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heat, the earth also, and the works that are therein shall be burnt up." He, according to the promise of God, who cannot lie, "looks for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." Hence he learns "in whatever state" Providence may be pleased to put him, "therewith to be content." "I know," says Paul, "both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where, and in all things, I am instructed, both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." "Brethren, the time is short, it remaineth, that they who weep be as they who weep not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; and they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away."
4. Let the ministers of Christ remember that they are "stewards of the mysteries of God," and that "it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful." That which they deliver to others, they themselves received from the Lord. There is one and the same fare provided for them, and for their fellow servants, and the provision is at once excellent and abundant. Every one is entitled to the portion most suitable to him, and in the proper season. "New born babes," in Christ, "desire the sincere milk of the word, that they may grow thereby." "But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who, by reason of use, have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” In various ways may a steward be found unfaithful to his trust. He may be negligent, and then the household runs into confusion and every evil work; every one does that which is right in his own eyes, and of consequence every thing goes wrong. He may withhold what is due, and the family starves. The food may be im properly mixed, and thereby changed into poison. He
may be injudicious, and the aliment of the healthy and vigorous is administered to the puny and feeble, while the delicate nourishment that suits sickliness and imbecility is presented to maturity and strength. He may be deliberately wicked, and betray the trust which he was appointed to guard. As a contrast to this melancholy picture, turn your eyes to the portrait of that faithful steward, and able minister of the New Testament, the apostle of the Gentiles, in the solemn appeal which he makes to the elders of Ephesus, on bidding them a final farewell; "Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears and temptations which befel me by the lying in wait of the Jews; and how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befal me there save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying, that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God." "I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men; for I have not shuned to declare unto you the whole counsel of Godremember, that, by the space of three years, I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears-I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak; and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, it is more blessed to give than to receive." But there is an appeal still more solemn and affecting, and in circum
stances infinitely more interesting, that of the chief Shepherd himself, addressed to his heavenly Father, in the near prospect " of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem," "I have glorified thee on the earth, I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self; with the glory which I had with thee before the world was, I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world; thine they were and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. Now they have known that all things, whatsoever thou hast given me, are of thee: for I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me: and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me." "Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.”
5 Let not the constant and regular operations of Deity, in the course of nature and providence be overlooked, like the people who “did eat of the loaves and were filled,” we take and enjoy the repast, but discern not the miracle which produced it. The naturalist traces the progress of vegetation as an amusement, as a branch of science. The husbandman pursues it as his destined occupation, he casts seed into the ground, leaves it there and goes to sleep, observes it day after day springing and growing up, he knoweth not how; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear, but his eye and his heart are all the while set on the time of putting in the sickle, when the harvest is come. The cager merchant too watches the process, as a commercial speculation, as favourable or unfavourable to his plans of buying, and selling, and getting gain. With what a different eye does a devotional spirit contemplate Deity spreading a table for every thing that lives! The Christian considers the fare upon his own board, whether simple or sumptuous, flowing in whatVOL. IV.
HISTORY OF JESUS CHRIST.
ever channel, coming from the east, or from the west, from the south, or from the north, as a supply immediately furnished by the hand of his heavenly Father, as children's bread, as a foretaste of the rich provision of his Father's house above.
This communicates to ordinary things a relish unknown to the banquets of the luxurious and the proud. With the five thousand he beholds his God in person feeding him. He passes from the table which he calls his own, and at which his divine Master sat as a guest, though invisible, to that which Jesus emphatically calls his, and he finds it replenished" with all the fulness of God." He eats and is satisfied, he goes on his way rejoicing, he advances from strength to strength, he mounts up as on eagles' wings, he runs and is not weary, he walks and faints not. Thus may every one of us in the Zion that is above appear before God. "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen."