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expressly commanded to go forth, and teach all the contrary, they are just sufficient for our need nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and verily, when we contemplate, on the one and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and hand, the end in view—the total renewal of our teaching them, moreover, to observe all things, own nature after the image of God in righteouswhatsoever I, the Lord, hath commanded ness and true holiness, together with an inherithem. With such a view of divine grace before tance of honour, glory, and immortality in the us, can we be blind, or dead to the obligations purest dwellings of eternity; and on the other, the thus lying upon all who have been made partak- simplicity of the means appointed for working ers of its blessings, to make themselves willing out such immeasurable results, we shall rather and unwearying instruments in working out the be inclined to wish that these means were enlarged Redeemer's will, and promoting the regeneration than contracted; and, while working out our great of mankind. It is at once the duty, and the salvation with fear and trembling, shall be careful manifest interest of every Christian church, to to apply every direction that Christ has given in labour continually in the great work of self- small things just as well as in great. For he that extension; for in no other way can its own in this, his season of merciful visitation, is despissecurity be maintained; and still more evidently ing the day of small things, is in sad reality can the injunctions of our text in no other way despising the great day of the Lord. O! let us be fulfilled.
be up then and doing while it is yet called to-day, It is not only as churches or communities, how- for the night is fast approaching wherein no man ever, that we are bound to serve the Lord in this can work.. field of duty, but likewise as individuals. O! if we have but a right sense of the privileges conferred upon us in baptism, and still more if we have tasted the gifts of the Holy Ghost, and the
FOURTEENTH DAY. EVENING. power of baptism in the inner man, then shall
For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from we not be slow to comprehend the obligation imposed upon all who are called by the name of
heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth Christ, to wage incessant war with iniquity; set
the earth, . . . . 80 shall my word be that goeth their faces as flint against the reign of unbelief,
forth out of my mouth: . .. it shall prosper and, within the little sphere of their personal
in the thing whereto I sent it,' Isa. lv. 10, 11. influence, go on conquering and to conquer, till We never doubt the power of God to do what they make it as a green spot in the wilderness, he pleases. But it is one thing to admit, or fresh and sweet with the dews of Israel.
not deny, and another to believe a truth, with an While teaching others, however, may we our ease and familiarity of faith corresponding to its selves be wise to learn. We are taught in the importance. There are many great truths, which, passage before us, in aiming at salvation, to apply, although no one ever thinks of denying them, with diligence, all the means appointed by the remain so strange to our thoughts, that believing grace of God for working it out. The word all them is an effort and a process of the reason reis here exceedingly emphatic, and manifestly quiring to be repeated just as often as they force implies that the neglect of any divine ordinance themselves on our notice. Of such a kind is, involves a nullification of all the rest. The ex- in the minds of perhaps most men, the motion of press injunction of our text is to observe all things the earth, or the omnipresence of God; so that, whatsoever Christ has commanded; and it is when reminded of either, they have to think, and impossible, with such an explicit word as this all remember, and reason within themselves, in order before us, strengthened, moreover, by the intensive to clear away the habitual illusion that the world term whatsoever, to overlook the manifest conclu- is at rest, or that God is as far from their steps as sion, that no commandment of Christ can we be he is from their thoughts. There are other truths, keeping, while living in wilful disregard of any; again, with which we are so familiar, that they for all his ordinances are wrapped up in this one affect us like instincts, and pour their influences commandment to observe them all; and there- direct upon the heart without passing through fore, as a system, they must stand or fall together. the filter of reason by the way. Of this sort is Just as obvious, at the same time, is the inference, our belief in the regular return of the seasons, that to neglect even the smallest ordinance of the or in the divine promise that while the earth gospel, is to renounce all its blessings; for we remaineth, seed-time and harvest, and cold and may be sure that Christ has given us no needless heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, directions, or useless means of grace, but that, on shall not cease.'
These observations lead us to remark further, heavens without accomplishing the purpose for that we find these two sorts of truth generally which it is sent; for most manifestly does it presented side by side in the bible; and the always produce an effect either for good or for things which are slowest in mounting to the evil; and it is but a short and sure stage in reasurface of the mind, so interlinked in the meta- soning, to ascribe that effect to the counsels by phors and comparisons of scripture, with the which the clouds are scattered and turned round themes of our quickest and easiest belief, that about.' they must either sink or float together. Such is Why then should we be slow in believing that the association of ideas in the short saying of our just in like manner shall the word of God water Saviour, 'I am the bread of life,' a metaphor the spiritual world, and prosper in the thing connecting the great mystery of godliness, God whereto he sends it? O! we never doubt; “for manifest in the flesh, with a subject of familiar who hath resisted his will ?' But alas ! do we and universal experience in natural life, and teach- believe it in the same manner as we believe in ing us to connect them as closely with each other the fertilizing properties of rain? And do all eyes in our faith and our desires.
look up unto God for the reviving showers of his The comparison employed in the passage before wind, as in the day when their corn is in the us, is a beautiful instance of the same kind; and tender blade, and the heavens are like brass, they by the careful kindness of him who is not only look up to him for the early rain? O! let us the author of the simile, but also the contriver associate in our minds just as closely as we find of the likeness, is admirably suited to interlink them connected in the metaphors of scripture, the an important topic of religious faith and medita- necessities of the soul with the wants of the body, tion with our most familiar modes of thought, and the promises of the life which is to come feeling, and action.
with that which now is ; let us connect the spiritOf all appearances in the natural world there ual vineyard in our thoughts with the natural; are none that more manifestly lie within the king- and the word of the one with the rain of the dom of providence, or depend more unquestion- other, till they blend together, and become, as it ably on the will of God, than snow and rain; nor were, the same idea. Let us remember that the are there any that make us more sensible of our God of providence, and the God of grace, is one own helplessness and dependence in the midst of and the same Jehovah! And that a man shall our most strenuous exertions and most anxious not live by bread alone, but by every word that expectations. Hence says the proverb, with proceedeth from the mouth of God! And O! if emphatic simplicity, It is God who saith unto it be sweet, pleasant, and refreshing to our own the snow, Be thou upon the earth; and, with a hearts, to see the tender blades of a corn-field sublimity of conception surpassing all human wet, and fresh, and green with the watering of poetry, hath the psalmist called the rain the God; can we be dull and dead to the reviving river of God. All rivers, indeed, might with power of his word on the drooping graces of the abundant propriety be so called, but pre-eminently soul! In the days when all eyes look up to is the rain entitled to such a distinctive name, by heaven for rain as they do “for meat in due seaits marvellous manner of flowing, in a perpetual son,' and when they see the passing clouds bearalternation, from the heavens to the earth and ing to other hill-sides the quickening waters so from the earth to the heavens, performing the one much wanted on their own; and when, in the portion of its endless circuit in the form of light impatience of the hope deferred that maketh the vapour, and the other in that of rain. All the heart sad, they wish they had the winds in leadwhile, moreover, is its aërial channel, if we may ing-strings, or the hills on wheels, are they not so express ourselves, continually shifting with the reminded that they themselves have feet to bear blowing of the wind, of which 'we hear the sound, them to the spot where God is blessing the but cannot tell whence it cometh;' so as to pour preaching of his word; and pouring down the out the small or the great rain' upon whatever spirit of revival, and satisfying the soul of the spot of the earth God pleases, with the precision people in drought like a well-watered garden? of a vine-dresser watering the plants of his vineyard. For the Lord by watering wearieth
FIFTEENTH DAY.-MORNING. the thick cloud; he scattereth his bright cloud, « Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, and it is turned round about by his counsels, that they may do whatever he commandeth them
saith the Lord of hosts,' Zech. iv. 6. upon the face of the world in the earth.'
In the natural world, which is a picture of the Never, moreover, does this rain return to the spiritual, great and permanent effects are most frequently produced by gentle means and silent fierce and sullen Cain, for he rose up against his operations. Physical force, associated in our brother in the field, and slew him. But the minds with ideas of violence and hurry, has a voice of that brother's blood rose up to heaven very different significancy in the kingdom of from the ground; and was from that moment nature, where light, air, heat, water, and similar consecrated by the grace of God, to the exercise substances, all soft and gentle in themselves, are of an influence and dominion in the world, which continually effecting revolutions by their softest like the slow working of water, has undermined modes of action. It is remarkable too that the thrones of tyrants, and sapped the foundawhen the hard and the soft, or the violent and tions of mighty empires. Abel was the first gentle of the natural world, meet in conflict, martyr; and all the kingdoms of the earth have whatever may be the immediate result of the been revolutionized, or shaken by the power of first collision, the victory in the end always rests the martyr's blood. with the gentle and soft. Thus is it the flesh of It is the sin of mankind, at war, in the ignothe human frame that gives shape to the bones— rant impatience of passion with time, space, and the brain that fashions the skull. So does water circumstances, to employ physical force in its polish rocks, and woman-man.
violent sense, where moral power alone is equal We find this law very beautifully represented to the vastness of the results in view; and hence, in the manner of the divine manifestation vouch- if we would call down the power of God at all, safed to Elijah, as he waited and watched on the it is in the form of tempest, and earthquake, and mountain for the passing by of the Lord. “And lightning, that the most of us invoke it. When behold,' says the record of this significant inter- pining over our unheard prayers, our recourse is view, “the Lord passed by, and a great strong to an arm of flesh;' our trust in the horse and wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the his rider.' rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in Such means the Lord no doubt occasionally the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but employs, for with a high hand and an outstretched the Lord was not in the earthquake: and after arm were the Israelites brought out of Egypt. the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in But in turning the affections of man, as he turnthe fire: and after the fire a still small voice.' It eth the rivers of water, or fashioning his heart, was in this still small voice therefore that the as the potter fashioneth his clay; and in the Lord passed by, or in other words, favoured the great process of spiritualizing the world, the prophet with a passing manifestation of his pre- means that he employs are like the end, imbued sence.
with the spirit of meekness and peace. We are thus assisted in our transition from All these remarks are abundantly confirmed the kingdom of nature to that of grace; for in by the scripture at present before us. The holy the vision of the prophet are blended together men who were engaged in rebuilding the temple, the worlds of matter and of mind. And we have and being stricken with dismay by the multitude now to observe, that the same law which in phy- of powers and principalities opposed to the entersics assigns the ultimate superiority to powers prise, and despairing of their own resources, are soft and gentle in their operations, has likewise here comforted with the divine assurance, that awarded, in the moral and spiritual departments not by “might nor by power' should the work of the world, the final victory to the meek, the be accomplished; but by the Spirit of the Lord humble, and the patient. It is the will and the of hosts. The human instruments, employed in promise of God, that in the end the meek-spirited the undertaking, were not to be invested with shall inherit the earth; and to the achievements extraordinary authority, supported by armies and of this conquest hath he appointed, as the effi- royal edicts; but imbued with the enlightening cient instruments, the power of meekness and of and persuasive influences of the Holy Spirit. the soft answer that turneth away wrath.' Before the strong, the gentle Spirit of faith, and
This power of meekness in the moral world, love, and holiness, and wisdom, and zeal, were most conspicuously exhibited in the character and they assured, that the great mountain' of their the conquest of Christ, is equally observable to difficulties would be levelled with the plain, and an attentive eye in all the subordinate instru- the work proceed, calm, but irresistible in its ments of his grace. The conflict between the progress, to a sure completion. But all the hard and the soft, or the violent and the meek, while was the spirit of the prophet's vision in the spiritual world, was brought to its first undoubtedly pointing to Christ, and the sanctifiissue in the murder of Abel. The victory was cation of the human race. Christ was then, and no doubt to all appearance on the side of the is now making to himself a temple of the whole earth; and will go on building amidst the united in reality a continual conflict between the princiopposition of hell and the world, till.incense and ples of decay and renovation; which, in process of a pure offering be offered unto God, from the time, always ends in the breaking of the wheel at rising of the sun to the going down of the same;' the cistern, and the long repose of the grave. We and the instruments he employs are, not the are thus directed, by the experience of our own hard and the violent, not might and power, as wants and weakness to the fulness of that Founwe understand them—not armies, with their tain from which all life and vigour flows. And confused noise, and garments rolled in blood;' hardly can we turn our eyes towards the throne but the meek, the soft, and the gentle,—the of the Omnipotent, and contemplate the great regenerating and sanctifying influences of his Inhabitant of eternity, without feeling that he Holy Spirit; and so shall he bring the day to must be Lord over both life and death; able to pass, when the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, supply us with such a sufficiency of the living the leopard lie down with the kid, and the meek- principle as may for ever arrest the progress of spirited inherit the earth.
decay; and make us partakers of his own eternity. Let us remember all the while, however, that Now this is just what his word teaches us to we are as individuals a part of this great under- hope; and, in the passage before us, moreover, taking a small part we may think, but, never- teaches in such a spirit-stirring manner, as almost theless, just as great as the whole, in our own in the instant to realize itself, by raising us far esteem, if we remember that every one carries above this valley of sin and death, and bathing his own eternity within him. Let us rejoice our soul in the light of heaven. But 0! it is then in the promise of the text; and by keeping our besetting sin, to mistake the soarings of an ever near to the means of its fulfilment, by walk- excited imagination, for the mounting up of the ing much with the meek and lowly Jesus, and heart; and momentary sallies of enthusiasm for a seeking much unto God in prayer, let us labour turning of the soul to God; and though we mount diligently in the great work of spiritualizing our and soar upon wings as eagles, even to the very own hearts, and becoming living temples of the windows of heaven, it is alas ! too frequently only to Holy Ghost.
be dashed with a farther fall, and a greater force on the rocks from which we rose.
We are directed in the text “to wait upon the
Lord.' O! but this is a hard saying, thinks the FIFTEENTH DAY. EVENING.
fainting soul within itself; and who can hear it? *But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew
God, we are apt to think, is far away-seated upon their strength; they shall mount up with wings the stars, and beyond the reach of human prayers
a glorious, but distant and lonely throne beyond as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; Or, if it be true that he fills heaven and earth and they shall walk, and not faint,' Isa. xl. 31.
with his presence; that he encompasses all our THERE is manifestly an arm at work in the uni- steps, and besets us behind and before, yet he is verse that never tires, and a power incessantly an invisible Spirit; everywhere eluding the most giving itself out without ever growing less. The diligent search of our senses, just as effectually as scoffers of the later ages, described by St Peter, if he were no where present on our side of the as inferring that the world will never come to an starry firmament. Forbehold,' says the ancient end, because since the fathers fell asleep, all patriarch of Uz, 'I go forward, but he is not things continue as they were from the beginning,' there; and backwards, but I cannot perceive him; do homage to the unwearying might of the on the left hand, where he doth work, but I canEternal with the very words that deny his faith- not behold him; he hideth himself on the right fulness. For just in this sameness of procedure hand that I cannot see him.' Soon after, howpervading every department of creation, and ever, do we find the same patriarch declaring of directing all its modes of action in the same course, the same invisible Spirit; "I have heard of the and towards the same end, do we see the vigil- by the hearing of the ear, but now mine hath ance of an eye that never sleeps nor slumbers, and seen thee, wherefore I abhor myself, and repent the working of an energy that needs no intervals in dust and ashes. It is remarkable that we of repose.
thus find the man who has most movingly be In our own nature do we find embodied, on wailed the invisibility of God, just most emphatithe contrary, the principles of weakness, decay, and cally, also, declaring his experience of the divine dependence on a Fountain of strength, or 'of living manifestation; and the more we feel inclined to waters." foreign to ourselves. Our natural life is complain of the apparent distance, or absence of
the Lord, whom we profess to seek, the more rea- the bloom and strength of immortal youth, to son have we to be thankful for all the means with mount on wings as eagles to the mansions of which he has favoured us, of waiting upon him, unfading glory. and bringing our hearts within the influences of his manifested presence. These means are extremely simple in their own nature; and so continually, moreover, within the reach of our capacities, that
SIXTEENTH DAY.-MORNING. we have it in our power to realize literally the privilege of Enoch, and walk with God. For they 'And they continued stedfastly in the apostles'
doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of are the reading of his word, which the most of us have always at hand; the holy ordinances of
bread, and in prayers,' Acts ii. 42. his gospel, which are at once easy, and of fre- It is a saying worthy of all acceptation, as rich quent recurrence; and the privilege of close com- in comforts for every desponding pilgrim of Zion, munion with his Spirit in the exercise of medita- that with the Father of lights, from whom tion and prayer. It is this last privilege that cometh down every good and every perfect gift, we may regard as specially pointed at in the there is no variableness, neither shadow of turnexpression, 'waiting upon the Lord;' because it is ing. His goodness flows from a fountain that not only the most literal application of the words, can never run itself out; but, on the contrary, but the most effectual means of realizing the full though continually filling the cisterns of innumeraimport of the promise contained in them. Let ble human hearts, continues itself, for ever full. us remember, then, that we are directed to wait Just as little can the divine power wear itself upon the Lord in the public prayers of the sanc-away by exertion, for “hast thou not known, tuary, the devotion of the family altar, and the hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, private communion of the closet, where alone the the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, “Spirit helpeth our infirmities, making interces- fainteth not, neither is weary. Though incessantly sion for us with groanings that cannot be uttered.' 'giving power to the faint, and increasing strength
But 0! are any of us strangers to the wander- to them that have no might,' he remains, amid ing of our thoughts in prayer; and the devotion his own inexhaustible resources, from everlasting of the bowing head, and the bending knee, in to everlasting the same.' which there is no waiting upon the Lord ? Have We see in the text the simple, but majestic we never seen the congregations of the sanctuary, power of the gospel in full operation; and the not only turning away from God in the inner, theory of religion reduced to practice. Those but even in the outward man; sinking down upon early Christians, it tells us, continued stedtheir seats before the prayer is ended; and thus, fastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in reality, though knocking at the door of heaven, and in breaking of bread, and in prayer. In turning their back in the very moment when they these words we have, indeed, a most beautiful should expect it to open at the name of Christ. picture of the primitive church, when Chris
Thus even in the act of prayer do the youths faint tianity was still almost in its infancy,—and and grow weary, and the young men utterly fail verily an infancy, moreover, which, like our -but all this, because they are not 'waiting upon own, when compared with our riper years, that the Lord.'
makes us look back upon it with a sigh of Let the preface, therefore, to all our prayers regret, and wish we could live it over again. be, ‘Lord, teach us how to pray.' And so address- The interesting members of that early church ing ourselves to the Fountain of living waters, had not only been hearers but doers of the word; the Source of life and strength, with the prayer receiving the new doctrines from the apostles of of faith that wavereth not, shall we, in all our Christ, not merely as an interesting discovery in prayers realize the promise of our text; and 're- the kingdom of thought and the soul, but as a new our strength, and mount up on wings as living substantial rule of life and manners; and eagles; and having our affections, our treasures, pointing out the way to honour, glory, and imand our conversation in heaven;-waiting con- mortality. Their conversion had been recent stantly upon the Lord, and walking in all his ordi- and sudden; but it was stedfast and durable; pances blameless; we shall run, and not be weary; for they adhered with unwavering constancy to we shall walk and not faint. Thus in the end the doctrines of their new religion, notwithstandshall death have no power over our souls; and ing all the efforts of a world lying in wickedness shall be unto our bodies a long renovating sleep around them, to reason, to laugh, or to frighten in Jesus, from which we shall rise clothed with them out of their faith. They also kept up a