Imágenes de páginas

we must be what we wish to seem. We may be very consistent outwardly in these things, and so hare a life void of offence, at the expense of living in a miserable bondage to what others will say; and yet there may bo such evidences (of which we ourselves are all unconscious) of insincerity, selfishness, and worldlinees, that our acted character goes for nothing, or rather awakens disgust and suspicion in those who feel and know that we are something other than we seem. Our Lord told his disciples, "there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed, neither hid that shall not be known." What we are truly will be sure somehow or other to show itself in our life: if we are luminous we shall give light: if we are loving we shall show love: if we are sincere, men will see it and trust us.

The importance of character, aB deciding the nature of the influence which we exert, is recognised by us in all our lives. We would not go ourselves, we would not put our children, into the company of the notoriously wicked, or even of those who were obviously negligent of the higher claims of spiritual religion. They might not attempt to do us any direct harm, to tempt us to evil; they might perhaps, on the contrary, endeavour to meet what they might call our prejudices, and pay respect to our religious scruples, but yet, I think, we should not court their society, throw ourselves in their way, identify ourselves with them.

Why? Not because we believe they mean us any harm, but because we know that they would exert, unintentionally on their part, and perhaps unconsciously on our own, a bad influence. We should expect that our tone would be lowered, that our hearts would grow cold, that we should become worldly even as they.

Now, brethren, apply the argument to yourselves. It is the stronger element which prevails j and if you are really and truly Christians, Christians in heart and truth; if your life and strength be in Him; it will manifest itself, and will have an influence upon others, just as the influence of worldly men will have an effect for evil on weak and wavering Christians. And as it is not so much what they determine to do as what they are that produces the effect on their part, so you, if you are living in constant fellowship with God, if you are truly holy, if your one desire is to serve him, if you are seeking to be conformed to the image of his Son, will

exercise a good, a holy influence on tta around you. Tour household will feel it your children will feel it, your neighbour will feel it. It was the testimony of legl Bichmond's children, that they learned tl love religion because they saw their fatb* so lovely and happy under its infiaenel It cannot be hid. It is the ointment ofth right, which bewrayeth itself; it is theptrfume of Aaron's anointing, which filled to room with odour; it is the glory on tta face of Moses, with which he came don from the Mount.

"When one that holds communion with the BHSJ Has filled hia urn where these pure waters rue, And once more mingles with us meaner things "Tie e'en as if an angel shook his wings; Immortal fragrance fills the circuit wide, That telle us whence hia treasures are Bupplieii

III. There is something very beautiful k the illustration here afforded us as to to manner in which this influence operate' Like the dew and rain, it falls secretly, alently, unobtrusively, yet penetrates belor the surface and is hidden; and there «■ cretly working, quickens and fertilizes;am in so doing it obeys Divine laws m operates according to Divine methods; "a tarrieth not for man nor waiteth for tto sons of men." So the ejacred ioita" which the Christian exerts does not'a1' for great examples; for patronage and power to show the way j for societies and committees to direct its operations; W everywhere and always, quietly, eonstanuj, unconsciously to itself, but effectually, ■ God's refreshing fertilizing rain and di»> it works unseen and silently in men's hearts, going on doing good. Oh! who shall tell, till the judgment of the last day reveals A, how much has been won and lost to Christ! kingdom by influence, influence transmitt* from generation to generation, the sita» preaching of the holy life, or, alas! the ssj want of it; influence spreading a*" operating in directions which no hum1" eye can ever trace. "So is the kingdom" God;" as if a man should sow seed in w field, and it should spring and grow np" knoweth not how. So it is with our in»a' ence on others; we cannot trace it, and siy that such a result is the effect of some particular influence exerted at any given tune; but we may believe and be sure that o proportion as we are faithful, in proportio11 as we are holy, in proportion ai we "J gracious, we are exerting an influence ot the most important and powerful kWj more important by far than any extern'1

Deans we can use if this influence be
ranting—an influence which goes down
leep to the very roots of men's hearts, as
be dew and the rain sink down and
uicken the roots of the grass. Oh, my
ear friends, let me speak to you faithfully
nd affectionately about this. It is of no
sefor us ministers to be preaching up in
ur pulpits on the Sunday, if you preach
gainst us by your influence all the week;
[ jou, by your want of a Christlike spirit,
le eierting an influence opposed to it.
See that it be not so. Let your example,
four life, second the testimony of the pul-
pit, that those without may learn thus, Eo
m thin from our words, the way of

IV. Just a few words, in conclusion, on he only source of this influence, the one md grand condition of our exerting it.

The dew and the rain are not of man, nor by man; they are altogether beyond bis cmtrol The mightiest forces he could Mat are powerless to produce a single shower to bathe the parched fields in one »<*l>t's grateful dew. So also is it here— "ThU aiso cometh from the Lord of hosts, who is wonderful in counsel and excellent H working."

I have already said that in order to exert 8 good influence on others we must be good ourselves, and the one condition of that is, toat we ourselves continually derive our •F'tual life from God; that day by day


and hour by hour we live under the graoious influences of his Spirit. We arc the channels of his bounty, the ministers of his grace. We may be the means of bringing into immediate contact with the hearts of others, by means of human sympathies, human fee inge, his feelings of pity and love to man. We are, brethren, representatives of God. It is for us as Christian men to show forth his spirit, his disposition towards men. And we can only do this by constant intercourse with Him who is the one unfailing source of all goodness. We must receive or we cannot impart. We mu»t derive power from him or we cannot influence otherB. Without this we Bhall ourselves live barren, wasted lives; lives emptied of all good influence, of which the best that can be said is that they are neither much good nor much harm to anybody. Or we shall fail of our Christian callirjg, and shall live lives the weight of whose influence will be on the side of worldliness; mean, paltry, selfish, selfwilled lives, over which good men mourn and bad men exult. But abiding daily under the power of the all-quenching, allsanctifying Spirit, we shall ourselves be refreshed and strengthened, and to all around us, to all who come within the circle of our influence, we shall be "as a dew from the Lord, as showers upon the



iKMi afe household words. We have all been familiar with them from out1 mf childhood. They are printed in royal proclamations, public assemblies ""g them, and not seldom are they used in prayer. Although, however* they jjj* w often quoted, their origin is unknown to thousands who repeat them, •^hey resemble those old proverbs which are in every one's mouth, and are passed constantly, like small change, from one to another, while few are aware of the source whence they sprang. If told that this expression of loyalty is Jjweable to the Bible, many would be quite astonished. Yet such is the case. ■* phrase, " God save the King," was employed by the Hebrew people on the 'Ppoiatment of their monarchs. The first occasion on which it was uttered was *hen Saul was set apart as the ruler of Israel—" And all the people shouted, •adsaid, God save the King." If, then, as will be readily admitted, we have ■ this sentence that which is alike good in sentiment and good in style, we fflut thank the Bible for it. Scripture is the strata to which this fossil owes its

Tke above fact, we may remark in passing, ia but a sample of numerous

others. We are more indebted to God's word than we think. In the dark night of ignorance manifold lamps are burning, which are supposed to ha?e been self-kindled, whereas they were lit in the temple of inspiration. Law,: institutions, manners, are modified by truths, whose Author men are frequently! too careless to recognise. Utterances of wisdom, consolation, and guidance, are again and again addressed to us by others, or to others by us, which would not hare had a being had it not been for the Divine Book. "We gather awl give to each other treasures of knowledge, which we find scattered, lib beautiful stones and graceful shells, on the shore of our minds; but we an prone to forget that they were drifted there by the tides of revelation.

"God save the Queen." Let us be thankful that we can say that wita perfect sincerity. England has, at different periods, been subject to monarch whose rule has been such that, had we lived in their reigns, we should han been unable to repeat the formula as heartily as we now do. Their misconduct would have sapped the foundations of our confidence in and affection for them. Could we honestly and zealously have cried out " God save the King " inbebali of the cowardly and tyrannical John, who stained his hands with the blood «i defenceless youth, and yielded up the British crown to the minion of a priestly ruler P Could we have done it in behalf of Henry the Eighth, whose conjugal love enabled him to behead one wife one day and marry another the nert? Could we have done it in behalf of Charles the First, when he deliberately violated his coronation oaths, and set at naught the voice of both Parliament and people? Could we have done it in behalf of Charles the Second, who populated his palace with sensualists, and wasted his and the nation's substance with riotous living? Could we have done it in behalf of the Second Jame*. the victim of superstition, cruelty, and bigotry, who lavished his favours on ■ monster Jefferies, and imprisoned the good bishops in the Tower? ItiaSf glancing thus at the past that we learn to appreciate the present. Deserredly has Queen Victoria the sympathies and regard of the nation. The patron of education, the friend of freedom, the helper of the afflicted, she merits our admiration. By her the obligations of morality are fulfilled, the duties of religion acknowledged, and the rights of the State scrupulously respected History will doubtless endorse the lines of the Poet Laureate:—

"Her court was pure; her life serene;
God gave her peace; her land reposed;
A thousand claims to reverence closed
In her as mother, wife, and queen."

The expression, "God save the Queen," unequivocally recognises m existence of Divine Providence. It asks that he may be pleased graciously i watch over the life and interests of a certain person. Not is this all. Inasmucl as it is a prayer in behalf not simply of a human being, but a human being win occupies an official position of national importance, it is virtually a supplicatioi for Heaven's blessing upon others as well as upon her. Special mention is madeo her as a queen, and because a queen. Her security is implored, not for lei own sake merely, but for the reason that, to a greater or less extent, -thi welfare of her people is believed to be connected with her preservation. But al this intercession would be meaningless and vain were there no such thing * Providence. It is based, therefore, on a belief in the protecting care o Jehovah. Those who sincerely offer it assume thereby that a Divine Ey< observes, and a Divine Hand controls, the events of life.

The history of our country affords abundant ground for such a creed. Oul own experience and that of our forefathers yield good proof of its truth. W the annals of Israel reveal marked and striking interpositions of the Supreni' Being on behalf of man P So do the annals of England. He who led the Jew through the dreary desert into fruitful Canaan has guided us through the wild wilderness of barbarism into the promised land of civilization. He gave them lings and warriors, priests and poets; nor has be done less for us. They bad their David, we bave had our Alfred. They had their Isaiah, we have had our Milton. They bad their Gideon, we have had our Wellington.* Did geographical and other peculiarities render Palestine a singularly desirable home lor them? It is equally evident that the northern latitude of Britain has helped to foster in its inhabitants a manly robustness, and its insular position has been a bulwark to our freedom. The same gracious Guardian who in the hour of need made special provision for their wants has done likewise for us. When hunger and thirst threatened them with destruction, manna descended from the sky, and streams gushed from the rock. And bow often have we, too, found that " man's extremity is God's opportunity "! Again and again have we wen a languishing commerce compensated, at least to some extent, by a flourishing agriculture. A certain branch of manufacture, upon which millions depend for their maintenance, becomes fearfully depressed, but the harvest is unusually prolific. If work is scarce, bread is cheap. Mark, too, how timely many of our great inventions and discoveries bave been. When the rapid growth of the nation called urgently for new spheres of labour, Arkwright and Stephenson were sent to the rescue. The machine of the one and the locomotive of the other came just when they were wanted. Think, also, of the many improvements which have been effected in the art of navigation. At the very period when political economists ask how we are to dispose of our "surplus population," increased facilities for emigration present themselves. Nothing could be more seasonable.

What shall we say to these things? Say? What can we say but this, " The lordof hosts is with us" P The history of our land has been the history of ■Providence. Industry with her cornucopia of plenty, Education with her outspread scroll, Freedom with her shattered gyves, Peace with her olivebranch, all confess themselves to be but the ministers of the Most High. "Not unto us, not unto us, O Lord, but to thy name be the glory." That is the burden of their song. As a great author has said, ''Beyond doubt the Almighty Maker made this England too, and has been and for ever is present uwe. The more is the pity for us if our eyes are grown owlish, and cannot see TMs fact of facts when it is before us. Once it was known that the Highest dw of a surety dwell in this nation, divinely avenging, and divinely saving and rewarding; leading by steep and flaming paths, by heroisms, pieties, and noble acts and thoughts, this nation heavenward, if it would and dared. Known or lot, this is for evermore the fact.'' Unquestionably there is, as the writer just looted intimates, a tendency in some to stop at secondary causes, and hide from themselves the great First Cause, to whom belongs all the praise for our Mtional prosperity.

"Oar wayward intellect, the more we learn
Of nature, overlooks her Author more;
From instrumental causes proud to draw
Conclusions retrograde, and mad mistake."

•*8*inst this let us be on our guard. In reference to the past, let us devoutly acknowledge that it is God who has "saved" the rulers and the ruled of our and, and bestowed those advantages which they have enjoyed. Touching the 'Mure, be it ours to trust for national well-being in Him who says, " By me "nS« reign, and princes decree justice." Laws, institutions, commerce, agriculture, are but agencies; He is the Fountain of good. Armies, navies, fortifications are simply means; they are effectual only so far as He pleases.

2<"ot that the writer would put ancient inspiration on a level with modern genius. _ Such a theory, °tttherwith its manifold perplexities, he leaves in the hands of those who invented it. All that he oiMnUina is, that our groat men are as truly the gift of God as wore those of Jewry.

A nobler and deeper meaning can and should be attached to the words," Go save the Queen." Most appropriately may they be used in imploring mon and spiritual blessings on our beloved monarch. The dangers of royalty a neither few nor small. Every class in society has its own peculiar inducement to evil, and that to which princes belong is no exception to the rule. Tempti tion in its most alluring guise lurks near the palace, and hovers around tl throne. The attractions of beauty, rank, and fashion are liable to create» strong an attachment to the seen and the temporal, while they tend to baoiil from the mind that earnest heed which wisdom bids us give to the unseen m the eternal. When all the luxuries that ingenuity can contrive and inihiir produce are placed within reach, how easy and imperceptible is the transitu from lawful gratification to sensual indulgence! Surrounded by urbu courtiers and obsequious menials, quick in detecting and prompt in execntii the least wish that may arise, who would not find it hard to maintain humilirj cultivate submission, and practice self-denial P Too often have the blandisi ments and the fascinations of regal life proved fatal to virtue and piety. Sa degenerated after he became a king; and we all know what the old age I Solomon was.

A knowledge of these facts ought surely to infuse into our national prayer i higher significance than that which it usually bears. "Save the Queen frm temptation, save her from that evil to which every creature, whether ruling « ruled, is exposed. Save her best, her everlasting interests from suffering by tli morally unfavourable circumstances by which monarchs are commonly But rounded." Such is the spirit in which Christian men and women shoufd ever and anon, repeat the oft-used words. Especially should tho-y do so W% To the claims which Victoria has upon us as our sovereign are added th« which arise from her widowed condition. That she may be saved from thi> baleful despondency which unfits its victim for the active duties of life—sarM from that secret mistrust in the wisdom of Providence which heavy ba*»r<ments sometimes produce—saved from that heavy sense of isolation with*nj(B death darkens the path of human experience, should be our fervent deasre. Moreover, we may present these requests in good hope of their being grantedi for " it is He that giveth salvation to kings.''

But let ug not, in conclusion, forget that it is a false philanthropy which lew us to seek the welfare of others while we neglect our own. "Charity begint* home." It is right that we should work and pray for the salvation of <* fellows, but there is a duty which precedes these. We ought first to secus salvation for ourselves. "When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren not until then. Reader, are you converted? If not, your prayer for tl* salvation of those around you is inconsistent. Your conscience must awu» you of dealing unjustly with yourself. Ask, therefore, for the pardon of yjTM sins. Do not rest until you enjoy the renewing power of Gods good Spin' This done, you may say with David, " I will teach transgressors tby ways."

Harlow, Essex.


Jer. Tiii. 20. .


"when I would comfort myself against sorrow, my heart ia faint in me. Behold the voice of the cry of the daughter of my people, because of them that dwell in afar

country." By those who dwell in a I country we may understand the IMI lonians or Chaldeans, of whom a descq tion is given in the 5th chapter:—" I*'

« AnteriorContinuar »