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things with a firm speculative belief, | Ghost, in the name of Jesus Christ. should lose sight of them so completely as Hence, the apostle expressed neither his they do—should shut out from their souls, patriotism, nor his friendship, nor his all save the things that enter in through gratitude, precisely as he would have done, sense. Oh that they would be persuaded, before his conversion to Christianity. that the gold they are grasping, the These remarks, so far at least as they pleasures they are tasting, are indeed the relate to gratitude, are illustrated and verishadows, and that the unseen world contains fied by the following passage :- The Lord the eternal realities! Then the rebel would give mercy unto the house of Onesiseek to be reconciled to his offended king, phorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was while he is holding out to him offers of not ashamed of my chain; but, when he pardon; then the Christian would put away was in Rome, he sought me out very dilithe world-stained garments he so often gently, and found me. The Lord grant wears, and realizing the presence of his unto him that he may find mercy of Father, realizing, too, the mighty consoling the Lord in that day. -2 Timothy i. truth, that the great' soul of the universe, | 16, 17, 18. He expresses his sense of pulses through a human heart, feeling obligation to a human benefactor. This himself surrounded with the invisible benefactor was Onesiphorus, who appears world, somewhere in which, hereafter to to have been an Ephesian of wealth and be revealed, is the abode of his exalted distinction, and who had in various ways, Saviour, and the mansion prepared for him, and on different occasions, manifested a he would, with a more child-like spirit, walk generous concern for the apostle's welfare. before the world in newness of life, and ex- Especially had he manifested such a conperience in himself, more and more, that cern, when St Paul, oppressed by powerto be spiritually minded is life and peace.' ful enemies, forsaken by those who ought
to have assisted him, and struggling without success to regain his liberty, lay bound
in fetters at Rome. While he was in this THE CHRISTIAN MANNER OF destitute and friendless condition, borne EXPRESSING GRATITUDE.
down by a power which it seemed impos
sible for him to resist, Onesiphorus geneTHE enemies of Christianity, whilst rously espoused his cause, sought him stating its supposed defects, have asserted, out very diligently and found him, that it recognises neither patriotism nor supplied his wants from his own stores, friendship as virtues; that it discounte and was not ashamed to be known as the nances, or at least does not encourage, the friend and patron of a poor despised priexercise of gratitude to human benefactors; soner in chains. This unexpected kindand that its spirit is unfriendly to many ness from a stranger, a foreigner, on whom of the finer feelings and sensibilities of he had no natural claims-kindness, too, our nature. But these assertious prove displayed at a time when cool friends only that those who make them are unac- , prudently kept at a distance, and many of quainted with the religion they blindly as his own countrymen were among his sail. Nothing more is necessary to show bitterest enemies, made a deep impression that they are groundless than a reference upon the grateful heart of St Paul. The to the character of St Paul. This dis - | gratitude which he felt, it was natural that tinguished apostle of Jesus Christ was, in he should express; nor was there any a degree which has seldom, if ever, been thing in his religion which forbade him equalled, imbued with the spirit, and con- | to express it. But though his religion trolled by the influence, of that religion, forbade neither the exercise nor the exwhich he at once inculcated and exempli- | pression of gratitude, it taught him to fied. Yet we find in his writings the most express it in such a manner as became a touching expressions, and in his life the Christian, an apostle, a servant of that most striking exhibitions, of love to his Master whose kingdom is not of this countrymen, friendship, gratitude, and in- | world. He did not, therefore, idolize his deed of every sentiment and feeling, which benefactor; he did not load him with gives either nobleness or loveliness to flattering applauses; but, from the fulness human character. We readily admit, of his heart, he poured out a prayer for however, or rather we assert it as an im- him to that God, who alone could reward portant truth, that his religion, though it him as the apostle wished him to be reextinguished none of these feelings, modi- | warded. In this prayer he asked for him fied them all. It infused into them its and his family the same favour, which, as own spirit, regulated their exercises and we learn from his life and writings. he expressions by its own views, and thus supremely desired and sought for himself. stamped upon them a new and distinc
em a new and distinc- This was an interest in God's pardoning tive character. It baptized them, if we may | mercy. The Lord, he cries, give mercy be allowed the expression, with the Holy unto his house. The Lord grant unto
him, that he may find mercy of the Lord summon all intelligent creation before his in that day.
tribunal, and subject them to a trial, on It is more than possible, that, to some the result of which their eternal destiny persons, this mode of expressing gratitude will depend. This day is elsewhere styled, will appear frigid, unmeaning, and unsa- the day of the Lord, the great day of his tisfactory. They will regard it as a very wrath, and the great day of God Alinighty. cheap and easy method of requiting à It is the day of the Lord, says an apostle, benefactor; and, were the case their own, in which the heavens, being on fire, shall they would probably prefer a small pecu- be dissolved, and pass away with a great niary recompense, or an honorary reward, noise, and the elements shall melt with to all the prayers which even an apostle fervent heat, and the earth with all the could offer on their behalf. It is certain, works that are therein shall be burnt up. however, that such persons estimate the When that day shall arrive, the Lord himvalue of objects very erroneously, and that self will descend from heaven with a shout, their religious views and feelings differ with the voice of the archangel, and with very widely from those which were enter the trump of God, and every eye shall see tained by St Paul. But so far as any him coming in the clouds with power and man's religious views differ from those great glory; and all that are in their which he entertained, they must differ graves shall hear his voice and come forth; from truth; for the apostle, it will be re- they that have done good, to the resurreccollected, was guided by inspiration ; his tion of life, and they that have done evil, religious views were imparted to him by the to the resurrection of damnation. Then unerring Spirit of God; they must there shall be realized what St John saw in fore have been in perfect accordance with vision. I saw, he says, a great white truth. It is surely then most important throne, and Him that sat upon it, before that we should ascertain what they were, whose face the heavens and the earth fled in order that we may make them our own. away, and there was found no place for What they were respecting some most in- | them. And I saw the dead, small and teresting subjects, we may learn from the great, stand before God; and the books passage before us. From this passage we were opened, and the dead were judged out may also learn, in what manner it becomes of those things that were written in the the disciples and ministers of Christ to ex-books according to their works. Such is press their gratitude to human benefactors. the day here intended, and such are some And no one, who shall adopt the religious of its attending circumstances and events. views by which St Paul was influenced, To the mind of St Paul, who possessed can fail to perceive, that the method which that faith which is the evidence of things he employed for this purpose, was most not seen, this day, with all its infinitely worthy of himself, and most wisely adapted glorious and tremendous realities, was, in to promote the best interests of the friend effect, ever present and visible. His mento whom he felt himself indebted. What tal eye, aided by the light, and strengthese views were let us now endeavour to thened by the energies of inspiration, even ascertain.
then saw its dawn in the distant horizon.. In the petition which was offered by the To that day his thoughts and affections apostle for his benefactor, mention is made were chained. With reference to that of a day to which that petition has refer-day he was constantly acting. To secure ence. The Lord grant unto him that he mercy for himself and for his fellow-sinners may find mercy of the Lord in that day. in that day, was the great object for which The mode of expression here employed is, he lived, and laboured, and suffered, and in some respects, peculiar and worthy of for the sake of which he counted not even remark. It is a mode of expression which his life dear. No wonder then, that, when men never adopt, except when they speak | he had occasion to mention such a day as of some subject of which their hearts are this—a day which thus occupied and enfull. While it seems intended to desig- | | grossed his whole soul, he should style it nate a particular day, it furnishes no mark simply, that day, and take it for granted or description by which the day referred that every hearer would perceive at once to can be ascertained. The same expres what day he intended. No wonder, that sion is, however, frequently used in other the transcendent brightness of such a day, parts of the inspired volume, and from the should in his view, eclipse the light of other connection in which it is invariably found, days, and that he should speak of it we may infer with certainty what day is as if it were the only day which deintended by it. It is the great day, for served the name. And no wonder, that which all other days were made;' the last with such a day in his eye, he did not day of time, and the first day of eternity; pray that his benefactor might be recomthe day of general judgment and retribu | pensed by the enjoyment of wealth, and tion, in which the mighty Maker, and honour, and prosperity, in the present sovereign, and Judge of the universe, will world. To his mind, engrossed as it was by far nobler objects, all these things, and But the apostle well knew that, on this indeed all which this world can afford, ground, not a single individual of the must have appeared worthless and empty human race can stand before God in judg. indeed. And how could he ask for his ment. He knew, for he often declared, friend a portion with which he would not that all, without a single exception, have have been satisfied himself; how could he sinned, and come short of the glory of God; ask for him a portion in this world only, and that in his sight no man living can be when his inspired eye saw the flames, in justified, by any performances or merits of which it is destined to be consumed, just his own. He knew that, however blameless ready to kindle around it, and wrap it in or excellent a man's character may appear the blaze of a general conflagration! in the view of men, he has sinned against Might it not rather be expected, that he the Supreme Legislator's great law of would ask for him a favour connected with love ; that law, which binds him to love the great day, which he saw approaching; the Lord his God, with all his heart, and a favour, the bestowal of which would se- soul, and mind, and strength, and his cure his safety amidst all its perils, and neighbour as himself. He knew that, when his happiness for ever? Such a favour he tried by this law before an omniscient, did ask. And that he should ask it, was heart-seaching Judge, he must inevitably a natural consequence of the religious be found guilty, and receive a sentence of views he entertained. He knew that his condemnation, and that mercy alone could friend was an accountable creature, in a then save him. Indeed, these are among state of probation for eternity—that he, the fundamental truths of that gospel, in common with the rest of mankind, must which the apostle made it the great busiappear at the bar of God in the judg-ness of his life to proclaim. To these ment day; and that the sentence which truths every fact and doctrine of that he should then receive, would either raise gospel bears testimony. Why was a him to the enjoyment of happiness incon- Saviour provided for all men, if all men ceivable, or plunge him into wretchedness are not sinners? Why did that Saviour inexpressible. Knowing these things, command his gospel to be preached to all how could he do otherwise than breathe men, if all men do not need salvation out a fervent prayer, that his benefactor Why is mercy offered to all men,might be prepared to receive a favourable why are all men exhorted to seek it, if all sentence, and find mercy of the Lord, his do not need mercy? And these truths Judge, at that day?
which had been revealed to him, and enBut what is the precise import of the graven upon his heart by the Spirit of petition that he might then find mercy; God, the apostle could neither disbe. and what did it imply? An answer to lieve nor forget; nor could he suffer him. these questions will throw much additional self to be so far blinded by admiration, or light on the views which were entertained friendship, or gratitude, as to except even by the apostle, when he uttered the prayer his benefactor from their universal applibefore us. Mercy, as exercised by a judge, cation. No: kind, and generous, and or a sovereign, is the opposite of justice.noble, as was the disposition which that It is shown only when the guilty are spared, benefactor had manifested, and disposed or when they are treated more favourably as the apostle must have been to view his than they deserved. Its brightest display character in the most favourable light is made, when a criminal, justly con- he knew he could not meet the demands demned to die, is pardoned. God, the of God's perfect law. He could not con universal Sovereign and Judge, shows ceal from himself the unpleasant truth mercy, when he pardons those who were that his friend was, like other men, a sin justly doomed by his righteous law to the ner, and that as such he would need mercy second death; that death from which there of the Lord at that day. And had Onesi is no resurrection. To pray that any one phorus distinguished himself as a bene may find mercy of him at the judgment factor, not to himself only, but to his day, is to pray that he may then be par-country; had he sacrificed much, and doned, or saved from deserved punish- hazarded every thing to secure her liberty ment, and accepted and treated as if he the apostle would still have entertained were righteous. * St Paul, when he prayed the same views respecting his character that Onesiphorus might find mercy of his and situation in the sight of God. He en. judge at that day, must then have believed, tertained, and often expressed, the same that he would at that day need mercy or views respecting himself. He knew that pardon. And if so, he must have believed, notwithstanding the blamelessness of his that in the sight of God he was guilty; for external conduct, his zeal and fidelity in by the guilty alone can pardoning mercy preaching the gospel, and all his unexbe needed! The innocent need nothing ampled sacrifices, labours, and sufferings but justice. They may stand boldly and in the service of Christ, he should still need safely on the ground of their own merits. mercy at that day; that justice would con
demn, and that mercy alone could save is he? I know nothing of him !' Struck
by such an awful instance of infidelity, the Countess answered not; she felt that
Divine agency alone could avail to restore LIGHT IN DARKNESS.
such a moral ruin. 'Not by might, nor by
power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of A few years since, a lady in Paris, mov Hosts. (Zech. iv. 6.) But her interval of ing in the higher circles of life, of culti silence was an interval of prayer that vated mind and elegant manners, but a God would take this mighty work into his disciple of the infidel philosophy, lost in a own hands, and that the Holy Spirit would fatal duel, her son-her only child ; 'and | condescend to illuminate the darkness, and she was a widow.'
remove the distressing ignorance of her The Countess of — , a lady not only friend's mind. Acting in this spirit of professing Christianity, but giving decided prayerful dependence on Him who designs evidence in her life of the influence of re- to bless the instrumentality of his people ligion over her heart, sought her bereaved for the accomplishment of his purposes of friend. She found the widow on her couch wisdom and love, she opened a New Tescold, silent, restless, melancholy, and tament, and begged to be allowed to read on the verge of despair. The philosophy a few passages from a book, which she said, which she had embraced, left her destitute had been very useful to herself in deep of any comfort in that time when most affliction. she needed solace ; it afforded no stay for The portions which she selected were her sinking spirit-it brought no balm to from the Evangelists. There was wisdom to her stricken heart. It had banished in this choice. The history of our Lord from her thoughts the only real source of and Saviour Jesus, as described by the pen consolation, and having led her to re- of these inspired men, abounds in passages nounce God, it offered her no compensation well adapted to arrest the attention of for the absence of Him, who is to those those whose bleeding hearts need the apwho fear him, their strength and their plication of whatever can mitigate by kindportion for ever.' (Ps. Ixxiii. 26.) It ness and soothe by sympathy. The sufwas a distressing scene, and naturally sug- ferer may discorer there, One who likewise gested to the mind of her visitor the suffered, who was indeed a man of sorrows course-the only course, which could be and acquainted with grief ;' who was disadopted, effectually to relieve her sorrow. tressed and afflicted ; and this, not in conThis was to bring before the attention of sequence of any demerit in Himself, but the mourner, the scriptural representations in the endurance of that humiliation to of God, as a Being whose nature and at which he had voluntarily surrendered himtributes render him the worthy object of self on behalf of guilty man; for, ‘He was His creatures' confidence, whose greatness wounded for our transgressions, he was and goodness encourage their dependence, bruised for our iniquities. (Isa. liii. 5.) and excite their expectations, when every | The spirit that asks for sympathy will other resource is proved to be powerless. I there discover One, who, having underThe Countess, therefore, began to speak of taken the work of our salvation, united, in him as a refuge for the distressed soul, - | a mysterious manner, His Divine nature a description which is repeated in the with that of the lost beings he came to sacred volume, in a rich variety of formis. save, that a bond of sympathy might be God is our refuge and strength, a very established between himself and the depresent help in trouble.' (Ps. xlvi. 1.) | pendents ou his grace ; by the assurance
Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and hé that He was in all things made like unto shall sustain thee : he shall never suffer them so that they have not a high priest the righteous to be moved.' (Ps. lv. 22.) | who cannot be touched with the feeling of 'The Lord is good, a stronghold in the their infirmities; but was in all points day of trouble ; and he knoweth them that tempted like as they are, yet without sin,' trust in him.' (Nahum i. 7.) “Thy Maker (Heb. iv. 15)—thus encouraging us to is thy husband; the Lord of Hosts is come boldly unto the throne of grace, that his name, and thy Redeemer the Holy | we may obtain mercy, and find grace to One of Israel; the God of the whole earth help in time of need,'-(v. 16.) The shall he be called.' (Isa. liv. 5). "My | mourner must feel that his case has been flesh and my hearth faileth : but God is considered and provided for, when he hears the strength of my heart, and my portion the voice of Him who 'spake as never for ever.'(Ps. lxxii. 26.)
man spake,' announcing, 'The Spirit of Whilst he was thus employed in pointing the Lord is upon me, because he hath anout the repose which the soul may find in ointed me to preach the gospel to the addressing itself to God from the depths of poor. He hath sent me to heal the brokenaffliction, the wretched mourner turned hearted; to preach deliverance to the capupon her a vacant stare, and said, 'Did tives, and recovering of sight to the blind, you speak of God? Who is he? Where to set at liberty them that are bruised.' (Luke iv. 18.) The gracious words which directed, was that to which alone applicaproceeded out of His mouth were so con- / tion could be successfully made. That firmed by a long course of constant and illumination which leads the soul to apcompassionate effort to dry the tear of dis preciate the perfections of the Divine tress and ease the burden of sorrow, that Being, which enables it to discern his ex. the heart feels that it may and can lean on cellence and worth, which so impresses his bosom. He was a comforter of the cast- the heart as to induce it to forsake every down, whose invitation was, 'Come unto me, other refuge, and to yield itself to Him, is all ye tbat labour and are heavy laden, | a divine work. 'Open thou mine eyes, and I will give you rest.' (Matt. xi. 28.) that I may understand wondrous things 'A bruised reed shall he not break, and out of thy law.' (Ps. c . 18.) This the smoking flax shall he not quench.' office of Divine illumination is undertaken (Isa. xlii. 3.)
and accomplished by the Holy Spirit. The effect produced upon the mind of For this purpose, his special agency was the sorrowing mother, as she listened to promised by the Lord Jesus Christ : But the portions selected, appeared to be of a the Coinforter, which is the Holy Ghost, soothing kind. No remark was made by whom the Father will send in my name, either party on the Book in which the | He shall teach you all things, and bring words of comfort were found. When the all things to your remembrance, whatsoCountess rose to leave, she said to the
ever I have said unto you.' (John xiv. 26.) mourner,' I perceive that you are entirely When He, the Spirit of truth is come, ignorant of the only source of comfort ; I
he will guide you into all truth.' (John xvi. cannot, in my own strength, or from my
13.) Regarded, then, in connexion with own resources, impart consolation to you.
this arrangement, the prayer, ‘Enlighten Will you give me one proof of your confi- |
thou me, offered in humility, was most dence in my affection and sympathy?'
adapted to the petitioner's circumstances. "I will,' was the reply. “It is, then,' said
For many days the Countess continued the Countess, 'that you will offer one short
her visits, and read the little book, and on prayer in the words I give you, and that
every successive visit she discovered an you will use it as often as you feel a new
increasing interest on the part of her occasion of despair, or a fresh agony of
friend, to the subject referred to in the grief, 'O Lord, enlighten thou me, that I
passages read. They did not often enter may know thee.” This recommendation was consistent at
into conversation on religion, for the onoe with the dictates of reason and the
Countess, as often as she attempted it, felt
the extreme difficulty of making herself principles of true religion. God must be
| understood by one who had habitually known, before he can be served as a So
' said in her heart there is no God,' and vereign or enjoyed as a portion. His
to whom all that is revealed of him in nature and character, so far as they are
Scripture was new and strange. She revealed in his Holy Word, must be un
therefore confined herself chiefly to readderstood previously to obedience being
ing; accompanying this with much secret rendered to him, or confidence reposed in
prayer for the divine blessing. She was him. It is because men are criminally
the more encouraged in her hope of sucignorant of him, in the claims which arise
cess, because she was assured by her friend out of his nature and relationship to them
that she did not fail to offer the prayer selves, that they neither glorify him as
constantly; and that when she did not the supreme, nor trust in him as the faith
know in what direction to turn her ful God; He requires intelligent service,
thoughts, or how to disengage them from and hence, he has given us an extended
the horrors of the past, she found relief in revelation, that we may 'acquaint ourselves with him. They that know thy
repeating the brief supplication.
After these daily readings had continued name shall put their trust in thee; for
some time, the bereaved mother began to thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that
express more distinctly the effect of what seek thee.' (Pa. ix. 10.) And in the pursuit of that salvation which includes
she had heard. 'Your book told me such
and such a thing yesterday. That thought present acceptance and future glory, the
has followed me ever since. I wish you first importance is attached to a correct and accurate conception of what may be
would leave it with me till to-morrow.'
The Countess, however, did not consent; understood of him. This is life eternal,
she had two motives for her refusal, she that they might know thee, the only true
hoped to increase the desire; and she did God, and Jesus Christ whom thou bast
not then wish the book to fall into the sent.' (John xvii. 3.) It was well, therefore, that the prayer should be suggested,
| hands of a sister, whose heart had also
been thoroughly imbued with infidel prinO Lord, enlighten me that I may know thee. The object implored was the right
ciples, and who had exerted a most bane
ful influence on the mind of this unhappy one; the source to which the petition was,