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with the finest of the wheat, and with honey out tion to piety is not backed by civil power, nor of the rock would I have satisfied them." Psa. cheered on by popular hostility. lxxxi. 16. Yes; the chief reason why he does In a word; I shall be well pleased, and eternally not give us more of "the hidden manna” to eat, thankful, to have had a keeping Comforter, whilst and why he withholds the " white stone” of adop- passing through a world, which is not more emtion so often, is, that we are not doing the first phatically“ a valley of tears," than it is a vortex works of the first churches, upon a scale equal to of temptations and snares. Comfort, indeed! If our ability and opportunities.
I had always been comforted, in my sense of the This imperfect essay would be worse than in- word, I should have made shipwreck of faith and complete, were I not to remind you, that when of a good conscience, years ago. The Holy Spithe time of need” is peculiar and pressing, then rit loves us too well, to cheer or soothe us, when the helping grace of the Spirit is both rich and wrong tempers or habits are gaining an ascendfree grace. At no time are we sent on a warfare ency over us. The prodigal's father did not go at our own charges : and whenever we are sent into the festive halls nor the swine-fields of the to endure a great fight of affliction, the Comforter “ far country," where his foolish son had wandergives rewards as well as wages. This, as I have ed. He did what was far better for him, welcome already hinted at the close of the chapter on sanc- him home again, when he came to his senses.tification, would be a perfect mystery to me- Just so, the Holy Spirit acts, in comforting; he viewing, as I do, almost all afflictions as chastise- keeps back the ring, and the robe, and the shoes, ment for sin, as well as trials of faith—did I not and the fatted calf, until his prodigals are within see how Christ is glorified by it. But the eyes of sight of the paternal roof again. Be it, therefore, our neighbors, as well as of our families, are upon your concern and mine to be kept from apostacy us, when the mighty hand of God thrusts us into and wandering; and we shall never be left comthe furnace; and, therefore, the Spirit takes care fortless. The comfort of being kept through faith to sit as a Comforter as well as a refiner, that unto salvation, will be comfort whilst those who judge of the worth of piety by its influence in the day of calamity, may see how a
“Immortality endures.” Christian can suffer without murmuring, or die without fear. For it was not chiefly on our own " I was kept whilst in the world,” will be as deaccount, that we were so wonderfully supported, lightful a reflection in heaven, as the anticipation at times we can never forget. It answered our
"I shall be kept for ever pure and happy." purpose, quite as well as if all the mercy of the comfort had terminated upon ourselves ; but like the recovery of Epaphroditus, which was mercy, to Paul as well as to himself, our comfort and composure under severe afflictions, were sent to
No. XIII. teach others, as well as to help us in time of need. How this fact exalts and endears to a Chris. THE LOVE OF THE SPIRIT A PLEA FOR ZEAL. tian, the memory of his “songs in the night" of calamity! He was enabled to sing the Lord's WHENEVER the claims of the heathen, or of the song then, that his family and friends might dark places of the earth at home, are to be publearn it.
licly and specially pleaded in the pulpit, or on the If this essay at all place the comforts of the platform, we expect to hear powerful appeals to Spirit in a more scriptural light, than you have the love of Christ, as the all-constraining motive thought of them, you will do well to review the to zeal and liberality: A missionary sermon, of facts of it again, in connection with the Saviour's which the love of Christ was not both the foundaown account of himself, whilst he was the Com- tion and the topstone, would surprise us, as well forter of his disciples. Now he summed up the as grieve us. Yes; next to our indignation, would results of the office, as he himself discharged it, be our astonishment, if that mighty motive were in his last prayer, thus,—" Whilst I was with them not mightily employed, whenever the friends of in the world, I kept them.” John xvii. 12. Thus Christ are called on to spread or sustain the goshe was a keeping Comforter. And that, the Holy pel. We should say, and justly too, that the man Spirit is emphatically! He comforts, so as to keep who could advocate missions without shielding us. And, in a world like this, and with such and enshrining their claims with the glories of hearts as ours, and whilst all the powers of hell redeeming love, had read his Bible to little purunite with both to seduce and ensnare, what a pose, and knew nothing of the high-way to the comfort it is to be kept from apostacy and ruin ! hearts of Christians. Were he a very Apollos in We do not know the world, nor ourselves well, if eloquence, we should not hesitate to tell him, that keeping grace be not as dear to us as converting the poorest Aquila or Priscilla of the churches grace. Why; if we were not kept from falling could teach him “ the way of the Lord more perinto error, and from going back to the world, and fectly." from taking up with the pleasures of sin, we This recognition of the love of Christ as the should soon despise the pleasures of religion, and grand motive for loving the souls of those who are be both unfit and unwilling to be comforted by perishing for lack of knowledge, is one of the “any consolation” which is in Christ Jesus. I do happiest signs of our times, and one of the healnot think lightly of comfort. I know how much thiest symptoms of the Christian church. Whilst it is wanted, under trials and temptations. But I this is the spirit of the church, the world will not know, also, of something which is more wanted be neglected by her. Its dark places will be nothan strong consolation, now that strong opposi- I ticed, and numbered, and prayed for, and helped,
just in proportion as this fine spirit prevails. For, to the church, are hinted at ? For, in general, happily, the love of Christ, like the blood of they are rather hinted at than exhibited. And Christ,
yet, "the world” has the same place in the heart
and mission of the Spirit, as in the work of Christ " Will never lose its power,
or in the love of God. It is just as expressly said Till all the ransomed church of God in Scripture, that the Comforter shall convince the Are saved, to sin no more !"
world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judg
ment, (John xvi. 8.) as it is said that God so loved Did it ever occur to you, however, that we do not the world as to give his Son to be the Saviour of ply nor employ this argument exactly as Paul did, the world, or that Christ is the propitiation for the when he besought the churches to labor and pray sins of the world. Accordingly, whenever Paul that the gospel might have free course, and be wanted to carry out or to carry on any great glorified at home and abroad? He pleaded with evangelizing measure in the world, he brought the them by the love of the Spirit, as well as by the love of the Father, and of the Son, and of the love of Christ. This is not common now. Why, Spirit, to bear together at once on the churches. then, are we neither offended nor surprised, al. He did not confine himself to the love of Christ, though we hear nothing about the Spirit, but just when intent upon calling forth love to the poor that his influences are absolutely necessary, and and the perishing, from the hearts and hands of his grace all-sufficient, to crown the gospel with those who loved Christ. No! mark how he
pleaded with the Romans :
“I beseech you, 'This is certainly much. And then, it is all to brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the point. Indeed, without this full recognition of the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with the power of the Spirit, and of the entire and me in your prayers for me.” Rom. xv. 30. He universal dependance of all means upon his bless- had just preached the gospel fully from Jerusalem ing, even the love of Christ, however preached, and round about unto Illyricum, in all places would be preached in vain, both to the church and “where Christ had not been named," and was the world. It would neither win the souls of the now about to “take a journey into Spain,” for the perishing, nor constrain the zeal of the redeemed. same purpose; and therefore he craved the But still, why should not the love, as well as the prayers of the church at Rome, that his missions power of the Spirit, be appealed to, whenever ap- might be prosperous. He also “ trusted to be peals are made to us on behalf of missions and brought on his way” by that church, to his intend
eligious education? It is neither wise nor fair, ed Spanish mission, as well as to see them by the to confine our attention to the need or the nature way. Thus he wanted both the prayers and the of his sacred influences, whilst his own moral na- help of the Romans, to enable him, as a debtor to ture-or essence-or heart—which is love, just as the Jews and the Gentiles, to act out his commisGod is love, and as Christ is love-is not kept be- sion as an ambassador of Christ to the world; and fore us.
We are thus tempted to look with less therefore he besought them at once, for Christ's confidence and complacency on the office of the sake, and for the Spirit's sake, to work and pray Holy Spirit, than on the offices of the Father and for him. the Son. Accordingly, his agency is chiefly spo In like manner, when Paul wanted the zealous ken of, rather as power we cannot do without, and benevolent Philippians to be more than ever than as love which may be depended and calcula- they had been the lights of the world,” and the ed upon. For once that his heart is set before us, landmarks of their own
“ crooked and perverse quivering with tender sympathy, and glowing nation," he pleaded with them thus : “ If there with intense love, and thrilling with strong solici- be, therefore, any consolation in Christ, if any tude for souls, we are reminded ten times of his fellowship of the Spirit, let that mind be in you hand, without which “ Paul might plant, and which was also in Christ Jesus." The apostle Apollos water" in vain.
wanted them to hold forth the word of life, as well Now, this is not fair. Not, however, that there as to uphold it amongst themselves ; to look upon is too much said of the power of the Spirit, nor the things of others, as well as look to their own that the indispensable necessity of its operation is interests ; and to do both with much of the Satoo often or too strongly affirmed; but that too viour's impartiality, even if, in doing as he did, little is said of his love, and that little too seldom they should suffer both pain and loss. This was repeated. The consequence is, that the general a great demand upon their time, and property, and feeling of the churches towards the Spirit of all patience, and impartiality; and because Paul felt grace is not a generous one. I mean, it is rather it to be so, he placed it between the double blaze å solemn than a sweet feeling, and breathes more of the love of Christ and the love of the Spirit, of awe than of expectation, and approaches near that thus the compassion of the Philippians for er to submission than to complacency or gratitude. their own nation, and all nations, might be equal We do not, indeed, think him an adverse or in- to their ability and opportunities. Phil. ii. 1. different party to the success of the gospel in the In like manner, when Paul wanted the Epheworld. All our hope of its success hinges upon sians to be “filled with all the fulness of God," his good-will and great power. We look for no (or, as the Saviour expressed the same state of “increase," apart from his blessing. But still, mind, “merciful, as your Father in heaven is who speaks, or thinks, or feels, concerning the merciful,”) he not only brought before them the Spirit's love to the world, as of the love of God heights and depths, the lengths and breadths, of and the Lamb ? Who kindles with rapture, or the love of Christ, but also the witness, seal, and even with a hope full of holy zeal, when the Com- earnest of the Holy Spirit of promise, urging them forter's relation and love to the world, as well as to maintain the unity and extend the boundaries
of the church, by the plea, “There is one Spirit,” | Like the principle of gravitation in nature, the therefore, "grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, love of the Spirit pervades every thing in grace. whereby ye are sealed unto the day of Redemp- It does not blaze with the effulgence of the Sation." Eph. iv. 15, 30.
viour's love, nor shine with the brightness of the In like manner, Paul winds up his congratula- Father's love; but it is the steady daylight and tions and counsels to the Thessalonians thus moonlight of the church, by which she both walks “Quench not the Spirit.” He had begun his and works, and without which she could do noepistle by reminding them, that they had received thing for herself or the world. Let us, therefore, the gospel “ with joy of the Holy Ghost," and examine its bearings upon our duty, in reference had proved this by making it sound out through to the spread of the gospel at home and abroad. Macedonia and Achaia ; and, that neither their Now, our first duty (and all Christians, without own joy might be lost, nor their zeal decline, he exception, can discharge it) is, fervent prayer for closes his epistle by guarding them against the spread of the gospel
. ' I say fervent, and I quenching that holy dame which the love of the might add special : for a mere passing or general Spirit had kindled on the altar of their hearts as petition, at the close of our ordinary prayers, is individuals, and on the altar of their fellowship as not at all like what is commanded by Christ, and a church.
implored by the apostles. The Saviour added to Such, then, are the revealed facts on this subo the command, “Say, Thy kingdom come,” the ject. What is the fair inference from them? equally authoritative command, Pray ye the Surely, that we ought to resign our minds to the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laconstraining influence of the love of the Spirit, as borers into his harvest.” Matt. ix. 38. In like well as to that of the love of Christ, whenever we manner, it was not for vague or general prayers weigh the claims of a perishing world, or co-ope that the apostles called when they appealed to rate for the spread of the gospel. Indeed, without the churches ; but for definite and agonizing a due regard to the love of the Spirit, there will prayer on behalf of specified individuals. This not be much yielding to the influence of the love was Paul's own entreaty to the Romans for himof Christ. I would, therefore, urge the one mo- self: " I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus tive, were it only to give force to the other; and Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that inculcate the one duty, were it only for the sake ye agonize together with me in your prayers for of the other : for nothing has such a tendency to me." Thus, also, he besought the Ephesians : exalt and endear the love of the Saviour, and thus “ And for me, that utterance may be given unto to throw open our hearts to its sweet constraint, me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make as a proper sense of the love of the Comforter. known the mystery of the gospel.” Eph. vi. 19. It is the latter that reveals and applies the former: Thus, also, he besought the Thessalonians, on for, who see unscaleable heights, or unfathomable behalf of himself and all his fellow-laborers,depths, or immeasurable lengths and breadths, in « Brethren, pray for us." 1 Thess. v. 25. the love of Christ, or feel that it passeth know These commands and requests are not fairly ledge, but those whose eyes have been opened met, by an occasional or general petition for the and enlightened by the Holy Spirit? Who com- spread of the gospel. Its ministers and missionprehend, " with all saints,” how the love of Christ aries should be named in our prayers. Our own passeth knowledge, but those who have been ministers and our own missionaries should have
strengthened with might, by the Spirit, in the their names engraven upon our breastplate of ininner man?". And this is equally true of the love tercession. And for this obvious reason : prayer of God. Wherever it is “shed abroad in the will not be agonizing nor fervent, until it is perheart," it is by the Holy Ghost. Rom. v. 5. In sonal. It is not so for ourselves, until it fix upon like manner, all our love to both God and the some specific want, or wo, or danger, and concenLamb “is the fruit of the Spirit.” Gal. v. 22. trate itself upon the precise help we need.
It is impossible to weigh these facts, without But, who pray for their minister, or for missionfeeling that it is equally desirable and necessary aries, thus distinctly-earnestly? Who agonize to give the love of the Spirit that place in our with either, in prayer for them, that they may be creed and confidence which it has in the word of faithful or successful! Again I say, that a geneGod. But the question is, how can this be best ral reference to the ministry as a body, in prayer, done? For, now that we see how little his love is mere compliment, not supplication. It might has been noticed, there is some danger of running be as well omitted altogether, as despatched thus to the opposite extreme. We must guard against summarily and vaguely. this with great care. We must never forget that I should be somewhat afraid to write thus freely, it is the love of God, and the love of Christ, and were I not pleading by the love of the Spirit, as not the love of the Spirit, which is chiefly exhi- well as by the love of Christ. Such prayer is so bited in the gospel. Indeed, the promise of the uncommon, that its advocate needs an uncommon Spirit is itself a part of the gospel, and his love plea. And, happily I have one on this occasion. the seal of their love : accordingly, it is never You know well, how much the success of prayer dwelt upon by the apostles, either so long or so for yourself depends upon the Holy Spirit. You often as the love of God and the Lamb. It is cannot even pray as you ought, nor for what is always implied, in all that is said of the reign of according to the will of God, unless he help your grace, and occasionally appealed to with great infirmities. Were he to depart from you, either point and pathos; but it is never argued nor cele- as a Spirit of grace or of supplication, you would brated with the fulness or force with which Paul soon depart entirely from the throne of grace and emblazons the love of Christ, and John the love become prayerless. You, therefore cannot afford of God. Still, the New Testament is full of it. I to say with the slothful or the heartless, “I have
enough to do in praying for myself, without taking a WILL beyond what the execution of it requires. up the case of others specially.” It would be in- Hence, David thanked God both for the ability fatuation as well as effrontery, in you, to go on and inclination to offer freely to the temple; and with only a passing reference to your minister, or then added, “Of thine own have we given thee.” to the heralds of the cross, now that you see that This is a hard saying, which will not be borne agonizing prayer for them is what the Spirit de- by any one who does not understand and appremands from the churches and enforces by his own ciate the love of the Spirit, as well as the love of love, as well as by the love of Christ. Whilst | Christ. All such will, like Ananias and Sapphira, you overlooked these facts, your ignorance might venture to “ lie unto the Holy Ghost," by giving be some excuse for your neglect : but now you no more than what will just appear to man enough are without excuse. You must peril both the to sustain their reputation, when they are comsuccess and the perseverance of your prayers for pared with others, apparently in the same circumyour own safety, if you dare again to make that stances. last and least in them which God has put first This is a subject I would not touch, were not that his word may have free course and be glo my chief object to warn you against lying to the rified.
Holy Ghost. It is fearfully common to join in Again, I say, you cannot afford to confine your singing hymns, which pledge the soul to give up prayers to yourself; because you cannot go on, every thing to the claims of Christ. Now, this nor keep up in the divine life, without the help of is either mockery or perjury; for no man does the Holy Spirit. He has now taught you a new sell or forsake all for the sake of Christ and the lesson, by leading you into an old truth which gospel. It is not very certain that it is any man's many overlook ; but which you can never forget, duty to do so, now that the church is large enough whilst you remember the love of the Spirit or your to evangelize the world, if she were as liberal as own dependance upon his grace.
she could well afford to be. It is, however, I bring the matter to this point, without cere- (although not the unpardonable sin against the mony or circumlocution, because it is of no use Holy Ghost) a sin against the Spirit, to promise or now, for you or me to evade the duty thus brought profess any liberality which is not intended nor exbefore us, by pretending that we have too little ercised. It is no jest, nor sinless matter, of course, time, and too much in our own case to think about, to sing, in prayer, to take any lively or special interest in the case of others. Why; the less time we have, " Or if I might make some reserve, and the more pressing our own wants are, the
And duty did not call, more we are bound to bear upon our hearts the I love my Lord with zeal so great, men and the means by which God is carrying on
That I would give him all." his own kingdom. We shall not fare the worse It may be cheap charity, but it is dear worship, for dividing our prayers between them and our. selves. God will take care that we shall be no
to sing, losers by seeking the spiritual gain of others. Were the whole realm of nature mine, We shall both pray better and more successfully, That were a gift by far too small,” when we become intercessors as well as supplicants. Try the experiment for a week :--and whilst far more is expended upon the luxuries of see how the love of the Spirit will enable you to life, than upon the poor or the perishing. wrestle and prevail for yourself
, when you set O, why is this so ill managed, even by thosc yourself to agonize for and with the ministers who who, on the whole, mean well? How easy it have the glory of God at heart. Neglect it as would be for any Christian to settle the question you have done, and see how the Spirit will leave of what he can do, and then do it as unto God, you to sealed lips, or to comfortless prayer!
without any reference as to what man may think Another duty, in reference to the spread of the of it! You are deeply interested in this matter, gospel abroad, and its efficiency at home, is libe- whether you have much or little to spare for the rality in the cause of Christ. I call the consecra-cause of God : for both riches and poverty may tion of property to the cause of God, “ liberality,' prove equal snares; the former by estranging the because thus it is acknowledged and commended heart from God, and the latter by hardening it in the word of God: otherwise I durst not have against him. Nothing but the grace of the Spirit given it this name : for what have we to give, can prevent this. Why, then, not deal honestly which we have not received? True; we may with him? Nothing is asked or expected from us have earned what we have, honestly and by hard beyond what Providence enables us to do: and industry, or inherited it legally and legitimately; not
do th is to provoke the Holy Spirit to let but who enabled us to be industrious; who crown. the world drown us in perdition. Remember; ed honest effort with success ; who spared us to when Ephraim made it an idol, God said, “ Let inherit ancestral or family property? The Provi- him alone.” And, what is doing less than we can, dence which did all or any of this for us, never but making an idol of what we keep back ? gave us a discretionary power over what it com It is no use to quibble or equivocate: if we are mitted to our trust. We are responsible stewards not acting the part of the widow, who did “ what for whatever we possess. Every man is as much she could” for the treasury of God, we are resistbound to administer faithfully what God intrusts ing the Holy Ghost; for one of the characteristo him, as if his property were a fund for widows tic marks of his saving operations on the soul, is, or orphans. I mean, that it is no more at his op- to open the heart and the hands to the cause of tion to hoard the surplus beyond what his own Christ in the world : and if he be resisted at that wants require, than to encroach on the capital of point, what can be looked for, but resistance from
him at all points in which our own comfort or and be at rest.” For although we often feel deeply safety is involved? He will not submit to be that this world " is not our rest,” that feeling is mocked by empty compliments nor by selfish seldom connected with longing for “the rest which prayers. It is however, mere mockery to cry, remaineth for the people of God.” We must be
very weary indeed, before we are willing to enter “Come, Holy Spirit, heavenly Dove, into that rest. The prayer, “Come, Lord Jesus,
With all ihy quick’ning powers, come quickly," is not grown out of use altogether;
but it is not common prayer, even amongst the And that shall kindle ours;"
prayerful. The last enemy must come very close
indeed to our bedside, before we entreat Jesus to if
, at the same time, we are consulting nothing but come quickly. The “ Amen” of that cry, is usuour own interests. Never, but in obeying Christ, ally mingled with the death-rattle in the throat. can we expect any such manifestation of his love
I do not forget, whilst unveiling this fact thus from the Spirit. " If ye love me,” says the Sa, unceremoniously, that there are times, even when viour-do what ?—“keep my commandments.” life is strong, and home happy, and the world not Yes: keep them, as well as pray for the Spirit : unpleasant, when most Christians would neither keep them, as well as ponder over the state of be afraid nor very unwilling to exchange worlds. your own feelings.
Very few are utter strangers to moments of Why is not this simple advice taken by all who spiritual delight, concerning which they can say are anxious to ascertain the sincerity of their love with truth and soberness, " I could have taken an to Christ? That,
eternity of that delightful season.” But these
“Moments, rich in blessing," but whilst we do nothing but think, it will remain are in general, but momentary. The flame of the an unsettled point; because we can do no more sacrifice must be as strong as it is bright, before than think. We can act in reference to the com- the soul, like Manoah's angel can spread its wings mandments of Christ, however poor or uninfluen- in the blaze, to ascend up to heaven at once. tial we may be. We can bring the reality of our
This does occur, however, occasionally, both in love to the test, if we have nothing to give, by the closet and the sanctuary. And whenever it keeping that command, “ Pray ye the Lord of the does so, it is fully and gratefully ascribed to the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his "Spirit of grace and supplication.” Then we do harvest.” And if we have it in our power to aid mean and feel what we say,—that the Spirit has, the kingdom of Christ, either by helping to extend indeed “helped our infirmities.” This, we do not it, or by assisting its poor, we need neither waste hesitate to consider and call,—"the communion our time nor perplex our minds, in sitting in judg- of the Holy Ghost.” ment upon the feeling of love ; let us test it at
I thus notice and point out distinctly, both the once, by doing all we can for the poor and perish- ordinary level at which our love of heaven rests, ing. And depend upon it, if our love can make and the extraordinary height it can be raised to sacrifices for Christ, it is not insincere: whereas, occasionally and for a moment; just that we may nothing can prove its genuineness, but keeping his see clearly, what the Holy Spirit has to do, in commandments. Love, like life, can only be de- order to produce any heavenly-raindedness in our monstrated by doing or enduring.
earthly hearts; and what he can do, in carrying our thoughts within the veil, and setting our affections on things above. In both cases, he does
that for us, which nothing but strong love would No. XIV.
undertake, and nothing but great power could accomplish.
Let me still more frankly explain to you my object in these familiar hints. I am very much
dissatisfied with the forgetful and reluctant tone THERE is, perhaps no test of piety we are more of my own mind, in regard to heaven. I have afraid of trying ourselves by, than heavenly- tried not a few experiments, in order to acquire a mindedness; for even when we are least earthly- keener relish for "the glory to be revealed,” and minded we are not exactly heavenly-minded, in a more settled habit of looking at the things the sense of desiring “ to depart and be with which are unseen and eternal.” It was, indeed, Christ.” Paul's “strait,” in choosing betwixt for this express purpose, in my own case, that I heaven and earth, is thus a rare strait now, except wrote my “Eternity Realized.”. I called it “A in the case of very aged or very afflicted Chris- Guide to the Thoughtful,” and thousands in Eutians : and even amongst them, it is not very rope and America, have received it as such: but
Many “groan, being burdened,” in it was written to check my own thoughtlessness, their earthly tabernacle, who do not earnestly de- on this absorbing subject. I find, however, that sire “ to be clothed with their house which is from a charm, as well as a check, is wanted, in order heaven.”. In general, the world must be desolate to keep up any thing like heavenly-mindedness. to us, as it was to Noah's dove, when she found And yet, the checks upon the neglect of it, which no place on all its surface, for the soles of her feet, are furnished by the word of God, are very sobefore we say from the heart, “O, that I had lemn! One of them is to me, very touching and wings like a dove, that I might fly away to heaven, powerful : and you will never forget it, if you will
THE LOVE OF THE SPIRIT AS THE EARNEST OF