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of the lowly penitent. Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, and in due time you shall be exalted, for "God giveth grace unto the humble, but the proud he knoweth afar off." "To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and that trembleth at my word." Remember, thou humble, weeping believer, Christ hath pronounced thee blessed, and the blessings which he promises he is able and ready to bestow. "Fear not, little flock, it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."

But what shall be said to those, and they are a numerous class, who know no other happiness save that which earth can give? How long will you spend money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which satisfieth not? You mistake the shadow for the substance. Ask the man who has drunk the most largely of the delusive pleasures of this world, and he will tell you, from bitter experience, that "all is vanity and vexation of spirit."

"Lean not on earth, 'twill pierce thee to the heart,
A broken reed at best; perchance a spear."

Has not the Son of God, who knoweth all things, been reminding you in this passage of a happiness greater, purer, more lasting than aught that this world can bestow?" He builds too low who builds beneath the skies." Cease then from following a de

lusive phantom, which if thou attempt to seize it will elude thy grasp; and while it would seem to light thy path, will lure thee on to eternal ruin. Listen to the voice of one who is Himself the way, and the truth, and the life. "Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear and come unto me; hear and your souls shall live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David."

SECTION II.-CHARACTER AND HAPPINESS OF BELIEVERS

UNDER THE GOSPEL DISPENSATION. (CONCLUDED.)

MAT. V. 6-12.

THERE is something deeply interesting in listening to the voice of Jesus on a question so important as that which regards the true happiness of the soul. He is speaking in the presence of a mixed multitude, composed chiefly of Jews, whose religious opinions had been derived not from the pure unerring statements of the Word of God, but from the vain traditions of the elders. It is remarkable how beautifully the Redeemer accommodates His discourse to His audience. It would have been premature to have made a full and explicit

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revelation of the peculiar doctrines of the Christian dispensation. In describing, therefore, the man who is truly happy, blessed in time, and through eternity He exhibits the most striking and prominent features of his character, rather than the principles by which that character is formed. He gives a faithful portrait of the happy man, rather than an abstract dissertation on the nature and foundation of true happiness.

And the features of character which He selects are those which belong exclusively and alone to the true believer. The picture could not fail to be recognised as being altogether unlike even the happiest worldling. There is no mention whatever of riches, honour, pleasure-the chief ingredients of this world's enjoyments. And yet the absence of these renders the description all the more faithful and accurate. Our attention is called away from the world without us to the world within us, from outward and adventitious circumstances to the dispositions and affections of the soul. The man who is blessed, says the Lord Jesus, is poor in spirit, a mourner and meek; all of which qualities lie at the root of the Christian character. They are essential to the very existence of the life of God in the soul.

And as intimately connected with these the Saviour adds

V. 6. "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst

after righteousness; for they shall be filled." The word "righteousness" is used in Scripture in a variety of senses. Sometimes it denotes justification or acceptance with God, as in the passage, among many others, "With the heart man believeth unto righteousness." In other passages it implies the ground of a believer's justification, the imputed righteousness of the Lord Jesus; and, at other times, it denotes the inherent righteousness of the believer, or his practical conformity to the will of God. Now, in considering the precise meaning of the word in the passage before us, it is of importance to remark, that all the three significations to which we have adverted may be considered as merging into one. There is no righteousness which God can accept or recognise as entitled to the name, unless it be a righteousness which yields a perfect conformity to His will and law. This, of course, can only be declared with truth concerning the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. True, there is a partial conformity to the law of God, which every believer, by the indwelling operation of the Spirit, is enabled to attain; but even this, imperfect though it be, is entirely dependent upon the previous imputation of Christ's righteousness to the soul. In other words, there is no inherent, without a previously imputed righteousness. The two are inseparable; and when our Lord therefore speaks of a hungering and thirsting after righteousness, it is comparatively of little consequence

whether you understand the word to mean the one righteousness or the other. The soul that is deeply impressed with its own want of conformity to the law of a holy Jehovah, will mourn deeply over its state, and feel itself to be poor indeed; and having been awakened to a view of the excellence, and spirituality, and extent of God's holy, just, and good law, it will hunger and thirst after the attainment of such a conformity as is essential to its acceptance and happiness. The man becomes affectingly sensible of his need of this conformity; he therefore craves it with all the eagerness with which we seek to gratify our most urgent appetites. He will resort to every possible means by which he can attain this most desirable object. No sooner was the poor prodigal reduced to the lowest state, so that he would fain eat of the husks which the swine did eat, but no man gave unto him, than he came to himself, and said, "How many hired servants of my father's house have bread enough, and to spare, and I perish with hunger? I will arise and go to my father." He straightway returns to his home; behold him once more under his father's roof, and listen to the voice of the tender and still affectionate parent-"Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him." "And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found." He has not hungered and thirsted in vain.

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