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Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy,” James 7-11.
Grudge not”-yes, “ Grudge not.” In former times, when a criminal was carried to Tyburn, to be executed, it was customary on the road to present him with a bowl of rich liquor, such as many of the attendant crowd had not means to purchase, but did any of the crowd grudge him the short lived gratification ? Did any of them desire to take his place for the sake of that draught of liquor ? Did any one think it worth while to attack the guard, and risk his life to obtain it? The responsibility of wealth and power is very awful, without the special grace of God, it is a heavy burden, and weighs down many souls to destruction.
Yet it is hard to be patient under privations. Man is ever prone to desire to take God's work into his own hand; but the word of God declares, and the experience of every age has shown, that this is wrong, that it leads to attempt to meet evil with evil, which can only end in mutual destruction. Better would it be to remember the declaration, “ Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him: but it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God,” Eccles. viii. 11-13.
“Be patient therefore, brethren;" mark the words of the apostle, and forget not those of the wisest of men, “Fear thou the Lord and the king : and meddle not with them that are given to change,” Prov. xxiv. 21. How applicable are these words to men of every class! How many high as well as low in station, “ are given to change;" desirous to change from the state for which God has given them abilities, and where they might enjoy more happiness than in that position which they strive to attain. The words of the apostle give very important advice on this subject, “ Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil,” 1 Thess. v. 21, 22.
Especially let “the brother of low degree,” beware of
those who despise dominion, and speak evil of dignitiés. When one of the worst of the Roman emperors ruled the world, Christians were told, “Be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God,” Rom. xiii. 1. They were to leave the worldly minded, and those who looked for no better inheritance than the things of this life, to contest about such things. Then, as now, there were men who sought to lead astray the simple-minded with great promises; "These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words,” Jude 16, seeking their own ends and caring not who might suffer in the event, if their own selfishness were served. In every age there have been many such men, who live in idleness by making others discontented and unhappy; and the poorest man who listens to them ever has and will find cause to rue the day he did so.
God brings about changes in the nations by causing sinful men to punish each other; but woe to those who leave the plain precepts of his word, to mix in such dostigs. History tells of many changes, and whenever they have been brought about by violence, the instruments themselves have been among the principal sufferers, while in every such change, the poor as well as the rich have suffered. The poorest honest man has something to lose, that to him is not less important than their possessions to the wealthy. When the French revolutionists swept through their own land, and over Germany and Switzerland, they pretended only to war with the palaces, but in reality the poor suffered even more than the rich. The greater number of the wealthy saved their lives, and even some portion of their possessions, but the most part of that generation of the lower classes were involved in utter ruin and destruction.
Reader! Are you rich ? “Meddle not with them that are given to change. Beware of false doctrines, beware of specious novelties, beware of grasping after some shadow, believing that it will make you happy. Reader! Are you poor? Your lot may be trying; you have privations, and many things hard to bear; yet if honest, sober and industrious, you know that you possess some blessings which the richest profligate has not, and cannot have. If you are a follower of Christ, you know that you would not for a
moment change your lot for that of the richest unbeliever. Do not risk these blessings; or rather, do not actually throw them away. Assuredly you
seek for changes, and abstain not from evil. Above all, make not light of plots and deeds of blood. “ Evil shall hunt the violent man to overthrow him," Psa. cxl. 11. “A man that doeth violence to the blood of any person shall flee to the pit,” Prov. xxviii. 17. Remember, whatever wrong any one, high or low, may do, it is no excuse for others doing wrong also. We may be said to live in times when our national state too much resembles the state of Israel described by the prophet, “The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot to the crown of the head there is no soundness in it, but wounds, and bruises and putrefying sores." What then is the remedy ? The disease is universal and the remedy must be applicable to all. It is not outward services and men's devices that can remove this evil, the same prophet points it out in terms none can mistake. “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts,” Isa. lv. 6–9; Look to Him who “ was wounded for our transgressions, -bruised for our iniquities : the chastisement of our peace
upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all,” Isa. liii. 5, 6.
CALLS OF USEFULNESS.; A Call on a passionate and hard-hearted young fellow. HARRY! Harry! I have followed you into your shop to tell you that you have acted the part of a cruel, hardhearted tyrant. The way
poor little lad, now crying at the corner, is a disgrace to you, Cowardice and tyranny too often go together, and you deserve to be pointed at for the one, and soundly punished for the other. You are hammering away at your anvil as though that would make amends for your cruelty ; but if you do not learn to conquer your passionate temper, some day or other you will smart for it, even though you should be the best workman in the world.
John Stratford was a smith by trade, and as clever a fellow, perhaps, as ever took a hammer in hand, but his cleverness did not keep him from the gallows. He did not control his passions, and was led on to commit murder, for which crime he was hung at Norwich. The iron-work of the drop on which he suffered was forged by his own hands, and the very bolt, the withdrawing of which launched him into an eternal world, was his own workmanship. Have a care, Harry! that the same passionate and cruel disposition does not bring you to the same end. I am often obliged to speak hard words to you. The Bible says, “ Anger resteth in the bošom of fools,” Eccles. vii. 9, and“ Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer," 1 John iii. 15. Your wrath has been cruel, and your anger outrageous, you are in God's hands, and he can smite you harder than you can smite those whom you oppress. Beware, Harry! Beware!
A Call on one given to intemperate habits. I cannot tell whether or not you have ever seen a paper called “The Temperance Tree;" at any rate, I will leave one with you. It will speak for itself, and, therefore, all that I have to do is to hope that a Divine influence will accompany its contents to your heart.
THE TEMPERANCE TREE.
“Temperance supports reason, improves memory, nourishes the body, embellishes every natural grace, increases strength, purifies the blood, and brightens the brain. It preserves man in the dignified moral character he is designed to maintain in the world; guards the senses from being perverted; enlivens the soul; locks the purse from the greatest thief; and qualifies a man to be the companion of the good. It is a wife's joy and children's riches. It makes men respected and beloved, and withholds them from injuring the gifts of their Creator.
“ The word of the Most High has commanded all men to live soberly. He who obeys this command, will watch over the Temperance Tree, which, through Divine grace, will not fail to bud, to blossom, and to bring forth fruit to the good of man, and to the glory of God."
A Call on a Porter.
You are about to start off, I see, and a pretty package that is which you are about to lift on your shoulder. I could no more carry it than you could carry a cart-load of coals. Ah, well! The back is fitted to the burden, and practice makes perfect in every line of business. It is well for those who carry
all their burdens on their backs, and none in their bosoms, but one word with
set off. Can you run as fast with your load as you can without it? No, that
cannot. Now a weight on the heart is heavier than a load on the back, and of all weights that we carry, sin is the heaviest. If, then, you wish to run the heavenly race set before you, to finish your course with joy, and to find the end thereof eternal life, cast away your sins, they are a dreadful burden to carry, and get heavier the longer they are borne.
Did you ever see a thornbush in the spring, so covered over with blossoms, that not even the point of a thorn could be seen? I dare say you have, but for all that, the thorns were there, even in the very heart of the bush, and if you have looked on the same tree, in the winter, when the blossoms were gone, you must have noticed not only that it had thorns, but also that it abounded with them.
Now, this is just the case with the wicked ; they have their pleasures, and sometimes appear so happy that you might almost suppose no care was in their hearts.
Alas! keep your eye upon them, for as surely as the bush lost its blossoms, and exposed its thorns, so surely will their enjoyments vanish, and their sharp-pointed troubles appear. There is no text in the word of God more true than that “There is no peace unto the wicked,” Isa. xlviii. 22. You may put