« AnteriorContinuar »
Do they meet with a new minister ? | in well-doing. So long as the school, According to them, he is all that the tract district, the Bible-class, or could be desired. What sermons he | the visitation of the sick and the poor, preaches, to be sure! How original, is a novelty, they are all right. But yet how orthodox ; how intellectual, 1 when the bloom is rubbed off the yet practical! It is the very kind of fruit, good though that fruit may be, preaching to be useful! What ease, they leave it untouched or throw it and dignity there is in his manner! away. His action is free from stiffness, his 2. Others are weary of well-doing pronunciation is faultless, his voice because they are weary of well-being. most agreeable. What a fine cha Outward indolence is often the racter he has ! So fearless, so judi result of inward declension. The cious, so amiable. He is as admirable ! greater our love and zeal for God, the out of the pulpit as he is in it. Pas greater will be our love and zeal for toral as well as didactic labour is his our fellow-creatures' good, and vice delight. Thus they speak and think versa. If you see a man giving up so long as the minister is a novelty: 1 first one and then another means of only so long. You meet with them a usefulness; abandoning his class at few months afterwards, and find that the Sunday-school, then absenting they are tired of their rabbi. They | himself from prayer.meetings, then can get no good from his preaching, reducing or withdrawing his subscrip. and are constrained to go to some tions to religious and benevolent other chapel for their“ food,”as they institutions, you may well mourn call it. Do they meet with a new over him. Why? Because these are magazine ? It is a model magazine ! the sad indications of decline in the Others are nothing: it is everything. | soul's health. In nine cases out of The articles are so racy, there is ten, such is the case. Look at yonder such wonderful variety, the illustra wall. Cracks, wide and long, disfigure tions are so well sketched, and, to it. In certain places gaping fissures crown all, the price is so low. A few extend from the top to the basement. numbers are thus eulogized, and then Mark what those cracks show. They -ichabod. You are told that the tell a sad tale. Before ever they lately-praised serial has “fallen off appeared the foundation had given very much," and " is not what it used way. They prove that there is to be.” Do they meet with a new something wrong beneath. In like shop? There is none like it! How manner, when the building of bene. fashionable are the articles exposed volence gets weak, when a man's in the windows, and how remarkably efforts for others grow less, it usually cheap! There surely never was such shows there is something wrong a shop. All their “kith and kin" are beneath. The foundations of piety besieged in its behalf, and teased to have given way. patronize it. But presently the re What a memorable instance of this action comes. If you encounter them does the apostle give! “ Demas hath in the street and ask about the said forsaken me. He has forsaken me establishment, they will inform you and my work. Once we laboured that they have given up going to it earnestly together, once he was my because the proprietor does not keep joy and help, once he toiled faithfully such “ nice things” as he used to do! by my side in the great moral harvesi
Unhappily, when these persons field. But now he has left me !" To come under the influence of religion, Paul the reason of this was apparent they carry with them into the church enough :-“Having loved this present their insane love of the new. As a world.” Love to God was gradually natural consequence, they soon weary | undermined by love of the world, and the speedy consequence was his tion in thought, refinement in feelabandonment of spiritual work. My ing, and improvement in judgment readers, make this a matter of self- which has occurred. The conseexamination. If you are weary in quences of your work do not lie on well doing and are giving it up, find the surface, patent to all, and easy of out the cause. Go down into the observation. They are, for the most depths of your soul, and do not rest part, hidden, being revealed only until you discover whether or not a after awhile. process of decay has gone on there. Nor is it otherwise spiritually.
3. Others are weary in well-doing | Much of the good we do, we never because they do not think that they are | see. When we do behold the fruits tcell-doing.
of our labour, it is usually after we They believe that their efforts are have laboured long. A minister in vain. They do not see the results of preaches a sermon, and goes home, their work, and they conclude that perhaps, to weep over it; he fears it there are no results. Good done to is a failure. “ Who hath believed our the mind is not by any means so easily report ?” he cries. And yet that and quickly visible as good done to the very discourse may bave been blessed body. If à benevolent and opulent by God to the welfare of many. man builds a hospital, he soon beholds One, who was tempted, has derived the beneficial results. When he hears strength from it; another, who was of an accident, and gazes at the poor troubled, has found consolation in it; workman carried to the place in a third, who was perplexed, has been which he will have medical aid and guided by it; best of all, a fourth, efficient nursing, he sees that he does who was careless,' has been anxious good. If another erects a row of about his salvation. This ignorance alms-houses, he is not long before he concerning the issues of our prayers witnesses the real help which they and efforts is a prolific source of afford the needy. When he marks weariness. “Thou knowest not which the old men and aged women hob. shall prosper, whether this or that ;" bling to and fro in their small but and because we do not know we often trim gardens, sunning themselves on get disheartened. a warm July day at their doors, or II. WHY WE SHOULD NOT BE sitting on a cold winter's night hy WEARY IN WELL-DOING. the cozy fireside, he sees that he has Touching this, arguments crowd done good. But benefits conferred upon the mind fast and thick. Mani. on mind are not thus readily and fold are the inducements to persespeedily visible. If you aid in estab. vere in Christian labours. Only a lishing a free library, a working few can now be noticed. man's institute, or an artisan's 1. Christ was not weary in wellclub, you must not be impatient of results. For some time, it may “Consider Him who endured such be, you will see no great change in contradiction of sinners against him. those whom you thus seek to benefit. self, lest ye be wearied and faint Their dress, occupations, habits, man in your minds." What formidable ners, will be the same. It is only difficulties he had! His disciples after a lapse of time, and when you were often hard of heart, and dark come to visit them in their homes, in mind. Some of his plainest teachthat you find out the excellent ings were lost upon them by reason issues of your endeavours to edu. of their intellectual dulness and their cate them. Talk to them on social, | moral obtuseness. His enemies were political, and philosophical questions, many and cruel. Comfort, character, then you discover the gradual eleva- life, were plotted against. The num
ber of those who heartily and steadily | to their children, and the children co-operated with him was very small. to their fathers,' he might well not be Yet he was not “ weary.” “Not weary. But we do not see the future weary,” for “very early in the morn results of our endeavours." No; but ing" he was in the temple teaching; you may be as certain of them as if you “not weary,” for midnight was not did. God has promised that "in due too late for him to receive and con season ye shall reap," and that promise verse with inquiring Nicodemus; is as good a guarantee of ultimate “not weary,” for when he sat down success as actual foreknowledge ever athirst on Jacob's Well he could could be. talk to the dissolute Samaritan of the 2. Weariness in well-doing is of no things which pertained to her peace; | use. “not weary," for when wishing for A poor, forlorn mother, weeping repose he said to his disciples, “Come over her dead baby, cried in her ye here apart, and rest awhile," and agony, “I can't bear it, and I the multitude found him, he went won't!” “Well, ma'am," said her forth again to teach and feed them ; | minister, “what do you propose to “not weary,” for even when hanging do!” You are weary in well-doing, on the accursed cross he stooped my brother, and you say that you down and said, “ Mother, behold thy will give up well-doing. But what son ; Son, behold thy mother.” do you propose to do, then! Shall
If, therefore, as the avowed fol. you better yourself ? Shall you be lowers of Christ, we would be like a wiser, happier, nobler man therehim, we must not be “ weary in well by? No. Then of two evils choose doing." Our model never was, there the lesser. Say, if you will, that it fore we should not be. But it may is an evil to work for Christ, and yet be objected, “The cases are not see no success ; that is surely easier parallel. We are situated very dif to bear than the condemnation of ferently from Christ. He foresaw conscience which follows a craven the ultimate and glorious results of shirking of your duty. Depend his sufferings and toils; we do not. upon it, you will only involve yourLittle wonder that he was not weary selt' in greater perplexity if you give in well-doing,' when, with prophetic | up. What a miserable creature a vision, he looked forward and beheld deserter is! Cold, hungry, and the future triumphs of his kingdom. ragged; skulking behind hedges, When he foresaw Peter's memorable sleeping fitfully under hayricks, sermon on the day of Pentecost, end starting at every sound lest it should ing in the conversion of thousands; end in the appearance of the serwhen he foresaw Saul, the bitter foe, geant and his soldiers with their transformed into Paul the fervent loaded rifles; poor wretch, he is a apostle, who ‘laboured more abund. pitiable object indeed. So is the antly than they all ;' when he fore- spiritual deserter. When he sees saw, in more remote years, St. Ber his late fellow-workers toiling in the nard, like a good angel, descending face of formidable difficulties, and into the stagnant waters of human he remembers that he is doing nothought, and, by God's blessing, im. | thing to help them ; when he sees pregnating them with healing power; them victorious, and he remembers when he foresaw Luther arousing the that he might have shared in the joys world from its sinful sleep and super of conquest but for his unfaithful. stitious slumbers; when he foresaw ness; when he sees the sin and sorrow the sainted Wesley and the seraphic of the great world, and he rememWhitfield, in the spirit and power of bers that he is doing nothing to Elias,' 'turn the hearts of the fathers lighten its load,—he cannot be otherwise than shame-stricken and un- | care for themselves, the more we happy. When Elijah fled to the should care for them. Our concern cate of Horeb, he added neither to should increase with their unconhis comfort nor his dignity.
cern. This is how we act in refer3. Our weariness will make others ence to things secular. A medical tears.
practitioner visits a patient and finds If earnestness and courage are him worse than he has been. What contagious, so are their opposites. does he do? Does he give up calling Timidity creates timidity; indo upon him? No. He doubles his ledde gives birth to indolence. attention. He calls twice instead A iying soldier will put a whole of once. If that invalid's condition regunent to rout. It is quite true becomes more dangerous, he goes that half-a-dozen zealous Christians thrice instead of twice. Take anwill often be the means of infusing a other case. A philanthropist visits spirit of devotedness into a whole a low, degraded district in a certain eburch. Alas, it is equally true that city. He proposes to civilize and half-a-dozen laggards and drones | Christianize it. He talks of erecting will speedily spread the infection of lodging houses, baths, schools, chatheir lukewarmness. If, because pels, and sending missionaries and the barvest has not come so soon as I Bible-women to labour there. While expect, I throw down my sickle and he thus schemes, some one tells him leare the field, on looking back I that bad as the neighbourhood may sball be almost sure to behold some appear to him, it is even far worse in one following my example. If, reality. How would that philanbuilding at the temple of benevo thropist act when he heard this? lence, I lay aside my trowel, leave He would not abandon his plan my post, sit down on the scaffolding, because of the new difficulties, but, and begin to whimper and wail be- on the contrary, would thereby be cause I do not get on faster, 1 shall stimulated to greater effort. "Is it Tery likely dishearten my fellow so P” he would say. “ Then I will Forkmen. How often do we find endeavour to double the number of that one man's idleness is made the places and persons by which I seek excuse of another's! “I do as much to accomplish the work of reforma28 others.” Such is the plea put tion.” On the same principle let us forth in answer to fervent appeals act in reference to our fellow-creafor greater effort on behalf of the tures' eternal good. Their lethargy Torld's salvation. Therefore, as a should only call forth the more Warning and a safeguard against fervour on our part. Weariness in well-doing, let us re Away, then, with doubt. Begone member that if we give way to discou all our fears. God is with us. He ragement and become lethargic, we has promised his blessing. shall lead others to do the same. 4. The very thing that makes us
“ Be not weary, toiling brother,
Good the Master thou dost serve! teary should make us the more
Let no disappointment move thee; earnest.
From his service never swerve; Why do we grow weary? Usually Sow in hope, nor cease thy sowing ; because of nonsuccess. In other Lack not patience, faith, or prayer; words, because men are so heedless
Seed-time passeth, harvest hasteth, about religion, so indifferent to their
Precious sheaves thou then shalt bear." salvation, so worldly and hard. Yes, “precious sheaves thou then hearted. But this is, in fact, the shalt bear." “ Precious," indeed, will very reason why we should be in- | they be. All the more so because creasingly zealous. The less sinners they have been long waited for,
much desired, and watered, it may | ing source of grateful joy for ever be, with many tears. “ Precious," and ever. too, because they shall be an unfail. |
T. R. STEVENSON.
"HOW LONG HALT TE BETWEEN TWO OPINIONS ? "
1 Kinge xviii. 21. This question was addressed to the I have heard and obeyed the great people of Israel by the prophet Elijah, command, “Come out from among when he had gathered them together them, and be ye separate, saith the with 450 of the prophets of Baal, and Lord.” They have heard and re400 of the prophets of the Groves, in sponded to the appeal, “I beseech the presence of King Ahab, to justify you by the mercies of God, that ye the Lord God before his enemies, as present your bodies a living sacrifice, well as before his professed people. holy, acceptable unto God, which is The land had suffered a grievous your reasonable service.” But there famine in consequence of rain having öre very few, if any, even amongst been withheld for upwards of three Christians, to whom the question has years through the prayer of Elijah. I no application ; few indeed, if any, Ahab accuses the prophet of troubling | who can say that they never hesitate Israel; but the prophet charges that / or halt between two opinions, when evil upon Ahab and his father's house, they should be decided on the Loru's because they had forsaken the com- | side ; that there are no compliances mandments of the Lord, and asserts with temptation; no conformity to that he had acted simply in accord the world; but that with every affecance with the Lord's directions. tion of the heart, and every act of
But now God is about to punish the life, they are fully and entirely the false prophets; but he is also decided for God. about to speak in mercy to the But there are doubtless many propeople of Israel, and to restore the fessing Christians who have the form, tokens of his goodness and blessing | but manifest little of the power of to the land by sending fruitful and godliness : who, like some members abundant rains upon it. Before of the Church in Sardis, have a name doing so, however, he will work a that they live, but are dead, whose mighty miracle to prove that Baal is works are not perfect before God. no God; that he cannot hear those To these the question should come who call upon him, and cannot deliver home with peculiar force, “How long those who trust in him, and that the halt ye between two opinions?” Lord he is God alone. The prophet There may be some of my readers therefore appeals to all, saying, whose fears have been awakened by “How long halt ye between two being convinced of sin; who, like opinions,” and urges them to decide Felix, tremble when the subjects of either for God or against him. “lf righteousness, temperance, and judgthe Lord be God, follow him; but if ment to come, are brought before Baal, then follow him.”
them; but who yet say, “Go thy There are, blessed be God, many to way for this time, when I have a conwhum, through Divine grace, this ques. venient season I will send for thee." tion as to the great principle of decia | To you is this question sent," How sion for God does not apply. They | long halt ye between two opinions p”