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THE GREAT FAMILY.
slave, and would, if they could, strike off his fetters. The love of Jesus has kindled a fire of love in their hearts, and that love burns to do good to others. So distinguished ought all Christians to be for their love, as to constrain even the wicked to exclaim, Behold these Christians how they love one another. “Hereby shall all men know, that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one toward another.” They are an obedient family. All children are required to honour and obey their parents. In like manner the children of God's family must obey Him. A certain man had two sons; he said to the first, Go, work. He answered, I will not; but afterwards repented, and went. He said also to the second, Go, work. He answered, I go, Sir ; but went not. Which of these did the will of his father ? Surely the first, Reader, go and obey likewise.
The whole family. The word “whole,” indicates their completeness or unity. They are one complete family. They have one origin. The Father planned their salvation, the Son executed it, and the Holy Spirit applied it. “Of His own will begat He us with the word of truth.” They have one name. They are all named from Christ, and are called Christians; and if they would resemble Him, whose name they bear, they must be of the same mind, they must have the same conversation, and they must display the same conduct. Christ was the world's ben
factor; He went about continually doing good, and all Christians must imitate His example, They have one statute-book. The Bible is the only rule of every Christian's heart and life, and in all doubts, and difficulties, and differences of opinion, they must appeal to the Bible. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” They have one aim. To maintain, and to extend the Church, is the grand aim of all Christians. They labour, they give of their substance, they pray that sinners may be converted, believers confirmed, and the Church built up. If every believer were to convert one sinner every year, arithmetical progression tells us, that the whole world would be converted in ten years.
Their residence-Some are in heaven, and some are on the earth, just as in a large well-filled church, we have one assembly, while some are in the gallery and some down below. Some are in heaven. John saw " a great multitude which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues.” They are all holy, and all happy. How glorious their position ! How glittering their clothing! How triumphant their bearing! How lofty their song! 6 Salvation to our God, which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.” Some are on earth, but expecting soon to join the family above.
FREEDOM FROM CARE.
“ Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you."
1 Peter v. 7.
Let us think of our cares, our duty, and our encouragement.
Our cares.-We have ares about our souls,their sinfulness, and consequent exposure to divine wrath; their salvation through faith in Christ Jesus, and a well-grounded hope of it; their value and immortality; and their final blessedness in heaven. If we care not for these things, we degrade our intellectual and moral nature, and put ourselves on a level with the beasts that perish. We have cares about the body—its health, without which there is a worm at the root of all our earthly goods ; its comfort, so necessary to mental
eace ; its labours, without which life would be dull and insipid ; and its last resting-place, where it may repose till the resurrection. If we care nothing for our bodies, we may have to mourn over wasted health, and blasted hopes. We have cares about our friendstheir comfort and success in life, their afflictions, and worldly trials, and their well-being for a future world. "A man that hath friends must show himself friendly, and there is a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” We have cares about our duties-these are often arduous and
responsible; we have duties which we owe to ourselves, duties to the Church of Christ, duties to our dear friends, and duties to the world lying in the wicked one. How often do we feel, that we have no strength in ourselves for such duties! How often are we like to be crushed under their weight! How much do we need grace and strength, to sustain and help us ! We have cares about the future-its darkness and uncertainty. Trials may come in a heap upon us; disease may prostrate us; friends may forsake us; but He, who has been with us all our life long, will not forsake us; our extremity is His opportunity.
Our duty, “Casting”—“Cast thy burden upon the Lord.” This duty comprehends trusting, committing, and submitting. We are to trust in the Lord, when weighed down with care and anxiety, that He may remove all our cares, or give us grace and strength to bear them. God often brings us to the very dust, that we may have done with self, and with earth, and that we may hold Him fast, as the only portion and refuge of our souls. We are to commit ourselves, and all our interests, to His care and keeping, assured that all things in providence and grace shall work together for our good. We are to submit cheerfully to His will, because He sees what we cannot see, and He knows what is for our good. Shall Jesus say, “Not My will, but
FREEDOM FROM CARE.
thine be done,” and shall we not follow His example? The duty of casting all our care upon Him is a present duty. It must not be deferred till a convenient season. If ever it is to be done, it ought to be done now, and we will find present relief. It is a constant duty. We are to go on daily and perseveringly “casting.” We are not only to look to Jesus, but we are to keep “looking.” We are not only to trust in the Lord, but our hearts are to be “fixed, trusting in the Lord.”
Our encouragement.—“For He careth for you." He is not like the gods of the heathen, who were supposed to be so exalted as to take no interest in the affairs of men. He careth for us in providence. Had He not done so, we would have been dead long ago-we would have been without comforts, without a home, and without friends. He regards the falling sparrow; He feedeth the fowls of the air; He clothes the fields with verdure, and the lilies with beauty, and shall He not regard us, and feed us, and clothe us? “Take, therefore, no thought for the morrow." He careth for our souls. He has provided a Saviour. He has called us by His grace, and He daily comforts us by His Spirit. He careth for our future welfare. He shall be our guide even unto death, He will call our souls up to heaven, and we shall live and reign with Christ for ever and ever.