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We may be apt sometimes to wonder, that the Israelites should have so generally disobeyed this easy command, and should have sacrificed as they did in the high places, even in some of their best days; when God had said, "you shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem.” But if we would look at home, we might find something very like it among ourselves. For many men, even now, are rather too jealous of being ordered and directed in their performance of the outward duties of religion. They had rather choose out churches, ministers, and prayers for themselves, than be content and thankful with what God's providence has appointed for them.

It is a great happiness in our condition, that we need not be at any loss in these respects. We have no reason to doubt that the clergy are God's ministers, really appointed by Jesus Christ to stand in his place, and to bless in his name. We are certain that baptism and the Lord's supper are his sacraments; the Bible, his word: and the Lord's prayer, his prayer. We may be more certain than the Jews could be, which side he would have us take in all doubtful and difficult points of practice. Suppose the question to be between patient suffering and violent and eager resistance; we need not be at a loss for want of a voice from heaven, as the Jews sometimes were. We know beforehand—the New Testament teaches us in every page-how much better it is to submit quietly, than to do ourselves right by any hasty or passionate ways.

Or suppose

that two ways appear equally reasonable, but that our inclinations and fancy are rather too passionately inclined toward one of them: we may be sure the safer and better way is rather to incline to the other. “For even Christ pleased not himself.”

I say, it is a great happiness which Christians enjoy, in being thus overruled and guided in every step, and not left to their own ways. It is impossible to consider the thing at all seriously, without perceiving that it is so; unpleasant as we too often find it to own as much, even to ourselves. The advantage is as plain, as when

we say that it is good for a child, that cannot stand alone, to have hold of a kind and careful nurse, instead of being left to totter about by itself. It is, in the strict sense of the words, a blessing infinite and unspeakable. It is as great as the difference between what God knows and what we know: between eternal, unbounded wisdom, and our frail and short-sighted understanding:

To have this thought steadily fixed within us, will prove, indeed, the greatest of all blessings: both as to our rest in this world, and as to our inheritance in that which is to come. In whatever counsel and pursuit we are sure we are guided by God, that, we are equally sure, must turn out well in the end : and soberly speaking, what can we wish for more ? Now (whatever may be said about the ways and means), the issues and events of things, we know, are absolutely and entirely in God's hand; and therefore it very ill becomes us to be reful and anxious about them. Let us leave them quietly to be managed by him, who cannot do us wrong, and cannot wish us harm. Do but reflect on the meaning of these words, and you cannot but wish to keep it always in your mind, as an anchor of the soul, sure and steadfast, against the most tormenting of all the evils of this mortal life ; those which arise from too anxious thoughts about the morrow. Once make up your mind to this most certain truth, That what is right in God's eyes is far better for you, than what is right in your own eyes; and you

will have but one care in the whole world : that is, how to please God in making the best use of the present time: a care in which, by his gracious assistance, you are sure not to fail.

But it was farther said, that this temper, of not choosing for ourselves, leads directly to our everlasting inheritance in the other world, as well as making sure of our rest and refreshment in this. For it helps us greatly in the performance of our duty, because, in truth, it leaves us nothing else to do. The moment we set our heart on any worldly object, however innocent it may be in itself, that moment we are, in that respect, in more danger than we were before. We are embar

rassed, from having set ourselves another task, beside pleasing God. This is of course a snare and a trouble to us, and it requires great help on God's part, and most commonly a painful struggle on our own, to keep out of sin, under such circumstances. To guard against which we must be so far free from passions, as to indulge them no more than we are thoroughly convinced is pleasing to God. In the spirit of St. Paul's wise and kind warning : “ This I say, brethren; the time is short: it remaineth that they who have wives be as though they had none; and they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; and they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away."

“The world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God endi reth for ever.” These words of the beloved disciple, St. John, point out to us the great and final blessing of such a temper as has now been recommended: a temper which had rather be under wise and good guidance, than be left to choose for itself. It prepares and trains us for everlasting happiness in heaven. For the very secret of our enjoyment there will be, that God's will shall be ours. We shall behold his works and ways, especially the glory which he has given to his beloved Son our Savior, and shall rejoice in them, as in so much good done to ourselves, more and more thankfully for ever.

What a beautiful and comfortable thought is this, of the high and noble uses to which, if we will, we may turn all

worst disappointments—the bitterest thoughts of shame and remorse, which ever come upon

We may consider them as part of our Heavenly Father's

way of breaking us in, as it were, and training us to the desire and enjoyment of his own blessed presence in heaven. They are so many lessons in his school, each intended to make us a little more perfect in that divine art of having the same will that he has. Look upon your feelings of shame and self-reproach in this way, and you will compose yourself to receive them


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calmly, however grievous for the time, in cheerful hope that they may prove hereafter, for Christ's sake, the happy means of your amendment and forgiveness.

And if even the bitter thought of our past sins may be accompanied with so much of what is comfortable and hopeful, surely we may well leave it to Almighty God, to do what he will with us in every other respect. Only let us think over, fairly and seriously, what has hitherto passed in our own life. Let us recollect what we have experienced in ourselves, seen in our friends, heard of in the world, and read in our Bible. We cannot think it over in earnest, without seeing the great evil of being left to our own way, and the security, the comfort, and happiness, of having God to choose for us.

Once possess yourself with this truth, and you will be fit for every condition that God may send upon you. You will be humble in prosperity, because then God seems to leave you to yourself

, and this temper has made you very much afraid of yourself. In sorrow you will be cheerful, because then you feel for certain that God does not leave you to yourself. And in all conditions, you will keep up a constant and thankful sense of the presence and providence of the Almighty God of God our Savior; in whom, if we once learn to delight our. selves, he is sure to give us our heart's desire.




ST. JOHN xiv. 26.

"The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in

my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your re. membrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

AMONG other ways which careless people have of getting rid of the matter easily, when they have committed sin, one shall sometimes hear them say, They are sorry they did wrong, but really, at the time, the temptation was strong upon them, and they did not recollect that it was wrong. Angry and passionate people, for one instance, very often employ this excuse. They seem to imagine God cannot be very much displeased with them, if they can but say that what they did amiss was done in a hurry, and without thinking.

But it is worth their considering, very seriously indeed, whether the very circumstance of their being in a hurry, and doing bad things without thinking, was not itself their own fault.

Not to give yourself time to think, whether what you do is right or wrong—this surely is a sort of conduct very unworthy a reasonable being, who knows that it is as much as his soul is worth, whether he use himself to do right or wrong.

And the fact is, that this excuse of doing things in a hurry, together with all others which sinful Christians are apt to plead for themselves, has been completely done away with by that great mercy of God in giving us

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