صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

they were walking in that hot, burning, fiery furnace, with the

meeting of God to cheer them. When the Lord meets His saints, He makes His saints to sing, though "their feet are fast in the stocks ;" and though their backs are sore with the wealing of the lash, yet their hearts rejoice, and their spirits are happy and full of Jesus. Full of thankfulness, because they are full of Christ! When the Lord met Stephen, though sinking in death, he looked through the veil, and saw into the realms of glory, with Jesus at the right hand of God. When the Lord met His saint, the apostle says, "all men forsook me, yet the Lord stood by me;" and what was the effect of it? "I have fought the good fight," he says; "I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing." Ah! that meeting of the Lord! It can make this place a Bethel, at this moment. It can even lift us above ourselves, and our fears, and tears, and even our deep views of our own wretchedness, and make us "rejoice in hope of the glory of God." This comes in the way of service"Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, them that remember Thee in their ways." Oh! imitate Him! See, your Master in heaven acknowledges the least service, and rewards with grace unutterable. He not only encourages His saints to serve, but He meets them, and blesses them in their service. Be ye ready, beloved, to acknowledge the honest effort of a willing servant. However it may come short, however feeble, yet wherever the readiness is shown, acknowledge it. Remember what the Lord said to David: "Thou didst well, in that it was in thine heart" to do it; it is as if thou didst it.'

There is one point in which, for imitation, our Lord stands alone; -He strengthens in service. "I can do all things, through Christ who strengtheneth me," says the apostle. Here we fail. We can do but little here. Yet kind looks can do much, kind words can do much, kind encouragements can do much. You see your servant weighed down; you see him oppressed; you see him in difficulty: a kind word, a soothing speech, a tender word-oh! it may be, by the anointing of the Spirit of God, as strength to his soul.

And lastly, oh! forget not how ready He is to forgive the many thousand faults of His servants. When you and I look back, what do we see? Oh! "enter not into judgment with me, O Lord.” “I cannot answer Thee one of a thousand." Behold, "I am a vile and unprofitable servant." And yet "if we confess our sins, God is

faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." My dear hearers, who was the first to deny the Lord? Peter. I see him go out and weep bitterly. To whom is the first message sent after the resurrection? To Peter. I see the heart of a forgiving Master, so ready to forgive and to pass by. Be ye, then, ready to show that you imitate Christ; and when faults are acknowledged, when you see repentance, when you perceive the abased spirit, be ye ready to show all forgiveness.

Our Master is in beaven.

One remark more. What is He there for. He is there as our Intercessor. Do we want grace? There He is to give it; He is there for that especial object. Do you want grace for active service? Ah! for grace, to rule our households. Every man's family is a sort of miniature of a kingdom. There is the master or the mistress, the appointed head of that family; and to rule well that family, in the fear of God, requires no little grace. It requires especial grace, and the Lord Jesus is in heaven to give it ; and, consequently, it should be your peculiar and ever-pressing petition, that you may receive grace for this very end, for this very object.

I would say, just by way of a few concluding remarks, as a means that God may make a blessing, study order and regularity in your family. I believe the want of it makes a good servant a bad one, and a bad servant worse. Everything in heaven is marked by order. I look at the sun, I look at the moon, I look at the earth; all is regularity. I perceive in God's dealings with His saints, all is regularity. And it ought to mark every Christian family. It should be a family of order, a family of regularity; in the name, and in the fear of the Lord.


Cultivate a spirit of kindness. Perpetual finding fault, seeing faults, being on the look out for them, marking the least fault; does the Lord do so to you? It never made a good servant, and it never You ought to expect good servants; you have a right to expect it; it is losing sight of your duty not to expect it; the Lord expects it, and you ought to expect it. But it is one thing to expect real service, and another thing to be always on the look out for faults. It hurts your disposition, and it hurts their disposition. Study the law of kindness. Keep not your servants at too great a distance from you. I think I am as great an enemy as any man can be, to undue familiarity. I think it never does good, to master or servant. But there is a sort of principle arising out of our feudalism. We talk of Eastern manners; I wish we could exchange some of those Eastern manners for our haughty pride. In large families, not


one master in a thousand knows any more of his servants, than if they had no existence; and even amongst Christians, there is too much of this. My dear hearers, turn to a beautiful instance; an instance is oftentimes, and justly, more remembered than mere words I see it in the second of Ruth; it is the case of Boaz and Naomi, "And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband's, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech ; and his name was Boaz. Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter. And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers; and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech. And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The Lord be with you. And they answered him, the Lord bless thee." It seems to be like Him, who was born in Bethlehem. You say, This is Eastern: I wish it were English. You may say, 'These are the manners of the East:' I think I see the reflection of Christ. Oh! beloved, study that case of Onesimus, in the epistle to Philemon. "Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved;" do not think Onesimus forgot he was a servant, but "not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved; especially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh and in the Lord!" Oh! beloved, nothing is so conducive to real authority, as the authority of holy love.

Above all, I would say, in order to rule a family well, we must ourselves be ruled. The ruling must begin at home, in one's own soul. The weight of holiness, the weight of sanctity, the weight of consistency, the weight of close walking with God, the weight of spirituality, oh how great is it! His Word declares, that "he that hath power over his own spirit, is stronger than he that taketh a city;" and I believe it to be true. The secret of a happy household is in a close walk with God in Jesus Christ, by the secret anointing of the Spirit of adoption.

May the Lord grant you much prayer on my behalf, and much prayer on your own behalf, and me much prayer on your behalf, that He would glorify Himself in us, as our Master; and that in every relation of life we may remember that we are servants of Christ, "who is no respecter of persons."




"Such as are upright in their way, are His delight.”—Prov. xi. 20.

"SUCH as are upright in their way, are His delight." Or to make the sentence complete, with an awful completeness-may God write that truth on the heart of some froward this night!" They that are of a froward heart, are an abomination to the Lord," whatever they may think of themselves-"but such as are upright in their way, are His delight."

We considered in the morning the great subject of the Christian soldier's girdle; which I endeavoured to describe, believing it to be God's will and God's mind so to be, as a sound judgment in His truth, and an upright spirit before Him. I endeavoured to lay before you the reasons, too, wherefore they who are girded need the admonition to "stand, having their loins girt about with truth." And after having considered the uprightness that is included in it, as part of the subject, I shall now carry it on; and first of all inquire, who are the upright; and then show, secondly, that "the upright are God's delight."

I. In answering the question, who are the upright ?—I answer, those whom God makes upright; the workmanship of His own Spirit, His new creation, His own workmanship. They are believers in the Lord Jesus; saints of the Most High. My dear hearers, this does

See ante, No. 382.

VOL. XI.-No. 384.-May 8, 1845.

2 B

not deny, that there is in a sense an uprightness in the natural man. How can we deny it? with such a passage as that in the twenty-ninth of Acts, and the ninth verse, before us; when Paul speaking of himself says, "I verily thought with myself that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth." The passage is direct and unanswerable" I verily thought that I ought to do it”— to do what he did. And what did it amount to? He was a sincere "blasphemer," a sincere "persecutor," and sincerely "injurious." Does this make him an innocent man? By no means. My dear hearers, as long as man is a responsible being, as long as God gives him the means of grace, he is answerable to that God for the use of those means; and it is a certain truth, that there is not a natural man in the world who acts up to the light that he has. We are not left to the fantasies of man here, or the fleshly creed of the half infidel; but we have God's Word to lead us, and guide us. Such a passage as that, for instance, in the third chapter of John's Gospel, will still a thousand such fancies:-" he that believeth on Him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because He hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved;" when he hears of Christ, and when he hears of the miracles wrought by Him. So when Nicodemus came to Him-"No man can do these miracles that Thou

doest, except God be with him.” Even the professed enemies of our Lord were forced to acknowledge the "notable miracles" which were wrought by Him-miracles so indisputable, that when Nicodemus came to Him-" No man can do these miracles that Thou doest, except God be with him." Yet wherefore did he not come to the light? It was because he hated the light. Why did he hate the light? It was "because his deeds were evil."

This is God's logic;

« السابقةمتابعة »