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Think of these properties, beloved children, and remember that you . always enjoy the first, and continually one or more of all the other six ; and so may you in everything be led by God's Spirit to give thanks; and thus living in a continual state of dependence, you will live in continual state of peace.
Ever your affectionate Father.
AND THEY THAT BE WISE SHALL SHINE AS THE BRIGHTNESS OF THE FIRMAMENT.
Daniel xii. 3.
MY DEAR CHILDREN, Though the Scriptures say to us but little of the firmament itself in the
way of illustration, yet in a variety of ways it is alluded to; for if I were to mention and enlarge upon all the passages that introduce the rain and hail and snow, in this way, my letter would swell out to a very long one.
Now suppose you turn to your Bibles, and look at Gen. i. ï.; there you will see the order of Adam's creation to be thus ;-first God formed him from the dust of the earth, and then breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul; and from that time his natural life was sustained, according to God's appointment, by means of his inhaling, as we do, the vital air. But both his spiritual and natural life depended on his obedience to the command to eat not of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Gen. iii. tells us, that listening to the counsel of Eve, who before had been
beguiled by the serpent, Adam ate of the tree, and instantly, dying, he died :—that is, his soul died; his body became mortal or dying ; and body and soul exposed (when the day of judgment should come) to the second death. Gen. v. records, that Adam begat a son in his oun likeness :—not God's, but his own; the likeness of a dead mana man cut off from God: and to this St. Paul alludes when he says,
-“ by man came death:”—but though man was thus cut off from God, yet still, as St. Paul testified to the gentiles at Athens, “In Him we live and move and have our being,"—that is, we depend every moment for our existence on God;—He takes our breath, we die. This, my dear children, brings strikingly to our minds the omnipresence of God, or God being always present, in all places and at all times ; and I know of no figure that so fully illustrates this as the all-penetrating, all-pervading atmosphere; so that, when light itself in vain knocks for admission, (as in a cavern or darkened room,) the air comes in as the rightful occupant and dweller in all things—day and night, place or distance, makes no difference, and there is no possibility of putting it away but by artificial means, as I have shown in my previous letter; and then, wherever its absence is—there is death, reigning and ruling in all its power. There was one scene once acted upon the earth, the first (and oh that it might be the last) that affords us the most solemn and awful consideration on this subject: I allude to the French Revolution of 1793, of which we were reading some time since. There it was that a nation of 20,000,000 of people, priding
themselves on being the most polite nation of the earth, and whose language was spoken in most of the courts of Europe, proclaimed by an edict of its national assembly two awful decrees,-first, that there was no God; and second, that death was an eternal sleep. Like the fool that said in his heart, they said OPENLY, “ Tush, there is no God;" and the Lord left them for a little, and France was as if there was no God. And, oh! who can describe the horrors of that awful period ? Historians, by common consent, have marked that era in the world's great chart of time as the “REIGN OF TERROR.” Scenes too terrible to describe followed each other in rapid succession! The rulers of to-day were the victims of to-morrow! The prince of the power of the air seemed the alone monarch of that unhappy land; and the various forms of government that arose, were but as HIS VASSALS, till at last, drunk with the blood of her own children, (if God had not in mercy interposed!) the whole empire seemed threatened with annihilation. A military despotism succeeded the reign of terror ; and this (bad as it is in itself) was hailed with acclamation by the people. I did not at all, when I commenced this letter, intend to have introduced this subject to your minds, (though I am sure, in the PRESENT DAY ESPECIALLY, every child should know it,) but as it brought so forcibly before me the blessing to man of the omnipresence of God, I could not forbear. Oh, how full of consolation is it to that child who loves God, and who is at peace with him in the precious blood of Christ, to know that God is as much about his every footstep invisible, as He was
VISIBLE about the tents of Israel when marching through the wilderness! We have our cloud by day, our light by night; we have our manna, our bread of life, in this desert wilderness, and water flowing from the rock that follows; we have a robe that never wears, and a foot that never swells; and above all, far above all, a Lamb, even the Lamb of God, which (like the heavenly pattern seen by Moses in the mount, and shown out in the altar of burnt-offering) is as a sweet savour unto God, and bears away the sin of the world. While, then, beloved children, you breathe the air of life so freely and happily, oh, think of Him who is yet nearer still to you: for not only as his creatures “ do we live and move and have our being in Him,” but if adopted into his family, then are we partakers of the divine nature: for the word is full of grace which speaks of the oneness of believers with the Lord Jesus,-—“No man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourisheth it, and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the Church.” (Eph. v. 29.) In the prophet Daniel, chap. xii. 1-3, the figure of the firmament is introduced with great force and beauty; the scene is the resurrection, and the prophet says, “ And those that be wise shall shine as the firmament; and those that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” In the margin it is "those that are teachers;" but in either sense it is very beautiful. But what makes the firmament so bright - so transparent—so dazzling? The Sun has his tabernacle there, and the firmament is bright in his brightness. Oh, never forget His love that purchased that glory! (for it is a glory of redemption) and remem