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( 29 MAY 83 )

JANUARY, 1879.- New Series, No. 1.

PRICE ONE PENNY.

OXFORD
THE

BRITISH MESSENGER.

Published Monthly by the Trustees of the late PETER DRUMMOND, at the

Tract Depot, Stirling, N.B.

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“Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me." .

| words distilled from His lips like rain upon the THE WANDERER'S DEPARTURE

parched earth! Hundreds of years before, in antici

pation of all the wondrous love, grace, and truth AND RETURN.

that should come by Jesus Christ, Moses had been

inspired to sing, “ Give ear, () ye heavens, and I will I.-TIRED OF HOME.

speak; and hear, () earth, the words of my mouth.

My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall It had been written of Christ, that He should distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender come down as rain upon the shorn meadow, and herb, and as the showers upon the grass: because I as showers that water the earth.” We have in the will publish the name of the Lord; ascribe ye greatteachings of the wonderful parable of the Prodigal | ness to our God. He is a rock, his work is perfect: Son a beautiful illustration of the deep meaning of for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and this prophecy. What a moral waste spread before without iniquity, just and right is he." And truly the the vision of the Great Teacher, as those blessed | words of Christ did distil as the dew, and the small

rain upon the tender herb, as He published the name his cldest son, and said, “Sox, thou art ever with of the great I AM, not simply as Jehovah, or a great me, and all that I have is thine.” He might have Lawgiver, King, and Judge, but as a Father; and in said, as God did to His ancient people, “ Have I this inimitable parable unveiled the infinite com been a wilderness to Israel?” But He did not; ile passion, grace, and tender love, the godlike mercy was silent. The grief of injured love is often too and munificence, which He would shed down upon great for words. He knew too well the fruit which the children of men, and into the learts of the broken such conduct must bring. Already, it may be, as and contrite in spirit.

he divided his living to his children, he saw his "And he said, A certain man hul two sons; and the son among the swine in the distance, heard his cry younger of them said to his father, Father, gire me the of misery—“I perish with hunger!” and inwardly pirtion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto wept. Ol! dear reader, do not construe the silence them his living(Luke xv. 11, 12).

of injured love into approbation of your ingratitude This was the prayer of the younger son. It was and folly. emphatically the prayer of youth and inexperience. In a like spirit with the prodigal, eren a Christian Human nature is ever the same, and constantly may sometimes ask God to bless him to give repeats itself. It is possible that the son, thinking him some portion conditionally promised in the his father kept his property too long to himself, Word, but desired by him at the time for his own misconstrued his distrust of his wisdom into selfishi gratification and honour: and God, knowing the ness. We frequently see this spirit in young people. selfishness that still exists unsubdued in him, may In what a matter-of-course way the son asks for his perhaps grant his request with the purpose of makportion: Father," he says, "give me the portion of goods ing the gift bring sorrow in its train, so that His which FALLETH TO ME.” No recognition here of his child's folly may be its own correction. Christian, father's will, nor of the love and labour with which think well over your prayers; consider both what you he had ever provided for him; but a peremptory claim | ask for, and what your motive is in asking. God's is virtually set up “The portion that falleth to me;" | very giving to you, sometimes, may form a part of as though that portion had came from some other | His method of chastening you. source, or by accident, and he had a right to claim The young man, fired with the love of adventure, it at any time or in any way he pleased. “Father, and full of anticipation, was eager and impatient to give me,” he says,-such was the abrupt introduction be gone that he might realize his own ideals. The of his experiment for the future. Oh! how ready objects of his desire were at a distance, and there was human nature is to claim the privileges of relation- | room for that play of imagination which often clothes ship; but how slowly often it moves to acknowledge the future for a time in so beautiful a light. Under the attendant obligations! Beware of this thought this influence, he looked upon his home and its less, incomely, ungrateful spirit, young friends; and surroundings as very tame. He meant to be somedo not take that from your parents as a common thing very different from what he had been in the thing, far less claim it as a right, which often costs commonplace past. Alas! he little thought that when them so much.

he got to the place and the objects le sought; when But let us apply this conduct to ourselves and in fact he realized his purpose, he should find to God. Adam manifested this spirit, when listening his sorrow that they were not at all what he exto the Tempter he took of the forbidden fruit. He pected them to be, and that he was not at all the virtually declared that God was an austere master person he intended to be, but something altogether who had withheld from him that which he ought different. not; and that he might, therefore, help himself to Dear reader, beware of your own heart, and of the correct the wrong.

freaks and trickery of a youthful imagination. Too And when we commence life, taking the good many commence life with high expectations, using things of divine providence as a matter of course, both God's gifts and the fruits of parental toil to and without any recognition of God's love and good | make them independent, only to find in the end ness in bestowing them; when we set up for our- that their strength fails them in the battle, and that selves with the intention to do without Him; or when | selfishness ends in ruin and desolation. we regard our mental powers as our own, and use The young man thought that he would have a them simply for our own self-aggrandizement or cistern of his own, from which to drink at will the gratification, without any recognition of Him from waters of earthly enjoyment, and so be supremely whom they came; we are unconsciously imitating happy. His imagination had fashioned the cistern; our first parent,-acting out again the spirit of the and as his own ideal, he doubtless deemed it lasting prodigal, and saying, “Father, give me the portion and perfect. He little thought that ere long ho which FALLETII tome." What unnatural conduct, what I should find it to be broken, and that it would sin, what practical atheism is this! Well may God utterly fail him in his hour of greatest need. And appeal to us as of old, and say, “Hear, O heavens, so every sinner finds, whether sooner or later, and give ear, 0 earth: for the Lordd hath spoken, I whether in mercy or in judgment, that the cisterus lave nourished and brought up children, and they he hews out for himself, when forsaking God the liave rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his fountain of living waters, break in his hands; that owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth they can hold no water; and unless Divine love not know, my people doth not consider."

interpose to seek and to save, he must perish of The father no doubt felt his son's conduct deeply; thirst, finding how evil a thing it is and bitter that he miglit have asked him what was the matter with he has forsaken the Lord, and that the fear of God his home; or what he had done that his son wished has not been in him. to forsake him. He might have appealed to him

W. POOLE BALFERN. with such touching pathos as he afterwards did to Brighton.

PURPOSES FOR THE NEW YEAR:

our every faculty-our every opportunity-a consecrated offering unto Him. It should be an ever

present thought that He has bought us to be His IN A LETTER TO THE EDITOR

peculiar treasure, by the price of His most precious LY THE VERY REV. HENRY LAW, M.A., DEAN OF

blood. The supplication shonld not be languid, GLOUCESTER.

“Lord, what wilt thou have us to do? Send out Thy

light and thy truth: let them guide us." May the MY DEAR FRIEND,—You have favoured me with a past days suffice to have served other lords. We never request that you should receive a letter from me on gained fruit from those services of which we are now the first day of the opening year. I hope I rightly ashamed. interpret your desire, that we should thus be mu May it be our effort euch day to grow in the knovleclaje tually raised to higher life-I by uttering, you by of our beloved Lord.—A volume is in our hands, writhearing, some timely counsels. I comply, then, not | ten throughout with glorious revelations of His charas one presumptuous to admonish, but as timid to acter-His work--His love. This Bible should be forego any opportunity of good. If compliance is our unremitted study. Let us read with cries uplifted blameworthy, it results from failure rightly to discern to the Holy Spirit, “ Open thou our eyes, that we God's beckoning hand.

may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” Let A New Year! What adoring reflections swell this no trivial engagements interrupt our searchings for morning in our souls as disciples of the blessed Jesus! Jesus in these pages. Thus each day will be a blesseil Let us not stifle them, but humbly strive, by the foretaste of heaven. There cannot be greater happiSpirit's aid, to fan them into holy blaze. Let us pray | ness than now to see Jesus with the eye of faith. It God to increase their warmth and liveliness.

will only be surpassed when sight shall come, and We look back. We see in ourselves a life-long we shall gaze for ever on His unclouded glory. train of ignorances, shortcomings, and sad trans It is important that we should not nullify our desires to gressions-no day unstained by sin-no thought un- glorify our Lord by allowing them to cru porate in ragic blemished by an element of earth. But can we re- generalities. It is far better that we should select some frain the acknowledgment, that where sin has distinct object, to which our efforts throughout the abounded grace has exceeded? We have always had year should mainly be directed. A little rill inclosed open access to the fountain of Christ's atoning blood. in boundaries may turn a gigantic wheel, and give At each moment we have been free to cry, “Purge motion to large machinery; but streams from a spring, me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and if allowed to spread at random, may only form a I shall be whiter than snow.” When confessing our swamp. A single ray has slight potency. Rays coliniquities, how often have we been cheered by a lected into one focus may ignite a mass. A cable is heaienly Father's pardoning smile, and by bright the union of small threads. Our means and opporviews of the saving cross! When we take this retro tunities may not be large, but if well consolidated spect of the past, shall we not strain every power to may effect important good. multiply thanksgivings? Shall we not gird up the It is impossible to select for others an especial field loins of our mind, and, taking courage from our gos of labour, but it is undeniable that a vast expanse pel hopes and God's unchanging love, enter in deep is open to us all. Our heavenly Father has signalized humiiity, but with undaunted confidence, on the this age as a period in which many societies have New Year?

been organized to advance the Redeemer's cause. Therefore, my first exhortation is that, as heirs of Each presents strong and peculiar claims. It is wise faith, we should advance, blessing God for past mer- to take one for especial interest during the year now cies, and trusting him for all which may be before uis. opening, and let each day witness some effort in its

Let us enter this New Year will decp solemnity. It | behalf. Suppose not that I would exclude any from may conclude our earthly course. The last sand may support and prayer, but I would counsel that some be about to fall. The slender thread which has held especial work should have especial place in our inus to earth may be breaking. The number of the terests and affections. Doubtless we cannot le New Year may be the date on our graves. The largely instrumental in promoting all; but surely we thought claims serious impression. But as one with may be peculiarly instrumental in one line of operChrist, no apprehensions shall disturb us. To die isation. The Christian who resolved each day to write to be with Him, which is far better. In closing our an awakening letter, at last could count a goodly eyes on earth, we quit for ever a world in which company of converts. Let direction here be earnestly temptations trouble, difficulties harass, and Satan sought. The prayer for guidance in our especial fights against us with unsparing hate. Let us then course will surely be heard. None can truly seek cross the threshold of this year peacefully, bearing the way in which he most can glorify the Lord, withour lives in our hands, and ready at any moment to out receiving clear manifestations of God's will. surrender them. Let us be listening for our Lord's I know not whether your spirit often flies heatenuurd chariot-wheels. Let the last trump be sounding in on the wings of intercessory prayer. I fear that in genour ears. May we realize that if death should come, eral we fail much in the exercise of this privilege. there is nothing for us to do but calmly to die. If I am not surprised, though I feel neglect of this duty lie should knock, we are ready to open to him im- | to be a grievous fault. Personal need is so great; the mediately.

| claims of self are so potent; our trials and our pains This first morning should be marked by renewed resolves. are so many, that the power of prayer is exhausted Let it be our anxious hope that we serve our Lord in before we have traversed our individual necessities. newness of life. Let our dedication of ourselves to But let us resolve this year to break down these limIlim be fully and unreservedly renewed. May we pre- iting barriers, and to give expansion to our spiritual sent ourselves-our hearts—our minds-our souls- desires. Scripture supplies many instances of the

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