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approaching death? Oh, no! The a murmur, the petty concerns of a man who has no peace but that which few short and transitory hours. The this world giveth, feels that he wants word of God has said, " Thou wilt somewhere,- though where to find it keep him in perfect peace whose soul he cannot tell,-a mighty friendship, is stayed on thee;" but the peace on whose expansive bosom he may which Christ gives, extends even berepose all the cares both of time and yond this. It is peace which flows of eternity. He wants a resting-place, from the present occupancy of the the solidity of which he could not soul with an object worthy of its question, any more than the pillars of powers. That is where the world eternity itself. Yet this, Christ gives. fails. Look at the restless, endless He reconciles the soul to God; and toil and bustle of men after some samakes Omnipotence the friend, the tisfying pursuit. See how the man of sure unfailing friend of the penitent occupation labours, and bereaves his believer. And He encourages His soul of rest. Look at the morbid acfaithful follower to draw near to God, tivity of what is called the gay world: in confidence; to cast all his care see how they are hunting down a upon Him, in the belief that God phantom, a false spectre of happiness, careth for him. He says, “Be care- which always eludes their grasp: and for nothing; but in every thing by because they find that no occupation prayer and supplication with thanks- fills the void in their hearts, or calls giving let your requests be made out all their energies, they are always known unto God. And the peace of changing, wearying, fretting, despairGod, which passeth all understanding, ing, and turning again to something shall keep your hearts and minds else. But look at the Christian :-The through Christ Jesus.” And who faith of Christ places the infinite Aushall give sorrow where He gives thor of all things intelligibly before such peace ? An assurance of the the mind as a reconciled God; exhiever watchful protection of Infinite bits His infinite superiority to all love is sufficient to maintain an un- things else; disposes the mind to be ruffled repose, even though a host engaged as a matter of preference should arm against you; “Though," with Him, and thus opens to it a new as the prophet says, and it is sadly de- world of wonders, and developes, in scriptive of this world's experience, the moral operations of God, in His “ Though briers and thorns be with rational creation, a field of inquiry thee, and thou dost dwell among scor- as illimitable as God Himself. Then, pions, among men whose teeth are indeed, the world may keep its atspears and arrows, and their tongues tractions to itself: other men may a sharp sword.” There is nothing to seek this novelty or that trifle, this fear in all the trials of the yet un- amusement and that bauble, but what known hereafter; if God, as a gracious are they to believe whose highest covenant God, in Christ Jesus, ensures energies are thus called out to the and blesses our way. Death and eter- contemplation of Infinite goodness nity are made bright and blessed, and power, carrying on a covenanted through a crucified Saviour's immea- work of grace, for the redemption of surable and unfailing love ; and well the human soul from the corruption of then may we commit to Him, without its fall, and for its everlasting bliss in heaven? What are the trifles and the ness, and the hopelessness of declining glitter of earth to him whose mind life, against the increasing brightness the Spirit of God is assimilating to of the believer's hope, and the triumthe mind of God, making it a parta- phant victory over sin and imperker of the Divine nature, in all its fection; and set the brightening of inimitable perfections, and raising it the aged believer's eye, with the regradually to heights of holiness and flected glories of a near eternity of devotion that once the mind could bliss, against the increasing horrors not have conceived ; and which the of that last sickness, when the lamp vicissitudes of human sorrow, and the of the wicked shall be put out; and very pangs of death, cannot disturb ?
then your common sense and feeling Such is the peace that the gracious will determine this question. Saviour of the world commends to But, in the second place, there is the restless children of sorrow. He another point worth notice,—The utgives it to all that know and love Him: ter incompatibility of the one hope He invites all others to come and par- with the other ;— of the peace of this take of it. Now, then, compare the world with the peace of Christ. Hear peace of Christ with the peace of the
what Christ says,
“ Not as the world, and say which is preferable. world giveth, give I unto you.” Do you not see, in the first place, the There is a radical and essential difutter inferiority of the peace that the ference between the two ; and to world giveth, to that which may be obtain them we must go two dehad in the faithful following of the cidedly opposite courses. If we would Son of God ? Did ever your brightest really experience that “ peace of God moment of exultation in earthly in- which passeth all understanding," we dulgence,-did ever the loveliest com- must turn away our eyes from bebination of earthly delights, come holding vanity. If we would have anything near to the joy which you the peace of Christ, we must renounce can conceive would flow from the as
the of the world.
True, this surance that your sin was pardoned, will raise the war-cry of a hostile multhat God was your friend, and that titude --These religionists are eneyour eternity would be an eternity of mies to rational pleasure. We cannot peace? Would not the faintest re- help it. If they choose to give things alization of such a hope, on good wrong names, and call their follies, grounds, outweigh everything else, “rational," and all true devotion to and make the scale of this world's God, “ enthusiastic,” we cannot help emptiness
it, but we cannot be deceived by it! “Upfly, and kick the beam ?” We have drawn from this world's Set the friendship of God against the experience, through the alembic of friendship of the world ; the brightest true christian faith, the essence of glow of refined dissipation against the real delight, the knowledge of God, calm atmosphere of an opened hea- and the hope of glory. And if they ven, and the free and healthy breath- will take the worthless dregs, and be ing of a cleansed and quiet conscience;
satisfied with them, they may. We and then look to the end of things, may mourn for them, but we cannot and set the care, and the neglected- consent to go down with them to darkness, and the disease, and the weari- ness. We have been told that “Strait
is the gate, and narrow is the way, sider, let us now make a personal apwhich leadeth unto life, and few there plication. We fear that with the be that find it."
cordial friends of worldly and irreBut there are some who still say, ligious pleasure, meditations such Oh, we are not prepared to give up as these are not likely to produce so much,-surely we may still unite much of the impression that we wish. a moderate portion of this world's Not that we should limit by our unbedissipation with the peace of the Gos- lief the extent of the Divine operapel. Then we may confidentially tions. The heaven-directed shaft, appeal to the experience of such, and though shot from a weak and erring ask, If so, what have you made of it string, may pierce the heart. Still, yet? Where is this peace ? Are you however, it is to be feared, that mulhappy? Have you attained in the titudes of individuals will persevere midst of your devotion to vanity, the in seeking no other peace than that calm assurance that you have boldness which earth can give. We must let to enter into the holiest, by the blood them go on, and labour, and strive, of Jesus? Have you perfect peace and toil,—sowing the wind and reapin reliance upon the providence and ing the whirlwind. God grant that the grace of God? Is your soul finding the day may come when they shall its love and delight, and its brightest find it to be in vain, and turn in the entertainments, in the mystery of God hour of desolation and despair to Him and His redemption? Go then, and who is mighty to save. But to those ask what mean all those misgivings, who acknowledge the principles which and frettings, and disappointments, we have laid down to them, this suband cares, that haunt both your pub- ject may be useful. It becomes them lic and private hours.
Why are you
to guard with diligence and circumrestless still? Because the two things spection the peace which Christ beare incompatible. Either you are a stows. Do not let trifles disturb it! Christian, and your worldly compli- Do not forget how tender and how ances are hurting your conscience and timid a guest is that Spirit which clouding your hope; or, what is far bears a living witness to our safety in more likely, your religion is a name, Jesus Christ. Think how high our a notion, a mere convenience, and the privilege is to be called the sons of world and its vanities is your idol still. God,—to have the Lord Almighty You have yet to learn one of the first dwelling in us, and walking in us, and simplest truths of Divine worship, and enjoining upon us, as the terms that you cannot serve God and Mam- of His gracious and comforting premon; that God will not receive and
sence, a holy circumspect conduct, consecrate the scanty remnant of a and a resolute separation from the heart, which is given in all its warmth, vain and wicked dissipations of irreand energy, and freshness, to the ir- ligious men. Think how infinitely religious triflings of His enemies. superior our enjoyments are to the You cannot know the peace of Christ fạirest gifts and the brightest joys till
you make Him not only all your that the world has to bestow. Except salvation, but all your desire.
in the moment of temptation and weakHaving thus gone through a rapid ness, they will not bear an instant's sketch of what we purposed to con- comparison. No, if we would be
happy, if we would make progress in sures of Egypt.” And if upon points grace, if we would glorify Him who of difficult duty we are in doubt, let us died for us; if we wish to express not go to have them solved to the amas a free-will offering, in the moment phibious borderer upon the utmost of probation, the gratitude which we limits of our Zion, the man, halffeel for a deliverance out of the ever- worldling and half-saint, the stumlasting burnings; and if we would be bling block of many an honest heart; useful to those of our perishing fellow- let us not go to the false and carnal men, who walk by our example, we reasonings of our own wavering spirit, must not creep to the verge of temp- but go in the spirit of prayer upon tation,—we must not court the ap- our knees before the Great Searcher pearance of evil,—but come forth of hearts, and spread our case before boldly and manfully as the avowed the Lord, who "giveth liberally, and servants of a crucified Saviour, and upbraideth not;" and rest assured, professing to be crucified with Him; that if we ask in sincerity for guidand seek Him with all our heart and ance, He will lead us safely through mind in that narrow way which leadeth all the mazes of a deceitful casuistry, unto life,—"esteeming the reproach of and guide our feet into the way of Christ greater riches than the trea- peace.
Φωνη τεθνηκοτος. .
The prophetic portions of the Word ourselves, is warranted as well by the of God, though not intended to enable example of some of the older proman confidently to unravel the
my's- phets,-to whom, when they sought teries of futurity, are, nevertheless, a diligently to understand the meaning certain revelation of the progress of of prophecies given before their time, mankind, and of God's dealings with further revelations were made, -as by the human family. By the light thus the express promise, that the wise, as given to his path, the traveller in this distinguished from the wicked, shall world's career, may ascertain his own understand; and by the encourageposition, and, if he will, steer clear of ment conveyed in the words, the rocks and gnarls that abound him that readeth understand.” about his course, and avoid the cur- And though the Apostles were rerents and the shoals that would other- proved for enquiring into matters with wise impede his progress or wreck his which they had no personal concern, bark. In the prophecies of Scripture their question was answered for our are pointed out many things which sakes, and the signs of Christ's second we should do well to avoid ; and some coming were largely given. Does promises are held out, to which we any one ask, For whose information ? should do well to take heed.
- the answer is obvious : For those in Nor is prophecy intended to remain whose days the events there narrated for ever a sealed book, nor is its study should occur. to be neglected ; for while the in- Again: many prophecies contain quisitive and inere curious prying warnings, which, unless addressed to into the future, was rebuked even in persons acquainted with their conthe Apostles,—who on one occasion nection in point of time, with the porwere told that it was not for them to tion of prophecy in which they occur, know the times and the seasons;—yet would be and are utterly dead letters. an attentive consideration of those And again : Daniel is told that certhings which immediately relate to tain of his prophecies should remain sealed, or incomprehensible, until the all doubt on this point, Daniel was time of their accomplishment; which favoured with other visions, more discertainly implies that at or about the tinctly pourtraying the characteristics time at which their accomplishment and faces of the four great powers should take place, men's minds would thus slightly but graphically sketched; be enabled, either by concurrent cir- and, by placing these descriptions cumstances, or by especial interven- together, their application will be the tion of God, to unravel the mysteries
more clear. so long kept hidden.
The next kingdom is described as a It surely then is the duty, as well as breast and arms of silver. In another the privilege of every diligent Chris- place, this second kingdom is depicted tian, to endeavour to ascertain what as a bear, more greedy, but not so and what manner of things the Spirit noble as its predecessor; which bear of God has revealed for his guidance raised itself up on one side. and comfort.
In a third passage of Daniel's proA prophetic outline of the world's phecy, this same power is described, history, extending from the time of as a ram with “two horns; and the its proclamation to the perfecting and two horns were high ; but the one was supremacy of a power which shall higher than the other, and the higher destroy all former dominions, and en- came up last ;' and in the explana-. dure for ever, was sketched by Daniel, tion given of this latter vision, it is in interpretation of a remarkable expressly said, “ The ram which thou dream of the king of Babylon. sawest having two horns are the kings
In this dream the Babylonian em- of Media and Persia ;' and when Belpire is likened to a head of gold : a shazzar had defiled the holy instrusecond, or succeeding empire is com- ments of the Jewish sanctuary, Daniel, pared to a breast and arms of silver : in interpreting the handwriting on the a third, to a belly and thighs of brass: wall, announces the extinction of the and a fourth (which continues till the Babylonish empire and the advent of establishment of that universal domi- its successor thus: “ Thy kingdom is nion, under which all previous powers divided, and given to the Medes and are subdued, and which shall endure Persians.” for ever) is described as legs of iron, The resemblances throughout all and feet of iron and clay.
these figures and descriptions are too Now, if it can be proved that the strongly marked and too significant first three dominions have passed away,
to be overlooked. In each case and that the master power, that is to subdivision, and the pre-eminence of subdue all, has not yet been manifested, one portion of the empire, are clearly it will be evident that our lot is cast embodied in the vision : the right under the fourth dominion, which con- arm, the one side, the high horns, are tinues from its rise to the establish- all surely indications of one and the ment of the last; and then, any reve- same circumstance; that though the lation of the character and prospects Medo-Persian was a united empire, of this fourth dominion must be spe- yet that one portion, the Persian, was cially interesting to every candid and under the control of the other, and thoughtful mind.
that that other rose to power someThat the first three dominions have what later in point of time. passed away, is evident from the facts The second of Daniel's four kingfollowing. The head of gold is ex- doms was therefore clearly the empire pressly said to represent the Babylo- of the Medes and Persians. nian empire. “Thou, O king, art this But this was destroyed, in turn, by head of gold.” And that the kingdom a third kingdom, described as of is intended, is rendered certain by the “brass,” being baser in kind than its next clause of the interpretation,- predecessor. And the counterpart of “ And after thee shall arise,” (not this kingdom is found in a creature another king, as though an individual like a leopard, which had upon the were meant, but)“ another kingdom back of it four wings of a fowl: the inferior to thee. But to remove beast had also four heads; and domi