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Sin deceives, not only by its insinuating approaches, and by its temporary gratifications ; but, most of all, by its power to lull the heart with promises of future amend. ment and forgiveness, grounded not in faith, but in presumption. As soon as the sinner has hushed up his com. punctions with, “To-morrow,” that moment his heart becomes hardened for “To-day.” And what shall soften it To-morrow? How can he doubt, but that it will become harder and harder, by every day's procrastination ? Of how much more value to him is one To-day, than a thousand such To-morrows, with which he is always deluding himself!
Go to now, ye that say, To-day, or to-morrow, we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain;
Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth
For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.-James iv. 13-15.
Eagerness and Anxiety are, as it were, the two feelers of the mind, reaching out into time future: Eagerness, darting forward and apprehending some imagined good; Anxiety, sensitively forecasting many evils, some of which never come. Eagerness is the raging fever of youth; Anxiety, the low fever of later years. Both these disposi. tions, though in different ways, dishonour God, and disturb our peace. When very eager about a matter, we should suspect all is not right : when very anxious, we may be equally sure something is wrong. A placid, cheerful and regular activity can only proceed from a hearty disposition to do and suffer the whole will of God, during all the time of our pilgrimage. “Thy will be done !” expresses the thing best.
But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.--Peter iv, 7.
But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.--2 Peter iii. 8.
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly; Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus Revelation i. 8.—xxii. 20.
TEMPER. And he lifted up his eyes, and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother's son ; and said, Is this your younger brother, of whom ye spake unto me? And he said, God be gracious unto thee, my son.
And Joseph made haste; for his bowels did yearn upon his brother: and he sought where to weep; and he entered into his chamber, and wept there.
And he washed his face, and went out, and refrained himself, and said, Set on bread.—Genesis xliii. 29–31.
We have here a remarkable exemplification of the rapid and powerful movements of human TEMPER. Three perfectly distinct emotions, yet all of them becoming his situation, were at work in the heart of Joseph. Nature
(as men speak) caused him that gush of tenderness : Grace prompted his loving prayer: Court-dignity and policy impelled him quickly to command his feelings; and he was thus able to give the quiet and proper orders for entertaining his unsuspecting brethren.-In persons of exalted station, dignity, and authority, we cannot always divine how much of deep feeling, or even of religious principle, may secretly be in operation. Far more may be passing in the mind of a pious Minister of State, than cursory observers would suspect. Besides this instance of Joseph, we have similar cases in two other pious Attendants on Pagan Courts. (Nehemiah i. 4. Daniel iv. 19.)
Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.-Numbers xii. 3.
To shew that the most eminent saints are hourly dependent on grace, and consequently to make us fear for ourselves, this man of God was suffered to fall into a spirit of great irritation, “ so that he spake unadvisedly with his lips :" and was on that occasion cut off from the privilege of entering the Land of Promise. (Numbers xx. 7-13.) The penalty, and the whole transaction, proclaim indubi. tably to all, of every age, that it is no slight thing to speak unadvisedly.
· Behold, this day thine eyes have seen how that the LORD hath delivered thee to-day into mine hand in the cave: and some bade me kill thee; but mine eye spared thee: and I said, I will not put forth mine hand against my lord; for he is the Lord's anointed. -1 Sam. xxiv. 10.
Dangerous companions are those, who, like David's men -(most of them, very sorry characters ; see 1 Samuel xxii. 2)-plausibly hint a daring, sinful act just at the moment when outward circumstances and our own innate corruption may concur to prompt or to favour the act. On the other hand, that is a strong, and noble, and holy spirit, which can, single and unaided (save only by the secret grace of God), resist the threefold influence of opportunity, propensity, and solicitation,
And the king said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah? so let him curse, because the LORD hath said unto him, Curse David. Who shall then say, Wherefore hast thou done so ?—2 Sam. xvi. 10.
But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood before him.-) Kings xii. 8.
The rash temper of Rehoboam was exhibited, not only in his choice of advisers, but in the highly-coloured figures of speech which he used. “My father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.” Could that father's voice have been heard from the tomb, it would have been, to tell his son-and not for the first time“Child, thou art only preparing a rod for thine own back!”
Thus Rehoboam showed his foolish Temper--wholly unfit to govern-not only by choosing the counsel of the young men, but by adopting their language also; rude, overbearing, figurative language. Grave counsels and safe principles were needed ; but this hard policy, followed up by harsh metaphor, was like a barbed arrow dipt in venom.
And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that 'Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt-offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.— Job i. 5.
See the carefulness of a religious parent!-he cares unceasingly for the honour of God, and the souls of his children. While they are exchanging cheerful visits, he has his thoughtful hours : these he afterwards sums up, together with his children, by a solemn early morning-service. “ It may be!”—This he says, as one who could tell from his own experience how readily the heart departs from God, when youthful gaiety invites to the festive circle. Sin is not inevitable at such seasons ; but it very rarely is avoided then. If the saying be true, Perimus in licitis, how justly may we fear at a feast-even at a family.. feast. This passage, however, in Job's history, not only -proves that such festivities may be innocent: it further shows the opportunity they give for family-edification. For it is said, that Job sanctified his children; and that, too, habitually, when they came to visit him and one another.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble:
Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the ' midst of the sea;
Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof, Selah.—Psalm xlvi. 1-3.
The language of this Psalm is suited either to any crisis of sudden and awful alarm, or to seasons of long-protracted and harassing perplexity and persecution.
In times of sudden distress or danger, the first aim of a child of God should be to collect his thoughts; as one