Imágenes de páginas

preach, and the most devout attention we can give to His service-all these He claims, all these the gracious heart cheerfully yields. “My soul, wait thou only on God.” Let the aim and effort ever be to yield the best for God. He gave His best, His only Son to die for us, and the heaven of His presence is to be the eternal home of our souls. All true worship is really an “ offering," and, unless it has these features, it is not acceptable in His sight.

II. THE OFFERING SALTED.—The symbol is expressive. 1. Salt, the Symbol of Covenant Engagement. “The salt of the covenant of thy God;" “it is a covenant of salt for ever.” (Numbers xviii. 19). “The Lord Gid gave the kingdom to David and his sons by a covenant of salt.” (2 Chron. xiii. 5.) Compare such passages as these with the fact that God condescended to enter into covenant with Israel, "established a covenant" with themi through the medium of types and sacrifices, said by the Psalmist, “Gather my saints together unto me, those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice :" and now, in the worship that redeemed sinners present, as they come to the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling," we see in the symbol of salt the necessity of faith in the atoning bleed “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” “ Through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” Every true and acceptable worshipper is one who has been " washed in the blood of the Lanıb." and his whole and sole dependance for eternal life is through faith in Christ. So human inerit, no priestly rites, no ceremonial observances, no costly vestments, no wafted incense, can avail ; to the cross, or we are unsaved ; to the cross, or our offering is not accepted; the “ burden ” will not “fall from our back” at the “gate”-no, not even at the “Interpreter's House;" we must bear it till we get to the cross, and there, as we “look” by faith, it falls cft, and rolls into the sepulchre. Brought into covenant relationship through the “ blood of the cross,” we “draw nigh,” and “find grace to help in time of need :

“Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to thy cross I cling.”

2. Salt. It denotes Intelligence.-—“Let your speech be alway with gracey seasoned with salt, that ye may know how," &c. (Col. iv. 6.) Blind superstition befits the service of the blind idolater; custom is the authority of the unthinking professor ; the usual practice, “our plan," is the text of the formalist; Ritualism belongs pre-eminently to the weak and erring ; but to the truly spiritual, the savingly renewed, no service will be delighted in which does not approve itself to the mind and judgment, as compared with the written Word. “If they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” The service that is all heart and no intellect, all fire and no thought, will soon exhaust itself. “Faggot fire soonest goes out.” The service that is all intellect and no heart may be as clear as the moonbeams, but they are as cold. The service which includes the sanctified exercise of the mind, and the sanctified affections of the heart, will be at epted by Him and blest to us. Have the authority, “ Thus saith the Lord," for all we do, and “whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not anto men;" ... "for ye serve the Lord Christ.”

3. Salt. It denotes Sincerity, Incorruption.-- Nothing is more abhorrent in God's sight, nothing was denounced in stronger ternis by our Lord, than insincerity. It was He who compared insincere professors to “whited sepulchres.” The first act of deception in the early Church cost the dewerers their lives, “they kept back part of the price," and they “fell dead

the Apostles' feet.” The most withering words Peter spoke were adpessed to Simon Magus, who, under pretence of superior sanctity, offered Lney that he might receive the power of the Iloly Ghost. Salt is known for its preserving properties, it keeps from corruption that, which would

lerwise decay. Personal goilliness cherished in our hearts, and true sincerity in all our worship, are indispensable in order to serve God aright. The Jews were forbidden the use of leaven and honey in their sacrifices : koth tended to corruption and decay. Let us offer “ the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” It is the living service, not the dead form-the heartfelt love, not the lip service, which He who is of purer eyes than to keholliniquity will accept. “ Search me, () God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts.”

4. SALT. It denotes Fidelity. ---A stranger in oriental climes sought chelter and sustenance, and was welcomed ; he trembled lest the hospitality should not be genuine ; the host thought, the stranger may prove a foe. At the evening meal the salt is placed on the table, they both partake, and all fear dies away. 'Tis the pledge of fidelity. Treason against the throne B accounted a deadly crime. The darkest act recorded in Scripture is that w the traitor who sold his Lord, and then said, “Hail, Master, and kissed 2012." The unfaithful servant is the unprofitable servant, who will be * cast into outer darkness." Fidelity in worship. Fidelity to our vows. Every Christian is a pledged man. “Thy vows are upon me, O God.” Fi. telity to our deep and increasing knowledge and responsibilities. Fidelity to Christ. Have we not given to Him our hearts, our service ? Have we Lot been “baptized into Christ ?" Are we not devoted to Him till life's last bour? To be unfaithful in such a cause, and to such a Lord, is the deepest 4sgrace, and the deadliest dishonour! How terrible the threatenings reOrded against the unfaithful ! Behold Him on the middle throne ! He speaks. Hark to His voice, more sweet than the songs of Seraphim,-“Be thou ialthful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.With all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt."

III. THE SALTED OFFERING PRESENTED.-Apply these principles. 1. In preparation of heart and mind for His service. The altar was cleansed the evening before the Sabbath dawned. The spices were brought before the Sabbath day to embalın the Lord's body. The salted offering in the retirefent of the closet, is the earnest of acceptable and profitable service in His house. To the hearer as well as to the preacher is the proverb applicable, " You will not reap in the pulpit (or the pew) unless you plough in the closet." Have the Salt ready; then “ bring an offering, and come unto his courts."

2. To the Service itself. Be constant. Declining piety in old times said, “What a weariness ;” and in modern days it often says, “ One ser. vice in a day is enough.'' Earnest godliness says, “ Awake up psaltery and harp, I myself will awake right early.“We will not forsake the house of our God.” Be in time. There can be no excuse in these days of active life, of railway travelling, of time tables, of clocks and watches set by “Greenwich time,” for late attendance. It is a triple evil. It robs the worshipper himself, it distracts the minister, it sets a bad example to the young, and to the unsaved. Do you think that THAT late offering is salted ? We fear not. DO YOU THINK THE LORD JESUS CHRIST WAS EVER LATE ?

“God never is before His time,

And never is behind." 3. To Personal Effort. Every disciple has, at least, one talent, and that one is to be accounted for and emploved in His service. Every Christian should be a labourer. “Would to God all the Lord's people were prophets"" The Saviour says to each, and to every disciple, “Why stand ye here all the day idle ?" Let us then each “ draw nigh" with the salted offering of personal service, and He will say, “ Ye have done it unto me.”

Prove all we have said, test it, by the worship which the “redeemed from among men " render in heaven. They make no mistake. They never weary in the service of the Lord. Every offering is a salted one. Love prompts it, it is freely given, they give the best. Why the best thing they wear is their crown, and that they place at His feet, saying, “ THOU ART WORTHY." They recognize the Atonement, “ Thou hast redeemed us by thy blood." In the sevenfold light of heaven where they “know even as they are known." their worship is as intelligent as ’tis devout; their sincerity and fidelity who will question ?

Heaven's worshippers fulfil the spirit of our text. Let us His disciples do so too, and with all our worship, all our "offerings, offer salt."



“See that ye be not troubled.”—Matt. xxiv. 6. SOMETIMES God seems to demand ! demand an impossibility when He tells impossibilities. Ever and anon re- i us to “ rejoice evermore.” Evermore ligion wears the aspect of anything | Not only when He gives, but when but a “reasonable service.” It was ' He takes: at the birth and the death so when Christ said to His disciples, 1 of privileges: in sickness and in " They need not depart; give ye them health. But who can do that? Again; to eat.” How strange! Feed more | God seems to demand an impossibility than five thousand with five loaves when He tells us to “ pray without and two small fishes? How could that ceasing.” Surely that is beyond Olli be? What a mysterious command! reach. Thomas de Quincy, in one or Not more so, however, than some that his essays, mentions a lamily in Hun. are given to us. To wit: God seems to | tingdonshire who, about the year 1630, made the attempt to keep up perpetual be not troubled.” Only think of it: Forship. Having a chapel and choir Jesus affirms that the earth never had of their own, their scheme was that | been and never would be the witness of chapel services should always be going such misery as was to be shortly exon by means of successive reliefs, as perienced. Nevertheless, le distinctly in camps or watches at sea. Come and deliberately enjoins them, “ See when you might, twilight, dawn, that ye be not troubled.” “ This is a Lion, or night, “ you might always | hard saying; who can hear it." rely on hearing through the woods Albeit, “things are not what they the blare of the organ, the penitential seem.” Whatever may appear, we wall of the solitary choristers, or the may be perfectly certain that God glad triumphant burst of the full never does expect impossibilities, cboir.” It need hardly be added that Thus we shall ever find it if we reconthis coon came to an end. How amid | sider the difficulties which baffle us at the business, pleasure, and domestic ! first sight. For example: not long duties of life we can maintain any- did the order, “Give yo them to eat," teng approaching continual suppli- sound absurd to those who received eaton is a problem to not a fow, the message. With a beautiful and Harlly less perplexing is the precept, child-like trust in the Master's power " In everything give thanks." We all and love, they take the scanty store know that there are occasions on which and begin to distribute it, when, lo! it is easy to do this; nay, there are it multiplies in their hands, and the Seasons wherein the difficulty is not to crowds - did all eat, and were filled." be grateful. When we feel the heavy We can, to return to another illustraburden fall off at the cross, and we tion, “ rejoice evermore." If we canare disposed almost literally to take not always rejoice in men, we can those“ great leaps of joy” that Bun always “rojcice in the Lord.” Be yin describes: when, on our journey earth never so barren, heaven is perbeaten ward, we are met by the three petually fruitful in springs of happiness Shining Ones; or when we behold and -happiness, too, which flows forth drav nearer, every hour, to the De irrespective of outward vexations and kectable Mountains, we may well calamities. Deep down beneath the praise and laud the name of our God. surface of the old ocean all is calm. Bat when we are in the dark dungeon Not a ripple disturbs those silent of Doubting Castle: when we sink fathoms. Storms that wreck gallant lov in the Slough of Despond: or vessels, tempests that destroy brave when we have to encounter the and noble navies may rage at the surPrecious follies of Vanity Fair, how face, but under all is unbroken quiet. dificult is it to “ give thanks.” The Such is the Christian's experience: at text is another case in point. It seems any rate, such it may and ought to as if the incarnate God demanded an be. Whatever may be his external impossibility of His disciples, by say circumstances, however sharp and seing, " See that ye be not troubled.” vere his trials, deep down in his soul To what does He refer? To a period is the eternal peace of God. We can, of unparalleled terror and suffering. too,“ pray without ceasing.” What He has in view the destruction of some of us have delighted to hear the Jerusalem and the tragic close of the devout bard sing about those who in Mosaic worship and economy. Sodread this loud, stunning tide of care and ful would be the calamities which crime “ carry music in their hearts" would occur that Christ declares wherever they may go, is true. We "there shall be great tribulation, such can maintain an habitual spirit of as was not from the beginning of the prayer, and that is what is meant by world to this time; no, nor ever shall the apostolic precept. We may be in be.” And yet he says, “ See that ye | such a state of mind as often to ejacu

late earnest and effectual supplication. , for trust and never justifiable reasons Have you ever noticed how often the for harassing care and alarm. Wemay word * Selah” occurs in the book of see this exemplified in that public Psalms ? It is used no less than calamity which has hardly yet passed seventy-four times. There has been | away from us-pestilence. There are not a little polemical pugilism and certain great consolatory doctrines philological fighting about its signi which we shall do well to remember ficance, but the most probable, and cer as a preventive of panic, should tainly the most beautiful explanation, cholera return, as well during all is the following: it means “ Raise,” national tribulations. “Lift up,” and it is supposed that “it 1 1. “See that ye be not troul led," marks a break or interval in the in for national calamities work out Goat's spiring influence of the Holy Ghost.” purposes. In the contextand the parallel The prophet or psalmist is enjoying passages in the other Evangelist, ve the full rapture of the vision, or im | find such phrases as “the coming of bibing the full stream of the doctrine, the Son of Man” and “the day of the when now, on a sudden, there comes Lord.” What do they mean? That a pause in the cherished communion.” the famines, battles, and pestilences Therefore the prayer is offered, brief, worked out His ends, and were overbut eager and prompt, “Lift up again ruled for great and good purposes. It

-Raise ; raise back to the lofty ele would be easy to prove that this was vation of thought which I have lost." done by the occurrences counected with Now, brethren, we can all cry Selah.the fall of Jerusalem. By war, the It occupies no great time; it involves world was delivered from many hopeno cessation from the daily duties lessly wicked men, whose lives were a which we may be about. In the shop, scourge; and by the destruction of the study, the parlour, or the market the Temple, the Jewish hold upon the place, when tempted to some sin, we old dispensation was shaken. may cry inwardly, “Selah-Lift up, O The fearful plague which has of latə God; keep thy seryant high above the been in our midst has worked out low level of this evil.” If we do so Divine ends. Cholera is undeniably a our selah will be our safety.

“ visitation of God," a Divine punishWe can“ in everything give thanks." ment. But let us be careful." Many If we can do no more, we can be are strangely illogical and unscriptural grateful that, in the midst of our in their explanation of the matter. troubles, we are not worse off. Bishop They remind us of the old man who Hall quaintly remarks, “For every tried to account for the existence of bad there might be a worse, and when the Goodwin Sands by the building of a man breaks his leg let him be thank Tenterden church-steeple. Now of ful it was not his neck.” When what is cholera a chastisement? "The Fenelon's library was on fire, “God be | Maynooth Grant," " Essays and Re praised," he exclaimed, “that it is views,” « High Churchism"-such are not the dwelling of some poor inan!" some of the replies given. We cannot And, as in these instances, so with the thus explain the pestilence. There is, text; Christ did not demand an im usually, a correspondence between the possibility when He said, “See that ye | nature of a sin and its punishment. be not troubled.” He taught facts and David sinned in numbering his soldiers, revealed truths which were equal to the and he is punished by thousands of work of giving them peace and confi them being destroyed. Again, King dence in the midst of the dreadful Jeroboam, sins with his hand, and his catastrophes which they were soon to hand is instantly withered. We believe witness. Norisit otherwise with us. In that cholera is a plague inflicted on us the event of great national disasters of for neglecting the laws of health. By every kind, there is everabundant reason the body we have transgressed; by the

« AnteriorContinuar »