Imágenes de página

were called dogs by the Jews; and our Saviour himself speaks of them as inhabiting the highways and hedges, and as the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. Yet for these there was room. These were to be compelled to come in. The Saviour ex. cludes none but those who exclude themselves; and he even complains of their conduct-"Ye will not come to me that ye might have life." Let the vilest of the vile, let the chief of sinners seek to him, and try the graciousness and truth of the promise that has been the sheet-anchor of thousands-“ HIM THAT COMETA UNTO ME I WILL IN NO WISE CAST OUT."

August 9.-" The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have & goodly heritage.”—Psalm xvi. 6.

We may put this ackpowledgment into the mouth of an INDULGED CHILD OF PROVIDENCE.

David seems to refer to the division of the land of promise by lot. What fell to the share of his tribe had some special advantages, for which he expresses himself with gratitude and joy. He had also been raised up from an obscure and contracted station to the possession of honours and resources, which filled him with wonder and praise, and led him to exclaim, “Lord, what am I, and what is my father's house, that thou hast brought me hitherto ?” There are many who are similarly favoured, though not in an equal de. gree. They have independence; or if they have not abundance, they have competency, which Agar deems far preferable. They have an agreeable calling. Business prospers, and exceeds their wants. They have a peaceful dwelling and affectionate connections. They have health, and power to relish the beauties of na. ture, the bounties of earth, and the endearments of social life

“ Not more than others they deserve,

Yet God has given them more! And far more--Their cup runneth over.

Only let them remember that these indulgences are not " the one thing needful ;" and that it becomes them to say with Waits,

“ Without thy graces and thyself,

I were a wretch undone." Or, with Cowper,

« Give what thou canst, without thee we are poor,

And with thee rich, take what thou wilt away." W atever these outward blessings may do for them, they cannot reach their principal exigences. They profit not in the day of wrath, nor deliver from death, nor evince the friendship of God, nor relieve the burdened conscience, nor heal the wounded spirit, nor content the cravings of an immortal mind. Yea, they should also remember, that they are in peculiar danger from these enjoyments. The peril is, that they trust in uncertain riches, and not in the liv. ing God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy-That they make the creature a substitute for the Creator --That they lose the heart of a stranger-That they forget their resting-place-That their thoughts are drawn off from home by the agreeableness and delights of the way-That their table becomes a snare; and their prosperity destroys them. The writer, some years ago, in a neighbouring city, received in the pulpit the following note: “ The prayers of this congregation are earnestly desired for a man who is prospering in his worldly concerns.” And if he did this sincerely, and there is no reason to question it, the man showed an acquaintance with the weakness and depravity of human nature. He had studied himself; he had observed others. He had also read his Bible to purpose, which informed him how Joseph, in the court of Pharaoh, swore “ by the life of Pharaoh ;" how David in his prosperity said, “ I shall not be moved;" how Hezekiah delivered, recovered, honoured, “ rendered not according to the benefit done him, for his heart was lifted up ;" how Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked" then he forsook God which made him, and lightly es. teemed the Rock of his salvation."

Yet these things are good in themselves, and display the bounty and kindness of God; and yield us a thousand comforts and advantages. And who could imagine they were bestowed upon those who are not worthy of the least of all his mercies; yea, upon rebels ? who deserve his wrath? Surely it becomes the possessors to be i thankful, and to say, “ Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits." Surely they must be the vilest of all beings, whose feelings do not often produce the acknowledgment, “ The lines are fallen to me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.'

“But all are not thus indulged: all cannot use this language." Yet more might use it: and more would use it if they were more sensible of their desert, more humble, more disposed to compare conditions not with those above them, but with those below them. For while they are injured in their circumstances, others are ruined. While they have lost one child, others have been bereaved of all > their offspring. While they have occasional infirmities and ailments, others are bedridden, made to possess months of vanity, and : have none assurance of their life. We do not wonder that persons are dissatisfied with their portion, who send out pride and fancy to . explore it; who dwell on the dark side of their condition only, and never look at the bright one; and suffer the impression of a single trial to render them insensible to the claims of a thousand comforts.

And we leave those whom Jude calls“ murmurers and complainers;" or, as the word is, blasphemers of their lot. Haman goes home to his wife, and states all his greatness, but adds, “ Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as Mordecai the Jew sitteth at the king's gate.” Ahab, in a palace, cannot eat and drink; and turns sick; and takes to his bed, because one of his subjects will not sell him a few yards of garden ground. One is mopish and melancholy because he cannot get a particular place or office. Another is sour or spiteful because all the neighbourhood will not bend to his humour, or think him so great a man as he linagines himself to be—we do not wish the cravings of such groaners to be indulged; it would only carry them the further still from contentment. But we pray that they may exchange “ the sorrow of the

world which worketh death,” for that “ godly sorrow which work. eth repentance unto life, and needeth not to be repented of."

August 10.-" The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.”—Psalm xvi. 6.

We may put this acknowledgment into the mouth of AN INHABI. TANT OF THIS FAVOURED COUNTRY.

People are naturally attached to a land in which they were born and brought up, and with which ail their earliest recollections and feelings are associated. It has pleasures and charms for them that others know not of. And who would be cruel enough to deprire them of their preference? and make them miserable by compari. son? Rather, who would not rejoice that there is no region so absolutely dreary and barren as to have no flowers and attractions scattered over it by the kindness of Providence, to bind them to their native soil, and to make it painful to leave their own country and their father's house?

Yet we need not confound things that differ; and it would be the strangest inconsideration and ingratitude, were we, as Englishmen, to be unaffected with the advantages we enjoy in this highly distinguished and indulged country. We refer not to our extensire dominion, far surpassing the Roman world, having more than sixty millions under our sway, in one part of our dominion only. Nei. ther do we admire the manner in which our dominion has sometimes been acquired and enlarged; though we are persuaded the conquerors will prove blessings to the conquered. In a thousand instances we are far from faultless. But,

“England, with all thy faults I love thee still !!! And how much is there, whatever view I take, to induce the ac. knowledgment, “ The lines are fallen to me in pleasant places ; yea, I have a goodly heritage." Let me think of our insular situation, in consequence of which we are open to commerce; guarded from invasion; and even in war itself know so little of its ravages, never hearing the confused noise of warriors, or seeing garments dipped in blood. Let me think of the temperature of our atmosphere, in which we are not frozen to statues, or dissolved in heat. Let me think of our freedom from tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, pestilences. Let me think of a country where the seasons regularly return and melt into each other, where are the sweet interchanges of hill and vale, and wood and lawn--where the pastures are clothed with flocks and herds--where the fields and valleys stand thick with corn-where we are fed with the finest of the wheat. Let me think of a country whose merchants are princes, and whose traffickers are the honourable of the earth--a country ennobled by the zeal of patriots, enriched by the blood of martyrs, endeared and sacred by the dust of a pious multitude without num. ber—a country illustrious by every kind of genius, and by every improvement in science and in art-a country in whose well-balanced constitution are blended the advantages of monarchy, aris. locracy, and democracy, without their defects-a country whose government is equally averse to tyranny and anarchy; where none

are above law and none below it; where liberty has so long fixed her abode; where religious opinions produce no civil disabilities; where all persecution is excluded; and where every man sits under his own vine and vineyard, and none can make him afraid. Let me think of a country where charity and compassion reign not only in numberless personal acts, but in a thousand institutions to meet every kind of distress, and lessen the sum of human woe. Let me think of a country possessing not only so many natural, intellectual, civil, and social advantages, but so many moral and religious privileges; where not only the darkness of paganism, but of superstition is past, and the true light shineth ; where the Scriptures are found in our own language, and all are allowed to read them, and able to procure them; where the word of life is preached, and we can hear the joyful sound of the truth as it is in Jesus; where the Gospel of Christ is not only spreading widely among ourselves, but zealous and persevering efforts are making by individuals and communities to convey it to others- Where shall I end? And can I glance at all this, and not say, “ It is a good land which the Lord our God hath given us?” Ought I not to be thankful to him who determines the bounds of my habitation, and performeth all things for me? Ought I not to bear with patience and cheerfulness a few difficulties and trials inseparable from a condition so favoured and indulged? Ought I not to be concerned to improve my privileges, and to fear the danger arising from so great a responsibility ? Where much is given, will not much be required ? Was not Ca. pernaum that was exalted unto heaven thrust down to hell ? Did not God say to the Jews, You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore you will I punish? And ought I not to durell in the land, and to do all in my power to promote the righteousness which exalteth a nation ? And should not I pray for its safety, and peace, and prosperity?“ Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children. And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us; and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it."

no li ang dance

August 11.-" The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.”—Psalm xvi. 6.

We may put this acknowledgment into the mouth of A CHRISTIAN WITH REGARD TO HIS SPIRITUAL CONDITION.

Read the preceding verse: “ The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot." What wonder then that the possessor should exclaim, “ The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage." He uses but one word in describing his estate, but it is the most comprehensive. Had he written volumes, and enumerated all the treasures of heaven, and earth, and sea, he would have said less, and to far less purpose, than in saying, “ The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance." The greater includes the less. If He be mine, what is the substance of my portion but his fulness? and the measure of my portion but his immensity ? and the duration of my portion bui his eternity ? Yet this is ihe truth of the case ; in the everlasting covenant ordered in all things and sure, he has been pleased to make over himself to his people, with all he is, and all he has. “I will be thy God. I will pardon thy sins. I will sanc. tify thy nature. I will supply all thy need. I will be light to thy darkness. I will be strength to thy weakness. I will bless thy bread and thy water. All my ways towards thee shall be mercy and truth. All things shall work together for thy good. I will guide thee with my counsel, and afterward receive thee to glory."

This is no more than the meanest Christian may claim and ex. ult in. Meanest did we say? We retract the term. A Christian may be afflicted and poor; but he cannot be mean-He is one of the excellent of the earth, of whom the world is not worthy. Let the rich and the great bring together all their claims, and make their boast, the poorest Christian beggars them all; for he can say, * God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.” And he ought to preserve a sense of this in his mind. He ought to live nobly. He ought to feel contentedly in whatsoever state he is. He ought not to envy others their good things; nor sink like others under losses and trials. When their lamps are put out they are in nutter darkness; but the Sun of righteousness arises upon him. When their vessels are broken all their comforts are gone; but he has the fountain of living waters—They have no God; but “ the Lord is the portion of his inheritance.”

If from viewing his state essentially he examines it compara. tively, he will have fresh reason to exclaim, “ The lines are fallen to me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage." For what should we value a heritage? We should commend it for healthfulness. No heritage would be deemed pleasant and goodly that was injurious to health, without which we can relish nothing. The apprehension of losing this all-important blessing would alone induce us to resign any situation, unless we were compelled to remain in it. But such is the Christian's heritage, that all those who have lived upon it, however disordered before, have been restored to a miracle, and each of them could say, I am a wonder unto many. We should commend it for fertility. Hence Moses extols Canaan as a land flowing with milk and honey, and in which there was no scarceness. In like manner he says of Joseph; “ Blessed of the Lord be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath, and for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon, and for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills.” No earthly inheritance can yield the possessor every thing he wants; but God's riches in glory by Christ Jesus can supply all the Christian's need. We should commend it for safety. The best heritage would fetch little that had no defence, but was open to invasion and injury. There is nothing that adds so much to the enjoyment of a possession as a v sense of security: silling under our own vine and fig tree, and none making us afraid. Upon all the Christian's glory there is a defence. His soul dwells at ease: and he is in quiet from the fear of evil. An heritage would not be deemed pleasant or goodly if cut off from the privilege of intercourse. Christians have the communion of saints. There is an open and constant communication between

« AnteriorContinuar »