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traths so as to be comprehended by men whose habits of life and associations were earthly and carnal, the sacred writers made use of a large number of figures. Among these, the dew stands pre-eminent as to the variety and beauty of its meanings. The fact of the dew-fall is referred to in Num. xi. 9. Its divine origin is spoken of (1) naturally in Job xxxviii. 28, where the patriarch asks, “ Who hath begotten the drops of dew?” and (2) miraculously in Judges vi. 37-40, where Gideon seeks to know the presence of God first by finding dew upon the fleece while none was on the ground. This might have been the case without any supernatural interposition, as the fleece was a better radiator of heat than the earth, and therefore would of necessity be covered first with moisture. The second test required absolutely some superhuman interposition, for, according to it, the fleece was to be dry while the ground was to be covered with dew. The manner in which the dew is formed is also spoken of-gently, softly, and imperceptibly, its first indication being its actual presence. This is mentioned to illustrate (a) the stealthy approach of an army (2 Sam. xvii. 12); and (6) the kind and gracious words of God (Deut. xxxii. 2). The evaporation of the dew, which happens when the heat of the rising sun has become sufficiently great to change the dewdrops into vapour, forming the mist of morning, which disappears when the temperature of the air is raised a little further,—the evaporation of dew is spoken of (a) as a fact in Exod. xvi. 14, "When the dew had gone up;” and ' (6) as illustrative of transitory goodness, in Hosea vi. 4, "For your goodness . . . . as the early dew goeth away.” In the majority of cases, however, the sacred writers refer to the refreshing influence of dew. It is impossible to exaggerate the value of dew in Western Asia, as but little rain falls from April to September, the existence of both animals and plants being dependent upon the refreshing influence of dew during the hot months of summer. Hence we find that to have dew, in the case of Jacob (Gen. xxvii. 28), is to have temporal prosperity, and to be far from the dew, as in the case of Esau (Ib. xxvii. 39*), is to suffer temporal privations; and the loss suffered by the country by the death of Saul and Jonathan is spoken of as the cessation of dewfall upon the mountains of Gilboa (2 Sam. i. 21). As
• Our authorised version of this verse is very inaccurate, though it follows all the ancient versions and most of the modern ones, “ Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above;
and by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother,” which Nachmanides explains thus: “The fatness of the land and the dews of heaven I can wish for thee also, but the dominion over thee must abide with thy brother.” (See Dr. Raphael, in loco.). It is better, however, to understand the m in mishmanney, fatness, and in mittal, dew, as min in the sense of a negation. It is so understood by Vater, Von Bohlen, Tuch, Knobel, and the best critics. The min has often this negative meaning in the
sacred book, as in Job xi. 15, mittum, "without spot;" and ib. xxi. 9, "safe from fear," mippachad. In this case the text would thus read: "Behold, away from the fatness of the land shall be thy dwelling, and away from the
dew of heaven from above." The home of Esau was the barren hills of Édom, while that of Jacob was the fertile fields of Canaan,
the dew of night restored the elastic texture, the upright form, of plants, and the blushing tints of flowers, whose life had all but been destroyed by the scorching sun, and made them young again, so full vigour of frame, and youthfulness of health, were spoken of as der't e dew of youth” (Psa. cx. 3; Isaiah xxvi. 19). The dew also, most graphically, represents the elevating and saving influence of pious men upon ungodly people—"And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord" (Micah v.
7). The realisation of the Divine presence by faith, spoken of by Hosea (chap. xiv. 5), embraces all the analogies of the dew: for-1. As the dew is the purest water in nature, so is the realised presence of God the truest bliss ; 2. As the dew falls most copiously when it is night, and when the night is cold, so is the presence of God most fully realised when life is dark and cold with trouble; 3. As the dew falls only when the sky is clear, so is God's sacred presence felt only when the world is beneath our feet, and when no object intervenes between our soul and the clear heaven; 4. As the dew falls only when the air is still and all is quiet, so do we feel God's presence when, out of bustle, we are alone ; 5. As most dew falls upon those objects which are near the surface of the earth, other things being equal, so is God's presence most fully felt by the humble soul; and, 6. As the dew was essential to the growth and beauty of vegetation, so is a realisation of God's presence by faith essential to the life and beauty of the human soul. ** The references to hoar frost are insignificant, though appropriate. Exod. xvi. 14 ; Psa. cxlvii. 16. Preston.
Evan LEWIS, B.A., F.R.G.S., F.E.S.
Seeds of Sermons on the Book of
(No. LXXVI.) THE QUEEN OF THE HOUSEHOLD,
“A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband."-Prov. xii. 4. FEW men understood more of woman than Solomon. He knew her frailties and her virtues, and his writings abound with many sage remarks upon the subject. Here he speaks of a virtuous woman, and a virtuous woman is
a true woman, chaste, prudent, modest, loving, faithful, patient in suffering, and brave in duty, keeping within the orbit of her sex, and lighting it with all the graces of womanhood.
Such & woman, Solomon says, is a crown to her husband. This language implies two things.
I. THAT SHE EXERCISES A CONTROL OVER HIM. A “crown" is the insignia of rule. A virtuous
woman rules, not by intention, or arrangement, or legislative command, but by the power of her love, and the graces of her life. Woman has more force in her looks than man has in his laws, more force in her tears than man has in his arguments. A virtuous woman is really queen of the world. Beauty, tenderness, love, purity, are the imperial forces of life, and these woman wields. “She who ne'er answers till a husband
cools, Or, if she rules him, never shows she
rales; Charms by accepting, by submitting
sways, Yet has her humour most when she obeys."
Ben Jonsox. II. THAT SHE CONFERS A DIGNITY UPON HIM. A “crown" is a dignity. She dignifies her husband, as well as rules him. First: Her excellence justifies his choice. In her character and deportment all see the wisdom, the taste, and the judgment of her husband. Secondly: Her management enriches his exchequer. By her industry and economy the produce of his labour is carefully guarded, and often increased. Thirdly: Her influence exalts his character. Her gentle spirit and manners smooth the roughnesses of his character, refine his tastes, elevate his aims, and round the angles of his life.
righteous and the wicked, and they are here presented in their thoughts, speech, standing and reputation. I. IN
THOUGHTS. Thoughts are the most wonderful things in connection with human life. They are the factors of character, and the primal forces of history. By thought man builds up his own world. Now the thoughts of the righteous and wicked are here broughtout. First: “The thoughts of the righteous are right." The righteous man is a man righteous in heart, and if he is right in heart his thoughts will be right. The heart is the spring of the intellect.
“ As a man thinketh in his heart so is he." Secondly: The thoughts of the wicked are false. counsels of the wicked are deceit." All the thoughts of a wicked man referring to happi. ness, greatness, duty, life, God, are false. He lives in an illusory world.
II. IN THEIR SPEECH. Speech is the instrument by which thought does its work in society. Words are the incarnations, the vehicles, and the weapons of thought. First: The words of the wicked mischievous. “They lie in wait for blood.” Malice is the inspiration of the wicked, and he uses words as swords to wound the heart and destroy the reputation of others. “The wicked plotteth against the just.”. Secondly: The words of the righteous are beneficent.
The mouth of the upright shall deliver them." The good desires good, and the words are not to injure but to bless, not to, destroy but to deliver. To deliver reputations from calumny, understandings from error, hearts from pollution, souls from hell.
III. IN THEIR STANDING, The wicked are overthrown and are not, but the house of the righteous
(No. LXXVII.) THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED.
"The thoughts of the righteous are right: but the counsels of the wicked are deceit. The words of the wicked are to lie in wait for blood: but the inouth of the upright shall deliver them. The wicked are overthrown, and are not : but the house of the righteous shall stand. A man shall be commended according to his wisdom: but he that is of a perverse heart shall be despised."
-Prov. xii. 5-8. In these verses Solomon gives us
further description of sthe
shall stand. First: The wicked are insecure. They are to be overthrown. Their hopes, their purposes, their possessions, their pleasures, are all insecure. “I have seen the wicked in great power, spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not.” (Psa. xxxvii. 35, 36.) These men build their houses on the sand, they cannot stand. Secondly: The righteous are safe. “The house of the righteous shall stand.” They are established on the Rock of Ages. “ Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out," &c. (Revelation
12. IV. IN THEIR REPUTATION. “ A man shall be commended according to his wisdom: but he that is of a perverse heart shall be despised.” First: The good commands the respect of society. The consciences of the worst men are bound to reverence the right. Pharaoh honoured Joseph, Nebuchadnezzar Daniel. Secondly : The evil awakes the contempt of society. “He that is of a perverse heart shall be despised.” Servility and hypocrisy may bow the knee and uncover the head before the wicked man in affluence and power, but deep in the heart there is contempt.
pauper fancies himself a prince, and exhibits himself in aspects disgusting to all observers. The text refers to this in families, and when it takes possession of households it often destroys domestic comforts. The words lead us to remark
I. THAT THERE ARE DOMESTIC COMFORTS WITHOUT DISPLAY. He that is “despised"—that makes himself of no reputation--maintains a humble deportment-may have a “servant." He cares not for appearances, his neighbours may “despise” him, because of his humble bearing, still he has comforts in his family. Instead of wasting the produce of his labour upon gilt and garniture, he economically lays it out to promote the comforts of his home. In many an unpretending cottage there is more real domestic enjoyment than can be found in the most imposing mansions.
II. THERE IS DOMESTIC DISPLAY WITHOUT COMFORTS. " He that honoureth himself, and lacketh bread." There are in this age of empty show increasing multitudes of parents who sacrifice the right culture of their children, and the substantial comforts of a home, for appearances. They all but starve their domestics to feed their vanity
They must be grand, though they lack bread. Their half-starved frames must have gorgeous mantles. This love of appearance, this desire for show, is, I trow, making sad havoc with the homes of old England.
III. THE CONDITION OF THE FORMER IS PREFERABLE TO THAT
It is “better" to have comforts without show, than show without comforts. “ Better.” First: It is more rational. How absurd to sacrifice the comforts of life to outward show! Who cares for your display? None who care for you;
OF THE LATTER.
(No. LXXVIII.) DOMESTIC MODESTY AND DISPLAY.
“He that is despised, and hath a servant, is better than he that honoureth himself, and lacketh bread." - Prov. xii. 9. VANITY, or love of display, is one of the most contemptible and pernicious passions that can take possession of the human mind. Its roots are in self-ignoranceits fruits are affectation and falsehood. Vanity is a kind of mental intoxication, in which the
but only those who would despise to save his own muscular strength you were you stripped of your in doing his work--some to bear costume. Better. Secondly: It him about. Thirdly: They are is more moral. It is immoral to endowed with sensibility and inmake outward grandeur the grand telligence. They have all feeling, aim. Immoral, because vanity, and some a good degree of sagathe inspiring motive, is a devilish city, amounting to something like passion. Immoral to study the reflection. They feel our treatwardrobe more than yourself.
ment. * Better-Thirdly: It is more satis- II. THAT CRUELTY TOWARDS fying. It is the nature of vanity THE LOWER ANIMALS IS WICKED, that it cannot be satisfied. No “ The tender mercies of the amount of jewellery or tailoring wicked are cruel.” Cruelty is can satisfy it.
wickedness. Man sins against God as truly in his conduct to.
wards animals as in his conduct (No. LXXIX.)
towards man. There is a divine THE TREATMENT OF ANIMALS. law-" Thou shalt not muzzle the "A righteous man regardeth the life ox when he treadeth out tho of his beast: but the tender mercies of corn.” (Deut. xxv. 4.)
“ Send the wicked are cruel.”--Prov. xii. 10.
now, and gather thy cattle, The world of irrational animals
and all that thou hast in the is a wonderful world. Its history, field; for upon every man and which is only begun to be writ- beast which shall be found in the ten, is amongst the marvels of
field, and shall not be brought modern literature. The Bible
home, the hail shall come down commands us to study this world, upon them, and they shall die." Bends us to the beasts of the field
(Ex. ix. 19.) Great is the differfor instruction; it also legislates ence between the heart of a righfor our conduct in relation to this teous and that of a wicked man. world. The text suggests two The righteous is kind even to his remarks concerning man's con- beast, and the kindest treatment duct towards the beasts of the of the wicked is but cruelty. field.
" I would not enter on my list of friends I. THAT KINDNESS TOWARDS (Though graced with polish'd manners THE LOWER ANIMALS
and fine sense, TEOUS. "A righteous man
Yet wanting sensibility) the man
Who needlessly sets foot upon a worm, gardeth the life of his beast."
An inadvertent step may crush the snail Three facts will show why we That crawls at evening in the public should be kind to them. First:
But he that has humanity, forewarn'd, They are the creatures of God.
Will tread aside and let the reptile live." His breath kindled the life of all.
COWPER. His hand fashioned all, both great and small. Dare we abuse what
(LXXX.) He thought worth creating ? Se
MANLY INDUSTRY AND PARASITICAL condly: They are given for our
INDOLENCE. use. He put all under the dominion of man: some to serve
He that tilleth his land shall be
satisfied with bread; but he that fol. him in one way, and some in loweth vain persons is void of underancther: some to charm his standing.”—Prov. xii. 11. eye with their beauty, others to It is implied that all men want delight his ear with their music : some to supply him with food,
See a work for children, entitled
“ Animal Sagacity.” by Mrs. Hal and some with clothing: some Published by Partridge and Cu.