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fiill spirit of it, it is applicable to the children death”-eternal death_is what is due to us on of God universally, in all their varieties of pro- account of our sins. While we have anything vidential trial. And the varieties, in both kind whatever short of this, we have it in opposition and measure, are without end.
There are to desert-we have it from mercy-we have afflictions in the form of personal diseases; what we bave no title to. O how “light” the afflictions in the diseases and deaths of near very heaviest and most accumulated load of and dear relations--fathers, mothers, husbands, woes that can ever be laid upon us in this world, wives, sons, daughters, kindred in every degree when put in comparison with this ! Let the -friends, companions; afflietions in the losses child of God, when tried to the uttermostand the crosses—the baffled schemes, the frus- when “afflicted with wave upon wave," the trated hopes, the mortifying reverses, the difi. “ billows going over him”-bear this consideraculties, anxieties, and privations, in the affairs tion steadily in mind. Let him but put the of life; afflictions from poverty, with all its question to himself, What, and where should attendant train of evils, personal and domestie, I have been, if I had had my desert ? and then, bodily and mental; afflictions from the treachery when his load is at the very heaviest, he will of false friends, and the malice of real enemies; say, with grateful emphasis-how light ! afflictions from the wickedness of the bad, and Secondly, They are light, compared with uhat from the kind intentions, but unwise and im- ve eren now enjoy. How unspeakably rich and prudent measures, of the good. Enumeration various the favours conferred upon us, even in and description, indeed, would be endless—the the midst of our most deeply felt privations, lot of no one individual being, in this particular, and our most overwhelming trials ! Well the same with the lot of any other. Some have might the apostle, when he enjoins on be dealt out to them what we are accustomed to lievers, “ in everything by prayer and supplicall a hard and heavy lot--such as that of Job cation to make their requests known unto God, in the period of his divinely permitted bereave- interject the phrase, “ with thunks jiving;” for ments and sufferings; and to some there is when is it, when can it ever be, that they have allotted a scene of trial as long-continued as not good reason to blend thanksgiving with that of others is varied and accumulated-ex- their prayers and supplications ? The reason tending even to the close of a protracted life. for this consists not merely in the remnant of
And yet, respecting his own troubles, and temporal mercies that are still to be found in the troubles, without exception, of his fellow- their lot—110, nor chiefly; it consists in far believers, what says the apostle here ?—“Our better and higher blessings, the present blesslight affliction, which is but for a moment." ings of God's salvation-blessings which, in
1. In the first place, they are “light.” I need their convictions and in their experience, they hardly say that the term is used comparatively. know to be incomparably superior to any beBut comparatively with what? It is not of his longing to this world it is possible for them own sufferings comparatively with those of either to enjoy or to lose. In the midst others that he speaks, nor of the sufferings of of his severest “aflliction” even when all any one individual or class of them compared earthly good seems to be failing him—when with those of the rest, nor of their sufferings the apt similitude for his condition is that of compared with those of the men of the world. “ a dry and thirsty land, where there is no Yet comparison is meant, and must be meant. water”--the believer can adopt the language of What, then, may be its implied points? There those who have passed through the sultry and are, I think, four, which we may naturally pre- barren wastes before him, and sing : “ Because sume to have been in the apostle's mind. thy loving-kindness is better than life, my lips
First, They are light, compared with what we will praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while deserde. This is a point of comparison which I live; I will lift up my hands in thy name. we do well never to let slip from our remem- My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and brance. The habitual presence of it to our fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with minds will make us at once thankful for the joyful lips, when I remember thee upon my very least of God's mercies, and submissive bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches." under the very heaviest of God's inflictions. “ Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord What is our desert? What should our doom Jesus Christ, who liath blessed us with all spiribe, were that desert to be the standard of our tual blessings in heavenly places in Christ !" treatment? The apostle, in one short sentence, while in the heartfelt enjoyment of this love tells us : “ The wages of sin is death.” The “second of his covenant God, and of all covenant proTHE BELIEVER’S AFFLICTIONS, &c.
mises and blessings, although far from insen- distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, sible to the pressure of his trials, he will still, then am I strong.”—2 Cor. xii. 8–10. Along with with a plaintive cheerfulness, be able to sing imparted strength I have associated the spirit - how light!
with which the Christian is enabled to meet Thirdly, They are light, compared with what and to endure “afflictions"_which sustains ia hope to anticipate. Lighter still_0 how tin- him under them, and causes them to feel speakably lighter, when thus compared! What “ light.” This I may illustrate from the words our hopes anticipate is the “ far more exceed of the Saviour himself: “Come unto me, all ye ing and eternal weight of glory.” But this that labour and are heavy laden, and I will forms our second topic, of which the illustra- give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and tion must be reserved. We shall then see how learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: all the afflictions of the present life, when laid and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my in the balance against this "weight of glory,” | yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”—Matt. “fly up, and kick the beam.” Meanwhile, Ixi. 28-30.0! it is when this “rest to the can only observe, that the Apostle Peter makes soul” has been through grace found and expethis very use of the Christian's prospects-Irienced, that the truth of the concluding declamean, for lightening the burden of his present ration is happily felt. By the possession of this sorrows :-“ Blessed be the God and Father of inward “rest,” there is a life, a buoyancy, an our Lord Jesus Christ, who, according to his energy imparted to the spirit, such as, to the abundant mercy, hath begotten us again into a subject of it, renders both the “yoke” of lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ obedience “easy,” and the “burden” of trial from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, “light.” All are aware how widely different and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, re- are our feelings, whether in discharging diffiserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the cult and self-denying duties, or in bearing up power of God through faith unto salvation, ready under the pressure of heavy trials, when, on to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye the one hand, the mind is at ease and happy, greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need and when, on the other, it is oppressed and disbe, ye are in heaviness through manifold tempta- turbed. In the latter case, nothing is either tions : that the trial of your faith, being much done effectually and to purpose, or endured more precious than of gold that perisheth, with manly patience and cheerfulness.
All though it be tried with fire, might be found is languor and listlessness. Every difficulty unto praise and honour and glory at the appear- looks insurmountable; every affliction incurable. ing of Jesus Christ.”_1 Pet. i. 3-6. I only Whereas in the former there is a vivacity, a add,
nerve, a vigour, infused into everything. Trials Fourthly, They are “light," when compared seem comparatively as nothing. There is an with the spirit and strength pledged in divine promise elasticity of mind that overcomes their pressure; to enable us to bear them. Light and heavy, you an upward spring, more than equivalent to the are well aware, are relative terms — relative downward gravitation. There is a light within to degrees of strength. What to a powerful that penetrates and cheers the gloom without. man is like a feather for lightness, may by a Such appears to be the import of the words of feeble man be felt an oppressive load. Now, Nehemiah to the restored captives of Israel: what is the strength of the believer? Not his “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” Thus, own. Were that the case- -had he no power to when Paul experienced the inward delight that trust to than what lay in himself-well might sprung from a sense of God's pardoning mercy he dread even the lightest burden. But divine and paternal love, he could smile amid suffered strength—the strength of God—is his. He is and impending calamities, and of even his “strong in the Lord and in the power of his heaviest burdens say-0 how light ! might.” Under every trial, his gracious Lord But there is a second epithet here applied to says to him : “My grace is sufficient for thee; the afflictions of God's people—they are “but for my strength is made perfect in weakness." for a moment." And here too, I need not say There is no case of trouble imaginable to which the epithet is comparative. Long and short, this assurance does not extend; and what can like light and heavy, are relative terms. The be too heavy to be borne in the strength of the afflictions of one man may, in direct compariLord ? It is this that enables the believer to son, be longer than those of another; even, say: "Wherefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in proportion to the duration of their respecin reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in tive lives, very much longer. But the point
of comparison in the passage before us is variety; and thris, with little knowledge, and no exmanifestly that of temporal to eternal.
The perience, of true religion, they may, in secular affairs, afflictions may be considered as extending
be entertaining, and even instructive.
It is altogether different with the illiterate man, through the entire length of the present life; whom poverty forces into a struggle for bare subsisand still, even such a continued course of suf-tence. His thoughts occupied with the plodding fering may be regarded as what the apostle labour of his every day afe; his habits take their pronounces momentary. It is so, in comparison tinge from his circumstances; and his range of ideas with a coming eternity-with the perpetuity of are limited as they are depressed. Let this indivieverything in the state by which the present is dual become a subject of divine grace, and he is visito be succeeded. There is no comparison, in- and his former self is so evident, that it cannot be
new creature;" the difference between him deed, capable of being instituted between the mistaken, while it is not to be accounted for in any longest conceivable period of time and eternity. way but one. His intellect, which was so obtuse that The longest is no more a portion of eternity it embraced nothing but the gross objects of sense, than the shortest. Eternity admits not of com- expands under the quickening influences of heavenly parison with either. If the very longest were light; and even his manners partake of the change. any portion of it, then a certain number of If he was rude before, he is now softened down; and
his conduct towards those who, in the wise distribusuch portions must make up the whole-must
tion of Providence, have been placed above him in exhaust eternity. A moment, then, is to eter- worldly staftion, is modelled upon the Gospel precept: nity the same as a thousand years. The longest “Honour unto whom honour is due.” But the Gospel life ever lived by man was to eternity less than has also taught him that the children of God are all the twinkling of an eye compared to that one in Christ Jesus; and that although he is so vile longest life. Though that life of nine hundred that he can never on this earth estimate the depth and sixty-nine years had been filled with all
of that pit whence he has been delivered, yet he is the variety of suffering from its first breath to precious for whom Christ died; and his being clothed
in the meanest garments here does not make him its last, the afflictions might still have been
less an heir of glory; so that the grace of true humicalled, as here, “ light afflictions, which are but lity is thus blended with that self-respect which for a moment.” The contemplation of eternity elevates him in the scale of society. He pities the makes time shrink into nothing.
proud man who has his portion in this life, and is I would fain have gone forward, in this paper, without God in the world,” while he knows not his to the prospects of the believer, which are here own perilous condition; but he obeys those who have
the rule over him in all things lawful, whosoever they set in such striking contrast with his afflictions. I fear, however, I have already written about be-he prays for their salvation, and rejoices in their
conversion. enough for the space allotted me; and must An intimate acquaintance with the Word of God (reluctantly, I confess, to myself, but it may furnishes matter for exalted thought, and gives be, satisfactorily to the reader) have done for dignity to the mode of expressing it. An instance the present.
occurs to me which may illustrate this. During the prevalence of cholera, some years ago, a very poor
woman had left her humble hut in the hills to seek, THE INFLUENCE OF TRUE CHRISTIANITY
in a neighbouring town, some necessaries for the ON THE INTELLECT.
comfort of an aged mother. Many were afraid to Among the many unanswerable evidences that attest venture into a place where so dreadful a disease was the divine origin and nature of the Christian faith, fatally raging; and before entering it she was warned there is one that requires neither the research of the of its sad condition. She determined, however, in learned nor the extensive reading of the laborious calm and quiet confidence, to perform her errand of student.
filial love and duty; and her observation to her kind No human argument seems so calculated to bring informant was: “Oh, if they would have the blood this conviction home to the mind as the interesting of sprinkling on their door-posts, the destroying angel class of evidence alluded to; and it may be acquired might pass them by.” by the exercise of candid observation in intercourse One who has studied the Bible with a critical and with our fellow-creatures. It is to be sought for scientific eye can talk of its unrivalled philosophychiefly among the unlettered poor, whose worldly its most ancient and wonderful history-its minute advantages have been too scanty to cause the de- chronology-its sublime poetry, and yet never have velopment of any great mental resources.
discovered the “ hidden manna contained in its It will be found that divine teaching not only puri- sacred pages. But one who has searched the Scripfies the heart and sanctifies the life, but improves tures, and continues to search them because they and exalts the intellect. Education and the influence reveal the will of God to man, and testify of Christ of society give a tone to conversation; and those who his Saviour—as the prophets wrote of him—his birth, have had such opportunities of improvement can his life, his death, his resurrection; and, taught of the discourse on topics suitable to the circle in which Spirit, has found the pearl of great price-although they move; reading, and general occurrences, supply he brought to the sacred task no literary aids, can
POETRY: «THOUGHTS OF HEAVEN.
speak of their contents with a power and an unction who came in by the south gate were those who were that mere head learning can never confer. He can drawn with the cords of love." speak a word in season to the saint and to the sin- Poor H was, for a time, laid aside by illness, ner. His homely language becomes embellished; he and during part of the period he was exercised with draws his stores from the inexhaustible fountain, and considerable anxiety and depression of mind; but we gladly turn away from the mere lettered exposi- these mists were cleared away by the bright light he tion of the Bible to listen to him who speaks of loved and sought. It was interesting to hear him sternal things, because he believes; while his soul relate how he was delivered out of that trial, and rekindles with the glowing remembrance of what he fer with delight to the portion of Scripture that was has felt, and seen, and handled of the Word of life. made the means of comforting him. “I was think
As an example of the truth of these observations, ing," he said, “of the sad strait the people of JeruI submit a sketch of an individual who was a re- salem were in when threatened by an enemy they markable instance of this divine teaching. He was had no power to resist. They were much afraid; they a native of the west of England, and had been, in his had no help in man; and the multitude that came youth, by trade a rope-maker, but had enjoyed very against them was great. But they and their king few educational advantages. Before I became ac- cried unto the Lord; he hearkened, and delivered quainted with him he was a feeble old man, very them. They had no need to fight only to stand still poor, and unable to work for his bread; but his Chris- and see the salvation of the Lord. They went out and tian character had promoted him to the office of looked, and behold, where were the enemies they deacon in a Dissenting chapel, where he was in- dreaded?-they were all dead men! What, then, trusted with the collection of seat-rents, which might had Judah to do ?—just to gather up the spoil,"conafford him a small livelibood. The old deacon had tinued the old man, with a delighted countenance; nothing in his outward appearance to recommend “ so I took courage. I saw that the work I could not him; he was a very ordinary-looking person, with do for myself was done for me, and I-why, I was tender eyes, and afflicted with a complaint which, privileged to reap the fruit of it.” causing a frequent involuntary convulsive sort of My humble acquaintance, H- now rejoices in motion in the head, sometimes impeded his speech. the presence of that Saviour whom, having not seen, He was extremely illiterate, and could not, with he loved. Memory, aided by a few incidental noease, converse on almost any subject, except it was tices, has enabled me to recall a few of his sayings. in some way connected with the “one thing need- Years have gone by since I beheld it, but I can still ful;" but when he entered upon that ideas flowed picture to myself the happy expression which the spontaneously, and he soon became an object of in- calling to remembrance of God's loving-kindness proterest to any person who could appreciate the breath- duced on a face much more indicative of suffering ings of a devout spirit. The cold and cloudy world than pleasure; for this world brought him far more of had no power to call forth his capabilities; but the the former than of the latter. He was a consistent
Sun of Righteousness" had arisen on his soul, and and devoted servant of his divine Master; and it may great was the transformation produced by his beams. be said that his works do follow him in the form of The tongue of the stammerer was made to speak that testimony his life bore to the immutable truths plainly, and his observations were apt and edifying. of the Bible. I cannot help thinking that such as
A gentleman, who attended the same place of wor- he supply an internal evidence of the power of divine ship with the deacon, was in the habit, immediately grace upon the human mind, which may be externally after the service, of putting to him the common
seen by those who will but lend themselves to the question of idlers: “What news is there?" Week inquiry, and honestly apply the result of their exafter week the same query saluted his ears, under the perience. same circumstances; the old man was modest, and for a time he endured. At length, however, he took
THOUGHTS OF HEAVEN. courage to reply, and on being once more asked, " What's the news!” said: “ Why, the best news
No sickness therei erer I heard was, that Jesus Christ came into the No weary wasting of the frame away;
world to save sinners." From that day the question No fearful shrinking from the midnight airwas not repeated. Deacon H was an occasional No dread of summer's bright and fervid ray! visitor of ours; and one who now, like the subject of this brief notice, rests in the silent grave, then de
No hidden grieflighted in showing him kindness, and would some
No wild and cheerless vision of despair; times, by a remark, draw forth from the old Christian
No vain petition for a swift reliefa pointed and striking response. One very cold day
No tearful eyes, no broken hearts are there. he called, the wind was blowing from the north, and
Care has no home it was said to him, rather playfully, in allusion to
Within the realm of ceaseless
song; some of us, " You know nothing good ever came from
Its billows break away and melt in foam, the north.” “We read in Ezekiel,” said the deacon,
Far from the mansions of the spirit throng! Tery composedly, “ that there was a north gate upon the temple as well as a south, and that the children
The storm's black wing of God entered by both; those at the north entrance Is never spread athwart celestial skies ! | were driven to take refuge in the imputed righteous- Its wailings blend not with the voice of spring,
less of Christ, by the terrors of the law, but those As some too tender floweret fades and dies !
No night distils
with such and such persons—they led me to Its chilling dews upon the tender frame;
Sabbath-breaking first, then to drunkenness, No moon is needed there! The light which fills and then to poaching, and even to house-breakThat land of glory from its Maker came !
ing. I quite lost all sense of religion; and if I
had any conscience at all, it only discovered No parted friends
itself by the dread that was produced on my O'er mournful recollections have to weep!
soul when I met you, Sir. Yes," he said, No bed of death enduring love attends,
“often and often, when I have seen you coming, li To watch the coming of a pulseless sleep!
I have felt as though God was drawing near, No blasted flower
and have crossed the road, or run up any byOr withered bud celestial gardens know!
lane or street, to avoid coming near you-I was No scorching blast or fierce descending shower so terrified if you looked me in the face. Scatters destruction like a ruthless foe!
Oh !” he said, “I have committed every sin No battle word
that it was in my power to commit; and there Startles the sacred host with fear and dread!
is scarcely a house in the place, or near it,
which we have not one time or other planned The song of peace Creation's morning heard
to rob-even yours, Sir," he said. “ Thus I Is sung wherever angel minstrels tread !
went on, until I got the cold, which now will Let us depart,
soon end in death.” He said: “Wben I found If home like this await the weary soul!
my disease was dangerous, my fears began. I Look up, thou stricken onc! Thy wounded heart looked back to my early days, and I said to Shall bleed no more at Sorrow's stern control. myself, I used to know something then-what With Faith our guide,
was it?" but he said, “ it was all gone--I canWhite-robed and innocent, to lead the way,
not get any distinct idea. I know that I heard Why fear to plunge in Jordan's rolling tide,
things then that might be useful now, but I And find the ocean of eternal day?
cannot recall a thought to mind any more than
if I had never heard the Gospel or seen a Bible. ANON.
All I know is, I am dying, and I fear I shall
soon be damned-and I richly deserve it.” Ile A BRAND PLUCKED FROM TIIE BURNING. I said : “ You can be of no service to me-my
case is beyond remedy.” All this, and much " To him that hath shall be given, but from him that hath
more to the same effect, he said with a certain not, shall be taken away even that which he hath."
horrible indifference, which deeply affected Mr This declaration of the Lord Jesus is very C- -'s mind. strikingly illustrated in the following incident, Mr C- inquired : “ You do not wish to which was communicated to the writer, at the be damned, do you ?” The question struck him: time of its occurrence, by the late Rev.J.C- “No Sir, no; but I shall be, and very soon.” Mr
About the year 1816, he was called on by C— endeavoured to show him that he could one of his hearers, who requested him to visit perceive far deeper aggravations in his sin than a man named T-, who was very dangerously the sinner himself could, because his mind was ill, and in a most horrible state of mind. Mr so darkened by long habits of iniquity that he ! C, who never for a moment delayed in such could not see God, and that God saw infinitely cases, immediately went to the bed-side of the more malignity in his sin than the wisest or dying man. He found an emaciated body, and holiest man or angel could, and yet he said: a countenance which indicated a mind border. “ Your sin is pardonable, if you are enabled to ing on derangement, through the influence of repent and to believe in the Lord Jesus.” dreadful apprehensions and deep despair. At The poor man appeared by this visit to be first the poor dying creature appeared uneasy brought to have at least a ray of hope, and and disturbed by his presence; Mr Show- begged Mr C- to come again. Mr Cever, knew as well as any man of God how to briefly stated to him some leading truths which, meet a case of extremity, and, by the kindness doubtless, he had once known and had now of his inquiries, soon drew from him the state forgotten, and left him with a charge to think of his mind. I cannot now pretend to give a them over, and to cry to God for mercy, full detail of the conversation, and therefore The next time he saw him, he found a very will not attempt to insert it; but the following visible alteration in his countenance; and on circumstances are too deeply engraven on my inquiring what sort of a night he had passed, mind ever to be erased while memory lasts. “ Oh,” said he, “I could not sleep-I did not
! T-told Mr C- that nearly thirty years wish it-my time is short. The things you before—soon after Mr C- became the settled told me kept me awake; and while I was thinkminister at Maidenhead-he used regularly to ing on them, light seemed to come into my attend his ministry. “Ah!” he said," then I was mind, and all the impressions I had thirty years moral and happy; I used to enjoy the prayer ago were revived. Yes ! this is what I knew meetings, and had obtained a considerable ac- then. O! how have I lain on this bed day quaintance with the truths of the Bible. This, ! after day, and tried in vain to recall these things however, did not last long; I became acquainted -I seemed sometimes almost to catch some