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of God. They not only read, but realize, that without Christ they can do nothing. Times of temptation and desertion, of felt weakness and utter inability even to draw nigh unto God, pare for sweet drawings of his grace, and fresh manifestations of his love. And all these changes and varied times, and manifold experiences, separate them effectually and essentially from mere professors; and they become "a people that dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned amongst the nations."

"EVEN TO HOAR HAIRS WILL I CARRY YOU." (Continued from p. 455.)

AGAIN. David, the man after God's own heart, saw the flourishing state of the wicked for a while, and also saw their end. "I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and lo, he was not; yea, I sought him, but he could not be found;" namely, among the righteous. Then he sets the believer in Christ against him: "Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright; for the end of that man is peace."

Now, God's people, who are called trees of righteousness, the right-hand planting of God, are seldom found planted in this soil of worldly prosperity. Paul says, "Ye see your calling, brethren; how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called." And when God's people have been very prosperous, we often see their prosperity becoming a snare and a trap for their souls.

The first I shall notice is Hezekiah. It is said of him that the Lord was with him, and that he prospered whither he went forth. Then, in 2 Chron. xxxii. 25, we have his heart lifted up with pride, and God's leaving him to know all that was in his heart. Prosperity naturally tends to this. The wonderful prosperity in Israel which we read of in Deut. xxxii. led on to this. Thus we read, "But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked." "Thou art waxed fat; thou art grown thick; thou art covered with fatness. Then he forsook God that made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation." When Israel got into this place, then they went to idolatry, and so sacrificed unto devils, and not God.

Solomon, also, who had so much wealth, and so much temporal glory, found this was a snare to his soul. His affections were led by the devil to take in heathenish wives; and then these drew his heart away to idolatry; and not this only, but he built temples for devils in the very sight of the temple of the living God. This brought upon him and upon his house a severe rod, and because of this God rent ten tribes from him and his house, and left him only two to reign over.

A tree of righteousness never grows better than when God the Father is pruning it and purging it by afflictions, by the temptations of Satan, by adverse dispensations in providence, when these things are accompanied by a supply of the Spirit. These

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are they that are planted in the house of the Lord, and flourish in the courts of our God. The corruption of their nature is subdued, and grace sweetly both reigns and rules. Believers thus purged do best show forth the Lord's praise, and live the most to God's glory. The greatest favourites of heaven have been the sorest tried in providence; and it is the general lot of the saints. While we find, on the one hand, that there are not many rich called, we also find, on the other, that God hath chosen the poor of this world, and he makes them rich in faith; so the prayer of faith must bring in every supply, both for body and soul. God says in his Word, "I will leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the Name of the Lord." This shows us that we are to have no refuge but God, and no helpers but him. Now, Elijah, who was such an eminent favourite of heaven; who had such power from God upon him, and who was so favoured as not to die, but to be changed in a moment, and carried by angels, both body and soul, to heaven, without ever dying, was so kept under cross dispensations of providence that he was fed miraculously by the ravens. "Go," says God, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith that is before Jordan; and it shall be that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. So he went, and did according to the word of the Lord, and the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook." When this source of supply was ended, then God said unto him, "Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon. Behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee." And though God did not tell him where she lived, nor how he was to know her, yet he set off in faith; and just as he got to the city, this very woman was without the gate of the city, gathering sticks to dress her last morsel; after which she concluded she and her son should surely be starved to death. But no; the righteous shall never be finally forgotten. "Bread," says God," shall be given thee; thy waters shall be sure." And God's blessing by his servant so attended this last morsel, that it is said that "the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sent rain upon the earth;" and they all lived a full year upon this. God's promise shall never be broken. He has said, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added."

God's testimony of Job is that he was a perfect and upright man. The Lord also says of Job that he was one that feared God, and hated evil. For some time wonderful prosperity attended him. But after a little while, in order that selfrighteousness might be destroyed, and also all confidence in the flesh rooted out of his tabernacle, and that he might be brought to a fuller knowledge of Christ, God blasted the whole of his prosperity by letting the devil loose upon him; and under the Lord's permission his great troubles began. One messenger

comes and tells him that the oxen were ploughing, and the asses feeding beside them, and that the Sabeans had fallen upon them, and taken them away; yea, that they had slain all the servants but one for a messenger. The next messenger declares that the fire of God had fallen from heaven, and burnt up the sheep, and the shepherds also. The next brings tidings that the Chaldeans had made out three bands, and carried away all the camels, and slain all the servants but himself. The last brings the heaviest tidings of all, that his ten children were killed by a wind from the wilderness blowing the house down upon them. In addition to all this, the Lord permitted the devil to smite him with grievous sores from head to feet; and then we have him upon the dunghill. And when the devil was permitted thus to afflict him, all his friends and acquaintances either stood aloof, or became miserable comforters. His wife also tempted him to curse God; yet, through God's power, he stood, and withstood. His faith in God never did finally fail. "I know," says he, "that I shall be justified; and when I am tried, I shall come forth as gold." He knew that the root of the matter, the Spirit of God, the love of God, were in him. "I know," he says, "that my Redeemer liveth." "My witness is in heaven; my record is on high." And at the very worst time he could say, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him." Here is golden faith, tried in the fire. All that he spoke in unbelief fell to the ground, and never came to pass; but what he spoke in faith, that stood fast, every word of it. And when his dross and tin were purged, then God brought him forth again; and in providential blessings and in spiritual things he flourished beyond what he had ever done before. For "God blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning." Thus you have Job for an example of patience and suffering; and you have seen the end of the Lord with him. God "forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever." They shall be had in everlasting remembrance.

The apostle Paul himself, upon whom was such great grace, what great things did he suffer for Christ's sake! And if we suffer with him, we shall also, by-and-bye, reign with him. It is not only given unto us to believe in Christ, but also to suffer for his sake. The Lord is also "a present help" in time of trouble. When Daniel was cast into the den of lions, Christ was there, and shut the lions' mouths. When the three children were cast into the fiery furnace, Christ was with them, as the king himself was obliged to confess: "And he answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. (Dan. iii.) It was the Son of God in reality and in truth. He fulfilled his promise, "When thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour."

When Paul was almost pulled to pieces by the mob at Jerusalem, the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, "Be of good cheer, Paul, for as thou hast borne testimony of me at Jerusalem, thou must bear witness of me also at Rome." When he was on his passage to Rome, and such a storm overtook him that all hope they should be saved was taken away, then the Lord stood by Paul, saying, "Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Cæsar; and lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee." When he met with such opposition at Corinth, then spoke the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, "Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace; for I am with thee; and no man shall set on thee to do thee harm, for I have much people in this city." And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

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These things make it plain that the Lord is near them that feel after him, a God at hand to them that call upon him. eyes are over them. "His eyes are over the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry."

It was so in old time, and is so in the present time; for his hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither is his ear heavy, that it cannot hear. For he is the unchangeable JEHOVAH; the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. He says, "Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me." God's children are chosen in the furnace of affliction. The Hebrews to whom Paul wrote, what did they not suffer? Call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; partly whilst ye were made a gazing-stock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly whilst ye became companions of them that were so used. For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. Cast not away, therefore, your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith."

A knowledge of ourselves, of our interest in Christ, and of the saints' riches in him, ought to bear us up under every adverse dispensation. These Hebrews had such a sense of it that when they were robbed of all their property, they stood still, looked on, and rejoiced. O that we may ever stand according to Paul's measure when he says, "I have learned, in whatsoever state İ am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and how to abound. I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me."

(To be concluded.)

THE whole world shall stand no longer than till Christ hath fulfilled his promises made to his church and cause.-J. Hill.

Obituary.

ALICE DICKINSON.-On Feb. 5th, 1880, aged 57, Alice Dickinson, a member of the church at Bolton.

As is the case with many of the Lord's people, it would be difficult to say when her mind first became exercised about eternal things. It is evident from the following account that God had begun the good work of grace in her soul, after hearing some one preach from the words of Jeremiah: "The harvest is past, the summer is ended; and we are not saved." She felt that she was a poor lost sinner, and the Lord, who leads his people by a way they knew not, led her some time after this to a place where he makes his flock to rest at noon. She heard some one, we know not who it was, preach at the Particular Baptist Chapel, Bolton, who graphically described her condition as a poor, polluted sinner; which caused her to say on her way home to her husband, that the preacher was nearly as bad as she felt herself to be. What an agree ment there is in many things in the hearts of the Lord's people! As face answers to face in water, so does the heart of man to man.

From that time she was a regular attendant at the above place; and the Lord was pleased to bless her soul upon one occasion from these words: "The ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion," &c.

Eventually she was led to see into the ordinance of believers' baptism, and to cast in her lot with the Lord's despised few. She was baptized on the first Lord's day in September, 1858, by Mr. Richard Mercer, of Blackburn.

Mrs. Dickinson had received some internal injuries from a slip when getting into a cart many years ago. This was the furnace by which the grace of God was made to shine in her. Although not of such a nature as to prevent her attending to her household duties, it was secretly weakening her strength, and unfastening the pins of her earthly taber nacle. During the latter part of her life, it also prevented her attending the means of grace. She was not a talking Christian, but one who walked with God. Although not favoured in the same degree as some of the Lord's people are, to speak of great manifestations of the love of God, the glory of Christ in redemption's work, and the sealing of the Spirit of promise to the day of redemption, her only hope was in Christ, the sacrifice for sin, who, through the Eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot unto God. His precious blood she hoped had been shed for her, and that she should stand before a holy God in the spotless obedience-the imputed righteousness-of Christ.

I remember her saying some time ago, after service one Lord's day evening, the good wine had been kept till last. The subject was, "Thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favour the dust thereof." The preacher remarked that as dust is blown into and lies in the valleys, so when God shows a poor sinner his mercy, how humbled he is that God should favour such dust and ashes as he feels himself to be. When, too, the sinner has once tasted God's pardoning love and mercy, this old wine, he desires not new, but says the old is better. God's eternal love, sovereign grace, and rich mercy, manifested to the heart, just suits poor needy sinners who have nothing of their own but sin, and are in themselves all uncleanness.

Our sister was not confined to her bed long. She was up on Monday, and died the following Thursday. This was felt to be a very heavy stroke by her husband and family. By none that knew her was it anticipated that her end was so near. The words, "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee," were a support to her soul.

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