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“Dear Lord, what heavenly wonders dwell
In Thy atoning blood!
And rebels brought to God."
Another burden that is felt by many is
3. The longing desire for the preached word. This is a trial we can specially enter into with you, beloved. The wretched legality-preaching of the present day does make our hearts sick and our souls sink within us. Oh, for the ministry of a Romaine, Toplady, Watts Wilkinson, or Joseph Irons! Where are the champions for the truth ? Few and far between are they in the day in which we live; a famine of the word there is indeed, and I think not a few will join the writer in feeling under bygone enjoyment of the truth
“Once I thought my mountain strong,
Sweetly spent in prayer and praise.” But now we go to the sanctuary, and it is quite another Gospel preached; and we talk to those whom we think are lovers of Jesus; we tell them our complaint; but, alas ! many seem to love to have it so. They think the sermon was very good, and the minister à very excellent man, and THE VERY SPIRIT OF DISCERNMENT appears to be taken away from many whom we'fain would believe are Christians. Well, what are we to do in the midst of this state of things ? Again, away to the Word. Banish all creatureteaching of the same, and come to the Spirit of God. Ask Him to unfold; spell letter by letter; pray over it; sublimity and yet simplicity is in every portion. Keep close to it. Thank God, our Bibles are preserved to us! Let us pray and read, and read and pray over it; perhaps it is well for us to be driven home to the record of God, till that record records His revelation thereof in our hearts. But, turning from the yea-and-nay preaching of the day, how precious it is to the soul when some man of God does preach the whole counsel of God! How it keeps one in a tearful frame, and melts one, under the Spirit of God, as the word is unfolded. Such seasons are memorable, and not easily forgotten. Ah, what a delightful thing it is to the Christian, at the close of the Sabbath-day, to feel, “Well, I have been lifted up and fed this day. I have been helped onward, homeward, and Zionward.
“Oh, to grace how great a debtor.'” Such helps and lifts brace one up for Monday mornings, plunging into earthly care, and give a secret solace, very sweet and precious to realize, and thus
“The peace which God alone reveals,
And by His word of grace imparts,
Directs and keeps and cheers our hearts.”
Another burden will often .be
4. The temptations of the devil are strong.--Ah, too strong for the child of God to combat with single-handed.
As a sister in Christ writes to us, “I find myself beaten with the world. Satan tempting, the world frowning, those that we should think our best friends appear to try us most. I know it is a right way, for it is weaning me from the world. I have hourly to prove that nothing but Jesus can bring me any comfort." Beloved, be not afraid ; " God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be teinpted above that which ye are able ; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
It is worthy of remark how much there is said about temptation in the word of God, fitting into the declaration of Jehovah, “I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people.” For instance, the Scriptures declare that
Temptation is permitted for the trial of faith.—“For a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations : that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ."
Again, the Scriptures declare that
God will not suffer His saints to be tried without giving them grace to bear it." God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
Again, the Bible promises that
Christ will keep Tis saints faithful in the hour of temptation.—“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.”
Thus do we not perceive, beloved, what a consolation is provided for us in God's holy word when temptation sorely presses upon us? Such is permitted, to try our faith ; but God will give grace to bear it, so that we sink not; and Christ will keep us faithful, so that we dishonour not His holy name.
“ Yet, though my soul in darkness mourns,
Thy word is all my stay;
Thy presence makes my day."
Another burden will be
Some besetting sin.- Discernment brings us to the statement that all God's children have some sin that doth so easily beset them. We have never yet found but one perfect man, and He the God-Man, Christ Jesus.
Is this your case, dear reader? In looking within, do you not discern easily some besetting sin that plagues you wonderfully, and brings you into unbecoming conduct as a Christian? Now, what says the word under such circumstances ? Two passages will do : “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean.” Precious prayer this. Couple it with a promise, and remind thy God of it: “From all their iniquities will I cleanse them." It is a sweet way of pleading with God, to say to Him, “Hast Thou not said, therefore wilt Thou not do it? Thy word is, “From all their iniquities will I cleanse them.' Cleanse, then, Thou me, O my God, from all that is obnoxious to Thyself.” It is then a sore point with the Christian if he finds himself yielding to any besetting sin. "He hates himself because of it. He cannot sin that grace may abound. God forbid !
No, he will be tender-hearted on account of sin, and will feel often obliged to cry
“ With tears of anguish I lament,
Here at Thy feet, my God,
And vile ingratitude.
So false as mine has been,
So prone to secret sin.”
And then with some the burden arises from
Great care and anxiety in connexion with their children.—'Tis no light weight this. Still, is it not the case that nine times out of ten our cares and forebodings concerning them come to nought? It is like the weather we have recently had. There has been every appearance of a storm; clouds have gathered thick, but yet it has passed away. So often is it with one's family care. Things look very black; it appears as if a storm was very near, and would certainly break over our heads, but it does not, the clouds disperse, and the calm blue sky of domestic peace prevails again. Still, though this is sometimes the case, yet at other times the storm of care does come; there is no evading it. Well, what is the best way to meet it? Why, to take the word of God in our hands, which tells us for our comfort, “ The just man walketh in his integrity, his children are blessed after him. The seed of the righteous shall be delivered.”
But sometimes the trial will assume the form of having to part with our dear ones. We do not know a more poignant grief than that of seeing a loved one wasting before our eyes. Earnest prayer has been put up at the throne of grace, consistent means have been used, yet all seems of no avail, the beloved one continues to fade away. Oh, this is heart-rending work! for the Christian is flesh as well as spirit. Well, all he can do is to go to the Word; it tells of a sympathizing Brother, to whom an anxious sister in Christ could say, “He whom Thou lovest is sick.” It is only, therefore, with Jesus that we can leave those who are thus suffering; for, if we look at the trial, we can only say, “O God,
“Dark are Thy ways of providence,
While they who love Thee groan;
Mysterious and unknown.”
These, then, beloved, are some of the burdens which will press upon the pilgrims of Zion during their homeward passage: fears lest their bodily wants will be supplied-anxiety about the pardon of their sing-a panting for the pure truth as it is in Jesus—the temptations of Satan often perplexing them-some easily-besetting sin worrying them-care in connexion with those near and dear to them—these and many other things will become crosses to them. What, then, is to be done? How are they to meet these burdens ? Only by the word of God, full as it is of precious consolation and never-failing promises; therefore is it that we have desired to “send portions one to another,” that you may be comforted “by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God;" and from the way in which we have been led in this matter, we cannot doubt but what there is some poor anxious child of God somewhere, who needs a portion of the word to comfort him or her. May He bless such to their souls!
After a Sabbath-evening service at a little sanctuary we are accustomed to go to, a poor man shook us warmly by the hand, saying, “I could go with you this evening, sir. I could just trot along with you in that rut.” Now, we trust, dear reader, that, like this poor Christian man, you have been able to trot along with us in the rut we have been led into by God the Spirit. The privilege of family intercourse is great; personally we may never see you, beloved-unknown in the flesh, but well known in the spirit-treading the same up-hill pathway to the City of Zion—"faint, yet pursuing,” feeble, yet upheld; under such circumstances,
“How sweet it is when friend with friend
In holy fellowship can walk,
And their hearts open as they talk.”
May the Lord bless, keep, and guide you to the end. So prays your companion in the Spirit. Ilford.
" THE CLOUDS ARE THE DUST OF HIS FEET."
Nahum i. 3.
I'd some heart-crushing sorrow to meet!
“ All these clouds are the dust of my feet.
When I go trembling Jacob to meet;
While the clouds are the dust of my feet.
Of my grace, love, and mercy you meet,
When the clouds are the dust of my feet.
You will soon hold communion most sweet;
Rolling clouds are the dust of His feet.”
To go forth thy dear Jesus to meet;
Moves the clouds as the dust of His feet.
I would not advise any one to place his child where the Holy Scriptures are not regarded as the rule of life. Every institution where God's word is not diligently studied must become corrupt.-Luther.
Anecdotes and Extracts.
“ The preacher sought to find out acceptable words.”—Eccl. xii, 10.
MEDITATIONS IN A BUSH-UMPIE.
In meditating on the dim outline of spiritual things cast through the intervention of the kingdom of nature, we observe that of what Milton calls
“Ye four elements,
The elder birth of nature's womb," only two are mentioned in the account of Creation.
The reason for this is readily seen. Earth and water are visible, material, while fire, if it be a form of matter and not a condition of it, pervades all other materials, and acts on them without entering into combination ; and the mention of air would have been a departure from the rule which plainly governs revelation, of not informing man on natural facts which are within the province of his mind to discover by investigation. The first place in which air is mentioned as a distinct word is in the Acts : “They began to cast dust into the air.” In the Gospels “the fowls of the air" is literally " the fowls of the heavens :" and so also in the Old Testament, and in other passages the word is wind or breath, which could be known without being aware of the existence of an atmosphere. Fire being imponderable, and otherwise not discernible except in its operation (as also electricity and magnetism), is evidently the first dim fore-showing in elementary matter of life : it also serves the human mind as a stepping-stone to reach to the apprehension of immaterial existences acting on and influencing the human race.
Fire is the special emblem and minister of divine wrath ; sometimes directly in consuming the sinners, at others indirectly in expressing acceptance of the person and petition of the suppliant by showing the wrath poured out on the substitute sacrifice. And in its operation we have before us a perpetual memorial of the truth that man, except as viewed in connexion with the Lord Jesus Christ, is but “dust and ashes." and “a vapour that passeth away;" for no structural or organized fabric can withstand the action of fire, but is by it reduced to its primitive elements, from which it was by the acting of life eliminated-dust, ashes, and the “invisible things of which the visible were made." And by revelation we know that when the vegetable and animal kingdom have fulfilled their appointed end as a scaffold to rear the edifice of the Church of God, they will be dissipated and dispersed by fire, while the elements themselves will melt with fervent heat. At the same time we see in the burning bush, and in the three young men in the furnace, that the presence of the Son of God restrains the minister of wrath from power over structural and organized matter. The doctrine embodied in this emblem runs through another line in describing the operation of the Holy Ghost in the regeneration of the elect children of God, in which the action of fire and water on the material world, we are taught, represents “the washing of regeneration" and the “baptizing with fire.” We see fire sweep across the face of the earth, and before it herb, tree, and living creature is destroyed. Rain and the dew of heaven saturate the disencumbered