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reconciliation and salvation to God, --can he fail of love, of loving God? Nay, and as it glows, and takes full possession of His heart, Jesus beholds the fruit He sought, sees the reproduction of His own nature, and looks on the travail of His soul with satisfaction and delight.
That love is the power, the life of all Christian action. The possessor is now like Jesus; and as Jesus he lives. The reproduction of nature, is the reproduction of action and life. There is the putting on of the Lord Jesus outwardly; the putting on of bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering, forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, inwardly. There is the pure and undefiled religion, that visits the fatherless and the widow, and keeps itself unspotted from the world. The love that seeks God's Word, and lets it dwell in the mind richly, in all wisdom, whilst it prompts him to teach and admonish those around him. Thus its manifestations are, in the second place, towards man, and with untiring zeal it strives to promote the good and happiness of all. The love of God in man bears the same fruit, performs the same acts, manifests the same self-denial, as it does in God Himself; finding its highest delight in blessing and profiting the children of men.
Joy is another fruit. We ask why has God taken such an account of man? Is it not because joy is one of those states that God loves to see possessed by man? Who can hold the opinion, or believe as truth, any such statement as that God is pleased with human misery? Does not everything we know of Him prove the contrary? His delight is in human happiness. He is able to fill up the measure of that happiness, and He alone. Man has a vast capacity for it, and God only can fill it. Man is as God made him; and it was evidently the Divine intention that he should constantly rejoice in God. The field in which grow all those things that are calculated to produce joy, is vast. It is the field of Divine manifestation, Creation, the work of God, is a part of it. Providence, also the work of God, though somewhat different, is another part. Redemption, with its law, and prophecy, and miracle—its Christ, Spirit, and gospel-its regeneration, justification, and adoption-is another part; but all furnish food for the growth and production of this fruit of the Spirit. How deeply the heart of God is pleased with this fruit, growing towards perfection, we cannot tell! That pleasure must be great, seeing that it has called forth such action as it has, and led to such condescension as we see.
This is one feature of the fruitfulness that Jesus has chosen and ordained us to. Grafted into Jesus, we not only enter into His love, and become partakers and bearers of it, but we enter also into His joy. It becomes our delight to realise our oneness with the Father, and thereby to feel, that however the wrath of man may rise to destroy, our joy cannot be taken from us. Who can describe the joy of that Heart that always realized the presence and favour of God, when men were raging around Him, and speaking all kind of evil against Him, in whom there was no consciousness of separation from God, but rather of perpetual union and fellowship. Who, as far as His own
person and life were concerned, never saw a cloud intervening between himself and His Father, to overshadow or darken His mind. Who in the last moments of agony knew that even in that darkness His will was in perfect unison with God's, and, that even there, God was well pleased with Him; and, that presently, the brightest and mightiest manifestation of that pleasure would be given to Him in His resurrection? The joy of this fellowship and of this constancy Jesus has called us to.
Peace is a third fruit. It embraces human relationship with God, and human feeling in respect of Him. The relation of hostility between man and God, is as unnatural as that between a child and his parent. Of all interests in the world a child will naturally protect, those of the parent stand first. This is always the case when the child's mind recognizes its obligations and responsibilities, and its heart has been cultivated to love and gratitude. Its mind is disturbed when the parent is wronged. Especially so, when he is the person who has done the wrong. Peace has fled from that breast, and will not return until the wrong has been atoned, and reconciliation effected. Naturally, men are the enemies of God. They are so because they do not recognize His Fatherly relationship. They only know Him as a hard man (not a Father), reaping where He had not sown, and gathering where He had not strawed. There is a recognition of power in God, and a belief in unkindness and injustice, oftentimes. But a man who sees power in the hands of an unjust Being, as God is thought to be, can never know peace. He is always disturbed, alarmed, morose, defiant, hostile. God's Spirit comes, and tells him of a Father seeking his prodigal son; tells him of a Father dealing with the claims of law, broken by him, to the end that He might save him ; brings most clearly before his mind this relationship, to the end that it might be cleared of darkness respecting God; that his heart might be drawn to Him; and that so he might be saved from those harsh, erroneous, repulsive views, which like a spectre haunted his mind and disturbed his peace. The Spirit brings him to Jesus; tells him of Jesus. He looks on one who sustains the twofold relationship of only begotten Son of God, and therefore the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person,-and that of brother of the human race. His brother, and the glory of God, and his true Fatherly nature of love, now appear manifested before him. What Jesus is to him, God is to him. As his faith realizes the truth, and looks on God as his Father, the clouds disperse ; the sullen look is displaced; the hard heart breaks ; feelings of love and reconciliation rise in the breast; and love and joy ind peace, a triad of glorious emotions and dispositions, take possession of him ;-fruits to endure unto eternal life.
Those fruits which have most to do with God are followed by others, hat constitute the outflowing of this Christ-life and nature towards nen. Once let the mind and heart come into the possession of right iews and dispositions respecting God, and those that are right respectng man will follow.
We pass to notice another element in this choice that is intended to help on this fruitfulness. "Henceforth," said Jesus, "I call you not servants ; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” When Jesus was talking to the people at large, His subject was service. “If any man serve me, let ħim follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be.” Now we have got beyond that: when a man is willing to serve Jesus he is at once received as a friend; adopted into the family. In God's service there are no servants, but friends and sons. To a servant we say, Go, and he goes ; Come, and he comes ; Do this, and he doeth it; but the friend is taken into the parlour, or the secret office, and he is given a seat by the fireside, and there they pour out their thoughts and fears and desires and hopes, into each other's bosoms. Shall I hide from Abraham the thing that I do.” “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him, and He will shew them His covenant.” things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” "Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven." Jesus, with Mary sitting at His feet and hearing His word, is a picture of this intercourse of friends. Jesus brought no law, but truth and grace. He gives these to his friends as they sit in close and friendly intercourse with each other. This truth and grace produce love. Love is the fulfilling of the law without law; and thus the righteousness of God, without the law," becomes manifested.
There is another element here, “That whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, He may give it you.” Whatsoever ye may ask, as my friends and disciples, and that will promote your fraitfulness. When a man is in Christ, his position is according to the will of God. He is where God's will may be done in and by him. Where all those supplies of grace and truth, which lead to fruitfulness, will be given. His position is a guarantee of Divine supply and blessing. God will withhold nothing that may be necessary to the end sought. God will never forget that the graft was put on Jesus, not that it may serve Jesus so much as that Jesus may serve Him through it.
Christian graces and Christian works are but God working in and by His sons, the disciples of Jesus, to bring forth righteousness. To this we are called and chosen ; and if we abide in Jesus our fruit-bearing will be abundant. What we need, is not so much to act, as to learn. We want truth, and the knowledge of it. To sit at the feet of Jesus whilst the Divine Spirit tells about Him; to stand before the presence and manifestation of God, in Jesus; to place ourselves before the glory of His countenance, who throws out light-beams of Jehovah Himself; to seek to catch those light-beams on our own countenances and hearts, that we may be changed into the same image from glory to glory,—this is our calling; and out of this fellowship with Jesus, who is life, will arise all those fruits that will be to the praise and glory of God, and that will constitute our joy and adornment in this and the future life. Thus will the desire of God be accomplished in us.
The fruitfulness will not remain a personal thing. Wherever Jesus is, there is a propagating power. There is an outflow of influence that lays hold of others and leads them to Jesus. By His saved ones He seeks to bring other twigs from the natural olive-tree. By the power of personal religion Jesus acts on those outside. Every Christian is a medium through which the Holy Spirit acts on the minds and hearts of sinners. They are instruments He employs to draw and to save ; to convince of sin and to lead to salvation. They are living evidences of the power of Jesus—specimens of His handiwork-commendations of His skill. The more perfect the personal experience, the more powerful and convincing the evidence. Everywhere this testimony should be borne. It should be the anxious desire of every one to set Christ forth with the greatest clearness, and in his life display His glory to the utmost extent possible. Much fruit Jesus seeks through us. Not a quantity small, and therefore unimportant, but large and extensive.
Here is honour for His people, bestowed by Jesus. Honoured by the use Jesus makes of them, by the work they have to do, by the results they have to accomplish. The life of Jesus is exquisitely glorious, wherever it is seen; whether in Jesus Himself, or in any of His people; and this life, with all its glory, we are called to live-to possess, and display it, in this world of darkness and sin. Where men may hate, and seek to destroy it. Where also some weary, heavy-laden sinner may see something that will awaken a gleam of hope that shall brighten to the perfect day. Where some poor broken-down criminal shall become conscious of a Divine influence, touching his spirit and suggesting a thought of deliverance. Where some poor captive spirit, groaning in abject slavery, and wondering whether there be such a state as liberty, shall see an answer to his question; and see that answer in such a way as to lead him to stretch forth his manacled limbs
, and send up his earnest appeal that he might be freed from his bondage. Where some spirit, led captive by the devil at his will, shall perceive the
presence of one stronger than this captor, and able to deliver him. Every person thus delivered and blessed becomes a fruit of the power and life of Jesus. Christ desires that every branch should be loaded with them. That the grapes of Eshcol, large and famous as they were, should be utterly eclipsed by the greater fruitfulness that each Christian should present before the Father and the world. That this vine should be fruitful in every branch, and abundantly so.
There is honour in fruitfulness. Every branch that beareth fruit is purged that it may bring forth more ; every branch that beareth not is cut off. Every tree that is barren is cut down. Men admire a free-bearing tree. The heart of the owner is gladdened as he sees the result of his anxiety and toil
. God honours the fruitful Christian by greater abundance, and will by-and-by honour him in a better
To this honour we are chosen and called. Shall we not receive it? Shall we despise and refuse it? Shall we throw obstacles in the way
of its realization? Shall we maintain a hold on Christ that will be insufficient to realise it, whilst the world leads captive our other thoughts ? Oh, let us see our calling ; let us examine it in all its bearings, understand it in its fulness, encourage the work of the Divine Spirit, and we shall not only be fruitful in every Christian grace and virtue, but we shall as branches hang heavy with those other fruits which are human, and which are to be seen in the salvation of souls. Let fruitfulness be our motto-our fullest aspiration-our strongest desire,—and if we understand our honourable calling, and accept it entirely, and yield ourselves up to the Divine Spirit, the will of the Lord will appear in us, be proved by us, and will bless through us many of our brethren.
MRS. TEREDO AND HER FAMILY.
FOR THE YOUNG.
“Tus," said Deacon Hays, “is probably the last ship I shall ever build, and I intend to have her as perfect as possible.”
So he selected a beautiful model, and knowing that the owner wanted something very superior, he spared no time or money in procuring the best timber to be had, and the best workmen to be found. And then he watched over every stick as it was hewn and fitted in its place, every plank that was spiked on the timbers, and every spar that was prepared.
When they came to put the copper sheathing over the bottom of the ship, the deacon watched it very closely. At one spot he found the head of the iron nail which fastened the sheathing split. The deacon's eyes were becoming rather poor, but he saw the broken head.
" Jim Spiker, I see a nail broken; isn't there a little hole by its side ?”
“ Not a bit of it, I'm sartin. There couldn't a drop of water get in there in a century.'
So the word of Jim was accepted, the ship was finished and launched, and made two or three prosperous yoyages. During one of these, she lay at a wharf in Calcutta. Now these waters swarm with that little pest, the ship-worm. They crawled
all over the ship, but could not get through the copper-sheathing. At length Mrs. Teredo, a very small specimen of her tribe, lit upon the broken nail, found a little hole
, and squeezed herself in. Then she began to eat the timber and lay her eggs in it. Soon they hatched and increased till that tim. ber was full of the little Teredoes, and then the next, and the next, till every stick in the whole ship was full, and eaten almost into powder
, Still the ship looked sound, sailed well, and made her long voyages. At length, when in the middle of the great ocean, a terrible storm met her. The wind howled through the rigging, as if singing a funeral dirge. The waves rolled up and writhed as if in agony. Every spar was bent, and every timber and spike strained to the utmost. The cargo which filled the ship was of immense value. The crew was large and the passengers many. Worse and worse grew the storm, till at last a huge wave struck her with all its power. The poor ship staggered, groaned once, and crumpled up like a piece of paper. She foundered-at sea-in the dark night-by the awful storm! The rich cargo all went to the bot, tom of the ocean.