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up Isaac.” He believed God's word when he required the sacrifice, as much as he did when he promised him a son. Faith should be as much exercised on the commands of God, that we may do them, as on the promises of God, that we may expect him to fulfil them. `He admitted God's right; that he had a right to claim and dispose of all he possessed, even his Isaac. He allowed that it was proper that God should do as he would with his own. He revered God's authority. Strong faith always inspires us with deep reverence: it is presumption that inclines us to trifle or take liberties with God. True faith always bows to the authority of God, while it believes the love, and trusts in the promises of God. He had confidence in God's goodness and power, and therefore felt persuaded that what he required was good, and if necessary that his son could be restored to him from the jaws of death. He obeyed God's command, and obeyed without reasoning or objecting. This is what faith always does, and is therefore the root of all good works. In proportion as we steadily believe the promise shall we diligently and devoutly obey the command. Faith will always do 80, and thus honour and glorify God its Author.
Isaac was a type of Jesus. Isaac was offered up in purpose and intention by his father, but Jesus was really and truly put to death by his Father's sword as a sacrifice to his Father's justice. The sacrifice of Isaac prefigured the sacrifice of Jesus, who so many years after, as the only begotten Son of God, died the just for the unjust, near the same spot. Abraham is an example to all who believe. An example of faith, in that he believed what God said, expected what God had promised, and sacrificed what God required. An example of acquiescence, in that he acquiesced in God's will, even when that will required the sacrifice of his only, his tenderly beloved child. What a reproof to thousands who profess to have like precious faith with Abraham! What a reproof to us! An example of surrendering all to God. He kept nothing back. With him there were no exceptions. He held all he had as the Lord's. He held all he had for the Lord. He was therefore ready to surrender at any time whatever the Lord required of him. An example of ready obedience. Like David, he made haste, and delayed not to keep God's commandments. With him there was no asking, What will others say? or, Why should God require this ? Pride, prejudice, or passion was not consulted, but God's will was law, God's word was his rule. He acted because God commanded ; and just so should we. We never lose by giving up what God requires ; for, whatever he takes from us, he always gives us something better in its place. If he takes away temporals, he will give us spirituals; and if he take away a son, he will give us himself. Indeed, he very generally takes away our idols, in order that he may fill the throne of the affections, and reign and rule alone. Beloved, have you an Isaac? If so, are you prepared to part with it, to sacrifice it, if God calls for it? You profess, if you are a believer, to have surrendered all at God's throne, and to have consecrated all at the Saviour's cross. Be faithful, then ; and if you consult your own happiness, or wish to live to God's glory and praise, hold everything temporal with a loose hand, and be ready to sacrifice any and every Isaac if the Lord should call for it at your hands.
THE BELEAGUERED CASTLE.
BY THE REV. J. SALISBURY. The night was drawing on as I sat retired thither at the sunset hour, and as I musing beside a gurgling fountain. I watched the streamlet rapidly flowing. I
out before me.
allowed imagination to exert her sove. of rocks,' and infinite resources are availreignty over me. As I saw the last rays of able when it is attacked by enemies. The the sun glimmering through the trees, and view also which it commands on a clear listened to the rustling leaves of the grove,
day is even more enchanting than that I gradually sank away into dreamland. which was witnessed by the venerable Suddenly a beautiful landscape stretched Moses when he stood on the heights of
The western hills, some Pisgah, and bebeld with his dying eyes what abrupt and precipitous, were clad the land flowing with milk and honey." with verdure almost to their summit, and The discourse of my companion was a meandering river, like a silver thread, interrupted by the voice of melody which flowed through the valley.
The east proceeded from the grove in the distance. presented to my view fine undulating Pleasure was coming forth arrayed in all slopes studded with trees, whose waving her meretritious attractions. Her aspect branches bowed gracefully before the was seductive and voluptuous. A chaplet breeze. The scene towards the north was of flowers encircled her brow. Her dress limited in extent, and bounded by a rocky
was sumptuous and glittering with jewels. cliff
, on which stood a majestic castle. Her maidens sang in her praise the most Situated at the head of a valley several
lively airs ; and as she proceeded from her miles in extent
, its aspect was peculiarly retreat, resolved if possible to obtain an romantic.
entrance into the castle, her votaries, as A person suddenly appeared who offered I could perceive from their looks, were himself as my instructor and guide. “You
deeply anxious that her efforts should e attracted,” he said, “ by the appearance
She pursued her way of that castle. Let me tell you that it has
through circuitous by-paths and labyrin. strange history. It has withstood many
thine mazes till she had reached the sieges , and no enemies have yet succeeded
entrance, when one withering look of the in taking it, though they are always
owner compelled her to flee with the making an attempt. Approach with me utmost precipitation, and we speedily now still nearer, and you will perhaps lost sight of her. discern some spies lurking about it, or I did not wait long in suspense before some foes lying in ambush near it, or
my eyes lighted on an old man, with some enemies under the disguise of friends an haggard, care-worn countenance, carryeadeavouring. to obtain admission under ing heavy burdens upon his shoulders. false pretences.” I approached. As I drew “This man,” I was told, “is Mammon. nigh I saw a soldier well armed upon the For thousands of years temples have been battlements, bis armour glistening in the erected to his honour, and worshippers of rays of the sun, his eye ever intent and every age, clime, and nation, have eagerly
watchful, and his trumpet in his hand pressed therein to present offerings and il ready to be raised to his mouth whenever incense at his shrine. He does not even great danger was apprehended.
spare his importunity with those who are "Stand on this favourable spot,” said the King's faithful subjects, and on his my attendant, “and learn the various back he bears a heavy bribe, intending lessons which the successive events you
to cast it at the castle door, that by this witness shall teach. You will assuredly means he may withdraw the owner from gather something you will do well to his rightful allegiance." I saw him go up think on daily, as long as your pilgrimage
to the entrance. How loudly he knocked, on earth shall last. This castle, and the how passionately he spoke, and how greatly enemies by which it is continually as- he boasted of the intrinsic value of his sailed, will suggest many valuable thoughts treasures ! But the master of the castle respecting the Christian life and its con- was invulnerable against his attacks, and flicts. How firm and solid is the rock on read to the vile tempter out of a holy which it is built! How elevated and con- book one or two passages which caught spicuous its position! How well the
my ear : “How hardly shall they that regions around it are watered by the have riches enter into the kingdom of streams from the hill country! How God!" “What shall it profit a man, if he suitably the windows are disposed in order shall gain the whole world, and lose his own to receive on every side the light of soul? or what shall a man give in exchange heaven! How admirably it is situated for for his soul?" At that moment a resplenresistance! Its defence is the munition dent ray from the sun fell upon the old
man’s golden ingots, and revealed their worthlessness. He gathered them together as quickly as possible, and fled.
“Who can that be,” said I, “who is approaching on yonder thickly shaded walk? His mien is exceedingly stately ; his brow is wrinkled ; his face is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought;' his look is knowing, like one who professes to understand all mysteries ; and he treads the earth so firmly that his very step indicates his intense self-confidence.” “ This man's name,” said my instructor, is Science (falsely so called). He has large possessions in various parts of the world, chiefly consisting of splendid houses built upon the sand, which continue gradually to crumble away, yet are repaired, remodelled, or rebuilt with astonishing pertinacity. These his estates are all situated in dark valleys, into wbich the sun scarcely ever penetrates, and whose inhabitants are only lighted with the feebly glimmering lamps of Human Reason." Whilst my guide was proceeding with his discourse, the stately person alluded to had already reached the castle entrance, and catching the eye of the master, who was looking down upon him from one of the high windows, he instantly assumed the air of a grave teacher, and for the edification of his hearer delivered a bombastic oration. I can only call to mind a few sentences : they will suffice. "I am the solver," he said, "of all mental and moral doubts and difficulties. My theories, which have been thought out with protracted attention and logical precision, will solve every intricate question which may be propounded with reference to God, man, and the universe. I have already succeeded in giving satisfaction to multitudes of perplexed ones. Be not afraid. I would not set aside that holy book you read with so much interest, and profess so ardently to love ; but I invite you to accept of my philosophic system, that by its light you may test and prove the consistency and harmony of its alleged facts, doctrines, and precepts." I could perceive a cloud of indignation gather upon the face of the listener, and at length I heard him sternly exclaim, “ Avaunt, child of hell, seducer of the souls of men! What! will your system, at the best a poor, glimmering taper, enable me to discern more clearly the light specially revealed from heaven ? " After some parleying, the vaunting philo
sopher hastened away, unable to succeed in taking bis prey:
I also saw other persons continually coming up out of the valley below with evil designs. They are too numerous even to mention, though my attendant acquainted me with the names and characters of most of them. I was much struck, however, with this fact, that all of them had a downcast look, and even when they assumed the appearance of buoyancy and happiness they were unable to lift up
their eyes to heaven; as my friend significantly said, “They are of the earth, earthy." I must not forget to acqurint the reader with the resolute attempt made by two brothers who had come from a gloomy region, having been sent on a special mission by their evil ruler. Their names were Doubt and Despair. I could perceive they were plotting some evil design; and on looking on them with increa-ed attention, I saw that each of them carried a heavy club under his garments, which was occasionally exposed to view as they paced onward. They were both evidently intent on murder. Impelled by curiosity, I stole away from my guide, and hiding myself in a bush which they were passing, I overheard them conversing with each other. “Brother Doubt,” said Despair, "I beg you will go up first, and rap very gently-by no means too loud-at the castle door. Only be careful, and you will effect an entrance. If the door should be opened, plant your foot firmly against it, to prevent it from being closed again, and I will come up bravely behind. With our giant might we are sure to take pos. session.' “My good brother,” replied Doubt, "I have always found you bold and ready. You will not deceive me in the hour of conflict. We must both do our very best, and the work will be accomplished." Doubt acted as his brother Despair suggested. His gentle rap at the door could scarcely be heard.
is Who's there?” said a voice from within. Doubt rapped again, speaking in an undertone, and saying nothing distinctly. Again the voice was heard, “Who's there?" I was, however, amazed, nay terrified, when I saw the door gently open. The moment was most critical. Doubt availed himself at once of the means of ingress, and Despair followed closely behind him. They were only able to secure a temporary lodgment. After many loud cries, struggles, and contests, I at length
both the traitors hurled back by the giant graphically various battle scenes, in which hand of Faith, the keeper of the fortress, the existence of the place was fearfully who in this emergency had come to the threatened, and the enemy was determined rəscue. After lying for some time, maimed to carry out his fixed resolution to raze it and bleeding, they crept stealthily away, even to the foundations. He further told mourning over their ignominious defeat. me that in seasons of the greatest exImmediately afterwards I heard within tremity Faith fought with undaunted the castle one singing with all his might, valour; and the Prince of Peace, watching ** Trust ye in the Lord Jehovah ; for in the contest with the deepest interest, the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength. 80 incessantly furnished the castle with At what time I am afraid, I will trust in weapons and provisions, and inspired its thee. They that trust in the Lord shall possessor with courage and confidence, be as Mount Zion, which cannot be re- that the enemy, full of rage and chagrin, moved, but abideth for ever."
was obliged to withdraw and to confess During my continuance in the neigh- that his efforts were unavailing. bourhood of the castle I observed several Thus busied in conversation, I at length messengers, who evidently came from the witnessed the approach of a strange asgreat King, resolutely go up to the door, sailant. As soon as I fixed my gaze on open it, and enter. Their admission could him trembling seized me, from which, not be prevented. One of them was called however, I speedily recovered.
" Who is Affliction. I was told by my guide that this?” said I, as I looked on the mysterious his visits often led the master to much stranger : “he is evidently about to enself-searching, but he was generally the gage in a destructive work, and carries better for them. He then had free access with him deadly weapons." I then averted to a treasury of promises "exceeding great my eyes from him for a moment, and and precious.” There was always a rich turned them to the castle. I saw the supply of heavenly cordials at hand, very owner looking through the window with costly, but very freely dispensed by the thoughtful and anxious, though steady Great Physician. It frequently happened, gaze. The walls of the building began to too, that when Affliction paid his visits totter; every approaching step of the new the light would shine most gloriously into visitant shook it to its base: yet its inevery room, and Faith would come to the babitant was undismayed : joy filled his help of the tried one, and point out to him breast, hope beamed in his eye, angelin the distance a fair city (whose towers guards stood round him, and the Prince were often visible on a clear day), telling himself graciously afforded him some sweet him that city would be his future and and refreshing glimpses of the glory soon everlasting home.
to be revealed. At length the stranger Bereavement, Loss, and various other (his name was Death) came up to the members of the numerous family of Sor- castle, and the moment he stretched forth row, all clad in the garb of mourning, de- his hand and touched it, it fell, and soon inanded admission. I need only bint that, the earth swallowed it up. At that though the sojourn of some of them was solemn moment I heard shouts and songs only brief, they were all busily occupied of triumph. This was the burden of with setting the house in order, and each the angels' anthem, as they bore away an of them had his appointed work allotted emancipated spirit: “O death, where is to him by the great King.
thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" Whilst intently gazing on the castle, The ransomed one rapturously responded, and marking its position, beauty, and “ Thanks be to God, which giveth us the capability of resisting attack, my friend victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." told me that, at various times, the Prince -Then I awoke, and I doubted for a time of Darkness' had violently besieged the what “the Beleaguered Castle" could place , marshalling his most formidable
At length I concluded that I hosts, employing against it his heaviest should not greatly err if I regarded it as a artillery and his most deadly weapons, significant emblem of Christian life on and bringing into exercise his most wily earth, with its varied trials and triumpha. stratagems. He depicted to me very Hugglescote.
THE UNKNOWN BROTHER.
BY THE REV. WILLIAM COLLINGS.
"Quartus a brother."-Romans xvi. 23, This closing chapter of the epistle is the Apostle's postscript to it. It consists chiefly of salutations, and may teach us that the Gospel inculcates courtesy, kindness, affection, and brotherly love. Of the names mentioned, many are worthy of notice; but let us now take the last one."Quartus a brother."' We
Ist. That many of God's people are comparatively unknown.
In all ages God has his champions. Men who stand forth as leaders in the Lord's hosts, and who are famous in their day. While they live their doings are spread abroad, and when they die their names are recorded upon
pages of history. The Joshuas, the Pauls, the Luthers, and some who, though of lesser note, are had in remembrance. But all God's people are not thus known. By far the greater part pass their days in comparative privacy, and are not heard of beyond their immediate circle. Here are three names, Gaius, Erastus, and Quartus. “Gaius, mine host." Some have thought that there was a public place of reception at Corinth for strangers and travellers, and that Gaius had charge of it, but far more likely is the general opinion, that it was in his own house he entertained his Christian friends. John addresses his third epistle to the wellbeloved Gaius, and bears witness to his hospitality to the brethren and to strangers. It is highly probable (although John's epistle was written some years after Paul's to the Romans) that he was the same Gaius who now sent his salutation to the believers at Rome. Paul speaks of him, not simply as his host, but also as the host of the whole Church.
Such a man would be pretty generally known. Those who came to Corinth for a season would be directed to him, and be entertained by him, and upon returning to their homes would speak of his hospitality towards them. Thus his name would be familiar to Christians, and no surprise would be felt at receiving a salutation from him.
“Erastus the Chamberlain.”-He appears to have been the City Treasurer, who had charge of its revenues, and whose business it was to receive and disburse the public money. Thus occupying a civil position of trust and publicity, he, as well as Gaius, was likely to be known.
But Quartus ; who is he? "A brother." Nothing more is said of him. No statement is given; not even a word by which we can gather what his civil position was, or what influence he had in the church, There appears not to have been any thing to give prominence to him. The probability is that he was a private member of the church at Corinth, one amidst many of whom it could only be said, “A brother.". So has it ever been. The Gaiuses and Erastuses are few, although the brethren may be many, "Not many mighty, not many noble, are called.”
We may learn another lesson :
2nd. That whatever the station or position of God's people, yet there is a bond of union between them.
As the Roman believers listened to the reading of the postscript from the 21st verse, they might say, as name after name was mentioned, "Åh, we have seen him." " We know him." “We have heard of him."
“ His namo 18 familiar to us." “But stop-Quartus ! Quartus! Who is he? We don't remember his name. Does Paul say who he is ? Read on, for perhaps he does."
Quartus a brother."-"A brother: Oh, that's enough!” So it is, and ever should be ; for there is a volume of meaning in that word. It speaks relation