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advancement if, by how much higher we are, we do not appear less; if our light be seen, it matters not for our hiding.
UPON THE FANNING OF CORN. See how, in the fanning of this wheat, the fullest and greatest grains lay ever the lowest, and the lightest take up the highest place. It is no otherwise in mortality; those who are most humble are fullest of grace, and ofttimes those have most conspicuity (are the most seen) which have the least substance. To affect obscurity or submission, is base and suspicious; but that man whose modesty presents him mean to his own eyes, and lowly to others, is commonly secretly rich in virtue. Give me rather a low fulness, than an empty advancement.
UPON THE PUTTING ON OF HIS CLOTHES.
What a poor thing were man, if he were not beholden to other creatures! The earth affords him flax for his linen, bread for his belly; the beasts his ordinary clothes; the silkworm his bravery (fmery;) the back and bowels of the earth his metals and fuel; the fishes, fowls, and beasts his nourishment. His wit (understanding) indeed, works upon all these, to improve them to his own advantage; but they must yield him materials, else he subsists not. And yet we fools are proud of ourselves, yea proud of the cast suits of the very basest creatures. There is not one of them that have so much need of us; they would enjoy themselves the more if man were not. O God! the more we are sensible of our own indigence, the more let us wonder at thine all-sufficiency in thyself, and long for that happy condition wherein thou, who art all perfection, shalt be all in all to us. Bp. Hall.
HUMILITY. “BLESSED are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” Matt. v. 3. There is a hope of heaven which, because unfounded, is incompetent to give peace. If the merit of good deeds would secure heaven; if, instead of seeking it as a mercy, we might claim it as our right, humility would be little wanting; but the peace of the selfrighteous is not of the gospel. “I came not to call the righteous," Mark ii, 17. Still, however, it is natural to hope, and no expectation is more easily entertained than that of future glory. We owe it to the study of the ancient pagan philosophy, that men are so content with vague conceptions upon this matter; and though we live in a country denominated Christian, how tinctured are we still with the heathenish notions of reward being due to virtuous deeds! Good actions are comparatively scarce; and those who perform them gain so much praise, that in spite of the declaration that “all have come short of the glory of God," Rom. iii. 23, men will indulge their hope. And though a brief reflection would assure us that the world in its estimate of character is often under mistake, and that we can do nothing to recommend ourselves to God, it is a difficulty with many, to understand the necessity for depending alone on the Lamb of God. Honest and benevolent men may persuade themselves into the idea of reaching heaven for Their virtues, their charities, their attention to religious ceremony; but though in these things we were ever so strict, they could not impart a solid hope. Yet there is one to be found; it is the hope of him that has felt his destitution and his guilt. . He has humbled himself, and found mercy. He rests on the faithfulness of the word of promise, a foundation that will never be shaken.
The poor in spirit are already possessed of the kingdom. There is a view of human life in which the dispensations of providence are all clear and admirable, worthy of the Divine wisdom and love. To take this view, we must have the spirit of a little child. With respect to these dispensations, a true humble Christian is too busy in admiring them, for both the wisdom and mercy they show, to be at all anxious about those mysterious parts of them which the ungodly deem arbitrary, and the impious call unjust. His property may fail, his friend betray him, or death carry away the object of his love, yet while urged to confess that clouds and darkness surround hiş Father, he would say, “ Righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne.” It is only for pride to see darkness where all is light, and irregularity where all is order; it is for the man under the power of that unholy feeling, to assume lordship over God himself, and to call in question his glorious works: Christian humility delights in them; and whilst, as far as we understand, we admire, we know the secret of every dark providence, believing that all things, whether painful or pleasant;
are working together for good, and fitting us for the glory to come.
“ From seeming evil still educing good,
In infinite progression." We might suppose all this to be wanting. The eternal hope would still console, and encourage, and urge forward those who meekly cherish it. That weight in the things of eternity which, when our prospect is uncertain, oppresses the thought, but which becomes a weight of glory to the hopeful believer, will become such only to the humble. Humility must be cherished. And if we can affirm of the comforts and the trials which are in Christian experience so mercifully intermingled, that they are alike sources of joy when passed through with humility, surely we gain an argument no less powerful for the duty of maintaining an humble mind. We must have an obedient disposition if we would enjoy religion; the lofty look must be humbled, the stubborn will brought low; for whosoever will not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.
CALLS OF USEFULNESS.
Call on a Cruel Man.
window, yesterday, beating your donkey in a very unmerciful manner, and felt determined to call upon you the first opportunity to have a word or two with you about your cruel usage
of your poor beast. Kind treatment often succeeds better with animals than blows; and no one ought to strike a dumb creature until he has tried a milder method. The Scripture says that, " the merciful man is merciful to his beast," but this I am sure, that you showed no mercy to yours.
There's mercy both for man and beast
In God's indulgent plan;
But man has none for man. Frank. I don't know that my donkey is used worse than other people's. Jack Holmes knocks his about from morning to night. He thinks nothing of thumping him about the head for half an hour together.
Visitor. But if Jack Holmes has no feeling, that is no reason why you should follow his cruel example. The same Almighty Being, who made, you, made your donkey also, and woe be to those who abuse his creatures !
His eye surveys the world around,
The water and the land;
And hates the cruel hand. And depend upon it, that with what measure you mete, it shall be measured out to you again. You have power over your donkey, but remember God has power over you; and for every unnecessary stroke you inflict, he may smite you with the rod of affliction. If His hand should be heavy on you, it will be needless to complain, for your hand has fallen heavily on your unoffending beast. Take warning in time, Frank. Neither the mercy nor the judgment of God are to be despised. With the merciful he will show himself merciful, 2 Sam. xxii. 26, but for the cruel, who have no pity, he has stores of terrors. Once more I say, Take warning, and have pity on your poor beast, lest the wrath of God fall upon you, and overwhelm you with destruction.
Call on one Heavily Afflicted. You will not take it amiss, William Summers, that I leave you this tract, “ To the Afflicted,” for I know that you are one of those who would willingly glorify God in their afflictions. I have heard of your distress, and my heart has ached for you; nevertheless, if your trouble be great, the consolations of God are not small; even in this winterly season of adversity you
faint not. Cheer up your desponding spirit, for the sun is in the skies yet, and the moon proclaims by night the goodness of God. I can feel for you, for I know that your trial is a heavy one ; but you must cast it on Him who has promised to bear the burdens of his people. Oh, the unutterable weight of the transgressions of a sinful world! If this was borne by our adorable Redeemer, do you think that his followers need fear being crushed with lighter trials? No; He will bear for them what they cannot sustain. Though your present calamity be exceedingly urgent, and the furnace of your affliction heated seven times hotter than it is wont to be heated, trust in your heavenly Father, and you shall be seen walking in the midst of the fiery trial uninjured, with a companion like unto the Son of God.
Call on a Fisherman. Visitor. Never idle! Jasper, never idle! Mending your nets, I see, to fill up the chinks of time that might otherwise be lost. You seem to understand what
you are about; but while repairing your nets to catch the fish in the river, have a care that you are not caught yourself. Satan is a cunning old fisherman, and knows well, not only how to make a net, but how to use it when it is made.
Jasper. You are right enough there, sir; but though Satan knows how to make it, God knows how to break it; if it were not for this, we should all of us be caught : “ As the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.” But, blessed be God, there is another net beside those which are spread by the enemy of souls, for we read in St. Matthew's Gospel, that the kingdom of heaven is like a net cast into the sea, which gathers of every kind, Matt. xii. 47. That is a net which will never break with us; and when caught in it, the faster it holds us the better. I read the tract that you
me, and a sweet spirit runs through it. It has often been a wonder to me, how the human heart, which is “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked," can be so changed by Divine grace, as to pour out, as it sometimes does, so much warm-hearted love and spiritual affection; but what is there that our heavenly Father cannot perform?
Visitor. What indeed! So long as we look to him, the snares of the evil one will be spread in vain. How gloriously the sun is setting, and how beautifully bright is the heaven above us!
If thus the sky above our head,