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of gold. They add that between every two loaves of each pile were laid three semi-tubes, like slit canes, of gold, in order to admit the air, and keep the bread from moulding. Of all this the scripture says nothing.
"We find" (observes Dr. Kitto) "among the ancient heathens usages having some conformity to this of the table with its shew-bread, though it is difficult to determine from what source the analogy arose; unless we suppose the idea in itself so natural, as to render it unnecessary to conclude that the usage must be derived from one nation to another. We can find something very similar in our own day, among various and distant tribes of barbarians and savages. The heathens had, in their temples, tables; on which they set meat and drink, in honour of the gods. In general this became the property of the priests, but in many instances the priests alleged that the gods themselves consumed what was set before them. There is a famous instance of this in the apocryphal story of Bel and the Dragon. The Egyptians were among those who had this custom. Jerome, in his gloss on Isaiah lxv. 11, observes that it was an ancient custom among the idolaters of Egypt, on the last day of the last month in the year, to place tables covered with several kinds of victuals in the temples of the gods. This information is confirmed by the monuments; although, from the latter, one cannot determine whether the tables of edible offerings which we see laid out before the Egyptian idols were periodical only, as he states, or permanent."
dry land. Doubt extinguishes the cheerful light
"The lying tempter would persuade
If the power of despair be limited, and he is unable to prevail against the trembling and afflicted Christian, still does he breathe out threatenings, and intimate to those whom he has seized that it had been good for them had they never been born. How well is it for the Christian, when sorely tempted, to have for his companion and counsellor one of a more hopeful spirit than himself! The full benefit of Christian fellowship is only learnt in seasons of trial and temptation. Then it is that the sovereignty of divine grace often seen in making the younger und less experienced believer the supporter and helper of his elder brother. Then we are shown that no member in the mystical body of Christ can say to other members, "I have no need of you," and that "those members which seem to be more feeble are necessary." God often comforts and strengthens his desponding servants by the instrumentality of those who, in many respects, are inferior to themselves. O, let us all, in our deepest spiritual distresses, diligently cherish a believing, hopeful frame of mind, and repel with all our might the gloomy suggestions and dark forebodings of de spair. Remember that "to him that is joined to all the living there is hope;" and it is the enemy who says, "Persecute him, and take him; for there is none to deliver him!" If you are unable at present to rise superior to your painful situ ation, and your soul is in prison and in darkness, instead of conferring with your painful doubts, or yielding to diffidence and tamely submitting to the bidding of despair, listen to the more hopeful language of those whose faith is not so utterly cast down as own. Consider that others, as well as you, have been for a season the prisoners of despair, and as sorely handled by him, and yet at length have burst their chains, and regained
WE may see how sad and distressing is the situation of a real Christian, when, having deviated from the right path, and having sunk for a while into slothful negligence, at length he awakens out of it, only to become the prey of despair. Then is he driven, as it were, by a stern tyrant, and made to dwell in desolate places, as those that have been long dead. He is oppressed with the most dismal and gloomy doubts. He can derive no benefit or advantage now from the remembrance of his past experience. He is in the region of doubting; and he doubts every thing. doubts that his past experience was all a delusion; doubts that he ever prayed in earnest, or ever received an answer to prayer in his life. He doubts whether he ever possessed a single grain of saving faith, and fears that he was deceiving his soul when he imagined that he was a child of God and a partaker of the Holy Spirit. Or else, what is still more painful and distressing, he fears that he has sinned against the Holy Ghost, that he has committed the unpardonable sin, that his doom is sealed, and that there is no help for him in his God. As long as he remains in this desolate place, his soul is deprived alike of meat and drink and light. Doubt deprives him of the spiritual food and sustenance which heretofore he derived precious promises of the gospel, which so often had been to his thirsty soul as rivers of water in a
from the word of God. Doubt robs him of the
From "Cottage Lectures or the Pilgrim's Progress." By the rev. C. Overton. London Seeleys. 1848.
is not immortal. Like every other adversary, it has the bounds which it cannot pass. It sickens and grows feeble with reviving faith; and, when
faith increases, and becomes lively and strong, despair expires, and his prisoners are set free. Terrible indeed may be the end of apostates and hypocrites, and such as return again to wilful sin and persist in it, after they have professed subjection to the gospel. These may be the victims and the trophies of despair; but no true penitent, who humbly applies to Christ, shall ever be numbered among them. And O, remember that, when your trial has come to its extremity, when the help of man is vain, and despair is plotting against you his last and most desperate effort, remember, I say, that such an alarming crisis is often found to be the eve of the trembling Christian's deliverance. It will be so, it must be so, if you give yourself unto prayer, and earnestly renew your application to the throne of grace. Think of Peter, sleeping in the prison, and bound between the soldiers, and how he was delivered from Herod and the expectation of the Jews. Wait therefore on the Lord: be of good courage; and he will strengthen your heart, and break your bands, and bring you out of prison, and deliver you out of all your fears. Say, as others have said before you, "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance and my God."
Look down in pity, Lord, and see
In crooked paths no peace is found,
Now former comforts all have fled,
Lo, stern despair, with gloomy brow,
Almighty and ever-living God, in knowledge of whom standeth our eternal life, whose service is perfect freedom, look upon us in great mercy, for the sake of thy dear Son, Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and through him communicate to our souls, not the spirit of bondage again to fear, but the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. Though we be tied and bound with the chain of our sins, let the pitifulness of thy great mercy loose us. O God the Son, Redeemer of the world, do thou set us free; and then we shall be free indeed. O God the Holy Ghost, do thou dwell in our hearts, and constantly abide with us: then we shall know the glorious liberty of the children of God; for, where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. Keep us, we beseech thee, in the good and the right way; so shail we not go back from thee. Suffer us not to forsake the Lord our God, who leadeth us in the way wherein we should go, lest our
own wickedness should correct us, and our backslidings should reprove us, and we should know and see, from sad experience, that it is an evil thing and bitter that we have forsaken the Lord our God, and that thy fear is not in us. O keep us from turning aside into any by-path, or making to ourselves crooked paths, in which they who go can find no peace. May we never be misled by vain confidence, lest we should suddenly perish, and come to a fearful end. And if we have wandered out of the way, and our soul has forgot prosperity, cast us not away from thy presence, and take not thy Holy Spirit from us. Restore unto us the joy of thy salvation, and uphold us with thy free Spirit. May we not be satisfied with a little shelter, or any thing short of a full return to thy favour. Deliver us not over to the will of our enemies, nor leave us in the hand of such as breathe out cruelty. Lord, save us from the power of despair. However grievously we may have wandered from thee, may we never say, There is no hope. Though our strong adversaries may lay wait for our souls, and take counsel together, saying, "God hath forsaken him: persecute, and take him; for there is none to deliver him," O Lord, be not far from us: O our God, make haste for our help. May we remember the works of the Lord, and call to mind thy wonders of old. May we hope still in our God, and believe verily to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Thou, which hast showed us great and sore troubles, quicken us again, and bring us up again from the depths of the earth. Bring our souls out of prison, that we may praise thy name. We wait for the Lord, our soul doth wait, and in his word do we hope. Our soul waiteth for the Lord, as those that watch for the morning; yea, more than they that watch for the morning. O satisfy us with thy mercy, and that soon; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. And now the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing, that we may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost, to whom, with the Father and the Son, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
JUDAS, before the commission of his crime, had thought of nothing but the pleasure which its infamous gain would afford him. The gain is realized; but, instead of the pleasure he expected, it lies an intolerable burden upon his soul. He cannot even keep the money for the sake of which he had bound himself to Satan, but throws it down before his employers, in an agony of remorse, and proclaims the innocence of the Master he had betrayed And doubtless this was designed by God to afford the strongest possible proof that Christianity was no "cunningly-devised fable." The putting of a traitor among the number of our Lord's followers, and the fact that this traitor did, like the rest, although in a very different sense, seal the truth of Christ's doctrine with his blood-this gives an amount of evidence which could not be furnished by any number of the Saviour's friends. It is remarkable, indeed, that, while Judas undertook to betray Christ, he did not undertake to disclose any secrets or instances of imposture: he could only point out his private haunts, where he might be apprehended without fear of popular commotion. And this man, who must have known from his position whether any artifices had been employed in the first preaching of the gospel, and who was interested above all men in exposing them to the world, even he was compelled to give in the verdict, "I have betrayed
the innocent blood."
But this is not only a remarkable attestation to the truth of Christianity: it is also a warning to us all, that, though the fruit of sin looks tempting
* From a sermon, by the Rev. F. J. Stain'orth, M.A.
at a distance, it produces nothing but anguish and despair at last. Money was the idol of this miserable man; and, while his heart was bent on acquiring it, and his imagination inflamed with the prospect of its possession, he believed that it could bring no sorrow with it. Give him that, and he would be happy: no sense of guilt, did he then suppose, could overbalance the gratification which its acquisition would afford him. Ah, how often has Satan cheated us with delusions of this kind! How often has fancy been employed to gild some image which he has set up, till we have renounced our God, that we might fall down and worship it! But our eyes are opened when the sin has been committed; and then the object, which seemed so desirable that we would risk everything to obtain it, becomes to us, what this money was to the wretched Judas, an object of loathing and abhorrence. "And this," we may say, was the bribe for which I forsook my God, and for which, unless his mercy restore me, I shall have forfeited my soul. Ah, hide from me the object of my thoughtless choice: let me not see the price which won from me my peace on earth and my hopes of immortality. I know well the value of that quiet conscience which I have lost; and, bitter as the loss is, its sting is sharpened by the worthlessness of what I have acquired. Thirty pieces of silver gained, while I have thrown away the treasures of heaven, and stored up for myself the horrors of eternal condemnation."
wrought miracles in thy name, thus perished in
SIGNS OF THE LATTER DAYS*.
WHILE it is impossible to be listless and unconcerned lookers-on amidst these eventful movements in another country, who can say that our own beloved nation shall remain exempt from the My brethren, this is a foretaste of hell itself to desolating scourge? Who can dare to predict those who are not brought to the foot of the cross, that our mountain is so strong that it never shall and sprinkled with the blood of the Lamb; and in be moved? We may not be able to unravel with the anticipation of that fearful state, where it were satisfaction the mysteries of prophecy; but this too late to cry for mercy, too late to knock for ad- much we may clearly gather-that it is not man mission into the happier abodes, the guilty man alone, in his personal and relative and social poshall be goaded by his own conscience into mad-sition, who is doomed to this revolutionary proness, the terror of others, and the executioner of cess of which we have been speaking, nor insuhimself. Such, indeed, was the fate of that apos-lated countries like France at the present moment; tate whose awful history is before us. Could he but have gone to the feet of Jesus, could he but have cast himself on the mercy of that Saviour whom he had betrayed, who shall say that he had yet exhausted the compassion of that gentle Being who looked benignantly on the coward who denied him, and prayed for the ruffians who nailed him to the cross? But it might not be. He "repented himself," indeed, after a sort. He did what it may seem much for him to have done he could outface the malignant Pharisees who had employed him; for he felt that by them he was an injured man, and pride supported him in their presence. He could fling away the silver he had coveted so fatally; for it had become so hateful to himself, he could not bear it in his sight. But there was one eye which he could not meet. The rulers might do their worst; and he could defy them; but he dared not look upon the Master whom he had injured. The humiliation of seeking forgiveness from one so kind and so abused was more than he could endure; and he rushed into eternal horrors, in order to escape the first gnawings of " the worm that dieth not," and the blast of that "fire that never shall be quenched". Lord, what are we, that we should not tremble at this narrative, when a disciple, an apostle, one who had followed thy footsteps, and listened to thy discourses, and
but the whole world is under sentence of revolution; and, prior to the establishment of that new heaven and that new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness, will be wars and rumours of wars, perplexities and distress of nations, men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking for those things which are coming upon the earth. I may be greatly to blame for the necessity to acknow ledge that I have not entered deeply into the study of prophecy; but it is impossible not to take even the most superficial view of it, and at the same time to have one's eye on the signs of the times, without coming to the large expectation of the most important events. It is almost impossible to take up a newspaper of the present day, without regarding it as a marked and wonderful development of prophecy. The very which I have glanced over, I own to you, been perfectly astounding to me in this point of view. Not only does it give its copious details of the revolutionary proceedings in France, but all Europe seems to be simultaneously shaking to its very centre. Spain it is needless to revert to. Italy, the seat of the beast, is at this moment internally convulsed from one end of its territories to the other. Sicily has already gone through
* From a sermon on the French revolution, by the rev. W. Carus Wilson.
the revolutionary process. Switzerland is in the hands of the democracy. Germany, Austria, Prussia, Holland, are manifesting increasing symptoms of restless discontent and desire of change. The newspapers are full of rumours of wars, and of wars progressing; and, if all this tells not, and characterizes in clear and legible signs, the latter days which are to precede the second coming of the Son of man, it is not easy to conjecture what could do so more distinctly. And then the signs in the east are not less portentous. The Mohammedan power, in its progress and its downfal, is clearly predicted in holy writ, as well as the precise period for the latter under the emblem of the drying up of the Euphrates; the way being thus prepared for the kings of the east, and the return of the Jews to their own land. We may think that interpreters of prophecy mistake in venturing to lay down so precisely the definite period when the events awaiting our world will take place; but with the manifestly rapid development of facts which clearly harmonize with the predictions of scripture regarding what shall precede the grand consummation, we cannot wonder that they should be led to the fixing of dates, and to a belief in the near approach of Christ's kingdom. Whether we can venture to concur with them or not, there is something of overwhelming interest in the concurrent belief of holy and learned men that the Turkish power will come to its conclusion during the next year, and that the last portion of the 1,335 days of Daniel will expire in the year 1865, at which, or soon after, will be the advent of Christ, and the first resurrection, and the beginning of the millennium-I say, we may hesitate to adopt such definite calculations; but I for one dare not venture to assert that they are wrong, or that the wonderful signs of the times do not so far elucidate the scripture testimony as to warrant their expectations.
Yet they who dare not go thus far must admit that God, in an especial manner, is holding a controversy with the nations of the earth, and thus calling upon us, as with a voice of thunder, to seek his shelter and his favour. No reasonable expectation can be entertained that the troubled sea over which we are passing will stay its tumult, until he who is our peace comes to take to himself the kingdoms, and subdue his enemies; nay, as the latter days advance, we can only, with the scriptures in our hands, be led to expect that its waves and billows will rise higher and higher.
What feelings of indescribable interest are awakened by the thought that you, who are in the spring-time of life, may live to witness all that the interpreters of prophecy are looking for at no distant period! yea, that even others of us, whose sun is somewhat declining, may perchance witness the clear and unequivocal unravelling of the divine counsels before our course is ended! What a revolution to every thought and desire within us does the possibility of such a thing occasion! “What manner of persons ought we to be, in all holy conversation and godliness!"
But, at all events, the present are perilous times; and we see in all directions the materials for still greater trials. I would press, then, upon you all the seasonable and prudent inquiry, Are
you ready for all that may await you? O, let not God's controversy pass by unheeded! He is speaking from heaven with a voice that cannot be mistaken. Take care that you distinguish between the conviction of truth, and its application and saving influence. You know that God is a refuge for us; but have you made him such for yourselves? Have you felt your perishing need of him, and fled to him for refuge? And are you daily doing this? and are you daily fearing lest the avenger of blood should find you venturing to stray from your refuge, and live independently of your stronghold? There is no safety for any of us out of Christ. He is the city of refuge. The poor trembling soul, who has been awakened to the discovery of his guilt and danger as a sinner both by nature and by practice, and who is, in conse. quence, overwhelmed with a horrible dread of the wrath to come, can find no ease or safety but in Christ the refuge. There he can repose his burden and have rest. There he obtains his freedom from condemnation. There he can ask, with holy confidence and triumph, "Who is he that condemneth ?"
And, being safe in Christ from the storm of God's wrath, all other storms are as nothing. Yet for every blast that assails him, and that may await him till he reaches the border of the wilderness, he has recourse to the same refuge, he finds the same security. And past experience of divine faithfulness and tender mercy encourages him for the future; so that he fears not to anticipate the last bursting of the tempest, the last grapple with the enemy, but can say in peaceful confidence, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever."
THE CHRISTIAN CITIZEN'S DUTY TO MAN AND TO GOD*.
NATIONAL, like individual afflictions, do not spring out of the ground: they are the results of divine government, and should teach us all wisdom.
Judge ye yourselves then, brethren, that ye be not judged of the Lord: the things that are Cæsar's, and the things that are God's, are the subjects of your vocation and ministry upon earth. Before God and man, as Christians and as citizens, you are called upon by your consciences and your faith, "to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God;" and by whatever man or by whatever body of men, disobedience to the King of kings is either practised or taught, it is our commission to cry aloud and spare not, to lift up our voices, and to forewarn them that it must be answered hereafter before the judgment-seat of God. It is too true, alas! that, in all human societies, made up as they are of individuals, each a world of passions and a creature of infirmity, "it needs must be that offences come; but woe be to those by whom they come." It is the curse
From "Christian Loyalty:" a sermon, by the rev. J. T. Robinson, M.A., rector of St. Andrew's, Holborn. London: Simpkin and Marshall. Teignmouth: Croydon.
of nations to be prone furiously to rage together, those to right who suffer wrong, but to keep and of the people to imagine vain things; but those from doing wrong who would war against woe be to those who would ride upon the whirl- right. Denouncing unrighteousness in all men, wind and direct the storm of that rage; who would and respecting the persons of none, our warfare is feed those vain imaginations whose issues are ever resistance to evil; and in that our party is the firebrands, arrows, and death. And, when such church of Christ, our banner is the cross, our oban attitude and position are assumed only for the ject is public virtue, and our leader is God. I do purposes of selfish covetousness or vanity; when believe that there is no man living, unless indeed pretended patriotism is only a cloke for guilty there be one who is the devoted agent of the inambition, when complaint of oppression is only fernal prince of evil and mischief, envy, hatred, the subterfuge of those who gnash their teeth with and malice, who does not grieve in his heart to rage, because they are denied the power to op- see this nation torn by intestine divisions, and the press; when station, education, talent, and pro- unity of spirit and the bond of peace becoming perty are prostituted to seduce the lowly, the more and more a mere vision and a name. But ignorant, the simple-minded, and the poor, and what doth it profit to shake the head and to lift to make them the tools of desperate and wicked up the hands against social evils, if the heart and faction; when liberty is invoked by those who are mind be wanting to practise and to promulgate the slaves of their passions, and therefore igno- those divine principles of the love of the brotherrant of its nature; and, moreover, when the name hood and the fear of God, by which, and which of God is made a convenience to gild and support alone, the plague can be stayed? The peace and an ungodly cause, and when they, who shout tranquillity desired and loved by all men can be "the sword of the Lord and of Gideon," do the secured only by the moderation, piety, and charity deeds and show the spirit of him who was a of each. For the public treasury of weal can murderer from the beginning; when "evil men never be full unless each man will cast in his mite. and seducers thus wax worse and worse," ," then So long as men are to be found, who do their best does it become every honest Christian citizen, and, to bring about the divorcement of civil obedience above all, those who teach men their Christianity, from religious fear; so long as counsels abound, to denounce such Pharisees and hypocrites in the which have forsaken the rock of eternal truth for political world, and to warn all men to shun such the quicksands of human wisdom; so long as the whited sepulchres as tainted members in the na- good old ways of loyalty to the supreme authotional body such are they who, heady, high-rities, and devotion to God, are pointed out to the minded, and wise in their own conceits, care not vulgar mind as desecrated and out of date; so though they drive their fellow-country men to long as the ignorant and the simple are encouraged commit the suicide of civil war, and are ready to to raise the question, "Is it lawful to give tribute cast into the burning fiery furnace of anarchy all or not?" so long, in fact, as the popular voice is who will not fall down and worship the idol which stimulated to shout against every thing above it, they have set up. both in heaven and on earth, we may expect, and we shall find, confusion and every evil work. But we call on all men, in the name of him from whom obedience and authority both have their sanction, to lay these things seriously to heart. There is not a man in this house of God, there is not a man in this kingdom, high, low, rich, or poor, educated or uneducated, who has not a stake in the mighty question, whether the text is a dead letter or a living and a binding law. If it be true that those are the words of him "by whom kings reign and princes decree justice;" if it be true that this precept was given by him in whose hands are the destinies of empires, to guide them in the ways of peace; above all, if it be true that by these words the millions of earth shall be judged hereafter at that awful bar at which shall stand alike the king and the slayer of kings, the tyrant and his victims, the rebellious and their sovereign, I know not where to find words to express that weight of responsibility which rests upon the soul of every Christian subject for the words of his lips, the actions of his life, and the meditations of his heart. Every jot and every tittle of influence, every shade of example, and every expression of opinion, goes forth to his brethren as a minister of evil or good. Well and wisely will he do, then, to keep the door of his lips, to sift his motives, to try his principles, and to weigh his heart in the balance of the sanctuary, before he lends himself to any work. Let him, in God's name, be a patriot; but let his be Christian patriotism, seeking to build his country's welfare upon the foundations laid down by the
I know that such plain speaking is not fashionable in these times, when to equivocate is often to be popular, and to study what is expedient is considered wise in speech as well as action. I know that it is a way which seemeth good in the eyes of some, to say that, in teaching and exhorting thus, we go beyond and exceed our commission from above. If it be so indeed, from man we must appeal to God. When we tell men here in this sacred place, that their duty to man is a part of their duty to God, they may come against us with the sling and stone of rebuke; but we have so learned Christ as to know and believe that, in so doing, our example and our commandment are both apostolical and divine: we answer, in the name of the Lord of hosts, that we know and feel that, when we shall come to give an account of our stewardship hereafter before his tribunal, it will be demanded of us whether in our ministry we have had respect unto all his commandments alike. We stand here the ministers of the gospel of peace, knowing no man after the flesh, and speaking to all men after the Spirit; speaking not to a sect, but to a whole nation; not to a party, but to the world. Disclaiming alike to be the panders to authority or the connivers at licentiousness, we say, what the apostle said, "Render unto all their dues", both in heaven and on earth; "tribute to whom tribute is due, custom to whom custom, fear to whom fear, honour to whom honour." Turning a deaf ear to each who cries, Get thou behind me, here our object is, as far as we may and can, to lead