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and let Satan stand at his right hand.”-Satan shall have power over all their enterprises, and make them tend to their ruin. Thus he led on the traitor. He stood on his right hand, while all was dark over Jerusalem, to carry him forward in his treacherous work. He shone on his path to the Sanhedrim; he illumined his way to Gethsemane; and when he had completed the crime of betraying his Lord, Satan stood up before him, to light bis mind to all the horrors of his situation and the blackness of his crime. The beauty of our blessed Lord's character, -his goodness, his compassion, his piety, his integrity, his meekness, and all his walk, conversation, and conduct, did the fiend make to shine in all their brightness before the terrified conscience of this unhappy man. His heart sunk within him at the enormity of the crime, and he took refuge from his present woe in horrible suicide. O, beware of the first aberration from the path of truth! Avoid not only all bad, but all doubtful company. On the very first appearance of danger, call a halt; it is at your peril to proceed; for if you do, Satan will be found at your right hand to lead you to ruin.
Psalm cix. 25. “ I became also a reproach unto them : when they looked upon me they shaked their heads.”—It is scarcely needful to advert to the reproaches which Christ endured. He was branded as a drunkard and a glutton ; an associate of publicans and sinners; an élève of the demon; and a minister of hell. These and innumerable other reproaches fell on him with the utmost point; for they came not from the vulgar, the rude, and the illiterate; but the high, the refined, the priest, and the judge, were combined in the hurling of these reproaches, wagging their heads at him in high contempt and scorn. O their conduct was and will continue to be the eternal reproach of human nature! Caitiffs that they were ! For them he left the abode of peace,- he came to place himself
between them and the gulf of eternal ruin, on the brink of which they stood. Through this barrier they forced themselves a way into woe, and cheered as he fell — “ Come down from the cross and save thyself, thou that pretendest to save others.” Infatuated men that they were !- his coming down thus, would have sunk our world in woe.
The Psalmist says, “ the eyes of all things wait on God;" and while we admit this, we yet find that God more particularly gives to them that fear his name.“ The young lions may lack and suffer hunger, but they that seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.” “ He that walketh righteously shall dwell on high : his place of defence shall be the munition of rocks ; bread shall be given him, his waters shall be sure." All these promises are conditional,—there are no promises for idlers; all suppose a full measure of industry on man's part. Hear the apostle's exhortation : “ We beseech you, brethren, that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you ; that ye may walk honestly toward them that are without ;” — that is, pay your debts. It is a source of purest enjoyment for a man to eat the produce of his own industry, and to be enabled to give to him that is in want. Such a man keeps bimself from the work house, and by this means contributes just as much towards the support of those that are poor as the amount of his own sustenance would come to.
Our redemption is of God alone, while our ruin is wholly of ourselves. What have we to do with the decrees of God? What did the murderers of our Lord think of them? They neither thought of them nor cared about them; their object was to destroy an innocent man, against whom they had imbibed a deadly hatred ; and in
this they succeeded, and thereby fulfilled the decrees of God, while nothing was more remote from their intention. We remark, then, that as the purpose of God is unknown to us till it discovers itself by its effects, it is imperative on all men to attend to the duties of religion, looking up to God for his promised blessing, without any regard to his secret purpose. The sea must be divided — and in order to accomplish this, Moses must stretch out his rod; this is the instrument made use of by God; and any other instrument—the speaking of a word, if attended by Divine energy — would have produced the same effect. Naaman must wash in Jordan, however reluctant the haughty Syrian might be to bathe his body in that comparatively muddy stream. A man whose hand was withered and dead must make an effort to stretch it out, and that effort is the Heaven-appointed signal of returning strength and vigour. The blind man must wash in the pool of Siloam, because Jesus Christ commanded it. And men must attend the ordinances of God's appointment, if they expect to receive a blessing. Men who do not bring their minds “ under the cloud” — who neglect the duties of religion, under pretence that ordinances can do them no good till the destined hour come — act a part in religion, which, if they were to act in common life, would lead to beggary and to Bedlam.
The good man delights to meditate on God's commandments. David wrote a song in praise of them, in which he says, “ Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin uguinst thee.” It was a sort of amulet which he carried about with him — a preservative against any infection from sin. They were to him a treasure, and hence he laid them up in the inmost recess of his soul, as misers do by their hoards; and as they visit their heaps of gold in the silence of night, when no eye is awake to watch them and deprive them of their chief felicity, so
the good man meditates on God's law in the night-watches, when the hum of the world ceases to distract the mind. Sacred meditation on God's commandments will lead us to speak of them, and their principles will enter into all our plans, will regulate all our conduct, will form the principal matter of all our social intercourse and conversations, and will take the place of the trash which modern conversation is for the most part composed of.
“ The generation of the upright shall be blessed.” — So true is it, that godliness bath the promise of the life that now is, as well as of that which is to come. The practice of religion often raises families to wealth and importance, and gives them a stability that nothing besides could bestow. She inculcates prudence, industry, a becoming deportment to superiors, a suitable demeanour to those who are inferior; she guards against all hurtful indulgences and follies. By the former, she leads on to wealth and honour; by the latter she preserves from all that retards wealth and prosperity, and the indulgences which bring those already rich to poverty and disgrace. What are some of these? Indolence, sloth. Hear St. Paul : “ Now we command you, brethren, that ye withdraw yourselves from enery brother that walketh disorderly.” What doth this mean? He himself explains : “ We behaved not ourselves disorderly among you ; neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you. For we hear that there are some who walk among you disorderly, working not at all.” Thus we see that those who are not frugal are not sound in the faith. Indulgence in pleasure, expensive habits of living, &c. are among those things religion guards against. Hear what Solomon says: “ He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man; he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.” All vain and rash speculations religion guards against. Thus we see the tendency of the fear of God to advance true prosperity and to secure it; and we may rest assured that God will not deviate from his regular plan, and come over to our views in conducting our families or concerns; we must conform to his.
Sacred Songs. David, Asaph, &c. having put down the sentiments contained in the words of the Psalms, sent them to Jeduthan, by whom they were adapted to, and became constituent parts in, the worship of the Jewish church. As such, our Lord and his apostles acknowledged them; and on the cross the Redeemer began one of them, the continuing of which his sufferings prevented. All other songs fall infinitely beneath these, being liable to mislead; but in these songs there is no fear of mistake in the sentiments they convey. In David's songs there are no feeble parts; and he gives credit to his reader for perception in their perusal, without those links to connect the different parts, which moderns find it needful to introduce. His mind catches the prominent beauties as they rise before him ; like the roebuck, bounding from rock to rock, regardless of the spaces that intervene. Many of these sacred songs contained or explained the history of their country, and recorded the deeds of their ancestors. And who would not be fired in singing the deeds of Bannockburn, of Marston Moor, or Waterloo ?
“ Blessed be the name of the Lord, from this time forth and for evermore.”— God is, and ever continueth the same. If so, the song of praise to his glory ought and must continue to rise before him. The habit of holy song must be cultivated. I may sit in darkness - all friends may be swept away, and all around me be waste and desolate; yet in the lone night of absolute destitution, I must