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pected to have prepared himself by a thorough study of the subject, comments on the passage, explains difficulties, and endeavours to draw out the remarks of all the teachers. Each teacher is at liberty to ask any question on any part of the subject. The superintendent is also free to question the teachers in his turn. The main design of the meeting is to bring all the varied talents of the different teachers to bear upon one distinct point, so that the particular subject may be clearly and thoroughly understood. A delightful interest has frequently been excited; the most useful train of conversation has been suggested on subjects of eternal importance; and the teachers can all, I believe, bear their testimony, that on these occasions they have become more familiar with different portions of the divine word, and have acquired a fulness of knowledge on the subject of instruction which has eminently facilitated their labours and increased their usefulness on the sabbath.

THE STAMP OF CHARACTER. We ought not to fix the reputation of any man from a remark made on one or two of his actions ; but from observations of the usual habits of his life. Temptation may hurry him out of the command of his principles and constrain him to act below himself. An opposite class of excited feelings may prompt him with unusual ardour to act above himself. We do not, for example, judge of David's real character by the heroic bearing in which he met Goliah of Gath ; nor by his unhallowed conduct toward Uriah the Hittite ; nor by the mournful attitude in which his spirit is refleeted in the fifty-first Psalm. It was the balance of these fitful displays of honour and dishonour against the habitual tenor of his course, that gained for him the appellation of " the man after God's own heart.”

Besides, as most of our actions are done in concert with other minds, they partake of their wisdom or folly, their principles and their passions. We are thus made to wear the character of other men, which befits us perhaps no better than their garments would. To judge of a man when he is carried beyond himself by the power of accidental impulse from within, or by the impetuosity of strong external temptation, is much the same as to say, that the air of a certain district is impure or wholesome, because the weather happened to be tranquil or stormy on that single day which we spent there.

Such, then, is the standard which reason and charity would employ in forming our opinion respecting the character of our fellow-men. It is still of vastly more consequence for man to have some test by which he may judge how he stands in the view of that eye which is ever on his heart. Human opinion here is of no importance, whether it lead to praise or blame. “He that judgeth me is the Lord.

Some time ago I was deeply affected by an illustration of this point, by some remarks said to be from Dr. Owen. The sentiment is this :-As a minister, I must not judge of my personal religion by the delight I enjoy in the pulpit. The glorious theme is inspiring to imagination—to intellect-to feeling. The magic of the approving hearers stirs the heart; their earnest looks, and their tears too, are enchanting to the mind. The pleasure arising to me from these services, and such as these, may possibly be nothing better than the gratification of self-love, or the joyous fluttering of vanity.

Again, I may also be deceived by the happiness which I experience in the exercise of domestic religion. The discharge of mere duty soothes the keen sense of responsibility; the hope of training a family to habits of pious observances may feed parental pride; and even the desire of saving those whom nature has made unspeakably dear to us may, when closely examined, be nothing better than the emotion which inspired that unholy fondness of the mother, who approached the Saviour for the sake of obtaining for her two sons, that they might sit, “the one on thy right hand and the other on the left in thy kingdom.” All this, and more than this, may be selfish joy. I can only regard real pleasures as the test of religious character, when they spring up within the conscious breast in the exercise of secret fellowship with God. When solitude is the paradise of the soul, then it may be safe to think of our feelings as being pure as well as pleasant. David dared not to trust to the excitements of public worship as infallible signs of piety. Hence referring to the delightful emotions of the sanctuary, he thought of a defect which private devotion alone could supply: “ My soul said, he shall be satisfied when I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches." Yes, an habitual fondness for secret communion with God is the finest stamp of character. Thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly."


THIS CHEQUERED SCENE. There is a most striking analogy between nature, providence, and

grace, which plainly shows that the same God reigns over all. We would now glance for a moment at one illustration of the truth of this statement, in the apparent mixture of good and evil which pervades the three kingdoms. Wherever we turn our eye in this world, we behold a chequered scene. Unmixed good or evil we never see.

There is war and peace, order and disorder, in the natural, providential, and spiritual world. Throughout the whole of the divine economy these contrarieties are set one against the other. There is also obscurity everywhere ; there is light, but it is surrounded by darkness. It is the will of God that these facts should exist. Important ends in his moral government are answered thereby. Blessed be his name, there is enough, more than enough of good wherever we look around, to manifest his character. But there is enough of natural and moral evil to bring out and to form the character of men. There is enough of good to furnish glorious evidence of the benevolence of God; enough of evil to give an opportunity for the development of a heart of unbelief: enough of order and justice to show that God is just ; enough of disorder and injustice to give scope to the doubts of all whose hearts are perverse.

We have recently seen, in the expressions gathered from three celebrated men, a remarkable exemplification of this truth. The infidel Voltaire, looking only on the dark side of the picture, uses the following language of complaint. 6. Who can without horror consider the whole world as the empire of destruction! It abounds with wonders ; it abounds also with victims. It is a vast field of carnage and contagion. Every species is without pity pursued and torn to pieces through the earth and air and water. In man there is more wretchedness than in all the other animals put together. He loves life, and yet he knows that he must die. If he enjoys a transient good, he suffers various evils, and is at last devoured by worms. This knowledge is his fatal prerogative—all other animals have it not. He spends the transient moments of his existence in diffusing the miseries he suffers, in cutting the throats of his fellow-creatures for pay, in cheating and being cheated, in robbing and being robbed, in serving that he might command, and in repenting of all he does. The bulk of mankind are a crowd of wretches equally criminal and unfortunate, and the globe contains rather carcases than men. I tremble on the review of this dreadful picture to find that it contains a complaint against providence itself, and I wish I had never been born."

The benevolent Paley looks chiefly at the bright side of the picture, and


" It is a happy world, after all. The air, the earth, the water, teem with delighted existence. In a spring morn or a summer's eve, on which ever side I turn my eyes, myriads of happy beings crowd upon my view. Swarms of new-born flies are trying their pinions in the air. Their sportive motions, their wanton mazes, their gratuitous activity, their continual change of place without use or purpose, testify their joy and the exultation which they feel in their newly discovered faculties. If we look to what the waters produce, shoals of the fry of fish, frequent the margins of rivers, of lakes, and of the sea itself. These are so happy that they know not what to do with themselves. A child is delighted with speaking without knowing anything to say, and with walking without knowing where to go. The young are happy in enjoying pleasure, the old are happy when free from pain.”

The eminently pious Halyburton, in the midst of affliction, and in the full view of death, looks on the same side and exclaims : “ Oh! blessed be God that ever I was born. I have a father and mother and ten brothers and sisters in heaven, and I shall be the eleventh. Oh, there is a telling in this providence, and I shall be telling it for ever. If there be such a glory in his conduct towards me now, what will it be to see the Lamb in the midst of the throne ! Blessed be God, that ever I was born."

LIBERTY OF CONSCIENCE. God alone is the Lord of conscience and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men, which are in any wise contrary to his word, or beside it in matters of faith or worship. So that to believe such doctrines or to obey such commandments out of conscience, is to betray true liberty of conscience, and the requiring of an implicit faith and an absolute and blind obedience is to destroy liberty of conscience and reason also.Presbyterian Confession.

THE POWER OF KNOWLEDGE. There is no power on earth, which setteth up a throne, or chair of state, in the spirits and souls of men, and in their cogitations, imaginations, opinions, and beliefs, but knowledge and learning. And therefore we see the detestable and extreme pleasure that arch-heretics, false prophets, and impostors are transported with, when they once find in themselves that they have a superiority in the faith and consciences of men ; so great, as, if they have once tasted it, it is seldom seen that any torture or persecution can make them abandon it. But as this is that which the author of the Revelation calleth the depth, or profoundness of Satan ; so, by argument of contraries, the just and lawful sovereignty over men's understanding, by force of truth rightly interpreted, is that which approacheth nearest to the similitude of the divine rule.- Lord Bacon.

I would love all that earth containeth fair,
I would remember that its fairest fades;
I would extol what will extolling bear,
Sing of life's sunshines, sing too of its shades.
I would not to this world be blind, deaf, dumb;
But sing, extol, love most the world to come.


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