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"less than nothing and vanity." "Cease from man, whose breath is in his nostrils; wherein is he to be accounted of? Trust in the Lord for ever; for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength." "Hast thou not known, hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength." Creatures may die, but he liveth; and blessed be our Rock, and let the God of our salvation be exalted. "All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: but the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the Gospel is preached unto you." The heavens and the earth may pass away; but his covenant is everlasting, ordered in all things, and sure. As le is eternal, O Christian, thy happiness, which is bound up in him, is secure. He is the strength of thy heart; he is thy portion for ever. Realize thy union with him in all thy exigencies, feebleness, and dangers. "THE ETERNAL GOD is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms."

NOVEMBER 7.-"We that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened." 2 Cor. v. 4.

By "this tabernacle" the Apostle means the body, which is the same to the soul as a dwelling to the inhabitant. Only it is observable that he does not call it a palace, a mansion, a house, but a tabernacle. Paul was familiar with the structure of such a kind of resi dence, for he was by craft a tent-maker. He knew that it had a roof, but no foundation; that it was a temporary accommodation, a moveable abode, easily taken down, easily injured, easily overturned, easily destroyed. Do what you will with your bodies, they are no better than tabernacles, earthly tabernacles. Nurse them, pamper them, dress them, adorn them, idolize them as you please, dust they are, and unto dust shall they return.

But see how he distinguishes the soul from the body, and places it above the body. He speaks of the body as if it did not belong to our persons, "We that are in this tabernacle"-as if we could live and act without it. And this is possible. The soul is the man. The soul is the inhabitant. It is in the body, but not of it. It is immaterial, immortal, and capable of endless improvement. We cannot save the dwelling, but we may save the inhabitant. And should not this be our supreme concern? Does not he who knows the value of the soul, from the price he paid for the redemption of it, ask, "What is a man profited if he should gain the whole world and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" Yet there are persons who live as if they deemed the soul unworthy of a moment's thought; yea, and they often die so too. They send for the physician, they employ the lawyer, they dispose of their substance, they arrange their funerals, and tell their friends where and how they choose to be buried: but not a word escapes them concerning the nobler and never-dying part-and none of the cruel and infamous wretches in the room will dare to break the delusion, and

ask, What, have you no soul? Is this disposed of? Is this provided for? Where will this be found in the day of the Lord Jesus?

We have seen their residence, let us hear their complaint—“ We that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened."` With what? The oppressions are numberless. There are the common evils of life. We need not read the Scriptures to know that earth is a vale of tears; and that man is born to trouble. Who is secure from failure in their schemes? from worldly losses? family bereavements? bodily accidents and diseases? But, common as they are, some might have supposed that the friends of the Almighty would be exempted from these calamities. Yet many are the afflictions of the righteous. They have frequently more of these sufferings than others. The husbandman does not prune the bramble, but the vine. The stones ⚫ designed for the temple above require inore cutting and polishing than those which are for the common wall. Correction is not for strangers, but children-" What son is he whom the father chasteneth not?" Neither is a Christian required to be senseless under these afflictions. They are not joyous, but grievous; and only yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness to those that are exercised thereby. He is no more to despise the chastening of the Lord than to faint when he is rebuked of him. In some respects he feels these troubles more than others: for he cannot have recourse to the diversions and stupefactions of the world under them; he sees in them all the dreadful evil of sin; he often fears they are proofs of God's anger towards him; and trembles lest they should not be sanctified.

There also the hatred and opposition of the world. What did the Maccabean Jews, and the first Christians, and our own forefathers, suffer? We do well to remember the former times, and compare them with our own. Yet what cannot be done legally may be done really; and many wives, children, servants, and dependants, are at this hour enduring persecution, even in this country. The strongest ties of affection towards a man will, upon conversion, relax and loosen, like the cords of life at the breaking up of the constitution; and what was warm friendship before, degenerates into mere civility, perhaps into open malignity. The carnal mind is enmity against God; the tongue can no man tame. They that go forth to the Redeemer without the camp must bear his reproach. The people of the world will never act justly and candidly towards real religion. They always affect to pity or despise it. It is weakness, or derangement, or enthusiasm, or mercenariness, or hypocrisy. "Speaking evil of you"-" Cruel mockings-"

There are also grievous temptations. What do some suffer from this quarter! Yet each Christian, as knowing only his own heart's bitterness, is ready to exclaim, "No one endures such temptations as I do-They not only attend me in the world, but follow me to the throne of God and the table of the Lord-They often lay waste my comfort, and I fear will prove my destruction at last"—"The enemy hath persecuted my soul; he hath smitten my life down to the ground; he hath made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead." Yet is not the Christian life always spoken of as a warfare? And did not even Paul and his fellows say, "We wrestle not. against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers,,

against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."

But there is nothing with which the Christian is so much oppressed as his sins. "Mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me to bear”—At first in the guilt of them, till by believing he enters into rest-But afterwards and always, in the remains of them. When I would do good, says he, evil is present with me, and how to perform that which is good I find not; O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? He is a stranger to Divine grace whose imperfections are not his afflictions. The Christian mourns even over those infirmities which are not even viewed by others as sins: such as wandering thoughts and cold affections in duty. He has a renewed and tender conscience, and like the apple of the eye, a mote will pain it. To love purity and feel pollution to be eager to advance, and be hindered by baffling detentions-to wish to be a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, and never be able to put any thing out of his hand that is not marred and spoiled-to love the Saviour, and yet grieve his holy Spirit, and pierce the very bosom on which he leans-Here is enough to make him groan, being burdened. It is said of that beautiful bird, the bird of paradise, that when it is caught and caged, it never ceases to sigh till it is set free. "Just such is the Christian"-Nothing will satisfy him but the glorious liberty of the sons of God.

NOVEMBER 8.-"The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms."-Deut. xxxiii. 27.

How various and striking are the representations which God has given of himself in his Word! They all correspond with the state and wants of his people; and are adapted and designed to fill them with everlasting consolation and good hope through grace. Here we are told that he is their Defender and their Supporter

"The eternal God is thy refuge." A refuge reminds us of exposure. Dangers encompass them on every side. Their enemies are numberless, and according to the Apostle, the greatest of them are not visible: "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." They cannot stand of themselves; and creatures also, however disposed and powerful, are unable to secure them. But their defence is of God, who saveth the upright in heart. He is not only their protector, but their protection. It is only in his covenant engagements, and perfections, and presence, and providence, that they can realize their safety. But encouraging themselves in the Lord their God, they may be emboldened into confidence, and even triumph, and say with the Apostle, "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." And this is the interest that awakens their chief anxiety. While they are here, their outward

concerns have their claims; but "one thing is needful." Temporal comforts, as far as they are good for us, are secured: but these may be injured and destroyed; not because God is not able to preserve them, but because he is wise, and knows that these are cases in which the loss of them will be more profitable than the possession. But spiritual blessings are "the sure mercies of David." Whatever becomes of the trader, the Christian is secure. The outward man may perish, but the inward man shall be renewed day by day. “I give unto them," says the Saviour, "eternal life; and they shall never perish."

"And underneath are the everlasting arms." Are his people then children? The mother upholds the helpless babe. Sometimes the knee bears the pleasing load; but when she would press it to her bosom, or convey it sleeping to the bed of repose, her arms softly sustain it. "And as one whom his mother comforteth," saith God, "so will I comfort you, and ye shall be comforted." Are they invalids? How soon is the strength of the patient reduced, and another is required to raise and remove him from posture to posture, and from place to place. And thus "he giveth power to the faint, and to them that have no might he increaseth strength." Are they heavy-laden? Sin is a burden too heavy for them to bear. The guilt of it often bows down their spirits; and the remains of it constrain them to complain, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" They frequently feel a load of cares, and wants, and crosses, and griefs. "Lord," say they, "I) am oppressed, undertake for me. "And the promise says, "Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee." And thus it has always been. They have frequently looked forward with dread and despondence; but when the afflictions arrived, they found grace to help in time of need; and as their days so was their strength. Yea, they were not only supported, but in the multitude of their thoughts within them, his comforts delighted their souls.

There is one individual to whom this will peculiarly apply. It is you, O aged believer. The evil days are now come, in which you have little pleasure from outward things. Many of your connexions have fallen off, one after another, like leaves in autumn. Lover and friend have been removed from you and your acquaintance into darkness. Your memory is unfaithful. Your senses begin to fail. § The eye and the ear are becoming dim of seeing and dull of hearing. The limbs decline: the hands and the knees tremble. Fear is in the way. The grasshopper is a burden, and desire fails. But while you cry," Cast me not off in the time of old age, forsake me not when my strength faileth," he who has borne you from the belly, and carried you from the womb, says, "And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you."

NOVEMBER 9.-"And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing."-Luke xv. 5.

JESUS is the speaker, and he refers to himself. The allusion is metaphorical, and regards him under one of the most endearing characters he sustains-The Shepherd.


The address was occasioned by the nature of his audience, and the insinuation of his enemies. "Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him"-Drunkards,_adulterers, swearers, liars, Sabbath-breakers. The proverb says, Like begets like; and there is much truth in the old adage. Show me a man's company, and I will show you his character. Accordingly, "the Pharisees and the Scribes," pious souls! as if alarmed for the interests of morality, and pretending that the freedom of his conduct was incompatible with the sanctity that should distinguish a Teacher seat from God, "murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them." The apparent difficulty was to be solved by an easy distinction which they were not prepared or disposed to make. Our Lord was among these sinners not because he loved their sins, but would save their souls; or, as he explained himself on a similar reproach, he was among them as a physician walks the wards of an hospital, not because he is charmed with disease, but in order to prescribe for his patients: "They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick." Here he has another equally striking justi fication. He spake this parable unto them, saying, "What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety-and-nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it"-he belabours it with his rod till it pants again? No such thing-" he layeth it on his shoulders"-complaining of the dangers he has incurred, the many weary steps he has taken, the sufferings he has endured in the research? No-but " REJOICING." Blessed Jesus, how well couldst thou say, "I am the good Shepherd!"

He not only seeks and saves-but whatever it may cost him, he does it with joy. In the anticipation of it, he "rejoiced in the habitable parts of the earth, and his delights were with the sons of men." When he was actually becoming incarnate, he said, "Lo! I come to do thy will, O God. I delight to do thy will; yea, thy law is within my heart." With regard to his obtaining eternal redemption for us by his blood, he said, "I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!" See him at the well of Sychar. The disciples had left him hungry, and had gone away into the city to buy meat. But when they returned and spread the entertainment before him, and said, "Master, eat;" he said, "I have meat to eat that ye know not of." He refers to the pleasure he had just experienced in the conversion of the woman of Samaria, and in the approaching salvation of her neighbours by her means-This was his repast: "My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work."-" He layeth it on his shoulders, REJOICING."

It is the joy of success. Nothing is more mortifying than to labour in vain, especially when we take great pains, and make great sacrifices. But how pleasing and delightful is it to see the fruit of our exertions. How delighted is the soldier after his marchings, privations, hardships, conflicts, and wounds, to retire in peace, and share the spoils of victory and the applause of his king and his country? "A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world."

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