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content “to wander about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented.” Oh! blessed cross, by which the world becomes crucified to us, and we to the world. Oh! wonder-working faith, which overcomes that world by which so many millions are overcome to their eternal destruction.
To which class, dear young friend, do you belong? Which are you most anxious to get, the presence of God, or the possession of gold? Which do you most diligently seek? Communion with heaven, or comfort on earth? After which do you most pant, usefulness in the church, or honour in the world?
Do not trust to outward privileges and connections : Esau was the son and descendant of pious ancestors, favoured with religious privileges; yet he was a profane person. Set your heart upon obtaining spiritual blessings. They are to be had freely. You need not injure any one by becoming yourself possessed of eternal riches. Go, and like Jacob wrestle for them, and you shall surely obtain the blessing. Your birthright, by nature, is an inheritance of curses, listen to him who saith, “ Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you,” and you shall be among the blessed who shall sit down at the marriage supper of the Lamb.
THE STRIKING CONTRAST.
“Many shall rejoice at his birth."--Luke i. 14. “Good were it for that man if he had never been born."- Mark xiv. 21.
John the Baptist, and Judas, the traitor, were alike in some respects. Both sustained holy offices, both had to do with the Saviour's person, both died a violent death, and concerning both, we have a testimony borne in God's word.
But the contrasts are many and fearful. The one was true-hearted, the other false. The one baptized the Saviour, the other betrayed him. The one was a blessing to many, the other a curse to himself; the one is a bright example, and the other a blazing beacon.
Fellow immortal, who upon your birthday reads this contrast, think of John and Judas, and ask, which am I imitating, what influence am I exerting upon others, and what am I likely to be through eternity ?
Those only live to some purpose in whose birth others have reason to rejoice. There are some pests in society whose very existence seems a bane; they are like the Upas tree breathing poison around them, or, like a volcano, a source of dread and desolation to all who dwell near them. There are others from whom flow rivers of living water, who are the true children and imitators of Abraham, blessed of God, and made blessings by him. To them God is as a dew, and they are as a dew from the Lord, being both beautiful and beneficial.
Reader, is it so with you, is your life a blessing, would you be missed if taken out of the world, or is your room of more value than your company.
"Tis infamy to die and not be miss'd,
Are you a professor of religion-a member of a church ?-is that church the better for you? Are you labouring to save souls, to edify the church, to cheer your pastor, and to encourage the young in wisdom's ways ? Has truth in you an advocate—holiness in you a representative-and the poor in you a friend ? If so, many have cause to rejoice in your birth ; you have not been born in vain !
But if you live a life of pleasure, if your profession is a profitless one, if the love of money, or the love of ease, predominate, then do you betray the cause which you have solemnly vowed to sustain, and have reason to fear that you will live to realize that it had been good for
you had never been born.
THE WONDROUS PROPOSAL AND WISE
“ Ask what I shall give thee.”—1 Kings iii. 5. “Give thy servant an understanding heart.”—1 Kings iii. 9. The four first kings who reigned over Israel, furnish a very profitable study for young men. In Saul, they may trace the subtle workings of self-deception. In David, the triumph of sincerity. In Solomon, the beauty of early piety, and the sad consequences of unmortified passions; and in Rehoboam, the evils which result from pride, giving heed to flatterers, following injudicious counsellors, and neglecting the advice of the aged and experienced.
We are called now to the contemplation of Solomon, His history begins in glory, and ends in gloom. A feeling of sadness steals over us as we behold his bright sun obscured, and see him busily employed in forming a mine under the magnificent temple he had erected. Alas, what is man in his best estate! Blessed be God for a greater than Solomon, one whose wisdom was never dimmed by folly, whose purity was never sullied with a stain, and whose beauty and loveliness are without spot. Adored be that grace which brought Solomon to bemoan his folly, and to cry, “vanity of vanity." It was well to do this; but it will be better to cry constantly with David, “Turn away mine eyes from be
holding vanity, and quicken thou me in thy way. Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes, and I shall keep it unto the end." This is not too much for us to expect from him who appeared unto Solomon, and said, “ Ask me what I shall give thee."
If a very rich person were thus to address you on the morning of your birthday, would you not think yourself highly favoured; and if he had already done much for you and others, would you not feel emboldened to present your request hopefully? God, who is rich in mercy, and plenteous in goodness, from whom all angels have derived their holiness, all sinners their hopes, and all saints their happiness : God, “who so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son,” says to you, “Ask what I shall give thee!" How have you treated his proposal ? Some have taken no notice of it; others have listened, and turned away without asking anything; some have desired only temporal favours; and a few, like Solomon, have said, “Give thy servant a wise and understanding heart.”
Herein Solomon manifested greater wisdom than when he discoursed on all nature's wonders, or than when he astonished the queen of Sheba with the extent of his attainments. He asked for blessings from God, suited to his age, his character, and circumstances. You will act wisely if you do the same. Consider your soul, its diseases and desires; consider the claims of