is the shadow from the heat, the bread of life, the morning star, the sun of righteousness; all, and in all. No creature can be a substitute for Him; but He can supply the place of every creature. He is all my salvation, and all my desire; my hope, my peace, my life, my glory, and joy. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee? My flesh and my heart faileth, but thou art the strength of my heart and my portion for ever. I cannot be exposed, I cannot be friendless, I cannot be poor, I cannot be fearful, I cannot be sorrowful, with thee.Rev. William Jay.


"Come away; come instantly, or I will call your father," I heard a mother say to her child, who was playing in the street, before her window. I did not stop to learn the result, but I pitied the poor mother who had not power enough within herself to control her child, and who so unhesitatingly declared her inefficiency. A mother should never thus appeal to the father's authority to strengthen her own, nor should she admit, by thought, word, or deed, that her power is inferior to his. God never made it inferior; and He requires as prompt obedience to the one as to the other. The mother who allows herself thus to appeal to another, is continually weakening the authority she should exercise over her children. She is herself teaching them to disobey the "commandment with promise"-for what child can honour a mother too weak to govern him? During the first years of life, the mother is both teacher and ruler; it is then her authority ought to be established, and the father should then, and ever after, uphold it in its full supremacy. T. P. FOLLOW THE RIGHT.

and pleasure for yourself, is to do the right thing. You may not always hit the mark, but you should, nevertheless, always aim for it, and with every trial your skill will increase. Whether you are to be praised or blamed for it by others; whether it will seemingly make you richer or poorer, or whether no other person than yourself knows of your action; still, always, and in all cases, do the right thing. Your first lessons in this rule will sometimes seem hard ones, but they will grow easier and easier, until finally doing the right thing will become a habit, and to do a wrong will be an impossibility.

No matter who you are, what your lot, or where you live; you cannot afford to do that which is wrong. The only way to obtain happiness


Do not confound difficulties with hindrances. They are often sent by the Lord, to exercise and try our faith; hindrances, I think, never, although permitted through Satan and our own evil hearts. Difficulties are not necessarily hindrances, because the race is not to be run with speed, but with "patience;" and so, while difficulties are exercising faith, and drawing out energy of purpose and character, a man may be making great strides in his Christian race, and the difficulty be the very occasion of his progress. J. W. Reeve.

[ocr errors]


If He prayed who was without sin, how much more is the sinner bound to pray? And if He, watching through the whole night, prayed with continued supplications, how much more ought we, night and day, to watch in frequent prayer ?— St. Cyprian.


Let us acknowledge with shame and contrition that we have not hitherto lived up to our light. How rarely have we heard the Gospel like men in earnest, or read the Bible as if we were feeding on it, and prayed as if we wanted it!Ryle.


WE sing and part, and shall not meet Till leaves are brown beneath our feet


If so, the leaves we chance to tread,
For haply they may fall, instead,
In silence on our lowly head!

Dead autumn leaves! that flutter down To bury all the graves in brown!

By what new stones are they to fall?

The friends whose loving names we call

Are few, and we would keep them all!

Yet now we part, as we have met,
In merry mood, with no regret-

Except that oft a merry mood
Soon leaves us pensive and subdued,
And sorrow fills our solitude.
What social hours we now recall,
We end them here, for these are all ;
The night wanes late, the dews fall

The gladdest hours are soonest past, We stay, to lengthen out the last.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]


MAN weigheth gold; each fragment slight,

Each atom of its glittering dust, He in the well-poised balance lays, And marks with unforgetful trust. Man weigheth words; the fleeting


That's coined within this mortal frame,

May waken anger unto death,
Or kindle love's exulting flame.
God weighs the spirit; oh, beware,
Ye who by guile your sins would
There is an eye you cannot 'scape,

A sun-ray rends the darkest cloud. And when the gold the rust shall eat, The tongue be silent in the tomb, The motives of the secret soul

Give verdict in the day of doom.


Personal Religion.


"Bless the Lord, O my soul," &c.-PSALM ciii. 1, 2.

THE book of Psalms is the Christian's handbook of devotion. It has hymns of praise for the soul's festivals, and strains of lamentation for its fasts-an appropriate psalm for every season and occasion of life. So you will find different psalms favourites with different persons; and the same person will feel this precious, or that, as his personal experience happens to vary. Luther, the champion of a rising church, surrounded by enemies, called the 110th psalm his psalm. Every broken-hearted penitent appropriates the 51st. The care-worn and troubled spirit finds comfort in the 37th, which bids us roll our burden upon the Lord. The 23rd is a favourite with every child of grace, setting out on life's eventful path, and needing a Shepherd's care. Those who feel the shadows of declining years, and the chill airs of death cooling the ardour of their vigour, find solemn sympathy in the psalm of Moses, the man of God. The meditative spirit, seeking strength from God, delights in the 119th, which magnifies God's Word above all His name. Anxious fears seek surest solace in that celebration of God's providential care numbered in our Bibles the 139th. This kind of remark might be extended to other portions of this precious book, but this 103rd psalm may, I think, be entitled "Everybody's Psalm." It has the power of expressing our highest gratitude and joy; and yet is so full of Divine sympathy and comfort, that you may read or sing it to a troubled spirit, and never be charged with the heartlessness of singing songs to a heavy heart. Its opening verses are like the sounding of the silver trumpets, with which the priests of God's ancient worship summoned the congregation to His praise. I desire to give distinctness to their strain by detaining your attention upon their meaning. Perhaps we may find opportunity to go all through the psalm, and open up some of its treasures of wisdom and grace on our way. Everybody should be familiar with everybody's psalm, "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name."



I. The psalmist here, by his example, admonishes us to stir up our souls to thankful praise.

Generally speaking, "to bless God" means to praise Him; e. g., "I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth;" but it is quite worth while to notice the under-lying difference between "blessing" and "praise." The Hebrew word, to bless, is literally to cause to kneel, because a son receiving his father's blessing knelt before his parent, who, with hands outstretched, invoked God's favour upon him. Thus the word acquired the more general signification of desiring another's welfare-speaking well of him as deserving favour and praise. To praise a man was simply to commend him; to bless him, was to commend him before God. Blessing, then, is an act of the soul in its tenderest and most devout mood, and is most of all due to Him whose well-being we ought chiefly to desire, were it within our power to promote it. To bless God, is to praise Him with the feeling that we are bound to speak well of Him, by the tenderest and most sacred obligations. We praise Him when we magnify His perfections; we bless Him when we gratefully remember them as the source of all our good. Blessing is thankful praise.

The psalmist admonishes us to excite our hearts to this grateful service. Awake," he says, addressing the instruments with which he made melody before the Lord, "awake, psaltery and harp, I myself will awake right early." We need to set ourselves by express resolution to bless God.

[ocr errors]

There are seasons in our lives when our souls are so filled with the sense of God's goodness that the hours fly by, and find the melodious strains of thanksgiving still ringing in our hearts. Though we engage in the most common affairs of life, our souls are still hovering about the gate of heaven, reluctant to return co the things of sense and time. The memory of His great goodness is for the time so strong, as to make it difficult to bend the soul to any meaner pursuit than praise. But such seasons are rare. Only three of the disciples, who accompanied our Lord from the beginning of His ministry to its close, were upon the Mount of Transfiguration, and they only once. For the most part, the attractions of earth are stronger than those of heaven, and the Giver of all good is too often forgotten in the enjoyment of His gifts. Hence our need of times set apart, and of places sacred to such high employments, that, as by engagements solemnly made,

our souls may be bound to this reasonable and comely service. If we were never to set ourselves to praise God, but when the mood came upon us, as the spontaneous offspring of our inward life, our lips and hearts would know longer intervals of silence than they even now do. Recollections forced upon us from without, often serve the purpose of awakening the harp-strings of the soul; hence it is our wisdom to make resolutions binding ourselves to this practice on certain stated occasions, that, as letters sent by a traveller before he starts upon his journey, they may secure for us some suitable seasons of refreshment in the journey of life. II. The psalmist instructs us how to set about this excellent service: Let all that is within me bless His holy name."

He addresses his soul, and invokes ail the powers of his nature, to engage in blessing the Lord. He does not mean his soul in distinction from his body; but as all true worship is the worship of the spirit, his soul here stands for himself. Further, "All that is within him," means all the energies and capacities of his nature, whether manifested visibly through the body, or only expressed in thought. He summons eye and ear, hand and tongue, as well as thought and feeling. The whole man-body, soul, and spiritis expected to answer to the call.

There are apparent trifles of posture and demeanour in worship, which often carry with them serious consequences. A man may praise God when his hands are full of work; he may pray with his eyes open as well as with them shut; he may muse his praise as acceptably as he can say or sing it; he may worship as spiritually when lying on his bed, or seated in his chair, as when standing in the sanctuary, or kneeling in his chamber. He may do so, but whether he generally will, is another question. I think he will not. I think we need to be reminded by our very posture of what we are doing, If, too, we stop eye-gate against intrusions from without, we have only ear-gate to guard. To read aloud, and to pray aloud, is a check upon the wanderings of thought, as every one's experience must convince him. Besides, as God has given to our bodies various powers of expression, it must, I think, be most acceptable to Him when we can come before Him with these. The humble attitudes of the body, and the sad or joyous tones of the voice, are a kind of temple furniture, bestowed as natural endowments upon every worshipper, that he may always worship in decency and in order. An aged Christian, whom I visited, and who was harassed by a racking cough, on my telling

« 上一页继续 »