ON APPLYING SCRIPTURE TO OURSELVES. It would appear, that when the Prophet Isaiah wrote these words“ Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil,” the world must have been in a melancholy state. It is scarcely to be imagined that many people could be found, to whom the threat would apply, for all men are born with a knowledge of good and evil, that they may know how to choose the one, and avoid the other. Who then could be so perverse as to call evil good, and good evil ? But Isaiah declares moreover, that these perverse people put light for darkness, and darkness for light; they put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter, and this not through ignorance, but through wicked obstinacy; well, therefore, might the Prophet say, “ Woe unto them.” If there were any such people, they certainly deserved the wrath of God, who declares that they shall be punished, because, “ They have cast away the law of the Lord of Hosts, and despised the word of the holy one of Israel.” Had fire from heaven come instantly down to destroy them, the judgment would have been just, but they had this warning given them, and for those who did not profit by it, was reserved the fire that " is not quenched.”

Should there now be such wicked people in the world, the words of Isaiah must apply to them, the warning must apply to them. And that there are such even now in the world, and many such, is but too true. Perhaps hundreds have read this chapter without thinking it possible there could exist people so stupid and so wicked, though they were themselves among the very number. Are we sure, that we are not of the number? Do we never put good for evil, and evil for good ? Sweet for bitter, and bitter for sweet? Does not Isaiah say, “ Woe” to us? Is not the warning meant for us? And shall we not be punished if we neglect this warning? My friends, we live in

On applying Scripture to ourselves. 215 the world, and sad are the mistakes that the world makes—but we are used to them, and they do not strike us—we think as others think, and thus follow the multitude to think evil. But let us consider a moment. Is there any sin that some people will not justify and even admire? Is there any scene of wickedness to which some people will not go? And if this only applies to particular people, let us look to what applies to all; the misnaming things, and learning to think them good, because we hear them called good, though they may in fact be decidedly evil. If a man thrives well, though at the expence of his virtue, he is admired; and if the riches he has gained lead him to temptations and sin, still they are called good. Most men think it good to be rich, though the Bible tells us, that riches are dangerous, and that it is most difficult for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven, and that God does not regard a man the more because he is rich. To be free from afflictions we call good. God says in the Bible, “ Blessed are they that mourn,” and “ whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth ;” and every where we find it expressly declared, that a life of ease and enjoyment is dangerous to the soul, and therefore evil; and that sorrows, difficulties and trials are sent from God, to bring us nearer to him, and are therefore good.

If a service offers high wages, plenty of food, and little work, it is called good, though it may lead to idleness and sin. How often do we hear people explaining away the laws of the Bible, and making some of their own, because they cannot bear light, and prefer darkness, their deeds being evil. Men know that they do not act up to the rules given to them by God, and therefore do not like to think there are such rules, so that many rather suit their religion to themselves, than themselves to religion. Do we never hear covetousness called prudence, and, in fact, think ourselves “ prudent,” when in fact we are “ covetous ?” Do we never hear piety called hypocrisy? Do we not our

selyes sometimes sneer at others for being better than ourselves, and call that “ evil” in them, which " is good ?” Do we not greatly admire worldly wisdom and learning, and call it very good, while we neglect the only learning that is indeed good, thus treating it with neglect, as if it were evil ? If we lose a Christian friend, whom we dearly love, and who has been cut off by some unexpected stroke in the midst of youth and prosperity-though we have every assurance that the uncertain pleasures of this life have been exchanged for the great and never ending joys of a far better life - that our friend is safe and happy-still we are almost ready to call it an evil dispensation. And when the groans of the sinner are silent in the grave, because we no longer witness the misery of a death-bed scene to an unrepentant offender, we say, that it is a happy release, and call it good-though at that moment the sinner may have exchanged his mortal sufferings for those far greater agonies that last for ever.

Thus may we find how often we mistake, and call evil good, and good evil; how often, deceived by these names, we love the evil, and hate the good. It is therefore surely of importance, to find out what really is in itself good, and what is evil, that we be not deceived by the world's false names, lest we come under condemnation, and the Prophet say, “ Woe unto us." In all cases, my friends, let us examine ourselves, before we condemn others, and when we read of sins, let us not be too sure that we do not commit them. The hearts of all are liable to be led away, and enticed into sin; and if we do escape better than others, it is not our own wisdom, but the grace of God within us, that keeps us from evil, and leads us to good.

sinnese, and entant offer the misent in the And are alm

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

« The greatness of thy mercy reacheth unto the heavens ; and thy truth unto the clouds."


217 “ Set up thyself o God, above the heavens, and thy glory above all the earth.”—Psalm lvii. 11, 12.

As the heavens envelope this beautiful world,
May thy mercy and love, like a “ banner unfurl'd,"
Be around us outstretch'd, in unbroken array,
Till “ the powers of darkness,” are driven away.
Unbelief and distrust overshadow the mind,
Like those black clouds that fly with a wild autumn wind;
But “ thy truth,” like the sunbeams, will reach even here,
To disperse all the gloom and dispel all the fear !
Set thy glory “ then, Lord, high above the thick clouds,”
Till it lighten the nations, their darkness enshrouds,
May they “ come to the brightness" which rose at thy birth,
Till the shadows of error have vanish'd from earth.
“ The new heavens and earth,” we then look for with joy,
Where no darkness may come, and no clouds may annoy,
Where “ the glory of God," “ as the crystal,” shall shine,
And all “ nations shall walk,” in its brightness divine !

F. V.

[ocr errors]

“ Whom have I in heaven but thee; and there is none upon earth that I desire in comparison of thee.-Psalm lxxiii. 24.

I Fain would quit the dearest, best,

Of earthly treasures, LORD!
And find henceforth, my only rest,

In thee the incarnate Word!
I fain would leave this cold, dark earth,

To dwell in light divine ;
Its fading joys are nothing worth,

Be heaven's bright glories mine!
Thou, Lord, didst leave thy Father's throne

To save thy graceless foes-
And shall I not all love disown

But such as heavenward glows?
Whom have I, Lord, on earth but thee ?

And whom in heaven above ?
That I should thus unwilling be

The Christian's cross to prove ?
NO. 5.-VOL. XI.

[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]



HERE I offer my daughter a heart without sin,
That knows nought of corruption and sorrow within ;
A heart which you see is so curiously wrought,
That it ne'er can offend—not so much as in thought,

That its virtues are shining within and without,
Is a truth which admits of no rational doubt :
It's character, Mary, is pure and sincere ;
And its inmost ideas transparent and clear.

Tis a heart which will bear the minutest inspection,
And never proves guilty of any deception :
What it was, that it is—what it is, it will be
Unconscious of guile or to you or to me.

It may seem to be strange-nay, it is so, I own-
That this heart, though so pure, is as hard as a stone;
It resists all impressions which tenderness makes;
But, if force be employ'd, it immediately breaks.

And this heart, if once broken, can never be heald,
Nor the least of its wounds be a moment conceal’d:
And though stony its texture, and hard be its nature,
Like yourself, this poor heart is a delicate creature.

Then make use of the emblem you wear at your breast :
With “ the hearts that are pure” * do you seek to be blest ?
Weep and mourn for a nature by sin so deranged,
And pray for a heart that's essentially changed.

[ocr errors]
« ElőzőTovább »