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and to spread from me to others! Let me reflect that as a wicked man contributes to draw down the judgments of God upon his country; and is thus an enemy to all around him, as well as to himself; so, by living a life acceptable to God through Jesus Christ, I may in some humble measure contribute to procure His favour for my country, and thus be not only blessed myself, but a blessing to others. And as salt may lose its saltness, by exposure, or time, and then is absolutely worthless, so let me remember the danger of declining from the ways of God, and losing the grace which He has given. Let me also remember, that to be a Christian in name only, and not in reality, can neither bring glory to God, nor good to myself, or my fellow-creatures.
XLVIII.-WIND AN EMBLEM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
“ The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound
thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” John iii. 8.—See also
Cant. iv, 16. Acts ii. 2. We see not the wind itself, but we see what it does ; whether when the forest is bowed by some mighty tempest, or when the corn waves under the gentle breeze, and the flowers of the garden give out their fragrance, as they tremble at its softest touch.
It is thus with God's Holy Spirit. It is mysterious in its coming, and in its influence. Unseen itself, it is seen in its effects. The mighty change which the world has undergone, since first the doctrine of the cross was preached by peasants of Judea, with no human aid to support them, is the work of the unseen but ever-present Spirit; by which the false philosophies, and vain superstitions, of heathenism have fallen before the truth, as Dagon before the ark And whenever we see some hardened sinner a
6 1 Sam. v. 3.
vinced, and humbled; some lawless wanderer sitting at the feet of Jesus, and in his right mind; some mourner comforted; some weak child of fallen man enabled to bear his cross, and follow Christ in the ways of patience, humility, and charity; in these and other similar instances we have evidence before us that the same Almighty Being is visiting His people; and by His gentler or His more powerful influence is opening the mind for that entrance of religious truth which giveth wisdom to the simple. It was perhaps because the wind is thus so suitable an emblem of the Spirit of God, that when He first came down on the day of Pentecost, there was heard the sound as of a rushing, mighty wind; and it filled the house where they were sitting. Breathe evermore, O Lord, upon my dark and sinful heart. By the inspiration of Thy Holy Spirit, grant that I may perfectly love Thee, and worthily magnify Thy Name. Aš Thou didst move upon the face of the waters', to quicken into being what was without form and void, so may Thy godly motions stir my dull heart into life and
! Awaken my repentance, increase my faith, confirm my hope, inflame my love. And do Thou so move upon the restless waves of this troublesome world, that at length the knowledge of Thy glory may cover the earth as the waters cover the sea !
7 Gen. i. 2.
XLIX.—THE PRECIOUS OINTMENT, AND THE DEW
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard : that went down to the skirts of his garments; as the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion : for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore." Psalm cxxxiii.-See
also Exod. xxx. 25. 30. 1 Cor. xii. 13. The oil with which Aaron was anointed, was probably an emblem of the grace of God, by which he was chosen to his sacred office, and endued with such heavenly gifts as might enable him to discharge it. He was himself a type of that gracious Saviour, who is said to have been anointed with the oil of gladness above His fellows®; and in whose name of “Christ,” that is to say, Anointed, we have thus a pledge that He was called of God to the priestly office, and abundantly qualified for the work of power and mercy which He undertook in our behalf.
The inspired Psalmist was enabled to see a farther Divine similitude in the anointing by which Aaron was thus consecrated to this priesthood. Reflecting how the costly ointment flowed over his whole person, and went down ven to the skirts of his garments, he perceived an emblem of unity among brethren, whether as dwelling together in one family, or as knit together by fellowship in the same country, or as made one by communion in the same Church. It is thus that, when the members of a family, or a Church, or a nation, " dwell together in unity,” the Divine blessing seems to flow upon the head and all the members; and the happiness which results from love, and peace, and order, is ever diffusing itself from the parent, or ruler, to the very humblest of the subjects, or children. Nor does the blessedness confine itself to the Church, or family that is thus at unity in itself'; but, like the fragrance of ointment poured forth, it so spreads itself abroad as to communicate the same endearing happiness to others. Our blessed Lord seems to have prayed for the unity of His people, as a token of the truth of His religion, that would carry conviction to the world around: “ That they may be one," He says,
8 Ps. xlv. 7.
9 Heb. v. 4, 5.
“ even as We are one: I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me?.” The curse of Babel was division; but unity is one of the chief gifts and graces of that Divine Spirit, who, with the Father and the Son, is One God blessed for ever. Amen. 66 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all 3."
The dew which fell upon the hill of Hermon, and thence descended to the lower heights of Zion, and the valleys from which it rose, suggested to the Psalmist's thoughts the same similitude which he perceived in the anointing oil“. As in the case of the precious ointment, the dew presents to the mind an image of the Divine blessing descending first upon the highest, and thence flowing downwards even to the lowest members of the body; and both images intimate that the blessing of unity is the source of holiness, and usefulness, wherever it prevails. The Church was designed to be a miracle of unity in the world; and it is in great measure owing to our unhappy divisions, that the progress of Divine truth has been so greatly hindered, and is still so slow.
In unruly spirit, a love of pre-eminence, an unwillingness to receive with meekness the truths
1 Ps. cxxii. 3. 2 John xvii. 22, 23.
3 Eph. iv. 4–6. 4 See Bishop Horne's Commentary on this Psalm.
and precepts of the Word of God, and to remember our own littleness, and unworthiness; these are the great causes of divisions in families, and of schisms and quarrels in the Church, and state. May I have grace to watch against any dispositions of this kind in my heart. May I know my own place, and acknowledge, with meekness, and respect, the place of others; and while I pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and for concord and harmony among brethren, let me endeavour, in my family, or in my Church and nation, to diffuse around me the heavenly fragrance of peace and concord; "avoiding every needless cause of contention, and endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
L.-THE RICH JEWELS; OR, SPECIAL TREASURE. “ Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another : and the
Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels.” Mal. iii. 16, 17. (See Mar
gin.)-See also Isa. Ixii. 3. With what care and diligence does the collector of precious stones pursue his calling! How anxious is he that, in casting away such stones as to an uninstructed eye have an unpromising character, he may not incautiously discard some jewel of great price! and when he has found some stone of unquestionable worth, and beauty, how carefully does he lay it up among his "special treasure !" Our blessed Saviour has taught us, in more than one parable, that the blessings of his kingdom are like some treasures of this kind"; and has intimated that, in seeking those blessings, we should learn a lesson of zeal, and patience, from such as make it their business to seek for goodly pearls, or other earthly treasures. God has been further pleased
5 Matt. xiii. 44, 45.