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beautiful country, where there are no wicked children. Dr. Watts speaks of it in the hymn
'There is a land of pure delight.'
"I hope to meet many of you there; but you must remember the word of Jesus, Except you be born again you cannot enter the kingdom of God.' "Perhaps you are too young to do anything for missionaries. Let me remind you that Jesus once was a little boy, and He was very active in doing good. He became a little child that He might teach little children how to be good. You must try to be like Jesus, not only good, but active; children cannot be idle. If you try to sit still you cannot; you must be active, and the child's hymn says, that—
'Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do.'
If you are not working for Jesus you are working for Satan, and I hope none of you wish to be his servants. Some of you, I hope, wish to be missionaries. If you do, you must read your Bible very much; you should read about little Samuel, how he feared and served God: about good Timothy, who knew the Scriptures from a child. They were both missionaries. You should love the company of pious people, pray very much, and love Jesus with all your heart, and poor sinners as yourselves. My dear little children, I fear I have tired you. I love you, and therefore will not write any more.
"Your affectionate friend,
He was set apart to his work on June 18th, 1834, at Manchester. Amongst other ministers who took part in the services were the Revs. J. A. James, R. Knill, J. Parsons, and R. Wardlaw, D.D. He has left an affecting account of his visit to his native place, to take leave of his family, in which he thus closes the recital of the parting
My father, in a stifled voice, while he pressed my hand, said, 'Oh, my boy, I have long prayed for submission to the will of God in this trying hour,' then turning his head, whispered, The Lord go with thee and bless thee; again raising his voice, regardless of the crowd which had gathered together, he said, while he crossed his face with his hands, I give him up to Thee-to Thee, O Lord, protect and guide him for ever, for ever, for ever. My father,' I responded, while with deep agony I said, 'O God, bless this honoured parent, and all these my weeping friends, with thy grace and glory.'"
Mr. Boaz left his native shores in August, 1834; and in a future paper we may give our readers some account of his labours in India, to which country he was appointed to proceed.
(From Guthrie's "Speaking to the Heart.")
SAILING once along a Highland loch where the crag goes sheer down into the water, our attention was arrested by the boatmen to an immense table of rock. Tilted up on its narrow edge, it stood there threatening destruction to any who ventured below it; appearing ready to topple over at the touch of an infant's finger, and leap with a sudden plunge into the bosom of the lake. How came this gigantic stone to assume that upright attitude? No brawny arms of shepherd lads had raised and balanced it there. No earthquake, rolling along those mountains, and turning its stroke upwards, as earthquakes sometimes do, had started this mass from its bed and poised it so. Nor had the lightning, leaping from its cloud on the mountain summits, struck the crag, and splitting it, raised this giant fragment from its bed. That was the task of a much more quiet, feeble, simple, and secret agent. When Jehovah revealed himself to the prophet, it was not in the earthquake, or in the roaring hurricane, or in the blazing fire, but in a still, small voice; and the power that rent that solid rock, and raised the mass tottering on its narrow base, was of a kind as quiet, gentle, and unobtrusive.
Borne on the wings of the autumn wind, or dropped by a passing bird, a little seed had fallen into a crevice of the rock. Sleeping the winter through, but finding shelter and congenial soil, it sprang with the Spring; and fed by dews and rains, the tender shoot grew. In time, it lifted up its head, and spread its branches above, and its roots below, worming them into fissures, wrapping them round and round that strong table which, as they grew and thickened, it raised slowly from its bed. And then, one day when the seedling had grown into a tree, a storm, acting on leafy branches that caught the wind like sails, turned that tree into a lever, and, heaving on the rock that had received the fatal embraces of its roots, raised the massy table from its bed, and poised it on the edge of the dizzy crag; and there it stood erect, waiting another storm to be hurled into the mossy waters of that wild, dark mountain lake.
As that shall fall, so fell Demas from his lofty place; so have many fallen; ay, and so unless we are restrained by the grace of God, the best of us would fall. It is not the world, observe, nor its money, nor its honours, nor its enjoyments, that the Bible condemns; but the love of them. Beware of that! At first it may seem little, small as a tiny seed, but let it get a lodgment within
you, and fed by indulgence, it grows there, so silently, perhaps, that while it is worming itself deeper in, and wrapping its strong roots round and round your heart, you may never suspect the hold it is getting of you. That appears when the hour of temptation comes, whatever form it may assume; and the man falls, to the astonishment of many, perhaps his own. When persecution came upon the As the storm on the rock that
Church, how did it act on Demas? had lodged the seed in its bosom, and which, but for the tree that sprang from it with wide-spread branches, and embracing roots, had stood unmoved by tempests, let them blow their worst. Turning Demas into a beggar, casting him into prison, or bringing him to the scaffold, persecution might destroy what of wealth, pleasure, health, and life, was his; but had he not loved them, allowed them to take root in his heart, and occupy the place that belonged to God, persecution had never destroyed him. Never; and when Paul, the apostle, stood with his grey head before the crowd that had assembled to see him die, Demas had been at his side; one chain of love, as of iron, binding them; as they had fought, they had fallen together; their blood had mingled in the same stream; their heads rolled on the same scaffold; one chariot had borne both martyrs to the skies; and over their mangled remains, carried by devout men to burial, a weeping church might have raised one monument to their memory-its inscription, these words of David, they "were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided."
It is another part of that lament which best suits this case of Demas,-"How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished." He was laid in an apostate's grave,—not excepting a drunkard's, the most hopeless of any; and, ere we close it over him, let us, like soldiers marched to a military execution, by the dead body of a comrade who has been shot for treachery, take a last look of this unhappy, guilty man. He loved the world; and what has it brought him to? What is that world to him now, for which he denied his Saviour and forsook his servants? What now profits him a world, for which he bartered his immortal soul! He was a preacher; not the last who has turned back in the day of battle, and abandoned his principles when they had to be suffered for. He had been a preacher, perhaps an eloquent one; but he never preached a sermon such as he preaches now,himself the sermon, and these words his text: "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him."
EXPOSITORY NOTES ON SCRIPTURE LESSONS.
MARCH 1ST.-CHRIST AND THE WOMAN OF SAMARIA.
For Repetition.-John Iv. 21-24. Reading Lesson.-John IV. 1-30. First. CHRIST'S MEETING WITH THE WOMAN OF SAMARIA.
The Saviour, on his way from Judea, weary and thirsty, sat on the edge of a much-frequented well, to rest. His disciples had left him alone. A woman, also alone, came to that well for water. Christ regarded the meeting as a fit opportunity for doing good. He sought such opportunities, and improved them whenever they occurred. See Luke vii. 36-39. The woman was of bad repute, ver. 17, 18. Still the Saviour would seek to do her good.
God knows how to bring persons beneath the sound of the gospel. Whatever Christ in his mercy might think of, in relation to this woman, when he set out on his journey, she, when she left her house, had not thought of meeting with the blessing she did meet with. Observe Christ's condescension in encountering weariness and thirst in prosecution of his work of mercy. Also his unwearied assiduity in doing good.
CHRIST'S CONVERSATION WITH THE WOMAN OF SAMARIA. The Saviour, more desirous of drawing the woman's attention to spiritual blessings than of having his own wants supplied, opened the conversation by asking a favour from her, ver. 7. Judging from something in his appearance or language that he was a Jew, she expressed surprise at his request. Jesus pitied her ignorance and prejudices, and would not be deterred by them from the design he had in view.
Notice, 1. The topics dwelt upon in this conversation. By the request he made, ver. 7, the Saviour intended to draw the woman's attention to spiritual blessings.
Hence his reference to the gift he was willing to confer. The Saviour meant the Holy Spirit. The similitude is often used in scripture, Isa. xii. 3; xxxv. 7; xliv. 3; lv. 1; Zech. xiv. 8, 9.
Hence also, his description of the nature of this blessing as ever satisfying, ver. 13, 14.
And hence, too, when the woman presented her request, ver. 15, without knowing what she asked for, the Saviour betook himself to a method designed to show her the sinfulness of her heart and life, and thus he indicated yet more clearly the nature of the blessing he spoke about.
Notice, 2. The slowness of the woman to receive truth. When Christ used a simple and natural figure for spiritual blessings, she
took him to mean literally water; and seeing that Jesus had no bucket, and knowing that there was no other well near, she answered incredulously, and with some mingling of contemptuous unbelief, ver. 11, 12.
When the water of which Christ spoke was more fully described, ver. 14, the woman again spoke contemptuously, ver. 15. She still had no perception of what the Saviour meant, and looked no higher than to her own present gratification.
She sought to turn aside and get rid of the intimation to which the Saviour advanced next, ver. 16-18. Jesus showed that he knew more about her than she cared to have mentioned; she started, therefore, to another topic, ver. 19, 20.
Still the Saviour pursued his one object. He wished to convince the woman of sin, and lead her to seek salvation. He therefore answered her inquiry in such a way as to further his design.
The woman became interested. Her heart was touched. She spoke of the universal expectation of the Messiah. Christ declared himself; and she was filled with wonder and joy.
In following this conversation, we learn,―The unspeakable value of spiritual blessings. The slowness of an unenlightened mind to learn about them, and to seek them. The patience and kindness with which Christ instructs. The power of his truth when once it is understood and felt. Thirdly. THE RESULT OF CHRIST'S CONVERSATION WITH THE WOMAN OF SAMARIA.
The last three verses of the lesson show the result of the conversation. As soon as the woman knew who Jesus was, she hastened to communicate the news to her neighbours.
She left her waterpot. Perhaps from kindness; a different feeling from that which she had had at first. Jesus and his disciples would want drink, and with that waterpot they could procure it.
She saith to the men, Come, &c. She evidently thought most of her own personal interest in what the Saviour had said. Christ's words had revealed her own character to herself,
She appealed to their judgment as to his being the Messiah, ver. 29. And if he were the Messiah, then was he worthy of their attention, and faith, and obedience.
Accordingly, many went out of the city, heard, and believed; partly from what the woman said, partly from what they themselves heard from his lips, ver. 39-42.
PRACTICAL.-1. The conviction of sinfulness and need is the first step towards spiritual welfare. 2. Christ meets all our need by his grace. 3. If we are made partakers of Christ's mercy ourselves, we shall eagerly desire that others should partake of it too.