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" God would open unto us a door of utterance, to

speak the mystery of Christ ;—that we may make “ it manifest, as we ought to speak."*

II. Another particular, in this charter of privileges, is “ the World.”

By a common and obvious figure, “ the world”, is employed to denote the good things of the earth; the necessaries and comforts of this life. A large portion of these indeed, is not any where promised by Christ to his followers; for the new testament covenant is not, like that of Sinai, sanctioned by temporal rewards. He hath promised, it is true, to “ the meek,”, that " they shall inherit the earth.”+ But to them is this promise confined. And perhaps the words are intended to represent that inheritance as a natural and usual attendant on the character, rather than as the result of a special blessing annexed to it. It is certain, too, that the inheritance, of the meek does not consist so much in the largeness of their possessions, as in the enjoyment which they have of them; arising from the peace, comfort, and contentment, which their character tends to produce. But though our Lord has now here promised to his followers the riches of the world, he knows their frame; and he knows that a certain portion of its necessaries and conveniencies is essential to their existence, their comfort, and even their usefulness, while here. “ The world," therefore, he will bestow, in such measures, as he knows to · be conducive to their real advantage. Of this pri-. vilege, the following hints will explain the nature and the value, The riches of the ungodly are often acquired by Col. iv. 3

+ Matt. V. 5.

fraud, or by oppression. They are, therefore, as often possessed with bitterness and remorse. Even where they are not the gains of injustice, there is in their occupier a discontent with what he has ; a thirst for something more, or something else; a consciousness of abusing his abundance; or some other uneasy sensation of soul, which mars his enjoyment of them. But the christian's portion of the world is earned by honest industry, or acquired by equitable means; and it is enjoyed with contentment and peace :-—therefore it is said by the psalmist, “ A little that a righteous man hatlı, is “ better than the riches of many wicked,”*

To increase farther the value of the christian's portion of the world, his right to it is perfect...All power is given to Christ in heaven and in earth. The government of the world is intrusted to his care; and its possessions are committed to his disposal. His right to these he derives both from creation and from purchase. Whatever, therefore, he gives to his people, he bestows with it a title unquestionably valid; for what he gives he has a right to hold; and therefore has power to transfer. How much ought this absolute legality of conveyance to enhance to christians the worth of the property! The tenure, by which we hold our possessions, constitutes a chief part of their value. A small property, where the right is good, is more highly prized than the greatest estate with a defective title.

Add to this, that our Lord bestows the precise portion of temporal blessings, which he knows it to be for our interest to enjoy. What he gives, is

* Psaini xxxvii. 16.

given for our good; and what he withholds, he withholds also for our good. Perhaps vanity, or appetite, or ambition, may excite a wish that a larger portion should be bestowed: but let us rejoice in what we have ; assured that a larger portion would prove a snare, else of his own accord he would have certainly conferred it. Though what he gives, too, may seem given with a sparing hand, he gives with it a fatherly blessing; and this sweetens its enjoyment. For better, surely, is a little, with the blessing of a father, than a large inheritance with a curse; infinitely better the smallest portion, with a blessing from our father in hea.. ven, than the amplest stores, with that curse, which rests on the possessions, the pleasures, and the persons of the wicked.

Rejoice, then, ye friends of Jesus, in your shares of worldly good, whether great or small, as the acquisitions of honesty; as the gifts of divine bounty, purchased and conveyed by our Saviour; as measured out by his wisdom; and delivered to you with his blessing. Cherish contentment; cherish gratitude; and be afraid of this only, that the world may steal into your affections, to seduce them from

Beware of that base disposition, which permits the gifts to supplant the giver.

III. The next part of the christian's privileges is “ Life.”_From its being contrasted with“ death,” and from the subsequent mention of things to come, this is evidently to be understood of the life that now is. This, considered in itself, is a talent of great value. But whether it shall be eventually a blessing, depends entirely on the manner in which

your God.

it is improved. “ Our days are determined ; the “ number of our months are with God."* And whether these be many or few, they are the only season given us to occupy, in the view of rendering an account to him, and of receiving an irreversible sentence of happiness or wo. According to the uses, then, to which it is applied, life is a blessing or a curse. If spent in promoting the glory of God, and the good of men; in improving our minds in the knowledge of Christ; in cultivating in them the christian temper, and a progressive meetness for heaven; it is a blessing inestimable. But if wasted in idleness, folly, and dissipation ; if occupied in thoughts, words, or actions, envious, uncharitable, ambitious, or unjust; it is a precious gift, grossly abused. The mean of our happiness is converted to its bane. The length of days serves only to multiply transgressions, to aggravate guilt, and to render judgment more intolerable. But to purposes of the former description, is life applied by the christian. To him, therefore, it is a pearl of the richest value; and is worthy of being ranked among the treasures of grace.-Remember, then, ye servants of Christ, in what view life is your privilege;

and

occupy accordingly, till he shall come. Now the talent is in your hands; but you know not whether the days of your possession shall be protracted—“ Whatsoever,” therefore, “thy hand “ findeth to do, do it with thy might.”+ And be encouraged, meanwhile, by this assurance, that, as your life is a grant of your Saviour, it shall not be recalled, till its purposes shall have been completa ed; till your work shall have been finished, your Job xiv. 5.

Eccl. ix. 10.

ter,

warfare accomplished, and your souls made meet for the heavenly inheritance. And who among you would desire it one moment longer; who would not then say, “ Even so, come Lord Jesus?" -Blessed Lord ! if it be lawful to form a wish respecting it, our request would be, that our days and our usefulness may end together. But if we be thine, this shall be. Death shall not come to finish our course, till we be prepared to possess the prize of our high calling of God in Christ Jesus.-This leads us to considerIV. The fourth particular in the christian's char

“ Death"-Death! and is this, may the feeble christian say, is this a privilege? It is the object of my dismay. I esteem it a punishment, rather than a favour. Would God, it had been left out of the divine grant! Let me ask the saints of God, then, would you choose to sojourn always in the wilderness? to be ever seeking, but never to attain your celestial rest? Do you experience no inconvenience from dwelling in tabernacles of clay, subject to so much weakness, and to so many pains? Do you suffer no detriment or uneasines from bodies of sin and death? from the “ law in your members war

ring against the law in your minds ?” not sometimes apt to say, with Job, " I loathe it: I " would not live alway:"* or with Paul, “ O wretchsed man that I am, who shall deliver me from the

body of this death!”Rejoice, then; a period is near, when your deliverance shall be completely effected.

Were you, indeed, to enjoy uninterrupted health and prosperity, undecaying vigour, and immortal Job vii, 16.

* Rom. vii, 24.

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