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Sennacherib, Nebuchadnezzar, Herod, and Pontius Pilate, -and, the Chief Priests, Pharisees and Sadducees are described in the Bible, in order that persons possessing power, whether Civil or Ecclesiastical, may tremble, when reflecting on the talent committed to them.
There are characters, also, of a description as low as that of the commonly-so-called tyrant; namely, Aspirants, who are bent on gaining power at all hazards; and those who are Newly-possessed of power, which they are disposed to use only for their own selfish ends. Dubious in their claims, uncertain of success, suspicious of slights, elated by circumstances, and risking but a small stake of character, they are often capable of the most outrageous measurés. But Divine Providence, after suffering them for a time, restrains the remainder of their wrath.
The persons, in whose hands power may be viewed as safely and beneficially lodged, are those who adore the Ma. jesty, and imitate the Holiness and Mercy of the Most High. A Prince, a Senator, a Judge, should be a man who medi. tates in the law of the Lord “day and night.” “ He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.”
Of the Temporal Rulers above named, in Nebuchad. nezzar alone do there appear any marks of the converting grace of God. The closing verses of his history (Daniel iv. 34—37) can scarcely be regarded as expressing less than a genuine change of heart; for when we consider how much it must have cost a mighty heathen monarch to proclaim, in a State-Document, his own humiliation, and the Sovereign Power of Jehovah the God of the Captive Jews, we can hardly refrain from remembering that verse, and applying it to him—" He that humbleth himself, shall be exalted.” In his former State-Document (Daniel iii. 28, 29, 6 shall be cut in pieces”) there was much of remaining bitterness, arrogance, and intolerance: but in the latter one, he writes like a man quite softened and subdued in his spirit; more like one that had entered the kingdom of God as a little child : “ Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.” He is supposed to have died
the year following ; “taken away from the evil to come,” perhaps before new temptations to pride had ruffled him.
And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd ? and he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death.
Then said the LORD, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night :
And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand : and also much cattle ? —Jonah iv. 9—11.
A spirit of Selfishness appears to have been the besetting sin of this servant of God. The hope of self-preservation first tempts him to fly from the path of duty : afterwards, self-indulgence places him well.pleased beneath his gourd, musing on the ruin of a great city : finally, self-justifica. tion prompts the most morose, the most unbecoming reply conceivable, from a creature to his pitying and forbearing God. Thus Jonah passes from our view, under a cloud; a warning, far more than an example. - In a Minister of Christ, above all others, Selfishness of every kind ought to be annihilated.
Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord's anger.—Zephaniah ii. 3.
A most consolatory direction, this, in dark and troublous times !
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the peacemakers : for they shall be called the children of God.-Matthew v. 3. 5. 7. 9.
Let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these, cometh of evil.v. 37.
Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.
And whoever shall compel'thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.-v. 38-44.
Take therefore no thought for the morrow : for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.—vi. 34.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.--xi. 29.
But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not whạt manner of spirit ye are of.—Luke ix. 55.
Our religious zeal should always be suspected by us, when it is a hasty copy of that of others, and when it assumes the character of severity.
In your patience possess ye your souls. --Luke xxi. 19.
If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
Therefore, if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.—Romans xii. 18-21.
In reference both to the World and to the Church, the more holy a man is, the more peaceable.
Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another._xiv. 19.
Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.—xv. 2.
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth ;
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.—1 Corinthians xiii. 4-7.
I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.—xv. 31.
“When we come with our whole heart to stand before the Saviour, we shall see our own corruption so great, that we shall think every one better than ourselves; and therefore we shall be such poor worms in our own eyes, as to bear to be pushed about on all sides, and bow and bend to every thing. We shall take whatever befals us patiently, and be in a state of submission to every body. Our own deficiency will so fill our eyes, that we shall not be able to, see that of other people. We shall love every creature for His sake who made them; and shall have the mind which was in Christ-a desire of ministering to others, rather than of being ministered to ourselves. “We shall wish to serve all the world ; but shall desire no service from the world, knowing we deserve none. We shall wonder at the kindness and love shown to us, feeling ourselves unworthy of it: much more shall we be sometimes in astonishment,