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assists the humblest cfforts of his sincere servants. He looks upon them with love; observes low the battle procceds; watches every movement of the foc; listens to the prayer of the wearied combatants" he hears their cry and will save them.”
Consider, also, cven when temptation has prevailed, that the blood of this same Divine Saviour cleanselh from all sin. In the hour of conscious weakness, and defcat, and disquietude, let the atoning sacrifice of your Saviour be your comfort. Plead his death; apply his reconciliation; and rely upon his rightcousness. The defilement which you contract will not be deadly, whilst in daily repentance and faith you só wash in this fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness.
Forget not, further, that all things work together for your good, “ if you love God and are called according to his purpose.”— 66 The trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tricd with fire, will be found unto praise and honor and glory.” These sharp temptations may serve to humble you, to promote watchfulness, to teach you dependence on grace alone, to show you what you are, to produce experience of the Divine goodness and faithfulness, to exalt the Saviour in your esteem, and to prepare you for the peace and holiness of heaven.
Lastly, look forward to the hope of rictory. You shall soon, if humble and faithful, be made "more than a conqueror through Him that hath loved you.” IIold on in your coursc.
66 To him that overcometh," saith the Saviour, "will I give to sit down with me on my throne, even as I have overcomc, and am sel down with my Father on his throne.” “ Blessed is the man that endureth temptation, for when he is tried he shall receive the crown of life which the Lord hath prepared for them that love him.” “God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth."Soon you shall say, with the triumphant Apostle, I have fought
“ a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day, and not to me only, but to all them that love his appearing." Look upwards to the heavenly host, and ask with St. John, “Who are these which are arrayed in white robes, and whence come they?" The answer shall be-and let it animate you in all your trials--
6. These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple, and Ile that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes."
By the Rev. THOMAS GISBORNE, M. A.
JAMES, iv. 13-17. Go to now, ye that say, To-day, or to-morrow, we will go into such a City,
and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain. Whereas, ye know not what shall be on the morrow, for what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live and do this or that; but now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
The Scriptures abound with admonitions calculated to undeceive mankind, respecting the importance and the natural effects of wealth. “If riches increase," saith the warning voice of the Old Testament, set not your heart upon them. Let not the rich man glory in his riches: he that trusteth in his riches shall fall.” “He that trustcth in the abundance of his riches, strengtheneth
himself in his wickedness. Give me not riches, lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord ?” In the New Testament, the awful exclamation of our Saviour, “ How hardly shall they that have riches enter the kingdom of God," would of itself be sufficient, after the most ample deductions which could be required on account of the peculiarity of the occasion on which it was uttered, to establish, by the sanction of his immediate authority, the antecedent declarations of prophets, and the subsequent testimony of Apostles, concerning the destructive influence of the idol of mankind. That "the love of money is the root of all evil;" that there is no degree, no species of criminality to which the thirst of gold may not prove a successful incentive, that “they who will be rich," they who are resolved on the accumulation of possessions, “fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtfuł lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition; that, while some have coveted after wealth, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows,” they have apostatized from Christianity, and overwhelmed themselves with remorse, anguish, and despair. This is the recorded result of the judgment and experience of Sl. Paul! But among the sacred writers, there is no one more frequcat or more energetic than St. James, in denunciations against transgressors, whom riches plunge into enormities. The two lcading sources of evil, which are represented in the inspired writings as derived from the influence of riches over the heart, are worldly-mindedness and self-dependence. Against these fortresses of guilt, sometimes battered separately, sometimes assailed in the same onset, the sacred artillery of Scripture is unremittingly directed.
In the verses immediately under your consideration, the Apostle points the vehemence of his attack against self-dependence. “Go to, now, ye that say, “To-day, or to-morrow, we will go into such a city, and continue there a year; and buy and sell, and get gain. Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away; for that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall do this or that: but now ye rejoice in your boastings; all such rejoicing is evil. Therefore, to him that knowcth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin."
These words comprehend several lessons highly important in
themselves, and closely connected with each other. My intention is to set them before you in order, and to apply them, one by one, under the blessing of God, to your edification.
I. 6 Go to now, ye that say, “To-day, or to-morrow, we will go into such a city; and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain.” In this passage St. James directs his reproof against that disposition so common among men, to form distant and presumptuous plans. Did you know nothing more concerning human life than is to be collected from the ordinary language which resounds in our dwellings and our streets, you might conclude that every circumstance in this world is capable of being fixed and settled beforehand by us almost, if not altogether, to a certainty. You hear men expressing their purposes respecting their future proceedings, in terms which scarcely admit the supposition that there can be any doubt whether the scheme on which they meditate will be accomplished. If a person mentions a journey which he proposes to undertake some months hence, how usual is it for him to speak of it as though it were an affair placed wholly within his own power, and to be decided merely by his own inclination! If sickness, or some other change of circumstances, prevent him from executing his design, how ready is he to give way to fretfulness, and to adopt the language of disappointment, as though he had experienced some strange and unusual event contrary to the natural course of just expectation! Others you hear speaking in terms equally confident, concerning projects still more distant. One person informs you, that when he shall have employed two or three future years in making himself master of his trade or profession, at the place where he now resides, he shall remove to such a town, or into the neighborhood of such a manufactory, where, like others before him, he shall spccdily acquire a fortune. Another observes that after he shall have conducted his business until his children, who are now scarcely advanced beyond infancy, are ablc so take the management of it upon themselves, he shall then withdraw from the concern, and shall enjoy himself in leisure and retirement. Another wearies with a detail of the alterations which he means to carry into effect, and the manner in which he designs to live, when, upon the death of some relation, at present ncither old nor unhealthy, he shall inherit an addition to his estate. Another is occupied in laying plans for the disposal of a succession of
daughters in marriage; and tells you, that when he shall have settled the youngest, he shall detach himself from the large circle of society in which he deems it necessary to continue until that object is attained, and shall remove into a more private and quiet part of the country. These remote purposes are stated with decision and unconcern, as though they could be completed tomorrow. Or if an expression alluding to a possible uncertainty in human affairs, be interwoven, it is too often accompanied with a tone and a countenance which evince that it comes not from the heart; but is inserted only to preserve appearances. The end to which St. James intimates that these schemes are most commonly directed is gain:-it is the end of the pursuits of most men. Our blessed Lord looked lipon riches with an eye very differeni from that of the world. IIe saw that they generally proved grievous hindrances to religion. With that memorable expression, in which he avers that, but for the grace of God, with whom all things are possible, they would prove themselves insuperable obstacles in the path of salvation, you are no doubt familiar. At another time, he describes riches by the names of the Mammon of unrighteousness, the unrighteous Mammon;" because they are so continually abused to purposes of unrighteousness, to covetousness, to pride, to dissipation, to sensuality, to corruption. Yet on this dangerous acquisition, what multitudes set their hearts. The hope of obtaining wealth, or of indulging in the enjoyment of it, ensnares men into forgetfulness of God, into disregard of salvation, into guilty enterprises and pursuits, into deliberate fraud and open violence; and is one of the principal causes of that daring self-dependence, that proud security, which encourage them presumptuously to form schemes of distant execution, to utter "great swelling words of vanity," and to triumph long beforehand in the supposed accomplishment of their extravagant cxpectations, as though they were themselves entrusted with the management of earth and its concerns, and exalted beyond the reach of opposition from their fellow-creatures, and of control from above.
II. The next observation furnished by the text, proves the extreme folly of such presumption. “Yc know not what shall be on the morrow; for what is your life? It is even a vapor that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” “Take thine casc," said the rich man to his soul; “ thou hast much goods laid up for many years. Eat, drink, and be merry." But what