Images de page
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Lord were to look us in the face, surely we would indwelling grace shall be seen floating high over our
respond, “Lord, I know there is this-that-not poor hut and hearth.
quite consistent." And many of us who are thus Live then the present moment to God; so shall
conscious that we are not what we should be, get you at once enter into the blessing of resurrection
so troubled, so bewildered and depressed, that instead peace, a life of unbroken communion with God.
of abandoning it at once when we see it, and Let there be an earnest determination to yield, not
living just that very moment to God, we go hope “I would like to," or "I hope to,” but “I will do
lessly back and back. Nay, search and see what is it, I do yield." Let it not be,“ Some of self, and
wrong, light a candle-God Himself has lit our some of Thee,” but “all of Thee and none of self."
candle. Search it out and confess it. Confession Are you willing that He should be all? Are you
is a strange, mysterious power. Confession is one willing to yield, when as you go out into the street,
of God's most precious gifts. Thank God that our perhaps, some brother puts you down, or misunder-
service of the Church of England begins with con- stands you? Are you willing to yield, even if there
fession. But many people come in too late for meet you some thorn that shall pierce you to the
confession. You cannot have the rays of His quick ? Are you willing that you should be sensible
sweet light, unless you confess what is wrong, what of no peculiar flow of feeling,—will you bear even
is weak-your infirmities, your failures. And do that for your Lord? You say, you had such joy
not let us call our sins only infirmities—it is once, that (like the orchards we see in the springtide)
much wiser to call infirmities, sins, than to call every branch blossomed out to the Lord,—there was
sins, infirmities. Do not say “my infirmity," such sweet peace then, such holy glow and colour
say "my sin "—it is at all events, the thin edge from the presence of the Lord, “but I have
of sin—the fine point of evil-infirmity is that lost it all, I am not what I was." That doesn't
which will blossom by-and-by into sin.' Oh! re necessarily follow. An orchard is not always in
cognise that it comes from the root of sin. Some blossom. When the tree is forming its fruit, matur-
seem to think that they have got rid of all need of ing it by drinking in the rain and the sunshine,
confession, - I don't know how they would get on, it does not look nearly so beautiful, but it is doing
except that Christ is doing it for them—He is in much more. If you are bearing a cross you will
Heaven pleading for them, and standing there in the now perhaps not look so beautiful, but you will be
presence of God, sheltering them by the confession doing a great deal more for the Lord. Only take care
which He makes, and God sees us through the that it is not through your own fault; if it is, con-
wounds of His mercy, liid in His blood, and con- fess it at once. But if you can say with St. Paul,
victed by the Spirit of God.

“I know how to be abased, and I know how to
But for us see that we confess, search all round abound ;” whichever it is, I am therewith content.
your being, and fetch out that which is not of God This is one of the grandest words ever uttered by
there; all that is not quite honourable, for we do man. If you are risen with your Lord, you will
not love God with the whole fulness of our being; be "content." I know many who are “content to
we do not love our neighbour as ourselves. There abound,” but I don't know so many
is all that to be confessed—all, too, that in any way tent to be abased." There are not many Jobs
keeps out God, and that thereby may keep a (though there are many Job's comforters) who can
brother from getting a blessing. Let us be of those say, “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken
who are not satisfied to have a blessing for them away, blessed be the name of the Lord.Most can
selves only. St. Paul was ready to wish himself say the first part, many the second, but how few go
accursed for his brethren. Let us each go yearn that on to add, habitually, " Blessed be the name of the
our brother should have with us an equal blessing of Lord.”
peace and power. If we do not so yearn, let us fetch Are you content to be hidden in the shadow
it out; let us confess it, and His blood shall cleanse of the Cross ?-to part with your own glory for the
it away, and the streaming rays of the Sun of glory of the Master? Can you say, “Though He
Righteousness shall sline upon us anew with perfect slay me, yet will I trust Him." What a grand word,
satisfaction, and peace, the Lord shall be in resi- though uttered by one who lived such ages ago.
dence in our house, and the banner of His Divine 'There are weeping Christians who say, “Surely we

who are

con

BY REV. HUBERT BROOKE.

«

cannot be on the same platform of grace as those

GOD'S PREPARATIONS. who are always praising." Nay, those are in the active school of praise, you are in the passive school

(1 Cor. ii. 9, 10.) of endurance and suffering. The Lord is preparing you for the weight of glory by this very weight of There is a purpose to be effected in the believer, the Cross. “ The love of Christ constraineth me by cach fresh revelation of Himself made by God. even me, into this one blessed channel—not to live Every fact of our Lord's life on earth, each item to myself, but to Him who died for me and rose in His passage from the grave to the glory, every again.

detail of His work now and of His coming presently,

is intended to have its own force and influence in THE STORY OF A CLOUD.

the lives of those who really know it. Know ye “As dying, and behold we live."

not," is the Apostle's frequent question, when he You ask, What was I in the olden days?

hears that they “do not" the works of God; as

though he would say, “If you really knew the facts, Some drops of water surging in the tide,

your life would show their power." With this Some lying scattered on earth's dusty ways,

thought before us, let us look at some of those Some glistening on the grassy mountain side.

“things which God hath prepared," and " hath reThe sun rose on them with his fiery rays,

vealed unto us by His Spirit ;" and inquire what And one by one, each leaf and branch made are the results they should produce in us who know bare,

them. Passing by the things prepared in the past, Were left to wither in the burning blaze ;

for our salvation and our service (Luke ii. 31 ; Eph

; Each soothing drop had passed to empty air !

ii. 10); and His present preparations of goodness, They gathered in one dense and gloomy mass, mercy and truth, for our daily needs and keeping Not like the fleecy film that girds me round;

and fitness for service (Psa. lxviii. 10; lxi. 7; And yet it shed soft shadows on the grass,

2 Tim. ii. 21), consider a few of the future glories And mostly fell in rain upon the ground.

which “God hath prepared for them that love

Him "_"for him that waiteth for Him ” (1 Cor. Life almost left me, as the shower fell,

ii. 9; Isa. Ixiv. 4). Methought that I was dead, for ever gone;

There is “the Kingdom prepared for you," which But as I died, a great voice seemed to tell,

“it is your Father's good pleasure to give" to His That I might still live after life was done.

little flock (Matt. xxv. 34; Luke xii. 32). The glories And then indeed I climbed to highest heaven, of that kingdoin were the subject of Daniel's pro

O'er the high pathways of the stars I trod; phecies, of Gabriel's message to Mary, of our Lord's Then was this robe of light and glory given, last words to His disciples, of Paul's fullest preachAnd I was gathered round the feet of God ! ing at Ephesus. It is within the believer now, and J. ELDER CUMMING. shall be " set up .

.. and stand for ever" upon earth hereafter (Luke xvii. 21 ; Dan. ii. 44). We,

“receiving this kingdom" now, as the one unshaken The blood of Christ cleanseth from all filthiness stable fact in a world of things which are but for a and all sins, though ever so many; and even from moment, are intended thereby to be fitted for service. filthiness and idols, though such great sins. Ah!" Therefore—let us have thankfulness (R. V. margin), but I have fallen often into them. His blood is whereby we may offer service well pleasing to God therefore compared to a fountain set open for sin with reverence and awe.” (Heb. xii. 28). The reand for uncleanness (Zech. xiii. 1): not a cistern, ception in measure and earnest now, of the kingdom but a fountain, a continual spring, perpetually whose fulness is prepared for you in glory, is to running to cleanse us : so that as there is a spring fill your heart with thankfulness, your lips with of sin in us, that as we are defiled again and again, praise, your life with joyful service to God (Heb. so there is a spring of virtue in His blood to cleanse xiii. 15, 16 ; Deut. xxviii. 47). us, never to be dried up. - Preston's " Golden But such a kingdom is too large and vast to conSceptre," Section V.

vey the idea of social happiness in glory, suited to

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

:

a

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

townsmen and villagers like ourselves. We gladly to exchange your earthly coins for those which will notice therefore that within this kingdom God pass current in the realms of glory (Matt. vi. 20; " hath prepared for them a City” (Heb. xi. 16): a xix. 21 ; Luke xii. 33 ; xvi. 9; 1 Tim. vi. 17-19).

; central domain of fellowship, the antitype of that Still one more of God's preparations is needed, in Jerusalem which was the Israelite's joy of old. order that you may enjoy what He has made ready " Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the for you. You can say, believer, what your Lord mother of us all”: “Ye are come unto the city of said of old, “A BODY hast Thou prepared me” the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem" : "For (Heb. x. 5). “ For we know that if our earthly here we have no continuing city, but we seek one house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a to come” (Gal. iv. 26 : Heb. xii. 22 : xii. 14). If building of God, an house not made with hands, this be so, if in spirit we are come now, and in eternal, in the heavens. For in this we groan, glorified body we shall come presently, to this pre-earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house, pared city, what effect shall it have upon our lives? which is from heaven” (2 Cor. v. 1,2). And what

Therefore let us go forth unto Him without the effect is this to have? Why, he that hath this hope camp; ... by Him therefore let us ffer the sacrifice in Him purifieth hiniself, even as He is pure. If of praise to God continually” (Heb. xiii. 13, 15). I am to be “at home ” in that new body, I must be Such an assured possession must make you sit training for it now; practising in this body what I loose to this world's resting places. In the power of shall be doing in that; seeking to prove here on this blessing prepared for him, there is surely no-earth that my citizenship is there in heaven. Dething which the Christian should more readily do, cause you know that at His coming He will change than rise up at once when called to change his our bodies, " Therefore, ... stand fast in the Lord. earthly abode. In any such call, let us thankfully

such call, let us thankfully ... Be of the same mind in the Lord. . . . Rejoice see God's assurance, that we are “strangers and in the Lord alway” (Phil. iii. 21 ; iv. 1-4). sojourners with Him,” looking for a city that hath Nearer my God to Thee: nearer to Thee. In a foundations, whose maker and builder is God. You kingdom where Thou art King for ever and ever ; will find its fullest glories unfolded in the last two within the city where the Lamb is the Light chapters of the Revelation.

thereof; in the mansions where Thou wilt receive Yet even a city, for domestic creatures like our- us to Thyself; in the body of glory to be ever with selves, is not enough to picture the perfect happiness the Lord ! “Happy is that people that is in such in store. So then He tells us, “In my Father's a case; yea, happy is that people, whose God is the house are many Mansions ; Ι

go
to

prepare a Lord."
place for you" (John xiv. 2). Yes, each follower
of the Lord will have his mansion to dwell in,
within the great city in the centre of the Kingdom.
Look up, believer! your light affliction, which is

RECEIVING AND Giving.--In the healthy exercise but for a moment; your sufferings of this present of giving and taking is all the enjoyment of life. time ; your needful heaviness for a season ;--what it is so in the spiritual life too. There are Chrisare they, but the trials of a little day, the burden of tians who look on its blessedness as consisting all in a short twelve hours, at the close of which you shall the privilege of ever receiving; they know not how rest " at home with the Lord” (2 Cor. v. 8, R.V.). the capacity for receiving is only kept up and enlarged What a safe home it must be, which He has pre- by continual giving up and giving out,—how it is pared, how fully insured against all harm, how only in the emptiness that comes from the parting certain to greet you with open doors. Surely the with what we have, that the Divine fulness can flow thought of it, and of Him who has prepared it, and in.--Extract fromAbide in Christ,by Rev. Andrew who will take you to be with Him there, shines out

Murray. over every trial, and tells you therefore, “Let not your heart be troubled.” Yea, more ; it bids you PATIENCE must not be an inch shorter than make such purchases here below as will fittingly affection. If the bridge reach but ball-way over the adorn the home above; it bids you send on before, brook, we shall have but an ill-favoured passage.-all that you want to possess for ever; it counsels you Adams, 1653.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

BY REV. J. ALEXANDER JACOB.

“ MORE READY TO HEAR THAN WE TO | answered them all ; we know that we have them in PRAY.”

the truest sense, in possession."

What a new and animating conception is thus It is a noteworthy and encouraging statement given to us of real prayer! How are all excuses which is to be found in Dan. ix. 23, setting forth for faint-heartedness swept away! It cannot be the response of Jehovah to the pleading of the doubted that much of the difficulty felt by God's prophet for his people. We are told that "at the children in regard to prayer has been due to a sort beginning" of his supplications the commandment of impression that they were to call upon God on went forth which was, in fact, an answer to those the chance of His answering them. Thanks be supplications. “At the beginning," oven before the to Him, we have learned that there is no chance prayer was half offered, when first the desire of the in the matter. Perhaps we prayed with the feeling heart began to shape itself into words, the command that some time or other an answer might come, but went forth to bear the answer to Daniel. We recall it seemed a “hope deferred," making the heart here the beautiful promise in Isa. lxv. 24, Before sick. Now we know that it is the glory of our they call, I will answer; and while they are yet God to give, and if it bas become a proverb that 8peaking, I will hear.” These passages do more in regard to the things of this world he gives than establish the position that God will answer twice who gives quickly, we may believe that our prayer. They indicate that IIo does answer, is Father not only gives, but gives at once," at the ansiering, it. The answer comes while we are beginning” of our supplication, so that we have the praying. It is not needful here to expose the low things that we desire of Him. and faithless view of prayer which presents it to us In connection, however, with this subject, it is as no more than tentative. Probably Christians are needful to preserve the important distinction between learning to see more distinctly than in days past trust and feeling. We have the petitions we asked, that God never calls men to ask for unattainable but our having does not depend upon our feeling things, but that the very fact of His encouraging us that we have them. St. John, in the passage already to seek any particular blessing implies that He quoted, bases our assurance that we have them, not intends to give it to us. The whole conception of on any feeling whatever, but on the fact that God prayer as an aspiring to the impossible is seen to hears us. be both dishonouring to God, and fatal to real com- This thought bears, in a very interesting way, munion with Him. Without raising the question upon the bestowal of the fulness of blessing. Those respecting prayer for temporal blessings, it is felt by of God's children who have entered into this happy an increasing number of God's own children that experience will usually testify that at the moment they can no longer accept the notion of prayer as when they yielded themselves to the Lord, and the asking God for something which He has no trusted Him for deliverance from the power of sin, mind to bestow, with the hope, however, of gaining there was no peculiar glow of feeling, no outburst some blessing by the mere act of asking. They of joy, no exceptional mental impression. They rejoice to believe that if they ask “ according to His simply trusted, i.e., they ventured their souls, by an will,” that can only mean that they ask for that act of the will, on the purpose, mind, character, of which it is His purpose to give, and which therefore God, and He was found to be faithful Who had lle will give.

promised. They were not aware, when they thus The passages just quoted seem, however, to carry trusted, of any special kind of emotion. Their exus further still. They indicate, not that God will perience involved just two convictions. They hear our prayer some time or other, but that He hears believed that He would deliver them from the process it at the very time of our praying. In the well- of sin, if they yielded themselves to Him, and then, known passage in 1 John v. 15, the same truth is so yielding themselves, they believed that Ho put in the most undeniable way, “. If we know that actually did, then and there, so deliver them. And He hears us,

we know that we have the peti- this experience did not necessarily involve any partions that are desired of Him.” “All these " (so ticular strength of feeling. Still, we cannot separate Dean Alford comments on the passage) we have; it from feeling in the long run, and if there be an not one of them is lost. He has heard, He has crror in orerstating the importance of feeling, it is

[ocr errors]

134

soul apart,

" oh holy

clearly unscriptural to deny the vital connection between trust and the joy which is “unspeakable REALISED COMMUNION BETWEEN THE and full of glory." And the interesting fact is that

SAVIOUR AND THE SAVED. in cases in which at the moment of trusting there is but little conscious happiness, the Lord has been

“Whom having not seen we love, in whom though now

we see Him not, yet believing we rejoice with joy unspeakable pleased soon afterwards-often quite suddenly and

and full of glory."-1 Peter i. 8. unexpectedly—to set His seal to that trust by pouring into the soul a joy never felt before. But Morning by morning Jesus comes, He draws my the point is that the actual blessing is given as a response not to feeling but to trust. The soul rests, He bathes it frcely in His blood, to re-assure my not upon its own consciousness, but on the word of

heart; an immutable God. The blessing precedes feeling, And then methinks I hear Him say, “ My whiteness and is not identical with it.

now is thine. Let Christians then accustom themselves to expect Carry my likeness forth to day, my child go forth an immediate reply to their prayers.

Let them be- and shine. lieve that at the beginning of their supplication the I toiled for thee, I bled for thee. This weary commandment goes forth. If there be cases in aching breast which, for His own wise ends, God defers the answer Had no companion heart below on whom its own to prayer even for spiritual blessings, these cases are to rest." to be regarded as the exception, not the rule. God is “ Oh lonely breast," my heart replies, waiting to give. We ask Him to give us victory pierced feet, over sin, continuous cleansing, the baptism of His Sad was the recompense on earth Thy wealth of Spirit. Seeking these blessings with our whole love did meet. heart, let us believe, not simply that God will give But now I answer to Thy call, my spirit life them, but that He actually does give them. Thus obeys, prayer ceases to be a duty grudgingly performed, and Won by Thy heart of tenderness, the beauty of becomes a drawing forth of all needful grace from

Thy ways. Christ's suffering. Thus we are able to fulfil what Thy voice is to my inner soul as music to mine we believe to be the purpose of the Divine dealing ear, with us, to “know the things that are freely given I close all other outlets there, its faintest sound to to us of God.”

Insensibly it drew me first by subtle mystery,

It might have been by nursery rhyme, or pictured Sages of old concluded that no sin was ever

Calvary; committed whose consequences rested on the head I know not lou, but when I know, Life's discipline of the sinner alone; that no man could do ill and

between, his fellows not suffer. They illustrated it thus :- Has stamped its record on this heart, nor could be “ A vessel sailing from Joppa, carried a passenger,

spared I ween. who beneath his berth cut a hole through the A long sad discipline it was, the work of many ship's side. When the men of the watch expostu

years, lated with him. What doest thou, O miserable (Its grief is changed to gladness now, a fount of man?' the offender calmly replied, “What matters

peace its tears); it to you? the hole I have made lies under my But then the lessons seemed too hard, and I, a own berth.'” This ancient parable is worthy of

learner slow, the utmost consideration. No man perishes alone Kept pleading in my fuolish heart, 'Oh wherefore in his iniquity; no man can guess the full conse

is it sof! quences of his transgression.-Spurgeon.

Oh had'st Thou wearied of its plaint, that heart had Men are atheistical because they are first vicious, burst in twain and question the truth of Christianity because they The light of Heaven so dimly seen, so keenly felt hate the practice.- South, 1633-1716.

the pain !

hear;

« PrécédentContinuer »