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hearts are not hardened. And hence it is so often sent to those whom we know to be the beloved children of God. “ Those whom I love I rebuke and chasten.”“If ye endure chastisement, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is there whom the father chasteneth not ?" Let us but for a moment consider the awful sinfulness of sin, and the dreadful amount which exists in the heart of man, even in them that are regenerate; and then remember how much less it is thought of than it deserves to be, and the honour of God requires; and we shall see abundant reason why the Lord should never stay his chastening hand, in love and pity to our souls. We sin and soon forget it: we repent, and the feelings are soon past with which we return to God. Ought they not still to abide with us? ought we not long to remember sin, even when we believe that the blood of Christ has cleansed its guilt away? We may be sure that if repentance leaves no trace behind, it will and must be renewed; and we shall be called to remember it again. And, in the same manner, if the lessons of another past year are not rightly learned ; if the wisdom is not gained which it ought to have added to us, how can we look for an improvement in strength and peace in that year which we are spared to commence ? It is, indeed, a fearful thing to think that a year shall have passed and brought us no nearer to God, although so very much nearer to the time when we shall have to appear before Him as our Judge. But we are not always the best judges as to our progress and advancement in spiritual things. Many times when we think ourselves improving, we are quite in the opposite state; and when we see little proof of progress, we have in fact been growing in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord. The humble
disciple of Jesus will always look with selfreproach and sorrow at the opportunities and means passed by: he does not know all that God has wrought in him secretly through them; but he sees with pain the much greater and higher standard of holiness before him to which he has not attained. His journey is up a long, and steep, and rugged mountain side. He aims at the sunny heights which are beyond the range of clouds.
In one part of his progress he can distinctly see the way God leads him; in another he cannot see it at all, because clouds and darkness rest upon it. onward in hope and faith, having Christ for his Star before him, to guide him in the right path. Depending firmly on God, he commits himself to his providence
He lives in prayer; almost every hour making humble supplication to his heavenly Father to bring him safely through his trials, to raise him to heaven at last, to enable his weary feet to rest upon the "everlasting hills.” Time passes on, and he is still on the journey. Is he no nearer to the summit he is desiring to reach ? Has not every day brought him nearer? He is, indeed, forgetful of the lapse of time, if he does not reflect, as St. Paul does, that his "salvation is nearer than when he believed;" that earth is of less importance to him ; that all things here are more hastily passing from him; and that he may much sooner expect to behold the sign of the Son of man in heaven. How much, then, there is, in every passing year, to make us less and less worldly-minded, and to loosen our hold of the things of time! It is an evidence of God's grace working in us, if this effect is produced; it seems to show us that God is really calling us up by degrees to his eternal kingdom. But if there is any thing we ought to learn at the close of every year, it is the spirit of deep repentance for all that is past. We know not half the sin which God has seen in our thoughts and ways from its commencement to its close; but we know enough to make us wonder at His forbearance and the continuance of His love.
We cannot think of continuing through another year no better than we were the last, without being in an evil state indeed. It is high time to awake out of sleep; to
prepare to meet our God;" to fly for pardon to the Lord Jesus; and to seek a much larger portion of his Holy Spirit to make us meet for the inheritance of his saints.
REMARKS ON THE TWENTY-THIRD CHAPTER OF
JEREMIAH. MR. EDITOR,
Nov. 25, 1845. Before the last Sunday after Trinity this year, I saw a good deal in the newspapers about the First Lessons proper to be read on that day. This matter, however, did not much disturb me, as I saw that we could not go wrong, as we were likely either to have morning and afternoon First Lessons from the Proverbs of Solomon, or from the Prophecy of Isaiah. It seldom happens that there are twenty-seven Sundays after Trinity; and no Sunday Lessons have been provided for the case. I am told that there will not be another such day for the next eleven years; but this is a matter that I don't pretend to understand, and, as I said before, it does not much trouble me. But the reason, Mr. Editor, for my troubling you with this letter, is to say, that on the said Sunday I was looking into my Prayer-book, and reading the Epistle for the last Sunday after Trinity, taken from the twenty-third chapter of the prophet Jeremiah ; and it did strike me as being very wonderful how exactly the coming of Christ is foretold so many years beforehand. I suppose the prophet Jeremiah lived as many as six hundred years before Christ came into the world. Yet, surely the “ Lord our Righteousness” is, in that chapter, plainly set forth. There are some notes in my Prayerbook; and I was much pleased with the reflections which I read on this portion of Scripture; and as I should hope they may be of use to some other of your readers, I have sent them to you, in case you may be able to find room for them in one of your numbers, of which I have, from the beginning, been
A CONSTANT READER.
MEDITATIONS ON THIS CHAPTER. From his (Christ's) bringing salvation to Israel and Judah, let us endeavour to have a share in it, and to rely upon it; for “there is no salvation in any other." From his being “the Lord our righteousness," we learn where we are to seek for justification, namely, not from
any inherent righteousness of our own, for that is nothing, and worse than nothing, and cannot abide the trial; but by the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and by faith in Him made ours. “ Abraham believed”in Christ, and “it was counted unto him for righteousness," and to them who follow the faith of Abraham, is the same righteousness imputed, as we read in Rom. iv. It was the pride of the Pharisees to trust too much to their own righteousness, and to expect justification by the merits of their own works; but the poor publican, that trusted only to God's mercy, was justified far before them; the reason whereof is given, that they, “ being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own, submitted not to the righteousness of God," and so lost all the benefit of it. (Rom. x. 3.) And therefore, St. Paul desired to be found in Christ, not having his own righteousness, but to be clothed with His, which alone could cover the multitude of his sins. Lastly, from His being called, "the Lord our righteousness" let us learn to honour and rejoice in his name, saying with the Psalmist, “Not unto us, but unto thy name be the glory," praying with him, “ Lord, deal Thou with us according to thy name;" that is, Forgive us our sins, justify us by thy righteousness, as thou usest to do to them that love thy name.-From Bp. Mant's Edition of the Prayer-book.
PSALM LVII. 10, 11. As the heavens envelope this beautiful world, May thy mercy and love, like a "banner" unfurled, Be around us outstretch'd, in unbroken array, Till the powers of darkness are driven away. Like those black clouds that fly with a wild autumn wind, Unbelief and distrust overshadow the mind ; But thy truth, like the sunbeams, will reach even here, And disperse all the gloom, and dispel all the fear. “Set thy glory," then, Lord, high above the thick clouds, Till it lighten the nations, their darkness enshrouds. May they “come to the brightness" which rose at thy birth, Till the shadows of error have vanish'd from earth.
new heavens' and earth we then look for with joy, Where no darkness may come, and no cloud may annoy ; Where “ the glory of God” clear as crystal shall shine, And “all nations shall walk" in its brightness divine.
C. W. P.
A HYMN FOR MISSIONARIES IN AFRICA.
Psalm 1xviii. 28-30, 31,
Gave us courage and strength to prevail,
And our hope was beginning to fail.
But in faith we re-echoed our song:
In " the power of his might” we are strong.
“Scatter” those who “in war take “ delight."
To accept evangelical light!
And trust on through the gloomiest hour,
Without doubting his love or his power.
To accomplish the work He shall please.
C. W. P.
STORIES ILLUSTRATIVE OF THE CHURCH CATECHISM.
(Continued from yol, xxv. page 408.)
III. THE WICKED HUSBANDMEN. In my last story I told you of the soldiers whom the good husbandman employed and enlisted to defend his vineyard from the enemies who were continually trying to get in and destroy the fruit. I must now tell you, that after some years the good husbandman thought it best to leave his vineyard, after he had made it in every respect capable of bringing forth good fruit, and fenced it round on every side, and left charge with the soldiers to watch over it. He “went into a far country ;” and before he went he appointed other husbandmen to rule over it, and told them that when he came back he should expect them to give him of the fruit, and to render an account of all they had done in the vineyard. From time to time, too, he sent some of his own servants to bring the fruit. But instead of obeying his wise and good commands, they beat and killed all the faithful servants who were sent, and refused to send their master any of the fruit of his own vineyard. At last, the good husband