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Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased. I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety."
This peace, flowing from the cultivation of true religion, shall be abundant like a river: "Great peace have they which love thy law." God is able to give us, not only peace, but great peace. He is an infinite fountain of good, from whence happiness flows in abundance like a river, to all who seek their happiness in Him. He can give us peace in seasons of the greatest affliction. This peace shall be pure like a river, for it flows from a pure fountain, and makes us pure. This is not impure, like the false peace of the wicked.-Rev. xx. 1. And it is abiding. This will flow on for ever, like the constant flow of a river. And it tends to promote our usefulness. This peace promotes gratitude, and gratitude prompts us to live to the glory of our gracious Benefactor. God blesses us, and then we become a blessing to others. This peace is progressive; it often increases as we get nearer eternal home. Then see the blessedness of the obedient. The way to promote the happiness of the world is to try and promote obedience to the will of God.
happiness in Himself. That God desires men to be happy is clear from the means He employs to promote it. These are truly wonderful, they have been long continued, and are very numerous. This is seen in the glorious work of the Saviour. Man cannot be restored to true happiness unless he is restored to true holiness. When perfectly holy, he will be perfectly happy. Now the benevolent design of the work of Christ is the removal of sin. Matt. i. 21. He saves His people from this by His atonement, teaching, and gracious influence. The gift of Christ, therefore, shows that God is interested in your happiness. He has at a vast cost made provision for your eternal salvation. Man cannot be happy unless he is saved, and there is no salvation apart from Christ. His work gives us an encouraging view of the deep interest God takes in the welfare of man. This is also seen in the institution of the Christian ministry, which seeks to bring sinners into a state of reconciliation with God. And this is seen in the work of the Holy Spirit, the promises He has made, the home He has prepared, the constitution of the Christian church, and even in the design of our trials, for they are intended to check evil, and to promote our sanctification, and thus to increase our happiness.-Rom. viii. 28. Then what confidence is justly due to God, and what love and reverence. He seeks to make millions happy, and happy for ever. And this He has been doing for ages, and He contrives to employ means for this benevolent purpose, notwithstanding
The language of the text shows that God earnestly desires men to be brought into the possession of true happiness. He is happy Himself, and wishes others to be happy; but this is impossible unless they hearken to Him, and are obedient to His will, and seek their
all the wickedness of men. this glorious Being must have powerful claims to our gratitude, affection, and homage. The kindness of men will affect us, and ought not the kindness of God? The subject should encourage us to persevere in religion, for this is the way to increase our happiness. Are you obedient? H. H.
THE FATAL MISTAKE. "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved."JER. viii. 20.
FELLOW-SINNER, have you ever seriously, solemnly, as in the sight of God, pondered these words? What have you been sowing during your past life? Every hour you have lived has had an influence
on your eternal state. You may not have thought so; you may still think that all the actions you have committed are gone into oblivion, forgotten, passed over, never to be recalled to your remembrance. It is a great mistake, for they have gone before you to judgment, as dark witnesses to appear against you, if you die impenitent, unforgiven. The wages of sin is death, and this is eternal in duration. Every sin you have committed, subjects you to the penalty of death, for the soul that sinneth shall die, and perish eternally. It is an awful thing to die impenitent, unprepared, and then to fall into the hands of the living God. If the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?-1 Peter iv. 18. A mistake once made cannot be rectified in eternity. The seed you now sow
will spring up, and bear fruit either for good or evil. We are incessantly pleasing or displeasing God, according to the spirit which influences our inward feelings, motives, and daily actions. The hidden sins of the heart will all come to light. Not one will be missing, when the righteous Judge shall summon you to His bar to give an account of your stewardship. Every hour you spend sends up its record on high. There is no escape from the all-seeing eye of God. Have you ever thought seriously on this searching investigation, unceasingly going on? To trifle with sin is the forerunner of endless woe. It lays the foundation of everlasting ruin. An impenitent sinner, who hardens his heart against conviction, light, and truth, and perseveres in a course of folly, sensual pleasure, and self-gratification, writes his own condemnation. Wilfully to neglect the invitations of the Gospel to believe in Jesus, and to accept salvation through faith in His atoning blood, is to reject the offer of mercy, and rush headlong into danger. To resist conscience is a sin of the deepest dye. Delays are dangerous. Many are lost for ever, because they have not accepted the offer of mercy to-day. They have been blinded by the delusion and deceitfulness of the present life. They are bartering their souls for some earthly good, for some fleeting gain. They are eagerly following the bent of their inclinations, and dreaming of future pleasure or aggrandisement. They are immersed in business, with thoughts and desires engrossed on an earthly portion, as if there was no moral respon
sibility, no account to be rendered hereafter of the stewardship. Strange infatuation, that the soul-so capable of the highest enjoyments, and destined for immortality-should thus be under the withering influence of some passing earthly object! How many make the fatal mistake for want of reflection? To think in earnest on the past and future, in reference to the great salvation, is the first step towards the kingdom of heaven. The want of deep reflection on the vast interests at stake is one great cause for the loss of the soul. Many are ruined because they will not give heed to the reproofs of conscience, to faithful admonition, to a searching, inquiry of the truth in order to realise their real condition in the sight of God. The Bible is to them a sealed book, the revelation of God treated as a tale, the threatenings unheeded, the promises despised, and the future, with all its fearful realities, treated as a fiction. Yet, amid all apparent unconcern for the soul's salvation, there is often a deep uneasiness, a secret trembling, a fear of passing suddenly into the next world, a dread of death, the appearing before the tribunal of the righteous Judge. There are fearful misgivings and forebodings of the coming judgment. The voice of conscience is strong and powerful, and proclaims, as with thunder, "There is a hereafter, when the past will be brought in solemn review, when the secrets of every heart will be made known, when nothing will be concealed, when motives of action will be weighed in a just balance, and all will be brought to light."
Fellow-sinner, will you not now
hear the voice of Him who speaks, "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light."-Eph. v. 14. To live in sin is the path to perdition; to live in disobedience to God's command is to bring down His wrath on your soul; to persevere in a course of iniquity is to heap up condemnation against yourself. "How
shall we escape if we neglect so
That fountain in his day,
This is the language of every pardoned sinner, and He will surely welcome every penitent and return
ing prodigal, freely and fully blot out all his sins, clothe him with His righteousness, and prepare him by the influence of His Spirit for the inheritance of the saints in light.
Let your constant prayer be, if still unconverted, "O Lord, for Christ's sake, give me thy Holy Spirit to convert my soul." F. S. G. Tiverton, Sept. 23rd, 1860.
The Counsel Chamber.,
GROWTH IN KNOWLEDGE
PROFESSING Christians ought not only to seek to understand something about religion, but to labour to understand as much as possible. They should be, in reference to a knowledge of religion, as some people are in reference to money,-they should never think they have enough. They should "covet the sincere milk of the word," as Peter exhorts, and their covetousness should know neither bounds nor end. The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews exhorts the Christians to whom he writes, to" go on to perfection;" and he blames them for not having made more progress before. "Ye ought, by this time, to have been teachers," says he, "and ye have need that some one teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God." The Apostle Paul exhorts the Colossians "to let the word of God dwell in them richly in all wisdom." He prays in behalf of the Ephesians, that they may be able to comprehend, with all the saints, the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, and be filled with all the fulness of God. The same apostle tells the Corinthians, that in evil he would have them to be children; that is, he would
have them entirely free from that; but in understanding, says he, “I would have you to be men.'
What the apostles desired with respect to the churches with which they were connected, is the desire of Christ with respect to His people in all ages and in all lands. It is the desire of Christ that we should all be filled with the knowledge of the truth; that we should understand perfectly the will of God, and have a clear and comprehensive view of the whole of that system of religion which He has given to mankind. He came into the world that He should be a light, and it is His desire that His illumination should diffuse light and glory through our whole soul. He came to manifest the truth. He was full of grace and truth, and He emptied the whole treasury of wisdom before men; and it is His desire that we should not only seek to obtain possession of some small portion of knowledge, but possess ourselves of all the intellectual treasures of the heavenly universe. All the institutions of Christ's church are intended and adapted to this blessed end. Ministers are appointed, churches are organized, the Spirit is sent forth, and the Scriptures are written, not that saints might ob
tain a faint glimmering of heavenly knowledge only, but that they might be perfected, and brought to the stature of Jesus Christ, and thoroughly furnished unto every good work. Paul plants, Apollos waters, and God sends down His blessing, not merely to keep the plants just alive, but that they may rise higher, stretch their branches further, and shoot their roots deeper, and bear abundant fruit. Children are nursed, not merely that they may be kept alive, but that they may grow and come to manhood.
The gardener would be tired of plants that were always little slender shrubs; the nurse would be weary of a child that should always continue a child for ten or twenty years; and Christ must be dissatisfied with those plants in His garden that never reach above the grass; and God will be 'dissatisfied with those spiritual children that never overgrow the helplessness of infancy. He will tear up such plants, and throw them out of His garden, and He will cast such unworthy children out of His family. The more fully we understand the religion of Jesus Christ, the better will we be able to direct our steps. There are many that are sincerely disposed to do that which is right, who nevertheless frequently err in their conduct. They do things which Christianity forbids, and neglect things which Christianity enjoins. In consequence of those errors, they suffer in their own minds, and the cause of religion is injured also. How desirable it is that by an increase of religious knowledge, those persons should be enabled so to order their goings that they might
enjoy the happiness of religion in their own souls, and adorn their profession in the eyes of their neighbours by a blameless and shining example.
A growth in knowledge will increase our ability to be useful. A desire to do good is the very soul of religion, and the exercise of charity is the principal employment of a true Christian. Above all things, professors of Christianity should labour to do good to men's souls. But how ill qualified for usefulness is the man who does not understand his own religion. There a man wishes for instruction, and he cannot give it; another is troubled with doubts, and he cannot solve them. At one time he attempts to instruct his neighbour, and by mixing up error with his instruction, he throws the man into perplexity, and leads him into trouble; and at another time, by ignorantly arguing against Gospel truths, he throws down what he ought to build up. How different is it with the man who is well instructed in the things of God! He opens his mouth with wisdom, and his lips are a well-spring of life. The ignorant inquire, and he instructs them; the doubtful state their difficulties, and he is enabled to relieve them. He answers the gainsayer, he reclaims the wanderer, and by the prudent communication of the pure truth of the Gospel he scatters the seeds of knowledge, and holiness, and joy, wherever it is his lot to move. Who would not wish to be thus furnished for usefulness? Who would not wish to be prepared, wherever he may be, to remove the prejudices of men, and