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is not true of all your fellow-Christians on earth. But that angel, “ having the key of the bottomless Some of them need both sympathy and help, in pit, and a great chain in his hand," is he too a order to be faithful unto death ; and all of them ministering spirit to man? Yes; he shall bind deserve affectionate notice, in order to be useful Satan, and shut him up for a thousand years, that in life. And, what am 1--or who are you—that he may “not deceive the nations.” we should care nothing about our brethren? If Truly, they are all ministering spirits! Yes; those we stand aloof from have faults,--so have and any of them would have gloried to carry Lawe: and if God were to treat us for our offences zarus to heaven. All of them iced when you against himself, as we treat them for their offences repented : and is there any heir of salvation, you against us, low should we like it—what would be are ashamed to own, or unwilling to aid ? Woman! the consequence ?
“ know thyself ;" thy duty; thy destiny. Besides ; are there none in your neighborhood, very low in life-very straitcned in circumstances --very much exposed to temptation, just because of heavy trials; but who really have “ the root of the
No. VII. matter” in them, notwithstanding all these things ? And, are you ashamed or afraid to notice and own them, as Christians ? True; they may not do
VARIETIES, FROM FRETFULNESS. much credit to Christianity, whilst they hardly know how to make the ends meet” in life. But Any one can expose or reprove that feverish and if you look down on them—if you withhold from fretful care, which is always foreboding the worst, them all countenance and counsel,—if they may or embittering life by complaints, and suspicions, sink or swim for any thing you care,—who risks and clamor. the credit of Christianity most ?
It is peculiar to the Saviour, to treat undue Do, ask yourself often, how you could meet in care with equal tenderness and fidelity. He heaven, without shame, some whom, notwithstand makes the fretful and the foreboding feel, that he ing all their faults, you expect and wish to meet knows thoroughly “what is in them," and yet there? True; they will not upbraid you when that he feels for them. Whilst he measures and they meet you before the throne. The neglected weighs their unbelief so minutely, that we lay our will not say—You used to pass me even at the account with hearing him say, “ They have no sacrament, without condescending to speak or faith at all in Providence,” to our surprise, he only look to me.
Those who “came out great tri- says to them, “ O, ye of little faith." Thus, just bulation,” will not say,—"I was sick, and ye visit- when he seems about to disown them entirely, for ed me not; hungry, and ye gave me no meat; their distrust of Providence, he lays his hand upon thirsty, and ye gave me no drink; naked, and ye them as gently as upon sinking Peter, asking, clothed me not." This will never be repeated, “ Wherefore didst thou doubt ?" after Christ has said it from the Judgment-seat : Did you ever mark the inimitable skill with but, should it even be pardoned by him in your which the Saviour met the over-anxiety of his case, how could you ever forgive yourself, when first disciples, when they began to dwell too much, you see the poor of the flock at his right hand ? and too peevishly, upon the questions, "What Why, their very silence and cordiality will then shall we eat, and what shall we drink, and wherebe more humiliating to you (although not at all withal shall we be clothed ?" intended to be so) than the most cutting reproofs.
For a moment he almost identified their “cark. Sympathy with poor and afflicted Christians is, ing care” about and the means of life, with remember, as much a leading as it is a lovely fea- the clamorous solicitude of the heathen, for temture of heavenly character. It is the very bright- poral things: "after all these things do the Genest feature of the social character of the angels of tiles seek :” but he did not leave them to suspect, God. We know more about their sympathy with from this reproof, that they stood in no nearer rethe penitent, the suffering, and the dying, than of lation to God, than the heathen. No; he immetheir nature or their history. I have sometimes diately added, “ Your Heavenly Father knoweth come, in thought, to “ the innumerable company that ye have need of all these things.” Matt. of angels,” saying to myself, without any difficul. vi. 32. Thus, in the same breath, he rebuked their ty, until I saw them in the vision of John, “ Are wrong spirit, and yet upheld their adoption. they not all ministering spirits to the heirs of sal. “This is not the manner of man, O Lord God !” vation ?"
Whilst I thought of them only as Did you ever observe, that he never calls upon a whole, I was not much humbled by their us to compare our lot with that of those who are ministry. But when I began to observe them, above us, or with that of those who are below us, one by one, in the glass of the Apocalypse, I have upon the ladder of providence ? Except in the been compelled to exclaim,- What, all minister- single case of persecution or reproach for his own ing spirits to the heirs of salvation? That angel name's sake, he does not even remind us of the
having the Seal of the living God ?" Yes; greater trials of some others. “ So persecuted he has it to seal his servants on earth. What, they the prophets which were before you," is the those four angels “having the four winds of the only instance in which he teaches patience or earth?" Yes; "that the winds should not blow contentment, by comparisons. This is another to hurt” the trees in the garden of God! But remarkable peculiarity in the ministry of the Sathat angel, “ clothed with a cloud, and a rainbow viour. He taught providence from nature, not around his head, and his face as it were the sun,” from society. He made the lilies of the fields, or is be too a ministering spirit to men? Yes; and the birds of the air, his texts, in preference to all well pleased to hold in his hand "a little book!" (the facts which the varieties of life furnished,
whether his object was to reprove or to soothe, they distract your mind, and thus prevent you from the fears of his disciples.
serving God so well as you wish to do. It is, There was consummate wisdom in this, whe- therefore, you think, both ungenerous and unjust
, ther you see it or not. It would do you good, to to be suspected of, much more to be charged with, * consider the lilies of the field and the birds of any such impious design as that of wanting to be the air," when you feel the burden of your cares independent of Providence. You never dreamt overwhelming. This may seem very unlikely at of such a thing—did you ? first sight, to you. Like myself, you may be ready Do not answer this question, until you have to say, —my cares are too heavy to be alleviated considered another peculiarity in the Saviour's lesby such considerations : it seems almost mockery, sons on providence. He does not teach confior mere sentimentality, to send me to learn of dence in, nor resignation to Providence, either as birds or lilies. What could the growth of flowers, abstract duties, or for their own sake, as Christian or the preservation of birds, teach me? What virtues ; but chiefly for the sake of keeping up light could such common things throw upon my the spirit and habit of prayer, and a proper regard uncommon anxieties?
to the eternal welfare of the soul. Now the fact In this flippant way, and in this wrong spirit, is, we really pray no more, either for spiritual or are we inclined to meet the Saviour's advice: for temporal blessings, than just to the extent of our there is no sense in such objections. They are sense of entire dependence on God. Our words mere sound. Accordingly, we should be con- may go beyond this; but our praying stops where demned out of our own lips, were he to press us our sense of dependence on the divine good-will with the single question,—What benefit do you and power ends. There may be some worship derive from brooding over your cares? You think and some devotion in what we say to God, when we and say, that you could derive neither light nor no longer feel utterly helpless, nor absolutely at good from considering the things I commend to his disposal ; but there is no prayer. Nothing is your notice. You cannot, however, say that the prayer, but that asking, or seeking, which proconsideration of them would do you any harm : ceeds from a full conviction, that God alone can whereas I know, and you must acknowledge, that help or uphold us. the views you take of your cares rather aggravate than alleviate them. You contrast your lot with utter helplessness, in regard to every thing we
Now we are unable to bear this deep sense of those above you; and that mortifies you; you need for life and godliness. Our spirit would sink compare it with those below you: and that discourages you, because you are thus compelled
to entirely, if it always felt all its needs, as it feels see how you may sink still lower in the world. some of them. Our Heavenly Father does not Thus when you look up the ladder of life, you are bereth that we are but dust.” He teacheth us
forget this. “He knoweth our frame, and rememE dissatisfied ; and when you look down it, you are
ready to despair. Now, to say the least, feelings dependence, as well as other things, only as we of this kind would not be produced by considering it is only at a few points in the circle of our
are “able to bear” the discovery: Accordingly, how the lilies grow, and how the birds are pro wants, or of our weaknesses, that we are comvided for! I readily grant, that such little things pelled to cry out, " Lord save, or I perish.” It is do not appear capable of teaching much wisdom : but still, what they do teach gives no offence : only now and then that the full truth of the orawhich is , you know, more than can be said with cle, “vain is the help of man," is forced deeply
home upon us.
We are not left, however, to fortruth, of some of the graver lessons you get, occasionally, from cerlain persons.
get this oracle, nor to give up that prayer. God Besides there is a great deal of pride in our re
will have us—by some means-sensible of our luctance to be “shut up” to an exclusive depend.
absolute dependence on his will. ence upon God, and to a complete deference to
Now, what if the hardship, the cross, or the his will
. For, why should we be less dependent burden, which you and I so want to get rid of, than irrational things ? We are not so pure as and which we bear so ill
, be the very best thing, the lily, nor so innocent as the bird. We can, indeed the only thing, that could keep us at the indeed, do more for ourselves, and we can think feet of God? Remember ; we must be kept inuch ; but if both our doing and thinking have there by something. It is also but too true, that for their real object, to try how far we can take those things in our lot which please us most, do our affairs out of the hands of God, into our own not send us oftenest into our closets, even for hands, we need not wonder that God should cross thanksgiving-to say nothing of supplication for us at times, and always leave us to feel that we their continuance. Might not, therefore, the recannot remove nor lighten our burdens by impa- moval of the cross which we fret under, remove tience.
us from the closet altogether? You do not believe, perhaps, that you want to Now this is just the secret of our case. That take your affairs out of the hands of God, into one thing in our lot, which we are so anxious to Four own hands. There may be only two or get rid of, is the very thing which makes us feel three things in your lot, which you wish to alter: that we cannot control providence, nor do withand as there are many good things in the lot of fout help from God. Were, therefore, that “ cup others, which you are content to be without, you to pass away,” this feeling would pass away think it rather unfair to be charged with pride or with it. perverseness, merely because you want to have It is all fallacy or fancy, to reckon otherwise.
your own way in a few points. Besides, you may We may mean well, but we judge ill, when we | even be conscious that one great reason, why you take for wranted that we should serve God betare so dissitisfied with some things, is, because ter, if our chief anxiety were taken away. I do 65
not, of course, intend by this remark, to convey change the rod which check us; or, why whould the idea, that no other cross could keep us aware we wish it changed for another? Another must of, or awake to, our entire dependence on God. be sent in its place ; and must be heavy enough He could make any cross or crook in our lot, an- to produce in us, as in Paul, the settled conviction swer the same purpose. But, why should he that God is MASTER.
LOVE OF THE SPIRIT;
TRACED IN HIS WORK.
A COMPANION TO THE
“E XPERIMENTAL GUIDES."
BY ROBERT PHILIP,
OF MABERLY CHAPEL.
“Why do those who speak much of the love of God and of Christ, say so little about the love of the SPIRIT?"- Dr. Henderson.
“He comes to us with the love, and upon the condescension, of all the blessed TRINITY.”—Dr. Owen.
THOMAS GEORGE, JR. SPRUCE STREET.