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but thine, O Lord, be done." Naked did we all come into this world, and before sin came into it we knew not that we were naked. False shame and fear induced Adam to clothe himself and seek a covering for his nakedness, as if God who made us all could not see us as we really are. All things are naked to His view. Oh, let us not be over anxious, then, about our persons, but hear our Saviour's instruction, "Why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith!" (Matt. vi. 28).
But the people of this world seem to think more of what they shall put on their bodies than how their souls should be clad. Dress, the love of dress, is the ruin of thousands who have no fear of God before their eyes, as if fine apparel could cover a guilty soul. Go where you will, even to the house of God, and you will find thousands thinking much more of what they shall wear on Sunday at church than how they shall appear before God and what service they shall render unto Him. How many could tell their friends what their neighbours had on—aye, with a wonderful accuracy; and yet could tell nothing of what the preacher said to them! Yes, my friends, even in their most devout prayers, when the words of their mouth and the meditations of their hearts ought to be lifted up to God, let but a stranger enter the place of public worship, and the eyes of these wanderers will quickly scan every
particle of clothing worn by such person; and many are the thoughts which are diverted from God and nothing but lip service is given to Him. Oh, let the foolish consider this declaration of Job and take a lesson from it, "Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither."
What, then, does it signify to us how we are clothed I mean comparatively, with how we shall appear before the Lord our God when we have put off our fine clothing, and stand, naked, summoned before His throne? What garment, then, will be beautiful in the eyes of angels and of men? Not such as we think so pleasing now-not such as we delight to appear in before God and men in His visible church. Alas! the moth and rust will consume the tinsel pomp of our present adorning; and, if we stand before God without the garment of righteousness, I need not tell you that from His presence we shall be excluded for ever.
clothing the soul with the
Let me, then, entreat you, my friends, to put on this garment. It will be found to become you all more than pearls or costly array; and, even in this life, be such an ornament of grace that all good men will be glad to see you. Assured that true happiness can only be found in word of God, I shall conclude this address with our Saviour's memorable words, so earnest and so apapplicable to us all, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matt. xvi. 33).
I remain, your affectionate friend in God,
O GOD, who alone canst keep thy Church holy and undefiled, preserve us pure in the faith of thy son Jesus Christ, that in all the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil, we may put our full trust only in thy strength, and by the power thou hast given us continue to pray-Our Father, &c.
Curse God and die!-JOB ii. 9.
MY DEAR FRIENDS-These words are not chosen to indulge any person in so blasphemous a design as to fulfil its language, or to hold forth any such impious threat as worthy of any man's imitation! They are chosen for the very reason of warning you against all the follies of cursing and swearing or the exercise of any improper language whatever-on purpose, I may say, to set forth the holiness of that God we have to deal with, and to show you the danger, under any circumstances of misfortune or calamity, of not seeing in them His mercy and goodness. "Curse God and die," cannot be language of advice from the lips of a Christian minister to any man; for his advice must always be the reverse of this" Bless God and live." But it may, as I trust it will, beneath the assistance of divine wisdom, afford an opportunity of writing to you upon that Christian precept, "Trust in God," by pointing out that death is the consequence of im
piety, and life the fruit of obedience. sion of these words being uttered is one worthy of our observation; for it will show us what are the feelings of a good man under affliction, and what may be those of a wicked or foolish woman. If we look at Job, at the period of these words being addressed to him, we shall find him reduced to such a state of wretchedness as scarcely any man can conceive a good man, too: one who feared God and kept His commandments. "Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God and escheweth evil? And still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him to destroy him without cause." The scorner replied, "Put forth thine hand now and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face!" To confound the Evil One in his own wisdom, and to prove to him the fidelity of His servant, God permitted Job to be personally afflicted and smitten with sore boils from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. So miserable an object of disease was he that he was loathsome to look upon, and even his wife could not bear to see him. She was the cause of the words of my text, and, like Eve in the garden of Eden, tried to persuade her husband to disobey God. She appears to have been very angry with Job for retaining his integritythat is, for withholding his lips from invective against the dispensations of God's wisdom when he had lost everything he had-house, children, land, camels, servants and everything, and was afflicted by Him so dreadfully as to be without a whole place in his body. This woman thought all this
evil came from God; that He had pleasure in tormenting Job; and that the integrity which her husband had maintained-the righteous dealing of the Lord-must now be evidently overturned before his eyes. On this account she said to him, " Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God and die." To account for such language we can only suppose great weakness on the part of this unhappy woman: that she found it, as but too many do, a hard task to live with a husband in his reduced circumstances, when he could no longer afford her the same luxuries he used to do, and neither was the same person he used to be in former days. Affliction does, indeed, alter a man's outward appearance; but it does not alter the man if he does but retain his dependence upon God. Job was reduced in the world, but not by his own dishonesty or bad conduct: he was once the wealthiest man in Uz, but he was now the very poorest: he had been generous, charitable, pious, and just; gave judgment strictly according to right, defended the cause of the fatherless and widow, and supported the industrious in the land: he saw his children's children grow up in virtue and honesty around him, and was celebrated for his probity and integrity throughout all the country: he was enabled to defend himself in this remarkable manner -aye, in such an honest, open, noble, charitable, virtuous manner as must be the admiration of every man who thinks what goodness is, and what are the real perfections of a good man on the face of the earth. Only to give you an idea of Job's integrity as a man, read his defence of his righteous dealing contained in chapter xxxi. It is such an one as, I will venture to say, few living men can at this