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chandise, and exult in them: but he dares not cast up the nearer accounts of his own heart. Life is, indeed, for him a forced state, a fever, a delirium: and its only comfort is the sweat and the exhaustion of a crowd, or the stupefying narcotic of the bowl or the bottle.
“How miserable is the life of the wicked man! All the beauty of nature is lost upon him. He needs no flaming sword to keep him from the garden of Eden: for the single thought that the LORD God is walking in the garden, will at all times drive him away from it like a whirlwind.
“It is here, however,-it is IN THE COOL OF THB EVENING, in the retirement of silence and solitude, when not a breath is stirring around us, that the voice of God is oftenest heard. Elijah was commanded to take his stand upon the mountain; and he beheld the mountain rent with a whirlwind; and after the whirlwind an earthquake; and after the earthquake a conflagration. Yet Jehovah was not in the whirlwind, nor in the earthquake, nor in the conflagration. But A STILL SMALL VOICE succeeded, and that voice was the voice of Jehovah.
“Happy he who hears it as Elijah did ! in the way of duty, and charged with a confidential commission. But let it come how it may, and for what purpose it may, yet let him hear it. The still small voice of God can never fail to bring with it a blessing: and in the cool of the evening, in the privacy of the garden, the heart is most open to its impressive message.
“It may be a voice of warning: but it will still be in mercy. O, hear it, and be thankful. Drink in the solemn menace, and prostrate thyself. Escape for thy life from the course and companions it denounces.
Escape, lest thou be consumed in their iniquity. 0, haste then and escape! for the sun, whose beams shall soon be hid in the smoke of vengeance, is already rising upon the earth. Escape from the condemned crowd, and flee to the privileged spot-to the little city of Zoar.*
“It may come as a voice of chastisement. lay thee on the bed of sickness, or sweep away the delight of thine eyes. Still hear its solemn import, and bethink thyself. Reflect on the abuse with which thou hast employed every former mercy: how little the hand of God has been acknowledged in thy prosperity : what idols have usurped his supreme place in thy heart; how rapid the step with which thou wert rushing on to eternal destruction-a lover of pleasure, and without God in the world.' Hear thou the rod, and him that hath appointed it:f it is still sent to thee in mercy. Humble thyself in dust and ashes; pour out thy soul in deep penitence; kiss the Son, while his wrath is thus kindled but a little ;£ put thy trust in him, lest thou perish in the way. He may demand the cutting off a right hand, or the plucking out a right eye; but it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.'s If Eli cannot enter into heaven with his sons-let him enter by himself—and rejoice with trembling.
“ But there are those to whose ear the voice of God comes in tones of unmingled delight; who languish and ever faint for it, as the panting hart in the desert for the water-spring. These are the children of God; the
* Gen. xix. 23.
+ Mic, vi. 9.
Ps, ii. 12.
ş Matt, v. 29.
despised saints of the world: but who cannot be more despised by the world than they themselves despise the world's frivolous and short-lived enjoyments. Though they are in the world, they are not of the world; they are travellers to a better country, to a more abiding city. The day is to them a time of probation; they conscientiously discharge the duties that lie before them, and fulfil the work of the day in its day. But they pant for the season of refreshment; for the cool OP THE EVENING; for the hour of meditation and prayer; for that decline of the sun's heat and garish splendour, in which the world recedes, and heaven opens before them. They hear the VOICE OF GOD WALKING IN THE GARDEN, and joyfully go forth to meet him; they press forward from the shades, and are not afraid.
“Every thing, then, around them, gives a token of God's presence; the solemn stillness, the soothing twilight, the tinkling sheep-bell, the village curfew, the rippling stream, the fragrant breath of the wild hedgerow, the even-song of the woodlands; the harmonious carol of nature poured forth from every quarter and every object in praise of the great Creator. Here is no discord : the garden of Eden is again open; the flaming sword is withdrawn. Man is at peace with God, and all things are at peace with man.
“It was thus the holy Psalmist mused. Retiring from the concerns of the world, he, too, sought communion with God; he sought the COOL OF THE EVENING, and heard his VOICE WALKING IN THE GARDEN. He saw the work of his hands, in the firmament opening above; and in the various tribes of animals spread below, rejoicing in the deep forest, and in the green
pasture, and in the balmy air, and in the rustling waters. But most of all did he see God in the wonderful structure of his own kind; in the condescending grace displayed to him; in the dignity to which he is advanced by the great mystery of redemption-raised from the dust to rank with angels, from sin to the friendship of God himself.
It was this last thought that overwhelmed him with astonishment, and compelled him to exclaim, as the head, the heart, and the tongue of the thronging temple around him, the priest of the hallowed altar before which he bowed:
When I contemplate the heavens, the work of thy fingers,
O Jehovah! our Lord,
AND AS HE REASONED OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, TEMPERANCE, AND JUDGMENT TO COME, FELIX TREMBLED.
Acts xxiv. 25.
“The whole of this story, and especially the admirable defence of St. Paul, equally distinguished by its dignity,
* These passages are rendered strictly from the Hebrew; and shew fully, among other things, that the psalm was intended as an evening song of praise.
its eloquence, its art, and its holy courage, might well vie in interest with the most impressive causes that have ever been brought before a human bar, were it even possible to confine its consequences to the individual arraigned, or to the concerns of the present world. But when we give full scope to its mighty bearing, examine the subject to which the accusation relates, as forming the key-stone of the christian creed, and dwell on the holy confidence with which St. Paul advances and maintains it as the ground-work of his own defence, all other trials and courts of judicature shrink into insignificance before it.
“It is peculiarly instructive to mark how entirely the apostolic defendant passes by all the abuse and invective, the charge of being “a pestilent fellow,' and “a ring-leader of the sect of the Nazarenes,' with which the counsel for the prosecution opens his address-as altogether contemptible, and unworthy of his notice ;and with what rapidity he passes on to the real malignity, the gravamen, of the crime imputed to him, his belief in the resurrection of the Son of God from the dead, as the first-fruits of the resurrection of all mankind: as though still having before him the momentous truth he had just written to the Corinthians, 'If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain, ye are yet in
“Whatever the collateral matter brought forward on this occasion, St. Paul felt that it was against this master-doctrine of the infant church, that the whole venom of his enemies was let loose. And to this, therefore, he restricts his defence. Except, says he, it be for this one voice, this single declaration, that I
1 Cor. xv. 17.