« FöregåendeFortsätt »
to know his will and to do it. I bow myself before him in earnest and believing prayer for guidance. After much supplication and thoughtfulness, I think I hear a voice which says, “ This is the way, walk ye in it," and I choose the path which to me God's will seems to point out. Whatever be the results of that choice, I ought not to allow myself to be worried by the idea that I made a mistake. If the path I take prove to be a thorny and a flinty one, I have still the right to console myself with the assurance that I am where God meant me
to be. If prayer for Divine guidance give me not this peacefulness and confiidence, of what service is it? In the course of my journey, I may come to
Marah, where the waters are bitter, and life seems a burden too heavy to be * borne. Men may tell me that I have mistaken my way, but I will not add to
my trouble by believing their assertions. If I have the witness of my heart, that I came to Marah simply, sincerely seeking to follow the pillar of cloud, I am warranted in saying, “I have been brought here by Him who leads the i blind in a way which they know not, and who will assuredly bring them to a
city of habitation." Be it never forgotten that this assurance cannot belong to the self-willed. If we would lay up in store for ourselves this consolation against fut ure difficulty and distress, we must now and at all times say, “ Thy will be done.”
With reference to the mysteries of this present state which we cannot solve, - and the tribrilations which we cannot avoid, reason joins with revelation in in
culcating a patient and cheerful submissiveness. We frequently speak about the wisdom of submission, as if we had an alternative. But as Carlyle asks, “Who can do anything else ?” Who is able to resist? Who, if he dislike it never so intensely, can have it otherwise ? The prisoner cannot escape. He may make the effort, but he will only cause the fetters to chafe his flesh more severely. He may submit with a sullenness, and make the darkness denser by the gloominess of his own spirit. It is better far to submit cheerfully. “In front of an admitted mystery," says Dr. Arnold, “I can lie down as contentedly and peacefully as before a revealed truth;” Thus far" cold philosophy" can furnish us with reasons for patience and endurance. The Bible goes much further, and gives us, if not stronger, yet more tender, and soothing, and consoling arguments in favour of submissiveness. How much food for cheerful contentment is supplied by that one question, “Should it be according to thy mind ?" How gently the inquiry
chides us for the presumption of thinking that we know better than He who s.doeth according to His will in the armies of heaven and amongst the inhabitants
of the earth ! How high it lifts us above all distrust and murmuring, by reminding us that infinite wisdom sits at the helm ! Thinking of His immeasurably wider knowledge, and of His far-reaching foresight, we find it easy, as it is right, to say, “Not as I will, but as thou wilt."
With two assurances the word of God would bind up every broken heart, and teach the most troubled to say, “Thy will be done." He who chastens is our Father; and the chastisement is not for his pleasure, but for our profit. Faith sees that the rod is not in the hands of an adversary, but held by Him who, from the compassion of His heart, and the love he bears the smitten ones, will never infict a stroke too heavy or a stroke too many. Faith often fetches help for submissiveness from that strange workshop where, by the light of revelation, she sees trials and troubles, and crosses and calamities, toiling together as God's own workmen weaving robes of brightness, constructing crowns of gold, and working out for each afflicted one a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. The beneficial issues of our own sorrows we may not be able to see; but history shows us how, in past times, He made all things work together for good. If, in this matter, our faith be feeble, it can lean for support on the experience of departed saints, whose lives give ample proof that whether God walk in darkness or work with storms, He still doeth all things well !
THE HOUSE OF GOD-THE CHURCH OF GOD.
BY THE REV. G. W. HUMPHREYS, B.A.
6The house of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”.
1 Tim. iii, 15.
THE fourteenth verse of this chapter re- | the place where His “honour dwelleth," minds us of the difficulties experienced in but the very holy of holies, where God's the discharge of the pastoral office, and presence is not symbolised, but really especially are we reminded of the difficul found. ties which were met with in connection 3. God is actively present in the Church. with a church such as that in Ephesus, " The Church of the living God." The some of the members of which had recently apostle might have intended to impress on been converted from heathenism and the mind of Timothy the contrast between atheism (Ephes. ii. 12).
the false deity of the inhabitants of Ephesus And the fourteenth verse gives us to see and the Supreme Being. But I rather a noble trait in the Apostle Paul's charac think that Paul purposed to impress on ter; his deep sympathy with and tender Timothy's mind, that, however great the care for Timothy, a young and inexperi difficulties and dangers he might meet enced minister, placed in a trying position. with, God was present with him, actively
The text furnishes us with two represen engaged in promoting the welfare of his tations of the Church.
Church. 1.-The relation of the Church to God. In our prayers, and in our efforts, on ** The house of God.”
behalf of the Church, we should always II.-The relation of the Church to the remember that it is the “House of God, truth. « The pillar and ground of the the Church of the living God.” It is the truth,"
sphere in which God works for the regene1.--The relation of the Church to God. ration and restoration of man.
1. It is implied, if not directly stated, 4. The Church is the place where God that God is the founder of the Church, most fully and attractively reveals himself. It is not called the Church of men, because A man's character is best known in his it has not been founded by them. But it house. Abroad, men oftentimes assume • is designated the “house of God-the what does not really belong to them. In Church of the living God," because God was their homes there is nothing assumed. The its founder, Every man's house is founded true character is seen. This illustration does by himself. And so God's spiritual house, not hold entirely when applied to God. or castle, had its origin in the Divine will He never puts on an appearance. But and purposes.
just as the children know better than mere It is well for us to remember this, in or lookers on, how wise and tender and full of der that we may be fortified against the love their father is, so the Christian, by sceptic, who mocks at the Church and all means of his connection with the Church, Christian institutions, as having originated has the most perfeot and attractive mani: in the minds of crafty priests. And it is festation given him of God's character. well for us to urge the Divine origin of the 5. The Church is the house of God, and Church on those religious men who mis as such is pre-eminently adapted as a place takenly suppose that spiritual life can be in which needed blessing may be commu. nourished and developed better apart from nicated to God's children. The children than in connection with the Church of God. of the house only have promises made to 2. The Church is the abode of God. It!
ode of God. It | them, and have the first claim upon be is the house of God. A man's house is not
n's house is not | love and care of the master of the bouse. a place occasionally visited by him, but is! The house or home is the place his constant dwelling. It is at home that
protection, fostering care, and education we expect to meet with the master of the
are best imparted. If a child loses its house.
home, it suffers an irreparable loss. It The Church is the house of God : in it !
cannot be cared for in any other place is to we may expect to find God. It is not only I could have been cared for in the
The Church, as God's house and the the life of the aggregate body of believers. Christian's home on earth, is especially Thus the Church, by gathering up into fitted to be the place in which God will itself and exemplifying all the principles of protect, nourish, and educate his children the Gospel, is the pillar and ground of the for the difficulties and trials which await truth in the highest conceivable sense. them in this life, and for the rest and hap 3. The Church is the pillar and ground piness which will be their lot hereafter. It of the truth, as it is the conservator of the is in the home that affections are drawn truth. Or, in other words, the Church has out, that gympathy is cherished, that bene. been commissioned by its Great Head to volence and self-denial are first practised, watch over the truth and preserve it from that the whole character has its foundations being corrupted. Christians, as taught of laid. And so the Church is the sphere in Christ, are “ earnestly to contend for the which we receive training directly spiritual, faith which was once delivered to the and preparatory for the present and fu: saints." In this exhortation there is set ture.
before the Church that which has been and II.-The relation of the Church to the ever will be a great part of its work. And truth. «The pillar and ground of the yet most strange, in the midst of the truth.” That which the Church has to Church, which is God's appointed guardian maintain and promote in the world is of the purity of the truth, have originated truth. The Church is not concerned about some of the errors which have proved most the maintenance and extension of all truth. subversive of the holy influences of that It is the pillar and ground of the truth truth. But the defection, great as it has the truth as it is in Jesus.
been at times, has never become universal. 1. The Church is the pillar and ground, God has always had faithful witnesses, and as it is the depository, of the truth. Unto the testimony of such he has ever blessed. the Jews of old were coinmitted the Many a time has some uncorrupted servant oracles of God. In having the law con of God said, “I have been very jealous for signed to their care, they typified the the Lord God of Hosts, for the children of Church. Unto it God has given the word. | Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown It was for the enlightenment of the mem- down thy altars, and slain thy prophets bers of the Church that every portion of' with the sword ; and I, even I, only am the New Testament was first written, and ; left”; and as often God has answered, it was only through the Church that the “Yet I have left me seven thousand in world has become acquainted with the Israel, all the knees which have not oracles of God.
bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which 5 2. The Church is the “pillar and ground hath not kissed him.” In the eloquent
of the truth," as its members embody the language of one who has wandered himself truth in their lives. Christ embodied in far from the right way, “In truth, do what his life the truths which he taught to men. we will, Satan cannot quench or darken the That life illustrated and enforced upon light of the Church. He may encrust it men's minds truths which without that life with his own evil creations, but even they never could have understood. And opaque bodies transmit rays, and truth this is one purpose which God accom- shines with its own heavenly lustre, though plishes through the existence of the Church under a bushel.” The Holy Spirit has among men. The associated body of vouchsafed to take up his abode in the Christians places before unconverted men Church, and the Church will ever bear on the truth of the Gospel in all its varied its front the visible signs of its hidden aspects and vast power. Each Christian is privilege. Viewed at a little distance its a light to the world, but the Church is a whole service will be illuminated, though
city set on a hill that cannot be hid. The Į the light really streams from apertures ; Church embodies not only all the principles which can be numberod. The scattered * exemplified in the life of each one of its witnesses thus become, in the language of E members, but other principles which are Scripture, a cloud “like the milky way in
beyond the reach and without the sphere of the heavens.' > separate Christian men are shown forth in
TEARS WIPED AWAY.
BY THE REV. W. ABBOTT.
TEARS arise from various causes, and are diversified in their character. There are tears of joy as well as of sorrow, of pleasure as well as of pain, and sweet as well as bitter. But the tears here intended are those of sorrow; and the beavenly Father will kindly and softly wipe them away. He is “the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort," and therefore notices our tears, pities our griefs, and soothes our sorrows. Earth is often to us a scene of tears, but the Comforter opens us sources of consolation here, and prospects of full and endless joys in heaven.
Tears of contrition. That godly sorrow, the fruit of spiritual and evangelical repentance. Such tears are often exceedingly painful, arising from a deep con. viction of the guilt of sin ; yet there is a sweetness in thus mourning over sin, when mercy melts the heart, and hope revives it. The Spirit convinces of sin, and intense may be the pain, and pungent the grief; and there can be no peace or comfort till he leads us to Jesus, who put away our sin by the sacrifice of himself, as the chosen and spotless Lamb of God, and so obtained for us pardon and salvation. By Him we approach unto the Father in tears of penitence, and soon prove that he is rich in mercy, and that he delights to show it, giving to us a free and full pardon, filling our hearts with joy and gladness. Thus Jesus blood washes away our sins, and the Father's mercy wipes away our tears.
Tears of adversity. Adversity is a word comprising much; all that is grievous to our feelings, painful in our circumstances, and disappointing in our prospects. These are the chastisements of a Father's hand, and under them we shall receive the kindness of a Father's heart. There is a needs be for all our adversities ; of this we are very poor judges, and are often fretful, impatient, and fearful under his wise and kind corrections. God makes no mistakes, and shows no unkindness in sending trials, in continuing them, or in removing them. He does not send them without cause, nor continue them without design, nor remove them without a blessing. Adversities are not joyous, but grievous; but the sanctified fruits of them are peaceful, holy, and blessed. Here affictions abide us, and so sorrows abound to us ; in heaven we shall be exempt from them, and so our joys shall superabound ; while on earth we shall be weepers, but in heaven we shall weep no more ; on earth our tears often flow, but in heaven they shall all be wiped away, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.".
Tears of sympathy. “ Weep with them that weep." Thus “ Jesus wept;" and thus his followers weep. The Christian is often touched with the circumstances and feelings of others, and mingles his tears with their sorrows.
“We share our mutual woes ;
Our mutual burdens bear ;
The sympathizing tear." There is much that is lovely in Christian friendship, and much that is sweet in Christian sympathy. From this much of our comfort is derived in this vale of tears, and by it also our prospect of the better world is often brightened. In heaven these tears of sympathy will cease, but the affection that prompted them will never cease, but will show itself in a different and more delightful way. Tears of commiseration will be exchanged for happy congratulation. Our joje will be pure, perfect, and perpetual. It is now "joy full of glory ; "it will then be full joy in full glory.
Tears of declension. Tears shed by those bought again to the mercy-seat, recovered to their “ first love," and restored to “the joys of salvation.” Such
have been in bitterness of soul, under the arousing, convincing, melting, and reviving power of the Spirit. They have reviewed their days of coldness and indifference ; their neglect of prayer, Bible reading, and meditation ; of Sabbath and other Gospel opportunities; of spiritual intercourse with Christian friends,
and seasons of usefulness to others; their want of heart, life, love, and zeal in por lo the cause of Christ. They sincerely and sorrowingly deplore the past, seeking
1000 renewing grace to relieve their sorrows, and to revive their joys.Wilt thou ribe not revive us again, that we may rejoice in thee?" Frost Tears of bereavement. Many such tears have been shed, are still shedding, robe and will be shed till “death shall be swallowed up in victory." I lately stood in
the chamber of sickness and death, the chamber of tears and of joys, of the tears of the sick and dying, giving place to joys--the joys of a lively hope in Jesus for
heaven—of the tears of the living mingling with the joys of the dying ; those tears 20* and joys of the deceased, I doubt not, have been the means of producing godly hot sorrow in the hearts of some, and will lead to spiritual and holy joys. The sorrows va of bereavement touoh us deeply, and are keenly felt; but the Father's cheering Men Whispers and sweet consolations now relieve our mourning hearts, and gladden ed us with the prospect of meeting our friends in that happy world where tears op # shall be known no more, but where joy shall remain for ever. “ So shall we ever Wo be with the Lord.”
“ After death its joys will be
Lasting as eternity!"
CHRIST AND THE LITTLE ONES.
· TEE Master has come over Jordan,"
Said Hannah the mother one day ;
With a touch of his finger, they say.
Little Rachel, and Samuel, and John,
For the Lord to look upon.”
But he shook his head and smiled :
Would think of a thing so wild ?
Or dying of fever-'twere well;
Like many in Israel ;" —
I feel such a burden of care,
Perhaps I shall leave it there.
My heart will be lighter, I know;
Will follow them as they go.”