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Meditations on Heaven ...........
Village in the Mountains .................. 42-77
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MEDITATIONS ON SCRIPTURE.
Psalm xi. 1. In the Lord put I my trust : how say, ye to my soul, "flee as a bird to your mountain?"
. I will take up the words of David, for they suit me; I will pray to be like mivded with him, for therein consist my peace and happiness. I have trials as well as this eminent saint; but (Oh! blessed thought) David's God is my God--David's promises are my promises--and David's strength (if I seek it) shall be my strength. Mistaken and unbelieving friends may direct me in my troubles, as they did him, to creature refuges; and what 1 worse, my deceived heart is often pointing to the same quarter ; but where on this earth is there a mountain of safety ? Friends wbisper, and my heart sometimes whispers, "if you could but obtain some ease under your pains-if you could but feel some amendment in your affairs --if you could but be freed from the oppression of an evemy, or see your family prospering ---then your
mountain would stand so strong that you should never be moved.” But these are idle whispers. Is the bird safe in the mountain ? It may perch upon the rocks, where man cannot pursue; but the eagle or the hawk will discover its hiding place. No, I have lived to see, that the world is one great quicksand, without one rock on which I can obtain a standing. The mountains, which my disordered fancy paints, have no reality. The deluge of affliction covers the whole earth, The waves of sorrow toss me to and fro. “All thy waves and thy billows have gone over me." But I bless God ihat I am in the Ark. I am sailing through these seas of tribulation with the company of the faithful; and our Ark is fraught with promises. Hope deferred tempts me to send out my messengers, to see whether the waters assuage; but my affections and desires must needs turn inwards, and find in the Ark and in the promises their resting place. “In the Lord put I my trust." As trials are everywhere, so is his grace everywhere. My Lord is engaged in covenant to steer me safely through this deluge. I will trust then, and not be afraid. My God will help me. What " though the waters roar and are troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof;" what though the mount which I would fain rest on, fails me, it is enough, that I see afar off the everlasting hills--the mount Zioa-the City of the living God !-I will take comfort. My Saviour is with me in the vessel. Though frightened, I shall sustain no damage. He bears with my weakness—he pardons my sins--he quiets my fears - he tells me of my home--he supplies' all my need. In Him then put I my trust; nor shall the waves alarm me, since they bring me nearer and nearer to the promised land. I will be content to be a "prisoner of hope in the Ark," and to feel
the billows go over me, since God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever.
EXPLANATION OF TEXTS.
Charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
1 Pet. iv. 8.
(From Archbishop Leighton.) This is a quotation from Proverbs; and the other part of the verse greatly clears up the sense of it. “ Hatred stirreth up strifes ; but love covereth all sins," Prov. X. 12. Love delights not in undue disclosing of brethren's failings, doth not eye them keenly ; nor expose them willingly to the eyes of others.
We had need shew this love to each other, for “ in many things we offend all.” What do they mean, who are still picking at every appearing infirmity in their brethren ? Know they not, that the frailties which still cleave to the saints of God, do stand in need of, and call for, this mutual office of love, to cover and pass them by? Who is there that stands not in need of this? If none, why are there any that deny it to others? There can be no society, or Christian converse without it; giving (as we speak) allowance ; reckoning to meet with defects and weakness on all hands ; covering the failings of one another, seeing it is needful from each to another.
It is the bent of the basest and most worthless spirits, to be busy in the search of others' failings, passing by all that is good and to be imitated; as base flies readily sit on any little sore they can find, rather than upon the sound parts. But the more excellent mind of a real Christian loves not needlessly to touch, no, nor to look upon them, rather turns away. Such never uncover their brothers' sores, but to cure them,
Love is clever in finding out the fairest construction of another's conduct, and this is a great point. Pride and malice will find a way to put a hard visage on the best action. What is not clearly evil, love will view in the best and most favourable way. And where the thing is so plainly a sin, that this way of covering can bave no place, yet then will love consider what may lessen it most; whether a surprise, or strength of temptation, or ignorance, as Christ, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do," Or at least, love will still take in human frailty, to turn all the bitterness of passion into sweet compassion.
All private reproofs and public censures, where needful, will be sweetened in that compassion that Hows from love.
If thou be interested in the offence, freely and unfeignedly forgive it, and let it be, as though it had not been. And though thou meet with many of these, charity will gain and grow by such occasions. The more it bath covered, the more it can cover-coder a multitude, says our apostle ; covers all sins, says Solomon; unto seventy times seven in the day, saith Christ.
Learn then to beware of the evils that are contrary to this charity. Do not indulge in severe remarks and censures, when the matter will bear any better sense.
Do not delight in tearing a wound wider, and stretching a real failing to the utmost. In handling of it, study gentleness, pity, and meekness. These will advance the cure, whereas thy falling into a passion, will only be like putting the nail into the sore, that will rankle it and make it worse. Even siu may be sinfully reproved. There is a