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them for these ungrateful murmurings, sent them food from heaven, and let it fall day by day around their tents, so that they had only to go out and gather it. Now this food was called Manna, and there are some particulars about it, which are mentioned in the Bible (as all other histories are written therein) for our learning ; and I should wish you to find out for yourselves the lessons which those particulars are meant to teach us; for though the Manna no longer falls, yet we are taught every day to ask God to give us our daily bread; and when we say these words, we ought not to think that we are asking God only for food, but recollect what our Catechism teaches us, that in saying these words we desire our Lord God to give us all things that be needful, both for our souls and bodies.
1. You will see, on reading the history, that though the manna was sent down from heaven by God, yet the people were told to go and gather it for themselves. It is thus with all the gifts of God, both spiritual and temporal. Though they are freely given to us, yet we must seek for them; we must ask for them, we must labour ourselves to obtain them. A slothful husbandman or gardener, who takes no pains to till his ground, or to make it ready for the seed, will find that the rain and the sun which God sends to ripen his corn, will only nourish the weeds which his neglect has left. And in like manner, the slothful Christian who takes no pains to seek for the grace of the Holy Spirit to soften his heart, and make it bring forth good fruit, will find that the work of religion grows harder as he grows older, and the evil habits which he has never tried to overcome, have become too strong to be broken off.
2. They were told to gather the manna early in the morning, for when the sun was hot it melted. Here are two lessons hidden, but easily found if we seek for them. God's grace, the bread of life which our Lord gives to all who ask for it, must be sought for while we are young, before the scorching sun of temptation, and the fierce passions of man's riper age have had any power over us:
56 'Tis easier work if we begin
To fear the Lord betimes;
Many of the greatest and best of men have been those who feared the Lord from their youth. Joseph, Samuel, Obadiah, and Timothy, of whom it is written, that from a child he knew the Holy Scriptures.
Again. This teaches us that we must seek for God's grace early in the day, early in every day of our lives; before the cares and business of our worldly calling have filled our thoughts, we must ask of God for grace and strength that we may fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all our doings may be righteous in his sight.
3. They were told not to leave any of the manna till the morning. What was the reason of this? There might be two reasons found for this command. Ist, to prevent their being idle; 2dly, because in that hot climate it would not keep good during the sultry night.
And there are two lessons for us here also, relating to God's grace, which is the manna we must seek for. Our Lord taught us to pray only for daily bread, only for what is needful for our present wants, to make us diligent in asking daily for the help we day by day require, to make us look up constantly to Him. had
any store of our own, either of food for the body or food for the soul, we might, like the Israelites, forget who is the Giver of it; but because all earthly things perish with the using, and we every day find fresh temptations and trials which show us our weakness, therefore we are taught to pray daily, Give us day by day, or, as the margin of our Bibles teaches, for the day, our daily bread. Take no thought for the morrow, the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.
Again. We cannot tell that we shall live till the morrow, therefore it is not only presumptuous, but useless to spend in anxious thoughts for the next day, the time given us for our present duties.
4. One more particular must be briefly noticed. The
manna was not to be gathered on the Sabbath. This teaches us that we are not to labour for the body on the day which the Lord hath commanded us to keep holy unto Himself. Six days He commands us to work for our support-six days we may labour, and we ought to labour ; but on the Lord's day, which is given us as a sign and as a foretaste of the rest of heaven, we must do no manner of work. The Israelites were told to prepare their food for the Sabbath on the day before, and ihen the manna was wonderfully preserved from worms and corruption, for their use. So it must be with us now; we must so order our household work, as to leave nothing that can be possibly done beforehand, to be done on the Lord's day; and a very little care and forethought will enable us to manage this; and we may be assured, that the effort we make to fulfil the Commandment will be blest to us, and that our worldly business will prosper the better during the week; for if we seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, all other things shall be added unto us '.
I must not go on, but I could say much more of the lessons which this story of the manna teaches us. However, you can, if you try, find them out for yourselves; and may God bless all your endeavours to profit by his Holy Word, so that you may indeed become wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus; and thoroughly furnished unto all good works. L. S. R.
[The foregoing is designed for the use of Sunday School Teachers, and to furnish hints for questions and explanations of the clause in the Lord's prayer, “ Give us this day our daily bread.")
ON PSALM CXXI. 3.
“ HE that keepeth Thee will not slumber.” “The Lord Himself is thy keeper." Those who “believe and are baptized” shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation;” for “the promise is unto you and to your children, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” Not only will the Lord keep such from bodily harm, He will also watch over them to keep their souls. “I the Lord do keep it. I will water it every moment; lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day," is the gracious promise of Christ to his Church, and therefore to all who are “lively members of the same."
1 Matt. vi. 33.
.” He never slumbers. His eye of love and watchfulness is ever open, and over those who pray and strive to realize the presence and protection of God. And what are our chief hindrances here? Is it not that we are often indulging tempers, engaging in pursuits, and giving way to thoughts in which He who is holiness can have no delight? which grieve, if they do not quench, his Holy Spirit? Did we “ keep Him company all day,” should we not each night "sleep in Him?" Him, who never slumbers; who alone is ever with us, blessing us by day, guarding us by night, and bringing us in his own wisdom, power, and love, to those mansions where is no darkness, natural or spiritual, no danger to body or soul, for the Lord is there an everlasting light, and the days of mourning shall then be ended :
“ Abide with me from morn till eve,
For without Thee I cannot live:
“There is an eye, a mind, a soul of love,
P. S. L.
EXTRACT FROM MY FAMILY BIBLE.
MATTHEW xvi. 21-24.
AFTER that he knew that Jesus was the Son of God, St. Peter was counting upon grandeur and glory, both for his Master, himself, and his fellow disciples ; but from the very time that our Lord was known to his disciples as God, He begins to preach his degrading humiliation,
crucifixion, and also his resurrection.
We have seen that the disciples were but poor in grace at present; and here you have a proof of it in the rebuke which was dared to be given to our Saviour by these very disciples who had just confessed Him as God. Yes, my dear family, St. Peter and all the rest of the disciples encouraged the notion that Satan had put into their minds, that their Saviour was to be mighty in earthly power and grandeur. They were as yet offended at the cross. Though Peter was the only disciple who spake out, yet it is not to be doubted that the feeling of them all was, “Far be it from Thee, Lord; this shall not be unto Thee.” The Church of Rome makes St. Peter the head and chief of the Apostles, under the pretence that the Pope or Bishop of Rome is now in St. Peter's place, though we have no proof from history that St. Peter ever was Bishop of Rome. Now I have already shown you, by pointing to one of the other gospels, that the same authority that was given by our Lord to St. Peter was given also to the other Apostles; and here you find that our Lord pointedly“ turned and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan; thou art an offence unto me, for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” So much for the superiority of Peter; for never did any other Apostle receive such a rebuke. Yet for all this the wicked Church of Rome has caused thousands, nay, millions, first and last, to be put to death for not acknowledging her authority over all Churches and all consciences, upon the ground that the Pope is in St. Peter's place, and that St. Peter was the chief Apostle. dear family, to say a few words upon the offence of the cross, that offence so early received, and always so deeply rooted in the minds of men.
of salvation but that of the cross,” say
generation. It is certainly very humbling to be saved by means of one who died the death of a common thief. It is assuredly very humbling to think that our sins required such a disgraceful way of atonement; but when men are thinking about their own degradation, it would be well if they would turn their minds to Him who suffered, and
But now, my