Page images

ness,” &c.

Cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer dark

ness, &c. Matt. xxv. 30. Read the whole of

the parable. Look at this man to whom his Lord had given one talent; he could not bear the thought of using his talent according to the will of him from whom he had it, and therefore he chose to make himself happier in a way of his own. Lord,” said he,

“ I knew thee, that thou wast a hard man," &c. But his Lord having convicted him out of his own mouth, despatched him with this sentence, “ Cast the unprofitable servant into outer dark

Here you see how happy this man made himself, by not acting wholly according to his lord's will. It was, according to his own account, a happiness of murmuring and discontent; - I knew thee," says he, 66 that thou wast a hard man;" it was a happiness of fears and apprehensions; I was," says he,

66 afraid ;" it was a happiness of vain labours and fruitless travels; “I went," said he, and hid thy talent," and after having been awhile the sport of foolish passions and fears, he is rewarded with darkness, eternal weeping, and gnashing of teeth. Look at the man with his five talents : Lord, thou gavest me five talents," &c. Here you see a man intent on improving his talents; he hath no uneasy passions, murmurings, vain fears, and fruitless labours, like the other, but his work prospers in his hands; his happiness increases upon him, the blessing of five becomes doubled ; and he is received with a “ Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”

With careful hand may I employ

The talents God has given;
Yet not my profit but my faith,

Must bring my soul to heaven.

from us.

Through desire, a man having separated himself,

seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom. Prov. xviii. 1. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,

long-suffering, gentleness, &c. Gal. v. 22, 23. THROUGH pride and self-will, a man having separated himself from the written word of God, and the spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ, seeks to set up and pull down, and to establish everything according to his own wisdom, self-interest, or ambition, instead of humbly following the truth as it is in Jesus. Self-will never becomes a Christian, and much less a reviling those who differ

The Lord was not in the strong wind, nor in the earthquake, nor in the fire ; but in the still small voice. 1 Kings xix. 11, 12. He that taketh offence at everything that differs from him, shews great weakness. It is written, “ Destroy it not.” Isa. Ixv. 8. Though the grape be young, there is wine in the cluster. All spiritual exercises are good; brotherly love renders them beautiful and lovely. The Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ breathes love to him, holy joy in his salvation, and a divine and peaceable temper, with long-suffering, and gentleness towards the weakness and infirmities of all around us. The fruit of the Spirit is real goodness in heart and life, a stedfast faith in a precious Jesus, a partaking of his divine meekness, temperance, &c. By these things let us daily try our own spirit, instead of sitting in judgment on the spirit of others.

Lo! what an entertaining sight

Are brethren that agree;
Brethren whose cheerful hearts unite

In bands of piety!
When streams of love, from Christ the spring,

Decend to every soul,
And heavenly peace, with balmy wing,

Shades and bedews the whole.

By this shall all men know that ye are my disci

ples, if ye love one another. John xiii. 35. And the multitude of them that believed were of one

heart, and of one soul. Acts iv. 32. “God is Love; and every one that loveth is born of God;" if we love one another as brethren in CHRIST, and love all saints as saints, not because they are of this or that party; and if we love not in word only but in deed, and shew the truth of our love by works and labours of love,--this is a solid proof to ourselves and to others that we are real disciples of Jesus. It is a clear testimony that we have truly learned CHRIST, and that we have his Spirit and his love shed abroad in our hearts ; that we are of the family and household of faith, and shall enjoy all the family privileges. This is a better evidence, and more convincing to all around us of what we are, than all knowledge, gifts, attainments, and outward privileges whatever. O God of love, cause me to love thee, and all thine ; the poor, the weak, and the feeble, as well as the strong ; for all are thine !

Let party names no more

The Christian world o'erspread ;
Gentile and Jew, and bond and free,

Are one in Christ their Head.
Among the saints on earth

Let mutual love be found;
Heirs of the same inheritance,

With mutual blessings crowned,
Let envy and ill-will

Be banished far away ;
Those should in strictest friendship dwell,

Who the same Lord obey.
Then will the church below

Resemble that above,
Where streams of pleasure ever flow,

And every heart is love.

Watch therefore, for ye know not what hour your

Lord doth come. Matt. xxiv. 42. To watch is the wise exercise of a gracious soul, who is sensible of his own weakness, loves his Saviour, and fears to grieve his Spirit ; who is well acquainted with the depth of corruption in his fallen nature; is well apprized of the invisible powers of darkness, and hearkens to the voice of his kind and adorable Shepherd. This watchfulness discovers an awakened attention to our spiritual concerns, and has the love of CHRIST for its motive, and is attended with a constant dependence on CHRIST for protection from dangers, and for strength against all enemies, together with supplies of grace in every time of need. If our religion be only in outward profession, it may pass without watching ; but if it be true grace in the heart from Jesus Christ, that sacred treasure will need to be guarded by circumspect watchfulness. The exhortation is to all God's children, necessary in every condition, in every stage of a Christian's life; in youth, manhood, old age; in prosperity and adversity, in the seasons of consolations, and in the times of temptation; in company, and alone. O blessed Jesus, help me to watch and pray; let me be always ready; keep me in thy love, and preserve me by thy power, till my change shall come.

Lord, help me to watch,

And help me to pray ;
For foes lie at catch

By night and by day.
The world and the devil

Are spreading their net ;
My heart, too, is evil,

And full of deceit.

David's Prayer.--As a hart panteth for the water

brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God.

Ps. xlii. 1, 2. Divine Answer.-Ho! every onò that thirsteth,

come ye to the waters ; and he that hath no money, come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Isa. lv. 1, 2. THERE is a great difference between a legal and a faint-hearted soul; the former is puffed up with self-righteousness; the latter humbly thirsts after CHRIST's righteousness; therefore he is not under the law, but has grace already. It is only the child, or the new man actually born, that can cry and thirst. And though he cannot so fully believe it, yet to have grace is one thing, and to feel and enjoy it is another. Therefore let not the weak be confounded, which is done very easily, the enemy himself contributing to it as much as he can; but let it be declared, even to the weakest, that they have saving grace when they are brought to be earnestly panting and made truly willing to receive all without price. Matt. v. 3.

Eternal wisdom has prepared

A soul-reviving feast,
And bids our longing appetites

The rich provisions taste.
Jesus the God invites us here,

To this triumphant feast,
And brings immortal blessings down

For each redeemed guest.
O! glorious God, what can we pay

For favours so divine ?
We would devote our hearts alway

To be for ever thine.

« PreviousContinue »