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case, as you would never have heard of the name of Jesus, you never could have pronounced it; having never heard the speech of others, you must have remained through life both deaf and dumb.
Think, again, what occasion you have for thankfulness, that ever you heard “the joyful sound” of the everlasting gospel; that before you lost your hearing, the good word which you heard with your outward ears sank deep into your hearts, so that you can now remember and speak of many a precious sermon which was as bread from heaven to your soul.
You can now recur to the former days when you heard with delight the voice of prayer and praise in the sanctuary, and your hearts burned within you as you took sweet counsel with your fellow-pilgrisos by the way. But now you say, " Those days, those blessed days are past and gone, and we are as a sparrow alone upon the house-top.” Be it so, dear friends; nevertheless, you may have more occasion for joy than for sorrow; there may be more of mercy than of judgment in your privation. Reflect, therefore, as another antidote against a murmuring disposition, how much pain and sorrow your deafness may spare you. Your soul cannot be vexed, as righteous Lot's was, “with the filthy conversation of the wicked;” vile words, vain words, impure words, cannot distil their poison into your ear. We have sometimes wished Eve had been deaf, when the serpent, who was more subtle than any beast of the field, said unto the woman, yea, hath God said, ye shall not eat of every tree of the gar. den ?" » In allusion to this it might be that Bunyan, the prince of allegorists, in his “Holy War,” describing the artifices by which Satan sought access to the city of " Mansoul,” says, “When he first came up against the town he made his approach to Ear-gate, and there held a parley." We beseech you, therefore, to consider whether it may not be in covenant love that you have this wide gate to your soul shut and barred against the troops of enemies that are wont to enter there. In heaven all will be explained; the saints who have sown in tears here will reap in joy there, and you may have to adore the Infinite Wisdom for the deafness which “preserved your eyes from tears, and your feet from falling."
You will also find occasion for submission and gratitude, that although you have lost your outward hearing, you have through grace an inward and a better ear, wherewith you can hear the “still small voice of the Spirit,” whispering to your heart the great and precious promises of eternal truth. That you can hear the words of Him “who spake as never man spake,” and whose loving voice may well constrain you to exclaim with the ancient church, “His mouth is most sweet, yea, He is altogether lovely ; this is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jeru. salem.” Rejoice, therefore, that you possessed your hearing so long as you did, that by the instruction you then received, you were enabled to hoard up a treasure for this time of need, as Joseph laid up corn in the years of plenty, against the coming years of dearth; and that even now, however shut out from verbal intercourse with man, you can still turn to your best and dearest friend, and say, “Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth.”
Then, what an occasion for thankfulness it is that your sight is con. tinued. There are not a few of the people of God who are deprived of the faculty of vision. The writer has no less than three persons in the church of which he is pastor who are totally blind. To them the day and the night are both alike, and yet it is profitable to converse with these blind christians, to observe their meek resignation, and even their cheerful piety. But to you, Eye-gate is still open, and God is pleased to let in those helps by the windows, which can no longer find entrance by the door. You can read, though you cannot hear, the word of God. Make much of this privilege, seek to be “mighty in the scriptures," and as other sources of instruction are withheld from you, seek daily “with joy to draw water out of these wells of salvation.” Then, next to the Bible, what a rich and ample store is accessible to you in the writings of good men of past and present times; so that if denied instruction from the pul. pit, you may obtain it from the press, and here you have the choicest and best digested thoughts of exalted and sanctified intellect. The very cream of divinity, the manna of the gospel,—the good old wine of the king. dom, the “finest of the wheat,” is here prepared for your mental and spiritual repast. Thus, if you cannot hear the voice of living men, you can hold converse with the mighty dead, for there were giants in those days;" and it may be something more than a compensation for the ministry of the present age that you are shut up to the holy and lofty thoughts and aspirations of an Edwards, a Howe, a Bates, a Taylor, a Baxter, a Leighton, a Charnock, a Flavel, and a host of illustrious writers, who, “ being dead yet speak,” and that, too, in a voice which even you can hear. Surely, then, when you think how much of preventive mercy there may be on the closing your ears against innumerable vexations and evils which are sure to enter by that portal, and how much blessedness is still vouchsafed to you in the faculty of sight, you will take down your harps from the willows, and sing, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.”
But now, beloved, hear a word of exhortation as to your attendance on the public worship of God. We can easily conceive how plausibly the enemy may assail you at this point, but we beseech you, notwithstanding your incapacity for hearing, not to “forsake the assembling of yourselves together." We have known christians so deaf as not to distinguish a single word, or even to hear the loudest thunder, who have, notwithstanding, been uniformly seen among the first in the sanctuary, and have declared they have often found it to be unto them, “the house of God and the very gate of heaven.” We urge this consideration upon you, that you may set a good example. Your presence in the congregations of the saints cannot fail to awaken the reflection in others, “if this deaf chris. tian is so constant in the house of God, surely we ought to be.” Thus, your conduct will preach to others their duty; and not only so, for as sure as “God will honour those that honour him," so surely will you find it good to be there. Think of the promise, “Wherever two or three are met together in my name, there am I in the midst of them,” and go, expecting its fulfilment, believing that he will, then and there, manifest himself unto you, as he does not unto the world. Go up, then, with the multitude, to keep holy day. Some friend by your side will shew you the hymn that is being sung, and that hymn may be a blessed means of grace to your soul; if the voices of others are discordant, they will not annoy you; if the tune is ill chosen and unsuitable, it will not discompose your mind, or mar your devotion ; nothing can hinder your making “ melody of heart unto the Lord.” In the same manner let some one find you the chapter that is being read, and, undisturbed by any noise without, you may have sweet meditation on the word of God. So, also, let the text be shewn you, and a better Teacher than the one in the pulpit, may open to you those wondrous things out of his law, which shall “make you wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus;" and, during the season of devotion, you too can pour out your hearts to Him, whose "eyes are upon the righteous, and whose ears are open unto their cry.”
It may be well also for you to consider, that the infirmity under which you labour, like all others which the child of God may have to endure in the present state, is but a transient one. Soon your Lord will say, “Come up hither;" and, obedient to the welcome summons, your ransomed spirit will quit its house of clay_its poor deaf tabernacle—and find itself being chimed away by the minstrelsy of angels to the realms of glory, and, in that “sweet hour of full discharge,” you will realize the sentiments of the departing saint, as expressed in the well-known ode
“ The world recedes, it disappears,
O Grave, where is thy victory?
O Death, where is thy sting?" And, oh, how blessed to you, in the morning of the resurrection, will be the sound of the archangel and the trump of God !” Low as your resting-place may be in the silent earth, or even in the deeper caverns of the mighty ocean, it shall hear the awakening and life-giving voice of Him who is the resurrection and the life;" for “the hour is coming when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live.” Every infirmity will then be left in the grave, and perfection will characterise the resurrection body of the saints; for thus it is written, “He shall change our vile body, that it may be likened unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able to subdue all things unto himself.” Think of that! The infirmities, decrepitude, disease, and death, to which our mortal fabrics are now incident, will then bé known and feared no more. The body now bowed down with sickness or age will stand erect in that day, and be invested with the bloom and vigour of immortal youth,—the leper will be cleansed, the lame will leap as a hart,-the tongue of the dumb will sing,—the eyes of the blind will see,-and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Every faculty of body and mind will be restored to the Divine image, which was lost by the fall. The transformation is begun on earth, and the first glance of the Saviour's face in the resurrection morn will complete and perpetuate it; while angels, perceiving the resemblance, and seeing the Saviour's glorious person reflected in millions of his perfected and redeemed people, will lead the shining way to the portals of the New Jerusalem, and as they reach the love-built mansions, will cry, “Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation may enter in.” Then what seraphic songs will burst upon your listening ear, where
" Myriads of spirits round the throne.
In humble posture stand:
A palm in every hand.
In ceaseless songs of praise ;
Loud hallelujahs raise."
THE FADING LEAF.
BY TAB REY. B. ARTHUR.
Dry and withered to the ground,
In a sad and solemn sound." How solemn the sight! How instructive the lesson! By the falling leaf God is speaking to each, and to us all. He that hath eyes, let him see: he that hath ears, let him hear. How beautiful, and yet how frail
is the human frame! What care in its preservation and adornment, and yet how brief its existence! But take the leaf, and learn a lesson.
Is the leaf the production of Divine power? So is the body. The Power that spoke creation into existence produced the leaf, and created this body. Man inade not himself. Though he had his origin in the dust, yet “God made us, and not we ourselves.” He formed our bodies, and fashioned our souls. We are the sheep of his pasture, and the work of his hand.
Is the leaf gradual in its formation and growth? So is the body. See the leaf forming and expanding. Look at the body, in its various stages of infancy, childhood, youth, manhood, and old age. The leaf does not shoot forth in perfection all at once :'neither does the body. Progression is stamped on all the works of God, in nature and grace.
Is the leaf beautiful in its structure? Look at its texture, how fine, how perfect! What a combination of power and wisdom! But how fearfully and wonderfully are we made! Inspect any one member. Take the hand; examine it. And, ob, man, know thyself. Who but a God of infinite wisdom could create thee?
Is the leaf brief in its duration? What is our life? “Man that is born of woman is of few days.” “ The days of our years are threescore years and ten ; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” How striking the figures which set forth its brevity! The withering grass, the fading flower, the eagle's flight, the watch of the night, the weaver's shuttle, the dream, the vapour, all say, in solemn sound, there is but a step between us and death. Reader, think of it. Alas,
“ All men think all men mortal
But themselves." But to you, oh, man, do I speak. “Set thine house in order, for thou shalt die, and not live.”
Is the leaf certain in its fall? “What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death?” “It is appointed unto man once to die.” “The fathers, where are they ? and the prophets, do they live for ever?” All things tend to their centre, and man goeth the way of all flesh. “I won't die," said a general in Napoleon's army, when he received a mortal wound, and called upon the emperor to save him. But he died! “Millions of money,” said Queen Elizabeth, on her death-bed, “ for an inch of time.” But her money, and a kingdom on which the sun never set, could not procure it; and she died! Methuselah lived nine hundred sixty and nine years; and he died! Where are the mighty heroes and conquerors ? “All flesh is grass; the wind passeth over it, and it is gone.” As some of the leaves fall ere they arrive at full growth, and others become dry and withered ; so some die in infancy or childhood, others in youth, or cut off in the prime of life, and a few (alas, how few comparatively!) arrive at a good old age before disease or the scythe mows them down.
Do all leaves decay? We must all needs die; the rich as well as the poor, the learned as well as the ignorant, the prince as well as the peasant. All nations, kindred, tongues, and people must die. There is no escape in this warfare.
But what after death? The leaf falls, and soon it decays; no more does it twitter among the branches, no more does the wind play its melancholy music upon it. But if a man die, shall he live again ? Yes, says Divine revelation. At death the body returns to its dust, but the spirit to God who gave it. Death is not annihilation! The soul does not die. It is not lost in darkness, nor kept in purgatorial suspense; but
the moment it quits the body, it is in the presence of its Judge. Reader, is thy soul prepared for this meeting for this solemn interview ? This night thy soul may be required of thee...
“Eternal happiness or woe
Must then thy portion be." While you pause to ask, What am I? whence come I? whither am I going ? remember that thou art a sinner; and “ Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Fly to Christ. Repent, believe, and thou shalt be saved. And, then, though like the leaf thy body shall fall and decay, yet, in the spring of the resurrection, it shall shake itself from its dust of corruption, and be clothed with immortal verdure. Reader, believest thou this?
Christian, pray, for life is fleeting,
Christian, pray. .
Christi. Borrowe morra
SPEAK NOT HARSHLY.
Speak not harshly-much of care
Speak not harshly-much of sin