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THE HUNGER OF GOD.

BEHOLD, the Creator and Giver of all meats is hungry in His own world! And the God and Father of all Love is a Stranger to human hearts. Wherein is He hungry, and a Stranger, do you say? This is His hunger, that He longeth so greatly after His creatures, affections. And herein is He a Stranger, that His creatures exclude Him from their company and their delights. Imagine a father, whose children should turn their backs upon him, go their own ways, and settle down in their alienation of heart, until they should neither know him, nor care for him. What would be that father's grief? According to his love, would be his grief. “Have we not all One Father?” But no creature in earth, or heaven, can have any idea of what the love of that One Father is. What correspondence can any thought of man or angel have with infinite Love?

“Our Father Which art in heaven," I can scarcely refrain from tears, when I think of the

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“But My

treatment, which Thou, daily, receivest from the creatures whom Thou hast nourished and brought ир. Thy complaints, long-written, still abide against those who owe Thee most : “If I am a Father, where is My honor ?” "Oh that My people had hearkened unto Me!” “O that there were such a heart in them that they would fear Me!" “O that they were wise !” people would not hearken to My voice; and Israel would none of Me.” The Holy Spirit amongst men is well said to be “like a Dove;" for I can surely hear in these words the moaning and bewailing of the Eternal Love-Spirit. And most affecting are these words of our Lord: “O righteous Father, the world hath not known Thee.”—Thy youngest, and in a certain sense, Thy dearest children,-Thy mankind,-have lost all knowledge of their Heavenly Father. When He beheld the city, whose children He could not win to Himself, He wept over it.

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II.—What then must be the joy of God, over those precious souls, who are sighing after Him, and seeking Him with a tenderness of affection, which they can in no wise express ? Was not this the condition of that dear, humble maiden, of Nazareth? whereas others were restless, through worldly covetousness, or heated with fleshly desire, was she not walking in the cool shade of holy retirement, all becalmed, as one who hath found rest in the stillness of Divine Love? Therefore was she filled, beyond any thing that she could ask, or think. As she said: “He hath filled the hungry with good things.” I was poor in spirit. My heart was not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty : neither did I exercise myself in great, or wonderful matters. I sought but to love God, and to be loved of Him. And “He hath regarded the low estate of His handmaiden.” “ He that is Mighty hath done to me great things.” Eternity only will reveal how many of such unworldly souls there have been in the world. Every age has a little flock of them. They are God's flock. I wonder not, that He calls them by every tender name; for

; all the titles of love and endearment in the world, cannot express His love to them.

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III.—The Lord's great desire is towards man. His delights are with him. It is His meat and drink to serve him. He is as one weary of His journey in this dry world, till He finds a soul that has need of Him. Then He finds Heart-rest, and “meat to eat,” of which even His disciples are ignorant. Again, the fig-tree to which He cometh, desiring

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to find fruit, is man. The soul in which He finds nothing related to His desire, presently withers away. On the other hand, if while sitting at His feet, you find the appeasement of every deep desire in your nature, then, with you, He is no more a weary traveller, but at home. Love longs to be desired. The great heart-ache of love, is, not to be desired. To be desired is Love's heaven. With what satisfaction must infinite Love regard desire in the creature ! You cannot conceive that satisfaction, but you can muse thereupon. Perhaps as you muse, the holy fire may kindle in you. The desires of all creatures towards Him are but His desire after them, moving in their hearts. “'Tis His Spirit's rising beam.” Unless His Love be the life of it, our religion is a stranger to Him, and He is a Stranger to our religion. This is that precious oil without which, in spite of our knowledge and our prayers, our faith and our zeal, we shall be classed among the foolish virgins.

IV.—“Let there be meat in My house,” saith the Lord. The outward services of the Church

may be carefully observed, and yet under these very services, God may be complaining that He is robbed, that no meat is brought into His House. “ Bring an offering ;"—not your bodies, not your consciences, not your words only ;-bring your hearts. Bring them disengaged: if you bring them pledged to the world, and absorbed in the cares and pleasures of this life, it is the same as if you brought them not. Until you give yourselves to Him, God will never have His end, nor will you ever have salvation. Nothing can be done for you, till the desire of your heart centres in God your Saviour. The one demand of His Love, is, “Give Me thy heart." If you give Him all that you possess, and withhold your heart, He will persist : “You have robbed Me.” If your affections are held back from God, your flourishing worldliness is a curse to you,— your very soul is a curse to you. For your sakes, as the very beginning of His eternal blessing, God asks your love. “Let there be meat in My House.”

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V.–O beautiful mystery, that creatures should yield meat unto God; and that this should be His method of giving them meat. God returns our love, laden with a hundred-fold increase. The windows of heaven are opened, and its blessing poured upon us, in proportion as our hearts are directed thitherward.

See, how the clouds, which water the earth, draw their supplies from the earth. The dull

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