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Mention another way in which God's mercy is manifested.
(By the pardon of sin.) Yes ; His forgiveness includes all kinds of offences; the smallest transgression needs His pardon, and yet the greatest iniquity is not beyond it. It is, in fact, a universal pardon (1 John ii. 2): “whosoever will” may accept it, and be accounted a rebel
called) which induced our Saviour to descend to this our world ?-(Love for poor sinners, and pity for their misery.)
Yes: love (John iii. 16), the greatest attribute of the power of Christ. His Gospel was a message of love; and we read that it is “the power of God” (Rom. i. 16). It has been well said, “ Cæsar and Alexander conquered by arms, Jesus Christ conquered by love." In the catacombs of Rome travellers tell us that here and there are carved representations of “the Good Shepherd carrying home the sheep which had been lost, and beneath is read the inscription, “By this I conquer.” We cannot but think that far, far more wanderers have been brought into the fold by the tender loving voice of “the Good Shepherd ” than by the thunders of Sinai or the curses of Ebal.
We must now proceed to the consideration of the second attribute mentioned in the verses which we are considering-mercy.
Show that God " delighteth in mercy” (Mic. vii. 18). Where is the first instance recorded of mercy being shown by God to man ?-(Gen. iii. 15.) Yes ; when He had compassion on their iniquity, and promised them a Messiah, Jesus, the Saviour-One who would make an atonement for them with His own blood, and open to them and their posterity the gates of heaven.
We may trace the mercy of God all through the history of the Israelites (Ps. lxxviii. 38; Jer. iii. 12); and it is a special characteristic in the life of Jesus. As we have said before, it was love and pity which brought Him down to our erring, sin-stained world. How, as well as by His death, did Jesus show His loving mercy? By every act of His life ; by healing all who flocked to Him for temporal benefit (Matt. iv. 24); by ministering to sin-sick souls : the dying thief, penitent and forgiven at the eleventh hour, attests His mercy in this respect.
How, above all, was Christ's mercy shown ?-(By His death.) Yes; this is fully pointed out in Eph. ii. 4, 6; Tit. iii. 5. And lastly, how is Jesus even now showing His mercy to man? By interceding for him before His Father's throne: “He ever liveth to make intercession for us."
By His repeated forgiveness and incessant intercession, He draws His people one by one to their place in the “ many mansions” prepared by His infinite love for them.
But, although we have “such a merciful” and such a powerful Highpriest,” those who are dallying with salvation and slighting God's mercy must remember that there is a limit to Divine forbearance: “hitherto shalt thou go, and no farther,” is spoken to the scorner as well as to the wild and restless ocean wave; pass the prescribed limit, and the power of God in its fearful aspect is manifested.
“He is a great God, and a terrible” to the evil-doer; 'they that resist shall receive unto themselves damnation.” But the merciful Saviour is knocking now at the door: open then to Him before it is “ too late," before mercy shall be lost in judgment, and gentle pleading notes changed to the awful utterances of an angry God. Let us come, dear young friends, with our load of sin ; let us cast“ all” our care upon Jesus: He is merciful, and He is powerful. And have we not the declaration, if we repent of our ways, “ I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more" ?
No PRAYER LOST.–Never was faithful prayer lost at sea. No merchant trades with such certainty as the praying saint. Some prayers have, indeed, a longer voyage than others; but then they come with a richer lading at last.
OUTLINES OF ADDRESSES.*
WALKING WITH GOD.
closely that God took him up to live
with Him in heaven, without the pain Genesis v. 21–24.
of dying. Oh, surely you will not let it A LITTLE girl, who had resolved to serve be said that Enoch, with his few priviGod, was one day talking with her leges, loved God more and served Him minister, when he said to her, Mary,
better than you. try to walk with God all through your But let us think a little about what it life; walk humbly with Him." She is thus to walk with God. raised her eyes with a puzzled look, and 1. It is to recognise His presence at said, “ Please, sir, what do you mean? all times,-to feel that He is always God never comes down to earth now, as with you, and knows the very thoughts He did in the Garden of Eden, does which pass through your mind; to He?” The minister replied, “ No, my feel that whatever happens to you, how
I did not mean that you must ever full of sorrow or replete with gladwalk with Him with your feet, I meant ness, still it is sent, or permitted to with your heart. Always take care to come, by Him. let Him have a dwelling-place there ; 2. It is to have the same end in view then you will find that, whether you as God-His glory, which is the holiness work or play, walk or sit still, you will and happiness of ourselves and all the always be with Him and He with you.”
human race. If you set this before you This is the way in which good old as your aim, it will make you earnest in Enoch walked with God five thousand seeking to lead others to Christ, and in years ago.
sending the Gospel to the heathen. Dear children, I want all your atten- 3. It is to have communion with tion while we talk about this walking God. If you are with a friend whom you with God. None of you are too young love very much, you do not sit still or to begin ; and I want you all to begin keep silent, but you talk with him. this very day, the first Sunday in the God speaks to us in nature. The new year.
blue sky, the green grass, the rippling From what we are told about Enoch, streams, beautiful flowers, wholesome we may conclude that he began in the grain, and delicious fruits all tell us days of his childhood.
At the great
how kind He is; while in His holy word age of three hundred and sixty-five God He speaks to us still more plainly. The took him to heaven. It seems very Christian speaks to God in prayer and plain that Enoch walked with God all praise. through his life, beginning, like a few 4. It is to have confidence in Him, other Bible personages, in the days of and be submissive to His will. God his infancy.
never makes mistakes in any difficulty, And only think what privileges and and those who love Him always find a helps you have to assist you in walking peaceful happiness in doing just as He with God, which Enoch had not when directs them in His word or by His Spirit. he was a boy. He had no kind minister 5. Those who walk with God love or Sabbath-school teacher; he had no Him, and desire His favour and apBible in which he might look every day, proval above all things. to see what God would have him do. This is something of what it is to The Lord Jesus Christ had not then walk with God. Next let us think a little come, and told them such precious of the advantages enjoyed by those who things about Himself and His Father do thus walk with Him. in heaven as we know. And yet, through 1. They are daily growing more like all his life, he walked with God so God. We cannot love and associate
* We are indebted to “ Nellie" for these admirable "Outlines," and commend them to the attention of teachers. The practical illustrations are judiciously introduced.--Editor.
opposed to God, do not agree with His character or requirements, the first step you must take towards walking with God must be to ask Him to give you a new heart. David's prayer was “ Create within me a clean heart." Let this be your prayer now. And when God has given you this new heart, pray that it may be washed every day in the Saviour's precious blood, that fountain always open for sin and all uncleanness.
much with any friend without imbibing, taking in, something of his character. Hence it is that you ought not to make friends of those who delight in sin, lest you should get like them. And for the same reason your parents rejoice to see you with those who strive to do well, because they hope that you will imitate them. So those who walk with God gradually become more and more righteous, and more like their Master, Christ.
2. They have the best friendship which can be had. Oh the honour of being the friend of God! And this highest of honours is secured by those who walk with Him. Only think of this : the very youngest of you may be a friend of God, by loving Him and doing all you can for Him. And the friendship will be mutual, on both sides: you will be God's friend by trying in every way in your power to promote His glory; and He will be your Friend by sympathising with you in trouble, rejoicing with you in gladness, and guiding you by His Spirit through all the unknown paths of life.
3. They have peace. They confidently cast all their care on Him, and, instead of being constantly worried and fretted by the cares and trials of life, they “roll their burden on the Lord,” and have an inward " passeth all understanding” constantly keeping their hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
4. They have eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. They are not now received up into heaven, without dying, as Enoch was; but their Saviour takes away the sting of death (which is sin), so that they look upon death not as an enemy but rather as a friend, sent by God to take them to the happy home which He has been preparing for them.
And now, dear young friends, do you ask how you may become possessors of these great blessings, how you may begin to walk with God? Two earthly friends cannot get on very well together unless they agree.
So those who wish to walk with God must agree with Him, in all the leading principles of their lives. And as your natural hearts are
THE SERVICE OF GOD. “His servants shall serve Him."- Rev. xxii. 3. Did you ever know any little boy or girl who did not love pictures ? I think not. There is something attractive in a pretty picture, to both young and old. But there is a kind of picture not always called by that name, which some of you like quite as well: I mean word-pictures, where a scene or action, which your eyes have never beheld, is described so clearly in words that you can see it all with the eyes of your mind. There is something very bewitching in good pictures of this kind.
But there is such a thing as turning from a pretty story-book, full of these word-pictures, to the Bible—our heavenly Father's own story-book for His earthly children-and thinking it a dry, uninteresting book. O children, what a strange mistake that is! The Bible is full of beautiful word-pictures, which if once read can surely never be forgotten. Who can read without a feeling of pleasure the story of the flood, Abraham offering up his son Isaac, the story of Joseph, and hundreds more of equal interest ?
Then, when we come to the New Testament, we find the most wonderful narrative or history ever written. It is an account of the birth, life, and crucifixion of our Saviour, the miracles He wrought, and the lessons and parables which He taught.
But perhaps the most beautiful picture is that contained in the closing chapters of Revelation, where such a bright de
Dear children, we cannot tell what kind of employments they are which constitute the service of the redeemed in heaven; but we may be certain that it is a service of love, for they never grow tired of it.
But, my children, remember that if you would like to be one of God's servants in heaven, you must first begin to serve Him on earth, and the sooner you begin, the easier and pleasanter you will find it. Let us then consider what kind of service it is which God requires
scription is given of the heavenly world. How the mind loves to wander along its golden streets, by its walls of jasper, its gates of pearl, its sea of glass; while, amid all its beauteous splendour, its inhabitants need no light from the sun, for God Himself is their light. It is in this most beautiful picture that we find the words of our text: “ His servants shall serve Him." What! are there servants in heaven? Yes; it is the highest honour which can be conferred upon any creature, here or hereafter, that he may be a servant of his Creator.
We sometimes speak of heaven as a place of rest; how can that be if its inhabitants are servants, ever active in doing their Divine Master's bidding? A good man, even while here on earth, could say from his heart :“In service which Thy love appoints
There are no bonds for me ;
Which makes Thy people free." It is, let us suppose, a lovely evening in June; we walk through green fields, along pleasant shady lanes, till we come to a lonely humble cottage. We ascend its narrow staircase, and there we pause for a while to gaze on the scene before us. On the white-curtained bed lies a man in the last stage of consumption. In one hand he holds a bunch of flowers which he has just received ; with the other he tenderly clasps the hand of a visitor--a lady, who for many weeks has found it one of her greatest pleasures to minister to his comfort. They are talking ; let us listen.
“Well, dear Miss M—, if you should not see me alive again, I hope we shall meet in heaven. It would seem a comfort to think we should know each other there." His friend tells him she trusts that those who have known each other on earth will recognise each other in heaven. Again the whisper comes :
"I wonder what we shall do there.” The only answer is, “ There His servants shall serve Him." A satisfied smile lights up his eyes as he replies, “ Ah, yes, surely that is enough for us; here the best of His servants only try to serve Him, there they shall do it."
1. It must be the service of the heart. Pharaoh cared little for the spirit in which the children of Israel performed their tasks, so long as they were done. But Pharaoh was a hard taskmaster. Our God is a loving Father, who likes to see His children willing to do all they can to please Him. And in order to be thus willing you must first give yourselves to God, asking Him to take you as His servants, and teach you how to do His will.
2. Having given yourself, body and soul, to be God's servant, you must see to it that your whole life is one continual service, always striving and praying for grace to do as He would have you.
There are no stopping places on the road to heaven ; for if Satan sees us halting, uncertain whether to do right, he will try to get us to take a few steps al his road. Then, if he succeeds, we have to retrace our steps again. And often this is very laborious work, for Satan contrives to make it much easier to advance along his road than it is to return. And now,
dear children, ask yourselves, are you God's servants ? I trust some of you are. But what about the rest? Oh, pray remember that you must be serving either God or Satan. Our Lord Jesus Himself says, “ He that is not with Me is against Me.” O children, think of that! and since you must serve one of these masters,
Choose yo this day whom ye will serve.” They will both give you wages : Satan's wages are death ; God's are eternal life. Which will you have ?
Ecclesiastes xii. 1. Now, my children, I want to talk with you a little while about a verse in the Bible which I think most of you can repeat without opening your Bibles. It is in the last chapter of Ecclesiastes : "Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth,” etc.
Can you tell me who wrote this book of Ecclesiastes ?-Yes; Solomon, the wise king of Israel : he wrote it when he was an old man, only a short time before his death. He looks back on all he knows of life, and declares it is all vanity and vexation of spirit. Then, in this last chapter, the old experienced man gives a few words of advice to the young, who have their life yet before them. This first verse is the key-note to the whole chapter, which is an eloquent entreaty to the young to remember God before old age comes on.
And now, having said a little about the writer of these words, let us look at the words themselves. Here are two things which were written on purpose for you children. One is, What you must do; the other, When you must do it.
I. What you must do: “Remember your Creator." Not long ago a girl, who had a little brother whom she loved very much, was going away from home. The day before she left she took her needle and silk, and on a small piece of cardboard she worked the words, “Remember me." She fastened it to a bit of bright ribbon, and put it in his Bible. “There now," she said to herself, “whenever he sees that he will think of me, and perhaps he will love me all the more.” Now, dear children, this is just the way God wishes you to remember Him. He has given you many valuable tokens of His thoughtful love-fond parents, loving brothers, sisters, or friends, together with thousands of such-like mercies; while,
“Greater than all His gifts beside,
Jesus, His Son, our Saviour died.” And then He has given you His holy word. So when you see and think about
His precious gifts, He wants you to remember Him-to think about Him, and love Him.
II. When must you do it? Now, in the days of your youth. Oh, my young friends, there are many reasons why you should think of God and ask Him to make you His own child nou while you are young. Let us just think of a few.
1. If you begin to serve God now, you will have a longer time to glorify Him by living a Christian life. Some people do not think anything about God till they are laid upon a death-bed. Then they ask Him to forgive their sins and take them to heaven. We hope that many of these dying penitents are sincere, and that their sins are forgiven even as our Saviour forgave the dying thief. But does it not seem very mean to serve Satan during all the days of health, as though his service were very
easant, and then turn to God in the hour of death, just for the sake of escaping hell? Solomon seems to have had something of this thought when he wrote this verse, the whole of which is, “ Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh when thou shalt say I have no pleasure in them."
2. You will have more time to try to lead others to Christ. When Simon Peter told Jesus that he loved Him, our Saviour's reply was “ Feed My lambs,” and “Feed My sheep;” thus plainly intimating that as a proof of his love our Lord would have him work for Him. And oh, it is not hard to work for our Saviour. You little girls, who have a kind father who works for you all day, do not find it hard to get his chair ready, and his slippers warm for him, when he comes in on cold winter evenings. And you boys, who are very fond of your mother, do not find it very hard to take up the basket and run over to the shop for her, even though the wind does sometimes blow rain and snow in your faces. So it will be if you love Jesus. And the more you love Him the easier it will be to work for Him and try to get others to love Him too.
3. Because Jesus Christ has given