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The Christian's Treasures.
HE Christian has in his possession treasures far surpassing all the wealth, riches and glory that
earth can offer or set before him; and not all the
malice and wickedness of his enemies combined can rob him of them. Though he dwells in an enemy's country, his treasures are secure in a stronghold that is impregnable, so long as he holds no parley with the enemy, the lion of hell, the destroyer of souls, who goeth about seeking whom he may devour. Safe locked in the soul of the Christian are his treasures, and they are to him more than a kingdom; for with them he holds "promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come."
Among his treasures is the peace of God, that passeth all understanding, a peace which the world can neither give nor take away. A peace so sweet, so lasting, so divine, that he lives, though clouds sometimes darken his spiritual horizon, in an ever-brightening atmosphere of joy and love, and in an all-pervading constant light, which colours and illuminates all his daily life, shedding a lustre on the devious path which he treads in his journey towards the promised land.
Twin sister to this perfect peace is the treasure of purity, a purity which rejoices in all things lovely and of good report. The soul in which this holy purity dwells is purified of its grosser and viler passions and becomes a sanctuary, meet for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. He rejoices not now in the things which he once loved; but is a kindred spirit with those who have washed themselves and been made white in the fountain of living waters. He holds communion with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ; and perfect is the oneness between his soul and God.
Hope is a valued treasure which the Christian holds dear; not the delusive and ensnaring hope of the world; but a purified hope, which looks for a rest and reward beyond the disappointments and sorrows which throng his earthly way;
a “hope which maketh not ashamed,” as do many of the blasted and withered hopes of earth; but which rests securely on the Divine and inspiring words of holy writ; the "hope which is the anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil ;” and “rejoicing in hope of the glory of God,” “and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." Another precious treasure which the Christian possesses, is faith. By faith he is enabled to believe in and grasp the precious promises of God to His followers; those sweet and gracious promises which cheer him under every difficulty, how great soever it may be. Sometimes the soul wandering for awhile, through mists of error and doubt, is led to question the veracity of things spiritual and unseen, and more especially when the daily life of some does not correspond with their Christian profession; but here faith, "precious faith," comes to aid the Christian soul, whispering words of surest comfort, such as “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Faith is the unseen hand which he takes hold of to guide him past the snares and pitfalls which beset his path, the strait and narrow way in which he must walk. It is the eye with which he beholds the pleasant mountains of the land of promise, the heavenly Jerusalem, the celestial city, the glorious house of many mansions, which the Saviour, while He sojourned here, promised to His faithful followers. Faith leads the Christian to trust in God for all which is perplexing and difficult to understand in this mortal life, until at last faith shall be lost in sight, in the full fruition of all his longing desires to behold the things heavenly and spiritual which lie beyond the border-land of time.
Charity is another valued treasure in the Christian's possession; a charity heaven-born and blessed, a charity that suffereth long, and is kind, that envieth not, vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth,
beareth all things, believeth all things, endureth all things; and perfect is the character of that Christian who possesses and practises in his daily life this God-like charity.
Charity such as this will lift a fallen one from the dust, with encouraging words to lift the drooping head, dropping a sympathetic tear with the repentant ones, coursing like rain down the grief-stricken face, won to these softened feelings by the persuasive eloquence of this Christian charity. This Christian charity suffers the secret slander and openly expressed sneer that deeply wound the tortured spirit, yet is ready if its enemies hunger to feed them, if they thirst to give them drink, and to sympathise with them at all times. This charity never faileth, but is always ready, with its gentle excuses, its sweet patience, and its unobtrusive benevolence; with its softening influence on the sin-hardened and griefstricken heart, led on through its power to the great Healer of the broken-hearted, who was a perfect holy type of this Divine charity, and who said, "Neither do I condemn thee; go, and sin no more."
There is another great treasure which the Christian holds as eminently dear and precious-the Bible. This is his compass, his chart, and his guide over the troubled waters of life's tempestuous sea. In this precious legacy of Christ to His faithful ones on earth he reads words of holy cheer, of counsel, and support; meeting every circumstance of life, and every condition of age and station. In it he holds communion with holy and gifted spirits of old, who were divinely inspired, and whose wondrous and glowing words were spoken as the Spirit gave them utterance.
The Christian clasps reverently to his heart this Holy Bible, for in it he reads how he may keep and guard the treasures which Christ has committed to his care, most precious of all, "the pearl of great price." The indwelling witness of the Holy Spirit, by which he receives the adoption of a son, and becomes one of God's family travellers and pilgrims together to "Mount Zion, the city of the living God, and to an innumerable company of angels, the general
assembly and church of the first-born, whose names are written in heaven."
Having held fast his treasures all along life's rough way, the Christian shall bravely breast the cold waters of Jordan, and shall land safely on the eternal shore, to be made partaker, with myriads, of "an exceeding and eternal weight of glory," and to hear with rapture the "well done" of his Lord and Master, and to dwell for ever in the unclouded light of heaven, with the glorified of all ages, who like him have been faithful to their trust, and now reap an everlasting reward.
E are accustomed to speak of our world as the land of the living; but it may be called the land of the dying. What countless multitudes have died; and what instances of mortality do we witness, what tolling bells we hear, what opening graves we see, what mourners do we behold going about our streets! Death is making his destructive ravages, and by his cold hand, and relentless power, what numbers are consigned to the gloomy mansion of the tomb! How many of the followers of Jesus have died!-but as it regards them, we sorrow not as those who have no hope, for we have the bright hope, and the scriptural assurance that they are with God. As the fleecy clouds of summer, reposing on the bosom of the sky, gently glide away dissolving into light, so their departing spirits, reposing on the bosom of a Saviour's love, calmly and serenely passed through the valley of the shadow of death, into the light of an effulgent immortality, and the sunshine of an everlasting day.
In heaven they have harps of gold, and crowns of glory; and there they wave victorious palms, and sing triumphant songs, and walk the golden streets, and traverse the heavenly fields. Affliction touches them not, and death does not come near them. There everlasting spring abides, and
never-withering flowers. The winds of temptation never blow there, and the storms of tribulation never rise. A sigh never escapes the heart, and a tear never falls from the eye. No Rachel shedding a mother's bitter tears, and no affectionate sisters weeping at a brother's tomb; not a funeral procession, and not a grave; night never spreads its gloom, but perpetual day sheds its light; health and youth, life and joy, entwined with unfading laurel and crowned with immortality; whilst before the throne departed saints stand enraptured with joys, encircled with glories, their crowns all radiant with splendour, and their robes washed to snowy whiteness in the blood of the Lamb.
They have perfection within them, 'heaven around them, eternity before them, and glory all over them. We have lost their society and their prayers; but we are not lost either to their remembrance or their affection. We still remember and love them, and they still remember and love us. They will be the first to welcome us; and we shall not enter as entire strangers into the glory-realms of that bright world.
AVE a special care to sanctify the Lord's day; for, as thou keepest it, so will it be with thee all the week long.
Make the Lord's day the market for thy soul; let the whole day be spent in prayer, repetitions, or meditations: lay aside the affairs of the other part of the week; let thy sermon thou hast heard be converted into prayer. Shall God allow thee six days, and wilt thou not afford him one? In the church, be careful to serve God; for thou art in His eyes, and not in man's.
Thou mayest hear sermons often, and do well in practising what thou hearest; but thou must not expect to be told thee in a pulpit all that thou oughtest to do, but be studious in searching the Scriptures and reading good books.