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conceit? There is more hope of a fool than of him.” What is very much to be deplored at the present day, is the false independence of which I have spoken; and the Christian pulpit must utter its warnings against it, as dangerous to our social condition. It cannot be otherwise than dangerous, if distinct interests arise in many homes, and parents are excluded from the secrets or the plans of their children, and not permitted to advise, or even sympathise with them, in many of their aftairs. The prevalent slang phrases reveal the relaxation of the bond which should connect the parent and his child, and prove that the respect which once obtained has very much died away. I need not enter into the reason for this change, and the forgetfulness of the command, “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forget not the law of thy mother.” How often does the injunction of the apostle need to be repeated, “Obey your parents in the Lord.” It is not necessary that I should at this time, enter into the causes which have produced a condition of affairs which is much to be deplored, but only that I should counsel the young, to bear in mind that want of respect for an earthly parent may develope into want of reverence for “Our Father which is in Heaven.”
THIRD WORD OF WARNING—Beware of evil associations.
The unholy alliance at Enrogel · broke up, immediately on the arrival of adverse tidings. Joab, Abiathar, and their confederates disappeared, and left Adonijah to his own devices. They were careless about his fate, and very solicitous about their own safety. There was no deep affection, and no bond of pure love to keep them together; selfishness was at the root of the association. They fawned, and flattered, and fled. As they engaged in an evil enterprise, so it was impossible that they could respect and esteem each other. Wicked men do not care for their companions beyond the point of advantage. They have no interest in each other's welfare, and they are suspicious of each other's designs and of each other's fidelity. The end of all such combinations is illustrated in this passage from the history of Israel. But there is still another, and a more terrible illustration. Judas allowed a certain desire to grow up within him unchecked, and it gathered strength until it was a tyrant which he could not resist. He became a confidant of the chief priests who sought the death of his Master. They had interviews with him; they made themselves very agreeable to him; they showed him much respect, and ostentatiously trusted their scheme to his charge. They appeared to be his devoted friends, and he was elated by the show of deference which they paid him, but it was all done simply to serve their own purpose. They did not really care for him. In their hearts they probably despised the traitor. And he found them out. In the hour of his remorse, he discovered that they would not give him even the slightest word of sympathy. He rushed into their presence in his agony, cast the thirty pieces of silver on the table, and cried, “I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood.” And how was he received ? With a cold, bitter sneer—“What is that to us? See thou to that !”
You have only to read the revolting details which are often given in the newspapers, of the betrayals and recriminations of those who have been associated in evil ways, to see how little regard they have for each other's feelings, character, and welfare. Accomplices and partners in guilt indulge in mutual accusations and revelations which show the slender nature of the tie which binds them together. There is no love—no true, deep, self-sacrificing love-such as dwells in the hearts of Christian brethren, united in Jesus Christ. Friendship is one of the best blessings of this life-a blessing of which neither adversity, nor distress, nor persecution can deprive us. And there is no more revolting spectacle than that of a man leading his “friend” to the haunts of vice, or on any of the roads which tend to destruction. “He that walketh with the wise shall be wise ; but the companion of fools shall be destroyed.” Be exceedingly careful as to the character of those whom you make associates and admit to friendship. There is no doubt that you need moral courage in order to resist the temptations which are subtilly spread for your feet; but remember that you are called to fight no battleto bear no cross—for which strength is not promised to you. “My grace is sufficient for you ; My strength is made perfect in weakness.” “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
Take Nehemiah, not Adonijah, as your example. You recollect how, on one occasion, when he saw the prevalence of corrupt practices around him, and exclaimed, “So did not I, because of the fear of God.” Realise God's presence. Dwell on His love. Ask His guidance. Commit your way unto Him. Pray that, for Christ's sake, He would order your footsteps aright. Although the evil which is around you may be disguised, patronised
by those to whom you are accustomed to pay respect, and indulged in by all in your company, be able to say, with the ruler in Jerusalem, “So did not I, BECAUSE OF THE FEAR OF GOD." And if you hesitate, and ask what will become of you if not yield a little; and if you lament that you will lose your remunerative employment,-recall the question which was put by a king to a prophet, and the answer which the prophet returned : “What shall I do for the thirty pieces of silver ?” “ The Lord is able to give thee much more than these.” “Resist the beginnings of evil.”. “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.”
Jesus Christ hath “left us an example, that we should follow in His steps.” Beg, for Christ's sake, the aids of the Holy Ghost, without which you cannot do good,—that He would enable you to realise His presence, to do His will, to love Him with all your heart, and to live not unto yourselves, but unto Him who loved you and gave Himself for you. Seek the society of Christians, and endeavour to walk worthy of Him who “has called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.” Unite yourselves to some Christian congregation, if you have not done so; take part in its Christian work; dedicate your talents and a portion of your time to the service of Christ; and thus you will promote your own spiritual life and advance His cause among men.
Be faithful to Him who hath bought you with a price. Stand fast in the faith. Quit you like men. Be strong." The Church of Christ calls you to “come to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord, against the mighty.” A great battle is raging between the Church and the World, and the Captain of our salvation has said, “He that is not with me is against me.” You cannot be neutral in this warfare. Callousness, indifference, and want of interest in the cause of Christ, show that your influence is given to His great enemy. “He that gathereth not with Me, scattereth abroad.” To declare yourselves openly for your Lord and Master may cost you some trouble, lead to some annoyance, expose you to some danger, cover you with some ridicule, and cost the severance of some companionships ; but what are these “light afflictions,” compared with the “recompense of the reward ?” “In the world ye shall have tribulation; be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." “Endure hardness, as good soldiers of Jesus Christ." Never forget His solemn warning: “Whoso is ashamed of Me and of My words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed when He cometh in the glory of His Father with all
his holy angels.” Never forget, His gracious promise, that they who abide true to Him shall hear the blessed commendation, “Well done, good and faithful servants; enter into the joy of
I have now spoken to you in the plainest and simplest manner, so that no one may misunderstand. Believe me, there is nothing high, noble, manly, in irreligion, in separation from God, in servitude to Satan. I wish you to be-each oneliving epistle, seen and read of all men.” If society is to be refined and elevated, we need you to live, by God's grace, pure and holy lives. If your country is to be preserved from a repetition of those social evils which in time past have polluted it it must be by your true and genuine Christianity. Christian courage is required of you—that, in every position in which you are placed, you may show that you are not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. The Church of Christ summons you to the “help of the Lord against the mighty,”—and, in my Master's name, I pray you to go forth into the world, and, by the might of your faith, by the beauty of your purity, by the gentleness of your patience, by the power of your love, be representatives of Him who gave Himself for you. Then you will be as salt preserving society from corruption; as leaven permeating the mass; as lights shining in the darkness.
THE UNBEARABLE WOUND:
REV. DR. MORTON,
“The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmities; but a wounded spirit who can bear?”-PROVERBS xviii. 14.
THERE IS A NATURAL FORTITUDE.—Man was made for dominion. No one can doubt the implantation in his nature of a regal power to subdue all external things, and "fashion” the world after his image. In braving difficulties, levelling mountains, yoking the elements to do his will, triumphing over sea and land, he reveals transcendent faculties, indomitable energy, and the “unconquerable will.” Constitutionally, man was endowed to be a hero. But let us not deify this natural fortitude, or ascribe sufficiency or the shadow of independence to the “lord of creation.” What is his life? “A vapour !” How often in his grandest exploits is he like "a reed shaken with the wind !” And sometimes all his gigantic schemes crumble around him, and, in their ruin, are a satire upon all his natural and unaided power.
THERE IS A RELIGIOUS FORTITUDE.—All believers are assumed to be “good soldiers of Christ Jesus.” In them Nature's instinct of courage is sanctified, enlightened, regulated and enobled
“ 'Tis moral grandeur makes the mighty man.” And look how, in Scripture, every effort is made to animate believers, and excite them to heroic bearing and endurance! The idea of hero-worship is borrowed from the Bible. It, indeed, does not raise man to any apotheosis, though he may be possessed of the sum of all the qualities of genius or human goodness, but the eternal Word of God magnifies courage. What appeals are like