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I. PRECIOUS IN GOD'S SIGHT IS MAN. This is a new view of life-not man's natural feeling. Precious as to the farmer land is which has the possibility of development with digging and draining and so on-precious as satisfying not the mere craving for usefulness but the love of a great heart-this is man's hope. No personal recommendations procure us this preciousness. We were precious while we "erred and strayed" like lost sheep; and the heart of the Great Shepherd went out after us, leaving "ninety and nine" even to seek "one." Precious one indeed that!
II.—When able to recognIZE THIS PRECIOUSNESS IN GOD'S SIGHT WE BECOME HONOURABLE. Before we could recognize it we must be grafted into Christ by a true and living faith. This faith then makes us honourable. The honour of a Christian is in (1) righteous living; (2) zeal for the Christian cause, independently of any earthly entanglement. The honour of Christ was to have "the heathen for his heritage." Entering into this, the honour of Christians is to win souls; and his joy-his "crown of joy" in seeing many turning from following idols to the living God; (3) having a conscience void of offence towards God and man.
III. THE SEAL OF GOD'S LOVE IS THE GREATEST COMFORT TO THE CHRISTIAN HEART. Having it, what cares he for the "whips and scorns" of time—what cares he for the smile of the worldling's contempt as he views his "punctiliousness," as such might call it. What if, like Paul, he be flogged and put in a dungeon, still he can sing. What if he be in the furnace of affliction-" When thou walkest through the fire thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee" (verse 2). What when on Jordan's bank he stands, "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee." What though treading through the valley of the shadow of death itself, "Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me." Oh, mighty love of God! art thou not a fit antidote for all the ills of life, and a sufficient reward at last? This is conferred upon the man who is received into the preciousness of God through faith, and who thereupon is "constrained" to walk uprightly, and "work while it is called to-day."
IV. "I WILL GIVE MEN FOR THEE," &c. Life is a mystery: the reverent and devout stand in awe of the mighty God, while they make it a study; the scientist is forbidden by its very existence from stepping beyond its limits into the sanctum sanctorum of the heart. If this be so with individual life, what is it with cumulative life? Mystery made more mysterious! Nation after nation went down into the darkness before the conquering sword of Israel. God's pity, great as
it is, spared not!
So, we have seen men who have lived; and when that tender, all-forgiving time came-when Death laid his icy fingers upon his prey, conscience would not allow us to settle with the thought that in the great future all was well with them. Are these not solemn warnings to us? If we cannot enter into God's inscrutable purposes in this respect, we may at least feel that these pass into the arms of Death" for us "-i.e., in the sense of being warnings to us.
APPLICATION.-You who have been warned by the fate of others— who know that that fate awaits you too-hesitate not. You, like those who have given themselves to Christ, are "precious" in God's sight. Learn to trust that—to rest in it. Then shalt thou be honourable, and the love of God that passeth all understanding shall abide upon you.
H. ROSE RAE.
CHRIST OUR LEADER.
Follow me." Matt. iv, 19.
THESE two brief words are very striking and significant. In addressing them to men, Jesus
I.-CLAIMS TO BE RIGHTFUL LEADER. This claim is based upon 1, His commission from His Father; 2, His perfect knowledge; 3, His sovereign power; 4, His infinite love.
II.-DEMANDS SUBMISSION ΤΟ HIS RULE. I, loving submission; 2, practical submission; 3, constant submission.
III.-CALLS TO WARFARE AGAINST EVIL. I, within; 2, without.
WHY WE LOVE CHRIST.
"We love Him, because He first loved us." 1 John iv, 19.
CHRISTIANS are "beloved" of God and each other. Christ has loved them with an everlasting love; and the great design of His meditorial work is to make them loving and loveable in return. Love is the purest and the sublimest of all principles, and cannot fail to draw kindred hearts into union. Hence
I. THE CHRISTIAN'S ATTITUDE TO CHRIST. When He meditates upon
1. The Babe of Bethlehem.
II. THE REASON WAY. "Because he first loved us."
1. An inducing and valid reason.
2. A Christ-improving reason.
3. A Glory-crowned reason.
ALFRED A. MAINWARING.
CHRIST'S WONDERFUL NAME.
"Thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins,” Matt. i, 21.
I. THE SIGNIFICANT NAME, "JESUS."-Many mentioned in Scripture have names significant of their nature and properties, or of some remarkable circumstance designed to be preserved in memory. In fact names were generally given to express some characteristic in respect to character, office, or work. Ex. gr. "Adam" means earth, and was applied to the first man, because he was taken from the earth. "Abram" signifies a high father, and was the first name given to the Patriarch. But " Abraham " signifies the father of a great multitude, and was given to the Patriarch when God promised to make him the father of many nations. "Isaac" signifies laughter, and was given to the son of promise because of Abraham's joy at the promise of God. 'Jacob" signifies a supplanter and is characteristic of his conduct towards his brother. But "Israel" signifies a prince of God, and was applied to the Patriarch Jacob, when he wrestled with God in prayer until He prevailed. And the name "JESUS" signifies a SAVIOUR, and was applied to the only begotten Son of God, because He should "save His people from their sins." This was the design of His incarnation, hence his name was in strict harmony with his mission.
1. His name was Divinely appointed. The angel was the Messenger of the Lord.
2. It was an adequate expression of His Work.
II. THE SAVIOUR." He shall save," &c.
Sin is trans
1. A Saviour is a universal need. "All have sinned." gression of the law. "Cursed is every one that continueth not," &c. The curse of the law is death. "The soul that sinneth shall die.” Then man is a transgressor, is in danger of being eternally lost, &c.
2. From this state man cannot deliver himself. He cannot offer to God a satisfactory ransom. He has tried, but in vain. Many things are tried, education, repentance, morality. But these cannot give peace of conscience, or take away the stain of guilt.
3. But God has provided a saviour. "He shall, &c., when we were yet without strength Christ died for us."
(1) He saves from sins, not one, but all, whether they are sins of
thought, word, or deed. From sins of all kinds, and to any extent He
(2) He saves from, not in, their sins. Sins must be taken from the This separation between sin and the sinner is affected by
III. WHOM DOES JESUS SAVE?—"His people." Who are they? His own family only? No. The Jews only? No. But all men. All are His people, the work of His hands, the sheep of His pasture. We are His by Creation, by Preservation, and He has provided for us Salvation that we may become His by Redemption. Let us embrace this Saviour, enjoy His pardon here, that we may ultimately share His glory above.
REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES.
FROM Messrs. Nisbet and Co. we have received two volumes which, while of widely different character, will prove valuable additions to any preacher's library. In "Palestine Explored" (1) we have an immense number of interesting details respecting oriental customs, gathered mainly from the writer's own personal observation during several years' residence in the Holy Land, each of which is shown to furnish clear and striking illustration of one or more passages of Scripture. The work is most interestingly written, and its usefulness is enhanced by copious notes, and by a re-translation of many of the texts quoted. Mr. Neal's former work "Palestine Repeopled" has now reached its seventh edition, and we shall not be surprised if the present one "Bible proves equally successful. Images (2) is, as its title-page indicates, "a book for the young," but the twenty addresses which it contains will, unless we are greatly mistaken, be thankfully studied by ministers, and others in search of helpful hints in the preparation of their addresses to children. Among the subjects treated of are "The Lighted Lamp," "The Bruised. Reed," "The Struggling Ox," "Our Sun," "Our Anchor," "The Great Shipwreck," &c., each having its appropriate text, with terse and easily-remembered divisions, the whole being illustrated by fresh and interesting anecdotes. Both volumes are nicely printed, elegantly bound, and embellished with good engravings.
The romantic story of the origin of modern missions is well told in
(1) "Palestine Explored." By the Rev. James Neal, M.A. Price 6s. London: Nisbet and Co., 21, Berner's Street.
(2) "Bible Images: A Book for the young." By the Rev. James Wells, M.A.. Price 3s. 6d.
London: Nisbet and Co.
Dr. Culross's new "Life of William Carey," which forms the latest addition the Hodder and Stoughton's admirable series of biographies, "Men Worth Remembering."(3) The early life of the shoemakermissionary is told with clearness and brevity, and the reader is speedily interested in the long and arduous struggles through which Carey had to pass before he could induce any of his brethren in the ministry to entertain the idea of organising a practical effort on behalf of the heathen. How the many obstacles which were placed in their way were overcome by Carey and his earlier associates, and the marvellous successes which slowly but surely followed their labours in India, afford matter for a narrative as fascinating to read as the last new novel. To those of our readers who have to prepare sermons or speeches on the subject of missions we warmly recommend this volume as one rich in material for their use. We may add that among other volumes in the same series we are promised biographies of Richard Baxter, John Wycliffe, John Knox, Fletcher of Madeley, and Jonathan Edwards.
Of Methodist laymen who have deserved to be kept in memory after death few have been more worthy of a memoir, though perhaps many have been more widely known in life, than the late Dr. Birchenall, of Macclesfield (4). Mr. French, as one of the tutors of Didsbury College, had many opportunities of becoming acquainted with the excellencies of the man whose biography he has written, and the testimony of Dr. Rigg, in his introduction to the work, is abundantly justified by what we learn in the book itself as to Dr. Birchenall's saintliness of character, and breadth of intellect of one who only a skilful medical attendant, but an assiduous spiritual pastor." The volume is prepared by a well-executed photograph, and is closed by a long appendix consisting of extracts from the deceased's manuscripts.
Those who have seen Mr. Longley's "Fireside Stories," will gladly welcome the "Children's Sunbeam" (5), a neatly bound illustrated volume of stories, which will, doubtless gladen the hearts of multitudes of little folks as a Christmas present or New Year's gift. Mr. Longley has also produced a remarkably cheap and well-arranged “Cookery Book," arranged in the novel form of question and answer (6), by the side of which comes a literary curiosity in the shape of the whole of Mrs. Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin " for one penny!
(3) "William Carey." By James Culross, D.D. Price 2s. 6d. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 27, Paternoster Row.
(4) "The Life of John Birchenall, M.R.C.S. By the Rev. A. J. French, B.A. Price 3s. 6d. London: Wesleyan Conference Office, Paternoster Row.
(5) "The Children's Sunbeam." With 23 Illustrations. Price 1s. London:
F. E. Longley, 39, Warwick Lane, E.C.
(6) "Good Cookery: A Culinary Catechism." By Mrs. L. D. Brown. London: F. E. Longley, Warwick Lane.