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Do we not live on from day to day contented in the absence of what God has promised to bestow on His people here ? And where is that earnest stretching forth of the neck* in eager longing after heavenly joys ? How little of that hunger and thirst after God of which the Scriptures speak do we feel and manifest! Surely we have need to pray for grace that we may desire what God hath promised, for the present torpor of our souls is a disgraceful reflection on Divine munificence,
The end for which we implore sanctifying grace is very important, viz. “ that among the “ sundry and manifold changes of the world our “ hearts may surely there be fixed where true " joys are to be found.” This happiness can only be attained in proportion as we are enabled to “love the thing which God commandeth, and !s to desire that which He doth promise.” For without a spiritualized frame of mind we are “ like the troubled sea which cannot rest, whose < waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no $6 peace, saith my God, to the wicked;" and such are all those who love not God's commandments, and whose affections are not “set 5 on things above."
“ The world passeth away and the things " thereof”—most affecting and alarming truth to those who make the world their portion ! Their portion is a bubble; for like a vesicle inflated with air, however gay and alluring it may appear to the eye, it will soon burst and disappoint all their expectations. In the vast deserts of Asia and Africa, the light sand of which they are composed is frequently so affected with
* Aromaçadoxid. Rom. viii, 19. Phil. i. 20.
whirlwinds, that new mountains are raised, and new vallies sunk, and the whole face of nature intirely changed in a very short period. In this wild uproar of elements, in which earth and heaven are intermingled and confounded, whole caravans of merchants or of pilgrims often perish in an instant. This scene affords a fit emblem of “the sundry and manifold changes of the - world,” Earthly friends, fortune, health and life, are things transitory and perishing. To fix our hearts on any sublunary good is to build for happiness on a quicksand or on a wave of the sea.
Surely it is the part of wisdom to withdraw our affections from every thing which is thus perishable and uncertain, and to grasp that which is permanent and durable, if there be any such thing to be found. Does not the shipwrecked mariner gladly quit the billow for the rock ? That man is to be pitied with the deepest commiseration who is looking for peace and comfort to the creature. He is like the idiotish rustic of the heathen poet, who is represented as waiting on the bank of a river till its waters are run by, in order that he may pass to the other side. * His hopes are sure to be disappointed. His imaginary paradise of worldly pleasure and contentment is not attainable. Like the fog bank which excites the joy and kindles the hopes of the weary voyager, it both flatters and deceives.
But is there any thing amidst the devastations of the hurricane and the earthquake which is certain and unperishable, to which our attention
* Rusticus expectat dum defluat amnis, at ille Labitur et labetur in omne volubilis ævum.
is called ? Yes, blessed be God, there is. There is “a good part which can never be taken s away from us.” There is a rock, which will stand unshaken when “the earth, is re“ moved and the mountains, are carried into " the midst of the sea.” The believer's por tion will be uninjured “ when the heavens “ shall pass away with a great noise, and the <elements shall melt with fervent heat, when “ the earth and all the works that are therein « shall be burned up.” In the favour of God, in communion with Him, and in obedience to His will, “ true joys are to be “ found”-joys which are not, like those of the world, mingled with sorrow, disturbed by fear, and short-lived as the crackling of blazing thorns ;-but solid, permanent, durable, unmixed, and ever improving. Of these joys the Christian believer experiences a foretaste here below, while through grace he is enabled to - love the thing which God commandeth, and “ to desire that which He doth promise.” Even here he is indulged with an occasional taste of Eshcol's grapes, whereby the flavour of the fruits of Canaan is ascertained. He has the earnest of the Spirit in his heart, the first-fruits of a future harvest in reversion. What he here enjoys is, however, but a foretaste. “ In God's “ presence there is fulness of joy, and at His "right hand are pleasures for evermore.”
O let us cordially join in imploring grace, that we may “ love what God commands, and desire “ what He promises,” to the end “ that our “ hearts may surely there be fixed where true “ joys are to be found, through Jesus Christ our “ Lord !” For then we shall be out of the reach of the storm, and we shall be no more affected by “ the sundry and manifold changes of the world” than the rocky shore by the tumult of the sea which rages at its base. Throughout life and in death we shall have support and consolation which the world cannot give nor take away; and, after death, shall experience the consummation of all our wishes. * Even so, Lord Jesus. Amen.
THE FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER.
O Lord, from whom all good things do come ; grant to us thy humble servants, that by thy holy inspiration we may think those things that be good, , and by thy merciful guiding may perform the same, through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen..
TT is the doctrine of the Scriptures that “ every
1 “good gift, and every perfect gift, is froin « above, and cometh down from the Father of “ lights, with whom is no variableness nor shadow “ of turning." And this assertion is interwoven with all the forms of our church, whether devotional or doctrinal. Like a golden thread it runs through our whole liturgy, articles and homilies, and both beautifies and enriches them.
The corruption of the human heart is too deep and wide to be explored by a finite capacity. God only knows its height and depth, its length ad breadth. “The heart is deceitful above all things, “ and desperately. wicked; who can know it?" Among other proofs of its depravity, its selfrighteousness is prominent. It remains even after conversion. The fabric is then indeed sapped, but it is not intirely demolished. Our proneness to hide or extenuate our guilt is a fruit of this noxious weed. We are the fallen children of him who foolishly attempted to hide himself from God among the trees of Paradise. We try, like him, to transfer the guilt of our nature and practice from ourselves to something else, and even impiously ascribe it to God rather than take it intirely to ourselves. Blasphemy is one of those