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EPHESUS. EPHESUS is styled by Pliny“ the ornament of Asia.” Its famous temple, dedicated to Diana, was celebrated throughout the whole world, being regarded as one of its seven wonders.
Paul first visited this city in the year 54, and about ten years afterwards passed through it on his way to Rome.
From the latter place he wrote his epistle to the charch, which had been planted there; and, of which, the overcharge was by the apostle himself committed to Timothy. It is conjectured that Timothy was still bishop of Ephesus, when the affecting message, recorded in the Revelation, was dictated; and that he was consequently “ the angel” so tenderly reproved for having left his first love, (see Rev. ii. 4.) whilst the Divine approbation was not withheld from his works, labour, patience, and firmness in the truth.
This glorious city, once the admiration not only of “all Asia," but of the world itself, is now reduced to
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a state of the most abject decay and ruin. “A few unintelligible heaps of stones,” says a recent traveller,“ with some mud cottages untenanted, are all the remains of the great city of the Ephesians : even the sea has retired from the scene of desolation, and a pestilential morass, covered with mud and rushes, has succeeded to the waters which brought up the ships, laden with merchandize, from every country. Its streets," says Dr. Chandler, who visited it about seventy years ago,
are obscured and overgrown. A herd of goats was driven to it for shelter from the sun at noon; and a noisy flight of crows from the quarries, seemed to insult its silence. We heard the partridge call in the area of the theatre and of the stadium. The glorious pomp of its heathen worship is no longer remembered; and christianity, which was here nursed by apostles, and fostered by general councils, until it increased to fulness of stature, barely lingers on in an existence hardly visible.” Its candlestick has been removed out of its place.
“A NEW CREATURE.” “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.” Powerful and expressive words! How often have they been experienced and exemplified, since they flowed from the apostle's pen. How often has the soul, once buried in earth, and careless of eternal realities, been raised to the enjoyment of a spiritual life, and enabled to cast away the trifles of time and sense, while pressing forward to that glory which shall be revealed. The passage obviously applies to the effect of real christianity upon the heart that receives it.
Most interesting and profitable is the subject to the individual christian, forming a sacred ground for self-examination, deep abasement, earnest prayer; and, blessed be God! in many instances, for humble praise. Yet, though all the mighty effects of christianity originate in its influence on each single heart, how does the face of society smile with renewed beauty, where this miracle of grace is often repeated. The gospel, like a healing balsam cast into the waters, pervades perhaps at first, only a few solitary drops; but drop unites with drop, the blessing spreads and circles, till many a social stream is sanctified, bearing our joyful hopes to that predicted day, when the vast ocean of humanity shall become one
wide expanse of living waters, to the praise of Him, whose spirit shall rest upon
them. Not only does the church of the redeemed dwell, a lovely and united brotherhood in the hollow of their Father's hand, but thence they proceed, as He directs their course, to carry unnumbered benefits, through earth's once barren waste. Thus, says Jehovah, “The beasts of the field shall honor me, the dragons, and the owls, because I give waters in the wilderness, and streams in the desert." Notwithstanding all their native evils and impurities, the unregenerate shall be compelled to own, that the knowledge of a Redeemer, with the presence of his church, confers, wherever it is possessed, invaluable good,
Examine yourself, then, my dear reader, in the sight of God, as to the extent of the blessing that your own soul has reaped. Oh, be not satisfied with a participation in those outward comforts, which, in common with all around, you derive from the gospel—that state of high civilization which follows in its course, and which has proved the source of beneficial laws, bridled passions, kind affections, and social charities, in the various relations of life. Rest not content, though its heavenly beams may have enlightened your mind with correct moral views, nor even though the habits, induced by its almost imperceptible influence, in our favored land, may have led you to do many things, pleasant and amiable. All this is not enough. If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature : he has passed from death unto life!
What was the effect wrought on Job and Isaiah, by an intimate acquaintance with God in his glory and holiness? “ I have heard of Thee,” said the former, “by the hearing of the ear,
but now mine eye seeth Thee; wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” “Woe is me!” exclaimed the latter, “because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts!" And still from that day to the present, the holiest and the best of men, have found their place at the Saviour's feet, low in the dust of self-abasement. Each has smitten on his breast, crying, “God be merciful to me a sinner!" thus manifesting, in true repentance, the first actings of this "new creature.” Then follows saving faith in a crucified Redeemer. They who once saw no form nor comeliness in him, now feel that he is the chief among ten
thousand, and the altogether lovely. Faith works by love, and the soul earnestly enquires, “ What shall I render to the Lord, for all his benefits?" labouring for an object before unthought of, striving to glorify God; and, whether present or absent, to be accepted of him. Selfishness gives place to tender concern, accompanied by corresponding exertions, for the welfare of others. The spirit, once chained to earth, ascends to high and heavenly things, and, longing for the glory that shall be revealed, regards death no longer as the king of terrors, but rather as a heavenly form, bearing the keys of that celestial city, where the servants of God serve him, and his name is on their foreheads, where the Lord God giveth them light, and they reign for ever and ever!
Such is a picture of the individual change, wrought by Almighty grace, in the children of God. Shall we not adopt the language of the hymn, and say,
“Since 'tis thy gift alone,
To work this change in me !!! And, if we have indeed experienced it ourselves, let us endeavor to publish to others, the wonders of redeeming mercy, in a spirit of tender love; to invite the wanderers to our Shepherd's fold; or speak a word in season to the weary christian, praying with all prayer and supplication, for those whom we love, for those whom we know, and for those in distant lands, whom we have never seen!
Oh, what subjects of intense and lofty interest present themselves to the heart of the christian. While the mind, which is confined to earth, if it be at all of a superior order, sinks into satiety, morbid and dissatisfied ; of him who has become a partaker of the Divine nature, we may say exultingly,
Deep interest marks his passage to the grave,
Swell his full heart, and light his kindling eye. Expansive and ennobling thoughts! Yet let us once more remember, that opportunities for adorning the doctrine of God ou
Saviour, arise chiefly from the temper of our minds in the bosom of our families; our manner of performing what the world calls little duties; and our quiet attention to the humblest offices of Christian charity : for he who is faithful in that which is least, will be faithfül also in much; while “ they who despise small things, shall fall by little and little.” Nor are our souls ever more truly benefited, than when, in ministering to some obscure and destitute believer, the supporting power of religion, and the striking adaptation of scriptural comfort, is impressed upon us.
Not long since, a person suffering under severe bodily affliction and deep spiritual anxiety, was visited by a friend, who had formerly been her teacher in the Sunday school. Cheered by the encouraging truths of the gospel, so suited to relieve her sorrows, the poor woman exclaimed, “ I seem to want some one always with me, to remind me of these things !"
Well,” remarked her friend, “ you have one who is always near, who can understand your inward desires, and give just the instruction and consolation you need."
“Yes,” she rejoined, “ I think it is said somewhere in the Bible, 'A book of remembrance was written before Him, for them that thought on His name.'”
Here was a turn given to this beautiful passage, by no means unwarranted, yet quite new to the mind of the visitor. And may not such recollections be possibly awakened at some hour of need, when, prostrate by suffering and weakness, she may be cheered by the reflection, “ Though now I can only think, nay scarcely think, my
Redeemer's name, yet does my God remember me.” Yes, my reader, every endeavour to adorn your Christian profession, and to fulfil the duties to which Providence may call you—every effort for conformity to the Saviour's image, will bring a present reward. They will tend to promote growth in grace, and you will become, in the measure Divine Wisdom sees fit, rooted in faith, joyful through hope, and abounding in peace and love. And if such be our privileged position, how consistently may we speak thence of the glory of the Redeemer's kingdom, and pray that his way may be known upon earth, his saving health among all nations. Feeling that Christianity is no cunningly-devised fable, but the power of God unto salvation, we shall pray, and wait, and long, and labour as far as in us lies, for its universal