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what is good for man in this life, all the days of his vain life which he spendeth as a shadow? for who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun ?
mighty. O the wisdom, then, of a firm unshaken faith in that God, both in his providence and grace, to grant us all things needful, as well for the body as the soul; trusting to his providence that all things shall work together for our good, and confiding in his grace that He will save our
souls in life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Innocents' Day.
MORNING. JEREMIAH Xxxi. to ver. 18.
AT the same time, saith the LORD, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people. 2 Thus saith the LORD, The people which were left of the ness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest. The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee. Again 4 The Church shall be restored with I will build thee, and thou all her glorious services of joy. shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry. 5 Thou shalt yet plant vines upon the mountains of Samaria: the planters shall plant, and shall eat them as common things. 6 For there shall be a day, that the watchmen upon the mount Ephraim shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto the LORD our God. For thus saith the LORD; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O LORD, save thy peo
1 In the Messiah all the faithful shall become one great family of God, the Father of all. O for our home in heaven!
2 Those who escaped from Egypt. sword found grace in the wilder3 The Jewish nation thus acknowledge God's care over them.
ple, the remnant of Israel.
5 Samaria shall cease her enmity, and shall share the worship of Jerusalem. The Church shall be received even by those who once scoffed it. 6 The voice of thy minister is the voice of the appointed watchman
8 How full of affection and tender care is Jehovah towards those who seek him!
Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither. They shall come with weeping,
and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn. Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock. For the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he. Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the LORD, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all. Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together; for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow. And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness, and my my goodness, saith the LORD. Thus saith the LORD; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not. Thus saith the LORD; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the LORD; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope in thine end, saith the LORD, that thy children shall come again to their own border.
people shall be satisfied with
15 All misery among the faithful shall one day cease. Rachel, the common mother of both people, jamin, shall be amply compensated through her sons Joseph and Benfor the long travail of her soul, when she shall see them all gathered together as one great family of God in Jesus Christ the righteous *.
Ephraim was descended from Joseph; and the tribe of Benjamin continued with Judah-Rachel was buried between Ramah and Bethlehem, on the confines of either tribe.
+ Statesmen are here taught specially to seek this wisdom to meet their high and arduous responsibilities; carefully ordering their lives in the spirit of purity and holiness: for into the wicked, wisdom entereth not. (ver. 4.)
tempt him not; and sheweth himself unto such as do not distrust him. For froward thoughts separate from God: and his power, when it is tried, reproveth the unwise. For into a malicious soul wisdom shall not enter; nor dwell in the body that is subject unto sin. For the holy spirit of discipline will flee deceit, and remove from thoughts that are without understanding, and will not cometh in. For wisdom is a loving spirit; and will not acquit a blasphemer of his words: for God is witness of his heart, and a hearer of his tongue. 7 For the Spirit of the Lord filleth the world: and that which containeth all things hath knowledge of the voice. Therefore he that speaketh unrighteous things cannot be hid: neither shall vengeance, when it punisheth, pass by him. For inquisition shall be made into the counsels of the ungodly: and the sound of his words shall come unto the Lord for the manifestation 10 God heareth the secret whisperings of the heart, and he is a jealous God.
5 Those who are called to rule must avoid all crooked policy. Let them do the thing that is right, and leave the event to God.
abide when unrighteousness 6 In the same spirit of love God rewardeth the righteous and punisheth the impenitent.
his reins, and a true beholder of
of his wicked deeds.
7 Let the proud and the ambitious boast of their influence and power; that, however wide its circle, is limited. One there is, higher than the highest, filling the world-even the Spirit of the Lord, our Father and our Friend.
11 Beware of offending your God by murmuring, and of injuring your neighbour by backbiting.
able; and refrain your tongue from backbiting: for there is no word so secret, that shall go for nought: and the mouth that belieth slayeth the soul. 12 Seek not death in the error of your life and pull not upon yourselves destruction 13 For God made not death: neither hath he pleasure in the destruction of the living. 14 For he created all things, that they might have their being and the generations of the world were healthful; and there is no poison of destruction in them, nor the kingdom of death upon the earth: (for righteousness is immortal:) 16 but un16 The wicked invite sin, thinking godly men with their works it will profit them; but they are
12 The wages of sin is death. A sinner, therefore, is said to seek death. He laboureth for his hire.
with the works of your hands.
13 By sinful man came death. 14 God pronounced of every thing which he had made, that it was very good.
and words called it to them: for when they thought to
consumed to nought in the pursuit of
have it their friend, they consumed to nought, and made a covenant with it, because they are worthy to take part with it,
The Circumcision of Christ.
MORNING. GENESIS Xvii.
'AND when Abram
ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram,
1 "Perfect"—that is, upright and sincere, according to the perfect law of God.
and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. 3 And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold, my covenant be a father of many nations. * Neither shall thy name any
3 You are now in spirit communing with the same Almighty God-the all-sufficient friend and Father. Hear his word with reverence.
is with thee, and thou shalt 5 So in the new covenant by baptism, a new name is given *.
more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.
7 Be thou also faithful! He will be a God to thee and to thy children.
'And I will establish my covenant between me and thee, and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. 10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh
be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. 12 And
10 Sacramental tokens of man's covenant with God-outward and visible signs of an inward and spiritual grace would seem a mode of proceeding exactly adapted to beings who consist of flesh and spirit, soul and body.
of your foreskin; and it shall
12 Original sin affecting even unoffending infants, they of necessity
* Abram means-high father; Abraham-high father of a multitude.
were to enter into the covenant of holiness by the same sacrament; or else their sin remained *. (ver. 14.)
he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant. And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? 18 And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! 19 And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. And
18 How forcibly are we all taught to give up the present for the future— Ishmael for Isaac !
19 Thus the order of primogeniture, as in the case of Esau and Jacob, was passed over; to show that the great dispensation of mercy through Christ should, in all its bearings, be evidently not according to the flesh or the will of man, but the will of God.
as for Ishmael I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. 21 But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year. with him, and God went up from Abraham. 23 And Abra
21 God's special covenant-his covenant of grace, through Jesus Christ. (Gal. iv. 22.)
And he left off talking
23 How noble is prompt obedience. To day hear his voice +.
* Hence infants now enter into covenant with God through baptism, which superseded circumcision, by the command of Jesus Christ. "Go ye and baptize all nations."
+ Do any men cavil at a Christian's strict observance of the holy sacraments-baptism and the supper of the Lord-and deem them unnecessary? Do they argue that men can be good enough without regarding those holy ordinances? Let them mark well that Abraham was righteous, even the friend of God; yet on him was enjoined the sacrament of circumcision. He observed it promptly, for himself and all his