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himself by the side of the muck-heap, and began to converse with the man, who, at that instant, had ceased from labour, for the purpose of eating his dinner, which consisted of bread and pork, a piece of this (for he was what his fellow-servants were accustomed to call a good. hearted, liberal fellow) was offered to the stranger, who very readily and thankfully accepted the kind)
er, for he said he had travelled a long way, and was both tired and hungry, But, before he tasted a mouthful, he begged he might be permitted to ask the blessing of God, as he was accustomed to do on every such occasion.
The man whom he addressed looked with wonder and astonishment, first at the traveller, and then at me, and laughed, saying, “ Were I to offer up a prayer every time I partook of a meal's victuals, I should lose more time than I could afford. What think you sir, of all this nonsense, as he called it," of saying grace ?" I paused, and, after remonstrating for some time upon his profane language, I tried to impress upon his mind the utility and duty there was for offering up our thanks to that Divine Being from whom we received our life, and breath, and all things, and to whom we are indebted for that health and strength by which we are rendered capable of performing our daily labour.
My health being reinstated, I quitted this pleasant village before I had an opportunity of seeing whether thiş advice had a due effect upon this poor, though not altogether ignorant man, for he could both read and write tolerably well; and for the
I never saw or heard of him. Being then again in that part of the country, I met the labourer, and, after saying how glad and delighted he was to see me once again, as well as I can remember, he addressed me nearly in the following words:
Pray, sir, do you remember that travelling man to whom I once gave a mouthful of vietuals, and who refused to eat till he had asked a blessing from God for what he was about to partake?” I replied, “Perfectly well.” “Well, sir, would you believe it, shortly after you left our part of the country, to go to sea, I began to think seriously about asking a blessing for what I ate and drank; and particularly the remark you made, and the advice you afterwards gave to me, that even 'if it could do no good, it would do no harm;'
and so I began to think I was in the dark, and he in the light; and now, good sir, I can safely say I never eat a meal's victuals without imploring the Divine blessing upon the food which God provides for me, as well as thanking him for bestowing upon me and my family our daily bread. And I see the infinite wisdom of God in sending the travelling man to awaken me to a sense of my duty towards my good Benefactor, as well as to open my eyes, and afterwards in having enabled me to make known the gospel of his Son; for, perhaps, sir, you are not aware that I sometimes speak to my neighbours, and on a Sunday hear the children in the village read their Bibles, and endeavour to instruct them in the way that leadeth unto eternal life.”
THE SINLESSNESS OF THE HUMAN NATURE OF
CHRIST. AS the dignity of the person, so the purity of the sacrifice of Christ, renders it fragrant to God, and efficacious for us. His freedom from taint, and conjunction with the fulness of the Deity, are linked together in demonstrating the efficacy of it to purge our consciences from dead works : “Who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot,” Heb. ix. 14. He was as free from blemish, as full of an eternal Spirit. The spotlessness of his human nature was necessary to his being a sacrifice; and the union of the Divine nature was necessary to his being a valuable
As the lambs sacrificed according to the law were to be without blemish, so was Christ a “ Lamb without spot, 1 Pet. i. 19. He had no sin naturally imputed, (juridically indeed he had,) no sin personally inherent: he had no sin naturally imputed; he was not of him who introduced sin into the world, and derived it to his posterity. His extraordinary conception by the Holy Ghost was a bar against original sin; whence, by way of emphasis, he is called, " that holy thing,” Luke i. 35. He was infinitely holy as he was God, habitually holy as he was man. Every faculty of the soul, every member of his body, was elevated to his highest degree of holiness. His human nature was holy by the union of the Divine, holy by the effusion of the Spirit, whose office it is to sanctify. Though, by reason of the Divine nature united, it was impossible but that his human nature should be holy, (the person of the Son of God would never have assumed a tainted nature,) yet the holiness of his human nature did flow from the stores of the Spirit, it being not the office of the second, but of the third Person in the Holy Trinity, to sanctify. But the human nature. in conjunction with the Divine, could not but be pure. Had that been tainted while in union with the Divine, making but one person, the taint might have been called the sin of God, as well as the blood of his body be called the blood of God; a thing not to be imagined possible: he was holy in every action. As he was man, he was bound to all sorts of obedience; for, having taken the nature, he was subject to all the duties incumbent on that nature; and he did run through every economy; he observed the law of nature, conformed to the ceremonial part of the Mosaic institutions, submitted to the baptism of John, a middle state of the church, and therein “fulfilled all righteousness,” Matt. iii. 15, the righteousness of the positive laws of God in every state. He was holy in all his offices, harmless as a Priest, faithful as a Prophet; holy in his life, holy in his death; no guile was found in his mouth, no inordinate murmuring in his heart. Had there been any spot, which is impossible, his sacrifice could not have been for our sins, it must have been for his own. If his own debt could have been paid by it, ours could not: his spot had been infinitely greater than ours can be; it had been objectively infinite as ours, and subjectively infinite, which is more than ours. The rights of God had been more invaded, instead of being repaired; the guilt would have been as great in the sinner, as the satisfaction could have been in the sufferer, a subjective infiniteness in the sin, as well as a subjective infiniteness in the sacrifice. But there was not, there could not be, any of this. Satan could not charge him with any, but confessed him holy, Mark i. 24. The all-discerning'eye of God could see nothing contrary to his honour, but justified him as holy, Heb. vii. 26. Impunity had been contrary to the dignity of his person: God could as well be unholy, as the person of Christ unholy. His holiness therefore was infinite, though the holiness of his human nature was not of itself infinite, no more than his sufferings were of themselves, and in regard of the human nature, the subject suffering, infinite; yet the holiness of his human nature derived an infiniteness from his person, as well as his sufferings derived from it an infinite value; so that there was an infinite holiness in this sacrifice offered to an infinitely holy God. It had no stain to be purged by the addition of another bloody offering. It answered the design of God; terminated the rest and delight of God. Such a holiness must needs, then, be highly acceptable to God, who loves and is delighted with righteousness in his creature, much more with that of his only Son, the unstained, and infinitely pure sacrifice for us.
MORNING THE BEST TIME FOR MEDITATION. IN the morning the mind is fittest for holy duties; a christian is most himself then. What weary devotion will there be at night, when a man is quite tired out with the business of the day! he will be fitter to sleep than to meditate. The morning is the queen of the day; then the fancy is quickest, the memory strongest, the spirits freshest, the organs of the body be most disposed, having been recruited by sleep. It is a sure rule, then is the best time to serve God, when we find ourselves most in tune. In the morning the heart is like a viol strung and put in tune, and then it makes the sweetest melody. As the flower of the sun opens in the morning take in the sweet beams of the sun, so open thy soul in the morning to take in the sweet thoughts of God.
The morning thoughts stay longest with us the day after; the wool takes the first dye best, and it is not easily worn out. When the mind receives the impression of good thoughts in the morning, it holds this sacred dye the better; and, like a colour in grain, it will not easily be lost. The heart keeps the relish of morning meditations, as a vessel that receives a tincture and savour of the wine that is first put into it; or as a chest of sweet linen, that keeps the scent a great while after. Perfume thy mind with heavenly thoughts in the morning, and it will not lose its spiritual fragrancy. Wind up thy heart towards heaven in the beginning of the day, and it will go the better all the day after. It is with receiving thoughts into the mind, as as it is with receiving guests into an inn; the first guests that come fill the best rooms in the house; if others come after, worse rooms must serve them: so, when the mind entertains holy meditations for its morning guests, if afterwards earthly thoughts come, they are put into some of the worse rooms, they lodge lowest in the affections; the best rooms are taken up in the morning for Christ. He that loses his heart in the morning in the world, will hardly find it again all the day after.
OUR FATHERS, WHERE ARE THEY? WHAT is become of our fathers, and of the prophets that preached to them? They are all dead and gone! When we think of our ancestors, we should think where they are. Here they were, in the towns and countries where we live, passing and repassing in the same streets, dwelling in the same houses, trading in the same shops and exchanges, worshipping God in the same places. But, where are they? When they died, there was not an end of them; they are in eteruity, in the world of spirits, the unchangeable world, to which we hasten apace. Where are they? Those of them that lived and died in sin, are in torment: and we are warned by Moses and the prophets, Christ and his apostles, to look to it that we come not to that place of torment, Luke xvi. 28, 29. Those of them who lived and died in Christ are in paradise; and if we live and die as they did, we shall be with them shortly, and with them eternally. Where are those that died in their sins ? If they have not minded their own souls, is that a reason why their posterity should ruin theirs also ?
but first let me tell you that I am not one of those who would have a poor man work for nothing. No, no! An honest, industrious, skilful workman ought to receive good wages. Neither am I one of those who think workmen ought to demand what they like for their labour, regardless whether or not their