, in the vanities of life, or the necessities of piety, but what I might have as easily and fully seen in any part of my life?"

"What a strange thing is it that a little health or the poor business of a shop should keep us so senseless of these great things that are coming so fast upon us!"

"Just as you came into my chamber, I was thinking with myself what numbers of souls there are now in the world in my condition at this very time, surprised with a summons to the other world; some taken from their shops and farms, others from their sports and pleasures, these at suits at law, those at gaming tables, some on the road, others at their own firesides, and all seized at an hour when they thought nothing of it, frighted at the approach of death, confounded at the vanity of all their labors, designs, and projects, astonished at the folly of their past lives and not knowing which way to turn their thoughts to find any comfort. Their consciences flying in their faces, bringing all their sins to their remembrance, tormenting them with deepest convictions of their own folly, presenting them with the sight of the angry Judge, the worm that never dies, the fire that is never quenched, the gates of Hell, the powers of darkness, and the bitter pains of eternal death."

"Oh my friends! bless God that you are not of this number, that you have time and strength to employ yourselves in such works of piety as may bring you peace at the last."

"And take this along with you, that there is nothing but a life of great piety, or a death of great stupidity, that can keep off these apprehensions."

"Had I now a thousand worlds, I would give them all for one year more, that I might present unto God one year of such devotion and good works as I never before so much as intended."

"You perhaps, when you consider that I have lived free from scandal and debauchery and in the communion of the church, wonder to see me so full of remorse and self-condemnation at the approach of death."

"But alas! what a poor thing is it to have lived only free from murder, theft, and adultery, which is all that I can say of myself."

"You know, indeed, that I have never been reckoned a sot, but you are, at the same time, witnesses, and have been frequent companions of my intemperance, sensuality, and great indulgence. And if I am now going to a judgement, where nothing will be rewarded but good works, I may well be concerned, that though I am no sot, yet I have no Christian sobriety to plead for me."

"It is true, I have lived in the communion of the Church, and generally frequented its worship and service on Sundays, when I was neither too idle, or not otherwise disposed of by my business and pleasures. But, then, my conformity to the public worship has been rather a thing of course, than any real intention of doing that which the service of the Church supposes: had it not been so, I had been oftener at Church, more devout when there, and more fearful of ever neglecting it."

"But the thing that now surprises me above all wonders is this, that I never had so much as a general intention of living -up to the piety of the Gospel. This never so much as entered into my bead or my heart. I never once in my life considered whether I was living as the laws of religion direct, or whether my way of life was such, as would procure me the mercy of God at this hour."

"And can it be thought that I have kept the Gospel terms of salvation, without ever so much as intending, in any serious and deliberate manner, either to know them, or keep them? Can it be thought that I have pleased God with such a life as He requires, though I have lived without ever considering what He requires, or bow much I have performed? How easy a thing would salvation be, if it could fall into my careless hands, who have never had so much serious thoughts about it, as about any one common bargain that I have made."

"In the business of life I have used prudence and reflection. I have done every thing by rules and methods. I have been glad to converse with men of experience and judgement to find out the reasons why some fail, and others succeed in any business. I have taken no step in trade but with great care and caution, considering every advantage or danger that attended it. I have always had my eye upon the main end of business, and have studied all the ways and means of being a gainer by all that I undertook."

"But what is the reason that I have brought none of these tempers to religion? What is the reason that I, who have so often talked of the necessity of rules, and methods, and diligence, in worldly business, have all this while never once thought of any rules, or methods, or managements, to carry me on in a life of piety?"

"Do you think any thing can astonish and confound a dying man like this? What pain do you think a man must feel, when his conscience lays all this folly to his charge, when it shall show him how regular, exact, and wise he has been in small matters, that are passed away like a dream, and how stupid and senseless he has lived, without any reflection, without any rules, in things of such eternal moment, as no heart can sufficiently conceive them?"

"Had I only my frailties and imperfections to lament at this time, I should lie here humbly trusting in the mercies of God. But, alas! How can I call a general disregard, and a thorough neglect of all religious improvement, a frailty or imperfection, when it was as much in my power to have been exact and careful, and diligent in a course of piety, as in the business of my trade? I could have called in as many helps, have practised as many rules, and been taught as many certain methods of holy living, as of thriving in my shop, bad I but so intended, and desired it."

"Oh, my friends! A careless life, unconcerned and unattentive to the duties of religion, is so without all excuse, so unworthy of the mercy of God, such a shame to the sense and reason of our minds that I can hardly conceive a greater punishment, than for a man to be thrown into the state that I am in, to reflect upon it."

Penitens was here going on, but had his mouth stopped by a convulsion, which never suffered him to speak any more. He lay convulsed about twelve hours, and then gave up the ghost.