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sembling together in his name; and he promises never to leave nor to forsake them. When they walk through the valley of the shadow of death, they will fear no evil; for their Great Shepherd is with them, his rod and his staff they comfort them. Yet a little while, and this present scene will close upon us. In that awful day, the wide, the final difference will be made between the wheat and the chaff, the sheep and the goats, the man who serves God and him that serveth him not. Then, indeed, the servant of Christ will follow him, no longer tied and bound with the chain of his sins, but having laid aside every weight, sin subdued, and mortality swallowed up of life,-having won the race, the Christian will receive an incorruptible crown which fadeth not away. Nay, even that crown, if it were not his blessed Master's gift, he would in deep humility cast before his Master's feet; saying, Thou alone art worthy, for thou hast redeemed us to thyself by thine own blood ! To thee be glory and dominion for ever.
RULERS GOD'S MINISTERS.
Rom. xiii. 3, and
part of 4.
For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil.
Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power ? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same : For he is the minister of God to thee for good.
The disciple of a Master whose peculiar characteristic feature it was to be meek and lowly in heart, finds it to be an especial part of the christian character to reverence every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake. Submission to all lawful authority is, in his view, an honour rather than a degradation, He is not actuated in his daily discharge of positive duties by a servile fear of man; for real Christians are well known to have been the most courageous in the hour of danger ;
but he is guided by a regard to the precepts of a book which teach him, that whilst he has much to do with activity and energy, he has much to suffer and endure for conscience sake. The mind of man may often be distracted on worldly subjects, torn here and there by conflicting passions, and, even when wishing to do right, may really be in doubt as to which path it shall pursue. But when it comes to the touchstone of the inspired volume, when it can once say with honest truth, all that I really wish is, to know the mind of God upon every
important subject, and then to be enabled to walk according to it; then the traveller is not in much danger of going astray.
The days in which we live, like those which have passed away, and, we may venture to add, like those which are yet to come, have their peculiar snares, difficulties, and temptations—temptations of various shades to the rich and to the poor; and there are not wanting those who would try to make every temptation yet more captivating, by the hope of present gratification to the affluent, and of present profit to the lower classes in society. But the wisdom arising from experience could better teach them, that whilst such persons promise them liberty from many restraints and many burdens, they themselves are the servants of corruption.
It is the duty of the minister of the Gospel, on all occasions, to make that Gospel his guide; to hold up the Bible as the only lamp unto the feet which might wander, and the only light to paths which may seem intricate. It is the work of God's ministering servant to give an answer to every one that asks him a reason for the hope which is in. him, with meekness and fear ; and perhaps it is not advancing too much if we say, that he, rather than any other man, ought in troublous times to court inquiry, and candidly to open his mind to all who may please to ask him what he thinks to be the line of christian duty, as well as the precise shades of christian doctrine. And the minister of Christ will have influence on every subject, just so far as he shall take the plain precepts of sacred Scripture for his guide, and shall explain those precepts to the people committed to his care. Whilst, on the one hand, passion, narrowness of
mind, and personal animosities widen every breach in a state, and in the daily intercourse of private life; on the other, impartial judgment, largeness of heart, and universal love, will conciliate even the untoward, and put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.
It rarely happens that I conceive it to be compatible with the peculiar functions of the sacred ministry to touch upon subjects of this nature. I shall merely endeavour to found upon the word of God some few observations connected with the duties which seem to attach closely to the present state of things. The apostle St. Paul found it
difficult to persuade his christian converts, some of whom had been originally Jews by birth, to render obedience to the Roman power. This difficulty was increased by the licentious character and cruel barbarism of the Roman emperor then sitting upon the imperial throne. And yet he says, v. 1, “ Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God, and they