« FöregåendeFortsätt »
trade calls them away from home, and they are no longer under the eye of their natural guardians. It was well for the little Shunamite, when seized in the field, that he had a father by—he said unto his father, My head, my head! Joseph would have been preserved from the rage of his brethren, in the plain of Dothan, had his venerable father been there ; but in vain he looked, and called—no father was nigh.
But here it is otherwise. If we are the children of God, we are never out of his sight-He withdraweth not his eyes from the righteous. He who keepeth them never slumbers nor sleeps. Though he governs worlds, he attends as much to each individual as is nothing else engrossed his care. And wherever we go there is he. Jeremiah found him in the dungeon ; Daniel in the lion's den ; John in the isle of Patmos; and Jonah and Paul in the deep : Yea, says David, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me: thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
Fourthly. Parents may be unable to relieve their children, if with them. I pity the mother whose ears are assailed with the cries of half fed babes, when, alas ! she has no more to give them. I feel the situation of poor Hagar; her bread consumed, and the bottle of water spent, what could she do ? She cast the child under one of the shrubs, and she went and sat her down over against him, a good way off, as it were a bow-shot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lifted up her voice and wept. By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child. And what could they do more? They
make him a little ark of bulrushes, and daub it with slime and with pitch-and lay it in the flags by the river's brink-one thing more is possiblehis sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him. And here Providence took up the business, or what had become of the poor helpless infant ? We read in the gospel of a certain nobleman, whose son was at the point to die—and what in this case could titles and riches do for hiin? Nothing; he therefore goes abroad in search of aid. O, I sympathize with the father who hears from the physician the sad hint, “Sir, I can do nothing more for the child :" entering the room, we behold him standing by the side of his expiring Isaac—but unavailing are all his tears—life quivers upon the lip, and the eye is closed-for ever.
The children of God are never in a condition in which he cannot effectually aid them : they are the sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty. O blessed thought ! our Father is Lord of heaven and earth. The silver and the gold are his; his are the cattle upon a thousand hills ; the world is his, and the fulness thereof. There is no enemy which he cannot vanquish: no disease which he cannot cure : no want which he cannot supply.
Fifthly. Other parents are not suffered to continue, by reason of death: and thus their children become orphans. It matters not how heavy the affliction may be—they are left-left perhaps uneducated—unprovided for. Incapable at present of appreciating their loss, they are to learn it by bitter experience. Behold them passing through an unfeeling world, on which they are turned adrift, to be over-reached by artifice, oppressed by injustice, injured by violence. In vain do they visit a father's tomb with the voice of joy or of grief: His sons come to honour, and he knoweth it not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them.
But hear David : “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.”
Hear the church: “ Doubtless thou art our Father, though Abraham be ignorant of us and Israel acknowledge us not." With him the relation continues for ever: he is the everlasting Father; and hence his children can never be orphans. In every loss they have this to comfort them : “ The Lord liveth, and blessed be my rock, and let the God of my salvation be exalted.”
Again. The love of parents is far exceeded by the love of God. There is no affection, perhaps, more ardent and forcible than parental; hence God assumes it: Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. But this means a likeness of resemblance, not of equality; for the one is no more to the other than a drop to the ocean.-- Though the love of a father be great, it is generally and it is justly supposed that the love of a mother is more so. We see in this the wisdom and kindness of Providence, who thus makes duty a privilege, and reconciles the woman to numberless privations, and cares, and toils in rearing the human race, from which the man is exempted. Well, God avails himself, therefore, of this also : 6. As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you.
“Can the fond mother from herself depart,
Can she forget the darling of her heart?
“Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will not I forget thee. Behold, I have engraven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.-For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee. For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord, that hath
Finally. Parents give good things to their offspring, however imperfectly they make known their wants and desires. Behold a family of several children. Here is one who is able to come and ask for his supplies in proper language, a second begs in broken phrases; but here is a third that cannot speak at all—but he can point, he can cry. Sweet babe! thou too art a child—thou too shalt succeed : everything pleads for thee: thy dimpled cheeks, thy little hand, thy big shining tears. And if we, who are evil, do this, what think we of Him whose tender mercies are over all his works ? Let us therefore go to him ; let us go and ask as we are able. Let us remember that words are not necessary to inform him who knows all things, or to move him who is already more willing to give than we are to receive. He hears the voice of thy weeping: thy desire is before him, and thy groaning is not hid from him.
He calls himself your Father, to teach you with what dispositions you should enter his sacred
presence. You are encouraged to approach him with holy confidence and humble boldness.
Admire him ; love him ; hope in him; repair to him: pray without ceasing; pray and faint not. -He who hears the young ravens that cry will not refuse the importunity of children. He hears prayer. Thousands, millions have sought him and none ever sought him in vain. These successful suppliants returning from his throne encourage us to go forward ; all saying, I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked unto him, and were lightened, and their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.-0 taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
Tomorrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the Lord.
Exod. xvi. 23.
ANOTHER week is drawing to a close. Another period has been added to the season of God's long suffering patience, and to the time of your preparation for an eternal world. These hours are gone to appear before God—what can they testify in your favour. They are gone to return no morehow have you improved them? What use have you made of your trials, your mercies, your means of religious instruction and edification ? On such