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way side, nor did his religion appear to be the religion of a moment or an hour. The seed had evidently taken root, it had sprung up, and the eyes of men beheld it at a distance apparently green and flourishing; but it was growing amongst thorns, and the cares of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, had choked the word, and when the sower sought for fruit it was found unfruitful.

Yes, the deceitfulness of riches was his ruin. Day after day had he knelt at the family altar, and poured his prayer for daily bread, and then rushing into the pursuits of business, and accumulating wealth, had seen around him the hungry, but had not fed them-the naked, but had not clothed them— the sick, but had not ministered unto them. No: absorbed in the accumulation of riches, and engrossed in the cares of business, his eye, if not absolutely averted from, was never directed to, the widow and the orphan; and his heart exulting in the success of his business, and the thriving state of his affairs, had forgotten to listen to the cry of the needy. Yet he had oppressed no one, he had rendered to every one his due, and his integrity was unquestioned; he was indeed, as the world terms it, a respectable and a highly respectable man, and as he rose in wealth so he rose in the esteem of his acquaintances.

And he was now a rich man; his thoughts had been all directed to this end, and he was successful; but could the contemplation of his riches afford him pleasure now? When his wife had told him that all hope was gone, and that he must, soon be summoned to give an account of his stewardship, what consolation could his riches afford him? Oh, in the contemplation of eternity, how worthless did the things of time appear, and that heap of gold his life had been dedicated to collecting, what dross did it then seem; and oh, how gladly, how joyfully would he have parted with it now for the good of his fellow-creatures could he have done it, had he then but an opportunity of doing good, how gladly would he have embraced it! But no, the summer was past, the harvest was ended, the opportunity once granted and rejected was now denied.

And this it is to be feared will be the case with many. The

young who are rising in life, and whose aim is to acquire a competence and an independence, had need to take care lest this forms the chief end of their existence, lest the deceitfulness of increasing wealth, the excitement of business, or the cares of the world, should overcome them, and make their religion a religion of theory, not of action. But let them recollect they must be judged according to their works, and that an account of their stewardship will be demanded; let them remember that they are sent into the world to act a part in it, and that part for the benefit of their fellow-creatures; let them recollect that in the parable of the last judgment in the twenty-fifth of Matthew, they who were condemned, were condemned not for sins of commission, but for those of omission. Let them take heed and beware. Let each one who professes to love the gospel of Christ shew it by actions, shew it by promoting to the utmost the spread of that gospel; shew it by joining with heart and hand in those religious and benevolent institutions that are rising up on every side around us, by visiting the cottages of the poor, ministering to their wants, and relieving their distresses, by giving his assistance towards implanting in the children of the poor, knowledge and the fear of God; in short, by laboring strenuously on every side, while health and strength are spared. Let him be assured, that unless his religion produces some good to his fellow-creatures, there is something defective in it. Thorns of some sort are growing up with the seed, and unless eradicated will choke it. Hasten then to Christ for strength to eradicate these thorns, that fruit may be produced, lest you should at length be compelled in anguish to exclaim, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and I am not saved." W. N. R.


1 KINGS xvi. 1-6.

THE history of this prophet, as recorded in the sacred. writings, is replete with instruction, and deeply interesting, whether we regard the trials he encountered or the great achievements he performed. He is called " the Tishbite," which, according to some, signifies the Converter, or Reformer;

while others, more justly, think it refers to Thisbe, a town of Galilee, and supposed to be the place of his nativity, since the Scriptures describe him as being of the inhabitants of Gilead. He appears to have been the instrument exactly adapted to the times in which he lived, and to the work which he was to accomplish. The awful example of Ahab had rendered the worship of Baal so general, that the witnesses for the living God were but few. Ahab exceeded in profligacy all his predecessors; and as if it were a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam, who set up the golden calves in Bethel and in Dan, (1 Kings xii. 28, 29,) he married Jezebel, the daughter of Ethbaal, King of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him, and did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him."

God is jealous of his glory, and there is nothing that more excites his indignation than idolatry. On account of this, he determined to punish Israel with a famine. The intrepid prophet Elijah is directed to announce this dreadful intelligence to the guilty monarch. He accordingly proceeded to Ahab, and said, "As the Lord God of Israel liveth before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word." Idolatry was a national sin, it must be visited with a national calamity. How striking must this message have been to any one that had not been stupified by idolatry! Elijah asserts himself to be the messenger of the Living God, in opposition to Ahab, the patron and devotee of a senseless idol ! Let Britons remember their crying sins, Sabbath breaking, swearing, lying, neglect of the gospel. Let professors of religion reflect on the little improvement of their religious privileges. Let christians arouse from their lethargy; let them mourn over their disputes and divisions; lest the Lord call for judgment, and say, "I will remove thy candle

stick from thee."

Elijah having announced this portentous message to Ahab, is soon after directed to proceed to the brook Cherith, opposite to the Jordan, and there to conceal himself, perhaps from the

* Jezebel was a heathen princess, and to marry her was contrary to the Divine command. Her character was most infamous. Her witchcraft, idolatries, and persecutions of God's prophets, are mentioned in Rev. ii. 20.

resentment of Ahab, who would not fail to notice the words, "there shall be no dew nor rain these years, but according to my word:" that is, in answer to my prayers. Elijah had thus power to open and shut heaven! and affords a striking instance of the omnipotence of prayer.

The prophet, relying on the promise that he should drink of the brook, and that ravens should furnish him with food, obeyed the Divine command. As a man of like passions with ourselves, had he suffered his feelings to declare an opinion upon the arrangements of the Almighty, he would have represented them as strange, and altogether irreconcileable with that wisdom which cannot err. Was not the prophet wanted to comfort the minds of God's faithful worshippers in the dreadful period of famine? Was it fitting that he should retire into solitude, when the prophets of Baal were exerting their pernicious influence? Was it likely that the water of the brook would afford a long, an adequate supply for his thirst? Was it probable that ravens, birds of prey, would furnish him with daily food, and such food as would be suitable to the prophet's necessities?

More likely to rob than to feed,

Are ravens that live upon prey!

These and many other similar objections might have been raised by Elijah. But this removed them all-it was the command of God; and this command he promptly obeyed. Like faithful Abraham, he went forth doubting nothing, firmly relying upon Him whose word cannot fail.



The brook Cherith," says my esteemed friend Dr. Boothroyd, seems to have been one of those rapid torrents which run down from the mountains, and form deep ravines in their way. These hollows are sometimes so deep, and their sides so steep and high, that eagles and other birds of prey build their eyries in them." Here the prophet took up his abode for about one year. Although excluded from society, and visited by none but ravens, he enjoyed communion and intercourse with God, and could say, "Never less alone than when alone." It was now "a time to keep silence," a time to review past providences, a time to meditate upon all the wondrous works of God. And the prophet learned at the brook, to depend upon the Divine bounty for his daily supply, to

admire the faithfulness of God to his promise, and to view all creatures as under his power and control. He no doubt had his times of depression, but he had extraordinary consolations, and he knew that he was now in his proper place, where he was to abide till the Lord should call him forth; and while he saw the brook gradually decreasing, he was not alarmed, for the God who had directed him to it as a present relief, could furnish another source when that was exhausted.

From this part of the history of Elijah we may remark,— 1. That the Lord will have his witnesses in the worst of times and that there will always be a Noah among the mockers, a Lot in Sodom, a Moses among the Israelites, an Elijah amidst a people seduced to idolatry. Thou hast a few names, even in Sardis, that have not defiled their garments.

2. All the afflictions that come upon nations and individuals are from God, and they are designed to punish and correct them for their disobedience to his laws. "Shall I not visit for these things, saith the Lord, shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?"-Jeremiah ix. 9. Amos iv. 6.

3. When the Lord's messengers are slighted he removes them into a corner. Israel had a double famine, a famine of bread and a famine of the word of God.

4. When we are called to go into solitude, God has an object to accomplish. He designs our profit; he weakens our attachment to earth; he affords us new discoveries. Moses was an exile forty years, that he might be qualified to be the conductor of Israel from Egypt to the borders of Canaan. Christ was forty days in the desert before he entered upon his public ministry. Two thousand christian ministers were driven into retirement, but there they accomplished an important work, and furnished the church of God with those numerous writings which now remain as a lasting monument of their pious, zealous, and useful labors.

5. The Lord will supply his people's necessities, but the mode must be left to Him. "Bread shall be given them, their water shall be sure." Sometimes he will send messengers extraordinary to feed them, and even their very enemies shall contribute to their support. The christian may safely and confidently repose on his promises, which declare" VERILY THOU



R. C.

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