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“God was not in all his thoughts.” The idea of God is the sun of the soul. Where this practical atheism is there can be (1) No spiritual life; (2) No spiritual resting place ; (3) No spiritual hope ; (4) No spiritual communion. A practical atheist is a fool indeed.

Another proof of folly which we discover in this man is :

III. SEEKING HUMAN HAPPINESS IN MATERIAL POSSESSIONS. “Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years." I have now, What? A noble selection of books, which treat of the ways of God, which I intend to peruse ? No! Goods ! Carnal gratification cannot yield happiness to man-it kills the soul. Instances have come under the attention of many observers, where men who have amassed wealth, and pampered their appetites, have only rendered themselves intensely miserable. Take Solomon as an example. Eccl. ii. 1-11.

Another proof of folly which we discover in this man is :

IV. OVERLOOKING THE GREATEST FACTS OF HIS EXISTENCE. (1) The accountableness of his soul to God. “Thy soul will be required of thee.” Thy soul is not thine. “All souls are mine,” &c. It will be required. (2) The proximity of the soul to eternity. “This night." Thou art calculating for years—but “this night,” &c. (3) The separableness of the soul from all material possessions. “Whose shall these things be?” They will not be thine, &c. “ His sons come to honor,” &c. Whose shall these things be? These worldly things, for which thou hast been laboring all thy life, which thou dost so supremely prize, and in which thou dost seek thy happiness, are not essential to thy being. Thou wilt be when thou hast left them. They were in the possession of others before thou hadst any existence, and they will be in the hands of others when thou art gone. Others will occupy thy house, cultivate thy fields, hold thy property when thou

art away in the spiritual districts of eternity. “Whose shall these things be?” Terribly suggestive and solemn question this.

From the birth
Of mortal man, the Sov'reign Maker said,
That not in humble nor in brief delight,
Not in the fading echoes of renown,
Power's purple robes, nor pleasure's flow'ry lap
The soul, should find enjoyment: but from these
Turning disdainful to a higher good,
Through all the ascent of things, enlarge her view,
'Till every bound at length should disappear,
And infinite perfection close the scene.


SUBJECT :- Paul's Shipwreck.

“Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.”—Acts xxvii., 25.

Analysis of Homily the Four Hundred and Sixteenth. The interesting and instructive narrative of this chapter places Paul before us in a strong light, as a man of earnest faith, and true spiritual nobility. There he stands amidst the rough men of the ocean, and the stern soldiers of the Roman legion,—the master-mind, the ruling spirit. They are all made to feel how inferior they are to him in that hour of peril on the mighty deep, and they are conscious of the inspiration of his courage and his faith as they listen to his words, “Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer,” &c.

From this passage we may observe:

I. THAT A SPECIAL COMMUNICATION FROM HEAVEN JS AMONGST THE SUREST FOUNDATION FOR FAITH. Paul's faith rested on a special communication from God. An angel appeared unto him and said, “ Fear not Paul, thou must be brought before Cæsar, and lo, God hath given thee all them that are with thee.” It was in reference to this he said “I believe God," &c. It is so with Christian faith : it is founded upon a special communication from God. And of that communication we may remark :

First : That it comes to man in his greatest extremity. The angel voice addressed Paul with assurance of safety when all human means of self-preservation were wanting. They had tried many plans of escape from destruction, and all had proved vain. In this extremity God interposed, and their deliverance was promised. It was when reason and intellect had done all they could ; when the world by wisdom knew not God; that He himself stepped forth to save man. “When there was no eye to pity,” &c.

Secondly : That it is adapted to all men's spiritual wants. The communication made to Paul was suited to the circumstances in which he and his companions were placed. It told them what they must do to be saved. The Divine message to man in the Gospel is precisely of this nature. It is specifically adapted to all the moral necessities of our nature-it makes known a complete salvation for lost humanity. It supplies the means of obtaining pardon, purity, peace, and eternal life. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ : for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.”

Thirdly: That its divine origin is most evident. The apostle knew that it was a divine announcement which had been made to him. It was no dream-no fancy of a heated imagination, but a true and indubitable revelation of the Divine will. He could say it was of God _“I believe God.” It is thus the Christian can speak of the Gospel. He has the evidence of his own consciousness, of its power and efficiency. “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself;" he knows that it is “the glorious Gospel of the ever-blessed God.”

From this passage we observe :

II. THAT THE CHARACTER OF GOD INSPIRES THE BELIEVER WITH CONFIDENCE IN HIS WORD. Paul was in the midst of the surging waters-on the shattered deck of a sinking ship, and yet felt confident of safety. God had said they should be saved if they obeyed His will, and the apostle felt that what He had said He would perform. “I believe that it shall be even as it was told me." It was the character of God which inspired him with confidence, and there is the same reason for the Christian's confidence now.

First: Because what God says He wills. The message Paul received was a revelation of the will of God. As such it was accepted. He knew that the will and the communication were coincident. God's word is the expression of His will. It assures us that it is His will that all who obey the Gospel shall be saved. “ This is the will of him that sent me, that every one that seek the Son and believeth on him should have everlasting life.”

Secondly: Because He is able to do what he promises. The danger to Paul and those with him was great. The storm was raging, the waves rolled furiously, the breakers were foaming, and the rocks were nigh ; but God was greater than the sea and mightier than the storm. He was able to fulfil His word and rescue them. “ The arm of the Lord is not shortened that it cannot save.” There are great and mighty obstacles in the way of men's salvation; but, “ Christ is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him."

Thirdly: Because the mind of God is unchangeable. There was reason for Paul's confidence, because he felt that he had to do with the word of One who changeth not—whose purposes were not unsettled and vacillating. He might well be assured that it should “be as it was told him.” The purposes of God, made known to us for our salvation, are those of " the Father of lights with whom there is no variableness neither the shadow of turning.”

" He is not man that he should lie, nor the son of man that he should repent.” There is ground for Christian confidence in the character of God. It makes the fulfilment of His word sure to all who obey Him.

From this passage we observe :

III. THAT THE VALUE OF FAITH IS BEST SEEN IN DIFFICULT AND TRYING CIRCUMSTANCES. What a difference there was between Paul and those around him! What made the difference? It was his faith. In this the value of faith is illustrated. It appears :

First : In the calmness of mind it produces. The seamen, used as they were to plough the deep, were terrified and unmanned by the fury of the storm ; the soldiers of Rome were paralyzed with fear. Not so, Paul : he was calm and self-possessed amidst all the rage of the elements. Faith gives to the Christian's soul, calmness and peace when the wildest storms of trial beat upon him, and enables him to grapple with the last enemy and smile at his terrors.

Secondly: In the final safety it ensures. Had that vessel gone down with all on board, Paul would still have been safe ; but what of those who knew not Paul's Saviour. The Christian is safe, let what will befall him ; safe in his highest interests amidst the most painful circumstances and safe, though death should assail him in its most terrible forms. This faith “lays hold on eternal life," and makes him ever secure. “I know whom I have believed,” &c.

Thirdly : In the honor it puts upon God. What honor Paul's faith put upon God; Listen to him as he addresses the poor trembling men around him—“I believe God," &c. He was a noble witness for God amidst those godless beings. The Christian honors God by his confidence in Him. When he is “strong in faith,” then does he most effectually and most acceptably "give glory to God.” This stamps faith with inexpressible value, when it is seen triumphant in difficulty and peril, honoring God in the reliance which is reposed on His promises.

From this passage we observe :


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