Imágenes de páginas

For we

Whatever encouragement there is in this view ried and yet equal emphasis, with which this song of Christian experience, will be increased, by is sung by spirits, each of whom considers its own tracing our resemblance to the spirits of just men salvation, as the most undeserved of all the wonmade perfect.

are come” still nearer derful salvations of others. " to the general assembly and church of the first Do you feel that you could take up the New born,” than to angels, in our love and gratitude, if Song in this way? Is this—just what your "heart we have really come by faith “ to Jesus the medi- inditeth” and designs, and quivers with, when you ator of the new covenant, and to the blood of venture to realize your own entrance into heaven sprinkling." Our first prayerful and penitential -your own first appearance before the throneapproach to him for salvation, made us one with your own first sight of the Saviour-your own all the redeemed in heaven, exactly in proportion first burst of as it made him “all in all” in our hopes; and every subsequent attempt to “wash our robes in "Wonder, love, and praise ?" the blood of the Lamb,” has brought us nearer to the forms and spirit of their grateful worship. In anticipating this, does your spirit fcel how it

Be not afraid to look at this fact! It is the fact must, alternately and eternally, break away from in your own case,—if you have come to Christ all spirits, into the melody, “Šlain for me;" and himself

. Besides, you expect to come, at last, in- fall with them all, into the harmony, “Slain for to the society of all the saved, and to come up to us?" This is not accident, nor from the exciteall the height of their love and gratitude. You ment of the moment. You must have gone cannot relinquish this hope. Indeed, one great through this train of thought, and risen to this reason why you cling to this hope is, because you tone of feeling, before now. The chord of both feel quite sure that, should you reach heaven, must have been in your heart for some time, seethere is nothing you would not do, willingly and ing my touch can make it vibrate thus ! Again I warmly, in order to express, before the throne, say, I am not complimenting you. I am only conyour

gratulating you; and that only in order to endear

the Holy Spirit, who led your spirit thus far into 'Wonder, love, and praise !"

meetness “for the inheritance of the saints in

light." And then, you do not leave these altogether unex But why should your resemblance to them stop pressed, until you are in heaven. You could not here? This is, indeed, a fine and essential porkeep up any hope of joining in the new song there tion of their spirit ; but just because it is so, the if you did not try to sing it here. You could not more need, and the more reason, and the more enpostpone all your gratitude to the Saviour, until couragement you have, to catch other portions of you see him as he is. The shortness of time, as it. This love to the Saviour, should be associated well as the length of eternity, is a reason, with with love to all who love him and bear his image. you, for trying to do and feel now, something of And as he does not count you unworthy of his what you intend then.

love, what Christian can be unworthy of your love? You are right! Well; nothing will help you This question is not wanted in heaven. There, more in this good habit, than marking how near all love and live as brethren. No distinction of you have already come to the spirit of the gene-honor or office, of rank or reward, divides the ral assembly of the Redeemed. The resemblance general assembly of the church triumphant. “One will gratify, without at all flattering you; and con- star differeth from another star, in glory;" but, firm your hope of final safety, without relaxing like the morning stars, they all sing together, and your present diligence. Do not doubt this. Do shine together, and move in harmony. There is not even shrink from it. Consider : you would be no star " WORMWOOD" in all the galaxy of glory. very uneasy, and very much alarmed too, if you True; it is easy to love all, where all are so had no fellow-feeling with the saints in heaven. lovely. You could, of course, wear the smile of Did your heart loathe, or your spirit spurn, their cordial good will

, and wave the hand of complasentiments and emotions, you would suspect that cent satisfaction, towards any spirit around the a seared conscience, if not a reprobate mind, was throne. You may have partialities but you have setting in upon you. No wonder! Well; if you no prejudices, when you look within the veil. deem it thus essential, to hold all their creed, and Nature, you feel, will draw you first and chiefly, to cherish something of their spirit, why not mark, to your own family and personal friends, even in exactly, how far you accord with them! This is heaven; but grace, you feel also, will draw you not so slight a matter, that it can be safely taken with equal sincerity, if not with equal delight, into for granted without any examination; or settled any circle, and into all the circles, of the redeemby a passing glance. Come !-rise to the impor- ed from amongst men. You cannot conceive of tance, and solemnity, and sublimity of having fel spirit you would not like to know, or that you lowship of spirit with the spirits, amongst whom would be ashamed to acknowlege there. you desire and hope to spend your eternity! Look Well; the will of God ought to be done on at them-listen to them-place yourself in their earth, as it is in heaven. The difficulty of doing room, whilst they identify themselves as one church, it

, here, does not lessen the obligation to do it. redeemed by the same sacrifice, and thus sing, Nay; brotherly and sisterly love is more wanted “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain for us :" here, than it is in heaven. I mean that, if you and yet vie with each other in singing, “Who could easily love any one there, every one there loved me, and gave himself for me, and washed me could be happy without your love: for no one from my sins in his own blood." You can imagine needs it, in order to enjoy heaven, nor in order to the holy rivalry—the humble emulation—the va- I bear the eternal weight of glory well. But this


is not true of all your fellow-Christians on earth. But that angel, " having the key of the bottomless Some of them need both sympathy and help, in pit, and a great chain in his hand,” is he too a order to be faithful unto death; and all of them ministering spirit to man? Yes; he shall bind deserve affectionate notice, in order to be useful Satan, and shut him up for a thousand years, that in life. And, what am I-or who are you—that he may “not deceive the nations.” we should care nothing about our brethren? If Truly, they are all ministering spirits! Yes; those we stand aloof from have faults,—so have and any of them would have gloried to carry Lawe: and if God were to treat us for our offences zarus to heaven. All of them rejoiced when you against himself, as we treat them for their offences repented : and is there any heir of salvation, you against us, how should we like it—what would be are ashamed to own, or unwilling to aid ? Woman! the consequence ?

“know thyself;" thy duty; thy destiny. Besides ; are there none in your neighborhood, very low in life-very straítened in circumstances

- very much exposed to temptation, just because of heavy trials; but who really have " the root of the

No. VII. matter" in them, notwithstanding all these things ? And, are you ashamed or afraid to notice and own them, as Christians ? True; they may not do

VARIETIES, FROM FRETFULNESS. much credit to Christianity, whilst they hardly know how to make the ends meet” in life. But Any one can expose or reprove that feverish and if you look down on them—if you withhold from fretful care, which is always foreboding the worst, them all countenance and counsel, if they may or embittering life by complaints, and suspicions, sink or swim for any thing you care,—who risks and clamor. the credit of Christianity most ?

It is peculiar to the Saviour, to treat undue Do, ask yourself often, how you could meet in care with equal tenderness and fidelity. He heaven, without shame, some whom, notwithstand-makes the fretful and the foreboding feel, that he ing all their faults, you expect and wish to meet knows thoroughly "what is in them," and yet there! True; they will not upbraid you when that he feels for them. Whilst he measures and they meet you before the throne. The neglected weighs their unbelief so minutely, that we lay our will not say—You used to pass me even at the account with hearing him say, “ They have no sacrament, without condescending to speak or faith at all in Providence,” to our surprise, he only look to me. Those who “ came out of great tri- says to them, “ O, ye of little faith.” Thus, just bulation,” will not say," I was sick, and ye visit- when he seems about to disown them entirely, for ed me not; hungry, and ye gave me no meat; their distrust of Providence, he lays his hand upon thirsty, and ye gave me no drink; naked, and ye them as gently as upon sinking Peter, asking, clothed me not." This will never be repeated, “Wherefore didst thou doubt ?" after Christ has said it from the Judgment-seat : Did you ever mark the inimitable skill with but, should it even be pardoned by him in your which the Saviour met the over-anxiety of his case, how could you ever forgive yourself

, when first disciples, when they began to dwell too much, you see the poor of the flock at his right hand? and too peevishly, upon the questions, “What Why, their very silence and cordiality will then shall we eat, and what shall we drink, and wherebe more humiliating to you (although not at all withal shall we be clothed ?" intended to be so) than the most cutting reproofs.

For a moment he almost identified their “cark. Sympathy with poor and afflicted Christians is, ing care” about life and the means of life, with remember, as much a leading as it is a lovely fea- the clamorous solicitude of the heathen, for temture of heavenly character. It is the very bright- poral things: " after all these things do the Genest feature of the social character of the angels of tiles seek :” but he did not leave them to suspect, God. We know more about their sympathy with from this reproof, that they stood in no nearer rethe penitent, the suffering, and the dying, than of lation to God, than the heathen. No; he immetheir nature or their history. I have sometimes diately added, “ Your Heavenly Father knoweth come, in thought, to “ the 'innumerable company that ye have need of all these things.” Matt. of angels," saying to myself, without any difficul- vi. 32. Thus, in the same breath, he rebuked their ty, until I saw them in the vision of John, “ Are wrong spirit, and yet upheld their adoption. they not all ministering spirits to the heirs of sal." This is not the manner of man, O Lord God !" vation ?" Whilst I thought of them only as Did you ever observe, that he never calls upon a whole, I was not much humbled by their us to compare our lot with that of those who are ministry. But when I began to observe them, above us, or with that of those who are below us, one by one, in the glass of the Apocalypse, I have upon the ladder of providence ? Except in the been compelled to exclaim,—What, all minister. single case of persecution or reproach for his own ing spirits to the heirs of salvation? That angel name's sake, he does not even remind us of the

having the Seal of the living God ?" Yes; greater trials of some others. “So persecuted he has it to seal his servants on earth. What, they the prophets which were before you,” is the those four angels “ having the four winds of the only instance in which he teaches patience or earth?" Yes; "that the winds should not blow contentment, by comparisons. This is another to hurt" the trees in the garden of God! But remarkable peculiarity in the ministry of the Sathat angel, “ clothed with a cloud, and a rainbow viour. He taught providence from nature, not around his head, and his face as it were the sun," from society. He made the lilies of the fields, or is he too a ministering spirit to men? Yes; and the birds of the air, his texts, in preference to all well pleased to hold in his hand "a little book !" | the facts which the varieties of life furnished,

whether his object was to reprove or to soothe, they distract your mind, and thus prevent you from the fears of his disciples.

serving God so well as you wish to do. It is, There was consummate wisdom in this, whe- therefore, you think, both ungenerous and unjust, ther you see it or not. It would do you good, to to be suspected of, much more to be charged with, " consider the lilies of the field and the birds of any such impious design as that of wanting to be the air,” when you feel the burden of your cares independent of Providence. You never dreamt overwhelming. This may seem very unlikely at of such a thing—did you? first sight, to you. Like myself

, you may be ready Do not answer this question, until you have to say, --my cares are too heavy to be alleviated considered another peculiarity in the Saviour's lesby such considerations : it seems almost mockery, sons on providence. He does not teach confior mere sentimentality, to send me to learn of dence in, nor resignation to Providence, either as birds or lilies. What could the growth of flowers, abstract duties, or for their own sake, as Christian or the preservation of birds, teach me? What virtues ; but chiefly for the sake of keeping up light could such common things throw upon my the spirit and habit of prayer, and a proper regard uncommon anxieties?

to the eternal welfare of the soul. Now the fact In this flippant way, and in this wrong spirit, is, we really pray no more, either for spiritual or are we inclined to meet the Saviour's advice: for temporal blessings, than just to the extent of our there is no sense in such objections. They are

sense of entire dependence on God. Our words mere sound. Accordingly, we should be con- may go beyond this; but our praying stops where demned out of our own lips, were he to press us with the single question,—What benefit do you and power ends.

our sense of dependence on the divine good-will

There may be some worship derive from brooding over your cares? You think and some devotion in what we say to God, when we and say, that you could derive neither light nor no longer feel utterly helpless, nor absolutely at good from considering the things I commend to his disposal ; but there is no prayer. Nothing is your notice. You cannot, however, say that the prayer, but that asking, or seeking, which proconsideration of them would do you any harm: ceeds from a full conviction, that God alone can whereas I know, and you must acknowledge, that help or uphold us. the views you take of your cares rather aggravate than alleviate them. You contrast your lot with

Now we are unable to bear this deep sense of those above you; and that mortifies you; you need for life and godliness. Our spirit would sink

utter helplessness, in regard to every thing we compare it with those below you: and that dis- entirely

, if it always felt all its needs, as it feels courages you, because you are thus compelled to


them. Our Heavenly Father does not see how you may sink still lower in the world. Thus when you look up the ladder of life, you are bereth that we are but dust.” He teacheth us

forget this. “He knoweth our frame, and rememdissatisfied ; and when you look down it, you are ready to despair. Now, to say the least, feelings dependence, as well as other things, only as we of this kind would not be produced by considering it is only at a few points in the circle of our

are able to bear" the discovery: Accordingly, how the lilies grow, and how the birds are pro- wants, or of our weaknesses, that we are comvided for! I readily grant, that such little things pelled to cry out, “ Lord save, or I perish.” It is but still, what they do teach gives no offence : only now and then that the full truth of the orawhich is , you know, more than can be said with cle, “vain is the help of man,” is forced deeply

home upon us. We are not left, however, to for. truth, of some of the graver lessons you get, occa

get this oracle, nor to give up that prayer. God sionally, from certain persons. Besides there is a great deal of pride in our re absolute dependence on his will.

will have us—by some means_sensible of our luctance to be “ shut

up" to an exclusive dependence upon God, and to a complete deference to

Now, what if the hardship, the cross, or the his will. For, why should we be less dependent burden, which you and I so want to get rid of, than irrational things? We are not so pure as and which we bear so ill, be the very best thing, the lily, nor so innocent as the bird. We can, indeed the only thing, that could keep us at the indeed, do more for ourselves, and we can think feet of God? Remember; we must be kept much; but if both our doing and thinking have there by something. It is also but too true, that for their real object, to try how far we can take those things in our lot which please us most, do our affairs out of the hands of God, into our own not send us oftenest into our closets, even for hands, we need not wonder that God should cross thanksgiving—to say nothing of supplication for us at times, and always leave us to feel that we their continuance. Might not, therefore, the recannot remove nor lighten our burdens by impa- moval of the cross which we fret under, remove tience.

us from the closet altogether? You do not believe, perhaps, that you want to Now this is just the secret of our case. That take your affairs out of the hands of God, into one thing in our lot, which we are so anxious to your own hands. There may be only two or get rid of, is the very thing which makes us feel three things in your lot, which you wish to alter: that we cannot control providence, nor do withand as there are many good things in the lot of out help from God. Were, therefore, that “ cup others, which you are content to be without, you to pass away,” this feeling would pass away think it rather unfair to be charged with pride or with it. perverseness, merely because you want to have It is all fallacy or fancy, to reckon otherwise. your own way in a few points. Besides, you may We may mean well

, but we judge ill, when we even be conscious that one great reason, why you take for wranted that we should serve God betare so dissatisfied with some things, is, because ter, if our chief anxiety were taken away. I do



not, of course, intend by this remark, to convey change the rod which check us ; or, why whould the idea, that no other cross could keep us aware we wish it changed for another? Another must of, or awake to, our entire dependence on God. be sent in its place ; and must be heavy enough He could make any cross or crook in our lot, an- to produce in us, as in Paul, the settled conviction swer the same purpose. But, why should he that God is MASTER.









"Why do those who speak much of the love of God and of Christ, say so little about the love of the SPIRIT?"- Dr. Henderson.

“ He comes to us with the love, and upon the condescension, of all the blessed TRINITY."- Dr. Owen,




« AnteriorContinuar »