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her mouth with a bridle, while the wicked were be• fore her,” and chose a more auspicious season to reason with her husband of “temperance, righteousness, and judgment to come.” In the lassitude and feebleness of body which succeeds the phrenzy of intoxication, in the bright purity of the morning light which scares away the foul and delusive visions that sport in the glare of the midnight revel, the warning voice of Abigail, speaking to her unhappy husband of mercy and of judgment, was heard, and her words were “ with demonstration of the spirit and of power.” If it was not so, whence the extraordinary effect which they produced, when Nabal's “ heart died within him, and he became as a stone?”. The mere escape from his late jeopardy would not have so affected this evil and obdurate man. Many have been dragged from the very jaws of destruction, and have risen up to curse anew their preservers, and to blaspheme the name of their God. Neither was Nabal's emotion a slight and transitory impression, leaving a record of alarm and dread upon
the sandy beart, to be swept away by the next wave of temptation, for “ the heart of Nabal became as a stone within him :" it died to all that bad power 10 excite or ruffle it before. Whether his was that “godly sorrow which worketh repentance,” or “ the sorrow of the world which worketh death,” cannot be gathered from the brief record which is afforded us of his last days on earth. It may be, that his eyes was now first opened to behold the folly of those who trust in “ uncertain riches,” who have “made gold their hope, and said to the fine gold, thou art my confidence.” It may be, that in self-condemna. tion he now felt the woe pronounced on him “ that
buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong; that useth his neighbour's service without wages, and giveth him not for his work :” and it may be, that in the short interval of ten days, which intervened between the terror of his arrest, and his being summoned to judgment, he sought and found mercy at the hands of Him who proclaimed himself to Israel, as “the Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, and forgiving iniquity, and transgression and sin:' but a curtain is drawn around that death-bed, through which we cannot penetrate to discover whether “the wicked is driven away in his wickedness," or whether the pardoned and justified sinner “hath hope in his death.” Enough, however, remains for warning, for reproof, for correction and instruction in righteous
THE TARES AND THE WHEAT.
“ Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in
heart."-Ps. ix. 7.
THERE are two distinct classes of human beings here below. Those who follow Jesus the King of glory, and those who follow Satan the prince of darkness. They are compared to the tares and the wheat growing up in the same field, under the same external advantages. The sun shines equally on the whole field. The dews of heaven fall upon it in the evening. The refreshing shower descends to water it in the day-time, but the wheat only is benefitted. The moistening shower nourishes 'it; the genial heat ripens it for the sickle and the barn; while the tares, black and dried up, altogether profitless, and good for nothing, are condemned to be tied up in bundles and cast into the burning. The comparison drawn by our Lord himself between this field and the world is most just and striking. Two classes of people walk their busy rounds: they have the same privileges, the same advantages, the same outward means. The churches are open to all : appointed ministers preach to all. The gospel is offered to all. But wbile some receive these blessings, others turn from them and choose for themselves a different way—a way of darkness and death. They love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil. They cannot
bear the light, therefore the sun shines for them in vain; they wither under its influence. The salutary visitations of God harden instead of soften them. They wilfully close their eyes, and harden their hearts with a fixed determination to follow the prince of darkness, even to the end, perversely enslaving themselves in a hard bondage, under a cruel taskmaster, who leads them captive at his will.
“ The way of the wicked is as darkness; they know not at what they stumble.” Every step plunges them deeper in the thick mire. They know not how to extricate themselves, they do not wish to be extricated.
How different in its progress; how different in its termination, is “the path of the just, which, as a shining light, shineth more and more unto the perfect day!”—Prov. iv. 18, 19.
Jesus is a sun and shield to his flock, as well as a shepherd to guide them. In his light they shall see light. The sun does not more surely attract the full front of the sunflower than Jesus does his people to look stedfastly unto him. If they turn from him they must wither and droop, as the sunflower without the influence of the sun.
For a time they may be permitted to wander in cloudy ways, but they shall be brought back. With David each may say, “He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.” “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” “O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.” Each believer in Jesus can look back upon a time when he was in gross darkness, and he knew it not. But
when the candle of the Lord is lighted within him, he can perceive his former darkness, and joyfully acknowledges, “ Once I was blind, but now I see.”
“ The people which sat in darkness saw great light: and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death, light is sprung up.” Matt. iv. 16.
Sat in darkness ! “Sat in the region and shadow of death.” This is the state of every natural manunaffected, unmoved; he sits on the brink of a tremendous pit. In one moment he may plunge in, and be for ever tormented in unquenchable fire, amid wailing, and weeping, and gnashing of teeth. How merciful, then, is that light which shews him his situation, and the way to escape! He is led into that way, and is warned to avoid the contrary direction. “ Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.”
“ Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.” Prov. iv.
Who could have supposed that such a heavenly light should suddenly shine round about Paul wbile" yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord ?” Acts ix. 1–6. The moment he saw that ht, all his murderous purposes were changed. Instead of being a persecutor, he became a follower of Jesus. “ And he, trembling and astonished, said, Lord what wilt thou have me to do?” The Lord vouchsafed this marvellous light to Paul, whom be foreknew and predestinated to a great work, even the building up of that church which he would, if he
1“For thou wilt light my candle: the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.” Psalm xviii. 28.