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all which it inspires. Thus love to God is a perennial spring of joy in the Christian's heart, and it makes, if not all his religion joyous, yet the principal joyousness of his religion. It makes glad the season of devout fellowship; it makes glad the duties of holy obedience; it makes glad the activities of a COBsecrated life; it makes glad the exercise of self-denial; it makes glad the bearing of the cross.
Love to God is the main spring of Christian energy. I do not mean to repre : sent it as the only motive by which the Christian is actuated; it is, however, the motive of most constant application and of greatest power, Love is well know to be the commanding principle in human character, and among the multitude of human feelings the predominant and supreme. Such is love to God in the er perience of the Christian. Where hope, or fear, or sense of duty might fail, love will assuredly triumph. Attaching importance to every one of God's com. mandments, and in obedience at once prompt and faithful, it generates a perseverance unwearied, and laughs difficulties to scorn. Its life is to do, to suffer, and to endure, for God and his glory.
Love to God is the restoration of man's primary virtue. Before man fell this was his attitude-he loved God; and to the same attitude he is by grace restored. Man is thus recovered to himself, and to the lost image of his Maker. Not all the other graces of the Christian character, apart from love to God, would accomplish such a result; but, loving God, man is again, in the noblest sense. himself-himself, as if he had never fallen.
Love to God, although produced under the mediatorial system, is separable from it, and capable of an independent existence. We know that the mediatorial system, however glorious in itself, and now indispensable, is not to exist for ever. After the final judgment and the glorification of the saints, the Lord Jesus Christ will give up the kingdom to the Father, “ that God may be all in al." The work of redemption completed, its machinery will no longer be perpetuated, and the redeemed will have immediate access to God. Under these circumstances how many graces will expire ! Faith in direct acceptance, and hope in full fruition ; while love to God, emancipated from all shackles, and transported into a new region, survives for immortality. “Now abide faith, hope, love, these three ; but the greatest of these is love."
4. Such being the value of love to God, let us ask finally, What are the means of its nurture ?
If indeed we love God, we are deeply conscious that we love him too little ; and it ought to be our desire and endeavour to love him more. It is yours, Christian reader, is it not? And you would like to be informed how so important an object can be attained. Remember, then, these things.
Love grows with knowledge—with knowledge, that is to say, of the object be loved. What infinite stores of loveliness are there in God still unappreciated by you! God in Christ! What an object for your habitual contemplation! And every beauty of his character which you newly discern, or more largely realize, will inflame your love to a higher intensity.
Love grows with intercourse. If you would love God much, have much communion with him. Be often in the secret place of piety, and give time-cient time—to the cultivation of this kindling fellowship. You would not lore an earthly friend very ardently if you had only occasional and moments! converse with him; nor, with unfrequent and perfunctory converse with God, can your love to him be fervent.
Love grows with likeness. As it is in the first instance love to God which transforms us into his likeness, 80 every measure in which we become like him increases our aptitude to love him more. “If we walk in the light, as he is a the light,” we shall not only “have fellowship ” with him, but a fellowship ever advancing intimacy and sweetness.
Love grows with service. We love those most for whom we do most. Ask the devoted mother which of her children she loves best? It is assuredly the pining and sickly one, who has occupied both her days and her nights with wakeful and laborious attentions. In like manner, if you do much for God, you will be sure to love him much. Your labours will bring your love, otherwise slumbering, into conscious action; while your presentation of it as a token of gratitude before his feet, will bring a response of love from him by which your love will be still further inflamed.
May God grant you, dear reader, to abound in this grace! How fitted it is for earth, where toils require all its energy, and grief all its gladness ! How
fitted it is for heaven, where the object of your love shall appear in all his -- glory, and his response of love kindle your glowing breast to a seraphic
TREASURE IN THE FIELD.
BY THE REV. J. W. LANCE. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure bid in a field ; the which when a man hatk found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he huth, and buyeth that field.”_ Matt. xiii. 44.
This little word “again” reminds us i ture and the march of science, men should that we have here one of a series of simili be anxiously seeking, each one for himself,
tudes to which our Lord likened his king according to his light and his mental -dom. It has been said that we have in idiosyncrasy, the pearl of great price, and
these seven parables a kind of prophetic should find it too ; and that in the seventh view-a pictorial, panoramic representation and last, the draw-net, we have a sort of of the history of the Church, and the des summary of the whole the great net of tiny of the world, down to the end of time; the Gospel having from the first, and that, in fact, historic periods, stages, and through all the times, gathered fish of every: developments of the kingdom, are here indi kind, now, at the end of the world, to bo cated, at least in general feature and out separated, the bad from the good, and to line. That in the first similitude, that of be apportioned to their own place! the sower, we have the apostolic, pente Whether we accept this or not, or to what costal age, when the seed of the kingdom extent we accept it, at all events the relawas so widely sown and so largely blessed; tion suggested between the fifth and sixth, that in the second, that of the tares, we and those that have preceded them—viz., have the age that followed, when heresies | the individual aspects of the kingdom, as and dissensions prevailed so much in the compared with the national and socialChurch ; that in the third and fourth, the seems evident enough; and this to you and mustard seed and the leaven, we have only to me, my readers, is of the most solemn different aspects of the same truth, seen and important moment. Have we, have I, from within and from without, viz., the ever found this treasure ? ever sought this great national influence which Christianity pearl of price? The seed may have been was destined to exert-how it should fling sown in our hearts, and the tares also (we abroad its spreading branches, yet always may be ourselves tares, “children of the working from within, according to the law wicked one"); we may be participating in of its own life; that in the fifth and sixth, the social benefits and amenities of that he hid treasure, and the goodly pearl, we Christendom, which the mustard seed and have the individual relation and application the leaven have developed. And since we of the kingdom more fully brought out shall certainly have our part in the separa-hat even in times of deepest darkness, tion which the angels shall make at the end beneath all the rubbish and lumber of con of the world, this is for us the question of entions and false philosophies, this man questions,-Arewe individually, personind that shall light upon the hidden' ally, interested in Christ and his salvation ? reasure of the truth; and that in the ages Have I, sinful as I am, laid my hand on of most abundant light, of intellectual cul. I the head of the great atoning Sacrifice 2
Have I, feeling the sorrowfulness and the knocked. To all God's children who come gloom of sin, shared in the glad anointing to his house, for example, to seek him, the of that Spirit, whose fruit is joy? But promise is true and faithful—they shal while the two parables--the Treasure in find him ; but many a one has found him the Field, and the Treasure in the Market too, or rather been found of him, who came
--are alike in this, that they urge upon us for quite another purpose. Curiosity, idle individual responsibility, they differ in one ness, vanity, have brought men together thing—and the difference, no doubt, is an where they have heard the word, and here intentional contrast—that, whereas in the and there one has found that faith comes one case the man stumbles upon the by hearing; or those " who came to scoff treasure by chance, in the other he devotes remained to pray." all his energies to the search for it; and Saul, seeking only his father's asser, these two are types of character and | found a kingdom ; and the Samaritan spiritual experience. But is there, it will woman, coming probably by the merest be asked, such a thing as finding by chance accident, as men count accidents, at noon or accident the great spiritual treasure to day, instead of the morning or the evening, 'which the metaphor points ? Doubtless to draw her water, finds there the Saviour there is such a thing as thus finding, though alone; and finding him, finds also the there is no such thing as realising, making water of the everlasting life, a hidder. the treasure our own, without much more treasure which she gladly makes her than chance or accident. The tide of own. . human affairs ebbs and flows independent “Treasure hid in a field !" how sug. of the will, and apart from the control, of gestive are these words! Why, every field, man; but whether he will take it at “ the in the most natural and simple sense, has flood,” or not, is a matter for which he in it some hidden treasure. There is the himself is alone responsible.
treasure of those vital forces which spend It was by what the world calls “luck” | themselves, and yet are never spent, upon that the man found the treasure ; it was the seed which the “ sower goeth forth to only by prudence, promptness, and the sow;" the seed itself is a hidden treasure, sacrifice of all he had, that he could make and but a few months ago lay buried it his own. “O, opportunity, thy guilt is beneath the “ treasures of the snow " ; great,” says our dramatic poet. I can un while now, no longer hidden, it riots, green derstand, very well, these words from the and golden, on the windy hill, or nods lips of the wronged Lucretia; but I am itself to sleep amid the hush and stillness sure that, in the main, it is not so much of the valley. The coal, the iron, and the that we lack opportunities for good, as that tin; the marble, the granite, and the slate; we want the courage and the zeal to use the gold, the silver, and the lead; the dull them. Opportunities, indeed, may be clay and “the diamond that lights up the found and made by seeking them, as in the secret mine," are treasures hid in the field. case of the merchantman; but they also Or, to come a little nearer to the meaning often come to us ready-made and unsought, of the text, so too are those antiquarian as in the case of our parable, and, if we are relics, those memorials of a vanished life, men, will woo us or startle us into action. which the antiquarian and historian 50
If we want a broad example of this find. much covet. Some rusty sword handle, ing of the spiritual treasure without seeking some rude drinking cup, some curious coin, it, the case of the whole Gentile world is in is a treasure joyfully bought at much cost point. “Esaias," says Paul, “ is very bold, and pain by many a deep-eyed student. and saith, I was found of them that sought Even “The Mouse," or 6 The Mountain me not." It is bold, this language-but Daisy," turned up by the ploughshare of the not more bold than true, for it was inspired Ayrshire poet-poet and ploughmanby the Spirit of all truth. “He that a treasure of the field-a treasure of the seeketh findeth” we know. God is always rich ore from which every poet knows bor as good as his word; but shall we, like to smelt the pure metal, and beat it into Jonah, find fault with him, and be angry, the golden leaf of song. The "treasure because he is sometimes better? We find of the parable is not any of these, howet, sometimes without seeking; just as we but riches of some kind, buried on purpose sometimes, and indeed often, receive with in the earth. In a country where there out asking, and have many an open door was but little security for property, set before us at which we have never l scope for commercial enterprise ; FIL
there were no joint-stock companies or | man do when he has found the treasure ? railway shares; to bury their surplus What but determine at once to make it his capital seemed often, to the wealthy, the own? We have no space or time to disbest thing to do with it. Rich men, it is pute about the “morality” of the parable. said, divided their riches into three parts : As the carnal man, according to his worldly with one part they traded; another they in wisdom, will take what means he judges vested in jewels, so as to cany with needful to secure his treasure, so the spiritthem in case of sudden flight; and the ual man, according to another sort of wis. third part they buried, marking carefully dom, takes what means are needful to the place. But, perhaps they themselves, secure his. The opportunity for possessing while absent from that place where their this spiritual treasure comes to us again heart was (for “ where the treasure is, there and again unsought. Nay, it is offered to will the heart be"), died and were buried, nis, urged upon us ; but yet to make it our their secret, as to the place of the hoard, own, we must seek, and seek earnestly, act dying, and being buried with them.
resolutely, promptly, and if need be, sacriAchan, for example, for fear of detection, fice all that we have to secure it. But I buried his treasure, of the Babylonish gar find that I am, in part, repeating the introment, and the two hundred shekels of sil duction, and in part anticipating the sequel. ver, in the midst of his tent, in the earth. Let us pause for a moment. . . . . Supposing him to have fallen in battle, with “ The which when a man hath found, he his guilty secret untold, some labourer till hideth.” Has this, which is so natural in ing the ground might, by a happy accident, the sphere of the secular life, anything corhave turned up, with spade or ploughshare, responding to it in the spiritual? At first this fragment of the spoil of the famous sight it seems not to have. For so far from Jericho, and so have been enriched in a | the finder of the spiritual treasure hiding moment.* This is the symbol of the king1 it from others, as if sharing it would at all dom here employed by our Lord; but what lessen it, the most natural impulse is to shall we say of the great spiritual treasure make it known. “Come, see a man that that is symbolised ! Can it point to any. told me all that ever I did, is not this the thing else than the Lord himself, who is Christ ? " seems rather to be the type of the innermost heart of all symbol and si that zeal which fires the hearts of those militude, all parable and metaphor ; who | who have newly found the Saviour. And s is at once the kingdom, the treasure, and | yet, if we reflect a moment, without at all
the field, wherein are hid all“ treasures of feeling bound to find some spiritual expe- wisdom and knowledge”? O happy they rience that corresponds to the hiding of the
who find AM !—to whom he is revealed in treasure, we shall see, I think, that in fact the freshness of his love, the sanctity of his there often is such an experience. Observe character, the glory of his person, the that this happy finder of the treasure only
power of his atonement, and the gladness hides while as yet he has not made sure - of his spirit ; and who, when he is thus re- that it is his own: as soon as that is done,
vealed, when the treasure is thus open to no need to hide ; let him enjoy now, and if them, embrace it, embrace HIM, and confer he please, communicate. So in the spiritual not with “flesh and blood”; who, when his life, the happy finder of the true treasure is voice is speaking to them, and the radiance not sure as yet whether what he sees and of his face blinding them with excess of feels is really his own. If he rejoices, it is ight, instead of wavering, hesitating, and with a tremulous, timid joy, lest what he shrinking, fall down in tearful, trembling has so suddenly found he should as sudaomage at his feet, and cry, “Lord, what denly lose. These new-born hopes, these wilt thou have me to do ? This is evi glorious but confused visions, are they not lently the temper of the heart which the “ too good to be true”? He will keep great Teacher commends; for what does the them for a time to himself, and so test their * As a modern example, take the following from the “Times,” of Monday, July 15, 1861:"DISCOVERY OF TREASURE.-A few days since a party of seven men were employed in grubbing up leveral decayed trees on the estate of Captain Wheatley, at Erith, when they discovered a bar of metal some feet below the surface, and completely embedded in the roots of an old oak. The bar was taken to he Running Horse Tavern, when it was soon discovered to be solid silver, of about £125 in value, and bearing the date 1532. The Lord of the Manor declining to claim the property, the finders took it to a pullion dealer in London, who offered to purchase the bar, provided that the consent of the Lords of the Treasury was first obtained. A statement of the case was then forwarded to them, from whom au answer
eceived to the effect that no claim would be made on the part of the Crown. The property has accordic gly been sold, and the amount shared among the finders of the treasure.”
reality ; but when he is sure not only that I worships, touching with tremulous hand there is such a treasure, but that it is his, the trailing garment's hem. Or it may be then he will gladly make it known, then he some providence, severe and sharp, yet will tell to others round, "what a dear Sa-i pointing with a gracious hand to where the viour he has found ;”.
hidden treasure lies, and leading on to it 6Will point to his redeeming blood,
through thorns and nettles that pierce and And say, Behold the way to God.”
sting the feet. What can this Ainty soi As to the “field” in which the treasure of disappointed hope, this barren heath o is hid, it is probably straining the simili sorrow, these “busbless downs" of hard do! tude to assign to it any separate and spe life, yield to me? Ah! put in the plough. rial significance. It has been suggested share, break the heavy clod, and lo! the that it is the written word, in which the “ treasure." You shall find it, it may be, hitherto too careless reader suddenly finds in the churchyard, or the cemetery, where his attention arrested, and so lights upon | you have laid in sleep the wife or child: the deeper spiritual truth-lights upon Him | for even now as you stand by the new who is the living word; or that it is the made grave, and note that the flowers are Church. “The outer visible Church, as withering, and the scent of hay is borne upon contradistinguished from the inward spiri. the wind, there is a whisper in your sou tual, with which the treasure' would then that says, “ All flesh is grass : the glors agree. . . . . As the man cannot have the of man as the flower of grass. The grass treasure and leave the field, but both or withereth and the flower thereof fadeth neither must be his, so he cannot have away.” Or it may be, as was suggested, is Christ except in his Church ; none but the the Scriptures or in the Church, but not in golden pipes of the sanctuary are used for any of these necessarily or exclusively; the conveyance of the golden oil (Zech. iv. only wherever we find it let us make it 12); he cannot have Christ in his heart, ours ; if need be, let us sell all that and, at the same time, separate his fortune have, that we may possess the treasure. from those of Christ's struggling, suffering, This selling of “all that he had," what wavering Church; and the treasure and the does it mean? Simply this, that whatever field go together; both or neither must be stands between us and Christ we must give his."*
up if we would win him. It seems to me that either of these views And let us do it “for joy;" let us not Jimits too much the scope and grasp of the | talk of sacrifice, for in most cases the parable. Neither is the possession of the things we must give up are such as we written word, nor union with the visible ! should be better without, even independ- ; Church, essential to realising the great ently of the great salvation. Or even s treasure of salvation. Multitudes have best shall we call it a sacrifice to give up ! been saved who have never read, and could little doubtful good for a great certeza not read, a letter of the Scriptures ; and as blessing? Is it a sacrifice to give tinsel for Bunyan has well shown us in his parable, l gold? and tawdry garments of the Babylo: a “Faithful ” and true witness may march ish sort for the fine linen, pure and white, -right up to heaven's gates without calling which is the righteousness of the saints": at all at the “beautiful house” of the Do the trees make a sacrifice when them! -visible Church. Rather the field, if we define cast their blossoms that the fruit met
it at all, must be, I think, very wide and appear? Do the birds make a sacrifice open ; defined as indefinite and varying; when they moult the worn-out feathers changing with time, and circumstances, and that they may be clothed in new and beaza, individual experience. It may be in some tiful plumage? If these things are net cases that in the wide “field" of nature the sacrifices, neither is it a sacrifice to give e
first hint of this treasure of grace is found the pleasures of sin, which are but fixes .—some chord touched, some sympathy season, out of respect to the recompense of awakened, some memory stirred, some that reward which endures to everlasting it. aspect of nature in wildest or in calmest And yet to the flesh it is. Let us then mood, a storm at sea, a mid-day forest live more in the power and the presene solitude, a danger escaped, a sudden glory that Spirit, whose fruit is joy, and so it revealed, may suggest a hidden presence | treasure and the “joy” of it shall at once and a power, which the soul reverently be ours. realises, before which it bows down and
* Trench. Parables, r. 123.