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is not true of all your fellow-Christians on earth. Some of them need both sympathy and help, in order to be faithful unto death; and all of them deserve affectionate notice, in order to be useful in life. And, what am I--or who are you that we should care nothing about our brethren? If those we stand aloof from have faults,-so have we and if God were to treat us for our offences against himself, as we treat them for their offences against us, how should we like it-what would be the consequence?
Besides; are there none in your neighborhood, very low in life-very straitened in circumstances -very much exposed to temptation, just because of heavy trials; but who really have "the root of the 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 much credit to Christianity, whilst they hardly know how to "make the ends meet" in life. But if you look down on them-if you withhold from them all countenance and counsel,-if they may sink or swim for any thing you care,-who risks the credit of Christianity most?
But that angel, "having the key of the bottomless pit, and a great chain in his hand," is he too a ministering spirit to man? Yes; he shall bind Satan, and shut him up for a thousand years, that he may "not deceive the nations."
Truly, they are all ministering spirits! Yes; and any of them would have gloried to carry Lazarus to heaven. All of them rejoiced when you repented: and is there any heir of salvation, you are ashamed to own, or unwilling to aid? Woman! "know thyself;" thy duty; thy destiny.
VARIETIES, FROM FRETFULNESS.
ANY one can expose or reprove that feverish and fretful care, which is always foreboding the worst, or embittering life by complaints, and suspicions, and clamor.
It is peculiar to the Saviour, to treat undue care with equal tenderness and fidelity. He makes the fretful and the foreboding feel, that he knows thoroughly "what is in them," and yet that he feels for them. Whilst he measures and weighs their unbelief so minutely, that we lay our account with hearing him say, "They have no faith at all in Providence," to our surprise, he only says to them, "O, ye of little faith.' Thus, just when he seems about to disown them entirely, for their distrust of Providence, he lays his hand upon them as gently as upon sinking Peter, asking, "Wherefore didst thou doubt?"
Did you ever mark the inimitable skill with which the Saviour met the over-anxiety of his first disciples, when they began to dwell too much, and too peevishly, upon the questions, "What shall we eat, and what shall we drink, and wherewithal shall we be clothed ?"
Do, ask yourself often, how you could meet in heaven, without shame, some whom, notwithstanding all their faults, you expect and wish to meet there? True; they will not upbraid you when they meet you before the throne. The neglected will not say-You used to pass me even at the sacrament, without condescending to speak or look to me. Those who "came out of great tribulation," will not say,-"I was sick, and ye visited me not; hungry, and ye gave me no meat; thirsty, and ye gave me no drink; naked, and ye clothed me not." This will never be repeated, after Christ has said it from the Judgment-seat: but, should it even be pardoned by him in your case, how could you ever forgive yourself, when you see the poor of the flock at his right hand? Why, their very silence and cordiality will then be more humiliating to you (although not at all intended to be so) than the most cutting reproofs. For a moment he almost identified their "carkSympathy with poor and afflicted Christians is, ing care" about life 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 he 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, the fears of his disciples.
There was consummate wisdom in this, whether you see it or not. It would do you good, to "consider the lilies of the field and the birds of the air," when you feel the burden of your cares overwhelming. This may seem very unlikely at first sight, to you. Like myself, you may be ready to say, my cares are too heavy to be alleviated by such considerations: it seems almost mockery, or mere sentimentality, to send me to learn of birds or lilies. What could the growth of flowers, or the preservation of birds, teach me? What light could such common things throw upon my
In this flippant way, and in this wrong spirit, are we inclined to meet the Saviour's advice: for there is no sense in such objections. They are mere sound. Accordingly, we should be condemned out of our own lips, were he to press us with the single question,-What benefit do you derive from brooding over your cares? You think and say, that you could derive neither light nor good from considering the things I commend to your notice. You cannot, however, say that the consideration of them would do you any harm: whereas I know, and you must acknowledge, that the views you take of your cares rather aggravate than alleviate them. You contrast your lot with those above you; and that mortifies you; you compare it with those below you: and that discourages you, because you are thus compelled to see how you may sink still lower in the world. Thus when you look up the ladder of life, you are dissatisfied; and when you look down it, you are ready to despair. Now, to say the least, feelings of this kind would not be produced by considering how the lilies grow, and how the birds are provided for! I readily grant, that such little things do not appear capable of teaching much wisdom: but still, what they do teach gives no offence: which is, you know, more than can be said with truth, of some of the graver lessons you get, occasionally, from certain persons.
they distract your mind, and thus prevent you from serving God so well as you wish to do. It is, therefore, you think, both ungenerous and unjust, to be suspected of, much more to be charged with, any such impious design as that of wanting to be independent of Providence. You never dreamt of such a thing-did you?
Do not answer this question, until you have considered another peculiarity in the Saviour's lessons on providence. He does not teach confidence in, nor resignation to Providence, either as abstract duties, or for their own sake, as Christian virtues; but chiefly for the sake of keeping up the spirit and habit of prayer, and a proper regard
to the eternal welfare of the soul. Now the fact is, we really pray no more, either for spiritual or temporal blessings, than just to the extent of our sense of entire dependence on God. Our words may go beyond this; but our praying stops where our sense of dependence on the divine good-will and power ends. There may be some worship and some devotion in what we say to God, when we no longer feel utterly helpless, nor absolutely at his disposal; but there is no prayer. Nothing is ceeds from a full conviction, that God alone can prayer, but that asking, or seeking, which prohelp or uphold us.
Now we are unable to bear this deep sense of need for life and godliness. Our spirit would sink utter helplessness, in regard to every thing we entirely, if it always felt all its needs, as it feels Some of them. Our Heavenly Father does not bereth that we are but dust." He teacheth us "He knoweth our frame, and rememforget this. dependence, as well as other things, only as we it is only at a few points in the circle of our are "able to bear" the discovery. Accordingly, wants, or of our weaknesses, that we are compelled to cry out, "Lord save, or I perish." It is only now and then that the full truth of the oracle, "vain is the help of man," is forced deeply home We are not left, however, to forget this oracle, nor to give up that prayer. God absolute dependence on his will. will have us by some means-sensible of our
Besides there is a great deal of pride in our reluctance to be "shut up" to an exclusive dependence 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 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 much; 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 us from the closet altogether?
You do not believe, perhaps, that you want to take your affairs out of the hands of God, into your own hands. There may be only two or three things in your lot, which you wish to alter: and as there are many good things in the lot of others, which you are content to be without, you think it rather unfair to be charged with pride or perverseness, merely because you want to have your own way in a few points. Besides, you may even be conscious that one great reason, why you are so dissatisfied with some things, is, because (15)
Now this is just the secret of our case. That one thing in our lot, which we are so anxious to get rid of, is the very thing which makes us feel that we cannot control providence, nor do without help from God. Were, therefore, that "cup to pass away," this feeling would pass away with it.
It is all fallacy or fancy, to reckon otherwise. We may mean well, but we judge ill, when we take for wranted that we should serve God better, if our chief anxiety were taken away. I do
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 of, or awake to, our entire dependence on God. He could make any cross or crook in our lot, answer the same purpose. But, why should he
we wish it changed for another? Another must be sent in its place; and must be heavy enough to produce in us, as in Paul, the settled conviction that God is MASter.
LOVE OF THE SPIRIT;
TRACED IN HIS WORK.
A COMPANION TO THE
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.