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THE BROTHERLY COVENANT.
“They remembered not the brotherly covenant." Amos i. 9.
THE brotherly covenant in this passage refers to the league between Solomon king of Israel, and Hiram king of Tyre, which in the day of Israel's trouble was forgotten and violated. How many forget their friends in adversity, and the obligations they are under to sympathise with them and assist them. The proverb very well says, “Prosperity makes friends, but adversity tries them." Fine weather friends, like tender flowers, fade and die in the winter of trouble and trial. What a mercy to have a friend that loveth at all times, and to know one brother born for adversity, who never forgets the “ brotherly covenant."
But our object is not to think or write about the Tyrians, or the Jews, or the Edomites, or of selfish friends in general. Our thoughts are going out towards the church of Christ, which is a holy brotherhood. Every believer is a brother to every other believer, and Jesus is the elder brother of the whole. Our church compact is a “brotherly covenant,” however it may be expres. sed, or in whatever way we entered into it. In the church of Jesus we profess to be one with Jesus, and one with each other; to form one household, one family, one flock. And we have covenanted to love one another, or to carry out our Lord's new commandment, who said, “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another." Not at certain times, but at all times. Not under certain circumstances, but under all circumstances. Not for certain qualities, or any excellency of disposition, but for Christ's sake. Yes, we agree to love all that Jesus loves, whether rich or poor, sick or bealthy, learned or illiterate. If Jesus loves them, we ought. If Jesus loved them so as to die for them, surely we may so love them as to live with them, walk with them, and work with them. When, therefore, we treat any of the members of the church with neglect, or contempt, or coldness, or indifference, we forget the “ brotherly covenant," and fall in. to the sin of Tyre.
In the “brotherly covenant,” we agree and engage to assist each other in our various duties, trials, and tempations, so far as Providence gives us the opportunity, and grace the ability to do 80. It is true, prudence is to be used; we are not to assist the extravagant, the speculating, or the wasteful, in any way that would encourage them in their faults, or foster their follies. But in sickness, poverty, bereavements, or temptations, we are to show a loving heart, use a tongue regu. lated by “the law of kindness," and open our hand wide to our poor brother, if God has given us the means. If we neglect to visit the sick, the widow, and the fatherless -if we refuse to help the poor and indigent of the Lord's flock,-if we omit to speak kind and loving words to the heart-broken or tempted of the Lord's family, we forget the “ brotherly covenant,” dishonour our profession, and grieve our loving Saviour.
In the “brotherly covenant," we agree to walk together, and act in union in carrying out the precepts of the New Testament, and in carrying on the Lord's cause. As the army of the Lord of hosts, we are to present a united front to the foe; and as the Lord's witnesses, we are all to speak the same thing in witnessing to the fallen world. We should therefore meet with each other, cleave to each other, and walk and work together. When therefore any form parties, detach themselves from the main body, and go forth following their own fancy, or indulging a love of singularity, or spiritual pride, they remember not the “ brotherly covenant,” but they grieve the brotherhood, and sin against Christ.
Let me then, in future, keep the “ brotherly covenant" in view. Never let me forget
that I am in covenant with all the Lord's people, because I am in covenant with Christ; and that I am in an especial covenant with those to whom I have given myself, and with whom I have agreed to walk, to work, and to fight the battles of the Lord. My soul, thou art bound by the command of thy Lord, and also by thy own voluntary engagement, to love thy brothers and sisters in Christ with a pure heart fervently-to assist them both in spirituals and temporals, as ability and opportunity is afforded thee-and to act in union with them for the furtherance of the Lord's cause. God has entered into covenant with us in Jesus, and he says, “My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my mouth :” and the Holy Spirit testifies, “Hewill ever bemindful of his covenant." Seeing then we are exhorted to be perfect, as our Father in heaven is perfect; having entered into covenant with our brothers and sisters, let us ever be mindful of that covenant, and say with our God and Father, “My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my
“I FOUND HIM.”
No healthy Christian can be happy without the presence of Christ. For what the sun is to the day, the moon to the night, or the rain to the soil, that is Jesus to the soul. What a day would be without the sun, or the night without the moon, or the earth with. out moisture, that would the soul of the believer be without Christ. And yet we often lose a sense of the presence of Jesus, and sin away the enjoyment of his love. As the church of old who retired to bed, when she should have been actively employed for him, and then complained, “By night on my bed, I sought him whom my soul loveth, I sought him but I found him not.” Jesus will not indulge idleness, nor sanction sloth. There. fore she had to arise, go about the city, and inquire of the watchmen, nor could she again enjoy his presence until she had pass. ed by them all, and then with a glad heart she exclaimed, “I found him whom my soul loveth.” Song.-ji. 4.
Here is a pleasing fact, the lost Saviour may be found; or the forfeited presence of Jesus may be regained. When convinced of our folly, when humbled under a sense of our