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truth, “ Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return." And who is there of God's people without spiritual trials ?— without constant assaults from the world, the flesh, and the devil ? Who but has cause to mourn over their deadly influence ? and numberless transgressions in thought, word and deed? What godly sorrow, what hearty remorse, what unfeigned grief do these things call for! O for a broken heart and contrite spirit over neglected opportunities, and time, precious time, lost, and lost for ever! What are we now? Are we grown wiser ? Are we of that blessed number whom Jesus came to redeem from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good works? Do we believe to the saving of the soul? Is our faith a heart-purifying faith-a faith that leads to holiness? Is it our aim to become pure even as Christ is pare? Brethren, the days we live in are evil days. The progress of infidelity is alarming. Popery, favoured by the latitudinarian principles of the age, with its soul-destroying tenets, rapidly increases. Protestants are miserably divided. Sects and parties multiply. Unity is disregarded, While many cry out for unity in heart, the means thereto, unity in mind and judgment, are neglected. Spurious religion, false charity, and an insatiate love of novelty prevail. These are effects flowing from a desultory, dissatisfied state of mind, and are alarming signs. Another evil is the state of the press. Truth is sacrificed to party. The newspapers, for the most part, teem with abuse. So scurrilous and disgusting is their language, that even infidel France cries out shame. Our National Church, the glory of our land, is assailed with glaring falsehood-her errors mag
nified a thousand fold-her beauties and excellencies purposely obscured. That Church to which we owe the faithful translation of the Holy Scriptures, and its free circulation at home and abroad-to which we are mainly indebted, under God, for the preservation of his Word in its faithfulness and purity-sits like the daughter of Sion beleaguered on every side ; and should the war cry of her enemies, “ Down with her, down with her, even to the ground,”—should their furious rage be permitted to triumph-should this our National Ark fall into the hands of modern Philistines, it may be said of once favoured Britain as of Israel of old, “Ichabod-thy glory is departed." But if, Beloved, the signs of the times call upon us earnestly to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints-to take heed to ourselves—to watch and pray lest we enter into temptation-blessed be God, we have also abundant cause for gratitude.
At the close of the year we may offer the tribute of praise and thanksgiving to him who still preserves
and now again in the plenitude of his longsuffering and forbearance hath given us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness." “He crowns the year with his goodness, and his paths drop fatness." Amidst religious and political strife our National Church is not forsaken. Never, since the days of the Reformation, was the blessing of God more apparent in the increased efficiency of her Ministers and piety of her members; and though some, who have been converted through her instrumentality, and nurtured in her pale, tear themselves from the arms of their affectionate Mother with undutiful violence, it is to
be hoped that the greater part are still deeply attached to her doctrines and discipline, and increasingly fed in the fulness of her abundance. And if, through the blessing of Jesus, the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, we are privileged to lie down in the green pastures of his love ; if the ordinances of his worship, public and private, are made to confirm our faith, draw forth our hearts in love, and establish our liope of glory; the sweet experience of the past may assure us for the future. Like Israel, with furious enemies behind, rocks on either side, and a raging sea before, we may go forward with unshaken confidence. 6. The Lord is our strength and song, he is become our salvation; he is our God, and we will prepare him an habitation ; our fathers' God, and we will exalt him." Like holy St. Paul, let us thank our God, and take courage. And since time is short, time is precious, and time once gone can never be recovered, “ Be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. Κ. Η. Ι.
THE STAR IN THE EAST.
“ For we have seen his star in the East, and are come to worship
him,” Matthew ii. 2. you
ask how the Star of Christ was understood in the East ? or why Providence ordained that peeuliar mode of intimation ?
Christ was foretold in old prophecy, under the name of the “ Star that should arise out of Jacob;'
and the rise of the Star in Jacob was notified to the world by the appearance of an actual Star.
The Jewish expectation of the Messiah had pervaded the East long before the period of his appearance.
The Jews called by their prophet the “ Expecting people,"** (as it may be translated, and as some of the Jews of the East translate it,) the “ people looking for and expeeting One to come.” Wherever, then, the tribes of Israel were carried throughout the East they carried with them their expectation.
And they carried also the prophecies on which their expectation was founded. Now one of the clearest of these prophecies runs in these words, “ There shall come a Star out of Jacob,” Numbers xxiv. 17. And, as in the whole dispensation relating to the Messiah, there is a wonderful fitness between the words of prophecy and the person spoken of, so it was ordained, that the rise of the Star in Jacob should be announced to the world by the appearance of an actual Star. A divine intimation of its nature and object was, no doubt, given at the same time. And this actual Star, in itself a proper emblem of that Light which was to lighten the Gentiles," conducted them to him who
was called in a figure the “ Star of Jacob,”+ and the “glory of his people Israel." —Buchanan's Sermons.
* Isaiah xviii. 2, “ The people meted out,” in our translation.
+ The Jews used to speak of their Messiah under the appellation of Bar.Cocab, or “the Son of the Star;' and false Christs actually assumed that name.
THE LONG STONE, NEAR THE HURLER