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perfect absence of all one-sided exaggeration, says in the Second Part concerning Christiana and her companions, and their journey through the place. Don't you mind the pleasant party at the house of old Gaius ? Oh yes! the redeemed of the Lord, when they are returning to Zion-before ever the gates of pearl are reached, or the streets of gold trodden-return with everlasting joy upon their heads. “Thy statues have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage."
1. The statutes of Jehovah are the definite and authoritative declaration of the supreme law of right. We are made by our very constitution to seek after truth, and to approve that which is right. The good is also the beautiful. The light which flows from God's throne excites in us a holy glow. "I delight in the law of God after the inward man."
2. And yet there is something strange in this too. “ Thy statutes are my songs.” Who is it that speaks ? I hear one, who is a prophet, rying out as he beholds the King of glory, “Woe is me, for I am indone.” The very apostle who says, “I delight in the law of God,” breaks forth into, “Oh, wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me?” Must not the statutes of the Lord of necessity awaken in us a sense of ciscord and defeat, and exasperate slumbering opposition into active and desperate hostility ? Yes, but read the words in connection with the context. Listen to what this Psalmist says: “ Remember Thy word unto Thy servant, upon which Thou hast caused me to hope; this is my comfort in mine affliction, for Thy word hath quickened me." You must not lose sight of what is included in the pronoun “thy.” “ Thy statutes, whose word quickened me, have been my songs.” For here is the great truth. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. In Him was life, and the life was the light of man. And to as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God.” God's word has been to this man & gospel of hope. Full of anguish and dismay, he has fled to lay hold of the hope set before him, and he has found strong consolation, for this word has become more than a revelation, it has become a living energy singing within his heart. It makes all the difference in the world in respect of the aspect of God's statutes towards you, on which side of the wicket gate you are. If on the outside, these statutes will lift themselves up as an overhanging mountain burning with tempestuous fires and thundering forth eternal anathemas. But if on the inside, and especially if near the cross, these statutes will become a firm path, along which your feet will run—a path conducting you to the House of the Interpreter,” and “ the Palace Beautiful," and the "Delectable Mountains," and the sweet regions of Beulah. The redeemed of the Lord return to Zion with everlasting joy, because they are connected with Him who is the High Priest and living Head : who has been anointed with the oil of gladness without measure, and from whom the sacred unction descends with fragrant and invigorating flow, even down to the skirts of His garments. Remembering and emphasising this, we go on to say,
If when you
3. God's statutes are the instrument of discipline. Discipline, as I need hardly say, is the condition of blessedness. are in darkness or in sorrow, you will just whisper to yourself, “undisciplined, undisciplined," you will probably find that you are touching the source of most of your troubles. A thoroughly disciplined man is a king who is set upon a rock, and whom the sea of outward circumstances, even though it rage most fiercely, can hardly reach with its spray. The nerves which make trial to be a smart are within us; and the skin which makes every pin to be a sword, and turns every puncture into a festering gash, comes of delicate self-indulgence. The “roots of bitterness which spring up to trouble us" exist in the soil just because we do not with vigorous and unsparing hand drive through that soil the plough of self-subjugation and self-control. Now, brethren, you want an instrument wherewith to effect this selfsubjugation. What better can you have than God's statutes, the perfect standard of virtue, the " law of the spirit of life”? Oh, depend upon it there is profound philosophy in the words of the Lord Jesus, "Take my yoke upon you, and ye shall find rest unto your souls." I do not say, as sometimes we are prone to do, Religion is a burden, a cross, a trial, but depending on God you will have grace to bear that burden, to carry that cross, to endure that trial. God forbid. “Take the yoke, and ye shall find rest.” In the yoke and in the wearing of it rest is obtained. “ The kingdom of God in itself is righteousness, and joy, and peace in the Holy Ghost.” You will find this to be true, personally. You will find it to be true domestically. The laws of God ruling energetically in your hearts, guiding and controlling your affections and thoughts, will make your homes to be spheres of light and sweetness. The presence of the ark will be a blessing to the house of Obed-Edom. And so in every way the sum of our pleasures will be increased. Remember this, I pray you. It is not indulgence that ministers happiness. Those who think so will find sooner or later they have been making an unutterable mistake. It is discipline that braces us into the fullest and mightiest vitality. It is Divine discipline that strings up to the concert-pitch of cherubic melody. “Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage."
4. God's statutes—that is, God's ordinances-minister unto us seasons of gracious visitation and exalted spiritual delight. Judaism is in our minds connected intimately with Sinai and the giving of the Law, and yet no one can fail to observe how much it is connected with godly festivity. It is the system of statutes, and still in a remarkable sense it is the system of "the joy of the Lord." It had a cycle of celebrations framed for the purpose of bringing the people together to a holy convocation at times when thronging associations combined with opportune circumstances would raise their glad thankfulness to the highest intensity. And are there no realities under the reign of Him" by whom grace and truth became," corresponding to these
shadows? Do not the dying echoes of Gerizim break out anew, strong and clear, and infinitely more significant, in the multiplied benedictions of His opening manifesto ? Is there not a Mount of Transfiguration upon which disciples would for ever stay? Did they not sing a hymn before they went out of the upper room to the Mount of Olives ? Do not hallowed scenes cluster about the resurrection, wherein " the King Timself comes near and feasts His saints ?” Did not the disciples hrob with joy, almost tumultuous when the Holy Ghost, who is the jromised giit of all believers, first fell upon them? And did not the ngged and broken surface of Patmos become the jasper pavement aong which angels walked, and its solitudes wax vocal with seraphicand more than seraphio-raptures, and the sea which girt it round brighten into the sea of glass mingled with fire whereon white-robed v.ctors stood, “ having the harps of God and singing the song of Moses and of the Lamb"'? The ordinances of the Lord are means of grace. They lead us to the Red Sea, that there we may see the banner of Jehovah, and shout unto Him who triumphs gloriously. They dig wells in the wilderness, which create oases around which the sheep may gather, reclining at the Shepherd's feet. They are a John the Baptist preparing the way of the Lord, and making straight in the desert a highway for our God. Think not of religion as a present burden and cross, which it is prudent to accept for the sake of the deliverance it secures, and the future compensations it guarantees. Do no such injustice to the "gospel of His glory" who is the “happy God," and who has taught us to think of Him as our Father in heaven. Slothful servants may tell you He is " an austere Man, reaping where He has not sown, and gathering where He has not strawed.” But those who “know the gift of God, and who it is that saith to them, Give me to drink,” will testify, “Whilst won by His grace we were letting down our little pitcher into the earthly fountain, He gave us water out of the well of salvation that has quenched our immortal thirst, and filled us with the sweetness of His love. It is a state of pilgrimage, and in this respect we freely acknowledge our condition is an unperfected one. There is a house belonging to this state of pilgrimage by which we are burdened, and in which we turn our eyes, with an anticipation which is sometimes almost eager longing, to 'the house which is from heaven.' But after all this acknowledgment has been frankly made, we still affirm that, “receiving of His fulness and grace for grace;' His yoke has not only been bearable, it has been our strength and our joy. Jabbok has been to us the vestibule of Peniel, and His statutes have been our songs in the house of our pilgrimage.""
A DAY'S WORK.
FOR THE YOUNG, AND FOR OTHERS TOO. RUTH HUNTINGTON laid her couldn't talk and pray with people, brown curly head on her pillow, and and she thought she had no inthought, very soberly and earnestly fluence for good at all, even with for a little maiden of only twelve her schoolmates. There were so years; it is the best time in the many wrong and hasty actions to world for downright hard thinking, be sorry for, and the ways in which after one is in bed and the lights she could do right were so smallare all out. That evening at their who could be influenced by her feeble devotions her father had read the attempts ? She wished that the story of him who went out to find Lord would give her some great labourers for his vineyard ; and and noble thing to do, so that she some began their work at the dawn could prove how she loved and was and some at the noontide, and some willing to serve Him; and then she when the night was near.
thought humbly that it was very Then her father, turning to the presuming for her to expect a great children, said, “Who is the great work given her. Master in the spiritual vineyard ?” No, she thought her duty was to
They answered with one accord, work quietly; to be a dutiful “ Our Father in heaven.”
daughter, a kind sister. There “Yes," said Mr. Huntington, was Fred, about whom father was “ He is our kind and merciful so anxious, and Johnny, with his Master. He has called us all to boyish romping ways-she could come work in his vineyard - the show them she was at least trying young and old, the rich and poor, to be good, and she might in some the strong and weak. Not one of degree influence them for the right. my children who has learned to She would try to help her mother know right from wrong is too young more with Robbie and baby Maud. to serve Him. If you begin now She would pray that she might to work in His vineyard, which of conquer the hot temper that was the labourers will you be like ?” her besetting sin. She would try
Ruth's low clear voice alone to grow towards the perfect Chrisanswered him, “We will be like tian life. She would begin the those who began in the early very next day to work more quietly morning."
and more earnestly in the vineyard “Oh that all of my children of the Lord. would, in the early morning of Then the brown-fringed eyelids their lives, become God's labourers !” began to droop, and droop, as you said Mr. Huntington, fervently. have seen flowers closing when the
He closed the book, and when dusk came, and in a little while they knelt in prayer he asked for Ruth Huntington was fast asleep. God's choicest blessings on “that The next morning she found that dear daughter who had just begun it was raining very hard.
Her to work in the vineyard of the father said it had begun at eleven Lord; that she might be kept and o'clock the night before, and had guided, and that her labours might continued ever since with great bring many souls into the kingdom severity, and he thought the streams of Christ. Ruth knew it was would overflow before long. It was herself he meant.
very gloomy within doors. The She was thinking what she could baby was sick, Robbie was fretful do in the Master's vineyard. Why, about being shut in the house, and she was only a little girl — she altogether Ruth thought she had
never seen a day when it was so said her mother, very wearily and hard to do right. But she was a a little impatiently. “My daughbrave little maiden_brave to con- ,ter, I have passed a sleepless night, quer her own temper and tongue; and Maudie is very sick. Try not she tried hard that morning, and to come to me with any questions, first sent up a silent prayer to the but do the best you can alone ; and Lord of the vineyard, for she sorely keep the house as quiet as possible.” needed help.
She went out softly, and closed I don't know what ailed Robbie the door. Robbie was just going that morning, unless he was pos- sturdily out into the rain, with Eessed.”
bare white feet. She ran and caught He came to Ruth as she was him, and drew him back into the putting away the breakfast, and house; and how that child did caught her dress eagerly.
scream! Quiet! it was perfect “Rutie,” he said, me be good bedlam ! He lay down on the boy."
floor and pounded with feet and * That's right," she answered. hands, until you'd have thought "Maudie is sick, and mamma must those plump fingers and toes would be with her all the time. You'll have been black and blue. be a nice, quiet little boy.”
Ruth felt that hot temper of hers “Oh, I's made up my mind, surging up and up; she was greatly Rutie," said he; which was a grave tempted to box his ears soundly. remark he had learned from his She wondered why, upon this elders, and one that afforded them morning of all others, she should infinite amusement. “Robbie going be so tried with Robbie. Then to take off his shoes and stockings, there came to her bitter thoughts and go wade in the nice little against her mother; she was repuddles! Then he not make any quiring more of her, a little girl, noise at all !”
than she could well perform herself Poor Ruth was horrified. When -it was hard, unjust ! Robbie “made up his mind” to do It came to her then like a shock, anything naughty, even his father how wicked and wrong her heart and mother had trouble to conquer was, how miserably she was failing him. He was just getting well of in her good resolutions, what sinful the whooping-cough, and it would thoughts and feelings she was innever do in the world for him to dulging in. Oh, it was all wrong wade in “nice little puddles.” --she was displeasing instead of
“Now, Robbie," said she coax- serving the Master of the vineyard ! ingly,“ do be a good boy. It will She covered her face with her make my little brother ill to go hands, and sobbed as though her out in the rain, and then what will heart was breaking.
She was very Rutie do?"
sorrowful and very humble. “ Not make him ill 'tall! Me And then she sent up a prayer wash my little feet out doors. Go for help in this very trouble. Do 'way, Rutie, and let me take off my you think it is wrong
such seemingly insignificant things? “No, no, Robbie,” said Ruth, I don't. For to Him who hears the taking his hand.
ravens when they cry, and who “Go'way! go'way!” he screamed. numbers the hairs of our heads, Ruth went to her mother's room. there is no distress too low to re
“ Mother, what shall I do ?” she lieve, no temptation too small to said. “Robbie wants to go out and notice, no prayer too humble to hear. wade in the water."
A pair of soft arms came stealing “He must not go, of course,” | around her neck.