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Words in Season.
element which God recognises and delights in. BIBLE THOUGHTS.
Whether, then, does your religion exhibit the BY THE EDITOR.
trust or the distrust; the confidence or the want of
confidence ? Do not say that confidence is preHEB. III. 14.
sumption, and diffidence humility. It is no preHERE is, (1) The privilege ; (2) The way of posses-sumption to take God at his word, and deal with sion and continuance.
Him in confidence, not supposing that anything in I. The privilege.-'We are made partakers of us can furnish ground for distrust, sceing crersChrist.' "We'means, of course, all the saints; thing invites, nay, demands trust. not apostles merely. But there may be, as fre- 2. The beginning of our confidence.-That con. quently elsewhere, an emphasis on the word, con- fidence has a beginning, it has certain first prinnecting New Testament with Old Testament saints.ciples. We were not born with it. Unbelief, We as well as Israel, and the saints of old (iv. 2); / distrust-these are the native roots of bitterness. showing the identity of standing, and of privilege, The beginner of that confidence is the Holy Spirit. among the saints of all ages. “Are made,' or 'be Only Ile can eradicate the distrust, and impart come'-intimating that we were not originally so, anything of confidence. But in what way does Ile but have bcen made what we are by God created operate? Through what mcdia does IIc produce unto good works.' 'Partakers of Christ.' The ex- | the trust? Through the gospel of the grace of pression is a peculiar one and very striking-(uito. God; for faith cometh by hearing, and hearing, by ans and xowyos are nearly synonymous. See Luke the word of God. The natural heart shows itself v. 7, 10.) The word partaker, or partake, is frc. in two wars:(1) By misrepresenting the character quently used in this epistle : took part of the of God; (2) By hating that which is not misrepre. same' (ii. 14); “partakers of the heavenly calling' sented, -é. whatever of his true character it ap(iii. 1); partakers of the Holy Ghost' (vi. 4). It prehends. The Spirit works in counteraction of implies that we obtain a part or possession in both of these. Take the case of Adam. Before Christ and of Christ, that we become participators he fell, he had confidence, not a shadow of mis. with Christ in all that He is, and has, and gives. trust. The moment that sin cntered, confidence
1. In what He is. He makes us partakers of fled, and distrust came in. In what way did God the divine nature ; one with himself; sons of God; remove the distrust, and reproduce the lost confijoint-heirs ; kings and priests; lights of the world. dence ? Not by any mere command, not by law, Ile gives himself to us, as He gave himself for us. not by terror and threat; but by the revelation of
2. In what He has.-The Father's love (John his grace. It was the exhibition of God's truc xvi. 27); all fulness of grace and blessing; a king. character as the Friend of man, and the enemy of dom, a crown, a throne, an inheritance.
man's enemy, that reproduced Adam's lost confi3.' In what He gives. — These gifts are "life' (I dence, and drew him back to God. Thus Adam's give unto them eternal life), forgivencss, salvation, confidence was rekindled. Thus ours begins-at strength, holiness, consolation.
the cross-through the right discernment of God's Thus, our possession is Christ himself, nothing true character, as seen in the gospel of his grace. less than this; Christ, and all his fulness; Christ | 3. The hulding.–We are to hold, or grasp, the as the divine and eternal fulness; - a personal | beginning of our confidence. In order to the hold. Christ; not a mere doctrinal Christ, or a mere ing, there must be the having. We must begin, be. theological Christ, or an ecclesiastical Christ, or a fore we can go on to the end. It is not merely ritualistic Christ, or a rationalistic Christ, or a sen- our confidence that we are to liold, but the beginning timental Christ, but a true and living Christ-the of our confidence; and our confidence can only be very Christ of God. This is the Christ we need; rightly held by holding the beginning. That which of this Christ we are made partakers. He is one gives us confidence at first, is to give us confidence with us; we are one with Him : we in Him, and to the last. We do not merely begin at the cross, He in us! We possess Ilim, and He possesses us! | but we go on as we began. We began without We are his inheritance, and He is ours. As Ile deriving any confidence from our goodness, but took our sin to give us his righteousness, as He simply from God's gracious character as exbibited took our shame to give us his glory, so He took in the cross; and we are to continue in the same us to give us HIMSELF.
way. IIow easily we forget this lesson, and so II. The way of possession and maintenance. If lose our confidence altogether! And when yo we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfastly lose it, how foolishly we try to regain it, by some unto the end.'
different way, or from some different source, 1. The confidence.—This means firm, bold, un. than that from which we got it at first! Instead reserved, childlike confidence in God. It is not of going back to the blood for fresh peace and the same word as is used elsewhere for ‘boldness.' | fresh confidence, we try to find out or work up * In whom we have boldness' (Eph. iii. 12); 'Let us | graces, or recall evidences, as if out of them we come boldly' (Heb. iv. 16); • Boldness to enter into might extract confidence and peace! Alas, they the holicst' (x. 19); “That we may have confidence' | contain no peace; how can they give it to us? (1 John ii. 28). But it is even more expressive In spite of every temptation from within or without, of certainty, or assurance, or substance (as Heb. xi. let us hold the beginning of our confidence, not 1); it might be rendered, that assured substan- | for a day, but for a lifetime-to the end! tiality;' the one word referring more to the actual! How much happier should we be in this case ! or objective certainty (urbotaris), the other to the We should be kept in perfect peace. How much conscious assurance of it subjectively. The basis, holier should we be! We should be strong against then, of all true religion, and acceptable service, sin and the world ; for confidence towards God is is confidence ; for, without faith, it is impossible to the great preservative against sin. How much please Him. A religion of distrust and uncer- more useful should we be! For this confidence is tainty is no religion at all. It lacks that special | the spring and stimulus of all zeal and love.
BY THE EDITOR.
• Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?'— Rom. viii. 33.
ONE of the church's names is elect of by accusing us; for our acquittal is a righteous
God;' and each of its living mem one-an acquittal in which law itself rejoices. bers is one whose name is written Mark, then, how complete and how satisfactory in the book of life from the founda- the challenge is ; for the words of our text are
tion of the world (Rev. xvii. 8). not so much a question as a challenge-a chalOf these chosen ones the history is thus summed lenge thrown down before the universe ! up : Whom He did predestinate, them He also called ; and whom He called, them He also jus- | I. It is a righteous challenge. It is not the tified ; and whom He justified, them He also challenge of one who, through might, had baflled glorified' (Rom. vii. 30).
right, and triumphed over law. It is that of one The state in which each one of these is born who sees all righteousness fulfilled, and all good into the world is that of condemnation ;' the confirmed, by that very sentence which acquits state into which each one is brought, in believ- | himself; who, unable to contribute aught toward ing, is that of no condemnation' (Rom. vii. 1). his own acquittal, has recognised God's righteous Forgiveness of sins-present, conscious, complete way of justifying the unrighteons, and in doing forgiveness—is that into which faith introduces so, has found deliverance from condemnation. us, and out of which unbelief alone can keep us. It is a challenge so righteous, that every rightJustification from all things-certain, immediate, eous being responds to it; so righteous, that his and unchanging justification-is our portion here. | own conscience, even when most fully awakened It is respecting us, as men forgiven and justified, and enlightened by the Holy Spirit, rests satisfied that the apostle asks, Who shall lay anything and unalarmed; so righteous, that none can to the charge of God's elect?' On believing the undertake to answer it, save those who are pregospel of forgiveness, they were placed beyond | pared to reject God's way of saving the lost and the reach and risk of any charge or impeachment | forgiving the condemned. whatsoever; they are brought by God into such a state, as to render condemnation an impossi II. It is a holy challenge.--It is not that of one bility; for the forgiveness is irreversible, and the who was seeking to sin that grace might abound, righteousness in which they stand is divine.
but of one who saw that this is God's way of Not that they cease to be sinners. But they delivering him from sin, and making him hate cease to be treated as guilty. Iniquities prevail ; sin. God's way of forgiveness brings out all the but there is continual forgiveness to cancel these, I loathsomeness of sin, shows it to be the enemy and a perfect righteousness to cover these, and both of God and of the sinner. Thus the man the ever-flowing blood of the everlasting cove- who says, “Who shall lay anything to my charge ? nant to wash all guilt away as it comes up, and who is he that condemneth ?' is the man who is to prevent their peace with God from being also saying, “Now I have some hope of being broken. They do sin ; but they have an Advo- | holy; now I shall be delivered from sin ; now sin cate with the Father; and who can demand the has received its death-blow; and now love and a execution of the penalty in their case? Who free pardon will do what terror and uncertainty, shall condemn ? Who can do it? Who dare do and an unsatisfied law, could never have done. it? Who has the right to do it? Not angels. Being delivered from the first and great matter They are too glad to welcome back the sinner, I of seeking a forgiveness, by having got that and to take the side of those whose side God has question for ever laid to rest, I am free to attend taken. Devils would, if they could. But they undistractedly to the one question, How shall cannot. The prey is taken from the mighty, and I be holy, and by a holy life serve and glorify placed beyond their grasp. The law might have God ?' done it ; but it has been satisfied, nay magnified. It has therefore no claim, and could gain no object III. It is a joyful challenge. — The question, 23.-22.
and the way of putting it, show the exulting Nor is there anything presumptuous in this gladness of the soul. It is the joy of a soul challenge. It is one of simple faith. It is meant delivered from an infinite fear; from overwhelm- | for every believing man; and there is something ing foreboding of wrath ; from the certainty of | lacking in that faith which falters here. A bean eternal hell, and the sore vengeance of an | lieved gospel ought to lead him who believes to angry God. What gladness is this! To be adopt this bold and blessed attitude. For a beforgiven all sin, and clothed with an infinite lieved gospel is meant to assure the belicving soul rightcousness! To be as thoroughly assured of of forgiveness and eternal life. the favour of God, as formerly of his displeasure ! It is a challenge which God himself will own. To sce the dark cloud of wrath which had wrapt he does not reckon it too bold or too decided. the soul round rise upwards and pass away, leav- He puts it into our lips, and He will acknowledge ing the wide azure clear and bright, with not a it. In our believing, we set our Amen to his tesmist to intercept the light of reconciliation and timony; and in his giving us this challenge, He love, pouring down from the heaven of heavens! | is setting his Amen to our faith. Nay, not only What joy unspeakable and full of glory is this ! will He own it, but He will take it up out of our
lips, and himself proclaim it through the universe, IV. It is an unanswerable challenge.--It is Who shall lay anything to the charge of my elect? boldly put, and with no muffled voice. It is Our right to take up this challenge is simply spoken aloud, that all may hear, and answer if our having believed the gospel. It is not our they can. But no one can take it up. There is graces or evidences that embolden us thus to silence in heaven, and earth, and hell. It is speak. It is not as holy men, or old Christians, Paul's challenge to the universe. Nay rather, it or deeply humbled souls, that we have a warrant is the Holy Spirit's challenge. Who shall answer to do so. Our warrant is simply our having bePaul ? Who shall answer the Holy Ghost? Who lieved the gospel. And oh how much we lose shall condemn us? Who shall lay anything to from not seeing the sure and high standing into our charge? Who shall trouble our conscience or which a believed gospel brings us, long before break our peace? We ask aloud; we repeat the we have time to consider our own selves, or challenge to the devil and all his legions. But number up our graces! It would indeed be preno answer is given. We hear only the echo of sumption to rest an assurance like this, or a chalour own voice. It is unanswerable even now ; lenge like this, upon our own graces; but it is for from the first moment that we believed we no presumption to rest this on the gospel of the were entitled to take it up. It shall be no less i grace of God. Even the Spirit's work in us would unanswerable when we go down to the tomb; / be quite inadequate as a foundation for such and we may make the caverns of the dead re- boldness; but Christ's finished work for us is altoccho with it. It shall be unanswerable in the gether sufficient, without anything else, to warday of the Lord; so that, even when standing | rant us in entering into the apostle's mind, and before the judgment-seat, surrounded with angels | taking up his triumphant challenge. Nor can or surrounded with devils, we may lift up our any amount of past or present sin prevent this; voice and say, Who shall lay anything to my for where sin has abounded, there grace has charge ?
abounded much more.
Sunny Tloughts for Clouded
| wherever she went, fearful of losing a moment GERTRUDE AND HER MULTIPLICATION TABLE.
of the short time they could still pass together. LOSELY as her shadow, had little | After the usual Bible lesson, which was always
Gertrude Playfair followed her | the first thing after breakfast, Mrs. Playfair went mother all day. On the morrow | to her room, to oversee the packing arrangethat mother was to leave home for ments, and, to Gertrude's great joy, she was
some weeks, to take care of an in- | allowed to help, and fancied herself very useful, valid sister ; she therefore could not take Ger -wondering what her mother would do when trude with her; so, for the first time, they were she was returning home, and would not have her to be separated for more than a day or two. little daughter to assist her.
No wonder, then, that Gertrude followed her in the afternoon they went to the library, and
then every servant in the house, from the house- | might be able to show her how much she loved keeper to the kitchen-maid, was summoned in her by doing it well. turn, while Mrs. Playfair gave each special direc- At length evening came; and, seated on Mrs. tions as to what they were to do and to avoid | Playfair's knee, Gertrude said : Now, mother, doing during her absence, and adding a few kind please tell me what I am to do for you.' encouraging words before dismissing them. Poor “I think I should like you to learn your multithing! she had to think of everything herself plication table,' replied Mrs. Playfair. now ; for her husband was in India, and she "My multiplication table!' said Gertrude, in could not live there on account of her delicate amazement and dismay. “My multiplication health.
table! Oh, mother! you surely do not mean Gertrude had been a most attentive listener to that? Why, learning my multiplication table all that passed, and as the door closed after the would not be doing anything for you.' last servant, a sudden thought struck her, and “It would, indeed, my child,' answered Mrs. she said : 'Mother, will you not give me some- | Playfair ; "it would be doing what would please thing to do for you while you are away? I me more than anything else you could think of.' should like it so much.'
“But I hate the multiplication table,' said Ger-Her mother looked lovingly at her, and said, trude ; 'do, please, let me do something else. I "You shall have something to do for me most would so much like to take care of the greenwillingly, my child, if you really wish it; but I house, and I am sure I could do it quite well.' cannot tell you about it now, because I have I do not think you could,' replied her mother; letters to write, and shall be very busy. Besides, but at all events that is the gardener's work, you ought to go out; so run and get your hat, and I have given him directions about it long and play about the garden, and in the evening ago. And just tell me, darling, is it to please me, we will have a long quiet talk together.'
or to please yourself, that you are anxious to Gertrude was disappointed ; she would much have something to do for me while I am away?' rather that her mother had told her then what Indeed, it is to please you,' said Gertrude, she was to do for her, and she did not at all like half crying at the question; for, notwithstanding to leave her and go out. However, as she had her disinclination to learning the multiplication been too well trained to prompt and unquestion- table, she dearly loved her mother. ing obedience to make any objection, she got her | 'I am sure you do wish to please me rather hat and did as she had been desired.
than yourself,' the latter continued ; and the Very little notice did she take of the flowers, way to please me would be by learning your now in the early spring-time looking so fresh and multiplication table so perfectly, that, on my regay ; little attention did she pay to the gambols turn, you will be able to repeat it to me without of her pet dog, who ran beside her, and won a single mistake.' dered what had happened to make his merry There was a moment's struggle in little Gerlittle mistress so grave and sedate. But Gertrude trude's heart, and then she said bravely, 'I will could only think of one thing, namely, what it learn it, mother, because you wish it ; but I am could be that her mother would give her to do. sure I could learn it quite easily in two or three Perhaps she might allow her to take care of her days; and then, may I do something else for mignonette bed, as she had done last year. But
| you?' then it was rather early for that; for, when she | Mrs. Playfair shook her head, as she answered, had spoken to the gardener about it a few days be- | 'If you learned it so quickly, dear, you certainly fore, he told her that the plants were too young, would neither learn it perfectly nor remember it, and the ground too dry for anything to be done, and I want to secure your doing both. What I and that if she meddled with the bed she would wish is this, that you should learn half a table only do mischief; so it could not be the mig- | quite perfectly every morning before you go out; nonette.
and every day before you learn a new part, say Could it possibly be that she would give her over all that you have learned before, that will the greenhouse to manage! That would, indeed, ensure your remembering it; or rather,' she conbe delightful, she was so fond of flowers; and tinued, as you have not any one to say it to, she had watched the gardener so often, she was write it up and down, backwards and forwards sure she understood all about it. Certainly she on your slate ; then compare it with the book, had broken a beautiful geranium last year, when and correct the mistakes, and remember not she was trying to shake off the loose leaves, as to begin your new lesson until you have written she had seen the gardener do every morning; out the old ones correctly. I shall probably be but then she was only six years old at the time, away a little more than three weeks, so that you and the pot was very heavy and slipped out of will be able to come to the end of twelve times her hand. But there would not be any fear of before I return. And now, darling, what do that now, she thought, as she was a little past you think of the plan ?' seven-quite a great girl!
I cannot understand what good it can do Many other nice things to do, as she expressed you,' replied Gertrude ; but I always find out, if it, were thought of; at last she came to the wise I wait patiently, that you are right about everyconclusion that her mother was sure to choose thing; so I am sure you are right now. And I what was best, and that it would probably be shall not mind disliking my multiplication table about flowers, as she knew how fond she was of one bit, since I am to learn it to please you; them. She only hoped it might be something that is so different from learning it because I very difficult and very troublesome, that she must, or to please myself.'
A kiss was Mrs. Playfair's answer; and then, puzzled her terribly. It would come, as she said, after a talk of the Good Shepherd, and how He sixty-three, or fifty-four, or even forty-eightwould watch over his little lamb while her mother every number but the right one. She was just was away from her, Gertrude went to bed, and did beginning to get cross as well as tired, when the not awake until she felt her mother's arm round postman's knock was heard at the hall door, and her in the morning. Then she started up, for a note from her mother was handed to her. she knew the hour of parting had come. Quickly Such a tender, loving note as it was! Not a she dressed ; and then for the last time, until Mrs. word about fearing that Gertrude had forgotten Playfair's return, they knelt together, while in or neglected her mother's wishes; but an assura few simple words the mother asked God to take ance that she knew her little daughter would try care of her and of her precious child, -to keep | to please her while she was away, even more than both from evil while they were separated, and to when she was at home, and concluding with the bring them together again in health, and joy, and hope of soon seeing her again. safety.
Ah! it was not hard to take up her book now, Immediately after breakfast, the carriage drove after having read and kissed her letter over and up to the hall door, and after a hurried but very over again. Yes, she would please her mother loving good-bye, Mrs. Playfair had to leave. while she was away ; so, setting to work again,
Poor little Gertrude! She did not know what she soon mastered her difficulties, and said and to do. She felt so lonely and sorrowful, that wrote that seven times seven is forty-nine so she was sure she would be miserable until her often, that she was quite sure she could never mother returned. She wandered forlorn about forget it. Ten and eleven times were so easy the house, and was just getting her hat to go that they did not give her any trouble; and as to out, when she remembered her multiplication twelve times, why, she knew it all except twelve table.
times twelve, before she began to learn it sepaI will begin this very minute,' she said ; 'it rately. She had not calculated on this, so it was would have been dreadful to have forgotten what a pleasant surprise. dear mamma wished.' And although at the Two days afterwards Mrs. Playfair returned. name her tears flowed afresh, yet she went for What a bright and joyous meeting it was both her book, and in a few minutes had learned the for mother and child! Gertrude was in too great first half of twice times so perfectly that she delight to have time even to think of the multiwrote it all sorts of ways on her slate without a plication table, or to wonder if her mother would mistake. The thought that this would please her | be greatly pleased that she had learned it so well. mother cheered her; and in much better spirits In the evening, however, her mother asked about she called her dog, and went out into the it; and then Gertrude did feel very glad to be garden.
able to tell her that she knew it perfectly, and The day passed more quickly and pleasantly that she had learned it exactly as she had wished than she could have believed would have been her to do. possible, and so did the few following ones. But Mrs. Playfair's look of pleasure, as she kissed when the morning came for her to learn the last her, and said, “You have pleased me very much, half of four times, it found her in no pleasant my child,' rewarded Gertrude for all her trouble. state of mind.
Then her mother asked her how she had enjoyed The sun was shining so brightly, so many | learning it. butterflies had come out, and the flowers seemed 'I did not enjoy learning it at all for its own fresher and sweeter than ever. It was very hard | sake,' she replied, thoughtfully; but I enjoyed that she might not go out. That tiresome mul- | learning it because you wished it, although sometiplication table ! she wished her mother had not times, when I forgot that, I used to get so tirer asked her to learn it. It was so stupid; and it of it.' certainly could not do any one any good. Surely “But did being tired of it ever make you neit would not be any harm to pass over one day, I glect your lesson ?' asked Mrs. Playfair. and learn a double lesson the next. But it would 'Oh, no,' answered Gertrude. I used somenot do; a still small voice was whispering in Ger- times to be tempted to do it, but when I thought trude's heart, “Will you not do it because your of you, and all your love for me, I felt that no mother asked you? because you know it would matter how tired I was, or how much I disliked please her? Would you not like to please her, it, I should like to do anything in the whole she loves you so dearly?'
world that pleased you.' 'I should like to please her,' said the child, as “And you have pleased me very much indeed,' if in answer. 'I shall have plenty of time to said Mrs. Playfair. “And now I wonder if you play afterwards; dear mother, she whispered, as would like to do something else for me?' she took up her book and slate, and seated herself 'Indeed I should,' replied Gertrude. So her at the table to learn her lesson. Her thoughts mother told her to come with her to the greenwandered a little, so she was somewhat longer house, where all by itself, on the lowest shelf, than she would otherwise have been ; but at | was a beautiful geranium just coming into length her old lessons and her new one had all / blossom. been written on the slate without a mistake, and 'I value this plant very much,' continued Mrs. shouting out that four times twelve is forty-eight, | Playfair, because it was given to me by dear the happy child went into the garden.
Aunt Alice; but if you would like to take care of After this, she had not any trouble until she it for me, I should not be afraid to trust you came to seven times. And seven times seven with it.'