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Christ, and your hand will never want employment: your work will be before you every day, and each hour will bring with it its own demands. You can, perhaps, recollect being struck sometimes when reading the life recorded, and oftener still looking at the real life of some honoured Christian, with a thought like this:-"What a valuable character! what a useful life! what a loss when such an one is gone !” And does it never strike you that the character you thus admire became what it was by the grace of God? Then what hinders that you should not act on the same principle, in the same spirit, for he same ends ? Be assured that the great Lord has committed to you at least one talent, and that he has also placed you where that talent can be used in such a way as shall be most for his glory. Just imagine yourself doing your best for Christ, teaching his truth to those who know it not-winning the sinner to his cross-drying up the tears of one whose heart the sense of sin hath broken-carrying the light of your own hope into the chamber of the dying—wrestling with God in prayer for those you love-uniting with your fellow Christians in observance of all the things which their Lord has commanded, and then proving the sincerity of all these acts of practical devotion by faithfully performing the duties that belong to the station in which God has placed you: imagine yourself doing these things, and then say what you are worth. .
This is no idle question ; you know it is not. It is not an easy question ; who can fully answer it? It is not a fruitless question; it may lead you, by God's blessing, to the best thoughts you ever had.
It is not an untimely question. Who are you whose eye now rests upon the words that are printed on this small paper ? If you are wealthy, it may be well to know that wealth does not make your worth. If you are poor, it will do you good to be assured that you are rich in an immortal soul, and that you may be strong, honoured, happy, in devoting that soul, renewed and thankful, to Him who “ became poor, that through his poverty we might be rich." If you are aged, happily it is not too late to turn this question to some good account. If you are in trouble, it should comfort you to know how precious you are in the eyes of Him who is - able to save” you “ to the uttermost.” If you are young-a blessed day it is for you to know what you are, what you may be, what you may do, and what boundless stores of joy are laid up for you in the heart of Him who alone can tell how much you are worth.
" Jesus answered and said unto her, [the woman of Samaria,] Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again : but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life," John iv. 13, 14.
A TRUE FRIEND.
's says the
FRIENDS, methinks, are like all other wares in these days: of cheap ones there are plenty, but they are good for little when you have them, and the genuine article is very difficult to meet with. If I can lead you to a true friend, good reader, I shall do you real service. But first we must be agreed what we mean by the words, or we shall be looking for different things under the same name. By a true friend, I do not mean a man who always says the thing he thinks will please us best; that is a flatterer : he should be shunned like a traitor. I do not mean what the world calls a merry fellow; for the world does not mean by this a merry-hearted man, who sees the bright side of everything, and praises God in all; but only a man who can laugh much, talk gaily, and be a companion in our pleasures. Such a one will not do: he may waste a precious hour, but he is not a true friend. To come, then, to my true friend. First, he must love me well : no sugared words on the one hand, no long wise warnings on the other, will draw my heart to him, if I do not feel sure he loves me. Secondly, he must show his love in many little acts of kindness; many a kind word dropped when most I
wanted it; many a watchful care to remove difficulties I had not seen myself, out of my way, so that whenever his name is mentioned, it may recall those thousand little acts of love which only the heart of a friend can prompt. Thirdly, he must be near at hand, or the remembrance of his love will only sadden me. Fourthly, he must be wiser than I am; for I shall often want to ask his counsel ; and unless I am sure of his wisdom I cannot trust him. Fifthly, though it be not at all needful for friendship, yet if, with such a loving heart, my friend were rich and powerful, it would be a great relief; I could take my wants to him then without scruple; with his help at hand I should almost feel as if I were powerful and rich myself. Sixthly, if I wish to think of the highest pitch to which love could be raised, I should suppose that my true friend had suffered something for me; that his love had not been cheap love, but had cost him much, which he willingly gave up for me. Reader, would my true friend come up to the wishes of your heart; if so, let us not despair of finding him. Solomon, the wisest of men, says, “ There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother," Prov. xviii. 24. Yes, the Lord Jesus is this Friend: he loves us; all his words burn with love. Are we weary ?-he says, “I will give you rest." Are we thirsty ?--he says, “ Come ye to the waters." Are we troubled ?--he says, “ Neither be ye of doubtful mind.” Do we tremble ?-he says, “ Fear not.” Again, his love shows itself in acts of kindness. Words were not enough for us : we were poor sinners, deserving the punishment of hell: we had good cause to be anxious and to tremble: but he himself took the sin as his own, and bore the punishment. Here was an act of love. Well may he say, “ Fear not." Nor is he wanting in those nameless little acts of love which endear a friend. Every joy we have, he provided it for us; every danger we have escaped, unknown to us, his hand has moved it out of our way. He is never removed from us—the only friend that can never be an absent friend. He is wiser than we; and, what is more, he is willing to give wisdom liberally, and not to upbraid our folly. He is rich and powerful. With other friends we blush to urge our suit too often ; but with him each favour given is only a plea for asking for more. He wishes us in him to feel rich and powerful, that we “ can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth” us. To come to our last point, his love is no cheap love: he has suffered fearfully for us: he gave up his heavenly home for us, that he might dwell, that he might die, in this world of sorrow. Has he not proved himself in every way a true Friend ?
I can imagine the feelings with which some will have read these lines. The description of a true friend would come home. A TRUE FRIEND.
through this rough world; but when I told them of Jesus, there would be a sense of disappointment, a feeling that this was not a real help and comfort. They did not deny that all I had written was true; but, somehow, if the earthly friend had been there they would have felt the comfort of it, and now it seemed but thin air—they were none the better for it. Why, reader, is this difference? It is because you can see the earthly friend ; you taste his benefits, you have proof that he is present. But you cannot see Jesus ; you see no hand stretched out to help; you hear no voice to guide and comfort-not with your bodily eyes and ears: but there is something that can see him; faith can see him-faith can hear him. This is no idle fancy, for many of his children have proved it; they have found in Jesus a Friend, more real, and more true than any earthly friend. Dear reader, I entreat you, do not rise from reading this paper with the dull sense of disappointment, but with the prayer of the apostles, “Lord, increase our faith.” The prayer, if sincere, shall be answered. You, too, shall find Jesus a Friend ; you shall join the happy number of whom it is said, “ Unto you therefore which believe he is precious.”
One there is above all others
Well deserves the name of Friend;
Costly, free, and knows no end;
Could, or would, have shed his blood ?
Reconciled in him to God:
Friend of sinners was his name:
He rejoices in the same:
Teach us, Lord, at length to love;
What a Friend we have above:
PARDON AND RENEWAL.—“ My sins," says one, “ are too numerous, too aggravated, too enormous for pardon.” The Bible, however, speaks of a blood that “cleanseth us from all sin;" of sins which were once “as scarlet,” now “white as snow ;" of
a pardon so extensive and full, that it casts all our sins into the very “depths of the sea.” It admits that sin abounds; it takes the matter up just as we represent it; but it testifies, at the same time, of a grace that “much more" abounds. And then, for a confirmation of its testimony, it shows us a Manasseh pardoned, and an executed criminal entering with Christ into paradise.
“My sins might be pardoned,” says another, “ for what cannot infinite grace forgive? but this filthy heart can never be cleansed. Sin reigns in my inmost soul. O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me ?!” And then comes the despairing conclusion of idolatrous Israel of old,". There is no hope, no; for I have loved strangers, and after them will I go." But what is the answer of Israel's God? “From all your filthiness will I cleanse you." "Sin shall not have dominion over you.” “My grace is sufficient.” He bids us listen to the prayer of one who had sinned grievously—a prayer which was answered-a prayer which he has preserved in his word, that we may take it as our own. “ Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean ; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” He tells us of a Saul “ breathing out threatenings and slaughter against ” his disciples one hour, and the next a trembling suppliant at his feet; of one too vile to live, enabled in the agonies of death to discover in one dying as a malefactor, the King of heaven, displaying a humility and a faith which magnify the sanctifying power of God, even more than the salvation he found exalts his mercy.
" Pardon and grace,” says a third sinner, “I may find, but comfort is not for me; my misery is too deep, my heart too completely broken. Let others talk of peace; I shall go softly all my years in the bitterness of my soul. My only consolation lies in this, that the time is short;' and this is my only earthly hope, that the days of darkness between me and the grave may be but few." This is often the saddest case of all; but this the gospel meets. “ The Lord hath anointed me,” says Christ, “ to comfort all that mourn—he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted.” And how doth be fulfil his office?' Patiently, tenderly, effectually. “As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted.” Look at Peter. Was there not a time when his tears were as bitter as yours, and his grief as pungent, and his heart as despairing ? And yet this man speaketh afterwards, like one who was experiencing it, of a “joy unspeakable and full of glory.” Look at Paul, “ sorrowful, yet always rejoicing ;" the most afflicted man on the face of the earth, and yet the happiest. —Rev. C. BRADLEY.