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WORSHIPPERS : EARTHLY AND HEAVENLY-A CONTRAST..
BY THE REV. J. T. WIGNER.
Revelations iv. 8:4" And they rest not, day and night." We have before us a marked contrast, and yet a real connection. We ares accustomed to form contrasts, day by day we do it; but perhaps there is no form of contrast more frequently present to our minds than the contrast between". earth and heaven. Faint and wearied, tired of the conflict and struggle of life, . we long for home and rest; vexed and sorrowful, we pant for heaven. This is the sphere of anxiety, that the region of peace. This the state in which we are often weary, that the condition of blessed activity, yet, hallowed repose. The connection is real, while the contrast is marked. Both the above texts refer to the service of God, and to that service as conducted by professing people of God. Saints by profession are the parties in both instances. In the one, ancient Israel, God's professed, selected, redeemed people; in the other, redeemed saints gathered from earth, our brethren and fathers. Compare Rev. iv. 8 with v. 8, 9. Worship rendered to the blessed God, through the medium of an atonement, here typified in ritual service, there directed to Him who “sitteth on the throne,” as a " Lamb slain.” The earthly worshippers grow weary ; in heaven “they rest not, day and night." Yet heaven is rest,-- peaceful, undisturbed rest; "There remaineth, therefore, a rest for the people of God ;” but it is the rest of joyous service, the rest of employed powers and faculties, the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord our God. We will draw nigh and meditate on this contrast. Lord, help thy servants !
I. WEARIED-REST NOT. Look at it physically. Our “mortal bodies " become wearied. The strongest built, most muscular, and healthy, know the feeling of weariness as the result of continuous toil. Many an active servant of Christ goes home from his Sabbath engagements wearied and exhausted. The body is a “ tabernacle," an “earthly house." No blame attaches to us for this.. It is not sin, but infirmity; yet is it fact. But in heaven they “rest not, day" and night,"
“Their worship no interval knows." The ransomed ones in glory, the “spirits of just men made perfect,” never grow weary; and when each ransomed soul shall be re-clad with its resurrection body, "fashioned like unto His own glorious body,” even then our unending worship will be without weariness. Oh, joyous fact! Earth's gold dims; the lustre of the golden streets never dim. The earthly Sabbath is soon at an end; the heavenly Sabbath knows no sunset. Thus also will it be with our service-never ending, and we never weary. How this weariness manifests itself after deeply interesting but exhausting Sabbath services! We retire to our homes; we lounge in the easy chair, or recline on the couch ; it requires an effort to converse, and we feel almost too languid for the welcome worship of the family altar; we retire to our closet, to our bed. How blessed, then, must that service be, which, whilst it never ends, never knows a wearied worshipper. Hail, blessed service ? All hail, fellow-worshippers ! we hope to join you there!
II. WEARIED-REST NOT. Look at it mentally. The reference is more to the mental state than the physical condition ; more to the powers of the mind than the energies of the body. A wearied mind—who has not known it ? Aye, and in the service of God, too. Wearied in his service, not wearied of it. The mind is sometimes overtaxed and overburdened. The cares of the world—the conflict of life, in the stern battle of which we are engaged—anxiety concerning
the course we should pursue—fear lest our efforts should fail of success—an in. tense desire consuming us for deeper discoveries of Divine truth-a yearning concern to "approve ourselves” as servants to the Master whom we love, all these things in turn weary and exhaust us, and we become jaded and dispirited. See also how this weariness reveals itself in the haggard look, the care-worn! countenance, the feverish frame; we relax, we seek change, we lay aside our study, shut up the book, leave the unsolved problem, seek the “tranquil shade." In heaven there are no wearied minds; without ceasing they sing, “Thou was slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood.” Our stringed instruments get out of repair, and the barper wearies in his work; but there the “harpers harping yith their harps," unceasingly worship and eternally praise. Acceptable worship involves the sanctified intellect of the mind as well as the consecrated affection of the heart. We must comprehend the mystery of redemption in some degree, ere we can delight in it. We must understand the “new song in order to chant it aright. Here our minds rove, slacken in Divine service, rary in their states and enjoyment, and not unfrequently are utterly out of time fx the service of our Lord, but there, with minds fully attuned to worship and te praise, we shall unwearied and for ever celebrate His love who died to save us.
« This is the heaven I long to know,
For this with patience I would wait." III. WEARIED—REST xot. Look at it spiritually. Here we ascend ani arrive at the fuller and more correct meaning of the contrast presented. The “ weariness" is indicative of declining love, and refers more specially and prominently to the soul than to the mind or the body. Tired in and of the service of Christ - (Mal. i. 10), “Who is there even amongst you that would shut the doors for nought, neither do ye kindle a fire on my altar for nought.” They hsd so slackened in their devotedness, “ constraining love” was such a stranger in their hearts, that they required payment for an act of service rendered in the house of God or on the altar. One translator renders ihis passage, “Ye say attendance at God's altar is a burdensome task and turn from it with disgust." Souls tire in this blessed service. Mourpful fact! 'Twas not always so. Once. all alive to God and filled with love to Christ, they felt and said
" Thy various service we esteem,
Our sweet employ, our blissful theme;
But now they have “left their first love," and the service of God is accounted a “weariness." IN HEAVEN IT WILL NEVER BE SO. We should as soon expert to hear that sorrow had gained entrance, and pain followed within the “ gates of the city," as that the worshippers had lessened in their zeal, or declined in their love. We should as soon expect to hear that the angels' wings drooped from fatigue, that Abraham had an aching heart, that Paul repented of his surrender to Christ, or that Peter flagged in that love which near the Sea of Tiberias be avowed to his risen Lord, as to hear that one of heaven's worshippers considered that worship a “weariness.” Of the Saviour it is said, “ He shall reign for ere and ever.” Of the ransomed it is also said, “They shall reign for ever sa ever ;” and as their reign will be coeval with their Lord's, so their worship know no exhaustion, no depression, no weariness.
This “weariness” of soul has also its distinctive features. When a professor declines, and falls into this state, mark how it shows itself. He slips out of active service in the vineyard, with some care weaves an apology, the material ier which the great enemy of the soul provides, and, like those invited to the marriage-feast, “ail with one consent begin to make excuse.” The missionary gira
up the field of labour. The minister leaves his charge, and gives up the harassing duties of the pastoral office. The Sabbath-school teacher really thinks he shall give up his class, he cannot attend so constantly, the youths are so selfwilled, and really he has not time to prepare. The tract distributor begins to
doubt the use of taking these tracts any longer to distribute. The church mem·ber partially forsakes the house of God, content with one service on the Sabbath.
And as to the weekly prayer-meeting, 'tis too cold to venture out, or 'tis so fine and warm we must have a walk, or he is too busy to go, and the meeting is pot so interesting as it used to be. Dear brethren, you are wrong. The change is not in the service, but in you. The alteration is not in the Saviour, nor the sanctuary : not in the class, nor the prayer.meeting, nor the minister ; the weather is not colder than usual, nor the Sabbath less entirely precious, nor your engagements more pressing. 'TIS YOU WHO HAVE DECLINED. To you the closet is as cold as the chapel, and private devotion no less a “weariness” than the second Sabbath service or the week-day prayer-meeting. Turn your attention to that white-robed throng in heaven; they rest not, nor weary ; “They serve Him day and night in His temple ; and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.”
IV. WEARIED-REST NOT. It supplies a test; Why this weariness here, and yet in heaven they never weary? One answer will suffice. Because of life and love. Life never weakening. Love never decaying. They live near to the fountain of life, they keep close to the centre of Love. We wander to the distant stream, and keep nearer to the circumference than the centre. What daily need of the prayer, “Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe.” “Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings.” How is it, brother? Apply the test. Art thou often wearied in body in the Lord's service ? rest awhile, and then, refreshed by rest, go labour on, the service is sweet, joyous will be the blest reward, and that reward is not far distant. Or, is it the mind that is wearied, so that thou art dispirited, cast down ? Courage, brother, courage ! Difficulties will fall before thee; at “ the foot of the hill Difficulty " there is a stream; drink, and then gird up thy loins for the ascent; “Hope thou in God, for thou shalt yet praise Him, who is the health of thy countenance, and thy God.”
Or, has thy soul grown weary ? hast thou declined in spiritual things, forsaken thy first love, so that His blest service is rather a yoke than a pleasure, more of E burden than a privilege ? Oh! haste thee back to the cross, fix thy gaze on hy suffering, dying Lord. Tarry at that cross until thy heart softens, and thy ears flow, until the first love is again enkindled, and with the renewed evidence f pardoning love, all thy joy and peace return, and with them all thy delight 2 the Master's service.
And then the peaceful progression of a holy life shall end in a calm and tranail dying scene, to be perfected in the heaven above, where thou shalt join with nose (thyself one of them) who rest not day and night, saying, “ Holy, Holy, oly, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.” King's Lynn.
THOUGHTS ON A BEAN FIELD.
BY THE REV. JOHN COX, IPSWICH.
WHILE passing, one bright summer even- | works of God are full of beautiful analogies, ing, through a fine field of beans in full and are ever ready to teach us important : blossom, the words of Isaac came to my lessons. But nature must be wooed for her mind, “The smell of a field which the Lord highest instruction, and that in a devohath blessed." There are few scents so tional spirit. She will reveal nothing to delicious as that which comes from a bean the heedless eye or the godless heart. field when the plant is in full flower. This But we will not tarry longer with Isaac, is especially the case when a day of sultry pleasant and profitable as his company is, heat has been followed by a refreshing and desirable as it is that we should iml. shower. I have been almost ready to think tate him in bis love of nature and his devothat it must have been to some such field tional habits. It may be that there were as this that the aged and dim-sighted Isaac no bean-fields in his day. Mankind had not referred, when he used the above beautiful then as now to raise so much food for borses words, as he was about to bestow his bless by expensive tillage and hard toil. Then ing on Jacob, who so craftily dealt with camels were mostly used, and they found him. When young, and in riper years, he plenty of pasturage, for in those primitive had often gone to the fields "to meditate times the earth was but thinly populated. at even-tide;" there, amongst the harmonies And, by the way, does not a field of beans and sublimities of nature, he had walked suggest a rather curious and somewus. gazing on its beauties, listening to its melo humbling consideration? How much of dies, and inhaling its odours. While thus the ground is now cultivated for the super enjoying the lovely scenes around him, he port of horses ! Thus man has to work rose from the creation to the Creator; and for the beasts, in order that they may held communion with Jehovah the God of work for him. The sweat of man's on his father, and his own God. In the still goes not only for his own bread (Gen. evening hour, amidst some of Canaan's 17 to 20), but even for the food of loveliest hills and valleys, he thought of his lower creation. How different our siduda own wondrous history, of the awful hour tion and circumstances from those of 4 he had passed through on Moriah's height, in Paradise! And it may be tha when he was bound, and laid on the altar, is coming when the earth shall y and on all the glorious wonders his father
increase for man and beast, without had often told him of.
much toil, and when society will be These pleasant and profitable hours were more simple than it is now. Howeve remembered now he was an old and almost may be, of this we are quite sure, sightless man; and the associations of the there will be no horses wanted green and fragrant fields hovered round “ when men shall learn war no more him when he could no more walk out and But here is a large field intended t enjoy them. It is well if we retain in ma
sonrious to sup
nish food for horses. It is curious ture years, and even in old age, a relish for pose where the crop will travel to the simple pleasures that the fields, the has been threshed out, and sent to? floods, and the woods, yielded us when we Perhaps to furnish food for some were young, and when our spirits were creatures who will be forced on som more buoyant. Some are glad to get away
tant plain to rush into the battle,, from the stiff and artificial forms of society,
many of whom will, with their ride! and live among the simple and the natural. to bite the dust. Éow wonderful But how desirable is it that, while we walk of God's provision for man and be among nature's beauties, we, like Isaac, should think on their great Author, and rise
how sad to reflect on man's perverss
abuse of God's goodness! What a not merely " from nature up to nature's God,” but by nature up to the God of , and the turmoil of the battle-li
between the tranquillity of this! salvation, and rest in him as our Father in , we have referred! Long may! Dhrist Jesus, our portion for ever! The ! our dear native land be preservo
horses wanted for war,
will travel to after it
* some noble
W wonderful to think
2 and beast, and
What a contrast
Ulity of this lovely spot, de battle-field to which
ug may the fields of
e preserved in peace?
Never may these tranquil hills and vales stand; and what provision has God made be startled by the neigh of the war-horse, for this erectness. This is necessary for the or the confused noise of the battle!
well-doing of the plant, and the perfecting But this beautiful field (and I have of the seed! Thus it is with God's people. never seen a finer than that on which I am They are often told to stand ; and in order meditating) must teach us other lessons. to do this they must, like the bean-stalk, Is it not an emblem of what those who are take a good hold. Uprightness and growcalled “God's husbandry'' (1 Cor. iii. 9) | ing upward are most desirable, and many ought to be ? Here are seven things which promises are made to this state of mind. attract my attention in these beans: Beauty, How similar are these stalks, and leaves, Fragrance, Fruitfulness, Uprightness, Ši and blossoms; and yet a close examination inilarity, Variety, and Mutual Support. would, perhaps, show that no two are How good it would be if these things were exactly alike. They are all one family, yet all found in, and abounding among, God's each has an individuality. Thus it is with people!
the saints of God. All are alike in general How clear the green leaves, and how features ; all depend on the same Saviour, lovely the pink blossoms of the bean! and partake of the same life; yet how Religion should be beautiful : it is so various in character, history, service, and in the Word of God; it shall be so in feelings ! To use another figureheaven; it should be so now. For what
“Distinct, as the billows, is religion but God's word transplanted
But one as the sea.” into the heart, and an earnest of heaven here below? There should be a consistent
And surely these various and almost inprofession answering to the leaves; and the
numerable stems, each distinct from the graces of the Spirit should be like the
other, yield “mutual support." If there flowers.
were only a hundred bean-stalks growing The smell of the bean blossom we have
in the field, instead of many tens of already noticed ; it is proverbial, and is
thousands, a rough wind would soon blow sure to accompany it, being part of itself.
the few stragglers down ; but the many So from the Christian there should be the
shelter and support each one. Thus should sweet savour of a loving gentle character ;
it be with Christians. When united, and of a holy influence pervading all around
co-operating, they are more beautiful, nim. “A good name is better than precious
fragrant, and strong, than when alone. sintment. The name of Christ is full of
Their graces, songs, and services should weetness, like incense poured forth ; so
mingle like the odour of these beans; the jught his people to be in their measure.
beauty of each should help to set off the ' A Christian ought,” says one, "to carry
| rest, and all unite to yield mutual support, himself in the world as an orange-tree sympathy, and protection. Christians are, in rould if it could walk up and down in the
a great measure, dependent on each other, arden, swinging perfume from every little and wholly dependent on the Lord, in whom enser it holds up in the air.”
they are rooted (Coloss. ii. 7), and from If you look at the bottom of the bean
whom their beauty, fruitfulness, fragrance, lossoms, you will find that some are going
uprightness and usefulness are all derived. f; their beauty is already fading. But
But there is one point of disparity to e, there is a small green pod formed, and
which we may just refer. As the bean his gives promise of abundant fruit. The stalk brings its fruit on to perfection, it rmer would not be satisfied with beauty
loses its beauty and fragrance; it also beid fragrance; he desires fruit for his
comes weak and unable to stand upright. bours. So does the great Husbandman ;
If we could look at this now lovely field a id he will not be satisfied without.
few weeks hence, all would be black, just as Herein is my Father glorified, that ye
though it had gone into mourning for its ar much fruit”;-fruit in its season as loss. But there will be the fruit, and that ell as leaves.
is the main point with the farmer. He
does not think so much of colour and scent, “Green as a leaf, and ever fair, Should each professor shine ;
as of profit. As regards the Christian, all While fruits of holiness appear,
these may, and all should, progress toLike clusters on the vine.”
gether. “ Growing in grace, and in the The uprightness of the bean-stalk is knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ,” as orthy of notice. How erect they all he gets nearer the harvest, he will become