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up Isaac.” He believed God's word when he required the sacrifice, as much as he did when he promised him a son. Faith should be as much exercised on the commands of God, that we may do them, as on the promises of God, that we may expect him to fulfil them. `He admitted God's right; that he had a right to claim and dispose of all he possessed, even his Isaac. He allowed that it was proper that God should do as he would with his own. He revered God's authority. Strong faith always inspires us with deep reverence: it is presumption that inclines us to trifle or take liberties with God. True faith always bows to the authority of God, while it believes the love, and trusts in the promises of God. He had confidence in God's goodness and power, and therefore felt persuaded that what he required was good, and if necessary that his son could be restored to him from the jaws of death. He obeyed God's command, and obeyed without reasoning or objecting. This is what faith always does, and is therefore the root of all good works. In proportion as we steadily believe the promise shall we diligently and devoutly obey the command. Faith will always do 80, and thus honour and glorify God its Author.
Isaac was a type of Jesus. Isaac was offered up in purpose and intention by his father, but Jesus was really and truly put to death by his Father's sword as a sacrifice to his Father's justice. The sacrifice of Isaac prefigured the sacrifice of Jesus, who so many years after, as the only begotten Son of God, died the just for the unjust, near the same spot. Abraham is an example to all who believe. An example of faith, in that he believed what God said, expected what God had promised, and sacrificed what God required. An example of acquiescence, in that he acquiesced in God's will, even when that will required the sacrifice of his only, his tenderly beloved child. What a reproof to thousands who profess to have like precious faith with Abraham! What a reproof to us! An example of surrendering all to God. He kept nothing back. With him there were no exceptions. He held all he had as the Lord's. He held all he had for the Lord. He was therefore ready to surrender at any time whatever the Lord required of him. An example of ready obedience. Like David, he made haste, and delayed not to keep God's commandments. With him there was no asking, What will others say? or, Why should God require this ? Pride, prejudice, or passion was not consulted, but God's will was law, God's word was his rule. He acted because God commanded ; and just so should we. We never lose by giving up what God requires ; for, whatever he takes from us, he always gives us something better in its place. If he takes away temporals, he will give us spirituals; and if he take away a son, he will give us himself. Indeed, he very generally takes away our idols, in order that he may fill the throne of the affections, and reign and rule alone. Beloved, have you an Isaac? If so, are you prepared to part with it, to sacrifice it, if God calls for it? You profess, if you are a believer, to have surrendered all at God's throne, and to have consecrated all at the Saviour's cross. Be faithful, then ; and if you consult your own happiness, or wish to live to God's glory and praise, hold everything temporal with a loose hand, and be ready to sacrifice any and every Isaac if the Lord should call for it at your hands.
THE BELEAGUERED CASTLE.
BY THE REV. J. SALISBURY. The night was drawing on as I sat retired thither at the sunset hour, and as I musing beside a gurgling fountain. I watched the streamlet rapidly flowing. I
out before me.
allowed imagination to exert her sove. of rocks,' and infinite resources are availreignty over me. As I saw the last rays of able when it is attacked by enemies. The the sun glimmering through the trees, and view also which it commands on a clear listened to the rustling leaves of the grove,
day is even more enchanting than that I gradually sank away into dreamland. which was witnessed by the venerable Suddenly a beautiful landscape stretched Moses when he stood on the heights of
The western hills, some Pisgah, and bebeld with his dying eyes what abrupt and precipitous, were clad the land flowing with milk and honey." with verdure almost to their summit, and The discourse of my companion was a meandering river, like a silver thread, interrupted by the voice of melody which flowed through the valley.
The east proceeded from the grove in the distance. presented to my view fine undulating Pleasure was coming forth arrayed in all slopes studded with trees, whose waving her meretritious attractions. Her aspect branches bowed gracefully before the was seductive and voluptuous. A chaplet breeze. The scene towards the north was of flowers encircled her brow. Her dress limited in extent, and bounded by a rocky
was sumptuous and glittering with jewels. cliff
, on which stood a majestic castle. Her maidens sang in her praise the most Situated at the head of a valley several
lively airs ; and as she proceeded from her miles in extent
, its aspect was peculiarly retreat, resolved if possible to obtain an romantic.
entrance into the castle, her votaries, as A person suddenly appeared who offered I could perceive from their looks, were himself as my instructor and guide. “You
deeply anxious that her efforts should e attracted,” he said, “ by the appearance
She pursued her way of that castle. Let me tell you that it has
through circuitous by-paths and labyrin. strange history. It has withstood many
thine mazes till she had reached the sieges , and no enemies have yet succeeded
entrance, when one withering look of the in taking it, though they are always
owner compelled her to flee with the making an attempt. Approach with me utmost precipitation, and we speedily now still nearer, and you will perhaps lost sight of her. discern some spies lurking about it, or I did not wait long in suspense before some foes lying in ambush near it, or
my eyes lighted on an old man, with some enemies under the disguise of friends an haggard, care-worn countenance, carryeadeavouring. to obtain admission under ing heavy burdens upon his shoulders. false pretences.” I approached. As I drew “This man,” I was told, “is Mammon. nigh I saw a soldier well armed upon the For thousands of years temples have been battlements, bis armour glistening in the erected to his honour, and worshippers of rays of the sun, his eye ever intent and every age, clime, and nation, have eagerly
watchful, and his trumpet in his hand pressed therein to present offerings and il ready to be raised to his mouth whenever incense at his shrine. He does not even great danger was apprehended.
spare his importunity with those who are "Stand on this favourable spot,” said the King's faithful subjects, and on his my attendant, “and learn the various back he bears a heavy bribe, intending lessons which the successive events you
to cast it at the castle door, that by this witness shall teach. You will assuredly means he may withdraw the owner from gather something you will do well to his rightful allegiance." I saw him go up think on daily, as long as your pilgrimage
to the entrance. How loudly he knocked, on earth shall last. This castle, and the how passionately he spoke, and how greatly enemies by which it is continually as- he boasted of the intrinsic value of his sailed, will suggest many valuable thoughts treasures ! But the master of the castle respecting the Christian life and its con- was invulnerable against his attacks, and flicts. How firm and solid is the rock on read to the vile tempter out of a holy which it is built! How elevated and con- book one or two passages which caught spicuous its position! How well the
my ear : “How hardly shall they that regions around it are watered by the have riches enter into the kingdom of streams from the hill country! How God!" “What shall it profit a man, if he suitably the windows are disposed in order shall gain the whole world, and lose his own to receive on every side the light of soul? or what shall a man give in exchange heaven! How admirably it is situated for for his soul?" At that moment a resplenresistance! Its defence is the munition dent ray from the sun fell upon the old
man’s golden ingots, and revealed their sopher hastened away, unable to succeed worthlessness. He gathered them to- in taking his prey; gether as quickly as possible, and fled. I also saw other persons continually
“Wbo can that be," said I, “who coming up out of the valley below with is approaching on yonder thickly shaded evil designs. They are too numerous even walk ? His mien is exceedingly stately ; to mention, though my attendant achis brow is wrinkled ; his face is sicklied quainted me with the names and characo'er with the pale cast of thought;' ters of most of them. I was much struck, his look is knowing, like one who pro- however, with this fact, that all of themi fesses to understand all mysteries ; and he had a downcast look, and even when they treads the earth so firmly that his very assumed the appearance of buoyancy and step indicates his intense self-confidence." happiness they were unable to lift up their “ This man's name," said my instructor, eyes to heaven; as my friend significantly
is Science (falsely so called). He has said, “ They are of the earth, earthy." I large possessions in various parts of the must not forget to acquaint the reader world, chiefly consisting of splendid with the resolute attempt made by two houses built upon the sand, which con- brothers who had come from a gloomy tinue gradually to crumble away, yet are region, having been sent on a special misrepaired, remodelled, or rebuilt with aston- sion by their evil ruler. Their names ishing pertinacity. These his estates are were Doubt and Despair. I could per. all situated in dark valleys, into wbich the ceive they were plotting some evil design; sun scarcely ever penetrates, and whose and on looking on them with increa-ed inhabitants are only lighted with the attention, I saw that each of them carried feebly glimmering lamps of Human a heavy club under his garments, which Reason." Whilst my guide was proceeding was occasionally exposed to view as they with his discourse, the stately person paced onward. They were both evidently alluded to had already reached the castle intent on murder. Impelled by curiosity, entrance, and catching the eye of the
I stole away from my guide, and hiding master, who was looking down upon him myself in a bush which they were passing, from one of the high windows, he in- I overheard them conversing with each stantly assumed the air of a grave teacher, other, “Brother Doubt,” said Despair, and for the edification of his hearer “I beg you will go up first, and rap very delivered a bombastic oration. I can only gently-by no means
too loud-at the call to mind a few sentences : they will castle door. Only be careful, and you suffice. “I am the solver,” he said, “ of will effect an entrance. If the door should all mental and moral doubts and diffi- be opened, plant your foot firmly against culties. My theories, which have been it, to prevent it from being closed again, thought out with protracted attention and and I will come up bravely behind. With logical precision, will solve every intricate our giant might we are sure to take posquestion which may be propounded with session."
“My good brother,” replied reference to God, man, and the universe. Doubt, "I have always found you bold I have already succeeded in giving satis- and ready. You will not deceive me in faction to multitudes of perplexed ones. the hour of conflict. We must both do Be not afraid. I would not set aside that our very best, and the work will be accomholy book you read with so much interest, plished.” Doubt acted as his brother and profess so ardently to love ; but I Despair suggested. His gentle rap at the invite you to accept of my philosophic door could scarcely be heard.
Who's system, that by its light you may test and there?” said a voice from within. Doubt prove the consistency and harmony of its rapped again, speaking in an undertone, alleged facts, doctrines, and precepts.” and saying nothing distinctly. Again the I could perceive a cloud of indignation voice was heard, “Who's there ?" I was, gather upon the face of the listener, and at
however, amazed, nay terrified, when I length I heard him sternly exclaim, saw the door gently open. The moment “ Avaunt, child of hell, seducer of the was most critical. Doubt availed himself souls of men! What! will your system, at once of the means of ingress, and at the best a poor, glimmering taper, Despair followed closely behind him. enable me to discern more clearly the They were only able to secure a temlight specially revealed from heaven ?”
porary lodgment. After many loud cries, After some parleying, the vaunting philo- struggles, and contests, I at length
both the traitors hurled back by the giant graphically various battle scenes, in which hand of Faith, the keeper of the fortress, the existence of the place was fearfully who in this emergency had come to the threatened, and the enemy was determined rəscue. After lying for some time, maimed to carry out his fixed resolution to raze it and bleeding, they crept stealthily away, even to the foundations. He further told mourning over their ignominious defeat. me that in seasons of the greatest exImmediately afterwards I heard within tremity Faith fought with undaunted the castle one singing with all his might, valour; and the Prince of Peace, watching ** Trust ye in the Lord Jehovah ; for in the contest with the deepest interest, the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength. 80 incessantly furnished the castle with At what time I am afraid, I will trust in weapons and provisions, and inspired its thee. They that trust in the Lord shall possessor with courage and confidence, be as Mount Zion, which cannot be re- that the enemy, full of rage and chagrin, moved, but abideth for ever."
was obliged to withdraw and to confess During my continuance in the neigh- that his efforts were unavailing. bourhood of the castle I observed several Thus busied in conversation, I at length messengers, who evidently came from the witnessed the approach of a strange asgreat King, resolutely go up to the door, sailant. As soon as I fixed my gaze on open it, and enter. Their admission could him trembling seized me, from which, not be prevented. One of them was called however, I speedily recovered.
" Who is Affliction. I was told by my guide that this?” said I, as I looked on the mysterious his visits often led the master to much stranger : “he is evidently about to enself-searching, but he was generally the gage in a destructive work, and carries better for them. He then had free access with him deadly weapons." I then averted to a treasury of promises "exceeding great my eyes from him for a moment, and and precious.” There was always a rich turned them to the castle. I saw the supply of heavenly cordials at hand, very owner looking through the window with costly, but very freely dispensed by the thoughtful and anxious, though steady Great Physician. It frequently happened, gaze. The walls of the building began to too, that when Affliction paid his visits totter; every approaching step of the new the light would shine most gloriously into visitant shook it to its base: yet its inevery room, and Faith would come to the babitant was undismayed : joy filled his help of the tried one, and point out to him breast, hope beamed in his eye, angelin the distance a fair city (whose towers guards stood round him, and the Prince were often visible on a clear day), telling himself graciously afforded him some sweet him that city would be his future and and refreshing glimpses of the glory soon everlasting home.
to be revealed. At length the stranger Bereavement, Loss, and various other (his name was Death) came up to the members of the numerous family of Sor- castle, and the moment he stretched forth row, all clad in the garb of mourning, de- his hand and touched it, it fell, and soon inanded admission. I need only bint that, the earth swallowed it up. At that though the sojourn of some of them was solemn moment I heard shouts and songs only brief, they were all busily occupied of triumph. This was the burden of with setting the house in order, and each the angels' anthem, as they bore away an of them had his appointed work allotted emancipated spirit: “O death, where is to him by the great King.
thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" Whilst intently gazing on the castle, The ransomed one rapturously responded, and marking its position, beauty, and “ Thanks be to God, which giveth us the capability of resisting attack, my friend victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." told me that, at various times, the Prince -Then I awoke, and I doubted for a time of Darkness' had violently besieged the what “the Beleaguered Castle" could place , marshalling his most formidable
At length I concluded that I hosts, employing against it his heaviest should not greatly err if I regarded it as a artillery and his most deadly weapons, significant emblem of Christian life on and bringing into exercise his most wily earth, with its varied trials and triumpha. stratagems. He depicted to me very Hugglescote.
THE UNKNOWN BROTHER.
BY THE REV. WILLIAM COLLINGS.
"Quartus a brother."-Romans xvi. 23, This closing chapter of the epistle is the Apostle's postscript to it. It consists chiefly of salutations, and may teach us that the Gospel inculcates courtesy, kindness, affection, and brotherly love. Of the names mentioned, many are worthy of notice; but let us now take the last one."Quartus a brother."' We
Ist. That many of God's people are comparatively unknown.
In all ages God has his champions. Men who stand forth as leaders in the Lord's hosts, and who are famous in their day. While they live their doings are spread abroad, and when they die their names are recorded upon
pages of history. The Joshuas, the Pauls, the Luthers, and some who, though of lesser note, are had in remembrance. But all God's people are not thus known. By far the greater part pass their days in comparative privacy, and are not heard of beyond their immediate circle. Here are three names, Gaius, Erastus, and Quartus. “Gaius, mine host." Some have thought that there was a public place of reception at Corinth for strangers and travellers, and that Gaius had charge of it, but far more likely is the general opinion, that it was in his own house he entertained his Christian friends. John addresses his third epistle to the wellbeloved Gaius, and bears witness to his hospitality to the brethren and to strangers. It is highly probable (although John's epistle was written some years after Paul's to the Romans) that he was the same Gaius who now sent his salutation to the believers at Rome. Paul speaks of him, not simply as his host, but also as the host of the whole Church.
Such a man would be pretty generally known. Those who came to Corinth for a season would be directed to him, and be entertained by him, and upon returning to their homes would speak of his hospitality towards them. Thus his name would be familiar to Christians, and no surprise would be felt at receiving a salutation from him.
“Erastus the Chamberlain.”-He appears to have been the City Treasurer, who had charge of its revenues, and whose business it was to receive and disburse the public money. Thus occupying a civil position of trust and publicity, he, as well as Gaius, was likely to be known.
But Quartus ; who is he? "A brother." Nothing more is said of him. No statement is given; not even a word by which we can gather what his civil position was, or what influence he had in the church, There appears not to have been any thing to give prominence to him. The probability is that he was a private member of the church at Corinth, one amidst many of whom it could only be said, “A brother.". So has it ever been. The Gaiuses and Erastuses are few, although the brethren may be many, "Not many mighty, not many noble, are called.”
We may learn another lesson :
2nd. That whatever the station or position of God's people, yet there is a bond of union between them.
As the Roman believers listened to the reading of the postscript from the 21st verse, they might say, as name after name was mentioned, "Åh, we have seen him." " We know him." “We have heard of him."
“ His namo 18 familiar to us." “But stop-Quartus ! Quartus! Who is he? We don't remember his name. Does Paul say who he is ? Read on, for perhaps he does."
Quartus a brother."-"A brother: Oh, that's enough!” So it is, and ever should be ; for there is a volume of meaning in that word. It speaks relation