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to it. The adherent property is pre-eminently to distinguish us.
The seventy disciples whom Jesus sent forth were thus to address all opponents : "The very dust of your city which cleaveth on us we do wipe off against you.' Strength,-intensity of attachment,—the text clearly enjoins. Just as a loving mother puts her arms round her babe, and in the gush of affection holds it so firmly that nothing can get the darling away, just as in the welcome thrilling agony of tenderest and surging emotion she clasps it to her bosom,—the Christian is to cleave or cling “to” and “hold fast that which is good." Hence the same word is used when we read, “He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit;
"* and we thus learn that the ardour with which the believer is to embrace " that which is good,” is identical with the fervour that results in, and sustains his union to, “Him whom his soul loveth.”
III. WHAT IS INVOLVED IN CLEAVING TO THAT WHICH IS GOOD? -The summons to "cleave,” obviously addresses itself to all the Christian's powers.
Each one of them it lays under tribute. 1. The exercise implies meditation on “ that which is good.” Mindis strangely vital. It will-it must-employ itself. It cannot do otherwise. How important, then, it is that its operations should be in a proper sphere, that its thoughts should be under due control, that they should receive an impetus in the right direction, and concentrate themselves on an object unquestionably worthy. Recklessness in this matter accounts for much of the keen anguish that lacerates the human bosom. And it is only when that bosom is inlaid with the rich experience of the fulfilled promise, “ Thou art good to the soul that seeketh Thee,” that the power to think becomes hallowed and ennobled, because regulated by the influence of the fact, that the man has become "a new creature in Christ Jesus.” An object of transcendent grandeur is then placed before the mind, and an impetus given to the latter
, which preserves it in that constant and delightful activity which daily demonstrates the truth of Solomon's
saying: “ He that keepeth understanding-irradiated by " the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ”)—findeth good.”+
2. Desiring “ that which is good,” is implied in “cleaving.” to it, The trite saying, “ There may be too much of a good
thing." is not true in reference to the “good” mentioned in the text. intellect is perfect. The Divine
will is infallible. Conformity to these holds in solution all the elements of bliss. “Delight thyself in the Lord, and He will give thee the desires of thine heart." conformed to the will of God," therefore, is that for which the Christian longs, as surely as “ the hart panteth after the water-brooks." With what avidity the hart laps the cooling draught! With what ardour its lips move! With what expression its eyes beam, and how tellingly every vein in the fervid animal's body makes "known its gratification ! Thus intensely does the renewed
soul thirst for God, for the living God;" and thus, as surely, when it drinks of the rivers * 1 Cor. vi. 17.
+ Prov. xix. 8.
“ To be
His pleasure," does it find its element and refreshment in “that hich is good. 3. Speaking " that which is good," is implied in “cleaving" to it. he faculty of speech is a grand one. Rightly employed it strengthens le hold which the speaker's thoughts and desires have of himself. He i conscious of the thoughts becoming clearer, of the desires waxing Tonger, and of his thereby acquiring a firmer footing as an intellient and emotional being. But speaking " that which is good,” not nly reacts profitably and delightfully on his own spiritual interests ; ; may tell usefully on the best interests of others. “ Evil communi. ations corrupt good manners.” Hence the imperativeness of the command, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth.” l'he lips are to be sealed except for the utterance of that“ only which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers."
“Abhorrence of that which is evil,” therefore, would speedily and determinately sweep clean away many phrases,-common even to professedly christian lips,--phrases which, simply because of their currency, are quietly tolerated, but phrases which ever leave their stain. It would do more. It would supply a vocabulary of "that which is good,” which would mightily aid us in “ pleasing our neighbour for his good to edification,”--thủs transmuting colloquial intercourse into a channel of at once substantial profit and lasting pleasure.
4. “Doing that which is good," is implied in "cleaving” to it. Example is better than precept. Language has "no glory by reason of that which excelleth in glory," viz., action. Sentimental piety is a gossamer thing “ Blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it.” Why it keeps them : “ bringing” thoughts, lips, eyes, hands, feet, “ into captivity to the obedience of Christ;" laying bare the treasures which not mere talk, or sighing, or praying about “that which is good,” but doing it
, certainly secures. “If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God.” And when a man is seen thus acting, “ trusting in the Lord, and doing good," others will believe him, when looking them earnestly and affectionately in the “Come thou with us, and we will do thee good.”
Were every Christian, in all places, at all times, under all circumstances, found“ cleaving” thus“ to that which is good,” how certainly would "the evil that is in the world ” “ become smaller by degrees, and beautifully less ;” until
those "accustomed to do evil," but now feeling “how awful goodness is,” would unanimously address “the excellent of the earth” in words they long to hear: “Your people shall be our people ; and your God shall be our God.” IV. IN WHAT SPIRIT ARE WE TO
enlightened spirit. The man who is religious simply because another man is religious (if
, indeed, this be possible), is no honour to religion. A second-hand piety is generally, almost necessarily, a
one. It is not the outgrowth of one's own convictions and feelings. It is imitation, it is aping. Its sayings and doings cannot be
face, he says:
THAT WHICH IS
called Christian practice. They are stuccoed theory. Neither ti man's judgment nor heart is in them. The soul clings not to the Hence they soon fall prostrate. Standing power they have non because their roots have no vital connection with the knowledge which is power." He who would “cleave to that which is good must be able and "ready to give to every one that asketh him, a rease of the hope that is in him."
2. We are to “cleave to that which is good” in a grateful spiri Millions there are whose parched lips are ever quivering with the cry “Who will show us any good ?" In the Christian's experience the poignant cry has been answered—answered at the foot of the Cross There “all his needs are supplied according to God's riches in glor by Christ Jesus," and thus is he stimulated to prove day by day “what is the good and perfect and acceptable will of God." TH more thorough and intense his investigation, the warmer is hi gratitude; and his very thanksgivings, like so many welcome cord “bind him to the horns of the altar," -constrain him to “cleave t that which is good.”
3. We are to “cleave to that which is good” in a determined spiril Apart from this the Christian will soon forsake “that which is good. In his own soul a conflict is still going on between good and evil; and the evil One-always subtle-is ever ready to steal away the good, and re-inforce the evil. It behoves the believer, therefore, to be courageous, and like the Master to “set his face steadfastly " to "that which is good.” Should no such heroism distinguish him, he will s001 be seen lying a stranded wreck before the first gust of temptation tha whirls round him ; whereas, in boldly “clinging to that which is good, his soul and it will become inseparably united, -literally glued, fol such is the original meaning of the word which Paul, in the text specially emphasises, “CLEAVE to that which is good.” * 4. We are to “cleave to that which is good " in a persevering spirit, Perseverance, of course, is kindred to determination. The latter secures, nurses, feeds, braces the former. Courage leads one to enter the field; fortitude, that knows no flinching, keeps him in it. Only as this fortitude lasts, is he safe. Then only-as circumstances arise that threaten his steadfastness-shall the Christian be able to ask with impressiveness and power, “Should such a man as I flee?" "The good” to which he cleaves may be unpopular; may be in bad odour; may be “evil spoken of,” because of the inconsistencies of others; it may involve his prosecuting a course which is not only unfashionable, but, to himself, inconvenient, unpleasant, irksome, self-denying; 1t| may cover him with reproach, threaten him with martyrdom; but what then? He relaxes not his grip; he is “faithful unto death;"| " cleaving to that which is good.”
5. We are to “ cleave to that which is good” in a quiet spirit. It is not the man who talks most glibly and loudly about his principles," | who possesses most of the material of which he talks. The article with him is often infinitesimally small, and Jehu's zeal is always least
o be trusted. It seems strangely forgotten by some, who would je reputed "fearless” among those they consider" cowards,” that 'speaking one's mind” by no means necessarily implies a haughty bearing, a knit brow, angry and irritating tones. Far from this being the case, the contrary is the fact; for « deepest streams flow the stillest.” The centripetal force, keeping our earth in fellowship with the sun, does not give off either the thunder, or the whistle of the steam-engine. “There is no speech nor language-its voice is not
No "flourish of trumpets" greets "the king of day" on his rising, or attends his “progress,” or sounds his setting. His whole course is sublime ; but as inaudible as it is mighty; as silent as it is sublime. And those who, in the spirit of the text, “ cleave to that which is good,” circle noiselessly, like so many planets, round “the Sun of Righteousness;” thus declaring themselves to be His disciples of whom it was said : “He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause His voice to be heard in the streets." Once more: we are to “ cleave to that which is good" in a prayerful spirit. Only
as the Christian is kept by the mighty power of God, “ backed” up by Omnipotence, can "cleaving to that which is good” be successfully sustained. Good” and the soul will be soon partea if the believer and his closet become strangers to each other.
Payson was right when he said, “ The battle must be fought in the closet.” There the warrior becomes girded with strength for his engagements out of the closet. Prayer brings the soul into communion, ennobling communion, with Infinite Excellence. The suppliant's language is, “It is good for me to draw near to God.” Then God draws nigh to him; and he feels stronger and happier than ever in “ cleaving to that which is good.” In answer to the question, V. WHY SHOULD WE
GOOD”? we might plead, that cleaving thus was man's original element. It constituted the beauty and harmony of his soul. “The whole diapason," as Beecher remarks
was brought into action. The passions became & sub-bass, and while the feet played them, the hands played the keys, and the lower tones became a magnificent under-current, on which the upper tones sweetly floated.” Cleaving thus will be, at once
, an index and a defence to the soul. Its exquisite sensibility will warn when evil approaches, and its stalwart massiveness will beat it back when “ it comes in like a flood." “ Who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?” Cleaving thus will enshrine us in the sympathy of all the good. Best of all, God is with us." Finally, such cleaving will impart zest to the joys maiting us in heaven. "The intenser the conflict now, the sweeter the repose then ; the more agonizing here the struggle, the more sublime there the
triumph ; triumph in a world whose wondrous blessedness consists in the everlasting absence of all evil, and the eternal presence of all good. Christian ! " Abhor that which is EVIL ; cleave to that
CLEAVE TO THAT
which is GOOD."
“Act truly, and each act of thine shall be a fruitful seed;
Live truly, and thy life shall be A GRAND AND NOBLE Creed.”
FIVE OUT OF ONE SHELL.
THERE were five peas in one shell; / wide world, catch me if you can they were green, and the pod was and he was gone. green, and so they thought the “I," said the second, “I shall : whole world was green, and that straight into the sun. That's a sh was just as it should be. The shell worth looking at, and one that e grew, and the peas grew; they ac actly suits me.” And away he wen commodated themselves to circum “We'll go to sleep wherever w stances, sitting all in a row. The arrive," said the two next; “but we'l sun shone without, and warmed the roll on all the same.” And the husk, and the rain made it clear and certainly rolled and tumbled dow transparent; it was mild and agree on the ground before they got int able in the bright day, and in the | the pea-shooter; but they were pt dark night just as it should be; and in for all that. "We shall go fart] the peas, as they sat there, became est," said they bigger and bigger, and more and “What is to happen will happen more thoughtful, for something they said the last, as he was shot fort must do.
out of the pea-shooter; and he fle “ Are we to sit here everlast up against the old board under th ingly ?" asked one. “I'm afraid garret window, just into a crac we shall become hard by long sit- which was filled with moss and sof ting. It seems to me there must be mould; and the moss closed around something outside; I have a kind of him. There helay, a prisoner indeed, inkling of it."
but not forgotten by provident And weeks went by. The peas nature. became yellow, and the pod also. “What is to happen will happen,
“ All the world's turning yellow,” said he. said they; and they had a right to Within, in the little garret, live say it.
a poor woman, who went out in th Suddenly they felt a tug at the day to clean stoves, chop wood smal shell. The shell was torn off, passed and do other hard work of the sami through human hands, and glided kind; for she was strong, and in down into the pocket of a jacket, in dustrious, too. But she always re company with other pods.
mained poor; and at home in the "Now we shall soon be opened !”. garret lay her half-grown daughter they said; and that is just what who was very delicate and weak; they were waiting for.
for a whole year she had kept her "I should like to know who of us bed, and it seemed as if she could will get farthest!” said the smallest neither live or die. of the five. “Yes, now it will soon “She is going to her little sister," show itself.”
the woman said. “I had only the " What is to be will be," said the two children, and it was not an easy biggest. “ Crack !” the pod burst, matter to provide for both, but the and all the five peas rolled out into good God provided for one of them the bright sunshine. There they | by taking her home to Himself; no lay in a child's hand. A little boy I should be glad to keep the other was clutching them, and said they that was left to me; but I suppose were fine peas for his pea-shooter; they are not to remain separated, and he put one in directly, and shot and my sick girl will go to her sister it out.
in heaven.” “Now I'm flying out into the But the sick girl remained where