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God be as much greater than in an earthly father, as God is greater than men, what a difference in the pity! Fathers pity their children, their weakness and helpless efforts, their pains and sorrows,--display their pity by their courage when their children are in danger,--do not own (overlook) their mistakes, their ignorance, their imperfect ideas,-easily forgive their faults. So God,-else, durst you think of him ? name him? pray to him ? hear of him? Knows he has made his children most helpIess, dependent (as poor infants, or persons in the weakness of age). Knows what a legion of evils attack them. Knows how they pant for happiness, and how little they can command it. Therefore, he charges himself with the care of them every moment. Causes no sorrow but for our good; better here than earthly parents,-"He, for our profit," &c. Gives them the most easy access to himself. How many times ! Accepts their feeble service, and compassionates their defects and weaknesses. Cheers them with the hope, that when fully educated they shall obtain a noble being, and inherit all things. Shews them his greater Son. · But what a hopeless state of mind it is, when all this view of him pro. duces carelessness and indifference to him, instead of affection !
“I'LL TELL FATHER.”
BY THE REV. JAMES SMITH. · Going down Oxford passage the other evening, I heard two boys talk. ing very loud, and just as I came up to them, the one said to the other, “I'll tell father.” The words not only fell upon my ear, but entered into my heart. I thought, Here is a lesson for me. A lesson for all the Lord's people. This is just what we should do. The boy enjoyed a privilege, he had a father. He knew that his father was interested in him and all his affairs,—that his father would interfere for him, and that his father would settle all his concerns.
Beloved, we have a Father. God is our Father. He has adopted us into his family. He has regenerated us by his Spirit. He has made himself known unto us. He wishes us to call him father. He loves to be treated by us as a father. It is wondrous grace in God to condescend thus. But nothing can be plainer than that this fact is revealed in his holy word. He not only wears a father's name, but he has a father's heart. He loves every believer with a father's love. He watches over every child with a father's care. Yes, we have a Father, and he is always near us. His heart is ever disposed to do us good. He will not withdraw his eye from us. He bids us cast every care upon him, to expect every blessing from him, and to carry everything that troubles us to him.
We should then go and tell our father. Do our brethren manifest cold. ness, or do they act unkindly to us? Let us not resent it, or shew any bad feelings to them, but let us go and tell our father of them. Do sinners oppose, persecute, and slander us ? Let us not render evil for evil, or endeavour to avenge ourselves, but let us go and tell our father. Does providence frown on us, perplex, and trouble us ? Let us not fret, complain, or forebode, but go and tell father. Does Satan tempt, suggest evil thoughts, or endeavour to mislead us ? Let us not parley with him, be alarmed at him, or yield to him, but go at once and tell father. Are we sick, or sad, or doubting our title to the promises and privileges of the gospel ? Let us go at once and frankly tell our father. Are we smiled upon by providence, are friends kind, are our souls happy? Let us go and gratefully tell our father. Everything, whether painful or
pleasant, should lead us to God. And one reason why we are kept so short, feel so weak, and are allowed to be so tried, is in order that we may never want something to carry to our Father. He loves to see us come. He loves to listen to our broken prayers. He loves to sympathise with us. And one proof that his ways are not as our ways is, that he never chides us for coming too often, or refuses to listen to us. Happy child, that has such a father! And wise is that child who carries everything to his father. Who tells him all, keeping nothing from him. Our Father will listen to every child, at any moment, under any of his trying circum. stances. He will interfere for us. When we carry our cares or our quarrels to him, he says, “Leave them with me. I will manage them. I will settle them.” And he does adjust and arrange all the affairs of his people. He may take time. It does seem sometimes as if he had forgotten, but he has not. He is watching us. He is seeing if we can leave the matter to him. If we are satisfied that he should manage it without our meddling with it. He will see how much time we can give him. Whether we really wish him to undertake the whole affair, or wish ourselves to direct, while he only helps us out of the difficulty. He requires filial confidence, child-like simplicity. He loves to be trusted, and always rewards every child that patiently and confidingly waits for him.
Brethren, the way to have peace of mind, is to act as the boy proposed to do; not quarrel or fight with your brother in the street, or sulk and be cold toward him at home; but go and tell father, and then leave the matter with him. Your father knows better how to manage your brother than you do, and he will not forget that you bave laid his misconduct before him. He may not flog him before your face, or loudly reprove him in your hearing. He may take him quietly on one side, and whisper his reproofs into his ear. If he confesses and forsakes the wrong course, well; but if not, he may lay him on the sick bed, and say, “ Lay there, and reflect.” Or, he may bring him into trying circumstances by his provi. dence, and ask, “ Hast thou not procured this unto thyself ? ” Or, he may speak to him from the pulpit; or, by the reading of his word. However, you may very safely leave your brother's correction to your father, except God's word call upon you to interfere in it. This is the way to maintain our character, and prove ourselves to be “ merciful, as our beavenly Father is merciful,” and the sons of peace, even as our God is “the God of peace.” This is the way to make a good impression on the world, and to rise in the church. For if we have much to do with our Father in secret, he will reward us openly. Thus we shall be ready for death, or the advent of Jesus, whichever may come first. If we refer everything to our Father, our consciences will be kept tender and clear, our hearts peaceful and patient, our walk honest and orderly, and our end will not be without honour. · Christian, run to thy Father from every foe, from every danger, from every factious brother. Tell thy Father everything that vexes, grieves, or troubles thee. Trust thy Father to manage all thy affairs, to vindicate thee if aspersed, to lift thee up if trodden under foot, and to " bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment,” or just sentence," as the noon-day.” Honour thy Father, by consulting him on all matters, by confiding to him all thy secrets, and by making his written word thy daily rule on all points. “ Follow peace with all men, and holiness, with. out which no man shall see the Lord.” “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but raiber give place unto wrath,” the wrath of God; “ for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” Under reproaches and persecutions, in temptations and trials, amidst troubles
- brothecare, myste
and distresses, when alarmed and terrified, if perplexed and disappointed,
dwell not on the circumstances, yield not to nature, listen not to Satan, follow not carnal custom, but go and “ tell father.” This is the easiest, the holiest, the most successful way, to overcome evil, to conquer Satan,
to manage trouble, to succeed in your enterprise, to maintain your cha. mat baracter, and to rise before all good and godly men. “Cast thy burden
to be upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee." "The righteous cry, and the ner will Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles." Or, with circus childlike simplicity, filial confidence, and honest hearts, they go and “tell - of or their father.” .
BY THE REV. JOHN cox.
" Wlio am I, O Lord God ?”_2 Sam. vii. 18. eted, azi In the case of David, as set forth in this connection, we have a beauti. or him. fal exhibition of the blending of self-converse and divine communion in proposal & pardoned sinner's bosom. His circumstances when he uttered this ex. k and clamation, and his feelings when he thus spake, are well worthy our con. theme sideration. The first shews the wonders of divine providence, its minute
care, mysterious operations, and marvellous over-rulings; and the second
testifies to the riches of divine grace, and the value of God's inward -- reprot teachings. Have we never gone in and sat before the Lord," and after
surreying our past history, listening to His voice who speaketh to us from Deaven, and contemplated the glorious future outspread before us, ex. claimed, “Who am I, O Lord God?” If this has been our happy case,
I will do us good again to meditate upon those words, and we should shemal carnestly seek’ a revival of those feelings of wonder and gratitude which
it is so delightful to experience.
We may consider these words as an enquiry, an exclamation, and as expressive of exultation.
As the enquiry of reason, “Who am I?” Many who lay claim to be easonable beings, scarcely ever ask questions about themselves, or of Themselves. There are five questions which we should ask respecting ourselves. What am I? This refers to our nature, and applies to body and soul. And what is the reply? "Fearfully and wonderfully made.”
portion of matter united to a deathless spark; an immortal spirit unked in a wonderful and mysterious way with a mortal body. This alon may be severed in a moment, and at any moment, but it must be enewed again to last for ever. Whence came I ? This question refers
to our origin, and connects us with God, whose mighty hands moulded rierer our frame, and whose breath kindled our spirits, and sustains them.
Who am I? This query refers more particularly to state, character, and elationship, and of this we will speak presently. The fourth question
Where am I ? and refers to position. I am in a large and beautiful world, amidst millions of other beings like myself, and surrounded by amaterial beings, both evil and good. Nor should we fail to ask, Why " This refers to design and end. “I am; and can never cease to
Tam; God formed me, and calls me to glorify him; and if I do not cur him by loving and serving him, he will glorify himself by me and
po me, in my just condemnation.” der these questions refer to one point, and illustrate one great fact, the bles e interest that twines around individuality, and consequently its vast
earenly the God
- heard still not
importance. When rightly considered, this becomes the engrossing fact. There is a vast moving world around me, countless beings are hurrying by, I am but one among the many; but to me come the awful words from heaven, “Every man shall bear his own burden !” “What is a man profited if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” Such thoughts do not make us selfish. There is a great difference between being “lovers of our own selves,” and lovers of our own souls. The sphere in which the former moves is the world with its lusts; and the sphere of the latter is God's truth with its rich blessings.
The question, “Who am I?” as already stated, refers particularly to state, character, and relationship. In this connection David refers to himself in relation to God and his grace. But let not all take it for granted that it is so with them. Let each one ask, To what head am I related ? To what family do I belong? Am I united to Christ? and do I form part of the family of grace? Let me take the bible in my hand, search out the evidences there laid down, and compare myself with them. Let me do this with that earnestness which this subject and its vast im. " portance demand.
Considering the text as an exclamation, it is evident David had answered the enquiry satisfactorily to himself. These few words shew us a beart overflowing with gratitude. He had ascertained who he was, and entered, in some goodly measure, into the happiness and dignity connected with his new relationship. If believers, like David, rightly understood their privileges, and really believed in the freeness and richness of God's grace, they would be overwhelmed with gratitude. Some one has said of David, that the "weighty clusters of mercy completely bent down this 25 royal vine." He was surprised and satisfied; and so would all God's children be if they considered the power which had been put forth upon' them, the posilion they occupy as regards relationship and communion, and the promises belonging to them as the children of the covenant. “A? sense of mercy is a spring of holy gratitude." Let us study mercy much and often if we would feel truly grateful. But this exclamation includes humility as well as gratitude. “Who am I?” David was something among men ; but he felt himself as nothing before God. And thus all feel who taste of mercy. “Who am I?" A being who lately came out to of nothingness,-a new creature restored from worse than nothingness a rebel reconciled and adopted,-a weak worm who can stand no longer ist than I am upheld,-an instrument which God will use for his glory, mark for the arrows of hell, yet a subject of angelic care and guardian. ship: how affecting, how comforting, yet how humbling are these con i siderations.
Well may such rise with David and use the text as the language of exultation! Here hope comes in exulting, and in answer to the question, Who am I? exclaims, “An heir of all the promises." Then says the grateful, humble, wondering heart, let me hope for all those promises contain, and thus while I repose on God and rejoice in God, renew my zeal for God. Thus self-congratulation and self-renouncement go band in hand. The happy believer looks up as he ascends, and then he does not grow giddy, and shall experience no fall. He holds fast to the ladder by which he mounts, and feels himself secure. Thus communing with God and his own heart, he is preserved from self-neglect, and self-deceit, and self-dependence. The presence of infinite excellency produces thoughts lowly and loving; and such communion trains bim up for that world where humility and gratitude shall be perfect and perpetual.
HOPE IN EXTREMITIES.
BY THE REV. CORNELIUS ELVEN.
“Who can tell ?" --Jonah iji. 9. It is rare to find an artist whose pencil will give as fair and equal prominence to the defects as to the beauties of his original; or a biographer whose pen will as faithfully record the failings as the virtues of his friend. “But holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost;" they nothing extenuated, or set down aught in malice. Hence the Bible history is a faithful mirror, reflecting the character of its heroes with greater integrity than the daguerrotypes, even with the perfection of the Spirit of truth.
Hence the peevishness and disobedience of Jonah is neither concealed nor shaded, and we are told the whole sad truth about his attempt to “Alee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord,” as if he could go where God was not. If he had read the 139th Psalm, he surely must have forgotten it; however, the rebellious prophet is at length brought to repentance, and goes to “Nineveh, that great city,” to deliver his message. W'hereupon the inhabitants, from the king to the slave, “fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least," saying, "Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away his fierce anger, that we perish not?” This is the language of hope. The death warrant is signed the storm is gathering and ready to burst, and yet they say, “Who.can tell ?” Hope is a wonderful thing; it paints its bow on the blackest cloud, shines like a star in the darkest night, and grows with perennial verdure in the dreariest desert. Where could these poor Nine, vites see a ray of hope?-perhaps in the forty days' respite,-they might argue thus, “Surely if he had meant to destroy us, he would not have shewn us even this favour;" or they might have heard that the God of Israel was merciful and gracious; be it as it might, here was hope in extremity, and that is the sentiment we wish in this paper to illustrate. It is, a sentiment which has been inscribed by the lone captive on bis prison wall, on the rent sail of the storm smitten mariner, -on the banner of the warrior, on the staff of the way-worn pilgrim,-and on the pillow of the dying christian.
AWAKENED SINNER! here is an antidote against despair. “Who can tell” that you shall not find mercy ? You may have gone down into the very depths of iniquity, as Jonah went down into the depths of the sea. But “O the depth" of the mercy that reached him there! bence he has left it on record for your encouragement, “I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever; yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God.” Now go you and do as Jonah did; “Out of the belly of hell” he cried unto the Lord, with a “Who can tell ?" and the Lord heard and answered him. He was not of course literally but figuratively in hell; "the pains of hell got hold upon him;" he was not in despair, but on its borders ; and we have seen many distressed souls in that same condition, but we have never known one that “cried unto the Lord," but was brought out of it; for
“The powers of darkness ne'er shall boast
That e'er one praying soul was lost." As long as God is a loving Father, Christ a compassionate Saviour, and the Holy Ghost a Comforter, every praying Jonah shall be brought safe to land.