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to our circumstances, to “be content with such things as we have.” It has been truly said, “ Nature is content with little, grace with less."
“ Man wants but little here below,
Nor wants that little long." The passage at the head of this article conjoins contentment with godliness, as though they were inseparable ; and certainly they should be, though, unhappily, there are too many who we trust are godly, who yet are too prone to murmuring and repining.
It was but natural that Ahab, with a kingdom for his own, should desire Naboth's vineyard ; and that Haman, with all his honours, should have a mind rankling with discontent because Mordecai refused to do him homage ;—but it is grievous to hear so brave a spirit as that of Elijah requesting for himself that he might die, saying, “It is enough now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am not better than my fathers": or to find Jonah murmuring at the loss of his gourd, and replying against God, by saying, “I do well to be angry, even unto death.” We cannot doubt the godliness of these prophets, but we must mourn over their discontent. What a happy contrast to these is presented in the case of Job, who, in the loss of all, could say, "The Lord gave, and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord”; and of Paul, when old and grey-headed, and a prisoner at Rome, saying, “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am therewith to be content."
The absence of this grace is not peculiar to the poor, for in the experience of many a poor widow we have witnessed the truth of the wise man's words, “ Better is little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith.” And this may be accounted for because the godly poor, having so little to trouble them of this world's cares and riches, have the eye of faith clearer to discern their heavenly inheritance; just as a bird with a little eye, and the advantage of its wings to soar with, can survey a wider landscape than the ox with a greater; and, as good old Trapp has it, “ It is not the great cage that makes the bird sing, dor is it the great estate that brings the most cordial contentment. A single staff may help a traveller, but a bundle of staves would be a burden to him.” Hence the counsel of our Lord Himself: “ Take heed and beware of covetousness, for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” Had it been so that human happi. ness was always in a direct ratio with earthly possessions—then Solomon must have been happy to satiety ; for he certainly commanded all that earth calls good and great. His were the royal palaces, the gardens and orchards with all kinds of fruits, servants and maidens, silver and gold, men singers and women singers ; and was he satisfied ? Alas! for the mournful confession, “All was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.”—Eccles. ii. How much more to be desired the contentment of the woman of Shunem, who, when the prophet offered to speak for her to the king, or to the captain of the host, to obtain, it would seem, promotion for her husband, eisher at
court or in the army, replied, “I dwell among mine own people."
—2 Kings iv. 13. Bunyan says nothing about the owner of the flocks and herds in the Valley of Humiliation, but he gives the song of the poor shepherd's boy,
“I am content with what I have,
Little be it or much:
Because thou savest such.” And adds, “I will dare to say, this boy lives a merrier life, and wear more of the herb called heart's-ease in bis bosom, than many that are clad in silk and velvet.”
Let it, however, not be understood that we intend by contentment, indifference to the afflictions and sorrows of life. We are not Stoics becanse we are Christians. The precepts of philosophy may silence, but not content us ; they may dispose us to conceal our sorrow, but cannot assuaga it; they may induce stubbornness, but the religion of Christ only can give patience. Job's patience, and Eli's submission to the will of God, were perfectly consistent with the deepest and keenest sorrow of heart an herein is the grace of God manifested, that, side by side with the mental agony, there should be the pious resignation. Or, to take a higher example, although our Lord's soul was "exceeding sorrowful,” yet He exclaimed, “Not my will, but thine be done."
Nor by contentment do we mean satisfaction with our spiritual cutdition, and, consequently, it does not exclude anxiety on that account Previous to conversion, Paul was well content with himself, “ concerning the law blameless.” Never was there a more striking example of secomplacency, and so he would have been content to live and so to die ; but hear him when “the scales had fallen from his eyes”: “Not as thongh I had already attained, either were already perfect. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended, but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before," &c. Nor could he be content with himself when he cried, “O wretched man, that I am,” &c. No, perfect contentment with ourselves pertains only to the future : “Then shall I be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness."
By contentment, then, we mean acquiescence in all the dispensations of Providence. They may be painful, but we do well to reflect they are ti arrangements of infinite wisdom. If our Heavenly Father sees that we carry too much sail of worldly ease or prosperity, let us not only be content but grateful, that He ballasts our vessel with tribulation, that “50 He may bring us to the desired haven."
In all our troubles we do well also to think of the many mitigations by which they are softened, or relieved. It has been said, that in America, where rattlesnakes abound, a herb grows plentifully, of which if those who are bitten eat, they are healed; whether this be true or not, we have a more sure word of testimony in the precious premises scattered up and down in the field of revelation, which provide a balm
For every wound; so, “ He stayeth his rough wind in the day of his east vind.” Moreover, our present trials are transient. A surgeon will endeavour to soothe his patient's mind under a painful operation, by aying, “It will soon be over.” So let it induce our contentment with Oresent trouble, to be assured that soon it will be over, and that then we hall say, “All is well.” How much more may the Christian be content vith the provisions of grace. David was, when--although the affairs of his house, his family, and kingdom were not as he could desiro-he vuld say : “He hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in I things, and sure.” In a word, having Christ, we have all. It has een said of some men they are so rich they know not the amount of heir own wealth. This may certainly be said of the Christian, for, “All hings are yours.” Make the inventory as large as you may, you cannot beyond “the unsearchable riches of Christ.” It was a good saying of
old divine-Christ is honey to the mouth, music to the ear, and joy o the heart. O, believer! art thou not therefore content? When God Limself saith, “O, inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge e, what more could have been done to my vineyard that I have not line in it" } surely we may well be content with the blood that ardons, the righteousness which justifies, and the fulness from which God will supply all our needs according to his riches, in glory, by Christ Jesus."
In conclusion, we recommend the example of a pious bishop, who, bough encompassed with trials and bereavements, upon being asked how e, in the midst of it all, maintained such peace of mind, replied: “In hatever state I am, I first of all look up to heaven, and remember that jy principal business is to get there; I then look down upon the irth, and call to mind the small space I shall shortly occupy in it; then look abroad into the world, and observe what multitudes there e who in all respects have more cause to be unhappy than myself: Ius I learn where true happiness is found, where all our cares must end, ad how very little, or no reason, I have to repine or complain.”
And may we not all learn contentment when we consider how many e deaf, dumb, halt, lame, and blind? How many are in lunatic asylums, i prisons, and in banishment ? Above all, how many are without Christ
the world ? 0, Christian reader ! thou mayst be poor, very poor, Hicted, and forlorn, but be content that thou art “rich in faith, and an eir of the kingdom of God.” Then most joyfully mayst thou sing :
“ Beyond the smiling and the weeping,
I shall be soon;
I shall be soon;
Lord, tarry not, but come.” Bury St. Edmund's.
When our souls on the wings of devotion arise,
For cash seems to clash with our holiest moods ;
But 'tis all a mistake! for e'en Money should
The Mammon unrighteous all-holy may be ;
The mite the poor widow to God's house doth bear,
THE FAMILY LIBRARY. We have received with peculiar pleasure, The Mystery of Growth and ther Discourses, * by the Rev. Edward White. Mr. White is too well nown to the readers of “The Church,” for any production of his to need
be praised to them; but we cannot help referring to the thoughtful, amnest, manly character of these Discourses, as a reason why they should e extensively and thoughtfully read. The book is divided into five arts. First, we have Discourses on the Elements of Faith ; then, Disourses on the History and Character of the Lord Jesus Christ; then, hiscourses on some of the Christian Doctrines ; then, Practical Disourses on Personal Character; then, Discourses on Matters relating to he Church. Thus, there are thirty discourses in all; and we venture to ay that there is not a discourse in which is not presented a new thought, I an old thought presented in a new and striking way. We thank Ir. White for his volume; and cannot help expressing the wish, that so Duch sanctified genius and culture as it exhibits might find occupation in some larger and more connected work, which we believe the world would not“ willingly let die."
A volume, smaller than Mr. White's, and yet very valuable is, Lectures for the Times on Biblical Difficulties and Ecclesiastical Affairs,t by the Rev. J. L. Whitley, of Salford. We cannot confess agreement with all Str. Whitley's opinions, any more than with those of Mr. White; but the volume before us is a masterly one, and deals in a manly and most able manner on subjects of great moment, and to which much attention is now being directed. Among the topics of the Lecturesthirteen in number—we have the following :-Christianity and the Spirit 01 the Age ; Broad Church Principles; the Pentateuch and Bishop Colenso; the Bible and the Supernatural; the Bible in Relation to Science and Modern Thought; Ritualism ; the Anglican Confessional. All these topics, and the rest, are dealt with in a thoughtful, candid spirit, and in a very vigorous style. We could wish the book to be widely read, especially by young men, to whom we earnestly commend it.
To young men also we commend, The Young Man Setting Out in Life, by the Rev. William Guest. Mr. Guest is well known as a zealous and intelligent minister of the Independent denomination in London. During his whole ministerial life, he has taken great interest in the young, and this book is only one expression of his desire for their salvation. The book contains four chapters, or discourses :-1. Life, how you should use ht; 2. Sceptical Doubts, how you may solve them; 3. Power of Character, how you may assert it ; 4. Grandeur of Destiny, how you may reach it. On all these important subjects, the author has much that is forcible to say. We trust his devout hopes may be realized, and that many young men may be induced by his carnest words “to choose Christ and all His mighty love."
† Simpkin, Marshall, & Co.
Jackson, Walford, & Hodder