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separately from all external influence that our actions may have on others. Accordingly I find that Poole, in his Synopsis, gives this as the sense of the best commentators on the forty-third verse. His words are, “Seorsim hoc illis dixit, quia nihil attinebat aut viduam hoc audire, aut cæteros: sed discipulos docere voluit quæ vera esset liberalitatis æstimatio apud Deum et Dei imitatores-In qua censendum nil nisi dantis amor." He said this to them [the disciples) apart, because it was not proper that either the widow or others should hear it: but he was desirous to teach his disciples what is the true estimate of liberality with God and those who imitate him-In which estimate nothing is to be considered except the love of the donor. If this was really the great lesson which our Saviour intended to teach his disciples, and, through them, to teach the world; and if it be admitted, as it certainly must ve, that God will reward only that which he approves in those who serve him, then Jesus Christ has fixed his seal on this prin. ciple, that in those who perform good actions God will not only estimate and reward the inward temper of the heart, but he will reward nothing else. Wherever this inward temper is really good, it will in all cases—and let it be well remembered-manifest itself by outward correspondent actions; but still it is the disposition, the inherent personal grace alone, that will be the subject of reward. Some may have ability and opportunity to do much, and others little; some may be successful, and otirers not; but the criterion of God's approbation and remuneration will be, the quantity of love to himself which there was in the heart. When Dr. Nott preached his missionary sermon, there were probably some actually present who contributed as much in ten cents, as others did in ten dollars. Admit that in one case, the ten cents were the same expression of love to God and the souls of men, as the ten dollars were in the other. I believe and think the Saviour has so decided that both these classes of persons will receive exactly the same reward, for what they did on that occasion. Yet ten dollars will go a thousand times as far as ten cents in supporting missionaries, by whose instrumentality the gospel is to be preached and souls converted to the Redeemer.
There are several other passages of scripture which I think might be shown to bear on the point before us, by considering the principle which they establish. But as I wish to make this discussion as short as possible, I shall refer only to one text more, as speaking doctrinally on the point. « Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain;
yet surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with my God. And now, saith the Lord that formed me from the womb to be his servant; to bring Jacoli again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength.” Isaiah, xlix. 4; 5. Though it is not here said in terms, that the apparently unsuccessful and complaining servant of Jehovah should have as large a reward as if acknowledged success had attended his labours, yet that this is really implied, and is indeed the sense intended to be conveyed, seems plain from considering what is the design of the sacred penman in the passage. There appear to have been in view two circumstances, which are represented as having a depressing influence on the mind of him who complains that he has laboured in vain. The first is, the disappointment and distress arising from the want of success itself—The second, the construction that might be put on this circumstance by enemies; namely, that it was occasioned by the want of fidelity in him who had been employed in the work. To comfort the mind of the faithful servant of God, in the view of both these circumstances, it is said V. 4. “ Yet surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with my God;" and v. 5. “ Though Israel he' not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength." That is, though men may condemn me for the want of fidelity, God will acquit me; and though success has not attended my labours, yet, by his judgment, I shall receive the same reward as if my work had been as prosperous as I have endeavoured to render it. Let it be remarked, that without this last idea, the complainant is not fully comforted. If fidelity, unsuccessful as it had been, was not to be rewarded as much as if success had been granted, the consolation imparted remained very incomplete. But it appears to be the very design of the passage to state, that a faithful, unsuccessful servant of God, should have all the consolation that can possibly arise, from the consideration that his future justification and reward should suffer no diminution at all from the want of success. And if this be really its design, it is a direct decision, in my favour, of the question discussed.
But it is to be remembered that scripture teaches, not only by doctrine and precept, but by example, and that it is peculiarly by considering scripture examples, that we learn the decisions of God in regard to human character, conduct and actions. Let us try our question then by this test. Enoch and Elijah alone of all the human race, have been " translated that they should not
see death.” This was certainly intended by God as a high honour, and a very considerable reward. That they stand in the first rank of glorified spirits, we have more than conjectural evidence. And such evidence we have, too, that though, probably, both were concerned in most laboriously endeavouring to reform the age in which they lived_Elijah certainly was- yet they were both remarkable for the want of success. The old world was de stroyed for its wickedness, and the kingdoms of Judah and Israel were bettered but little by the warnings of Elijah. In these two instances, then, a remarkable want of success did not prevent the highest rewards. Nor are these by any means singular instances. Noah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and several others, might be added to the number, from the Old Testament; and the martyr Stephen is a striking example of it, in the New. These are represented in scripture as among the most eminent saints; represented in such a way as to leave no doubt that they will appear as stars of the very first magnitude in the Heaven of eternal glory. Yet none of these were distinguished for success in turning others to righteousness, but rather for the want of it. And the very same may be said of many martyrs, in later ages of the church. The truth is, that to preserve one's own integrity untainted and unshaken, in a degenerate age, and to go on, labouring steadily to do good to others, with little encouragement from success, requires a higher degree of grace, and evinces a more firm and heroic virtue, than can be required or exhibited where numbers are in favour of religion, and where every effort to do good is seen to be effectual. We find, accordingly, that in scripture story, the former are represented as being most peculiarly the objects of the divine 'approbation and favour.
But a greater than patriarchs, prophets, and martyrs, is here. The divine Redeemer himself, saw little of the fruit of his labours on earth. Yet God hath “ highly exalted him, and given him a name that is above every name.” To him the passage from Isaiah, already quoted, no doubt principally referred; though, as an excellent commentator has remarked, it was clearly intended to speak of the members with the head, and to comfort the ministers of Jesus with the truth that com. forted their master. It is not out of the view of the writer that though the Saviour had little success in his teachings and labours on earth, yet the work which he accomplished is the foundation of all the success of the gospel that has ever been witnessed—the meritorious cause of acceptance with God to all the redeemed of the Lord. This is an indubitable and a glorious
truth. But who will undertake to say, that every faithful, but apparently unsuccessful minister of Christ, shall not, in his measure, resemble his Lord, even in this particular. Merit, indeed, neither the successful, nor unsuccessful disciple of Jesus, can ever claim. But who will say, that the desires, the prayers, and the efforts of him, who sees, during his life time, but little fruit of his labours, shall not, in the judgment of the great day, be found to have done as much toward the propagation of the gospel, as those of him to whom the success appeared, to human eyes, to be immediately attached? It is in answer to prayer that God converts sinners from the error of their ways; and no good effort is ever lost: It may produce a train of the happiest consequences, when its author shall long have been sleeping in the dust. For aught we know, the same degrees of zeal and fidelity shall be found, in all instances, eventually productive of the same degrees of success; that is, so far as they ever can be properly said to be productive of it. I would much rather embrace and undertake to defend this sentiment, than the one which I oppose.
A PARENT'S REFLECTIONS. Every thing that God does must be important. With a word, he creates a universe; and with his breath, millions of immortal souls! “ Who is a god like unto our God? Glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, continually doing wonders !" Creation attests his power; but man displays his image and his grace: Creation is the scaffolding; but man the “ habitation of God, through the Spirit.” Hence the little infant becomes an object of importance, not only as it is “ fearsully and wonderfully made,” but as it is the depository of a jewel more valuable than “ the whole world!”
“ Helpless immortal! insect infinite!” More feeble than the brutes which perish, and yet destined to survive the wreck of worlds! Born to behold the stars fall from their orbits, the sun become extinct, and Time itself expire! I look at thee while slumbering on thy mother's lap, and my heart glows with love: a thousand tender feelings rush into my mind, and hopes and fears alternate possess my spirits. Here lies, methinks, in embryo, an heir of glory; perhaps a son of perdition; a Josias; perhaps an Absalom; a John; perhaps a Judas; a Whitfield; perhaps a Hume. I have been the instrument of giving birth to a being who will never cease to be; whose existence will be a blessing or a curse to itself for ever and ever! Solemn
thought! and still more solemn, when I consider that, by fia. ture, all are “ dead in trespasses and sins:" that such is the dreadful apostacy of the human race, that they “ go astray from the womb, speaking lies:" that “ there is none that doeth good, no not one:" and that a wonder, far greater than that which was displayed at its birth, must be effected, if it ever becomes « an heir of God,” and “ a joint heir with Christ." Am I a christian pa. rent, and can I be insensible to the importance and responsibility of such a character? Does not God say to me as Pharaoh's daugh. ter did to the mother of Moses, “ Take this child, and murse it for me?” Do I know the value of my own soul, and can I forget my Ishmael, when I approach a throne of grace? Born into such a world, and with such a nature, shall I be careful to provide for its temporal support, and yet be negligent of its eternal welfare? What line of conduct do I henceforth mean to pursue ? Briefiş, to set " no eril thing before its eyes;” and to enforce the instructions I give it by my own example. Alas! who is sufficient for these things? What prayer, what watchfulness, what circum. spection is necessary! Where shall I find encouragement, but in the promise, “ My grace is sufficient for thee." But it may be, after all my efforts, nature may break through every restraint of parental indulgence or discipline, and I may be called to the painful, yet not uncommon lot, of having the child I nourished in my bosom, become a worm in the gourd of my every temporal enjoyment: a serpent to sting perhaps my very vitals. Let me not then fix my love too much upon it, since disease may destroy it, and disappointment may blast my fondest hopes respecting it. May I leave all with that God who “performeth all things for me," and attend to the counsel of his word, which, for my happiness, directs me to give him my heart, to “ set my affections upon things which are above,” and which asks of me and of every christian parent, the soul-searching and seasonable question, “ What agreement hath the temple of God with idols ?"
We wish there was not even a greater reason in this country than in England to listen to such a petition as the following.
To the truly serious christians of all denominations.
THE HUMBLE PETITION OF SABBATH-DAY.
That your petitioner is of very ancient and honourable ertaction, being created directly after the world and man were