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SEEDS OF SERMONS ON THE BOOK OF PROVERBS.
besides this, there are times of our being we are alone." when the truest companions Happy is he who can say of must fail. Companionship such times, “Nevertheless, can do little in our intense the Lord stood with me and bodily pain, mental anguish, strengthened me.” spiritual_conflict, throes of
Bristol. U. R. T. death. “In the central depths
Seeds of Sermons on the
from “the Father of lights," and THE LIGHTS OF SOULS.
in their radiance they live, walk, “ The light of the righteous rejoiceth:
and rejoice. They rejoice in their but the lamp of the wicked shall be put faith. Their faith connects them out."-Prov. xiii. 9.
with the Everlasting Sun. They “ Light," if not essential to life, rejoice in their hope. Their hope is essential to its well-being. Life bears them into the regions of the without light, could it be, would blest. They rejoice in their love. be cold, chaotic, wretched. There Their love fixes their enrapturing are different kinds of light even gaze on Him in whose presence in the material world-some there is fullness of joy. feeble, flickering, transient, others II. THE TRANSIENT LIGHT Or as the lights of heaven, strong, SOUL. “ The lamp of the wicked steady, permanent. There are shall be put out.' It is implied different moral lights—the lights that the light of the righteous is of soul. The text leads us to permanent. And so it is. It consider two :
is inextinguishable. “It shines J. THE JOYOUS LIGHT OF SOUL. brighter and brighter, even unto “The light of the righteous re perfect day.". Not so the light joiceth.” In what does the light of the wicked. Their light, too, of the soul consist? There are at is in their faith, their hope, their least three elements—faith, hope, love. But their faith is in the love. The first fills the soul with false, and it must give way. The the light of ideas; the second with temple of their hope is built on the light of a bright future; the sand, and the storm of destiny will third, with the light of happy destroy it. Their love is on coraffections. In all souls on earth rupt things, and all that is corrupt these three exist. There is a faith must be burnt by the all-consuming in all, a hope in all, a love in all. fire of eternal justice. Thus the Extinguish these in any soul, and lamp of the wicked must be put out. there is the blackness of darkness The light of the righteous is an for ever. The righteous have these inextinguishable sun—that of the as divine impartations, as beams wicked a mere flickering "lamp;" VOL. XX.
the breath of destiny will put it SELS. This is implied in the last out. “How oft is the candle of the clause rather than expressed. wicked put out.” To live in a world “ But with the well-advised is wiswithout a sun, were it possible, dom.” The proud man is too would be wretched existence great to take the counsel of any. -such a world as Byron de “Pride," says Gurnell, “takes scribes :
for its motto great I, and little “The bright sun was extinguished, and you.” Who can teach him? the stars
“Pride (of all others, the most dangerDid wander darkening in the eternal
ous fault) space,
Proceeds from want of sense or want of Rayless and pathless; and the icy earth
thought. Swung blind and blackening in the
The men who labour and digest things moonless air."
most, But to live without faith, hope, Will be much apter to despond than
boast; charity, is infinitely more cala
For if your author be profoundly good, mitous.
'Twill cost you dear before he's under
(No. XCVI.) “Only by pride cometh contention :
WORLDLY WEALTH. but with the well-advised is wisdom.”
“Wealth gotten by vanity shall be -Prov. xiii. 10.
diminished: but he that gathereth by Pride is an exaggerated estimate labour shall increase.”—Prov. xiii. 11. of our own superiority, leading This verse implies three thingsoften to an insolent exultation. I. THAT WORLDLY WEALTH IS “ There is no such thing,” says A GOOD THING. (1.) The univerFuller, "as proper pride, a reason. sal feeling of man shows thismall able and judicious estimate of men strive after it. (2.) The one's character has nothing to do services it can render show this. with it.” From the text we Man's physical comforts, intelleclearn
tual opportunities, social I. THAT PRIDE GENERATES sources, and the progress of his DISCORDS. "Only by pride cometh religious institutions greatly decontention.” “Pride,” says Col. pend upon this. (3.) The Word lier, “ is so unsociable a vice, and of God shows this. Money," does all things with so ill a grace, says Solomon, answers all that there is no closing with it. things.' The Bible does not A proud man will be sure to despise wealth. It legislates for challenge more than belongs to its employment and denounces him. You must expect him stiff its abuse. We inferin conversation, fulsome in com II. THAT WEALTH MAY mending himself, and bitter in OBTAINED DIFFERENT WAYS. his reproofs.” And Colton says,
There are two ways referred to in “ Pride either finds a desert or the text. First: The way of vanity. makes one; submission cannot “ Wealth gotten by vanity." tame its ferocity, nor satisfy or The word vanity may represent fill its voracity, and it requires all those tricks of trade, reckless very. costly food-its keeper's speculations, and idle gambling, happiness.” Being in society by which large fortunes are often essentially exacting, insolent, heart easily gained. Within our own less, detracting, it is ever gene circle of acquaintance, we know rating " contention."
many who have become mil. II. THAT PRIDE REJECTS COUN lionaires by happy hits.
Secondly: The way of labour.
(No. XCVII.) " He that gathereth by labour.”
HOPE DEFERRED, Honest, industrious, frugal la
“Hope deferred maketh the heart bour, is the legitimate way to sick: but when the desire cometh, it is wealth. Honest industry is God's a tree of life.”—Prov. xiii. 12. road to fortune. We infer
Hope is a complex state of mind III. THAT THE DECREASE OR
-desire and expectation are its INCREASE OF WEALTH IS DETER
constituents. We define it as an MINED BY THE METHOD IN WHICH expectant desire. It implies the IT HAS BEEN OBTAINED. “ The existence of a future good, and a wealth gotten by vanity shall be belief in the possibility of obdiminished: but he that gathereth taining it. by labour shall increase. Two The text leads us to make three facts in human nature will illus remarks concerning it. trate this principle.
I. THAT MAN'S OBJECT OF HOPE First: What man does not highly IS OFTEN LONG DELAYED.“ Hope value he is likely to squander. That deferred." The future good which which we hold cheaply we are not men hope for they seldom get at cautious in guarding nor tenacious once. Long years of strugglein holding
often intervene. It looms a far Secondly: What comes to him distant thing before their vision. without labour he is not likely
There is kindness in this arrangehighly to appreciate. We generally ment, although we may fail somevalue a thing in proportion to the
times to see it. difficulty in getting it. The man
First: It serves to stimulate effort. who has toiled hard for what he It is the goal before the eye of the has got, will take care of it; racer, keeping every muscle on the whereas he who has got it easily
stretch. by a hit or by a trick, treats it Secondly: It serves to culture with less caution, and is more
patience. We have need of patience. likely to squander it away. Thus
If what we hope for came at once, the text announces a law in hu. was not deferred, not a tithe of man experience: “Wealth gotten
ourmanhood would be brought out. by vanity shall be diminished:
II. THAT THE DELAY IS GENEbut he that gathereth by labour
RALLY VERY TRYING. “It maketh shall increase."
the heart sick.” It is trying to Brothers, whilst we would not the strength, to the temper, and to have you to disparage wordly the religion of man. Still, those wealth, we would not have you
“ sick” men will not give up the put it in its wrong place. Use it hope. " Hope," says Diogenes, as the instrument of action, not “is the last thing that dies in as the representative of wealth or
man.” Pandora's fabled box con the source of happiness.
tained all the miseries of man“To purchase heaven, has gold the
kind, and when her husband took power ?
off its lid, all rushed away, but Can gold remove the mortal hour? hope remained at the bottom. In life, can love be bought with gold ! Are Friendship's pleasures to be sold ?
Ay, hope sticks to the last. How. No; all that's worth a wish, a thought,
ever sick at heart, we hold it still Fair Virtue gives unbribed, unbought. “The wretch condemned with life to Cease, then, on trash thy hopes to bind; part, Let nobler views engage thy mind.” Still, still on hope relies;
Jouxsox. And every pang that rends the heart
Bids expectation rise.
Adorns and cheers the way,
And still, the darker grows the night, I. THIS WORD DESPISED Emits a brighter ray.”
RUIN. “Who despiseth the word III. THAT THE TRIAL OF THE shall be destroyed.” Who is the DELAY IS FULLY COMPENSATED IN
despiser of this word ? The ITS REALIZATION. " When the
scorner, the rejector, the unbeliever, desire cometh, it is a tree of life.”
the neglector, the trifler. Why is The longerand more anxiously you ruin involved in despising this wait and toil for a good, the higher word ? First: Because he who the enjoyment when it is grasped. despises, rejects the only instruHence the delight of Simeon, ment of soul - salvation. The who waited for the consolation of
Gospel is the word of salvaIsrael when he clasped the infant tion, “ Unto you is the word of Jesus in his arms, and said, “Now the salvation sent." The only word lettest thou thy servant depart in that can save. It is the only peace.” A realized divine hope balm for the diseased soul. It is is, indeed, “a tree of life," and
the only quickening power for especially so when realized in the
the dead. Second : Because he pure heavens of God. Hope in
who despises it brings on his fruition is the Eden of the soul.
nature the condemnation of Heaven. “Oh! how blest
Most tremendous guilt is conTo look from this dark prison to that
tracted in despising this word. shrine, To inhale one breath of Paradise divine;
“See that ye refuse not him that And enter into that eternal rest
speaketh, for if they escaped not," Which waits the sons of God."
&c. (Heb. xii. 25.) BOWRING,
II. THIS WORD REVERENCED IS
BLESSEDNESS. “He that fear(No. XCVIII.)
eth the commandment shall be
rewarded.” The word is a “comTIE WORD.
mandment,” it is an authoritative " Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed : but he that feareth the com
utterance, and to fear it, in & mandment shall be rewarded."-Prov. scriptural sense, is to have a xiii. 13.
proper practical regard for it. The world abounds with words. First: Such a man is rewarded Every day the air is loaded with in its blessed influences upon his oral words; the libraries of the own soul. It enlightens, purifies, world are crowded with written cheers, ennobles. Second : Such ones. Some human words are a man is rewarded with the approunspeakably more valuable than bation of Heaven. “ Unto that others. The word that expresses man will I look, who his of a the noblest heart, the strongest broken heart, and contrite spirit, intellect, the loftiest genius, the and trembleth at my word.” highest intelligence, is the best What a wonderful thing is the human word on earth. A human word! Man's character and desword is at once the mind's mirror, tiny are determined by his conand the mind's weapon. In it duct toward it. How few treat the soul of the speaker is seen, this word as it ought to be treated and by it the soul of the speaker in this age. In proportion to its wins its victories over others. aboundings, men seem to despise But there is one word on earth it. There was a time, in Edward incomparably and infinitely above the First's reign, when one all others. It is emaphatically the volume cost £37, to gain which, word—the word of God. The a labouring man would have to text teaches us two things con
work fifteen long years. cerning this word.
(No. XCIX.) THE LAW OF THE GOOD. “The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.” -Prov. xiii. 14,
I. THE GOOD ARE RULED BY LAW.
“ The law of the wise.” What is law? There are many definitions; many most unphilosophic, some most conflicting: The clearest and most general idea I have of it is rule of motion. In this sense all things are under law, for all things are in motion. The material universe is in motion, and there is the law that regulates it. The spiritual universe is in motion, and law presides over it. “Of law, says Hooker, there can be no less acknowledged, than that her seat is the bosom of God, her voice he harmony of the world. All things do her homage, the very least as feeling her care, and the greatest as not exempted from her power; both angels and men, and creatures of what condition soever, though each in different sort and manner, yet all with uniform consent, admiring her as the mother of their peace and joy.” But
what is the law of the goodthat which rules them in all their activities ? Supreme love to the supremely good. It is not a written commandment, but an all-pervading, inspiring spirit, called in Scripture, áthe royal law," the
“law of liberty,” the “law of the Spirit.”
II. THE LAW THAT RULES THE GOOD IS BENEFICENT. " The law of the wise is a fountain of life to depart from the snares of death." First : This law delivers from death. The word death here must not be regarded as the separation of body from soul, but as the separation of the soul from God. This. is the awfullest death, and supreme love to God is a guarantee against this. Secondly: This law secures an abundance of life. “The law of the wise is a fountain of life ;": a fountain gives the idea of activity, plenitude, perennialness. The law of the good is happiness. The happiness of the true soul is. not something, then and yonder, but it is something in the law that controls him. In the midst of his privations and dangers, John Howard, England's illustrious philanthropist, wrote from Riga these words, 6. I hope I have sources of enjoyment that depend not on the particular spot I inhabit. A rightly cultivated mind, under the power of religion, and the exercise of beneficent dispositions, affords a ground of satisfaction little affected by heres and theres.” “If solid happiness we prize, Within our breast this jewel lies; The world has nothing to bestow,From our own selves our joy must flow."