Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

and, as we know the teachings and visitations of the Lord, by recounting them He is honoured. And it is “ that the Lord God might dwell among them ;" and we may well wonder at this great matter. Solomon says, and it still holds good, “But will God in very deed dwell with men upon the earth ? Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee; how much less this house that I have built !” We may well be struck with wonder and astonishment.

But it is “ that the Lord God might dwell among them ”-not to take up a place occasionally, but, as it is written, “ Here will I dwell;" that is, a daily dwelling-place. What a solemn, sacred word, “ This is My rest for ever; here will I dwell, for I have desired it”! This is accomplishing His desire. When Christ sent His disciples into the city, they were to inquire for the good man of the house, and say, “ The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guest-chamber, where I shall eat the Passover with My disciples ?” Have you a guest-chamber for the blessed Lord? Says He, “Here will I dwell.” Say you, “Can I provide a guestchamber for Him ? " Is the desire of your soul to Him? If SO, then He says,

“Here will I dwell;" and He is to be admired of them, loved and honoured of them, as long as time shall last. And, as soon as one generation passes away, another generation shall come, “that the Lord God might dwell among them.” All the gifts and triumphs of our Lord Jesus Christ are to bring about this—" that the Lord God might dwell among them.” “He has ascended on high,” and taken a position at the Father's right hand, and before His throne He pleads and intercedes for His people. He also “received gifts for men, that the Lord God might dwell among them.” He led captivity captive, that the

“ Lord God might dwell among them.”. What a soul-honouring object it is—"that the Lord God might dwell among them”? And He says that, when they shall cease to exist here on earth, in this time-state, they shall be with Him for ever. Oh, wondrous thing that—the scheme of redemption ! the Lord God might dwell among them."

Do we know anything about these things, my friends ? Is it only an idea, or is it a reality, that I have attempted to set forth? It is a reality. Oh, what an unspeakable favour to know anything about it! God the Father sheds forth His love in the hearts of His people, and they love Him and adore Him; and God the Son dwells among them, and makes known His grace and union to them; and God the Holy Spirit dwells among them; and thus we have God, in His Trinity of Persons, dwelling with man on this earth.

The Lord add His blessing, and His name shall be praised. Amen.

[ocr errors]

66 That

[ocr errors]

THE BLESSING OF NAPHTALI.

(DEUTERONOMY xxxiii. 23.) A SLIGHT SKETCH OF SOME OF THE LORD'S DEALINGS WITH

EMMA L MAURICE.

(Concluded from page 65.) In the winter a new symptom showed itself. She had for years been rarely able to take meat, but now it seemed as if the powers of digestion had almost failed, and any kind of food caused acute pain. Her family thought the end must come, but a few months of her "appointed time" yet remained.

We need not detail her sufferings, which were very great, and regarded by her, as each new ailment or symptom appeared, as the loving expression of her Father's minute and gracious " thoughts of peace" for her purification (Mal. iii. 3). The times of severest agony were often spent in secret prayer for those who were standing by. Many friends begged to see her, and while her little strength lasted she welcomed them. Many words of warning and encouragement from her sick bed will be remembered long. To a foreigner who had been much depressed at being so far from home, Emma said, “ Remember that you were brought to this land to hear of a better country, even a heavenly; and when you come into the state I now am in, you will find it has been worth while to have left father, mother, and brethren, and sisters,' so that you have found Christ."

It was considered a great privilege to watch by her during the night. Notwithstanding the intense pain she often suffered, she was rarely restless, and would lie very still the first part of the night and enjoy communion with her God. When the oppression on her breathing made a change of position needful (she was too feeble to turn herself), she would beckon the watcher to come and

Then, with her arm round her neck for support, Emma would often pour out a fervent prayer on her behalf; or she would speak of her Lord's faithfulness, and seek to lead her companion to the same blessed communion she herself enjoyed.

One night, the sister who watched was lamenting the loss she would sustain by her death. Emma said, “ He will give you more of Himself instead, and that will more than make up

for what He takes away. Do you not find one quarter of an hour of communion with Him better than hours spent in converse with the best of His creatures ?" And, on another occasion, “I dare no more indulge in anxiety about you than about what will become of this poor body when it is consigned to the tomb. Both are equally secure, for both are provided for in the covenant.”

She asked to have Deuteronomy xxxiii. read to her, and then

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

raise her up:

IE

d

I

a

remarked, “Yes, they all had different promises given them. It would not have done for them all to have the same; and you shall all have just according to your need—the one you want.'

One day, when hardly able to speak, she said, “What number of tools He makes use of to finish His work! What wonderful mercy and love it is, that He leaves no instrument untried to accomplish the purpose of our sanctification” (1 Thess. v. 23). After a severe attack, she said to her mother, “I am going to a land where all is rest.” Her mother replied, “Ah ! dearest, you have not had much of that in this world.” “ Then,' was the reply, “I shall find it all the more delightful.” One of her sisters said, "Have you a desire to depart?” She replied, “I feel less impatient than I ever did before. I do not think I so much desire to go as my Lord desires for me to be with Him." Her sister M- said, “I fear that you are tried with all this grievous suffering in order to make us willing to part with you." She replied, “Oh, it is not the suffering that tries me. I could bear much more of that. But, if you knew how my great feebleness prevents that full and delightful communion with God which my heart pants after, you would be willing to see me depart, that I might enjoy it uninterruptedly for ever. I only hope I shall have perfect patience given me to the end.” And then, “I little knew what a rebellious will I had; but I am now content, if it will glorify God, to live much longer with any added bodily suffering He pleases-yea, even in imbecility itself. I only dread the loss of communion with God, which is the only satisfying joy in earth or heaven. But, even if this be denied, , He will not love me the less, and there I can rest.”

On Sunday, May 22nd, her sister asked her if the peace she had felt continued. She replied, "Yes, unbroken. Think where that peace must come from that remains when I cannot praywhen the enemy would suggest that I am not in a proper frame of mind. Think who it is takes hold of Satan with a very short chain, so that he cannot come near me.

This is the meaning of, 'In Me ye shall have peace.' 'In Me!' He has the peace.

It is all His own. It is wrapped up in Him. Oh, it is my comfort to feel that, though I may not have any ardent love to God, He loves me just as well! I can lie down on that, and it is a sweet bed; and whether I sleep, or wake up to everlasting life, it is a downy bed on which to die.”

One asked if she thought it right to pray for temporal blessings. She exclaimed, “Oh, I would not have such a reserve from my best Friend! I do not know what is a temporal blessing, but I can withhold nothing from Him; and I ask Him, if it is not good for me, not to give it.”

One day she said, “I want you not to submit to my death because you see mo suffer, but because it is God's will. We have had much sweet communion together. I wish our intercourse had been more entirely of this kind.”

In June, her sufferings were at times so great that it seemed as if the poor frame could not endure much longer. Her physician said to her, one day, “The mind does not seem to sink with the sufferings of the body.” “Oh, no," she replied, “my heart and my flesh faileth, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever!”

On June 8th she said, “I had no idea that there could be such weakness as I am enduring. Every breath I draw is an effort which makes me almost faint; but I hope I shall have patience to the end. I think and trust I shall. It seems to be a very long way, but there will only be the more cause for praise at the end of it. This is death indeed, but I hope no one will be discouraged, or afraid of its approach, from what they have seen me suffer for the last few weeks. The way has been all smoothed for me, and I have no cause for anything but praise.”

On June 15th, her sister asked if her extreme weakness prevented her enjoyment of spiritual things. She answered, "My enjoyment, in the full sense of the word, it does, but not my perfect, unshaken peace and rest. This He does not suffer to be touched or impaired.”

When suffering from thirst, some one remarked that she could, in some degree, realize the suffering contained in the words, “I thirst !" Emma replied, “Yes; but there is no gall, no vinegar. He took that all Himself.”

On June 27th she hardly knew any one, and appeared to be sinking, but the next day revived a little. She said, “He knows what death is, for He has tasted it, and taken away all the bitters. It is a sweet draught now-nothing but sweet."

On the 29th she said, “ Then do you think that His refusing the myrrh was different to our refusing opiates ?” She was evidently dwelling on the question how far it was right for her to take laudanum to still the suffering caused by the convulsions. Her sister said she thought that Christ refused all alleviation of His sufferings because te wished to bear the whole penalty of our sins. "Ah! then you think," was the reply, “His bearing that was on purpose that we might enjoy the mitigation without sin ? I think you are right; but then, if I had not that torpor, might I not be using those faculties for His glory ?” Her sister reminded her that, when she was in such suffering as scarcely to be able to bear the pain, she could hardly use her mental powers, and she seemed satisfied.

For two or three days she was too weak to speak much, but on July 9th seemed brighter, and praised the Lord for a

a

special manifestation of His goodness with something of her natural energy. During the day she entered into the interests of those about her; but, as evening approached, her breathing became laboured, and about eight she breathed her last, aged twenty-four years.

Among her papers was a letter to her sister who had nursed her especially. In it are these words, “Suffering has been redeemed into pleasure, weakness into matter of rejoicing, and death will be redeemed into the gate of glory. Let me entreat you, as my last request, never to allow one wor. o be uttered of me as if I had been anything but a vile, filthy vorm. Christ, Christ is All! To Him will be all the glory in i even, and let it be given to Him on earth. It is all grace, free s. ice, that called me, that preserved me, and that will glorify me.”

How noticeable in this case is the distinct manner in which the Lord answered her petition and her desire on that memorable evening! She begged the heavenly Refiner to purify His piece of precious metal—to polish His “jewel ” by any means. He shows His faithfulness by answering her request, but “ so as by fire,” giving her at the same time her

desire, namely, to experience the peace of God, which passeth all understanding," in a heartsatisfying manner. Let not, however, any who may read this feel that Naphtali's blessing can only be received through such a pathway as that of Emma Maurice. The Word of God says certainly, “In the world ye shall have tribulation," and God's shalls" must be accomplished; but the tribulation through which the Lord leads His people is very diverse, and the promise with which He connects it is the same at all times—“In

shall have peace.”

How is it, then, that so few of the Lord's people in these days seem to realize and walk by and in this peace? Is it not often because they so much neglect the blessed injunction in Philippians iv. 6,7: “Be careful for nothing ; but in everything by prayer and sup plication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And [this verse being in close connection with verse 6] the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” ?

[ocr errors]

Me ye

[ocr errors]

It cannot be spoken what power there is in a great example, whether to evil or good.—Bishop Hall.

THE humility of the hypocrite and mock saint is the most arrogant pride, like that of the proud Pharisee, who humbled himself in the temple, but bespattered his humility by thanking God, “I am not as other men,” &c.Luther.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »