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"Anfit for Human Habitation."
ALKING through a back street in a large Midland town, I noticed a board affixed to the wall of an old house. The house had many signs of decay, and it was evident that it was in a very unsafe condition, so the notice I refer to was a declaration under the seal of the Borough Surveyor that the house was "unfit
to reside there.
to transgress this such an abode.
for human habitation," and that no person could be allowed I do not suppose that any one attempted order, or to risk life by taking shelter in A few months afterwards I saw that the old house was gone, and preparation was being made to build a new one on the same ground.
The notice reminded me of the insecurity of the hopes with which many deceive themselves. To shield themselves from the reproach of a guilty conscience, or from the fear of death, or from the thought of God's judgment, they betake themselves to some specious excuse, or trust in some refuge of lies, which can never shelter them, and which will prove utterly in vain when it is most needed.
Perhaps a man boasts of his knowledge of Scripture and of the way of salvation. He knows many texts out of the Word, and has a tolerably correct view of the means by which a sinner is to be accepted before God. And this satisfies him. He forgets that to know much of Christ and of His Word will only increase our condemnation if we do not love and serve Him. He forgets that the Lord has said, "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." In other words, that in which he trusts is "UNFIT FOR HUMAN HABITATION."
Or, perhaps a man says in his heart, that "he is as good as his neighbour;" and he is trusting in this to save him. He imagines that, unless he is guilty of some special crime, he will escape in the day of judgment. He imagines that if he come up to a certain standard, such as he sees in the life of those around, he has no need to be afraid. But such a one forgets that the only standard is the strict and holy law of God. We shall not be judged by a comparison with others, but by the unerring rule of the Word of God. The hope on which he rests is manifestly "UNFIT FOR HUMAN HABITATION."
Or, it may be, a man is trusting to the observance of religious ordinances. He goes to church or chapel Sunday by Sunday. He has prayer in his own family. He kneels
down morning and evening and reads a portion of Scripture. So he thinks all must be well. He knows nothing of true heart worship; yet he is quite content with his spiritual condition.
He supposes that he has done his duty to God, as well as to man, and that he stands in a fair way of entering the kingdom. Alas for this man, also! the pleasantseeming tower which he has built for himself is "UNFIT FOR HUMAN HABITATION."
Or the hope may be somewhat different from this. A man may say in his heart, "I have had my sufferings in this life." He may be conscious of many sins and shortcomings, but he has had many days of trouble, and he sets one over against the other. Knowing little of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, of the judgment that it deserves, he vainly hopes that a few weeks or months of trial will in some measure atone for a lifetime of evil. Is not such a sheltering place as this UNFIT FOR HUMAN HABITATION ?"
We may be sure of this, that none of these hopes will avail. They will not avail in the day of wrath. all dwellings "UNFIT FOR HUMAN HABITATION." house built upon the sand, they may look well for a season, but when the great water-floods prevail they will fall immediately, and great will be the ruin of those clinging to them.
Instead of relying upon hopes like these, build your house firmly on the rock. Be like a wise house-builder. Dig deep for a foundation. Search into your own heart, and learn to know your own sinfulness. Search into the Word of God, and find out that which He has revealed of your guilt and of the way of forgiveness. Then rest all your hope on Christ and His perfect atonement. through His precious blood. Make your refuge against every temptation. the grace of His blessed Spirit.
Go to Him for pardon Him your shield and Look up to Him for As you need His blood to
cleanse you from the guilt of sin, so you need His Spirit to subdue its power. It is the Holy Ghost who can make you pure and holy, and meet for the fellowship of God's saints
above. And this is essential, for "without holiness no man can see the Lord.”
And flee to Christ to be your shelter and stronghold in the day of trouble. Hide in Him your weary, fainting spirit. Take up the prayer of David- "Be Thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort. Thou hast given commandment to save me; for Thou art my rock and my fortress." Such is, indeed, a habitation fit for man. It is secure, and no storm can ever shake it. It is a house where you will find the truest affection, even the love of an unchangeable Saviour. It is an abode where you may rest in peace when death shall come.
And those who now make Christ their refuge and dwelling-place will have a glorious home above. They will have an everlasting habitation within the walls of the Heavenly Jerusalem, and will sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. May such be the portion of every reader of this paper.
"Lord, make us to be numbered with Thy saints in glory everlasting."
"I have a home above,
From sin and sorrow free;
The Comforter is come,
The earnest has been given;
Bouquet for a Sick Chamber.
H no! she is too far gone, poor dear, to care for anything earthly," said the grief-stricken watcher by that young girl's dying-bed-and said in reference to a bunch of wild flowers brought to her by a friend, who knew her fondness for them. It was supposed she was asleep; but on turning towards
her they perceived that she was gazing, as earnestly as her weak state permitted, on her friend's kind offering. Then, on a look being given which meant "take them away," the invalid said, "Oh, don't! I have done with earthly things, but not yet with things of the earth. And flowers are God's messengers to us, to remind us that the same love which could provide such delights for our sight here has provided still better things for us above." So we placed the flowers in a vase, and set it where she could see it; and whilst she is fixing her weary eye on them, we will read a favourite poem of hers :
"Bring flowers for the wearied one,
The wearied one of pain;
Bright flowers from the glorious sun
But go seek them not from gardens,
Bring her blossoms from the mountains,
From the happy sparkling fountains,
And from the quiet rills.
And of the sweet forget-me-not'
Be sure your lap to fill.
'Twill tell her, though so hard her lot,
Of One that loveth still.
If breathes there sweetness on the air,
Bent o'er the streamlet's course.
And thence the primrose thou must bring,
So silently acknowledging
A deep, supporting grace.
And lilies, lilies of the vale,1
With fragrant snowy bells:
Oh, what a rare and soothing tale
1 "Consider the lilies," Luke xii. 27.