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suits a nature prone to sin, and a heart which has much to correct and repent of, than the "house of mirth, the laughter or the song of fools." Blessed therefore, are those who weep or hunger now, if by "the sadness of the countenance the heart has been made better;" if "the famine of bread, or the thirst for water," has brought thee to "the wells of salvation," or led thee to seek man's best sustenance, the word of God.
There is that, however, in Christian faith, which enables a man, in whatsoever state he is, therein to abide with God; to be content with poverty, and to enjoy with moderation. "I know," says St. Paul, I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound; everywhere, and in all things, I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need." 1 Yet he intimates, in
the same breath, its difficulty. "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." It is the effect of grace; it is the result of prayer.
22. Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of
23. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy; for, behold, your reward is great in heaven; for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.
Micaiah, the son of Imlah, was happier (1 Kings xxii. 27, &c.) when Ahab cast him into prison, because what "the Lord said unto him, that would he speak," than those false prophets in whose
1 Phil. iv. 12.
mouths was "a lying spirit." So they, who, because they reverenced Jesus, were reviled by the Pharisees, saying, "This people which know not the law are cursed:" they were far more blessed than the rest who "believed on him, but because of the Pharisees did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue." These had "the praise of men;" a poor and uncertain recompense even now; the others had "the praise of God," and their reward is great in heaven.
24. But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.
25. Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.
This does not denounce woe against Abram, though he was "very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold:" or woe against Joseph, though he was "set over all the land of Egypt:" or woe against David, though he "dwelt in a house of cedar:" but woe against all who, because they have received an inheritance of comfort here, look for no better consolation. Doubtless, woe is laid up for those who say unto their soul, "Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry." For the time shall come when "the kings of the earth, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, shall say to the mountains and the rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb." Let those to whom God may have given all things
2 Gen. xiii. 2.
3 Gen. xli. 41.
4 Rev. vi. 15.
richly to enjoy, take heed that they "make to themselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations."
29. Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers of the false prophets.
The nature of man, as we know and feel, is corrupt: therefore it is hardly to be expected that all men should speak well of him who is faithful to the gospel, either in precept or in practice. He must condemn the many, both by his word and his example. And how shall they speak well of him by whom they are condemned? "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." 5 "The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so.
The gospel, however, encourages no one to court reproach. Do nothing to incur it; forbear nothing to avoid it; place no stumbling-block in another's way unnecessarily. Strive by all lawful means "to save some."
In the preceding sentence we find our Lord turning the course of this world's thoughts, and judging of circumstances as one would judge to whose mind ETERNITY were present. All depends on this. We see the poor man rising up early, and late taking rest, and still, perhaps, hungering now,
scarcely able to procure "the bread of carefulness." We see others rich and prosperous: "the tabret, and the viol, and the wine, are in their feasts;" abounding in earthly consolations. We see some sliding smoothly through the world; commended on every side for their gentleness and courtesy. Others are pursuing a more rugged road; bearing on their shoulders the cross of reproach, contumely, or suspicion. Were there nothing beyond this world, who could hesitate between the several conditions? But the whole case is changed, from the moment that eternity comes in view. Place yourselves, in imagination, by the side of Jesus when he spoke these words; spoke that which he knew, and testified that which he had seen and suppose him contemplating at once a Lazarus, and the rich man at whose gate Lazarus was wont to lie. He would pass, at a single glance, beyond the present moment to the day when Lazarus died, "and the rich man also died, and was buried;" and then what remains to either, of the comforts or the sorrows which they had experienced on earth? What is the rich man better for all his sumptuous fare? Or what are those the worse, who were reproached and cast out as evil, for the Son of man's sake? But the use which each party made of their condition-how did the rich man employ his wealth? how did the poor man abide his poverty?-through evil report or good report, was allegiance to Christ maintained?—this alone will signify. The things which once appeared so important will have vanished away, and nothing will remain but the account which must be rendered of our use of them.
As we are warned by the apostle, "The time is short it remaineth" that every one take heed to himself that he "be found faithful;" that the poor so use his poverty as to secure the praise which belongs to the meek and poor in spirit; and that the prosperous so use their prosperity as a talent lent them of God, who expects to receive again " his own with usury." Unless "the poor of this world are rich in faith," they are not "chosen to be heirs of the kingdom." And if those who are "rich in this world," are also "rich in good works," they shall "lay up a good foundation against the time to come."7
THE CHRISTIAN TEMPER.
LUKE Vi. 27-38.
(Matt. v. 39-48.)
27. But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,
28. Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you,
29. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also.
30. Give to every man that asketh of thee: and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.
7 James ii. 5 ; 1 Tim. vi. 17.