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is called? Yes, blessed be God, there is. There is “a good part which can never be taken away from us."
There is a rock, which will stand unshaken when the earth is re« moved and the mountains, are carried into " the midst of the sea.” The believer's pol's tion will be uninjured or when the heavens “ shall pass away with a great noise, and the " elements shall melt with fervent heat, when “the earth and all the works that are therein « shall be burned up.” In the favour of God, in communion with Him, and in obedience to His will, “true joys are to be “ found”-joys which are not, like those of the world, mingled with sorrow, disturbed by fear, and short-lived as the crackling of blazing thorns ;-but solid, permanent, durable, unmixed, and ever improving. Of these joys the Christian believer experiences a foretaste here below, while through grace he is enabled to “ love the thing which God commandeth, and “ to desire that which He doth promise.” Even here he is indulged with an occasional taste of Eshcol's grapes, whereby the flavour of the fruits of Canaan is ascertained. He has the earnest of the Spirit in his heart, the first-fruits of a future harvest in reversion. What he here enjoys is, however, but a foretaste. « In God's
presence there is fulness of joy, and at His "right hand are pleasures for evermore."
O let us cordially join in imploring grace, that we may “love what God commands, and desire “ what He promises,” to the end “ that our “ hearts may surely there be fixed where true
joys are to be found, through Jesus Christ our “ Lord !” For then we shall be out of the reach of the storm, and we shall be no more affected by
“ the sundry and manifold changes of the world” than the rocky shore by the tumult of the sea which rages at its base. Throughout life and in death we shall have support and consolation which the world cannot give nor take away; and, after death, shall experience the consummation of all our wishes. * Even so, Lord Jesus. Amen.
* Let the Christian finish this meditation by reading
O Lord, from whom all good things do come ; grant to us thy humble servants, that by thy holy inspiration we may think those things that be good, and by thy merciful guiding may perform the same, through our Lord Jesus Christ. Ämer. T is the doctrine of the Scriptures that “ every
good gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, and cometh down from the Father of
lights, with whom is no variableness nor shadow “ of turning.'
And this assertion is interwoven. with all the forms of our church, whether devotional or doctrinal. Like a golden thread it runs through our whole liturgy, articles and homilies, and both beautifies and enriches them.
The corruption of the human heart is too deep and wide to be explored by a finite capacity. God only knows its height and depth, its length ad breadth. “The heart is deceitful above all things, “ and desperately wicked; who can know it?" Among other proofs of its depravity, its selfrighteousness is prominent. It remains even after conversion. The fabric is then indeed sapped, but it is not intirely demolished. Our proneness to hide or extenuate our guilt is a fruit of this noxious weed. We are the fallen children of him who foolishly attempted to hide bimself from God among the trees of Paradise. We try, like him, to transfer the guilt of our nature and practice from ourselves to something else, and even impiously ascribe it to God rather than take it intirely to ourselves. Blasphemy is one of those
evils which proceed naturally from the heart of man. (Mat. vii. 22.)
It has been supposed that St. James, from whom we have cited the above passage on which the introduction of our collect appears to be founded, perceived some symptoms of this spirit among the members of the primitive church to whom he wrote, and that this occasioned his caution in ver. 13.
“Let no man say when he is tempted, “ I am tempted of God: for God cannot be “ tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any “ man: But every man is tempted, when he is “ drawn away of his own lust and' enticed. Then “ when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin; " and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth “ death." The cause of all our evil thoughts and evil works is connatural to us it is in ourselves. The Apostle adds, for the vindication of the Divine character and for the purpose of leading the mind to just views of God, “Do not err, my be“ loved brethren. Every good gift, and every
perfect gift, is from above, and cometh down “ from the Father of lights, with whom is no va“ riableness, nor shadow of turning.”. Nothing but good, pure and unmixed good, proceeds from God; and from Him all good of every kind constantly flows in a copious and uninterrupted stream. For as from the sun in the firmament, which the heathens have called “the Father of “ lights,” all good in the natural world is derived as its secondary cause; so all good, both natural and spiritual, is derived primarily from God. The material sun is however variable in its effects. No sooner doth it reach its meridian height than it begins to descend towards the west: the year no sooner attains its summer's heat, than it begins to. verge towards winter again. But God is “the
" same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.” “ With “ Him is no variableness nor shadow of turning." His grace and power are inexhaustible and eternal.
On these truths our present collect is founded. It contains-a preface, ascribing all good to God; --and a prayer for sanctifying inspiration from Him.
“ All good things come from God.” Creation and Providence are both exclusively His works. With respect to the former, He looked thereon when He had finished it, and “ behold it was “ very good,” exactly conformed to the model of His own wisdom and goodness. And with respect to the latter, though “ clouds and dark
ness are round about Him, yet righteousness “and judgment are the habitation of His throne.” “ The Lord is righteous in all His ways, and holy “ in all His works.” When the mysteries of Divine Providence are unravelled and disclosed to view, as they probably will be when the coil is all wound up, Divine wisdom, goodness, holiness and righteousness, will be apparent in all its dispensations. It will be then evident that " the Lord “ is good, and doth good.”
All our natural powers and providential supplies come from God. * We have nothing that we have not received from Him. “In Him we live, and “ move, and have our being." He “made us “and not we ourselves.” He “ upholdeth our • souls in life.” He causeth the sun to shine, and the rain to descend. He “ crowneth us with " loving kindness and tender mercies.” He “ satisfieth our mouths with good things.
But our collect relates more particularly to spiritual blessings, as appears from the prayer which follows this ascription of all good to God. Man is by nature “dead in trespasses and sins;" and it VOL. II.