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"Who will shew us any good?"
Is not this the exclamation of the thousands and tens of thousands who traverse the mighty wilderness of this world? Happiness is the grand object to which all other hopes and wishes tend. Thousands seek after it; few find it. Many fancy they have attained it, and congratulate themselves in the acquisition. They hasten to embrace and clasp to their bosom the prize; it eludes their grasp: they find it a phantom -a shadow-and though repeatedly disappointed, yet hope ceases not, though like the image of the desert, to spread her tempting pictures before the eye. Again and again does man start with vigour in the race, which most certainly after all will prove fruitless. Is this so? Surely, some will say, there is happiness to be found in this world. What says Solomon? the wisest of men. He had tried every thing beneath the sun; he withheld no delight from his eyes; he heaped up pleasures as the sand; he views the mass he has so assiduously collected; he coolly and deliberately commences a fair comparison of their worth. He appreciates variety, because it is new. What is philosophy? What is science? What are all the dearer delights of love and friendship? They are roses strewed in our path, but they are not roses without thorns; they are sweets, but they are not sweets without alloy. Let us not then look for any joy here; let us not then seek for water
from an empty cistern, or expect to find satisfaction in our empty world. Quarles, in his emblems, has a striking illustration of this. He represents two little figures knocking at the world; one says, after having tried it,
"Tis empty, hark it sounds !'
Oh it is empty, even as a bubble; poor and mean as the dirt under our feet, altogether lighter than vanity itself. Where then shall we look? Whither shall we turn for solid comfort and unchanging joy? Let us hear what the inspired Prophet says, there any among the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause rain? or can the heavens give showers? Art not thou he, O Lord our God? Therefore will we wait upon thee." Yes! wait, expecting to receive; not fearing and doubting, but in faithful confidence taking the Lord at his word, knowing that we have the petitions we ask. Then will come rain; then our utmost desires will be satisfied; then shall our broken hearts be completely made whole; then shall we be rich, for we shall be possessed of desirable riches and righteousness; then shall we be wise, for we shall know "the hidden wisdom." Then shall we be holy as God is holy; then shall we be perfectly happy, for we shall triumph in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ; then shall we be full, for having him we possess all things; then shall we look down on all the world calls good or great, and account it but dung and dross, that we may win Christ. What a prize! a prize the value of which we shall be learning through all eternity. O let us so run that we may obtain. Let us soar above the groveling allurements of the world,
and rise by faith to take hold on Jesus, to bring him down into our hearts, to reign without a rival there, to put all his enemies under our feet. May he dwell in us and shed abroad his love in our hearts, and shew it forth in our life and conversation, that those around us may take knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus.
May we go forth, and proclaim his love to sinners, saying, "We have found the Messias, which is being interpreted the Christ," our hearts being all on fire with his love till they are attracted by its beauties shining through his members; and are constrained to exclaim, "We will go with you, for we perceive that God is with you." F. A.
LECTURES ON THE CHURCH SERVICE.
PSALM LXV. 4.
"We shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house."
"Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven." This petition is the third and last of those which we are taught to offer up in the spirit of our Lord's directions in another place,-"Seek ye first the kingdom of God and its righteousness:" so
we are taught here to seek the glory of God before we come to our own wants. And indeed it is the grand consummation, the glorious and magnificent final end which the two former petitions are means in order to the attainment of. If we pray that the name of our Heavenly Father may be treated with the honour and reverence due to it amongst men-if we pray that his kingdom of grace may be set up in our hearts and in that of others; it is in order that his will may become law in the hearts of his children, in the practice of his subjects. A prayer too in which we may see, as in the rest, that whilst we seek first the honour and glory of God, we do equally consult our own happiness. For when God's will was man's law, God was glorified, and man was happy in Eden; but when man would have his own will God was dishonoured, and man a miserable outcast from happiness. The will of God And so it has continued ever since. may be considered, 1st, as the will of his eternal purpose; thus he worketh all things after the counsel of his own will, which is his secret will, at least only made known to us by its accomplishment. And 2ndly, His will concerning our duty as subjects of his kingdom, which is revealed in his word. With the former we have nothing to do in this the will of God then as revealed to us, will to be done by us, and a will to be done in us, or active and passive obedience. For the first we pray that his will may be done by us absolutely; for the second that we may be resigned to bear with patience and to fall in with the accomplishments of his purpose towards us. Now we pray that his will may be done by us, and by all the subjects of his
place. In consider a
kingdom-the children who call upon him as "our Father." But we may ask, what is the will of God concerning us?—A general will of God which is the common duty of us all as Christians.—A particular will which concerns us as placed in different stations of life, and gifted with different talents. 1st, A general will, which is the common duty of us all. What this will of God is to be done by us, God has given us his word to teach. "This is the will of God, your sanctification;" ""Be ye holy, for I the Lord your God am holy," John vi. 40, Rom. i. 5. "Repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ;-a diligent use of the means of grace,—private, family, and public; a walk of separation from the world; a copying of the example of Christ; of love, meekness, and forgiveness with man; of special love to the saints; redeeming the time; in short a renouncing of our own wills to do the will of God in these and every other particular according to the rule of his word is the object of our prayer. Thus we pray that it may be done by us; that it may be done in earth according to the prayer, "Let thy way be known upon earth, thy saving health to all nations," Psalm lxvii. 2, that wherever man is to be found, there the will of God may become law.
But as to his will being done in us— -We pray that our minds may be resigned to the will of his appointment concerning us; that every thought that rebels against submission unto that will may be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ; that in whatsoever state we are we may learn, with the Apostle, therewith to be content; to know how to be abased, and how to abound; how to be full, and to suffer need;