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fort the afflicted; but I doubt whether, 1 His gifts as He saw necessary for the in other respects, he is equal to any edifying of the body of Christ.' of the candidates already named.” | “You will not, therefore, find per
"I came here as a listener," said fection; but, having chosen a minisL,“ but you will allow me to make ter, receive him as from the Lord, one remark. It seems to me that ·and 'esteem him very highly in love you expect every possible perfection for his works' sake.' Like Epaphras, to cluster around your chosen can labour fervently for him in your didate. Can such a man be found ?” prayers, that he may stand perfect
"I think I have such a one in and complete in all the will of God.' view," said M. “It is not necessary Pursue this course, and you will no for me to name him; enough for me longer say, 'I am of Paul, and I of to say he is the brother whose praise Apollos, and I of Cephas,' but, We is in the gospel throughout all the are all of Christ.” Churches."
The name of the successful candiAs they were about to discuss the date is not recorded; but the legend merits of the nameless candidate, a states that Paul's advice was followed, gentle knock was heard, and, to the and that the Church became emisurprise of all, Paul himself entered. nently prosperous.
"My brethren,” said Paul, “you “And they continued steadfastly know that for a time I have had in the apostles' doctrine and fellow'the care of all the Churches,' and I ship, and in breaking of bread, and find that our Master has not given in prayers.” “ And the Lord added to any one minister every diversity | to the Church daily such as should of spiritual gift, but has distributed | be saved.”
PROGRESSION AND PERFECTION.
BY THE REV. JAMES NEOBARD. “ But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto
the perfect day.”- Prov. iv. 18. If we have been divinely taught that “wisdom is the principal thing,” if we have been persuaded to “take fast hold of instruction,” and have been brought to determine that we will “ not let her go, but will keep her, for she is our life,”—we can never be too thankful. In very gratitude may pure and undefiled religion ever be loved and exalted by us.
Never may we who have been “ taught in the way of wisdom,” who have been “ led in right paths,” enter into the “path of the wicked.” Never may we who have begun to tread the path of the just turn aside into the way of evil men. “Let us avoid that, pass not by it, turn from it and pass away.” “For the way of the wicked is in darkness, and they know not at what they stumble. But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” Their way is dark, increasingly dark; they go on into the blackness of darkness for ever. Our way is light, increasingly light; we go on to the perfect day. There are two ideas in the text,progression and perfection. He that believeth hath eternal life. The life of the believer here and there is one. If we have believed, we have everlasting life—we possess already the immortal life which will be perfected in heaven.
Progression is the characteristic of that life on earth; perfection its characteristic in heaven. .
I. Progression the characteristio of the Christian life on earth.
Is it a remarkable thing that we should look for the growth of the Divine life in man? Ought we to expect progress in ourselves as Christians? We put the question thus, because, though we so fre. quently hear about this growth, so frequently talk about this progress we do not earnestly look for it in ourselves, nor are we very much sur prised if, on examination, we do not discover it. It is a reasonable thing for the parent to look for growth in his child; and he does conse quently look for it, and is greatly concerned if he does not discover it It is a reasonable thing for the farmer to look for growth in the seed which he has scattered upon the prepared soil; and he does look for it and is greatly grieved if he do not perceive the blade, the ear, and ther the full corn in the ear. It is a reasonable thing that men should ex pect the sun to shine more and more unto the perfect day; and accord ingly how great would be the consternation among men were he ti stay in his progress, destroying the perfection of the day! When w have reasonable ground for our expectation, we do really expect, and are greatly concerned if our expectation is not fulfilled. But let u put it to our own hearts whether we have looked for this progress it ourselves—this shining more and more; and whether we have beer concerned at our not discovering it, as though it were a right and reasonable thing that we should make progress. We ask then-Art we justified in looking for progress ? Are we right in expecting tha our path, as the just, should be "as the shining light which shineth mor and more unto the perfect day”? Is it true that progression should bi the characteristic of the Christian life in this world ? What is God' thought, expressed in His word, about this progression ?
Paul's prayer on behalf of the Ephesians, that they might b strengthened with might by God's Spirit in the inner man ; that they might be rooted and grounded in love ; that they might comprehen more fully the love of Christ; that they might be filled with the ful ness of God,-certainly implies the possibility and desirability of pro gression. Then again ; the words of the same apostle concerning th same people, that they “be no longer children, ... but growin up unto Him in all things, who is the Head, even Christ.” Comin “unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulnes of Christ:" these again imply the possibility and desirability a progression. And, again; Paul desires for the Colossians that the á be filled with the knowledge of His will unto all wisdom and spiritua understanding; that they might walk worthy of the Lord unto a pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in th knowledge of God; strengthened with all might according to Hi glorious power unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness."
But not only in such passages as these is progression implied to be possible and desirable ; there is the command,“ Grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
But the figure used in our text reminds us of other figures employed in Scripture, denoting that progression should characterize the Christian life here. Standing by Jacob's well, Jesus said, “ Whosoever shall drink of this water shall thirst again; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him," not a stagnant pool, but“ a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” “We have passed from death unto life, but our life at first is infant life; hence says the apostle, “ As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” And then, passing by the figure of the race employed by St. Paul, the growth of the mustard seed and of the blade of corn -all implying progression—there is the beautiful figure of our text.
You have often seen the sun descending the heavens, and you have waited and watched till you beheld him retire from view enveloped in glory, like the strong man who had run the race and won the prize. But the Christian life should not be like that. It could not decline in glory; were it to set, it would be amid gloomy clouds and in darkness worse than that of night. You have watched the sun again as he came forth from his chamber rejoicing in prospect of the race, and you have seen him climb the heavens till he made all things glad in the glory of the perfect day, and you have thought, Like that should be the Christian life. Thus saith the Lord, “The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”
As, then, the parent naturally looks for the growth of his child, the farmer for the growth of his corn, men generally for the increasing light and glory of the sun, so it appears our Father in heaven looks for progress in us. Progression, then, should be the characteristic of our Christian life here. We are right in thinking about this growth, in speaking about this progress; our error is in not looking earnestly for it in ourselves, in not being concerned when we do not discover it. Our path ought to be “as the shining light, that shineth more and more.”
We have dwelt somewhat at length on the truth that progression should mark our life here, that we might bring ourselves to this question -Shall we not be concerned about our own growth? Shall we not be grieved if we do not grow in our views and feelings in reference to sin ? The older we are as the children of God, the longer we have had fellowship with the Pure and Holy One, the more we should hate everything which is sinful, the more should we be opposed to everything which is contrary to the mind and will of God. Shall we not be grieved if, as the months go by, we do not find ourselves more decided and resolute and settled in our religious convictions and habits ? Shall we not be concerned if we are not gaining greater power over the sin Which easily besets us—if we are not found hungering and thirsting the more after righteousness, desiring the more earnestly to be pure in heart? Shall we not be concerned if we are not more humble, more
heavenly-minded, more gentle and forgiving, more Christ-like than we were ?
Let us learn that progression is possible and desirable; that it is expected and even commanded by our Father in heaven. Let us cherish the earnest desire. Let us see to it that our path is “as the shining light, that shineth more and more," that so the increasing light may bring more life and peace and joy to our souls, and as it shines the more brightly before our fellow men that they may be led the oftener to glorify our Father in heaven.
II. Perfection the characteristic of the Christian life in heaven.
Progression here ; perfection there. Perfection there according to the progression here. Is it so? We think so ; we take that to be the thought of the text; a thought, however, which is often forgotten by us.
If we mistake not, the ordinary notion is, No matter what our life may be here, if only we have faith in Christ, the moment this mortal shall put on immortality we shall be perfect in heaven, as perfect as though we had been here most careful to grow up unto Christ Jesus in all things. We ordinarily think of our perfection there as apart from our progression here. But the teaching of Scripture is not the stagnant pool here becoming the gushing fountain there; it is the well of water here, and there springing up into everlasting life. It is not the babe, or rather the dwarfed child here, appearing there the strong, wise, well-proportioned man; it is the babe growing up here, till there he attains the stature of the perfect man. It is not the feeble, glimmering light here, bursting forth there into the full glories of the noontide; it is the shining light, shining more and more unto the perfect day. That is, according to the Word of God, perfection there is in some way connected with progression here.
We know it is very true, though the “ well of water” spring up here ever so continuously and copiously, it shall there in comparison gush forth like a fountain of living waters. We know that though there be growth here, though the Christian “grow like the palm-tree and flourish like the cedar in Lebanon, yet, in comparison, the change there shall be as from feeble infancy to mature manhood. We know that though there be the shining here more and more, yet the splendour of the perfect day shall be as the glory which far excelleth. Yet still the teaching of Scripture is, that according to the progression here shall be the perfection there. “As a man soweth so shall he also reap." All who sow to the Spirit shall reap life everlasting, but in that everlasting life every man shall be rewarded according to his works. All the blessed of the Father shall enter into the joy of their Lord, all shall shine forth as stars in the kingdom of the Father, but“ one star dif. fereth from another star in glory.” Thus we see that universal perfec tion in heaven does not denote universal equality. If we search the Scriptures with this design in view, to discover whether a careless, in active Christian will attain the same perfection in heaven as a man like the apostle Paul, we shall quickly see that progression here has some thing to do with perfection there.
We may take home this truth to-day, that all who have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ are going forth to the perfect day. That day will dawn in heaven, and then, as far as may be, we shall be perfect even as our Father in heaven is perfect. Just let this thought sink into our hearts,—We are going on to perfection, perfection in holiness, perfection in knowledge, perfection in peace, perfection in love. What glories are these which are set before us! To be without sin, to be the undefiled walking among the undefiled for ever. To know as we are known; to love as we are loved ; to have ourselves possessed with the peace of God. Every one of us will reach the perfect day. There will be no imperfection in heaven.
Yet those who grow more here shall have larger capabilities there. Those who are the more faithful here shall have the larger range for faithfulness there. Every child of God shall be a star, but although all will be perfect according to their own order, one star will differ from another star in glory.
Here is something to fill us with joyful anticipation. And here is something to stimulate us to "follow on to know the Lord ;” something to encourage us to be in earnest in our prayer that God would help us to grow in grace as well as in knowledge.
For Christ's sake we shall inherit the kingdom. “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”
THE SAVIOUR’S WELCOME TO THE LITTLE ONES.
FOR THE YOUNG. NOBODY could doubt that the chil. / water from the very mountain which dren were going to get a story out they could see clearly not many of Aunt Mary, as they gathered miles away, rising thousands of feet, round her on a bright Sabbath after- and seeming to touch the sky. noon of July. There was an eager On the morning when we must look in their faces, and a disposition peep into the cottage, Zadok and to creep near to her, which could Mary seemed very busy, as if they not have deceived one less used to were preparing for a journey, and
the children were looking on wonAnd so Aunt Mary did not disap dering what was going to be done. point them; but taking the youngest Zadok was outside, under a shed, little child on her knee began her giving some food to his donkey, and Sabbath story in her own quiet way. taking great pains to make him clean
Outside of a city, years and years and tidy, as if he were going into ago, was a little cottage, wherein very good company. Within, Mary dwelt a man and his wife, named was beginning to dress the children Zadok and Mary, with their two in the very best clothes she could children. The cottage was prettily find, so neatly and carefully that they built of wood, which had one day wondered what was going to be done been brought in a boat over the l with them. The youngest, a little