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up Isaac." He believed God's word when ho required the sacrifice, as much as he did when he promised him a son. Faith should be as much exercised on the commands of God, that we may do them, as on the promises of God, that we may expect him to fulfil them. He admitted God's right; that he had a right to claim and dispose of all he possessed, even his Isaac. He allowed that it was proper that God should do as he would with his own. He revered God's authority. Strong faith always inspires us with deep reverence: it is presumption that inclines us to trifle or take liberties with God. True faith always bows to the authority of God, while it believes the love, and trusts in the promises of God. He had confidence in God's goodness and power, nnd therefore felt persuaded that what he required was good, and if necessary that his son could be restored to him from the jaws of death. He obeyed God's command, and obeyed without reasoning or objecting. This is what faith always does, and is therefore the root of all good works. In proportion as we steadily believe the promise shall we diligently and devoutly obey the command. Faith will always do so, and thus honour and glorify God its Author.
Isaac was a type of Jesus. Isaac was offered up in purpose and intention by his father, but Jesus was really and truly put to death by his Father's sword as a sacrifice to his Father's justice. The sacrifice of Isaac prefigured the sacrifice of Jesus, who so many years after, as the only begotten Son of God, died the just for the unjust, near the same spot. Abraham is an example to all who believe. An example of faith, in that he believed what God said, expected what God had promised, and sacrificed what God required. An example of acquiescence, in that ho acquiesced in God's will, even when that will required the sacrifice of his only, his tenderly beloved child. What a reproof to thousands who profess to have like precious faith with Abraham! What a reproof to us' An example of surrendering all to God. He kept nothing back. With, him there were no exceptions. He held all he had as the Lord's. He held all he had for the Lord. He was therefore ready to surrender at any time whatever the Lord required of him. An example of ready obedience. Like David, he made haste, and delayed not to keep God's commandments. With him there was no asking, What will others say? or, Why Bhould God require this? Pride, prejudice, or passion was not consulted, but God's will was law, God's word was his rule. He acted because God commanded; and just so should we. We never lose by giving up what God requires; for, whatever he takes from us, he always gives us something better in its place. If he takes away temporals, he will give us spirituals; and if he take away a son, he will give us himself. Indeed, he very generally takes away our idols, in order that he may fill the throne of the affections, and reign and rule alone. Beloved, have you an Isaac P If so, are you prepared to part with it, to sacrifice it, if God calls for it P You profess, if you are a believer, to have surrendered all at God's throne, and to have consecrated all at the Saviour's cross. Be faithful, then; and if you consult your own happiness, or wish to live to God's glory and praise, hold everything temporal with a loose hand, and be ready to sacrifice any and every Isaac if the Lord should call for it at your hands.
THE BELEAGUERED CASTLE.
BT THE EEV. J. SAHSBUSY.
Tee night was drawing on as I sat I retired thither at the sunset hour, and as I musing beside a gurgling fountain. I | watched the streamlet rapidly flowing. I
allowed imagination to exert her sovereignty oyer me. As I saw the last rays of l he sun glimmering through the trees, and listened to the rustling leaves of the grove, I gradually sank away into dreamland.
Suddenly a beautiful landscape stretched out before me. The western hill*, somewhat abrupt and precipitous, were clad with verdure almost to their summit, and a meandering river, like a silver thread, flowed through the valley. The east presented to my view fine undulating •lopes studded with trees, whose waving bunches bowed gracefully before the breeze. The scene towards the north was limited in extent, and bounded by a rocky cliff, on which stood a majestio castle. Situated at the head of a valley several miles in extent, its aspect was peculiarly romantic.
A person suddenly appeared who offered himself as my instructor and guide. "Tou tn attracted," he said, "by the appearance of that castle. Let me tell you that it has a strange history. It has withstood many sieges, and no enemies have yet succeeded in taking it, though they are always making an attempt. Approach with me now still nearer, and you will perhaps iliscera some spies lurking about it, or some foes lying in ambush near it, or some enemies under the disguise of friends endeavouring, to obtain admission under false pretences." I approached. As I drew nigh I saw a soldier well armed upon the battlements, his armour glistening in the rays of the Buu, his eye ever intent and watchful, and his trumpet in his hand ready to be raised to his mouth whenever great danger was apprehended.
"Stand on this favourable spot," said my attendant, "and learn the various lessons which the successive events you witness shall teach. Tou will assuredly ?ither something you will do well to think on daily, as long as your pilgrimage on earth shall last. This castle, and the enemies by which it is continually assailed, will suggest many valuable thoughts respecting the Christian life and its conflicts. How firm and solid is the rock on which it is built! How elevated and conspicuous its position! How well the wgions around it are watered by the btreams from the hill country! How suitably the windows are disposed in order to receive on every side the light of lieaven! How admirably it is situated for resistance! Its defence is 'the munition
of rocks,' and infinite resources are available when it is attacked by enemies. The view also which it commands on a clear day is even more enchanting than that which was witnessed by the venerable Moses when he stood on the heights of Pisgah, and beheld with his dying eyes the land flowing with milk and honey."
The discourse of my companion was interrupted by the voice of melody which proceeded from the grove in the distance. Pleasure was coming forth arrayed in all her meretritious attractions. Her aspect was seductive and voluptuous. A chaplet of flowers encircled her brow. Her dress was sumptuous and glittering with jewels. Her maidens sang in her praise the most lively airs ; and as she proceeded from her retreat, resolved if possible to obtain an entrance into the castle, her votaries, as I could perceive from their looks, were deeply anxious that hor efforts should prove successful. She pursued her way through circuitous by-paths and labyrinthine mazes till she had reached the entrance, when one withering look of the owner compelled her to flee with the utmost precipitation, and we speedily lost sight of her.
I did not wait long in suspense before my eyes lighted on an old man, with an haggard, care-worn countenance, carrying heavy burdens upon his [shoulders. "This man," I was told, "is Mammon. For thousands of years temples have been erected to his honour, and worshippers of every age, clime, and nation, have eagerly pressed therein to present offerings and incense at his shrine. He does nut even spare his importunity with those who are the King's faithful subjects, and on his back ho bears a heavy bribe, intending to cast it at the castle door, that by this means he may withdraw the owner from his rightful allegiance." I saw him go up to the entrance. How loudly he knocked, how passionately he spoke, and how greatly he boasted of the intrinsic value of his treasures! But the master of the castle was invulnerable against his attacks, and read to the vile tempter out of a holy book one or two passages which caught my ear: "How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!" "What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what Bhall a man give in exchange for his soul?" At that moment a resplendent ray from the sun fell upon the old man's golden ingots, and revealed their worthlessness. He gathered them together as quickly as possible, and fled.
"Wbo can that be," said I, "who is approaching on yonder thickly shaded walk? His mien is exceedingly stately; his brow is wrinkled; his face is 'sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought;' his look is knowing, like one who professes to understand all mysteries; and he treads the earth so firmly that his very step indicates his intense self-confidence." "This man's name," said my instructor, "is Science (falsely so called). He has large possessions in various parts of the world, chiefly consisting of splendid houses built upon the sand, which continue gradually to crumble away, yet are repaired, remodelled, or rebuilt with astonishing pertinacity. These his estates are all situated in dark valleys, into which the sun scarcely ever penetrates, and whose inhabitants are only lighted with the feebly glimmering lamps of Human Reason." Whilst my guide was proceeding with his discourse, the stately persou alluded to had already reached the castle entrance, and catching the eye of the master, who was looking down upon him from one of the high windows, he instaitly assumed the air of a grave teacher, and for the edification of his hearer delivered a bombastic oration. I can only call to mind a few sentences: they will suffice. "I am the solver," he said, "of all mental and moral doubts and difficulties. My theories, which have been thought out with protracted attention and logical precision, will solve every intricate question which may be propounded with reference to God, man, and the universe. I have already succeeded in giving satisfaction to multitudes of perplexed ones. Be not afraid. I would not set aside that holy book you read with so much interest, and profess so ardently to love; but I invite you to accept of my philosophic system, that by its light you may test and prove the consistency and harmony of its alleged facts, doctrines, and precepts." I could perceive a cloud of indignation gather upon the face of the listener, and at length I heard him sternly exclaim, "Avaunt, child of hell, seducer of the souls of men! What! will your system, at the best a poor, glimmering taper, enable me to discern more clearly the light specially revealed from heaven?" After some parleying, the vaunting philo
sopher hastened away, unable to succeed in taking his prey.
I also Baw other persons continually coming up out of the valley below with evil designs. They are too numerous even to mention, though my attendant acquainted me with the names and characters of most of them. I was much struck, however, with this fact, that all of them had a downcast look, and even when they assumed the appearance of buoyancy and happiness they were unable to lift up theneyes to heaven; as my friend significantly said, " They are of the earth, earthy." I must not forget to acquaint the reader with the resolute attempt made by two brothers who had come from a gloomy region, having been sent on a special mission by their evil ruler. Their names were Doubt and Despair. I could perceive they were plotting some evil design; and on looking on them with increa-ed attention, I saw that each of them carried a heavy club under his garments, which was occasionally exposed to view as they paced onward. They were both evidently intent on murder. Impelled by curiosity, I stole away from my guide, and hiding myself in a bush which they were passing, I overheard them conversing with each other. "Brother Doubt," said Despair, "I beg you will go up first, and rap very gently—by no means too loud—at the castle door. Only be careful, and you will effect an entrance. If the door should be opened, plant your foot firmly against it, to prevent it from being closed again, and I will come up bravely behind. With our giant might we are sure to take possession." "My good brother," replied Doubt, "I have always found you bold and ready. You will not deceive me in the hour of conflict. We must both do our very best, and the work will be accomplished." Doubt acted as his brother Despair suggested. His gentle rap at the door could scarcely be heard. "Who's there?" Baid a voice from within. Doubt rapped again, speaking in an undertone, and saying nothing distinctly. Again the voice was heard, " Who's there?" I was, however, amazed, nay terrified, when I saw the door gently open. The moment was most critical. Doubt availed himself at once of the means of ingress, and Despair followed closely i behind him. They were only able to secure a temporary lodgment. After many loud cries, struggles, and contests, I at length Baw both the traitors hurled back by the giant hand of Faith, the keeper of the fortress, who in this emergency had come to the rescue. After lying for some time, maimed and bleeding, they crept stealthily away, mourning over their ignominious defeat. Immediately afterwards I heard within the castle one singing with all his might, "Trust ye in the Lord Jehovah; for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength. At what time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. They that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever." .
During my continuance in the neighbourhood of the castle I observed several messengers, who evidently came from the great Sine, resolutely go up to the door, open it, and enter. Their admission could not be prevented. One of them was called Affliction. I was told by my guide that Ms visits often led the master to much «elF-searching, hut he was generally the better for them. He then had free access 'o a treasury of promises " exceeding great and precious." There was always a rich supply of heavenly cordials at hand, very costly, but very freely dispensed by the Great Physician. It frequently happened, too, that when Affliction paid his visits the light would shine most gloriously into every room, and Faith would come to the help of the tried one, and point out to him in the distance a fair city (whose towers were often visible on a clear day), telling him that city would be his future and ererlasting home.
Bereavement, Loss, and various other members of the numerous family of Sorrow, all clad in the garb of mourning, demanded admission. I need only hint that, though the sojourn of some of them was only brief, they were all busily occupied with setting the house in order, and each of them had his appointed work allotted to him by the great King.
Whilst intently gazing on the castle, and marking its position, beauty, and capability of resisting attack, my friend told me that, at various times, the Prince f.f Darkness had violently besieged the place, marshalling his most formidable Gits, employing against it his heaviest artillery and his most deadly weapons, und bringing into exercise his most wily stratagems. He depicted to me very
graphically various battle scenes, in which the existence of the place was fearfully threatened, and the enemy was determined to carry out his fixed resolution to raze it even to the foundations. He further told me that in seasons of the greatest extremity Faith fought with undaunted valour; and the Prince of Peace, watching the contest with the deepest interest, so incessantly furnished the castle with weapons and provisions, and inspired its possessor with courage and confidence, that the enemy, full of rage and chagrin, was obliged to withdraw and to confess that his efforts were unavailing.
Thus busied in conversation, I at length witnessed the approach of a strange assailant. As Boon as I fixed my gaze on him trembling seized me, from which, however, I speedily recovered. "Who is this?" said I, as I looked on the mysterious stranger: "he is evidently about to engage in a destructive work, and carries with him deadly weapons." I then averted my eyes from him for a moment, and turned them to the castle. I saw the owner looking through the window with thoughtful and anxious, though steady gaze. The walls of the building began to totter; every approaching step of the new visitant shook it to its base: yet its inhabitant was undismayed: joy filled his breast, hope beamed in his eye, angelguards stood round him, and the Princej himself graciously afforded him some sweet and refreshing glimpses of the glory soon to be revealed. At length the stranger (his name was Death) came up to the castle, and the moment he stretched forth his hand and touched it, it fell, and soon the earth swallowed it up. At that solemn moment I heard shouts and songs of triumph. This was the burden of the angels' anthem, as they bore away an emancipated spirit: "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" The ransomed one rapturously responded, "Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." —Then I awoke, and I doubted for a time what "the Beleaguered Castle" could mean. At length I concluded that I should not greatly err if I regarded it as a significant emblem of Christian life on earth, with its varied trials and triumphs.
THE UNKNOWN BROTHER.
BY THE BET. WILLIAH COIXING8.
"Qu&rtus a brother."—Somalia xri. 23.
This closing chapter of the epistle is the Apostle's postscript to it. It consists chiefly of salutations, and may teach us that the Gospel inculcates courtesy, kindness, affection, and brotherly love. Of the names mentioned, many are worthy of notice; but let us now tale the last one—" Quartus a brother." We may remark:—
1st. That many of God's people are comparatively unknown.
In all ages God has his champions. Men who stand forth as leaders in the Lord's hosts, and who are famous in their day. While they live their doings are spread abroad, and when they die their names are recorded upon the pages of history. The Joshuas, the Pauls, the Luthers, and some who, though of lesser note, are had in remembranoe. But all God's people are not thus known. By far the greater part pass their days in comparative privacy, and are not heard of beyond their immediate circle. Here are three names, Gaius, Erastus, and Quartus. "Gaius, mine host." Some have thought that there was a public place of reception at Corinth for strangers and travellers, and that Gaius had charge of it, but far more likely is the general opinion, that it was in his own house he entertained his Christian friends. John addresses his third epistle to the wellbeloved Gaius, and bears witness to his hospitality to the brethren and to strangers. It is highly probable (although John's epistle was written some years after Paul's to the Romans) that he was the same Gaius who now sent hia salutation to the believers at Home. Paul speaks of him, not simply as his host, but also as the host of the whole Church.
Such a man would be pretty generally known. Those who came to Corinth for a season would be directed to him, and be entertained by him, and upon returning to their homes would speak of his hospitality towards them. Thus his name would be familiar to Christians, and no surprise would be felt at receiving a salutation from him.
"Erastus the Chamberlain."—He appears to have been the City Treasurer, who had charge of its revenues, and whose business it was to receive and disburse the public money. Thus occupying a civil position of trust and publicity, he, as well as Gaius, was likely to be known.
But Quartus; who is he? "A brother." Nothing more is said of him. No statement is given; not even a word by which we can gather what his civil position was, or what influence he had in the church. There appears not to have been any thing to give prominence to him. The probability is that he was a private member of the church at Corinth, one amidst many of whom it could only be said, "A brother." So has it ever been. The Gaiuses and Erastuses are few, although the brethren may be many, "Not many mighty, not many noble, are called."
We may learn another lesson :—■
2nd. That whatever the station or position of God's people, yet there is a bond of union between them.
As the Boman believers listened to the reading of the postscript from the 21st verse, they might say, as name after name was mentioned, "Ah, we have seen him." "We know him." "We have heard of him." "His name is familiar to us." "But stop—Quartus! Quartus! Who is he? We don't remember his name. Does Paul say who he isP Bead on, for perhaps he does." "Quartus a brother."—"A brother: Oh, that's enough!" So it is, and ever should be; for there is a volume of meaning in that word. It speaks relation