Would we join in that chorus ? would we be found with her amidst that happy band ? are we ready to cry, “ Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God ?” let us then strive to enter in; let our prayer be, “ Guide us by thy counsel, gracious Lord; open our hearts, that we may attend to Thy truth; may we in heart believe in Thy dear Son, and with a fixed heart press forward. Give us grace to take up our daily cross and follow Christ; cause us to love increasingly Thy house of prayer-communion with Thee in secret_Thine own word and sacraments; seal us to Thyself by Thy Spirit for Jesus' sake, that we may, like Lydia, enter in by the strait gate, walk the narrow way, adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things, and finally through Thy mercy depart to be with Christ in the mansions which Thou hast prepared for them that love Thee. O God, send down Thy Spirit and write Thy truth in our hearts, for Jesus' sake. Amen and Amen.




1 SAMUEL V. 2, 3. " WHEN the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon. And when they of Ashdod arose early on the morrow, behold Dagon was


his face to the earth before the ark of the Lord. And they took Dagon and set him in his place again.”

STRANGE perverseness ! their very senses appealed to—“Dagon fallen on his face to the earth,” and yet—they “took Dagon and set him in his place again.” Not only so, but as we read in the 4th verse, “ When they arose early on the morrow morning, behold Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground, before the ark of the Lord; and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off upon the threshold: only the stump of Dagon was left to him." Yet what was the result of this further miracle ? they did but more honour to the senseless stump—so reverencing the threshold on which it had fallen, as not to venture to tread on it from that time forward !

Brethren, “as in water face answereth to face,” saith the Book of Proverbs, so the heart of man to man. The things that were done in days gone by are acted over again now, under different forms. The history of the world is a history of God's mercy and of man's perverseness. Let us see whether we cannot trace some likeness to this history in ourselves.

Let us then:
I. Search for our idols.
II. Mark how God has dealt with them.

III. Ask, are they dethroned, or “set up again in their place ?”

Almighty God, unto whom all hearts be open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid, cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of Thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love Thee and worthily magnify Thy holy name, through Christ our Lord. Amen,

I. Brethren, let us search for our idols. They are not openly set up, and the outward temple consecrated to their false worshipidols of wood and stone are utterly abolished amongst us; we may nevertheless find them in our hearts.

If you look at the 8th chapter of Ezekiel you will find that it was not at once that the abominations were seen ;-verses 7, 8, 9: “ And he brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked, behold, a hole in the wall. Then said he unto me, Son of man, dig now in the wall: and when I had digged in the wall, behold a door. And he said unto me, Go in and behold the wicked abominations that they do here."

Thus we, brethren, must dig through the wall, must search narrowly, yea we must cry unto God to search and try us lest we overlook what is deep-seated within us.

That, my brethren is our idol to which we in our heart bow down rather than unto the Lord. (Rom. vi. 16.) “Know ye not that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey ?" Oh! let us search for our idols. They may be hid in the furniture of the tent like Rachel's, (Gen. xxxi. 34,) in the crevices of the heart, like the young ruler in Luke xviii. ; but they will be brought out one day. Far better to bring them out ourselves now; “ Judge therefore yourselves, brethren, that ye be not judged of the Lord.”

Let us then consider what has been, what person who

is our Dagon. God help us to see and to cast it down!

1. What if it be pride ? pride amidst much appearance of lowliness; nothing to manifest it till some rough hand of temptation digs through the wall, and clearly shows to what it is we bow down: meekness manifested till you are told of your faults, till it is evident from some remark made, that the makes it is aware how much there is yet to be changed in you; and then you are offended when you ought to be thankful, hurt when you ought to bless God for the faithfulness shown by your friend. The water seems clear till it is stirred, and then the impurity rises. Again-some slight is shown you, you are neglected-past by-not made much of; you expected some to say, “ Friend, go up higher,' and they leave you to take the lowest room. The Dagon then comes to light; pride is the idol you set up .

2. Or is it this world's interest that has us at its beck and call ? True we are, we will imagine, professors; our place is God's house, and at his ordinances we are not missing. We do something for God's cause, we read His word, but yet when this world and another come in opposition, our own interest rushes in

« ForrigeFortsett »