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who is quite satisfied with her own piety, either as | Martha was as much delighted, on this occasion, to its kind or degree. It is intended to encourage to take her sister to the feet of Jesus, to hear his those wbo “stand in doubt” of themselves, and "gracious words," as she was once offended with to "stir up, by way of remembrance,” the “pure her for sitting at his feet. minds” of those who are doubted by others. All this is highly creditable to her; and it ex
Such being my design, I have said little about plains, in some degree, why “Jesus loved Martha," Martha. I entertain no doubt of her piety. She as well as Mary. Still, I dare not take her piety presents, in her honest, although bustling, regard out of the cloud, which the Saviour's rebuke,– to the Saviour, a noble contrast to her nation, and “ Martha, Martha !"_left upon it. That rebuke to the mass of her sex. She was even more was as much intended for warning, as His conprompt than Mary, to meet Christ, when he came tinued love was for encouragement. It would, to Bethany on the death of Lazarus; and she therefore, be as unwise to make the star of His was the first to whisper cautiously to her, (whom love disperse the cloud of His reproof entirely, as she had once, perhaps often, scolded,) « The it would be unfair to make the cloud eclipse the Master is come, and calleth for thee.” He had star, at all. They are equally over Martha's called for Mary; but he had not sent Martha head, in her history; and, therefore, I dare not with his message. She, however, would not trust separate nor soften them : but must leave the the tenderness or the prudence of any one, to star in all its brightness, and the cloud in all its break the good news to her weeping sister ; but, darkness, to make their own impression upon the moment she saw that they were good news, every female, who is conscious of any thing which away she ran, to prepare Mary for them, and to deserves the “Martha, Martha !” of the Saviour bring her to Jesus without fear or surprise. Thus she loves and desires to be loved by.
never trembled at the word of God! There is no
“good thing in the heart toward the Lord,” until VARIETIES, FROM TIMIDITY.
there is some serious fear of his anger, and a real
sense of being utterly unworthy of his mercy. You are familiar with the question—"Who It is, indeed, a great thing, to get rid of the hath despised the day of small things?”' It has “ fear which hath torment.” Nothing is more debeen transferred, not unfairly nor unaptly, from sirable than that it should be “cast out.” It is the foundation-stone of the second temple in Je- never cast out, however, by casting away a sense rusalem, to the first symptoms and marks of that of unworthiness, nor by trying to think lightly of "good work” of grace in the heart, by which we the Divine anger. It is a perfect love" that castbecome living Temples, or “an habitation of God eth out tormenting fear, 1 John iv. 14; and love through the Spirit.” Now, whoever else may never can be perfected or improved, if you despise despise these incipient signs of conversion, God the day of small things. Your love to the Saviour does not. Even when there is nothing but a pe- is not insincere, because you have many fears. It nitent spirit, and whilst both joy and peace are would, indeed, be very questionable, and equivounknown, we are warranted to say with David, cal too, if you had no fears. “ No strange thing “ A broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt hath befallen you,” if, as yet, you have more fears not despise.” This is pleasing ! But the Spirit than hopes. of inspiration led Isaiah beyond David, in thus This is, however, a critical state to be in. It is condescending to the “ low estate” of commencing not uncommon, certainly ; but still
, it is dangerpiety. Isaiah was warranted to class the trem- ous. Some have “ done despite to the Spirit of bling amongst the "contrite ones,” even when grace,” by despising the day of small things, as God, as the High and Lofty one, who inhabiteth too small to be worth much immediate notice; Eternity, was describing the hearts to which He and others, by despairing, because it was so unwould look with compassion, and in which He likely to lead on to a day of great things. Against would dwell with complacency. Isaiah lvii. 15. both these extremes, I would put you upon your Neither the temple on earth, nor even the temple guard. They are equally perilous, and have of heaven,—although the foriner resounded with proved fatal io many. Perhaps, you know some Hosannas, and the latter with Hallelujahs, could one in your own circle,—a sister, or brother, or so engross the attention of Jehovah, as to divert friend, who is in danger of quenching the Spirit, it from true penitents, even whilst their prayers because not aware of the varieties of manner and were only as the sighing of prisoners, or but groan- degree, in which the Spirit begins the good work ings which cannot be uttered. “ Thus saith the of grace. You may have been at a loss, how to Lord, the heaven is my throne, and the earth is answer the objections of some one, whose occamy footstool ; where is the house ye build unto sional feelings seem to you, “ tokens for good,” Me? and where is the place of My rest? But to whilst to him, or her, they appear too slight and this man will I look, even to him that is poor, and evanescent to deserve attention. Would it not of a contrite spirit
, and trembleth at my word.” be both wise and kind, to bring the following apThis is condescension! Who would despise the peal under the notice of such a one ?
It is soday of small things, after thus seeing how God de- lemn and pointed; but not too much so, when lights to honor it? In the presence of this fact, there is a disposition to despise the day of small you can see, at a glance, why there is joy amongst things.—Now, no “good thing” toward God, and the angels of God in heaven, over one sinner that the Lamb, in the heart, can be so small, as to be repenteth. God himself rejoiceth over them “with unworthy of your watchful and prayerful notice. singing." It is not in this connection, that even a Passing thoughts and momentary impressions, stern theorist, who calls nothing faith, but assu- may be unworthy of being called “ a saving work rance; and nothing conversion, but the witness of of grace upon your
soul." Conviction is not conthe Spirit, would dare to say,—“the devils believe, version, nor is feeling faith. It might, therefore, and tremble.” They do tremble at the word of be very wrong to conclude that you have “passed God; but not in a broken or contrite spirit. It is from death to life," or been “translated from darknot a sense of their own guilt or vileness, which ness unto light,” merely because you have some awes them. They do not despair because they sense of your need of this divine change, and some feel unworthy of hope. There is no humility in hope or wish to experience it. You do, however, their horror, and no contrition in their terror: know something of its nature, and feel occasion. whereas, when you tremble most at the word of ally its necessity. You may regret, but you do God, it is because you feel yourself worthy of its not “marvel,” that you must be born again of the threatenings, and unworthy of its great and pre- Spirit, before you can enter the kingdom of hea, cious promises. And it would not be even a "dayi ven. You know too much both of heaven and of small things” in your experience, if you had of your own heart, to be surprised (however you
may be offended) when you are told that you are Why, then, in the things which “pertain to god. unfit for heaven. And is this conviction nothing liness?" It may be—it is—a day of small things, compared Ponder Paul's solemn question: u Who hath with the great searchings of heart, and with the known the mind of the Lord, (the Spirit,) that he strong cries and tears, which the necessity of be- may instruct HIM?" 1 Cor. ii. 16. “Can you, in ing born again is producing in some of your fami- the face of this caution, say that you will not honor ly or friends. There may be no comparison be- nor own the Holy Ghost, unless He act with you, tween the strength of your convictions, and the just as He has done with others ? Surely not! cry of the Pentecostal converts. Any fear or It may not, indeed, be altogether wrong to wish hope you feel, may be but as the mere shadow of for such an awakening as the jailor's; or for such their impressions. What then? So much the a flower-like opening of the heart as Lydia's ; or more need you have to take care that you do not for such a rejoicing discovery of the glory of despise the approaches of the Holy Spirit to your Christ as the eunuch's; or even for such a conown heart.
straining impulse from the love of Christ, as that Do not say in answer to this appeal, “I am not which carried the Corinthians before it, like vesat all sure that the Spirit is striving with me, or sels with a fair wind, upon a mighty spring-tide: doing any thing for me." It is easy to utter these but it is wrong, to insist upon one or other of these words, when an excuse is wanted on the spur of modes of conversion, as the condition of your turnthe moment, for delay or indecision in religion : ing to the Lord. You may, like Ephraim, pray, but you durst not utter them deliberately, after "Turn thou me, and I shall be turned :” and like looking fairly at their meaning. Your tongue David, “ Draw me, and I will run after Thee;" would cleave to the roof of your mouth, were you but you must not prescribe to God either the preto try to say,—"I am one, whom the Spirit of cise weapon of power by which He shall turn God never once influenced to think or pray. He you, or the precise cord of love by which he shall has been moving upon the face of the waters of draw you. "Leave the selection of means and the Sanctuary where I worship, converting sin- modes of Divine operation in the hands of Divine ners, and consoling penitents, and sanctifying be- wisdom; and, in the mean time cherish the sacred lievers; but he never suggested one good thought impressions which have already been made upon in my mind, nor awakened one holy desire, nor your heart and conscience. They are more vashed one ray of light upon my path of duty or in-luable to you, and involve your eternal welfare terest. However He moved in power or glory, more deeply, than the mantle of Prophecy, or the and wherever He wrought, He passed me by gift of Miracles, were even both to descend upon let me alone!"
you. Prophets have perished, and workers of This would be “lying against the Holy Ghost !" mighty miracles have become apostates ; but no Had even your occasional impressions been fewer, one ever drew back to perdition, who honestly and your past resolutions feebler than you know and humbly sought for the renewing of the Holy them to have been, you would not dare to speak Ghost. O, then, quench not, grieve not, vex not, thus, lest you should provoke the Spirit of God to limit not, the Spirit of God! let you alone for ever. Why, it is one great reason for any hope you have of ever being called by grace, that you have felt, and do feel, that the Spirit has not let you alone. It is because you This appeal may not be altogether useless to are not given up to a seared conscience, nor to a yourself: for although, in general, you do not dereprobate mind, that you venture to calculate upon spise the day of small things, there may be some some future “day of power," coming in time of “the things of the Spirit,” which you too light. enough to prepare you for eternity. According- ly esteem. His “shadows, as well as His lights," ly, were you quite sure that such a day of power (as Sheshbazzar would have said,) are instrucwould not come, unless, from this moment, you set tive. He can lead by the Pillar, as a cloud ; as yourself to act upon your present convictions, you well as by the Pillar, as a flame of fire. I mean, would be very glad to admit that what you have that the Spirit is often present, and working already felt, was, although not the first fruit of the mightily too, when we imagine that he is withSpirit, the breaking up of “the fallow ground” of drawn entirely. This is no paradox. We are the heart, for the good seed of the Word. Well; so much in the habit of confounding the work and the Holy Ghost does say, “ To-day, if ye will hear witness of the Spirit, with comfort, that we are for my voice, harden not your heart."
ever ready, when we are uncomfortable, to think Do not evade this warning by saying, “ that Him “afar off.” But this is quite a mistake! you would follow the leadings of the Spirit, if He He is not standing afar off, much less forgetting would only lead you, as powerfully and sensibly, us, when we are left to feel that our strength is as he does some whom you know.” You have weakness: and our ability to hope, dependent ; no more right to dictate to the Holy Spirit the and our inclination to persevere, precarious. He manner in which he shall deal with you, than to is, indeed, working deep in our hearts, when we dictate to Providence the way in which it shall are afraid to look at them. Humility, and selftreat you. Now, you would not presume to lay abasement, and self-distrust, are as much fruits of it down as an indispensable condition of your the Spirit, as love, joy, or peace. And, accordgiving yourself to the Lord and to the Church, ingly, by both His lights and shadows, we are sent that he should give you whatever temporal bless to the Cross and the Mercy-seat ; to the Bible and ings you may think best for you. You know that the Sanctuary, praying with equal fervency, you cannot stipulate with God, to have all your “ Lord, save, or I perish.” own will, in the things which pertain to life.” This is not, however, all that I mean.
quite persuaded that some of the most direct in- once, as illustrations of the Oracle on which this Auences of the Holy Spirit, or those which come essay is founded, that we may see and feel how from the throne, as JEREMY TAYLOR says ejacula- transportingly true it is. tory prayer goes to it, “in a straight line,” are I know not which of them is your favorite.least attended to by us. For, have you not often Mine is, that sweet assurance to young and weak felt upon your spirit the impulse, as it were, of an disciples, “He shall feed his flock as a Shepherd; invisible hand, gently pushing you off your chair, He shall gather the lambs in his arms, and carry that you might go into your closet ; or rise to take them in his bosom." You cannot be weaker than up your Bible, as more wanted than the book you a lamb is, when it requires such care from the were reading? Have you not occasionally felt, shepherd. And remember ; it is the weakness, as if you were haunted by the presence of a dying and not the innocence of the lamb, which engages neighbor, or by the urgency of his watching an- thus the shepherd's sympathies. gels, to go out and speak a word in season, or, at The allusion is from the East. Often, on goleast, to show that you had Christian sympathy? ing out amongst the folds in the morning, after Have not many things occurred to you as hints, having kept watch all night, against the wolves, wanted at home; and as plans, likely to do good the shepherd finds a young lamb, chilled with the at home, which, if you had communicated or acted dew or the frost of the night, and unable to follow upon whilst they were fresh in your mind, might the flock to green pastures or still waters. He have been very useful to others, and saved you raises it gently from the ground, and wraps it to from the self-upbraiding which follows the neglect his bosom under his own warm cloak, and carries of relative duty ?
it forward, thus, until it revive. Now the Great In thus recalling such angel-visits of Divine in Shepherd,” is just such a "good shepherd !” All fluence, by which new duties are suggested, or the sheep, and even some under-shepherds, may improvements in old duties enforced, nothing is not have tenderness nor patience, to watch over farther from my design than to make any duty such a lamb as you, nor to wait until you are able dependent upon impulse. The Spirit will not su- to follow them on hill and through valley : but the persede the law of duty, by the grace of help. Shepherd of souls, is the Bishop of souls ; and he He does, however, help us in obeying that law, will neither leave nor forsake you. He can be by throwing new and impressive lights upon its "touched with a feeling of your infirmities," and bearings, and upon the best way of following them thus can bear with them, until you can bear to out. Whilst, therefore, I would solemnly warn move and rest with all his flock. He will even you against following any impulse, however plau- gather you in his arms, until you can walk in his sible, which is not founded upon express rule, I footsteps; and carry you in his bosom, until you would most affectionately urge you not to quench can follow him whithersoever he goeth. Thus, or resist the Holy Ghost, when he makes the let. He does not despise the day of small things : but ter or the spirit of any scriptural duty " arise in according to their smallness, makes his care and your hearts like a day-star," and shine as a light tenderness great. And, will you despair of weakin a dark place. Unto such illuminations, you ness, which He pities? Will you give up hope, “do well to take heed.” It will never be a day whilst He gives this heed, and hand, and heart, to of great things in your devotional experience, if the weak in faith, and to the fainting in hope you let such direct rays from heaven pass unno Take another view of your case. “ A bruised ticed. Do not wonder that the COMFORTER will reed shall he not break.” No; the music it not always come into your closet, nor meet you makes at first, may be neither harmony nor meloregularly at the sacrament, when you wish him to dy; may be rather sad than sweet; but He will do so—if you often refuse to go alone with him, or not break it, nor cast it away, because of its broken out for him, when he is whispering to you what notes. He will mend and moisten it, until its he would have you to do. This “still small tones are clear and melodious. “Out of the voice" is one of the small things which you must mouth of babes and sucklings,” He perfects praise. not despise. “If you do,” (Sheshbazzar would Many a bruised reed, which was once almost as have said,) “God may reverse the Horeb vision of dumb or dull as the harps upon the willows of Ba. Elijah ; and make the stormy wind, the earth- bylon, is now sounding out the New Song, with quake and the fire, follow the still small voice.” not a little of both the spirit and compass of the
These, however, are but passing hints. I want, golden harps before the throne of God. And, in order to encourage you to prize and cherish the however bruised, you are not a broken reed. A beginnings of the good work of grace in your own broken reed is cast away from all the means of soul, to mark most attentively, how the Saviour mending. But you are not only in the land of estimated and treated even “the blade" of true the living, and thus in the place of hope ; but piety, before the full corn,” or “the ear” had you are also under the care of a minister, or under shot forth. He did not despise the day of small the guidance of a friend, or have access to some things! He often treated as “great things,” book, whose chief object is to tune and strengthen prayers and faith which others would have de- bruised reeds, until they can spised, and which the offerers themselves were afraid or ashamed of, as too weak and imperfect
-" Join their cheerful songs, to be accepted.
With angels round the throne." Both the proofs and promises of this delightful fact are, of course, rising in your memory like Remember ; Jesus says, (and you can surely stars, in light and loveliness. You could repeat take his word!) “Blessed are they that mourn, them, without my quoting them at all. So far for they shall be comforted.” The night of peniwell. But let us just look over some of them for tential weeping, will be followed by the morning
of believing joy: You can review in this way, at was welcomed by him, as Elijah welcomed the your leisure, the other proofs of the Saviour's cherubic chariot of his translation. He was no considerate and compassionate regard to the day longer able to go up to Jerusalem, " three times a of small things. In the meantime, whilst these year;" and, therefore, he preferred to be there on two are before you, and you are admiring them, the DAY OF DAYS, that he might learn, as he said, I must remind you, that none of them are intend- from the High Priest, to enter within the veil of ed to reconcile you to the continuance of a day of eternity, bearing only the blood and incense of small things, in either your faith or holiness. It propitiation, as all his introduction and plea. Thus is, that small things may become great things, his spirit passed into the Holy of Holies even bethat they are thus watched by Heaven, and thus fore the High Priest; and often lingered at the commended to the watchfulness and tenderness mercy-seat, or bathed in the Sheckinah of glory, of the church on earth. “ The blade” of piety long after He had come out to bless the people. has the promise of “the early rain," just that the That benediction, Sheshbazzar welcomed as his ear and the full corn in the ear may come on to own warrant to kneel in spirit, where the priest meet “ the latter rain."
had ministered ; and thus to realize his own enBut whilst the first appearances of heartfelt trance into heaven. piety are thus not overlooked by the Saviour, This was his meaning when he called his neither are they overrated by him. The reed, pilgrimage, his translation, and his staff and scrip, though bruised, is called a reed; but it is not com- his chariot and horses of fire; for Beersheba, plimented as sweet enough in its sound. So also, compared with Jerusalem, was to him, on that the smoking flax is not threatened with quench- solemn feast day, as the earth compared with ing; but neither is its smoke commended. In heaven. And yet Beersheba was dear to the connection with both emblems it is added, “He good old man: for Abraham's well was still there; shall bring forth judgment unto truth.” In pro- and, although the trees of Abraham's grove had phetic language, this amounts to the same thing passed away, like the Angels who once rested as the apostolic promise, “ He who began the good under their shadow, “ the place thereof” work, will
carry it on.” Thus, we are as much unknown. Oaks of Mamre, and palm trees of bound to grow in grace, as we are encouraged to Lahairoi, had replaced them. Sheshbazzar often trust in grace, by both the condescension of the drank at that well
, and mused in that spot, in the Father, and the tenderness of the Son, towards very spirit of its Patriarchal owner, and of its Anour day of small things.
gelic visiters. Still it was not Zion! It was the In a word, it must not be always a day of small sepulchre of his fathers and of his children, but it things with us; for we may soon have great trials, was not the sanctuary of his God. His FiG or great temptations; and small faith or patience TREE was there ; but his TREE OF LIFE was upon will not sustain them well. “What will you do Mount Zion. in the day of visitation ?" is, therefore, a ques The prospect of his translation did not, how. tion which ought not to be lost sight of entirely, ever, so absorb his spirit, as to divert his
sympaeven at this stage of your experience. Do not, thies from those who had to stay at home. Have indeed, forbode evil; but do not forget that it will ing, like Elijah, thrown his mantle over Esrom come, sooner or later, in some form. It may come and Rachel, he continued to commune with them, very soon, and severely too, if you sit down con- until the moment of his departure; and to pray tented with this day of small things. Let the fol- that a double portion of his spirit might rest upon lowing allegory of RACHEL'S LEPROSY, teach you them. And never did they stand in more need of wisdom. And be not discouraged, because you counsel or prayer. They had been betrothed in cannot see how there can come a day of great the month Nisan; but when the Tisri trumpets things in your experience. You may acquire were blown, Esrom showed no inclination to go great peace, great comfort, and great influence. up to Jerusalem. He was not “glad" when In every thing good, you may be much greater Sheshbazzar said unto him, “Let us go up to the than you are ; and although you will never call house of the Lord.” He had tried to persuade nor think your holiness great, even when others himself, that it was not his duty this year! Rachel feel it to be great both in its beauty and strength, was drooping in both health and spirits : and surely resolve that it shall not be less in either than care it could not be duty to leave her alone! She her. can make it.
self tried to think that, for once, Esrom might be excused; for she felt, at times, as low as if the Angel of Death was not far off. Even Sheshbaz.
zar was uneasy on her account. He feared someALLEGORY, No. 1.
thing worse than death : for Rachel's mind was
one, which might be thrown off its balance by an RACHEL'S LEPROSY.
excess of either grief or joy. Its very strength
was more perilous than weakness; because she The lom HACCHIPURIM, or the great day of atone- put it all forth upon whatever interested her feelment, drew nigh again; and Sheshbazzar, although ings deeply. She threw her whole soul, equally, "old and gray-headed,” prepared to appear before into human and Divine things, by turns. On the God in Zion. For the Beershebean eagle (as Ra- day of her betroth ment, she thought of nothing chel called him) seemed to "renew his youth,” else ; and on the day after, which was the Sabannually, from the very moment the expiation bath, she was so absorbed by Sheshbazzar's expotrumpets summoned the tribes to Jerusalem. sition of the Law and the Prophets, in the synaTheir sound fell on his ear, like a voice from the gogue, that she forgot it entirely. excellent glory; and their signal for pilgrimage Even next morning, she met Esrom without