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of the Lord came and touched the sleeping prophet, and said, “ Arise, and eat; and he looked, and behold there was a cake baked on the coals, and a cruise of water at his head.” O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? Behold a table is spread for you in the wilderness. While you slept, taking no thought for yourself, resigning your care, forgetting your fear and impatience, my love, my care, my patience ceased not; the eye that never slumbereth nor sleepeth watched over you, provided for your immediate wants, to teach you to trust my future providence.
This is the lesson Elijah under the juniper-tree teaches to us. This little incident comes more home to our hearts and circumstances than all the grandeur and greatness of the rest of his bistory.
Christian, for whom the Son of God hath died, the prophet's state may sometimes, may frequently, be thine. Temporal matters may cause more anxiety and distrust than spiritual concerns; but all the promises of God are yea and amen in Christ Jesus, and one of God's promises which was fulfilled to Elijah in the wilderness, may often be fulfilled to thee, whilst thou too art without carefulness. " Bread,” it is written, 66 shall be given thee, and thy water shall be sure."
How often is this providence around us when we take no heed of it! Even the prophet, to whom it was visibly and miraculously displayed, “ ate and drank, and lay down and slept again;" and though our table is often spread for us in nearly as wonderful a way, do we not too generally act in a very similar manner? How frequently might we see our distrust and impatience reproved thus, by action. Not that our impatient requests are granted ; not that our erring will is done, but these are turned into other channels; our immediate want is in some way supplied; we cease to fear what we so much dreaded; we desire no longer what we so much hoped for : the providence of God shapes our path, and the Spirit of God inclines our wilful hearts to follow it. The journey of our life, like that of Elijah through the wilderness, would be too great for us, were it otherwise ; but spiritual as well as temporal bread and water is provided for us in the wilderness, and we go on in the strength of that meat, like the restored and instructed prophet, to the mount of God.
It is a beautiful and striking evidence of the truth of the Bible, that no one mere human character, of which we have any detailed account, is represented in it as perfect ; there is some blemish, some proof of the sin that dwelleth in us, some failing, some weakness. Immanuel, God with us, is the only perfect being. The prophet Elijah, in trial and disappointment, said, “ It is enough: now, O Lord, take away my life.” The Saviour in his agony said, “ Not my will, but thine, be done.”
It is only concerning the work and sufferings of Christ that the prophet's expression can be justly used ; it was only Christ who was ever authorized to say concerning himself, “ It is enough.” He had accomplished his Father's will, he had finished the work given him to do. We never know when or how the will of God concerning us is accomplished. We must not think we have had enough of trials, sorrows, fears, losses, or struggles, until our God says these words to us. He let the destroying angel proceed with his work, until he saw fit to stop its progress by saying at the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite, “ It is enough: stay now thy hand." Let us yield entirely to his will, trust confidently his grace and his providence, and calmly wait his time.
CHRISTIAN SCRIVER'S THOUGHTS.
SUMMER WEATHER. The weather had been delightfully warm for several weeks together, and some were wondering what would be the effect of the continued sunshine without rain. " Why say so ?". inquired Gotthold ; “ do you not like to see the sky clear, and the sun smiling on you so pleasantly week after week ?”
“ Yes," was the reply," “but we fear lest the good seed in our fields, and the fruits of our gardens, should be corrupted and spoiled, and then the smiling sky would cause much weeping in the world.”
“ Let it be remembered," said Gotthold, “ that earthly prosperity, which is often compared to the pleasant sunshine, would be of as little use to us as a continuance of fair weather would be to our fruits. The tempests which startle us first with dark and spreading clouds, and then with sudden thunder and lightning, accompanied with pouring rain, are unpleasant, but often beneficial to our crops, as well as to men and beasts; they cause suffering and uneasiness at the time, but afterwards give ease and comfort to the mind. Outward prosperity is often a forewarning of some greater evil, perhaps of everlasting destruction, which may come upon some rich man, and affect many thousand others. For one single individual who is brought to despair and ruin by painful and contrary
events, thousands may be found, who perish through abundance and success. Then let us not value our enjoyments too highly; and as, in hot weather, the gardens need constant watering, lest the plants should perish, so let us, in the season of prosperity, more earnestly pray that God would not take from us his favour, nor his Holy Spirit, by whose guidance we may walk with humility and circumspection, lest we abuse our temporal enjoyments to our eternal destruction. Heavenly Father! I call to mind the words of thy prophet, “ Thou hast covered thyself with a thick cloud, that our prayer should not pass through,” Lam. iii. 44. Often is it thus with me, that a heavy cloud comes between me and thee, and I have nothing to plead, because of my sins, and my transgressions. Yet the sun is still behind the clouds, it works with them, and its good influence sends the drops of rain on the earth ; so thou art still my God, even in the time of trouble, and thou workest so effectually that the traces of thy dealings may soon be seen. Whether thy works be sweet or bitter, still thou art to me the same tender Father and gracious Lord.
THE DEW. GOTTHOLD went early one morning into the fields and watched the rising sun with delight. He thought upon the Sun of righteousness, whose appearance and going forth in the latter days he earnestly longed for, and he said, “ Happy day of the resurrection of the children of God !” “ Beginning of everlasting rest! When will the morning dawn?” Lord Jesus, the Sun, the desire of my soul, where tarriest thou ?” Going on, he found that his feet were covered with the dew, which sparkled on every herb and blade of grass, like pearls and drops of silver poured out. " Ah,” said he, “ I sent my thoughts into the distant heights of heaven, and I have not rightly confessed that the earth is full of thy goodness.” Like Job, I may say, that I have washed my steps in butter, xxix. 6, and thy grace is compared to the dew, Psa. cx. 3. Lord, thy favours are without number; like these shining pearls, all creation sparkles with the dew-drops of thy goodness. Blessed be thy name for ever! My Lord and my God, let some drops of thy heavenly mercy fall on my poor heart and conscience, that I may be willing and earnest in thy service.
THAT SERMON. THE sermon was concluded, the blessing was pronounced, the doors were thrown open, and the people dispersed themselves in various directions towards their several homes.
6 A fine sermon that,” said a farmer to himself, as he stepped out of the door. " A wonderful man that parson of Bours is, sure enough; how noble he looks in the pulpit! He is none of your dronish mumblers, who preach a congregation to sleep. What a sight of books he must have read! And what hard words he makes use of, too; I can't think where he learned them, or how he can remember them all. And then he has nothing but his Bible, no notes, nothing to trust to but his memory, and yet he keeps talking on, as if he did not know how to leave off, and is never at a loss for a word. Well, for my part, I am no scholar, but I suppose all he says is true, for he must have read a world of books, and it is not for poor men such as myself to trouble our heads much about such things. We have enough to do to work for our daily bread, and we cannot do better than leave our parson, who has plenty of time, to think and study for us. Preaching is his business, as ploughing is mine; so every man to his trade.”
6 Well,” said Miss Burton, as she walked along arm-inarm with a friend, " what a sermon! I would not have been the Russells for a trifle. I wonder what they must have thought and felt while he was rebuking pride and vanity in such burning language. Whether any one has told him anything about them I know not; but I am sure he must have had his eye upon them, his remarks were so appropriate to them. I have no patience with such pride dressing in silk and satin, bedizened with watches and chains, while they can scarcely pay their way. It was but a few years ago that I recollect them, dirty, slatternly girls, whom everybody despised ; and now they toss their heads, and strut about as if the earth was not good enough to walk upon. Oh, I detest pride beyond all things, and in such people too ! But it is just the way of the world ; those are proudest who have least to be proud of. The parson, however, has read them a good lesson to-day, and I hope they will profit by it, and behave themselves in a manner more befitting their condition. For my part I could think of nothing else during the sermon but the insufferable pride and vanity of those upstart girls, and I am not a little pleased that our minister spoke out so plainly."
“ Ha! ha!” said young Jones, as he gaily skipped down the road, and twirled his riding-whip in his hand, “ a pretty methodist sermon, truly! All very well for old women, and people who are too old to enjoy the world; but I am not going to mope myself to death with religion. I would not have wasted my time here to-day, but my aunt must be considered ; it will never do to offend her. But she cannot live long; and when I come to my fortune I'll show them that I am made of very different stuff. A short life and a merry one, say I ; and those who choose religion, why, I wish them joy of their choice. I wonder what people were sent into this world for, but to enjoy themselves and be happy. Pride, indeed! As if there was any harm in wearing a good coat and living respectably. I suppose the parson would have us shut ourselves up from the world, and be always praying and reading the Bible. He forgets that he was once young himself; but now that he can no longer enjoy the pleasures of the world himself, he would sourly keep them from those who are young. I wonder what but religion drove young Philips mad the other day; before he turned methodistical he was happy enough, but good-bye to pleasure when people make so much fuss about religion. But yonder is Harry Wild; I must make haste and overtake him, to arrange for the races to-morrow.” With these words he quickened his pace down the avenue, and in a few moments every thought of the sermon had faded from his mind.
66 Well,” said farmer Jones to himself, as he threaded his way among the people, “ that is what I call a good sermonvery good; and I do believe our preacher is a very good sort of man, a little too strict, perhaps, but an honest and wellmeaning man, after all. But," said he, scratching his head, 66 what to do as to purchasing that lot of sheep sadly puzzles me. It has been running in my head all church time. If the drover would take half-a-crown a head less for them, I think it would be a good speculation; but so dear as sheep are at present, I should never make my money of them if I were to give any more. Well, I must hurry home to dinner; and I will ride over this afternoon, and see if he will take anything less, and if we can come to terms I will secure them. I suppose our minister would call me to account for doing this sort of work on a Sunday, but one must live; and if I never do anything worse than make a bargain on a Sunday I