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A staff serves to support, help, and direct. It supports the weak, helps the lame, and directs the blind : so it serves, in some measure, instead of strength to the weak, aged and infirm ; instead of legs to the lame, and of eyes to the blind : Thy staff doth comfort me, saith the Psalmist. Jacob, in his weakness and old age, worshipped, bearing on the top of his staff
. * God promiseth his people length of days in Jerusalem, and that very man should be with his staff in his hand for every age. Now, the spiritual staff will not only answer to the literal, for these purposes, but exceed it, as much as the soul doth the body, and as eternity is more important than time; for it makes the weak strong, the lame to walk uprightly, and the blind to see clearly. It strengthens the weak hands, and confirms the feeble knees. It opens the eyes of the blind, and brings men from darkness into God's marvellous light. It enables the lame to leap as an hart. Oh ! happy the owner of this staff! may you and I find much ben. efit by it. Again,
A staff is a riding and a walking instrument : I make use of it both ways, though more in the former; as I ride much, and walk but little. Balaam riding on his ass, had his staff in his hand. As a staff will suit both the horseman and the footman, so religion well becomes the rich and poor, high and low, persons of all ranks. and degrees. It is neither beneath the prince, nor above the peasant; but very commodious, nay, absolutely necessary for both The rich
Heb. xi. 21. † Zech, viä. 4.
man cannot ride safe and bold without his spiritual staff; neither can the poor man walk well without it ; therefore, my Job, whether you be a footman or a horseman, venture not without this staff ; you will find it exceeding useful for her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace, both to the master and servant. But,
A staff adds to the weight of the traveller, yet enables him to go faster. It makes him heavier, and yet nimbler ; it might seem to hinder, but really helps. It is a burthen, and still an advantage. In this respect; it is like shoes to a person on a journey; though they add to his weight, they enable him to walk better. Wings are an additional weight to the bird, but without them he could not fly. Religion is called a yoke and a burthen. In this light you may suppose it to be a weight and trouble; but the brurthen is light, and the yoke easy ; a burthen that helps on the bearer, and a yoke that draws him forward. Some think religion to be per. fect slavery, but imagine sin to be the most ex. tensive liberty that can be enjoyed : whereas, the persons who have tried both, know by experience, that such as are under the dominion of sin, are slaves and captives with a witness ! but those who are truly religious, enjoy the best liberty, and are free indeed.
Christ appeared to destroy the works, or snares of the devil ; to" proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison those that were bound. If the Son make you free, then are you free indeed. Therefore, my dear friend, let not the weight of
this staff frighten you. If you make use of it, instead of being a hindrance, you will find it will have a mighty tendency to facilitate and accelerate your journey heavenward. To fear the Lord, and depart from evil, shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. In short, without this staff, you can never enter into glory. I
may note further, that, A staff is both a driving and a drawing instrument, especially such an hooked one as you
It will drive open gates before me when I ride, and draw others to me. God's heavy and grounded staff of judgment scattered the Assyrians.* In Zech. xi. 7. we read of a staff called Bands; and some tell us, that the very term religion (from religio) signifies tying, or binding. Again, religion doth draw the saints to God ; to love one another ; to love the gospel; to love gospel principles and practice, and at last it will draw them to Heaven itself. It directs one what to shun, and what to embrace ; what to reject, and what to choose : it makes one wise unto salvation. Finally,
A staff is used for ornament. A person of ten takes it in his hand, not so much for its assistance in walking, but because it adorns the traveller. Judah adorned himself with his signet, bracelet and staff. We read of a staff cail. ed Beauty.t Be it known unto you, my friend, that religion is the greatest ornament in the world, and is, in the sight of God, of great price. Those who are religious indeed, are an ornament and credit to the gospel now ;ll and
* Isaiah xxx. 32. ^ Zech. xi. 10. 11 Pet. iii.4. ll 'Tit. ii. 10.
they shall be forever as jewels, in the crown of King JESUS, to acorn even Heaven itself !*
That you may be adorned with grace here, and glory hereafter, is the affectionate wish of
Your sincere friend,
* Isaiah Ixii, 3. Mal. iä, 17.
HYMN TO IMMANUEL.
i DID our IMMANUEL die for us,
Did he display his pity thus,
That we might come to God again ? 2 All human language wants a name,
For such unfathom'd boundless love ;
Sprang only from the God above.
We sink beneath the pond'rous load !
Tis grand ; 'tis worthy of a God.
We stand astonish'd at the grace
That brought salvation from above,
HYMN TO THE MORNING.
DAUGHTER of Heav'n, Aurora, rise,
Thy cheerful course to run.
And usher in the sun.
Shall soon revive the plain,
And gladden ev'ry strain.
Shall lightly tread the vale,
To bid thy presence hail.
In all thy roses drest,
And peace to ev'ry breast.
Its choicest gifts to bear,
To worship and revere!