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munion, augment the aggregate ardour of devotion among all those engaged in it. " If two lie together, then they have heat; but how can one be warm alone?”1
In conversation a Christian's best thoughts and reflections are elicited. He bringeth out of his treasure things new and old. His mind becomes warmed and animated, like a wheel in motion; and where two or three are gathered together in his name, the Lord Jesus is in the midst of them, opening the scriptures unto them, as He did to the two disciples whom he found conversing about him, on the way to Emmaus; so that their hearts burn within them, and they find it good for them to be there. Their minds • bubble up' with spiritual sentiments. Each declares what the LORD hath done for his soul; each comforts his neighbour with the comfort wherewith he himself has been comforted of God. And thus they “magnify his name together ; every individual present being enriched with the general experience of the party. This is indeed the feast of reason, and the flow of soul ; ' compared with which, all the assemblies and festivities of the world are flat, stale, and unprofitable. • Ah! how lovely, how sweet, and desirable is it to live in the communion of such saints !'2
Such pious conference is frequently recommended in holy writ. Many assertions also are made of its utility: as,
1 Ecclesiastes iv. 11.
“ He that walketh with wise men shall be wise.” • The liberal soul shall be made fat; and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.” “ The lips of the righteous feed many." “ A word spoken in season, how good it is !”The wicked, by “evil communications,” strengthen and embolden one another in wickedness. Why may not the righteous by edifying conversation strengthen and confirm each other in rectitude ? “ Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” Jonathan strengthened David's hands in God. And accordingly, the Saviour sent forth his disciples “ two and two.” 1
St. Paul, wlien he had met the brethren on his way to the imperial city, thanked God, and took courage. Our Saviour sent forth his disciples, two by two, doubtless for this, among other reasons, that they might mutually cheer and encourage each other. Even the heroic Luther confessed, that he had often felt himself most sensibly raised and helped by a single word from a brother, who thought himself very much his inferior. The word of a brother,' he says, “pronounced from holy scripture in a time of need, carries an inconceivable weight with it. The Holy Spirit accompanies it, and by it moves and animates the hearts of his people, as their circumstances require. Thus Timothy, and Titus, and Epaphroditus, and the brethren who met St. Paul from Rome, cheered his spirit, how
1 Luke x. l.
ever much they might be inferior to him in learning and skill in the word of God. The greatest saints have their times of weakness, when others are stronger than they.'1
Christian converse, advisable at all times, when conducted according to the oracles of God, and under a sense of his presence, is particularly so in times of trouble. The prophet Malachi, describing a very ungodly generation, who said that “ it was in vain to serve God, and called the proud happy, and they that worked wickedness were set up, and they that tempted God were even delivered ; ” (the reader will judge how far the features of that time resemble those of the present) proceeds--" Then,” even in that atheistical age, “ they that feared the Lord,” (faithful among the faithless) “ spake often one to another, and the Lord hearkened and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name.
And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels.”
1 Rev. Joan Scott's Church History.-LUTHER.
2 Malachi iii. 16, 17.
brethren. Let us do likewise. Are we converted ? Let us strengthen our brethren. It should be our ruling desire, our predominant ambition, to make our children, our servants, our neighbours, our dependants, and all with whom we come into contact, acquainted with Him, whom to know is life eternal. We should burn to proclaim him with our lips, and to recommend him with our lives : like the pious patriarch, who, while he “preached righteousness,” evidenced his sincerity by sedulously building his ark. How indefatigable are the apostles of error! They compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and sleep not, unless they have done mischief. Should we be less zealous in propagating truth? Shall Satan prove greater in the world than Christ in the godly! 0, let it not be ! Let us not prison the truth in unrighteousness, like a precious scent hermetically sealed; but let its spices flow forth, as “a sweet savour of Christ," that so, all around may be delighted with the odour, and allured to the Redeemer. " Because of the savour of thy good ointments, thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love
Christian-meditate on all the divine mercies. Consider how great things God hath done for thee. Realize especially the fact of the Lord Jesus dying for thee—thee individually, and bringing thee out of darkness into his marvellous light; and, while
1 Canticles i. 3.
It is a It is a
thou art thus musing, the fire will be kindled“ the love of Christ will constrain thee to let thy light so shine before men, that they, seeing thy good works, may glorify thy Father which is in heaven.”
It is a time for energy and self-denial. time for strenuous and unwearied exertion. time for every one to be at his post, faithfully fulfilling his allotted province. “The devil is come down, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” If then, we strain not every nerve-between false religion on the one hand, and irreligion on the other, we shall be either clean swallowed up, or driven from the land. • The men of Issachar are praised for their understanding of the times; but it is added, “they knew what Israel ought to do:” and what their hands found to do, they did it with all their might.'1
Let those then, who value the Divine glory, or the good of their fellow-creatures, their own comfort, or their own safety, be up and doing. Let them not only labour in works of personal righteousness, but also contribute to the utmost of their ability, to extend evangelical knowledge at home and abroad.
“ Wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of our times.” 1 No other remedy can meet the exigence. Every other expedient has been tried in vain. The world still groans under a sense of its wretchedness, and complains,
my wound is incurable.” The Bible is the only
1 Dr. M'CRIE.
2 Isaiah xxxiii. 6.