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he is at once their slave and their vic- | divine nature; "to forgive is divine;" tim. But blessed are the merciful; as and with the divine spirit of forgivethey diffuse peace around them, they ness is ever associated the divine enjoy holy tranquillity in their own blessedness. He who is merciful, lives breasts. The voice of mercy is ever above the regions of noise and strife. sweet, and the influence which she He has a shield against the most enexerts is always healthful.
venomed darts of those who seek his How abject and how wretched are hurt, they cannot really harm him. they who are easily and always over- Those injuries which disturb the repose come of evil! How great, on the other and embitter the enjoyments of others, hand, is their moral worth, their real and make them truly wretched for dignity and felicity, who can overcome successive days and nights, scarcely evil with good! Their happiness is move him. He takes them to the cross, not dependent on the state of things he looks to Him who, in the moments around them, their peace is not de- of his greatest agony, prayed for his stroyed, nor are their spirits agitated by murderers, saying, "Father, forgive every wind that blows ; cultivating a them, for they know not what they do," merciful spirit, they dwell perpetually and recollects who has said, that Jesus in an element of tranquillity and en went before, leaving us an example that joyment. He who when reviled reviles we should follow his steps,” and that“
“if not again, when suffering from injustice any man have not the Spirit of Christ or malignity seeks not to avenge him- he is none of his.” He takes them to self, but thinks of the greatness of his the mercy-seat, and as he prays for forown sins, and of the abundant mercy giveness, he prays also for grace to to which he owes all his happiness and forgive ; as he seeks mercy for himself, all his hopes, and thus finds every angry he shows mercy to others. Blessed and resentful feeling subdued, and a indeed are they who are thus merciful. spirit of clemency gain the ascendency The Father of mercies is also the God over him, and shed abroad her benignant of all comfort. He who is love and influence on his heart, so that he returns who delighteth in mercy is the Blessed not evil for evil, but blesses those who God. He, on the other hand, who curse him, and prays for those who allows the sun to go down on his wrath, despitefully use him and persecute him. gives place to the devil ; he permits the He must possess within his own breast enemy of all good, the destroyer of all a source of peace and enjoyment which peace, the murderer of souls, to get the the world cannot give, and which it advantage over him, and to injure him. cannot take away. Oh! happy the The same is true of mercy the man who does not attempt to avenge dependent and the wretched. The himself, but gives place unto wrath, mercy which prompts you to weep with knowing who hath said, “Vengeance is those that weep, to counsel and to mine, I will repay, saith the Lord.” succour the afflicted, and to sympathize Happy he who does good to those who with those whom you cannot comfort ; wish him and who do him evil ; who the mercy which prompts you to seek when his enemy hungers gives him out the real distress that pines away in bread, when he thirsts gives him drink, secret, and to contribute to the utmost and thus heaps coals of fire on his head, of your ability to relieve the destitute and melts down the enmity of his mind. and to cheer the disconsolate ; the In such a man there is something god mercy which brings you to the chamber like; he is truly a partaker of the of affliction, to the couch of the sick
and the dying, and to the house of disposition ever found in our world ? mourning-to weep and to instruct, to Yes, verily. It was found in Judea comfort and to pray ; the mercy which when Jesus was there, who went about prompts your various efforts to teach doing good ; an angel of mercy, the the young, to awaken the careless, to God of love incarnate! Preaching the coavince the impenitent, to reclaim the gospel, pardoning the guilty, comforting wanderer, to heal the sick, to feed the the aftlicted, healing the sick, raising hungry, to clothe the naked, as you the dead, bestowing all blessings both have opportunity to "do good to all for time and for eternity. It was found men, especially to those who are of the in Judea and Galilee, multiplied exceedhousehold of faith." This mercy is a ingly, when the twelve apostles, and source of the purest enjoyment to those afterwards the seventy disciples, were who yield to its benign influence. What sent forth on the same embassy of are the pleasures of avarice, or of mercy -to heal the sick, to cleanse the sensuality, of luxurious ease and indo- lepers, to raise the dead, to cast out lence, of prosperity and splendour, of devils, and to preach, saying, “The authority and power, compared with kingdom of heaven is at hand.” It was the real satisfaction enjoyed by him who found in the land of Uz when Job was is of a merciful spirit! The happiness there; hence he says, “ When the ear of God himself is the happiness of pure heard me, then it blessed me; and when and active benevolence; it is the happi- the eye saw me, it gave witness to me: ness of unbounded mercy incessantly because I delivered the poor that cried, exercised. “My Father worketh hither- and the fatherless, and him that had to." He works constantly, without the none to help him. The blessing of him slightest interruption, and he always that was ready to perish came upon me; works good. “His tender mercies are and I caused the widow's heart to sing over all his works.”
for joy. I put on righteousness, and it Blessed, then, are the merciful. They clothed me: my judgment was as a impart much happiness to others, but robe and a diadem. I was eyes to the they realize still more themselves ; for blind, and feet was I to the lame. I “it is more blessed to give than to re was a father to the poor; and the cause ceive." This is the blessedness which which I knew not I searched out.” It God enjoys, the blessedness of giving, was found in Jericho when Zaccheus not of receiving. He receives from was there, who said to Jesus, "Behold, none, he gives to all, and yet the bless- Lord, the half of my goods I give to edness enjoyed by a universe of intelli- the poor ; and if I have taken anything gent and holy beings is as nothing from any man by false accusation, I compared with the infinite fulness, the restore him fourfold.” It was found in boundless ocean of felicity in which he Jerusalem when“ the multitude of dwells—THE BLESSED GOD!
them that believed were of one heart Does any one say that it may be and of one soul: neither said any of pleasing or amusing to indulge in such them that aught of the things which he representations — but when may the possessed was his own; but they had all reality be seen ? It is one thing to ad- things common. Neither was there any mire a merciful spirit, and quite another among them that lacked ; for as many thing to hear mercy speak, and to see as were possessors of lands or houses mercy move and act amongst the chil- sold them, and brought the prices of dren of men. Were these representa- the things that were sold, and laid them tions ever realized ? Was this merciful down at the apostles' feet : and distri
bution was made to every man according It is found wherever the spirit of the as he had need.” It was found in Joppa "good Samaritan” obtains, who, when when Dorcas was there, who “ was full he saw the poor man who had fallen of good works and alms-deeds which amongst thieves, in his nakedness, his she did.” It was found in Cæsarea wounds, and his wretchedness,“ had when Cornelius was there, who was “a compassion upon him, and went to him, devout man, and one that feared God and bound up his wounds, pouring in with all his house, which gave much oil and wine, and set him on his own alins to the people, and prayed to God beast, and brought him to an inn, and alway.” It was found in Rome and in took care of him; and on the morrow, Ephesus when Onesiphorus was there, when he departed, took out twopence, who often refreshed Paul in his bonds, and gave them to the host, and said and was not ashamed of his chain. How unto him, Take care of him, and whataffectionately, and how much in the soever thou spendest more, when I spirit of our Lord's words, does the come again, I will repay thee.” Nay, apostle speak of his conduct! “The this merciful disposition is found wherLord give mercy unto the house of ever the gospel becomes the power of Onesiphorus ; for he oft refreshed me, God unto salvation; wherever that and was not ashamed of my chain ; but charity” which is "the end of the when he was in Rome, he sought me out commandment;" that “love ” which is very diligently, and found me. The “the fulfilling of the law,” prevails. Lord grant unto him that he may find Oh! yes ; it is the spirit of the gospel mercy of the Lord in that day: and in of our salvation. Happy they who how many things he ministered unto me live under its influence ! at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.”
THE SNOW ON THE EARTH.
“He saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth.”—Job xxxvii. 6.
This passage is very similar in style many instances, impedes labour, and to that in Genesis which has been ad- stops the progress of industry, it intermired by eminent writers in all ages as rupts commerce, and, in many ways, truly sublime,“ God said, Let there be frustrates the designs of men, thus light, and there was light.” We may proving how weak and powerless man consider the snow being on the earth a is before that Almighty Being who proof of the almighty power of God. I worketh all things after the counsel of Philosophers may account for it as pro- his own will, and who has all resources duced through the medium of natural at his command. causes, but it is not less the finger of But how wonderfully is the goodness God. He is the great artificer, and of God manifested by the lying of the those things which we term causes are snow on the earth. Snow is actually the instruments to accomplish his de- given like wool, not only as regards its signs.
whiteness but its warmth. By it the If we inquire into the effects pro- face of the earth is protected, and the duced by the snow being on the earth, springing corn is shielded, from that we are at once reminded that it, in intense cold which might destroy it;
and while it protects it fertilizes, it sup- gress of industry, it must, in many plies a moisture to the ground which cases, create distress in addition to that gives vigour to the plant, and it has occasioned by the coldness of the atbeen remarked, that a snowy winter is mosphere. Let those who have it in almost always followed by an abundant their power feel it a privilege to relieve harvest.
the wants of the necessitous. The snow may be considered as an Our minds may be profitably occupied emblem of God's dealing with his peo- in meditating on those things which ple. In his infinite wisdom he some snow is employed in scripture to illustimes spreads a covering over that trate. It is frequently used as an emwhich has been accustomed to afford us blem of purity; thus it is applied in comfort and support, but by it he in- representations of the Divine Majesty. tends to fertilize our hearts. Let us not It is also used to express forgiveness. then murmur and repine as if the day It was customary in some nations for of trouble should never end. Who is criminals who had been pardoned, to such an infidel as to refuse to believe appear clothed in a white robe, and this that the snow shall, after a season, be is illustrated by Rev. vii. 14, “ These dissolved? Who is so ignorant or un are they which came out of great tribu. observant as not to be satisfied of that lation, and have washed their robes, and by experience? But equally blind and made them white in the blood of the ignorant is that son of affliction who Lamb.” In Isaiah i. 18, God says, exclaims, My sorrows can never be dried “Come now, and let us reason together: up; rather let him say, “Weeping may though your sins be as scarlet, they endure for a night, but joy cometh in shall be as white as snow; though they the morning."
be red like crimson, they shall be as Let every sorrow, every dispensation, wool.” This expresses the perfect be considered with reference to the purity of the man whose iniquity is duties which it enforces upon us. If, pardoned, and whose sins are blotted in consequence of the snow, our usual out. Heavenly glory, likewise, is repreavocations are interrupted, let us view sented by white robes; "and white robes ourselves as called upon to consider. were given unto every one of them,” Let the interval of labour be employed Rev. vi. 11. in examining ourselves, in ascertaining As the snow will quickly pass away, whether this almighty God is our father so let us realize the fleeting nature of and our friend, and if he be, in seeking all terrestrial objects; and let us rejoice more intimate communion with him. that the word of the Lord abideth for If it is a season of privation to many, ever, that as the rain cometh down, and let the comforts with which we are sur- the snow from heaven, and returneth rounded excite our gratitude. If many not thither, and maketh it bring forth are prevented by the inclemency of the and bud, so shall the word of God be season from attending in the house of that goeth forth out of his mouth, it God, let those whose privileges are not shall accomplish the most important thus abridged be concerned diligently purposes. Thus may we consider the to improve the means of grace. Such snow as a pledge for the fulfilment of a season peculiarly calls to benevolence. the divine word. If the snow on the earth stops the pro
CONSOLATION FOR THE CHRISTIAN INVALID.
“THERE are many alleviations to sor- principle in the heart, how it would row," was a sufferer's answer to the lighten sorrow ! Behold, the Great question, “Do you not find the time Sufferer! Whence such agony as his ? long and wearisome ?”
“God so loved the world,” is the only Whether the number of persons who reply that can be given ; and the scripcan reckon the duration of their suffer- ture warrants us to believe that the ings by years, is greater now than trials of every member of Christ's body formerly, we will not stop to inquire ; emanate from the same source. but, undoubtedly, there are many that Again, do we see the necessity of trido this. Various, however, are the bulation ? Dare you say, O believer ! motives which may be urged on the be- such and such a cross is not needful for liever for patient endurance, even under me? How far would your heart have the most protracted suffering ; though, wandered from God, had not that ensometimes, the feeling of the soul to throned idol been cast down? Where those who would present relief is, would the subtle insinuations of error "Miserable comforters are ye all.” Is not have stopped, had not humbling trials the gospel sufficient to afford help? and kept you as a little child at the Saviour's as sufferings abound, may not consola- feet, willing to learn of him? The tions often abound also? Most certainly. world, also, with its numerous fascinaNo woe is so heavy but the loving arm tions, has beguiled many a thoughtless of Jesus underneath can lighten it. one ; but suffering has unfitted you to But, first, it must be inquired, Has the enjoy it, that the superior blessedness individual, by the power of the Spirit, of heavenly peace may be your portion. been led, as a guilty sinner, to rest solely Let us, then, give thanks to God that on Christ as an all-sufficient Saviour ? his love is so great, that all needful Without this ground-work the super- discipline will be used to train his chilstructure of true peace and substantial dren for their inheritance. Many things, joy will be looked for in vain. Still lawful in themselves, may engross so there may be some, who can say from much of our attention, as that God's the heart, Jesus is my hope, and are yet glory may be forgotten,--such as the cast down by the long-continued pres- use of means for recovery, the peculiar sure of pain and weakness. Many symptoms of the case, the kindness or things may prevent even the real Chris- | unkindness of those around us, nay, tian from realizing an abiding appre-even the veriest trifle, which we should hension of the comforting truths of the hesitate to mention to our dearest gospel. Listen, then, while we try to friend, may insidiously lead the heart find the cause of this disquietude, and from God, if there be a want of watchmay he who is emphatically “ the Com- fulness and care. Never let there be forter” remove it.
burden which is not brought to the The source of affliction may not be sympathizing “ Man of sorrows." rightly understood. Were it not for the Beloved companion in sorrow, are you word of God, who would have ventured | willing that the Spirit of God should to say, that love is inscribed on every enable you to rejoice in tribulations rod with which our Father who is in also, and make you content with such heaven chastens his children ? Oh! things as you have ? Strange as it may could this one truth become a living appear, there often exists an unwilling