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Hebron ? ” On being told that it was, the lamb was ordered to be brought, and, after some ceremonies, was killed, and the sacrifice was offered.
The foregoing engraving represents the watching priest on the sumınit of a part of the temple, looking towards Hebron, and the early light tinging every prominent object.
One or two considerations of an interesting character are suggested by the circunstances above mentioned, and especially at this period of time.
The morning and evening sacrifices were religious services appointed by God himself, wherein he required acknowledgment and worship to be rendered to him, not only daily, but at special marked times ; at morning and evening; at the renewal and the close of day. Thus a principle, to which every pious heart assents, had in this instance, as in others, the direct sanction of God; namely, that it is good, not only to render to God worship and honour, bút habitually to fix times and seasons for such services. Such a practice is suited to the nature and characteristics of the human mind, and it is well to note the condescending and heedful kindness of God in adapting himself and his service to the tendencies of the heart which he himself has formed.
The feelings of the child of God continually bound forth from his renewed soul in holy joy to his loving Father, who is ever loading him with blessings, and invites the praises and thankfulness of his people. And when morning dawns, and light and new life, after the rest of night, are imparted, it is natural to the regenerated heart, nay, there is a holy, happy, and uncontrollable constraint upon the soul, to offer unto God the morning sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. Blessed morning-time! sweet emblem of the resurrection, in relation to which it has been beautifully said, Death is a sleep, and we shall rise refreshed in the morning!
The evening hour also invites God's sons and daughters again to commit themselves to his care. The hour of rest and repose is come, and the value of rest, both for body and soul, is now estimated after the bodily and mental toil of the day. Night has its sombre aspects, and may be compared to much that is afflicting and terrible; but it has also resemblances to much that is attractive and consoling. It speaks of rest; and who can estimate the amount of blessedness which that one word implies? The Christian alone can fill his soul with this word, " There remaineth A REST.” And will not a child, about to lie down and take his bodily repose,
the precious gift of his Father, naturally offer his evening sacrifice of thankful praise to his great Benefactor, and commit himself to his watchful Guardian and Friend ?
It is, then, a heavenly and happy privilege, and in agreement with God's will, to worship him at fixed times, and at such as, from their peculiar character and significance, seem naturally to prompt to this service. Of such a character is the close of the old and the dawn of a new year.
This division of time as it now stands with us is in a measure arbitrary. The natural period would be at that point of time when, by the progress of the earth in its orbit, the
sun, having reached the furthest southern limit, turns again on its northward course. This happens some time on the 21st of December, the shortest day; whereas our new-year's-day is ten days after. But whether the strictly astronomical newyear, or a mere conventional one, be observed, the object in view is attained ; and that is, to measure time equally according to the yearly revolution of the earth ; and each period so measured gives a mark of the ending of the old, and the beginning of a new series of days. A point is thus presented upon which the mind can rest, and found its measurement of past and future time. It is seen that one more year of days is
gone for ever; and another, to be made up of a like series of days, is begun. The past has had its incidents and its record, and the coming will be filled with its own important events.
If the morning and evening of day claim and obtain religious remembrances of God, so do the end and beginning of years in at least an equal• degree. Hence it has been the practice of some bodies of Christians to watch for the end of the old year and for the dawn of the new, continuing in prayer and praise up to and beyond the moment when the one is gone
and the other is begun. But, without a literal imitation of this practice, every Christian will feel the solemnity of the season, and ere he rests will heartily offer his sacrifice at the year's evening, so to speak, and again will “ watch for the dawn,” and offer the morning sacrifice, of the new year.
A WASTED YEAR. The scenes of the coming world, the grand and final allotments of eternity, and the unchanging and tremendous retributions of the final judgment and of a future state, invest man's stay in this world with a solemnity and importance
beyond expression. The mind of man cannot conceive, nor human language fully express, the momentous interests which hang on man's trial and probation during his brief and uncertain stay in this world.
The following affecting view of this subject is commended to the prayerful and serious perusal of all who have wasted their last year in neglect of the great business of life, the salvation of the soul.
1. You have passed through another year, during which you have been all the while on trial for eternity. You have been in the world where the probation of men is the great purpose for which it was made, and is preserved. You have lived in the world where the Son of God became incarnate, and died to make an atonement for sin ; where the offer of salvation is made to all human beings; where the Holy Spirit comes to apply salvation to the hearts of transgressors; where many have been prepared for heaven. You have passed the year amidst great privileges and advantages; in a land where the religion of Christ is extensively professed ; and where, perhaps, during the whole year you - have regularly or often heard the gospel.
2. You have spent the year without religion. You began it without religion ; you have gone through all its changes without it; you have closed the year without it. Neither at its commencement, nor during its progress, nor at its close, have had
any true love for God, or repentance for sin, or faith in the Redeemer. At no period during the year have you been prepared to die. At no period, if you had died, would you have entered heaven. The year to you has been, in regard to the great purposes of life, a wasted year; and, so far as respects the advancement of the soul's interests, it might be struck out now from a list of your years.
You do not yourself believe that you are any better prepared to meet God than you were when the year began.
3. Many have gone through the year without having taken one step, or even cherished one sincere desire, to secure their salvation. In all that year you have not penitently and seriously kneeled, and asked God to have mercy on your soul. You have not once sat down to read the Bible with a desire to know what you must do to be saved. You have not listened to the gospel with a deep personal interest, a sincere wish to know what the truth is, and what a man must do if he would be happy when he dies. You have not formed a distinct plan or purpose ever to make this a serious matter; and amidst all
the schemes of which the year has been prolific, all the subjects of inquiry, commercial, financial, political, scientific, or moral, which have occupied your attention, the question how a sinner
may be saved, and an immortal soul made happy, has come in for no share of your investigations.
4. Whatever you may have gained, you have gained nothing on this the most important of all subjects on which the minds of men can ever be employed. You may have gained a friend; you may have gained property ; you may have done something towards establishing a reputation which will not at, once be forgotten when you are dead. But, in this great matter of salvation, you are as poor as you were when you began the year, and have done nothing to secure lasting treasures where “ moth and rust do not corrupt,” or to make clear your “ title to mansions in the skies.”
5. With some of you, the year has been passed in utter frivolity. Its chronicle would be a sorry record, on which you yourself would blush to look, of time spent at the toilet, in trifling conversation, in frivolous amusements, in reading that which did nothing to improve the understanding, or to purify the heart; in idleness, in gossip, in needless slumber, in pastimes whose only object was to make you forget that there was such a thing as time. You had already forgotten that there was an eternity; and the aim of living has been to make the whole of existence a blank. Perchance, also, some have spent the year in scenes whose recollection in days to come will only pour, as it were, burning sulphur on a conscience laid bare to the wrath of God.
6. You are, then, now nearer the grave, but not nearer heaven, than you were when you began the year. You have a harder heart; you are more under the influence of the world; you are bound to this life by much closer ties; you are less accessible to the gospel ; you are more disposed to turn away from the counsels of wisdom.
There was more hope of your salvation to human view at the beginning of the year than there is now. “ Hope deferred ” in regard to your salvation, has “ made the heart” of many a friend “ sick ; and already a father and a mother begin to look to the end of your days with despair.
Think, then, how short life is at best; how few are its active years; how important a portion a single year may be, and is, of your earthly existence; and then think of a whole year more, now absolutely wasted in regard to the great purpose for which God placed you in the world. Think how
little you have gained that is worth living for even on the lowest principles of calculation about the value of things, and how soon even that little may be taken away ; and then think what you have lost. To-day you might have been a Christian. The light of salvation might have shone on your path; the peace which results from reconciliation with God miglit have taken
its permanent abode in your heart; and the last sun of the year which has “ hastened to its setting” might have gone down on you as a child of God, and an heir of salvation. Though it had been the last time that you were to behold him, and the morning's sun might have greeted other eyes, but not yours; your souls would have had
you would have gone where there are brighter skies, and where there is no need of the light of the sun or the moon.
POWER OF THE WORD OF GOD. It is now some years since I visited Ireland. The family in which I dwelt was one in which Christ was honoured by an open profession of worship, but, as in most others, the servants were Romanists.
Being in the immediate vicinity of a convent, a degree of spiritual vigilance was exercised among these servants, which neutralized any efforts on the part of their Christian and Protestant superiors; and at family worship the servants were prohibited by the priests from attending.
One female servant of this household sometimes engaged my attention from the disagreeable peculiarity of possessing a most miserable and repulsive face. This unhappy countenance and care-furrowed brow were not the only evidences of a mind ill at ease; there was a restlessness, a sort of cheerless activity, which gave her, in the fulfilment of tasks, often voluntarily imposed, rather the appearance of a slave, performing, through the fear of punishment, the appointed labour, than the air of a ready alacrity distinguishing one free born, who with good will does service. She never complained, and she never refused or objected, but the work she began with sullen resolution was performed amid deep and sudden sighs, or rather groans, which made one imagine she considered them as a species of penance, and willingly multiplied labours which were by no means heavy.
I had not been long in the house, and had rarely spoken to, her. One morning we heard that she was very ill; hier mistress visited her, and prescribed remedies. A medical man