No. I.


You are familiar with the question-"Who hath despised the day of small things?" It has been transferred, not unfairly nor unaptly, from the foundation-stone of the second temple in Jerusalem, to the first symptoms and marks of that “good work" of grace in the heart, by which we become living Temples, or “an habitation of God through the Spirit." Now, whoever else may despise these incipient signs of conversion, God does not. Even when there is nothing but a penitent spirit, and whilst both joy and peace are unknown, we are warranted to say with David, "A broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise." This is pleasing! But the Spirit of inspiration led Isaiah beyond David, in thus condescending to the "low estate" of commencing piety. Isaiah was warranted to class the trembling amongst the "contrite ones," even when God, as the High and Lofty one, who inhabiteth Eternity, was describing the hearts to which He would look with compassion, and in which He would dwell with complacency. Isaiah lvii. 15. Neither the temple on earth, nor even the temple of heaven, although the former resounded with Hosannas, and the latter with Hallelujahs, could so engross the attention of Jehovah, as to divert it from true penitents, even whilst their prayers were only as the sighing of prisoners, or but groanings which cannot be uttered. "Thus saith the Lord, the heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; where is the house ye build unto Me? and where is the place of My rest? But to this man will I look, even to him that is poor, and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word." This is condescension! Who would despise the day of small things, after thus seeing how God delights to honor it? In the presence of this fact, you can see, at a glance, why there is joy amongst the angels of God in heaven, over one sinner that repenteth. God himself rejoiceth over them "with singing." It is not in this connection, that even a stern theorist, who calls nothing faith, but assurance; and nothing conversion, but the witness of the Spirit, would dare to say,-"the devils believe, and tremble." They do tremble at the word of God; but not in a broken or contrite spirit. It is not a sense of their own guilt or vileness, which awes them. They do not despair because they feel unworthy of hope. There is no humility in their horror, and no contrition in their terror: whereas, when you tremble most at the word of God, it is because you feel yourself worthy of its threatenings, and unworthy of its great and precious promises. And it would not be even a "day of small things" in your experience, if you had

never trembled at the word of God! There is no "good thing in the heart toward the Lord," until there is some serious fear of his anger, and a real sense of being utterly unworthy of his mercy.

It is, indeed, a great thing, to get rid of the "fear which hath torment." Nothing is more desirable than that it should be "cast out." It is never cast out, however, by casting away a sense of unworthiness, nor by trying to think lightly of the Divine anger. It is "perfect love" that casteth out tormenting fear, 1 John iv. 14; and love never can be perfected or improved, if you despise the day of small things. Your love to the Saviour is not insincere, because you have many fears. It would, indeed, be very questionable, and equivocal too, if you had no fears. “No strange thing hath befallen you," if, as yet, you have more fears than hopes.

This is, however, a critical state to be in. It is not uncommon, certainly; but still, it is dangerous. Some have "done despite to the Spirit of grace," by despising the day of small things, as too small to be worth much immediate notice; and others, by despairing, because it was so unlikely to lead on to a day of great things. Against both these extremes, I would put you upon your guard. They are equally perilous, and have proved fatal to many. Perhaps, you know some one in your own circle, a sister, or brother, or friend, who is in danger of quenching the Spirit, because not aware of the varieties of manner and degree, in which the Spirit begins the good work of grace. You may have been at a loss, how to answer the objections of some one, whose occasional feelings seem to you, "tokens for good," whilst to him, or her, they appear too slight and evanescent to deserve attention. Would it not be both wise and kind, to bring the following appeal under the notice of such a one? It is solemn and pointed; but not too much so, when there is a disposition to despise the day of small things.-Now, no "good thing" toward God, and the Lamb, in the heart, can be so small, as to be unworthy of your watchful and prayerful notice. Passing thoughts and momentary impressions, may be unworthy of being called "a saving work of grace upon your soul." Conviction is not conversion, nor is feeling faith. It might, therefore, be very wrong to conclude that you have "passed from death to life," or been "translated from darkness unto light," merely because you have some sense of your need of this divine change, and some hope or wish to experience it. You do, however, know something of its nature, and feel occasionally its necessity. You may regret, but you do not "marvel," that you must be born again of the Spirit, before you can enter the kingdom of heaven. You know too much both of heaven and of your own heart, to be surprised (however you

may be offended) when you are told that you are | Why, then, in the things which "pertain to godunfit for heaven. And is this conviction nothing? liness?" It may be—it is—a day of small things, compared with the great searchings of heart, and with the strong cries and tears, which the necessity of being born again is producing in some of your family or friends. There may be no comparison between the strength of your convictions, and the cry of the Pentecostal converts. Any fear or hope you feel, may be but as the mere shadow of their impressions. What then? So much the more need you have to take care that you do not despise the approaches of the Holy Spirit to your own heart.

Ponder Paul's solemn question: "Who hath known the mind of the Lord, (the Spirit,) that he may instruct HIM?" 1 Cor. ii. 16. Can you, in the face of this caution, say that you will not honor nor own the Holy Ghost, unless He act with you, just as He has done with others? Surely not! It may not, indeed, be altogether wrong to wish for such an awakening as the jailor's; or for such a flower-like opening of the heart as Lydia's; or for such a rejoicing discovery of the glory of Christ as the eunuch's; or even for such a constraining impulse from the love of Christ, as that Do not say in answer to this appeal, "I am not which carried the Corinthians before it, like vesat all sure that the Spirit is striving with me, or sels with a fair wind, upon a mighty spring-tide: doing any thing for me." It is easy to utter these but it is wrong, to insist upon one or other of these words, when an excuse is wanted on the spur of modes of conversion, as the condition of your turnthe moment, for delay or indecision in religion: ing to the Lord. You may, like Ephraim, pray, but you durst not utter them deliberately, after "Turn thou me, and I shall be turned:" and like looking fairly at their meaning. Your tongue David, "Draw me, and I will run after Thee;" would cleave to the roof of your mouth, were you but you must not prescribe to God either the preto try to say, "I am one, whom the Spirit of cise weapon of power by which He shall turn God never once influenced to think or pray. He you, or the precise cord of love by which he shall has been moving upon the face of the waters of draw you. Leave the selection of means and the Sanctuary where I worship, converting sin-modes of Divine operation in the hands of Divine ners, and consoling penitents, and sanctifying be- wisdom; and, in the mean time cherish the sacred lievers; but he never suggested one good thought impressions which have already been made upon in my mind, nor awakened one holy desire, nor your heart and conscience. They are more vashed one ray of light upon my path of duty or in-luable to you, and involve your eternal welfare terest. However He moved in power or glory, and wherever He wrought, He passed me by let me alone!"

more deeply, than the mantle of Prophecy, or the gift of Miracles, were even both to descend upon you. Prophets have perished, and workers of mighty miracles have become apostates; but no one ever drew back to perdition, who honestly and humbly sought for the renewing of the Holy Ghost. O, then, quench not, grieve not, vex not, limit not, the Spirit of God!

This would be "lying against the Holy Ghost!" Had even your occasional impressions been fewer, and your past resolutions feebler than you know them to have been, you would not dare to speak thus, lest you should provoke the Spirit of God to let you alone for ever. Why, it is one great reason for any hope you have of ever being called by grace, that you have felt, and do feel, that the Spirit has not let you alone. It is because you This appeal may not be altogether useless to are not given up to a seared conscience, nor to a yourself: for although, in general, you do not dereprobate mind, that you venture to calculate upon spise the day of small things, there may be some some future "day of power," coming in time of "the things of the Spirit," which you too lightenough to prepare you for eternity. Accordingly esteem. His "shadows, as well as His lights," ly, were you quite sure that such a day of power would not come, unless, from this moment, you set yourself to act upon your present convictions, you would be very glad to admit that what you have already felt, was, although not the first fruit of the Spirit, the breaking up of "the fallow ground" of the heart, for the good seed of the Word. Well; the Holy Ghost does say, "To-day, if ye will hear my voice, harden not your heart."

(as Sheshbazzar would have said,) are instructive. He can lead by the Pillar, as a cloud; as well as by the Pillar, as a flame of fire. I mean, that the Spirit is often present, and working mightily too, when we imagine that he is withdrawn entirely. This is no paradox. We are so much in the habit of confounding the work and witness of the Spirit, with comfort, that we are for ever ready, when we are uncomfortable, to think Do not evade this warning by saying, "that Him "afar off." But this is quite a mistake! you would follow the leadings of the Spirit, if He He is not standing afar off, much less forgetting would only lead you, as powerfully and sensibly, us, when we are left to feel that our strength is as he does some whom you know." You have weakness: and our ability to hope, dependent; no more right to dictate to the Holy Spirit the and our inclination to persevere, precarious. manner in which he shall deal with you, than to is, indeed, working deep in our hearts, when we dictate to Providence the way in which it shall are afraid to look at them. Humility, and selftreat you. Now, you would not presume to lay abasement, and self-distrust, are as much fruits of it down as an indispensable condition of your the Spirit, as love, joy, or peace. And, accordgiving yourself to the Lord and to the Church, ingly, by both His lights and shadows, we are sent that he should give you whatever temporal bless-to the Cross and the Mercy-seat; to the Bible and ings you may think best for you. You know that the Sanctuary, praying with equal fervency, you cannot stipulate with God, to have all your "Lord, save, or I perish." own will, in "the things which pertain to life." I am

This is not, however, all that I mean.


quite persuaded that some of the most direct influences of the Holy Spirit, or those which come from the throne, as JEREMY TAYLOR says ejaculatory prayer goes to it, "in a straight line," are least attended to by us. For, have you not often felt upon your spirit the impulse, as it were, of an invisible hand, gently pushing you off your chair, that you might go into your closet; or rise to take up your Bible, as more wanted than the book you were reading? Have you not occasionally felt, as if you were haunted by the presence of a dying neighbor, or by the urgency of his watching angels, to go out and speak a word in season, or, at least, to show that you had Christian sympathy? Have not many things occurred to you as hints. wanted at home; and as plans, likely to do good at home, which, if you had communicated or acted upon whilst they were fresh in your mind, might have been very useful to others, and saved you from the self-upbraiding which follows the neglect of relative duty?

once, as illustrations of the Oracle on which this essay is founded, that we may see and feel how transportingly true it is.

I know not which of them is your favorite.Mine is, that sweet assurance to young and weak disciples, "He shall feed his flock as a Shepherd; He shall gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom." You cannot be weaker than a lamb is, when it requires such care from the shepherd. And remember; it is the weakness, and not the innocence of the lamb, which engages thus the shepherd's sympathies.

The allusion is from the East. Often, on going out amongst the folds in the morning, after having kept watch all night, against the wolves, the shepherd finds a young lamb, chilled with the dew or the frost of the night, and unable to follow the flock to green pastures or still waters. He raises it gently from the ground, and wraps it to his bosom under his own warm cloak, and carries it forward, thus, until it revive. Now "the Great In thus recalling such angel-visits of Divine in- Shepherd," is just such a "good shepherd!" All fluence, by which new duties are suggested, or the sheep, and even some under-shepherds, may improvements in old duties enforced, nothing is not have tenderness nor patience, to watch over farther from my design than to make any duty such a lamb as you, nor to wait until you are able dependent upon impulse. The Spirit will not su- to follow them on hill and through valley: but the persede the law of duty, by the grace of help. Shepherd of souls, is the Bishop of souls; and he He does, however, help us in obeying that law, will neither leave nor forsake you. He can be by throwing new and impressive lights upon its "touched with a feeling of your infirmities," and bearings, and upon the best way of following them thus can bear with them, until you can bear to out. Whilst, therefore, I would solemnly warn move and rest with all his flock. He will even you against following any impulse, however plau- gather you in his arms, until you can walk in his sible, which is not founded upon express rule, I footsteps; and carry you in his bosom, until you would most affectionately urge you not to quench can follow him whithersoever he goeth. Thus, or resist the Holy Ghost, when he makes the let- He does not despise the day of small things: but ter or the spirit of any scriptural duty "arise in according to their smallness, makes his care and your hearts like a day-star," and shine as a light tenderness great. And, will you despair of weakin a dark place. Unto such illuminations, you ness, which He pities? Will you give up hope, "do well to take heed." It will never be a day whilst He gives this heed, and hand, and heart, to of great things in your devotional experience, if the weak in faith, and to the fainting in hope you let such direct rays from heaven pass unnoticed. Do not wonder that the COMFORTER will not always come into your closet, nor meet you regularly at the sacrament, when you wish him to do so-if you often refuse to go alone with him, or out for him, when he is whispering to you what he would have you to do. This "still small voice" is one of the small things which you must not despise. "If you do," (Sheshbazzar would have said,) "God may reverse the Horeb vision of Elijah; and make the stormy wind, the earth-bylon, is now sounding out the New Song, with quake and the fire, follow the still small voice."

These, however, are but passing hints. I want, in order to encourage you to prize and cherish the beginnings of the good work of grace in your own soul, to mark most attentively, how the Saviour estimated and treated even "the blade" of true piety, before "the full corn," or "the ear" had shot forth. He did not despise the day of small things! He often treated as great things," prayers and faith which others would have despised, and which the offerers themselves were afraid or ashamed of, as too weak and imperfect to be accepted.

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Both the proofs and promises of this delightful fact are, of course, rising in your memory like stars, in light and loveliness. You could repeat them, without my quoting them at all. So far well. But let us just look over some of them for

Take another view of your case. "A bruised reed shall he not break." No; the music it makes at first, may be neither harmony nor melody; may be rather sad than sweet; but He will not break it, nor cast it away, because of its broken notes. He will mend and moisten it, until its tones are clear and melodious. "Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings," He perfects praise. Many a bruised reed, which was once almost as dumb or dull as the harps upon the willows of Ba

not a little of both the spirit and compass of the golden harps before the throne of God. And, however bruised, you are not a broken reed. A broken reed is cast away from all the means of mending. But you are not only in the land of the living, and thus in the place of hope; but you are also under the care of a minister, or under the guidance of a friend, or have access to some book, whose chief object is to tune and strengthen bruised reeds, until they can

"Join their cheerful songs, With angels round the throne."

Remember; Jesus says, (and you can surely take his word!) "Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted." The night of penitential weeping, will be followed by the morning

of believing joy. You can review in this way, at your leisure, the other proofs of the Saviour's considerate and compassionate regard to the day of small things. In the meantime, whilst these two are before you, and you are admiring them, I must remind you, that none of them are intended to reconcile you to the continuance of a day of small things, in either your faith or holiness. It is, that small things may become great things, that they are thus watched by Heaven, and thus commended to the watchfulness and tenderness of the church on earth. "The blade" of piety has the promise of "the early rain," just that the ear and the full corn in the ear may come on to meet "the latter rain."

was welcomed by him, as Elijah welcomed the cherubic chariot of his translation. He was no longer able to go up to Jerusalem, "three times a year;" and, therefore, he preferred to be there on the DAY OF DAYS, that he might learn, as he said, from the High Priest, to enter within the veil of eternity, bearing only the blood and incense of propitiation, as all his introduction and plea. Thus his spirit passed into the Holy of Holies even before the High Priest; and often lingered at the mercy-seat, or bathed in the Sheckinah of glory, long after He had come out to bless the people. That benediction, Sheshbazzar welcomed as his own warrant to kneel in spirit, where the priest had ministered; and thus to realize his own entrance into heaven.

This was his meaning when he called his pilgrimage, his translation; and his staff and scrip, his chariot and horses of fire; for Beersheba, compared with Jerusalem, was to him, on that

But whilst the first appearances of heartfelt piety are thus not overlooked by the Saviour, neither are they overrated by him. The reed, though bruised, is called a reed; but it is not complimented as sweet enough in its sound. So also, the smoking flax is not threatened with quench-solemn feast day, as the earth compared with ing; but neither is its smoke commended. In connection with both emblems it is added, "He shall bring forth judgment unto truth." In prophetic language, this amounts to the same thing as the apostolic promise, "He who began the good work, will carry it on." Thus, we are as much bound to grow in grace, as we are encouraged to trust in grace, by both the condescension of the Father, and the tenderness of the Son, towards our day of small things.

In a word, it must not be always a day of small things with us; for we may soon have great trials, or great temptations; and small faith or patience will not sustain them well. "What will you do in the day of visitation?" is, therefore, a question which ought not to be lost sight of entirely, even at this stage of your experience. Do not, indeed, forbode evil; but do not forget that it will come, sooner or later, in some form. It may come very soon, and severely too, if you sit down contented with this day of small things. Let the following allegory of RACHEL'S LEPROSY, teach you wisdom. And be not discouraged, because you cannot see how there can come day of great things in your experience. You may acquire great peace, great comfort, and great influence. In every thing good, you may be much greater than you are; and although you will never call nor think your holiness great, even when others feel it to be great both in its beauty and strength, resolve that it shall not be less in either than care can make it.

heaven. And yet Beersheba was dear to the good old man: for Abraham's well was still there; and, although the trees of Abraham's grove had passed away, like the Angels who once rested under their shadow, "the place thereof" was not unknown. Oaks of Mamre, and palm trees of Lahairoi, had replaced them. Sheshbazzar often drank at that well, and mused in that spot, in the very spirit of its Patriarchal owner, and of its Angelic visiters. Still it was not Zion! It was the sepulchre of his fathers and of his children, but it was not the sanctuary of his God. HIS FIG TREE was there; but his TREE OF LIFE was upon Mount Zion.

The prospect of his translation did not, however, so absorb his spirit, as to divert his sympathies from those who had to stay at home. Having, like Elijah, thrown his mantle over Esrom and Rachel, he continued to commune with them, until the moment of his departure; and to pray that a double portion of his spirit might rest upon them. And never did they stand in more need of counsel or prayer. They had been betrothed in the month Nisan; but when the Tisri trumpets were blown, Esrom showed no inclination to go up to Jerusalem. He was not "glad" when Sheshbazzar said unto him, "Let us go up to the house of the Lord." He had tried to persuade himself, that it was not his duty this year! Rachel was drooping in both health and spirits and surely it could not be duty to leave her alone! She herself tried to think that, for once, Esrom might be excused; for she felt, at times, as low as if the Angel of Death was not far off. Even Sheshbazzar was uneasy on her account. He feared something worse than death: for Rachel's mind was one, which might be thrown off its balance by an excess of either grief or joy. Its very strength was more perilous than weakness; because she THE IOM HACCHIPURIM, or the great day of atone-put it all forth upon whatever interested her feelment, drew nigh again; and Sheshbazzar, although "old and gray-headed," prepared to appear before God in Zion. For the Beershebean eagle (as Rachel called him) seemed to "renew his youth," annually, from the very moment the expiation trumpets summoned the tribes to Jerusalem. Their sound fell on his ear, like a voice from the excellent glory; and their signal for pilgrimage



ings deeply. She threw her whole soul, equally, into human and Divine things, by turns. On the day of her betrothment, she thought of nothing else; and on the day after, which was the Sabbath, she was so absorbed by Sheshbazzar's exposition of the Law and the Prophets, in the synagogue, that she forgot it entirely.

Even next morning, she met Esrom without

alluding to their plighted vows. She was still in ecstacy with a Sabbath which, she said, had been to her a fragment of the first Sabbath of Time, and a foretaste of the first Sabbath of Eternity. Esrom felt piqued, and asked, sarcastically, "Did Adam pray like the Elders, or will Angels sing like the choirs of Beersheba?" This association of ideas was ludicrous. It threw her off her guard: and, for the first time, Rachel criticised the tones and terms of public worship. Until that moment, she had thought of nothing, but their spirit and design: but, from that moment, she began to weigh them, not only in the balance of the sanctuary, but also in the scales of taste. They were found wanting" in both; and she wondered that she had overlooked their defects so long. It was an unhappy discovery! She resolved to improve the form of her own devotions: for, hitherto, she had adopted whatever petition came warm from the lips of the Elders; and had thought only of what she wanted. Now, she began to think more about her words than her wants; and tried oftener to adore like a seraph, than to pray like a penitent. Sublimity became her study. Humility was left to accident. She could trust her heart, (she said to herself,) that it would never relapse into hardness or coldness. It had been melted and warmed by the holy fire of heaven; and she took for granted, that the glow would never decay. Surely the principle of grace might be as safely trusted to its own vitality, upon the altar of the soul, as the sacred fire upon the altar of the temple! She, at least, was sure that, after what she had seen and felt herself to be as a sinner, nothing could inflate or deaden her spirit as a penitent.

She thus trusted her own heart; and it betrayed her! It soon took more interest in her nuptial preparations, than in her closet, or in her copy of the Law. She was no longer humble before God. She never forgot "the Grapes of Gomorrah;" but she no longer wept when she remembered them. Her old ambition to dazzle or puzzle others in company, returned on her. She was upon the watch for opportunities to shine in conversation, whenever Sheshbazzar was not present. She almost claimed credit for her piety from the Elders; for having lost much of the witness of her own spirit, she sought relief in the good opinion of others. But she oftener startled the Elders, than conciliated them, by her professions. Some doubted her sincerity, and others her orthodoxy; and she felt equally mortified by both. There was bitterness as well as truth; sarcasm as well as sorrow, in her lips, when she said of them, "that Angels were better judges of repentance." Sheshbazzar had thrown out the same hint to the Elders, but in another spirit. He smiled complacently, whilst he said to them, "You will soon be as glad as GABRIEL was, when he put Rachel's tears into the urn of heaven; he had seen none purer, since Hannah wept before the Lord in Shiloh." The Elders had said to him, "Her tears may be in your book, but they are not in his bottle yet." It was a harsh speech; and yet, they meant no harm. Rachel had long been a mystery to them; for although she never spoke "as one of the foolish women," neither did she speak like the generality of the wise women. (14)


She was often more mystical than the woman of Tekoah, and more poetical than Deborah, the wife of Lapidoth. When she called the stars, sheckinahs in miniature, the old men thought her profane; when she said, the sun was an emblem and a pledge, that the glory between the Cherubim would, one day, fill the whole earth, they deemed her insane, or too partial to the Gentiles; and when she doubted their interpretation, of both the hardening of Pharaoh's heart, and the hatred of Esau, by God, they almost charged her with blasphemy. Thus it was not wonderful, that they were but slow of heart to believe her to be a daughter of the Covenant. Her speech, they said truly, "was hardly the language of Canaan;" for it was never much according to the shibboleth of the wise, nor the sibboleth of the weak; and now it was less so than ever. "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh ;" and Rachel's heart abounded now with tastes, emotions, and aspirations, which sober truth could not satisfy, nor ordinary teachers please. When Sheshbazzar was not in the synagogue, she often stayed at home on the Sabbath. She could get "no good," she said, "from the common-place of the dry Elders, nor from the whining of the weeping Elders, nor from the thundering of the fiery Elders. Merab was too controversial; Jeduthun, too legal; Jubal, too declamatory; and Hamath, too hasty. Except, therefore, when Sheshbazzar spoke, Răchel hardly listened. She preferred her own "worldless thoughts," she said, "to their unthoughtful and low words."

Esrom ministered to this fastidious taste. She herself had never thought of bringing the prayers of the Elders to its bar, until he obtruded them upon her notice. Her own spirit had long been too devotional, to weigh the words or notice the tones of those who led the synagogue of the people to the THRONE of Jehovah. Even when the Elders who had wounded her, lifted up their hands in prayer, her heart, whilst simple, forgot all their faults and defects, and felt only that God was listening!

Sheshbazzar had often said to her, "Remember; God only is addressed in prayer. You are no longer a hearer, when His worship begins. You are then speaking unto the Lord; and what you have to say to Him, is too solemn to depend upon words or tones. Let your heart pray for mercy and grace: and it will ascend to heaven like Manoah's angel in the flame of the sacrifice, even if the altar be an unhewn rock."

In the sun of such sentiments Rachel's devotional spirit had ripened; and, until Esrom blighted it, by criticising the prayers of the Elders, nothing that they were as men, or had said as judges had even tarnished the bloom of her devotional simplicity. Or as Sheshbazzar had often expressed it, place her only before the Throne, and her heart is a harp which will yield melody unto the Lord, at the touch of any "holy hands," whether laic or levitical.

Such it had been, whilst Sheshbazzar was the depositary of all its secrets. Such he himself often found it, when he led the devotions of the synagogue. But ever since her betrothment, it had often been untuned. Her plans-her pros pects-her arrangements, for the day when she

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