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some facts about which they have great concern if they had not figures also. Further, it is probable that if statistics were not required, not a word would reach the Committee from some Circuits : as for the present year thirteen schedules, or more than a seventh of the whole number, give not a syllable of intelligence about spiritual successes amongst the young. The Committee cannot, however, but believe that some of these thirteen schedules might have borne good tidings of great joy. One friend, whose schedule was delayed, says:-“I hardly see what purpose it serves;” but who, in addition to other items of interest, gives the following:-"I have a most successful and deeply-interesting juvenile class, with fifty members, which, with unflagging interest and increasing num. bers, has met for eighteen months. I teach them good manners, and they have to learn a verse each for every meeting, pray twice a day, say grace before and after meals, and subscribe at least one penny per month -all these as outward signs of inward and spiritual grace.”
The Committee are not without encouragement, their labours have had a beneficial effect upon the schools of the Connexion; but they desire intensely that more profound anxiety for the success of these institutions and for the salvation of the young may possess parents, ministers, members, and Sunday-school teachers. One dear friend, writing, says :—" The Connexion sadly needs an apostle to promote Sunday-school regeneration and revival.
Personal visitation the whole Connexion through, by a man whose heart is as tender as a woman's, and who knows how to win children and instruct teachers and others in ways of working among the young, would do untold good. We have a large percentage of the children in the country passing through Sunday-schools, and if we only captivated them for Christ early enough, we should have them, by God's grace, His for ever. Could not your Committee do something with a view to get one or two men to work in each district, to stir up interest in these matters ?” Perhaps something may be attempted. For the present the Committee commend their labours to the Conference and to the Con. nexion, but chiefly to the blessing of Him who said, “ Feed my lambs."
On behalf of the Committee, June, 1883.
SAMUEL WALKER, Secretary.
“ The shadow of a great rock in a weary land.”
My world-worn spirit felt its heavenly power ;
Lifted from earth for one brief passing hour.
Of that unseen, that ever longed for strand,
Of a great rock within a weary land.
The scene was changed, gone was the fleeting pleasure,
Once more this earth had claimed me in its fight;
Striving to conquer, battling for the right.
What peace was waiting 'mid that holy band,
Daily our lot may seem with trials burdened,
Full of perplexing doubt and anxious care,
Our lives a struggle none can with us share :
All round us daily, fresh on every hand;
Of a great rock within a weary land.
Look up, sad heart, be not by this world shaken,
Think of the One who watcheth all thy path;
He sends in mercy what we deem is wrath.
What looms across the waste of burning sand ?
Of a great rock within a weary land.
CHARACTER OF OUR MEDITATIONS ON God.
SECOND SERMON ON PSALM CIV. 34.
BY THE LATE H. O. Crofts, D.D. HAVING shown in the previous discourse on this text that the proper study of mankind is God; that He has revealed Himself for this purpose; that He has commanded us to know Him; and that it is our duty to seek a proper and an extensive Scriptural knowledge of God; we come now to consider :
(1) The GREAT FACT THAT EVERY GOOD Man's MEDITATIONS CENTRE IN God. The great characteristic of the sinner is, forgetfulness of God. He does not like to retain God in his knowledge. The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God. God is not in all his thoughts. Yea, “ The fool has said in his heart, there is no God." But the distinguishing characteristic of a good man is his remembrance of God. He counts all things loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ
I will upon my bed. praise Hlin
Jesus the Lord. His meditations especially centre on God manifest in the flesh, because he desires above all things to know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death ; that he may be found at last in the likeness of His resurrection.
(2) Every good man is determined, with David, to fix his thoughts upon the Divine Being. Hence, His language is, “My meditations of Him shall be sweet. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise Him with joyful lips, when I remember Him upon my bed and meditate upon Him in the night watches. I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High, I will remember the works of the Lord. I will remember His wonders of old and talk of His doings." These citations show clearly that the good man's meditations centre in God; and because God has revealed Himself so fully in the Bible every good man makes it the man of his counsel; diligently studies the Word of Truth that he may have right concertions of the Godhead, and that he may be transformed into the image of God. In the first Psalm the good man is described as one that “walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord ; and in His law doth he meditate day and night.” Such was David's love to this law that his eyes prevented the night watches that he might meditate therein. And such was the benefit that he derived from his meditations on God that he declares, “I have more understanding than all my teachers; for Thy testimonies are my meditations. I understand more than the ancients; because I keep Thy precepts.”
(3) It is impossible for the regenerate soul not to meditate on God. His thoughts as naturally turn toward God as rivers naturally run to the ocean, or as fire ascends toward the sun. As the thoughts of an affectionate child turn to his parents, and are fixed upon the spot where they reside, so the thoughts of the soul that's born of God turn to Him, and are fixed upon the things above, where Christ sits at the right hand of God. And as the child when far away from home often thinks of his father's excellencies, his mother's love, and his brothers' and sisters' tenderness; so the good man often thinks of the perfections of his heavenly Father, of his Saviour's love and of the Spirit's goodness, and consoles himself with the precious thoughts that God remembers him for good, that Christ is interceding for his welfare, and that the Holy Spirit is invisibly but surely guiding him to the realms of the blessed.
(4) Wherever, or in whatever circumstances, the good man is placed, his meditations are fixed on God. If he has to go down to
the sea in ships and do business in the great waters, He thinks of that God who made the sea, and shut it up with doors, who holds its waters in the hollow of His hand, and who says to its roaring flood, “Hitherto shalt thou come and no further; and here shall thy proud waves be stayed.” Has he to labour in the mines ? there his meditations are of Him who has brought him up out of the horrible pit of sin and the miry clay of iniquity, and set his feet upon a rock, and established his goings in the way of righteousness. Is he confined to the shop or to the factory ? even there will he think often of the wisdom, power, and goodness of God, which have wrought in him the meetness for eternal glory. Does he take a walk in the fields at eventide, when the day's work is ended ? like Isaac of old, he goes out to meditate on Him
“Who makes the grass the hills adorn,
And clothes the smiling hills with corn." Does he enter his closet ? it is to pray to his Father who seeth him in secret, and will reward him openly. Does he go to the sanctuary? it is to listen to God's Word, to think upon His lovingkindness, and to pour out his heart in praise and prayer; and as he comes over the threshold his secret prayer is, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my Redeemer ;” and as he leaves he cries, “ It is good for me to draw near to God."
Nor does it matter in what circumstances he is placed, his meditations centre in God. Is he favoured with prosperity ? then with gratitude he remembers that God gives him all things richly to enjoy; and he enjoys God in all things. Is he in adversity or poverty ? then he thinks of Him who said, “ The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head.” It was a noble saying of the rich man whom Fuller went to caution against presumption : “Mr. Fuller, I enjoy God in all things; ” but it was a still nobler saying of the same man, when brought to suffer the loss of all things, and Mr. Fuller went to caution him against despair : “Mr. Fuller, I have and enjoy all things in God.” Thus God was his chief good in prosperity, and his all-in-all in adversity. Is the good man honoured greatly by his fellow-creatures ? he thinks of God, and bowing low at the footstool of mercy, he cries, “ Not unto me, not unto me, O Lord; but unto Thy name be the glory.” Is he reproached and persecuted ? then he considers Him who bore such contradiction of sinners against Himself, and looks to Jesus the author and finisher of his faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame. In fact, it matters
Thy sight, 0 Lond the meditationsecret prayer is, -L
not where the good man is, or what his circumstances are, his meditations are sure to centre in God; and the reason of this is obvious to all. It is this: He loves God with all his heart; there fore it follows as a matter of course that his meditations will centre in God. Whatever we love supremely will have the first, the highest, the most frequent place in our meditations. When God is loved as He ought to be, He will have our best thoughts, and our meditations will centre in Him.
(5) The evidences that a good man's meditations centre in God are many, and will not escape the notice of an intelligent and observant mind. When a man's meditations, centre in God his conversation is instructive, and savours of heavenly things; his experience of divine things is deep and rich, and the narration thereof is lucid, powerful, varied, and ever interesting. His prayers are simple, fervent, and effectual; his zeal burns with a steady, bright, and constant flame; his conduct is ever unblamable and unreprovable; he is ever ready to promote the best interests of the household of God, and ever ready to seek the salvation of the perishing children of men. In fine, the man whose meditations are fixed on God is steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, inasmuch as he knows that his labour is not in vain in the Lord.
II. THE CHARACTER OF THE GOOD Man's MEDITATION ON GOD: “My meditation of Him shall be sweet.". This is a proper, a highlybecoming resolution. A good man has no need to meditate on God in such a way as to fill his soul with melancholy and his life with misery. David manifested the highest wisdom when he resolved, “My meditation of Him shall be sweet; I will be glad in the Lord.” For God is the good man's portion and his exceeding joy. David knew this, and was resolved to have sweet meditations of God.
The man that breaks God's laws, that hates holiness and loves sin, that walks in the way of his own evil heart, and does the will of Satan, his meditations of God ought to be bitter; and if he meditates on God rightly, as the hater of sin and the punisher of evil doers, his meditations will be anything but pleasant.
But why should the meditations of any pious soul be unpleasant ? Is not God his Father? Is not Jesus his Saviour ? Is not the Holy Spirit his Comforter ? Are not the angels his ministers? Is not heaven his home? and will not God make all things work for his good? Well, then, why should not every regenerate soul resolve with David, “ My meditation of Him shall be sweet; I will be glad in the Lord ! "
It is much to be lamented that the meditations of many pious persons are tinged with melancholy, that their thoughts of God often