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Perhaps, being citizens, you could find Lord is clean, enduring for ever : the judg, an illustration more pertinent in an ments of the Lord are true and righteous empty or neglected house, as a field / altogether. More to be desired are they would be more familiar to a countryman. than gold, yea, than much fine gold: There is one that I have gazed upon for sweeter also than honey and the honeytwenty years, empty and desolate. You comb." need not search long to discover the Again, this field is rich in healing prodry rot in its timbers : its windows ductions, as the kingdom abounds in merare broken, while its whole structure ciful bestowments. To omit many less is shamefully dilapidated. The house is remarkable, growing all over this field is worth just so much as the proprietor makes a plant called “ hæmony;" it is peculiar in of it, no more,—and he neither uses it nor its virtues, and has a peculiar origin. It
lets it. It is there, empty ; except as rats sprang up when the great suffering Son of - and vermin riot in its chambers, which are God had shed his blood for man, and from
rapidly advancing to decay. The proprie his blood it takes its name. When this tor has not life enough to keep it from was sprinkled over all the estates, where perishing. Now, our blest Redeemer inti each drop fell sprang up this “hæmony," mates that while the first step in spiritual and the diligent believer collects it for the wisdom is to make the treasure our own, warming of his heart, and the healing of the second is to make a proper use of it his conscience. It has a marvellous effect; when it is our own. Retaining the idea of it is more precious than the gold of Peru a field, therefore, which the Saviour has or the spices of Arabia. The vulgar shepsupplied, I pass to the consideration of | herd clouts it with his shoe; but he who some treasures that are hidden there, and gathers and applies it well, finds therein a wait to be enjoyed.
treasure of immeasurable worth. As I AndFirst, The kingdom of heaven is passed along I heard a number gathered rich in its own constituent elements. It there from among the vilest upon earth; is formed by Divine edicts and communica- and while they pressed this herb into their tions. As I walk over the field, I see wounds, I heard them say, “ Unto him that rocks which are rugged as a glen of Horeb, loved us and washed us from our sins in but there the light plays upon pure quartz his own blood, and hath made us kings and streaked with yellow ore : here is a clay priests unto God and his Father, to him be bed also, containing gems with precious | glory and dominion for ever and ever." treasure. These spangles shine as with sun | Wondering at their peaceful song, I said, light-what are they? Gather them, and let | “ Amen!” them be assayed, and though the scenes The treasure hidden in this field includes be repulsive to the indolent, the indus also many articles of artistic production, trious will not despise them. Gold is which are very precious. I found them there! The kingdom is rich in the judg. first in a gently-rising grassy mound. It ments of the Lord, his statutes, and his was obviously à burial place, and in the ordinances, in which eternal wisdom is sarcophagus of that hill were anciently a brought down to human use. There are napkin, grave-clothes, and certain spiceries, admonitions of eternal love, adjusted to the which had been placed there by some guidance of all human affairs, with expe women who were attached to one whose diency determined by infinite wisdom and body had been laid there after crucifixion, goodness. He who once gathers up these but they are gone. When discovered, it truths, and separates them from all vain contained a cup with bread and wine that imaginations and empty thoughts, obtains never fail. There was a crown, a sword, a a treasure that will enrich him for ever. I shield, and various articles of armour-such passed along, and heard a labourer greatly as helmets, breastplates, and shoes—which exulting over the treasure he had collected. were all laid so as to attract attention. It Lis joy gained its expression in a kind of is the most wonderful collection of antiquisong. Like one in worship, he said, “The ties I ever visited; for over the headaw of the Lord is perfect, converting the place was written, in very ancient letters, loul : the testimony of the Lord is sure, à Put on the whole armour of God !" I naking wise the simple. The statutes of saw a youth come forward and manfully he Lord are right, rejoicing the heart : put on the breastplate, then the helmet he commandment of the Lord is pure, and the girdle, with all the rest ; but the nlightening the eyes. The fear of the strangest thing was that each fitted him as
if it had been made to order, and when he drew the sword it flashed like a sunbeam through the vault; and then an awful voice was heard, saying, “ Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give to thee a crown of life!”
But this is not all. This field, this kingdom of heaven, is rich in Divine communications designed to support those who have made it their own. A river runs conveniently through all the estate. Those who are curious have traced it to its source, and the springs are underneath the footstool of Him who rules that kingdom. It flows all the year round. It contains the purest water that I ever saw ; it is called the “water of life," and the river is very rightly described as a river " that maketh glad the city of our God," I say rightly described, for he that drinketh of that river becomes himself fruitful in love, and joy, and peace, and gentleness, and goodness, and long-suffering, and truth; and still, as he grows more fruitful, he has a sweet conviction that there is no power in earth, or heaven, or hell, that can justly condemn that treasure, or the use he makes of it. He can use it until he is filled to his greatest capacity, and brings the greatest glory to his Master, and there are none to condemn.
The argument which is painted by our Redeemer in this parable is very short. Appealing to those who know that there is a treasure in his kingdom, he urges them to embrace it, that it may be their own, and then to make a proper use of it.
Such reasoning the awakened conscience of any honest man never can mistake, and it therefore requires no further illustration. But one more fact ought to be made
known. This field is not like any earthly estate whatever. An estate of this world when bought by one man cannot at the same time lawfully belong to any other; but if five thousand purchase this estate to-night, it may become the possession of five thou sand more to-morrow. Over the gate, T2 therefore, it is written, “Whosoever will, let'n00 him come!” and “ Whosoever comety, I T25 will in nowise cast him out!"
Besides, and in addition to this, the es. tate is freehold. It has the highest and best title upon which a sinner can hold any inheritance under heaven's eternal throne.
It is also advertised for sale, and the terms printed in the bills are, “Without money, and without price!" .
Only come destitute and empty of all that is your own, and you shall be filled from that stream of heavenly influence which waters and nourishes the estate. Come, guilty and poor as you are, and you shall be made rich for ever.
That no one may be disappointed of his hopes, the time too is advertised ; forn is written in the bill, “Now is the accepted time;" and Jesus from his lofty throne sends his heralds forth, and authorises de to say, that if you have been hitherto never 80 undecided, or if you will but decide not for him, he will welcome you to his king dom, and the treasure that is in it shall be all your own.
But, to make his kindness very clear, the place of the sale is specified. At the throne of grace, to which every sinner may come with boldness, the sale takes places day, without any reserration; when every one who asketh receiveth, and he who seek: shall find.
“I pray for them.”-John xvii. 9.
Utter'd or unexpress'd,
That trembles in the breast." This must have been as true of Christ as it is of his disciples, as realised in him than in them. His aspirations were not clogge ruption in his nature. His desires were not enfeebled by the selfishness. That Christ should pray is part of the mystery of
is disciples, and more truly vere not clogged by any cor
ed by the distractions of mystery of his earthly life,
and yet when he was upon the earth, he spent much time in prayer. Early in the morning ere the day had dawned, late in the evening when the shadows were long and deep, through the night when the darkness shut the world from view; on the mountain side, and in the secluded field far off from the din of the city and the town; these were the times and such the places Christ chose for prayer. But though he was oft in prayer, he was never heard to pray. He went so far away from the thoroughfare of daily life, that not a single sound has reached us from that suppliant voice, until on that night in which he was betrayed. Calm was the hour. The city rested on its mountain home, hushed in sleep. No voice broke the quiet of the Valley of Jehoshaphat, save the voice of Jesus. No footfall echoed from the hill-side, save the steps of Jesus and his disciples. He had spoken as they walked, of the deeper secrets of his kingdom, prolonging and perfecting the conversation which had filled up the evening. And as he talked, they walked towards the garden of Gethsemane. They had reached its entrance gate, and there he paused. “I have told you these things," he said, “ that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation ; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” The words are simple in their form, they are fathomless in their meaning. They were the true point of transition for this prayer. He lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour is come.” The voice was familiar, but the tone and the attitude were new and strange. The eleven had heard his voice when with authority he had commanded the blind eye to open, the withered hand to be whole, the helpless paralytic to be strong, the dead to arise and come forth. They had seen its power when devils trembled at his word, and hurricanes were subdued to peaceful calm at his bidding. But never, till now, had they heard that voice in prayer. He had taught them what to pray for, but now he himself prays, and the prayer affirms the principles and passion of his whole life. In his secret place he had prayed for power to perfect the work his Father had given him to do. He can now say that work is done. I have glorified thee on the earth, I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. On the basis of that completed work he now enters upon and exercises thus far publicly his wondrous office of Advocate and Intercessor. He prays for them who had received his word, and for them who should afterwards believe in him, and his prayer reveals the deepest thoughts and holiest purposes of his soul respecting them.
The mother pleads for her child, the man pleads for his friend, the sinner pleads for pardon; but with all these, grosser human passions mingle, as elements of pollution mingle in the purest waters. In the pleadings of our Advocate with the Father, there are no such imperfections. His thoughts were pure, and his words utter his thoughts so far as language is capable of conveying them, and it is only by penetrating to the farthest possible limit of their meaning that we can discern the limitless beyond to which they suggest the way.
There is solemn significance in the place where this prayer was offered. His work as between God and man was done, his work as between man and God was yet to be done, and he knew it-knew the cup that was mingled for him-knew the bitter agonizing woe which would make his history that night, and yet he could so far forget it all as to remember his disciples, their weakness and their danger. In that dread hour he thought of them, and remembered the amazing difficulties they must encounter from the world, from the corruptions of their own hearts, and from the very position in which their discipleship with him would place them. Tribulation is for them inevitable, and this is the secret origin of this prayer, and hence each principal petition refers to one of the three sources of their danger. Keep them, through thine own name from the evil that is in the world. Sanctify them in heart through the in-dwelling of the truth. Let them be perfected in union, that among themselves they may be one as we are one, that the world may know that thou hast loved them as thou hast loved me. They shall hereafter behold my glory. For such practical and personal blessings he prayed, and by his prayer he has shown his prescience and illustrated his brotherly sympathy. For what is the history of the Church, what the history of each disciple, what my own personal history, but a constant testimony to the sad reality of those very evils against which the Saviour prayed for us, and at the same time a daily proof of the loving tenderness of his heart? His prayer has not been answered, and yet it has. For whilst each life proves the dread predominance of the world and the corruption of our nature, each heart proves, that but for gracious help constantly given, the evil had been without restraint, and the enemy of the soul had been without a victor. All experience and all Scripture aflirms that prayer alone will not accomplish the results it seeks, nor will it even obtain the blessings it asks for without co-operating activity. The Saviour's prayer makes no exception to this law. He intended that our endeavours should be the channel through which his prayer should be answered. And it is because our efforts have been so partial and so feeble, that his prayer has not been more fully answered in us; whilst the very fact that he did thus pray for us, has served at times in every age to stimulate his disciples to greater exertion, and to more constant watchfulness. My heart assures me, that had 'I kept it more constantly in remembrance, I should have been preserved from many sins, for I should have been more watchful against the temptations which led me into sin. And had I been as concerned to have my Saviour's prayer answered in me as he was lovingly thoughtful to offer the prayer for me, I should not have to make the sad confession which now rises to my lips; a confession which almost makes me fear I am not included among those for whom he prayed. Were it not that in this silent evening hour my heart tells me, that notwithstanding my worldly unwatchfulness, I do believe in Jesus, and try, however imperfectly, to serve him, I should not dare to meditate as I do now on his prayer. This testimony from within gives me confidence. I feel I may come now to his throne. I may remind him, though he needs not that I should tell him so, that when on earth he prayed for me. I may ask him to fulfil in me that prayer more perfectly.
Gracious Saviour, help me to watch more constantly that I may be kept from the stealthy deadening influence of the evil that is in the world. Help me to guard my heart more jealously that I may not be so often the prey of its corruption, and thus may more continually grow in grace through the sanctifying power of the truth, Help me to cultivate and exhibit those Christian virtues which shall everywhere and always prove me thy disciple, and thus give me an assuring pledge that I have a place in the prayer that thou didst offer at the Gate of Gethsemane, and in thine intercessory advocacy now. Give me this, and I shall then know that a place is prepared for me in heaven, where I shall behold thy glory, and dwell for ever with thee.
“Thug shall my walk be elose with God,
Calm and serene my frame,
That leads me to the Lamb."
And thus, O loving Redeemer! I can lay me down to rest, confident that, if I die in sleep, I shall awake in glory.
"THEM THAT ARE WITHOUT."
Colossians iv. 5.
(Concluded from page 175.) We have thus very imperfectly pointed | It was densely dark. They perished in the out the appropriate conduct you are waters. What a terrible fate awaited the to display towards those that are with | Egyptians on the night when the Passover out. We invite your attention to some was instituted and kept! The Israelites cogent and scriptural reasons why you were within their houses. The blood, the should adopt as your own the advice we peaceful sign, was on their thresholds. have given.
They were perfectly safe. The Egyptians We would remind you that the moral were without. At midnight the destroying character and condition of those that are angel passed through the land, and slew all without demand your sympathy, and call their firstborn. An exceeding great and loudly for your help. They are in dark- | bitter cry was heard amongst the people ness, in sin, and in death. They are, because of this awful judgment with which according to the emphatic language of they had been visited. But, fearful as was Scripture, lost. They are in danger of the danger to which these parties were experishing everlastingly; and what renders posed, still it must not be compared with their situation more affecting is, that they | that to which impenitent sinners are liable. do not see that they are thus lost. They | We are told that the wrath of God abideth are like blind persons walking on the edge upon them; and that if they die in of a terrible precipice, who are every their unconverted state, they will be moment exposed to the danger of falling banished for ever “from the presence of down and being dashed to pieces. Were the Lord, and the glory of his power." they to die in their present moral condition, What a doom awaits those that are withyou could have no scriptural hope of them. out! The blessed Redeemer himself says, The fear is, that if you do not care for “ These shall go away into everlasting them, if you do not seek to pull them out punishment.” He speaks of “the worm of the fire, that they may sink down for that never dies, and the fire that is never ever in the pit of perdition. If you were quenched.” It is to be feared that we do not on the sea shore, and saw a ship's crew sufficiently realise or believe what God's exposed to destruction in a storm, would word says about the misery and danger of you not try to save them? Or, if you saw those that are without. We do not reflect a house on fire, and persons in it exposed as we ought upon the fact that, in the very to a painful death, would you not rush nature of things, every soul must perish. forth to their deliverance ? Or, if a friend that is under the influence of error, sin, and was seized with a dangerous illness, would spiritual death; that it is not an arbitrary you not hasten to a physician for help? and capricious arrangement on the part of Now is not the state of those that are with God to punish for ever those who live and out far worse than that of those exposed to die in impenitency and unbelief,—it is temporal evil? The danger to which the what must be from the constitution of the antediluvians were exposed when God shut human soul, and the action of sin upon it. Noah and his family in the ark was terrible. In literal fire and brimstone we have not They were without when the waters of the the slightest belief. We are amazed and Deluge swept across the land, and carried confounded when we find that men, occueverything before them. What a spectacle! | pying prominent positions in the Church of Noah and his family are within. They are | Christ, are to be met with who really safe. The ark, which contained them was believe that the wicked will be literally conunder the Divine guidance and protection. sumed by fire in hell. They forget that It had a heavenly pilot. The everlasting | the Scriptures necessarily use figures in arms were underneath it, to preserve it in describing both the blessedness of the the midst of the raging elements. Those righteous in heaven, and the misery of the that were without were helpless and ex lost. The worm that never dies, and the posed. They had no place of refuge. They fire that is never quenched, are appropriate had no hope. There was no ray of light. and solemn figures to denote the severity