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nation. And although " man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward," yet we have the blest remembrance that our best friend, was himself, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, even from his cradle to the grave. And that on earth many who have trod the dark valley before us, and have long since finished their pilgrimage "in sorrow were always rejoicing." Job in the midst of all his luxury became poor and miserable, but yielding to it as a Divine chastisement, was blessed in his latter days more than in his beginning. It is in the time of sorrow only, we become practically convinced that we are nothing—God every thing:—in short, "it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps." It is only when the blasts of adversity have shaken us, and our ship is broken by the tempestuous winds of heavenly justice, that we can feel the due estimate of our blessings, and our may be, hitherto, prosperity:—it is when we lose our treasures, we know best how to prize them. "It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth."
"The storms of wintry time will quickly pass,
Prosperity is what our natural appetite yearns to taste; but it is seldom satisfactory, or of long duration; seldom enjoyed without a teachable rebuke from adversity, and as the Poet (Byron) says,—
"There is a very life in our despair,"
To those then, entering, or just entered life:—to such, it is a critical time; for although our whole life is a state of probation, yet in starting we have to make a choice, an awful choice indeed; involving us into future happiness or misery. "It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth: and though prosperity looks so smiling,—though it greets us with treasures of silver, and bags of gold,—and to the Young is so alluring and dazzling, yet we must look to something more solid—we must look upon prosperity as evanescent sunshiny auroras, and when adversity assails us, we must ever bear in mind, that it will lead us to an inheritance incorruptible. That prosperity which arises, from worldly possessions cannot yield enduring happiness, but like the flower of the field, it fadeth away; and at the same time, it is not a foretaste of a prosperous existence hereafter.
Blessed then are the Young; yea; blessed are all, who amidst the most painful vicissitudes, and the most heart-rending bereavements which can afflict us in this life, can see—can feel their celestial friend to be with them in all they are experiencing.—That feel his hand has mercifully chastised them, and that it is working for them future bliss,—" an house not made with hands eternal in the heavens."
It is this view indeed of the subject, in which adversity is seen to preponderate so much over prosperity :—for the latter indulges our passions, and our extravagant desires: but the former restrains our wills, diminishes our love of carnal pleasures, and paves the way to enduring felicities. Here is seen, why adversity is best for the Young, as well as for all; and though it may not be pleasing to the Young, yet it is a Divine diet, and it is imposed as good,— though bitter, physic to those children whose souls are dearest to the Creator. This is a parched world, and dreary wilderness to pass through, and especially in the vale of tears—in the path of weeping, in the house of mourning; but what are these compared to the subsequent glories which are the result of zealous faith, and humble hope that the christian hath, and which the world giveth not neither can take away.
Finally.—May those (for many indeed there are) who without due consideration, so hastily cast a verdict in favour of prosperity, as the natural bias of a worldly mind, and a selfish heart, consider for one moment, how far that prosperity is lasting; and how far it is conducive to the happiness of a future life? And such will find, that adversity, however painful, is a check upon us here, more especially when Young, and a guide to the heavenly Canaan. Such will find that we are not to consult ourselves by asking, "Which do we prefer f" but choose that which is best for us here, and conducive for us, as regards a future world.
And although I am willing to acknowledge how much we may one and all prefer the glittering enjoyments, and the earthly baubles, which prosperous circumstances enable us to possess,—yet, that after the enjoyment has subsided, and the novelty passed away, we shall find them only "vanity and vexation of spirit." While on the other hand, the deprivations we are called to undergo—the losses we sustain, and the curtailment of many pleasures by adversity's strong hand, will teach the Young, and will teach all, that there is something more to be thought of than mammon; something more to be gained than money; and that the loss of which will be our ruin !—the attainment our pleasure here, and our future possession, that
"Bright city of the blest and free!
Angels and holy men!
Not to return again,
BROTHERLY LOVE AN ESSENTIAL QUALITY FOR THE CHRISTIAN.
Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers.
13th Hebrews, 1st & 2nd verses.
It is evident that in our Lord's life on earth, love to himself, and to each other was his great commandment; and after he had left the earth, his apostles endeavoured to preach all he had so wisely inculcated; and in the verses before us, St. Paul is admonishing the same good principle; for "he that loveth not his brother abideth in death." We are here reminded of another christian duty—" to entertain strangers." In carrying this out, we are prevented from loving them which love us, and from doing good to them which do good to us—the common course of the world; and as despicable, as common. But love to our neighbour must be based upon a better foundation than mere like or caprice of a moment,—christian "brotherly love," which the apostle enforces must spring from the love which we have towards that Divine Being in whom every grace and every virtue is concentrated, and from whom we must pray to possess the same. For what is love? "God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him."— There are two kinds of love, slavish and perfect. "Perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love." The christian then who is anxious to exercise that spirit of kindness, and love, and good will to all, even to strangers, must seek it from that spiritual fountain of love, which is open to all believers. It is an easy thing to entertain friends; but there is little merit in doing so. The apostle teaches us something more difficult, perhaps, less pleasing; but yet perfectly consistent with the christian dispensation. "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers;" for he adds, "thereby some have entertained angels unawares." And the apostle by this expression not only means those individuals we have never seen with our eyes before, or enjoyed intercourse with, but also those who are by various circumstances strangers to the religion of Christ, and perhaps living in sin, and all uncleanness; who are justly to be termed "strangers" to all heavenly knowledge, whose eyes have been blinded to those spiritual truths which are alone able to make us wise unto salvation; we are to entertain such by unfolding to them the true riches of God's word. Brotherly love is to be cultivated and attained; but at the same time we have to see that it is abiding with us. "Ye did run well; who did hinder you?" How many pride themselves in the maxim that union is strength, and all the while are as diametrically opposed to each other as they could possibly be. But of christians, far different is expected! Baptized and adopted into the family of Christ, made sons and heirs of God, and at confirmation renewing for themselves the solemn engagement made for them in their infancy to renounce the world, the flesh, and the devil, to forsake every evil passion, and sinful desire,—of such, I say, far different is expected; and it is theirs to maintain the high dignity of their calling—to cultivate that feeling of mutual regard, which shall shine in every action both private and public, the ruling power over all their dealings, and the gem of their whole lives glittering like a precious diamond. Brotherly love removes selfishness; it causes us to think of the cares and wants and pleasures of others, and induces us to befriend the needy and distressed. To sacrifice some of our time and wealth, and even comfort for our brethren; to provoke each other to love and to good works :—it removes also Pride,—Pride which first overcame man, and the last thing he overcomes. "The brother of low degree will rejoice in that he is exalted, but the rich in that he is made low." Still this holy feeling can only belong to the faithful! Faith and love are joined together. "But ye beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life." (Jude xx. 21.) In primitive times we read, "All that believed were together." (Acts ii. 44.) Thus were