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examine the picture, the darker do its shades become -the more appalling those perils, in the midst of which our brethren are set, for the defence of the gospel.
The Gospel-precious word! It is the power of Him who says, “ The Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion; to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified.” And glorified he is in them. The fruit which they bear is indeed clad in the hue of affliction, for his poor Church is militant against many foes, and exceedingly pressed, above measure, seeming to have the sentence of death in themselves; but he gives them a spirit of patient endurance, inexplicable in some cases, but by the great mystery of faith, whereby adhering to the Rock that cannot be moved, they derive strength according to their day. They stand, a miracle of supporting grace, “ as sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich ; as having nothing, yet possessing all things.”
Many years ago, I planted an Ivy, and watched its growth with childish interest. Having fixed its root firmly in the soil, it speedily put forth shoots; and as these grew, the short, stout fibres appeared, grasping the rough particles of an ancient wall, plunging into every little crevice, and securing themselves by a process that excited my wonder beyond any thing that I can remember, at that period of my
life. I have pulled away the young branches, eadeavouring to refix them in a different positisa, kat in vain: the work of adhesion was one that buwan skill could not accompliss, sor bumaa power ompel. The utmost that I could do was to afrond aa artificial support to the detached branch, until, having costpued its growth, it pat oat Dew fingers, as I called them, to take a stronger bold on its bal art. This might be very aptly illustrated by the past history of a Church where faith might have become dead, as regarded a race of individuals; but where, by that aid from without wbich may God in his merey ever dispose the State to extend in the Church, better days were provided for; and the visible branch restored to its pristine beauty and strength, through faith newly infased into the members, enabling them to cleave wholly to Christ. But my present business is with the Ivy in its mature state, opheld by the might of its immoveable sopporter-with the persecated men of whom it is a lively type; who, in the midst of all that renders the present agonizing, and the future terrific, can adopt the language of inspired Paul, “None of these things move me; neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” Herein lies the mystery of that patient endurance, the deep and general silence of which made the very existence of their distress questionable among os. “To testify the gospel of the grace of God,” was the object and end of all their labours; and their willing task it was, after Paul's example, to learn, in whatsoever state they were therewith to be content-they would know both how to be abased, and know how to abound; everywhere, and in all things, they were instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. Yea, they can do all things THROUGH CHRIST WHICH STRENGTHENETH them. It is by close communion with Him that his afflicted servants are enabled thus to glorify God in the day of visitation-to glorify him in the fires. He has taught them that he careth for them : and they, unreservedly, cast every care upon him: yet, like Paul to the beloved Philippians, they will say to us, “ Notwithstanding, ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction." Ob that we could rightly appreciate the value of such an example at our very doors, of suffering according to the will of God! But all cannot realize the scenes now enacting in poor Ireland ; and few there are whom I could invite to weep with me beneath the storm-beaten Ivy.
But what a spectacle does it present in the sight of that great cloud of witnesses who encompass it! They, who through faith and patience have already inherited tbe promises, how must they rejoice over their militant brethren, marching onward, through much tribulation, to swell the army of that Church triumphant ? Bodily anguish, cold, hunger, and the yet more grievous pain of beholding those dependent on them sharing in their privations -mental inquietude, às the future lot in life of their destitute little ones will force itself on their anxious thought -abandonment on the one hand, on the other, barbarous exultation ; the muttered curse of the vindictive, deluded peasant, the heartless scoff, and ribald jest of the far more degraded, though flattered and pensioned poet-these are the lot of men of whom
the world is not worthy; and cruel they are to poor shrinking humanity. But they endure as seeing Him who is invisible, and though now they prophesy in sack-cloth, and by and by they may be slain, still Christ has prepared for them a kingdom, wbich, after a little while they shall receive, becoming kings and priests unto God.
It is of those who, like the Ivy, cling by living faith unto the Rock of salvation, that I thus speak. I speak not of the Church, nor of her ministry, as though an outward profession, or formal ordination, could knit the soul to Christ. There is dross in the furnace, no less than gold. Many suffer compulsorily, who would not endure an hour's affliction for Christ and his gospel. But the patient servants of God are known unto Him; and they are so many as now to characterise the whole Church. Some straggling shoots disfigure my Ivy, which hang upon it but to be lopped off; yet the plant clings to its supporter, and those unsightly exceptions alter it not. It looks green; and its polished leaves, dark in themselves, reflect the brightness of day. I know that the appointed season of winter must endure for a while ; but I also know that the spring-tide shall not fail. A time of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord, to bid his suffering saints rejoice. “ Then the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs, and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and sigbing sball Nee away.”
WALK THE FOURTEENTH.-John vii. 37.
It was on “the last day,—that great day of the feast,” that-sorrowing in our hearts because of the griefs of our Lord, and the blindness of the people, - we ascended from the valley after a long and wearisome journey, and were toiling up the lofty flight of steps which form the approach to the vast terrace, upon which is built Solomon's porch : we followed our blessed Lord and Master from place to place, and were witnesses,-how that he is indeed “despised and rejected of men”_" oppressed” “afflicted."
My companions as well as myself had long journeyed on in quiet contemplation, yet by the words of one who first breaks the long silence, it would seem that our spirits had held communion. He bursts forth thus, " Where shall wisdom be found ? Man knoweth not the place thereof, it cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weigbed for the price thereof-the gold and the chrystal cannot equal it--no mention shall be made of coral or pearl, -the price of wisdom is above rubies, the topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it. Whence cometh wisdom, seeing it is hid?” (Job xxviii.)
“ Yes," I replied, “it is far off and exceeding