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churches, or nations, it is an abomination in the sight of God. But when “the will of God is done on earth as it is in heaven,” there will be perfect equality. He who was a beggar on earth, passed his eternity with Abraham, the friend of God. The inhabitants of the kingdom of heaven, when it is established in “ the holy mountain," are all to be, “ Kings and priests." * This is not the case in any nation in the world at the present day. In the most civilized nations the extremes of wealth and poverty are a glaring contradiction to the precepts of the gospel. But this is permitted for wise purposes until “the tares are separated from the wheat.” While the Apostles preached themselves, and while the teachers of christianity, who succeeded them in different ages and nations, were proclaiming the truth, they were obliged in some degree to adopt the manners and customs of ungodly nations : in the words of St. Paul, they were “all things to all men, that they might by all means save some ;”+ it was not always in their power to live up to the standard given them by the Saviour : “ Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Futher which is in heaven is perfect." | And many christians in the present day, who have been born members of churches, which will not, in all their forms and ceremonies bear to be tried and proved by the standard of the word of God, still remain members of, or even ministers in, those churches, hoping thereby to convert sinners, ought to consider now whether they would not advance Christ's kingdom more, by obeying St. Paul's admonition to the Corinthians : " And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols ? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be
their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” * The inhabitants of an ungodly world no longer require living teachers to warn them to "flee from the wrath to come.” They have Moses and the Prophets, let them hear them; they have the words of the Saviour, and the writings of the Apostles and Evangelists, let them read them; they have the writings of holy men of the last and present century, such as Bishop Watson, William Wilberforce, John Newton, Baxter, &c.; let them read them. If they choose to study the Oxford Tracts, or any word of man which cannot be proved to be consistent with the word of God, let their blood be upon their own head. “ The time is at hand, he that is unjust, let him be unjust still : and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still : and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And the spirit and the bride say come. And let him that heareth say come. And let him that is athirst come: and whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." +
* 2 Corinthians vi. 16, 17, 18.
THE TREES OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.
And a poor man's family
In the good time coming.
When our Saviour was on earth, St. Luke informs us that he was in the habit of teaching in the synagogues, and on one occasion that, He came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath-day, and stood up to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverence to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down ; and the eyes of all of them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began to say unto them. This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. * He then made a few remarks, which so offended the pride of his hearers, that, All they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him to the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. But he, passing through the midst of them, went his way. † The continuation of the chapter of Isaiah, from where
• Luke iv. 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21. + 28, 29, 30.
our Saviour left off reading, is as follows: And the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn ; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness ; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.* From this prophecy we may learn, that as ornamental trees are taken young out of forests, when they are intended to beautify parks or domains, so “the kingdom of God," is to be inhabited by those descendants of Adam who are "ready to forsake all, and follow their Redeemer;" to leave the forest of the Old World, in order that they may, “ do the will of God on earth as it is done in Heaven." In the first Psalm we find David comparing a good man to a tree: “ Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful: but his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”+
Whichever of my readers has had the privilege of walking through the park of an English nobleman, which has been laid out with taste by a skilful landscape gardener, must have admired how much the variety of different species of trees, with which they are usually adorned, by being judiciously planted, and contrasted with each other, has caused them individually and collectively to contribute to the beauty of the whole, although each had the power of expanding its branches, and unfolding its leaves, without interfering with another; while at the same time they were affording each other mutual protection and shelter. In this manner might families, who really loved their Lord, and were anxious to do his will, and to " love one another,” associate together, and form societies for mutual protection and assistance, contributing individually to the collective moral beauty of the whole; and exercising their one or ten entrusted talents to promote the glory of God, and the good of their fellowbeings.
* Isaiah lxi. 2, 3. + Psalms i. 1, 2, 3.
The tree David has selected, for an emblem of a good man, is a fruit tree. Let us now enquire, what is the use of leaves to a fruit tree? They protect the fruit, until it is fully ripe, from the scorching heat, or the chilling blast; and we all know that if the leaves, of even a gooseberry bush, happen to be devoured, as they sometimes are, by a destructive insect, the fruit never arrives at perfection.
In applying this emblem to the human race, let us inquire whether the state of the higher class of society in England is favourable to the growth of “ Trees of Righteousness.” King David thus speaks of then when young: “ Lo children are an heritage of the Lord; and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man ; so are the children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them.” * A good man may have a large family of children, who cannot be expected to arrive at perfection, until they have each numbered twenty-one years. During that period they require the fostering care of both their parents, the protection of a dwelling-house, and opportunities of ex
* Psalm cxxvii. 3, 4, 5.