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discouraging as all this may appear, it is not to be despised. And, for this, three reasons may be assigned.
First. Our Saviour does not despise the day of small things. Observe what is said of him in
prophecy: “ He shall come down like rain
the mown grass: as showers that water the earth. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd”-but in this flock, all are not sheep_there are lambs; and these are weak and tender, and unable to travel fast, or far. Well, “He shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom ” -not on his shoulder, an emblem of strength, but in his bosom, the image of affection-"and shall gently lead those that are with young.-A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.”
Let us look after this lovely character in the gospels. We shall soon find him." There came a ruler, and besought him that he would come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death.” He thought Christ could cure himthere was his faith: but he could not believe that he was able to do it by his word, or without his bodily presence-there was his weakness. What does our Saviour? He takes him at his desire, and goes away with him. —What were his own disciples after all the education which he had given them? His cross scandalized them, and his resurrection appeared to them like a dream. And even to the hour of his ascension, they had some expectations of a temporal kingdom. But they loved him, and had forsaken all to follow him; and he did not cast them off. He bore with their infirmi.
ties, solved gradually all their doubts; and “loving his own who were in the world, he loved them unto the end."
He rose from the dead with the same disposition he had discovered in his life. What poor wavering creatures were the two disciples going to Emmaus! They were ready to bury their last hope, and drew melancholy conclusions from circumstances which were really in their favour. He knew their state, and joined them in their sorrowful walk. He enlightened their minds, confirmed their faith, and enlivened their affections; so that “ they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?"
When he ascended, he carried the same heart with him to heaven: “We have not a high priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities.” Hear what he said long after he had entered his glory, to the church of Philadelphia: “I know thy works, behold I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it; for thou hast a little strength, and has kept my word, and hast not denied
my name. O blessed Saviour, thou receivest the weak as well as the strong—thou dost not despise the day of small things. May we be followers of thee, as dear children!
Secondly. We should not despise the day of small things, because it is the day of precious things. Real grace is infinitely valuable. It is the work of God; it is the image of God; it is the glory of God; it is the delight of God: “For the Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in them that hope in his mercy. The individual
yea, in the
who possesses it, is raised in the eye of an angel,
of God himself, above heroes, and philosophers, and kings. When the God of heaven and earth surveys our world, “ To this man, says he, will I look, who is poor, and of a contrite spirit, and who trembleth at my word.” This renders the righteous more excellent than his neighbour; this gives the heirs of faith such importance, that the world is not worthy of them. This enlightens; this frees; this sanctifies; this dignifies the soul. In prosperity; in adversity; alone; in company; in life; in death-this is the one thing needful. And wise and happy is he who even resigns all to make it his own. Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies; and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her; and happy is every one that retaineth her.” -A little grace, then, is too precious to be despised!
And, thirdly, we should not despise the day of small things, because it will be a day of great things.
- That child will become a man: contemn not his infancy. Suppose he is now only a babe—he is - an heir, and, when of age, will possess an inheritance reserved in heaven for him-he is a prince, and will reign for ever and ever. What is the dawn to the day? But we do not despise it: and why do we not? Because, it is the pledge and
the beginning of noon. And, “The path of the just is as the shining light, which shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”
Yes, divine grace shall assuredly increase. “ The righteous shall hold on his way; and he that hath clean hands shall wax stronger and stronger. He has life, and he shall have it more abundantly." What is sown in weakness shall be raised in power. What Eliphaz said of Job, may be applied, with peculiar force, to the Christian: “ Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end shall greatly increase.
( what will that poor, weak, doubting, distressed Christian be, when God, who has already "begun the good work, will accomplish in him all the good pleasure of his will!” In a few years, and he will be upon a level with the angels of God. In a few months, and he will be presented faultless before the presence of his glory, with exceeding joy!"But, as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."
Seeing, therefore, that the day of small things is so much regarded by our Lord and Saviour is already so valuable-and will so certainly increase with all the increase of God; let us beware of despising it.
We conclude the subject with a question, an admonition, and a caution.
The question is this Is it even a day of small things with you? You have had your day of rebellion-do you
know any thing of a day of reconciliation? You have wandered from Godhave you ever returned to him? You have been ignorant of divine things--can you say at last,
whereas I was blind, now I see? You have been dead to the things of God-are you now alive to them: and do they impress and govern you? have you any new and holy bias given to your will and affections? do you "hunger and thirst after righteousness” are you praying,
• Create in me a clean heart, o God, and renew a right spirit within me?"
Can this be a useless inquiry? Will it be a waste of time to retire this evening, and ask selves—whether
have received the grace of God, in truth? - What will you do without it?
The admonition calls upon you not to overlook or undervalue imperfect religion, whether in yourselves or others. If you are upright in heart, you will be in most danger of despising it in yourselves. Judging of the reality of your grace, by the degree of it, you may conclude you have none. Comparing yourselves with others, who are more advanced in the divine life, you may shrink into nothing; and imagine you have no part por lot in the matter.
But beware of any rash conclusions. You may be travelling in the same road, though not with equal steps. You may be of the same species, though not of the saine stature.
While you mourn for what you want, you should rejoice in what you have. While you ought to be humble, you ought also to be thankful; and in taking shame to yourselves, you should acknowledge what God has done for
you are not what you would be, you are not what you once were: if you are not like some of the Lord's people, you are not like the rest of the world.
But you are also in some danger with regard to others. You may think too little of a real