« PreviousContinue »
fallen away, "Left his first love."
(No. CXXI.) Such apostacy, or backsliding, is
CREDULOUS AND THE too general in the world; Judas, Demas, Peter, David, are ex- “ The simple believeth every word: amples. The real backslider is but the prudent man looketh wel to the one that backslides in heart.
his going."-Prov. xiv. 15—19. There are many who don't seem
“SIMPLE" and foolish in these to backslide in their conduct;
verses must be regarded as contheir external life in relation vertible, and represent the same to the true thing continues the character. So also the words same as ever, but their heart has “ wise" and "prudent.” We changed. The backslider in the have, therefore, two characters, eye of God is the backslider in the sinfully credulous and the heart. Secondly: The doom of cautiously believing. the apostate. « Filled with his
I. THE HASTILY CREDCLOTS own ways. Misery inevitably
« The ‘simple' believeth every follows his conduct. If he is
word.” First: One of the streages restored he will suffer, he will be
tendencies in man's mental nature is « filled with his own ways.
his propensity to beliere. It is David felt it so (Psa. li.), and so
one of the most voracious appetites did Peter, who wept bitterly.
of the soul. The child opens its But if he is not restored, his
mental mouth, hungering for misery will be greater. The
tales from the nurse's lips, and punishment of the sinner consists will eagerly swallow everything in his being "filled with his own
that is said.
“ As the young ways.”
birds," says a modern anthor, II. THE HAPPINESS
"instinctively open their mouths “A good man shall be
for food, and their mothers not satisfied for himself." Who is the
even once since the creation of good man? The man who loves
the world, have thrown in chaf the supremely good supremely.
to mock their hunger, so the “Such a man shall be satisfied
trustfulness of children is the from himself.” Whilst the back
opening of their mouth for truth. slider's misery shall spring out of
If we fling falsehood in, and laugh himself, so shall the happiness of
at their disappointment, the Lord the good man. The happiness of
will require it.” Alas, this is ungodly men, such as it is, is not
done, and the child grows up to in themselves, it is something
manhood disappointed, sceptical, outside of them, their children,
and suspicious. (1) This proper their business, their friendships,
sity to believe implies a state of
society that does not exist. Were their position, their property: Not so the happiness of the good
men born into heaven, were society
free from all error and deception man, it is in himself, it is independent of circumstances, he
it would be not only a right, but carries it wherever he goes. It is
a beneficial thing to believe erery a well of water springing up. It
word, to credit erery utterance, is.
and to confide in every character.
This is thostate of society for which “What nothing earthly gives or can destroy,
man was created, but he has lost The soul's calm sunshine and the heart- it. He comes into a world of felt joy."
Pope. lies. (2) This propensity to beliere
explains the reign of priesthood. Priesteraft feeds and fattens on the natural creduloueness of the soul.
All the errors, superstitions, and absurdities which have ever prevailed in connection with religion, may be accounted for by the soul's hunger for things to believe. (3) This propensity to believe shows the easiness of the condition on which God has made the salvation of man to depend. “ He that believeth shall be saved."
Secondly : The thoughtless yielding to
this tendency is immense loss. " The fool rageth, and is confident." The fool sees
danger, dreads no harm. He rushes recklessly forward into mischief. (1) He is passionate. He rageth. Counsels and warnings only irritate him. Advice, cautions, and reproofs, fall on his soul as sparks of combustible matter. They throw his whole nature into a raging flame of passion. (2) He is stubborn. He “is confident.” What does he care about your warnings. Nothing. He despises you, he langhs at them. (3) He is foolish. “He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly, and he inherits folly.' (4) He is despised. "A man of wicked devices is hated. The man who has given way to his credulity becomes all this. He is passionate, ignorant of the grounds of his belief, he cannot brook contradiction, his opinions being prejudices, he is stubborn in holding them, and in all this he is " fool. ish"and “hated."
II. THB CAUTIOUSLY BELIEVING. “ The prudent man looketh well to his going." True prudence is indicated by two things—First: A dread of evil. “A wise man feareth.” True dread of evil is consistent with true courage. Few, if any, displayed more heroism than Noah, yet, being moved by fear, he prepared an ark. Evil, both physical and moral, is a bad thing in the universe, and it is right to dread it, as we dread poisonous serpents
and ravenous beasts. True prudence is indicated - Secondly: By a departure from evil. “He departeth from evil.” Moral evil is the heart of all evil, and this he forsakes. He shuns it as an enemy to God and the universe. The prudence is indicated Thirdly: By mental greatness. He is dignified with knowledge. He is “ crowned with knowledge." Caution in believing is necessary for three reasons. First: The strength of man's tendency to believe. Secondly: The prevalence of error in society. Tho damning influence of falsehood on the soul.
(No. CXXII.) THE MAJESTY OF GOODNESS. "The evil bow before the good; and the wicked at the gates of the righteous."-Prov. xiv. 19. THRRE remarks are suggested by the social state indicated in these words; the state in which the wicked are prostrate in reverence and entreaty before the good
I. IT IS A STATE WHICH SELDOM APPEARS TO BE. The wicked generally sit supreme in society, they have done so through all past ages and are doing so now, and that to a great extent, even in what is called “Christian society." The influence, the wealth, the rule of the world, appears to be with the wicked. Evil appears still to be the prince of the power of the social atmosphere. The good seem for the most part to be the destitute, despised, and oppressed. This has always been to reflecting saints one of the greatest difficulties connected with the government of God. “Wherefore doth the wicked prosper," &c. (Jer. xii. 1-3.) “But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious of the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” (Ps. Ixxiii. 2, 3.)
II. IT IS A
bour sinneth: but he that bath meroy ALWAYS OUGHT TO BE. It ought
on the poor, happy is be. Do they not
err that devise evil ! but mercy and to be-First, as a matter of right. truth shall be to them that devise The good alone are the truly dig. good."-Pror. xiv. 20–22. nified, the truly royal. Their THESE verses indicate certain lineage, their inheritance, their principles which seem everywhere characters, their friendships, their at work in the social system of our engagements are all regal. They world. Here is are kings and priests unto God. I. INHUMANITY. The poor is There is more royalty in the hut here spoken of as “hated," de of a godly pauper, than in all the spised, and injured by those that palaces of unregenerate monarchs. devise evil." There have always Secondly: As a matter of expe- been men in society, and still are, dience. 'Indeed, what is right is who hate and oppress the poor. always expedient. The wicked There are many who have procould not even live on the earth fessed great friendship to those in without the good. Unmixed wealth whom they have despised wickedness would soon reduce the in poverty. These are what an earth to a Sodom and Gomorrah. old expositor calls, “Swallow The good are the salt of the earth. friends, that leave in winter." Governments cannot stand long Why are the poor thus despised? that are not fashioned by the prin- First, because of selfishness. There ciples of the good. Evil, there- is nothing to be got from the poor fore, ought to bow before the good. -Do money, no patronage, no
III. IT 18 A STATE WHICH IN- fame. Their good word goes not EVITABLY MUST BE. First: Con- for much in the world. Their science necessitates it. Even the opinions are neither quoted not worst men now and here are com. respected. Secondly: Because of pelled by the laws of their moral pride. Pride is a form of selfish. nature to render homage to the ness. It is not thought respectgood. Chastity, truth, honesty, able to notice the poor. A poor disinterestedness, moral heroism, relation must be ignored. All where is there a conscience that this is inhuman, and, therefore, bows not to these ? Secondly: sinful. “He that despiseth his Retribution necessitates it. When neighbour, sinneth." In such trials, and sufferings and dangers conduct there is sin - (1) sin overtake the wicked, do they
not against the best feelings of our always go for refuge to the good. nature(2) sin against the arThey will cringe at their“ gate," rangements of God's providence they will fawn at their feet. Give -(3) sin against Heaven's meus of your oil, for our lamps are thod for developing benevolence gono out."
How did the 260 amongst men. Here is souls bow before Paul, the II. SBRVILITY. “The rich hath prisoner, amidst the dangers of many friends." There is a keen the storm on the Adriatic Sea. satire in these words. There are He became the moral commander base-natured people in all society, as the perils thickened.
and their name is "legion," who court the rich. Even in the
religious world there are those who (No. CXXIII.)
will fawn on the man of purse,
and flatter him with adulations. A GROUP OF SOCIAL PRINCIPLES.
« The poor is hated even of his own peighbour: but the rich hath many
are made chairmen of their public friends. He that despiseth his neigh- meetings and presidents of their
religious societies. It is humilia- “It is twice blessed," &c. They ting to see men calling themselves are happy. Secondly : In the comthe ministers of Christ, cringing mendation of their God. " Blessed before the chair of the wealthy,
is he that considereth the poor; and cheering every utteranco. the Lord will deliver him in time The sect churches teem with of trouble.” (Psa. xli. 1.). “He parasites. A more miserable hath dispersed, he hath given to spirit than this know I not; the
poor, his righteousness unchristian, unmanly, most per- endareth for ever ; his horn shall picious. Never will Christianity | be exalted with honour.” (Pså. be truly represented, until its cxii. 9.) disciples shall practically regard IV. RETRIBUTION.
« Do they intellectual and moral worth not err that devise evil, but united, as the only title to honour merey and truth shall be to them and position. The rich hath that devise good.” Yes, those many friends." Professed friends, that have devised evil against for if a man has not the morally the poor will find, sooner or excellent and lovable in him, later, that they have greatly whatever may be the amount of erred. They will find that tho his wealth, the friends he gets measure that they meted unte will only be the false and the others is meted back to them. fawning
On the contrary, “mercy, and III. GENEROSITY. “He that truth shall be to them that devise hath mercy upon the poor, happy
good.” The liberal devisetb is he.” There is mercy for the liberal things, and by liberai poor in society. It is seen in the things shall he stand. Read the numerous and varied benevolent fifteenth chapter of the Gospel of institutions that crowd Christen- St. Matthew in order to see the dom. Those who have this retribution that the unmerciful merey are happy. First: In the and the merciful will meet with approbation of their own consciences. at last. “ When the Son of man Mercy is an element of happiness. shall come in his glory,” &c.
The Pulpit and its Handmaids. .
PROVIDENCE-ITS MYSTERIES. The events of Providence appear to us. very much like the letters thrown into a post-bag, and this parcel then sent forth on its destination. The person who carries it
"Messenger of joy, Perhaps to thousands, and of grief to To him indifferent whether grief or joy." Onward he moves, quite unconcerned as to the nature of the
communication he bears, or the effects produced by them. And when we look into that repository, it may seem as if its contents were in inextricable confusion, and we wonder how the letters, parcels, money, periodicals, should eyer reach their individual desti. nations. But then every letter has its special address inscribed upon it, it has the name and resi. dence of the party, and so it shall ia due time fall into his hands,
and bring its proper intelligence. course of things, and which fall And what different purposes do out the same day, bring gladness these letters fulfil-what varied to one, and land another in emotions do they excite! This deepest distress. On the occur. declares that friends are in health rence of the same event, you and prospering; this other is the perceive one weeping and another bearer of news of wealth, or of rejoicing. Some of the dispensethe wealth itself; this third tells tions are observed to propagate of somecrushing disappointments, prosperity through a whole comand quenches long cherished munity. And these others, so hopes by the tidings of the utter black and dismal, and of which failure of deep-planned schemes ; 80 many arrive at the same time, while this fourth, with sable carry, as they are scattered, gloom symbols, announces to the wife into the abodes of thousands. that she is a widow, or to the But amid all this seeming conparent that he is childless, or to fusion, every separate event has the child, fondly cherished by the its separate destination. If pestimother, that he is an orphan. lence has only some one person
It is a kind of picture of the devoted to it in a city or commorements of Providence.
munity, that person it will assuWhata crowd of events huddled redly find out, and execute the together, and apparently con- judgment of heaven upon him. fused, does it carry along with If there be a thousand persons it! Very diverse are the objects allotted to it in a district, it will bound up in that bundle, very not allow one of the thousand to varied are the omotions which
escape. If, among the numbers they are to excite when opened who are dying, there be one reup; yet how coolly and systema- garding whom it has no contically does the vehicle proceed mission to seize upon him, that inon its way! Neither the joy nor dividual must remain untouched. the sorrow which it produces causes “A thousand shall fall at thy it to
inger an instant in its side, and ten thousand at thy
But, meanwhile, every right hand, but it shall not come occurrence, or bundle of occur. nigh thee." It has a commission, rences, is let out at its proper and will execute it; but then it place. Each has a name inscribed cannot go beyond its commission.
Each has a place to And in regard to every person to which it is addressed. Each, too, whom the event comes, it has a has a message to carry, and a special end to accomplish, and purpose to fulfil. Some inspire it bears a special message, if he hope or joy, others raise only will but read it and attend to it. fear and sorrow. The events
McCosu. which are unfolded by the same
GUILT OF MIND.
“ The guilty mind Debases the great image ihat it wears, And levels us with brutes."