« PreviousContinue »
gracious way. The gift which I now received was 'a handsome thing done in a handsome way,' which increased its value a hundredfold.
"On communicating the result of my visit, my friend remarked that it confirmed the words of our blessed Saviour, 'Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.' But on my expressing my strong desire now to pay him for my board, he peremptorily declined receiving anything, stating that he had been no loser even in a temporal point of view by my residence with him, as God had fulfilled in his experience his own word, 'There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth.'
"I was still in the happy home which had been so providentially opened to me, when I succeeded in taking my degree, and not long after got an appointment as a house surgeon in a London hospital. This was the beginning of my professional career, which has been a long and busy one; and now, after its close, as often during its course, it has given me much pleasure to relate the support and comfort which I have derived from 'the two promissory notes.'"
"Well, grandpapa," said James Hamilton, " I see now the meaning of your exclamation at 3'our father's grave; and I am sure we are all much indebted to you for the history you have given us of your early days."
"I trust," said the venerable old man, " you will all show that you have profited by what I have told you. I must soon be taken from you, but I leave you a good legacy in 'the two promissory notes of Him whose word never fails.' You will never be eventually losers by following the Lord, and choosing those situations in life which are best for your spiritual interests."
The little party closed the evening's pleasant employment with prayer and praise, singing the following verses :—
"0 God of Bethel, by whose hand
"Our vows, our pray'r-s we now present
THE CHAIN; OB, THE DECEITFULNESS OF SIN.
"The •wicked," saith the Scripture, " worketh a deceitful work," Prov. xi. 18. Men refuse to obey the voice of conscience; they stifle its reproachful cries; conscience speaks not so loud next time; its utterances become less and less clear and distinct. This is the fearful process; and then it is silent altogether; and because it says nothing, the sinner fancies it has nothing to say here or hereafter—now, nor by and by.
Men turn away their eyes from the prospect set before impenitent sinners, and at last persuade themselves there is no such prospect before them. They reason falsely about God's attributes, about his truth, about their own state; and so they are deceived as to the final results of sin. "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. See how this is illustrated in the history of Ahab. His heart is set on the inheritance of Naboth. Eeligion, as well as love for the memory of his ancestors, prevented an Israelite from alienating his inheritance. The king is repulsed and vexed. Jezebel reminds him that he is king of Israel. He allows her to do that which perhaps he would not have done directly himself. The coveted inheritance is obtained at the price of Naboth's blood. The king rises with alacrity to go to take possession. But the sentence of Divine retribution sounds in his ears: "Thus saith the Lord, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth, shall dogs lick thy blood." How little did such a result present itself to the mind of Jezebel when she planned, or to his when he approved, the deed of wickedness. Then his refusal to send for Micaiah, because he knew he would tell him the truth, and even after that, his disguising himself as if the vengeance of God could, not find him out; while in spite of all his attempts to delude his own mind, or to disguise his person, the arrow of the strong archer, "shot at a venture," falls by a destiny, and there falls where it may carry death to a hidden transgressor.
A minister, while preaching on the nature and deceptive influence of sin, made use of the following illustration. "Suppose a man should go to a blacksmith, and say to him, 'Sir, I wish you to make me a very long and' heavy chain. Here are the dimensions; have it done at I such a time, tfnd I will pay you the cash for it.' The
blacksmith is pressed with other and more important work, but for the sake of the money he begins the chain, and after toiling many days, finishes it.
"The man calls. 'Have you made that chain?' "* Yes, sir, here it is.'
"' That is very well done. A good chain; but it is not long enough.'
"' Not long enough? Why, it is just the length you told me to make it.'
"'Oh yes, yes; but I have decided to have it much longer than at first; work on it another week; I will then call and pay you for it.'
"And thus, flattered with praise, and encouraged with the promise of a full reward for his labour, he toils on, adding link to link till the appointed time when his employer calls again, and, as before, praises his work; but still he insists that the chain is too short.
"' But,' says the blacksmith, 'I can do no more. My iron is expended, and so is my strength. I need the pay for what 1 have done, and can do no more till I have it.'
"' Oh, never mind; I think you have the means of adding a few links more; the chain will then answer the purpose for which it is intended, and you shall be fully rewarded for all your labour.'
"With his remaining strength and a few scraps of iron, he adds the last link of which ho is capable. Then says the man to him, 'The chain is a good one: you have toiled long and hard to make it. I see that you can do no more, and now you shall have your reward.' But instead of paying the money he takes the chain, binds the workman hand and foot, and casts him into a furnace of fire.
"Such," said the preacher, "is a course of sin. It promises much, but its reward is death; and each sin is an additional link to that chain which will confine the transgressor in the prison-house of hell. 'Now, therefore, be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong.'"
Providentially, there was in the congregation that day a blacksmith, who had lived a very wicked life. He was much excited, and at the close of the meeting, declared that the whole discourse had been directed to him; and he wished to know who had been telling the preacher all about him. The preacher had never even heard that there was such a man; but, in the course of the week, he had the pleasure of knowing him as a brother in Christ.
"THE BICHES OF HIS GLORY." This phrase occurs four times in the New Testament. It is found only in the writings of the apostle Paul. It is a Hebrew form of expression, equivalent to "his glorious riches." In Eomans ix. 23, the apostle states it was God's plan to " make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory." In | Eph. i. 18, he prays that "the eyes of their understanding being enlightened, they may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints." In Eph. iii. 10, he prays that God "•would grant them, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man." And in Col. i. 27, we read of "the saints, to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the j hope of glory." It is therefore clear that all implied in this phrase shall be made manifest in the saints, shall be known by them, shall strengthen them, and shall secure to them the blessings of a glorious experience.
What then are these "glorious riches?" Who but God can fully answer that question? Sometimes he speaks to us concerning them. By one apostle he tells us of " love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance," Gal. v. 22, 23. By another he tells us of " faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity." 2 Pet. i. 5—7. What a beautiful constellation of virtues is here! They are the graces of the Holy Spirit. He who has these has glorious riches. Nothing shall ever harm him.
In another place God says, "All things are yours, whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours," 1 Cor. iii. 21, 22. Are not these riches of glory? This world and the next, with all the real blessings in both, belong to the people of the Most High. This is very much the way in which Christ personally stated the matter. "Verily I say unto you, there is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting," Luke xix. 29, 30. In like manner, Paul says that godliness has the "promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come," 1 Tim. iv. 8.
We may then sum up these riches of glory thus: Believers have full and free forgiveness of all^heir sins; they are fully accepted in the Beloved; they are clothed in Christ's spotless righteousness; they are adopted into the family of God; their title to heaven through Christ is perfect; they are regenerated; they have increase of grace; their sanctification is secured; they have peace in believing; they are sure of victory over sins, the world, the flesh, the devil, all sorrow, death, hell, and the grave; they have the elements and principles of all virtues, and shall infallibly have them all perfected; they have God for their Father, Christ for their Saviour, the Holy Ghost for their Comforter, hope in God for their anchor, and heaven for their home; they shall have boldness in the day of judgment; they shall be like Christ and with Christ for ever; they shall inherit all things. Is it not good to be a Christian?
"LITTLE JANE" AND LOUISA.
While staying in the Isle of Wight a bright morning tempted me to drive to Brading. The sun was shining brightly, the little streams of water trickled down in various places, watering the ground-ivy, and all the nameless tiny leaves that live in the hedges. It was almost like a sabbath morning, when I stopped at the gate of Brading churchyard. I entered it, and saw a little village girl with a baby in her arms loitering about. I accosted her, saying, "My child, can you tell where is the grave of 'Little Jane?'" She quickly answered, "Oh, yes, ma'am, and, if you please, I will show it to you."
I followed her down the next pathway, and, turning aside, she pointed to a grave, which had a head-stone with this inscription:—
Sacred to the memory of
who died in the 15th year of her age.
"Ye who the power of God delight to trace,