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ineffective. It meets the case of man fully and continuously. It places before him the proper object of religious worshipthe true and living God. It invites him to commune with his Maker. The members of the Church of Jesus Christ enter the temples of Christianity to hold fellowship one with another ; "and truly their fellowship is with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Such honor and joy have all the saints. In the means of grace, the Christian finds a peace which the world can neither give nor take away. His fears are dissipated, his passions are hushed, his wants are supplied, his tears are wiped away, and he obtains a foretaste of celestial bliss. Hence he frequently exclaims,—“Return unto thy rest, O my soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.” “Unto the altar of God I will go, unto the altar of God, my exceeding joy.”.
Thirdly : Because of its ennobling associations. There are three kinds of honor in the world, resulting respectively from wealth, from wisdom, from virtue. Accordingly, one individual counts it honorable to associate with the rich, another with the wise, another with the good. Doubtless, it is far more honorable to associate with the good, than with the wise and the rich ;—for the wise and the rich often dishonor themselves by wickedness. It was well said by one of old,
-"The saints in the earth, they are the excellent, in whom is all my delight.” It was well said by a rich man, in reply to wealthy neighbors who spoke scornfully about his fellowship with methodists,—“Gentlemen, I am choosing my companions for eternity.” Every Christian derives honor from the company he keeps. His companions are the children of God; "and if children then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ." Indulge no longer, ye men of the world, in day-dreams about the degradation of the man who wears the name of Christ, and works righteousness; for he is nobler far than any other human being. The dignity of the Christian eclipses the highest earthly honor ; seeing that in the Church of Jesus Christ he communes and is a co-heir with individuals, who, when all the symbols of temporal glory have crumbled into dust, will be clad with the robes, and wear the crowns, and sit on the thrones, of immortality.
Fourthly: Because of its momentous interests. Our Lord and Master requires us to diffuse knowledge, piety, and happiness among all nations. The interests of the Church of Jesus Christ, therefore, are those of truth, and righteousness, and joy. These interests are much more important than any other which occupy the thoughts, and employ the capabilities of men. The interests of commerce, science, and civilization are not worthy to be compared with them. All that is exclusively earthly will pass away ; but the truth held by the Church of Jesus Christ is unchangeable, its righteousness is everlasting, and its joy is for evermore.
Brother, Is the Church of Jesus Christ in all thy thoughts, or iu scarcely any of thy thoughts ? Dost thou prefer it to everything else, or everything else to it? Dost thou remember the world and the things of the world—its labors, its riches, its honors, and its amusements; but forget the Church and the things of the Church-its doctrines, its ordinances, its blessings, and its pleasures? Dost thou prefer the fellowship of the ungodly to the communion of saints; the transactions of business to works of faith and labors of love ; the joys of sense to the joys of salvation ? If these questions startle thee to a consciousness of alienation from the Church of Jesus Christ, resolve, in the strength of grace, to enter it, remember it, and prefer it; that amidst its sanctifying fellowship, thou mayest prepare for the nobler fellowship of the heavenly world.
P. J. WRIGHT.
The Desirable and Undesirable in the History
of the Immature Christian.
“ I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.”—John xvii. 15.
Analysis of Homily the Four Hundred and Thirty-sixth.
The true prayer of a true man has always a peculiar charm, and a special claim to attention. It reveals the real state of the suppliant's heart, the deepest aspirations and wants of his nature. There is neither levity nor falsehood in his utterances. All is serious and true :-his mind realizes its contact with the awful and omniscient God. The prayer
of Jesus has, however, additional claims to our notice. It not only reveals the real state of His great, pure, and glorious, soul, but the very mind of the God to whom He appeals. Both the good He seeks, and the mode of seeking, are in accordance with the will of the Infinite. He asks only for what God is ready to bestow; He asks in the way which is agreeable to the Divine mind. When we hear a good man praying we feel justified in regarding his prayer as a true reflection of his own soul at be time; but knowing that though sincere he is fallible, and is liable to ask both for wrong things and in a very wrong way, we cannot consider his prayer as a correct revelation of God. The case, however, is different in relation to Christ. He being infallible in knowledge as well as sincere in heart, His prayer reveals not only Himself, but the Everlasting Father too.
We take this prayer, therefore, as a revelation both of God and Christ. Here we have in this chapter on the one hand the Filial Reverence, the Ardent Philanthropy, and the True Divinity, of Christ; and here we have on the other, the Fatherhood, Sovereignty, and Universal Love, of God. Admirably adapted, therefore, is this prayer of Jesus, at once to kindle and to guide our devotions.
The words that I have selected for remark express the desirable and the undesirable in the Christian life.
I. THE UNDESIRABLE IN THE HISTORY CARISTIAN. What is the undesirable in the life of good men? That they should be taken out of the world. “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world.” To get the full amount of truth contained in this expression, you should remark three things :
First : That the death of the good is a departure out of this world. It is not going out of existence, but merely going out of this world :
:-a mere change of residence. Secondly : That this event is in the hands of God. He takes them out of the world. They do not go themselves, nor are they taken away by chance, nor by creature power.
Не takes them. “ Thou turnest man to destruction,” &c.
Thirdly : That this event is not desirable. This passage expresses the fact that it is not desirable for good men to be taken from the world. This is true in a two-fold sense. (1) In relation to themselves, and (2) To others.
(1) It is not desirable on their own account. Until they reach maturity of character they require this world. This world is furnished with all the appliances for spiritual training. Serious evils have, we conceive, arisen from what has long been, and still is, a popular notion in the Christian world; namely, that there is a necessary opposition in this world to true religion. The existence of monasteries is based
this absurd opinion; and the current excuses which even the majority of Christian men urge for their not being more spiritual and devoted, are grounded upon the same foolish and miserable notion. Indeed from the pulpit this dogma is frequently proclaimed. The truth is, the necessary claims of the business, and the avocations, of this life, instead of being opposed to spiritual culture, are amongst the most important means of grace and facilities for spiritual training. The man, for example, who has to work hard on the soil, and by the sweat of his brow obtain the means of subsistence for himself and family, is called by that
labor to put into exercise those principles of selfdependence, perseverance, and endurance, which are essential elements in the Christian character. So he who has to take his stand in the market and engage in the barter of business, has a noble opportunity for rousing his energies, testing his honesty, sharpening his powers, and through the conduct of buyer and seller, attaining a practical knowledge at once of the nature and character of man. All experience shows that the necessary labor in these departments of operation is highly conducive to spiritual training. The men who say business is against religion, are men who are not acting on the true principles of business. The man who works in the field, the shop, or the senate house, on the principle of Godly honesty, must by the effort grow in vigor of character.
The notion we are combating is derogatory to the divine character. Were the necessary duties of this life absolutely opposed to our spiritual interests, where would be the wisdom, goodness, and justice of God in sending us into such & state, demanding from us the cultivation of a character opposed by all the circumstances of our being ? Nor is the notion more derogatory to the Divine character than it is in. jurious in its bearings upon man. Men are everywhere basing excuses for their religious indifference upon the supposed opposition which the world offers to it. Christians, you need the world in order to perfect you.
You need its trials to humble you; you need its storms to purify the atmosphere of your heart; you need its difficulties to challenge your powers to action ; you need its changes to remind you that this is not your home ; you need its labor to invigorate your brain, on whose healthful action both your intellectual power and moral character depend.
Do not as too many do, indulge in morbid sentiments of dissatisfaction with the world—you cannot dispense with it. Use it, therefore, as the farmer uses the field, to produce fruit that shall abound in after-life; as the pupil the school, to attain a knowledge that shall fit him for high offices in time to come. Use it as the mariner the winds and waves, to bear him on to the desired haven.
(2) Nor is it desirable that they should be taken out of the world for the sake of others. The truly good are social bene