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of light.' If, in the market-days for the soul, (I mean the public festivals and sabbaths of the church,) they whose office it is to bring forth out of God's treasure things new and old to the people, were truly as anxious as those men of: the world, what gracious effects might we not hope would follow under the Spirits blessing!
The apostle to the Gentiles desired the church of Corinth to consider him and his faithful companions under this character. Let a man,' saith he, so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.'
A steward is an upper servant in a family ; one whose office, (according to our Lord's own explanation of the Jewish householder,) is to provide for the family, &c. whom his Lord hath made ruler over his household to give them their portion of meat in due season.' And were that also properly considered, which the ápostle adds, that it is required in stewards that'a man be found faithful;' the solicitude of the earthly market-man would fall infinitely short of that, which he feels who ministers in heavenly things; in proportion as the object and the end of thc latter transcend in importance those of the former. How early would the stewards of Christ's mysteries arise, in order to prepare the ' feast of fat things, of wine on
the lees, and of fat things full of marrow, for the mountain of the Lord's house ! How ex, tremely anxious would they be, that no hungry nor thirsty soul of God's household should be overlooked or neglected! And conscious, after all their best and most earnest preparations, that there can be no actual enjoyment, no real participation on the people's part, but from the predisposing grace of the Lord; how ought every steward to bring forth what he has pre. pared with prayer and supplication, that the Lord himself would direct every heart and inAuence every mind! · Imagination can hardly form a character more truly valuable, than the man who ministers in holy things; who spends his time, his talents, his gifts-in short, his all, to this one purpose ; who becomes indeed the faithful and wise steward,' to feed the babes of Christ's household with the sincere milk of the word, that they may grow thereby ;' and them that are of · full age, with strong meat, when by reason of use their spiritual senses are exercised to discern both good and evil;' and who to both, can humbly recommend, like the apostle, the goodness of the food, as being what he himself hath seen, and looked upon, and tasted of the word of life.' It must be a refreshing consolation, I can well conceive, in the close of life, to every faithful' steward, after that the day's fatigue of the market for spiritual food is over, to be able to take up the same language'as the apostle Paul ; I have kept back nothing that was profitable ; I have not shunned to declare the whole counsel of God; I have fed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood; and now I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace ! . ; “- When I came down from my chamber, I found my friend waiting breakfast for me ; for the hour was by this time past eight: and, as his custom was, he proposed inviting as many of the family as felt disposed, to attend our morning prayers. The mistress of the house, with one servant only, accepted the offer. And after my companion had read a portion of God's word, he followed it up with prayer. Hindi . When the mistress and the servant had withdrawn, we sat down to breakfast; my friend having first implored the usual blessing on our food.
« BOUNTIFUL Father of mercies, who art supplying the daily wants of the millions which are looking up to thee from all parts of the universe; we desire grace to praise thee for this seasonable and suitable portion of food, which thou hast spread before us for the support of our perishing bodies. And we intreat thee for grace from thy Holy Spirit in the use of it, that we may receive this and every other blessing, as coming from our reconciled Father and God in Christ Jesus. Vouchsafe, dearest Saviour, to sit at the table which thou hast furnished ; and may we be among those, which shall sit at thy table in thy kingdom ;' and while, as thy chil. dren going home to thine house, thou art refreshing us thus by the way, though all the benefit be ours, let thine be all the glory. Amen.'
We had scarcely finished our repast, wl:en the mistress of the house came in to inform us of the situation of a poor man in the street, who had been bed-ridden for fifteen years. He is a very pious creature,' added the mistress, and a great number of gentry go to visit him. I thought it might be pleasant to you to hear of him.'- That it is,' replied my friend, and we thank you for it. We will go to see him. Where is his dwelling ?-Five doors only below our house,' she answered, and the waiter shall show you.' . When we came into the poor man's room, though every thing manifested the indigence of his circumstances, yet it was that kind of poverty which recommended itself by its cleanliness. There stood a lady at the foot of his bed, in conversation with the sick man. How do you live?' I heard, her say as I entered the chamber. Live, madam !' replied the poor man, “ I am in very good circumstances; I am not only rich by reason of present possessions ; but I am heir to a large estate.'— Astonishing!' said she, you were pointed out to me as a very poor man, and I came to give you some relief.'--'That you may still do, madam, if you please,' answered hc, "for the riches I possess, and the inheritance to which I am born do not at present make me above charity. I am only “rich in faith and an heir of the kingdom.'