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especially to false doctrine, but to continue in the simple good of life, and they will be saved. This is the meaning of the injunction. It is added, by way of warning—"Remember Lot's wife,” because, as before explained, Lot's wife represents such as look away from the good of life, and thus are not desirous of joining truth to good.
We may thus perceive how an understanding of the correspondence of salt opens up to us many obscure passages of Scripture. .
SERMONS ON THE DEATH OF THE PRINCE CONSORT.
ACCORDING to the expectation we expressed last month, we have received several reports of sermons, delivered by our ministers on the demise of the much lamented husband of our gracious and beloved Queen. Most of these have come to us in print, having appeared in the newspapers of the localities where the sermons were delivered,-affording a pleasing evidence of the growing influence of the Church, and the advancing liberality of the age. One sermon we give entire, on account of both its excellence and of its author, who, though a resident here, is still a citizen of the Western Republic, and whose graceful tribute of respect and sympathy on this occasion will be felt and appreciated by us all; and not the less so as it comes, like the message of peace across the Atlantic, to cement, we trust, those on both sides more closely together. These discourses, while they will serve as memorials of the feelings and views of the Church on the present dispensation of Providence, will be read with interest and profit, as excellent specimens of our pulpit ministrations. Two other reports have been sent us, but they are too brief for insertion.
BY MR. S. M. WARREN. (Delivered in Cross-street Church, December 22nd, 1861.) “Make us glad according to the days wherein Thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil. Let Thy work appear unto Thy servants, and Thy glory unto their children.”—PSALM xc. 15, 16.
There is no occasion of public or of private grief but for some beneficent Divine purpose. If there be an overruling Providence, a Heavenly Father, in whose eye-sight, and under whose parental care and guidance, all the little events transpire that mark the ever-varying scene of human life ; if it be true that “ He doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men,” (Lam. iii. 33.) and yet that even a sparrow doth not fall to the ground without His notice; (Matt. x. 29.) if these things are so, then sorrow must be the minister of good to man. It is well that men should have a very real belief in this truth, or otherwise they will suffer, and yet, in a great degree, lose the benefit of affliction ; for the choicest blessings of affliction are often, at least, those which the heart reaps from a just and enlightened view of its own sorrow. If affliction be regarded—as we are naturally and thoughtlessly too much disposed to regard it—as a visitation meaningless, but to which all are unfortunately subject, and which, since we cannot avoid, we must bear, heroically as we may, the mind is in no condition to pierce the midnight gloom by which it is surrounded, and find the star of light, and hope, and blessing, that is even now upon the dawn, and which nothing but the dark, portentous clouds of evil can obscure. But if one is settled in the living conviction that a heavenly Father's care is over us; that nothing can come but by His permission, and that He permits nothing but for His children's good; that though the tempests of affliction go not forth at His bidding, they are yet under His direction and control, His servants,—for
“He rides upon the whirlwind, and directs the storm;"— seeing thus His hand in every sorrow, and acknowledging it to be a minister of good from Him, there is light in the midst of darkness. The mind is then in a condition to seek the hidden meaning and purpose of its sorrow, in order that it may coöperate and prepare itself to reap the full harvest of blessing the Heavenly Father intended to bestow. What solid ground of Christian consolation is there in this just view of the griefs that attend us from the cradle to the tomb!--that wait alike upon the footsteps of the high and humble !—that pause not either upon the threshold of the palace, or at the door of the peasant's cot! There is this consolation, if we are open to receive it, in every grief. There is no earthly affliction so severe, no cloud of sorrow so dark, but this blessed sun of hope shines full above it. "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves.” (Psalm cxxvi. 5, 6.)
A season of affliction should not therefore be a day of blank, heroio suffering, but especially a day of thoughtfulness, and introspection ;-to know, as far as we may, what it means, and whither it should lead. And this is equally so whether the affliction be within the narrow circuit of a home, or of the more wide and general kind, that is national as well as individual. To-day, a nation mourns. A people laments ;--and with no common
It is no solemn mockery of outward, seeming woe, but a deep, genuine, universal lamentation. Let us consider, briefly, the cause; and then turn our minds to some reflections which this sad and solemn theme suggests.
It is not merely that a man of lofty station,—the highest next the throne,-is removed from the scene of his earthly greatness. This might give the outward form of national mourning, but, if his character had been such as has too commonly been found in princely places, it would be no cause of general sorrow. It is not alone that a noble and virtuous Queen is suddenly bereft of a wise and affectionate husband,that she is a lone and sorrowing widow,—that her royal children are fatherless, at a period of life when, more than ever before, they would
seem to need a wise father's counsels, and the restraint and guidance of his influence and example. This were, indeed, cause enough for universal sorrow, and for deep and general sympathy. But there is more than this. The nation itself is bereaved. The people have lost a friend. Every individual in the realm has cause to feel afflicted. Nor here alone. As the sad intelligence extends-wherever the knowledge of his virtues, and his usefulness are spread, in every land, men will claim to stand within the wide circle of his mourners.
Rank is commonly a mere bauble,--an outward gilding,—an artificial elevation of men whose intrinsic worth or excellence would not suffice to raise them above the common herd. How often is exalted station regarded and used as the means of personal gratification, and power, and indulgence! How seldom as a sacred and solemn public trust, an elevated sphere of usefulness, wider and more important in proportion as the rank is higher, and its influence more extended ! It was the rare happiness of the illustrious Prince whom now the nation mourns, to honour the station that he filled,
-although a station which was one of the loftiest among men. The dignity and glory of his rank were but an appropriate surrounding of the superior virtue and excellence of character which he manifested, in constant deeds of usefulness, in the wide circle of his power and influence. He made his rank, in fact, the instrument and servant of benevolent purposes for the general good, as rank and station ought to be.
Called at an early age, just when youth had blossomed into manhood, to form the centre of a brilliant court, yet under circumstances which excluded him from the political duties that usually belong to so exalted station--circumstances that would have conducted most men to a life, at best, of luxurious ease,--he rose superior to its blandishments, and with singular wisdom, marked out for himself a sphere of useful activity at once adapted to his delicate position, suited to his highly cultivated and intelligent mind, and which promised and conferred the widest and most conspicuous benefits upon all classes of the people of his adopted country, and upon the world at large. He became the head of great movements for the advancement of science, of education, of the mechanic arts, and the intelligent patron of every noble effort for the social improvement of the people, especially of the humbler classes. And these noble works were done with the delicate, unaffected grace of a man who acts from humility, and with a sincere and lofty purpose. He was a man, apparently, of most genuine modesty; and his deportment indicated a singular absence of the petty, paltry pride that distinguishes those, high and low alike, who selfishly and narrowly regard social rank or station for the outward distinction that it gives, rather than as the open door to a wide and noble field of usefulness, and bearing with it corresponding responsibilities. He is believed, above all, to have been a man of very genuine religious character. It is an interesting fact, that the public religious instruction which he commended, and was most delighted to hear, was that which earnestly enforced the simple precepts of the Gospel, as principles that should apply to and regulate the daily life.
Such a man was the husband of the Queen. In him the Sovereign
of these realms must have had a wise and judicious counsellor, a prudent staff on which to lean. And what benefit the state may have received from such counsels, it may never know. In him the royal children, on whom the hopes of the nation appear to rest, must have had a discreet and excellent father, to whose wise and prudent counsels they may have reasonably looked forward for support, in public duties that are liable to devolve upon them, in years to come. He who was the centre of so much usefulness, of so much happiness, and reasonable hope, is suddenly cut off from his earthly duties, while yet in the early prime and full vigour of his manhood. It is for this the nation mourns.
Accepting it as a visitation of love and mercy from our Heavenly Father, let us consider what may be the use and meaning of this great
Undoubtedly it has a lesson, both national and individual. We may not certainly, and all at once, discover what that lesson is, for the Lord very gradually lets us into the knowledge of His providences ; but it is a duty to reflect upon it, and gather from it such instruction as we may.
May not one of its purposes be a rebuke to pride,-national pride, and individual pride, and the vices and evils that spring from it; rebuke, not by way of punishment, for that is not an end of the Divine Providence, but of restraint? This great nation has been running a career of prosperity such as it had never known before, and multiplying and increasing in wealth, and power, and influence,—in all those elements of growth that constitute the most advanced civilization ; but more especially in those external matters of civilization which administer to the outward wants and enjoyments, and luxuries of the people. The centre of this prosperity, the man who, more than any other one, gave and has sustained the impulse of this advancement, especially in the higher matters of outward civilization, is suddenly removed. The nation's loss in this respect may well seem irreparable. May not this people appropriately stop now, and think whether its inward growth has kept pace with its outward prosperity? Whether its civilization is not too much an outward civilization, that looks from God, and tends to pamper self? The Psalmist speaks of those who "fear not God, because they have bad no changes.” Continued, unremitting prosperity makes us grow cold, and proud and selfish-tends to make us love others only as they are subservient in some way to our desires,-tends to make us unjust and arrogant, and overbearing in our judgment of, and dealings with our neighbours. This is so with individual men; it is not less so with nations. Would it be kind, would it be merciful, in the Divine Providence, to permit us to go on smoothly, without interruption, and confirm ourselves in such a state? Because it would not, He permits afflictions to come upon us, to rebuke and restrain us, to thwart or stay our purposes, to arrest our thoughts, and turn them to Himself. Whether or not such be really one of the Divine purposes in this affliction, it is a most proper occasion for wholesome introspection, and calm and candid reflection on our character as individuals, and on the character of the nation in which we bear a part. In the presence of such a visitation, how-more than unseemly are the words and breath of animosity and strife! - How ought all passions,-jealousies, hatreds, revenge,--to be hushed in every breast, and the sweet quietness of neighbourly love to reign, with its attendant graces of meekness, forbearance, long-suffering, and forgiveness !
The object of every sorrow is to rebuke and restrain some evil or evils within us. It is the part of wisdom and of duty with every one, to seek diligently to discover, each within the chamber of his own bosom,--what that evil is, and to put it away. It is probably some affection of the mind that is disappointed, or afflicted, or rebuked by the visitation. Each for himself must seek and find it out, if he would reap the benefit of affliction. Whoever does this diligently and faithfully, shuuning the evil as sin against God, will at length find each sorrow turned to gladness.
It is only by afflictions and trials, external and internal, that the mind is chastened and purified, and made the subject of heavenly happiness. Hence it is that just in proportion to the afflictions, tribulations, spiritual threshings, through which we pass.--if we let them have their proper purifying effect upon us,--will be the days or states of our spiritual gladness. Outward afflictions loosen the tenacious hold that our affections take upon the world; make us see and feel its comparatively little worth; turn our thoughts above, to enduring and substantial things, and thus open our hearts to receive new affections, that centre upon heavenly objects, and draw down heavenly blessings upon the soul. But all our selfish nature rebels against, and seeks to overcome and destroy these new and purer and better affections.
Hence come internal afflictions, arising from danger to the spiritual and eternal life. Hence come internal combats, with spiritual griefs, lamentations, and fears,--and, with the faithful, victories and rejoicings. External afflictions are thus introductory to inward temptations, and purifications, and blessings. It is this threshing and winnowing of the spirit, this loosing and purging away its chaff and dross, which is the real object of every bereavement, and every sorrow that comes upon the children of men. If men would see it so, and wisely act, how fruitful would each sorrow be of joy! Thus would be answered the petition—which is equivalent to a Divine promise—in our text-"Make us glad according to the days wherein Thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil.”
The character of a nation is chastened and purified, by the purification thus of the individual men who compose it--for when the purified mind comes to speak, or write, or act, or in anywise put forth its influence in civil affairs, it breathes the gentle spirit of neighbourly love by which it is animated. In such a mind, and still more in a nation so actuated, how does the Lord's work,—the effects of His regenerating power and influencemappear unto His servants, and His glory unto their children! With what genuine glory, and radiance of heavenly light and life would such a people shine forth among the nations! Then would the arts, and outward culture, and knowledge, that belong the highest external civilization, be but the fit and appropriate attire of the inward worth and excellence and glory of the people. : Let us hope and pray that this heavy sorrow may have its proper