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are the Lord's, but it also acknowledges that all things, inasmuch as they belong to him alone, are to be administered for his purposes, and under bis directions. It is not enough to confess that they are held in dependance upon the Lord; it is not enough to enjoy them with a feeling and expression of gratitude to him as the Girer; it is not enough to guard the heart against being set upon external good; in addition to all this, internal justice requires a constant advertence to the divine will, both in regard to the mode of exercising all the mental and bodily endowments, and in applying to various purposes our worldly possessions, which were intended by the Divine Providence to be regarded and applied as the outward means of usefulness. It requires a constant reference to conscience, and the Word of the Lord, in order that his will, and his alone, may be done with faithfulness, diligence, and lowliness of heart. The Infinite Owner is also the Governor of all things, and has a right to direct in what manner his own possessions shall be administered by his creatures. And if Christians well understood their own interests, they would seek no higher title than that of being the faithful and obedient servants of their Divine Master. And is this too much for the great Lord of all to demand? For what is it, in fact, that he requires of us? He only demands from those whom he bas made free agents, to be allowed to render every thing which they possess a real blessing to them, and that in the fullest possible degree. He demands the compliance of his creatures with his laws, because they can only realize true happiness in proportion as the will of their selfhood recedes, and makes way for the descent of the Lord's most pure love, which is the only spring of all pure joy. Who then would desire to exclude his gracious Lord from doing this great work of love and mercy in his soul, by refusing to acknowledge his rightful claim to be regarded as the Owner of all things; thus violating the laws of internal justice, by robbing bis bounteous Benefactor of the proper glory which belongs to his great and holy name?
In proof that the Lord, under the gospel dispensation, requires that his disciples should cherish that internal idea of justice which has been described, we have only to refer to the parable of the talents (Matt. xxv.) in which we have an account of the distribution by a master to his servants, of certain sums of money, to be used and applied by them for the furtherance of his interests ; the property thus committed to their trust being expressly described as “his goods,” and not as the property of the servants, who, it is said, received them in order that, according to their master's judgment of their several ability, they might increase them by trading. It is recorded, that one of these servants did not indeed rob his master of the one talent committed to his trust, by laying claim to it as his own, but he robbed his master of the increase which he was commanded to acquire by trading; and for this neglect of duty, the unprofitable servant was “cast into outer darkness.” This particular circumstance clearly intimates to us, that only so far as we regard all things which we possess as being the Lord's, and to be applied for his use, and also apply them agreeably to his directions, can we be kept from states of mental darkness, and be admitted to enter into the joy of our Lord. For observe the gracious recompense rouchsafed to each of the diligent servants. “ Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord !” Undoubtedly, these cheering words imply, that so far as we act in obedience to the divine will, we become receptive of the blessed operation of divine love upon our hearts, and thus become, in the same degree, partakers of the divine “joy." And is not this, indeed, a “good hope through grace,” that even while we are yet pilgrims below, we may, in some degree, experience the blessedness of the Divine joy, and find that experience to be unspeakably exalted by the certain expectation, that, in a very sliort time, we shall be admitted to a perfect fruition of it, in the realms of love and light in heaven? And can any joy which we could possibly procure for ourselves by acting upon the presumption that our possessions are our own, compare with the joy of our Lord? Undoubtedly not! Let us, then, account it to be our noblest privilege, to regard ourselves as not being our own but as the Lord's. “Know ye not, (says an apostle,) that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which ye have of God, and that ye are not your ou'n? for ye are bought with a price ; therefore, glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, WHICH ARE God's”(1 Cor. vi. 19). And what is "the price” with which we are said to be bought ? It is nothing less than the ceaseless activity of Divine Love, desiring to communicate itself, and its joy, to the soul of man. It offers to give itself to us, in exchange for our giving ourselves to it. This purchase has been offered to man from the beginning. It was offered at creation : the offer was renewed by the work of redemption :—and it is incessantly presented to us by the great Saviour from sin, by every dispensation of his Providence, by every operation of his spirit, and by every doctrine and precept of his Word. Let us close with the gracious offer, and give ourselves, and all that we have, to the Lord. But it may be asked, “how is this to be done?” Our text replies, “ by following that which is altogether just :' and if it be further inquired, “How shall we, on all occasions, be able clearly to discern what is altogether just?!” it is again replied, by observing the divine commandments under the influence, and according to the spirit, of that grand Christian principle which is conveyed in the precept, "Love one another, as I have loved you.” It is implied in this precept, that the only way to practise the internal justice that springs from pure love, is, to imitate the example of the Lord's disinterested love to man, as it is presented to our view in the New Testament. This is the only way to return the Lord's love to us. This is the only way to further the gracious designs of that Divine Love which unceasingly delights to bless, and operates to promote the good and happiness of all. It is in order that we may co-operate with the Divine Love in promoting its designs, that goods of mind, body, and estate, have been committed to our trust, with directions for their proper use and administration. It is in order that they be duly administered by us, that, our Lord has given us the golden rule,“ Whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye eren so to them.” With this rule in our hands, and the principle of pure love, before cited, in our hearts, we can scarcely err in the discharge of the duties both of internal and external justice. In applying this rule to every case, and in every relation in which we stand to our fellow-beings, he who gare it to us will undoubtedly grant bis guidance and direction, provided we sincerely seek it, and humbly and entirely depend upon it. He will give unto us, if we follow him, “ the light of life,” agreeably to his promise. He will give us rational prudence and true wisdom, so that we shall be enabled to harmonize all clashing claims upon our time, our exertion, our zeal, and our property. He will enable us to improve all opportunities of usefulness, and thus to become, in our measure and degree, a blessing to our household, our family, and friends; a blessing to all with whom we have any dealings or connection; and, lastly, a blessing to our country, to the church, and to all mankind!
But that we may receive this especial blessing from on high, we must open our hearts to receive it, by forsaking every desire, delight, object, and end, which is incompatible with it. We must guard vigilantly against all paltering and trimming, in order to reconcile things so utterly incompatible as the least degree of wilful injustice, and the purity and the peace of heaven. Let us take heed that our “righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and pharisees.” Let us attain a well grounded assurance, that in doing justly we are acting not as in the sight of men, but as in the sight of the Lord. Let us remember his encouraging declaration which he addressed to those who act as in bis sight,—“thy Father which seeth in secret, himself shall reward thee openly."
BY THE LATE REV. R. HINDMARSH.
Psalm cxxvii. 2.
“So he giveth his beloved sleep.” It has been well observed by many intelligent persons, that of all the mercies and blessings which man receives from the hands of bis bountiful creator, the greatest and most extensively useful are those wbich are most common, and, therefore, in general, the least of all regarded. Thus light and heat from the sun of the natural world are so general, and so common to the inhabitants of every climate and country, that few reflect on the superior advantages arising from them. Without light the world would be involved in all the gloominess and blackness of universal night. The eye itself
, that noblest and most wonderful organ of the human body, would be altogether useless; no picture of the external creation could be impressed and delineated upon that fine expansion of the optic nerve called the retina; no forms of beauty could be perceived; no colours could captivate the attention by their variety, their brilliancy, and their usefulness of effect; neither could the objects of nature be easily distinguished the one from the other; but all would be a scene of darkness, wretchedness, and despondency.
So with regard to heat, or the genial warmth of the sun, what can be a greater or more universal blessing to mankind ? Withdraw it for a moment only from either the animal, the vegetable, or the mineral kingdom of nature; and what would be the consequence? The fluids in each of these kingdoms would instantly be converted into solids ; the circulation of the blood would be stopped ; the sap of trees and plants would be hardened into stone; and the very earth itself, with all its fluids and vapours, would be reduced to flint or dust. In short, life would become extinct, and universal torpor and death would ensue. How great, then, must be the blessing of natural heat, or that genial warmth,