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God's people, but from God's word. For, if they learn it from God's people, what will they find ? They will find themselves in the midst of a number of persons, too many of whom appear, as I have said already, to consider nothing beyond their own salvation. They will find themselves amongst a number of men and women, whose religion—that of many of them at least-gets no higher, has no other object, than that of getting comfort for their own souls. True, if these inquirers attend a prayer meeting, they hear many apparently earnest petitions for the progress of Christ's kingdom: if they visit the public assemblies, they hear sung with much vigour and feeling such songs as this
“ Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.”
But they speedily find that the religion of the prayer meeting is a very different thing from the religion of the daily life. They find that too often, as Mr. Ward Beecher says, “men pray cream, and live skimmilk." My brethren, let me entreat you to make the effort to enter into the thought, that to work for Christ is the greatest privilege that can come to you — the highest honour that can come to any man this side the grave. For, let us never forget, that Christ did not need us at all. He could have done his work much more easily, and much more speedily, without us. He could have found agents who would not have needed urging, as we alas do. What if He had selected the angels for his messengers! What if he had commanded the seraphs to fly from heaven, and to visit the earth, with the everlasting Gospel in their hands! That He did not do so must have been only because he wished to reserve this privilege for his saints : Jle desired for them the triumph and the reward. Angels already served Him. Before his throne they continually stood ; or else on errands that He bid them they winged their way from world to world and system to system. If this work also had been given to the angels, there would have been nothing for the saints on earth to do. Oh, if the Lord had left us no way of manifesting our love to Him! Where then would have been the patience of the Saints” – where then would have been the noble zeal of the Martyrs ? As it is, the Church is ennobled by the work she has done for her Lord. His battles have been her battles; his victories have been her victories ; his triumph shall be her triumph also, when the last battle shall have been fought, and the last victory won. By giving us work for Him to do, our Master has opened up to us the prospect of a richer recompense. Heaven would have been a poorer heaven, if there had been no toil and no conflict on earth. As it is, Heaven is Rest, Heaven is VICTORY.
" There is the throne of David;
And there, from toil released,
The song of them that feast.
Por 10w we fight the battle,
But then we wear the crore,
And passionless renown." As we shall be thankful for the renown, let us be thankful for the work that wins it. Let us prize highly the battle that brings to us the crown. If we do so, we shall need no other argument to form in us the “ mind to work."
Finally, and briefly, let me say that the having "a mind to work,” implies and includes an earnest sympathy uith, and longing for, the RESULTS of work. Who can believe that the pious Jews had not an earnest sympathy with and longing for the results of the work which they did under the leadership of Nehemiah? The city of Jerusalem, as we have seen, was lying waste : it had no walls, and no gates : the heathen came upon the people to pillage the country, to rob and murder the inhabitants: their only hope lay in the rebuilding of the walls : no wonder that they had “a mind to work." And we ourselves must have an earnest sympathy with and longing for the results of our work, before that work can be a delight to us. Our work is to save souls,mour longing must be to see them saved : our work is to extend Christ's kingdom,—our longing must be to see that kingdom extended, and to know that the mountain of the Lord's house is being established on the tops of the mountains. But here I come into controversy with a certain class of theologians, who yet have a large amount of truth on their side. They tell us—these men do—that it is ours only to work,—that with God, as a Sovereign, are the results; and the conclusion they draw from this proposition is, that, if we do the work appointed to us faithfully, we should rest satisfied, even if no results attended our labours. My brethren, I agree entirely with the proposition of these theologians, I differ as completely from the corollary they would deduce from it. It is indeed ours to work—with God alone are the results of our work : but, if we work earnestly and faithfully, God has promised that we shall not be without results; and, if we are without results, the fault consequently is ours, and not his. There is a passage in St. Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians, that is often misquoted in this connection. “ Paul may plant,” we are told, “and Apollos may water, but it is God alone who can give the increase.” But the sentiment thus expressed, however true, is not the sentiment of the apostle. His words are literally,—"I planted, Apollos watered, God gave the increase : ” and the inference to be drawn from the words is, obviously, that when Paul plants, and when Apollos waters (or when those do these things who are their successors in the work), God does “ give the increase.” My brethren, I unhesitatingly avow the conviction, that, when we work anyhow for God, we ought not only to long, but to look, for the result. The result is in harmony with God's purposes : we are God's appointed agents to secure that result:
surely, if this be so, and if we labour faithfully, we shall not have to labour in vain nor to spend our strength for nought. I call upon you, my hearers, to encourage and cultivate the longing that the world may be turned to God. In that longing, you are in sympathy with God himself: in encouraging that longing, you are in harmony with his mediatorial system, and with all the processes He has been working out all through the ages : in doing the work to which that longing must lead, you are co-working with Him, and you are hastening the issue which He has pledged himself to his people to reach, and which is to be the chief recompense of his Divine Son. Oh, is it not an inspiring thought, that we can do anything to hasten the coming of the Redeemer's kingdom ? Every soul we save, brings the coming of that kingdom nearer ; every little child, that we teach to lisp lovingly his name, brings the coming of that kingdom nearer ; every man or woman, whom we are enabled to lead from the darkness into the light, brings the coming of that kingdom nearer; every dying eye, that we can induce to look up to the Cross, and that does look up, even in the eleventh hour, brings the coming of that kingdom nearer. When that kingdom is come, how will those rejoice, whether they are on earth or in heaven, who have done anything, however little, to hasten the consummation! Then, the predictions of the prophets will have been fulfilled ; then, the prayers of the patriarchs will have been answered; then, the aspirations of the apostles and of the martyrs will have been realized; then, the declaration of the Saviour_“I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men to me ”-that declaration, spite of all opposition, will be proved at last to be true and divine ! Yes, and then, every soul that you have been the means of bringing to the Saviour, will be more precious in your eyes than princes' diadems,-for " they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars for ever and ever.” Can I suggest to you a higher consideration as a reason why you should have a "mind to work”?
So then let us begin the New Year with “a mind to work” for Christ. For all we do for Him He will richly reward us. All we do He will make a means of grace to us. And, when the years are over, and we come to stand before his throne, the eternity of REST will be all the Sweeter, if, during the years of labour, we have had “a mind to WORK."
THE OLD SCOTCHMAN'S PRAYER. I was pleased the other day with clad, and partly deaf, but he trusted a story which an aged Scotch minister in the Lord whom he served, and told me about an old Scotchman, rejoiced in his kind providence. On who, many years ago, was on his his way to the meeting he fell in way to a meeting of the people of | with another Christian brother, a God, held in a tent, or some such younger man, bound on the same temporary structure.
errand, and they travelled on toThe old pilgrim was poor and ill gether.
When they had nearly reached while in the rear of the congregation, the place of meeting, it was proposed | making an ear trumpet of his hand that they should turn aside behind to catch the words, until some one the hedge, and have a little praying near the pulpit noticed him, and before they entered the meeting. | beckoning him forward gave him a They did so, and the old man, who good seat upon the front bench. had learned in every thing to let his During the prayer the old man knelt requests be made known unto God, | down, and after he rose, a lady who presented his case in language like | had noticed his shoes, said to him, the following:
“ Are those the best shoes you “Lord, ye ken weel enough that have ?” I'm deaf, and I want a seat on the b. “Yes,” said he, “but I expect first bench if ye can let me have it, my Father will get me a new pair so that I can hear thy word. And very soon.” ye see that my toes are sticking "Come with me after meeting,” through my shoes, and I don't think said the lady," and I will get you a it is much to your credit to have new pair.” your children's toes sticking through The service closed, and he went their shoes, and therefore I want ye with her to her house. to get me a pair of new ones. And “Shall you stay during the meetye ken I have nae siller, and I want ing ?” said the good woman as they to stay there during the meeting, went along. and therefore I want you to get me “I would, but I am a stranger a place to stay."
in the place, and have nae siller." When the old man had finished his “Well,” said she, “ you will be quaint petition, and they had started perfectly welcome to make your on, his younger brother gently sug home at our house during the gested to him that he thought his meeting.” prayer was rather free in its forms The old man thanked the Lord of expression, and hardly as reve that He had given him all the three rential as seemed proper to him in things he had asked for; and, while approaching the Supreme Being. his younger brother's reverence for But the old man did not accept the the Lord was right and proper, it is imputation of irreverence.
possible that he might have learned “Ho's my Father," said he, “and that there is a reverence that reaches I'm well acquainted with Him, and higher than the forms and convenHe's well acquainted with me, and I tionalities of human taste, and which take great liberties with Him.” Soleads the believer to come boldly to they went on to the meeting to- | the throne of grace to find all needed gether. The old man stood for a 'help in every trying hour.
FOR NEW YEAR'S DAY.
BY THE LATE REV. F. LEONARD, LL.B.
ANOTHER Year is dead!
Though oft my heart hath bled !
Another Year is born!
With anxious fears be torn !
Another Year is born!
By Mercy's hand be torn!
THE FAMILY LIBRARY. As it is the beginning of the year, we have had much pleasure in receiving, and have equal pleasure in recommending, Old Merry's Annual for 1868.* To those who have boys in their families, the appearance of this Annual will be very welcome, for they will have many quiet hours while the boys are reading it ;, and we can testify that the boys themselves like it, for its appearance on our table was greeted by several glistening eyes, and we have had much difficulty in keeping it on our table long enough for the purposes of this review. If we must confess the truth, however, we have been somewhat selfish in keeping it on our table. We wished to read it for our own sakes. With almost the eagerness of boys we have read the principal tale, “Silver Lake; or, Lost in the Snow," which we observe is published now in a separate volume ; and much of the other contents will, we are sure, be read with pleasure by men as well as by boys. For a boy's magazine, at any rate, we know nothing comparable with “ Merry and Wise,” or, “Old Merry's Annual."
Other magazines for the young have made their appearance on our table. The Children's Friend, † and The Infant's Magazine,'t have had as hearty a welcome as “ Old Merry.” They are for younger children. In these magazines, the pictures are specially attractive. Never have we seen more beautiful specimens of wood-engraving for their class, than cover almost every page of these volumes. And the reading is equally good. Simple enough for children, and yet not childish, there is no child but will read it with avidity. The volumes have our heartiest recom. mendation, and they are only eighteenpence each.
Of graver volumes, we have only space to mention this month, Biblical Expositions, Lectures, Sketches of Sermons, &c., by the late
* Jackson, Walford, & Hodder.