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let us on no account veil or relinquish our testimony. Even now, God is our treasure, and let us earnestly exclaim, “Whom have I in heaven but God, and on earth there is nothing that I desire besides Him. My flesh and my heart faileth; but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever!”

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As the sum of this exposition, let me now say, men and brethren, “know God as He is," and none but Him! Understand God as your own God,and prefer nothing to Him! Sorrows may be multiplied; but if God is God, and our God, then shall there be flowers amid the deepest snow. Heavy clouds are crowding together, and there may be lightnings within them; but if God is God, and our God, then have we strong walls around us, and we need fear no evil! We dwell in God, and the everlasting arms are underneath us. O, what a place of quiet rest is ours, even the eternal love of God! “The end of the world has come, ” and latter-day signs may rapidly unfold, as the harbingers of the Son of man; but if God is God, and our God, then are we not far from “the kingdom," where we are to reign; and there, ours shall be “the wisdom,” and “the might,” and “the riches,” that shall exalt us above the angels !

Believing friend, having hopes bright as these, be tranquil and stedfast, and do thy work as one that is sure of a great reward. With the energy of thy entire nature, renewed by the Holy Ghost, resist and overcome, and rise above all that is imperfect, and transient, and void of God.

At the same time, long for the hour when Jesus shall return to lift up, and repair, and ennoble all that was thrown down on the day of our fall. The curse is on all things as yet-and what if it should press still more heavily, as we draw nearer the close of this dispensation? Ah! the shadows of evening do steal quickly over us. Light after light goes out in our aged firmament. Beneath our feet all foundations tremble, and the travail of the earth is great. But, just as in the sorer travail of Calvary, when the darkness was at its height, a voice is suddenly heard out of the heavenly temple, crying, It is done !The crisis is over! Now breaks forth the restrained Sun, and the darkness flees. The archangel's trumpet wakes up the sainted dead. The living too, are changed. The old veil of time is rent in twain. And, , from the holy place of the Church below, we pass into the holiest of all, there, amid hosannahs, to receive from the Last Adam,“ the wisdom,” and “the might,” and “the riches,” we lost in the first.

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Beloved, that is your hope; and having such a hope, purify yourselves even as Christ is pure, and continue, increase, and excel in all that will fit you for the saints' inheritance in glory.

Woe is me! but are there not many who believe not in Christ. and are still without God? You cannot fail to trust; for it is the law of your being, and the impulse of your constitution. But then you have nothing to trust in; no shield that quenches even darts of fire; no cistern that is ever full of water; no fortress that cannot be assailed; no ear that is always open to your cry; and no heart that feels for your every grief! Gaily did your bark sail on, whilst yet the languid breeze scarce stirred the waves. But it is night, and storm; and what of your vessel now? "Wisdom” is at fault, and knows not where to steer. “Might is paralysed, and drops the helm. “Riches” are worse than useless, —they only strain the timbers. Yes! all is well, when all is well; but let sickness come, or let poverty come, or let death come, or let the holy Judge of all come,—and what hiding-place hast thou, unbelieving friend? Without God, thou art without defence, or security, or peace—a wreck amid breakers, and ready to perish!

But why perish, unsaved, because unbelieving man? Here in our text is God offering Himself to thee in all His mercy; and even now mightest thou call Him thine. Even now, on that spot, mightest thou come home to thy Father. And wilt thou not, then, receive the gift of life eternal, ere we part ? Unsaved man, during this brief instant, if only thou wilt, thou mayest part with the emptiness of the creature, for “the wisdom,” and “the might," and “the riches,”—nay, for “the love,” and “the righteousness," and “the judgment” of our God. And surely thou meanest not to put away the cup of mercy-to shut the door of salvation with thine own hand! At this moment, unsaved friend, thou art devoid of all safety or consolation. But believe in Christ, and Christ is thine; and having Christ, thou hast God! It is Christ who reveals and reconciles God; and till thou art in Christ, God is no God to thee: thou art without God—God is against thee. But, made one with the Son by faith, thou art restored to thy Father; and at length the days of thy mourning end! God in Christ is a rock-and standing on that rock, thou shalt sing for joy! . God in Christ is a haven-and moored within this anchorage, thou shalt fear no change of sky.

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“For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way ; because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek Him; but His power and His wrath is against all them that forsake Him.” EZRA viii. 22.

THE Jews had been for seventy years in captivity in Babylon and during this period their country had been to a great extent desolate. But, according to the promise made to them by God through His prophets, deliverance had come, and they were permitted to return to their native land if they pleased. In the beginning of the book of Ezra, we have an account of the comingof the first company from Babylon to Jerusalem. They were under the leadership of Zerubbabel, who was of the house and lineage of David, and of Joshua the son of Josedech who was pf the tribe of Levi and family of Aaron. Some time after their arrival in their fatherland, the foundation of the temple was laid, and towns and villages were built in several places. But the Hebrew colony in Judea was not in a flourishing condition. The administration was very defective,

. and neither civil nor religious institutions were firmly established. In the reign of Artaxerxes,-the same person, it is thought, who is called Ahasuerus in the Book of Esther,-permission was again given to the Jews, living in the various parts of the Persian Empire, to return to Jerusalern under the direction and guidance of Ezra, a priest and ce.ebrated scribe, who seems to have had much influence in the court. It is the journey of the second company or caravan which is referred to in the passage that is now to form the subject of our remarks—an event which happened about sixty years after the return of those who had gone under the direction of Zerubbabel and Joshua.

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I. We shall consider Ezra's conviction, as indicated in the text. First, he was convinced that there were some men who sought God, and others who forsook Him.

There were some who sought the knowledge of God,who strove to become better acquainted with His character and works, who read and reflected on the writings of the prophets that in former days had spoken to the inhabitants of Israel and Judah, and whose oracles had been carefully preserved, and of the prophets that in later times had been raised up by God to cheer the hearts of their brethren as they dwelt by the river of Chebar. But there were some also who treated with contempt the sacred books which had been transmitted to them through many generations. There were some who made careful observations and abstruse calculations about the sun and the stars, rising in thought from “nature to nature's God ;” and some who asked not about Him of whom it has been said, “The heavens declare His glory, and the firmament showeth His handy-work.”

There were some who sought the favour of God—who looked on that as the highest blessing which could be conferred on them, as inconceivably more valuable than any earthly blessing; and who sought that favour by earnest prayer, and by faith in Him as a God with whom there is mercy and plenteous redemption. But there were also multitudes who had yielded to the evil influences by which they were surrounded,-multitudes who made the wealth, and honour, and pleasure of the present world their chief good, and lived under the power of things seen and temporal.

There were some who sought the glory of God,—who set that before them as the object for which they ought to live,—who strove to honour God by cheerful and hearty and habitual obedience to His commandments. But there were others who followed divers lusts and pleasures, and who cared not to ask what were the things which God commanded, and what were the things which He forbade.

And just as it was in the days of Ezra, so it is still ; just as it was with the Jews in Babylon, so is it with us here. There are men among us who study the works of nature, and find, as


they believe, in these, many wonderful and delightful displays of the wisdom, and power, and goodness of Him who is the Creator and Preserver of all things; while there are others who study the works of nature, and never get beyond, or seek to get beyond, natural laws and material arrangements. There are some who read the Bible and listen to the preached Gospel with an earnest desire to know God; while there are others who treat the means of spiritual improvement with neglect. There are some who feel that to have God for their friend is to have the business of life accomplished, and who have embraced that mercy which is offered to them through the truth of the Gospel; while there are others who turn a deaf ear to the invitations of Divine love, and who treat with indifference the blood of the everlasting covenant. There are some who say habitually, "What doth the Lord God require of us?” “Lord, what wilt thou have us to do ?" But there are others who never seriously ask regarding the requirements of the law of God. And the conviction of Ezra is that of every thoughtful, good

Not only is there a firm persuasion that among men there are some who seek God and others who forsake Him; but there is the further conviction, that this is the grand distinction. The man who thinks of his neighbour here being a rich man, and of his neighbour there being a poor man, looks only on the surface of things, and confines himself to a distinction which in a very short time will be as if it never had been. But he who thinks of one neighbour being a seeker of God, and another a forsaker of God; looks at a distinction which belongs to the soul, and which will prove lasting and important as the soul itself.

Secondly, Ezra was convinced that God's hand for good was on the one class, and that His power and wrath were against the other.

He probably knew something of the character usually given to the imagined deities of the heathen; he probably knew that they were represented as beings subject to all the weaknesses and wickednesses common among men that they were considered proud, and ambitious, and revengeful. If this was the character given to them, it could not be supposed that they should be very strict in their rule over mankind,—that they should be very careful to enjoin only what was right, and to reward it; and, on the other hand, to forbid only what was wrong, and to punish it.

But Ezra knew that Jehovah was not like the gods of the

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