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merciful care, for Thou art our deliverer, and Thine is the praise from all the works of Thy hands for evermore. And the sons of Noah said, Amen, Lord.”
XIII. The Covenant Sign. GEN. ix. 13. “I do set
My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant
between Me and the earth." The native account of the last martyrdom in Madagascar concludes in these touching words :-“Then they prayed,
O Lord, receive our spirits, for Thy love to us hath caused this to come to us; and lay not this sin to their charge.' Thus prayed they as long as they had any life, and then they died-softly, gently; and there was at the time a rainbow in the heavens which seemed to touch the place of the burning.”
XIV. One Language. GEN. xi. 1. “ The whole earth
was of one language and of one speech." A HINDU and a New Zealander met upon the deck of a missionary ship. They had been converted from their heathenism, and were brothers in Christ; but they could not speak to each other. They pointed to their Bibles, shook hands, and smiled in each other's faces; but that was all. At last a happy thought occurred to the Hindu. With sudden joy, he exclaimed : “Halleluia !” The New Zealander, in delight, cried out “Amen!” These two words, not found in their own heathen tongues, were to them the beginning of “one language and one speech.”
XV. The Confusion of Tongues.
Gen. xi. 9. “ Therefore is the name of it called Babel, because the Lord
did there confound the language of all the earth." The late Bishop Selwyn devoted a great part of his time to visiting the Melanesian Isles, and he thus writes home about the difficulty of languages: “Nothing but a special interposition of the Divine Power could have produced such a confusion of tongues as we find here. In islands not larger than the Isle of Wight, we find dialects so distinct that the inhabitants of the various districts hold no communication one with another."
XVI. True Service must have Soul in it. Gen.
“And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the
souls that they had gotten in Haran." A MINISTER makes the following remarks in his sermon : -The want of this age-of all ages is-soul. Quaint old Matthew Henry points out that Abraham's slaves which he had gotten in Haran are called souls. In these times servants are called hands. A world of difference. Hands -four fingers and a thumb to get as much out of as one can, and to put as little into, from the master's standpoint. And from the servants—to pick up as much as they can and to give as little back again. When master and man can find in each other's relationship a soul--a living, earnest, brotherly soul, then only are the work and wages alike right. In least and commonest works we want not hands only but souls. If I hire a man to do my garden and I find him scarcely playing at the work, for men put their souls into their play, but dawdling' only, tickling the earth with a rake as if he expected it to laugh into flowers, I would sooner Aing him his half-crown, and do the work right earnestly myself. So do we value soul, we who see but the outside of men. Think then of Him Whose eyes do look us through the Father of spirits, Whose contact is even with the inner man, the soul. If that sleeps, how poor in His sight, how vain and mocking, is any service that we pretend to render Him. Here all is worse than nothing if there be not reality, heart, earnestness.”
XVII. Magnanimity. Gen. xiii. 9. “If thou wilt take
the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to
the right hand, then I will go to the left." AN instance of the practical effectiveness of Mr. Sherman's preaching is narrated thus. In one of his Monday evening lectures to teachers, the subject was the parting of Abraham and Lot: in the course of which he spoke of the magnanimity of Abraham, and, as a contrast to it, said that he had just visited a family belonging to the congregation that was rent by discord about the ownership of an old bedstead. It happened that amongst his hearers was a man who had not been in Surrey Chapel for years. He was greatly amused by the illustration. As he left the chapel, he called on an old friend, and told him that he was at the very time arranging the distribution of some property left by a relative, amongst which there was an old bedstead, which had been matter of dispute: but the effect of the address upon him was such that the bedstead difficulty was soon amicably settled.
XVIII. Unconscious Surveillance. Gen. xvi. 13.
“ And she called the name of the Lord that spake unto her,
Thou God seest me." SOME years since a trio of gentlemen, members of a large mercantile firm, came into the office of the writer, and, under injunctions of profound secrecy, desired the favour of using the window for a few days. The privilege was readily granted, and one of their number was at once installed behind a curtain, where, with a powerful glass, he could rigidly scrutinize every movement of a certain clerk in a large building across the way. The young man, all unconscious of the vigilant eye constantly upon him, was absorbed in his duties, making entries and receiving money ; and, whatever consciousness of innocence or guilt was carried about with him, the suspicion of a rigid watch upon his actions-every movement closely scanned and weighed by his employers-doubtless had never entered his mind. The surveillance was continued nearly a week when it was abruptly terminated, and the result, whether in discovery of wrong or establishing innocence, I never learned.
The incident made a profound impression upon me, suggesting, with thrilling distinctness, the solemn truth which men are so prone to forget, “Thou God seest me,” and enabling me as never before to realize how open before Him are the hearts and ways of men, their desires, volitions, actions; and that at last He shall bring every work into judgment, whether it be good or whether it be evil.
XIX. God Makes no Mistakes. Gen. xviii. 25.
“Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” THERE is here a young man of about thirty, of fine talents and capabilities for active life, but for years a cripple, paralytic, and helpless. He would starve, if left alone. A friend was commiserating his condition, when, with deep earnestness, he exclaimed, as he slowly raised his withered hand, “God makes no mistakes.” How noble the sentiment ! " Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” This is piety. Only a heart divinely taught could thus speak.
XX. Protection from evil. GEN. xix. 26. “ But his
wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of
salt." An evil is never a thing to play with. When God promises His protection against evil, it is understood that we, on our part, shall keep aloof from it as much as possible ; that we shall not, at any rate, go recklessly or carelessly into it.
I can remember an event in my early life. I had come home from school for a holiday. My father had just bought a fine large dog. Of course I was rather afraid of the powerful animal, and as we were going out to walk, I was rather uneasy when I saw that my father was to take the dog along with us. But he bade me relinquish all fear, as he would keep the animal under his own command, and he assured me that the dog would do me no harm if I let him alone. I found that my father spoke the truth, and as I walked on cheerfully by his side I soon lost all dread. But seeing that the animal was peaceful, I became bold and forward, and began to tease him when my father's back was turned. The consequence was, that soon the blood streamed down my hand and my cries filled the air. "You promised me that the dog should not hurt me," I said sobbing “Yes,” was the answer, “but you did not tell me that you were going to torment him. It was understood that you were to let him alone.”
I always look at this scar of mine when I think of God's promises to His children with reference to their protection against evil. It is understood that we shall keep aloof. You know the sad story of Lot's wife. God had promised her a safe escape from the evils of Sodom. But in her recklessness she chose to turn her face towards the burning furnace and the fiery shower. Of course, no protection was promised against such a foolhardiness. When God
promises that He will carry our cares for us, it is understood that we shall not unnecessarily and neglectfully try to increase the burden. If so, we may expect our Father to allow the dog to bite us, that we may learn to behave wisely.
XXI. A Motto. Gen. xxii. 14. “The Lord will provide." The celebrated Richard Boyle, Earl of Cork, who rose from a humble station in life to the highest rank, and passed through strange and trying vicissitudes, used these words as his motto, and ordered them to be engraved on his tomb: "God's providence is my inheritance.”
XXII. Three Bad Bargains. GEN. xxv. 34.
Esau despised his birthright.” A Sunday school teacher remarked that he who buys the truth makes a good bargain, I inquired if any scholar recollected an instance in Scripture of a bad bargain. "I do," replied a boy, “Esau sold his birthright for a mess of pottage." A second said, “ Judas made a bad bargain when he sold his Lord for thirty pieces of silver.” A third boy observed, “Our Lord tells us that he makes a bad bargain who to gain the whole world loses his own soul.”
“ The gate
XXIII. Beautiful Doors. Gen. xxviii. 17.
of heaven.” MICHAEL ANGELO BUONARROTTI said of the doors of the Baptistery at Florence, executed by Lorenzo Ghiberti, when asked what he thought of them, “ They are so beautiful that they might stand at the gates of Paradise.”
XXIV. Give all you can. Gen. xxviii. 22.
“And of all that Thou shalt give me, I will surely give the tenth unto
Thee." The late Bishop Selwyn used often to quote that motto of John Wesley's, “Save all you can and give all you save, and he did not think that charity began until after a tithe had been paid to God. “Whatever your income,” he wrote ence to his son, "remember that only nine-tenths of it are