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man wait, when an abundant dinner was placed before him? Would a thirsty man wait, when a glass of pure water was put in his hand? Would a man shivering with cold wait, when invited to the side of a brightly-burning fire? Would a drowning man wait, when the friendly rope was thrown to pull him ashore? Would a poor man wait, when offered a large fortune with immediate possession? Would a condemned felon wait, when a royal pardon was put into his hand ? Ah! see how he grasps it! How firm that hold! See how he looks at it! How earnest that gaze! It is his life, his all! He is safe, he is free! His whole frame trembles with joy! The prison bars will no longer hold him, his life has been given to him, and with it his liberty. Look! he kisses the blessed document, and in his heart, for the first time in his life, there springs up a feeling of love to his sovereign. He has been pardoned by the very Ruler whose laws he had violated, and, as a matter of course, hated; and he vows in his heart-how deep and earnest is that
vow!--that he will never again trample on the laws of his country, and herd with the enemies of his gracious king. I have read of people who waited, but the effect was very unsatisfactory. Some of them had lamps, but no oil, and when they went to buy, which they should have done before, the door was shut. Others lamented in this sorrowful fashion, 'The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved!' Another makes our ears tingle with the useless lamentation, 'How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof; and have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me!' But I need not multiply instances. 'Wait' is a liar, a thief, and a murderer. Let none who regard happiness, honour, safety, eternity, and God, have anything to do with him!"
"Vexatious world, thy flattering snares Too long have held my easy heart; And wilt thou still engross my cares? Vain world, depart! "I want delights thou canst not give; Thy joys are bitterness and woe; My pining spirit cannot live
On aught below. Enchanting prospects court the eye, And gay, alluring pleasures smile; But in the fond pursuit they die. Ah, fruitless toil!" EVEN Christians and devout men are too much affected by present things, and yield themselves too readily to their undue influence. We are so material in our nature and so much the creatures of sense, that we are to a great degree more moved by that which is
On parting that evening, Mr. Stone pressed my hand significantly. Feelings to which he had previously been a stranger had taken place. The pastoral visit was not a failure.
INFLUENCE OF THE SEEN AND THE UNSEEN.
taken cognizance of by our eyes and ears and tastes than by that which is designed to touch the hidden springs of the soul, and move our hearts. The splendour of earthly glory seems to men so transcendent, because it is palpable to their senses, and can be understood and enjoyed. They are so much enchanted with it as to be unable to conceive of anything greater-the glory that excelleth. They cannot imagine that heaven has glories infinitely surpassing those of earth. "That which is made glorious" by the skill of man, will be "done away," while the uncreated glory of God will remain for ever, and will never lose its lustre.
The scenes and objects of nature are to some men the ultimatum of perfec
tion and beauty. They are deeply moved by them, because they can be looked upon, and handled, and scrutinized, while those things that are unperceived by mortal sense-which are wrapt up in mystery, and are objects for mental and spiritual contemplation only, excite in them no interest. Such men will not trouble themselves to explore the mine of God's revelation, which would disclose to them treasures of heavenly truth, and possessions for the soul, richer in glory than the purest gold of Ophir. But they will labour for a lifetime to secure stores of a merely perishable substance, that can minister only a temporary gratification. Oh, that men were wise, that they would yield themselves to the elevating in fluence of "things unseen-which are eternal."
The present troubles of life, because they are keenly felt by the external man, and affect so much his outward estate, are much more pungent than those of the soul. Men feel more deeply for the loss of their property or their honour, than they do for the loss of God's friendship and blessing. They weep heavy tears when "the desire of their eyes" is taken away, but they seldom weep at all over their sins, or cry out "God be merciful to me a sinner."
We all live too much in the outer world, and for the external man alone; but it is vastly important to live within, and to nourish the spiritual life and health. We do but dream along the path of life, thinking the thoughts that are nearest, and doing that which suits our sensual taste, or meets the exigencies of the moment, without an intense, ever uppermost consideration of eternity, and reference to future judgment. Yet every thought, word, and action of our external and internal man is an object of the scrutiny of that infinite Mind which grasps all beings and all minds in its vast embrace. Thoughts, motives, words, all have weight in the scales of Divine retribution. Another day they will reappear, and rise before
us like a vast assemblage of unimpeachable witnesses to testify for or against us at the grand assize. Yet we watch not over our "hearts, out of which are the issues of life," nor take heed to our actions and motives, which must become subjects of future investigation; but rush through life hour after hour, year after year, crowding our minds with earthly things, and satisfying ourselves with present enjoyments.
The confines of life and time press closely upon those of eternity. How they seem to touch and intermingle, like the inseparable colours of the rainbow! A moment-a breath-is the link that connects them, the line that parts them. When that last moment shall have passed, when that last breath shall have been expired, how vast and overwhelming the scene that will burst upon the astonished soul! A view unbounded! All the mysteries of life, all the realities of eternity, which in time we knew only by report, and that were to us, while in the body, matters of faith, will then stand out before our astonished apprehension as present facts. To prepare for this vast and grand disclosure is the chief work of life; to get our souls into a state of readiness to "see God" should occupy us throughout the whole of our appointed time on earth.
What is it "to see God?" It is for the finite soul of man to come into close contact with the infinite mind of Deity. It is the soul finding itself beneath the searching gaze of Omniscience, "without a veil between." It is an approach close to the springs of life—an intimate acquaintance with the Omnipotence that sustains the universe in being-a familiar investigation of the infinite wisdom-a free and tender interchange of affection with the God who is Love! Is this what is intended in the promise
"They shall see God ?" And can we, who entertain such anticipations, and expect to enjoy such exalted privileges, be indifferent to the necessary preparation-the indispensable "holi
ness, without which no man shall see the Lord?"
"A good man and an angel! these between,
Perhaps a moment, or perhaps a year;
Heaven is the perfect, unhindered,
Jehovah cannot endure the least stain of defilement; God cannot suffer the entrance of the least defect into his kingdom of perfection. It would mar the beauty of his palace. It would tarnish the glory of his great name. It would produce a discord in the harmony of heaven. The Christian car ries his blemishes and defects often to the very confines of the kingdom of glory, but no farther. The moment of separation between body and soul is that also between the remains of sin and the work of grace. A robe of spotless perfection is thrown around the spirit of the saint before he stands in the company of the glorified. But at the moment of his admission within the gates of the holy city, he obtains in addition to this, the perfection of his personal holiness, which makes him meet to be a partaker with "the saints in light" of their sublime and exalted in--to resist the carnal mind, to cultiheritance. How near every true Christian stands to the glories of his heavenly home! Only a breath-only the thin and frail partition of flesh and blood intervenes; and this-oh, this! may be soon and easily removed.
vate that spirituality which prepares us for the coming glory, and to watch with upward gaze for that bright morn which will at once reveal to us all the glories of the unseen, and all the exhaustless treasures of our Divine abode. R.
REVERENCE IN THE SERVICES OF THE SANCTUARY.
In adverting, as we are about to do, to the several parts of the service of the sanctuary; and in assigning to the act of PRAISE a primary position, in the list of subjects that are to come under consideration, we are not to be understood as insisting, that in the arrangements of public worship, these ought, of necessity, to follow in the exact order in which we place them. Uniformity does not exist in these particulars, either among Churchmen or Dissenters; the psalm of adoration in some Christian assemblies taking the precedence of
prayer, or the reading of the Word of God; in others this order is reversed, and the first utterances of the congre gation are the expression of some scriptural sentiment-as is directed in the Book of Common Prayer; or a fervent appeal to heaven, for the descent of the Holy Spirit, to aid the worshippers in all the solemnities of Sion, accompanied by the grateful acknowledgments of a devout heart, and the confessions of a penitential and humble mind.
Assuming, however, that praise is
ordinarily the first act of worship, we proceed to offer some remarks on the exercise itself, and the mode in which it should be observed, so as to render it acceptable to God, and productive of spiritual benefit to his people,
This is in itself a devotional act, and at the same time a preparation, an attuning of the heart, an awakening of all its powers, for the other observances of the house of God. It is an admirable prelude both to prayer and preaching; suggesting topics for the former, as well as giving a tone to the emotions of the soul; while it tends favourably to dispose the heart to listen to the voice of the teacher, when he discourses on the everlasting verities of divine revelation,
The power of music-the magic influence of sweet song-has been felt in every age, and by every people; and the effects thereof have at times been marvellous, The fable of Orpheus seems scarcely more than a slight exaggeration of every day facts. Music can rouse to frenzy and soothe to repose. It can stir up the warrior to deeds of lofty daring, steel his heart against fear, and dry up the fountains of compassion; while it can also subdue the fiercest, and melt to womanly tenderness the haughtiest, heart. A truculent Saul, nursing thoughts of deadly hatred against a supposed adversary, is disarmed of his ferocity, under its genial and gentle touch. We might therefore easily conceive beforehand, that music, especially such music as is the product of the human voice, or rather of many voices, in unison or harmony, would be turned to account in the services of the sanctuary. It is a powerful assistant to devout meditation. The Church of God has in every age paid especial attention to its psalmody, from its known influence over the soul, to predispose it for religious duties. Specific arrangements were made, both in the tabernacle and temple, for the appropriate discharge of this service (1 Chron. vi. 31, 32); and "the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed," sanctioned by his pre
sence this ancient custom. It was the very last act performed before the disciples left the supper chamber, whence the Divine Master went forth to the endurance of his great agony; for the sacred historian tells us, "And when they had sung a hymn, they went out into the Mount of Olives."
In the performance of this part of the exercises of the sanctuary, we render a direct homage to God; we exalt and adore his infinitely great and glorious perfections. This act, He has himself expressly told us, is peculiarly acceptable to Him. "Whoso offereth praise glorifieth God!" And oh, how vast, how inexhaustible the theme! God, as He is in himself, "the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity;" "without beginning of days or end of years;" the thrice Holy Jehovah, "glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders;" "the Mighty God, who created and upholdeth all things by the word of his power;" filling immensity with his presence, and before whose eyes "all things are naked and open;" God, as He is to us, our Creator, Preserver, Father, Friend-God, the merciful as well as the Mighty One; "a just God, and yet a Saviour" of the fallen; "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have redemption, even the forgiveness of our sins;" and who has secured to us "an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved for us in heaven," the final home of the emancipated and perfected spirit; where, in the presence of God, it shall realize fulness of joy, and at "His right hand" possess "pleasures that shall endure for evermore!"
These are blessings of a purely spiritual nature, for which we are bound to give God "most humble and hearty thanks." But all our obligations are not then discharged; we must be prepared to recognise and appreciate the ever multiplying mercies of a temporal character, with which our path is con tinually strewed. They, too, are to form the subjects of our song. David's
heart glowed with devout and grateful feeling, as his contemplative eye glanced over the wide field in which Divine goodness displays its interest and sympathy towards us, and beheld the generous prodigality with which a Father's hand supplies his children's daily wants; and thus his harp poured forth its strains of jubilant acknowledgment and exultant joy
"Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with loving-kindness and tender mercies; who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's."
Whose spirit does not thrill with mingled awe and delight, as such subjects for thanksgiving present themselves before him? Who does not see that the high praises of God-worthy as they are of angelic songs, and forming the burden of these glowing anthems whose tide of music is ever rolling round the eternal throne-should constantly form, as indeed they do, a very prominent and important part of the service of every sanctuary on earth?
a clear enunciation of the spirit in which it is to be observed :-"O sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord, all the earth. Sing unto the Lord, bless his name; show forth his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people. For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised: He is to be feared above all gods. Honour and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. Give unto the Lord, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts. 0 worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before Him, all the earth.”
Here are the themes-and they are most exalted-the glorious perfections of Jehovah, as they are so illustriously displayed in heaven and earth, in the world and the church, in spiritual and temporal things; awing and delightingangels and men: and this is the spirit in which they are to be recognised and celebrated-that of honest gratitude and hearty gladness, with a devout sincerity and a reverential fear.
But by some this part of religious worship is strangely neglected, even where the ability to discharge it is unquestionably possessed; as if they feared there was likely to be some compromise of their dignity in doing it; or as if they shrank from the public use of those gifts with which they have been so liberally endowed by God. And yet these same persons would not be very much disinclined, in the midst of the social circle, to exercise their vocal powers in ministering to the gratification of their friends. Why should there be any unwillingness to do so in the house of God? We have no hesitation in saying, that where the ability to sing exists-and it does in a great many more instances than is imagined, and is susceptible to an amazing extent of improvement by diligent and persevering cultivation; and where no physical injury would result from the employment
Now, here it behoves all to whom is committed the arrangement of the various exercises of worship, to exhibit a wise caution. Care should be taken that this part of religious duty does not degenerate into heartlessness or formality; that it be not, on the one hand, so slovenly performed, as to indicate indifference; nor, on the other, so artistically done, that it will be abundantly evident to all the sole design is to display the vocal skill of the pretended worshippers, who only seek to gratify their own vanity, or to please the ears of those around them with rich harmonies; an enjoyment that has in it as much, if not more, of the sensuous than it has of the spiritual.
In the 96th Psalm we have an earnest injunction to praise God, together with