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Adam was tested by an apple. In the sermon on the mount
“ Whosoever shall break one of these least commandments, the same is least in the kingdom of heaven.” In the parable of the talents :-" Because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things.” The widow's mite was small, but because it manifested her love He said, “She hath cast in more than they all.” It is ever so.
Would you know what men's moral condition is ? See how they act in reference to little things. In connexion with these they are off their guard, they act unconscious of observation, and display their habitual tendencies. Mark the conduct of the monarch off the throne, the judge off the bench, the minister out of the pulpit, the lecturer off the platform, and the soldier off parade, if you would get an insight into their character.
III. LITTLE THINGS WILL
JUDGMENT DAY. Very often in courts of justice trifling occurrences will form a decisive part of the evidence against a prisoner. A few footmarks, a broken sentence uttered in sleep, a single drop of blood, have again and again been the connecting link in a chain of evidence, which has dragged the criminal to the gallows. It will be so in the High Court of heaven. Many people think it a small matter not to visit the sick, clothe the naked, help the stranger, quench the thirst of the dying. But all will be remembered at God's day. “Inasmuch as ye did it not unto one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.” What little things are words ! How many idle words will men speak in a day, or an hour ? What said Christ? “For every idle word thou shalt give account. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”.
IV. LITTLE THINGS SOMETIMES LEAD TO GREAT NATIONAL
The introduction of the gospel into Britain was occasioned by a few slave-boys attracting the
attention and rousing the compassion of a monk. The protestant reformation may, under God, be traced to the hour when Luther discovered an old bible in the Erfurt Monastery. The evangelization of India owes not a little to the persevering toils of a Sunday-school teacher, who labored for the conversion of an outcast boy.
Let us then, beware of looking with doubt or contempt on little things. By God's blessing they may become great in their issues both for this and the other world. Continue to labor. Do not underrate the worth of your work, because your talent is small and
influence limited. Remember that the great Being who brings the oak from the tiny acorn, and the handful of corn from the single grain, has said :“Be not weary in well-doing, for in due season ye
reap if ye faint not.”
THOMAS R. STEVENSON.
SUBJECT :-Human Life.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me." Psalm cxxx viii. 7.
Analysis of Homily the Four Hundred and Sixtieth.
This utterance of the pious Psalmist suggests three ideas concerning our existence on this earth :
I. THE UNIVERSAL LAW OF HUMAN LIFE. What is it? It is expressed in one word, —walking. Life is a “walk," a journey. It is constant action, and constant action onward. Life is never stationary ; it is always on the move;—it is motion. Walking implies these two things :-First: Constant change of position. Every step puts us in a fresh point of space, and surrounds us with something new in scenery. The hedges, the fields, the trees, through which the traveller passed yesterday in his journey, he has left behind in the distance, to-day. It is B0 with life. The circumstances through which we passed yesterday are gone for ever, and those that surround us now will be in the past to-morrow. Walking implies :-Secondly: Constant approximation to destiny. Every step brings the traveller nearer to his destination. Our life is tending to a grand terminus. That terminus is the grave for the body, and retribution for the soul. Never were we go near this terminus as now. The walk of life is :-(1) A constant walk. There is no pause; asleep and awake we are still going. There is no sitting down a moment to admire the scenery through which we are passing. The wheels of life know no pause. The walk of life is :-(2) A rapid walk. Job compares the movement to the swiftest thing of his day. weaver's shuttle,” “the post,"
,” “the swift ships,” &o. The walk of life is :-(3) An irretraceable walk. We cannot go back one step. Such is life. We shall return no more to our houses, &c. Another idea suggested by the text in relation to our existence on earth is :
II. THE SADDENING PROBABILITIES OF HUMAN LIFE. Life is not only a walk, but a walk often “in the midst of trouble.” It is not a walk on the green sward, under the cloudless azure, with a soft refreshing breeze breathing on our frames. Since the introduction of sin into our world, it has never been a walk of unmingled pleasure. All here meet with trials on the way ; but some more than others. Some have to walk through “ the midst of trouble ;” they are always in it, as the three Hebrew youths were in the furnace. There are always the stinging reptiles, and the prowling beasts, and the rough winds, and the scorching rays. The troubles are of various kinds. Physical-bodily pains and diseases ; moral—the conflict of passions, the remorse of conscience, and the dread of death ; social—disappointments in business, the treachery of false friends, the corruption of the world, and the bereavement of death. Notwithstanding the beautiful earth beneath our feet, and the bright heavens that encircle us, and the gaiety of humanity in some of its aspects, the walk of man through this world is through
trouble. Another idea suggested by the text in relation to our existence on earth is :
III. THE GRAND SUPPORT OF HUMAN LIFE. “ Thou wilt revive me.” First : God is an all-sufficient support. He is equal to all our emergencies. “He is our refuge and strength,” &c. There is no enemy from which He cannot deliver us ; there is no trial under which He cannot support us; there is no danger from which He cannot rescue us. In the fiery furnace, in the surging waters, in the "valley of the shadow of death,” He is all-sufficient.
Secondly: He is the only effective support. No one else can support you. “ Put not your trust in princes.” Thirdly : He is an available support.
Available to all at any time. “ Call upon me in the time of trouble and I will deliver you." “ Take no thought for the morrow.” “ Cast all your care on him.”
Brother, art thou in the midst of trouble, with the storm gathering around thee? art thou crying with an old poet ?
Near and more near the billows rise,
E’en now my steps they lave,
Comes near in every wave.
Then I bid thee trust in Him that liveth for ever
Though griefs unnumbered throng thee round,
Still in thy God confide,
And curbs the headlong tide.—MERRICK.
SUBJECT :- Abraham's Prayer for Ishmael.
“And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!”-Gen. xvii. 18.
Analysis of Homily the Four Hundred and Sixty-first.
ISHMAEL was the son of Abraham, by Hagar, the bondwoman, whom he had taken, at the instance of Sarah, to be his wife. The arrangement seems to have been made with the view of securing the fulfilment of the Divine promise to Abraham-viz., that he should have a son ; which it is assumed, without such means, would be found a thing “ too hard for the Lord.” The scheme, however, neither hinders nor hastens the Divine purpose, though to Abraham himself it issues in bitter trial and disappointment. He seems to have believed, for thirteen years, that this was indeed.the child of promise; though we can well understand, from the fact that no Divine tokens accompanied his birth or his boyhood, that Abraham's heart must have been sometimes clouded with dark and sorrowful misgivings. When the boy was thirteen years old, his father is startled with a repetition of the promise he had thought fulfilled, accompanied now with a distinct statement, that Sarah shall be the mother of a child, “a mother of a nation,” and that “Kings of people should be of her.” But Abraham “laughed” at it; "and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old ? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear ?" “And Abraham said unto God, Othat Ishmael might live before thee !"
In this prayer I discern three things that seem especially to demand our attention,-Unbelief, Impatience, and Natural
I. ABRAHAM'S UNBELIEF. The thing promised was out of the course of nature. And can we wonder if even the father of the faithful doubted; and preferred a request, that it seemed might be so naturally and easily granted? Thou talkest to me O God of a good that long experience teaches to me is impossible ; confirm to me the possible, the already partially realized :-“O that Ishmael might live before thee !" Not that I mean that Abraham's prayer was altogether destitute of faith. He believed in the reality of the personal God, and in His power and willingness to bless ; but unbelief as to the methods, was struggling with his faith ; and were the character a fictitious one, it might perhaps be found