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BELIEVING AGAINST APPEARANCES. In order to make his children trust solely in him, God sometimes deprives them of the sensible effects of faith on which they were too much inclined to depend. Your experience under these circumstances may be somewhat similar to that of Paul when he said, “We were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life ; but we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God which raiseth the dead." The object of God's dealings with you is revealed. You must not trust in yourself. All self-righteous. ness must fall before the cross, like Dagon before the Ark. Doubtless you have still some self within you. You are seeking self under the garb of humility, and amid these general lamentations over your miseries, which instead of directing your eyes to the Saviour, are perhaps turning them away from him. To deliver you from this delusion, God removes all your consolations, so that you may be obliged to walk simply by faith, and to hope, resting exclusively on the promises,
When you trust thus in God, you are, even when in the most desponding state, not less acceptable to him, than if you were full of joy and love. Doubtless a heart full of love and joy is an inestimable blessing, when at the same time we rest our hope of sal. vation and our confidence in the merits of Christ alone. Nevertheless, I know not if there be anything more honoring to God, than the state of that man, who, feeling the depth of his misery, finding in himself nothing to rest upon, conscious of nothing but emptiness, weakness, and opposition to the will of God, rests upon the promise of God and gives him glory, saying, “ God cannot lie : Hath he said and shall he not do it? Hath he spoken and shall he not bring it to pass ?”.
They whose faith is condemned in God's Word, are they who believed against all appearances, and in opposition to all discouragements. Abraham is commended because, “not being weak in faith, he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God.” Noah is commend. ed, because upon the testimony of God, he believed contrary to all appearances, in the coming of the deluge, and for one hundred and twenty years continued to give credit to the threatenings of God, notwithstanding the apparent delay of the execution. Paul commends those who died in the faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them and embraced them. Christ commended the faith of the woman of Canaan, who persevered in following him, notwithstanding the apparent coldness with which he treated her at first. “O woman, great is thy faith !"
On the other hand, the faith of Thomas, who required to see and feel before he believed, was not commended. “Thomas, because thou hast seen thou hast believed: blessed are they who have not seen and yet have believed."
We learn likewise from the history of the Israelites, that they who believe only what they see and feel and touch, neither believe nor rejoice for any length of time. They soon dishonor God by their despondency, and bring upon themselves his displeasure. When Israel saw the power of God displayed against the Egyptians, " When the waters covered their enemies and there was none left of them, then they believed his word and sang praises," but the Spirit adds, " they soon forgot his works and waited not for his counsel.” As soon as some new difficulty presented itself in the wilderness, their faith wavered, " they turned their backs and tempted God, and limited the Holy one of Israel. They remembered not his hand, nor the day when he delivered them from the enemy.” Hence far from commending their faith the Spirit of God says, “ Therefore the Lord heard this and was wroth : so a fire was kindled against Jacob, and anger also came up against Israel, because they believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation."
Let that unbelieving and rebellious people teach us not to tempt the Lord on every occasion, saying, “ Is the Lord among us or not ?" Let us cleave unto the Lord with a steadfast heart, knowing in whom we have believed. Let us dismiss as injurious to his faithfulness, all discouraging thoughts which may arise in our minds, when the Lord, to prove us, makes us to encamp like Israel in dry places ; let us press onwards, persuaded, that he who hath called us is faithful, and will not suffer us to perish by the way. Like Hezekiah, let us trust in the Lord, let us cleave to him, and not turn away from him.--Froin the French of Rachat.
THE BLOOD OF CHRIST PURGING THE CONSCIENCE.
Wuen the gifted and eloquent John Randolph was on his deathbed, after communing with his secret thoughts for some time he suddenly roused himself and exclaimed, in his own shrill and piercing tone, “Remorse!" And again he repeated the word “ Remorse, REMORSE !" "Write it down,” said he to an attendant, " and let me see it.” “Remorse!” Ah, there was a fire kindled upon the soul of the orator and the statesman, which no effort of his own was able to quench! Conscience of sin! Conscience awakened by the power of the Holy Spirit! Conscience startled by finding itself on the very verge of eternity! Conscience now mingled its upbraidings with the alarms of the divine law. There was no power to stile its voice, nor to flee from it, nor to endure it. If strength of intellect, if enlarged and liberal views, if courage, or fortitude, or pride, or lofty self-respect and self-reli
justice to punish ; "ardness of her the guilty.T hearts.
ance, could do anything for man in such a condition, they could have done it for him. But no man's hands can be strong, nor his heart endure, if left unaided to contend against the workings of a guilty and awakened conscience. God has written in our hearts a natural presentiment of his own inexorable justice ; and his revealed law amply corroborates these premonitions of our hearts. The Lord is holy and will by no means clear the guilty. While men slumber in delusion and hardness of heart they may dream that God is too good to punish ; or that repentence will sufficiently appease his justice. But when the Holy Ghost convinces of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment to come, all these delusions vanish. There is no longer a hope of mercy, save in a way in which God " may be just," while he justifies the sinner. Nature herself cries out for some atonement, some propitiation; and for this reason, the very heathen, not knowing Him "whom God had set forth to be a propitiation for sin through faith in his blood,” resort to penances, self-torturings, and sacrifices. In this the conduct of the heathen as well as of the deluded Papist, shows that a propitiation for sin is among the wants of the soul. This was shadowed forth in all sacrifices and offerings of the Jewish law. Repentance is not enough; “ without the shedding of blood there is no remission. There must be some sacrifice, some atonement for sin. Yet after all penances and sacrifices that man can offer, there still remains conscience of sin. No offerings, not even the blood of bulls and of goats, divinely prescribed in the Jewish ritual, can take away sin, or make the comers thereunto perfect, as pertaining to the conscience. Only one sacrifice has power to“ purge the conscience from dead works to serve the living God," and that is,“ the blood of Christ, who through the Eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God." This only can take away sin, and place the sinner as just before the divine law. This only can relieve the conscience from the load and fear of guilt. “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually, make the comers thereunto perfect : for then would they not have ceased to be offered ? because that the worshipers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins." Bat " we are sanctified by the offering of the body of Jesus once for all," who "after he had offered one sacrifice for sins, forever sat down on the right hand of God"--"for by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.” “Having therefore boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us through the vail, that is to say, his flesh; and having a high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water."
This, and this alone, can reconcile us to God. This and this alone can give peace to the troubled conscience.
jantine chain they are in clean, the prinde the rich
We shall be wise always to bear with us the remembrance of the irrepressible, inevitable, unendurable power of conscience. It is a part of our being. It will accompany us beyond the grave. It will be our companion forever. Its accusations we can never elude. Its testimony we can never corrupt. The bonds under which it holds us we can never evade. Before its tribunal we must stand for ever. Its condemnation is the sentence of God. Place us in security ever so complete against human laws, this holds us in adamantine chains. Be our offences ever so secret from man, before conscience they are in clear light as before the eye of God. The prisoner in the dungeon, the prince on the throne, the beggar cast out in distress and sorrow, and the rich man amid his millions of wealth, are equally under its power. We must do right. If not, the fires of conscience within us, and the justice of God upon us, bind us to eternal punishment. And when the stain of guilt is upon the conscience, nothing can ever wash it away, save the atoning blood of Christ. He that believeth not must be damned.--Rev. Edwin Hall, D.D.
THE SINNER A ROBBER.
1. Great numbers can accuse him of robbery. For he robs God of services due him, Christ of faith and love, and the Holy Spirit of due regard. He robs his family of religious influence, the world of an holy example, the church of power he might employ in her service.
2. He commits robbery upon his best friends. Other robbers spare their friends, but not the sinner. He has no greater friends than the Father of mercies, and the kind Saviour, and the everblessed Comforter. But he invades the rights of them all.
3. And he robs them of the most precious things. The most valuable jewels in the sight of the above named friends, are the affections of the human heart. But the sinner hesitates not a moment to appropriate them all to himself. God is despoiled of them all.
4. He is a very bold robber. His crimes have been denounced by the Supreme Magistrate of the universe, and the most terrible penalties have been recorded, and have been set before his eyes, and made to ring in his ears. Indeed he has been, at times, not a little scorched by sparks of the Divine vengeance against his robberies ; but he braves every threatening, and boldly faces every danger attending his course.
5. A most persevering robber is the sinner. He began very young, and kept steadily on through all the years of childhood and youth. Many reach manhood and go down into the vale of years, robbing all the way through. Nothing stops them. Promises, threatenings, mercies, judgments—all alike fail to stop the steady perseverance of the robber I am describing.-NewYork Evangelist.
“ TO WHOM SHALL WE GO ?" OR, THE CHURCH MEMBER IN DOUBT
"From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.”—John vi. 66-68.
The text sets before us two classes of men, and the different decisions which they formed in regard to an adherence to the person and precepts of Jesus Christ.
There comes a time in the moral history of every individual, when a determinate decision is to be formed, either to separate himself from Christ, walking no more with him, or to apply to him more earnestly, cleave to him more closely as the soul's Redeemer. Happy are those who, when the hour of temptation comes, and the question is urged, " Will ye also go away?” can honestly answer as did Peter, “ Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.”
There is a class of persons who are seldom or never made the subjects of direct address and appropriate instruction from the sacred desk. It consists of those within the enclosures of the church who have come to an intelligent conviction that they have neither part nor lot in the kingdom of Christ. We do not remember to have heard a single discourse which was suited to the condition of such. No treatise with which we are acquainted addresses such exclusively, and furnishes them with that information which is specially appropriate to their case. Often do