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mercy to as many as believe in Him, mations in the earlier Scriptures. repenting of their sins; and the fur. Isaiah prolific of passages. He dwells ther proclamation that all needful on the idea, delights in it as if he had influences and help will be supplied already caught the spirit of that Gosby the Holy Spirit for their complete pel time whose advent he was inspired regeneration and purification.
to predict. Our Lord distinctly enunNow this is not a story likely to be ciates the idea in terms almost similar concealed in the hearts of those who to those of the text (Matt. viii. 11, happen to know it. It is of such a xxiv. 14). Paul anticipates the coming nature that those who know it and in of the fulness of the Gentiles. His have acted upon it instinctively desire labours were conducted with that view. to communicate it to others. Why? The assumption is everywhere that in 1. Because it is true. 2. Because it the great future the gospel shall be uni. redounds to the honour of its chief versally prevalent. Personage, whom they have learned III. This sentiment is in accordto love with supreme devotedness. ance with the course of events. 3. Because it is closely connected Has the genius of the Gospel vinwith the interests and destinies of the dicated itself? Have the predictions human race.
Their participation of of its attracting the heathen been its blessing, their falling under its verified ? Take the history of the influence, has brought them into sym- Church from the earliest time to the pathy with the love of God to man, present. Its course has been one of which, like a spark from the central steady advancement towards the fire of love, has fallen on their suscepti- point at which the predictions of its bility and set it aflame. Men need the extension will be fully accomplished. gospel, in life and in death; and the During the apostolic age, although gospel inspires its recipients with the to a less extent than subsequently, benevolence which cannot rest until the Gospel travelled north and south the blessing has been universally re- and east and west of Palestine. Beceived. Nor is it conceivable that He ginning with a very small handful of who provided the gospel should not Jews under persecution, before three desire men to avail themselves of its hundred years were over it had made provisions ; having prepared a home itself so felt that the Emperor of for the wanderers, He desires them to Rome found it his advantage to come into it.
adopt it publicly. Through the cenII. This sentiment is in accordance turies since, it has gradually covered with the spirit of prophecy.
a larger area.
And the text is now There is a marked difference between in course of fulfilment. the Christian and Jewish dispensations. in your hand, survey the parts of the The Jews, with a narrow strip of terri- earth in which the Gospel has been tory, were separated from the nations. preached. You will find that it has Their religion was intimately associated planted its foot in every quarter, and with their national life and being. It that its converts are gathered from was given to them; adapted to them. almost every land. China must not No wonder that they became possessed be overlooked. It is probably speof the idea that God never meant to cially mentioned here. Christian bring other nations into His Church; missionaries of various names that therefore they never sought the attracting numbers of that multiconversion of the heathen, nor wel- tudinous and remarkable people. As comed the idea when it was pro- the completed fulfilment of the propounded.
phecy, there will be in heaven" a Yet in their own Scriptures there multitude which no man can number, was abundant evidence that the time of all nations, and kindreds, and peop e, would come when God would both
and tongues, who will stand before the welcome and seek the heathen. Inti- throne and before the Lamb."
With a map
Two points may be mentioned as nature by giving His dearest and suggested by this subject :-1. It best. Let not the most degraded be recognises the brotherhood of man. For supposed beyond our reach. 2. It the purposes of this prophecy, every imposes a stupendous obligation on the man must be regarded as belonging Church. God works by means. Are to one great family, equally capable we doing all in our power to help of and needing redemption. God has those who are labouring among the put the highest honour on human heathen ?-J. Rawlinson.
CHINA FOR CHRIST.
xlix. 12. Behold these shall come from . . . the land of Sinim. Most commentators are agreed that this America. For some years the London Misrefers to China. "The Arabians and other sionary Society, hoping against hope, and exAsiatics called China Sin or Tchin; the hibiting a perseverance worthy of all imitaChinese had no special name for themselves, tion, sustained the only Mission in China, but either adopted that of the reigning begin by the honoured Morrison in 1807. dynasty or some high-sounding titles. Tbis China can never again be isolated as here. view of 'Sinim' suits the context which re. tofore. We have long prayed that Cbina quires a people to be meant from far,' and might be "
open to evangelical effort. distinct from those from the north and from Prayer has been answered; "the fields are the west'" (Gesenius).
white to the barvest," but as yet In these words we have a promise of the labourers are few,” and bear no proportion conversion of China, the spiritual needs and to the magnitude even of the initiatory work claims of which the Churches of Christendom which remains to be accomplished. will do well to consider most prayerfully. 3. Among the obstacles which oppose themObserve
selves to Christian missions in China, may be 1. The population, extent, and religion of mentioned-(1.) The theocratic assumption of Chira, &c. Next to the Russian Empire, the the imperial government. (2.) The iguorance, Chinese Empire, including Mantchuria, Mon- immorality, conceit, and superstitiousness of golia, and Thibet, is in extent of territory the population. (3.) The system of ancestral the largest in the world. China itself is one. worship-a plausible custom, but one which third the size of Europe, seven times the size is a most unequivocal form of idolatry, &c. of France, and is equal to eleven of Great (4.) Sundry superstitions. (5.) The opium Britain and Ireland. The population is traffic, wbich has created a most poweriul estimated at 400,000,000—twenty-two times prejudice against us aniong the best men in the population of England; or more than the country. A Wesleyan missionary, writing one hundred and thirty times that of Scot. home (in 1884) said, “It would interest the land. Were all the subjects of the court of supporters of our society if they could hear Pekin to march past a spectator at the rate the various objections the Chinese make on the of thirty miles a day, they would move on one hand against abandoning old customs, and and on, day after day, week after week, on the other, against becoming Christians. To month after month; and more than twenty. give just one specimen of each kind. At the three and a half years would elapse before the close of a service held some weeks ago at Fat. last individual had passed by.
shan, and when the congregation were requested The number is inconceivable-the view is to ask any questions they might wish on the ad. appalling. The daily mortality of China is dress just delivered, or on the new religion gene. 33,000! Think of it—a mortality wbich in rally, one man maintained very strongly that it less iban three months exceeds the whole would be wrong in him not to worsbip idols, for population of London ;-which in a year and his parents had worshipped them before him. a half exceeds the total number of the in- He must do as they did, or be unfilial. This habitants of England. The thought is over. reasoning (if such it may be called) was easily wbelining
disposed of, but not to his satisfaction, for hu The State Religion is founded on the ethical still held to his point. Another man seemed, and political inaxims of the sage Confucius. however, annoyed that nothing stronger could His writings ignore the existence of a Gud be urged against the Gospel, and, leaning forand a future state, consisting mainly in the ward, he touched the man—who was so afraid advocacy of what is expedient and useful and of being unfilial-on the shoulder, and said, proper, &c. Various species of idolatry pre- •You will do no good arguing that way. I vail— Taouism, Buddhism, ancestral worship, tell you what to do, you just ask the foreigner, &c.
Where does the opium come from?' And with 2. We cannot say that the amazing popiu- that he ran out of the chapel, and we saw him lation of China has been altogether neglected
Whether he thought he had really by the Christian people of Europe and vanquished us, or he was afraid of being van
quished, I don't know. I suppose his reason. ing was something like this : Opium is from abroad, and is injurious ; the Gospel is from abroad, and it is, ergo, injurious.' Or, The Gospel is not much good, or it would keep foreigners from hurting China ; and if it has not made them good, why do they bring it here?' Opium, the impure lives of foreigners, and brandy, are the staple objections against the Gospel, when none can be found against its doctrines and morals. If opium could be got rid of, and the lives of Europeans and Americans were at all in accordance with the Bible, I am persuaded that our work would make greater progress.
But as it is, opium (grown in British territory) is eating out the very life of the nation, physically and morally, among both high and low, and the ungodly lives of foreigners cause the adorable name of Jesus to beerery day blasphemed among the heathen."
4. There are some advantages on the other hand. The press is a powerful instrument; and the circulation of the Scriptures and other books is furthered by the cheapness of printing and paper, so that the entire Bible can be sold for less than a shilling, and the New Testament for fourpence. One cheering sign
of the times is the organised opposition to missionary teaching which has recently ap. peared ; a proof that the new opinions aro beginning to move the apparently inert masses of the Chinese population.
6. The ultimate conversion of China's teem-
And looks to that alone;
God's CARE FOR HIS CHURCH.
xlix. 13-17. Sing, O heavens, &c. I. Nothing can furnish us with better III. Be assured that God has a matter for songs of praise and thanks- tender affection for His Church and giving than the tender care God has people (ver. 15). In answer to Zion's of the Church (ver. 13). Let the whole tears, He speaks as one concerned for creation join with us in songs of joy, His own glory; He takes Himself to for it shares with us in the benefits of be reflected upon if Zion say, “ The the redemption (Rom. viii, 19, 21). Lord hath forsaken me;" and He will
II. The care which God has for His clear Himself. As one concerned also Church is never to be doubted by us. for His people's comfort, He would not True, the troubles of the Church have have them droop and be discouraged, given some occasion to question His and give way to uneasy thoughts. concern for it (ver. 14). The case of You think that I have forgotten you; His people may sometimes be so de
woman forget her sucking plorable that they seem to be forsaken child ?" 1. It is not likely that she and forgotten by Him; and at such a should. A woman, whose honour it is time their temptation may be alarm- to be of the tender sex as well as the ingly violent. Weak believers, in their fair one, cannot but have compassion despondency, are ready to say, “God for a child, which, being both harmless has forsaken us,” &c. But we have and helpless, is a proper object of comno more reason to question His promise passion. A mother, especially, cannot and grace, than we have to question but be concerned for her own child, His providence and justice. He is as for it is her own, a piece of herself, sure a Rewarder as He is a Revenger. and very lately one with her. A Away, therefore, with those distrusts nursing mother, most of all, cannot but and jealousies which are the bane of be tender of her sucking child. But, friendship. The triumphs of the Church, 2, it is possible she may forget. A after her troubles, will in due time put woman may be so unhappy as not to the matter out of question (ver. 17). be able to remember her sucking child;
she may be sick, dying, and going to locket rings in remembrance of some the land of forgetfulness; or she may dear friend. If we bind God's law as be so unnatural as not to have com- a sign upon our hand (Deut. vi. 8-11), passion on it (Lam. iv. 10; Deut. He will engrave our interests as a xxviii, 57). But, says God, “I will sign on His hand, and will look upon not forget thee." His compassions to that and remember the covenant, “ Thy His people infinitely exceed those of walls shall continually be before Me;" the tenderest parents toward their “thy ruined walls, though no pleasing children (P. D. 1499).
spectacle, shall be in my thoughts of IV. Be assured that God has a con- compassion." Or, “ The plan and stant care of His Church and people model of thy walls, that are to be (ver. 16, 17). “I have graven thee rebuilt, is before Me, and they shall upon the palms of my hands," alludes certainly be built according to it.”to the custom of wearing signet or Matthew Henry: Commentary, in loco.
A GLORIOUS IMPOSSIBILITY.
xlix. 14, 15. But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, &c. I. The believer, like Zion of old, is tween a child and its mother. True, sometimes led to form suspicions con- the child derives its life from the cerning the Lord's goodness. Such mother, as the medium by which the suspicions are apt to arise--1. In Lord doth communicate it; but God periods of deep spiritual temptation : is the life of His saints. They live times of dark and mysterious provi- and move and have their being in dences; days in which God's people Him, and He lives in them. “ walk in darkness and have no light.” 2. The helplessness of the child. The Such times are apt to come upon us
helplessness and dependence of the through neglect of prayer, through believer is still greater. In a few neglect of some known duty; and months it will be able to walk alone; then, instead of blaming ourselves, in a few years we shall find it not only we are apt to distrust God. 2. In walking and running, but labouring times of deep temporal trial.
independently of its mother. But II. The love of God for His people look at the believer—at those most renders all such suspicions utterly un- advanced in the life of God, most reasonable. A mother's love for her filled with heavenly wisdom; look at child is tender and strong; many “ Paul the aged.” He is as feeble, as mothers have contentedly laid down dependent, as helpless in himself as at their lives for their children; but the first moment (1 Cor. xv. 10). history is full of proofs that a mother's 3. The posture of the child : that is love for her child may utterly pass more touching still
. There are few away. But God's love for His people sights more endearing, as every mother will never fail
. “Can a mother forget will acknowledge, than that of a child her sucking child, that she should not hanging on her bosom, deriving the have compassion on the son of her support of its pluysical life from womb? Yea, they may forget; yet herself. It is one of the most touchwill not I forget thee.” How tender, ing pictures that can be presented to comprehensive, and touching is this
And yet, compared with figure! There is much to be con- that of a believer, it is as nothing. sidered in it: the tenderness of the His is not an unconscious hanging tie, the helplessness of the child, the upon the author and sustainer of His very posture of the child.
being; His is a conscious, glad de1. The tenderness of the tie. (a) The pendence upon God for those supplies tie between God's children and Him- that come from His Father's heart, self is infinitely closer than that be- and minister to His spiritual life
that life which is the commencement serve that the child here is the mother's of life eternal. Who can compare the
own—"the son of her womb;" lately a part oue with the other? It is a closer tie,
of herself, and endeared by the anxieties of
bearing it, and the pain and peril of bringing a tenderer tie, a more dependent ob- it forth. Nor is this all; for the mother is ject, and a posture infinitely more a nursing mother. Isaiah scorned to take an endearing. No wonder God gives the image of exquisite tenderness from those
wretches who, when they have it in their strong assurance which our text con
power, devolve this pleasing and (ask all the tains.
phys.cians) this salutary duty upon others, III. God's love for His people mani- upon strangers, and upon hirelings; no, it is fests itself in a constant remembrance
a nursing mother, and the child is a “sucking of their condition and needs. " Yet
child,” looking up with ineffable satisfaction
to his benefactor, and with his little hands will I not forget thee,” is only another
stroking the cheeks of her who feeds him,way of saying, “I will always remem- Jay. ber thee." 1. He does not forget their persons (verse 16). 2. Nor the work of grace that is in them. It is I. A MOURNFUL COMPLAINT (ver. described as His poem : we are His 14). The wicked think too much of workmanship”—His poem (Eph. ii
. the goodness of God, in reference to 10). A man takes care of his book ; themselves; they mistake the effects but if he has his own poem, will he be of His general bounty for evidences likely to forget that ? 3. Nor their of His peculiar friendship (H. E. I, trials (ch. xliii. 2). 4. Nor their re- 3977–3980). The very reverse of turns to Him (Jer. xxxi. 18). 5. Nor this is the disposition of all subjects their obedience (ch. lxiv. 5; Heb. vi. of Divine grace; they know that self10). 6. Nor their needs in death (Ps. deception is tremendous, probable, cxvi. 15). Blessed truth, it is full of common, and are therefore afraid of unutterable sweetness.
it; they often carry their solicitude The subject is full of instruction. beyond the point of duty; they apply 1. It should lead to self-examination. to themselves what was intended for Are we of the number of those whom others, and sometimes think themGod knows, in the sense of reproving selves forsaken of God. and acknowledging as His? If He 1. This arises sometimes (1.) from does not thus know us, how can we the weakness of their faith (a. H. E. I. expect Him to remember us? 2. A 2014-2017). (2.) From ignorunce ; sight of the helpless child hanging they have a knowledge of God, but upon its mother's breast should show it is very imperfect, and therefore
own dependency, and take they form mistaken apprehensions as away every thought of self-sufficiency. to the manner in which He is likely 3. The fickleness of the tenderest of to deal with them. (3.) From a sushuman affections brings out pension of divine manifestation. The clearly into view the glory of God's sun is always in the sky, but it is love for His people.
4. The con
not always visible. God hides Himstancy of the Divine love should self from the house of Jacob; and if make us ashamed of our despondency you are part of the house of Jacob, and distrust in times of trial. 5. you will be affected thereby (Ps. xxx. If God never forgets us, we should 7). When He does this, it is not in never forget Him.-J. II. Evans, M.A., the mere exercise of Divine soveThursday Penny Pulpit, vol. iv. Pp. reignty, but either as a prevention 305-316.
of sin, or as correction for it (Isa.
lix. 2 ; Hos. v. 15; Job xv. 11; H. (a) The young of all creatures are lovely E. I. 1644-1659). (4.) From conflict and attractive always : but let us survey the with the troubles of lije. It is for image here. Here is a child, a harmless object, a helpless object, an endeared object,
gotten that these are really proofs and towards which any one may feel com.
that God has not forsaken us (Prov. passion and tenderness. But you will ob- xiii. 24; Heb. xii. 6; H. E. I. 189-,