Psalm 4:4.---' Commune with your heart [spirit] upon your bed, and be still.'

There is a rush and haste in religion, and churches too often seem eager to join in emulation as to which can get nearest to the spectacular theatre, and to the thrilling concert hall. We need not wonder that the more meditative themes of religion are not very popular; they lack that highly spiced seasoning which makes the banquet table of grace an indulgence, rather than the sweet bread of God. Our fevered pulses find relief in still higher tension, rather than in those meditations which lead to the green pastures and still waters.

The Psalmist recommends self-examination, solitude, and stillness.

1. Self- examination.---All conviction worthy of the name has its origin in depth of view and feeling, and this is peculiarly true of Christian faith. It has nothing to do with that levity which treats its awful revelation superficially, or with hasty impetuosity of a passing impulse, which is too apt to be mistaken for real religion. The gospel remedy for sin has been provided to meet the case of beings distinguished by reason and intelligence. Belief in it is morally impossible, unless it be proceeded or accompanied by a through knowledge of our spiritual condition as sinners who are already liable for punishment, and who are ever ready to go still farther astray. Even this knowledge is by itself insufficient. The Spirit of God, it is true, must shoot into the soul the arrows of His convincing grace, but these arrows are always dipped in an experience which true heart communion alone can produce. It is when sin in all its forms within us, and in all its influence over us, is seen to be the abominable thing which God hates that the prayer rises up from the penitent heart, ' Lord pardon mine iniquity, for it is great.'

We do not really know ourselves until we see ourselves in the light of God. Communion with Him is an illumination of our nature and tendencies which would stagger us, did it not, at the same time, convince us of His cleansing and transforming power. Every man is a mystery to himself---so unexpected are the latent insincerities and disloyalties of the soul. It is on this account that many a one is surprised into conduct of which he has always felt himself incapable. Crises come upon us without warning, when choice must immediately be made with issues which reach further than mind can measure. In such hours we all act instinctively, and the hidden man of the heart is revealed. The history of many a moral and spiritual tragedy is the history of one who did not know himself, and who, therefore, had not made the Lord his defense, his strength, and his shield.

We are all prone to take too much for granted in regard to ourselves, and to imagine that all is well with us, when all the time there sleeps within us an untamed beast whose savagery may be aroused at any moment to destroy not only our good but the good of others also. If we look into our own hearts, and are honest with ourselves, we shall not fail so to commit us to the Lord, and to submit us to His redeeming disciple, as to prepare ourselves to meet the tests of life and passion worthily.

2. Solitude.---Every soul, if it be true to its privileges is self-contained. It may have God as its guest; and having Him it has all. Into the sanctity of this inner room God may come; as we read: ' If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.' Such is the gracious promise given us by Him who came from the bosom of the Father. So a man may stand at his post, and at will withdraw into the pavilion of peace. One moment he may be in the front line of battle, while death's artillery roars around, and the next he may be in the garden of God. He may be so slashed with sorrow and trouble, that you think the heart of him must break; but that very same man will withdraw into the inner room, and presently he will come out with clear and shining face, with eyes that glow and glisten, as a rainbow does through the rain.

3. Stillness.---In still hours we learn how much Christ is to us. We were tempted to think that we loved Him less than in the tender days of childhood, and in the enthusiastic hour of youth. Now we find how real He is to us. Once we were led to think the words high-flown which described all else as dross, but now in these quiet moments we find and feel that it is true. He has made sure to us the immortal elements of our spiritual being by filling us with Himself. He has fulfilled His promise to send the Comforter. He has made life worth living by quenching the thought of death's possibility as well as its dread. He has given us the vivifying consciousness within which makes the Christian argument not an apologetic but an experience. ' This is life eternal to know Thee.'

In Christ, timothy. maranatha