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anticipations are not unfrequently wrong; be- remember his example, and follow his steps; for cause though discerning, perhaps, the path of they know that from the days of Cain and of duty and its difficulties, it fails with equal | Nimrod to the present hour, unregenerate man clearness to apprehend the grace and loving- under Satan has been lord of the earth, and has kindness which sustains in that path, and re- stamped upon it the impress of his evil hand. moves or overcomes its difficulties.
They know, too, that in this there will be no Doubtless she anticipated that she would be change, except indeed for advance in rebellion, called away from her rest; and hence her re- | until the Lord shall be revealed in the brightluctance. Yet her folly was not permitted to ness of his destroying glory. “Iluman progress, turn aside the persistency of his grace. He had therefore, is to them only another name for the before knocked; He now sought to open the advance of unregeneracy to its doom. “Anticlosed door. Her heart was touched; and she christ,' 'Babylon,' ' Armageddon,' the winearose to unlock it—her hands dropping with press of the wrath of God,' 'the lake that myrrh, and her fingers with sweet-smelling burneth with fire and brimstone,'—such are the myrrh, upon the handles of the lock.' Here was names that indicate to the eye of faith the end the evidence of the luxuriousness of her rest. and the goal of all present human progress. The It was a condition very unlike that of the more, therefore, the city of man strengthens shepherdess whom the sun had looked upon and itself, the more it illumines itself with brightness, blackened, or that of the outcast in the vine- | the more the instructed heart trembles; for it yards, despised and spurned by her own mother's knows what will be in the end thereof. What children. She opened the door, however; but it place, then, more fearful than that held by those was too late. He was gone. I opened to my who are the watchmen of man's city - the Beloved; but my Beloved had withdrawn him- strengtheners of its greatness-the defenders of self, and was gone; my soul failed when He its walls? spake: I sought Him, but I could not find Him; ! If that place had been held only by the NimI called Him, but He gave me no answer. Indeed, rods, and Cæsars, and Caiaphases of earth, and He had never designed to enter that chamber, their servants; if the world's religiousness had nor to rest where she rested. He had only come always worn its Pagan or its Jewish garb, and there to arouse her. If she desired to find Him, I had never assumed the profession of the name of she must thread her way back through the streets Jesus; if none of Christ's servants had been of that city into which she never ought to have seduced into the belief that the city of man is wandered. She must again go without the gate, being gradually transformed into the city of and seek Him there.
| God, the danger would not be what it at present And she did seck Him; for her heart was is. But noininal Christianity has undertaken really true to her Lord. She returned not to to sanctify the world's energies. It has encouher forbidden rest; but forsaking that goodly raged those who give themselves, body and soul, chamber, she went forth even at that midnight to the advancement and glorification of man's hour into the dark city, helpless and alone. i city, and has told them that in so doing they No voice of love greeted her, no kindly hand glorify God. It has put the name of Christ sustained, no friendly voice directed her. She i upon Christ's enemies; and has striven to was to be chastened, and to know many sorrows, | identify before the thoughts of men, the city ere she again found herself by the side of Him of God and the city of man. And it has from whom she had wandered. The watchmen wonderfully succeeded. Few recognise that the that went about the city found me, they smote relation held by the Lord Jesus and his serme, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls vants the apostles towards Caiaphas and Cæsar, took away my veil from me.' Such is her own and all that morally characterized Jerusalem or narrative of her sorrows. The watchmen of Rome, is still the relation in which truth and man's city, and the keepers of its walls, can have its servants stand toward every system, secular no sympathy with any one who is unattracted or religious, that is formed by the hand or by that city's glories, and refuses to labour for controlled by the will of unregenerate man. its interests-having an ear deaf to its melodies, Doubtless the acknowledgment of this narrows an eye closed to its beauties. Who is blind, but greatly the path of Christ's servants ; but is not my servant ? or deaf, as my messenger that I l the way narrow that leadeth unto life? Is the sent? who is blind as he that is perfect, and exhortation to go without the camp, bearing his blind as the Lord's servant ? Seeing many reproach,' limited to any especial time or place? things, but thou observest not ; opening the Is it not a commandment addressed to all who ears, but he heareth not. Such was the cha own the sanctifying blood of Jesus ? ‘Jesus, that racter of the one faithful and true Witness; and He might sanctify the people by his own blood, such, in measure, is the character of all who suffered without the gate. Let us go forth
therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing Multitudes dwell in man's city who are neither his reproach. For here have we no continuing its “watchmen,' nor the keepers of its walls,' city, but we seek one to come. Can any words but its daughters.' Trained under its influmore plainly mark the everlasting difference | ences, and unresistingly imbibing from their between the city of God and the city of man? | earliest years its principles, they readily receive And as the hour of Antichrist draws nigh, this from the institutions of society around them an difference becomes, not indeed more real, but abiding impress. Society prepares the mould, more marked, every day.
and their characters, like plastic clay, are formed We cannot wonder that they whose view is therein. Having little ability, and less desire, bounded by the borizon of earth should greatly to test the principles and practices that prevail glory in man's present progress. The leaders of around them, they find it far more easy to favour the world's energies have not laboured in vain. what others favour, than to incur the labour and The city of man grows and waxes stronger and painfulness of examination. Prosperity, success, stronger every day; and even professed servants numerical increase, popular approbation, and the of Christ consent to guard it, and to become the like, are their tests; and anything that answers Fatchmen of its walls. We can well conceive thereunto is readily accepted by them as good how, like Nebuchadnezzar of old, they walk about and true. “Securus judicat orbis terrarum.' upon its battlements, and look forth upon its | The universal verdict of society is, in their judggreatness, and say, “Is not this the city which ment, a sufficient warrant for truth. How can oar hands have formed, and which our skill and that be wrong which the whole world judges to wisdom preserve?' Religiously and secularly be right? They know that it is more easy to they glory in it; and woe to the pilgrim stranger float with the current than to struggle against that comes across their path, and tells them that it; more pleasant to consort with that which is her Lord whom she worships, is not only dis- | honoured and dignified, than with that which is tant from, but AGAINST them and it. We might outcast and despised. To look too searchingly expect that their wrath would wax hot against into anything is in their estimate the part of her—that they would smite and wound her ; for folly rather than of wisdom. They know that what more hateful in their sight than such as the foot moves most pleasantly when it lightly thoughts and ways and testimonies as hers? | skims over the ground's surface, so does the But why did she draw nigh them? Did she heart know least of sorrow when it thinks and in leed expect to find in them sympathy, or to feels superficially. Carelessly, therefore, they bow obtain from them direction ? Did she imaginedown before anything that educationally they that they could tell her where to find her Lord; have learned to reverence. When not swayed or that they would be willing to seek Him with by habit, they are guided by expediency. Where ber? She may, perbaps, have thought so; for the multitude leads, they follow. Such is the when the people of God with perplexed heart character of the daughters of Jerusalem. They and uneasy conscience find themselves treading are the children of the city of man. It is their a wrong path, surrounded too by the results of parent and their home. They love it-cleave to their disobedience, it is not often that they view it-rejoice in it. Nothing is more abhorrent to the circumstances around them with calm sobriety their hearts than the thought of going without of mind. Impulse and excitement for the most | the gate, bearing reproach. If not sensitive to part rule their steps; and they earn by their the appeals of truth, they are very sensitive to own foolishness, chastisement and sorrow. So ignominy, and dread the scorn of men even more was it with her. If, commissioned by her Lord, than they covet their approbation. Truth, or such and coming as from his side, she had met these portions of it as admit of being established in a watchmen and keepers of the city, she might place of dignity and honour, they are not unwillhave confronted them and triumphed. At any | ing to accept ; but the reproach of truth they rate, she would have been sustained by his fear. Is not this the condition of myriads in strength. But it was far otherwise now. She Christendom now? Floating carelessly on the appeared before them not only as an alien (that surface of the stream, they are the sport of every she must ever have been), but as an alien, weak, casual influence, and are thus being prepared as sorrowful, deserted, and needing, perhaps claim- a ready prey for that coming hour of delusion, ing, help. Were they to be the helpers of that before whose potency none but those who have which they abominated? They helped her not, really the spirit of Christ will stand. In probut they smote her.
portion as the bonds which have hitherto bound In human life, however, they who have power human society together are dissolved, and as and energy to act upon others, are far fewer than men become more like unto fishes of the sea those who are acted on. Men for the most part that have no ruler over them,' so will they beare the ready subjects of others' influence. come a more ready prey to the influence of those
who will shape the world's moral course at its quickly guiding her back to her place of holy closing hour, and be swept into that mighty rest, and she was truly willing to follow as it led. drag-net which will enclose unto perdition. | Soon, therefore, she ceased from seeking counsel
Yet, even among the daughters of 'man's of the daughters of the city, and became to them city,' grace can, and does, find a remnant. Not a testifier and a guide. The praises of Him unfrequently before had this pilgrim stranger, whom her heart loved were in her lips, and that whom the sun bad looked on and blackened, not feignedly. There was fervour in her recital who could speak of the roes and hinds of the of his excellences-vigour in her description. It field, or of vineyards, or sheepfolds, or of lilies, was the utterance of the heart ; and although but knew not the manners of the city, being a her position was not yet rectified, yet it was stranger to its palaces and its priestly courts being rectified. She was not settling down into
not unfrequently before had this wanderer a place of practical distance from her Lord. found herself in the presence of the daughters | Every thought, every expression, indicated that of Jerusalem. Yet never before had she stood her soul was bent on recovering the place which before them as now, in reproach and dishonour, she had lost. Her testimony, therefore, was smitten and wounded, and that by the guardians blessed. It took effect upon the souls of those of their city--at a time, too, when she could no that heard. And they said at last, Whither is longer say that she was with her Lord, or closely thy Beloved gone, O thou fairest among women? following his footsteps. On the contrary, she whither is thy Beloved turned aside? that we had to confess that she had wandered from and may seek Him with thee. lost Him; and she even appealed in the excite-! These words are indeed notable. If the ment of her harassed heart to them, as if they daughters of Jerusalem had merely said, We could tell her where to find Him whom her soul will join thee, or help thee in seeking thy Beloved,-a vain and foolish appeal; for how could loved, it might have been nothing more than the they direct her who knew nothing of her Lord or expression of a transient feeling which sudden of his ways? Yet such often is the manner of emotion may produce on unstable, fickle hearts. the servants of Christ, when they have wandered | But in that case they would not have used the from the practical place into which He seeks to words, 'O thou fairest among women.' These separate his people. Impulsiveness and excite- were indeed strange words to be found in the ment give birth to great activities; but there is lips of those who, when they had once before a want of reflectiveness—a want of sobriety of looked on this stranger, had despised her because mind. There is an absence of the calm guidance she had known toil and travail in the vineyard, of truth; and if this condition of soul continues, or at the folds where she had laboured for her if Christ do not quickly bring back to the place | Lord, where the sun had scorched her and the where He feeds his separated flock with his own storm beaten on her. But now, although she pure truth, the results are unspeakably sorrowful. was not only still blackened and worn, but What more disastrous than unguided or misguided smitten also and wounded, and her heart restless energy! It is as when soldiers, abandoning their and unhappy, she nevertheless was suddenly adbanners and their lawful leaders, rush wildly into dressed, by those who had hitherto contemned the battle-field; or as when a torrent, having no her, as the 'fairest among women.' Her blackness channels prepared for its course, spreads deso- had now become comeliness in their sight; her lation where its waters, rightly guided, would | bruises were honourable ; her sufferings blessed. have brought fertility and fruitfulness.
| The eye of faith was given them. Their estimate It was, however, otherwise with her whose of her was changed. They viewed her as she history we are here considering. Hier wander- was viewed by Hiin who had now become their ing was not to be prolonged. Her Lord had Lord as well as hers; for none but those who come and effectually roused her from her evil have communion of heart with Him can see slumber, and her heart was incapable of rest honour and beauty in those whom man looks on until she again found herself practically by his as the filth of the world and the offscouring side. If she had been content with anything of all things.' Wherever the heart's estimate is short of this, she would probably have linked so altered as to judge that to be honour and herself in some way to the daughters of Jeru- | beauty which before it accounted ignominy and salem, and abjectly submitted to their control, vileness, there must have been a change wrought and made the keepers of their walls her masters. | by the Spirit of the living God. And now grace When the people of Christ are content to remain had accomplished its object. She had been in practical distance from their Lord, this com- | aroused, chastened, taught, and made in sorrow monly becomes their condition-a condition of to learn the appointed lesson; yet even in the degradation and debasement. With her, how- | midst of that sorrow had been so favoured, 80 ever, it was far otherwise. A secret hand was blessed, that when she returned to her Lord, she returned to Him with increase. Others had ful hand. Once more we find her able to say, been won to discern his excellences, and to seek 'My beloved is mine, and I am his. He feedeth the place in which He loved to dwell. That place
among the lilies.' she now descried ; that place she again found.
May we learn the lesson. May we fear even
to rest in man's city; much more may we dread My beloved,' she said, “is gone down into his
to be numbered among its · watchmen.' Let us rden, to the beds of spices, to feed in the go without the gate, acting on man's city, if we gardens, and to gather lilies.' These spices and can, so as to gather out of it; but showing these lilies were not found in the city. They ourselves to be not of it. If the servants of were without the gate. There she had before Christ give themselves over to the world, to subrejoiced in the presence and favour of Him | serve its purposes and forward its designs, they
| will find themselves at last like Samson in the whom her soul loved, and there she rejoiced in
| hand of the Philistines-his eyes put out-his Him again,—with increased apprehension of the Nazarite sen:
| Nazarite separation lost his distinctive strength contrast between the rest of the city, and the departed, whilst that which yet remained to him joys of the garden,-with increased consciousness was forced into the service of the stranger-the of her need of the mercy and grace of his faith- / service of the enemies of the God of Israel.
Sunny Thoughts for
AND OTHER TALES,' ETC. ETC.
No. I. THE GOD OF PATIENCE AND CONSOLATION.'
In thinking over this not long ago, I was
| greatly struck by the beauty and the comfort Ann N the broad outlines of a great trial, of the words, where God is called “the God of
there have always been others who patience and consolation' (Rom. xv. 5). Do we have suffered in a similar way. Do take all the comfort that we might, or rather
we mourn the loss of a husband or that we ought, from the thought of God's pa
e a wife, a father, a mother, a sister, tience? I never realized the exceeding preciousor a friend ?—so do others. Have we suddenly ness of the attribute, as I did when that versc been cast down from the heights of affluence to was brought to my remembrance the other day. the depths of poverty?—so have others. Are we What matter if others do not know the details spending our life in weariness and suffering,- of our sorrow,-if they have not tiine to listen lying year after year on the bed of languishing to the weary heart unburdening itself? There and pain ?-50 are others also. But if in all great is One beside us who will listen; He draws so trials there is a measure of similarity, are there near that He can hear the faintest whisper. He not also details of suffering, minute touches of is so well 'acquainted with grief,' that He can sorrow, which are peculiar to each alone, and rightly interpret every sigh, and tear, and groan. which for cach, as it were, individualizes the He does not speak; He only draws pearer still, trial? And how much the loneliness these de- and looks at you with such deep, such tender tails make us feel, from their being generally so compassion, that you cannot resist telling Him unsuspected by others, adds to the intensity of everything, till every drop of your cup of sorrow our grief.
is poured out before Him. With the outer features of a great sorrow many When that has been done,-in broken whiswill sympathize ; for the world is not, by any pers, it may be, or in voiceless words, -you means, so unfeeling or so unkind as some sup- know, do you not, the blessed rest of having pose. But when you have tried to tell some of the God of patience for your Friend? The the little things that made the sorrow peculiarly having so fully told your sorrow to One who your own, have you never been thrown back can so well understand it, has already lightened into yourself, as it were, by the friend to whom it; and now that you have nothing more to say, you were speaking interrupting you with words and while still gazing up, with the eye of faith, of comfort, which fell powerless on your aching into that wondrous face of love, He reveals himheart, because you felt your friend did not know self to you under another aspect-even as the where the blow was most keenly felt, and there- God of consolation.' fore the words, which were intended to soothe, With what exquisite tenderness He binds up did not touch the wound? They took it for the broken heart! With what marvellous skill granted that they knew all, because they knew He applies the promises ! All images fail to what lay near enough to the surface to be easily give an idea of what the Lord Jesus is as the detected; and because they had not patience to God of consolation.' 'As one whom his mother listen to your tale, they utterly failed to comfort. comforteth, so will I comfort you' (Isa. xlix. 15).
Wonderful words ! yet a mother may forget, but whose right hand there are pleasures for everthe God of consolation never. A mother has more' (Ps. xvi. 11). other duties to perform ; she must sometimes leave even a sick child; but the God of con
DOING HIS PLEASURE.' solation can be always with you,-can watch So once again you are laid upon a bed of sickover you with an interest as undivided as if you ness, -quite shut out, and that for an indefinite alone required his care. He will water you time, from the active work you so dearly loved. every moment' (Isa. xxvii. 3). Through the I well know how keenly you are feeling the trial, long night-watches, when others have lain down and how, as the loved ones around you set out to rest, He will be with you; for He "neither on their several ways day after day, you long to sluinbers nor sleeps' (Ps. cxxi. 4). 'Fear thou join them; and because you cannot do so, you not' (Isa. xli. 10) is his encouraging command ; | feel useless, and, as a necessary consequence, and what a blessed reason He gives for the in-depressed; for your heart's desire is to bring junction! He does not say, 'Fear not, for you forth much fruit, to the glory of the Father' are strong;' or, Fear not, for sorrow shall not (John xy. 8). touch you.' Better far, He says, 'Fear not, for Perhaps, if we look somewhat more deeply I am with thee.' And no matter how high the into the subject, we shall find that, although waves of sorrow may roll, or how hot the fur shut out from what is called active work on nace of affliction may burn, when the God of your sick - bed, you are not therefore by any consolation' is with us, no evil can happen to means necessarily precluded from bringing us; for what would be evil without Him, by a forth much fruit.' I am sure you will agree with wondrous alchemy becomes changed into good me that all work is not service; but only that with Him. Well and cheerily, then, may we work which God has prepared for you, and gives echo the Psalmist's words: 'I will fear no evil, you to do--that, and that only, is service; and for Thou art with me' (Ps. xxij. 4).
it is when doing that, and that only, that you But when we have thus learned something of are doing his pleasure.' And surely all will what the Lord Jesus can be as the God of agree that the object of all work is, or ought patience and consolation,' does He not lead us to be, the doing God's pleasure, whatever that on a step higher? I think He does; and that pleasure may be. In your own household, for we may learn it from Luke x. 34, where we find | instance, you have chosen a particular person to Him, under the figure of the good Samaritan, be cook, because you believed her to be especially pouring oil and wine into the wounds of the qualified for that business. You have chosen man who had fallen amongst thieves. You ob- another to be housemaid, for the same reason; serve it was oil first, -oil, to soothe, to comfort, , another to be your own maid; and so on. While to refresh; and then, when that had done its each of these keeps to her own business, all goes work, wine, -wine, the very emblem of joy and on well; but if the housemaid thought she could gladness : Wine that maketh glad the heart of | do more for you as cook, and meddled in a busiman' (Ps. civ. 15). Do you feel faint and ex- ness she was unfitted for, I think you would not hausted from the heavy pressure of your sorrow? thank her for interfering in your plans, however then the wine which the Lord will give shall hard she might bave worked. Would you not alike cheer and invigorate, for the joy of the tell her that you were the best judge of what Lord is your strength' (Neh. viii. 10).
each of your servants should do; that mere hard Have you not experienced the truth of this work did not constitute service, but only that Have you not felt the tender consideration, the particular work you had appointed for her; and wonderful wisdom, of the way in which the Lord that only by doing that, whether it was great has dealt with you in sorrow?-not giving joy or small, could she do your pleasure ;' or, in first, and then consolation, and then patience. other words, either serve or please you? And Oh, no; for “He knoweth our frame' (Ps. ciii. 14), is it not just so in God's household—the church ? and is . acquainted with grief' (Isa. liii. 3); but He divideth to every man severally as He will' He gives patience first, and then consolation, (1 Cor. xii. 11), and giveth not account of any and then joy.
of his matters' (Job xxxiii. 13). To one He may But it may be that, to some one who reads give the service of being a missionary ; to anthese pages, He may have seen it needful, for other He may give the power that tells on the some wise and loving purpose, which shall be masses, as He did to Wesley and Whitfield in revealed hereafter, to send a sorrow so deep and olden days; to another, such faith in pleading so lasting, that, though ever making himself the promises, that, wherever they go, heaven known to you as “the God of patience and con- seems to rain down a blessing. To some, the solation,' He rarely holds the cup of joy to your path on which they are to walk for life seems lips. Shall that draught, then, never be yours? plainly indicated almost at their first step heavenOh, yes, it shall. It shall be yours when all need ward ; while to others—and they form, I believe, for patience and consolation has for ever passed an immense majority-guidance is only given away. When the last tear shall have been wiped day by day, just as they say, 'Lord, what wilt away by the hand once pierced for you, then Thou have me to do?' And if, in simple, childyou shall drink of the new wine that Jesus bas like faith, we asked this question, morning by promised, when you sit down with Him in the morning, of our heavenly Father, I believe that kingdom of the Father (Matt. xxvi. 29). Then not only would our hearts be filled with a peace, you shall have the fulness of joy, only to be and joy, and rest, to which they would otherfound in the immediate presence of Him, at wise be strangers; but also, that if we were all