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the work of God. And thus, if actively engaged in that, we may seem to be, and in one sense are, not only working, but working the works of God, we are doing what God wills us to do. This seems to me one of the most dangerous snares of all; we are busy, and we are busy about our duty, so that the more we work, we fancy that we are doing our duty more; and the very thing which seems to be our help, is unto us an occasion of falling.

That it should not be so, two things are to be observed. First, we say to ourselves that we are busily engaged in our duty, and that our duty is God's work. We say this to ourselves if any thing leads us to examine into our state; but it would be well if we said it not only to excuse ourselves, but habitually; if we said it not to ourselves only, but to God. For if we are busied in God's work, we are fellow-workers with God; and what more natural than to ask His aid and His blessing on it? Let us come before Him, and do so.

But there seems some unwillingness to do this; we will talk about our employment, and think about it, but we are not so apt to pray about it. Wherefore is this, or how can it be, that being busied as we say in God's work, we are not fond of thinking of Him who is working with us? Is it not too plain that when we come to the point we feel that it is not God's work but our own ? that we have taken it in a manner away from His co-operation, and se

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parated it from His blessing? that feeling how we have unsanctified it, we dread speaking to God concerning it, knowing that in His sight we have rendered both it and ourselves sinful ? We may be well assured that this is a true touchstone, if every morning we bring as it were our work before God, and crave His aid and blessing on it: if every evening we again come to render our account to Him, to say how much we have done, and to ask His pardon for having done so little and so imperfectly: if at other times in the day, even when most busy, we offer in thought our daily sacrifice, one passing thought, one short prayer: “ Lord, I am thy servant; this is thy will, and thy work, bless me in it for Christ's sake.” Then the answer to our inquiry may be boldly given ; God himself will confirm our heart's testimony; our deeds will be made manifest that they are wrought in God.

The second caution is contained in the latter words of the text, “ the night cometh, when no man can work.” Worldly-mindedness among the first Christians had one powerful check which it cannot have now, in their belief that the world itself was soon to be destroyed. The works of the greatest and best of men, as far as they related to earth, could not be of any great importance, as in a few years hence earth itself would perish. But now we are apt to be beguiled by the thought that our works may abide for centuries; that they may


influence for good thousands as yet unborn. It may be so; but this is no safe thought for us to dwell upon :


may cause us, if indulged, to become castaways ourselves, however much we may have benefited others. It is a far safer thought to consider, not how long our works may last, but how soon we must leave them. The shortness of our own time bids us remember that we are but God's instruments, appointed to labour for a little while on a particular little part of His great work; but that neither its beginning nor its finishing belongs to us, nor can we so much as understand the vastness of its range. Our best praise is that bestowed on David, that we serve our own generation by the will of God, and then fall asleep, and be gathered to our fathers, and see corruption. Whether our work may endure on earth or no, we can never tell; the wisdom of the wise, and the virtue of the good, have too often remained without fruit, except that eternal fruit which remains for all those who work God's work heartily, without presuming to think that it is their own.

We look forward often enough; it is indeed one of the distinctions of our nature that we can do so: the future is frequently the subject of our hope and fear. It were well, if while looking forward as we sometimes do, far into our future life, we would look at once to the end of it; that we would form something of a definite notion of the prospect

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before us,—so many years of youth, so many of prime, so many of decay, and then the end. This is a very different thing from the unwise practices of superstition, such as meditating over the remains of mortality, and bringing before our eyes and minds, not the solemnity of death, but its loathsomeness. For this there is sometimes even a morbid eagerness; but this is not the soberness of Christian wisdom. I would advise none to dwell in detail upon the circumstances of death to excite the feelings, but rather to keep before their minds simply the general truth, that after such a period they will have ceased to live; that earth will to them have passed away, and the time of judgment be arrived. This, I imagine, can be nothing but wholesome at every age,--not unnatural even to the youngest. Do not fancy your time shorter nor longer than it is, but simply consider it as it is : a period very likely of many years, but still only of many years; that there will most surely be an end of it. Then remember what that end is, that it is a time when no one can work any longer; when all must rest for ever, or for ever suffer.


December 1st, 1833.




St. John, xx. 28.

And Thomas ansu swered, and said unto him, My Lord and my


Every one, I suppose, who reads the Scriptures much, cannot but feel that there are certain particular parts of them to which he turns with an especial delight; which seem in a peculiar manner to meet the wants of his own individual nature, whether for comfort, or for warning, or for mere thought and reflection.

Nor does this appear blameable, so long as we do not neglect or despise other parts of the Scripture; it belongs rather to that variety of tastes which God has given to men, and which, as it is certainly in a very large proportion innocent, so we can often see that it is beneficial.

But of these passages of Scripture so especially

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