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liven our sympathies. If we receive it thus, it will have a blessed influence upon us. We shall, as we draw nearer to the end of life, be more ready for life eternal. We shall walk as in the sight of God-we shall follow his guidance, by faith seeing Him who is invisible,-we shall learn submission to his will,—we shall enter into the kingdom of God. May He grant that it may be so with every one of us, for Jesus Christ's sake.
ATTENDANCE ON THE LORD.
1 Cor. vii. 35.
“ That ye may attend upon the Lord without
TAESE words stand in connexion with the remarkable
in which St. Paul communicates to the Corinthian Christians his opinion on the subject of marriage. It is passage
which bears in an uncommon degree those marks of more than human wisdom which we love to trace in Scripture. Without forgetting our present condition, or assuming a tone of accommodation to our sinful infirmities, it treats human nature just as it is. From various considerations which he fully explains, and which do not involve a particle of superstitious feeling, the Apostle plainly states that he regards a single life as most suitable to the Christian calling. But he distinctly declares that the subject cannot be disposed of by general rules. It must depend on the circumstances of individuals. He disclaims any intention of bringing them into bondage to unnecessary scruples, or of abridging their Christian liberty.
66 This I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.”
Now, independently of the general scope of the argument, we learn from these words an important duty, and without any particular reference to the subject which is immediately treated, I would call your attention to the point which the Apostle considered as of so much importance, namely, our “ attending upon the Lord without distraction."
And may the Holy Spirit be with us!
Our spiritual powers are the highest faculties with which we have been endowed. Our animal part we have in
common with the brutes; our faculty of reason we enjoy in common with the unhappy beings, once holy and happy, who have fallen into a state of helpless misery. It is by possessing spiritual faculties that we rise above our present state, and hold converse with God. That a being who has such faculties should allow them to remain unexercised, is a melancholy consideration. Yet such is always the case in the natural condition of man. are brought under the influence of the Holy Spirit, we are dead in trespasses and sins, and we are strangers to the high employments to which we are destined. A being endowed with spiritual powers was evidently intended for the service of God, the Father of spirits. Formed as we are with a complex nature, in our present condition we are necessarily engaged to some extent in providing for the supply of our bodily wants. But if we are really and practically convinced of our real condition and character, the care of the body will be a matter of secondary interest. Conscious of our high vocation, and of our lofty
powers, we shall aspire after something infinitely higher, and give up the low cares which engross those who think only of the present, to “ attend upon the Lord.”
The Christian is called to enjoy the highest blessings of which his nature is capable. His Lord has ransomed him from the bondage of sin and Satan, and has
purchased for him the full enjoyment of a possession fairer and better even than that which was forfeited by the fall. He is called “ to attend upon the Lord :" to exércise himself in meditation and contemplation; to wait for the manifestation of the Divine will; to seek with anxiety to know that will; and to labour with zeal and promptitude to fulfil it. The word by which the Apostle marks his privilege, is not adequately rendered by our translation. It expresses the idea of “unwearied assiduity in the service of the Lord.” It implies at once application and constancy. It pictures a state of mind entirely and devotedly engrossed by one object. He could hardly have chosen or formed a stronger word.
We can understand what