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COTTAGER'S MONTHLY VISITOR.
PAGE Reflections for the Season .... 397 On the Lord's Supper
416 Stories illustrative of the Extract from my Family Bible 418 Church Catechism 402 Allotment Culture
420 Don't Burn...
404 Short Reflections on different Deadly Nightshade
passages of Scripture.. 422 The Redemption of their Soul Beer-Shops.....
426 is precious
412 Notices to Correspondents... 427 Day of Humiliation in Ireland ib. Peril of the “ Great Western
REFLECTIONS FOR THE SEASON.
“ The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof." To whom then must we look for the increase? Το whom must we give praise when the earth yields her corn, and fills our barns with goodly food? Before whom must we tremble when we sow our seed, but find no return, and when the roots that we plant with carefulness produce only rotten and unwholesome fruit?
It well becomes all serious-minded persons to consider chese things at the present time. We have had a most bountiful wheat-harvest in England, blessed be God! and we shall do well to be thankful. We sowed the seed, but more than this we could not do. We could not provide the rain to water it, nor the sun to ripen it. “ The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof.” It was the Lord who sent the former rain and the latter rain; by the first He caused the blade to spring up quickly, and in due time by the latter He caused the grain to swell within the blade; but all this would have availed us little, had it not pleased Him to send the glorious sun VOL. XXVI.
to ripen it, and bring it to perfection; but this He also did: and all who saw the golden corn-fields ripe to harvest this summer, rejoiced in the beauty and the abundance of the crops. But was this rejoicing before God, or before man? Did we lift up our hearts in thanksgiving to the Lord of all for this his blessed gift? Did we consider how unworthy we are of the least of his mercies? Did we remember the less goodly harvest of last year, and the universal failure of the potato crop? and did we feel as if God had again shown favour to us, and was willing again to draw his children to Him by kindness and mercy, rather than to terrify them by his chastisements ?
Such, surely, ought to have been our feelings. Had it pleased the Lord, instead of plenty, to have sent scarcity of every kind of food among us, to have blighted our corn, or withheld the sun from ripening it, would not a loud cry have been raised throughout the land? We should have heard much of murmuring and complaint. Shall we, then, be silent, since we have only praise to offer, and forget the Hand Who has thus blessed us?
Let us tremble lest such a spirit of forgetfulness and ingratitude cause God again to withdraw his face from
We were threatened last year, and we are warned this year! While we are blessed with an abundant harvest, and the principal article of our food is secured to us, the potato crop is very deficient, and this will cause much suffering and want among us. We are thus warned that God's displeasure is not yet removed, and we are made to feel that we are wholly dependent on Him for our daily provision. Is there any one bold enough to ask, Why is the Lord displeased ? why shall He seek to punish the inhabitants of the earth? Look around in every corner of our land, may we not say with the Psalmist, “ The Lord looked down from heaven
the children of men, to see if there were any that would understand and seek after God. But they are all gone out of the way, they are altogether become abominable; there is none that doeth good, no, not
one 1." Murder, theft, drunkenness, and fornication are common among us; yea, so common, that to hear and read of them seems but a twice told tale: and if it be so with these flagrant vices punished by the law of men as well as by the law of God, how is it with another fearful list? 'anger, envy, malice, and all uncharitable
Is there any village in England where these evil dispositions are not rife also ? But more than this, there is a spirit of wilfulness and rebellion among us, which seems to be exactly pointed out by the Apostle, when he speaks of “boasters, proud, blasphemers, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than. lovers of God." When such are to be found commonly among men, St. Paul considers the times as perilous. Now is not this very much what we meet with in these days? Is it not a common remark, that men are grown so proud; that children no longer respect the authority of their parents as they used; that there is a general disposition to throw off all authority, and each man to do what is right in his own eyes? Is not such a spirit as this likely to bring down God's judgments upon us ? We hear many boasting of the cleverness of this age, of the improvements and inventions; and they talk as if
power was given into the hands of the present generation. Is it not, then, most fitting that such a spirit should be put down, and that proud man should be taught that he is after all a dependent being, and that there is a very narrow limit to his understanding? When the potato crop was suddenly struck last year, how eagerly did men seek for the reason of its failure! but they could discover nothing, nor could they apply any remedy. Men of science, men of experience, all tried to discover the cause of the mischief, but none succeeded. Months rolled by, and a new season came, and nearly the same result. Nothing in the season could this year account for it; fine dry weather, without cutting winds or unseasonable frosts, still the potatoes rot in the ground, and man sows and digs in vain! Is not this the Lord's doing? Should not we remember the exhortation
1 Psalm xiv, 3.
2 2 Tim, iii. 2. 4.
of the Prophet Isaiah? “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For behold the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity":
When the sins of a nation bring down a public judgment, then each man must consider his own ways, and ask himself, “ What have I done in contributing to this monstrous heap of sins ?" Could we see how this heap has been raised so high as to reach unto heaven, we should understand that it is formed of the sins of individuals like ourselves; and were we to search in that heap, we should there surely find our own sins and negligences. If, then, we seek to diminish that heap, we must look to ourselves: in what way have we offended God? It may be that we have not openly despised his authority, but have we been submissive to our rulers ? to those placed in authority by Him? Have we shown no disrespect to the exhortations of his ministers? In whatever station we have been placed, have we been contented to move humbly in that station, and neither by dress nor manner to raise ourselves above it? God Himself has ordained different ranks and orders of men, and like the members of the body, though they are not all equal in honour and power, yet all are necessary to the right constitution of society, and all are very useful in
Let us then be contented to remain where God has placed us, and not try to raise ourselves above it. In the careful performance of our duty we may, indeed, be raised by others, but this should not be our motive or our object; the motive of all our actions should be to please God, our object should be his glory. Now is this our motive? Is this our object? To please God we must keep his commandments. We must show our love to God by our love to man.
Our Saviour says, “If ye love me, keep my commandments ?." And St. John, speaking of this love to God, says, “ If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that
1 Isaiah xxvi. 20, 21.
9 John aiv. 15.
loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? and this commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God love his brother also ?." Is not this love to man the very point in which we are all so deficient? do not we hear of robbery, and oppression, and seduction? How far are we all from fulfilling this law as we ought! Some are more careful than others, some give a portion of this world's goods to their brethren; but how is it with the majority? And, among the smaller number, are there any who love their neighbour as themselves, and are ready to share their blessings with him. If the glory of God be our object, we must surely promote it by acts of mercy and kindness to our brethren, for all such acts done by his disciples redound to his praise and glory.
Let each man, then, look into his own heart, and examine closely into the motives of his actions, as well as the actions themselves. Let not the warning now sent us by a gracious God pass unheeded and unimproved. Our Church has done her part to remind her children of their duty. She set forth a prayer for us to offer to Almighty God, in which prayer we begged of Him to grant us repentance for our sins, and we professed to humble ourselves before Him for this judgment now sent upon us; but it is in vain that the minister offered
in our name if we do not do our part, and repent of our individual
and let us carefully remember that repentance is as nothing without amendment. The sorrow that God will accept must be joined to the reformation of our hearts and lives. God, ever the same, unchangeable in goodness and mercy, is in his dwelling-place ready to hear and to forgive ; but He will not be mocked. “Whatsoever a man soweth, that he shall also reap." He has declared that every tree is known by his fruit, and unless we bring forth fruit meet for repentance, we cannot hope that we are sincere. As in the days of Israel and Judah, He sent his prophet Isaiah to his rebellious people, so may the same message be brought to our ears now: “Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your
1 1 John iv, 20.