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inwardly, though outwardly he cannot perceive it; and may be as fat, and full of sap, as when he saw that his mountain stood strong, Psal. xxx. 7. For it is one thing to grow in sense and manifestations, and another thing to grow in faith and patience; and when his sun cometh from under the cloud, shall have reason to sing with the Psalmist, “ It " was good for me that I was afflicted ;” and to say, “Lord, thou hast done all things “well,” Psal. cxix. 71. Mark vii. 37.
The lark, too, as has been already observed, is not only the earliest songster, but is often heard by the nocturnal traveller, at small intervals through the summer night, making low harmonious notes. Just so, a saint doth not only praise his Maker early, but often, with the sweet singer of Israel, preventeth the dawning of the morning, Psal. cxix. 147. Yea, even at midnight riseth to give thanks unto him, Psal. cxix. 62. and meditateth on him in the watches of the night, Psal. Ixiii. 6. Like David, he not only experienceth the loving kindness of the Lord by day, but his songs are also with him by night, Psal. xlii. 8. The lark, too, has often been known, when flying from the rapacious hawk, to take shelter in the bosom of man. Just so a sinner, when the eyes of his understanding are enlightened by the Holy Spirit to see his wretched and undone state by nature, the condemning sentence of the law, and the wrath of God ready to fall on his guilty head, flieth to the man Christ Jesus, who is “ as a “ hiding place from the wind, and a covert “ from the tempest,” Isa. xxxii. 2. the only refuge.
Ungrateful man, through an unfeeling heart and wanton cruelty, may give up the innocent bird to the will of its enemy; but will the compassionate Jesus ever give up to vengeance the soul who hath fled to him for refuge? No: for he hath said, “Him that cometh to me, "I will in no wise cast out,” John vi. 37. and, “ whosoever believeth on him shall not “ be ashamed,” Rom. ix. 33. and, “ Can a " woman forget her sucking child, that she “ should not have compassion on the son of “ her womb; yea, they may forget, yet will " I not forget thee," Isa. xlix. 15. ... ?
Christ, in effect, saith to such a soul, what David once said to Abiathar, when he fled to him from the sword of his enemy, “ With “ me thou shalt be in safe-guard,” i Sam. xxii. 23.
;. CONTEMPLATION III.
ON A SHEEP-FOLD.
UPON the side of yonder green hill stands a sheep-fold : The bleatings of its fleecy inhabitants are highly grateful to my ear; and no less so do they appear to be to their watchful shepherd, whom, early as it is, I behold, with cheerful alacrity, mounting the hill, directly to the fold. He calls to them in a familiar tone; and they seem to know his voice, for their bleatings grow more clamorous.
Now he opens the fold-door, and they rush out all over the dewy pasture. There let me a while leave him with his fleecy charge, and take a view of the church, which is, in scripture, compared to a sheep-fold, John x. 16. and of her Head, who hath taken to himself