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we may be able, with the first martyr, to exclaim, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit;" and, then with him, sweetly and calmly “fall asleep."
Lord God Almighty, of Thy precious mercy, grace, and compassion, grant it, for Christ's sake. Amen and amen. St. Luke's Bedminster, August 8th, 1868.
BIBLE LESSONS. “ Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain : that whatsoever
ye shall ask of the Father in my name, He may give it you.”—John xv. 16. The first special truth taught us in this verse is the eternal choice of God the Son of those whom God the Father gave unto Him, as the unity of Godhead between the Father and the Son is so clearly shown in the 23rd and 24th verses. Christ also says He has ordained them. Here is His purpose again brought out. But He has ordained them to bring forth fruit. Now, I cannot help thinking that some of the fruits a child of God bears are never seen-fruits of the heart-a reciprocity of feeling, as it were, between God and his soul-a drawing out of the soul in love to God, and sweet communion with Him. I hardly mean prayer; perhaps it might better be described as longing desires, as with David—“My soul followeth hard after Thee"-though it results in the outpouring of the child's heart to his Father in prayer, but is certainly the Holy Spirit's influence on the heart, and enables the child to say, “My Father." I think it is something of the kind St. Paul means in Phil. i. 11, “Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” But the fruit is not only to remain ; it is also to be brought into exercise. This is very beautifully set forth in Col. i. 3, which speaks of that fruit flowing out in “faith in Christ Jesus," love to the saints, prayer for them, « love in the Spirit," " walking worthy of the Lord," " being fruitful in every good work,” patience, longsuffering, with joyfulness. St. Mark says the fruit not only sprang up, but increased (iv. 8). It should both increase in us and in the outward manifestations of it, as Christ says that your fruit should remain--that is, abide or continue. “Be not weary in well-doing." But there is another lesson taught us in this verse, namely, how we should approach the Father, hoping for an answer to our prayers, “That whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, He may give it you.” It is to be feared we do not sufficiently attend to this, but are too apt to come in our own name, forgetting that we can receive no blessing but in, through, and by Christ. “ Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name : ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full." How necessary that we should always bear in mind the offices of the ever-blessed Three-the Holy Spirit dictating, the Son presenting, and the Father hearing and bestowing all needful things ! Wondrous plan! And it is the Holy Spirit's work to reveal it. “Howbeit when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear [of the mind of the Father] that shall He speak.” “He shall glorify me : for He shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you." We also learn the extensive bounty of our Heavenly Father. “Whatsoever" is a large word, comprehending all our desires; but then we must ask in faith and submission to God's will. “If we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us." This is especially the case as regards spiritual blessings; in these His heart and hand are unbounded, far exceeding our desires; but in temporal matters we frequently “ask and receive not, because we ask amiss." Temporal blessings should always have the prefix, “ If it be Thy will." It is His will to grant spiritual things to an unlimited extent, and the more we have the more we shall crave. In one sense we shall be " satisfied with the goodness of the Lord," yet in another we shall only be truly satisfied when we awake up in His likeness, and dwell in His presence for evermore.
THE SECOND ADVENT. " Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is
taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go
into heaven.”-Acts i. 11. HAIL, glorious hour! so long fore- Pre-eminence in sin and crime told ;
Our guilty world has reached. All hail, Thou risen Lord!
The earth, whene'er Thy judgments Thy living saints, like those of old, come,
Still trust Thy faithful word; Seems ready for her fiery doom. And wonder why from day to day, Thy chariot wheels so long delay. The virgins' lamps are burning dim,
And hearts are growing cold; How many suns have risen and set
God's faithless priests are leaving Him, Since this sure pledge was given, | And serving gods of gold. To those who from Olivet
Proud men reject the God of grace, Bebeld Thee enter heaven
The Beast of Rome usurps his place. That Thou thyself, once crucified, Wouldst come again to claim Thy The blood of all Thy martyred saints bride.
Still cries aloud to Thee;
Thy longing Church desires and faints The day is surely drawing nigh, Her risen Head to see : For night has closed around;
Her trials past, her labours done, Thy saints in sackcloth prophesy,
The battle fought, the victory won. ånd few are faithful found. Her watchmen sleep on Sion's walls,
Amen, dear Lord, speed on the day, And Dagon's might the world en- And, till we see Thy face, thralls.
Through all the dreary desert way,
Uphold us by Thy grace.
When faithful Noah preached, 'Oh, come, Lord Jesus, quickly come.
“ Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your lar, I said, Ye are gods ?”' &c.
JOHN X. 34. This passage is taken from Psalm lxxxi. 6, which also refers to Exod. xxii. 28, in which we find the term "gods” means judges or rulers. Christ appears to be applying the same term to the rulers among the Jews, and manifests His surprise that they who considered themselves gods, should say of Him, who had infinitely so much more right to the title : “ Thou blasphemest,” because He said, “I am the Son of God.” After all the works He had shewed them they were still hardened in their belief.
EVENING THOUGHTS AFTER DAILY CARE. AFTER the busy cares of the day the worldling seeks his pleasuro in the gaieties and vanities of life; but the lover of Jesus finds his happiness in returning to the word of God, and seeking his joy in those means which draw him into fellowship with his Best-beloved. With such feelings we have sought the shade of an outspreading tree, and, with pen, ink, paper, the Bible, and GOSPEL MAGAZINE around us, we are hoping that the Spirit of God will so direct our evening thoughts after another day's care, as that they may be mutually profitable to our souls.
And the first thought that suggests itself is, “How absorbing are the things of time, and how little do we seem to grow in grace!" Our movements appear retrograde rather than progressive; and, if we look back to some ten or twenty or more years, why, we enjoyed then and experienced then far more of divine things than we do now. Nor are we alone in such a state of experience, for the eye catches the following expressions in the July number of the GOSPEL MAGAZINE under the heading of “Remembrances and Retracings:" “ The state of soul into which I am brought perfectly astounds me. Were it not for some portions of the word of God that now and then seem to be brought home with some little power, and just fitting into my case, it appears to me, I should actually sink into despair. I am so hard, so callous, so utterly void of feeling. There is for the most part no dew upon fleece or floor. I feel like one twice dead and plucked up by the roots.' I constantly cry out, Isama beast before Thee. Oh, how I thank God it was left upon record that the psalmist so expressed himself, for it gives me to feel that at least one has felt as I do." Nay, dear writer, but let me tell you of another who feels just what you do; and never could language better express his own state of soul. And, while wondering who it is that thus feels as we do, judge of our surprise when, on glancing to the end of the article in question, we find the well-known initials of our beloved Editor. Shall we be understood when we say we have become comforted by his very expressions of barrenness-that is to say, we feel, “ Well, if we are sighing for the means of grace and other spiritual privileges, and lamenting that the business of life so absorbs the attention, as to bring one into great leanness of soul, here is a man of God, whose whole life is devoted to His service, and yet, in the midst of preaching, praying, intercourse with the brethren, is mourning over his coldness and unfruitfulness.” Well, it amounts to this : the children of God pass through very similar experience. Let their lot in life be cast where it may-whether in the ministry or out of it—they have often to mourn over wretched coldness of heart, and are all found inquiring-,
“If I love why am I thus ?
Why this dull and lifeless frame?
Who have never heard His name.” Nevertheless, beloved, although we have to lament our barrenness, can we not say we are
KEPT CLINGING STILL ? All kinds of unhallowed influence is often brought against the child of God to hinder his spiritual progress; but what a mercy that all such opposition but drives him closer home to the bosom of his best Friend. He clings still to Jesus. He may and must have much to do with the world, but his heart is not there. What people are doing clinging to their good deeds we cannot understand, for we cannot find any good to cling to; our best actions (so called) will not bear the sunlight of truth; sin is mixed with all we do.
Now, dear reader, do you not feel with us your increasing weakness and insufficiency with regard to spiritual things, and can only rest upon such a promise as this: “He giveth power to the faint, and to them that have no might He increaseth strength"? Verily we are among the “nomight" ones, and can only cling to Him who is mighty-yea, almightya precious Christ.
“ His love in times past forbids me to think
Confirms His good pleasure to bring me safe through."
KEPT CRYING STILI. ? The eye of faith is upon the throne of grace. Sweet spot for the burdened soul ! hallowed halting-ground! there is nothing on earth like it. We have not to make a pilgrimage to it; nay, sometimes we get there in a moment, and in a moment our cares are gone. Would that we did not take them up again; but we do, and this is our folly. But what weary one has not felt again and again that in the body he has been in the midst of life's engagements, neck-deep it may be, and yet in spirit he has been at the throne of grace, seeing “ Him who is invisible" in body in an unholy land indeed, but in spirit in the holy land of thought and communion with God ? Sweet spot this, the throne of grace! eye cannot see it, yet faith beholds it, and the Spirit of God draws to it. It is the believer's dressing and undressing-room, his resting-place, his oasis in the wilderness, his soul's green spot; and we may recollect 'tis the prelude of a brighter, even “ the throne of glory;" for “the Lord God is a Sun and Shield: He will give grace and glory.” Go, then, fellow-Christians, to the throne ; tell Jesus your all
“ The heart's unspoken pain He knows;
Thy secret sighs He hears full well.
To Him thou may'st with boldness tell.
The believer on the Lord Jesus Christ, then, is kept crying: as we once heard a minister of the Gospel repeat: “ Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect," and then put the inquiry, “Who are they, Lord ?" answering in the language of the passage, " That cry day and night unto me." Are you a crying one, reader? Then you give evidence of being one of God's elect, a child in His family who has learnt continually to be putting up your wants to your heavenly Father. And, then, beloved, as well as crying, are we not
KEPT CONFESSING STILL ? Ah, it is no slight mercy that we can approach God not as culprits, but as children. If we can be brought to believe from past experience and unmistakable evidences that Christ is ours and we are His, then are we assured from God's word that “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus ;' therefore, by a scriptural deduction, we stand in Christ in the position of children accepted in the Beloved. Now, as children in all weakness and folly, we are constantly erring; therefore, morning by morning, and evening by evening, we must daily approach our Father with confession on account of sin. To confess to a fellow-creature is a great absurdity; he cannot help us. We might just as well confess to an idol of wood or stone ; and we know this is no good, as the prophet Jeremiah strikingly tells us, “ They are upright as the palm-tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good. Forasmuch as there is none like unto Thee, O Lord ; Thou art great, and Thy name is great in might.” Our confession, then, must be to the Lord ; and a blessed relief too, seeing that we have an High Priest who ever liveth to make intercession for us," and that we can approach our God as children and not as culprits.
Again, are we not, dear reader, in the midst of all,
KEPT LONGING STILL ? Possibly no language can better describe our frequent experience than that in the Canticles, “I sleep, but my heart waketh." There are a variety of circumstances ever surrounding the Christian that will bring him into the condition of a sleep. For instance, the cares of life. Oh, how absorbing! The day passed in worldly thoughts and engagements, and evening comes again, bringing us to the exclamation, “Can it be possible that twenty-four hours more have rolled away? Verily, with regard to things of eternity, I sleep-active enough in life duties, and perfectly consistent too." One must, especially in the present day, be diligent in business, or one's business will soon be found in other hands ; but it is the engrossing character of it that often troubles the child of God, and he wishes ho could live more like an heir of glory. And yet, beloved, we can tell you one secret, namely, that it is not freedom from worldly care that brings into soul-prosperity. We are obliged to repeat that which we have experienced, namely, that the most precious moments we have enjoyed with Jesus have been when we have stood in our lot in life, carrying out the duties that are connected therewith.
Other circumstances also will bring us into a sleepy and indifferent state with regard to the things of eternity; as, for instance
Giving way to the spirit of the world._"Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Ye cannot enter into the society of the ungodly, or learn their ways, without becoming tainted with their ungodliness and succumbing to a shyness and distance from Jesus. Again, anything like slighting God's word will bring into a sleepy condition. There is a growing temptation to the child of God to be carried away by the many books of the present day, to the neglect of meditation upon the word. This is an evil, and we find it well to determine to push everything else aside for a