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be health; if it be recreation within proper bounds, and with a view to prepare for future application.
He requires us to move in a dependence on his providence. The way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. In his hand, our breath is; and his, are all our ways. There are many who live without God in the world. James describes the presumption of such an individual in the thought of a journey, and a project"Go to now, ye that say, To-day or to-morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil." Paul speaks of a prosperous journey, by the will of God. Nothing can be done without his permission and blessing. He can set every thing against us; or make every thing conduce to our profit. He can spread a gloom over the fairest scenes of Nature; or he can comfort us on
every side. The elements are his. He preserveth
man and beast. Let us remember our entire reliance upon him; and hear him at this moment saying, "Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass."
He requires, that wherever we go, we should maintain the consistency of our character. This does not forbid the exercise of prudence. We are even commanded to be wise as serpents, as well as harmless as doves; and to walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise; and especially to walk in wisdom towards them that are without. But this does not require the surrender of principle; nor even the concealment of it. We are not to be ashamed of the Saviour, and of his words; but confess him before men. If we become all things to all men,
it must be in things sinless and indifferent. If we please our neighbour, it must be for his good to edification. If we yield, and "trim our way," and act unbecoming our profession; we shall not only lose the benefit of reproving, convincing, and impressing others, by a practical testimony; but procure for ourselves contempt, instead of esteem. For those who understand not our experience, can comprehend our duty; and those who do not admire piety, despise inconsistency.
He therefore requires us to seize and to seek opportunities of usefulness. All cannot act in the same way. Our stations and abilities differ: and we are not to suffer our good to be evil spoken of. But let us beware of indecision and excuse. "He that observeth the wind, shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds, shall not reap." Who may not be a blessing in every place in which he is found? Who can tell the influence, immediate or remote, of a proper and lovely example? of a word fitly spoken? of a book lent, or a tract given of a wise and moral distribution of alms?"In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand; for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good." Let us never think any of our possessions or endowments our own. They are talents; and, "as every man hath received the gift, even so let us minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God." Many of our op portunities are already gone; and they are gone for ever. How many remain, we know not; but they are few, and uncertain. Let us awake, and resemble him who went about doing good; and who said, "I must work the works of him that sent me while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work."
He requires that we should not be careless and inattentive observers of his works. The works of the Lord are great, in number and in quality; and
are sought out of all them that have pleasure therein. And I will, says God, that thou magnify his works which men behold. We can see them every where; but, as we move from one place to another, we perceive them in greater variety. And when, from an inland situation, we reach the watery world, we behold his wonders in the deep. The sea is his; and he made it; and, with all its immensity, holds it in the hollow of his hand. What wisdom do we recognize in the salineness of the fluid; and in the ebbing and flowing of the tide! What power appears in raising, and in calming the billows; and in giving to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment; saying, Hitherto shalt thou come, and no further; and here shall thy proud waves be stayed!--And we should observe his works, not only as objects of curiosity and wonder, but as excitements to admiration and praise. We should regard them not as naturalists and philosophers, but with the views and feelings of Christians.
He requires that we should find in all we see confirmations of our faith in his word. The Scripture tells us of the flood by which the ungodly world was destroyed, and the earth convulsed and tornAnd what indications of this awful catastrophe do we often meet with! The Scripture tells us, that, though God made man upright, he sought out many inventions: and that we are gone astray; there is none righteous, no not one-And where can we go and not discern this? "While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, shall not cease." And in the succession of the seasons we see this pledge redeemed. He is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works-and we have but to open our eyes, and we see him opening his hand, and satisfying the desires of every living thing.
: He requires, that in our progress and our return, we should be thankful. And how much is there to
awaken our gratitude! That we have not only been supplied and supported: but have had so many agreeable prospects, and entertainments, and changes -that we have ben preserved in our going out, and our coming in-that we have been secured from wicked and unreasonable men-that no accident has spilt our life upon the ground, or bruised a limb of our body that our property has been secured, as well as our persons and health-that no plague has come nigh our dwelling-and that we know also that our tabernacle is in peace! Bless the Lord, O our souls; and, all that is within us, bless his holy Name!
He requires that we should realize life itself as only a journey, and think of getting home. We are but strangers and sojourners here, as were all our fathers. There is none abiding. "Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am." "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom."
SEPT. 4.-" Peace I leave with you." John xiv. 27. We know whose words these are-And who was ever so qualified and authorised to speak of peace as he? He is called the Prince of Peace. His ministers are the messengers of peace. His word is the Gospel of peace. His way is the path of peace. An angel announced peace at his birth; and he himself bequeathed peace at his death-"Peace I leave with you."
For we may consider the words, so to speak, as a part of his last will and testament, Lands, and
houses, and goods, and silver, and gold, he had none to leave. But such as he had he disposed of in the form and manner following. That is to say; his soul to God-Father, into thy hand I commit my spirit. His body, to the envy and malice of his enemies to be buffeted, and scourged, and crucified. His wearing-apparel, to the soldiers who divided his garments among them, and for his vesture cast lots. His widowed mother, to the care of Johnwho, from that hour, took her unto his own home. But what had his disciples all this time? Has he forgotten them? No-"Peace I leave with you."
But why does he bestow it upon them in a way of legacy? First; to make it the dearer. They would thus prize this boon-It was the remembrance of their dying Lord and Saviour. Any thing left us by a dying friend, if it be only a book, or a ring, is esteemed and valued. Secondly; to render it the surer. If it be but a man's testament, yet, if it be confirmed, no man can disannul it. But here every thing concurs to establish confidence. The will is written, witnessed, and sealed. And the testator dies for a testament is of no force while the testator liveth. And the executor is true and honest, and will see all punctually fulfilled-this is the Holy Ghost, which is to glorify him, by taking of his, and shewing it unto them.
This bestowment was much more than they deserved. They had always been dull scholars; and sadly repaid the labours he had expended upon them. They had been very defective servants; and, only a few hours before, had been disputing among themselves which of them should be the greatest. And now, as his suffering drew near, instead of shewing themselves his sympathising friends, they were all going to forsake him, and flee-yet, loving his own who were in the world, he loved them unto the end. Happy disciples, to be thus remembered, honoured, and enriched!" you are ready to exclaim-" how we