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carol their notes—every thing seems to welcome the approach of day. Truly light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun. And shall the Gospel, this day of good things, inspire us with dread and gloom? Is it not intended, is it not adapted to make even our spirits rejoice in God our Saviour ? And was it not thus always regarded among the first Christians
Therefore we should improve it with diligence. The sun ariseth, and man goeth forth to his work and to his labour until the evening_The night is for inaction. They that sleep, sleep in the night; and they that are drunken, are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober. And knowing the time, let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Advantages infer obligations, and produce responsibility. Where much is given, much will be required. What do ye more than others ? asks the Saviour. And he has a right to ask.
- He also says, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you. Blessed Jesus! possess me with thy own Spirit; and, henceforth repelling every interruption, and crushing every indecision and delay, may I make thy purpose and zeal my own: “I must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is day -the night cometh wherein no man can work."
Feb. 12.—" And he said, Leave us not, I pray thee; forasmuch as thou knowest how we are to encamp in the wilderness, and thou mayest be to us instead of eyes.”
Numb. x. 31.
Such was the language of the Jewish leader to Hobab, the son of Raguel the Midianite, Moses' father-in
law. How numerous are our wants, in whatever condition we are found! We need food to nourish us, apparel to cover us, sleep to refresh us, friendship to succour us. We need the heart of one of our fellow-creatures, and the hand of another. One must be feet to us; another eyes. Who is self-sufficient? Who, but under the delusion of pride and vanity, would ever affect independence? The eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee. Nor, again, the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body which are feeble, are necessary. Above others in circumstances, we may be inferior to them in grace or experience, or some particular attainment. David was superior to Jonathan in divine things; yet “ Jonathan went to David in the wood, and strengthened his hands in God.” I long to see you, says Paul to the Romans, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, that ye may be established: but they aided and confirmed him first: for they came down to meet him as far as Appii Forum and the Three Taverns; and when he saw them, he thanked God, and took courage.
Here we see the advantage of society. A God of knowledge and truth has said, It is not good for man to be alone; and if it was so with regard to a Paradise, how much more with regard to a wilderness! Half the pleasure of solitude, it has been remarked, arises from our having a friend at hand to whom we can say, How delightful this retirement is! Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart, so doth a man his friend by hearty counsel. Why, but to encourage social devotion, did our Saviour say to his disciples, “If two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Why did he send forth the seventy, two by two, in their mission through Judea, but to comfort each other in distress ; to confer with each other in cases of perplexity; to stimulate each other in cases of languor; to check each other in cases of temptation. “Two are better far than one; because they have good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow : but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up."
Let none despond. As all are required to be useful, so all may be serviceable, if they will : and often, far beyond the probability of their condition, or their own hopefulness; for humility makes a good man modest in his expectations, as well as in his pretensions.
We also see here, that confidence in God is not to lead us to disregard any advantages we can derive from ordinary resources. Moses had the engagement of God, and was even under a miraculous guidance; yet he does not overlook the assistance he could derive from his father-in-law, as to his advice in difficulties; and those instructions, which, from his knowledge of the Wilderness, he could give him, with regard to particular situations, and their conveniences or inconveniences. The religion of the Bible is always a reasonable service. It does not keep a man's eyes upon the stars, while he falls over every stumbling-block in his way: but says to him, “Let thine eyes look right on, and thine eyelids straight before thee: ponder the path of thy feet, that thy goings may be established.” It places our dependence upon God; but that reliance is favourable to activity-is the spring of it. In Him we live, move, and have our being; but this does not supersede eating and drinking. He teaches us; but we are to read and hear his word. He promises; but he will be enquired of for the performance. And none of the aids he affords us render needless the exercise of prudence, the exertion of our faculties, the
soove, and have the sprint that reliancePlaces our '
offices of friendship, or the means of grace. “ Draw nigh to God; and he will draw nigh to you.”
Feb. 13.—“ Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me; for I am desolate and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged: o bring thou me out of my distresses. Look upon mine affliction and my pain, and forgive all my sin.” Ps. xxv. 16–18.
Surely this book is addressed to the heart; and requires sensibility rather than talent to understand and explain it. How tender here is the language of David. And how instructive too. He was a sufferer, though a king, and a man eminently godly. And his sorrows were not superficial, but deep and depressing—“the sorrows of the heart.” And while hoping for their diminution, they were “enlarged.”
- But he is a petitioner, as well as a sufferer ; and those sorrows will never injure us that bring us to God. Three things he prays for.
First. Deliverance. This we are allowed to desire, consistently with resignation to the divine will. But we must seek it, not from creatures, but from God, who has said, “Call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will deliver thee.” Nothing is too hard for Him-He can turn the shadow of death into the morning-Therefore, says David, “O bring thou me out of my distresses."
Secondly. Notice. A kind look from God is desirable at any time, in any circumstances ; but in affliction and pain, it is like life from the dead. Nothing cuts like the neglect of a friend in distress; nothing soothes like his calls, and enquiries, and sympathy, and tears, then.—But to say, Thou, God, seest me; thou knowest all my walking through this great wilderness-to be assured that he is attentive to my condition, and is smiling through the cloud ; fills the heart, even in tribulation, with a peace that passeth all understanding—Therefore, says David, “Look upon mine affliction and pain.”
Thirdly. Pardon. He does not think himself sinless; and trials are apt to revive a sense of guilt, and to make the sufferer fearful ; and to induce the prayer, “Do not condemn me." We will also venture to say, that however a Christian may feel his sorrows, he will feel his sins much more: these, these are the burden and the grief—Therefore, David says, “Forgive all my sins.”
This was his meaning; and I hope I can make it my own.-If it be thy pleasure, release me from my complaint.-If not, and the distress is continued, to try me, be near to afford me a sensible manifestation of thy favour; let me see thy countenance; let me hear thy voice, saying, “I remember thee still.”—Or, if this be denied, and I have no claim upon thee for such an indulgence, let me, for the Redeemer's sake, be absolved and justified. Remove my guilt, whatever becomes of my grief-grief then, cannot be penal-cannot be injurious
“ If sin be pardon'd, I'm secure;
“ Death hath no sting beside :
“But Christ, my ransom, died.”
Feb. 14.—“Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you."
John xv. 14.
He does not say, ye are the subjects of my love ; but, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” You may love an animal, a slave, an enemy—but neither of these can be your friend; for friendship implies and requires what their con